Just begun may be half done, but incomplete projects are like unseen waves in the middle of a boiling ocean; as Shakespeare wrote, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
I’m looking at my to-do list. All are worthy tasks. Most move me toward my goals. All are pretty exciting and will help me grow and serve.
On paper, they are just words on a page.
The people I admire, get stuff done. They don’t make a lot of noise about it. They simply put their heads down and bang out results. The deliverables may not all be gold standard perfect. But if the objectives are clear and the intentions are good, they can be polished into shining excellence.
This week at my author conference, I heard a lot of great stories in progress. I also heard a lot of excuses about why these stories aren’t fully told, edited, proofed and published. It doesn’t make me value these colleagues any less. But for about 80% of the attendees, they are tales beautifully described, signifying nothing.
Get it done.
I asked my friend, the prolific author Heather Graham how she can write three full novels a year with consistent excellence and best-selling market performance.
“I have five kids. I gotta get it done.”
I’m betting those five kids (and the plethora of beautiful grands Heather loves) all require love, caring and time. But she never forgets what makes all that love, caring and time possible: the stories that her readers can’t wait to consume. Without delivering consistent value, her brand does not exist.
So I’m sitting here in the Minneapolis Delta Lounge, banging away on final edits for my next Jess book. If it were CHASING VEGA or CHASING THE CAPTAIN, it would already be with the copy editor and probably published. With ten books under my belt, I now have the double-edged sword of experience and a little more knowledge about how to weave my tales. The bar is higher. What was good enough before isn’t good enough now. CHASING KARMA will publish on January 13. That’s what I’ve told the world. I will get it done. Hopefully it will be well received. Even if it isn’t, Jess will return. She will be wiser and I will be better equipped to conjure her character. It will be harder. With a little luck, my knowledge and efficiency will offset my dissatisfaction with the the good-enough that was once how I defined excellence. And it may not take quite as much sand through the hour glass to get it done.
Getting it done does not get easier. But compelling content is the singular, looming target I aim for in my writer’s life.
One of the awesome women authors on Dänna’s conference panel today put it succinctly. “The only thing that matters is what you ultimately create. Get it done.”