It’s The Little Things

Behind the Writing No. 4

Bob in all his glory.

I like to think of myself as a creature of habit, but I love change in small doses.  I don’t think that makes me crazy.  I think we all have a little contradiction in us.  (Either that or we see ourselves differently that want we actually are).  I find I am more productive when I have less time, when my life is more structured.  When I was in university I would get all kinds of things done while working and volunteering and not just the stuff I had to do.  I think part of that comes from just having to do something and having to do it when the time is available.  When you have a whole open day it’s easy to tell yourself you can do it later (after The Price is Right).

The way my life is currently structured, I have everything or nothing.  I either work back to back and have to squeeze in coaching, or I have a day and a half off and tons of time to do nothing (even though I should be getting my writing done).  On a side note, that last one seems to throw some people.  A friend will call (or text more likely) and want to go out or do something fun and I tell them I am busy, or have to get some more writing done.  It seems to leave them stumped.  But back to the topic, I find I have a hard time being productive under my current schedule (because I’m lazy, I’ll admit that one).

I have learned some tricks that I use that I at least think work for me.  The big one is my desk.  Back in high school (when I was a terrible student) I always had my desk facing the wall, because that’s what you did.  It saved space and was normal.  I found sitting at my desk was such a tedious chore that I would spend more time calculating how much longer I had to sit there than doing my work (rather counterproductive, I know).  The game changer was turning my desk around to face the room (and not have my back to the door, that one is even worse).  I have always liked the structure of working at a desk.  I can see why some people prefer working on the couch, but I find I start to ache after doing that too long.  It’s probably my posture.

Another one that totally works for me is to not be at home.  I can get twice as much done at a coffee shop than at my desk.  I’m not one of those people who will set up shop at a table and spend the whole day there; making loud calls and trying to plug in my printer/fax combo, so don’t worry there.  I like to go, sometimes with a friend, and get a coffee, maybe spend an hour with my nose in a book or with my pen to paper, chat a bit then go home.  I might even have my ipod in the whole time, (except for ordering, that’s rude).  I have had some of my best writing sessions waiting for a friend, or just sitting by myself with a strong cup of joe.

My pen is cooler than this.

Since I like to write longhand, I have a special pen.  I know that sounds super dorky, but I do.  It was a present from my brother years ago and initially I didn’t even like it.  The body of the pen is really nice, and it wrote well, but the ink was too light, and I’m such a suck that, that’s all it took for me to put the pen in the desk drawer and turn to old school bics.  I was too stupid (or naive or something) to just go out and buy a different ink cartridge.  (By the way, how cool is the word ink.  It just looks neat).  More recently I received a pen from one of the schools where I did my placement.  It was nice and heavy and had bold dark ink.  I used that pen as my primary for a couple of years until the ink ran out.  Then I went to buy a replacement cartridge.  Sadly it still took me something like a year before I put two and two together.  Eventually I came across the pen while cleaning out my desk.  It was still in its case, looking as good as ever.  I tried to remember why I didn’t use it in the first place and all the pieces fell into place.  I went out and got another cartridge and we have been happy ever since.  My other pen is happy to be my backup and the fancy one I got from my brother is finally being put to good use.  It’s my special pen and it helps me write more.  (Because of magic!)

I don’t know why these things help me be more productive (they might not even help at all) but they seem to work and that’s what counts.  I am writing more and I feel special every time I sit at my desk, or in a coffee shop, with my special pen and get to work.   Of course none of that helps me with my typing.  I swear I am going to have my story up before the end of the month, or else I am a big fat liar.

In conclusion, ink, ink, ink.

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