As I write this, I’m looking up at my April Goals list and wondering how I can eke out a few more check marks before the clock strikes midnight. By evaluating where my time went and why I didn’t reach certain goals, I hope to improve next month’s results.
Here’s a glimpse of what I did: an illustration for a picture book I wrote; decided to do said illustration over even better; got frustrated then stuck; switched to dummy book revisions; researched targets for submissions; sent a story to a crit partner; researched some more; tweeted; more revision; Facebook; cleaned out my email inbox; laundry; searched online for the French word for bottle brush (goupillon)… You can see where this was going— straight to the P word.
Procrastination. It should have been obvious but it wasn’t. Stalled by the nagging unfinished drawing, I couldn’t fully engage with other work— thwarted by another P word.
Perfectionism. I was avoiding the illustration. Seeking perfection lead to procrastination and kept me from accomplishing goals. Realizing that this illustration was now an obstacle (caught off-guard by an O word!), I turned to yet another P word.
Partner. I sent the illustration to my crit partner and she helped me overcome the obstacle (the do-over was quashed to my relief!). I was making things much harder than necessary. Critique groups are great but in addition, a one-on-one crit session on a regular basis is very helpful.
Individual crit partners can provide:
- deeper feedback: objective criticism and suggestions to avoid getting sidetracked;
- pep talks: motivation can flag and there’s nothing wrong with getting a gentle shove from a trusted partner who understands your long-term goals as well as the work;
- deadlines: there is nothing better than accountability.
I only wish I reached out sooner. Next time…
With a little help now and then, use the O for overcome obstacles to get out of the P for procrastination towards the Q for query. Then right onto R for revise followed by S for submit. And if you go back to R (for rejection), your lovely crit partner will be there to help you change it back to revise… And you get to return the favor.
Watch out for O and P, then Q, R and S over and over. They will lead you to another S word: success!
If you take another 4 minutes to watch this fun video, we will agree that it is NOT procrastination but “filling the well.”
R is also for reassess. I’m looking forward to resetting my goals for May and by the time this posts, that list will be waiting for check marks. Did you procrastinate in April? Did you encounter any obstacles to your goals? How did you overcome them? What have you got planned for May? Comment here or if you’re part of the private Sub It Club Facebook group, tells us how you’re doing on the May Goalpost thread there. If you’d like to join our Facebook group, send a request.