Sunday, November 11, 2007

My Battle Between Short-Term Gains vs Long-Term Values

In the past I've balanced the challenge of potentially lucrative projects against the here-and-now pay-off of smaller short-term, sure-thing projects. I've lost opportunities to score runs on possible grand-slam opportunities because I've needed the instant cash of small assignments or projects.

So my life is a constant battle: Big-time/long-term projects (which require steady nurturing) versus earn-money-now assignments. I've not conquered this matrix. But here are a few of the tools and filters, I'm trying to use as I navigate my way through the maze of financial and professional achievement.

1. What is the time horizon? I'm working on a collection of short-stories. Any payoff (publication and fees) is a long way off. I've been working on the stories for over a year and I'm giving myself at least another year to finish. Really, (between you and me), it's a fictional goal in all senses of the word, but recognizing it as a long-term project helps me to accept the delayed gratification.

2. Can my long-term goal be accomplished in bite-sized pieces?I learned a valuable lesson about time when I was working on my financial memoir book: The Frugal Duchess of South Beach (May 2008/DPL Press). I completed the book while still handling my other professional responsibilities.

Sometimes I wrote all day, but other times I worked on the book in one-hour, two-hour and four-chunks of time. By slow and steady effort, I was able to complete the manuscript without sacrificing too much of my other income. There is, I discovered, a lot of value in bite-sized pieces of time and effort.

I've applied those same lessons to my short-story project: Small goals and steady progress.

3. What am I willing to give up? My housework and my weight suffered while I juggled my short and long-term goals. My apartment looked messy; I gained weight and I lost a few free-lance projects while I cranked out copy. But I kept my eye on the greater good. And now I'm working hard and working out to make up for lost opportunities and gained pounds.

I'm getting back to a decent weight; my house looks better and I've been trying to make nice with all of the editors I ignored while chasing my dream.

Bottom line: There is no bottom line. I'm just making up the rules as I go along. But I understand that there will always be a struggle between delayed gratification and short-term demands. Meanwhile, I'm looking for ideas and solutions from others.

Please email me at or leave a comment if you have tips about financial and career management. I want to hear from you.


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Usiku (oo-SEE-koo) said...

Congratulations on staying focused and pursing your goals and dreams and having a larger project nearing publication. Since we are not superhumans we definetely must focus on the essentials and ease up on the nonessentials. I've written about my similar experience in terms of short stories and what it takes to accomplish larger projects.

Keep fighting!

Rob said...

Sometimes, I think we writers never really find solutions to our issues about writing but, as time passes, we just realize there are more alternative solutions.

Perhaps the greatest satisfaction of writing is knowing one is being read.

All best


Anonymous said...

As I remember, fully working and pursuing dream target has always been the most burden and causing the most sacrifice.

When the work finally done, People who work their passion and have passion in their work, normally has their most satisfaction compared to condition without passion.

The things that can be done during that time is to be graceful and work all the way with all our heart to achieve it.

J.C. Carvill