Priorities

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So far today, aside from the bare minimum of crawling out of bed, brushing my teeth and getting dressed, I have: done some yoga; made some phone calls, including to a friend to wish her happy birthday (Happy Birthday, Lady, in case you see this); made breakfast while simultaneously discovering first with horror, then with a not-so-bad shrug that I bought chocolate-flavored coffee rather than coffee-flavored coffee; taken out the trash; paid some bills and other fun and assorted bits required to maintain the status quo. I have not, however, until this instant moment in which we find ourselves, written my blog post. Or anything else, for that matter.

Priorities.

They’re funny, funny things. They’re shape-shifters. They morph and grow and jostle for position, and sometimes they give themselves more weight, more heft, than we do.

That’s another P word. Procrastination.

Which can go away because we’re not talking to it today. That’s right. We can talk about procrastination later.

I’ve come to believe that 90% of writing is placing yourself in front of your mechanism and winning the staring contest with the blinking cursor, which still seems to win an unsettling amount of the time, given that it’s blinking. You’ve got to sit down.

And we’re back at priorities. They can come from inside. They can be external, like the garbage can that has reached its limit and inconveniently does not come equipped with a self-emptying function even if it is the 21st century. Wherever they come from, whatever they may be, you have to leave room for the priorities that really matter to you.

Because those are the ones we tend to let slide.

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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OK

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[CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

I really didn’t want to do OK for O. I wanted something lofty, like “open,” or “opportunity” “ornithological.” Get it? Lofty? Because birds? They fly?

OK, you’re right, crash and burn. Not that birds burn when they crash.

Ugh.

OK, back on track. Which is why it’s OK today.

I often (huh, another O word lurking right there in the open) find myself saying “OK” to myself, sometimes aloud, sometimes inside this cavernous head-space of mine. For me it can be a segue, a shortcut for “time to get on with it.” Settle in and settle down.

OK.

Of course (oh the philosophizing I could have done with “of.” And “oh.” Oh O), that’s not all there is to OK. OK can be reassurance; OK can be mediocre. OK can be simply OK.

We so often want more than OK, better than OK, more exciting than OK, more perfect than OK. For some of us, and I’m not naming any names but one can probably be found at the upper left of this blog, learning to live with OK is a process. For that person who shall remain nameless, yoga is so helpful in this endeavor. There’s no perfection in yoga; you shake, you wobble, you try and trying is all you need to do.

First drafts are never more than OK. And that’s OK.

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.

 

Groggy

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A Galapagos tortoise. I’m so groggy I didn’t even think to write about my trip to the Galapagos for G. I think he looks just as groggy.

The only possible word for me today. Groggy. Nope, not hung over, unless one can be hung over on all-you-can-eat sushi, which, in that case then, yes.

I went to bed late and woke up at a time I decided wasn’t anywhere near appropriate and fell back asleep. And when I woke up again, my clock said 1-0-colon-0-0.

What?

I checked all available purveyors of time. Yep. 10:00. TEN AM. With vague memories of Brad Pitt in my dreams (Brad Pitt?! Why Brad Pitt? Definitely not my cup of Hollywood Celebrity. I’m more of a Nathan Fillion/Mario van Peebles/Eric Balfour/Brad James/Men Who Appear to Enjoy the Sci-Fi in which They Appear kinda gal) I leapt out of bed, but much more slowly than that and yes, spell check, I do mean the past participle of “leap.”

Ah, see? That’s the coffee kicking in. I do have some brain cells up there after all.

So I’m slogging through the day thus far, a day, according to the time, which is now past noon. Past noon. Past NOON.

Hopefully the grogginess will dissipate, leaving me bright-eyed and refreshed.

Yeah, I don’t think so either.

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.

 

 

The little green men made me not do it

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By User:Crobard~commonswiki (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Some days you just have to do the laundry of life, there’s no getting around it. Sometimes that laundry is actual laundry; other times they’re the unglamorous slog through paperwork or forms or other such must-dos that have you checking the date and wondering if they can be put off.

Putting them off never helps. Not that I know from experience or anything. Also I don’t miss deadlines. Not ever, not unless the aliens are at my window and making demands. And even then I’d ask if I could bring my computer and whether they have wifi.

Deadlines are sacred.

Always.

But of course I digress. Why? Because thinking up procrastination-inducing aliens is far more interesting than talking about paperwork. For obvious reasons.

So I’ll share with you an anti-procrastination trick I’ve let you in on before: I give myself a choice between two tasks I don’t want to do but need to be done. Suddenly one of them is incredibly appealing.

Or there’s my favorite, the timer. It probably works for me because I give deadlines such weight; even setting one to myself (this has to be done by Friday, for example) works.

But you may not be a deadline person, and if you watch them sail past with a shrug and wave, it probably won’t work for you.

Whatever your method, the laundry of life is waiting. And if you’ll excuse me, there seems to be an alien politely tapping at my window.

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available now!

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.

And sometimes you feel like it but can’t

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By photophilde (Running horse) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

You know that look of a a horse in the starting gate of a race? Not that I’m much into horse racing, but there was this reality show about jockeys I watched, and that’s a whole other conversation because it was fascinating, but I digress.

Anyway, those race horses shift in their stalls, ready, itching to stretch their long graceful legs and send the dirt flying up beneath their hooves. They want to run.

That’s how my fingers feel today.

Ready to run. Ready to fly and knit words into long, long scarves, sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph. The mood has struck.

Unfortunately for me, as is nearly always the case with the fickle things called moods, the timing is wrong. Other things must come first today.

Bummer.

Prioritizing is one of those millstones of adulthood (and don’t look up the origins of the cliché “millstone around neck” because wow is it horrifying. You went and did it, didn’t you? I told you so). In the words of the great philosopher the Rolling Stones, you can’t always get what you want.

Do I wish that I could bottle this feeling and apply liberal doses as needed?

Obviously.

But there’s also a skill in not making the work of writing dependent upon mood. Word scarves or no word scarves.

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available now!

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.

My 100% always works procrastination buster.

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By Scott Robinson from Gaithersburg, MD, USA (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Gather round friends, I’m going to tell you my best secret for getting things done when you’re having trouble getting things done. Are you ready?

 

Set a timer.

What’s that, hypothetical reader? Do I want you to set one now? Oh, I can see how that could be ambiguous. I meant when you need to do the task.

And yes, hypothetical reader, I know it’s not my best-kept secret, but I didn’t say it was, did I? I just said my best secret. That it is.

I’m not sure why it works, it’s entirely artificial. No one’s going to know whether or not you honor the timer. Though you should always honor the timer.

Honor the timer.

But there’s a bit of the ritual to it as well. When that button goes, my mind knows it’s time to buckle down, to focus. It also knows it only has to focus for the amount of time on the timer.

Granted, maybe it doesn’t work for everyone. But for me, it’s the never-fail. Once the timer is set, so am I.

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available now!

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.

 

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.