Friday, 3 January 2014

2014: Year Of The Getting Stuff Done

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking this post is is going to completely contradict my previous post (The Following are Not New Year's Resolutions.)

I've strived and contrived to come up with a way in which it doesn't - and in my head I came quite close to achieving that. In fact, I could actually say I was successful - if I add the words 'sort of' into the sentence. You see, while I still cling to my heebee-jeebee reversal-of-fortune theory regarding my own track record with New Year's Resolutions, there's another part of me that feels I need to show some sort of commitment to sorting out my shizzle for Life After 2013.

Chuck Wendig created an excellent list of 'writing resolutions for 2014 and beyond' in his terribleminds blog, which I have printed out and put somewhere I can easily read it and feel suitably ass-kicked whenever I am in need (but discreet enough so that my seven-year-old son won't read it - sorry Chuck, but I can't deal with 'those kinds of questions' and feel motivated to write.) This is one way round my dilemma; he wrote the resolutions and I am just agreeing wholeheartedly and shamelessly following them, so it's not the same as me making them... that cancels out the voodoo, doesn't it? Anyway, whether I liked it or not, the arbitrary switch-flip from 2013 to 2014 did make me take a long hard look at myself and decide I needed licking into shape - at the very least in a writerly sense.

When you're raising a kid and running a home there's always stuff to do, of course, so when I finally get my precious hours of 'free' time I need to make the most of them. And when those hours are just two I need to work smarter within that time. Which means NO DISTRACTIONS.

This is particularly hard when those free time hours end up coinciding with my son being home from school and playing Minecraft on Daddy's computer. My computer, where I do my writing, is less than five feet away - and seven-year-old boys do not play computer games quietly. They shout and cheer, and point their fingers at the screen in a gun-shape and go "pewpewpewpewpewwww!!" at the top of their lungs, and bounce up and down making 'swoosh' noises and screaming about 'the Force' being with them as your screen wobbles precariously on your desk. (They also randomly yell "Aw yeeaaah, Dude!" and other meaningless statements in ComputerGeekese, a language which has been specially designed to annoy the hell out of anyone over the age of thirty unless they're still a virgin and living in their mum's house in the basement bedroom.)

In those circumstances, concentrating on anything is pretty much impossible. Moving one of us to another room isn't an option; there just isn't the space in our house, and besides, he sometimes likes to watch Minecraft videos on YouTube. As anyone who has ever seen The Internet before knows, not even the strictest of Parental Control functions can stop a small child seeing something 'unsuitable' on YouTube - and while I don't go as far as sitting beside him and watching his every move, I prefer to keep at least half an eye and ear open while he's surfing the web. Which means the only solution is to make sure my free hours fall outside of the time my son's going to play computer games. And that means planning all of my life better, not just my writing time.

So I need to revise my original writing contract somewhat; I've learned it's not enough to simply say 'I will write for two hours a day...' I need to make sure they're the best two hours I'm likely to get. Which means doing all my other stuff in a different order to make that happen; organising my housework and childcaring shizzle as well as my writing shizzle. Bleaugh, if they're not the words of a disorganised woman I don't know what are. I will never be the Perfect Housewife; I struggle to hit 'adequate' most of the time. I'm told that's a Writer Thing - I hope that's true, because god knows I need some sort of excuse.

Anyway, I've decided 2014 is the Year of The Getting Stuff Done. No piddling about; walk the walk and keep my eye on the prize on the horizon (rather than just the horizon, which is probably where I've been going wrong in the past. Nice to know it's there and all that - but it's even better to have an actual reason to be heading for it other than 'it'll be great when I get there.')

And of course any hints and advice from those who been there, done that and possibly got the t-shirt stuffed in a wardrobe somewhere would be greatly appreciated ;)

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