The Responsibility of What to Do Next…

Friday night about twenty professional fiction writers will gather from all over the Northwest at WMG offices for three hours of business and writing discussions. Without fail I know I will come away from the gathering with more things to do. Exciting things.

New, shiny things…

And thus back to the topic from last night about always being behind and figuring out ways to deal with it.

The second part of last night’s post is the responsibility of choice.

I have talked in various ways here this last year about the wonderful freedom the new world of publishing gives writers in all sorts of ways. But when it comes to being behind, we also have the freedom to decide to let it overwhelm us or to enjoy it.

We pick what to do next. We decide what we can do and shift schedules when things take longer or life gets in the way. Me make the decisions.

It’s all on each of us. No one else to blame.

And thus comes some of the pressure. If there is no one to blame for not getting something done, then you feel more pressure to do it.

All of it. Every bit of it.

Right now!

But flip that pressure on its head and wrestle it to the ground and stare down at it.

The more you stare at it, really look at it, the more you come to realize that the pressure is made up. All the stress is just you thinking you NEED to do it all to some artificial deadline you created in your own mind.

But… but… Absolutely NEED!!! TO!! DO!! IT!! RIGHT!!! NOW!!!

And if it doesn’t get done, the world will end, your career will be over, life as you know it will vanish and your cat will get sick.

Uh, no.

If you don’t get that one thing done life will go on, your books will continue to sell, and your cat won’t get sick. (But you might if you continue that level of exclamation-point-stress.)

Now to the aspect of freedom.

You have the freedom in this new world to decide to not be that stressed. At least not every day for years at a time.

Your freedom, your business, your choices.

The control I talked about last night is just one way to get this feeling (of being behind and needing to do everything now) under control. But before you can even start those kinds of lists, you have to completely and totally understand the decision is all yours.

Now this understanding of responsibility is damn near impossible for those of us trained in the old traditional world. Those old deadlines were real and career threatening, so when we have deadlines in this new world, that trained feeling from the old world moves over to the new deadlines. Bamn!  Stress!


I fall back into that feeling of panic and stress all the time. As I said last night, I am talking to myself here. I know where it’s all coming from, I know my own history.

But slowly I am shifting that old belief with the belief that I have the freedom to decide for myself what I do, what is important, what I can let slide, and what just flat isn’t right for me.

So tomorrow night (I am sure) I will learn all sorts of new stuff. Get that many dedicated professionals together in this new world and you can’t help but not learn new stuff.

But I have the choice to add the new stuff to my list or not. Or put it on a list for the future, which is constantly shifting and growing and shrinking sometimes on a daily basis.

The choice for me is on me. That is my freedom.

You all have the same freedom for your own work and business. How you decide to use that freedom is up to you.

Have fun.


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