Starting the New Year … Slowly

I’ve been having a bit of a hard time getting into the swing of 2014. Fatigue from a very busy December (are there such things as quiet Decembers?), coupled with long dark days as we enter January leaves me feeling a bit burned out. So, I’m trying something a bit different. Instead of chastising myself for not being productive enough and cracking the whip, I’m allowing myself a bit of breathing room and easing more slowly into the year.

Here’s the plan:

  1. Take a bit of time to actually have fun. This is something that I’m not very good at (coupled with relaxing especially), so I’ve been allowing myself to indulge my imagination, especially with other activities, like miniatures.
  2. Remember to play. It can be easy to forget that the reason I’m a writer is because I genuinely love writing … which is not how it’s feeling right now. So, I want to allow myself to play and not limit my own creativity. Yes, letting my imagination out of the box might be scary, but it might (hopefully) lead to some fantastic new arenas.
  3. Craft and research books. Christmas brought me some lovely new craft and writing books, like The Writer’s Lab and Wonderbook, which I’m finally ready to look at and start experimenting. Again, hoping to open up some creative pathways and get the writing juices going (in a less gross fashion as that description suggests!)
  4. Give myself permission to extend my holiday a bit, and take some of the pressure off. Yes, I’m starting back at writing, but I’m also trying not to push myself quite as strenuously as I often do at this time of year because, frankly, I don’t think I can. So yes, as you can tell by things like this blog post appearing on Wednesday rather than Monday, things are more loosey-goosey than I favor, but c’est la vie for now.

So what about you? Are you diving into 2014 full of enthusiasm? Or taking things a bit slower? Any advice and wisdom to share? 🙂

Thanks for reading, and hope you have a fabulous day – and that winter starts to ease off a bit! Happy New Year, and all the best to everyone out there.

Impatience and Run-away Days

Do you ever have one of those days when all you want to do is run away?

Flowers in my garden – a good place to run away to.

For my birthday a few weeks back, my husband bought me a brand new laptop. It was unexpected, sweet, and quite lovely – it’s so much faster than the old one. It also came with sample games pre-installed, which were surprisingly addictive. I don’t like computer games. I am generally quite disciplined … except for, it would seem, last week.

Or today. When I’d actually reduced my word count with some light editing as I re-read what I’d written, but then stubbornly continued to bounce up from the seat to do everything BUT just write, like I was supposed to be doing, like I’ve actually reserved time to do since my parents take the kidlet to give me some peace and quiet.

Eventually, I did get some writing done (some 4151 words, though I think it would have been more if I hadn’t deleted so many before I actually started the count).

So, back to you: do you ever have one of those days where you just want to run away from work, responsibility, everything? Disappear into meaninglessness?

Today was one of those days, so I thought I’d give you five tips on how to defeat them – and actually still get work done – without making yourself crazy. It worked for me today, so maybe it will work for you too.

1. Offer yourself a future award that is only to be enjoyed after the work is done. (Yes, it’s childish, but it still works.)

2. Place said-reward where you can see it when you’re working. I put my tiny chocolate bar on the corner of my desk – beware not to put chocolate too close to the computer as they have sometimes been known to melt when the laptop exhausts it’s fan.

3. Take note of the time you have begun. Promise yourself you will remain in the chair for at least an hour. It can be exactly an hour to the second – but an hour (or whatever length of time works best for you.)

4. Open your work, and force yourself to start typing. Especially on a day like this, no deleting – this will simply become a new excuse not to create new work. JUST KEEP TYPING (or whatever else it is you’re working at).

5. Follow the path of the story and your inclination today. Remind yourself that editing, rewrites, additions and deletions are for another day; today you are just getting new words written without judgment. Continue in this process until either your allotted time runs out (if you still want to run away, allow yourself to do so after this time, and reward yourself for actually working – yes, it’s just one of those days.)

What I discovered was that although a part of me certainly still wanted to run away, another part of me hadn’t noticed that my allotted hour had run out about an hour before, and I was still working – and things were going well. Was the writing as great as some days? As easy? No. But that’s okay, because at least I did my writing.

So, try out my five steps, see if they work for you. Any others work for you? How do you get yourself working and keep yourself motivated on the run-away  kind of days?

Thanks for reading, and have a great week.