Tag Archives: procrastination

Marmalade Hoverfly

Day 177

I won £3 on the lottery. It is enough to buy a new ticket but not enough to test my a strength of character. Even in my straitened  circumstances £3 does not count as “coming into money” or a moral burden. To be honest, I’m not sure any amount of money would be a burden. If you have so much you can’t cope, give it away or start a charity. I won’t be going to the South of France in an open-topped sports car this weekend, but I have my fingers crossed for next Tuesday.

If there is a sudden absence of posts in the middle of next week you will have to draw your own conclusions.

I took advantage of a little spare time to read some blogs and will be reading some more in a few minutes. I have been dreadful at keeping up, but chose a good day to start again as Laurie Graves had a picture of hummingbirds on her garden feeder. I had never thought of hummingbirds as a visitor to Maine before I started to blog, and am still amazed every time I see it, even though I know Maine is the US state which is closest to Africa. That is one of those facts I know, will never use, and will never earn money from. However, I like to think it makes me a more interesting person. I’m probably wrong, but we all need ways to cope with life.

Finally, has anyone ever noticed that sitting at the keyboard can produce very little if you have hours to spare? But if you have twenty minutes  as something cooks you can read a dozen neglected blogs and, as you wait an extra ten, you can write most of your own. When I finish it I will call it Quercus’s Theory of Relative Procrastination.

Day 75

I had a lie in, an unhurried breakfast, watched a little TV and started clearing up bits and pieces of work I need to do on the computer. It’s amazing how half-finished thing accumulate, and how, after two hours, I don’t seem to have made much progress.

Lunch was the remains of the green salad with prawns and avocados, and I am now entering that phase of the day where the hypnotic sound of raindrops on glass is starting to work its Morpheotic magic. Well, I would if Morpheotic was a word. It should be, and it should mean “to do with Morpheus, the god of dreams”. Somehow it seems to have slipped through the net and searches for it come up with various medical conditions and a skin-tightening treatment. That’s the trouble with the English language, just not enough words. From what I see on that link, the Koreans are way ahead of us, and the Germans would soon run a word together that meant what I want, though it would probably be very long.

That is the trouble with computers. They offer the same hypnotic spell as a TV screen, added to the potential to procrastinate contained in Google and Wikipedia. This morning I looked up “Wickcliffe”. I always thought it was spelt “Wycliffe“. So does Wiki, though they do mention that it is also spelt Wyclif and Wickliffe. The people who struck a medal in 1924 to celebrate the 600th Anniversary of his birth selected “Wickliffe”. To be fair they also selected 1624 as his birthdate, which is not known with 100% accuracy. This sort of thing can be tricky when you get back into territory where spelling and record keeping had different standards from today.

I ended up on a journey through the Lollards, Tyndale and the Bible, to name but three. Exciting times, where failing to toe the party line in religious matters could end badly, as Sir John Oldcastle, the real life model for Falstaff, could demonstrate.

The problem was that I was supposed to be making a few background notes for the new medallion, not spending all morning refreshing my memory on the Reformation.

The John Wickliffe, if you are interested, was a sailing ship that took Scottish settlers to New Zealand in 1848.

This, if you are a researcher from the future looking at Procrastination in the 21st Century, or some similar subject for your dissertation, is what I do with my day.

Picture for today is coins. Even on my day off I am surrounded by coins.

Day 71

Another post which is decidedly late.

I started it while I was waiting for tea to cook. That makes it sound grander than it really was. All I did was measure out two portions of vegetable stew into a pan and heat it through. As the smell of thyme filled the air, I started to type. Ten minutes later I walked from my office/dining room and ladled the stew, complete with gorgeous golden gravy, into bowls. I don’t make dumplings when I do it, because I am not good at dumplings. Julia’s dumplings are much better.

Un fortunately, instead of starting a blog post I spent the ten minutes surfing eBay. If you like reading the ramblings of idiots, or buying junk, or simply wasting time, surfing eBay is probably the best way to do it. But if you want to write a blog post, eBay is a disaster. Hours pass, cliffs crumble and dynasties fall, and I don’t notice because I am searching for medallions and brooches and something for nothing.

The day, in contrast, was busy. We had three serious customers plus a couple of more casual customers, and several people selling. We also had a constant, though shallow, stream of customers on eBay and put plenty of stuff up for sale online too. I suppose I should be grateful to eBay for providing me with a job, even though I do waste so much time on it.

The journey home was remarkably quick, with only one set of traffic lights failing to turn green as I approached. This is so rare that I feel it is worth mentioning

 

Going for 100

It’s been one of those days where I have, so far, spent over two hours doing nothing of any substance. It’s been all bits and bats and mostly consisted of emails, lists and blurred photos. It’s not productive, but it’s easy, and I have a habit of doing easy things rather than the ones I should be doing.

August is a light month for submissions, with just one that actually needs doing.  I also have four which can be left until the early weeks of September, but I have put them on the August list. This still leaves me with five compared to the seven I did last month. September is even worse – assuming that I do five in August I still have nine planned for September.

So far I have never broken into a sweat writing a poem, or found one I’ve struggled to lift. I haven’t even bled over one, despite the amount of paper I have handled. (However, I think I just found an idea for one . . .) so why does it seem so much of an effort? Not only that, but why is it so difficult to write until, you get close to the deadline? I know there will be people out there that don’t have this problem, but I’m one of those that needs the pressure of a deadline to make me work.

I can produce enough quality pieces to keep at least some of the editors happy. However, even to get to 100 submissions I need to do two a week. I’m currently on 59 for the rolling 12 month average. It doesn’t take a maths genius to work out that is about half of what I need to do. So do I go for 75 next year, which doesn’t seem very ambitious, or do I go for 85 (better) or just go all out for 100? It won’t be the 100 rejections this article talks about but even 100 submissions is going to take a lot of work. However, I expect you’ve already guesse what I’m setting as a target from the title. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do . . .

PS, when I said I’d spent 2 hours doing  nothing much, it was just after 11am – I’ve spent another seven hours doing errands and other useless stuff since then. If they ever make procrastination an Olympic Sport I reckon I’m in with a chance. If Break Dancing (now known as “Breaking” can make it to the Olympics I don’t see why procrastination can’t.

 

 

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

 

Jentacular Spectacular

I imagine that all proper writers are currently walking in the countryside, writing , or at work wishing they were doing either of the other two. I am having my customary Monday off, and sm wasting my time playing Nine Men’s Morris on the computer.  However, I have taken a grip of myself and am now writing after squandering most of the last 100 minutes on games and emails and checking eBay.

The post has just arrived so I will pick that up and on the way back I might as well put the kettle on. I’m not expecting anything good in the post so it will only be bills and circulars, but any displacement activity is welcome to a keyboard loafer.

On the way to the kettle I noticed we had a single wrap left in the bag. We have been keeping a few in as they stop us running out of breadlike substances for packed lunches. One isn’t much use though, They make a very good substitute for an oatcake so I thought while I was waiting for the kettle to boil I might as well stick a bit of bacon in this one and thus clean up the kitchen a bit. I added mushrooms, because we have quite a lot of them too, four small tomatoes which are going a bit soft, and a spring onion, cut in half and then sliced lengthways. When cooked and wrapped it did indeed make a passable substitute for an oatcake. I now feel much more able to face the day and do some work.

My Orange Parker Pen

The post wasn’t quite useless, as it contains my copy of Poetry Review. The outer, which looks like it is compostable, though it doesn’t actually say so, contains the magazine plus a number of extras – a copy of Poetry News, which I normally skim and recycle, a flyer for the Winchester poetry Prize, which I won’t enter, a Bloodaxe Catalogue and the Winners’ Anthology for the National poetry Competition. I’ll read the Bloodaxe catalogue and dream about being in it, and I’ll read the anthology so that I can feel affronted that, once again, I didn’t even make the long-list. However, after my recent success in the BHS competition I am content.

Can anyone answer a grammar question while you are here? Is it a Winners’ Anthology, as it doesn’t belong to them, or is it a Winners Anthology because its’s an anthology by more than one winner?

You can read the winners here.

And, of course, there is Poetry Review. It’s a serious magazine full of serious poems. It contains essays, translations and reviews. I confess that I don’t always read it all. I’m going to read some of it before lunch, then I’m going to write Limericks. Once my mind is receptive to lightness again I have haiku to write, as I am suffering a haiku deficiency and my haikuless haibun collection is crying out for closure.

 

 

Restrospective

I’ve had a bad few days struggling with time management, fluency and my internal editor. I am now just going to sit down and write. This is post 2,300 so I really should have got the hang of it by now.

All that time ago, I intended to advertise the work of Quercus Community and to educate the world about aspects of nature. Eight hundred thousand words later it looks like I ended up writing about poetry and Cup a Soup. that was not how I envisaged the blog developing. Nor was it how I imagined my life unfolding.

Later…

Well, I nearly sat down and wrote. What actually happened was that Julia rang up wanting a lift back from the laundrette, we went to lunch at KFC, dropped in at the garden centre and had a drive round.  I can’t quite remember, but I think thi is our first outing since the autumn. Unless you count going to work as an outing. Even my social life isn’t so bad that I need to consider going to work as an outing. Not quite.

While we were out I noted the varieties of tree and flower blooming. I’m a poet, I need to know these things. The crocuses are gone, the daffodils are in full flower and the primroses just beginning to show. We did see a good clump of something that looked a lot like purple crocuses, but which turned out to be some sort of dead nettle – probably ground ivy but I’m a bit patchy on identifying dead nettles. They are all edible, so it doesn’t really matter if you are just wanting something to sprinkle on a salad.

With that number of words I could have written eight books. That would be more impressive as an answer when asked what I wrote. “Eight books”, even if they are about Cup a Soup , is a much more impressive answer than “a blog”. And even “a blog” is a more impressive answer than “haibun”. At least people have heard of blogs.

We’ve just had tea and banana cake. We are trying to make the cake last.

There we go, it’s nonsense, but at least it’s fluent nonsense.

I’m now feeling the urge to write about Cup a Soup.

My Favourite Day

It i now just after midday and it is probably time to take stock.

I delivered Julia to work this morning. Traffic was heavier than usual, which was probably due to the return to school, though it could just be that Monday is usually busier in general. I have no way of measuring, but the queue in a couple of places was a little longer than usual.  It might just appear heavier because I was expecting it to be. I really ought to devise an accurate system of measurement.

On the way back I went to Lidl as we need bread and I like their bakery. I’ve been avoiding it lately, but you have to go out at some time.

As usual, I observed some selfish parking. A single man in a Range Rover parked in a parent and child space (we didn’t have them in my day, we just had to learn how to control children and shopping at the same time!) I don’t see why anyone needs a Range Rover if they live in town. I don’t see why Range Rover owners can’t walk a few yards extra. And I definitely don’t know why he felt it necessary to park at an angle so that a corner of his vehicle jutted into the corner of the parking spot next to him. Somehow, I always asu8me that if you have the money to buy a big car and fuel it that you should know how to drive. I am clearly wrong.

Again, in the absence of a proper measuring system I can’t say this was the worst parking I’ve ever seen. How does it compare, for instance, with a small car parking across two disabled spaces whilst playing loud music? So many variables.

I bought the usual selection – sandwich baguettes, chocolate brownies, ham offcuts for sandwiches and mini cucumbers, which Julia likes with her sandwiches. She actually ordered some plants yesterday to grow her own this summer.

I then sat down to write. I finalised a selection of haiku, which needed to be sent before the 15th. That is now done. I’ve submitted to that magazine before and expect I will be making a contribution to my target of 100 rejections quite soon.

After that I settled down to some “ordinary” poetry. At the moment I’m writing by setting ideas down and adding to them. When they are about the right length I check I have everything I need – theme, detail, ambiguity- then I start pruning and refining. I have two or three on the go, in various stages of completion and it’s feeling good. I’m pinning a lot of hope on my ordinary poetry to bring in the 100 rejections.

I then twiddled around with ome tidying of folders, made a cup of tea, browsed the internet and skimmed a book that arrived last week. I answered a phone call from a very nice lady who wanted to help me extend the warranty of my washing machine. Regular readers, who know we use the launderette for washing, will realise she was unlikely to succeed, and thi proved to be the case.

That’s it for now. I’m going to make lunch, using a liquidised vegetable stew and I will then start rounding up some haiku for another submission. If I get that done, I will have a go at refining some haibun and writing a couple of new prose sections.

After I pick Julia up I will have come full circle and that brings us back to the chocolate brownies. I will miss my Mondays when I have to go back to full-time work.

Orange Parker Pen

 

Lazy Sunday – not an Unusual Day

Today I have watched some TV, eaten chocolates, snoozed and cooked brunch. I have then pottered around on eBay, cruised the web, done some reading on WP and decided on the menu for tonight. Yes, eating loafing and little else has been the pattern of my day.

Depending on which government advice you believe (it is all getting a bit confused) we are either out of quarantine or almost out of quarantine.

It is nearly half past six in the evening and I am only just getting to grips with writing. I really am going tom have to start a procrastination diary to see how I manage to waste all this time. As I’m going to cook soon I will leave it until tomorrow…

I have enjoyed the ramble through old photos, and am feeling more inclined to get out, do some walking and take some more photos. On the other hand i still have the rheumatology specialist’s advice at the back of my mind – stay indoors and don’t even go to the shops. This advice has not been passed down via the NHS, as thy are currently vaccinating the over-65s. When thy get down to the over-60s and call me, this will be confirmation that I am not at any increased risk of death from Covid. Fat, high blood pressure and on drugs to supress my immune system, but not, according to the NHS, at any increased risk. So was all the talk of “underlying health conditions” just hype, or have the NHS, once again, proved to be bad record keepers. Past experience suggests both explanations are equally feasible.

My blood test results came back on Friday – a am in the middle of the range, but now have to have tests every two weeks or so until I can get back to three-monthly intervals.

I suppose there are worse things than getting up at 6.30 and visiting a building full of sick people…

Top photo is physalis, or Cape Gooseberry,  Inca berry or ground cherry. Easy to grow in UK as long as you can get them under cover. There is a decorative form – the Chinese lantern – which does grow outdoors but doesn’t fruit.

The other photo is the beach at Dunwich, featuring that well-known cliché – a fishing boat on the beach.

On the beach at Dunwich. The square block in the background is a nuclear power station, which you can also see in my Aldeburgh photos.

 

Procrastination – a Primer

I watched a programme about alpaca farming earlier in the week. One of the farmers had been a professional writer all his life and had fitted in a career as a circus ringmaster.

He was now fitting in life as an alpaca farmer with his writing. He said, as it showed him settling down to type, that the farming had helped him focus, and that his writing had improbed as he no longer had time for writer’s block.

I feel the same way about procrastination. It’s so hard to fit in when you have work to do. I no longer have the luxury of sitting at the computer wondering what to do, if I’m going to fritter my time away I need to start frittering immediately.

Freecell isn’t going to solve itself, and who will stroke the vanity of all those Hollywood stars if I don’t click to see what they look like now. or click to see what that man found in his back garden.

After I’ve done that I need to read poetry, because we all know we can’t be successful writers if we don’t read the genre we are attempting to write.

Then the shopping list needs doing. I forgot to add breakfast cereal to the list last week and Julia is grumpy because she is having to eat bran flakes instead of Weetabix. To me that’s like the doctor asking if you’d rather have eczema or psoriasis. (I’ve toned that down for a family audience, and taken the opportunity to show off my spelling, in case you didn’t notice).

I’d rather have porridge, but I prefer lying under the covers until the last minute, whimpering about getting up on a cold, dark, morning. Normally I zoom downstairs late, splash milk on something that promises to deliver health and high fibre, and plough through it. Frankly, weekday breakfasts are a penance rather than a pleasure, but even after twenty years as a non-smoker I haven’t found anything to replace cigarettes and tea as the perfect start to the day. Apart from Sunday, when I favour fried food. Healthy choices do not come easily to me.

Time to serve up the tea now. It’s ratatouille served in the style of a pasta bake. I’m trying to sound enthusiastic, but it’s hard when you really want a Chinese takeaway…