Thursday, June 07, 2012

The Summer Project List

I'm not sure I should admit what I did last night, but I'm going to. Because someone here is as crazy as me and might want to do this-- especially if you are the type who dreams of accomplishing projects during the summer. Because I do.

Months ago I started a "Summer Projects" list in my planning notebook, jotting down things that came to mind that I couldn't do right then but might like to tackle this summer.

Things like:

writing some freelance articles I have some ideas for
setting up and attending signings for my new novel
preparing a talk I'm presenting at a writer's conference this fall
organizing my writing portfolio
organizing my recipe notebook

There were 19 items when I stopped. Keep in mind that a few line items were to write an entire novel. I'm ambitious if nothing else. Needless to say not all of it's going to happen.

But last night I decided I better make a plan if any of it's going to happen. Because I love to make a plan like nobody's business. It makes me feel like the master of all I survey, no matter how fleeting I know the feeling will be. Making a plan makes me feel capable. Breaking down my desires into doable doses makes me think that I just might make this work.

So I got a piece of notebook paper, because technical I am not. And using a calendar I listed off all of the weeks of the summer, leaving three lines under each week's heading. Because trying to tackle more than three things per week is just foolishness. (Tackling three things per week might be foolishness, but I'm hopeful.)

Then, using my project list, I started plugging in projects under weeks. If a project was big enough to need more than one week, it got plugged into several weeks in a row. And when I was done, every item on my project list had a home-- a designated week to make it happen.

And so my kind of vague, "hope this happens somehow" catchall list has now become this very real plan. And as I look it over, I truly think it's realistic. I think I can do what I'm hoping to do. And the novel? It's a line item each week-- my word count goal per week listed on one of the three lines.

I hope this makes sense. And I hope if you, like me, have some projects you'd like to accomplish this summer, you'll be inspired to break them down and make them doable. It feels like a step in the right direction.
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Arlene Grimm said...

Great idea Marybeth. I need to write some devotionals for our MOPs group for the coming year and I hope to get some done this summer. Trying to be more intentional in my own projects.

JottinMama said...

Yes...good stuff. I don't know why I always feel like I have to get every chore, every goal, every dream....accomplished all in one swoop. Break it's the only way it is managable...yes.

Great reminder for me today.

Kate :)

Marybeth Whalen said...

Arlene and Kate, you guys always encourage me with your comments and faithful reading! Thanks!

Kristen said...

I'm right there with you. I just finished our summer schedule ( To me, it's almost as if the beginning of June mirrors the beginning of September when school starts or January 1 when we ring in the New Year: we have a clean slate waiting for us and it brings with it a sense of vigor! Excited to hear how your summer goals unfold!

Celeste Vaughan said...

So word count is the secret to actually getting a book written? I'm working on my first, but life gets in the way I feel like I never have time to actually sit down quietly and have the brain to write! Maybe I'll try word count goals instead of trying to think in such "big" thoughts like "a book."

Heather said...

I love this! I am such a planner too!