Monday, October 31, 2011

[WoD] Got Everything?

From my time zone, NaNoWriMo begins in a short eight hours. So today, I, and if you're with me, we, should be making sure that we have everything and that everything is in place. Just some physical and mental preparation for the next "30 days of literary abandonment." Over the next few hours, we all need ask ourselves questions and quickly get those answers.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

[WoD] Outsource Some of Your Chores

We're just about a day away from entering NaNoWriMo season, and we will all face the same basic problem: there's just not enough time to get everything done. So today I want to take a page from the playbook of the business world. Let's look at taking some of the burden off ourselves. Try outsourcing. Businesses use it to save time and money everyday, and if you use it wisely, you can too.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

[WoD] Give Your Little Monsters a Distraction or Two

Here's my final piece of advice for those of you with young kids out there, just in case family quiet hour doesn't work out or you're unable to find someone to babysit for you: give your kids a distraction. Something that can keep them busy and safe for an hour or two.

Friday, October 28, 2011

[WoD] Get Rid of the Kids for a Night

Here's another one for those of you with kids. Maybe the family quiet time isn't working out so much. Those little runts just want to keep playing, but that's the nature of kids. So why not send them away for a night. You could always hire a babysitter for a few hours a week and get your work done then.

Perhaps getting a babysitter might cost too much. So there's another thing you could do. Do you have any other friends with kids who are doing NaNoWriMo? Maybe you could have them watch your kids on one or two nights a week to get a bunch accomplished. But it would only be fair to watch their kids so as to return the favor and help them reach their goals as well.

Kids or not, to all of you out there, happy preparations! We're almost there!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

[WoD] Be the Early Bird

As the fall progresses, days are just going to get busier and busier. And that means there's going to be a lot less time to accomplish much of anything. But there's one simple thing to cure this. Why not try to get a little bit more out of the way in the morning? It's the best time! I'm not talking about getting it all done, but sitting down and working can certainly help. And the best thing about it is that once you get going in the morning, it builds up such momentum that you will want to keep going throughout the day.

I've been trying to do this myself. Writing in my daily quota over at 750 Words in the morning is really awesome. And I plan on carrying the habit into November for NaNoWriMo. Even getting just those 750 words out of the way is nearly halfway there. Think about it this way: If you write just those 750 words in the morning, you won't even notice the work you have to do in the evening. Well, maybe you'll notice it, but it's a lot less work than you would have to do otherwise.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

[WoD] Give Yourself Rewards

Yesterday, I wrote about punishments, and I promised to talk about rewards today for my War on Distraction and journey towards NaNoWriMo. So let's jump right in. Rewards are probably even more important than any of the punishments you set up. Remember this. You'll want to have more rewards than punishments.

So let's talk about some different levels of rewarding yourself. First, you should try to reward yourself for writing so many words in a single setting. A simple reward for a simple goal. I plan on stocking up on some Halloween candy and giving myself a little bit every time I write 900-1200 (or even more) words in one setting. That's close to half of a day's writing.

Moving up a level, you will next want to reward yourself for reaching your daily goal. Allow yourself a distraction or two. Watch an episode or two of a TV show you enjoy. You're done writing for the day, so you should really enjoy the rest of it.

Do something bigger when you reach the weekend quota. Go out to a movie or visit the bookstore and buy a book. You deserve it.

The reward for reaching 50,000 or more will have to be huge. It's time to take a break. Find something big for this. Throw yourself a little party. Go crazy. You just finished a huge task. Congratulations!

Create a list of your punishments and rewards. If you want you can print them out and hang them somewhere you'll see everyday. Use it as your driving force.

Let me reiterate this from yesterday: you need to be creative here. This is your carrot. And you are the donkey. Just try not to be as stubborn as one. You can do this. You just need to push yourself.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

[WoD] Punish Yourself

A week from today is November 1st. That's the beginning of NaNoWriMo. It's just a week away! We need to start conditioning ourselves if we think we're going to be in any shape for writing that much each day for a whole month. So let's talk about some punishments today. (Rewards come tomorrow).

[Poetry] Silent Voices

I've been wanting to jump in over at Carry On Tuesday for a while now, and the prompt for today finally got me which was the line "...sitting alone listening to the silence..." from 'A letter to P'ie Ti ' by the 8th century High Tang poet Wang We.It's just a little bit of poetry.

Monday, October 24, 2011

To Defenestrate a Codex, Pt. 4

Here's the fourth part in a series. This one was inspired by today's prompt over at Creative Copy Challenge. The words in bold were the challenge words.

[WoD] Find Your Rhythm and Start Pacing Yourself

NaNoWriMo begins in a week now and it's not too late to start preparing for it. Starting today, let's start getting into the flow of writing. And we're going to do that by pacing ourselves. First, you'll need to find your rhythm in which you write. How to do this? The most basic way would be to set a timer for fifteen minutes and just start writing. Write anything that comes to your mind, and just keep going until those fifteen minutes are up. What do you have when you get finished? Are you a typing writing whiz? Or do you feel that you still need to work on your pacing? It's ok either way. Just keep going. When in those fifteen minutes do you feel like you got the most writing done? If it was more towards the front of those fifteen minutes, maybe it would be easier for you to write a few more shorter bits throughout the day. Did it feel you could have kept going once the bell rang? If this was the case, you should try to write for a longer the next time. 

Another thing to try is writing at different times each day. Do you write faster in the morning that at night, or are you better in the middle of the day? It's not a bad idea to find when you're most productive. For me, it seems to be at night, though that might be I tend to procrastinate my duties off until the last minute. (I need to start waking up earlier, perhaps, just to see how I am in the mornings. Somehow, not so long ago, I used to be a morning person. What happened to that dude?)
A great bit of software for trying this out is Write or Die. You can either use it for free online or download a version for your desktop. In both versions, you can set your word goal. The main difference between the versions is that the online version provides you with a list of options for your time limit whereas you set your own in the desktop version. I prefer the desktop version just because I like setting my own time, especially for the times I just want to write for a quick five minutes (which is not an option with the online version). What I love about Write or Die, and you can do this in both versions, is that there is a bar for the words you've typed and the amount of time you have left: just set a word goal and a time limit and race away! (Doing it this way, I make a lot of mistakes, but I've learned to kill my inner-editor through this process.)
What we're doing now is just getting ourselves into the habit of writing, so when the time comes, we won't burn out quite as fast. It's a lot like exercising. You need to work up to where you want to be. You just can't start doing it and expect to left 250 pounds. No, you work on it over a period of weeks or months. Well, we've only got a week left until the marathon month. Just write more and more everyday. It's never too late to start training.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

[WoD] Zen Moment

I've recently started to read Miyamoto Musashi's A Book of Five Rings. A lot of the ideas discussed in the book deal with fighting and warriors. Musashi was in medieval Japan's samurai class after all. But after some pondering, I came to realize that many of the topics he discusses can be applied to fighting distraction as well. Take this excerpt for example:
The Way of battles is the same for man to man fights and for ten thousand a side battles. You must appreciate that spirit can become big or small. What is big is easy to perceive: what is small is difficult to perceive. In short, it is difficult for large numbers of men to change position, so their movements can be easily predicted. An individual can easily change his mind, so his movements are difficult to predict.

[Poetry] My Backyard Has Changed

A few days ago, I saw this prompt over at Sunday Scribblings and decided that I should finally jump in. At first, I was thinking about doing a short piece of fiction, but the muse changed. I started thinking about my personal life and the multiple backyards I had through my childhood. What came up on the screen just seemed to pour out. Not true poetry with rhyming couplets or anything. Just a little heartfelt piece. Well, anyways, enough of me blabbering. Here it is for your enjoyment.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

[WoD] An Outline: Your Story's Roadmap?

The other day, I discussed building form and structure for a project, for giving your ideas more fluff and making them more concrete so they're easier to work with. With this being Saturday, I don't feel like writing too much. But I do plan on leaving you with quite a bit of reading material. 

Today's focus will be on plotting out your story from point A to point B and further down the road. How it happens is all up to you. There are multiple methods, so try not to feel stuck with doing any one option. If you're planning on "competing" in NaNoWriMo this year, you'll need to get from the beginning to the end somehow or another.

Friday, October 21, 2011

[WoD] Your Phone: The Tool and the Distraction

Cell phones are everywhere today. Here in the US, there may even be more people who have them than not. They've been around for decades now, and they keep advancing. One of the things cell phones have evolved into are smart phones. These are phones with operating systems. They're tiny, pocket-sized computers. And they set us in a different ball park today. If you've got a smart phone, I've got some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is that your phone is a great tool. It can be used for a great many things. You can even multitask on your phone!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

[WoD] Build Yourself Some Form and Structure

For this post in the series on my War on Distraction, I want to talk about giving your project, whatever it may be, some form and structure. Why do I want to do that? Because what I've learned from my own experience. Do you ever feel like your ideas are just floating around in an obliquitous pool of goo somewhere in the depths of your mind? I feel like that all the time. If you haven't noticed from my writing, my thoughts are all over the place. But what they need most is some form of focus. It may not make them real, but it will aid in giving them some form to better look at them.

But how do we go about giving our thoughts form? I'm not talking about physical form, but doing something so that it's easier to see and think through an idea thoroughly. Something so simple as writing down your thoughts should suffice. Write down new thoughts every day. Try to find at least ten new ideas each day starting now. Write them down in a journal. If you already have it down, don't pen it to paper again. Just new ideas. But be sure to look back at old ideas. Old ideas spark new ideas. They seem to be very organic in that matter.

To Defenestrate a Codex, Pt. 3

Here's part three of a story inspired by the prompts over at Creative Copy Challenge. This part is inspired by Challenge 186. The words in bold are the challenge words.

To Defenestrate a Codex, Pt. 2

I'm kind of late in getting this posted. But here's a continuation of a story with inspiration from Monday's prompt over at Creative Copy Challenge.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

[WoD] Plan Ahead

Today I want to discuss something that I ought to work on myself.And that's planning. There's a lot of stuff going on that is out of our hands. However, there's quite a bit of stuff that we can manage ourselves, and with a bit of planning, we can try to wrestle with it and get it all under control.

I firstly want to point out that this should be taken as ambiguous advice. Take it and make it mean whatever you want it to mean. If you would rather not plan out that much, go ahead and be adventurous. If you want to be an organizational robot, go ahead and try that too. I'm hoping to find a spot somewhere in the middle where I can have some wiggle room for myself.

Let's look at the stuff that's out of our hands. Work is probably one of the biggest things to plan around. But you do know when you work, and you know when you don't. You can't just stop and say "I'm not going into work today." Well, you can if you work for yourself or have a very friendly boss, but not all of us are that lucky.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

[WoD] Your Time Is Money

*Almost didn't have time to get this one up. Poor time management on my part. Anyways, here's the post.

Earlier this week I read an article over at OnePageOnly's bog titled Fighting distractions the unconventional way. I was really taken away by one of the ideas:
1)      Bill yourself
You might know a nasty little thing called an opportunity cost. The idea is simple: by choosing to invest your time in something, you lose whatever you could earn by using your time on productive work. Now, I want you to go ahead and count how much money you lose from all your little distractions.
From now on, whenever you start to browse the web or check your Facebook, track the time you’ve used. At the end of the day, multiply it by the amount you’re getting per hour. And here you go. If you’re anything like me, the sites with technology news, Facebook and forums take up a big chunk of your billable hours. Now think about it – would you really pay $20-$30 to see a photo of someone’s dog in a funny hat, and to read about your friend’s hangover? Of course not. Was this forum quarrel really worth the total of $40 you invested over the course of several days? Didn’t think so.
From now on, always keep in the back of your mind that time is money. Every Facebook joyride and each Reddit binge session come with a bill attached.

I might have to try this idea for myself. Like I said yesterday, I'm going to try to limit my time social networking to only an hour a day. So any extra time spent on those sites, I'm going to have to write down and I'll tally up my opportunity costs. Right now it isn't looking like it's going to be too pretty as I've been spending a lot of time on those sites lately. The amount of money that pops up might surprise me.

Monday, October 17, 2011

[WoD] Big Distractor #2: Sinful Social Network Sites

Yes, you read the title correctly. Social network sites are full of sin. They steal a great deal of time away from me (and maybe you as well). When I get into them, I just get carried away, and I could easily spend hours jumping from one to another to another and back again. They’re great for procrastinating. However, they are not quite so helpful when you need to get any actual work done. Since I’m taking on distractions this month, this has to be on my list. And it’s on spot number two. Right next to television. 

[ShortFiction] The Sniper and the Librarian

I saw this prompt over at BeKindRewrite and thought it was too awesome to pass up. It's just a short little piece, so I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

[WoD] Big Distractor #1: Television

Television might be a great place for inspiration and ideas in writing. It's even a great place to listen in for dialogue. However too much of a good thing can be a good thing. That's why it's my Big Distractor #1.

How many hours of TV do you watch in a week? Add in hours watching movies and also television and movies you watch online.
  • 5-10?
  • 11-17?
  • 18-26?
  • Beyond?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

[WoD] Needs vs. Wants

Today's topic is about needs versus wants. What does this have to do with distractions you may ask. That's simple. Needs are the necessities in life, the things necessary to survive. Wants are just that. Stuff you desire. Sure, they would be nice to have, however you don't need them.

Put like that, it sounds awfully simplistic. I know. That's the way I like it. And we need to keep it like that because distractions themselves are very simple: either they win our attention or lose our attention. A great way to to explore this is to examine our own deepest desires and how they affect our attention.

Friday, October 14, 2011

One More Announcement Today

I've been thinking about doing it for the last couple of years and haven't really forced myself to do it. Yeah, I never even began. But this year I'm going to put everything out on the line. There's 17 days between  the first of November and now. I need to start exercising my willpower's muscles and using everything I'm learning from my little war on distraction.

This is going to be a tough little experiment, although, if I live through it, I will know that I can survive almost any big project. I'm ready for it. Bring on the pain!

War On Distraction: Introduction

Earlier today I declared war on distractions. Well, maybe I didn't declare war, but I do want to learn to deal with distractions in a better way. And that's what I want to do here: learning in the open. 

So here's an announcement. Starting tomorrow, I'll be dropping off a post everyday on a new way I find to deal with distractions. As of now, I don't know how long it will go for. Perhaps around a month? I have a little list I wrote, but if I can keep it going longer than that, I will try. 


 You may have noticed that I've been missing from cyberspace for a few weeks. My excuse, the distractions were just too much. In my inspired post to yesterday's prompt over at Creative Copy Challenge, I actually started out with an apology for missing so long:
*Missed coming here for a while. I think it’s actually harder to write at home than when I was abroad. Need to get away from here I guess.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

To Defenestrate a Codex

Looks like I've been gone for a while. I guess you could say I took an unintentional break from writing in that time. I need to start finding a schedule and routine for doing this stuff again. It's important to me, and as such, I had ought to make time to do it everyday just to make it a habit.

Anyways, here's a little something inspired by today's prompt over at Creative Copy Challenge. Hope you enjoy!