Getting Behind for Good Reasons

When it comes to my writing goals, I try to be flexible.  It’s not good to tie myself down too tightly to these plans.  That’s because I need to be able to work with the rest of my schedule.  My work is kind of random, even if I have a goal for hours, I can have days where I work many more hours or many fewer hours.
So this week, my goal is just to keep moving forward.  Last week, I got myself off track because of some weird spikes in my schedule.  I wound up with a ton of work on days where I had a lot of energy about writing.  This made me feel a little bit terrible.  I was too tired at the end of the day to be able to write.
But that’s okay.
It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, if you’re working on your goals, you are making progress.  I was spending time at least thinking about the writing and what I wanted to include.  Just because my fingers weren’t tapping away at the keyboard doesn’t mean that I wasn’t doing good work.
I understand that there are people out there, books out there, podcasts out there, and blogs out there that will tell me that I need to be scheduling time at some point during my day.  That I should be working earlier in the day or getting less sleep (not a ton less) in order to chase this ideas and goals.
I don’t want to say that they are entirely correct.  I want to focus on how it really works for me.  I get it.  Some people can schedule in writing and not feel terrible about their work.  They’ll be able to sit down and get into it.
I can’t always do that.  My work schedule moves a lot.  If I’m traveling, it gets weirder.  So how am I supposed to get my writing in?
Time goals.  I say that I want to get an hour in.  As long as I do more than one minute, I am within my goal.  I am reaching towards it.  I count the time that I spend staring into space thinking about the story or the ideas or the characters.  Even if my fingers aren’t moving, I’m thinking.  It doesn’t matter that I’m not sitting down at the same time every day for this work.  It matters that I am working.  I have notebooks and paper and sticky notes always around near my desk.  When I get an idea, I jot it down.  That kind of work counts too.
I’m not going to define myself by the number of words that I am writing in a day.  I’m going to define myself by the overall progress that I’m making.
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How To Clean Your House

  1. Start with a room.  A single room.  Take a good hard look at it.  Think about how you want it to look.  Write it down.  Keep it in your head.
  2. Start cleaning.  Go section by section.  Focus on those areas and make sure that you go through them thoroughly before you move on.
  3. Don’t get bogged down in the memories.  You may donate items.  Don’t get choked up late at night when you think about the memories that you are throwing out.
  4. Try to remember those days.  Remember the other items that you’ve donated.  Remember all the things that you thought you forgot.  Realize that things are just things, even if giving them away leaves an ache in your chest.
  5. Look into the room, think about the hardest things that you can give away.  There’s so much there that you don’t use.  Give away the things that hurt.  If you’re not using them, then get rid of them.
  6. Abandon the minimalist point of view that you were trying to work into.   If you haven’t given away the stuff, make sure you grab the things that really matter.  The little things that connect you to those pivotal moments in your life.
  7. Get rid of the things that mean almost nothing.  Throw out the papers full of notes that mean nothing.  Don’t bother trying to decipher them. It’s not worth the time.  It’s not worth your heart.
  8. Eventually, remember that your home is in disarray.
  9. Tidy the house up.  Promise to tackle the rest of the house another day.

Wondering

It’s always felt like a crime to wonder.  I’ve wanted to think about the future and get somewhere a little bit more interesting.  I’ve always wanted to focus on the future.  I’ve always wanted to think about it in the healthiest way possible, but I’m not sure how to get there.
Anxiety is a little bit of a tricky path when it comes to thinking about the future.  If I think too hard, I start thinking about all the things that go wrong.  I’m not the only one.  Not only people with anxiety feel like this.  It’s not unusual.
But I’m getting sick of feeling so, so stuck.  It’s hard not to feel like that when I’m out of college, working, and not in the physical location that I want to be.
When you’re sitting at a crossroads, there are a lot of things to consider.  The work that I’m doing now will lead up to the time that I can start taking all of the steps that I want.
I’m looking at moving, finding a place to go.  Even if I stay home for another six months, I’m going to use that time to generate enough money that I’ll have a sizable amount to move with.
It’s all about the steps.  I get scared of that big picture future.  If I look at the steps and make smaller monthly goals, then I’m better able to look at the future.  And that’s what I think a lot of people think need to do.  Focusing on the future sometimes meaning taking it a little more slowly than you want.

Pride and Prejudice

When it comes to classic novels, Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books.  I like the way that it puts the story.  I like the way that it is so applicable to the modern day.  If you haven’t seen Hank Green’s adaptation of it (The Lizzie Bennett Diaries), then I would suggest you take a look at it.
For a romance book, it’s also about living.  It’s about the expectations that we are put under.  it’s about how people deal with their own pride, whether it is at risk because of someone else’s actions or their own.  From there, they deal with all of the prejudices that they have at their soul.
No character is exempt from this.  Everyone deals with these issues.  Every character has a different permutation.  Even the background characters deal with.
However, despite the issues that each character has, there’s genuine love and human in each of these characters.  This story is about humans dealing with human emotions.
I could go on and on about how all the different characters create this wonderful tapestry of a story.  It’s one of my favorite books.  I own two copies of it, one that is a special edition from the release of The Lizzie Bennett Diaries and one that I read the first time.
I don’t want to talk about too much about it.  If you really want to see what I love about it, then I would suggest just getting it and reading it.  I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone that hasn’t read it.

Time of Day

When I think about waking up, I feel dread.  Even in the moment, I resist as hard as I can.  I don’t want to get up.  I don’t want to try and work on projects or start work.  Morning has never been my favorite time of day.
But I can’t help but think of the mornings that I woke up in my last quarter of college.  I would wake up early and look out the window.  The sun would be coming up and the reds and oranges and pinks would splatter across the blue-ish sky.  I didn’t like the mornings.  I didn’t savor starting my day early, but I felt happy watching that sunrise take over the sky.  Often, I would get to work on schoolwork or something and just savor the morning time.
When I think of my favorite time, I think of night, I think of twilight.  I revel in the slow fading of the light.  The color splashes are just as intense and the quiet of night is where I feel best.  It’s the time of day that I can really get something done.
I don’t ‘work’ at night.  I don’t really take care of anything that’s serious work.  I cut myself off at a certain time because night is a sacred time.
Night is when I spend time writing and when I let my imagination run wild.
There is no time of day that is perfect.  Each one has its own problems.  But I’m working on falling in love with each part of the day.  If I find the value in all of it, then I’ll be able to really appreciate it all.

Working Hard With A Plan

Last week, I wanted to present you with a good idea of what I was working on.  This week, I just wanted to focus on one thing that I was trying to work on.
I am a little bit of a hoarder when it comes to the stories that I keep.  I keep almost everything in digital form, but there are some ideas and stories that have managed to elude my storage tricks.  However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t have them.  While doing some cleaning in my room, I came upon several stacks of papers and folders.  I was going through them and found some ideas.  I had half of them as outlines, but I was missing character files.  There were several files missing from another story that I knew had actual writing involved.
So I did what any good writer does.  I combined the two.  I took the general basis of the outlines that I had and the ideas of the characters that I had from the other story.  I had to do some remixing of the content.  I decided that I needed to also get away from the original characters, so I used a couple of online generators to help me concoct a new set of characters.
The ‘problem’ of all of this is that it means that I’m adding a new story to the ranks of things that I want to get done.  I’m really trying to finish stories, but I fight myself and can’t get around to it.  So instead of trying to scare myself more, I decided that I needed something to guide me.  I’ve used a sheet that I can fill in to set up an outline of the steps and start working on due dates.  Things may change, but that’s what white out is for.
Right now, I’m right on track.  I’ve finished my outline and I’m planning to work on a seventh of this book every week.  I’m not sure how it will go, especially since some of the plotlines are quite large.  But I’m going to attempt it.  I’ll let you know next week just how my attempt at writing a book in seven weeks will work.

How To Write

  1. Begin by thinking.  You’ll want to think hard about all sorts of subjects.  It doesn’t matter if you love the subjects or they make you angry.  It doesn’t matter if they’re real or fake.  You’ll want to think hard and you’ll want to think often.  maybe some thoughts will come to the surface of your mind
  2. When those thoughts bubble to the surface, you will find yourself unable to contain them anymore.  You may start talking about these thoughts and ideas all the damn time.  You will likely annoy someone with these thoughts unless you have been writing since you were young.  If that is the case, then you will likely be quiet about your ideas to prevent them from bursting out of you.  Maybe there will be one or two people that you trust to talk to about this subject.
  3. Take those thoughts and anything that you have thought about when talking about the ideas and put them on paper.  Smash them into the paper and force them to try and match the format that you want.
  4. Listen to the words as you press them into the paper.  There are times that the words that you start dealing with will argue with the way that you are trying to put them on paper.  Listen to them.  Try to find a way to work with them and not against them.
  5. Edit.
  6. Edit again.
  7. Edit again and again.
  8. Listen to the thoughts and the words and everything that happened between the thought and it being on the paper.  Try to make sure that you are in the writing, but don’t be too much of yourself in the paper.  Even if you’re writing about yourself.
  9. Once you have managed to find a way to put yourself and your thoughts on the page, admire it.  Hopefully, you will have someone to share this story with.  Hopefully, you won’t keep this story in your chest for a long period of time.  Get your writing out there.  Share it with the world.
  10. Start again.