Tag Archives: time management

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

As I’ve been working on my October NaNoPrep I’ve discovered I may be facing a tough break up. If I am going to be successful with a NaNoWriMo commitment, I’m going to have to stop spending so much time with my iPhone.

I admit to having a borderline unhealthy relationship with my phone. I wake up and check all my Twitter and Facebook notifications. I read any new text messages. I check my email. I read some favorite blogs.

Throughout the day when I have a free moment, I’m looking at my phone. When I wait in line at the grocery store, I check my phone. When I am at the doctor’s office, I check my phone. When I’m at football practice, I check my phone. When I get the kids to bed, I check my phone. When I’m cooking dinner and the kids are playing Xbox, I check my phone. My phone is a constant go to for info and entertainment to fill the free moments.

The problem with having that constant go to for any type of distraction is that those free moments are all suddenly filled. By filling my open moments away from work and family obligations with a phone in front of my face, I remove the opportunity to just be still and think.

If I can take a break from my iPhone addiction, at least for the month of November, I can use the time I might otherwise be drifting through Facebook with no real purpose to get in my word count for the day, or at least make a start on it. I can work out a difficult plot point while sitting in the doctor’s office instead of shopping around for stuff for the house on a favorite website.  I can think through how the next scene I’m writing may develop while I wait in the grocery line instead of poring through the latest pictures of a favorite actor on Twitter.

By removing, or severely limiting, the smart phone distractions, I can open myself up for a healthier relationship with my own creativity. After November’s writing challenge comes to an end, I may drift back into that relationship over time, but perhaps I’ll see how well I can do on my own.

For all the good the break may bring, I have to admit that breaking up will be hard to do. 🙂

What about you? Do you have a smart phone addiction? Do Twitter and Facebook notifications call for your attention? Are you perpetually connected to your phone? Do you think you, or someone you know, could do well with a break up? I’d be happy to hear about it the comments.

Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

~CJS

The Hardest Part of Writing

This past Thursday I began the annual October Poetry Writing Month Challenge (OctPoWriMo). CJ got me started on it last year and I couldn’t wait for it to begin this year. And boy, did it ever start. I’ve already had two challenges that gave me pause. One was to write cinematically and the other was to write a shape poem on the subject of showing up. And BOOM, baby! I knew what to use as my subject for today’s post here.

Writing is hard. Don’t let anyone tell you anything different. To sit down in a chair and write for a set period of time is not natural, and the inclination is to procrastinate. To find anything else other than what you should be doing, i.e. writing. So, the hardest part of writing is showing up.

What I mean is to be focused on what you are doing. It’s relatively easy to become distracted. Let’s see, there’s Facebook, or Twitter, or, oh yeah, what was that thing on Amazon you were looking at? Or maybe there’s some housework that needs to be done, or you really should take that walk you’re supposed to be taking. Guess what…you aren’t showing up. In fact, there’s nothing being written because other things have taken your time and attention.

Now, I’m not talking about those things that really need taking care of, e.g. kids needing to be fed, dogs needing to be walked, the tire changed on the car. Obviously, family (and laundry) is important. But, I’m fairly certain that you can do without all the drama on Facebook for at least thirty minutes.

This is why I like doing writing challenges. They force me to show up, and that, in turn, sharpens my skills and strengthens my weaknesses. Especially when I’m doing an online blog challenge. I get immediate feedback from different readers and their viewpoints are invaluable. In minutes I can tell if I need to change POV or if I’ve missed something. Is the poem I wrote subpar or should I consider adding it to a future collection folder? What needs tweaking and what did I do right?

The two prompts that I was especially challenged by nearly had me stumped. Writing cinematically was a prompt where we had to view our favorite movie, scene, or video, mute it, and view it without sound. We then had to write a poem in such a way as to express the way the scene came across to us. Well, I don’t have a particularly favorite movie or video so I chose a scene from Sir Ian McKellen’s 2008 performance of King Lear. The scene itself had moved me to torrential sobbing. Sir Ian is like a grandfather figure to me and so the end scene is heart-wrenching. I didn’t much like the poem I wrote (read here), but I was surprised by how many people were moved by my words. I showed up and put a lot of thought and focus into it, even using two phrases from the play to emphasize Lear’s frame of mind. (By the by, this is an excellent exercise to utilize sensory perception-take away all sound and write only what you see.)

The other prompt was difficult only because I really do not like writing shape poetry. That’s where you write a poem whose form is a visual shape on the page. Think Shel Silverstein:

shel

The day I was supposed to write for this prompt ended up being incredibly busy, but I still pushed it off for as long as I could. I REALLY don’t like writing shape poetry (probably because my illustrative skills suck-Joe, feel like giving me some lessons?). But still, I showed up and completed the challenge:

Uncomfortably Numb 10-3-2015

Yes, I wanted to make you cross-eyed. No, not really. The spiral itself is central to the idea/theme of the poem. Here is the actual poem:

Uncomfortably Numb

By Jesi Scott

 

Those eternal days of not being enough

not having it all together

lost hopeless

small cry-yourself-to-sleep days

when even your heart doesn’t show up but hides

in the endless pit of hell on earth-

What brimstone scorches worse than this black hole named despair?

Sucked dry and spit back out into chaos where

the best you can do is show up but

your best isn’t good enough

and so you spiral down and down and down…but still, you show up.

The poem itself can stand alone but is definitely more impactful when utilizing the shape (spiral). It gives the sense I wanted to convey of falling in and spinning out of control.

I wouldn’t have come up with either of these poems if I hadn’t shown up. You have to make the time to write. You have to give it your complete attention.

Showing up is half the battle.

Have a great week!

Jesi

 

 

Piggy back riding Time

After reading Jesi’s post on Monday and then CJ’s post on Tuesday, it seems time is a relevant issue here lately. So I am catching a piggy back ride on their topic. How do we solve the time management epidemic that is going around?

It isn’t like we can add more hours to our day, unless we start sleeping less at night. Hmm, I already average 5/6 hours as it is, if I cut back anymore, I am going to become a walking zombie and I think that will cause more of a problem than a resolution.

Here lately I have been feeling bogged down and writing hasn’t been a priority for me. Part of it has been readjusting my time management, but also because my head just hasn’t been in the game.

With a new job (that I hate), trying to find another new job (and succeeding, thankfully), school letting out (the kids have grown monstrous second heads and I am not sure who these kids are, but they have replaced my cute ones), chores (stupid evil tasks), exercising (got to keep those two-headed monsters and myself healthy), enrolling myself back into school (I needed to make sure that I filled any & all allotted free time), and the blogging (I keep forgetting that I have TWO blogs to write for), my actual writing has merely consisted of playing with scenes in my head.

Sure I have figured out how to fix some of my WIP problems, but that doesn’t really count in the writing world now does it?

We all have life and issues that get in the way. Jesi has her kids, CJ is working overtime, David is a juggler of professions, Amanda has family, floods and a (super exciting) Con coming up , and Joe… Joe is moving to Florida right now. Like. Right. Now. (Hope the weather is nasty and he gets a sunburn his first day! Just kidding. Kind of.) 🙂

In reality, our lives are always busy and going and going and going. Queue the Energizer Bunny, please. So it is up to us to MAKE the time to write. We just have to set reasonable goals for ourselves, be it 500 words a day, or just to write an hour a few times a week, as long as we are still putting words on paper. Because if we don’t, then where are we going?

My goal is to start writing 45 minutes four times a week. I will set aside certain days and times that will become my writing time and stick to it. This might change once I get my class schedule, but that is alright, as long as I find a new goal that fits my timetable and stick with it.

With a new season upon us, what are your goals? How do you time manage? Let me know in the comments below.

Till next time,

~AJP

time-to-write

Time, Time, Time…

See what’s become of me…

I’m sorry for the Simon & Garfunkel (or The Bangles) ear worm and please don’t hate me if you are singing that all day, but I had this song in my head as I thought about how my time seems to be always short lately. I have so many, many, many things I need to do, want to do, and try to do.  Also it seems that I have so much I am just not getting done for lack of time.

At a recent meeting at work, one of the managers discussed the importance of time management, and while I wholeheartedly agreed with the argument, I knew that even with excellent management of my time, I frequently still come up short on the time to accomplish everything.

I’ve started looking at how to better manage my time though, as I’ve been missing out of some important things lately because of a shift in time spent at work with an ever increasing volume in our business. I’m thankful for the job, but the overtime has cut into and shifted around other things I normally do-including writing and my writing group attendance. Less family time on weeknights has meant maximizing family time on the weekends. Less time for chores during the week means adding more of those on the weekends. My writing time (and making it to writing group-sorry guys I know I’m terrible!) have suffered as a result.

I saw this article on ways to improve time management while looking at ideas to see how I can maximize the time I do have, including guarding my writing time a bit better.  One suggestion is that an activity “that’s important to your success should have a time assigned to it” The article points out that to-do lists can get unmanageable but an appointment book can sometimes really work. Like Jesi saying in her post yesterday that she is “grounding” herself to get some writing done, I’ve decided I need to get back to committed writing times.  I’ve seen an abbreviated version of JK Rowling’s quote below about protecting writing time before, but I love this full quote I found on Goodreads :

“Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have “essential” and “long overdue” meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg.”

Whether it’s setting aside writing time, like I’d like to, or trying to capitalize on the time with family, or time spent playing catch up on all the stuff we’ve fallen behind on in our life, occasionally we have to take a look at our time and how it is spent.  What is important? What isn’t so important? Can this wait, or just not be done at all? Or is this essential?

Right now I am working on these questions and working to find solutions to making it all work. What I do know is that none of us are guaranteed time, so I want to make the most of what I have.

How do you make time for what is important to you? Have any tips you’d like to share, please feel free to comment with your best advice.

Have a great week!

~CJS