Tag Archives: quick

Rush Hour

The holidays are a prime example of ‘not enough hours in the day,’ typically if you have a lot to do. Family to visit and helping with dinner usually means that you don’t get much time to yourself, if any, outside of turkey naps or food comas. If you’re the one cooking and setting up, even less time is given.

The clock becomes a race instead of a stationary figure, and you’re making sure throughout the day that everything gets done and prepared on time. Did you start the casserole early enough? Should you have pre-baked the pies last night? Crap, I can’t find the pickles and olives, oh… thank god, there they are. Now I can start wondering when to take the ham out of the oven…

In the midst of it all, the day becomes, rightfully so, about your holiday and how well it’s going to go instead of any obligations you may have held up. So, instead of worrying about having enough time to get that bodyweight exercise out of the way, you can devote all of your time to worrying about getting grandma from the nursing home on time.

At the end of the day, you might have a few hours to yourself. Holidays are synonymous with ruining streaks of anything, but what about writing? Where does ‘just a little’ become ‘too little to be acceptable’?

I’ve purposely allowed myself to revise a few old stories simply to keep up the streak. I go through and end up finding a few things I didn’t like anyway, but I have also only edited a few words before and let that be it because of whatever reason. Busy or my head wasn’t in it or something to that effect.

It becomes a struggle between semantics and meaningful effort, at that point. There can be a 200 wordcount daily to-do on your mental list, but how much do you put into it, and how much is simply getting it out of the way because it’s in the way in the first place?

I could go into a whole other post about meaningful words and fluff during Nano, but I’m not going to. Instead, I will say that it can be difficult to see the purpose and keep up with actual effort that makes a difference when you have bigger things to worry about, or limited time. Especially, in the case of this post, holiday arrangements and obligations.

Finding something that captures your interest, whether it’s new or old, can sometimes be the key. Go searching. Think about where your head is at. Write something about the holiday’s impact on a character. Do something reflective. If you can only get out the few hundred words and need to rush off, there’s still the chance to come back to it later, but don’t let yourself forget about it. Or, keep it for all of the other holidays. Come back to it when you have limited time.

Whatever you can do to make it go quickly, or if you need to focus because it’s been a long, eventful day and you finally have some time to yourself before it ends. Even swift can still make a difference, if you want it to.

On that note, I hope everyone enjoys their holiday, or has enjoyed it (I’m in NA, so I’m late for everyone on the other side of the world)! I hope it is (has been) plentiful, and that you get everything done just like you wanted to! Don’t stretch yourself too thin!

-The Novice Wordsmith

Prompt: Lazy or Busy?

Quick prompt for you in between all of my stuff today!

Pick a character and run with it: Are they the kind that would do all the cooking on Thanksgiving, or would they completely opt out? Furthermore, are they more lazy, or do they have to have something to do? For those who aren’t in the US, focus more on a day where food is the key, whether it be a birthday or a different holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving and happy Thursday/Friday to everyone!

-The Novice Wordsmith

Prompt: Tea Time

Tea and reflection have gone together for as long as I can remember. You sip something herbal or green, or maybe oolong, while you ponder the ways of the world. It is a way to get you to pause and enjoy something warm and flowery, or strong and uplifting.

Whether you’re feeling creatively drained or need to figure out where to go next with a character, or just want a new avenue to explore, setting someone down with a mug of tea, wherever it may be, is a surefire way to provide a change of pace.

From fast to slow, the teacup and the hero connect like old friends, if the tea is taken slowly. Taken more quickly, it can mean restlessness or irritation.

Give your hero time to think, delve into their thoughts and the inner workings of their mind and let them wonder and wander. Is there progress that comes of this, or is it simply absent thought that winds and winds and winds?

Is it a kind of tea that they love, or is it something new, from a friend or family member or lover? Is it a first experience for them, and do they hate the taste of tea, or love it?

In the end, they can find an answer in the leaves, or ignore them completely. What will your hero do?

-The Novice Wordsmith

Clarity versus Calamity

Extremes can provide a lot of insight. When there’s nothing but chaos, you have strong thoughts that stand out among the rest, and when all is calm and the waters are steady, it’s hard to miss the one or two things that dare to stir up the waves.

Distractions are the fuel of chaos. They are loud noises from the television or family, surrounding you no matter what part of the building or house you’re in, they’re things happening outside, or a conversation in the other room that demands your attention because of how loud the person is on one end. They’re the thirty tabs you have open in your browser, or the game that’s been begging you to play it for the past few days, not to mention the little apps on your phone that you can’t ignore, or friends texting constantly…

Above all, it’s the noise in your head that you can’t turn down.

Some people thrive in the calamity. They can pick out an idea and run with it, letting the other noise help them to a speedy finish. A phrase that goes, “the story writes itself,” can happen in either the calmest time or the most chaotic. Tuning out the noise can either help or hurt, but either way, finding a way to hear your thoughts is always the same.

This happens more often than not lately for me, and my go-to fix for it has been to plug in music and drown out the noise, and force myself to focus, even if it means sacrificing attention to something else (family member, more often than not, only if it’s not inappropriate).

Clarity and calm, after being elusive, is a welcome retreat from the chaos that may have erupted around you. When the noise is so loud in your head that you can’t calm it down enough to focus, enough to sit and write something out, it’s hard to get much of anything done when it’s not mindless work.

In the middle of it all, you may find something easier to write. Your thoughts, some random, rapid-fire brainstorming, but nothing you have to force, something that may come easily. That little bit of saving grace among the pots banging and the thoughts clashing that goes on in your mind can come from simple things, typically.

Days like this are mercifully rare for me, but when they come, they wreck havoc. Distractions, however, are very healthy, though at work, writing is the distraction, especially when firemen run into the building because of the fire panel going off. For others, loudly singing roommates and bright, rather obnoxious and simple shows make it very difficult to get any focus or work done.

This post is late because of distractions and personal trouble writing, so thank you for bearing with me (even if you haven’t). Also, happy 50th post! Yay!

-The Novice Wordsmith