Sometimes it seems impossible to get going, when there are several writing projects taking shape in my head, on my screen, in my notebooks. The work is at one stage in one project; at another stage in another. On top of that, I’ve got submissions to get out, a grant proposal to finish, editing to do for a client. Everything screams for immediate attention.
“Forget about setting priorities,” my grant proposal says, “just deal with me and set that other stuff aside for some much later date.”
“What? screams an inchoate piece of flash fiction. “I may run away, never to return, if you don’t chase me down and corral me right this minute!”
“Are you crazy?” cries my editing job. “I will bring you much needed income. Those nincompoop grant proposals and stories may never do that.”
Result: paralysis. But not for long. Because I have a coping mechanism, which in its verbal form sounds like this:
“If I do nothing else today…”
So. I put all my attention-seeking jobs away, engage in some head clearing activity (usually, a walk). I come back and resolve to do one thing. I will do it if I do nothing else.
If the thing gets done, well then, I may do something else. And by the time I get to that second thing, I may have calmed down enough to set priorities.
I got through my single-parenting law school years with that coping technique. Still works for me in my writing and editing career.