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I just had a very stressful week, one where I had to work on two very time-consuming projects with hard deadlines. The first one had a very dedicated team to help me, and it met the deadline only two minutes before it was due. The second one, which I worked on yesterday, did not have a team that was able to dedicate their resources until the last minute, and we missed the deadline by less than 10 minutes. I managed to persuade the people receiving the project to take it anyway, but they later told us that they couldn’t open it.

I remained calm throughout, even though at one point, 10 minutes before the deadline, I realized that we had to change tactics. The whole debacle was really a matter of quality vs. time. I and my colleagues were trying to put together a quality document, but in the end we couldn’t meet the deadline by a few measly minutes. Thinking back, there were many factors that contributed to our failure. The first one being that this was too much work vs. reward. Even if we had turned in our project on time, our relative reward would have been small/low. It was a project that we probably shouldn’t have taken in the first place. Now, many hours of labor (mostly squeezed into less than a week) and hundreds of dollars in cost later, it’s pretty clear.

I do feel for my client’s disappointment, but I do not think I did anything wrong, other than underestimate the amount of time it took to compile and put the finishing touches on a 300 page document. I did my very best and worked my heart out, and I also decided to take responsibility of the project, when I could have allowed someone else to do it.

But I was the first one to arrive at work that morning, so I volunteered. In the end, I got the heat from both ends. The manager on the project yelled at me (she later apologized), and the graphic designer I was working with grumbled that I should have given him the files earlier (which I could not do).

It’s not a comfortable position, and I took a risk which mostly failed. But it shows that I am personally growing to be willing to take the risk of leadership, and live with the consequences. I would have taken all the responsibility, but I have very supportive supervisors and colleagues, who all said that I had done my best and it wasn’t my fault. They told me not to worry about it.

For my trouble I did not get to eat my lunch, and instead, I had to go with the manager to deliver the document. The people I met were sympathetic but said that they had to follow their time guidelines.

It may be a mixed blessing that we didn’t get to submit our project on time. The entity we were dealing with that set the hard deadline demanded so many requirements (some of which contradicted each other) that we were having to be part-lawyers just to figure out what they wanted, and how we could best respond to what they wanted. No wonder many companies and firms do not like dealing with governmental agencies.

So after an unusually warm spell of weather, it rained again today, and the next few days should be chillier. I think it’s important to take time to decompress, and to work through any feelings I might have (I’m usually not very good about being in touch with my feelings) as quickly as possible.

Anyway, a failure now and again is good, for it makes us take a look at our processes and how we can improve them. All I can say is that me and my fellow writers could have/should have been more forceful about setting internal deadlines. Then again, it’s hard to enforce those deadlines when someone above you is pulling the strings. So we all do the best we can in as little time as we can.

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I’ve been on a creative kick ever since the middle of last month. I made the wise decision to take my Christmas vacation in the middle of December, instead of during the usual holiday weeks, and I wish it had been longer. During that week, it happened to rain a lot where I live, to I got to enjoy a lot of difference movies indoors.

One movie that I had always wanted to see, but had put off forever was “A Little Princess.” I finally got it on sale a few months back, but even then I put it off. The book was one of my favorites as a girl, and also one that stimulated my writing. I remember being so embarrassed when I wrote a part of a story that was just like it, and my story ended up getting read in my 6th grade English class!

Anyway, I thought that the movie was superb, and naturally I fell in love with Liam Cunningham. Too bad I waited 13 years to watch the movie, for now he is older and gray, but nevertheless, the movie inspired me to write a fan fiction and another short story that just popped out of me over the next weekend, which I completed in three(!) days! It was truly a case of something that just couldn’t wait and had to come out of me. It was very cathartic to release my emotions by writing it.

Also, having good actors to work with in my imagination also stimulated me. After watching some of Liam’s other work, I was inspired to write yet another mini-story and several other stories.

I have been trying as much as possible to incorporate God and my faith into all of this, because artists and creative people like me can become so busy and engrossed with what we’re doing that we hardly have any time for meditation or quiet times. So I have to force myself to take time out just to listen to scripture or pray.

I have also rediscovered my love for music during this time. For me, music and writing go hand in hand. Sometimes it frustrates me when I cannot find the right kind of music to go with my story. But this is where my love of movie soundtracks comes in. While writing my fanfic, I listened to the Little Princess soundtrack over and over. I always liked Patrick Doyle’s work, and this is no exception. I also love the Iron Man soundtrack, and almost anything written by Hans Zimmer and John Williams. New stories spur the discovery of new music.

Writing these stories not only gives me an emotional release, but they also helped me be more confident. I would strut around during lunch time, listening to soundtracks on my mp3 player, imagining what my characters would do. It’s almost as if I act out their parts in my mind sometimes. But my dialogue is better when I can imagine an actor speaking it in their own way.

Anyway, once again, writing all this down has meant that I had to push everything else aside, or at least not do things as often, in order to get writing done. This time I told myself to strike while the iron while still hot—to write as much as I could before I lost interest in something. So far it’s proved to be a good strategy, and less stressful, too. There are still parts of the stories to be completed, but I am on track, if I would just persevere. Now I just need to know what to do with my finished work.