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Unfinished Symphony: Progress Report

I am a firm believer in accountability. I make lists throughout my work week to stay focused and on track with my projects. With my creative endeavors, I ask my friends to help me set reasonable deadlines and micro goals so I can make progress on my goals, projects and other assorted items.

As all four of my readers will remember, I presented my Unfinished Symphony to the world a couple of weeks ago as a way to get moving on unfinished projects, books and article ideas that were taking up space and getting dusty. Looking back on my great proclamation to the world, I realized I set some decent goals, but I choose to inhale the whole cake instead of cutting it up into bite-sized chunks. Here’s my progress report:

The Unread Bookshelf: The Hindu Tradition: Readings in Oriental Thought was the first book to make it off my shelf. This book explores Hinduism over the past three-thousand years and how it has shaped India’s culture, history and way of thinking. I found the book to be a little dry but it would be an excellent supplement to a class on Hinduism and an informed discussion. I learned a great deal from this book and was happy to plow through it. I decided not to keep it, however, and donated the book to the library.

Needing a little fluff after reading about the Hindu Religion, I switched gears turned to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Friends and colleagues have raved about this book so I dove into it with enthusiasm only to hit a wall at page 151. I really, really wanted to like it but if someone is going to parody a classic book, they really need to go at it 100%. The author threw in a plot about killing “unmentionables” between descriptions of English 19th Century frippery (marriage, mangers and breeding) and I found the book to drag longer than a 10 hour mini-series. Yes, I know what the original book was about and I did laugh at some the excellent puns and plot twists but Jane Austin and I just don’t get along. Give me a Daphne du Maurier book over Jane any day. I gave it a good shot but gave up after 151 pages. This book will be sold back to Powell’s.

I’m happy to report my reading has picked up since I started this project; besides the two books I just reviewed, I’ve also read two other books in the past three weeks and I feel like I’m fitting into a pair of comfortable pants I haven’t worn in a long time. Next up on my To Read Shelf is Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History if Time.

Beyond The MegaPlex: I’m embarrassed to say that I have made no progress on these articles. Accomplished authors say you have to jump into your projects and hammer away at them EVERY DAY or you get bored and distracted by something new and shiny. Unfortunately, I let this one sit for too long and my enthusiasm has waned. Part of the problem is this is a big project. I thought just announcing it to the world would get me motivated but I didn’t cut it into bite-sized pieces of cake and got a little overwhelmed. So, in order to make this an easier mountain to climb, I will review ONE theater by the end of this month and when I’m finished, I’ll choose another theater to review in July.

Unfinished Stories: Once again, I tried to inhale the whole cake in one sitting instead of being dainty and cutting it into pieces. I did try to work on this project but mostly spun my wheels and didn’t get any work done. Not sure how to get out of my rut, I consulted my good friend and enabler Jaymi for help. She recommended something I should have done a long time ago: Figure out who I was writing to, why I was writing to these people, and what I hoped to get out of it. Duh! I sat down with a list of questions I should have answered BEFORE I started writing this book and the ideas flowed much easier than just trying to jump into the deep end of the pool. I’ve applied this technique to a few projects I have in the works and it gave me hope and encouragement to continue.

While I haven’t gotten as much done as my Inner Virgo would have liked, this exercise in setting micro goals has helped me regroup, focus and continue on my path instead of burning out and beating myself up. Do you do this? If so, how do you get around your own self-imposed roadblocks and stumbles? Drop me a line and let me know. The spammers have found my blog and I would like some REAL comments not something written by a third-grader in India trying to get me to buy Viagra.


About Anna Alexander

I get ideas. I write things. I sometimes follow through with those ideas. I also run long distances and live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband cat who lets us pay the mortgage on his house.

2 responses »

  1. Hello, fellow Virgo! Micro-goals and bites of elephants seem to be the only way to go about what you seek. As you’re noticing, it seems easier to rotate around the herd (pick an elephant, nibble, then choose another when bored or at a “Good ‘nuf for now” point). Saves bloating by ingesting entire herds of elephants at once and returning frustration. We’re good enough at beating ourselves up – no need to add fuel to the fire by creating additional frustrations for ourselves. One elephant, one bite at a time – go get ’em! This time you chose your Must Read books – NEXT time work on the movie idea – or choose MUCH smaller/more achievable goals as you’re moving to. It’ll work!

    Not spam,

  2. Hi – I agree with Lee. Unfortunately, or fortunately, you have many interests and talents; however, you can’t do ALL at the same time. It is unrealitic to think you could. Choose your passion and focus on it, work it, dedicate your time to it. If it comes to a conclusion…great. If not, move on. You tried it, you learned, no shame in that. To put this in a non-writing perspective I cannot embroider, sew, weave, make paper, crochet, & practise Reike, AND train for a 1/2 marathon at the same time…we are good, ADK, but not that good!
    Breathe, relax…life is too short to miss the fun of your talents!! Now, off to make my list. : )


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