Nov 6, 2013


Happy NaNoWriMo! A writing friend asked me the other day if I had any time management tips to help her get through NaNo. Here’s what I told her:
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” -- Mark Twain
Confession #1 – I am a not-so-closeted self-help junkie.

One reason I gravitate towards them is because they inevitably offer great stories.  Even books where the advice doesn’t quite fit you (and I’m not sure I’ve ever read one where I didn’t pick up at least one new thing) can be appreciated for the telling of a good story or two.

Confession #2 – I tend to buy self-help books the same way I do fiction – Cover Art. I’m one of the 22% of readers who give great importance to a book cover. I’ve found some of my most favorite books this way – Big Stone GapGarden SpellsThe Last Time They Met (whose cover is much more impacting in a book store than on line). I’m also a sucker for clever titles.

So when I saw the above book several years back from Brian Tracey, my intrigue went to high and I had to have it.

Thank goodness, too. To this day the premise of the book is a go-to strategy that has snuck in my subconscious, and, like a song earwig, springs itself on me, usually when I’m under a false impression that everything is hunky dory fine.

Eat that Frog is based on the Mark Twain quote above. Tracey re-frames the quote so that your frog =’s the hardest, hairiest, rottenest and (probably) most important task you have to do in any given day and it should be tackled before any other thing in your day.

Frogs are also tasks we are most likely to procrastinate. Like getting our words in each day for NaNo.

Eating your frog first thing sets up your day to end well with easier tasks, and it ensures you’ll have energy to clear your list because you accomplished something big first, which is energizing. If you have two frogs to eat in any given day, his advice is to eat your ugliest frog first.

He goes on to offer 21 tactics to help support finding and swallowing those croakers.

So to answer my friend - whenever I find myself overwhelmed by my to-do list, I go frog hunting.

What’s your best advice for surviving Nano?

1 comment:

  1. Great advice! I find when I leave writing to the evening, I just don't do it, even though I'm a night owl.

    My advice? Don't look at other people's word counts. It can be heartbreaking.


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