Elizabeth: Follow-Through

Bowdoin College Athletics, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, Brian Beard – CIP

Early on in my career I spent a year or so as a management consultant.  While the work was varied and interesting and I had some great clients, the constant schmoozing networking and relentless scrambling to nail-down the next big deal was exhausting.

More often than not, keeping existing clients happy and courting prospective clients was done, not in the office, but on the golf-course or over sushi at over-priced restaurants.  I did my part, making it through countless sushi lunches (though I’m definitely not a fan) and through several rounds of golf that are better left forgotten.

Though everyone else in my family – mom included – played golf, I never had until I became a consultant.  But, wanting to be a good team player, I and a few friends dutifully signed up for golf lessons at the local course and gamely did our best to master the basics.

My lack of interest, compounded by a lack of depth-perception and no apparent innate ability meant that “master” was not quite the term to describe the results.  Having an instructor who was about 150 years old, rather than the  romance-novel worthy hottie we’d secretly hoped for, was just one more disappointment.

What I took away from those lessons – in addition to a loathing for the activity – was the importance of follow-through.  While the likelihood that my club would connect with the ball on any given swing was always extremely limited, following through on my swing generally meant the difference between launching the ball into the air (for however short a flight) and having the ball bobble off the tee. It didn’t matter whether I had  the right stance or the proper grip, if I didn’t follow through on my swing, the result was not going to be pretty.

So what does this have to do with anything?

Well, I told that story to tee up (see what I did there?) my focus word for 2020 which is, you guessed it, follow-through.

I have tons of projects in varying stages – writing projects, home projects, work projects – and they all could use a heavy dose of follow-through to get them completed and launched off the “things to do” list.

I’ve already started small this year with Michille’s “get rid of one thing every day” project –  an achievable goal that I can build on.  It’s kind of like the “make your bed every morning so you always start out your day having accomplished something” philosophy.

So far things are working well, both with the getting rid of things and the following-through.  I have high hopes for a 2020 full of accomplishments.

So how is your 2020 going so far?  What are you focusing on?

8 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Follow-Through

  1. I would so like to make some progress on marketing the books, in addition to writing them. I have good intentions. But…I never do anything about it. I’m thinking, would a list help? Maybe a list would help, if I made the steps very, very small and I allowed a pretty big window.

    I’m in awe of your “getting rid of stuff” progress. And fyi, I was a lousy golfer, too.

    • Maybe a list would help. I find they work for me (sometimes) because I love to be able to cross things off. Although, to be honest, sometimes things stay on the list so long that I get tired of seeing them there and then just throw the whole list away. I figure if something has stayed on the list for that long and hasn’t been done, then it really didn’t need to be done after all.

    • I never tried golf, but back in the day I was a decent tennis player, and that’s also about follow-through. I think it’s a great choice for a focus word 🙂

      I’m in awe of your “getting rid of stuff” progress, too. I’m trying to follow your example (and Michille’s), though I’m not at an item a day. Just trying to leave something at the nearby charity shop every time I pass it on the way to the supermarket or the tube station or whatever. And tomorrow (fingers crossed) I’m getting rid of my car, because we live in the city and don’t need it. If I can make that happen I’ll give myself a gold star.

      I’m trying the small steps approach to book marketing. There’s so much to learn, and other authors do it so well, it’s easy to be discouraged. I’ll be very happy if I can just do one thing, however small, every day to market my book.

      • I envy you, Jilly, for living somewhere that you can manage without a car. You definitely get a sparkly gold star for that. I like your “one thing, however small” idea; I’ve had great success with that approach in the past.

        I’ve also had good luck with the “I only have to work on this task for 10 minutes or 20 minutes.” Without fail, once I’ve started, I continue working far past the time limit. This week’s post is a prime example of that. I was tired and was just going to work on it for 20 minutes, before I completely forgot the idea I had in mind. An hour later, I had it all done and hadn’t even heard the timer go off at the 20-minute mark.

  2. I think this is such a great idea! I love beginning stuff, but I’m not so great about finishing it — although, things do tend to get finished eventually. I never throw anything out. I remember some sort of screen embroidery craft with a harvest yellow background and some rather pretty butterflies. I got it as a Christmas present when I was quite young (ten?) and finally finished it when I was a teenager.

    A lot of my clutter is around because it’s a Project That Needs Finishing. So maybe that’s what I need to do this year — stop starting new things (oh god, I have soooooo many ideas for new projects!) and get some things cleaned up. I have a couple of NaNo romances that could probably be self-published as novellas if I got them cleaned up. I have several short stories. I have two WIPs that I’m very, very fond of. If I could get those things done, think of all the headspace I’d have available for new stuff in 2021!

    I don’t need to hit it out of the park. I just need to follow through, swing right to the finish, and then (only then) move on to the next projects.

    • I too like the “beginning stuff” but not so much of the “finishing stuff.” I think sometimes you just have to give yourself permission to walk away from some projects. I remember how freeing it was when I stopped reading every book I started all the way to the end and instead stopped if the story wasn’t working for me. It was so freeing and I had time to read what I really enjoyed rather than plowing through things I wasn’t enjoying at all.

  3. I have a goal of releasing three books this year. Which sounds crazy, given that it took me 65 years to get the first two out) but one is a completed first draft that’s already been past my editor and is awaiting edits, one is probably 80% of the way to a first draft, and the last one I have 35 pages written (and I’m enchanted by the story). So it’s do-able.

    So I think “follow-through” needs to be my word, too, along with “focus.”

  4. Pingback: Elizabeth: Short Story – Wasn’t Expecting That – Eight Ladies Writing

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