Getting Back Into Good Habits and A Last Thought On Plotting

Summertime seems so much to be a time where things relax.  School’s out (usually), people go on vacation, diets lapse (what, you can’t tell me that’s only me), schedules become less of a must do thing.  I think it’s a necessary step in the course of the year so that we don’t just explode.

It is Monday again.  The first 2/3rds of July are over.  That means that in three or four weeks the fall semester begins again and I return to a state of borderline insanity.  Joy.  I really have enjoyed only having to worry about one job this summer.  But tuition and bills and such must be paid, so the insanity is a necessary evil.  But it also means that I need to get started re-establishing a lot of my good habits.

Before summer started, I was doing really well on my diet and exercise program.  Down a whole 12 pounds from January and feeling pretty healthy.  Well that got derailed by our Paula Deen vacation to Savannah, so I’ve been yo-yoing up and down by about 5 pounds from my low since May.  The exercise has fallen off (because I live in Mississippi and it’s really freaking hot), and there’s been all this amazing cookout food three weekends running.  I got brave enough to weigh this morning and I’m up a net 2.5 pounds from where I was.  Not too bad, but I am definitely feeling the lack of healthy, so it’s time to get back on that wagon because when I feel healthy, my brain works better.  That’s kind of a necessary thing when you take on as many things as I tend to.  My husband wants to low carb it again, so after eating up all the perishable carby stuff this week, we’ll start that on Monday (or rather I will continue counting my calories and will make low carb dinners and continue to have my toast with breakfast because the low carb thing does not work for me as a sustainable lifestyle).  And I’ll be getting back into the exercise.  My mini-stepper and weighted hula hoop this week.  If I get really motivated, I may start the 30 Day Shred again next wee.  I’m not sure I’m that motivated yet.

On the writing front, returning to good habits means getting back to my microsprints.  This was something I started in the spring as an effort to outfox my internal editor, Naomi (of course she’s named…isn’t yours?).  I take 5 minutes out of every hour at work and write as much as I can, no holds barred, no self editing allowed.  I usually manage 6 microsprints a day (a total of only 30 minutes of writing), which nets me anywhere from 400-1000 words, depending.  I’ve fallen off that horse this summer too.  Staring at stuff too long, thinking about it, letting my head get too involved.  Some of that was because I was just plain stuck.  I’m sure I will have more of those before the end (always do), but I want to come back to microsprints because I loved being able to get my first draft words for the day done in such a short span of time.  It made life easier for juggling classes.

On the class front, I have some changes I need to make (which I may do this weekend while I am out of town) before fall semester begins.  I’m not getting as much accomplished on that front as I originally planned.  I’ve been, frankly, lazy on that front.  I had a big expansion for my abnormal psych class planned.  A full other set of lectures.  But no.  We’re just going to add some more supplemental materials and go with it.  This semester will be less stressful than last since the class is already written.  It was the writing of it, staying only 2 or 3 lectures ahead of myself, that was so hard on me last semester.

And on an unrelated note, I had another thought about the pantser/plotter thing this morning (excuse the random nature of this morning’s post, I am short on sleep).  I think some people plot because they are afraid of not having a plan.  And I think a lot of those people wind up with flat, boring books because they are afraid to change that plan.  They get very attached to whatever that original vision was and they either can’t or won’t let it go to consider other possibilities.  I think that’s the biggest reason that plotting (the way I do it anyway) works for me.  I’m generally not attached to one version.  As I get to know the characters better and realize “she would never do that!”, then I make changes.  The biggest difference is that I do it before it’s written, and I follow the consequences of that change to the end.

In any event, last week’s prize winners–I’m mailing those out today, so look for them in a week or so (it’s going Media mail which is sometimes slow).

Also in the category of random, Lynn Viehl, our beloved Paperback Writer, will no longer be hosting the Left Behind & Loving It workshop after this summer.  I’m sure it’s a lot of pressure and a lot to organize.  But it’s a really great thing for someone to continue to do.  So if no one else does it, I’d like to try to organize a group hosting thing for it for next year, similar to how a different group of authors hosted 70 Days of Sweat.  Maybe I’ll tweet the idea later to see how it’s received.

Oh right…I should get to work..  I’m late.

7 thoughts on “Getting Back Into Good Habits and A Last Thought On Plotting

  1. Good luck with getting back on track – I’m doing the “lose weight” thing again too, starting workouts twice this week. We (hubby and I) did the low-carb thing several years ago, and lost a lot of weight, but couldn’t keep going on it…just too boring. But we do try to eat healthy, balanced and smaller portions. Most of the time. Weekends excluded.

    I might copy the microsprint idea – bet I could get a lot done with that at work. Thanks!

  2. I’m hoping to pick up class this fall in creative writing. We probably won’t know who has what class until the day before the semester starts, but I can’t imagine staying only a few lectures ahead of a class. Pretty impressive. I’m note even sure if I *got* the class yet: the competition in the department for this position is pretty fierce. Anyway, I understand the stress that comes along with the fall, but I hope you have plenty of time to continue posting.

  3. “I take 5 minutes out of every hour at work and write as much as I can, no holds barred, no self editing allowed.”

    This is a fabulous idea. I am the administrator for a political science department at a public university by day, and that would fit into my schedule in a marvelous way. I must give this one a try. So often my lunch hours are taken up with homework assignments (working on my Master’s in English as well).

    And thank you again for the workshop this past week. I came away with some valuable, actionable ideas, and that is always a treat.

    1. A sufficient number of people have expressed interest in the microburst thing, so I think I’ll do up a quick post about it.

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