Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Or C. B. G. B. ...

#7 - Reduce blog browsing.

In the Firefox browser, right click on a folder containing bookmarks. Select 'Open in tabs'. This is what I would do to read a dozen plus blogs. Easy and convenient. I could quickly see which ones had new posts. Reading the blogs only takes minutes. Following the links takes more minutes. Then even more as I went through the comments, and then the links to the commentor's blogs, then more links to other interesting places and blogs. It is enough to make one feel all bloggy.

I imagine RSS feeds are even more convenient and easy to amass even more blogs to check on and read and link from. What I need is not convenient and easy, but difficult and time consuming. I need a barrier, a hurdle. Over the past few posts, I've moved my blog bookmarks to this site (on the right hand side), vetting a few along the way. Now I have to click on each one to get to them. More work, more steps, and fewer blogs visited each time I fire up the computer. I don't feel like I'm missing much since I can catch up on the posts quickly.

Of course, I make an exception for a select few frequent visitors. :-)

Progress: Good; the end is near.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

This ain't no mudd club ...

#6 - Reduce the guilt pile.

Sixteen books sat on the night stand next to my bed. Some had been gathering dust since last fall. Several titles were more of a temptation than others. Time to cull the pile, move the cruft to a better place (shelves or the donation bag), and prioritize the books that remained.

Now there are eight left, with the library books on top. I don't think this will save me any time, but I feel better. More organized. More focused. And soon, I'll stop sneezing from the dust.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This Ain't No Foolin' Around ...

#5 - Uninstall 'Full Tilt Poker'

I don't even play Texas hold'em that much (or that well, and not for real money!). Full Tilt Poker is actually a stand-in for another online game I play more frequently but don't want to admit what it is. It's not something cool like Second Life or a horrendously addictive time-suck like WoW. Just a sports simulator, sort of.

Anyway, I'm pledging to cut down to twice a week. I had thought about a) eliminating the game completely and b) putting it higher on the list of time-savers. But the point of this experiment is to make changes gradually, build on success, and create new habits (write, write, write!)

As I thought about giving up all this stuff, I thought I'd need a little fix to hang onto for a while. So I put this one further down the list. And cold turkey isn't going to fly (get it? turkey? fly?). Remember: "All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy".

If I fall off the wagon I will out the game-which-shall-not-be-named.

Progress so far: Really, really good, except for e-mail. What can I say, I'm weak.

Friday, May 18, 2007

This Ain't No Disco ...

Through Critters I've made the acquaintance of Meika Loofs Samorzewski. Take a look and make your own conclusions. For my part, I'll tell you what I said to him upon reading his stuff. It was like having the top of my head flipped up and my brains mixed around. Good stuff.

#4 - No Library Books.

That is, no more library books. I've got five out at the moment. I need to type up notes and finish off the rest. I don't have time for magazines or new releases or anything else. No more this month.

The penalty? Jeez, no library books? Isn't that enough? :-)

Progress Report: Doing well. In-box is sparkling clean but staying firm on the other items.

Monday, May 14, 2007

This Ain't No Party ...

This blog has a stat counter, provided free by StatCounter.com (and how glad they must be to have snagged that domain name). There is a little button in the lower right to disclose this tracking activity.

I'd like to say it's just for the statistics. It shows if someone came to my blog from a link on another site, or if the blog came up in a Google search (which is always cool). Also neat to see the flags of different countries show up. And when I get a new monitor, I'll figure out how to make the blog and website look better to all of you with more than fifteen inches of video screen real estate.

Truth be told, there's another reason for the stats. I want to see if anyone is reading this. Yes, I admit it. Does anyone care what words are here, or are they so many flowers bloomed unseen? Do you all still like me? Hello!?! ;-)

Checking the stats is addictive. It doesn't take up a lot of time, but neither do many of the things I'm stepping back from this month. The problem is the accumulated time-suck of those many moments.

#3 - Stop checking the stat counter.

No mas. Not once more this month. And if I do, I'll take code out of the blog template.

Progress report: Doing fine so far on the previous items. It's the anxiety of missing something that is driving me crazy. :-)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Resist Temptation ...

If it's of interest, the last part of the Douglas Adams interview is up (and of course the last one has the best stuff) at Darker Matter. Some of the other stories are worth a read (the one by Bud Sparhawk and Ramona Wheeler (no relation) is particularly appropriate for this post).

So, to continue on the quest of regaining time, the next thing to be given up is:

#2 - Check e-mail once a day.

Not twice, not three times, and certainly not five. Once and no more.

What shall the punishment be for violating this? Perhaps cleaning out my inbox, but I have a feeling I'll need another slap on the wrist for this item. Suggestions?

And how about my first objective? I did well and gained some evening time to catch up on my research reading. I must admit a slight transgression. Driving to work tonight, I did check the Red Sox game on the radio. I realize I can't read or write while driving but I could be thinking about writing. Fair is fair. And so...

The coach of the NY Yankees, Joe Torre, is a very good manager.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Play That Funky Music ...

April was funky, and I'm not talking Bootsy Collins. I got very little writing done. In ... A ... Funk.

There are, as always, reasons and excuses: soccer practice and games for my daughter, a list of yard and household projects as long as my arm, the boys of summer. Not enough hours in the day to do everything.

Change is needed.

My first inclination is to go extreme, setting unrealistic goals, word counts, or sleep-depriving number of hours to work. These tend to fail because the bar is set too high from the word go, and there is no penalty for failure besides my own guilt.

Here's a different idea to help get back on track. For the rest of May I will give up eight things that take time away from writing. Instead of all or nothing, the items will be declared twice a week. Time, focus, and commitment will accrue gradually as each sacrifice becomes a habit.

The carrot is achieving my writing goals. And the stick? Let the punishment fit the crime. I may need suggestions on some items if I backslide.

#1 - For the rest of May, I will not watch, listen to, or check the progress online of any Red Sox games.

For those that know me, this is a really big deal. And the stick? For each transgression, I will say something nice about, ahem, that other team. Again, this may seem frivolous, but that is some serious motivation.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Some Days ...

Some days are better than others. Some weeks are like that too. But you didn't stop by to hear me complain. Besides, there's always tomorrow.

Congrats to Nathan for his winning contest entry. His suggestion of Nelson and Eugenia Bowdler and son Darren will be used in my story.

Congrats to Ms. LBB for having two stories accepted to the Black Box anthology. She writes some pretty darn good prose for the Green Man Review as well.

Kudos as well to Jessica Reisman, who I met at Boskone, for a couple story sales. Some of her stories can be read at her website.

Finally, I know you all don't need this reminder like I did. But just in case ...

The cost of stamps is going up by two cents. If you have a SASE out there in the world for a story or query or what have you, and that SASE might not get put into the mail by May 14th, and that SASE has inadequate postage, there's still time to contact the publication for guidance or just send them a new SASE.