Thursday, May 17, 2007


How many of your deadlines come from outside factors, how many are self-imposed, and how do you handle each?

The kids and I are coming smack up against the homeschool deadline for this year, which is a pseudo-flexible kind of thing. By that I mean that we're supposed to be finished with our 36-week school year by the end of this month, which gives the official correspondence teacher a couple of weeks to finish grading all the papers and assignments for the year, to get them done and grades submitted by June 15. But we've also paid for the teacher support through the end of June and can ask for additional months as we need them in case our school year needs to run longer for any reason. In the case of one kid, we may need an extra month, but in the case of the other, I hope to be done on time. We'll see. Either way, my personal deadline for this homeschool year is to be done by the end of May so I can have all summer to concentrate on writing issues, clean my house, sort through all the junk in the storage room and get things back under the illusion of control. I have no idea whether this will become reality or whether we'll end up stretching the school stuff into the summer as we have for the past two years. But I can always hope. Each summer, we gain a few more weeks of vacation time, which may or may not involve an actual vacation.

Then there's the writing deadlines. Since I don't have a publisher, my deadlines are mostly set by me and sometimes by tacit suggestions from Bob, who's a lot more realistic than I am. I have the tendency to set unrealistic deadlines, meaning I set them on a tougher schedule which I can rarely comply with in real life. For instance, I hoped to have this rewrite done by the beginning of May. Not only has that not happened, but I'm only halfway through the rewrite. Granted, there are a few extenuating circumstances, but I still feel that it should be going faster. Would I be able to go faster if I had an actual publisher's deadline to meet? Certainly it would help the family to take my writing time more seriously. But ultimately, my time management issues are my own, and I feel like I've been playing hooky. That must change, immediately. Bob can't market a book he doesn't have. And every week that goes by without the rewrite done is a week that he might have been able to make a sale for us and couldn't. So, shame on me. I must and will pull it together. I guess if that means the kids' school year drags longer into the summer, then so be it. Meshing of the schedules and getting all members of the family team to work together is a big challenge. But for me to figure out how to merge my writing into the larger family agenda is the biggest challenge yet.

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