I’m a member of Club Fearless, an online success group led by Steve Chandler. (His book, REINVENTING YOURSELF, has a permanent spot on my keeper shelf.) The following quote, from a recent Club newsletter, provided a much needed jolt:
“Create a structure for yourself. Who is going to run your life, you or your fantasies? Choose. Then create a routine to follow. Develop a system that minimizes distraction.”
Three words jumped out at me: CREATE, CHOOSE, DEVELOP. Aack! Spit! Why couldn’t he just leave it at create? See, I can scribble incessantly. Brainstorming on paper, recording fast and furious thoughts, delights me. Sometimes it’s fun to let fantasy run my life. Or is it? Now that I think about it, being stuck in create mode is messy. It yields reams of unorganized, raw notes that are daunting by sheer volume. And the lack of structure renders those notes useless. Sometimes it’s easier to just start over with a fresh notebook; a spanking new idea. More fun creating!
Do you see the trap? Steve’s words made me realize that eternal creating can become an exercise in endless planning – a loop that doesn’t include the pit stop of choosing. In my case, choosing means sorting the trash from the treasure, and then getting rid of the trash. (Not neatly filing it away “just in case.”) Choosing means picking one idea and developing it. (Character sketches? Plotting? Scene lists?) Developing means taking the next logical action. (Writing the first draft?) Then the next. (Revising? Polishing? FedEx-ing?) Because that’s the only way a story gets written and finished. And only finished work gets published.
All action is not equal. Be more selective. I’m revamping my current system to make certain that it yields more of my desired end result: finished works.
Now go. Write.