Considering the Working Plan


I actually have fewer than half this many Christmas boxes. Honest.

I’m not one to get over the holidays very quickly or easily. It’s only a few days since my tree and decorations came down and were put away, and as I write this, mere hours since I finally cleaned all the remnants of holiday leftovers out of the fridge. I love Christmas and New Year’s; they’re happy and busy times for our family, and I like to string them out as looooooong as possible.

However. There does come a time when I have to accept the notion that it’s really, really, really time to get back to work. And that means coming up with a new working plan.

I wonder how many writers there are out there who just work on one project until it’s finished, complete it absolutely, and then move on to the next one. Show of hands? Whew. That’s what I was hoping. I didn’t see a single hand out there among you. Like me, most of you have several projects on the back burner, shoved there by time or necessity over the holidays, just simmering until it’s time for you to stick the spoon in and give them a stir. The question for me is always which one to stir first?

I have one obvious answer this year, a project I’ve been mulling over and even picking at a bit over the holiday break. But there are also a few other unfinished bits of business; a manuscript I have to send out for a critiquing swap, one I have to read for Third Person Press, a couple of stories to line edit, and of course, the queue of stories that prompted me to resolve to make 2014 the Year of Finishing. If I’m gonna finish those, I have to pick them up sometime.

The big project has to be one priority, but does anyone else find they have this little voice in the back of their brain as well, saying, “Oh, but look at this one–it wouldn’t take any time at all to finish! You could get that out of the way first.” Which is a big fat lie, in most cases, because if it was that simple, it would already be finished, right? This is my brain trying to sabotage me because it doesn’t want to go back to work, and what the big project needs right now is going to be…well, I don’t want to say “hard.” “Hard” is digging ditches or working backshifts, and I can’t really lay claim to anything like that as I sit here in my cushy office, can I? But it’s going to take work, and my brain is a lazy old thing.

I think that’s part of why it takes me so long to let go of the holidays. My brain is loathe to go back into “work” mode, so even the end of the season…taking down the decorations, cleaning out the fridge, putting the house back to rights…must take as long as possible. But this is it. The end of that road. The house is back to normal. The fridge is clean. Fresh groceries have been purchased, the laundry basket is empty.

Assess, prioritize, tackle. Working plan, here I come.

Photo credit: By skrewtape ( [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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One Comment

  1. I’m focusing on one big fiction project, but my nagging voice is asking me if maybe I shouldn’t find some more paid work, or even get a job job. I don’t have the answer for it yet.

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