Sunday, August 12, 2018
Big Trouble and Daily Sh*t: Knowing the Difference
Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is Deadline mania. How to keep the deadlines in times of trouble.
It's kind of amusing because I started this blog post around 10am this morning, then spent over four hours with Microsoft Office 365 help trying to find out why I'm suddenly getting prompts to log in, when until yesterday I've been able to work in the Office 365 programs without being constantly logged in. Even though I asked right off if something changed, it took four hours for them to tell me that new "security" was implemented yesterday to "protect my files." I don't use One Drive because frankly I don't trust Microsoft with my documents. Now I trust them even less. And I'm cancelling my subscription to 365.
I'm probably going to Office 2016 or 2019 (if it's available soon), but all suggestions for an alternative are welcome!
(Though don't tell me Scrivener. It gives me hives.)
So, while I don't have an actual hard and fast deadline for this blog post - and a Sunday of housework is an arguably decent time to deal with extended shite like that - I'm feeling super behind.
So here's the thing. There's two kinds of trouble. Okay, maybe there's a spectrum of trouble, but it all falls under one of two major categories: Big Trouble and Daily Shit.
Big Trouble is anything where people could die, or become very ill, or something equally as bad in your world.
Everything else is Daily Shit.
And like all things, the trick is knowing the difference.
I've you've got Big Trouble, then deadlines don't matter. A famous author with a long and productive career said that she has a profoundly autistic adult child. Compared to dealing with those issues, things like losing an editor pale in comparison. Deadlines can move, if you have Big Trouble. The most important aspect there is not to let Daily Shit derail your deadlines. Then you build up a karma bank so if you have to move a deadline because of Big Trouble, everyone knows that it must be important, because you wouldn't let them down because of Daily Shit.
Me dealing with the dorkwads at Microsoft Office 365? Daily Shit. I'd never do that on a writing day because my word count takes precedence over Daily Shit.
If you're committed to being a writer, then word count and meeting deadlines should ALWAYS take precedence over dealing with Daily Shit. If it doesn't, then you're elevating Daily Shit to Big Trouble, which means that a whole lot of Daily Shit will want to be that important, and pretty soon you have a whole lot of Big Trouble and no time to write.
I can't really tell you what should qualify as Big Trouble in your life, but I can promise that you need to know. Find that line, and draw it big, bright and bold. And stick to it.
Keep that Daily Shit where it belongs - out of the way of the important stuff.
Jeffe Kennedy is a multi-award-winning and best-selling author of romantic fantasy. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and is a member of Novelists, Inc. (NINC). She is best known for her RITA® Award-winning novel, The Pages of the Mind, the recent trilogy, The Forgotten Empires, and the wildly popular, Dark Wizard. Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is represented by Sarah Younger of Nancy Yost Literary Agency.