Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Time Management Tuesday: Don't Do Things Automatically; Make Decisions

It is spring in New England, and in our region's childlit world, writers' minds turn to the New England Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' annual conference. It's coming up this weekend. People have been looking for roommates on the NESCBWI listserv for the last month or so. A chunk of my writers' group will be there. There's been talk on Facebook. People will be getting really psyched there over the next week.

What's Gail Doing Conference Weekend?

Lunch With Writers' Group
Within a day or two of registration opening I decided to skip it again this year. I've written before about my mixed feelings about conferences in relation to managing time. And this is another of those situations. I saw a couple of workshops I was interested in this year, but not on the same day, so I could just go up for Saturday or Sunday. Or even Friday afternoon. But there also wasn't enough programming I thought I could use right now to justify me being there all weekend. Sure, I would have seen a number of people I know and had lunch with my writers' group at least once. But, still, to get those two workshops I could have ended up there for a lot of time. A lot of time.

I've had many weeks recently when I could only work three days. This week it's going to be only one, unless I can squeeze in a few minutes here or there. (I'm not working today, by the way.) I rarely am able to pick up any work time on weekends. I have a big project I want to finish before fall and a marketing project I want to plan and pull together for July. I need to make a synopsis for two different manuscripts before I can submit them. If I were to go to a conference on a weekend for two days, or even one, that would be like working on a weekend. Except I wouldn't be doing any of the work I need to do to produce and promote material. I wouldn't be working toward my major professional objectives for the year.

A Writer Is Supposed To Write

These last two months while I've been second guessing my decision about the conference, I've been thinking a lot about a woman in a writers' group I was in years ago. She had a marketing plan for a book she hadn't written more than a chapter or two for. She may not have written that much. She really needed to be writing, not planning how she would sell something she hadn't created yet. That's how I feel about a two- or three-day conference and me right now. Without getting some more work out, do I really need a conference?

That's the kind of time decision writers need to be making all the time. The year my computer guy and I went to the NESCBWI Conference to take a workshop on creating eBooks, I needed to be there. (Well, he needed to be there.) The year I took a storytelling workshop that revolutionized my school presentations, I needed to be there. This year, I don't.

So What's Gail Doing Conference Weekend, Again?


I'm writing.

Even before I attended last weekend's nature writing retreat, I had planned to create a pseudo-retreat for myself during NESCBWI Conference weekend. If I am able to work even two or three hours, that will be the equivalent of attending two or three one-hour workshops. Instead of making time for a conference on a weekend, I'm going to make time to write.

That's the plan, anyway. And plans are so important for managing time.

It won't be easy. Soon after deciding to do this, we had an opportunity to take part in a two-hour hike Sunday afternoon. Okay, that's like going for a walk at a retreat, which I did last weekend. So we're probably going to do that. Then a couple of weeks ago, I was asked to do some volunteer work that weekend. Being a witch, I begged off. On the positive side, it's not my weekend to do eldercare.

My NESCBWI friends and I will all be doing professional activities this weekend. We've just decided we won't all be doing the same thing.

NOTE: The weekend is three days away. That's a long time for things to go wrong Chez Gauthier. Plenty of opportunity for my weekend work plans to blow up in my face.


Melissa Stewart said...

I made the same decision as you about NESCBWI this year. And I don't regret it. We need writing time.

Gail Gauthier said...

Good luck getting some work done.