Tag Archives: finding time

The Weekly Re-Motivator: No Exit


Linda’s prompt this week is “ex”, and it’s hard to read that and not think about the ways I’m coming up short of late. For the past couple of weeks, I’m an ex-every-day-writer, an ex-dedicated-to-working-out-workout-doer, and an ex-regular-blogger.

It’s hard to lay all the blame on one thing, but I’m gonna go ahead and lay much of it on the new job. I anticipated it would be stressful; I didn’t anticipate that it would leave me totally drained at the end of every day, with very little semblance of my old work/workout/write routine.

And the sad fact is, it’s going to get worse before it gets better, because starting very soon, I’ll be pulling some serious after-school hours, which is only going to exacerbate the problem. There is, in short, no exit.

Not to fear. You’re not off the hook so easily, dear reader. Only a matter of time until I figure out how to make it all work, and I’ve already mostly figured out how to get my daily novel writing in (3000+ words this week — good ones, too).

In the meantime, here are some things that might have merited full blog posts, were I not struggling to move myself from the couch when I’m not at work this week:

Rio crowds heckling Hope Solo by booing her every time she touches the ball, and shouting “ZIKA” on every one of her kickoffs. Solo is hardly the most likable personality on the team, and she’s obviously got some off-the-field issues, but she’s not the kind of player that’s going to buckle to, or even be impressed by, a little bit of hate. The whole thing just kind of makes me laugh — and I imagine that she pictures a deadly cloud of mosquitoes ferrying the ball to midfield every time she hears the odd cry.

Speaking of the Olympics, I hardly watched the opening ceremonies at all — the only thing we caught was a demonstration with a Brazilian prototype airplane that was … I dunno … it started in reality on the field and then turned into this weird greenscreen thing on the broadcast? Between that and the strange box-stacking thing that started it all off, I just couldn’t get into it — and things weren’t helped by the fact that NBC was cutting to commercial every five minutes. I should hardly be pooping on the presentation designed to highlight the spirit of the host country and the camaraderie of the games, but the opening ceremonies are always so odd.

Still, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking — the shots of the mountains overlooking the bay are just staggeringly beautiful, if you can forget about the fact that the water would fail a breathalyzer test if breathalyzers could test for poop.

Then again, it’s hard to forget about all the poop in that water, or the fact that those swimming in the bay were advised “not to open their mouths” while swimming.

And on one final, unrelated note, the new job gives me a somewhat longer commute, which is giving me the time to catch up on some podcasts that I neglected over the summer. I’ve caught up on all kinds of fascinating minutiae. Granny-style free-throw shooting. Supreme Court justice shenanigans. Black hole collisions and gravitational waves (not “gravity waves,” there’s a difference, it turns out). And the ins and outs of shooting a Youtube show as a woman (never read the comments, apparently).

Oh, and Donald Trump is crazier every day; cracking like an overripe egg under the heat lamp of the election spotlight.

I can’t wait for self-driving cars to become a thing, so that I can actually get some work done when I’m driving back and forth to work.

More blargs this week. The universe depends on it.

This weekly remotivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every weekend, I use Linda G. Hill’s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results.


Lucky Bastard, or A Glitch in the Matrix


No re-motivator this week, because holy carp am I tapped out. Long week at school. Long week at the novel-writing game. Wife is hella sick. No time to muse on creativity and motivation and inspiration and the darkly wonderful things that happen in the writer’s lizard brain.

But, dude. You guys. GUYS.

I am thirty-something years old, and I have never in my life found a four-leaf clover. And there were times that I looked. I can distinctly remember a younger, high-school aged or maybe even collegiate version of myself spending entire minutes in weedy fields searching for one.

Never happened.

Then, today, this:20160326_185018.jpg

That’s totally my hand; you can tell by the horrible cuticles. I was gobsmacked. We hopped out of the car after a long day visiting with family, and I happened to glance down at my feet, and there it was.

But wait. WAIT.

Not even an hour later, I’d been to the grocery store and come back, and I was reflecting on how strange it was that I should find a four-leaf cloverin my own front yard. I glanced at my feet as I stepped over a totally different patch of clover. And I glanced again.

NO WAY.

20160326_193643.jpg

But yes way. A second four-leaf clover.

You guys.

Either I’m really, really lucky, or my front yard is a glitch in the matrix.

*skitters off to wait for Morpheus to unplug me*

This weekly remotivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every weekend, I use Linda G. Hill’s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results.


Accidentally Inspired is Two Years Old!


WordPress informs me that my blarg is two years old today.

Baby, Crown, Birthday, Cute, Child, Blue Eyes, Girl

(That is not either of my babies.)

I guess that tracks, though it’s a little hard to believe.

I started this little experiment at the same time I decided I was going to try writing a novel. I intended it to be a space for reflecting, for puzzling out the process, for venting the pressure when I got stressed out from the process (for all I didn’t know what writing a novel would be like, I at least anticipated somewhat the stress it would bring). It’s grown from that; I’m comfortable enough now with my process that I don’t need to post so much about it to keep myself honest, and I’ve developed a taste for using it as a space to talk about other things.

Reviews, for example, have been a lot of fun to write. As have political posts, especially the closer we’ve gotten to the election this year. I still post about running every now and then, even though it drives my wife nuts (“how much,” she rightly asks, “can you really say about it??”). Then there’s the Weekly Re-Motivator posts, which have served to keep me on the straight and narrow for getting the writing done (and, judging from the comments, have also helped some of my readers out as well — which I think is fargoing awesome). And the blarg continues to be a good motivator for keeping short fiction flowing, though I’m maybe not as stringent about posting it every week like I used to be. Frankly, when I go back and look at my numbers from when I started the blarg, I don’t know how I maintained that pace at this time of year. (Actually it’s no great secret; I wasn’t coaching soccer in that first year, and soccer has turned out to be an even bigger time sink than I originally anticipated).

Some of you may even be hanging around from when the blog was once called “Pavorisms” — it didn’t become “Accidentally Inspired” until about six months ago. Hooray for arbitrary milestones! I particularly like the new title, not just because it’s been the working title of my book since before I ever wrote it, but because it pretty much represents my thoughts about my artistic process, and it has, in that way, helped me to rethink and rediscover a direction for my thoughts here. I think it’s awesome that ordinary people like me can create things that other people enjoy, so I try to keep that in mind and keep myself inspired.

So, a recap:

Since the inception of my once-writing-now-more-of-a-Life-the-Universe-and-Everything blog, I’ve accomplished:

1 full-length (90,000 word) novel, almost finished with its third edit, and about to be sent out in search of an agent.

1 drafted novel (about 85,000 words), which I will maybe start editing after I finish this last pass at AI … or maybe I’ll just go draft another!

A … bunch of flash fiction stories. My collection page lists about 40, but it’s woefully out of date; I want to say it’s closer to 60 or 70 by now. At about 1000 words a piece, that’s another 70,000 words. That kinda blows my mind, actually. 70 stories. To say nothing of the ones I never finished…

A total of 462 posts here at the blarg. Subtract out the 70 stories and that’s almost 400. My average used to be almost 1000 words per post, but I’ve since embraced brevity a bit more and aim for more like 500-700 on average, though my reviews tend to run longer. I’ll split the difference and call it 800, for a really rough estimate of  … 320,000 words written.

Holy carp.

Holy mother of cod carp.

That doesn’t even seem possible.

Add that all up and it comes to … 565,000 words.

*Passes out*

*Comes to, woozily reads that number again*

Seriously, I think I might need to have a little lie-down. That number is destroying my mind right now. Five hundred sixty-five … thousand … words written since the inception of this blarg. Even if I’m wildly off in my average word count per post here, that’s still 500,000.

It defies logic. It defies belief. I have a full-time job. I have two kids. I have a wife who I spend a not-insignificant amount of time with, not writing. How in the everloving hell have I found the time to write — at all — let alone half a million words? I don’t know how I’ve done it, but the ink doesn’t lie.

Let it never be said that you don’t have time to do the things you want to do. Let it never be said that you don’t know how. I don’t have time to do all this writing. I have no idea what I’m doing.

I’m doing it anyway.

And I plan to keep doing it for quite some time.

If you’re out there reading, you have my thanks. Drop a comment below and let me know if you are!

 

 

 


The Weekly Re-Motivator: Short of Time


I’m tired.

This is the part of the year where everything seems to converge and my time and energy run low, the gas tank puttering on fumes, the next gas station a couple of impossible miles ahead. Soccer is getting into full swing, which means I’m losing out on a couple entire evenings every week, and several hours on the average weeknight. School tends to pick up during this time as well, as we start to look forward toward the end of the year: conferences, scheduling for next year, graduation, all of which says nothing about the old refrain of grades, grades, grades. It’s colder out, which makes it harder to get out for my runs, which makes me more likely to miss them, which has its own sapping effect. And, of course, the days are shorter, so there is literally less daylight in which to get done the things that need doing.

Again: I’m tired.

The inclination is to just let a few things slide. Miss a run here and there. Let a day’s worth of writing get away from me. Shell out for some fast food instead of cooking a proper meal.

But momentum matters, and it cuts both ways.

I’ve worked really hard to establish a momentum which has me writing every day, exercising almost every day, waking up early, doing a decent job balancing work with family. And I know that that momentum will survive a skipped workout, a slipped writing session, a meal of junk food. But just like the slow orbit of the moon is slowly disrupting the earth’s rotation, little things add up over time. Skipping a workout on Monday makes it easy to skip the one on Tuesday as well. Leaving out the writing time on Thursday makes me realize just how nice it would be to have that extra time on Friday, too.

Hourglass, Duration, Temporal Distance, Egg Timer

It’s why we have the recognizable, lamentable stereotype of the person who retires and develops Alzheimer’s or dementia in just a few short years. The routine goes away, there’s not nearly so much to occupy their time, and suddenly, they’re no longer able to accomplish a fraction of what they once could.

Writer types know how hard it is to protect their writing time, especially when the routine is disrupted. It only gets worse when nature itself is conspiring against you by literally removing minutes and hours from the day. The truth is, I know it won’t be that big a deal if I let the project breathe for a few days while I catch up on some other work, and it certainly won’t hurt me to catch up on a little sleep instead of rising at 5 to go for a run. But I think it becomes even more important to be true to our goals when it’s hard to follow through on them.

It’s like a placekicker who never misses a goal in practice but shanks his kicks during the game. Well and good to deliver when it’s easy, but it doesn’t help much if you can’t get the work done when it matters. Which is not to say that the work matters more at this time of year than at any other — unless you’re lucky enough to have a deadline looming — but I just come back to knowing that the momentum matters. My momentum will survive a day or two of slippage, but an entire week? A month?

No chance.

Winter has its hooks in. I’m tired. We’re all tired.

But there is still work to do.

As a great American once said, we do these things “not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

So I guess I’ll find a way to lace up for my run later this afternoon, even though I missed it this morning. And I’ll find a way to carve out a few more minutes for my writing, too.

Luckily, the kids are out of town for the night. Maybe this is why god invented grandparents.

This weekly remotivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every weekend, I use Linda G. Hill’s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results.


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