This is the third year I’ve participated in a writing retreat with a group of friends. Our plan is simple:
- Rent a vacation home far enough away from our daily lives that we can’t be sucked back into our normal routines. The place must have enough space that each of us has a private area to do our work.
- Meet at the beginning of our time together to establish our goals. We each write them out on a giant sticky note and hang them in the public area for all to see and monitor each other’s progress.
- Have an evening meal together (we each take one night to prepare the meal). When we gather at the table, we update one another on how we’re doing with our goals. There are also lots of laughs, a good amount of encouragement, and sharing of tips for those who may be facing obstacles to creativity.
- Other than our one daily mealtime, we honor each other’s need for solitude. It would take an extreme emergency to knock on someone’s door. We communicate through a Facebook page so each of us is free to check the announcements whenever we desire and not feel pressure to respond immediately.
At last night’s meal, I shared that I’m having trouble getting started on my main writing goal – completing the full rough draft for my book. Since I can’t seem to get into that “zone” I need to get into for productive writing, I’m trying to knock some of the smaller goals off my list – things like working ahead on my Encourager’s Devotional Series for this blog.
That’s when one of my friends mentioned the video below by Byran Tracy and the concept of “eating that frog.” The logic is the reverse of what I’ve been doing. Tracy advises to tackle the big thing first – the thing you’re likely to procrastinate about doing. In other words, don’t let the smaller tasks distract you from the more important one.
Obviously, my big task (we call it our BHAG around here – Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is to get this book done. But I realized that the main hang-up I have right now about this last phase in the project is that I feel the need to do some final interviews with people who have first-hand knowledge of the story I’m writing. If everything was perfect – as I’d like it to be so I am “able” to accomplish this task (the bane of a procrastinator) – I would be traveling to the city in which the event’s of my story occurred and doing the interviews live. That would also have the added benefit of seeing the city and soaking in the “extras” that will give the writing the depth I desire.
If things were perfect, that’s what I’d be doing. But things are not perfect (are they ever?), so I’m left to do the one thing I probably hate most – well, okay, I don’t hate it the “most” out of all the things there are to hate in this world, but … I need to do some phone interviews. I truly hate talking on the phone. I would rather drive half way across the state to meet with someone who’s requested mentoring or life coaching (true story) than to try to “meet” with them via the telephone.
So, that’s my frog. I’m supposed to eat it today – eat it whole – eat it live – eat it raw. I so do not want to do it. Yep, that’s my “hang up” (pun intended). That’s the thing I need to do to get me moving in the right direction. Stay tuned to see if I actually do.
How about you? What’s your frog? What’s the one thing you really need to do in order to be able to move on with things?