I woke up this morning thinking of accomplishment and delayed gratification of it. Each day I mentally tabulte my tasks that I need to accomplish for the day and how it feeds in to the weekly goals which in turn feeds into my quater goals. (Any further in time and the goals start to look fuzzy.) If I don't accomplish anything, I feel squirmy inside, like I'm falling behind.
The problem is, when starting a new story, you don't have much solid to show. It's one thing to have a finished chapter, even if the draft is lousy. Then you can at least say, "Look, I did this! It's proof I'm not just slacking off." But it's a little harder for me to justify, to myself, reading my previous work and taking notes, because then all I have is a sloppy mess of scribbles you can't turn into Teacher. No matter that this is where most ideas come from. For some reason, it just doesn't count.
The trap of accomplishment very nearly knocked me off my horse this week when I began work on my second novel. I was so eager to get something on the page, I didn't bother to read my previous draft. Always read your drafts! Even if you cringe at how horrible they are, at least they have ideas in them and it is far easier to work with a bad idea than to come up with something original off the top of your head. I knew this--I'd written blog entries on this. But I was so consumed with the thought of getting a quota of page numbers down (as if to make up for my summer laziness) that I neglected this vital step. It wasn't until hours later when I threw my hands up in disgust at the dribble I was forcing out, that I turned to the draft I had--and that's when the ideas started flowing.
In addition to Novel 2, I've also had a residency to apply to, query letters to write, a new chapter for my Coffin story, family get togethers, and preparation for my cruise next week. As of now, I've accomplished the residency and that's it. I've done the work, but it just hasn't come together just yet and the week is waning. Once I leave my house, I leave my work behind. Everything needs to be settled, but it's not, and so I've got this nagging anxiety in the back of my mind that if I don't hurry up and finish, I get a big fat F for the week.