April 16th, 2007

Being an Optimist is Sometimes an Act of Will

I’m a list-maker.


Lists make me happy. They are my own way of coping with the madness of the universe, of imposing a little bit of order on the chaos that is life. (I’m not completely wacko, though. I don’t make lists of the lists I make, like one of my friends does. That’s just going too far.)


I also like to work on short, easy stuff first, because then I can cross more things off my list. Long things, complicated things, things I don’t even want to delve into—those get shoved off and shoved off. By the end of the week, there are mostly only those things left on my list. The things I don’t want to do.


This is one of those weeks where everything on my list is what I don’t want to do.


I’ve completed the interviews needed for a feature that will be great for a kids’ magazine—it’s quite a disgusting topic, the expert absolutely understands how to phrase gross facts in a way kids will love, and it’s environmental. I even have a draft done already, sans the expert’s comments. But it’s a little bit technical, so I’m putting it off.


I have a huge assignment from my best market, and it’s going to be tons and tons of grunt work. I’ve done tons and tons for it already. But I don’t want to do anymore. (This can’t really be put off—the other one is an on-spec piece, but this one isn’t!)


I have a political story to write for my latest editing gig. Practically guaranteed to garner hate mail. (And it’s a religious publication! But it’s that kind of political topic.) Politics are not my deal. I am also not excited about hate mail.


Then there’s the re-write of my MG fantasy novel. Saturday’s chapter went great. The characters were mixing it up pretty good (which is HUGE for me, because even in my own fiction, for God’s sake, I really want everyone to be placid and happy). But yesterday’s was like arm-wrestling a pterodactyl. I’m requiring myself to churn out three chapters this week, and the first one was supposed to be today. Yet here I am blogging! (I think you can see where I’m going with this.)


Tomorrow there is going to be a big messy emotional confrontation (this is real life now, not my WIP), which is exceedingly unlikely to end up the way I want it to. And today there was a car accident (not mine, but it would’ve kinda been simpler if it had been).


And it’s only Monday!


But here’s the positive twist I’m putting on all this: if I plug away at the things that simply must get done—which is everything on my list, plus a few more things I absolutely didn’t anticipate—then at the end of the week, there will be nothing but bones left of my list of things I don’t want to do. Take that, universe!

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