Urgent vs. Important

“The things that are urgent are seldom important and the things that are important are seldom urgent.” Accredited to Dwight D. Eisenhower 

Easier said than done, Mr. President. Whatever you say about urgent, it looks damn good. Instant satisfaction, you do it and the results are in. No courtship here, just a hey, how you doin’, 3 drinks later and into the bar bathroom. Done and dusted, time to go home. Important, on the other hand is such a lady, you got to wine and dine, sweet talk into her ear, then still face possible rejection. Lick your wounds, try again, because a dame like that, you know she’s worth it. But damn if it doesn’t take some patience.

The project I am working on is a historical fiction, close to my heart but far from my brain. What history I know to fulfill the ‘historical’ criteria is like one drop of rain in an empty bucket. So here I am, staring at a pile of research books and listening to a constant nagging at my ear. “In this corner we have the honourable Research, slow and steady, known for its long game and strategic play! Did we mention, slow? and long? And in this corner, known for its quick feet and knockout right hook, we have Write! It’s explosive, it’s demanding, it means business RIGHT NOW! And the crowd goes wild!!!”

Clearly the easy favourite, here’s the answer that would satisfy all the questions of, how’s the writing going? Oh great, I’m at a hundred pages now! But that wouldn’t feel right, would it? I know I’m in this for the long run, for the right run, and without the appropriate tools to apply how am I ever going to build my castle (the brick kind not the sand?) Remember my first rule of advice I’d always given myself – Gather Information.

Research is the most important aspect to any finished product. It is the bulk of your work and the foundation for your ideas, so do it well, do it in detail, and do not feel pressured or rushed. If the panic that inevitably comes when feeling like nothing is actually getting done, stop, breathe, relax. Re-look over everything. Re-gather your thoughts. Keep going. You have everything you need and you have just re-discovered it. Start with renewed purpose.                         (See earlier blog post How to Get Anything Done)

Past me is so much more composed than current me. I wish I could be more like her. It looks like I’m going to have to push aside the attention seeking, tantrum throwing urgent task of writing for now, and focus on it’s cool, collected, and important twin research. I always did like the quieter ones, after all. Still water runs deep. Allons-y!

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