If you’re not where you want to be this year

As you read this, it’s June 29th. So, we’ve got two days left in the second quarter of the year already.

The year is halfway over, already. That’s a hard concept for me to wrap my mind around, honestly. This year has been a real challenge, and I’m really not where I wanted to be when I made my plans for the year.

If that’s where you are too, then I’ll tell you the same thing I’m telling myself. There’s no sense beating yourself up for what didn’t get done. All you can do is learn from the first six months so that you can do better in the next six months. So, as I’m doing my second quarter review, there’s just one thing I’m asking myself.

Why didn’t this get done?

For so many years I would beat myself up for not being as productive as I thought I should be. It took me a long time to grow up and realize that sometimes I can work as hard as I can and still not finish everything. I can do my best, and still not succeed. And it doesn’t do me any good at all to berate myself for something that is just right out of my control. As it turns out, every single one of the following things happened to me in the last six months.

A project took longer than I thought it would.

Good news for you Station 86 fans, I’m currently working on the second draft of book 4, Station Central. Bad news, it’s not half done yet. Sorry. But something happened when I was part way through that derailed my whole work schedule. I had to put it aside to work on the extended ending of Virus. (Have you pre-ordered Virus yet? Don’t forget, the price goes up after it’s published.) And I realized that I have done this every single time I’ve written a Station 86 book. I wait until I’m almost ready to publish it before I even start thinking about the extended ending. I told myself at first that I was doing it to make sure they were an appropriate bridge between books, but that’s no longer an issue. I know what’s happening in the series now. I don’t need to write book 5 to know what I need to bridge to it. So, I decided to write the extended ending for Station Central now, so I can edit and polish it right along with the rest of the book. That meant quite a bit of rough drafting. But those chapters are pretty good, and I think they’re going to sing.

The point is, I was working right along, but now the project is going to take longer. And it’s way better to let the project take the time it needs to take then to rush it and mess it up. The solution to this is pretty simple. Move the deadline, and move on with a light heart.

I had to wait for others to complete part of my project.

This doesn’t often come up with my writing, but sometimes it does. The launch of Starting Chains took a lot longer than I wanted it to because the publisher had other books in line to launch first. There’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing really to complain about, certainly. But it did mean that my plans had to change dramatically because I needed to wait for Starting Chains to launch before I could set launch dates for the other books I intended to publish this year. It means that I probably won’t be publishing six books this year.

Which is really no big deal. If a launch gets moved to 2019, it’s not the end of the world.

The fix to this is that there is no fix. Sometimes things aren’t in our control. And if you’ve got to wait for someone else to complete their half of a project, you’ve got to wait. Work on something else while you do.

A project wasn’t as important as others.

There’s this one project I’ve had on the back burner for quite a while now. It’s not a big thing, just something I thought would be an easy project to knock out in a month and get out there.

And it would have been an easy project, and it should have taken no time at all. Except that I had other projects that mattered more. So I kept not doing it and not doing it. Because it just wasn’t as much of a priority as other things.

Mind you, I really never intended this to take up a lot of my time. It was just something I thought might be fun. I’m not using this as an excuse to shirk a project that I’ve fallen out of love with. I genuinely don’t care as much about this one as others.

The fix for this one is to put this project in its proper place in my life. It will get done when it gets done. I still think it’s a neat little idea so it gets to stay on my radar.

I planned too many things at one time.

Like, way too many things. I had myself working on three or more projects at a time, and that’s just too much.

The fix for this one is to be more realistic in the second half of the year. When I sit down to complete the second quarter review and third quarter planning from my Lisa Jacobs YBY 2018 planner, I’m going to be more mindful of what’s realistic in six months and what’s not.

Life happened, and my priorities changed.

As I said, 2018 has been hard. I was working too much, and now my life is literally completely different than it was. Different than it has been for the last 14 years, actually. I’m in the middle of moving and figuring out what my life looks like now. That’s hard, and it’s taking a lot of my time.

So not as much time is there to go into my writing projects. When the move is over, I should have more time than ever to write, but that’s still a little ways away. And even then, I’m more aware than ever that life can change in a second, and all my carefully laid plans can be blown away.

The fix for this is to accept it. Life is going to change, no matter how hard you try to keep it the same. When that happens the only thing you can do is regroup, and move along as best you can.

But I want to hear from you? How has your year been so far? Are you where you wanted to be, or do you need to reconsider your course for the rest of the year?

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