September 6, 2013
The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. — Steve Furtick
I’ve been doing a lot of non writing reading and research. Productivity tips are my non-fiction bailiwick.
And my weakness.
….more like my kryptonite, actually.
In my trek across the vast internet landscape in search of The Perfect Time Management Technique (so far, nothing beats The Pomodoro Technique but I still try!), I bumble across a lot of different websites. Most are, of course, related to Time Management and Productivity. A few, though, rubbed peripherally against writing, my main passion.
One neatly dissects right across it.
I have a bucket list. In my bucket list I have all the things I’ve ever wanted to do, all cut out images and notes on separate pages to document how I will achieve them, what my progress is along the way and any sort of notes I come across in my drive to eventually see them done.
But a bucket list devoted entirely to writing?
I signed up for the free ebook and devoured it. The great majority I will be able to do. Some, I’ve already done. Some….really don’t apply to me at all but it’s seriously not an issue to replace with something else writing related that I’d like to do.
What does this have to do with productivity? I’m getting to that, I promise.
One of the things on the list:
34. Re-type your favorite novel.
Writers have heard about doing this particular thing, perhaps on a smaller basis of retyping a paragraph, scene or chapter. But this line item on the Writer’s Bucket List is to retype the whole thing.
I read it, looked at it sideways and shuffled around for weeks before giving up and diving in. I mean, I was stubbing my toe and procrastinating on everything else, what a perfect way to waste more time and hopefully gain some insight in a backward-falling way, right?
Well, yes and no.
I fail on the procrastination end. I have found that by doing my retype first thing in the morning (internet off! no email before I put in my 25 minutes — a neat intersection of procrastination and Pomodoro productivity), my mind is lubricated with more than just coffee and my fingers are now nimble from having shrugged off the veil of grogginess from having just woken up.
In the few weeks I’ve been doing this, and by ‘few weeks’ I really mean two, I have finished two short stories, one novella and made some headway into editing another longer short story.
I can’t even procrastinate right anymore. Or is it that I’m more productive with my procrastination? In any event, I’m sold on this particular tactic. What started out as me believing it really was a waste of time (I mean, how can I better my writing by retyping word for word someone else’s work?) and energy, has given me both.
Added bonus? I get to read one of my favorite novels all over again. Weeeee!
August 22, 2013
Something that has always managed to happen to me. It’s kind of freaky. I’m sure there’s a universal law relating to it, I’m not sure.
Here’s the pattern.
I spiral downward, fighting and clawing my entire way until I hit bottom.
I bounce for a bit before I get settled.
I start the long climb out.
I don’t get very far before I realize this is a long damn way to climb.
I make a post bitching about it.
My next hand hold to pull up, I emerge into sunlight.
It’s as if my bitching and complaining manages to spur something in me, in my life. No idea. Like jinxing myself but in a good way.
So. What happened? Read the rest of this entry »
June 18, 2013
If you want the world to take you seriously, first you have to take yourself seriously. You have to look at your blog as not just a blog but an opportunity to change the world.
And then you have to write as if the whole world is listening. — Jon Morrow
So many different things going on in my life, all of them pretty much ranking as First World Problems, so I won’t bore you with them.
The most pernicious was the complete lack of energy, drive, motivation, brainpower, direction…pick one, pick two and mix and match. It wasn’t there. None of them were.
Six months have passed and I’m starting to see the bright light at the end of the tunnel and I’m almost positive it’s not some train, so I’m able to travel with a little more speed and purpose. I hate when I suffer from depression and don’t realize it until it has passed. Only in looking in my rear view mirror do I realize what happened.
Now it’s daylight and I can see. Read the rest of this entry »
January 13, 2013
There is something about a new year. A clean slate. A slash-and-start-anew kind of feeling.
We make promises to ourselves and others. This year will be different! This year I will do all my XYZ on my list and I will be victorious!
For myself, I peter out around February. heh. Good intentions and all that.
Still, there are changes that need to come. I need to exercise more. I need to lose some weight. I’m not miserable and I’m not feeling all lumpy and useless. Changes need to happen, though, for my health, for my happiness. No one else can handle them but me.
I may peter out again, who knows. All I can do is try. They (the experts, whoever they are) say that it takes 21 days? 66 days? Let’s go with a happy medium and say 44 days to create a new habit. That’s 44 days of consistently doing something every day before it moves from the realm of ‘ZOMG I MUST THINK ON THIS OR I’LL NEVER REMEMBER’ to ‘cool, I can do it without much thought at all’.
That’s as good a starting place as anywhere, I think.
Thankfully, I know myself better than to try to do all these HUGE and MONUMENTAL changes all at once. Little steps, little things. And not taking on too much at one time.
One thing is clear. The holiday season, starting from the middle of November through the beginning of the New Year is absolutely the worst in the way of creativity. It’s absolutely the hardest time of the year for me to sit and get any writing done at all. Something I will be reflecting on as I move forward in the new year because it cannot continue. I don’t know if it’s having to adjust my schedule to accommodate, to create a new schedule or learning to draw boundaries, enforce them and stubbornly refuse to let anyone try to renegotiate where my lines rest.
I can assure myself on two vital facts. I will not join a gym and I will not go on a diet. Those two paths are sure, straight paths to failure for me. There are options, small things I can do, when reinforced into habit, which will translate into huge gains on the far end.
After some thought, I’m not going to continue with the ‘thirty days’ meme. The last two questions (because day thirty is ‘tag someone else to answer this’), to be honest, I can’t get excited about and I’m not going to inflict this on someone else either. What would there be for me to say other than ‘meh, no, not really’. Not riveting conversation and so, I leave it at twenty seven answered and draw a line through it as done. It seemed like a good idea at the time when I started it. Maybe later on down the road I will retool the questions to be more interesting and try again. Be the creator/originator of my own writer’s meme!
December 29, 2012
Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact. — William James
We’re getting closer to the end of the year. Where did it go? I’ve lost some months in there so if anyone finds them, kindly send them back my way.
I spilled water on my Hello Kitty keyboard and now it won’t work. While this bums me out, it’s not a total loss. I rediscovered an old keyboard to use until I find a replacement and decided I may not replace it after all. It’s an old Dell keyboard from a now long-defunct Dell computer. I love this thing and I can’t really tell you why. It’s the key action, maybe? I like the way it feels and the way it sounds. Almost as soothing as typewriter sounds.
Learning to type on an IBM Selectric does that to an oldie-but-a-goodie like me. That’s something on my wish list. One day, I’ll own one again. Damn, I loved those machines.
It’s Day Twenty Six, dear God will this never eeeeend? Read the rest of this entry »
December 26, 2012
If a man intends to impress someone, his work will not be clear, because he does not intend clarity: he intends to impress. – S. Leonard Rubenstein
As per the above quote? Yeah, know a few people like that. Ol’ Leo there has it right. I feel like I’m at least half-way bright and hard to bore but if you’re making my eyes glaze over? Aim for clarity, plzkthnx.
Well, it’s official. Novembers and Decembers are the least productive months of my year. I get absolutely nothing done. I’m still exhausted from having spun my wheels, though. No idea where that energy has gone. Here it is, the 26th. Last time I remember it was the 11th. Big, fuzzy, hazy gray patch of memory and nothing to show for it.
Next year, I’ll set things up that I start to keep track of my time/activity and see where it’s going. It’s a little late now but I should be set for next year. Time analysis, yo.
Christmas was low key, as it usually is. My cousin and I went in together and bought my mom a 40″ television. It looked fabulous in the candlelight. How does it play? We have no idea. We sat down to watch a movie and the storm that blew through the south yesterday took out our power. We had it on long enough to look at the weather. Talk about timing.
Power finally came on again last night about 10 pm when we all had given up sitting in the dark commenting on how fabulous our TV looked in candlelight and went to bed.
Other than that, some nasty flu got in the house making the mother-unit sick to the point we considered hospitalization if she hadn’t gone to the doctor. It tried to take up with me but I think I caught it early enough to fight it back. Now I just have the tail-end congestion like cotton is packed in my sinuses instead of my brains sliding out of my nose. Going to make sleeping for the next few nights a real pleasure.
I suspect that is were a great deal of my time went. At least for the month of December.
Puppy and kitten and elderly matron dog are still humming right along. Puppy got the last of her puppy shots, kitten is next up on the roster for a vet visit and soon to see about some test for the elderly matron that explains her porking out and her frequent need to go to the bathroom.
Speaking of pets, time for Day Twenty Five! Read the rest of this entry »
October 18, 2012
No one needs a vacation more than the person who just had one. – unknown
Vacations. Usually last about a week and are about four days longer than I like them to last.
Also, I think I’m just a homebody. Definitely not a jetsetter. Not that I don’t enjoy seeing new places. The travel, I find, is tiresome. And although you’re away from work for the week, hopefully at some restful vacation location, I find that is never really the case. Always some obligation to go ‘see something’ or to go ‘visit someone/family’. Obligation, no matter the form, is not restful for me.
I usually need about two days to recover from my vacation before I feel normal again. That’s why, when I normally take vacations, I sit my butt at home. In the end, it’s far more restful than all the travelling around.
God bless those who can do it. It’s just not for me.
Now for Day Twenty Three! Read the rest of this entry »
October 17, 2012
The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. – Agatha Christie
Y HALLO THAR INTERNETS!
Long time no see!
Funny how time slips through the fingers when you’re not paying attention. Well, when I’m not paying attention. I put my head down to get some nitty gritty work done, attend to familial obligations and plan for two vacations back-to-back and look what happens. Eight days go by.
Glad I moved to titling my posts during this meme as nonconsecutive. All my balls have fallen out of my juggling pattern and I think a few have rolled under the couch. Someone fetch a broom.
That’s why I really hate to have my schedule impinged upon. I’m a scheduler. I have to be or else I forget stuff. Like birthdays. And when ‘obligations’ take me away from writing, I lose my momentum and it’s hell to get back.
Like now. The last time I updated was last week. It started by a SURPRISE visit into town (which driving time takes about 45 minutes since I live in the ass-end of nowhere). Then I had to take care of a friend’s animals and house sit last minute.
Two more surprise! town visits, then getting ready to go on vacation, driving on the road most of the day Monday, catching up with friends yesterday and today. I’m exhausted and I’m not due to head home until the weekend.
…only to turn around and do it again in another direction, heading out to see my brother. So many lost days of writing. Tis very frustating. And the thing about it? It wasn’t like I was suddenly not feeling my creativity and sat like a lump to stare at the computer.
Oh no. I’m fit-to-bursting with writing energy. I just…can’t…reach…the laptop…from…overhere…. *thud*
Today is the first day I’ve actually had the time to sit down and get anything written. So I wrote a little bit (priorities, you know) and then started this blog post complaining about having no time to write.
It’s still good to see people I know, visit with friends, do things that I like doing. Just kind of hate that it takes me away from the keyboard, at least until our vacation routine settles down.
Whew….Day Twenty Two! Read the rest of this entry »
October 8, 2012
Where there is no antagonist, you cannot quarrel. – Japanese proverb
Energy is rather low today. I’m sure it will show in the answer to today’s talking point for the thirty days meme.
Part of it is sinus related. When the barametric pressure changes (i.e. it rains), my sinuses give me trouble. Which means I take something for sinus headaches and, no matter the brand, it makes me sleepy.
Still, have too much to do to drop off for a nap right now. So, it’s fighting through the molasses-brain feeling for me!
Day Twenty. Read the rest of this entry »
October 7, 2012
Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money. – Jules Renard
Interesting quote today. I certainly wish that were the case these days but it’s not. For as long as I can remember, writing carried with it the same, if not heavier, weight that if you’re doing it, you must automatically want to be doing it for money. If you’re not doing it for the money, clearly you’re deficient in some way. Why not take up an acceptable not-paid hobby like golf or tennis or stamp-collecting or crocheting?
I’ve never understood this mentality. It was especially prevalent during the fanfiction phase I was in. ‘You are such a good writer. You should write original fiction and sell it. You’re wasting your time writing fanfiction.’ That is pretty much what many fanfiction (and original fiction) writers are told when it’s made clear they write because they love it and have no desire to make money doing something they love.
I wonder if tennis players, or golf players, or any sports enthusiast who plays at a hobby level with no designs to become the next Venus Williams or Jack Nicklaus get the same level of grief. ‘Wow, you’re good. You should play professionally!’
You know, maybe they don’t want to. Maybe they’re playing because they love it. Somehow, it’s okay when it’s sports or any handcrafter.
Certainly, I’ve never been told ‘you’re a great crochter. You should try to sell some of your stuff.’ Hell, no matter how good I am, I can’t give my stuff away. There’s a stigma that seems to follow handcraft hobbies that it’s all crap, even though I’ve seen some stunning work put out. If someone tries to sell it, people are appalled at the prices the crafter charges to at least break even on supplies and maybe get some for their time investment, because they have ‘an auntie who does it all the time and sells it for considerably less (or gives it away) ZOMG!’
The urge to bite them is strong. *huff*
Writers? For reasons that are unfathomable to me, seem to get the side-eye when they say ‘nah, I just love to write and I’m not interested in getting published’. I wonder if it has to do with a tangible product in the end. Crafters have a tangible product at the end. They have something you can hold, display, use. Sports enthusiasts do as well. They have their gear, the shape their body is in, time spent being social with friends and family while engaging in their sport of choice. Stamp collectors have their vast collections of stamps to show off.
A writer has electronic words on an electronic page, all created in mostly isolation. When they have a physical book that can be put in physical hands, somehow it becomes more ‘real’ then. Prior to that? It’s a hobby people can’t seem to wrap their head around.
I have to wonder, however, if that isn’t changing now in many respects. As young people are growing up with automatic exposure to the internet, where the electronic exchange of information, goods and services are more commonplace for them, the value of the electronic version of something, a book, a website, a blog, a video has more tangible results for them.
Perceived value of those bodies of work are another rant altogether, so I’ll leave it there and move on to Day Nineteen. Read the rest of this entry »