Project x Project: Playing Catch Up

Monday, November 15, 2010

Today I worked on just about everything but NaNo, which I told myself that I was going to catch up on completely. I did not write one word all weekend and, as a consequence, have to write 6107 words at least by tonight's end to be on track. I think I can do it, but that word count on paper just seems like a really daunting task.
Which means that I'm going to talk about confidence building and what that means in a project.

I sometimes get nervous about big projects. I feel like I don't have enough a. resources, b. stamina, c. intellect, or d. time to do any of it. And sometimes I don't even get off the starting blocks because of this mindset. But, to take a lesson from the SOCLR leadership handbook, I believe that Vision and Passion are the two most important things that a leader needs to have. And thus, to be a leader, I have to follow through regardless of the other things I may lack. I have to tell myself that they will come up along the way if I keep working.
That is my first piece of advice: just keep working. NaNo has taught me that, if you get discouraged, you just need to write through it. You just need to push on because there is always time for revision - in December. And nothing builds confidence as much as having a large body of work under your belt, even if it's far from perfect.

My second piece of advice pertains to an organizer's nightmare: juggling commitments. What happens when you're writing a paper, working two jobs, working on a novel, writing grant proposals, and trying to get a decent amount of sleep all at the same time? Chaos, obviously.
But I think that the chaos can be cut down if you work on prioritization. If you need a day for yourself, take it. If you need a few extra hours of sleep, go for it, so long as whatever you're working on is not too time sensitive. I think the point is to take care of yourself before any of the fabulous projects you're working on. You are not your projects, and you will have as much time as you need.

Finally, in pursuing all of your visions, somewhere along the line your passion may dwindle out. I am guilty of this, guilty of giving up in the face of the obstacles that I see in my way. But I think that, instead of putting down the burden when working on a tough project, it might just need to be re-framed.
I have experimented with this idea when it comes to work. Sometimes I just don't want to go into the office or do some other commitment - but, if I think about it in a positive light, it helps me get through. Now, I'm not going to lie, it doesn't make the experience completely enjoyable all the time, but at least it can keep you going while you are recuperating from the passion doldrums. The next time you have to do a difficult task, try to find the positive things that make it worthwhile: for instance, although it might be isolating in the library, at least you get to read something good for a while! Or, at least, hopefully.

Alright, now I'm on to my 6107 for tonight. Wish me luck!