Better

July 29, 2009

I did a little work on both new writing projects today. Nothing major, but something: a start. I’ve decided to plug these two endeavors into my Happiness Project, sort of. A word of explanation here…

Gretchen Rubin started the Happiness Project. You can read her story at the link above. Her project overlapped my life when she asked the readers of her blog if any of us wanted to start a Happiness Project Group. I volunteered, got the starter kit, and away I went with about half a dozen other people. It seems to be growing, very slowly, and it’s been a lot of fun so far.

The cornerstone of a Happiness Project is resolutions. You pick small, measurable things you can do every day to make yourself happier. My favorite example is the woman who loves relaxing on her porch, but rarely finds the time to do it. Her first resolution was to enjoy a glass of tea on her porch every evening. It’s perfect: simple, specific, and easy to measure: either she does it or she doesn’t. You can also take the option of doing less easy things, like biting your tongue when you’re tempted to say something crabby, but I advocated for baby steps for my group’s first month.

Keeping track of whether I’ve followed my Happiness Resolutions every day has been good for me. It’s also gotten me into the habit of looking at my resolutions chart every time I go near it. It’s been a few hours; maybe I can check off another one! With that habit established, a few other things that I really should do every day, but usually don’t, popped into my head. Right after that, I had my Happiness list at the top of an Excel spreadsheet, and I was adding my daily chores, a knitting project, life goals review, and “something (anything) for the wedding” under that. Plus a couple weekly items. It sounds overwhelming, but most of the things on the list only take ten minutes, if that.

Now I have a life scorecard, with about 15 points possible per day. That is where I put my writing. I know it deserves more than a ten-minute slot on my to-do list, but if it’s on the daily chart, I know I’ll give it at least that much attention every day. If nothing else, I’ll jot down some notes or an idea that I might otherwise have forgotten.

As much as I like dramatic leaps forward, I have come around to the notion that gradual progress works best. Also, my life is full and busy. It’s easy enough to lose track of my obligations to other people. If I want to do anything for me (and I want to do a lot for me… like write), I need to use some kind of system to keep a handle on everything. This one is simple, progress is measurable, and I can start fresh every day.

8 out of 15 is my average so far. If this were a class, I’d be failing, but it’s life, so I’m doing great.

One for the Winners

July 27, 2009

Just read a great post by my favorite blogger, Chris Guillebeau. Check it out while I’m patching up my ideas on what constitutes a challenge.

Except

July 25, 2009

Everything is going well except this.

Lurching Towards Entropy

July 22, 2009

I’ve been listening to White Oleander by Janet Fitch on CD. It’s done wonders for my vocabulary. A disk or two ago, I heard a flashback scene wherein Astrid’s mother displays her contempt for Christmas each year by reading “The Second Coming,” by W.B. Yeats. So it’s been good for my cultural knowledge, too. I know I’ve read the phrase “slouching towards…” this or that half a dozen times, but never knew that Yeats and this poem was the reference.

I do slouch. Maybe I should have held onto the original verb.

But I like “lurching” for its abruptness and, maybe, a hint of reluctance to be moving at all… at least not in that direction. I drag my feet and then stumble and lurch… going the wrong way, yes, but maybe between lurches I’ll recapture my will and turn around. Lurching is also how zombies move, and I’ve been feeling like one lately. Braindead, with a goal in mind, but sooooo sloooooow in getting there.

I thought entropy meant decline towards chaos, but my engineer fiance disagreed (something about a Rubik’s Cube–I didn’t follow), so I looked it up.

“entropy: The tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity.”

That’s exactly my problem. Better turn this around before I get pecked by some indignant desert bird, or squished by an oncoming rough beast.

Or Tuesday

July 21, 2009

So now I’m testing this “I’m still a writer, really!” attitude through a missed blog post, with no progress on either project.

Not one of my better weeks.

So far.

Tomorrow

July 17, 2009

…and by “start tomorrow” I meant Monday next week. No, not really; I got distracted. I will try not to be discouraged, and try not to think that two days of non-writing busy-ness means I will never, ever be a writer. I bet I can find two hours over the weekend to make up the lost time.

On Monday, we’ll both know.

An Hour a Day

July 15, 2009

… keeps procrastination away. I’m going to try alternating projects (blog and book) throughout the week. Whatever I start tomorrow will be this week’s Tuesday/Thursday project, and next week’s Monday/Wednesday/Friday project. The format for these experiments will be: Muse-calling for the book, and Getting Things Done for the blog. I wonder if Muse-calling works when I’m not doing it every day… hmm. Two weeks should tell me; I’ll let you know.

This ought to keep me busy.