You have everything planned out then BAM! Your plan goes to pieces and you’re standing there wondering how to make it all fit back together again.
For instance, back in October when I planned for my Lynch Brothers Trilogy to be out by early Spring, I had a plan. Every week had a goal until publication. My schedule was set.
But everyone who works on a book is human. We all have killer workloads, emergencies, and health scares. Once the books got delayed at one station, they had to be rescheduled later in other stations. It was one hit after the other, and unfortunately it’s three books, not just one. That means three times the work. Suddenly, it’s March and the books are at least two months from being ready to go.
Then my landlord hits us with the possibility of selling our place, so we may need to move in June.
Then I got an amazing opportunity to submit another manuscript to an agent I adore.
Then I got engaged and picked a wedding date THIS YEAR, because I want my grandparents to be there while they’re able.
But wait, I have book signings coming up! I don’t have books for them yet!
Sound familiar? Maybe not the exact situations, but the overload of all crazy-important things?
How the heck do I (or you or anyone) prioritize what’s most important? By breaking it down in small, bite-sized chunks.
Start by taking a look at each big-ticket item on your to-do list and asking yourself where is there more to lose?
Holy crap, moving is awful, am I right? I have come to terms that if we need to move, we will be paying extra for help – packing and unpacking included. I have started saving extra for the added cost and been in contact with a realtor we like. I can’t make the decision for my landlord, so I will have to hang tight and just keep things as organized as I can for easy packing. (HA!) This moves lower on the list until the decision is made.
2) What’s this amazing opportunity with the agent?
I had the honor and pleasure of meeting one of my all time favorite agents last week at my local RWA meeting. (FANGIRLING TO THE MAX!) I was invited to submit a partial of my Young Adult book to her within a certain time frame. For me to be comfortable sending a manuscript to an agent, it must be edited, beta read, and proofread. I know this will take most of the time frame allotted to turn in the manuscript.
This is an opportunity I cannot pass up. There is a lot to lose here, moving it to the top of the list.
Yes, this is important, so we budgeted for a solution. We shelled out the money for a brilliant planner and cut our guest list to pay for it. Truly, the best idea. She’s already paid for herself twice over and we both wanted a smaller wedding. While some things are important right now, like finalizing the guest list, the planner is doing most of the heavy lifting. Not a lot to lose, so it goes down on the list.
4) The Trilogy.
I have fans (hi, fans!!) asking when the books will be out nearly every week. One of the books needs some major edits (per my beta feedback). So how do I decide which deadline is more important? The trilogy or the YA?
Again, where is there more to lose?
My Answer: I did research on NA vs YA sales in ebook/print/indie/traditional, trends in self-publishing, talked to people about what’s popular and what’s coming up in the genre market, and did actual math (ew) calculating the chances of me acquiring a dream agent (0.02% , if you want to get real about it). At the end of the day, I would lose the most if I let the opportunity with the agent fall through my fingers. So, I’m spending the next few weeks perfecting my YA.
What’s that mean for the rest of my list?
It means learning not to panic. It means accepting that we’re all human and it’s okay to figure it out as we go along. It’s okay to hand off the jobs where possible (wedding planner, movers) and tackle the biggest tasks with the most to lose first.
As my friend’s grandson says, “You worry about you.”
Good luck with all your hard decisions! And remember, you don’t need to have all the answers today. Just trust your gut.
On this day in 1883 – The first telephone call between New York and Chicago took place.
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