Early Christmas Break

Hello, hello!  Is everyone ready for the holidays?  I hope so.  Anyway, I’ve spent the last couple of days trying to come up with a topic for this week’s post and I keep coming up blank.  Since I’m doing a book review on Christmas instead of taking a break, I figured I would take this week off.  So, here are some festive photos of my chair that Dad decorated and a couple from the MDA Holiday Party in lieu of an actual post!

Merry (early) Christmas!

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!

Knowing when to Stop and Breathe

Hi everyone!  So, I’m not really the best person to talk about stopping and smelling the roses, mostly because I’ve never been really good at that when I have specific goals to achieve.  In fact, if I have goals, chances are that nothing else in the world will exist for me, especially roses.  But when that happens, I have a tendency to burn myself out and end up overcompensating in the other direction (a.k.a. goals suck, let’s just veg in front of Netflix forever).  It’s an annoying balancing act that I can never really get… well, balanced.

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I traced a photo of a rose, then colored it in Photoshop a long time ago.

Is this a common problem among writers?  Honestly, I don’t know.  A lot of the people I talk to seem to have more problems meeting goals rather than being obsessed with them, so of course I feel like the odd man (woman?) out.  I guess my biggest problem is knowing when to let goals slide.  Granted, I’m more apt to look at my list of goals and push reading off to make time for writing, but it makes me feel super guilty.  I also push the things on my list that are for other people higher than things like my word count.  I can always make up my word count tomorrow, right?  Like that ever happens.  It actually usually means not taking that second day off.  *eye-twitch*

And, of course, when I do find a nice balance, I have to start changing things.  I recently decided to try upping my word count from 900 words five days a week to 1500 words.  Throw some new obligations on top of that, and I end up spending all my time doing everything except having a life.  It got a little rough this past week, which is what brought on this ramble.

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A random thing I made a long time ago. I like structure.

I needed to stop and take a breath, which I did.  I’ve proven to myself that, under normal circumstances, I can do 1500 words five days a week with no problem.  Right now, I can’t.  As much as it ticks me off to say that, I just can’t do 1500 words AND everything else I need to do AND have time to relax.  It’s impossible.  Thus, my new plan for balance!

I will continue with the new obligations for as long as they last (three to six months at the moment), because I made a promise, I enjoy what I’m doing, and I’m gaining a lot of experience should I decide to teach at some point in the future.  That’s my first priority.  Second, instead of worrying about words for a while, I’m going to work on revising my first novel again (surprisingly not as time consuming or stressful as writing all the words!).  When I do get back to writing toward a word count, I’ve decided 1000 words are good enough until I have fewer things to worry about.  And apparently I have to add a goal to my list that boils down to “have fun away from the computer, or  GO OUTSIDE, IDIOT!”

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I should probably add “draw something” to that list.

It’s not an easy thing to achieve, but balance is necessary.  We can’t always focus on work (that’s a fast-track to insanity), just like we can’t always focus on fun (unless you’re a billionaire, then yeah).  Remember to stop and take a breath, or smell the roses, or whatever.  Just don’t kill yourself to achieve all the things on a list that doesn’t account for spontaneous interruptions or miscalculated times (we all have those things we say will take half an hour, then three hours later it’s still not done).  Take some time and go outside!  Or whatever.