May 27 2019

Giving Myself the Gift of Done Part 1

I read Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff. It was on sale and I had a book credit, so why not?
You know what? It was amazing! It really spoke to my kind of thinking.
My review is a different post. I’m going over the notes here, doing the actions from the book.

Angela Duckworth Grit Scale
“Get a score that reflects how passionate and persevering you see yourself to be.”
@JLenniDorner Grit score
Your Grit Score


You scored higher than about 30% of American adults in a recent study.

Actually, that sounds about right. More passionate than some, but not as much as others. Yeah, that’s pretty much spot on to describe me. I’m still blown away by a few people, but I also impress people. Yeah, this is really accurate. Usually, a short online quiz is just entertaining. But this one is really nailing it. And it was free, which I always appreciate.

Do I want more finished books, or more perfect books?
That’s a tough one to answer. I’m leaning heavily toward “perfect, or near as I can get it.”
Though this book says such perfectionism leads to a wall of frustration, shame, and incomplete hopes. I agree with the frustration and incomplete hopes– that’s accurate. But shame? I feel that more if my book is lower quality than my standards. (It doesn’t help that the author asking this has a team of editors from a major publishing house; whereas I have what I can afford.)

My perfectionism laundry list that stops me:

  • Too many stories I want to write. Don’t know which to focus on.
  • Not enough money to hire a proper editor again.
  • The Existence story is too similar to ones about the more “popular” pantheon members living in America. (Who, for some reason, almost never run into the hundreds of Native American counterparts. Like all the tribes here had their gods move to Rome and Athens???)

It’s funny how I won’t compare the Existence series to any of those books… unless it’s a reason NOT to write, or to stall, or to do something else. I am so called out by this book, it’s like Jon Acuff knows me. Except he doesn’t. And it means I’m not alone.

I hate to think of myself as an Insecure Writer. (Even though I support the #IWSG.) But this book pointed out that I am. Or, at least, I’m insecure that my editing skills won’t be good enough. NO ONE’S ARE, EVERYONE MAKES MISTAKES. Which is probably why I notice them so quickly in the works of others– I worry I’d make that mistake.

I did set some impossible deadlines for myself. In my monthly goal setting, at one point I broke it down to weeks. That was the WORST thing I ever did. I can’t live with that constraint. It was too much. I got far less done because I was failing too often. It de-motivated me.

ACTIONS from Chapter 2

1- Goals attempted but failed and why I failed:

  • 2019: April: Read and review 2 books.
  • Why: I knew I wouldn’t have time during the A to Z Challenge. I set myself up to fail.

  • 2019: March: Work on writing next book
  • Why: I knew I wouldn’t have time beyond preparing for the A to Z Challenge. Set myself up to fail.

  • 2019: Feb: WEP
  • Why: I was running another hop. It took more time than I thought it would.

  • 2018: YEAR: Didn’t publish a book.
  • Why: Didn’t focus on just one. Stalled myself. See above laundry list.

  • 2018: YEAR: Bookish Bingo
  • Why: I kept forgetting it existed. I didn’t enjoy it enough/ it became a hassle.

  • 2018: YEAR: 50 Book Pledge & Goodreads reading challenge.
  • Why: I focused too much of my time and energy elsewhere, and thus read far below my usual number.

  • 2018: YEAR: Publish Anah’s story
  • Why: Because I’m being stubborn and insecure and lying to myself.
    Also a bit because the world kept making the story too real, by correlation, and it was scaring me.

  • 2018: YEAR: Not enough comments on blogs.
  • Why: I was focusing my time and attention elsewhere.

  • 2018: YEAR: Fix more broken image links
  • Why: It isn’t fun. It’s hard. There’s no reward other than it’s eventually done.
    Unless whatever another service also takes down the image. And then it’s a waste of time.
    It’s already a waste of time unless someone is searching my old blog posts. I don’t feel like that’s happening much.
    So my heart isn’t in the goal.

  • 2018: YEAR: All Author group members WHEN I GET OUT OF TWITTER JAIL
  • Why: I’ll be in Twitter follow jail until I unfollow 900 people, or get 900 people to follow me WITHOUT following them.
    Twitter changed their API and about 1500 tweeps left me. They were all genuine people.
    I’ve never bought followers. I got my number from cultivating interesting content, sharing topics I care about, and making good friends. Especially Stu, who was well connected. He has, sadly, died. A lot of the people who left were our mutual followers, ones who used a program that stopped working after Twitter’s update. And if they couldn’t use the program, they just weren’t going to use Twitter anymore. While that’s a big loss for me, Twitter has enough users that a thousand or two jumping ship doesn’t even show up on their radar.
    The logical, efficient way for me to deal with this is to pay Social Bro (Audiense). Okay, I signed up for a free account. It’s $10 a month for the bigger one. So, that’s unfollowing about 30 people a day for a month to get out of jail… probably should work on this goal that I’ve been hoping would just solve itself.

2- Write down numbers associated with my goals.

3- Decide wheater I can cut my goal in half or double my timeline.

4- Share the goal and ask if it’s too extreme.

5- “What’s the worst that could happen if I don’t cut these goals in half or give myself more time?

Self-publish Anah’s story (ANAH ON TENTERHOOKS)
How do I write down a number for that goal? I mean, it’s done when it’s for sale. But I’m going to try.

  • Write 60k more words.
  • (Edit… spend less than 40 hours editing. ?)
  • Format for 2 ebook distributors.
  • Format for 1 paperback distributor.
  • Design 1 cover.

Those are pretty much the steps for this goal. And the same numbers and steps go with the next set. The words are approximate, because these are books, and one can only know about how many words a book still needs.
I can’t cut that in half. It’s a book. I’m not writing half a book. Double my timeline? Well, I already said I was going to do this last year and now I’m saying this year. So I guess I could double it. I don’t want to, but for the purpose of this action, I suppose I could say that I have, instead of 7 more months, 14 more. New deadline= August 2020.
The worst that could happen if I don’t meet this new number/date: Reduced fan base due to a lack of books. Less time in my lifetime for potential sales. Feel I’ve let myself down. One less possible gift to give that year to someone special.

Complete the high fantasy short story. (15k words still needed. ) Bugger. I’m going to need timelines for all of these so I have something to double… New deadline= Feb 2021
The worst that could happen if I don’t meet this new number/date: Self doubt because I’ve been working on this since Feb 2014. Seven years for a freaking short story? And really, the idea is even older. Shame spiral!
Self-publish the WIGS tribal short story. (20k words still needed.) New deadline= April 2021
The worst that could happen if I don’t meet this new number/date: Nothing. I’m just doing this one because I liked the story and it didn’t win a competition but I really wanted to expand it.
Finish and publish the next Existence book. (40k words still needed.)New deadline= Sept 2022
The worst that could happen if I don’t meet this new number/date: Book one came out in Sept 2017. Five years between books? And I have a whole series planned? Audience drop off! I didn’t know I could feel this aweful about myself.
Finish and publish the Alison Fantasy book. (90k words still needed.)New deadline= Sept 2023
The worst that could happen if I don’t meet this new number/date: Nothing really. I’ve only hinted that it exists. No one is hoping for a next one. It isn’t impacting my current sales.
(The idea of it taking this long to write all these is depressing. But… haven’t I already been taking years? Huh.)

This year I resolve to publish two books.
Half= Only one book this year? I already did it!
The worst that could happen if I don’t meet this new number/date: I already did. So I guess I’m awesome. Which is good, because I feel like I’ve kicked myself in the teeth.
91 days of writing (25% of 2019).
Half= 45. I’ve already done 53.
The worst that could happen if I don’t meet this new number/date: Thank goodness I already nailed that half. But honestly, looking above, I really want to triple it instead of half. So there’s that…
Enter 5 more writing contests this year.
New number= I guess 2 more. Can’t enter half a contest.
The worst that could happen if I don’t meet this new number/date: I’ll miss out on the fun of WEP, and I won’t actively go look for something else to enter. I won’t win something I don’t enter. Nothing big here.

Reading challenges. (All have numbers and it’s a long list.)
New deadline or half= They all last a year and have a set number. I guess half?
The worst that could happen if I don’t meet this new number/date: I’d fail for a second year in a row. Which I didn’t enjoy last year. It really bugged me, honestly. I couldn’t keep up with two things I love, reading and writing. I’ll end up questioning my identity. Midlife crisis. Externally, nothing really.
Comment on 40 blogs a month. (30 regular favorites, 10 A to Z ones.)
Half= 20 a month.
The worst that could happen if I don’t meet this new number/date: Depleted fan base. Loss of personal connections. Feelings of failure.
Tweet 10 Diverse Book tweets a month.
Half= 5
The worst that could happen if I don’t meet this new number/date: Maybe more unfollows. But no real damage.
Tweet 4 Debut Book tweets a month.
Half= 2
The worst that could happen if I don’t meet this new number/date: Just personal guilt.
Fix the broken image links of 789 of my blog posts.
New deadline or half= I mean, it’s not done until they’re all done. I guess I need to set a date and double it. So New Deadline= 5 years/ 13 fixed a month (appx)
The worst that could happen if I don’t meet this new number/date: I’ll keep being angry that Photobucket just stabbed everyone one day out of the blue. But nothing much bad happens.
Get out of Twitter follow jail by unfollowing 900 tweeps.
New deadline or half= I can’t get out of jail with half the number. So I need a time again and need to double it. I said 30 people a day for a month. So I’ll give myself two months. Aug 1, 2019.
The worst that could happen if I don’t meet this new number/date: The frustration of not being able to follow new, interesting accounts will continue to haunt me.

Share the goal and ask if it’s too extreme.

What do you think, readers? Are my new goals too extreme? Frankly, it feels not extreme enough to me. But that’s more for the next post.

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