From a writing standpoint, 2011 was not exactly my most productive year. Which wouldn't be all that bad except it was supposed to be. When I retired last December, I had great hopes and plans for 2011. I was going to write - get the edits and re-writes done on Hunter's Way and start querying my little heart out. I was going to get seriously into, if not finish, one of the other book projects I've got on hold. I was going to expand my web site and my blog, take some on-line classes, go to a couple conferences, find some crit partners, and really launch my new full time career as writer.
It should have been easy.
After all, during the previous twenty years, I had built and maintained a computer network that included a half dozen servers; over a hundred workstations; dozens of assorted printers, copiers, scanners, and FAX machines; and multiple routers and switches connecting six buildings spread over three counties. I also trained and supported all the people who used this network. I know how to work, how to multitask, how to meet deadlines. And now I have all the time in the world.
So what happened?
Basically, I failed to manage the change from external demands to internal ones. At the old job, other people were counting on me. If I didn't get something done and we developed computer problems, those people couldn't do their jobs. Deadlines were reinforced by a group of impatient (desperate) faces waiting for that installation, upgrade, training, etc. External demands. Customer driven.
And then there was just me.
Without those external demands and dealines, I spun my wheels, wasted time, wallowed in indecision, failed to balance tasks, and accomplished a fraction of what I had intended to do. I've measured my goals and objectives for 2011 against what I actually got done and realize...
I pretty much wasted a year.
So here I am, looking at 2012 and trying to figure out how not to do the same thing all over again. I've got goals and objectives for the new year - a planning device that worked for me in my old job - but not much faith in their effectiveness anymore.
Any suggestions? How do you keep yourself on task when there's no one counting on you but you?
Oh, I did manage to let other people down on one thing. I apologize to anyone who planned on doing the January writing challenge I said I would have in place by the first of the year. I'm afraid I let December get away from me completely. I'm still going to try this, slightly delayed, and I'll let you know as soon as I have it ready. Don't give up on me. Maybe we can pick a new start date together.
And here's a real groaner to start the new year...
Groaner of the Day: A frog goes into a bank, and hops up to the loan officer.
The loan officer says, "My name is John Paddywack. Can I help you?"
The frog says, "Yeah, I'd like to borrow some money."
The loan officer finds this a little odd, but gets out a form. He says, "Okay, what's your name?"
The frog says, "Kermit Jagger."
The loan officer says, "Really? Any relation to Mick Jagger?"
The frog says, "Yeah, he's my dad."
The loan officer says, "Okay. Ummm...do you have any collateral?"
The frog hands the loan officer a pink ceramic elephant and says, "Will this do?"
The loan officer says, "Hmmm...I'm not sure. Let me go check with the bank manager."
The frog says, "Oh, tell him I said hi. He knows me."
The loan officer goes back to the manager and says, "Excuse me, but there's this frog out there named Kermit Jagger who wants to borrow some money. All he has for collateral is this pink elephant thing, I'm not ever sure what it is."
The manager says, "It's a knick-knack, Paddywack. Give the frog a loan. His old man's a Rolling Stone."