Is it just me, or is something weird going on with my posts lately? They seem to have an almost… idk, ‘publishy’ feel? *blinks rapidly**glances around with wide, confused eyes* Weird. It’s not like I’m publishing anything soon.
OH WAIT. I AM. HA. HAHAHA. And you guys get to put up with my entire learning process. *evil cackling* You are so welcome.
Okay, fellow scatterbrains? This is for you. Outliners, engineers, architects, and INTJs need not apply. (If you don’t know what an INTJ is, google it. You will be blessed.)
I have made no secret in the past about my permanent and inalterable status of Free Spirit ™ and Pantser Extraordinaire. Schedules and outlines would come up in online conversations and I’d fidget and squirm and get the heeby jeebies just thinking about it. Trying to capture and cram my beautiful Free Spirit ™ into the horrid straight lines of deadlines and to-do lists would be like lopping off a sparrow’s wings and forcing it to shovel coal instead of sing for a living.
(If you never knew I was a drama queen, you do now.)
So what did I do? Pfft. The only obvious thing. I set my inner autocorrect to change ‘schedule’ to ‘murder’, crossed it off my (imaginary) list, and went merrily on my way.
I will just tell you that having a book to publish makes you seriously rethink your strategies. It’s all very well to say ‘lol I’m just hypercreative and I work best with complete artistic freedom, lol’, but when confronted with a job that has nothing creative about it at all— like researching the self-publishing process— you realize pretty quick that ‘lol creative freedom’ isn’t going to cut it.
I did. And if I did, the rest of you are doomed.
The long and short of it is, I now condone (even encourage) the fine art of scheduling.
For the enterprising creative, here are three things to keep in mind:
Your Schedule is a Servant, Not a Master
Just because you’ve ‘set it down in stone’ doesn’t mean the world and all its cousins are going to come to a screeching halt if you decide you need to change it. You wrote the schedule. The schedule would not exist without your creating hand. You are its master and it is there for no other purpose than to serve you and do your bidding.
If you have to change it, do so freely and without anxiety.
Since I announced my plans for publication earlier this year, the deadline for publication has been bumped back three months. Oh yeah, surprise— the deadline is now November. I gave myself permission to change it without beating myself up about it, to give myself elbow room and allow for the unexpected. Ironically, the exercise of scheduling has also become an exercise in flexibility and patience.
Your Schedule is Not a Drudgery
This is a misconception about schedules I’ve carried around with me for a long time. Because my mind does not naturally lend itself to step-by-step processes or organization in straight lines, the thought of a schedule was always something burdensome. Always something I would have to force my wild discoverer’s mind to conform to— to make it less than itself in order to complete some foreign function that was supposedly going to help me reach goals better. (For the curious and awesome, my MBTI is INFP. Go figure.)
This is not the case. After I buckled down and put my schedule in a place where I would get emailed notifications and reminders on and before key dates, my anxiety about those deadlines vanished. I spent a few hectic and difficult hours wrestling my brain into planning things out step-by-step and have been rewarded with weeks of a peaceful mind as I responded to notifications and calmly met the deadlines as they came.
Because You Don’t Know How to Schedule, You’ll Most Likely Overdo It
It’s proven psychological fact that personalities whose brains don’t naturally lend themselves to rigorous organization can really mess themselves up when they try. Not because we don’t know how to do it and don’t care, but because we have no experience with it (and likely have a very overblown idea of what it means) and so we try too hard.
We are aware of our weakness in this area, and so we try to become the complete opposite and way overstep all rational boundaries. Scheduling isn’t about predicting the future to the last iota and then adhering to it with a righteous fury. It’s about providing yourself with a train track, so to speak, to run along in comfortably and smooth out lots of the bumps.
Be aware of your own inexperience here and be okay with it. Lending yourself to a foreign and more organized way of thinking doesn’t mean becoming a genius in the science of organization and efficiency. Remember that and take it easy.
Now go forth. And conquer.
(Be sure to mark that down on your new to-do list. It’s important.)