How do you handle project disaster?

This is an attempt to take lemons and make some lemonade. A question for the assembled minitude. What do you do when a project you’re working on goes tits up (thanks wikipedia for a description on that one)? There are all sorts of logical, sensible project managey things you should do. Assess what’s wrong. Work out what’s need to fix the problem, if indeed it’s fixable. Look at your project parameters. Amend them. Go forward and complete the project meeting qualitative and quantitative goals.

Now, do you do that? What I find I do is I panic. Then I get depressed. Followed, slowly, be resignation. Panic occurs pretty much at the same time as the problem. Depression occurs while I try to work out what to do about it. After depression comes resignation. And then, so far at least, everything comes together swimmingly. I could point to several projects where exactly this happened, specifically Eclipse One which was NOT the book I intended, but is nonetheless one I’m very proud of and happy with. I’m currently at the resignation phase with Eclipse Two. Pretty much everyone who could possibly drop out has done so. I’ve also dealt with a problem with another submission. I’m currently picking up some additional stories, and just bought another terrific one by Harry Turtledove, and got a cool commitment to deliver a story. I can’t quite see the light at the end of the E2 tunnel, but I now feel reasonably confident that it’s there. Which is good. I am also trying to absorb that this may be how it will always be with Eclipse. If so, I think I can survive it.

5 thoughts on “How do you handle project disaster?”

  1. Good luck! and most importantly, stop panicing!!! Everything will be OK.

  2. I honestly would if I could. I don’t seem to be able to handle things any other way. It’s stupid. It makes no sense. But it seems to be how I’m constructed. I do have a long period of leave from the day job coming up, so that may help.

  3. You’ll get through it, Jonathan. And whatever the process has been, you produce excellent books – and will continue to do so in the future. All the worry just means you’re sane!

  4. Just wanted to tell you that “The New Space Opera” was my favorite new anthology of last year and your Best Science Fiction and Fantasy has been my favorite reprint anthology for the past two years (in fact, now that I think about it, your best science fiction books have been my favorite for two or three years before that, as well). Eclipse One was wonderful and if I was voting for best editor in the Hugo awards you would be number 1. You were my top vote in the Locus awards. So, good on you. I believe in your acumen and taste to design the best book possible from whatever stories you read. Thanks. I just bought “The Starry Rift” and will get to it soon. Can’t wait!

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