Tag Archives: focus

Web, Mesh or Net?

After a week or so of opening on a different page WP has now gone back to opening on a page I can actually use. By the standards of modern doublespeak this is probably the “new and improved” version. Take something away at random, reinstate it, and, if asked, tell people it is an upgrade.

I had an email about a similar thing. I can, it seems, pay for Jetpack to give me a search function. I already pay enough for a product that is worse than it was when I started, and I thought I already had a search function. First we had lying, then we had marketing, now we have people on the internet who try to sell you stuff you used to get for free. It’s a gradual decline to moral bankruptcy that we already see in our politicians and TV stations (you know – the ones that now call it “Plus 1” when it used to be called “repeats”).

It’s 8.36 and I decided I would have  ago at starting my day with some focus. It nearly worked. I have read my emails and a few blogs but mainly fixed my mind on writing this post. Later I will send a couple of submissions off and then do some housework. Yes, there is so much debris on my writing table that I can’t see the lower edge of the computer screen. I don’t need month old blood test results, used padded envelopes or notebooks from last year. The results will be recycled, the envelopes taken to work (for reuse as packaging) and the notebooks can go into a box until an American University puts in an offer for my papers. Or until Julia makes me throw them out.

That’s good, 8.53. The advantage of having no structure and no research is that blogging (by which I mean dumping the contents of my head on a page) can be quite quick.

This is in contrast to submitting poetry, where I am about to spend twenty minutes deciding whether to use “web” or “mesh” or “net” . . .

It’s not easy being a poet.

Time, Pressure and Procrastination

Yesterday I went to work as usual, checked the overnight sale, found there were just two, and decided to catch up with some writing admin that needed doing. On an ordinary evening I have seven hours to do this and haven’t managed to do it. Yesterday, with 30 minutes to spare, I managed to get it all done. There’s something about time and pressure that makes me a lot more industrious.

I go in about an hour before I’m due to start, in case you are wondering about me skiving – it’s the time I get to work after dropping Julia off. It’s not terribly convenient, but it’s hard to do anything useful in that time when you’re worrying about getting to work on time, or worrying about getting a parking space, so it’s easier to go to work. I give them a few hours a week extra, but I don’t feel guilty if |I need an hour here and there for medical reasons and vaccination.

The same applies to submissions. I can, on a slow month, spend weeks getting round to it and then, as this month, do three in two nights when the end of the submission window starts to loom.

I still have one set of submissions, possibly two, for the end of this month, but I’m nearly there with one set and have to decided if I’m going ahead with the other.

Half of me says I should have  ago. The other half says that it’s a new editor and I don’t want to send in something that might not be 100% right. I’m in possession of three halves again, I must stop doing this. The third half has just cut in and pointed out to me that it’s never 100% right anyway and one of the editors I’m submitting to this month never takes anything anyway. We don’t seem to be fated to work together. It’s like thee is some cosmic mismatch. Or, to be more sensible, he has an idea of what a haibun should be, and I fail to match it. He has even told me, several times, why he has turned something down. I struggle to understand why he thinks I’m missing the mark. I read the magazine intently looking for a clue, and as far as I can see, many of the accepted submissions aren’t hitting the mark either.  One day, with persistence and experience, I will get one in.

Anyway, time for work now. Eighteen minutes and I have written a blog post, something that took several hours last night, including playing games and staring at the ceiling. Time pressure is good for me.

Having said that, I just realised I wrote the post as a new page rather than a new post. Another senior moment…

 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

How the List Went

I’ve already covered the list and the progress, so now it’s time for the final wrap.

Done

Sort out two submissions (well – 90%, but they will be done tonight)

Pick Julia up

Cup of tea, TV, nap. The nap went particularly well, as did the TV

Cook stir fry (excellent meal, though cooked by Julia as I was exploring all the possibilities of napping)

Write post (500 words) about how hard I’ve been working today – doing it now

Write more (the last post counts towards this)

Write haiku/senryu – was 15 minutes early for Julia so did a few then (note I didn’t say they had to be good)

I also rang the garage to discuss the flashing lights on the car dashboard (it is going in tomorrow so they can empty my bank account)

Not Done Yet

Start two poems I have notes for – fell victim to procrastination

Research for article – Bomb Disposal

Research for article – RNLI

I’ve done more than I was expecting. I’ve been putting off the two poems for a few weeks – doing a note here and there, but I’d like them to be good, and they aren’t living up to expectations so far. THe research was listed to make sure I do something about it, rather than in hope that I would get any done today.

Do lists do any good? I think they do. They keep me working and they preserve focus. Without  a list I would have done less today. I would have browsed the internet more, wasted more time, and have done less of the things that needed doing. Which reminds me, I need to get in touch with the doctor. I forgot to put it on the list.

I just went away to contact the doctor.They want me to use the online ordering system for medication, but they keep changing the system. last month I was able to request Methotrexate. This month I’m not able to order it so I’ve had to put in  a written request. Apparently it can only be ordered by a clinician. I’m not actually sure what a clinician is, apart from someone who works at a clinic. I’m also not clear why someone who hasn’t spoken to me about the medication needs to get involved in the supply. You would think that in the middle of a pandemic they would have better things to do than mess about with the way I reorder prescriptions.

This, of course, reminds me that I need a blood test for the Methotrexate to see if it is dissolving my liver. As I have not yet turned yellow I’m probably OK. I hope so because it’s a very effective drug for the arthritis. I’d better do that tomorrow as I want to try and coordinate it with the Warfarin blood test in two weeks time. Despite what they keep telling us, I see no point in going where there are a load of sick people if I don’t need to. One day and two tests is better than going down on two days. With any luck I will be able to get it done at the hospital too, as the nurses at the surgery don’t get the practice, and are not as effective as the hospital phlebotomists.

If you are going to be stabbed in the arm it’s better to get it done by a professional.

That’s enough writing now. I will probably discuss our new lockdown when I write again. Yes, we enjoyed the first two so much that we are having another one.

 

A Million Words

I’m sorry if this is old news to you, but I’ve only just found this concept whilst poking around on the internet. It seems that you need to write a million words before you are any good at it.

At 999,999 you are writing unpublishable gibberish then at 1,000,001 publishers will form an orderly queue and start waving cheques at you.

Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be reflected in reality.

It’s similar to the 10,000 hour rule, where you are judged to need 10,000 hours of practice to become good at something. In terms of napping and procrastination, I have put the groundwork in and can claim to be proficient at them. Of course, whether I’m good at napping because I’ve practised, or have merely accumulated the hours because I was born good at napping, is a moot point.

As I recall the concept from the times when I was coaching the kids. it has to be focussed practice, so just dropping off in front of the TV may not count.

Similarly, despite my 10,000 hours of procrastination, there is a lingering doubt in my mind. If I was really good at procrastination, wouldn’t I still be meaning to get round to it?

black and white book business close up

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

And if I were any good at writing I wouldn’t just have spent ten minutes reminding myself about the subjunctive mood. It’s something that I’ve managed to do without over the last twenty or thirty years, but am having to relearn after an editor picked me up on it last year.

I’ve done about 1961 posts, and those posts have been about 350 words long. That’s near enough 686,000 words. It has, to be honest, seemed like more. That leaves me with 314,000 words to go, and I am sure I must have written them in the last sixty years, so that means I should be ready to start some serious writing.

Again, at the back of my mind is the idea that I really should have had more focus in my blog writing. I have gained fluency and a certain amount of discipline, which will come in handy, though I’m not sure it’s done me a lot of good in terms of quality writing. I have really let things get a bit slapdash over the years and need to get a grip.

Talking of getting a grip, I just wrote a post pretending to be a knitted bear – I think that lockdown is getting to me.

books in black wooden book shelf

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Focus!

One of the main things that came across from Tamara Hall’s presentation on Wednesday night was what you can do when you focus on something. She was given five years to live at one point, and she concentrated on doing a couple of things well.

Having examined my working habits, conscience and lack of success it’s a lesson I’m going to take on board: having examined my waistline and eating habits I’ve concluded that I may not even have five years!

It’s a short blog because I have things to accomplish…