Quiet table in the back, please.

Quiet table in the back, please.

I’ve got a guest blog today over at my friend Stuart Nager’s. He’s got a series going on about Creativity to which I have added my voice. Lots of neat posts there from so many perspectives on creativity.  I’d love to hear from you over there.

The holidays have arrived and the kids are home from school until Jan 2.  We’ve got the Holiday TV Special schedule printed out by the couch. We’ve read the Polar Express and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  Wonder what book the kids will choose tonight? 

Gone are the schedules and the calendar full of stuff. I’ve decided to heed the call of the holiday break and take a little working vacation myself.

I’ve promised myself that I’ll get through this last round of edits on my novel by January 1.  Back when I made this proclamation it was November and time seemed so abundant!  Now I see the need to step away from the procrastination-inducing distractions that lurk behind my word document and hunker down.  

I’m going to grab my netbook and step out of my cave for to the change scenery.

I’m going to sit in the big chair by the fire with the dogs.

I’m going to catch up on my giant dusty reading pile.

and watch Pride and Prejudice mini-series.

There will be banana bread.

and Peach Amazing.

and tea.

I’ll be back.  :)

I leave you with this:

10 Pieces of Advice from Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies That Can Transform Your Life

3 Tips for Beating Procrastination

3 Tips for Beating Procrastination

I wrote before about Completion Anxiety and how that fear-disguised-as-delay can so easily turn into procrastination. I remain convinced that there are degrees of procrastination which can be identified by their core reason.  When you can get to the bottom of WHY you’re putting something off, you can start working on steps to getting it done.

That said, sometimes it feels like there is nothing you can do to force yourself to get to work. I know. I am a Master Procrastinator. And sometimes I must resort to actual tactics and trick myself into getting things done. I’ve organized closets in order to not write. I mean, why work when you can curl up by the fire with your thick wooly socks and your faithful dogs by your side and read a book, or better yet: nap, right?

Alas, even I must get my stuff done and so the self-trickery begins. You may be wondering how it is possible to trick oneself.  This is not exactly magic, here.  You can be both the Great and Powerful Oz behind the curtain and sweet Dorothy Gale on the other side. But it is simpler than that, thank the stars, because who needs to add more work to the lack of work, all in order to get to work?  Not I.

So, what can you do when the Procrastination Machine has you tied down to the gears of time and your poor project is a few cogs ahead of you about to be squashed as your deadline approaches?


3 Ways to Beat Procrastination

1. Reward Yourself – I used to scoff at my fellow writers who would buy themselves a cupcake or other delectable treat and place it on display knowing they would not be able to devour all the tasty goodness until they reached whatever goal they had set for themselves. That is silly, I’d say to myself. Who could fall for that? As an aside: Don’t ever say these things out loud to your friends because then you will have to eat your words when they share their completed project and you’re still making excuses.

For today… I have this in my possible future: delish!

A cuppa and some of my homemade Peach Amazing (my kids named it that).  I can’t have it until I get this chapter completed. Just one tiny chapter and all the above is mine!  I’m already getting motivated! Can you feel it?

2. Schedule Your Time – A doctor friend of mine once told me his secret to getting it all done: He and his wife schedule almost every moment of every day, even if the time slot says: free time. This way he can tell people “Sorry, I’m booked.” and mean it when he has things he needs to do. I’ve tried this and it is a powerful tool.  It automatically sets your boundaries for you and forces you to stay on track.

Granted, I can’t possibly schedule every waking moment unless I use tags like: after-school-snack-mayhem-15 minutes, fight-about-homework-20 minutes, get-all-kids-to-bed-*not*: 1 hour.  You get the idea.  So give this one a try in a way that works for you.  You might be surprised. 

3. Gather Momentum With To-Do Lists – Lists are wonderful motivators.  I’m a fan.  When you make a list of the things you need to do and then cross them off, it gives you a sense of satisfaction you can’t get anywhere else. Give yourself credit for everything you’ve gotten done and suddenly you start to see that you are getting something finished (this feels good, and you will want more of it).  But the trick is to put your project on that list… and then no skipping over it to do something else!

So, stop fighting it and just own the fact that you’re trapped in the lair of the Procrastination Monster. Tell yourself that you are bigger than your project and you refuse to lose.  Break your project into smaller chunks if the big ones are holding you back.

What do you do to stay ahead of Procrastination?

Sick, Writing, Klout, and… Breaking Dawn

So, one good thing about getting a horrible cold is that you get to cancel all your plans and stay home, and write. That, and peppermint foot balm rubbed all over your feet and then wrapped in socks all warmy warmy… slept like a log, I did.

I’ve been thinking today about how I work better under pressure, and the saying that goes: If you want something done, ask a busy person to help you.  The more I have to do, the more productive I am. This is not to say I get more done because there is more to do.  But rather when I have a lot to do, I am able to stay on it and can do more of it. The opposite is also totally true because when I have nothing going on I tend to get really lazy.

Not so with deadlines. If I have a deadline (self-imposed or otherwise) I will usually don my Master Procrastinator hat. For the most part, I can meet a deadline. But the mere fact that one exists causes me all kinds of angst.  I don’t find them to be counterproductive necessarily, but they don’t inspire me. I have a deadline for this Friday to get work submitted and it is indeed going to be met.  But I have to tell myself that it is my doing, me and assglue are going to get this done. Not some stinking deadline. It is not the deadline controlling me.  It will NOT dictate to me! Control issues, much?

Yesterday, I deleted my Klout account. I remember being surprised to learn that I actually HAD a Klout profile, since I never actually opted-in to it. For a while I would add it to my list of sites to check daily, give +K to friends, and try to get my number up.  But I couldn’t figure out why. WHY?  I still don’t know.  For me, the end came when it decided I was an expert on karate, and sea.  Seriously?  I think not. So, goodbye silly and strange tool to measure my effectiveness and influence in the social circles where I travel. I give myself a +K in separation.

Have any of you seen Breaking Dawn? It’s ok to admit it. I won’t tell anyone. Like so many others out there, I loved these books. Not for their beautiful prose or even for the amazing role model in the strong female lead character… The whole thing is ridiculous and yet the author has done something here. I totally wish I was 18 again, and my name was Bella Swan!  #truestory.

Anyway, my sister and I finally went to see this the other night and all I could think about during the entire movie was:  Who the hell chose all this terrible music?  In the tender scenes we had cheesy drippy piano, and in the honeymoon I’m-just-a-nervous-virgin-scene we have the teenybopper getting pumped music, and then we’re back to cue cheese. Let’s not even talk about the sex-scene-that-never-was or the fact that every single scene was made to be twice as long as it needed to be in order to break this into two movies. It was distracted by these things while viewing. I was so disappointed.

As someone who really responds to music in general, and music in films in particular, this is one soundtrack that should not be released.  Holy smokes… the first movie had Muse and Iron and Wine and Paramour and Collective Soul!  And this one has… nothing worth remembering unless you want some cheese with your iTunes.  Blech.

With that, I am off to work on my revision.  Friday will be here in no time!

What say you?

Monday Memo – 5 Things for the Week

Hello there!  It’s been so crazy busy at casa O’Flynn I had to go on a petite hiatus from the blog last week. But today is a brand new Monday and I have a full week of good stuff ahead!  Let’s see what’s brewing (aside from the germs in my throat that want me to keel over and die of coughing).

Revisions – This week I will delve into the second quarter of my novel for the final edits. It has been such a journey getting here, but I know now that my book has found its groove and we’ve been chugging along nicely.  I have a deadline of Friday to get this sent off to my critique partners, and so I am going to hunker down and do this thing!

Contest Winner! – My blog friend JC Martin had her fabulous 21-Again Birthday Party at her blog, it had fun stuff and giveaways that lasted for days, people!  Well, guess who won prize package #3?  MEEEEE!  You need to hurry over there and check out TODAY’s POST too… she has some news!  Check it out:

Oh yes…  Miss Corinne is pleased!

Madness – How is it December already? I was under the delusion until very recently that having my kids so close together was only difficult while they were small.  I stand corrected. Carting four active chitlins off to various activities is madness. And what is it with everything being scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday nights?  Seriously. 

Etiquette – Dear people of the world.  The holiday season is upon us and so I find it is time.  Let me re-familiarize you with a lovely little acronym: R.S.V.P. It comes to us from the French expression “répondez s’il vous plaît”, meaning “please respond”. If RSVP is written on an invitation it means the invited guest must tell the host whether or not they plan to attend the party. It does not mean to respond only if you’re coming, and it does not mean respond only if you’re not coming (the expression “regrets only” is reserved for that instance). It means the host needs a definite head count for the planned event, and needs it by the date specified on the invitation. Thanks to about.com for that tidbit.

I share this after last week’s adventure with my son’s birthday party. 26 invitations were sent out to my son’s classmates with a note to RSVP by a date with my email and phone number. Nobody replied. I sent an email (two in fact) to the class asking if they got the invite. Three replied. Then two more.  So, 5/26 people got the call that the party was canceled due to my son’s illness.  I don’t know if the other 21 people carted their kids over to the venue or not.  Not sure I care. Is that wrong?  RSVP and let me know.
RSVP – It’s the right thing to do.

ReadingASHFALL – Holy cats… I was over at Mike Mullin’s website and partook of the free chapters of his book that are posted there for a teaser.  You must go. now. read. I promise you will click over to purchase the book… When I bought it, Amazon had the price slashed, too!  I’ll be back to tell you what I thought of it.  Loving it so far.

Living in Colorado, I heard and was remain freaked out about the supermassive caldera volcano under Yosemite… what if it blew?  Curtains, people.