There are two great truths in any life:
- Given enough time, resources, and energy, you can do anything.
- There will never be enough time, resources, and energy to do everything.
I am running up against the second rule like crazy right now. I have literally a pile of “Someday/Maybe” work and an even bigger pile of work I’d like to do reasonably soon. At last count, I had six projects thought out enough to become good novels, maybe four more still thinking through, an idea for a play, a video game, and a host of short stories, not to mention old projects I could revise and/or finish. The more I train my brain to come up with good stories, the more I come up with good stories. This is a lovely problem to have! But sometimes it’s like trying to drink out of a fire hose. A great novel takes time and focused attention, meaning I have to actively choose not to work on All the Other Things, sigh.
Of course writing isn’t all I do. I’m going to New York ComicCon at the end of the week (if you’re around there, do drop by my Dr. Who panel Sunday to say hi) I’m also working on classes I’ll be teaching in the next few months, and all the host of little business decisions that go along with writing professionally. I’d like to get back to writing short shorts for the email newsletter, for example, and I have a book launch coming up. Not to mention email, which seems to breed like rabbits whenever I leave it alone for very long.
When I worked in marketing, it was a point of professional pride that nothing I was in charge of ever got dropped. I worked in a team of at least four people to make sure that was always true. Now that I’m the one running my own working life, I’m finding out it’s not so easy. For every Thing I choose to do, there is another Thing (or five) that I cannot. Those decisions were always handled by the executive types, or the manager types above me, and I’m starting to appreciate how hard they worked to say no. It is a skill I must master this year, I think. Right now it feels like that impossible yoga pose where you balance on one leg with your knee over your shoulder, but I’ve seen people do that, too. It is not impossible! Or so I tell myself. I can do this.
So, time to stretch out the mental skills. Time to learn priorities, and do deep thinking about the novel I’ll be drafting in NaNo this year. And time, most of all, to accept that All the Things will not happen at once.
I feel very old, and very limited, all at once.
What about you guys? How do you cope with difficult decisions and juggling too many things? I’d love to hear any tips and tricks you have.