I have a very specific memory, probably around fourth grade, of our teacher handing out two assignments for us to do. One was very short, and the other would take longer. We were instructed to do the short one first and turn it in before starting the other.
Some intellectually conceited part of my brain said I knew better. I would do the longer one first and impress everybody! Alas, it did not work out that way. Everyone else turned in the short one, and the teacher came over to find out why I hadn’t. Instead of impressing everyone, I was embarrassed.
As an adult, I understand that it’s usually a good idea to get the little things out of the way before tackling the bigger items. However, as a writer and in ‘real life’, the little things can pile up to an overwhelming deluge of tasks. Some priorities are clear, others are not.
Today is the start of Camp NaNoWriMo. Normally, I would have watched the clock tick past midnight, and started writing as if someone had said “On your mark, get set, GO!” I didn’t do that last night. I was looking at a short story I wrote for a specific call to submissions that is due at the end of July. I also re-looked at the deadline (mid July) for a contest I’m planning to enter. I need to edit the first story and submit it. I need to finish writing the second story.
Other things on my to-do list are to write interview questions for the next on my list, and to look carefully at my notes and see whether, while rearranging, I ended up double-booking folks. I need to finish beta-reading for a friend (I’d promised to be done by the end of June. He knows I’m going to be late.) I need to dive into Camp NaNoWriMo. I need to format and prepare a dozen stories that are now down (under the publisher’s name) and put put them back up under my own name. Besides all that, there are a dozen little things that I could and should do, such as writing promo blog posts and designing memes and things to share.
On a side note—I know that not many people read these randomly musing posts—for the first time in my life, today I have food stamps. I am incredibly grateful that this option is available to my family in our time of need. Hopefully we will only need them for a couple of months. A year from now, I think I will look back at this post and say “Oh wow… look how far we’ve come!”
It would be very easy to just cruise around the nine tabs I currently have open on my computer (only three of those are social media) and procrastinate it all. I won’t let that happen. Although what my brain wants to do is dive into a brand new story that has nothing to do with NaNoWriMo, I will take care of the little things that involve other people first. I will take care of the tasks that are small enough to only take a small amount of time. I may not start my NaNoWriMo project (The Beekeeper’s Mother) until tomorrow, but I’m OK with that. July Camp is much more laid back than November’s full-blown novel-in-a-month.
Meanwhile, I will write a musing blog post that is definitely not on my to-do list, because it warms up my brain and gets me set for what’s next.
Oh look, I just did.