I ate a frog today. It was huge. It was hairy, slimy, gross, and at the same time, it was magnificent. But I took a deep breath and ate it. Just stuffed it down. Much to my surprise, it wasn’t that bad.
I don’t procrastinate perse. I get stuck. Bogged down by details and overwhelmed by the bigger picture. I stall out. I freak out. I check out. The end result is the same. I’m not writing and losing sleep over it. Believe me when I tell you, the last thing I need is to lose any of what little sleep I get. I am a very, very light sleeper (the cat meandering from room to room will wake me up). I'm also prone to insomnia. It’s a bi-product of a creative mind with no “off” switch.
A few months ago, a friend loaned me his iPod, which is filled with audiobooks. (I really must get that back to him) I tried to listen to a murder mystery but it was far too graphic. Pair that with my amazingly active imagination and my tendency to not sleep and I decided it was best that I skip it. I’m sure it’s a great story, for someone else. So, I instead listened to “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but my friend raved about it, said it helped him tremendously. So I was willing to give it a shot and am glad that I did.
The concept itself is quite simple. You make a list (mental or otherwise) of what you need to accomplish and then prioritize. Start at the top and make your way down the list. The biggest “frog” will be waiting there for you and as you move down, you get to the frogs that aren’t a big deal and that you can accept not getting done today. The important thing is you do the things you’ve been procrastinating, putting off, or afraid to even start because you have no friggin’ idea how you are going to get them done. Chances are, that big ol’ frog is not that big at all. Some frogs are actually gumdrops and quite enjoyable once you get over the fear. I was amazed by the amount of time wasted stressing over things when I could have done them 5 times over if I just ate the ding dang frog, already. Grab some ketchup and go, girl!
As you probably know by now (mostly because I never shut up about it), I am working on a submission for The Dark Crystal Author Quest. It has consumed my life for the last 5 months. I spend nearly every waking moment working on it. I have a binder full of research material and notes that’s getting larger and more detailed every day. I have an endless stream of ideas coming forward, images flood my mind, and I have wished almost daily that I had the talent to draw because it would certainly make this process much easier, not to mention more amazing.
I recently realized that time was going to become a serious issue. I froze. I became convinced that there was no possible way I would be able to finish my submission in time. So I took a couple weeks off and did my best not to think about it at all. I failed, of course. But no matter what I did, whenever I sat in front of my laptop I just couldn’t make it happen. I had plenty of material and knew exactly where the story was going. I just couldn’t manage to get started up again. My ego kicked in, telling me that I was insane to think I could pull this off. I had moments when I considered just walking away and writing something else. I even had thoughts of... brace yourself... quitting altogether. Not writing another word. But after realizing that it had been more than a month since I slept through the night (we’re talking waking up every 2 hours, folks), I talked myself off the proverbial ledge.
This project is so much more important to me than my ego (which can sit down and shut up, thanks so much). So, I woke up this morning and gave myself a pep talk.
“You can do this. You know you can. You do it every day. All you have to do is get in that kitchen and EAT THAT FRIGGIN FROG!”
OK, I’ll just get myself some breakfast and...
“NO! No breakfast for you! Write, monkey, WRITE!”
So I did just that. I went into the kitchen, turned on the laptop, and started writing. I worked for 4 hours and managed another 2 thousand words. That big, fat, hairy, smelly, beast of a frog that I have been avoiding for weeks was taken care of in just 4 hours. I was elated, exhausted, in a creative fog, and hungry. So to celebrate, I had an amazing grilled cheese sandwich and watched an episode of “Lost Girl”.
Oh yeah! I’m back baby!