I just read this book SUPERHUMAN BY HABIT by Tynan. I found it to be a bit of a supercilious little book, but it got me to reframing how I think about some things. Most of what’s been on my mind is tummy troubles and not writing as much as I want.
Yes, basically, EAT LESS, WRITE MORE is the title of my autobiography. (thx to Teresa Frohock for the joke)
I’ve made all kinds of excuses about my eating more and writing less, some of them even legitimate (like a teenager still at home and family health issues). But at the end of the day I’m wandering the house, spending an awful lot of time NOT writing, doing lots of other things, some of which matter and some of which don’t, and snacking the hell outta some chips. I have made some progress in eating well, but not the writing.
Before I go on: I know I’m in a position to improve and so many folks just aren’t. It has not always been this way. For years I wondered what the hell happened to the lady who drafted a book in six weeks and lifted weights every day and ate well. I finally realized my life just wasn’t supporting much writing or taking good care of myself. But my oldest son is almost 21 and in college. My youngest is 17 and a senior who basically has his shit together. They both drive. Our parents are aging, but independent and healthy. My husband and I get along great and our social life is fun but not overwhelming. I want to encourage you, if you are beating yourself up over your habits and goals, to take a hard look at your life and let the guilt fuck right off, because guilt won’t get the words down. Also, guilt keeps you from recognizing when things improve and taking advantage of the improvement happily.
I do like how SUPERHUMAN focuses on behaviors (habits). A focus on behaviors keeps me in the moment. I set about just free writing a bunch of ideal goals, wrote the behaviors to get there, and then a reasonable schedule to support consistent behaviors. These goals and behaviors actually shifted easily into a basic “Ideal Schedule” based on my behaviors that work and the ones I want to develop, and reality. I scheduled on the hour for simplicity’s sake.
7 wake, read, social media
8 tea, desk to write
11 lunch at desk, keep writing
12 social media, chat to hubcap
1 Finish writing
2-3 household tasks, phone, email, business, research, walk dog, snack, talk with kids
5 happy hour/dinner
With this I’ve got about 3-5 hours definite writing time, front-loaded to the morning. Whatever I’m doing, I get my best motivation in the morning, and I don’t want to give my best to household jobs. I want to give my best to writing.
This schedule also leaves ample room for reality. I need to do things around the house, talk to the family (who all live here), fix meals, do social media, take care of household and writing admin tasks, socialize, walk my dog, do fun stuff, all of which take up quite a lot of time day-to-day. I’m a consummate procrastinator; I’ve just shoved my procrastination to the afternoon.
The adjustments I made for writing already has shown strong measurable difference. I keep track of what I write every day but I don’t write to word counts. I write to scenes, or to chapters if I’m really going, and I do a lot of revision while I write. I’m slow in the word count department but it all evens out in the wash. A bunch of us were just chatting on Twitter about our writing habits. For me, writing scenes and chapters work just fine when I’m writing. They don’t do jack for me if I’m not. So morning it is. Note that I do include thinking, plotting, drawing, notes, and diagramming in “writing”.
Eating (because people ask)
Unlike writing well in the morning, the longer I can put eating off, the better I do all day. First, I write it all down in an app called My Fitness Pal. I strive for reasonable and moderate. For me (5 feet tall, 52 years, 20 lbs heavier than I want to be; but not 30# like before!) a 1000 calories is tight but works for me. I still have a biscuit with tea every day. I still drink something alcoholic 4-7 times a week. I limit carbs only enough to hit my calorie goal. I never go a day without cheese because it makes me happy. I try to pay attention to my protein because it makes me feel good. I love veg but can’t go overboard because too much makes me feel crappy. Etc.
Anyway, there you’ve got it. I’ll be checking back in to let you know how I progress. Blogging more is also a macro goal because I miss it.