Tag Archives: productivity

Asking for Help

This is not something I generally admit to, but it seems like all of the books I’ve been reading lately have been saying, “Ask for the goddamn help.” I hate asking for help. But, seems like I need to ask for help to learn how to ask for help? đŸ€”

Right now I’m in the middle of BrenĂ© Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection. I just thought it was time to read one of her books. I’ve seen her TED talk, read articles by and about her. I’m pretty bad about reading book descriptions (which is how I ended up buying a romance novel with my daughter’s name as the heroine. ickety ick ick) so I just figured it would be good advice for how to deal with my own perfectionism.

Well well, what a nice surprise for me. This damn book is all about asking for help and knowing that you’re an imperfect person and asking for help is a perfectly reasonable, human thing to do. That asking for help is part of what makes us human.

And I’ve read Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking. That was helpful too. I’ve been doing all this self-help reading lately. Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. That Deep Work book I mentioned the other day. All of them are pushing me towards realizing I can’t do it all myself. I definitely need help to get into that mental space, both to create and then to hone. Sure I can write some wacky romance novel, but unless I have space and the energy to revise and clean it up, it won’t be anything worth reading.

My quest for this month is to ask for help. And, perhaps more importantly, feel like I deserve to be helped. That I’m important enough to help. That I’m not just a bother. I feel like I’ve been disappointed so many times before by asking for help that I’m only setting myself up for even more disappointment. But, it’s a new month. And it’s a new thing to learn. And accept, perhaps.

This feels terribly squidgy to leave up on the internet. But. I can’t be the only one who feels like this. I can’t be the only one who can’t and won’t ask for help. So here it goes.

How do you ask for help? And how do you get over this initial ohmygodican’tpossiblyaskanyoneforanything hurdle?

Habits

That old chestnut that habits take 21 days to form? I think I believe it. I started getting up early again on the 28th of November and I have been up by 5:30 every day since then. I’ve been getting in my 2k words before 8 most days.

On top of this, I’ve also been cutting carbs, doing the 4-Hour-Body thing sort of kind of. I’m still eating some candy and flan and stuff, but I’m making better choices left and right.

My favorite new thing I’ve started doing is ten squats every time I refill my drink. I’ll schedule a half pot of decaf every night and drink that while I’m writing (with pastured half-and-half and Vietnamese cinnamon if you’re curious).

It seems to be working. My metrics for body composition (how close my ribs feel to the surface and having to tie my sweatpants to keep them up) are rocking. I can’t weigh myself and have it mean anything because by the time I get around to weighing myself, I am a half pot of coffee into the day and I’ve been drinking ice water. So ÂŻ\_(ツ)_/ÂŻ I can’t really go on anything but these very relative measurements.

IMG_3516It’s working and I’m feeling pretty rad about it. I have a goal of six books released next year. This getting the writing done first thing in the morning is opening up the rest of the day for revision. And I’m loving it. Well, as much as I can love revision.

But it’s happening and I’m sending out each chapter as it’s completed to my friend to read. Which is also helpful because you don’t want to wait too long between each installment. And even if I don’t really feel like it, I’ll still do it because she’s doing me a solid by reading. And I’m (hopefully) doing her a solid by supplying her with free romance novels. XD

New Habits

This early morning thing is working. It isn’t even 7:30 and I got my 2k words in.

Well, it wasn’t 7:30 when I wrote that first line. A small, pink pajamaed person came and jumped on me.

I’ve been up early the last few days and it’s getting easier. It’s nice to have that 2k words in. Now, I can think about it through the day and plan what comes next. I generally have an idea of where and how the story will go, the big picture, but I don’t do any sort of JK Rowling plotting and planning.

jk-rowlings-phoenix-plot-outline
Yoinked from Open Culture

No. I can understand the need for this level of plotting and planning, but god, no thanks. I like to follow the story where it leads me.

Anyway, I enjoy thinking about the story over the course of the day, toying with what I’ve written and where it’s going and where things will go tomorrow and if I need to sit down and type more.

I’ve also been reading The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. First thing when I wake up, I’ll drink the ice water in my Klean Kanteen, then wander into the kitchen and eat a hardboiled egg. Then drink some coffee at my desk with a splash of heavy cream and heavy on the cinnamon. The morning routine is helping. I’ve also programmed the coffee maker to brew some coffee at 5. Honestly, that has gotten me out of bed more than one morning. “Well, I set the coffee maker. I don’t want to drink stale coffee later. Might as well just get out of bed and do my scribbling.” So, it’s helping.

Plus, I bought a little deskcycle and I sit and pedal while I write, then when I’ve pedaled about an hour, I curl up and rest my little feet on it. I don’t know what’s helping me the most, the eating or the hacks (that 4-hour book is like hack central) or the cycling or the My Fitness Pal, but it’s all clicking and I’m feeling so good and being so productive.

I think Kurt Vonnegut had it right. Four hours (what is it with four hours?!) is about the right time to devote to writing. I spent about two hours writing this morning, some time on bookkeeping (have I mentioned I’ve fallen down the bujo rabbit hole?) and bills and shit and then some time cuddling my kid. If I can maintain this schedule, two hours of writing in the morning and then two hours of editing later in the day, this is going to be totally achievable. That’s a good feeling. That’s a great realization. I can be a writer. AND I can make it career.

And before anyone says anything, yes, the Entropy Machine has been watching Zootopia and Try Everything is constantly in my head.

 

New Habits

I can’t decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I was out with friends last night and ended up bullshitting until 10:30, which is well past my up at 5 bedtime. I turned off my early morning alarms because that would be an exercise in futility. My brain went PING! TIME FOR WRITING!!! at 6. I was up and working. I had a full listen to the Requiem and got some good writing done.

I’m a little sleepy, not going to lie, but the feeling of accomplishment is better than my occasional yawn. It was only ~1500 words, not sure how much exactly because I’m doing this Embezzling Oma project longhand and I still need to transcribe it. But, more than a thousand in any case.

I think this was exactly what I needed to get me back on track with my writing. This push in the morning and my brain is loving it. The fact I’m up and so happily at 6 is pretty indicative of how much my brain is loving this.

So, here’s to new habits. Here’s to productivity. Here is to my scribbles!

Crash & Burn

I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo and I botched it. Horribly. I’d need to write 5k/day to hit the goal by the end of the month. If I was typing it, that would be possible, but by hand… no way. Actually, I don’t think it would be possible to do it typing either. The Entropy Machine is way too interactive to leave me alone to work in the day and I wouldn’t want to do that to her either, you know?

Which leads me to: I haven’t hit a single word goal this year.  Continue reading Crash & Burn

Indie Adventures

No, not that kind of Indy adventure!!

So, I’ve never been one to be a big self-promoter. I’ve always been that quiet girl who looks like she’s either thinking, “Oh God, the way the light is catching the professor’s rogue eyebrow is amazing/awful/mesmerizing.” or “Should I have a burrito or a cheeseburger for lunch?” or “Maybe Nietzsche was just trolling?”

I’ve been going the indie route. I put Just for Kicks up on Amazon myself. I’m planning on doing the next couple the same way. Submitting manuscripts to the big publishing houses scares the dickens out of me. But, eventually, I’m going to be doing it.

My attempts at self-promotion have been pretty, well, cautious. I haven’t asked my friends to like my FaceBook author page. Part of me thinks that if people want to hear about my junk they’ll search it out, part of me doesn’t want to bother them. And there’s a huge component of imposter syndrome going on too. “OMG my book is so terrible maybe no one should read it so it’s better this way why am I even doing this?”

I read Amanda Palmer’s Art of Asking and I’d link to the Amazon page, but I set my SelfControl app to keep me from goofing around and hey, wouldn’t you know it, Amazon was one of the sites I blocked. Anyway. I really liked the book. I recently saw Kristen Lamb give a presentation. They didn’t cover the same things, but they were in the same ballpark. You need to find your people. You need to have a community.

Now, for an introverted little hermit who is pretty happy in front of a computer and spending prodigious amounts of time in my own head, this is a big ask. Like, I’m pretty awkward. While we’re at it, I’m pretty sure I have Aspergers. I’ve been reading about Aspergers in women and it answers all the questions I’ve had about my life. When you get glasses for the first time and all of a sudden, everything is in focus. It’s that kind of thing. Through this lens of Aspergers, EVERYTHING makes sense. Anyway. So, telling me I have to go find a community and find my people? Scary and daunting ÂŻ\_(ツ)_/ÂŻ

So, as you can see, I have a big task in front of me.

But, I am starting to learn this marketing stuff. I am trying to write blog posts that are informative and hopefully entertaining. I let my voice come through. I try to write about things that I would want to read. I look at people I respect who have built successful platforms and I know they had to put in the time and work. The only way to do it is to do it.  So here we go.

How did you find your people?

And what are your favorite reference books for finding your people? Because if there’s one thing I can get behind, it’s definitely reading the how to’s instead of just getting down to it. 😀