#AtoZChallenge: Procrastination

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Panda at Chiang Mai zoo taken by user:KayEss {{gfdl}}

If you are the one person who doesn’t do it, who has a task, sits down, completes the task with nary a dreamy glance out of the window, please, please tell me how. Right here, in the comments, break it down for me, in detail, what it feels like, what your mind does, when it’s a straight shot from A to Z.

Case in point: as I was writing this, I decided I wanted to open the blinds more fully, which then alerted me to the streaky gray of my window. Was it inside? Outside? Obviously that’s a question that couldn’t be answered after finishing this post, so I got a cleaning cloth and checked.

Inside.

Huh. Making it streakier, I needed to dry as I cleaned. Great. Oh I need the stepladder to get the top of the window. Hang on, hang on, blog post. It can be cleaned after the blog post.

And here we are.

Here’s the thing. It’s not that I don’t get things done. They happen. Sometimes I think the diversions are just my brain taking the time to work things out without my input.

But there must be a clean, minimalist beauty to knowing something must be done, and without hesitation, doing it. Deadlines get me there; it’s one the reasons my timer trick — setting the timer and getting on with it — is so effective for me.

But on the other hand, sometimes you just need a clean window.

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!

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The Work of Writing: One

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By August Müller (1836–1885) (Auktionshaus Bergmann) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Note: The below account is entirely fictional and does not in any way reflect what I may or may not have done at any time, including this morning, even if it sounds like it’s possible, remember it’s totally fictional. Fictional.

  • Good morning! Grasp coffee cup with both hands, staring beatifically out of the window. It’s Monday. Let’s get to it!
  • Oops! Gotta eat! Breakfast!
  • Check twitter.
  • Clean new electric kettle by boiling water. Huh. It needs a trivet.
  • Shop online for trivets.
  • Buy coasters.
  • Read trivet reviews closely. Scrutinize colors. Can it open a jar? Suddenly absolutely, positively need silicone trivets that can open jars.
  • Finally select trivets. Success!
  • Change mind, choose other trivets.
  • Look out window. Onward!
  • Check twitter.
  • Computer slow. Must reboot. Maybe run a check.
  • Shut down.
  • Screen is dirty. Clean screen.
  • Reboot.
  • Run scan.
  • Look out window. Can’t go onward. Must have computer to write.
  • Also must have computer to blog.
  • Also must have computer to edit.
  • Also must have computer to twitter.
  • Check twitter on phone.
  • Still scanning.
  • Pace. Every bit of exercise counts, right?
  • Still scanning
  • Inspiration! Remember the ancient method of writing with pen and paper.
  • Scratch out blog post.
  • Still scanning.
  • Take kettle for a test drive.
  • Scanning finished! Look at handwritten post. Remember why use computer to write everything.
  • Oops! Kettle’s ready. Make tea.
  • Clean out silicone Mana-Tea which also may or may not be fictional (it’s not. It’s adorable).
  • Glance out window grasping mug of tea with both hands. Onward?
  • Check twitter.

 

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter!

Fridaying My Way Through Writing

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It’s a solidly gray day here in Chicago, and I’m hoping I haven’t fallen off the blogging wagon. I skipped a day yesterday, the first since the A-to-Z Challenge.

Bad me.

I am in a very odd space of inspiration and non-inspiration, thinking but not quite ready to do. I’m hoping that like water suddenly retreating from the shore amidst an eerie silence, that I am on the brink of a creative tsunami.

We shall soon see.

With the show halfway through its run, and my only responsibilities picking up cake and refreshing one of the props, it’s time to return my attention to my original writing. My real writing.

I have such romantic visions of sitting down and doing the work, but anyone who has ever written anything knows how that tends to go. Just ask Spongebob.

But when that rush of creativity hits, there’s nothing much you can do other than be carried away with the tide.

And that might be a tad more romanticizing.

I also have editing to do, with a manuscript that needs to convert from draft 1 to draft 2 at some point.

This sketch comedy writing has been fun in many ways, and I’ve picked up a lot of great, transferable skills, but short-form sketches aren’t who I am as a writer. So for me and Spongebob, it’s time to hit the pencil and paper.

In or near Chicago? Check out our sketch comedy revue, Me Inside Me Presents: “Neurotrash.” Saturdays at 10 pm, May 7, 14, 21 & 28 in Donny’s Skybox Theater. Tickets $13; Students $11 SCTC Students: $7  Click here for tickets.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter!

A New Day, A New Determination, Maybe

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OK, so after yesterday’s braincation, I am determined, utterly determined, to keep myself focused today. I’m even considering a list.

A list, people.

We all know there’s nothing better than crossing things off of a list. I’m still adjusting to the new computer, with its new keyboard. I’ve ditched its touchpad though, because it kept erasing entire paragraphs without my input. Paragraphs I wanted, no matter what it felt about it.

I’ve gotten a wireless mouse, and I’ve been using the touchscreen a surprising amount. Well, surprising to me. Not, maybe, so much to the people who invented touchscreen computers.

So as I stand here today — OK, I’m not standing, I’m sitting, though I do think one of those standing desks might be a good thing. I’m afraid of those walking desks, though, they seem to have “should have known” all over them — so as I sit here today, typing, I pledge to rev up my productivity. I will, without question, be more productive today than yesterday.

Oh hello there, hypothetical reader! It’s been so long since you’ve been by, how are you? Oh really? I’m glad to hear that. What was that point you wanted to make, hypothetical reader?

Yes, you’re right, it isn’t going to be hard to top yesterday’s record. Very astute of you to notice.

So it might not be a high bar, but at least it’s a bar and a goal. Do you hear that, brain? Today you are sticking with me, no wandering off to exotic, gossamer places, unless those exotic, gossamer places are in what I’m writing. Do you hear me brain?

Brain??

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Daydream Reliever

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So today I have my head in the clouds. My brain never came back from the weekend, and I’m having a lot of trouble bringing my focus down to this mortal plane.

I mean, who wants the mortal plane anyway when you could have clouds?! People who have stuff to do, that’s who. Oh wait, that’s me.

You’d think being in a daydreamy mood would help with writing. My imagination is drifting gently from thought to thought, caught on a soft breeze. Unfortunately, though, in that state, the ideas tend to stay inside my head and don’t make the necessary trip out through my fingers.

Actually getting something written is work. And not one part of me, from the brain that has to think to the hands that have to type, wants to do its job. It’s like I’m on a relaxed, floaty strike.

Which is really not a great thing on a Monday. If the week starts out this way, how’s it going to end up going? That’s the big question. If trying get this post written is any indication, possibly not too smoothly.

Yikes.

There are times I’d indulge this feeling, take a break and just gather wool. Not literal wool, though, because, I mean, what would I do with it? It’s not like I can spin yarn. I can spin a yarn, but I don’t think you need wool for that. Or maybe you do. Maybe that’s what I’ve been doing wrong.

Maybe I should ask Hugh Howey.

Huh, look at that. I managed to put together an entire blog post. Next stop, the WORLD! OK, maybe just some blog visits. And oh yeah. Some writing.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

 

Me? Distracted? Never!

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Well, after two days of luxuriating in glorious drill-free silence, with the blinds open without fear of coming face-to-face with a man far outside where nature intended, the workers are back. Ish, it appears. The drilling is coming in splatters and sputters.

Manageable, though. Definitely manageable.

Which it needs to be today. I haven’t even started my scene for class yet. And worse, last week’s homework inspired the nugget of a new project, and I haven’t had a chance yet to start it. And let us all say together: aaarrgghh.

That’s the way of writing, isn’t it? Distractions, tiny little nuisance distractions find water somewhere and they grow to 10,000 times their original size. The ideas you have are never for the project you need to work on, they’re always for something newer, shinier, blanker, un-used-up.

Sometimes I wish writing was like a spigot, righty-tighty, lefty loosey. Just open that faucet and the work comes pouring out as your fingers move methodically, melodically across the keyboard. And as I wrote that sentence I realized my fingernails had become an uncomfortable typing length and I had to go cut them. I hope you’ll forgive the interruption.

Anybody remember something I said about distractions? It seems like it might be relevant here somehow. If only I could make that connection.

So off to the back-burner, new idea. I’ve got homework to do. And I’m going to do it. I swear. Only I have a couple of things to do first.

Procrastination? What? Why on earth would you say that, hypothetical reader? I can’t see what procrastination has to do with anything. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go rotate my refrigerator shelves. Kitchen maintenance never ends.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Writing Productivity is a Process

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A quick reminder about the contest. It ends Friday, so enter now for your shot at a $25 Amazon gift card.

So summer came and went, and I find I haven’t gotten as much done as I would have liked. I’m still editing, I haven’t finished my first draft of the manuscript I’m working on, and I’m not quite sure where, exactly, the time has gone.

I did deal with challenges this summer, mostly in the form of unbelievable noise, the kind that takes up cozy residence inside of your skull, and no doubt that impacted my ability to focus. Still, I can’t help but feel that the track and I have parted ways.

But that’s the beauty of this kind of work. Forward progress–any forward progress–is still progress. Sometimes sideways progress is progress too, because once in a while, sideways is just the direction to get you where you’re going.

Is it rationalization? Perhaps, but if you don’t give yourself credit for the small things, it’s easy to get lost in the huge and looming picture. Step by step is the only way to get anywhere, and it’s OK if it takes a while to get to the next one now and then.

Productivity is a process. It doesn’t always operate at maximum efficiency, and that’s OK too.

Have a minute? Watch this video.

Rather read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!