Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Creative Goal Tackling

Sometimes unexpected (and unwanted) things occur and you just have to find a way to deal with them. For example, when we moved to PA, our moving truck (through a series of irritating and sometimes tragic circumstances) ended up being a month and a half late.

So, instead of getting our house set up, and putting our previously outside dog outside in her kennel where she belonged (the kennel was on the truck), she got to stay in the (empty) house with us (much to my dismay...and the cat's).

Now, I love our dog. But I don't like her in the house. She sheds like crazy. It's a pain. But after a month and a half of indoor living, our dog decided the outdoors was no longer good enough for her and pretty much has a stroke every time we try to put her in her kennel.

So...she now lives inside. A circumstance I really didn't want. But, I found a way to live with it. Instead of sweeping my kitchen (where she stays), I now vacuum it. It keeps the hair away and allows us to live in peace with each other. (Before I figured out the vacuum thing, I was sweeping up enough hair to build myself another dog every day. I was not having fun).

What does this have to do with writing? Well, sometimes we come across things we aren't expecting, we don't like, and we don't want to have to live with. And we don't always have a choice.

If you want a better story, sometimes you have to add in that new plotline thread that is going to take FOREVER to weave in. If you want an agent, you are going to have to query. If you want your book to sell, you are going to have to help market it. Sometimes, in order to accomplish your goal, you have to do things you might not want to do.

So do what I did. Find a way to make it not so bad. Find a way to do what you need to do in the most painless way possible. Take those revisions a small chunk at a time and set up a fun reward system for yourself. Gather a group of also-querying writer pals and help keep each other sane. Find aspects of marketing that you enjoy (or at least don't hate) and focus on those. If you don't like public speaking, maybe set up online workshops instead of school visits or pre-tape presentations instead of doing live chats. Facebook instead of blog or Tweet instead of Skype.

Bottom line: there are things that you are going to have to do to succeed in this business that might not be things you want to do. So find a way to accomplish your goals that you can live with. Do I enjoy vacuuming my kitchen every day (and sometimes twice a day)? Nooooo. sure beats sweeping it 4 times a day and I get it done a lot faster.

Sometimes you just need to get a little creative :)

Have you found any creative ways to get a not-so-fun goal accomplished?


Andrea Franco-Cook said...

LOL, I can certainly relate to your post, Michelle. I was recently faced with something I didn't want to do. My story also has to do with our dog.

Two weeks ago, while my husband and I were landscaping our yard, my dog sneaked away,got caught in the neighbor's barbwire fence and cut his stomach to shreds.

The little buggar wasn't gone long. When our ten year old went to take the dog inside, he noticed the injuries. Needless to say, we rushed our pet to the vet. Several stiches later, he checked into La Hospital for the weekend. The following Monday when we picked him up, the vet had inserted a drain (which is disgusting)from the top of the dog's back to his stomach. It stunk to high heaven.

Unfortuantely, through default, I became the caregiver, which required irrigating the drain twice a day. The dog gets his stiches removed tomorrow (Thank goodness) and I can't wait.

Anywho, FWIW, I get what you're saying here. If something (or someone) means enough to a person, then sometimes he/she has to take the good with the bad. As always, great post.

Tiffany Garner said...

I can totally relate to this post. I really liked the way my book was set up--a story within a story--but realized after a ton of editing and feedback from CPs that it really wasn't working. At all. I had to take it apart and rewrite the more telling parts, putting the action in the here and now instead of in the past (though not present tense...)

Moral of the story: I did not want to do it, at all, but now I have a better story because of it and am happier with my work. Now if only I could get Word to read my brain and fix the rest of the MS....

Matthew MacNish said...

What kind of dog is it? I swear my German Shepard sheds her entire coat every day.

Luckily sweeping the kitchen is my daughter's chore.