Tag Archives: procrastination

Time Sinks

You know what they are. They’re those black holes that you fall into and before you know it you’ve lost hours of your day.

A few of mine:

Pinterest. I’m pretty good at avoiding this one, but when I fall… I look at someone’s board, then go the board of someone that they pinned an image from, and from there I find other boards and other people and… Yeah. Half a day and forty boards later I come up for air, bleary eyed, wondering what year it is.

Jigzone.  I’ll admit it. (I may have already admitted it here.)  I am a jigsaw junkie. I have been known to skip meals while engrossed in a jigsaw puzzle. I have been known to ignore chocolate cake with peanut butter icing while engrossed in a jigsaw puzzle. I have foregone sleep while engrossed in a jigsaw puzzle.  I’m only semi successful at avoiding jigzone.

YouTube. *sigh* Let’s not go there.  No, I mean, really, let’s not go there. I’m currently addicted to all things Pentatonix.  And to Superfruit videos. And the comments on them. And the Moody Blues. And then I look up old songs that I used to like or wonder if they’re on YouTube.  And then I start looking at horse videos and videos of Boxers (dogs, not fighters).  I’m um… really not good at avoiding YouTube. I tell myself that I’ll use it as a reward, that I’ll watch one (just one!) video and then get back to work. And, yeah, one video becomes two hours and…

Yeah. FaceBook pales in comparison to those.

Then there are online games. I’m pretty good at avoiding them, mostly because I haven’t even thought about them recently. (Until now.  Thank you, me. Now I have to go find Alchemy and BookWorm and Hangaroo, and…)

No. Just no.  I am not going to go there, I’m just not.

 

 

 

 

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The Stress Factor

I’m pretty sure everyone has heard of The Fudge Factor, but if you haven’t (or have never heard it defined) The Fudge Factor is any number which when added to, subtracted from multiplied by, or divided into the number you got gives you the number you should have gotten.

The Stress Factor is something that I just made up. It is any event (or series of events) which when added to or multiplied by the stress you already have gives you more stress than you can deal with.

In that case, of course, the first instinct is to retreat.

We’ve had a lot of that in the last month and a half or so, and I — a lot of us — have been retreating.

And then we’ve found other ways to deal and get ourselves back on track.

And then something else happens.

Anyone remember those big bowling pin shaped punching bags that you knocked down and they bounced back up?  That’s pretty much how I’m feeling lately.

And that’s not a bad thing: knock me down and I bounce back up. And if you’re not careful I’ll bop you on the head.

But sometimes, before you bounce back up, you need to retreat, to find something to do to lessen the effects of The Stress Factor until you can find your feet (and your balance) again.

A long time ago (before personal computers were common) I used to paint D&D figurines to retreat from work stress.  I showed one to a co-worker once and she asked how I could do that after a stressful day at work.  I replied that it helped with the stress because all of my attention was focused on the end of a very fine (sometimes only a couple bristles) paintbrush and everything else was just pushed away.  I don’t think she got it.

Now, though, I do jigsaw puzzles.

I am a jigsaw puzzle addict. I always have been.  I’ve been known to ignore chocolate cake with peanut butter icing while working on a jigsaw puzzle.  I don’t really have any place here to set up a table for a one, so I’ve been spending a lot of time on JigZone lately.

Jigsaw puzzles (physical or computerized) don’t require much thought, just a focus on color and shape. Focusing on a puzzle (I like the harder cuts) lets me get my conscious mind off of the day’s Stress Factor so that my subconscious can deal with it.

(And, okay, JigZone provides an unhealthy dose of procrastination, too.)

So, what does everyone else do to procras regroup from stress?

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Pressure Points

Pressure is a strange thing. Too much and something can explode.  (Or implode, depending on which direction the pressure is coming from.) But in the proper amount, pressure can be useful.  It can propel things forward, for instance.

Things like writing.

As you’re probably aware I recently backed out of a couple projects I was taking on.  The pressure from them was too much and I was imploding.  I was motionless, unable to move forward.  I felt (and was) stuck.

Since dropping them, I have been feeling much more creative. Ideas are flowing and excitement is building.

I am, however, someone who needs at least some sort of pressure in order to actually get things done instead of just create inside my head.  That’s why NaNoWriMo is such a great thing for me. (And I am including the Camp sessions in that.)

The goal.  The deadline.  The fact that hundred of thousands of other people are doing it too…

Yeah, just enough pressure.

The problem then becomes how to have “just enough pressure” the other nine months of the year.  I need a goal and a deadline and some sort of accountability.  A goal and a deadline are easy, but the accountability?  Not so much.

I’m going to set up some sort of tracker in my bullet journal, but I’m not quite sure of the final design yet.

(What I really want is the NaNoWriMo graph available all year long that I can plug my monthly word count goal into and have it tell me how much I need to write each day to meet it, etc.  I love that thing – it really helps me stay motivated.)

So now I’m asking:

What keeps you motivated on long term projects? (Not necessarily writing, but anything that doesn’t produce instant results, be it a large embroidery or cross stitch project, a creative endeavor of any sort, saving money for something far in the future, losing weight, getting rid of clutter, whatever.)

What do you do to keep just enough pressure to keep you moving?

 

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Writing, Sort Of

You know, I really shouldn’t be left unsupervised for long periods of time; I get into far too much trouble when left to my own devices.

I had my gallbladder removed on Monday, and managed to convince my surgeon to let me go home that same day.  (I’m a nurse (LPN) and my roommate’s a nurse (RN) so there really wasn’t any valid reason to keep me overnight.  I mean, it wasn’t like I was going to be overdoing things.  All I did was sleep all day and all night, and in the brief moments when I wasn’t sleeping I wasn’t exactly conscious and coherent, but anyhow…)

So, I’ve been home since Monday, conscious since Tuesday.

My roommate was home Tuesday (and I still didn’t feel like doing too much) but she went back to work Wednesday, just in time for me to be feeling well enough to see what kind of trouble I could get into.

About half a lifetime ago, I had a lot of pen pals.  But then life happened and I kind of drifted away from it, although not without regrets, and part of me wishes I could find the addresses of my old pals and write to them again.

But anyhow…

(You all do see where this is going, don’t you?)

I joined a couple pen pal groups on Face Book.

And then I Googled…

Uh-oh.

I’m trying to be good, really I am.

I mean, writing (novels, not letters) is my first priority, but I miss having pen pals.

And letter writing will give me a break from novel writing, and expose me to new ideas and…

See?  Anything can be rationalized and related to writing.

Hey!

I wonder if there’s a group for novel writers looking for pen pals?

*wanders off in search of a cup of tea and the answer to the question*

 

P.S. Me of the illegible handwriting ordered a fountain pen, too.  This should be… interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Magical Unrealism

I have a problem and I really have no idea how to solve it.

I have a tendency to overestimate myself as far as what I can accomplish in any given day/week/month/year/lifetime.

This results in me overbooking and overextending and over-committing myself.

And that results in nothing getting done. (Due, in part, to my “all or none” mentality that makes it hard for me to just chip away at big projects little by little.  I’m working on changing that one, but anyway…)

The above has led to my current backlog that I need to work my way out of.

What is said backlog?

Well…

Two Pocket Letters that are unfinished but overdue.

Two Pocket Letters that aren’t started but is overdue.

One Pocket letter that isn’t started but has no sharp due date.

Three Pocket Letters that are barely started and due soon.

Unknown number of Pocket Letters (I think six or so) that aren’t started and are only semi-committed to but are due soon.

Then there’s the upcoming holiday that I am totally unready for.

And crafts.

Starting with way too many started counted cross stitch projects and ones that aren’t started but that I want to do.

And crochet.  (Must stay off of Ravelry.)

And assorted other crafts that I want to work on.  (Like my much neglected dollhouse that I’m remodeling).

And crafts I want to learn: leather-working, wood-burning, beading, jewelry-making, soap making, spinning, wood-carving…

And then there are the writing projects.

Shall I list them?

Yes, I think I shall.

9K owed from September’s 1K-a-Day Challenge.

27K owed from October’s 1K-a-Day Challenge.

10K owed from November’s 1K-a-Day Challenge. (I hit 50K for NaNoWriMo but my personal goal was 60K.)

31K for December’s 1K-a-Day Challenge.

Finish revisions for Onyx Sun so I can get it published.

Finish Hedge House so I can revise and edit it and get it published so my friend Caroline doesn’t fly over from England and stand over me with a scythe.

Finish Book 6 of The Academy of the Accord series so I can edit the series next year and (hopefully) release it in 2017.

Finish Book 2 of The Other Mages trilogy because that’s all part of my very first NaNoWriMo novel and I really want to get it out there.  I owe it to the books to finish the trilogy because that’s what got me started on this madness.

All of the above can be finished by the end of this month, right?

Then there’s the rest of the list.

Finish Lost House.

Finish Guardians of the Abyss.

Finish a novel based on a tabletop RPG a friend is creating.

Write the sequel to Song and Sword.  (Tentative title: Song and Stone.)

Write the sequel to Sanguine.

Write the sequel to Onyx Sun. (Yes, I know it isn’t even out yet.)

Write a spin off to Onyx Sun.

Finish and revise The Sword and the Shield, a paranormal mess that I wrote in November of 2011, the month that I couldn’t decide what to write for NaNoWriMo so I wrote two 50k novels – while working full time, going to school part time, and ML’ing for the first time. (Work and school were in totally different directions, by the way.)

Finish and revise Disturbed Magic, the other mess from 11/2011.

Finish the trilogy without a name and add it to the revise and edit pile.

Finish Sea Witch (tentative title) – a novel that grew from a picture a friend sent me for a writing prompt.

Finish Vishkya, a fantasy novel that I started simply to shut it up – and for catharsis, to purge something from my past.

Expand a flash fiction piece about an angel and a demon into a novel.

Finish a… (I’m not sure what to call the genre) novel that I started ages ago.  (Like most of my stuff it doesn’t have a name.)

Find and finish a novel that I started so long ago that I didn’t have a good storage system so it was printed chapter by chapter on a dot matrix printer.  (I’m pretty sure that it was written in Word Star and the computer didn’t even have a modem.)

And then there’s a folder full of snippety type things.  They’re not really fully developed enough to be considered novels or even valid starts, but they are more than plot bunnies.  There are too many to list individually.

(The more I worked on this list, the more half-remembered, half-started stories came to mind.  There are more – lots more – and now they’re all going to be clamoring for attention too.)

And there is also my “plot bunny bag” that holds slips of papers that hold ideas for stories.  Every once in a while I get brave and dive into it, but that way lies madness.

And, of course, I should be able to get all of those done by the end of next year.

Right?

 

 

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E Is For…

Ennui

Enervation

Energy Crisis

Whatever you want to call it, I have it.

I managed to get basically nothing done on my two days off.  Oh, I cleaned the rat cage and did laundry and sorted decorations and dragged them up from the basement.   And I risked life and limb to drag the box of cards out of the top of my closet.

I did finish one Pocket Letter that was almost done and I started another.  I’m going to rethink my plan on that though.  The ones that are late are already late and have no chance of hitting a deadline, so I’m going to focus on the one that aren’t late and get them out so that they don’t add to the guilt load that is hanging over my head.

Granted, I don’t have much time on work days, but I figure if I do one card insert before work and one after work I’ll at least be moving forward – slowly, perhaps, but still moving.

And I’m going to need to write every day too, even if it’s just a hundred words.  I know my goal was at least 31k this month and preferably 77k but the 77 is definitely not happening and the 31 is looking iffy because I haven’t written a thing all month.  I can still pull it out, but…

But I’m thinking that I might need to revise my goal for the month from writing 31k (and finishing Book 6 of the Academy of the Accord series) to finishing the first draft of Hedge House and the revisions on Onyx Sun.

But I really want to get Book 6 done so I can work on editing the entire series… But as long as I get it done before I get to editing Book 5 it should be all right.

But Hedge House is a lot closer to being done than Book 6 of The Academy of the Accord is, and Onyx Sun is the only thing currently close to being publishable.

And I really need to get something published.

See, I posted this on FaceBook Wednesday night:

“Someone motivate me to do something. Write. Make pocket letters. Set up blog posts. Something!”

And my friends pitched in to help.

One told me “You can procrastinate when you’re dead, woman. Live while you’re alive! Your characters are waiting for you to bring them to life and take them on an adventure!”  I protested that I wasn’t really procrastinating, I was just doing nothing, and she said “Some days you just have to be a lump.”

Another told me “It’s okay to take a few days to do nothing but recharge. It feels weird, though, to do nothing.”

And another threatened to send me “an exploding bag of corgi shed” if I didn’t get productive.  Of course, that would just be a snack for the killer dust bunnies, so I’m not too concerned about that threat.

Another posted this:

muse

But the most helpful response was this one:

“GET THE FUCK WITH IT!!! I want another book!!”

So, yeah… I need to get busy and get something published.

Soon.

Before the killer dust bunnies breed with the killer plot bunnies and…

 

 

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Procrastination

Can you believe that I’m planning next year’s goals already?  I can’t.

I mean, we still have two months left of this year: there’s no way I should be trying to organize next year’s writing and editing goals.

And yet I found myself doing just that yesterday.  I’d finished my usual morning routine and had caught up on the Sunday Snippets blog hop, so instead of writing or working on an outline, or doing anything else related to the goals still remaining for this year, I started working on making a list and schedule of my goals for next year.

And at some point it dawned on me that I was procrastinating.

“But I’m not,” I argued with myself.  “This is useful stuff that I’m doing.”

Well, yes.  It is useful.  It’s nice to have a list of the things I want to work on and some sort of timetable for getting them done.  But I already have an impossibly long list of things that I need to do by the end of this month.  (I procrastinated more today by making a list of them and figuring out that I need to write 6000 words a day for the rest of the month to make my goal – which, admittedly, will make the 2k a day I want to do next month seem like a short note, but still…)

And that’s the most dangerous kind of procrastination – the kind where you’re doing “useful” stuff – because it doesn’t feel like you’re wasting time so you don’t count it as procrastination.  (Unlike, say, time spent on FaceBook.)

And now it’s time for me to quit procrastinating and go frost the pumpkin bars, which aren’t really procrastination because you can eat them.

 

 

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Making Dreams Come True

In a way, I love working part-time. I love the extra free time (although I need to develop the discipline to use it more effectively for writing) and, being an introvert, it gives me the time I need to recover from being around people for eight hours straight.

On the other hand, more money in the bank account would be a happy thing.

The other drawback to part time work, though, is losing track of time, especially if your schedule changes from week to week.

For instance, I was certain that I had yesterday off, until I looked at the dry erase calendar on the refrigerator on Wednesday.

(Seriously, that dry erase calendar is one of the best things I ever bought.  The dates are written in black, my schedule (work and otherwise) is in blue, my roommate’s schedule (work and otherwise) is in red, and stuff that applies to both of us is in green.)

(I love color coding almost as much as I do lists.)

So anyhow, yesterday I was thinking it was Friday (because in my head that’s when I had to go back to work) and I could wear jeans.  Nope.  Thursday.  I laid out a pair of scrub pants so I’d remember to wear the right clothes.

Now, today it’s Friday and I keep thinking that it’s Saturday.

I don’t think I’m ever going to catch up to myself.

At least, not until Monday when I’ll be off for four days again.

Meanwhile, I’m feeling overwhelmed by projects that are piling up. (Have been piling up.)

Even my normal method of making a list doesn’t seem to be helping.  (Of course, I made my list far too long — it’s a general “to do” list — so I really need to make another one of just writing projects.  Er, make that, just current writing projects — if I included the stuff in the “Novels I’m Ignoring” folder it would be even more overwhelming than the general to do list!)

And then I need to prioritize it. Except they’re all priorities. Every. Single. Thing.  on the list Needs. Done. Now.

But the main thing that needs done is developing the discipline to do it.

Because no matter how big or how much you dream, they don’t become reality by themselves.

So this is a wake up call to myself — and to anyone else who needs it — it’s time to do it!

“All ya gotta do is put your mind to it
Knuckle down, buckle down, do it, do it, do it.”


So let’s do it!

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This Is Not the Post I Was Looking For

Somewhere I have a list of things I wanted to use as topics for blog posts.  If you think I can find said list you don’t know me very well.

But while looking for it I found a couple pages of notes for scenes in one of The Academy of the Accord novels, so now of course I want to go work on it, except it’s part of the “mess in the middle” where I’m separating stories of individual characters out from the general story and sort of segueing them into semi-concurrent books of their own.  (They will start at about the same time – the cadets arriving at the academy – but then they sort of branch off.  Don’t worry – it’s confusing to me, too.)

Anyhow, since I haven’t figured out exactly how to work that into the 1K-a-Day challenge I’m not tackling that mess yet, even though I do want to throw myself back into that world.

(I also haven’t figured out why those notes are over here under my monitor instead of in the folder of notes for that book where they belong, but that’s a whole other issue and I never claimed to be organized.  I claim to try but I’ve never claimed to have succeeded.)

I really should attack the mess under the monitor – who knows what other gems are lurking there?  I have a Plot Bunny bag that probably needs gone through again as well.

Oh, no!  This is starting to smell like procrastination, and I’ve been doing so well.  I have finally quit dithering about and have gotten back to work on my trilogy without a name.  I’m 4000some words into book three and the prince is still [PRINCE] in the manuscript. I really have to settle on a spelling for the kid’s name pretty soon.

And that brings up an interesting question:

If cleaning = procrastination
and I put off cleaning until I’ve finished the book, then does
finishing the book = procrastination from cleaning?

And how much does anyone want to bet that the list of topics appears shortly after this posts?

 

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Slow Progress

I’ve been editing Sanguine and I only have a handful of chapters left to red ink, and then I can make the changes on the computer.   I think I want to give it one more round of polish after that, and maybe see if I can get a volunteer to give it a read through and provide feedback.

I found a great location for editing – the common room of the local branch of a university.  There’s not much of anything going on right now so it’s practically deserted and I can sit down and work without the distraction of rats and the internet.  It is slightly annoying because I have to leave myself notes to look something up later, but on the other hand, it’s more productive because I have to leave myself notes to look something up later.

And speaking of productive, I haven’t been very.  But I just signed up for a page a day challenge on Face Book, so I should get 30 pages added to Book One of The Other Mages trilogy before July Camp starts.  Maybe even more if I really get on a roll with it.

And one page a day isn’t an overwhelming amount, so hopefully the “one page at a time” approach will get me through the initiation scene that I’m avoiding.  It will be much smoother sailing once it’s over and done with.

Small steps…

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