Friday, September 20, 2013

Writing is NOT on the to-do list

After creating last week's giant to-do masterpost, The Dreaded To-Do List, I proceeded to download a task managing app for my lovely new phone. (Which is, by the way, a Samsung Galaxy S4. It's sparkly.)

I ended up being not so comfortable with the app and downloading a new one, and I haven't decided which one to use permanently so I've just kept them both. ::facepalm:: I'll figure it out. . . .

Anyway. I had three high-priority items on the list for the weekend: Complete a baby names list for my sister, apply some line edits for my asexuality book, and finish editing my NA novel. I threw those into the phone and then filled the task list with more goals and assigned frequencies to them. But since part of the reason I wanted to organize these goals was to get in more reading time and more writing time, I also added "read" and "write" to the list as daily items. This did not work out so well.

Reading is fine. I can sit down and read for an hour and stop when an hour is up. But writing doesn't work the same for me. I can't simply crowd it into an hour or assign it as a task. Many writers benefit from setting aside specific writing time, and that doesn't work in my world. I need to not see it as one of many things on the to-do list. It needs to be in its own category.

It needs to be my default state. The thing I'm ALWAYS supposed to be doing. It can't be something I feel like I "got done" once I add that satisfying check mark to it. It's always there. It's not on the to-do list because that would be like adding "breathing" to the to-do list.

Now I just need to act like it's just as essential as breathing. I don't want it to be a chore, or a goal. I just want it to be what I'm always doing.

I didn't finish the Finding Mulligan edits over the weekend. I almost did, but then interpersonal things cropped up and I had to address them. I finished the other two things. And all of my daily activities. Soon, I will go into breathing mode and try to write one of those short stories. I decided which one it's going to be. I've had it in my head for a long time. It should come out like butter.

In the meantime, I'd say editing one of my books and fine-tuning my craft is certainly writing-related, so I don't have to feel like working on it constitutes putting more important things off.

But I think I'm gonna take up stress eating.


  1. Reading has not been on my agenda of late, nor has writing on any of my book projects. However I did get the house vacuumed and the kitchen floor mopped today. Writing like breathing? I like that idea.

    Wrote By Rote

    1. Small victories, right? I feel like I'll relax into it more if writing fills up all the little cracks in my life. I feel much more inclined to do it if I'm energized by connection with others in the community, knowing they're rooting for me, so I want to stay up on Twitter and Facebook and blogging, but it's quite easy to schedule and compartmentalize those things across the day while STILL leaving a nice chunk of writing time at night. (I write best at night.) I'm doing housework whenever I'm on the phone. Too bad I can't get someone to take my showers for me. :)

  2. Stress eating was my fav in high school. Then in college I decided that stress drinking was better. Now it's just an occasional panic attack. I dunno that I would suggest any of them. ;)

    Reading is always on my agenda! The issue I have with reading and writing at the same time is that sometimes, if the book is seriously incredible (Rothfuss's Name of the Wind and Wise Man's Fear did this to me), it consumes my life. There is no writing, or eating, or sleeping, there is just the book. That'll ruin me for a few days haha.

    I generally count editing as a sort of writing, but mostly when I'm inserting entire new scenes or reworking stuff, not just doing grammar checks. I don't try to write everyday. I'm not one of those writers who sets aside time, every single day, to write a little bit. I try to do something creative each day instead (write in my journal, read a little, write some poetry, go for a walk, do some art, etc.). If I force myself to write EVERY DAY I just stress myself out.

    Good luck with your writing!

    1. I seem to stress-eat with silly things like hummus and crackers, so it's not too bad. I don't like drinking though. Glad to know it's not necessarily recommended. :)

      I've of course been swallowed whole by a book before but I read fast so it doesn't actually take that much out of my day if I find myself seriously unable to pull myself out of it. All the less excuse to not read, haha. I'm so glad I got back into it. I missed crying over books. I'm crying a lot reading the one I'm reading.

      I think I should count editing as "a sort of writing" too. I don't try to write every day either--but I think it should be less intimidating than it has been for me lately, like "ugh I can't start that I'm too stressed from other things and it will come out in my work." It's really cathartic to get that connection again, even if it's also an emotional roller coaster. I would never want to force myself to write. It never results in good things. But I know that I have to start if I want to be compelled to keep going, and sometimes starting is difficult. ;)

  3. Which to do lists do you use?
    I like the default one - keep. the simple check box is good enough for me.
    There was also a star trek agenda, which was decent.

    I play video games to de-stress. Single player platformers are good. I find when this part of my brain is occupied I can relax into escapism and think about creative things unhindered. This became more important into my adult life, where the usual de-stressing methods don't work.

    1. I have an app called Remember the Milk. The first one I downloaded was called Wunderlist. There was some kind of task manager in my calendar within the phone, but I wouldn't have been able to have sophisticated repeating tasks, and it bothered me that I couldn't put in "whenever" tasks as background things to do someday without assigning them a date if I used the calendar.

      Great that you play games to destress. Sounds great! The only game I play is Dance Dance Revolution but I have made NO time for it lately.