It’s been a few weeks since my Easter Weekend Project and this past week I had some time to look over the book, make some suggested edits as per my brother’s recommendations. Willy took a quick look over it, gave me a few recommendations and the next step is to edit it for reals. I’m still debating whether I’ll let Willy edit it or not. Being edited is hard. I haven’t decided whether opening myself up to his criticism is better than someone else’s. He’s already read it now, so I guess he can already see it for what it is before being editing.
Both my husband and my brother agreed it’s something I can be proud of. This makes me smile.
Right now it’s a series of steps to help you dream big, decide on your bucket list goals/life goals and start making them happen — nothing particularly new for this blog except for all in one place. The working title is Reach Your Goals but that sounds pretty lame and self-help-y. I’m open to better suggestions.
“You’ve written a lot this year!” Willy pointed out. I hadn’t really thought about it, but once I did, I realized that yeah I have written a lot. As it stands, this ebook is roughly 10,000 words. Another one I’ve been working on for the last 8 months (as ideas come) is 20,000 words. The novel I wrote in November was roughly 50,000 words and none of this is including all of the blog posts I’ve written and personal journaling I’ve done. The best part is, my life doesn’t seem to be interrupted by all this writing.
I’m celebrating a little bit in my heart as I write this for having been able to so easily work toward this goal of writing regularly.
I bought hydrangeas for Easter!
Four days off in a row. How awesome is that? This is the first year we didn’t spend with family. Usually we end up spending one or two days at my dad’s but this year we’ve stayed home in Montreal for all of our holidays except Christmas. I never knew how awesome four-days-in-a-row is when you aren’t obligated to do things other people want to. I was telling my dad this yesterday when I called him to wish him a Happy Easter. It was really relaxing to not have to visit family, even though I love them. They totally understood, which is very nice.
I spent a lot of the weekend writing. It was wonderful!
I’m slowly moving ahead on some of these smaller goals that lead up to (I hope) getting published one day. This one is the easy first step: an ebook related to this blog. Now, I know, it maybe doesn’t sound thrilling (or does it?), but I promise you it’s actually pretty not bad!
As I took all the most-popular posts from this blog and the other posts that are very key to what I think will help someone define goals and move towards them, over the course of the long weekend I wrote an ebook. It is meant to be short and to the point. It is meant to be given away freely. I think it does a really good job of streamlining what I’ve learned in the last several months about making life changes to structure your life to reach your goals.
So the next step is to get it edited and reviewed by a few people and then release that bad boy.
Having big goals requires having a bunch of little ones to check off the list to help you get there. I’ve written some of my smaller goals here that will help me get to the bigger, badder bucket list items. Today, I got to check one of those off. I now have some articles published somewhere other than my own blog.
It feels like a big day but maybe that’s because the sun was still up at 7PM.
The writing is different from what I usually write here. It’s more personal, or at least a different kind of personal. Also, it’s been edited! It’s weird seeing words that did not come from myself. It was also helpful to see how unclear I can write or how I can mix my points and switch topics mid article. Humbling.
Confessions of a Former McDonalds Addict
McDonald’s and I have had an interesting relationship over the years. I love McDonald’s and have had a tendency to lose self-control around it. At first it was infrequent during late-night study sessions with friends, entirely on impulse. Then it stopped being so infrequent.
I moved to Montreal after I graduated University and found myself in a new (big) city with few friends. My evenings after work were spent alone in those first few months. I didn’t have a lot of energy to meet new people at the end of a long day. So I watchedBig Bang Theory instead. During this time, I had moved right across the street from a McDonald’s. The mouth-watering scent of salty fries were carried on in the warm September breeze across the street and into my bedroom window.
I was doomed.
Click to read more.
It feels good, people. Now that the sun is down I can say confidently that it does feel good to scratch this off the list.
What smaller steps have you scratched off your Bucket list recently? Leave a comment here.
Last fall I did a bunch of posts on journaling and gave a way a great hand bound journal. I just stumbled upon a challenge that I thought I’d share with you because it’s a great idea. Over at Cloud Productivity, they’re throwing out a challenge starting March 1 (that’s this Friday) to start journaling. It gives you some time to decide whether you want to write or type, to pick up a fresh journal or buy an app or just open a new window in Word.
“Can journalling can make you more productive?” was my most popular post on journaling, which you might find motivating to start.
Have you recently started journaling? Have you tried before and quit? What did/didn’t you like about it? Do you think you’ll give it a shot this time? Comment here with your thoughts.
It was surprisingly easy this time around.
I’m a little embarrassed by how easy it was. I guess my life is not really all that busy or I can write like a machine compared to the first time I did Nanowrimo 8 years ago. But it was quite easy. Then I surprised myself by accidentally finishing two days early! These are not meant to be brags! I’m honestly shocked and like I said, embarrassed. I’m embarrassed because I’m hearing ‘ooh’s and ‘ahh’s about how I’m writing a novel (which isn’t a big deal because people do it all the time with Nanowrimo) and people make it sound like it’s hard when it’s just not. Not because I’m special, but because people are just making it out to be bigger than it really is. I think? That’s why I want people to do Nanowrimo. So they can see that it’s not that hard. Just like anyone can run a 5K, anyone can win Nanowrimo with the conditions in their favour.
Having cheerleaders helps make it fun and actually get it done.
This year I got to know a group of Montrealers who were doing Nanowrimo as well. I had a lot of fun encouraging them via twitter, writing with them in real life (the one time I was able to make it to a write-in), doing word-wars with them where we’d compete to see how much we could write in 10, 15, or 20 minute time slots. The first time I did Nano, I was keeping it a secret from basically everyone because I didn’t want to be embarrassed by my own failure if that was the case. Being open about it helped so much! I would never do it alone again. That’s torture.
StayFocused was hugely helpful for my focus (thanks, Di!)
My friend Diane suggested the browser plug-in StayFocused. You input the sites you want to block and what days/hours you want them blocked and it will simply not let you on them at those times. It was really revealing how in a split second I could open a new tab and be on Facebook, completely subconsciously! Even after I would just close the window, I’d lose my train of thought and be back. It was actually kind of eerie a few times. StayFocused helped me, well, stay focused.
It turns out I have a lot of free time in the evenings/weekends.
This semester with my husband having to leave by 5:45 every day for class, it means that we eat early. It also means I can get a lot done if I actually have things to do and energy to do it with. I can only think of three days where my story was hard to write and it took me 2 hours to write my 1667 words. Otherwise, I pumped out my word count in an hour and then did other things. The main thing is having motivation to do things with people since I find myself pretty tired from hanging out with people all day long at work.
My favourite thing about Nanowrimo
My favourite thing is the freedom in writing to let the story tell itself. If you sit in on the NanoMTL chat room you’d daily hear someone say “I have a block” and then someone else say “KILL A CHARACTER” with much viciousness. Both times I did Nano seriously, I was shocked at how the story ended up telling itself almost better than if I had painstakingly planned out every scene. I just planned broad stroke ideas. It did the rest. I love that. And no, I didn’t kill any characters (though in my first novel, I burned down an old folks home. Everyone that was healthy made it out safe because I couldn’t bear anyone actually dying.).
Finally: “Can I read your novel?”
People have been asking me if they can read my novel. At this point, I’m probably going to say no – mostly because taking the time to read through it to make sure there are no major plot holes etc. will take time. Writing in 1667 word batches makes for a lot of forgetting what was said/done in the previous section! But I might be persuadable as long as people don’t expect anything close to literature.
Today is Day 3 of the Soundless Soliloquy journal giveaway! Click here
for details if you haven’t already put in your entries!
As I was writing out the title I realized, this is odd, Jess. You’re a self-described technophile, yet you keep pushing writing with an actual pen and paper. What gives? This is true, but one thing I’ve been forced to accept about myself is there is something different about writing down on paper. Somehow my brain thinks it’s more legit. Part of me resents that because I want to live my life completely in technology (why I don’t know), but it’s just the way I am and so I’ve come to accept it. I write things down and then digitize them by taking pictures and sending them to Evernote. Somethings, though, just stay on paper.
Creativesomething.net has these great reasons why you should actually write things down. In the spirit of the journal giveaway week, I wanted to share them with you. See the whole article here.
Writing down your ideas makes them nearly impossible to forget.
Sure, you could rip out the page you write your idea on, or you could lose your idea notebook, but writing down your idea is a pretty certain guarantee that you won’t forget it later. Even if the idea seems pointless or stupid at the time you think it up, you may want to recall it later, and if you don’t write it down somewhere… you probably won’t ever remember.
Writing down your ideas makes them more than just ideas.
An idea is just a mental thought, until it is written (or typed) down. Writing down your ideas takes them from being just a thought, into being a real, feasible idea. In this way the creative ideas you have also become expandable; you will be able to physically see the idea, rather than just imagining it in your mind (seeing is believing). Being able to see your idea is the very first step in acting on that idea.
Writing down your ideas puts them all in one place.
If you find yourself bombarded with a lot of creative ideas often (or if you’re a creative professional), writing your ideas down in an “idea notebook” makes it easy to keep track of your ideas. An idea notebook means you always know where to look when you want to recall an idea (or when you need some creative inspiration). Don’t want to buy a notebook? Then try to collect all of your ideas on your computer or in a pile of scrap paper. Anything to put your ideas all into one, easy to find place.
Writing down your ideas makes it easier to think up new ones.
Once you are in the habit of writing your ideas down, you’ll quickly develop a knack for thinking up, and tracking, ideas. Before you know it you will have notebooks full of great ideas. The more you write the more you will have to write about.
Try and discover ways in your everyday activity to keep track of your ideas until you can get them together in one place and in one format.
I really buy into #1. There’s something about closing loops in my brain that just works when I write ideas down. But then I have to go back and review them in order to put them into action.
How about you? Do you need to write things down like to-do lists etc? What things have you kept on paper and what things have you moved digital? You can comment by clicking here.