I’m not a New Year’s Resolution guy. The beginnings and endings of years have always felt arbitrary to me, and the dead of Winter seems like an odd time to start new endeavors unless maybe they’re endeavors to wear thicker socks or take down the Christmas Decorations before MLK Day.
This year looks a little different, however. NaNoWriMo had me finishing my very first rough draft of a novel right at the start of December. I learned a lot in that month, including that this whole writing thing might be a possibility for me.
So making my plans for what to write next, as well as editing the draft I wrote in November, fall right at the New Year. I started a second book while I let the other draft sit, and I need to start taking this blog more seriously so that if/when I publish something there might be a handful of people that want to read it.
This sounds like a lead-in to some resolutions, right? “Finish the draft I am currently working on!” “Edit the other one!” “Post on the blog at least once a week.”
Yeah, not so much.
Resolutions are like diets. They’re temporary transitions that tend to only last for a short period of time since they fail to address the real problem. What has to happen is much more simple and straightforward: I need to write.
I can set all kinds of goals, but if I don’t write, it doesn’t matter. Whether I fail to write 100 words a day or three books in 2017. I didn’t write. Same thing.
For a long time, the key seemed to be time management. More often than not I find myself saying “I didn’t have time to write.” How do I remove that excuse? By managing time better, right?
Fortunately, the Internet is here to save the day. If there’s one topic the ‘net has covered, it’s time management. You can find millions of articles about how to manage your time. Google rounded my results for “time management tips” at 61.7 million. The only how-to topics I can think of that might even be close to competitive would be “how to train a dog,” “how to write a novel,” and “how to manage software engineering.
But like the other three topics, most of what you’ll find about time management is bullshit. (I do feel obligated to point out that the amount of unvarnished horseshit shoveled in the name of managing developers is truly unparalleled, though.) As this article says, time management is killing us.
Much of the talk about time management is about avoiding doing the work. Peter Drucker famously said, “What gets measured, gets managed.” He didn’t follow his famous quote with “and what gets managed gets done” I don’t think anyone ever said that. It might get done, or it might just get talked to death, have a few hundred books and a few thousand LinkedIn posts written about it, and be mentioned in a few Six Sigma courses.
It could go either way.
But I digress. Again.
Time management is not the solution. The solution is prioritization. Writing is important and I need to get it done. The day job will take priority. The family will, too.
But writing will happen.
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