CPD23 Thing #5: Reflective Practice

London-20070708-1148-018.jpgOK, here’s the obligatory “I’m behind” introductory sentence considering that this thing was a few weeks ago. But then again, here in Nebraska we’ve not required participants to do each thing during it’s original week, just be done by the deadline in October. So, I guess I’m still on track. However, one of my goals for today (this week?) is to get all caught up. So, here we go…

Reflective practice. I get it but I don’t honestly believe that I do it all too much. So let’s see what sort of recent event I have that I can work with? Oh yeah! I just helped co-write a book. That might be an interesting thing to analyze. Granted, it’s not officially “done” as there’s still the outside review of the manuscript and an editor to get through but assuming we’ve not done anything horribly wrong, the hard parts of the project are behind us.

Now, you’d think that since this would be my eleventh published book I wouldn’t have anything to reflect upon. Well, you’d be wrong on that one bucko. The trouble is, I was brought in at the last minute (just two months ago) to help finish a book that wasn’t my idea in the first place, with an author that I didn’t know, on a book that was a third person’s idea in the first place. I not trying to slag on this project or on the book itself, I think what we’ve turned in is going to work within the context that it will be presented. But the scenario in which I became involved wasn’t exactly ideal and it was way more work than I expected.

What exactly have I learned from this experience? Two things.

First, I need to learn to say “no” a little more often. When I signed up for this project I was already under two other book contracts and figured I could slip this one in over a few weekends. That didn’t happen. In the end, I took a few vacation days and actually rearranged my weekday schedule just to find some time every day (6:30-7:30am to be exact) to be able to work on this project. In the end my new schedule will help me out with other projects but that wasn’t part of the plan going in.

Second, I need to be more direct more often. At first I was “send me whatever when you’ve got it.” By the end I was “I need X by tomorrow and Y by the day after.” I don’t like being that direct with colleagues, but I think getting over that when it came to this project helped us get it all done by the (third revised) deadline.

What’s the application of what I’ve learned? Well, I’ve got two more books I’m working on both due within the next 9-12 months. One deadline is known, one’s a little more flexible at this point. The one with the hard deadline is with a (different) co-author, the other is mine alone. I guess I can’t say no to either of these projects but I can say no to others that may arise while these are being completed. As for directness, I’ll guess I’ll just have to suck it up and be as direct as needed to get the work done.

Let’s see how it goes.

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