Time Management….Pshaw

For better or worse, I’ve always been the kind of person who does things at the last minute. I was always a good student, but even when I was in the earlier levels of grade school I would regularly let homework and projects fester in my backpack until the night before they were due. Grade 8 Science was the first time I ever studied for a test more than one day beforehand, and it didn’t happen again until provincial exams in the 11th grade. By the time I hit college I still had no time management skills at all. I just did everything immediately before it had to be done. This may be the reason that I had such a rough go of it when college-level Calculus came around, but I can honestly say that I didn’t learn my lesson. I’m still a last-minute kind of person, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. It’s like it’s wired into my DNA.

Case in point: I made these My Little Pony "cutie marks" for my daughter's room a YEAR ago and they're still not on her wall. :P
Case in point: I made these My Little Pony “cutie marks” for my daughter’s room a YEAR ago and they’re still not on her wall. 😛

Another example: this past Friday I decided to submit an entry to Writer’s Digest’s “Short Short Story” competition. Do you know how long they’ve been taking submissions for this particular competition? Months. Do you know when the final deadline was? This past Friday. Yeah. That’s me, alright.

I’d been staring at the contest page for weeks, and since they regularly send out emails to remind you about ongoing contests, I stared at those as well. A thousand ideas ran through my head for what I could write for the “less than 1500 words” contest. Ha, I thought to myself, 1500 words! That’s nothing! I can write that in an afternoon!

And that’s pretty much exactly what I did because, as usual, I let the ideas sit in the back of my head until Friday, when I looked at the date on my computer and realized that the contest was ending at midnight. So I sat down at my computer after my daughter was in bed, and I whipped that story out fast. It was based on a short story I’d written (poorly) several years prior, so that helped me to write faster. I re-read the mini-manuscript twice, hoped that I hadn’t missed any glaring typos or superfluous adjectives, and whipped up a quick title page. Then I uploaded the file, filled out the online form, and hit “Submit” with only a couple of hours left to the deadline.

Honestly, I’m not expecting anything to come of this particular submission. It’s not bad, but it could definitely be better, and I’m sure there will be tons of submissions to this particular contest so I’m probably up against lots of competition. That said, I’m glad I forced myself to sit down and rip something out in order to participate. At least I can say that I’ve taken part.

And if I were to win one of the multiple prizes? Well that would just be awesome. XD

Accountability Tuesdays – Week 6

Excuse me for a moment while I get something out of the way:

*does a little song and dance* I’m going home today, I’m going home today~!

Okay, now that I’ve got that out, it looks like its time for another round of accountability. [whine] Do I have to? [/whine] Yes, yes I do. Shut up, me! Do better and you won’t dread these posts!

Health and Body Image Goal
I’m not really sure if I should report a good week or a bad week for this one. I didn’t eat particularly well (although I did have some pretty healthy breakfasts) but I ate less and I actually took it upon myself to get up early Sunday morning and squeeze in a P90X video. It was only one day yes, but I know it was a good one because I was too sore Monday morning to do another one. The plan is to check out some Jillian Michaels vids when I get home, so look forward to hearing about that venture.

Editing Goal
Remember two weeks ago when I said I was taking my manuscript out to work with me and that I would find the time to look at it at some point? Well I finally looked at it…last night…for about five minutes…while I was packing.

It’s not that I don’t want to get the damn thing edited, it’s just that I’m so thoroughly obsessed with the writing aspect that I’m having a really hard time convincing myself to go back over to editing. Writing is fun and joyful. Editing is pain and misery. Okay, some parts of writing are pain and misery too, but all of editing is pain and misery.

No excuse, I know. Feel free to flog me now. ~_~

1,000,000 Word Goal
It wasn’t an excellent week because work got really busy in the second half, but I still feel I did pretty decently, all things considered. I wrote a measly 404 words toward blogging, 4585 words toward my current work in progress, and another little grouping of 286 toward a new mini-project that might end up as a contest entry. So that’s a total of 5275 words for the week. Nothing to turn up your nose at!

As an add-on to this Tuesday post I would like to announce that I’m going to simplify my blogging “schedule” a bit. From now on I’m only going to blog through the weekdays and give myself the weekends off (unless there’s some specific reason I wish to blog on a particular weekend), and from now on Fridays will be Fiction Fragment Fridays. On this last day of the weekdays I will share a fragment of my written fiction, whether it be a drabble, part of one of my fanfictions, or a scene from my manuscript or current work in progress. It’s time to start sharing my actual work rather than just my personal thoughts and feelings. Look forward to it!

I’m Confident That I Lack Confidence

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

69. How to build confidence as a writer.

This is a tough one because, in my opinion anyway, writers tend to be a naturally self-depreciating bunch. Like many other forms of artists we are known to be somewhat moody, and we have a tendancy toward being easily discouraged and thinking that our writing is fit for the dung pile.

It mighy sound terribly pessimistic, but it’s my personal opinion that there’s really no way through this attitude except to just deal with it. Sure, your confidence may be bolstered by winning a writing contest or scoring an agent, but these are things that simply cant happen to everyone, and there is no guarantee that these things will even help you. Hell, there are tons of hugely successful authors out there who have sold millions of copies of books that they themselves believe are crap. For many people absolutely nothing will convince them that they are talented or that they should be confident because people (especially people who create) just seem to be determined to be discouraged at every turn. Even if they have other people telling them that they’re awesome and talented and have a real chance at making it, artists will turn around and say, “Oh, they were just trying to be nice,” or, “Bah, they dont know what they’re talking about”.

What a downer, right?

The fact is that if you’re naturally reluctant to be confident in yourself, there’s not a lot that I or anyone else can say to change that. As cheesy as this sounds, the change has to come from within yourself first. You have to learn to be able to have confidence in yourself if your personal default is to be the exact opposite. Do you really feel like your work is junk, or do you just feel that way because of that natural self-depreciation we talked about earlier? If it’s the former, work harder, produce something you don’t feel is junk, and feel more confident as a result. If it’s the latter, smarten the hell up. There’s already enough confidence-free artists in the world…we dont need any more.