This past week, I haven’t been working on anything I set up on my goals for the year. Instead, as I often do, I got distracted by the shiny — in this case, Moongypsy Press’s First Anniversary Writing Contest. When my friend Bonnie showed it to me, she was expecting me to jump in and write a short story. However, I’ve had a Mayan idea kicking around for about five years now in the back of my brain, so I figured this was the perfect time to take it out and dust it off.
Of course, since I hadn’t thought about it recently, there was a ton of research I didn’t have done that I should have, and I spent Thursday, Friday, the weekend, and a good portion of Monday kicking around, alternating between thinking I almost had everything and believing I’d never get it together. Late Monday I started writing, but I was behind.
Yesterday, I kicked myself in the seat of my pants and worked. I drank lemon tea with honey for my throat. I ate Thin Mint cookies to keep myself going. I sent my submission off at 2:45 a.m. EST (the deadline was midnight PST).
Then I went and crashed for four hours, until it was time to get the kids ready and out the door for the day.
Perhaps I should have spent part of today sleeping. Instead, I shoveled snow. I baked bread. I poked at TED talks, thinking I might embed one of them as a blog post. Not my most productive day in terms of writing, but I’ll get back to the keyboard tomorrow. I’ve still got works in progress that need to be completed and sent out.
Why do I do this? Why stay up late to meet a deadline, then turn around and face the next project? Because my stories do no good if the only place they exist is in my brain or on my computer.
In the words of Steve Jobs, “Real artists ship.”