The Mindful Dishwasher Writing Hack

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I hate emptying the dishwasher. I don’t know why; it’s not the most arduous of tasks, and it’s the one thing that can prevent your kitchen from going from reasonably clean to a disaster area in the space of a day.

And yet I resist it.

It’s a mindless thing, and maybe that’s the problem, it doesn’t use up enough of my attention, so I think about all the other things I could be doing.

I should be doing.

So this is going to sound somewhere on the wrong side of ridiculous, but I use it, sometimes, to practice mindfulness. I try to stay in the moment, and give myself permission to do only that one task at that time. I don’t have to reflect on what comes next, I just have to do.

And often, that’s when ideas come.

We’re in the deep end of NaNoWriMo, and even as that word count grows, getting to it can feel more and more difficult. In my case, this year I haven’t really had a period of skating, I jumped in at a slog. Perhaps it’s because I picked up something I’d started; those blank page, wide-open days are really the best.

So if you’re having some trouble, find your dishwasher. It doesn’t have to be your literal dishwasher, I assume you know where that is. Find that task you don’t enjoy, that doesn’t need your attention, and just experience it.

You can always make your characters pay for it later.

Check out my recap of the hit new show “All My Traitors.”

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

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The Work of Writing Seven: Harnessing Procrastination

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(Previous Work of Writing posts)

Currently in the throes of NaNoWriMo yet again, I find myself with the same problem year after year: sitting down to do the work. Making myself gather my thoughts and typing.

Perhaps it’s just me. But I doubt it.

I have a secret weapon, though, and this nearly-midway point, when the thought of daily word grabs starts to wear, seems like the perfect time to trot it out. And to share it. Are you ready?

Procastination.

“What?!” you cry, hypothetical reader, clutching at imaginary pearls and closing the web page in shock. OK, maybe not quite so dramatic, but what do you want from me, we’re in the middle of NaNoWriMo.

Procrastination can work for you. How? I pick a task that is generally less appealing than getting into my words, especially at those tough bits where you question all of your life choices and think perhaps you should have joined the circus after all.

For me, that task is usually cleaning of some kind. I know for some of you, cleaning is a joy, and I have to tell you, I don’t understand your kind. And I’m a little jealous, but I digress.

So I give myself two options. I can do the task — clean the bathroom, for example — or I can sit down and write my blog.

You can see which I chose in this instance, but no worries, the bathroom is next. Because I still have to do my words.

You use the procrastination to your advantage. You still get something done, and if you’re like me, while you’re doing the other thing, the ideas flow like bleach from the bottle of imagination.

Given that metaphor, I guess I’d better get going on cleaning that bathroom.

Check out my recap of the hit new show “All My Traitors.”

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Blogging from Prompts Day 5: Wrap-Up

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I have a teeny, tiny confession. As you probably know by now, this week I’ve been blogging from writing prompts, and I was going to use one more today and wrap up next week.

But.

I just couldn’t find an inspirational one today. Which I suppose says much about this little experiment, right? When it takes longer to find a prompt worth writing about than to come up with an idea, it seems a little counterproductive.

There’s definitely a value in prompts, and I didn’t use any fiction ones this week. Those could be fun if you have the urge to write but no inspiration. But inspiration is rarely where it unravels for me. I’m steeped in inspiration.

Wading through the sites and then each one’s prompts felt more like procrastination for me than blogging efficiency. Overall, I feel it took longer than a regular post.

Some do make for good writing exercises, so if the point is to work on a skill rather than get some words on a page, have at it.

But I went into this week thinking prompts would make blogging all the easier. Turns out it didn’t. Every experience has a lesson.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Blogging from Prompts Day 4: What I Do When…

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Still blogging from prompts this week, and today’s site has an air of mystery about it. When you visit, it’s nothing but a page of numbers, but hover your mouse over any of the numbers and a prompt appears.

Tipsy Elves rainbow magic irish magician GIF

So my prompt today: Listing 10 things I do when I procrastinate. No idea why this one spoke to me. No idea at all. It’s a puzzler.

 mystery detective scooby doo clues GIF

So what 10 things do I do when I procrastinate?

  1. Find gifs, paying very close attention to the slightest details in the gif to make sure it is the most perfect gif in all of gifdom. Because that’s important. And time-consuming.
  2. Check twitter.
  3.  Dishes. Sometimes the desire not to do dishes is much greater than the pull of procrastination, and BOOM, procrastination over.
  4. Empty the dishwasher. Because ditto.
  5. Get up, go to the kitchen for something to eat, check the cupboards, check the fridge, decide I’m not hungry and return to my blinking cursor.
  6. Repeat 5 minutes later.
  7. Check twitter.
  8. Play solitaire on my phone. For the nontechnical among us, this is called “brainstorming.” Which is followed by “frustration,” and forgetting what I was “brainstorming” because I just have to get the cards to ruffle, darn it.
  9. Hold my cup and stare poignantly out of the window, waiting for the Big Thought to arrive, certain I look poetic while doing so.
  10. Make lists.

Gotta say, that was a fun one. How about you? What do you do to procrastinate?

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Blogging from Prompts Day 2: I am…

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This week I’m blogging using writing prompts. Today’s prompt comes from this site, and the prompt is “I am surprised by.”

Well, let me be frank. I am surprised by the blandness of many of the writing prompts I looked at this morning. Maybe it’s me; maybe they’d spark something amazing in someone else, but I rotated through suggestion after suggestion.

Nothing.

I did find one for a story but unfortunately the prompt reloaded and there was no way to get the original one back. I wrote down what I could remember, though, and I might still use it at some point.

I am also surprised by the feeling that there’s something the air today. I don’t think I’m the only one off-kilter, people seem grumpier than usual, fuses shorter than usual. Or maybe it’s the gray sky, which I’m not surprised by.

It’s August, after all.

I am surprised by how fast the summer goes, how it just becomes warm and then suddenly the shelves of the stores are packed with school supplies. I’m surprised I miss the idea of a fresh new school year.

That’s probably nostalgia.

And I’m surprised by how, even after fits and starts, once again here’s a blog post, newly minted.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

There is Magic in Your Phone

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So much deliberate, calculated cruelty coming from our own government right now. I don’t know about you, friends, but I’m finding it oppressive.

Very oppressive.

And yet I’ve managed to stick to my writing schedule this week. Which isn’t exactly easy, given where my mind is, but I’ve persevered using my old standby trick.

My timer.

No matter what is going on, when you set that timer, you’ve got to put your shoulder into whatever task needs attention. The timer creates a window; the timer is a demarcation. The timer says “this is what I’m doing now.”

And I’ll tell you something interesting.

Even when it’s been difficult this week to drag my head away from blatant bigotry against our fellow Americans, away from the question of what will happen to the millions upon millions — including me — served by the ACA, once that timer starts, I’m in the multicolored world of my imagination.

Escape.

I know we’re tired. I know it’s tough to have the same argument for months on end, to feel as though you’re talking to heartless stone walls.

But.

We can hone our priorities. And we can get things done.

Including the big things.

Now set your timers and call your Senators and Representative. It’s faster than you think.

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Productivity. Probably.

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Healthcare still isn’t safe. Please call your members of Congress — start with your Senators, and then your Representative — to stop the repeal of the ACA. You might save a life.

Seriously.

So yes, right, productivity. Hard to be productive when you’re thinking about a future where you can’t get health insurance, but while the Senate throws itself at various forms of the tax-cut bill euphemistically called healthcare, hoping for just one to stick like a limp, poisonous strand of spaghetti, the planet still turns.

Yep.

We all have other things to do, except, of course, the Senate, who could keep doing this until we are gone and the earth is gone and the people who want the tax cuts are gone. See how easy it is to be sidetracked?

My go-to is the to-do. List, that is. Something about crossing things off, one by one, that I find satisfying. But I always have that one task.

You know that task.

It’s the minor thing, that one little thing, that keeps getting carried from day-to-day. It’s never important; the important things get priority.

But it stares at you And the more it stares at you, the bigger it gets. The more difficult it looks. The longer you feel it’s going to take.

Well, I did mine this morning. All told, it probably took under 10 minutes. Now I dare you to do yours.

Right after you call your Senator.

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.