Accountability Counts for Something

do it accountableI should be writing. Instead, I’m making waffles—four types: plain, raisin, cranberry/walnut, cheese/walnut.

Waffles with grated cheese on top

It’s a Saturday, so, I guess that gives me license to procrastinate.

But I have found one thing: If I don’t have the need to report into the 500-Word-a-Day Facebook group, I don’t do the 500 words. I still work on my projects, but there is something about the self-imposed ’obligation’ to write that gets the juices flowing and, once the warmup words are spewed, often results in better work later in the day. Some of the words are spent on planning for projects, some are directed towards project pep talks [i.e. verbal butt-kickings], and some are sent to blog posts [lucky you]. And it does feel good to report in to the ‘500 Group’ , as I call it.

Why did I take the break from the FB group?

I just figured they had better things to do than even to click a ‘like’ or a thumbs-up.

I don’t check for results, per se. But it is helpful to have posted the daily results.

And I misguidedly thought the ‘Daily 500’ was taking energy away from the other verbal ventures.

I’m 200+ words into this warmup, but I’m wondering if other writers have similar bouts with similar weird little roller coaster rides.

In the meantime, I’m halfway—229/500, but who’s counting?] toward my daily goal and it feels good that I have turned my back on a few household chores in favor of a little writing.

***

Black dog hanging out on the deck
Not easy to take a photo with the MacBook’s camera, especially if you’re a bungling idiot.

Still on the procrastination thread, as the weather improves, Buddy is adjusting to new locations to either: a) Fully support my writing routine.  b) Assertively heap on the guilt for not tending to his every nutritional or entertainment need.

201 Ways to Spur Your Creativity

person with Person sitting on couch

This guest post by Katie Tallo of Momentum Gathering can be found at https://writetodone.com

201 Ways to Arouse Your Creativity

She compiled these suggestions from a number of sources.

  1. from Alison Motluk: “Seek out creative company. The best ideas are forged not in moments of solitary genius, but during exchanges with trusted colleagues.” [Note: Austin Kleon calls this creative company a ‘scenius‘.]
    Five silhouettes looking outward
  2. from Jacob Cass at Just Creative Designs:  “Mindmap. Whether you use key words, images, colours, a hierarchy system, numbers, outlines, circles or random words, mindmapping gets your creative juices flowing.”

    light bulb surrounded by mind map set against chalkboard

  3. from Steve Pavlina:  “Architect a worthy challenge. If a task is too easy, you don’t need to be particularly creative, so your creative self will simply say, “You can manage this one without me.”

    outline of person with a choice to follow one of three arrows/directions

Ten Writing Prompts for March 11

 

  1. “Ready? Now close your eyes and count back from twenty…”

  2. They had everything and we had nothing…

  3. We never expected our innocent little lemonade stand to…

  4. It was pure joy/boredom/hate/love at first sight…

  5. Title: Night of the Zombies


  6. Title: Donald Trump Meets Forrest Gump

  7. My cruel words hung in the air…


  8. He had bit the hand that fed him…


  9. Luckily, Superman does exist…

  10. “Okay, soldiers/kids/Mr. President, pat your head and rub your stomach…”

Seize the moment…

girl-reaching

So it’s like this.

My friend from NY sent me a quick email telling me a classmate of ours from junior high had passed away…a year ago.

M was always a pretty happy-go-lucky guy and he was the same way as we went facemark-to-facemask in a junior college football game in 1972. And the same way as he served customers at his dad’s fish market and at the restaurant he started in the 80’s.

While I hadn’t seen him for decades, his passing hit me a little harder.

Maybe each succeeding loss of a contemporary does that now…but it was yet another reminder, a tug at my insides, with the familiar message…”What in God’s name are you waiting for? Get out there and make stuff!”

Yeah…it doesn’t have to be good—especially at first. It has to be done, so you have something to build on, a reference point.

And let’s all assume we’re not going to live forever, so it’s time to build some creative momentum.

It doesn’t have to be a leap. Even a step will do. But let’s aim together to be in a different place than we were the day before.

How to Never Miss a Day of Creative Work

Highlights:

  1. “Take the minimal viable action of sitting down at your desk…”
  2. “Reduce the scope, but stick to the schedule.”
  3. “It’s better to lower your standards and actually follow through…”

no-yes

Let your mind wander

I’ve been reading The Wander Society by Keri Smith. And it got me to thinking about the wandering mind.

Here’s an interesting post on one writer’s research into and use of that valuable resource.

Why Writers Should Let Their Minds Wander

Which led to this fun foray of my own.

I noticed recently that Vanderbilt University extended the contract for their bowling coach.

A few thoughts, and many more questions than answers.

What does pre-season training look like? Powering down six-packs and then rolling a game or two? Practicing high-fives and, after the training table beer consumption, hoping to make hand-to-hand high-five contact?

Where do they travel? And what do they travel in?

Are there rankings?

Is there a TV contract?

What league are they in?

What does a coach’s recruiting trip look like? How do they win over a bowling prospect’s parents? What side benefits are they offered?

Has any school been put on probation for recruiting violations? Or for lack of institutional control?

Does the NCAA oversee bowling programs?

Is there a ‘one-and-done’ rule as in basketball?

Are there pre-match bonfires? Pep rallies? Do cheerleaders show up at competition and do they have to wear bowling shoes when doing their routines?

What does halftime entertainment look like? Where do you fit an entire college band?

Do they have to work their schedule around the Alley Cats, Nimble Seniors, and Mixed Minglers Leagues?

Are there playoffs? Sponsored bowl games? [Ironic label, eh?] No doubt, Brunswick would be one of the companies ponying up some cash.

What does a coach’s contract look like? Is it incentive-laden and if so, what are the incentives?

Uniforms? What do they look like? Are Nike, Adidas, Under Armour clamoring for bowling shoe sponsorship?

What about team trainers? What are the most prevalent injuries?

Are referees needed? What would unsportsmanlike conduct look like? What would targeting look like in a bowling match? Illegal motion? And are they called ‘matches’? Duels? Alley-fights?

Have Las Vegas oddsmakers gotten involved?

How can you ‘throw a game’ without attracting suspicion?

Is there such a thing as ‘home lane advantage’?

Yes, pretty pathetic that I’ve expended that much energy on this, but…when dealing with reality is the alternative, suddenly obsessing over college bowling starts to make sense.

Writers, raise your voice!

You can't find your voice if you don't use it.

A few valuable posts on author’s voice…

Reclaiming My Writer’s Voice
by Kay Bolden

My favorite lines from the post:

The keyboard and the screen made it far too easy to distance myself from my words. To sink into sales mode or trope mode or campaign mode. When I write by hand, I lead with my body, not my brain.

How I Found My Writing Voice and How You Can Find Yours:
A Metaphor Involving Sandwiches
by Carly Mae

Some favorite lines from this post:

Our writing is not genuine, we don’t feel like ourselves, or it’s stilted and mechanical — feeling more like a “I have to write” versus “I want to write.”

If you feel that way, you might be lacking your voice.

***

The biggest reason your writing feels mechanical and stilted is because it is. It’s not you. So when you read it, it probably sounds fake.

Your audience reads it that way it too.

View story at Medium.com

Ten Writing Prompts for February 12

writing prompts word cloud

  1. This was the moment I had waited for…I marched into his office.

  2. “Yes, I know what you mean. I threw a fit yesterday about the same thing…”

  3. “Hello? This is Vegas Vacations. Have you heard about our latest deal?”

  4. “Whatever you do, don’t take a side.”

  5. “Chain your attack dogs, please.”

  6. This was the last lecture I’d ever have to hear from her…

  7. “Shepherd’s pie? It looked more like third base from last night’s game.”

  8. I had to admit it. I needed a friend.

  9. “Here he comes. Get out the butterfly net.”

  10. Breaking up on Valentines Day? What was I thinking? More important, what was she thinking?

  11. I tried to hurry past the deli. It was no use…

Ten Writing Prompts for January 17

writing prompts wordart

  1. “No, no! Not in the car!”

  2. All we needed was a hundred pounds of ice…

  3. “I have to tell you something, but you have to keep some perspective.”

  4. “The cell phone could only be in-oh-fifty places…”

  5. “What am I supposed to believe?”
    “Based on your past history, whatever you’re in the mood to believe.”

  6. “I don’t want to hear it. Besides, I’ve heard it all.”
    “Okaaayyyy, so if I told you that she wants to marry you…”

  7. It was a tough decision—rob the store or have some pie and coffee.

  8. “I couldn’t leave you guys behind.”
    “Of course you could and you nearly did until…”

  9. “The lying part made it all worse.”

  10. “Why didn’t you just come home?”