Not writing? Stop the fingerpointing.

MacBook coffee mug and tablet
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

My last post dealt with blaming others for my not writing.

Hey, whatever gets me generating text…»

But on a more serious note, I ran across Steven Kotler, who has a popular course called Flow for Writers.

So I looked further into the topic and ran across this informative interview. Compare your strategies to his.

https://www.writingroutines.com/steven-kotler/

Highlights:

Do you listen to music when you write, or do you prefer silence, or something else on in the background?

“…70 percent of the time I will listen to music with headphones so it’s right up in my ear. I will usually make one or two playlists for a book and I will listen to the same playlist over and over and over again…if I find a playlist that I kicked into a flow state with really early on in my process and was very successful I will keep using it because it will keep driving that flow.”

When you’re staring at the screen at 4:00 AM, do you just start clicking away? What’s going through your head at that initial moment? 

“Even if the day before was a terrible writing day, I am so fired up to go at it again. I can be an absolutely miserable writer sometimes, but I wake up every day so fired up to do this.”

And finally, to put me to shame with all my finger pointing…

“When I wrote West of Jesus I had spent three years in bed with Lyme disease and I needed to tell that story to open the book, but I thought, ‘I spent three years in bed with Lyme but who cares? Compared to getting cancer or losing a limb, so what?’”

***

What’s your favorite music to carry you through your writing sessions?

What do you do to help you get into ‘flow’?

Not writing? I’ll blame anybody.

I directed one of my morning pages blaming others for my not writing.

Sooo satisfying…

For starters, I blamed Hilary Mantel, who said,

“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie exclamations

, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.” [The Guardian, 25 February 2010]

One small segment of her message seemed to resonate…

I repeat…all her fault.

And I blame Trader Joe’s who is selling organic strawberries for $2.50 a pound. Let’s face it, most of those gorgeous ones in the supermarket have very little flavor and considering they are one of the dirty dozen, well, that doesn’t help in the ‘appeal’ category.

But back to my relentless search for scapegoats…let’s see…yes! Sam Merritt’s to blame for serving up this winning recipe for strawberry cream cheese pie.

strawberry cream pie with dog lying nearby
Always good to have a member of the quality control team nearby

My only complaint: “Return to refrigerator and allow to set at least 4 hours (preferably overnight) before slicing and serving.”

Okay, in what world do people actually wait that long?

 

Rants and Riffs: Installment #7–Bobbleheads, dandelions, and…and…attention span

Bobble head doll of Charles Darwin
Not sure what his lifetime batting average was…

Bobblehead dolls…please. 40,000 of them on a given night at a major league ballpark.

And often to commemorate a player of marginal ability. [Not daring to use names here.]

If those petroleum-based cluttermeisters even make it home, they’re headed straight to the closet and/or the landfill.

Question 1: What is the half-life of a bobblehead doll of a shortstop who batted .234 lifetime?  450-800 years

Question 2: What does the guy’s batting average have to do with degradation of plastic?

Answer: Nothing. Nothing at all.


girl in field of dandelions
Worn down by the taunts and jeers

Topic: Dandelions. Fellow gardeners…or at least, those of us doing mindless grunt work with hoe and shovel…don’t you think dandelions simply mock us?

The big ones—”Neaner, neaner, neeeeaner! You’re oblivious and I’m huuuuge!”

The small ones—”We’re baaaaack!”


lawn mowing strategy

Topic: Clear sign of a vanishing attention span—my lawn mowing has regressed to ‘forward-and-back-in-one-5′ x 5′ square at a time’. Anything beyond that, all bets are off.


Hey, we’re all in this together [whatever ‘this’ is]. Any frustrations niggling at you? Share them below.

Rants and Riffs: Installment #6

weed whacker

First of all, doubt your dominance over nature? Git yerself a weedwhacker.


lady blowing her nose

2. Allergy season. Anyone suffer so much that the only practical way to deal with the messy symptoms is to hook a roll of paper towels to your belt?
Still on hay fever…nose-blowin’ guys with the cool 5 o’clock stubble: the inevitable remaining tissue-flivvle…not a good look.


fuel meter
3. Car rental agencies…love to give you a car with a partially-filled tank. They know darn well you’re:

  • too busy [or not math-fluent enough] to estimate how much is needed to return that midsize at the required level.

  • going to forget you started with a partial tank

  • therefore going to fill well beyond the required level.

Cha-Ching!


Hey, we’re all in this together [whatever ‘this’ is]. Any frustrations niggling at you? Share them below.

Rants and Riffs: Installment #5

dog chewing on toy
Pretty sure he didn’t order this ‘toy’ online.

–If you want to crank out a substandard product and still make a little cash, look to the world of pet products. After all, how can you guarantee the entertainment value of a dog toy? And so, it’s a wide open marketplace. “Barkley couldn’t live without his Squiggly Squirrel” goes the testimonial. What we’re not told is Barkley would equally relish an empty milk container.


Nike cloth bag
Shouldn’t I be collecting a little cash for this convenient product placement?

–Nike, Under Armour, Adidas… Shouldn’t you be paying us to advertise your products as we wear them?


man with long hair and beard
I want this guy’s shampoo.

–I am still waiting for that blasted ‘volumizing’ shampoo to kick in after years of use. My forehead continues its relentless advance.

Rants and Riffs: Installment #4–Tips for failure

So, here I am and I am clearly in need of a new look for drafts in MacJournal…

There—that’s better. Charter Roman…I like it.

Giving in to meaningless font-focused distractions prompts me to share a few more tips on how to fail at this writing thing.

1. Have a dog. For a less-fettered path to failure, get one with a clear opinion of his superiority over any digital device.

dog with chin resting on iPad mini

2. Live in a locale with great weather. That sun just pulls me away, with each wavelength of radiant flux** reminding me that: A. I need vitamin D B. camping out in front of a screen is a waste of valuable daylight.

3. Own a DVR. But if you ARE going to sit in front of a screen and waste valuable daylight, you might as well be catching up on [insert favorite cable series here].

4. Keep your most valuable insights and creations on a plethora of notebooks scattered throughout the universe.

These aren't strewn throughout the house, but you get the idea.
piles of notebooks

5. Nurture a lifelong interest in sports. [Diabolical ESPN.com opens on its own, I swear.] Checking for croquet updates is thus inevitable, followed by an all-too-convenient point-and-click side trip to your favorite croqueter’s profile.

**Another tip for failure: Find it imperative to research how sunlight is measure.

Rants and Riffs: Installment #3

cinnamon roll
This one stands on its own, but a thick layer of vanilla/cream cheese frosting wouldn’t hurt.

Today’s topic: Cinnamon rolls.

Come on folks, if there isn’t a roiling ooze of brown sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon the second the knife presses into the roll, it ain’t a cinnamon roll.

Want one with frosting? How about powdered sugar/cream cheese mortar? Something that requires the slathering skills of a professional mason. And yes, paying the guy’s union rate is worth it.

My cardiologist awaits…

Rants and Riffs: Installment #2

I want to live in a world where employees get paternity/maternity leave for when a new dog or cat joins the family. It makes perfect sense!

“Snuffles, this is where you will sleep.” *

“Jujubee, this is when I will feed you.” **

“Angel Face, that’s what the backyard is for.”  ***

“Forsythia, we’re going to have to change your name.”   ****

“Maxwell, I’m going to have to discipline you.” *****


* “Yes, this is my chest.”

** “With intermittent snack times pending your approval.”

*** “Or at least not the living room.”

**** “No animal deserves that name.”

***** “I’ll be shortening our snuggle time by ten seconds.”

Rants and Riffs: Installment #1

I want to live in a world where…

cheese and loaves of bread
These folks are halfway there. Now all they have to do is jam a thumb-sized chunks of this cheese throughout one of those loaves.

cheese bread actually includes chunks of detectable cheese rather than a few scattered molecules. [I mean it, we’re talkin’ molecules!]

***

Ditto with cookies n’ cream ice cream. If I wanted  crumbs n’ cream ice cream, that’s what I’d buy. Cookies n’ cream should feature veins and lodes of the chocolate cookie. [I mean it, we’re talkin’ veins and lodes!].

ice cream cone with Oreo cookie lodged in ice cream
Now we’re talkin’…

© 2013 Shelly ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ . Licensed under CC-BY.
https://www.sketchport.com/drawing/1226097/oreo-ice-cream

 

NOTE TO WRITERS: Rants require overuse of exclamation points and annoying phrasal repetition…and the use of snooty words like ‘phrasal’.