BOOT CAMP | Productivity for the Wayward Writer

Posted by on Apr 10, 2013 in Writing | 8 comments

Industrious BeeLast month I had a dream, and in this dream a voice that sounded distressingly like Tom Cruise’s said, “Your mission, should you choose to accept it…”

“…is to get your shit together…”

I woke up, panicked for a millesecond, rolled over, and fell back to sleep. Even though I forgot about the dream until I started writing this blog post, I found myself restarting this patient old blog of mine. Most of all, I found myself reading a book called Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen.

I know — me, reading a personal productivity book. Those of you who know me can start laughing now. And those of you who don’t know me personally, well, imagine a woman who’s never composed a three-month plan never mind a five-year plan, who scribbles the latest important thought on her cable bill and then tosses it on top of a random paper pile, and who prides herself on her organizational skills when she jots down a dentist appointment in her At-A-Glance appointment book.

You can start laughing now.

Now roar: I bought a labeller. Yes, I now play at being anal retentive by sticking tidy labels to manila folders filled with scribbled-upon cable bills and other random stuff. For the first time in years, my kitchen pass-through counter is paper-free. It’s an amazing expanse of creamy counter top, and every time I look at it, I smile with self-satisfaction.

I have an in-box! I have a pending box! I can actually work at my desk!

All of this is prelude to the big thing, which as usual has to do with my writing life. My writing life has sucked lately. And when I’m not doing what’s in my heart to do, my life feels meaningless. And when it feels meaningless, I get depressed. Depression has been a huge part of my life. More than I like to admit, actually. So much so that I detest it when well-meaning but completely ignorant folks tell me to “just do it.” Those of you who deal with depression know exactly what I’m talking about, don’t you? Those of you who don’t are probably wondering what the big deal is about saying “just do it.”

But this post isn’t about depression. It’s about productivity. Bzz-buzzing like a bee in my life. The big thing is on the horizon, and it’s all about my novel called A BONE-STREWN GROUND. No announcement yet, things pending, all that…but suffice to say that I need to have my shit together. I need to get my writing routines and habits back in sync with the writer I know myself to be. I need to maximize the very little time I have with the very little energy I seem to have these days…

So I signed up for an online boot camp workshop for writers. Six weeks of getting my arse kicked in the name of liberating myself from my worst habits and rationalizations, and working around (and accepting!) legit time suckers like earning a living. My drill sergeant and cheerleader, Lisa Romeo, will hold me accountable to my weekly writing goals, and if I don’t reach my goals, we’ll hash out why and what I can change. Every week offers lessons and ideas for improvement.

I’m ready for this. I really am. For awhile now I haven’t felt like a writer, specifically, a novelist. I feel good when I feel like a novelist. And life’s too short not to feel good, right?

8 Comments

  1. I’m glad you’re working on feeling good, but I don’t believe the bit about the paper free counter top. I’ve personally never witnessed that.

    • Oh ye of little faith–tomorrow. A picture. On Facebook. 🙂

  2. I have a book, Organization for creative people. I love it because it freed me from thinking I had to have a planner and a labeler to be organized. It suggest many creative and unorthodox ways of being organized, and tailored to what works for YOU. Hell, if the note on the cable works, why are you trying to fix it. Who SAYS you have to have paper free counters? In fact, I think they are like unicorns-a nice idea, but not real. I love that you are doing what you love. keep it up, but dont get too organized, it might not be all its cracked up to be . : ) Once I file something my brain says it doesnt exist. thats why everything thats important to me is on the counter….

    check this out.
    http://lateralaction.com/articles/productivity-personality-types/

    • Ah, I get you, but I don’t know what’s in my piles. It’s not an organizational system. It’s utter chaos. That said, I can see keeping my main projects front and center. (David Allen actually addresses that in his book.) Also, from the article, I love the idea of having a white board divided into 12 for each month–that’s great.

      No worries, I still have some piles — NOW they make sense to me.

  3. Where can I sign up?

    • 🙂 Check out the site Lisa Romeo Writes.

  4. I think you should run the boot camp and hold other writers accountable.

    • Funny you should say that. It occurred to me that that might be an interesting way to earn money.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *