Choose Your Own Adventure—but maybe not EVERY adventure (at the same time)

X or Y, Jeff. X or Y. (Photo by Jens Lelie, Unsplash)

X or Y, Jeff. X or Y. (Photo by Jens Lelie, Unsplash)

(Photo by Jens Lelie, Unsplash)

Remember choose-your-own-adventure stories? I used to love those books—the ones where you’d be reading along and you’d get to a decision point: if character A decides to open the box, turn to page Y. If Character A decides to drop-kick the box upside Character B’s head, turn to page Z. You can only choose to go one way, and the story is completely different depending on what you choose.

Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to choose every single adventure and do them all at the same time. Which is, of course, impossible. (Unless you’ve perfected cloning technology, in which case, give me a call, okay?) I think this situation might be a form of procrastination, as well. If you’re trying to do everything, you wind up doing nothing, but it sure feels like you’re doing a lot, even if you’re not getting anything accomplished.

This is a recurring theme for me. In the past week I’ve gone from working on a new short story to revising an old short story, to working on revisions to the novel, to wondering if I should just ditch that novel and get to work on one of the three other ideas that are waiting in the wings for me to get to them. (I worked on one of those this week, too, along with a short story that I’m expanding into a novel.)

No wonder I feel like I’ve done ALL THE THINGS and haven’t gotten a darn thing anywhere closer to being done.

Decision point: X or Y (or in my case, W, X, Y, or Z). Open or drop-kick. You can’t do both. You have to choose one.

The more time goes by, the more I’m doubtful that multitasking is possible for anyone to do well. There’s just this endless flitting from one thing to the next, not staying focused on any one thing long enough to make any significant progress. I need to pay closer attention, for longer, and I also just need to f$*king pick.

X or Y, Jeff. X or Y.

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