S. J. Kelley

Tag Archive: Writing in Public

Good bye burnout; hello Eisenhower Matrix!

So the Writing in Public thing failed miserably. It was a success in that I felt guilty for not writing, which was the point, but I realized that I’m burnt out. My schedules never really had any leisure time, so I never really got a chance to recharge (turns out washing clothes is not rejuvenating). I would feel burnt out, not work on the novel to relax, but because my schedule said I was supposed to be working on the novel, I never truly relaxed, and instead was full of guilt. All time. So, I gave myself permission to be lazy. Wow. What a difference it makes to sit back at the end of the day and not have a cloud of “I should be…” hanging over my head. This is why people enjoy weekends!

While relaxing, I read a fabulous post on procrastination. At it’s core was the “Eisenhower Matrix” popularized in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. It looks like this:

Urgent Not Urgent
Important
Q1
Urgent and
Important
Q2
Not urgent and
Important
Not
Important
Q3
Urgent and
Not important
Q4
Not urgent and
Not important

This was paired with a cool Eisenhower quote: “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.” The author then goes on to describe how the things that get you ahead in an entrepreneurial side business aren’t usually urgent (like writing a novel) but are nonetheless quite important. We will never achieve our long-term dreams/goals without working on Q2; it’s what gets us ahead. But these lofty goals get overwhelmed by using urgency as the sole method to prioritize where we put our effort, when in reality there should be very few things in Q1. Which means we spend more time in Q3, doing those urgent but not important tasks that keep us busy.

The post goes on to describe where different types of procrastinators fall, and the section on “Impostinators” fit me almost exactly: we look productive, but we’re working on tasks that aren’t all important and won’t get us closer to our goals. He gives examples of “spending the whole day answering emails, running errands, making phone calls, organizing lists and schedules,” etc. If this is a problem for you, I encourage you to read his lengthy post.

So now I want to look at my major goals in life and put them in this matrix. This task, in and of itself, is classic of procrastination — lots of planning, little doing — but it makes me feel better! Why do I want to put all of my goals in the matrix, instead of just my novel writing ones? Well, that was a major point I took away from the post. Q1 and Q2 tasks, the important tasks, should take priority, and urgency should be defined as “what would benefit most from being done sooner” rather than what has the closest deadline. Q2 tasks could be spending time with family, which is just as important as improving my craft.

Goal: Develop my self-publishing business
Urgent Not Urgent
Important
Q1
Write new words
Q2
Update scene metadata
Improve craft
Learn nonverbal behaviour
Not
Important
Q3
Update “Writing in Public”
Q4
Read self-publishing news (The Passive Voice)
Read KBoards
Read author blogs
Listen to podcasts
Work out better schedule
Goal: Everything else (Family, Health)
Urgent Not Urgent
Important
Q1
Sort out taxes
Sort out bills
Book camping site
Q2
Spend time with kids
Exercise
Get kids’ back-to-school supplies
Make basement livable space
List stuff to sell
Not
Important
Q3
Do Laundry
Q4
Watch Netflix
Go down internet rabbit hole

Writing in Public: Day 7

This accountability thing is good for me… I’m not partial to showing how much of a flake I am on the public record. Hopefully these daily posts will deter me from missing more days in future. That said, I had a good excuse: My plan was to watch a Bryan Cohen webinar on author copyrighting and work on the first draft of book 1 this evening, but my parents offered surprise babysitting services so that my husband and I could go out to dinner to celebrate our wedding anniversary. That’s not an offer one can say no to!

Book 1:
————————————————————–
Day   1 (Thu, Jun 23/16) …..    840 words ….. 38,881 total
Day   2 (Fri, Jun 24/16) …..      0 words ….. 38,881 total
Day   3 (Sat, Jun 25/16) …..      0 words ….. 38,881 total
Day   4 (Sun, Jun 26/16) …..      0 words ….. 38,881 total 
————————————————————–
Week  1 total …………….    840 words …..  210/day avg
————————————————————–
Day   5 (Mon, Jun 27/16) …..    920 words ….. 39,801 total
Day   6 (Tue, Jun 28/16) …..    712 words ….. 40,513 total
Day   7 (Wed, Jun 29/16) …..      0 words ….. 40,513 total
Day   8 (Thu, Jun 30/16) ….. —— words ….. —— total
Day   9 (Fri, Jul 01/16) ….. —— words ….. —— total
Day  10 (Sat, Jun 25/16) ….. —— words ….. —— total
Day  11 (Sun, Jun 26/16) ….. —— words ….. —— total
————————————————————–
Week  2 total ……………. —— words ….. —-/day avg
————————————————————–


Writing in Public: Days 5-6

Day 5 went well! Almost got to 1k. I had the day off work but went into my office in the afternoon to focus. Took my leisurely time editing and expanding prior words, and then did three 20 min sprints. Average per hour rates were 1065, 984, and 1290. This is about double what I’ve been able to accomplish with sprints since I started using them in May. Very pleased.

Today (Day 6) seemed like it would be a wash. Dentist appointment in the morning, then kids wanted me all day. Hubby took the kids out on their bikes for awhile to give me some time, which I’m grateful for, but I mostly just pecked away at the words I wrote yesterday, ending up with an extra 27 in the end, and paid some bills. The rest of my writing happened after the kids were in bed. Did about 150 words, then watched way too many compilations of “The Voice” on YouTube, then did the final push. I really need to disable internet…

Overall, still more words that I would normally write, so I’m happy(ish). Plus I broke 40k! Next happy dance isn’t until 50k.

Book 1:
————————————————————–
Day   1 (Thu, Jun 23/16) …..    840 words ….. 38,881 total
Day   2 (Fri, Jun 24/16) …..      0 words ….. —— total
Day   3 (Sat, Jun 25/16) …..      0 words ….. —— total
Day   4 (Sun, Jun 26/16) …..      0 words ….. —— total 
————————————————————–
Week  1 total …………….    840 words …..  210/day avg
————————————————————–
Day   5 (Mon, Jun 27/16) …..    920 words ….. 39,801 total
Day   6 (Tue, Jun 28/16) …..    712 words ….. 40,513 total
Day   7 (Wed, Jun 29/16) ….. —— words ….. —— total
Day   8 (Thu, Jun 30/16) ….. —— words ….. —— total
Day   9 (Fri, Jul 01/16) ….. —— words ….. —— total
Day  10 (Sat, Jun 25/16) ….. —— words ….. —— total
Day  11 (Sun, Jun 26/16) ….. —— words ….. —— total
————————————————————–
Week  2 total ……………. —— words ….. —-/day avg
————————————————————–

Writing in Public: Days 2-4

The weekend was a flop. Kids’ first day of summer was Friday, and there were birthday parties to attend. When I look at the table below, and assess it objectively, I see a person who isn’t committed to this. But I have to be. I want to write 10k a week. That’s about 1430 words per day. Would love to write 2k/day, but I’ve only written more than 1k/day 12 times since I started tracking in January 2015… yes, I’ve made progress and almost have 40k written now, but it’s a slow slog that has to speed up. Onwards!

Book 1:
————————————————————–
Day   1 (Thu, Jun 23/16) …..    840 words ….. 38,881 total
Day   2 (Fri, Jun 24/16) …..      0 words ….. 
Day   3 (Sat, Jun 25/16) …..      0 words ….. 
Day   4 (Sun, Jun 26/16) …..      0 words ….. 
————————————————————–
Week  1 total …………….    840 words ….. 210/day avg
————————————————————–

Writing in Public: Day 1

Ok, I need some accountability. I’ve switched schedules… again. Now I’m trying working after the kids go to bed and staying up until midnight, catching up on sleep with naps whenever I can get them. It’s not working out. No schedule seems to work out. I’m tired. All the freaking time. It takes me an hour just to warm up to the idea of doing more thinking after a day of thinking and then trying my hardest to be patient while looking after children and being sleep deprived. Drained is an understatement. Ugh.

I really like Dean Wesley Smith’s idea of “writing in public” Basically, he posts what he does every day. I had considered writing my daily successes into an agenda (because there are more things to capture than word counts), but I have a bias against analog. I hate the idea of something not being backed up somehow. So I’ll try this blog. We’ll see.

So today I am coming off last night’s attempt to recover from burn-out (my medicine was 5 episodes of “Lie to Me” on Netflix). I actually find the show a good resource for my writing, and it inspired me to pick up a few books on nonverbal communication which have really enriched my writing. I plan to review them. Eventually. Some day. Because time.

So, long story short, I only got 5 hours of sleep. Still managed to get 841 words in though. I’d really like to get up to 2k/day, but 1k/day is already a stretch with the way I’m going. 10k a week would be more awesome than awesomeness. Since today is Thursday, I’ll aim for 5k this week.

I’m starting to realize that my book is going to be long. Act 1 is 25k, and I’m well into Act 2a and it’s going to be much longer. Might have to consider making my transition from Act 1-2 a midpoint, and cluing up the book at the end of what I had originally envisioned as the true midpoint. Would make a good cliffhanger, but would still probably weigh in at 50-60k, which is novel length. At least then I can get a book out sooner!

Book 1:
Day   1 …………    840 words
Total ………….. 38,881 words