Getting priorities in order (or, “Eat your peas!”)

Well, rats. Here is March drawing to a close, and I’ve only been able to check off a couple of “to do” items from the list. To wit, the 2013 Handy Guide is now completed and proofed, and the hard copy should be up on Amazon.com sometime in the next few days. (Hooray!)  And I’ve made a lot of progress on the new Work In Progress (WIP), with a total of about 30,000 words so far (see previous post!).

On the down side, the epub Handy Guide version for Kindle is only about two-thirds complete and the pdf (of new maps and new wineries) that I’ll make available for those who already bought the 2012 edition is maybe halfway done. And I haven’t been as faithful about blog posts about winery visits on the Facebook site either. Oh well.

Part of this…well, actually all of this is my own fault. It was easy to get so caught up in getting my ideas for the new book down in writing that the more (let’s be honest here) tedious aspect of formatting the epub and pdf got set aside time and time again, with the sincere promise each time that I’d definitely, absolutely work on them the following day. And, of course, the following day I’d do nothing of the sort but would instead turn back to writing the new novel. It’s like the instructions on shampoo bottles—lather, rinse, repeat—and I kept getting stuck on repeat.

So, with the hard copy now in final release, it’s high time to be resolute and disciplined and to just eat my peas and get that epub and pdf done, ideally by 6 April, the arbitrary deadline I’ve set. Since none of you have met me, let me reveal a little personal anecdote to illustrate what “eat your peas” truly means to me, beyond just expressing the need to buckle down and do something.

Because the true truth is that I hate peas. I absolutely loathe and despise them. This stems from childhood memories of being served canned peas for dinner and then being forced to consume them. (Same goes for canned peas and carrots.) Blech. They taste awful, plus the skins stick to the roof of your mouth.  (Decades later, I still recall that nasty sensation.) To this day, I will not eat peas, even at a dinner party.  I just mash them with a fork and leave them there on the plate, like green road kill.

Once, as a seven-year-old, I sat at the dinner table, alone, for 45 minutes, not allowed to leave until I’d cleared my plate but unable to do so because I could not stomach the thought of one more green pea. And so there I sat, staring at the hated peas as if they could be vaporized by the sheer ferocity of my gaze, until I got the brilliant idea of dumping them back into the saucepan from whence they had come.  So I dumped them and fled to the backyard to play, only to be recalled by my mother and sent to my room. (You see, the saucepan was empty, but I was too little to see inside.) But somehow this act of rebellion touched her, and I was never served peas again after that. (She wasn’t being mean, mind you; she had grown up very poor during the Great Depression and could not fathom a child refusing to eat something simply because it didn’t taste good.)

Okay, so now you know a little more about me and how difficult it has been to wrap up the formatting on the epub and pdf, which are my “eat your peas” equivalent. It isn’t that I don’t like the Handy Guide—far from it! I do like it! I’ve greatly enjoyed working on it!

But the problem has been that the new WIP is so captivating to my imagination, so engaging and rewarding to work on, that it has made turning to the tedious formatting work all the more difficult. But I will get this done so that all my focus can soon be on the new book.

How have you all dealt with this sort of challenge in writing–of balancing out the things you must do (but don’t always like) with the things you love doing? I would like to learn from you!

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