Saturday, March 22, 2014

And the magic number is...

Goals are good.

Deadlines are better—well, at least for me.

It’s not that I can’t motivate myself to do things on the slow and steady, but there is nothing like a looming deadline to really bring out the manic work habits in me. Admittedly, I work just fine without deadlines, but boy-howdy, there is something about that ticking clock that lights a fire under me.

Last year I learned how to fold origami cranes. It was kind of fun. It took just enough concentration that I had to pay attention, but not so much that I couldn’t think about things like plot holes. I decided to start folding a thousand, I could always quit later. I figured out how many I’d have to fold a day and all of it.

I learned that deadlines in a distant, nebulous future always lose to deadlines breathing down my neck (didn’t fold many cranes while packing my house). Deadlines with a tangible product as you work closer are very satisfying (that’s a lot of cranes, boxes and boxes).

And then, I realized how many I needed to fold before I got to the end of the year. It was enough to be daunting, but not so many to be impossible. I spent more time folding than I meant to, but then I reached The End. Just like writing a novel, I hung up my last crane and rattled around the house wondering what I was supposed to do with my time.

Basically, it feels just like writing The End on a book (I did that recently too, but you know me, that novel just went to the data version of a trunk to think about what it did). So now I’m in that place where I have that “Yay, I finished… what next?” feeling that permeates the time between projects.

 How do you handle that time? Mostly, I’ve been watching TV and trying not to eat all the chocolate.


  1. I am totally curious...what did you do with all those cranes?

    I am always so far behind on everything, I can't remember the last time I finished a project and wasn't already obsessing with getting done with the next thing on my to do list. But often times, I will burn out and use that opportunity to watch whole seasons of something on Netflix.

    1. I hung my 1000 cranes around the house (yes it's a lot, but not as many as I thought it would be).

    2. I bet that is both beautiful and satisfying. I can't even fold a proper napkin much less make something pretty!

  2. I currently set my own deadlines, because I plan to query at some point - which means I can change those deadlines, which is not so great. I'm impressed with your crane-folding.

  3. i also watch all the TV when i reach that nebulous "what now" point in time. And YAY for the cranes!!

  4. I've set myself deadlines before to get myself moving, but never with writing. There are so many things left to learn, so I'll never know when I'll consider my story done. OF course, maybe after I get a few books under my belt, that won't be such a problem.

  5. Congratulations on reaching 'The End'. No matter what happens to the book, you finished, and that's worth celebrating. ^_^

    And oddly enough, it took my day job to teach me how I deal with deadlines. My supervisor told me that a side project I'd only kind of been working on was expected by Higher-Ups by the end of the week. I sat down and started plowing through that thing. Apparently, my reaction to deadlines is intense focus. I'm good with that.

  6. Eat all the chocolate!!
    Sorry, that just made me laugh because I am currently eating a banana to try and stop myself from eating a donut. Lol.
    Good job finishing the draft, and the cranes! Holy cow! What are you going to do with them all?


I love comments! Let me know what's on your mind.