“Someone, somewhere needs the next page
of your book now!”
My friend Rachel tossed me this motivator a while ago now. I was discussing the difficulties of writing my memoir.
Since school went back, I’m focusing on finishing it. It is the ‘work’ goal / theme – This doesn’t mean I will ever manage to sit down and write for 6 or 7 hours a day. Some writing of memoir is about coming to terms with the stuff you’re trying to get on the page. It takes shape, reforms or comes into view as the words bleed onto the page. I find it satisfying but not always a quick or easy process.
The ‘focusing’ part is a bit like bringing a sail boat into the wind: I’m letting a few things go whilst I tighten up and steer a new course. Same boat, same destination just a different tack for now.
One of the things I’m letting go, is a focus on social media. I started this blog to get support for the lonely task of writing. Somewhere along the way, I’ve become enchanted by the constant interaction blogging can generate. Unfortunately however, it doesn’t write a book. And enchanted is a deliberate choice of words here as I’m almost spellbound, certainly compelled to join in with most things I come across! It’s a little addictive..
One psychology piece I came across this week explained teenage brains are highly reward focused and how short term rewards can drive certain behaviours such as computer gaming.
Hmmm. I’m a fan of killing a few trolls on my iPad whilst drinking my first cup of tea of the day (and the second and -oh-help-me- sometimes the third..) I’m no longer a teenager but it got me thinking about how the constant interaction with Twitter and my blog might be providing more of a ‘reward’ than I realised.
When you read some of the research around habit breaking and addiction including everything from overeating to less obvious habits like interrupting people, a major learning is that breaking one habit is easier if you break several all in one go – A large shift in state allows a bit more mental reprocessing and perhaps there’s less association with the gaps where the old habit would like to maintain its cosy place!
So, I’ve put away my iPad – I’ve replaced trollicide with writing any old blather whilst drinking that first cup of tea.
I’ve been through all my social media accounts and removed all text notifications so I’m not interrupted / distracted / tempted by the chimes and boings that go off as something new comes in.
I’ve designated Friday as Blog Admin Day. So far, so good. I’ve written up my contribution to the dice generated BiteSizeMemoir and posted it. I’ve replied to various comments. I’ve written this post and started on a couple more including one outlining changes to Bite Size Memoir and another finishing off my Chemobrain Series. All in all, the day has felt focused with ‘permission’ to blog whilst also being undistracted by everything else on my To Do List.
My pedometer is on and the phone is out. I’ve walked and talked with real human beings this week – exercising and getting a communication fix all at the same time.
I’m having less success dumping the carbs from my diet but I am persisting !
Over the summer I was less in control of my time because we had a lot on. And Max was home – he had coursework and lines to learn and wanted testing. Sometimes he even wanted to chat! I needed to be more flexible, rather than have the anal structure being on my own allows. The irony was, I also noticed I got more done.
In the week after Max went back to school, I sank in the space he left behind. And it had me thinking about the saying attributed to Elbert Hubbard:
If you want something done, ask a busy man, for the other kind has no time.
So crazy as it might sound, I’ve resolved to put more back in my schedule (rather than the ‘space’ I was allowing for writing) and see if I get more done. If I only end up with an hour to write some days, maybe I’ll make sure I use it more effectively! So far, I’ve joined a writer’s group, signed up for a writer’s class and begun sticking friends in for walks and coffees. There’s a photography workshop on the horizon too. Even the ironing is kept up to date daily!
I had been toying with writing one combined post a week, including the Bite Size Memoir prompts but have decided to keep posts focused on one thing only. I think that way they’ll be quicker to write and readers will soon know whether it’s one they want to read or not!
The upshot is though, some actual writing and editing has already taken place this week in calmer, more productive sessions but with the energy and focus that had been slipping away before the summer. I feel in control and rather excited about it.
I know I’m not alone in needing to sort the balance out between the various things I would like to achieve so I’m interested to hear from anyone else with more ideas and suggestions. I’ll report back from time to time as ideas work or fail!