It’s Monday Again…

Let’s face it, Mondays get bad reps….

Yep, it’s going to be one of THOSE articles. Those articles where I ruminate over how hard it is to get things moving when you’re switching gears from Weekend Mode.

I’m usually pretty good about getting started on Writing Projects but on Mondays, the motivation tends to drag its feet. I love to write, but there are also times when I adore to kick back, relax, and do my world famous (hehe) impression of a bump on a log.

Then I look at my calendar and realize that I’m on a deadline. Granted, it’s a self-imposed deadline and I can modify the timing to my choosing, but still a deadline none the less.

Yes, it all ties back to procrastination and despite my better angels, I am a Pro at it. I’m also a Pro at recognizing why I procrastinate and how to fight it.

From an early age, we are bombarded by life concepts that range from factual (work hard) to mythical (imagine and it will be yours) to the borderline outrageous (Luck can strike at any time). There are others, but you don’t need to hear the ones about how some abstract element of Society is supposedly keeping you down and robbing you of opportunities.

I believe in a concept called “Make it Happen”. In short, it states that unless you fight off the self-doubt, the insecurity, the moments where your internal critic tells you it can’t be done, you won’t achieve the results you want. Courage isn’t rushing headlong into Folly; it’s about moving forward even with the possibility that you might fail. Let face it, Failure isn’t something to be afraid of anyway because even in Failure, there is learning.

So, grab your coffee and steel your resolve. Monday is just another day closer to the success that is inevitable. You just have to make it happen.

Blog Lag

I have grown to love blogging. Sharing my thoughts with you all one of the joys of my existence. However, I’ve become aware that I’ve become preoccupied with writing witty blog articles at the expense of my writing projects.

Which brings us to today’s topic: Blog Lag.

Blog Lag is a phenomenon where you find yourself careening back and forth between dashing off a funny or informative article for the blog and hunkering down to do some unrelated writing. In my case, it’s my fiction novels, which demand more time and effort from me on the whole than the blog. By the way, don’t look up the term, I made it up for the purposes of this discussion. I’m a fiction writer; it’s what I do. 🙂

On the surface, this would appear to be either a Time Management issue or competing obsessions fighting for dominance. I prefer to think of it as one form of Writing that allows me to play hooky from another form of Writing. Both are important and beneficial, but since I can’t clone myself (yet), I have to schedule my time between blogging and working on my books.

Usually at this point, I start breaking things down and figuring out ways to either combat them or enhance their effectiveness.

Not in this case.

The truth is that if Blog Lag is a problem, then I’m doing much better than I think I am. Why? Because no matter what option I pick, I am still writing and sharing content with you all and that’s the most important thing to strive for here. 🙂

Heckling Your Email

Here’s a fun activity you can do when you are trying to get your Writing Mojo going.

1) Open your email client.

2) Go down both your Inbox and your Spam Folders.

3) Make fun of each email as you go. Don’t hit Reply. 😉

Why would I advocate picking on poor defenseless emails whose only purpose in Life is to inform? Because you can and it can be a fun exercise to get those Creative Muscles limbered up for a long writing session.

Did I mention that it was fun?

In an electronic world filled with Nigerian Princes who apparently live in places like Japan (yes, I know how to decipher email addresses), scammers who use more boilerplate than an shipyard, and Spambots who exercise little more originality than when we kids back in the 80s who would order a dozen pizzas for a neighbor we didn’t like, it’s a good karmic payback for filling up our email boxes with such useless 1s and 0s.

A final piece of advice:

If you live with someone or have a family, you might want to pick times when you don’t get the Wandering Eye of Suspicion on you or prepare to do a lot of explaining, Lucy.

Finally, if you do this right, Mike, Joel, Crow, Tom Servo, Dr. Forrester, TVs Frank, Pearl and a host of other Parody Gods will smile upon you. If not, then you can just chuckle amongst yourselves. 🙂

A Walk in the Park, Parts 1 & 2

Every once in a while, I get an urge that can’t be denied. So, today I took my Windows Phone out to my local park and walked around filming my walk and talking about it. WordPress is being cranky about video, so here are direct links to them on YouTube. Enjoy. 🙂

Walk in the Park, Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7WAXB2ARIw

Walk in the Part, Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04ZkvH-Sn-8

Sadly, I know I say in the video that I’m making it for Instagram, but I didn’t find out until I started uploading that Instagram doesn’t like Windows Phones, only Android and iOS. I guess I’ll have to shop for one of those if I want to upload to Instagram. :/

A Dash of Ego Deflation

I’m often tempted when writing these articles to give in to the urge to believe my own hype. Yes, it happens and it has to happen because we write in a vacuum.

I often tell others not to take themselves or Social Media too seriously because when we leave that safe and comfortable vacuum, we run into something that jars our carefully-crafted personal reality.

*cue dramatic music*

Other….people’s opinions….

Recently, I had a falling out with an old friend due to a difference of opinion on Facebook. Yes, I was in the wrong but I was so wrapped up in my own self-importance that I couldn’t possibly acknowledge my fault and pettiness.

Yes, I was willing to end a 10 Year friendship over a disagreement that I actually started, because I began a philosophical discussion that quickly spun out of my control. For three months, there was silence and a nonstop spate of blocking and actively ignoring their requests to talk.

I never said that I wasn’t prone to pettiness. I’m human, after all.

The other night, we finally opened a dialog over the phone and hashed everything out. Before I knew it, I was apologizing for my previous behavior and acknowledging my impulse to do what my little sister calls being a “Serial Dumper”.

Suffice it to say that the experience taught me that if we don’t check our egos on a regular and consistent basis, they can grow to the point where they become the monster that ate Cleveland. Poor Cleveland, they’re like the US equivalent of Tokyo in that monsters love to mess with them.

Anyway, that’s my mini-confessional for today. A good friendship was saved and I learned a valuable life lesson. Now, I’m off to beat up my poor hero in Parallax. Have a good one. 🙂

Writing Contests

I don’t do Writing Contests.

It’s nothing against them, actually, just that striving for awards doesn’t blip on my radar and putting forth the effort to prepare an entry, get together an entry fee (BIG No-No as far as I’m concerned), and then wait for a response when I could just as easily put that story out there for an audience to read, seems like a waste of time to me.

Way back in the day, I used to debate at length on the subject of Exposure and while I would wholeheartedly agree that getting your name and work out there is important, is paying for it really the way to go?

There are two questions that should be considered when speculating on this issue:

1) Is the cost worth the potential benefit?

2) Am I doing this for the Craft or for the Accolades?

Don’t get me wrong, everyone loves winning a prize and the potential admiration of their peers. I always get a special thrill when someone sends me a message expressing how much they love my writing or when I read a positive review on Amazon. That’s Human Nature. We love that metaphoric scratch behind our ears.

You could make the argument that writing contests are like the Lottery in that you can’t win if you don’t play. I wouldn’t argue with that except that even if you do play the Lottery, you can still lose and I’m certainly not trying to dissuade anyone from entering such things. What I am putting forth is to question your motivations to do so before you write that check, buy a money order, or grab your credit card.

Do you really need to do this in order to be a better writer? Of course you don’t. All you need to do is write and the days of exposure options being limited are long behind us.

So, get writing. 🙂