Whether you’re a writer, painter, fashion designer, or mechanic, or whatever your thing is, we all get distracted from our hobbies. Family, friends, and our careers; these are important to everyday life, and I highly suggest you keep them around.
Friends and family help you create even when you don’t think it’s a helpful opinion. They tend to push you to be your best…when they’re not getting in the way of course. Family and friends are the procrastination brain BFFs. They know you want to have fun. This causes you to pull away from doing that other thing that you love. That thing where you play your music at your volume, where you’re alone tweaking your craft. This seems to be the time that they find you. Elbows deep in your work, “Hey want to hang out? Go for coffee?” Or, “I have something that I have to tell you!” Friends and family are notorious for that type of behaviour.
That brings me to your career. Unless you can make income from your work by doing what you love, your once hobby, don’t give up your day job. This is important. The bills won’t pay themselves, no matter how many times you wish for it. Materials for your craft can get expensive. Food that gets cooked and placed on your table will not come free. A day job is one of those things that you will need.
Other distractions come from the everyday living as a human. Just like how money doesn’t come for free, your house won’t clean itself, your body doesn’t magically stay clean, and the little things, well, they don’t do their thing on their own. Unfortunately, this isn’t the Weasleys house from Harry Potter. Even if we all wish that it was.
5 Ways to Get Back on Track
1. Make a time for your work. If you need an hour a day, give yourself an hour.
This is why scheduled programs work so well. Everyone knows not to contact you between 7 and 8 because you’re at yoga. Do the same thing for yourself. Let people know, “I’m painting between 7 and 8. Could we go for coffee at 8:30?” This way they know when you’re busy.
When you have children, this is the most difficult. You’re too tired to get up an hour before you need to get the kids up for school. At bed time you’re still cleaning up from the day. When is it possible to sit down and get an hour? Only you will know that. If waking up an hour early works for you, then all be, do it.
For those of you that don’t have children, you’ll have to look at what you do on a day to day basis. Find yourself some time to do what you love.
2. Put away your phone.
Here’s one of the hardest to do. We’re all attached to our phones. Mine is in my pocket right now. I’m sure if I forgot to turn it off, the second that it rings I will answer it. Not only that. If I don’t turn it right off my computer and Fitbit tell me that someone is trying to get ahold of me. This is more difficult if you have family that need to reach you during the day. That’s why I added number one first. Making time for your craft during an hour of the day where you will not be needed, or an hour where people are less likely to contact you. Combine these two ways to get back on track.
3. Get started.
With your time picked out and your cell no longer being a distraction, get started. When I try to get started I notice the little things…like my coffee is almost half full, I should fill it up before I get started. Oh, look over there my husband left his plate out…I need to put that in the sink before I get started. These things don’t need to be done right away like my brain tells me, I’m procrastinating. A half hour goes by, and nothing is done but the dishes, new pot of coffee made, and the cats are fed. Have your time picked out, and be where you need to be as if your career was starting. Would your boss be happy if you missed half the day because you needed to clean your house? I didn’t think so.
4. Find a buddy.
Find a craft buddy to come over, or you go to their house, about once a week or every two weeks meet up. Switch it up or stay the same. These buddies are like your procrastination fillers. If you’ve been good all week your most likely going to slip near the end of it. Have your procrastination buddy to feed that part of your brain while doing your craft and getting new ideas. I have a friend that I go out for coffee with. We bring our notebooks, write, laugh, drink our hot overly expensive espresso, and socialise. I’m locked up in my office for quite a while, I always go over my hour a day. It’s nice to have someone to get out of the house with, while I work. You should find a buddy that lightens your week and helps your craft.
5. Set yourself a deadline.
This one always makes me laugh. Deadlines. Who even likes those? Not this girl. I scramble the day before deadlines. If you give yourself a deadline you’ll finish your projects faster. It took me three years to write my first book because I didn’t have a deadline. Now, I am aiming for a year to finish all the drafts of the second. Be sure that your deadlines are reasonable; how fast you work, and the project that you’re working on. If you give yourself too little or to much time you might become discouraged or distracted.
Giving all these points a try will help your work. Think of it the same way you do when you’re at your day job. If you start late all the time or on your cell, you might get fired. Working alone you can get lots of things done, but it can get lonely, making you not want to do it. If you don’t meet your deadlines things become complicated. Think of your hobby as work based play. Have fun to get it done.
I tried many times to keep a journal by my side. I’m not 100% sure why I never kept up with it. I bought one from Indigo with a gift card I got for Christmas. The colours of the book are eye catching. The caption on the front speaks to me, grabbing my attention making me want to write in it. I’m not a fan of gold, but it sure is shiny. This brings be back to why I haven’t been able to write in a journal. I don’t think the look and feel of the book have anything to do with the fact that I don’t like to write in one.
So, why did I buy it?
Well, I understand the importance of capturing the spur of the moment ideas. By the time that I sit down to write that amazing idea I had before I fell asleep…the blasted daydream is lost in the swirl of thoughts that I have every second. My little brain has so many thoughts running through it that I can never recall what it was I’d like to write. Hence, why I bought this journal. I need to be able to catch that idea. Seal it in words. To grab that daydream by the horns and nail it into place.
Writing in it was a slow process. It was once I started that I realised why I hated journaling. I’m one of those writers in need of an editor. See, I have dyslexia. It doesn’t effect my speech much. It does, however, play a huge factor in my writing. I always trip up when I spell a word wrong, or the word looks wrong but is spelt right. I mix up my letters all the time when I type, it’s nice when the computer fixes that for me. I find the program on the computer helps me learn language faster. This also helps with repeat words, grammar, and other small writing problems I didn’t learn in school. I gave up on English classes in school since I found that the class wasn’t for me. I knew in my heart I wanted to be a writer, it’s what I enjoyed more than anything. Art class was fun and all, but an adventure through a tale of words was the most exhilarating part of going to school. I heard it time and time again in school that I was never going to make it in life. I let my grades drop. Why should I even try then? I ignored my lessons. I let all the information teachers told me in and out of my ears as if they were commercials on TV. When I dropped out of school to take the homeschool program my tutor, a retired teacher, told me to get tested for dyslexia. She saw how hard it was for me to read, and write, she watched as I jumbled everything up as I read from a page. Once I got tested positive, she worked with me to develop ways to calm the jumping letters. This happened in grade 11. Why hadn’t all my others educators seen this? It wasn’t that I was a problem child, okay maybe I was a tiny bit, I couldn’t make sense of what I was seeing. I thought that everyone saw words that way. I didn’t know that what I saw was wrong. 11 years behind my peers in reading and writing with one more year to learn it all. Even now, at 26, I feel far behind my peers. I won’t let that stop me.
I published Wicked Soul Ascension December 1, 2016. That was the first time I felt as if I were getting somewhere. I got this. I haven’t let the dancing letters stop me.
With this journal in hand, I’m going to conquer the next hurdle that I’ve been facing. Writing freehand. The only help from the computer is the spellchecker. I’ve always been nervous writing freehand. Being 11 years behind with spelling and grammar made me self-conscious. People point out my spelling mistakes all the time saying, “I thought you were a writer.” They’d laugh and go about their day. These phrases used to hit me hard. I’ve chosen to brush this off like I did with the teachers from my school. For the most part, I have become a fully self-taught writer. I look for information everywhere. My editor helps me where I need. She even gives me homework and has been a huge help. I know I have a long way to go.
This deadly journal is going to be apart of my everyday life. It’s time to kick out that little self-conscious child that nags at me when I have to write freehand. I plan to fill the pages of this journal with all the things I think about. If there are ideas about the story, small things I see, odd thoughts, and even if I see something I’d like to buy in the future I will write them down.
The next step has been taken to become a better me. I’ve come this far, so now it’s time to push myself that much harder. Every step forward, no matter how small, is a step towards being where I wish to be.
It seems that inspiration is everywhere for my newest book; hanging the walls, expressions on faces, and even in the sound of the plane landing. I never thought that I would be able to hear a monster in the growl of a small propellor plane pressing down onto the tar mat. I could hear the belly of the beasts rumble. I could feel the hungry shiver.
I’d explored the world when I wrote Wicked Soul Ascension. Even though I searched in all the right places nothing seemed to stick. With Wicked up for sale, and the phone calls from friends and family, emails from strangers, pouring in about what they thought about the story, I’ve come to understand that much more about my writing. It affects them each in their own way. While others felt the fear that emanated from the void, some found themselves attached to the realistic characters within the tale.
These comments got me thinking. How did I get the reader engulfed into a story that was all my own imagination? How did they see this world I brought to life?…How did I bring it to life?
I started by taking notice of the things I zoned out on. Small cracks in the floor, the fine lines on the wood, the texture of food on a sign, and even the stray hair that hangs out of a stranger’s nose. Yes, it sometimes gets that weird. After I realize that I am staring at these things, I focus inward. What am I thinking about when I stare at such things? Most of the time it’s a jumble of ideas. A vortex of thoughts that I can’t seem to put together. Other times, it’s a solid thought that I can’t seem to break. It’s these thoughts that I decode. The crack in the floor could be a canon or a scar on someone’s arm. The grains in the wood become a map of roads, trails, or even rivers. Even that awkward nose hair dangling out, wiggling with every exhale, oddly enough can add some inspiration. It adds the realistic touch to characters that not everyone thinks of. Strange, I know. It’s these things that weird people out, that add that tad of gross. It’s these uncomfortable moments that add to the rollercoaster ride through a person’s written imagination.
I write you today to say goodbye. My doctor says we can’t be together any more. I know one day you will understand. It’s not you it’s me. Don’t cry…it’s hard for me too. You’re just not good for me. Doc says that you hurt me. Please understand that as I write this I am already missing your sweet bold taste, your creamy goodness…
maybe he’s wrong… no C.B. snap out of it!
Caffeine you’re bad for me. I can’t stand the pain any longer. Your hot sweet energy can’t be mine any longer. It’s over. No longer will we spend the days together writing in the coffee shops or on the bus or in the mall. No longer will I keel over in pain from your corrosive essence. I wont think about you when I drive by the Tim Hortons, Second Cup , 7-11, McDonald’s, the mall…
okay maybe I will No, I will stay strong. I know your thinking your strong enough to take this, and I know your strong and bold and, no! I wont let you get in my head. Goodbye Caffeine. It has to be this way.
Missing you already,
Goodbye forever my sweet Caffeine.