(I am currently on holiday and so am replaying some old posts. This one was originally posted in March 2010.)
I have a confession to make: for the last three or four days I have done absolutely nothing.
Nothing. Nada. Not a thing.
And I don’t just mean I haven’t accomplished anything of greatness or that I’ve failed to tick any items off my To Do List – I mean I’ve done absolutely nothing. I don’t have a job, I live with my parents and I rented an entire season’s worth of Lost DVDs, so this wasn’t hard to do.
Yesterday I didn’t even get dressed.
Is it that I’ve nothing to do? Hardly. I have a non-fiction book I’m supposed to planning, another I’m supposed to be writing, a second novel to start, two blogs to maintain and a third to contribute to and I’m supposed to be visualizing the success of the novel I did manage to write on a full-time basis complete with meditation, incense sticks, vision boards, copies of The Secret and whatever the hell else I think might help a publisher to say ‘yes.’ I also have to drink obscene amounts of coffee, tweet excessively, write a few letters (yes, I am one of the few who still writes letters but probably only because I love getting them), read a stack of books so high they’re becoming a health and safety issue and attempt to shrink my rear end by doing miles on the treadmill whenever possible. I also occasionally like to get out and see the world, or at least pretend that I do; I have no objections to socializing when it involves caffeinated beverages and I always make sure that it does.
Really when you think about it, it’s just as well I don’t have a job.
In my last job which if you missed it was becoming a cemetery for my soul (to steal a line from last night’s FlashForward – of course I found the motivation to watch that despite Joseph Fiennes apparently having gone to the same school of ‘acting’ as Keanu Reeeves), I dreamt of having nothing to do all day but write. I love the fresh smell of first thing in the morning – which, in keeping with Catherine’s Theme, usually includes some coffee – and each time I had to turn my back on it so I could let myself into the office, turn on my computer, take the phone off voicemail and wish ill on people for the next eight hours, my heart broke a little.
So why now am I wasting it by doing nothing at all, especially when doing so makes me feel about as good as I do after a drunken decision to eat at Taco Bell? (It only happened once but boy, was it memorable.) I did pretty well for the last six months or so but giving myself a week off after finishing the novel turned into two and is now threatening to turn into three. Clearly, what I need is a kick-start, a push, a blast off those electrified paddles they use on people who are coding on Grey’s Anatomy. So here’s my 7 Day Plan to Get Going Again…
1. Realign my schedule
I’ve developed some bad sleeping (or not sleeping) habits which sets me on a schedule about seven hours off the rest of the GMT world. Tomorrow morning – regardless of what time I get to sleep tonight even though it’ll be at least 3 a.m. because I’ll be staying up to watch LOST and a week on Sunday throws another spanner in the works because I’ll be staying up to watch the Oscars live, but anyway – I’m going to get up early. Not just early for me, but early for everyone. Then I’m going to go to bed at a reasonable hour tomorrow night and repeat the process until I look a bit less like Gollum before nine a.m.
2. Once out of bed, stay out of bed
I have a terrible habit of waking up, getting up, making coffee and then bringing the coffee and my laptop back to bed with me for my morning rounds (e-mail, Twitter, Google Reader, Perez, etc.). No good comes of this. I will endeavour to get dressed before coffee-making and bring the coffee back to my desk. Promise.
3. Stop renting LOST DVDs
I think this is pretty self-explanatory.
4. Hit the treadmill every single day while listening to Miley Cyrus
I bet you’re wondering what the Miley Cyrus connection is going to be. Is it that I hate both the treadmill and that over-confident, over-sexed teenager with the millions of dollars and the mannish voice in equal amounts? No, although that’s true. It’s a song of hers, The Climb. It’s a cheesy pop extravaganza of Wisconsin proportions but if I need a theme song, that’s it. It’s a song that roars ‘You can do it!’ but in a nice, non-violent way. Treadmill: see explanation of No.3.
5. Stop using Hootsuite’s scheduled tweet feature
This is just lying about being up early in the morning, and lying is wrong. Isn’t it?
6. Feel the fear
One year and nine months ago I returned home after a few years of traveling and moved back in with my parents. Eighteen months ago I got a job which I quit after only a year and so have spent the last six months writing full-time/being a 27-year-old leeching off her parents while she pursues her lofty published writer dreams. Any moment now my parents are going to realize this. I have to get moving, and quick.
7. Promise myself rewards (NOT edible ones!)
It sucks not having money. I know I only don’t have money in a sort of pretend way in that I’ll always have a roof over my head, heat and food to eat, and the only bills I’m under pressure to pay are for luxury stuff like my phone. But it still sucks. The last time I got a decent haircut (by which I mean restyle; for some reason I am physically incapable of only getting a trim) George W. Bush was President of the United States (and no, I’m not even kidding, although for a while there I was Growing It), I try not to put on make-up every day not because I think it’s unnecessary – it is OH SO NECESSARY – but because I’m trying to conserve it, and I’ve almost completely forgotten what it feels like to experience buyer’s remorse. But I think I’ve suffered enough, so I’m making a deal with myself: be good for the next four weeks and you can have a mini-spree. And maybe a haircut. Maybe even a Waterstones visit. Maybe even – well, you get the idea.
8. Spend more time looking at pictures of the new Waldorf Astoria in Walt Disney World
I want to go back to Orlando as badly as I want to take my next breath, if only so I can lie by the pool and soak up the Vitamin D. (Well, that and visit my favourite store in the world, American Eagle, and drink my favourite cocktails in the world, the 32oz-ers at Jellyrolls on the Boardwalk, and see my favourite thing in the world, the fireworks in the Magic Kingdom, and go have breakfast in my favourite town in the world, Celebration – well, you get the idea.) I’m supposedly going in September anyway – after which I’ll be writing a new book entitled Disney World On $5 A Day – but I need to go now. Just for a week or so. I just need to feel ultra-violent rays on my skin while simultaneously drinking a mojito. The more I write, the more chance I have of getting paid to do it. So Waldorf Astoria WDW, you’re getting Bookmarked.
9. Listen to the experts
By my bed right now is a copy of Goals! by Brian Tracy. (Yes it really does have an exclamation in the title.) I’ve already read his Maximum Achievement and found it so motivating that I thought surely I was going to get up the next morning and write an entire book in one day. (I didn’t, but still.) He recommends writing out your top or short-term goals every morning by hand as a tool for refocusing your self-conscious. I think I need to tattoo mine to my face, but we’ll try paper for now.
10. Just do it
All day today I’ve moped around the place, feeling sorry for myself and threatening to kill everyone in this house if I don’t get away from soon. (Don’t worry – they know I was joking. Or at least they think I was…) I was having a right old pity party. Then an hour ago I sat down at my desk and started to write this, just for kicks. It’s nearly twenty minutes past midnight now but I’m still going to chalk this down to Tuesday. At least I got something done.
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