Monday, July 22, 2013

Keep On Keeping On

The Trouble with Being As Yet Unpublished

So this week is going to be a rough one. The tempo of my day job is accelerating, Camp Nanowrimo proceeds although I am falling behind on my word counts (Thanks Weekends!) and I still have to keep up to my editing of RoboNomics. Also, I've decided to add pilates to my morning routine. Woot! Man I have not done pilates in forever. I used to like it a lot.

At any rate. This all means that I am scurrying for time. I don't have the luxury of sitting at my desk for hours at a time, staring out the window while I listen to the soundtrack from the Fellowship of the Ring and dreaming up characters, scenes and settings. This week I have to get to the task, get the task done in the time I've allotted myself between day job assignments, and move on to the next one. So, what can I do to trick that fickle muse to come visit me exactly when I want it to? Well, there's a list:

To Trick the Muse:

1. No lyrics. My headphones are always on my ears when I'm writing. But when things get serious and I need to get things done, all lyric is just another time waster. Fellowship of the Ring might even be a bit too iconic to be conducive to concentration. Classical instrumentals and ambient soundscapes all the way.

2. Tune out. Turning off the internet is always a good place to start. That way time is not wasted by the neverending conga line of articles that NEED to be read and videos that MUST be watched. Who cares what other folks say on the internets? When it's time to get this stuff out of my brain and onto the page.

3. Caffeinated Beverages. I use this as a break, when my brain really feels like it's about to go bust. Also, getting an accompanying snack helps.

4. Hype it Up. The theme from Rocky, anyone? Just one peppy song to remind me that the effort will be worth it. Then back to work!


And speaking of which...

5. Compared to an Athlete. I've read and heard a lot about how training/running a marathon are a lot like writing a novel in terms of epic effort. But is the training for the marathon the first draft and the marathon itself the revisiting/editing? Or is it the other way around? Either way, visualization is the key here. Imagining yourself doing it. And then doing it the way you imagine. I try not to underestimate my own capacity here: often I can tell myself what I'm going to get done that day, and then at the end of the day it is done. Isn't that what athletes do?

6. A tiny tad of research. Conventional wisdom would probably cringe at this one. But when I am stuck, I find that a little mental walkabout can revitalise my page and my typey typey typing fingers.

7. An Actual Walk. Also can help. Although these days, I frankly don't have that much time. Five minute walk, anyone?

8. The Early Bird. This is highly personal. For others it might be the night owl, or the afternoon...sun? Whatever. For me, the earlier I awake, the more hours of work I can churn out. And higher quality work! (to a certain extent. Before 5 a.m. I am probably useless). Plus there's that added bonus of feeling like you've accomplished so much today! And then you look at the clock and it's 10 a.m.

9. Shower. I've said this before, I'm sure. When coupled with #7, the mid-morning shower (if schedule provides) is dynamite. It's as if I dream up ideas, and then pour them out onto the page. By 11 a.m., I'm tapped. Then I take a shower and dream up another big set of ideas, which carries me through that fatal lull that is my afternoon doldrums.

Well, there it is. A recipe for getting it on the page. Productive days ahead!