This might sound harsh, but please let me explain. At work, this is one of our recurring topics, which usually starts with: “Uhm, I sort of found a corpse under a pile of papers today… what the hell should I do with it?”
The corpse in this case usually refers to a tedious project, a task nobody wants to be in charge of, or just an e-mail you don’t know how to formulate to get it over with. And what should you do with it? Get it out of here. And I don’t mean throwing it in the dumpster. You really have to dig that grave, put it in, and close it neatly up again. Be quick about it, and get rid of these corpses.
Why is this relevant in this part of my life and especially in my writing schedule / scheme?
When I first started writing, I didn’t dare to. Didn’t dare spend time on doing something unprofitable, unreasonable, completely selfish. And most of all, because I still had so many things to do that were way more important than writing some stories or parts of plot ideas that weren’t going to get me anywhere. They weren’t going to bring food on the table or pay the rent. They weren’t going to make the floor less sticky and the bathtub spotless clean. They weren’t even actually going to make my life any easier, rather the opposite : it would take time from other important tasks and mess up my brain for sure.
When I started planning the sequel to my novel and the writing schedule – which I admit, is more than tight – I was seriously wondering whether I could pull it through again. I had done it once, sure, but could I really suffer through it again and sacrifice all my other projects that had been waiting so long, once again? I wasn’t sure. I then thought back to an audio book I had started listening to called “Eat that frog” by Brian Tracy. I haven’t finished it yet, because when I started my kids had a really hard time not interrupting me, and so I only managed to get half of the lessons all the way to my brain. But one thing I did remember was the main message about just eating that frog (I guess what I call corpses are his frogs – only slightly more charming) instead of staring at it and waiting for it to go away. Or at least, that’s how I interpret it.
You’ll always have tasks at home, at work that are bugging you, that you’re trying to avoid in the hope that they’ll just disintegrate into the air. And there are some projects that are quite important, in some way, even if they aren’t exactly a priority right now. And because of that, they never will be, but they will always be in the back of your mind and keep you away from doing other things that could be more valuable than all the rest.
This can be some long-term project, like sorting out your pictures from different cameras and get them organized and printed in picture books. Not important. No one’s going to die if you don’t do it now. You can also do it in ten years and there will still be no harm done. But it’s a task that is important for you, and that will keep nibbling at your conscience every time you want to do something else, like writing or creating in general or whatever passion you would like to pursue but don’t dare devote too much valuable time to.
One of my main realizations of this new season of writing is that I really need to bury those corpses. Do those picture albums. Get that cellar cleaned up once and for all. Get these heavy duty projects that have been gathering dust on my desk out again, work through them and get them done. I don’t want to take them with me into retirement, after all! Imagine all the things you could do once you’ve gotten rid of these bodies!
Am I going now to let this stop me from writing or crafting? No way. I’ve just decided that this season is going to be one of identifying the bodies, writing their names down one by one, and tackling them, one after the other, and making their burial a priority for this season, so I can clear some space, both physical and in my mind, for greater things to come.