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.

Monday Can Be a Little Bit of a Jerk

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Hello all and welcome to Monday, as welcome as a Monday can make a person feel, anyway. Since the regime change, I’ve stumbled into many a Monday breath held for brighter things in the week, but with a persistent rain outside and accusations of a freshly-minted widow lying about a very uncomforting “condolence call,” no breath is being held this morning.

Short shallow ones only.

Feel free to subtly hyperventilate along with me. What’s that, hypothetical reader? Have I tried breathing into a paper bag? Well, hypothetical reader, if you can tell me how to get my soul to do that, I’ll get right on it. This is metaphorical hyperventilation.

So after a weekend largely away from a keyboard of any kind, out in nature, taking photographs in a really fantastic photography seminar (don’t worry, this image isn’t one of the best, but it’s pretty and I like the scale), we’re back together again, me and my words, staring at one another, deciding where to go next. Although, to be honest, the words aren’t so helpful when it comes down to it.

For some reason, they expect me to keep doing all the work.

So I will snuggle down in the gloom and let my imagination take me somewhere brighter. Hopefully. Imaginations can be fickle like that.

And maybe I’ll check out my photos from the weekend. I’m only human.

I assume.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

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.

Tuning in by Tuning Out

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Das dynamische Standbild Hammering Man an der Mainzer Landstraße in Frankfurt am Main, 2005 geknipst. By No machine-readable author provided. Ruediger Nassauer assumed (based on copyright claims). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Hammering and drilling, drilling and hammering. It’s a day of indistinct noise, and in some ways, it’s much like life at the moment, synchronizing with the constant hammering of our democracy into dust. Even if you don’t look, you can hear it.

Robert Mueller can’t possibly work fast enough.

It’s the drumbeat to my day, the unexpected horrors unfolding at a rate that would be alarming if it hadn’t become usual. What a terrible thing to get used to.

Meanwhile, NaNoWriMo looms just around the corner and I wonder if I’m going to give it another shot after a few unsuccessful years. Last year I was roaring along, right until November 9, when the world we knew ended and we were thrust into this terribly-written alternative reality.

I mean terribly written. I really don’t understand most of the characters’ choices, and at until we get some backstory that would persuade us, the viewers, that they have valid motivations to refuse remove this unstable person who seems to want to end the world, my disbelief will remain unsuspended.

So what do you do? You ignore the hammering and get on with it. Or you incorporate the hammering into your work. Hammering is our reality now.

I’m working really hard to avoid a regrettable pun about being nailed.

I almost did it. Almost. But I digress.

Distractions appear, distractions evolve. There will always be distractions.

But I think we can agree that some distractions are more distractiony than others. The end of the world, the end of society as we know it, well that’s definitely one of them.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

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.

 

 

Monday, Monday Always Monday

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By Zimmermanns (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

And back around again to Monday. New week, new need to cut my fingernails, as they’re now at the length of clacking against the keyboard and it’s driving me crazy and slowing me down.

No one wants slow typing fingers. Writers definitely don’t want slow typing fingers. If your ideas get too far out in front of you, they sometimes dissolve into mist and you can’t catch them. Ideas are a elusive.

I’m trying to cut down on caffeine again, and attempted to trick my brain with a half-caf. My brain is smarter than I thought. Or more caffeine dependent. Either way, upside is that another cup of coffee only brings me to one cup of coffee.

What’s that, hypothetical reader? Decaffeinated coffee still has some caffeine, which means that another cup of half-caf might mean more caffeine than a regular cup of coffee?

Spoilsport, I say to you, hypothetical reader. Spoilsport indeed.

While a week of peace and general calmness seems to be too much to ask in our alternative universe, I do wish all a week of good words, great ideas and smooth sailing, whatever your endeavors.

Unless you’re some kind of evil-plotter, in which case I wish you all those things only if your evil-plotting stays firmly in your manuscripts.

We are adrift right now in this vast sea of uncertainty. Good thing I brought a pen.

 

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

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.

Now or Later

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This morning the coffeemaker needed cleaning. You know the coffeemaker. The one I got with high hopes of a freshly-ground future. The one that dashed those hopes with clumpy steamed coffee grounds and cement-clogged chutes.

That coffeemaker.

Like with most things in life, we’ve gotten along much, much better since I lowered my expectations, and now only use pre-ground coffee. Despite owning a perfectly good grinder I could use separately.

So I looked at its alternately-flashing lights, knowing that that was the signal for “replace the smell of freshly-brewed coffee with that of hot white vinegar,” and thought hmm. Do I do this now?

And I responded to myself with a yes.

Do it now, do it now. There are some tasks that, when put off, seem to gain bulk and dimension until they feel unreasonably difficult. But if you don’t stop to think, if you just shrug and get on with it, then it’s done.

Did going through the cleaning ritual really slow me down on my to-dos? I mean really? Does it take that much longer to get up and run the clean water through?

Here’s the thing. Had I delayed, I would have been thinking about it, that tiny task, in one corner of my mind. But now it’s done. Or mostly done, I think another round of water is in order, given that vinegary coffee isn’t exactly a gourmet delight.

We know we need to prioritize and organize, but when it seems like not doing something is going to bug you more and longer than just handling it would, do it now.

Vinegar through the coffeemaker is temporary. That nagging distraction is forever.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

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.