Brain Rewiring

February 22, 2018social media

You’ve read my lamentations about social media, but now with the recent news about Russian trolls and bots it’s time to back away from the ongoing negative and toxic messages from abroad. Unfortunately, I need to stick around because part of my business is creating content for clients. However, once I have posted that content there’s absolutely no need for me to stick around to lollygag and lurk.

What’s interesting is that I see more and more Facebook friends getting fed up and deactivating their accounts. These are the same people who often wrote of how much they liked it to create a platform (soapbox) for their views, books, and businesses. Now they’re backing away because of privacy issues, but they’ve also noticed they’re not quite as sharp as they used to be. Somehow their brains have been rewired in such a way that all the information they digest doesn’t stick with them. But there’s more. There’s a constant need to be entertained whether it’s via funny animal or baby videos, memes, games, etc.

I recently listened to a Writerly podcast, hosted by Walter Kirn and Danielle Trussoni, that examined Danielle’s six week hiatus from social media. She told listeners her break from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter had been both a relief, but also a source of some anxiety.

She brought up an interesting point: how social media interrupted the alone time with her imagination. Trussoni realized—before her hiatus—that whenever she hit a hard part in her writing project, she’d grab her phone and check social media. Instead of pushing through the difficulty, she interrupted the creative the process.

After listening to the podcast, talking to a friend, and just reading more and more from people who had enough of their time lost to social media, I decided that instead of six weeks of really making the effort to break away from Facebook (my primary drug), I’d shoot for 12 weeks.

Why three months? I need to meet certain goals that require my full concentration. I still need to post for clients, but I am in and out. That means no commenting, no checking the recipe groups, no clicking on videos. It’s time to rewire my brain to deal with actual real world projects and push through the hard parts.

Will I succeed? That’s the big question. I’ve tried it before and failed. However, it takes 66 days to form a good habit. Unlike other time where I given myself a month, I’m shooting for the entire 66 days, plus I have an extra 18 days to nail it. This time, I’m taking it in the same manner I would when trying to eliminate one bad habit and replacing it with a good habit—one day at a time.   

Mr. Durov, Please Take a Bow

February 11, 2018The 'Julius' Chronicles

A few months ago, I introduced a new character to Julius. He appears in the beginning of Part One, but the reader doesn’t know much about him, his motivation, or his relationship to Corinne. After much debate, I decided to give Yevgeny Durov his own point-of-view. He no longer is a minor secondary character, but a major player—one who has an important job within the story.

I suppose I can give it all away here, but I won’t. My accountability partner has the privilege to get acquainted with Genya, but you can obviously guess, considering the theme of the story (for those who have been following the saga) that my new character is Russian.

Corinne has become quite fond of “The Russian” as she refers to him. And I admit that I don’t blame her one bit. He’s charming, attractive, and she’s comfortable with him as if she’s known him for years. Okay, that’s all I’m saying.

Why introduce a new character and give his own POV in the second part of the book? Simply because it works in the narrative. I know the followers of craft rules will tell me that I am adding too many characters and that too many point-of-views will get confusing, but I’ve come to realize the deeper I get into this story that I need all these different voices. They are the many layers of a complex tale I’m attempting to write. By complicating the story, I think it’s becoming more interested. AAnd because I am the main reader, I want to know what’s next.

On that note, it’s time to see what Corinne’s Russian has up his sleeve and how he’ll be complicating everyone involved in Julius.

Goal!

December 26, 2017Goals

Do you watch soccer? I don’t, but I remember when I lived Prague in 1994 there would be soccer matches on TV at some of the bars I used to frequent and I’d hear “Goal!” when the home team scored. This isn’t about soccer, but about my goals for 2018 and two new tools I discovered to help me achieve them.

Over the years, I’ve written about my love of planners. I buy them with the very best of intentions only to abandon them a few months down the road. Why? I wish I knew the answer. Could it be because I don’t like that much structure? Or is it possibly I don’t know how to properly create goals (either too broad or too ambitious?) or perhaps I haven’t found the right planner that suits both my aesthetic and practical needs?

Looking back at last year, I bought the Planner Pad, which is more task and appointment oriented and three other planners for well-being, fitness and nutrition, and business (yes, I went overboard) to set goals and actions. By April it all petered out. In part because I became consumed with anxiety concerning my health, and the ownership status of the Land Rover.

Now that I know I won’t die and that the Land Rover is no longer a concern, I can once again focus on setting and achieving goals. Am I buying more planners? No. Two of the planners didn’t get much use and because they’re undated I can still use them for 2018. My Planner Pad still has about six months left that can be used for this new year.

I’ve noticed when I actually jot down my tasks and appointments—as opposed to keeping them all in my head—I am productive and efficient. I like to list what needs to be done and to see each task crossed out after I complete it. This year, apart from the unused portion of the planners, I want to see how productive I can be by two using digital tools: OmniFocus and Goalscape.

In the next few weeks, I’ll offer tutorials on how to use both applications plus share my progress with my own goals. In the meantime, my big goal for the remaining five days of 2017 is to not sweat the small stuff. See you in 2018!