Less Screen Time: Pros and Cons

Howdy, howdy!  How is everyone doing this December?  Are you ready for whatever holiday you happen to be celebrating?  We aren’t planning on doing anything this year, so we’re pretty much prepared.  Anyway, I haven’t been doing much aside from reading and crocheting.  That means I don’t have much to talk about.  But it also means I’ve been away from the computer more often than usual.  It makes for a weird combination of good and bad.  So, I thought I would take a chance to ramble about some of the pros and cons I’ve noticed about being away from the screen.

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Pro 1: Less social media drama.  Don’t get me wrong, I love lurking and seeing how everyone I know is doing, but I really like not getting sucked down all the flame war rabbit holes.  I still scroll through everything on a daily basis, but I find myself reading fewer comments because I’d rather go play with yarn than watch people argue.  It just seems like a better use of my time.

Con 1: Less socializing.  I don’t socialize enough as it is, but being away from the computer means that I don’t respond to Facebook messages right away.  I rarely respond to texts right away anymore, unless it’s important.  It’s just not as easy to multitask when my computer is in my room and I’m in the dining room.  So, sorry if I haven’t messaged you enough or in a timely manner.  I’m being worse than usual about it.

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Pro 2: Yarn doesn’t judge me when I curse at it.  Try it.  You can say anything you want to yarn and the worst it will do is tangle itself up, which just results in more colorful language.  Say the wrong thing online and someone’s going to blow up at you whether you were talking to them or not.  Yarn is good.  Yarn doesn’t judge.  Be like yarn.

Con 2: Yarn won’t help you with stupid things.  As good a listener as yarn is, it won’t offer unhelpful solutions when you need a laugh.  That’s what my Interwebz friends are for, to send me stupid memes and GIFs when I’m in a funk.

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And sometimes yarn curses back.

Pro 3: Finding new communities to be part of and learning people you already know are in those communities.  I’ve joined a few crochet and fiber arts groups only to discover people I already know are in them!  It’s actually kind of cool to join a group and realize you already have friends there.  Plus, it’s nice to have places to go and ask beginner questions and get a lot of feedback.

Con 3: The groups are online.  In other words, I join them and stalk them for a few minutes, then go back to the dining room.

Ultimately, I’m still on my computer a lot, but being away from it seems to be helping my mental health.  I don’t know if it’s just being away from the negativity of social media or if it’s doing something with my hands or a combination of the two, but I feel better (not as depressed and anxious as usual).  So, I think less screen time is good, but I still need it to socialize.

What are your thoughts on screen time and social media breaks and all that good stuff?  Feel free to leave your comments or thoughts here or on my social media pages!

August Goals!

Howdy, howdy!  Can you believe it’s already August?  I feel like I’m still stuck in June.  Time just keeps getting faster and faster.  Am I alone in this feeling?  Yeah?  Well, okay then.  I don’t really have much to talk about at the moment, though I am trying my hand at some revision techniques that are new to me.  If they work out, I’ll probably talk about them more next week.  Anyway, since this Wednesday actually falls on the first, I decided to simply share my August goals with you.

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It’s a pretty picture.  That’s all.

So, without further ado and in no particular order, I present to you…

August Goals:

1. Submit stuff 8 times (2 every Monday) to semi-pro markets or higher.  This is one of my goals for the year (submitting two stories to magazines or anthologies every Monday) and I’ve been doing really well with it.  I haven’t missed a week yet, though I do believe I submitted stuff on Tuesday a couple of times.  Sometimes, I’ve dreaded submitting or felt like I’ve submitted everywhere I possibly could, but I pushed through it and found new places anyway.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep it up!

2. Write 50+ words OR revise 1+ pages EVERY DAY.  I’m back to the small goals every single day thing.  It’s just really helpful to me when I feel like I’m between projects.  In my head, I know I’m prepping for in-depth revisions on LR, but if I don’t keep track of words or pages, I don’t feel productive.  This goal might change once I find my rhythm with LR.  For now, though, it’s good for me.

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George R. R. Martin

3. Read 2 books.  This is another one of my goals for every month this year.  Honestly, I’ve kind of lost track of how many books I tend to read in a month because some overlap months and others I deliberately read over a longer period of time (almost always craft books).  But I do know I’m up to 18 books this year (thanks to GoodReads tracking feature), so I’m ahead of schedule.

4. Make time for people.  I’ve been a bit reclusive recently, though I still try to answer every message I get.  I just don’t initiate as many conversations as I should.  This is nothing new.  It’s something I struggle with all the time (as you know if you’ve read earlier posts).  I’m just far too comfortable not talking to people and stalking them on Facebook instead.  Yes, I’m creepy like that.  My friends know this and many of them do the same.  But I really do want to be better about socializing.  I swear.

5. Finish timeline for LR.  This is one of those new-to-me techniques I mentioned earlier.  There’s about one more day’s worth of plotting before I have a timeline that I can work with (I’m plotting it on the computer before I write anything out).  I even bought a bunch of Post-It notes in pretty colors to make everything easy to differentiate.  I just have to figure out where to stick them that’s easy to see.  Then, I have to recruit Dad to do the sticking.  I bet he never thought my novel writing would include work for him.

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That’s a lot of Post-It notes.

6. Work on revisions of LR.  Hopefully the timeline will make revisions go more smoothly than usual.  It’s already given me ideas for new scenes and how to rework some old ones, so I’m cautiously optimistic.  I should have some updates on this in the next couple of weeks.  Wish me luck!

Those are my goals for the month.  What about you?  What are you hoping to accomplish before September?  Feel free to share your goals or thoughts here or on my social media pages!

Goals Vs. Allergies: The Struggle Is Real

Howdy, howdy!  Welcome to February.  Today, I want to share my goals for the month, but I also want to talk about allergies.  Down here in Texas, the trees are getting ready for spring by spewing pollen everywhere.  Depending on which way the wind’s blowing and which trees are shaking off their dust, this can create a miserable environment for people with allergies.  People like me.  Which, in turn, makes completing goals hard.  So, along with my goals, I’ll talk about how I work them around the worst of my allergy days.

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Pretty picture.

So, here are my goals:

1. Finish DS1’s shitty first draft.  Writing in general is super hard when your head feels like it’s going to explode and your mucus can’t decide if it wants to hole up in your sinuses or pour all over your face (spoiler: it decides to do both).  Sure, you can take a bunch of allergy meds and hope they don’t knock you out before you get your words done, but we both know that won’t work.  Instead, I try to make sure I work as much as possible on the days I feel okay, so that I don’t feel too guilty for slacking on the days I feel like crap.  That’s really all we can do to get the writing goals done during allergy season.

2. Submit stuff 8 times (2 every Monday).  This is the kind of thing I do regardless of whether allergies are kicking my ass or not.  My cover letter is already written and my manuscript is properly formatted.  All I have to do is double check submission guidelines, make any formatting tweaks, and send stuff out.  It doesn’t take much energy or time, so if I’m feeling really bad, I can put it off until the initial medication drowsiness has faded.

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Just add some snot and drool and it’s close enough.

3. Write 1 flash piece OR short story.  For those days you feel good enough to write but don’t have the brain function to focus on your novel.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but sometimes I just need something quick to distract me from all the plot lines I have to keep straight in the novels.  Especially when my brain already feels fuzzy from allergies.

4. Read 2 books.  I tend to save reading for the days when I just can’t bring myself to write, but feel like I should be doing something productive.  If  it gets too hard to focus, I can always switch to Netflix.

5. Make time for people/leaving the house.  I’m always bad at this whether allergies are involved or not.  But I do have a tendency to say yes to leaving the house (running errands with Dad) when I don’t feel up to writing.  It makes me feel productive in a different way and I don’t have to worry about the allergies making my words come out weird.

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It really is.

Those are my goals for February.  I figure it’s easier to stick to a few just in case my allergies get evil.  What are some of your goals this month?  How do you work around your allergies?  Or do you prefer to push through them?

15 Things About Me That You Never Wanted To Know

Howdy, howdy!  As some of you might know, tomorrow (January 12th) is my birthday.  I’ll be 31, or for those of you who have gerascophobia (the fear of aging), it’ll be my third 29th.  Birthdays around here are quiet events that usually consist of a nice dinner with friends.  This year, the destination is Texas de Brazil!  Yummy!  I’ll make sure to do a full report on that next week.  This week, I thought I would share a list of 15 things about myself that you may or may not already know.  I was going to do 31 and make it a whole nod to my age thing, but no one’s that interested in me.

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Pretty much.

1. My current diagnosis is Ulrich Congenital Muscular Dystrophy (UCMD), but it’s not my first.  There was Floppy Baby Syndrome, which I was supposed to grow out of.  When that didn’t happen, it was Congenital Myopathy.  I didn’t grow out of that either, so I was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 2 (SMA2), which came with a series of death guesstimates that never panned out.  That was all by the time I was five.  I was 23 or so when they decided SMA2 was definitely wrong and tested for UCMD (a relatively new disease at the time).  The doctors swear UCMD is the correct one, though.  We’ll see what happens.

2. I like Nickelback.  Make fun of me all you want, but they aren’t a bad group.  They’re not my favorite or anything, but I never really understood why they’re so hated.

3. I don’t have a favorite TV show.  I have shows I love, but if you asked me to pick one I like best, I couldn’t even narrow it down.

4. I’m a firm believer that “growing up” and “acting your age” are scams developed by people who aren’t young at heart.  Besides, I’ve never been this age.  I don’t know what it’s supposed to be like.

5. My favorite things about the Christmas season (aside from family and joy and all of that) are eggnog and peppermint bark.

6. I’m quietly competitive.  I try not to compete with people for things, but when it happens, I will silently plot your overthrow.

7. One of my favorite memories from my time at SMU was when my physics teacher decided to make class grades “public.”  There was a spreadsheet on the class website with our grades listed under nicknames.  I swapped back and forth with a guy (I overheard the guy tell a classmate his nickname, so I know it wasn’t the other female in class) for top marks as the semester went on, ultimately earning the highest grade.  That was the best motivation ever.

8. I started listening to James Blunt and Lifehouse and sappy music in general for a male.  I keep listening to it because I’m apparently a big old softy who enjoys that kind of stuff.

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Maybe.

9. I can go weeks or more without talking to people.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t like you.  And I don’t avoid people very often unless I’ve had too much social interaction (a rare occurrence).  I’ll answer you if you message me.  I’m just really bad at keeping in touch.

10. My favorite colors are purple and green.  My favorite color combination is purple with black and silver.  Most people don’t seem to know about the green part.  It’s weird.

11. I have to drink booze through a straw.  I don’t really understand why this amazes people, but it does.

12. I want to go to Japan some day.  There are other places I would like to visit, but Japan will always be at the top of my list.

13. A friend once told me that she loved me because I would tell her the blunt truth and she’d still walk away feeling special, even if I was telling her she was doing something idiotic.  She’s not the only one who has said something similar.  I guess it’s a weird talent I have.

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Seriously.  Don’t do the thing.

14. I don’t read nearly as much as I should.  I know writers are expected to read a lot, but I don’t.  It’s just not that high on my list of priorities, so I tend to keep putting it off.

15. I’d love to move to the northeast.  Somewhere on the water.  Closer to my Stonecoast people.  I really miss Maine, especially while residency is going on, like right now.

I’ll stop boring you!  Feel free to share some facts about yourself in the comments or on my social media pages.  See you next week!