The Three Hundred and Thirty-Sixth Blog: The One Where I Glorify Insomnia as the Solution to a Work-Life Imbalance!

Of course not! I have 32 hours of things to do in just 24 (minus at least six hours for sleep if I’m lucky). I don’t think anyone has any semblance of good work-life balance, be you a chemist, mother or scribbling desperately writer. Sure, I do tend to shoot myself in the foot often (like now for example – I’ll reddit later…after this page…really) and I could get more productive if I just applied some discipline.

However…

The ideal work-life balance would be this: I work more in the evenings at my dreaded day job (shout-out for my own work) and do more writing in the mornings and early afternoons when I am awake and firing on all cylinders. I have more energy in the morning and my mind seems a lot clearer then as opposed to the later afternoon and early evening when I finally get home from the mail room and all I want to do is watch Critical Role, irradiate my dinner and go to bed. I know that should get some writing done when I get home, while I have the energy to do so. Instead, I succumb to bad habits.

I know I should break myself of these rusting chains. I’m not going to get anything done the longer I slump on the couch and watch Mercer and Co.  It’s just…the old saying ‘you can lead a horse to water, you just can’t make him drink’ is very spot on with me. Yes, I can come in hear as soon as I walk through the door, plop down in my chair and tell myself that for the next hour, I am not leaving here until I crank out at least five hundred words.

Which makes me cruise the cat pictures on reddit that much harder. Yes, even to myself, I am a contrarian prick.

Back to the ideal work-life balance. I never minded doing my work at night. I am a night owl – as much as I now like being away during a majority of the day, but if I had my druthers, I would like to do my work during the night and have those few precious hours when the world is asleep to really write somewhat undisturbed. As the world begins the long process of waking up, I’m closing my bedroom curtains and settling down. That would be nice.

Too bad the meth-heads and the construction down in the alley would keep me awake for the day. As much as I love the schedule, it would be impractical. So, I guess that I’ll just have to settle down, prioritize things and get back to writing rather than Top 10 weapons you can farm in Borderlands 2 or another YouTube offering.

Well – that’s all for this card. I’ll probably do another one and then chat about the latest wave of the MCU. I heard who the antagonist is going to be for the Black Panther sequel, and some questions I have for the movie.

Thank you for stopping by, and feel free to donate some coffee (speaking of working third shift) to my kofi account or buy one of the books I have on the right-hand side of the screen. They’re good and cheap.

Take, care now.

The Three Hundred and Thirty-Fourth Post: The One Where I Discuss Wild Dreams Like Peace and Quiet in My Neighborhood!

What’s one action you could take today that would make your work life easier?

Well…do we mean my 9-to-5 job? If so, the best way to make my work life easier there is to give me my own office space. I don’t need a lot – something with four walls and a lockable door. Let me turn on my music (or podcasts) and open mail in peace. That’s all. I’ve found that I am way more productive when I am pretty much left alone. Example: I opened about 700 pieces of mail and on that day, I responded if talked to (or at in some cases) and carried on conversations. The following day I was left alone, I opened about 1,100 pieces of mail. This wasn’t a one off. When I am left alone, I am more productive. It’s that simple.

Now, if were talking about my other job (The Unknown Writer) …surprisingly, there is little in the way of change as to what I need. I just need an office space with a lockable door that is at least a fifteen-minute drive from my house. Preferably a room on a high floor with a sturdy oak door.

While, yes – it is a dream of mine to work from home as an author, but there are so many distractions. Between the motorcycles, hot-rod wannabes and the drifting meth-aficionados there is little in the way of peace and quiet. I do listen to music while I write, but that’s just to keep me in the mood and to keep my mind focused on the words and not on what’s that strange sound (no, seriously – is that an opossum? Freaky little things!).

I also have people here that will traipse in and out – asking questions and favors while I’m working. Even when I’ve told them: Hey – I’m going to be getting writing done, so…I need privacy, it will be twenty minutes before someone comes in and asks for something to be looked up, or a question about what happened today. Things like that get under my skin because I must stop, answer the question and get back into the mindset. Sometimes it’s easy. Other times, it’s not and I lose another productive session. (not that I have a lot of those).

If I sound like I’m whining or bitching…well, I am. However, this is within my realm to change it. I either:

  1. Hammer out a schedule where I can have solitude enough to write.
  2. Become a mega-successful author and buy office space in downtown.

 

I would to like to get option b, but I might have to settle for a. I’ve had a lot of other distractions both here and elsewhere, and I have handled them with making small changes: buying a small laptop that is only for writing and certainly not video game playing. Getting the Hemingway cards so that if I can’t think of what to write, I fall back on those so I can get in the habit of blogging on a regular basis. I have to realize that there are some changes I can make (writing in the morning as it’s peaceful) and others that are impossible currently (stringing taut piano wire to behead the motorcycle riders who insist on zooming down the short block). This is going to be an exercise is stoic philosophy, but it will be fruitful in the end.

On a very different note, I watched Midsommer and thought it was a decent flick. Written and directed by the same guy who did Hereditary, the movie is a deep study in how a person deals with loss. I’ll put up my thoughts next time.

Well, thank you for letting me bend your digital ear. I’ll try to write something far more smart sounding for next time. Until then – to your right are some of my works, and the works of dear friends, so check them out. Also, consider buying me a cup of coffee with the Kofi app, or just throw money at me. I’m cool with that.

So long and have a good day.

The Three Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Blog: The One Where I Try Something New and Non-disastrous!

Here’s the deal: I just got these Hemingway Cards, which is simply 100 cards with creative prompts for bloggers, writers and other creative types. I am going to take up the challenge of one card a day for the next 100 weeks. No skipping. No “this is a little too sensitive for me”. A ‘fearless inventory’, as it were. This is something to try to get me into the habit of writing a little something every day. Five hundred words a day for one hundred days. I’m not going to just work with the cards. I will interrupt this stream to either write about a movie (I haven’t forgotten about Black Panther. Still trying to get my thoughts together about it, but it’s a good posting and I can’t wait to show it to you all) or a book idea. 

So – without further ado. The first of one hundred cards: 

 

What Qualities Do You Admire In Yourself? 

facepalm pic

Well, this is going to be a good one. I’m actually uncomfortable about talking about just myself, but this was to be a fearless inventory. 

What do I like about myself? Give me a topic, a sentence or a picture and I will spin it into a story in about 20 minutes. The writer Harlan Ellison would do this on a radio program. Someone would call in and give him an opening line. The radio station would go to commercial, he’d come back with a finished short story. Right out of his head. For me to write a short story, I have to sweat blood, make a deal with the Devil on the Crossroads just to get it under 5,000 words. I like writing short stories, and I have some good ones. The format I enjoy is the novel. The slow build, the gathering of the threads and the reveal. 

My mind is always focused on storytelling. I watch a movie and see the beats, see where the acts begin and end, see the tropes and try to see how they get subverted (if it happens). I read a novel and examine the archetypes of the characters, see what’s been tweaked. I can’t stop it. Even on some of the New Media stuff – Critical Role and other things, I examine it and pick it apart. 

Is there a downside to this? Oh, yeah – there is a reason why TV Tropes opens with the sentence: TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life. Once you see them, you can’t unsee them. Once you know them, you’ll see them everywhere and now you know how the story ends. On the upside, now that you know how the blocks are put together, you can change things. Take the castle and turn it into a car wash. The princess saves the dragon. Work it. 

I just have ideas constantly. Not all of them are good. Heck, almost all of them are garbage, but much like my house I can’t bear to throw things away. One day, everything is going to be in a book. They’re all my children. My wonderful, hyper-ADHD and sometimes armed children. I’ve got many notebooks filled with one sentence notions and bits of dialogue that pop in my head day in and day out. 

Note to anyone getting into any writing: fiction, journalism or anything else – carry a notebook with you at all times. Even it it’s a flip up fifty-page grocery list maker. Carry it. Don’t rely on your memory. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down in front of a computer with a great idea only to have it flit away when I put fingers to keys. Worse thing ever to experience is that moment of emptiness. Please don’t suffer as I have. 

Are there any other qualities that I like? Any physical qualities? Umm…no…not really. I’m shlubby and trying to get better about that. I go to the gym (occasionally) and I try to eat a bit healthier (Domino’s counts, right? No? OK). Like the line goes: My body is a temple. Not a good temple – one of those temples over-run by monkeys. 

Well, thanks for stopping by – ignore the monkeys in the rafters, it’s their union break.