The Art of Dragging One’s Heels

This week I decided it’s time to dust off some manuscripts and get them ready to send off. I’ll admit I’ve been rather slack in that area this past while. I guess there’s an obvious lesson here—- Is it’s not enough to write the darn thing, I also have to get it in the mail.

At the beginning of each New Year I start a list of submissions so that I can keep track of where things are and how long they’ve been gone. For anyone sending out submissions it’s also a good way to keep track of where you’ve sent things in the past. You wouldn’t want to waste your time sending a story to the same magazine more than once. Since I rarely send out multiple submissions, it can often be a long slow process before a story is actually accepted for publication.

With the publication of the book it’s been easy for me to forget the fact that —hey, you know what? I write short stories, too. I can guarantee that a story sitting in a file on my computer isn’t going to miraculously appear in a literary journal one day all by itself. Mind you, it would be a welcomed thing but life just doesn’t work that way for some reason. I also like to remind myself that simply because there’s a book out there with my name on it doesn’t mean I can sit back with my feet up.

I have some projects that have been idling for awhile that I want to get back to, but in order to do that I have to resist the temptation to start something new. I’ll admit that I’m hearing some whisperings in the background that I’m trying very much to ignore —at least for the time being. I’m not sure how long I can hold off.

So there I am this week, printing and mailing and starting all over. Guess I needed to remind myself that there’s still work to be done. I believe I’ve perfected the art of dragging my heels long enough.

So speak up and admit it—- what have you been dragging your heels about lately?

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  1. Um… everything? LOL

  2. Wow …. nothin’ like an early AM post like this to get the guilt trip goin’ in high gear. Gee thanks.

    You name it – I’m draggin’

    Website. MS Editing. Promotion stuff. Things to do around the hacienda. My kids want to visit us & I’m even putting them off (work related – not sure where I’ll be – so that’s legit.)

    • Thanks for making me laugh, Dave.

      I’ll admit it’s sometimes very difficult to get in gear. I think that’s why I like deadlines. It gives me a specific time to have things done. And let’s face it—sometimes a situation just calls for a little heel dragging.

      Good luck!

  3. I’m afraid my day job has enough deadlines, budgets & overall stress for one person to deal with so I tend to be more laid back outside of the business environment.

    Also hoping this nervous t-t-t-t-twitch goes away soon.

  4. newtowritinggirl

     /  January 15, 2010

    Ooh, I’ve got a nice long list for this:

    Starting edit one of my novel; continuing with my other novel; The writing course assignment I’ve been ‘doing’ since April; Reading novels from that massive stack on my shelf…

    Then away from writing, I’ve also got a list:

    Starting the gym again (although I’m doing that tonight); going on that diet; cleaning the bathroom; making a tomato soup… I don’t think I can go on, it’s just too much.

    Well done for making the decision to stop heel digging – I’m going to try to take a leaf from your book!
    your book!

    • You sound excited by your list list! LOL And for some reason I like that!!!

      I know some friends who ‘s eyes actually light up when they speak about digging in their heels. For them it’s a way of life that they totally enjoy.

  5. Oh Laura! The knot starts to tighten in my stomach with this topic. I am a procrastinator. I admit it, I put things off. It is not because I don’t always want to do things, I just am not good at scheduling. I have so much going on in my head, and … I get distracted.

    My list: Work on business website — but first I need to finish loading my products in QuickBooks! — but I have my business (and other things) blog to write in — but I have my backlog of newsletter subscribers’ mail to attend to — but I have to start getting together content for the upcoming issue of my newsletter — but I have writing to do (all those ideas, you know) — oh, but I have reading to do! (such a collection of appetizing books I have!) — but first I must update my writing blog — but gee, then there are the other writers’ blogs I really have to keep up with, such as this one! (don’t want to miss anything good). And of course, I have my ‘real life’ to not ignore … but, but, but … I want to read, and write and … and did I say ..
    I get distracted! ;)

    • Okay Lynn, let me get this straight..Are you saying you get distracted? LOL!!

      I used to think that was a guy thing. My husband can only stay on track for so long then the next thing you know he’s off some place else. Of course I notice this trait in him because I obviously possess it myself or I wouldn’t even notice.

      I’ll admit it is challenging to keep up with all the demands and sometimes the more demands there are the deeper we dig in..

      Yes Lynn, you did mention that you get distracted..

  6. Oh, procrastination with a capital “P”!! I relate to Lynn’s comment above as each thing I want or should do seems to be preceded by something else I should do first and therefore I don’t seem to be getting any of it done. The one project that I have put off the longest has nothing to do with my writing… it’s the scrapbooking of cartons of photos. I have all my parents’ photos plus about 30 years of our own in boxes. It’s one of those jobs that I just have to dig in and start but the sheer volume and time needed keeps me procrastinating. I’d rather write! :)

    • Interestingly, I subsequently visited Christi Corbett’s blog and she has this quote from Frank Lloyd Wright:
      “I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.” Think it’s saying something to us?

      • I guess we’re busted! At least according to that.

        I think however the art of digging in one’s heels can only keep us satisfied for so long eventually we all must walk the walk.

        Great quote, Carol. Thanks for sending it over. Somehing I need to remind myself of from time to time.

  7. donthangupthequill

     /  January 15, 2010

    Writing a short story is so different from a full MS! I think it’s fun, though, because you’re done faster and can do more.

    My goal was to finish a chapter a week of my current MS. Not happening. But I don’t think it’s procrastination. I think it’s more of a lack of ideas. :)

    • Sometimes we just have to step back and let idea collect. But I’m sure you’ll eventually get back into it. When this happens to me I try not to get upset I simply go on the assumption that it will eventually happen. And it does!

      I agree Gayle, writing short stories is fun. A novel is so much more involved. Sometimes you just want to see come results.

  8. Good luck to you on your submissions.

    What am I dragging my heels about? Two things … learning more about short story writing and working on my next novel. I had a good start of two different novels, but then nothing. That either means it isn’t the time for either of those or I need to let the idea brew awhile.

    The short story dragging is just my weakness in letting myself get distracted by a dozen other things.

    Do you have any suggestions for books on short story writing?

    • Hmm..I’m trying a response for the third time…Please wordpress don’t do it to me again.. Linda, this is the shortened version.of my two earlier responses.

      If you want to write short stories then start reading them. It will put you in that mind set and you might find this very helpful. I know it works for me! Read works by good writers. When I was starting I found “Guide to Writing Fiction” by Phyllis A. Whitney very helpful but when I started I knew next to nothing about writing so this book likely wouldn’t benefit you. I don’t have any books on SS writing to recommend…Sorry.

      A wise writer recently said I write the story the way I think it should be written. I’m almost certain that wise writer was you, Linda! That’s basically what I do whether I’m writing a short story or a novel. I write it the way I think it should be written.I just know in my mind a SS isn’t going to take as much work as a novel. I’d also write much tighter when writing short fiction.

      I know you can do this and I’m fairly certain you know it, too. Best of luck and do let me know how you make out.

      • Ha ha, did I say that?! I guess the problem is that I’m afraid no one will publish stories written the way I want to write them.

        I have started reading more short stories in the last year or so. I had a subscription to Glimmer Train magazine and have one to One Story. I’ve also been reading story collections by admired story writers. But, of course, I start comparing my work to theirs and you know how that goes.

        For now, I’m writing stories and looking for the magic advice that will help me craft them.

  9. chezjlb

     /  January 17, 2010

    Laundry. Time to run the washing machine or go buy new, clean underwear. Too much info?

  10. Dragging me feet into the new year. But starting tomorrow, I’m cracking the whip

  11. Actually one of my goals is submissions. I just don’t do it. And like you say, will it magically appear from my laptop to a journal??

    • I’m actually doing quite well this past week with submissions. Now that I’ve put the idea out there, I know I have to do something. I had lost track of just how many short stories have been sitting there all alone.. Good luck with your submissions.

  12. Cottentail Bunna

     /  February 5, 2010

    Very Nice!


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