Nothing is convenient.
The sooner we learn this fact, the better. (By “we,” I mean me.)
Case in point: my workload was slow for the first half of May. Scary-slow. The kind of slow that makes you think, “Well, this is it. I had a good run, but it’s over.” Like Blockbuster, or the people who made 8-track tapes.
In the midst of the slow time, I decided to participate in Jami Attenberg’s #1000wordsofsummer challenge, where you commit to writing 1,000 words every day for 14 days. It wasn’t as though I had a lot of other things to do. (Not true: I still had the sequel to my novel to frame and write, the novella I’ve decided to publish later this year, home maintenance, socializing with friends I haven’t seen in a year, aging parent care, and a post-pandemic world to explore. But without much billable work to occupy my days, it felt as if there wasn’t much to do.)
The challenge begins Monday, May 31.
On Thursday, May 20, a longtime client called with a new project. Great!
On Monday, May 24, another longtime client called with a new matter that included an emergency must-be-done-today project. Terrific!
On Thursday, May 27, new projects came crashing into my office like a tsunami.
As of this writing, I need to research and create thirteen (13) documents, including a substantial brief, four motions, and four objections, all due to the client and/or the court by next Friday, June 4.
Which will be Day 5 of the #1000wordsofsummer challenge.
So here are my choices:
- Skip the challenge.
- Bump the challenge back a week on the assumption that once this cluster of projects is finished, my work life will return to its previous snail’s pace.
- Do the challenge anyway.
I have three magnets on the whiteboard calendar over my desk which proclaim the following:
There will always be a reason to bump the important thing in favor of the urgent thing. Not that billable work isn’t important; after all, it not only serves clients, but it keeps the lights on. But writing fiction or blog posts is seldom urgent, which makes this the easiest to bump to a more convenient time.
Except there never will be a more convenient time, not really. Something will always want to elbow creative work out of the way, whether it’s a motion to dismiss or an overgrown lawn. It’s the role of the creator to say, “No. This is important, too.”
So I choose #3, do the challenge anyway. I already know it won’t be easy to shoehorn 1,000 new words of my novel (or something else) into every single day for two weeks. The forces of everything from outside obligations to inner fatigue will gang up on me. But on the whiteboard calendar where I record deadlines, every day from May 31 through June 13 is marked with one more deadline: “1K”.
Because I’m going to do the challenge anyway.