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I need therapy?
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Goudron



Joined: 03 Aug 2004
Posts: 2570
Location: near Cleveland OH
I need therapy?  Reply with quote  

I procrastinate to the point of just not writing anything ever. Work makes me tired, then I relax with escapism. I spend a great deal of time reading forums (such as this one (which by the way is quite entertaining but doesn't yet have the volume of traffic I desire)), and playing games, and then it's time to sleep or go buy milk for tomorrow's breakfast. If I'm not procrastinating, I'm having "family time" which I'd rather not eliminate or cut back on. My spare time is limited, and I choose to squander it.

What is everybody's favourite way to get their asses into gear?

Bonus points: I almost always hit the semicolon key instead of the apostrophe key. Anyone know how to rewire your keyboard or use software to make the semicolon and apostrophe keys switch places? That would save me a good 10 minutes every day not having to go back and fix the "don;t"s and "I;ve"s. I almost fixed those two.
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Post Wed Aug 25, 2004 8:15 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
earthshoes



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 213
Location: SW Missouri
 Reply with quote  

I've found it's a bit like religion, actually. It's easier to behave yourself if you're accountable to somebody.

Knowing someone is going to ask you at some point, "So what have you been writing lately?" Is fairly inspiring. Knowing they're going to (somewhat lovingly) harrrass you if you haven't is a big help too. I recommend making friends with other writers--and not namby-pamby ones either--get yourself one of those jarhead drill seargant types who will call you names until you produce something in print.
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Post Wed Aug 25, 2004 9:00 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
Ferrit Leggings



Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 2658
 Reply with quote  

I canít tell you how I get your ass in gear but I can tell you how to procrastinate some more. When I first stated writing my favourite place to waste time was Mini Clip. They have great games there. After that it was online quizzes. If you look in the lists and quizzes section of the board you will notice a lot of quizzes posted by my or me answering to a lot of quizzes. I found out that I am most like Hermione Granger in Harry Potter, I am not addicted to online quizzes (I lied while answering this one), in a liberal, I donít know anything about Justin Timberlake or Brittany Spears and that I am more than fifty percent snob. When they became boring I started in on spider solitaire. I would play this game, after checking my email, responding, seeing what is new in news, checking out the board here and counting to make sure I still had ten toes (I still do). Spider solitaire was an obsession. I would have to play until I won or until I lost so many times that I became frustrated with myself for not doing any writing that I would have to turn it off or I would go into a depressed state for my lack of effort.

After a couple hundred games I tried not thinking of the time wasted but I would often say, ĎIf I just sat down and wrote I would have finished it by now.í This statement always led to more depression. It came to the point where I became sick of myself for not writing and doing anything and having to force myself, when I am in the middle of a project, not to play games, read every bit of email, or to see if I am really like Hermione Granger. I would like to announce to the group that I have not played a single game of spider solitaire in about two months but I am most likely to vote for John Kerry, have voted in every poll that I can find and Christina Agulara (I like pronouncing her name like I am going to vomit) is not my ideal mate.

Ta,
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Post Thu Aug 26, 2004 1:51 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Unc



Joined: 18 Aug 2004
Posts: 300
Location: South of FRANCE
Getting around to dealing with procrastination  Reply with quote  

Two words -- Road Trip

Over the years I've noticed that the periods in which I've gotten stuck in a particular state of mind tend to have a one-to-one relationship to the periods in which I've been stuck in the same physical place for too long.

Voilŗ. Road Trip time. And within moments of slipping behind the wheel or hopping on the plane the sense of stasis and desire to procrastinate is gone, replaced by a sense of "motion towards" and a flood of new ideas and renewed inspiration.

Probably wouldn't work for eveyrone, but it does for me. And it seemed to have worked for Lao-tzu, too, a few centuries ago. One of his cool quotes was: A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent upon arriving. The actual destination of the Road Trip doesn't seem to matter, only the going itself.

Post Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:28 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
chris
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
 Reply with quote  

Don't worry about it. If you're not writing, you're not a writer. You don't have any responsibility. No one cares whether you do it. It's much easier to feel better about not doing it than it is to do it. You can not be anything you want to be. Set your sights higher. Be a world champion marathoner who doesn't run, a pirate without a ship, a Conquistador who doesn't conquer.

Now, either turn off your computer and write with a pen, or disconnect your computer from the internet, if you must write on a computer. Disconnect the wire completely. Can't do it? Go not conquer Mexico then.

You're not procrastinating. You're fucking off. You're fucking off on the internet, which is fucking off that feels like doing something, but isn't. The internet and television are the enemies of writing.

I've told you guys a dozen times about checking into a hotel in Big Sur to finish Lamb. I picked a hotel that had no phones in the rooms, and no televisions. Guess why? I'm not being any tougher on you than I am on myself. It never gets easy. Never.

("But Author Guy, it's a lot easier when you know that you're going to get paid for it. Get published." Yeah? Ya think? You want to know that if you "procrastinate" that they'll take your house away? That make it easier?)

Notebook. Pen. Go somewhere. Park. Cafe. Pancake House. Notebook too slow? Really? How much you get written on your computer today?

And before anyone brings it up, no one feels your pain. No one gives a fuck. Especially in Ohio. You may find a few kindred souls in a forum or at a writers' conference, but most normal people have never met a writer and they think the idea that anyone could actually become a writer is just complete balderdash. You'd be much less foreign to them if you told them that you wanted to be a turtle. At least they've seen a turtle. Your family, your coworkers, your friends: don't care, think you're nuts. Especially in Ohio. (Go ahead, ask me how I know this?)

Notebook. Pen. Block of Time.

or

Paper Hat. Incan-English/English-Incan Dictionary. Map of Eldorado


Not therapy. Two words: Give Up

Post Thu Aug 26, 2004 3:10 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
earthshoes



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 213
Location: SW Missouri
 Reply with quote  

chris wrote:
Don't worry about it. If you're not writing, you're not a writer. You don't have any responsibility. No one cares whether you do it. It's much easier to feel better about not doing it than it is to do it. You can not be anything you want to be. Set your sights higher. Be a world champion marathoner who doesn't run, a pirate without a ship, a Conquistador who doesn't conquer.

Now, either turn off your computer and write with a pen, or disconnect your computer from the internet, if you must write on a computer. Disconnect the wire completely. Can't do it? Go not conquer Mexico then.

You're not procrastinating. You're fucking off. You're fucking off on the internet, which is fucking off that feels like doing something, but isn't. The internet and television are the enemies of writing.

I've told you guys a dozen times about checking into a hotel in Big Sur to finish Lamb. I picked a hotel that had no phones in the rooms, and no televisions. Guess why? I'm not being any tougher on you than I am on myself. It never gets easy. Never.

("But Author Guy, it's a lot easier when you know that you're going to get paid for it. Get published." Yeah? Ya think? You want to know that if you "procrastinate" that they'll take your house away? That make it easier?)

Notebook. Pen. Go somewhere. Park. Cafe. Pancake House. Notebook too slow? Really? How much you get written on your computer today?

And before anyone brings it up, no one feels your pain. No one gives a fuck. Especially in Ohio. You may find a few kindred souls in a forum or at a writers' conference, but most normal people have never met a writer and they think the idea that anyone could actually become a writer is just complete balderdash. You'd be much less foreign to them if you told them that you wanted to be a turtle. At least they've seen a turtle. Your family, your coworkers, your friends: don't care, think you're nuts. Especially in Ohio. (Go ahead, ask me how I know this?)

Notebook. Pen. Block of Time.

or

Paper Hat. Incan-English/English-Incan Dictionary. Map of Eldorado


Not therapy. Two words: Give Up


May I blow this up to poster size and hand it over my desk?
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Post Thu Aug 26, 2004 5:35 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
Unc



Joined: 18 Aug 2004
Posts: 300
Location: South of FRANCE
 Reply with quote  

chris wrote:
Not therapy. Two words: Give Up


Thanks for that, Writer Guy. My Road Trip Therapy, in the light of your more sage advice, is just one more way to fuck off. It works for me, but it's still one step removed from...gawd help me...discipline working for me. The D word is a stone bitch to get past. I keep forgetting that it's the thing that separates the wannabe writer from the writer.

Post Thu Aug 26, 2004 10:18 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Lauren



Joined: 07 Mar 2004
Posts: 1582
Location: Massachusetts
 Reply with quote  

Quote:
From Chris: Notebook. Pen. Go somewhere. Park. Cafe. Pancake House. Notebook too slow? Really? How much you get written on your computer today?


I <3* you, Author Guy. I'm stealing earthshoes' idea and tacking your post up above my desk (right next to my framed "tramp" and "slut" posts.)

*I've never figured out how to make an ascii heart. So that's close as you get.
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Post Thu Aug 26, 2004 10:41 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address ICQ Number
jeannie



Joined: 14 Apr 2004
Posts: 71
Location: Vancouver
 Reply with quote  

Thanks AG, I needed that.

Goudron, the notebook idea is great. Get a smooth flowing pen and scribble, start over, scratch out, and continue on. Nothing feels better than having words on paper even if it is a complete mess.

j

Post Thu Aug 26, 2004 12:00 pm   View user's profile Send private message
chris
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
 Reply with quote  

Unc wrote:
chris wrote:
Not therapy. Two words: Give Up


Thanks for that, Writer Guy. My Road Trip Therapy, in the light of your more sage advice, is just one more way to fuck off. It works for me, but it's still one step removed from...gawd help me...discipline working for me. The D word is a stone bitch to get past. I keep forgetting that it's the thing that separates the wannabe writer from the writer.


Actually, Unc, I don't think your road trip idea is such a bad one. I use a similar method when I get stuck. (or I used to when I lived in California). I used to get a notebook and get in the car. I'd drive south until I got to a coffee shop about twenty minutes south of my house. I'd drink coffee, look at the notebook, think about what I was stuck on -- if nothing happened in an hour or so, I'd get back in the car and go south ten or so more miles. Repeat. Usually, by the time I was about an hour away, and about four hours into the process, something would give.

I think it was the think, write, drive, thing. Those ten or so minutes when I actually couldn't write because I was driving, and the idea that if I didn't come up with something, I was going to be three-hundred miles away from home at two in the morning.

It's not the way to establish discipline, as you point out, but it is a valid way to break things loose when you're stuck. There's also a sense, when you're locked into your writing closet, that life is passing you by. When you're out at a cafe, life is going on around you. You are participating. You don't feel as if you have to keep checking the news or your e-mail or your cell phone to find out if you're missing something. (A note on cell phones. Turn it off when you are on a writing road trip. Wi-fi hot spots are not your friend when you are trying to write.)

Post Thu Aug 26, 2004 3:03 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Goudron



Joined: 03 Aug 2004
Posts: 2570
Location: near Cleveland OH
 Reply with quote  

chris wrote:
Don't worry about it. If you're not writing, you're not a writer. You don't have any responsibility. No one cares whether you do it. It's much easier to feel better about not doing it than it is to do it. You can not be anything you want to be. Set your sights higher. Be a world champion marathoner who doesn't run, a pirate without a ship, a Conquistador who doesn't conquer.


Hm I think I must have confused everyone into thinking I think I'm a writer. I don't think that, but I have something I want to write, and I enjoy writing. I just don't. Call it fucking off or proscrastinating, or call it Bollywhumpus. I think I'll just start writing at 11 PM every night for at least 20 minutes. Being a creature of habit, if I can do this successfully for 2 weeks in a row, I'm guessing I can pound out a terrible novel every other year Very Happy

Looks good in print, I'll see what happens. I'll update in 2 weeks.

No one said anything about the keyboard rewiring.

How about trying to write for just 20 minutes a day? What does everyone think of that? I can imagine, but I want to see it. Thanks for the responses.
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Post Thu Aug 26, 2004 4:44 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Dave



Joined: 24 Aug 2004
Posts: 451
Location: MA, USA
 Reply with quote  

Goudron wrote:
No one said anything about the keyboard rewiring.

There's software around that you can use to remap keys.. You'd have to get whiteout and a sharpie to label the keys differently but that might work.

The only way I know of to break yourself of the habit is to make an effort to slow down and make sure you press the one you want. First try. Every time. It'll kill your productivity for a while but that'll come back and be better than it is now. If you must have software to help you with this, I could probably write some. Dunno how to do negative reinforcement, though. Maybe somebody here is savvy with hardware and can wire something up to give you a mild (at first) shock when you press the wrong key. The reward system is easy when you do it like that - if you don't press the wrong key, you don't get a shock.

Post Thu Aug 26, 2004 5:03 pm   View user's profile Send private message
earthshoes



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 213
Location: SW Missouri
 Reply with quote  

A word count minimum works for me.

It know it's piddly, but I set a minimum of 500 words a day--a goal I know I can accomplish even on the busiest of days. When things are slower, I can get a lot more done, but 500 fits neatly into days where I'm running from sun up to sun down.
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. . .once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.
(The Velveteen Rabbit)

Post Thu Aug 26, 2004 5:25 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
Ferrit Leggings



Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 2658
 Reply with quote  

What I find that works for inspiration is going for a walk. I donít often go for a drive because of motion sickness. Other things that work for me are a bath but the oddest thing is that I came up with my title ďA Partially True Autobiography of Someone Other Than MyselfĒ while sitting on the toilet. I also have learned to keep pads, paper and pens around, especially at night when I am sleeping. I would wake in the middle of the night with an idea that I did not want to forget. The problem was that I would concentrate so hard on not forgetting what it was that I did not want to forget that I would either forget it or be too tired to get into it when I got up because of not sleeping. Making tea is another way but all of that is essentially what Chris said anyway but different.

As for getting to work on what you need to do, writing has to be something that you want to do. I cannot make myself write but when I need to and canít settle down, music helps a lot. I wrote much of the last part of my book while listening to Tom Waits and Van Morrison before that it was David Gray. Getting down to work and inspiration is something different for everybody. Threads like this do help with ideas to try but ultimately it will have to be something that you need to do. I needed to write and I did. I donít care if my book is rejected a million times. It would sadden me if it did but I needed to write it. Writerís who write for something other than himself or herself usually end up writing crap. Screw the public, who gives a shit about them, anyway, most of them canít read.

It is like working with kids. They will do what they want to do when they want to do it. Teaching a kid to read is not as easy as telling them the alphabet and letter sounds. The tick is getting them to know that they need to do it. People who want something rarely get it but people who need, do. I am not talking about basic life stuff either.

Ta.
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Post Thu Aug 26, 2004 6:21 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
palmer



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1324
 Reply with quote  

Quote:
Hm I think I must have confused everyone into thinking I think I'm a writer. I don't think that, but I have something I want to write, and I enjoy writing. I just don't. Call it fucking off or proscrastinating, or call it Bollywhumpus. I think I'll just start writing at 11 PM every night for at least 20 minutes. Being a creature of habit, if I can do this successfully for 2 weeks in a row, I'm guessing I can pound out a terrible novel every other year Very Happy


Twenty minutes? Twenty whole minutes? A novel?

Quote:
No one said anything about the keyboard rewiring.


Hunt around for some software and switch the keys.

Quote:
How about trying to write for just 20 minutes a day? What does everyone think of that? I can imagine, but I want to see it.


Why?


J.P.


JP

Post Thu Aug 26, 2004 9:44 pm   View user's profile Send private message
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