Writers are no strangers to stress. Many of us work full-time day jobs and write, or we balance a family and write, or we balance a family, a day job, and school, and write. There is just so much to keep up with, and few of us are blessed enough to have a secret lab with a death ray that will vaporize intruders….though I’m still saving. Frequently, writers will
whine say, “But I just don’t have tiiiime. Writing and work and blogging and social media. There isn’t enough tiiiiiiime.”
Granted, all of us are spread thinly, but the thing is we have the same 24 hours as everyone else. Often we DO have the time, we just lack focus. We don’t have a time management conflict, we have a values conflict. Very often we have plenty of time, we just have values or beliefs or weaknesses that are devouring our time.
I have always struggled with organization, and frankly, if don’t make a list, I will be sorting baby pictures or writing out greeting cards in three minutes flat. I’ve always been envious of people who run their homes with military efficiency. You know the people I am talking about; those folk who aren’t afraid of their closets and actually know what is in every drawer.
Know Where You Are Weak
Yet, I have to say that just because something is our nature doesn’t mean that we are to be a victim to our innate shortcomings. In fact, Bob Mayer gives a wonderful exercise in his workshops. He says to look at our Myers-Briggs personality…then look at the opposite of our personality, and likely that is the area we need the most work.
I am going to take it a step farther. I believe that the opposite of our personality could be what keeps us from ever enjoying great success. That simple weakness could be where all your minutes are hemorrhaging away, bleeding out your energy unnoticed.
More on this in a second…
Procrastination is Birthed from Fear
One of my all-time favorite books is Eat That Frog—21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracey. For those of you who follow this blog, I’ve mentioned this book many times before because I love it. It WORKS. Anyway, in Eat That Frog, Tracey gives an interesting rule.
Rule: Your weakest key area sets the height at which you can use all your other skills and abilities.
Tracey advises that you sit down and write out all that is required for you to do your job. We’ll take five for our purposes today. As a writer I must:
- Have a good imagination
- A solid command of grammar
- Possess a modicum of talent when it comes to writing prose
- Have the self-discipline to write
- Possess superior organizational ability
When it comes to the first four, I totally ROCK….and then we get to that last part *winces.* Superior organization? Oh yeah.
First of all, even when you write non-fiction, information needs to flow in an optimal way or it won’t be enjoyable reading (this is part of that ever-elusive “voice” we’ve been talking about).
Same thing applies to fiction, and the way we organize and deliver the story is a HUGE part of voice. If we hope to be a successful novelist, we have to be masters at organization. We have to balance narrative plot points, character arcs, POV, setting, dialogue and keep everything straight and give it perfect timing.
The greatest part of dramatic tension is relaying the right piece of information at the right time. We have to manage all these components over the span of 60-110,000 words. This is one of the reasons many aspiring novelists never get beyond the “aspiring” part. They believe that the talent to manage all of this information is something writers are born with, when in fact it is a skill that 99% of the time must be taught, and then refined with a lot of trial, error and shots of tequila.
Writing a novel is an entirely different creature, yet many new writers mistakenly believe that they can jump from short story to novel with no problem. Sure. That is like creating a three-bar melody and then believing we are ready to compose a symphony with a 100 piece orchestra.
And, if I look at where I have had the largest struggles when it comes to writing…it has always been in my ability to organize (or lack of ability as the case may be).
Ah, but if we look at my Myers-Briggs, I am an ENFP, which means I am highly skilled at concepts and BIG ideas…but I fall apart when it comes to execution because I have to work extra hard to manage the small details. If we look at the opposite of my personality we get…my husband. Seriously, there should be a picture of my husband below the ISTJ.
Tigger married Spock.
ENFP (The Inspirer)——ISTJ (The Duty Fulfiller)
HUBBY: Kristen, you are being illogical.
I have creativity, imagination and enough energy to power a small city, but it is clear where I fall abysmally short. Ah, the devil is in the details.
I think this Myers Briggs test is a great exercise for getting a clear idea of what specifically is in our nature that needs to be addressed, the weakness that is the biggest time and energy suck. But I want to take it another step.
The Pareto Principle
In Eat That Frog, Tracey also introduces the Pareto Principle. In 1895, economist Vincent Pareto noticed that society seemed to naturally divide into what he called the “vital few” and the “trivial many.” 20% of the population had all the wealth power and influence and the bottom 80% got whatever was left. He later discovered that this principle held true in all economic activity.
In short, 20% of our activity will account for 80% of our results.
This means that if we have a list of ten things to do, TWO of those items will be worth as much if not more than the other eight combined. But can you guess which items we are most likely to procrastinate on doing? The items that will cause us the most stress and sap most of our energy? Right. The two activities that could make the most difference. We are also most likely to procrastinate where we are weak.
Can you guess where I procrastinate? Yep, any activity that requires organizational skills. Whether it is plotting my novel or filing invoices, I do everything I can to get out of doing the chores that require I operate where I am weak. Yet, remember the rule I began with?
Your weakest key area sets the height at which you can use all your other skills and abilities.
This rule basically says that if I do not figure out a way to mitigate or correct my greatest weakness, that it will always be my single greatest limiting factor.
So What Can We Do?
First, buy a copy of Eat That Frog. LOVE this book and use its principles to get A LOT of work done. See, knowledge is power and once we become aware of our limiting factors, then we can take action. We aren’t at the mercy of our nature.
I know organization will never come natural to me, but it does come naturally to my mother, my sister-in-law, and my husband. When I need a system worked out for me, I have learned that I don’t have to do everything. I can delegate. GASP! I know! Cool, right? This frees me up to focus where I am strongest, which will make me more productive, which will alleviate stress.
Of course, delegating isn’t one of those things I do well, naturally either, so I have to surround myself with friends who will
slap me correct me if I fail to delegate properly.
Hi, Piper! Hi, Ingrid! Hi Jenny!
I also make lists every day and no longer try to just “keep it in my head.” I then look at that list and whatever item makes me cringe when I read it (FROGS)? That is what I do first. Remember, 20% of our activity is going to account for 80% of our results.
When I tackle the toughest items first, I actually get more accomplished overall.
When we do the toughest jobs first, we get an endorphin rush from the sense of accomplishment. Also, since our toughest jobs are out of the way, the other “less important” chores go faster since we aren’t dragging our feet dreading the FROGS.
And how does this apply to writing? Well, I know that my prose is strong and I suffer no lack of imagination, BUT I do not naturally plot well. I used to get lost in the details and had a tough time keeping everything straight. This is why most of the writing books I now buy have to do with various ways to plot.
Instead of reading book after book studying my strengths (dialogue), I started to focus more on my weak areas, because those areas would be my limiting factor if left unaddressed. I also know that my writing will be faster and cleaner and require fewer revisions if I can strengthen this weak area. I also surround myself with fellow writers who are natural plotters because they can add even more strength to my area of weakness.
We Can’t Change What We Won’t Face
What is your weak writing area? Work on that FIRST. Find fellow writers who are strong where you are weak. #MyWANA is a good place to start.
Same in life and business. What is your weakness? Is it organization? Confrontation? Community? We don’t need to remake our personalities, and I do believe we should work to make the most of our strengths, but we must acknowledge and account for our weaknesses. Some weaknesses we can and must conquer if we want to be successful. Fear is a good example.
Maybe the two things I don’t want to do are because I fear rejection. Well, the best way to conquer a fear is to face a fear. Sometimes the only way out is through.
Other weaknesses? Those might be best delegated. I know I will never be highly organized. My brain doesn’t work that way, BUT I can delegate to people who are and, odds are, if they are good at my weakness then I am good at theirs. They help me and I can help them and then we are always working in the areas where we are strongest. TEAM.
Fact is, until we take an inventory, we can’t make a plan. Again, knowledge is power.
So what are some issues you guys struggle with and how do you deal with them? Any books or resources you can recommend? Are you a master at organization and maybe can offer tips? Or, are you like me? A junk drawer junkie? How do you overcome the clutter?
I LOVE hearing from you!
And to prove it and show my love, for the month of April, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of April I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!
I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.
Love your article. Proven method!
From the book: Dunk Your Biscuit Horizontally- 106 Starage Scientific Facts
Bad news for the psychologist’s wallet: you can climb out of
an emotional dip by simply writing about it.
James Pennebaker, professor of psychology at the University
of Texas, has over the years asked hundreds of people to try
writing therapy. That therapy consisted of 15 to 30 minutes
of writing a day over the course of three to fi ve consecutive
days. Participants had to write about their deepest feelings
and most painful memories. There was no commentary on the
texts; they were just writing for themselves.
For every experiment Pennebaker also asked a control group
to write about neutral subjects, for example their plans for the
day. This way the professor showed how well the emotional
writing therapy worked – participants felt better afterwards.
Unemployed people who put their soul’s torments down on
paper got a job more quickly than those without work who
wrote about neutral subjects. Lovers who had written their
troubles away stayed together longer than those who wrote
about everyday things. Students who poured their emotions
out on paper got higher grades than students who gave a
business-like run down of their daily activities.
~~~Pennebaker, J. W. ‘Writing about emotional experiences as a
therapeutic process’ in Psychological Science 8 (1997), pp.
What a fantastic post. Maybe because I’m an ENFP too, it totally speaks to me. I’m TERRIFIED of my closets! …and the garage…and the storage shed…oh dear. Anxiety attack coming on. I try to make lists but they’re usually so overwhelming I can’t even finish them. I guess I’d better get that Frog book. Thanks for this!
great stufff. thanks for sharing.
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thank you so much for the Spock picture. Totally made my day.
Hi Kristen. I’m at the RT Booklovers convention stressing and desserting (my chocolate consumption may = my weight before I return home) but your blogs ALWAYS give me perspective on both writing and promoting. Thanks for the afternoon pick-me-up!
BTW, Bob gave an excellent presentation here yesterday. I’m an ENTJ so I love making lists, including pertinent plot points as well as the continual development of my characters.Lists of clues and red herrings since I write mysteries and I want to be fair to my readers. Not to mention my lists of your excellent social media tips. I’m not sure if it works for everyone, but it keeps me on track and I LOVE crossing things off!
O dear – well that post struck a chord – you don’t think we may in fact be twins to you? – I’m off to find someone organised in the hope I can delegate 🙂
I need to take that Myers-Briggs personality test, but anyone who knows me knows how unorganized I am. I’ve tried making lists and usually lose them! It makes sense, though, that if we tackle the activity that we’re weakest at first, the others will be much easier. I’ll focus on the disorganization first before tackling my other weaknesses. Have a wonderful weekend, Kristen.
Great post. Got the kick in the butt I needed. My weak spot is afternoon baseball. A game can throw my whole day off. Thanks again.
Re: the death ray.. When I was reading this at work (on break of course) I actually said out loud, “Where can I get a death ray like that?” My cube-mates’ looks were priceless.
Aw, Kristen, I see pluses and minuses here, and the problem with both of them is I’m seeing them through whatever color glasses these are that influences the way I do things.
First, I loathe, hate and despise the notion of “organization.” Other people talking to me about organization always rouses extraordinarily heated emotions of denial and contrariety. I know, exactly what you’re talking about, right? My boss at work is always on me about how I keep the lab (of course, you should see HIS desk…!) and my laptop at this moment sits in an island of clear space on my school-teacher-sized desk with about one inch of clear space on each side and all kinds of stuff around it. Do I need to be organized? HEAVY sigh. In VERY small letters: yes. Will I? Probably not, because I’ve learned to design my creative and productive processes around my lack of organization. Does it work? Couldn’t say. I’ve written a lot of things I like but I haven’t sold anything yet.
Does everybody “organize” the same way? Couldn’t tell you. Does your idea of organization correspond to mine? Oh brother. Doubt it. Disorganized as you believe yourself to be, bet I’m worse.
Why am I resistant to change? Over and above everyone’s natural resistance to change, and even though I believe I am one of Bob Mayer’s five percent of people who can make changes in their lives?
Well, it’s organization I don’t like, not change per se, because somewhere along the line — probably something passive aggressive having to do with something deeply Oedipal about my mother making me clean up my room when I was six — I developed the notion that creativity arises from Chaos. And I think that’s what I fear the most — for me, I believe organization and creativity to be approximately in some inversely proportional relationship to one another.
I certainly don’t think it happens that way for everyone. I certainly do wish I could keep everything neat and tidy. I wish I could do all that bit with outlines and such. It appeals to the mathematician in my nature. Besides, it makes everything look so easy.
But probably the best organization I’ll ever achieve is proactive use of the “sticky notes” feature that came with my laptop.
On the other hand, as I hope is plain from the above, you made me think about it, which is one reason I keep reading your posts! You do pretty well in the department of thought-provocation.
Great Post! And your image made me LOL and Aww! I am an INTJ (rarest of the 16, yeah!). Give Spock a spark of creativity and you get me.
Oooh! Oooh! Okay, so I am an ENFP and my best friend is an ISTJ. Wow, we are great friends, but sometimes we just do NOT get each other. On the plus side, we have each helped the other understand the world in different ways, and our strengths make up for each other’s weaknesses. I would imagine your husband does the same thing for you! (And vice versa.)
I have always envied my mom’s organizational levels. I let things get messy until they actively bother me (which takes a long, long time).
With writing though, I manage to remain some what organized. We won’t talk about my procrastination born of fear, though.
I was going to say I’m pretty good at organizing, but then I took a look at my desk and… uh… yeah. I’ve got paperwork everywhere, I haven’t called the people I need to call, I may have killed 500 worms last night (long story). Things are kind of a mess 😛
I think I need to work on organizing too.
Ohmigosh – my husband would be soooooo excited that Ive read this post and jumping up and down yelling at me to LISTEN LISTEN! You just turned some lights on in my brain for me thank you. There are certain things i put off – and after reading this, i realize (and i accept) they are the things Im the weakest at doing and therefore I hate doing the most. and yes, they have to do with details and planning and organization stuff. My husband cant understand why I put certain things off for forever…and then run around like a crazy chicken on crack trying to do them at the very last minute. And my LIST is like a running a joke with my family – “Oh yeah, dont worry mum is going to put that on her List…and forget all about it and never ever do it, haha.” Thank you for another insightful piece.
Okay, you’ve totally gotten me intrigued. Since I’m at the library right now, I’ll have to go and find Eat That Frog… because Lord knows I’m a major procrastinator 🙂
I’m like you, Kristen. My weakness is plotting. The juggling act of life and writing sometimes makes it hard to FOCUS on what the kernel of the story is and what needs to happen to make a point with what I write. Thanks for the suggestions and humor!
Kristen, you must have read my mind with this post. I’ve been quite stressed out this week and have had trouble focusing on writing. I’ve been spiritually lost for a long time and recently had friends suggest books to read like The Secret, or the Law of Attraction series. I also visited the personality type website and can’t figure out if I’m an ENFJ, an ISFP, an ENFP or an INFP.
Great post, Kristen. I would write more praise but I have put off writing long enough today, as you just pointed out.
Thanks; I needed that.
Great post as always, Kristen. I’m ENTP, quite close to you. I think because we tend not to like the detailed tasks (like outlining) and routine , it makes it hard for us to write novels. But it means that we are better at short fiction and blogging. ))
I have a little bit different point of view from yours in terms of working on weaknesses. Obviously, some work required , but generally it’s better to work further on your strengthes and excell at them, and outsource activities you are weak at. Team work! For us it means a good structural editor and postproduction team for our writing.
I think you’ve been working on your strengthes really well. Your blog is one of the best I have ever read and your communcation skills are incredible. A good PA would have helped you with organisation process, but if you can’t afford it, I can’t so far, you start bulding your team, like you and Piper did, I bet each of you has duties in the team reflecting the strengthes of each other.
I’ve been studying socionics for years – using it in my writing to craft characters and also using it at work to select/organise people for my experimental projects. It is certainly one of the greatest and still underestimated areas of knowledge, which is an extremely useful tool for achieving a personal success.
MBT shouldn’t be applied automatically without understanding what it means, like it’s often done in the corporate medium, I think the elements of it should be included into curriculum in schools. I think we, writers, should spread the knowledge wider.
I guess I procrastinate when I leave numerous WIP (picture books) unfinished, because my weakness is writing the ‘end of the story.’ I placed “Eat That Frog” on my Amazon wish list…thanks for your links and encouragement, Kristen!
I’m so guilty of everything you just described. I constantly put my writing on hold, despite not being nearly as busy as a lot of people I know. Sometimes I think I organize my writing too much. That’s how I procrastinate because I know the writing the ending means having to show it to someone. That’s my greatest weakness. I’m so scared of having to show other people what I’ve written. I guess I just have to keep pushing myself.
“We can’t change what we won’t face.” That pearl is going up on index cards on my bathroom mirror, dashboard, and computer monitor. Absolutely great blog. Thanks, Kristen. (And I bought the book immediately!)
Dudette – I used to be ENFP, but now I’m ENFJ. Getting married forced me into more decisions. Go fig.
i am really struggling with time management! great article going to take the personality test though i know what I am already lol–Going to get the frog book already have yours!
INFP here. I’ve been tested two times in my life in the hopes that it would change. Nope. I fear grammar. It’s not that I totally suck at it, but I don’t know the rules. I guess I wing it intuitively, but sometimes I’m wrong. And it’s embarrassing. You have motivated me to pick up a book. I’ve got three grammar books just sitting there brand spanking new on my bookshelf. If I have all the time in the world, I’ll take all the time in the world.
Nice post, Kristen.
Ok, so first I am definitely going to buy Eat that Frog. And second, I love organization – I just don’t do it very well. I probably need to find out my personality type – though I have an ex-husband that would ask which personality I was testing, but that’s another story. 😉
Thank you for sharing – you always have great posts!
Kristen, like you, I have four of the five traits writers need to have. However, the one that I struggle with is grammar. As far as organization, I’ve got that one down.
Love this post, Kristen! Very enlightening. Only problem is my weakness is the actual self-discipline to sit down and write. I know I can’t delegate that. Perhaps the Eat That Frog book will give some strategies for conquering that problem. I think I need to go visit my Myers-Briggs stuff now that I’m heading in this new-to-me writer direction, too.
Hi Kristen, I am currently doing a writing course online. This is helping me address some issues re the actual writing. I would say that organizing everything else is my biggest headache. Same as you I’m an inspirer first (INFP; Introvert, intuitive, Feeling, Perceiver)
“Can you guess where I procrastinate? Yep, any activity that requires organizational skills.” — One word: Closet. LOL!
I have two stages of cleanliness depending on my health: pristine and disaster area chic. My battle against clutter is a never ending battle though. I’ve had to train myself to put things away NOW instead of the mythical later!
My biggest writing weaknesses are description and setting. I seem to be fine at snappy dialogue though!
I found this post really insightful, so I tweeted it. Thank you for sharing! 😀
Tigger marries Spock!!!!! I’m still laughing out loud…having hard time typing…not sure husband would find funny…laughing even harder 🙂 Whew! Thank you for my daily smile. Great post, and oh so true on so many counts. My To Do list is strewn about my desk on sticky notes and bits of paper, grocery receipts and gum wrappers. My plotline and/or character development ideas are also developed in the same way somtetimes. Once in a while I gather them all up and type them into a word document and look to see that I’ve touched on all the points and also to clear the mess of my desk. I bought a book once on how to overcome procrastination but I never got around to reading it 🙂
wow, this was great. I think i will take this test too because it will be good to see exactly what i am
I knew of the 80%- 20% scenario, but i never really thought about whether i leave them until the end. I now have, and guess what, i do!
Great post and just what i needed at this moment in time
Matt (Turndog Millionaire)
I like the picture and the quote. Will having more dessert reduce stress?
I could use more organization too. Thanks for the post, we CAN find the time, we just have to want to.
Another great post, thanks Kristen. Plotting is my biggest weakness, along with getting started and keeping going! Oh, and constantly changing my mind about whether I want to write a thriller, genre romance or chiclit… oh dear. Must definitely do the Myers-Briggs test asap.
Damn! I hate it when you hit me on the head with the truth!
Timely and accurate – there’s my husband (Spock) coming out – and absolutely essential for me to make the changes I need to find more success in my writing (and life, for cryin’ out loud)! From this line “Rule: Your weakest key area sets the height at which you can use all your other skills and abilities.” I now know why I get stuck every day at the same task!
I LOVE Frogs – but never eat them, so I’m buying that book to see how to cook them properly.
Ungh. Ungh. Organization. Ungh. Nooooooooooooo . . . don’t wanna . . . dang.
Arg… I posted a comment and now its gone. Then I see my follow status is gone. I love Kristen’s posts. What is happening to my computer? Or to me?
Awwww. Glitches, glitches. Thanks for being a trooper!
Looking at your post and the comments–do most writers marry Spocks? I did.
I did! 🙂
I think we do and many of us have a secret crush on Sheldon, too. I know I do (b/c he reminds me of Hubby).
Thanks for a thought-provoking post. Is the fact that I felt a little guilty that I was reading it (instead of doing something from my to-do list) a good or bad sign? Anyway, I wanted you to know that I posted a related article in my blog with a link to your story. http://middleagedcoed.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/im-organized-right/
I probably need to invest in a copy of Eat that Frog, as well. Not that I have time to read it right now…
Thanks for this, Kristen. Sometimes I think it’s just me who procrastinates, particularly since my husband is an ESTJ (I am an INFP). Good to know I am NOT ALONE! 🙂
Omigosh! Now I understand why I’ve had to send you my synopsis THREE TIMES! I would never guess you aren’t the organizational guru. Fascinating! Well then, we would make a pretty pair. I am an ENFJ. No wonder we over talk each other on the phone. Piper and Jenny rock! Good to know you are starting to delegate more. I know that can be scary. And I married a Spock, too. 😉
I KNOW! Ingrid’s been cracking the whip on me for WEEKS. She even made me clean out all the closets and she’s taken over my office. But…SIGH…I am getting better. She is really good at setting up systems and when she needs a break then Jenny steps in to slap me around. My sister-in-law has taken over as my office manager. I am pretty much helpless in these areas but thank GOD I have talented, generous people who love me and who will work for cookies and wine :D.
You do know I was a Professional Organizer, right? *wink wink* Well, you are a very good poser. It’s nice to know you aren’t perfect at everything. 😉
Yep, I married me a Spock-y organizer too! And he keeps me sane. Sort of…
You give me hope saying you are the opposite type to your husband – so am I and it drives us both nuts as we just don’t understand each other! It’s good to know it can work 🙂
I’m INTP so I am hopelessly untidy and disorganised in life, but can plot (I think that’s the T, I suspect the T/F difference may be behind the plot driven or character driven dichotomy, but it’s only a guess)
Hmmm…I’d say of the things you mentioned, grammar is probably the worse one for me. Just haven’t quite put aside the time to sit down and learn that stuff. Which is weird because it’s a nuts and bolts details type thing and I’m a science guy. You’d think I’d be all over that like a duck on a june bug but it seems that isn’t the case, haha.
My main problem is “pulling the trigger” as it were. I’ll plan and plan and plan….and never actually write the book. Or start the book, see something shiny, and lose all track of where I was and what I was doing. It’s especially bad for my fantasy projects, because those are usually novel length. Most of my horror has been shorts so far, so I’ve been able to plow through those pretty well for the most part. It’s all anxiety (a horror writer with anxiety….who would have guessed? haha).
Reblogged this on Hunter's Writing and commented:
Wow, this struck home in SO many ways. *L* You did in fact totally inspire me to post on my poorly-neglected blog, so of course I mentioned you and WANA.
As for how I organize, when it comes to writing, I use OneNote and LOVE. IT. All the little tabs, and pages within each, and a separate notebook for each project I’ve got…love, love, love! Plus, there’s a mobile app version for my Android now, too! Everything else in life…ehhhhh…I do what I can. DH’s recent medical bills are sorted in a cardboard box on top of the pantry so that at least they are all together, and I started a 5 subject spiral notebook to store all my Post-It notes, craft ideas, writing ideas,etc. in, sortof an idea from Pinterest. Hehe.
The hardest part for me quite honestly is just finding the time…or allowing myself to MAKE the time. I had the crappiest week, and when I finally took a break from work and gave myself a few hours to work on my novel, it did wonders for my mood. 🙂 Always does. And yet, it is the last thing I ever think to go to when I’m unhappy! It just never occurs to me that my notebook/pen/blue pencil might be feeling a little neglected. *L*
Aaaaand somehow, the wrong URL got into my link field. >.< DOH! You can find my reblog here: http://dandelionsinthewolfden.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/coming-back-to-myself/ 🙂
Motivating post – I’m the worst procrastinator – won’t let myself write until I finish my taxes and tomorrow is the last day….and I’m sitting here at two in the morning playing on the internet. I will have to get hold of that book and one of yours too. I’m going to the DFW Writer’s conf, and found your blog when trying to figure out which classes I’m going to attend. Hope to meet you there in May….
Do like this post. My two weaknesses would be organisation (you should see all the papers on my computer desk) and communication. Communication due to my Asperger’s Syndome as it is one of the symptoms. I am working on it.
However, it’s not always areas that’s weak. Over the last six months, my job changed. I inheirited things when other people retire — enough to occupy 90% of my time. And my primary job has increased to 90% of my time, so the other parts are getting squashed into the remaining 10%. My boss’s only solution so far is “Work late. I’ll give you comp time.” I refuse to do that because it’ll still be the same problem only more work. The writing is actually offsetting it. But the social media is, frankly, a huge drain. Job plus writing plus social media and I’ve been running on the edge of burning out.
Thanks for the refresher. I’ve ordered my copy of Eat that Frog. My husband is always on me about my closet. Have to get on that. 🙂
HI Kristen –
I struggle with doing the tasks I don’t like – such as anything involving 1) calling about my doctor/health issues, 2) using the phone several times to complete 1 task, 3) cleaning my apt., and I am sure there are much more relevant tasks. I have only a certain amount of energy in a day. Therefore, the most important tasks overall and for that day must be completed first, and if I have left-over energy, then I do tasks that are not as important. And what’s important changes from day to day.
As for my organization tool that I use – I LOVE Evernote. It helps me keep all my information for anything into different “notebooks” and each notebk can have as many note pages as I want. I also can cut/paste entire webpages. It’s where I keep my blogging ideas and writing help. Plus, there is an Evernote app. Therefore, if I have an idea about something, I can just add it on my phone, which then syncs with my computer.
I have tried several computer/app programs for lists, but nothing I love.
I used to be an ENFP, but I know it must have changed because I physically cannot get energy from being with people. Emotionally and spiritually, I need a community. But my body depletes its energy from being around people. I can just do it bits at a time – which is much different before I got MS and facial nerve pain.
You give us such great information in your posts – they are extremely useful. I store many of them in an Evernote notebook. Thank you so much for your work to give us useful information. I need all the help I can get as I am struggling with setting up a blogging schedule, writing efficiently, using social media without getting sucked into it, etc. I expected it to be difficult at first. Therefore, your posts are helping me adjust to this lifestyle change and helping me manage when health issues pop up and also play a part.
Love Eat That Frog!! My son and I listened to the audio version in the car last summer. He was so down on himself about procrastination (another evil form of it) and it was a huge help. Especially in audio format because believe me that book would still be sitting on his nightstand unopened. 🙂
I then look at that list and whatever item makes me cringe when I read it (FROGS)? That is what I do first.
I’m usually good with the organizational skills, and I have lists of items to accomplish and still manage to procrastinate, but I’ve never tried doing this. It sounds like a great idea! I’m going to start off Monday by giving this a try.
This is great! I’m big into knowing my personality (INFJ) and using my gifts as best as I can, but I’d never thought of looking at my opposite to determine things I may need to improve. I feel like I’ve been in a huge rut lately, so I’m excited to look at my opposites for some tips and tricks on how to move forward. Thank you!
Hm, I apologize if I leave this comment twice, but WordPress apparently doesn’t like me using my gravatar account and insisted I log in with a WordPress account I don’t actually use…
I really enjoyed this post! I’m really into using my personality (INFJ) and gifts as well as I can, but I’d never thought about looking at my opposite and learning that way. I feel like I’ve been stuck in a rut lately, so I’m excited to start looking at ways I can improve. Thank you!
This is a fascinating topic, Kristen. I married one of those Duty Fulfillers too. A great thing as I am notorious for starting a lot of things and not finishing. Planning is my strong area but I gather so much information that it takes me forever to get to the doing part. I also get easily distracted by all new shinies (be that new projects or more information). That’s why deadlines and people kicking my ass are a must. The good side is flexibility and high tolerance for mess and uncertainty.
I bought the Frogs book after reading this post, and will do my best to tackle the most unpleasent tasks first. Otherwise they get delayed until the last minute.
Reblogged this on amberdover and commented:
Have a happy Hear the Writer Roar! Tuesday 🙂 God bless and remember The High King Lives!~Amber Dover
Reblogged this on hebataher.
Kristen, I’ve got a limerick for you.
Organization’s the key
To keeping things tidy, you see.
Don’t give me a test;
I’m challenged, at best,
Kristen, I always enjoy your refreshing honesty about admitting your own weaknesses. We all have them and we all can work around them IF we admit their location in our psyches! I personally get way TOO consumed and border on OCDism when I start making lists. Just short, three-most-importants work much better for me. I tend to let the disbelief and indifference of others affect my enthusiam, so I know that is what I must gird my loins against in my morning meditations. Actually, being sneaking about my current projects and keeping my mouth shut about them in groups is working great for me. Thanks for another wonderful posts that spurred me on to deal with my own personal weaknesses and not be ashamed to admit them.
You KNOW I laughed my way through that post! Serious cracklesauce over here. 🙂
And now I have to get *another* book…you’re killing me with all these serious, useful, amazing books…
Nice post! “look at our Myers-Briggs personality…then look at the opposite of our personality, and likely that is the area we need the most work” Never thought about it like that but it’s so very very true 🙂
lovely..liked the “stressed” and “dessert” thing…that actually true and it works in my case at least
“All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you something great will come out of it” – Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon), We Bought A Zoo
If we could just muster that for 20 seconds and dive into those 2 scary items on the list….
I also read about a guy who decided to focus on one thing at a time. Drinking coffee? That’s it! No texting, no chatting, just enjoy the coffee. Reading? No music, no answering the phone, just read.
I tried it, and got A LOT done. However, it is a difficult discipline. Now I only dabble. (Maybe that’s on my list too.)
I enjoyed your organization and intention, as well as style. Only hiccup I had was reading have a “good” imagination….as a writer to another writer….we thrive on stress sometimes to inspire us – as you have done here and as a writer to another writer…good isn’t good enough for me to understand what good is….
Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! I very much enjoyed your post.
In my experience, in order to get your “official” MBTI type, a trained MBTI facilitator conducts an assessment. A free online resource for those interested in MBTI but who may not have access to such services is available at http://www.keirsey.com The site provides a free assessment online that maps to the MBTI types.
Fascinating stuff…. So the tequila, is that an endorsed approach then? Damn it – that’s where I’ve been going wrong all these years…. must drink more tequila… (oh, and buy that frog book)
I am an INFP. Total dreamer: tonnes of ideas and imagination, but zero ability to organise myself into actually doing anything useful or productive 99.9% of the time.
Thanks for the tips!
Reblogged this on thepercicfamily and commented:
This post really spoke to me today, in that it answered a question I had for myself, “why can’t I get through those wage spreadsheets?” Funny blog, too.
Hi Kristen: thanks for this post. I think it is hard to make the time for writing when it isn’t your “real” job — it seems to always sit at the bottom of the to do list underneath a multitude of things with sensitive deadlines (like laundry and dishes). I decided to subscribe to Blogher’s MFA Sunday School sessions [http://www.blogher.com/frame.php?url=http://stirrup-queens.com] for the next few months to try to make that a bigger priority in my own life. For me, it’s public accountability that helps me stay focused.
Thank you this! what an ispirational lady you are ..
love & light
Wow, what an insightful post. I’ve thought about this before – how I sometimes find myself doing menial tasks to keep me busy from the tasks that will ultimately fulfill me.
Great post, very insighful! Thanks.
Missed this one!
I love the idea of working on the weakest part of my personality and how that relates to writing. I truly believe in getting the hardest project on the list done first. It can vary from day to day. It kind of reminds me of the Whack a Mole. I usually jump into writing my blog posts and procrastinate my WIP, but today it is reversed! It’s a balance and it all has to be accomplished at some point.
Congrats on being Freshly Pressed again!
So many great tips. I think, for me, I am most scared of not succeeding so I just use the excuse that I don’t have time. In reality, I could have all the time I wanted if I just got over my unfounded fears.
really interesting to read! 🙂
Great post! I never thought about procrastination stemming from fear, but that makes perfect sense.
It really does. When I find myself dragging my feet, often I will stop and ask myself, “What am I afraid of?” That will often offer me the breakthrough I need to move forward.
Wow. Exactly! Thank you for this post, Kristin. Excellent and honest and, therefore, ever so helpful. I linked to this post and your blog – had to write about this and those other things that get in the way of living (those things cumulatively known as life). It’s difficult work, but it’s honest and it’s necessary and thus it is good – as many difficult things are (like getting over procrastinating and writing!). Thanks again.
I pressed this post on my blog. It was just what I needed today!
Love your quote: “…we don’t have a time management conflict, we have a values conflict”. Nailed it on the head. Thanks.
Love the quote: “We don’t have a time management conflict, we have a values conflict.” You nailed that on the head. Thanks, Karl
Thanks Kirsten, very informative and inspiring blog. Looks like I’ve got a bit of reading to do!
What a great post. I’m well organised during the day job – lists, post-its, reminders, filing etc. Come home and start writing and it all falls apart. Time to start viewing the writing as a project, maybe?
I’m off to check out Eat that Frog and your social media book (because I whine about not having time too!).
Reblogged this on rosepetaldreams.
This is a very helpful post.
I’ve been working on getting a few of my novel ideas on paper but never seem to be able to finish it. I get frustrated too easily (lack of organization) and give up. I especially like the quote; “That is like creating a three-bar melody and then believing we are ready to compose a symphony with a 100 piece orchestra.”
OMG!!! Kristen you made Freshly Pressed!!! Congrats – great post. 😀
I love to write but hate outlining.
I completely agree with this. We probably all have enough time. Even though I work full time I definitely know I could dedicate some time to my blog each day but sometimes I lack focus. I think I’m trying too hard sometimes and that makes me stressed and I lack focus. I need to get back to fun, disorganised blogging instead of a strict schedule
Loved this post! I too am a writer, and I too, procrastinate. In fact, I know very few writers who don’t! Procrastination and writing seem to go hand in hand 😉
This is good info. Looking forward to more from you.
Never thought about procrastination like that … Might need to invest in the Brian Tracey book if it really helps … Great post! 🙂
Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!! Love this site. I’m learning so much.
Thanks! yes, it’s a nice surprise and so lovely to get to see so many fresh faces! welcome!
Holy cow, woman! Spot. On. Well-deserved place in Freshly Pressed!
I’m an INFP (an Idealist), so like you, I really suck at organisation and (for me, anyway) focus and consistency. I’m also incredibly confrontation-averse. These things combine to hobble the rest of my life. Have just zapped to the Kindle store and bought a copy of ‘Eat That Frog’, and will be grabbing your books next week when I have time.
Thanks for this. I look forward to exploring your blog more. Much more!
So excited to find (and now follow) your blog! I am a young writer and have so much to learn. Thank you for the tips above. I am adding your books to my book wish list and moving them near the top.
Thanks for sharing as a new blogger and a struggleing writer I conect with amny of your points … but who knows maybe I too will have as many followers as you 🙂
Just takes time and consistency. I’ve been blogging for over three years. Also, if you connect with the #MyWANA peeps on Twitter you will grow faster because you’ll have a community of support.
thanks for the tip only at it a month so i still have along way to go but a happy to have 66 people following me and lst week had 156 clicks … was thrilled
Fantastic post! I find myself wondering when I’m going to write my next post and what to talk about. I always want to add variety and such, but sometimes it can be hard to find when and what to post. Over the summer, I take an online writing class, so I have to turn things in at a certain time and on certain subjects. Sometimes it can be stressful, but it can also give you motivation and incentive. When something makes my emotions bubble over, I write down a few sentences from a made-up character’s point of view, draw a picture, or both. I suppose it kind of helps me vent a bit. ^u^ Oh, I can’t forget to say congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!
Thanks! So happy you’re here and thanks for taking time to offer me a congratulations. Very sweet of you.
What a timely post… I was just trying to journal my way out of a funk; a funk brought on by a couple days of not-writing-much. I know I can do better, and I know I *have to* do better, so I’m mapping out a working plan to do this. Logging on to WordPress and seeing your headline as a featured post for the day was simply perfect. I needed to read this today, so thank you for sharing your insights! I will be visiting your blog again, for sure.
Good post. Makes sense to work on the weakest area or the toughest area first to help keep from procastinating. The title of that book has my interest piqued enough to check it out…Eat That Frog…love it!
Reblogged this on creativityorcrazy and commented:
This is a good post with tips to stop procrastinating for writers.
Thanks for all the tips. I’ve just recently really started using my blog on a constant basis and looking back I can see the change in my thought process and writing style. Writing is really a stress reliever.
I cannot tell you how much finding this blog at this moment meant to me. I think I will read it several times over the next few weeks, because so much of it home. Of those ‘first five’ I lack one: that damn self-discipline. I’ve always been a procrastinator, since my early school days up until, well, now. I procrastinate because I always believe the best of me will burst forth once it is desired (and 98% of the time this is true).
I am one heckuva highly organized individual, and have no lack of imagination. Since I was a child my mother always told me I had a unique and advanced way of expressing myself. And let’s just say the dictionary is used on a daily basis. I just can’t seem to find “the TIME” to write. It was so interesting to me for you to mention fear. I look back on my life and realize that whenever I start to accomplish anything, I seem to want to run from it, a little game of hide-and-seek if you will, with my own success. It’s exhausting.
I always do best though, when there is a goal in mind. Any suggestions on a small goal to get my ass in gear?
Blogging is really great for honing those self-discipline muscles. It gives us a deadline and it doesn’t need to be perfect. We aren’t submitting to a magazine where people PAY to read our stuff, so if isn’t Pulitzer material we are fine (though always do your best). Blogs are generally short, 300-500 words and if you plug into a community like #MyWANA, you will have a team to keep you accountable. As you start getting traffic to your blog you can get instant feedback. Blogs are just the best training ground for those who think they might want to write professionally.
If you stay tuned, I will be announcing when I’ll be having my next blogging class. That would be an excellent place for you to start.
How fun to read! Growing up with an author, I never really took writing advice from her, but for some reason, I ended up not-so-bad. (I have to admit that I am a LOT funnier in my work when there is vodka on board, not so much as to have no control over my fingers on the keys, but enough to remove the filter from my brain to my fingertips.) At any rate, advice from skilled writers is something I need to invest more of myself into, if I ever plan to be “found” through my blogging. I will refer back regularly!
Organization is for ducks, as my son would say. Yes, it is important in writing, but for the rest of your life? Totally optional! Don’t be too hard on yourself for having spontaneous areas of your life!
You’re making me write now. Thanks 🙂
Great post!! I really like your blog. I was wondering if you could check mine out. Come and see an 11 year old’s view on all things baseball.
P.S. Please feel free to give me some advice, Thank You
Love your post and i am definitely ordering the book!! Thanks for sharing.
I’m don’t write professionally, but I certainly can relate to having to juggle a full-time job PLUS maintaining a blog. There are times when I think I lead a double life — programmer/slave by day, and content publishing monster at night! =P Congrats on being FP!
I should definitely buy Brian Tracey book, I’m the master of procrastinators!
Thank you for sharing,
This is a fantastic post. Thank you for writing it. A lack of organizational skills has coupled with procrastination to become my biggest demon–but I’m overdue to overcome them! 😉
I have a full-time job so blogging is done as a hobby/past-time except when I helped launch my partner’s company blog. I don’t blog every week. I would like to think my occasional blog posts are worth more quality-wise than if I wrote daily.
I like write too and I am definitely ordering the book, thanks for sharing.
I am with you… Have no CLUE where I would be without making lists. Working full time, staying healthy, keeping up with family & friends is difficult enough, but making the time to write can be a challenge! But it’s all worth it in the end. Keep up the good work and congrats on being pressed!
Loved the post! It’s especially great for those who have recently started to write 😀
Very informative article! I have lots of ideas as well, but struggle with following through with them as I give up very easily when I’m not seeing any progress. It’s definitely something I’m working on.
This was an awesome post! Enjoyed it quite a lot! I’m a writer as well, and I think this will help. Writing out a list, doing my least favorites first… hmm… lol, it’s against my nature, but it makes sense:)
I haven’t met you or your hubby, but I could totally picture him as Spock and hear him saying, “Kristen, you are being illogical.” What a great blog full of terrific information. Thank you for sharing! Like heart2woman, I am just getting into writing more. I’ve always loved it, but now I would like to make more time for it. Cheers!
Great post. I am an artist, not a writer, but as the mother of 7 and launching a new company, all your recommendations really struck a chord. I’m off to buy the frog book. I’m such an organizational nut that it is my biggest procrastination. I can highly recommend the GTD system by David Allen. GTD standing for Getting Things Done. It is excellent for task management, time management, etc..
Thanks for the inspiring post!
Everything we struggle with really does stem from fear doesn’t it! Wonderful post! So much great information! I will need pick up that book. Thank you!
Thank you, Kristen. The advice you provide is excellent. I agree with the Frog that fear is the main source of procrastination. It’s a splendid way to sustain problematic relationships instead of changing or ending them, delaying job searches or the quest for romantic love out of the terror of rejection (of course, avoiding starvation is a major priority that can eventually prompt you to act), or washing dirty dishes because you’re concerned that your trembling hands might drop them and they’ll break. Fear is the great incapacitator. Congratulations on your success, and may your books sell well.
Thank you. It is funny how much fear will rule us if we don’t learn to get good at pushing through the pain. Thanks for taking time to comment and I really appreciate your time :D.
Thank you, Kristen. That’s excellent advice. I agree with the Frog that fear is a splendid source of procrastination. Fear can prolong a problematic relationship instead of leading you to end or change it; the terror of rejection can thwart the search for a job (although avoiding starvation can also eventually motivate you to act); and concern that your trembling hands will drop slippery plates and glasses can prevent you from washing a mountain of dirty dishes. Fear is the great incapacitator. Congratulations on your success. May your books sell well.
Great post. I figured out that procrastination came from fear during grad school…now if only I could figure out how to get over grade anxiety! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!
this post couldn’t have had better timing to show up on my screen. i saw “stressed” and “dessert” and simply clicked.
i’m a writer myself who’s been using excuses like “i live at home ith my parents,” “I work two jobs,” “i have to go to the gym,” and “i need sleep an down time.” all BULLSHIT.
i make countless lists, as well. i’m such a chaotic creature, so i obsessively create lists for myself.
but here, i get a post with encourgaement and a bit of a “kick.” pretty much, THANK YOU. thank you for calling me out. if you take a look at my blog, i haven’t even made notes for anything new in weeks and months. sad. sad. sad.
and i’ll be damned if i keep it that way. i keep saying how i’m bursting with words. well, time to explode onto the keyboard.
Best of luck! Yeah, those excuses can really take over if we aren’t careful.
I’m glad I came across your blog and it’s nice to know that even a published author like yourself is still struggling with weak areas in her writing. I’m kind of going through the same thing with my writing because English is not my native tongue. Thanks to technology and the availability of online English classes, I won’t have to wait a lifetime to learn everything I can about the English language before I pursue my dream of getting published. Your current post was very inspirational to read and look forward to read more about your quest for mastery of the writing craft.
We all struggle. If someone isn’t struggling or failing then they aren’t doing anything interesting :D.
The one thing that Impressed me about this brilliant piece is the part about “refined with a lot of trial, error and shots of tequila.” Yeah the tequila made into a margarita will make me as great a writer as you are.
My problem goes back to grammar school. It never occurred to me that the reason they call it grammar school is because that is what I should have been learning. Thank God for MS Word and the grammar check.
Brian Tracy is no doubt one of the finest motivational speakers on earth. I have one of his tape sets and listen to it every couple of years. I’m due to listen again soon.
Thanks for a really great treatise on writing and the Pareto principle. Pareto rules!
So cool! I pinterested the book under my word by word section of books I want to read! I put the link to this post though. Such amazing advice! We postpone what we’re afraid of, totally me. Then I power through and get it done and wonder what I was ever afraid of. Thank you for making me not feel like a loner in that crazy cycle!!
I completely agree. Good insight.
Thanks for the slap in the face. I can knock out newspaper and magazine articles with drive and purpose ahead of sechdule but when it comes to working on my book, I will drown in Turner Classic Movies to run from the stress. Thanks for putting my caboose back on track!
I really enjoyed this post, it was what I needed. Thanks
I really enjoyed this post, it was just what I needed. Thanks
“I am going to take it a step farther.”
Sorry, my strong point is proofreading…it should be “further.” “Farther” is for physical distance, not metaphorical.
My weak point is obsessing on one thing instead of concentrating on writing, so now I need to go back and read the rest of your post again…
Great article. I’m a INTJ somehow this makes me a introverted mastermind of some sort? *shrugs* Thought my personality result was flattering but humorous. My opposite is ENTP…. I guess my weakness is people? Not being in a community of some sort,not looking optimistically at the big picture but instead working way too much on the inner depths of a project or small details. Ok so I’m a perfectionist and it is a really lame habit. If I’m faced against something that I feel I cannot do perfectly within the time given to me then I will not even start it…I see no point…which leads to laziness.I start thousands of projects that I leave unfinished due to not doing it perfectly and/or super in depth.
I struggle with perfectionism too. I know it is part of the problem. Sometimes we have to Just Do It!
I think, your blog can be best described as – An inspirational piece of writing that can be treasured for one’s lifetime. Really liked your optimistic idea of converting “stressed” into “desserts”. Your each recommendation, if seriously taken, can undoubtedly lead to fruitful results. One of the best suggestions is time management, from which each aspiring or amateur writer or blogger is struggling with it. However, a mere simple initiative on organizing your daily routine and improving on your weakness have started become my goals. Thanks, for showing me the gateway that would sometime liberate me free from unnecessary procrastination.
What an awesome compliment! Very happy to help. A lot of times there are no chains and even if there are, we are holding the key. We have to see we are free before we really can be free. Learning to face fear and embrace failure are critical to success. So happy to have you as part of the WANA family!
The pleasure would be all mine :-)…Kindly guide me the procedure for joining the WANA family…
Thank you. I do whine about time. I need to read this AGAIN.
yeah i agrre more dessert will reduce your stress.nice blog lile it very much…
Thank you, Kristen. The advice you provide is excellent.
Interesting post! I never thought about organising my to-do list in ‘cringe-worthyness’ order before but it makes sense. In fact it’s something that could probably be applied to household chores as well as writing…
My biggest organisational tip?
Vacuume bags for storing fabric things.
I’d been putting off sorting out various fabric stashes I have (I’m a fabric hoarder) and they were taking over my room, LOOMING and distracting me, but it was a big job to sort them and there was nowhere to put the stuff when i’d sorted it! Luckily the vacuume bags suck all the air out of the bgas/fabric making them flatter and easier to store (I use these for bedding too) I actually had a big sense of accomplishment when I’d finished too (http://amysworlds.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/fabric-filled-fun/ if you’re interested)
My to-do list doesn’t really make it onto paper because I use an app called GTools on my android phone, same thing but less paper 🙂
good luck getting organised!
Great post. I’m sure you can feel my pain since I’m an INFP. So a here’s a nice “Hello!” from your not so distant cousin. Sorry, I have no novel for you to help review. I’m still in researching/living life phase. However, I’m a major procrastinator that’s almost incapable of organizing my world. Mainly because I have a hard time focusing. Of course, I have a major fear. Of what? Not really sure. However, I’m sure that fear will be realized once I account for my weaknesses as you have suggested. So perhaps I should read the “Eat That Frog” book. Any help I can receive the better. Anyways, thank you for the post. You’ve given me some important tips to help me on this writing/living venture.
What an excellent post. Thank you so much for sharing this. I could definitely use this when trying to set my life on track!
I found this so inspirational and helpful. I confess I am a Princess Procrastinator! 😀
The book has been ordered togheter with the book What I talk about when I talk about running, there might be a person out of me after all.
Congrats on being freshylpressed.
This is really a good work. I appreciate your efforts behind that. Thanks for sharing.
Hail thee! For your advice is amazingly spot on and referencing Spock made me smile mucho.
Great advice and reminders! Thanks! PS: I’m one of those people balancing writing, school, family, teaching, etc. I don’t know what I would do without Evernote to keep me sane!
Hi Kristen….I really enjoyed this read, and I learned a few things too! You and I are alike in a couple of ways, I dread having to organize…it’s like banging my head against a wall…it just is not natural, and I have always envied impeccably tidy folks. Thank you for the great advice and for sharing your personal weaknesses with us….
And a big congrats for being Freshly Pressed!…. 🙂
Thank you! It’s a lot of fun. So blessed to get to meet so many new folks!
Reblogged this on GONG's rants and commented:
I completely agree with you! I write a film blog, yet I’ve noticed recently it’s become more a poetry blog…poetry is so much easier to write than film is to, well, film. I’ve noticed I avoid things as much as possible until I’m practically at the deadline, and then suddenly I’ve done it. Working under pressure seems to help me, but organisation-wise it’s probably not a very good habit…
Thanks for a great post, really inspiring!
Love your insights and the fact you are doing something to change your ways. Balance works for me in life, personally and professionally and in me mentally, emotionally and physically. Can’t enjoy life without it.
Reblogged this on Herwin's Blog.
It’s not closets for me, it’s the washing up! Luckily my desk is at the opposite side of my studio flat and as I spend most of my time here, writing, I can live in the blissful world of ignorance as it piles up behind me! Great post; it’s good to know I’m not the only procrastinating writer 🙂
I love this article! It’s so much fun finding articles that make my self-evaluate. 😀 I have the same problems with organization and moving into the novel. My short stories are short short, and when I have to do 5000-10000 words for a contest, sometimes it’s a struggle just to get to the 5000. For the novel it’s even harder. But for me, it’s a great challenge, and a long-term project. Now aside from Stephen King and Terry Pratchett I can’t think of anyone who would consider a novel ‘short-term’, but some writers have the organizational knack to get it all put together in a year or two. But my notes for the details of my story are scribbled in five different notebooks, all in different places, plus in five different corners of my brain. I just find patience with my own problems in key. I have tried many organizational tips that are very useful, but I’m also a slacker. For a couple months it works out great, but then some big life issue comes up and the pattern breaks and before you know it I’m back to where I started or worse. But I now know what to expect from myself and the recovery of such lapses are much faster. It’s just a matter of not denying your writer-self’s habits and learning to live with them, not fight them. ^_^
Reblogged this on Virginia the Viruliferous and commented:
There’s a lot to be said for the writer who admits she (or he) has an organizational problem. I think it’s high time I start playing my own hero in this viral world of writing and posting and writing and posting and stab that stupid procrastination monster in the back! I have to fight for my right to write! 😛 Even if it’s against myself.
Great post as usual. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!
I’ve heard of Pareto’s law before, but wasn’t expecting it in an article on writing. Very helpful application though. I’ve been struggling with getting description into my writing – I can write dialogue by itself all day long – but no one seems to want to read dialogue by itself for some odd reason! But your article, aside from all the really helpful ideas about organization, makes me think that the solution can be a simple twenty percent too. Sometimes just a few changes can make a big difference, whereas I procrastinate adding description because I’m imagining overhauling the complete manuscript and rewriting everything.
Anyway, thank you for the post. Lots of helpful ideas to think about. I’ve got a lot of Frogs lying around the house today. Maybe I’ll get one done today and find some more time to write.
Tigger and Spock… priceless.
Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed, Kristen! This was an excellent piece, and so applicable to my life right now. I’m in the process of writing several term papers in the short couple of weeks before I graduate, and all I can think of is getting my visa for France and working on my novel!
Your post has reinspired me to knock those papers out as soon as I can so that I can enjoy my last days in college with friends and hopefully stress free. Thanks for the reminder! Now I’m off to go be productive!
I always want to be a writer, but I don’t have the talent – though God spared a little skill to me and I thank Him for that – and I hope I can improve this. Thanks to your post I’ve learned something from it. 🙂
Gulp. This post poked and prodded me in a million different ways, but mostly in that I try to psychotically ignore, rather than address, my weaknesses. How very true that the outcome of our strengths is then limited by the secret shameful weakness.
Enjoyed the post! (You clearly threw all our weaknesses out there for the world to see). Time is funny. I wrote my first book in grad school while working and trying to have some kind of life with my husband. Now that I have graduated (and should have ‘plenty of time’) I don’t write any more than I did then. I think we use time as an excuse. I found the busier I am, the more I plan and actually make of the most of my limited free time.
I think for me my greatest problem is laziness! i have the time, but I just feel to tired to even turn on my laptop
Great post – lots of truth in there! “Often we DO have the time, we just lack focus…” story of my life. Thanks for holding up the mirror for a minute or two…
Reblogged this on Rocheboutique's Blog and commented:
Just a Picture To Brighten Up Your Day!!!
Hello! I’m glad to came across this post. I agree with you on this “We don’t have a time management conflict, we have a values conflict.” I just want to share with you some of my thoughts. Yes, the reason why most people do not really get things done or the reason why they do not do things they have to do, is because most of us do not know what we value in this life.
And because of that, we lose our focus on the most important things. You see, people should understand that it is not true that there is not enough time. Why do some people accomplish a lot if we all have the same 24 hours a day? It’s just a matter of learning prioritization, eliminating procrastination and basically knowing what you want in your life.
By the way, I have heard that Eat That Frog is a great book. I might get that book soon! Thanks again!
Ooops! Failed to proofread this. I just want to correct myself – “I’m glad *I* came across this post”. 🙂
Great tips in here. Time for me to pick up that Brian Tracey book. I’ve read one of his books when I was in sales and it helped me a lot.
Always good advice to hear. Also, it seems that there are a lot of ENFP writers — I am one myself — and we seem naturally inclined toward disorganization. I also have ADHD, so that makes matters even worse.
I wonder if anyone has a link to an example of a good (or great) plot outline to use as a reference. I try to make an outline but never really feel that I know what to do, despite reading numbers books on writing/screenwriting. I get caught up in the details, and struggle to identify the Pareto items that need to be focused on.
The Frog Book beckons.
Also, for those with ADHD (any type) “Delivered From Distraction,” by Drs. Ratey and Hallowell, is an “industry standard”. Also, “Conquering Chronic Disorganization” by Judith Kolberg and “ADD Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life” by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau, have both been personally very helpful.
Great Blog! I look forward to reading more, and writing more, too!
Writing could be a great way to release the stress.
Thank you for this one. 🙂
The part I’ve been putting off for my novel that terrifies me is kind of organizational in nature. I need to sit down and edit my novel, but to do that, I need to put all my scenes on flash cards to get a visual of the organization of my book and then–gasp–maybe shuffle stuff around. I’m good at organizing small things–all the details in a scene–but the idea or organizing 50,000 words into a cohesive order is terrifying. I’ve been putting it off for longer than I care to admit…
It’s nicely written. But how much is a modicum as in modicum of talent for prose? I edit my writing ruthlessly, but I still feel like it’s bad when I read it later.
nice post, although it took a little longer to finish it off, but it was worth reading 🙂
That was enlightening. I just went and found that I’m INFJ or a Good Natured Realist and found that I had to stop taking personality tests or else my OCD was going to kick in, just to see how many would come back the same, lol.
Very interesting read.
Reblogged this on janedoe68 and commented:
I’ve never “Reblogged”. This was a well written, well thought out blog, written by Kristen Lamb. I enjoyed the topic – Stess Less, Write More – Let’s face it, we all NEED to stress less.
Thank You Ms. Lamb (or if You are like me – Mrs. Lamb – I hate Ms. especially if I mention my Husband – Just my humble opinion)
I hope everyone enjoys, I did and I’m not a writer… YET…
I hadn’t seen how it would reblog I changed the wording but hope that the reblog is well received. I enjoy many different writers, and though I took this from a different direction, I enjoyed Your writing non-the-less.
OK .. I am buying Eat that Frog…. (does it come in audio?) .. I love listening and walking my dog — multi tasking 😉 Thanks for the post!
Love your take on at my biggest memisis, disorganization.I will definately have to check out the book you mentioned, Eat That Frog.
Amazingly, last weekend I actually tackled my long dreaded closet. I credit the book, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys, by Marilyn Paul for this. It has a unique twist, organizing through a non task oriented approach. You might find it a good compliment to Eat That Frog.
Congratulations on being Pressly Pressed. I look forward to reading more now that I found your blog.
Great post! I have “Eat That Frog” on the bookshelf right beside me. It was a great help a few years ago when I was working full time, finishing college, getting in shape, and had a long distance boyfriend. It really helped me put things in order. I was just thinking today how I have no idea what I should be working on, so it is providence that I saw this post from you. I am going to dust off “Eat that Frog” and start making some useful lists.
Lack of organizational skills is one of my downfalls too.
What a great post! I clicked on it from Freshly Pressed because I am under a lot of stress and I really enjoy dessert, but what I found was some really great food for thought. Now I’m off to explore more of your blog!
Wise, timely words, and impossible to ignore. The problem is always identifying which is the frog! Confronted with an unavoidable but dreaded piece of work, I have an overwhelming urge to work diligently and sensibly at the novel. Confronted with a writing-related deadline I become turbo-charged employee, wind me up and watch me go.
I think an actual, honest, ongoing list that is not just a fun distraction (and method of procrastination in its own right!) is the way to go. If only I could put one together without being distracted by the colour coordination of my pens….
“a lot of trial, error and shots of tequila”
made my day 🙂
When I was in college, a professor told me that I spent too much time organizing, that my color-coded post-its and meticulous notes were keeping me from getting any work done. Weird, right? Ten years later and I’ve got a hundred pages of outline and no novel. But I really love blogging. Do you think that if I didn’t split my focus, if I just concentrated on one or the other, I’d be a better writer? Or should I keep the novelist dream alive, even if it takes time away from my essay/blog writing?
What about blog-to-book?
They’re SOOO different. I suppose it’s worth a shot, though.
This is a great post. I don’t think many people correlate fear and procrastination, but there’s a definite link. I think knowing and believing in yourself is as much a part of the process as actually gaining the skills to be a great writer.
I love how I was procrastinating by surfing the blogosphere. Must go and do some work NOW!!
I read this as I procrastinate about writing an English Literature paper. Oh to be organized, I don’t care for all nighters but alas, I have no choice.
Congrats on FP…please visit my blog/world to see how I de-stress. 😉
Reblogged this on M/M Paranormal Romance and commented:
This post is great and has great writing information and inspiration! So stress less and write more!
Wow! You are the most successful blogger I have seen in sometime. I follow many of the principles you outline here which are fueled by sheer ambition. I gave up 2 promising and budding careers to write full-time (story tell as I like to call it) in July of 2011. I am starting to see the path thanks to excellent work like yours.
I just want to say congrats for being freshly pressed today. This was my first time in that club and want to shout out to all of you who share this great day with me.
Thanks! Yes, three years of work and making a lot of dumb mistakes, LOL. Thanks for the kind note and so happy you’re here. This blog is a lot of fun. Not me…my commenters are way more interesting. Three days a week they have a party in the comments and I’m decoration, LOL. This is a super fun community but it is only fun because people like you take time to comment. THANK YOU!
Write More..I will take that for sure from you as great advice. I look forward to joining your comment party!
Cheers and thanks for the amazingly timely response.
Reblogged this on Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde and commented:
So very true.
Stress, check. Dessert, check. Procrastinator, check. Needs a list to be organized, check. Great post, check. New follower, check.
I’m so happy I checked Freshly Pressed today!
Thanks for the post.
Thank you and so happy you are here!
This might just explain why I can’t bring myself to go over my honours thesis. Editing my own writing = doooooooooooom.
Perhaps I will no go deal with it and stop procrastinating on the interweb.
I love this post! The experience you descrbied sounds exactly like mine (especially with the list-making).
Great post. And so true. One of the many things I struggle with is whether it’s a waste of time. Yeah, I know, people say “your a writer if you write” – but I would love to write for a living. I struggle with knowing when to be realistic though. The time I spend writing (or trying to) could be spent on working to advance in my “real” day job…the one that actually PAYS the bills…the writing that I dream of one day making it big may just end up sitting on my hard drive. (because so far it’s been rejection city).
I also struggle with having so many ideas for fiction that I’m not sure WHICH one to start with or where to start. So in effect I get nowhere. Fast.
I’d like this for no other reason than that you included a picture of Spock. =) Aside from that, however, Fantastic Post! I wish I had met you sooner!
What a great post! I needed to read this. I am currently in the process of starting a blog, and I know that my weakness is simply overthinking. I feel like each post needs to be fantastic, and I keep putting off making my blog known to my biggest supporters because I never feel like I’ve lived up to the expectation I set for myself.
You’ve definitely inspired me to follow a few of your tips 🙂
Great post, thank you from a new blogger!
I found your very useful article during one of my procrastinating moments (hours)…. (shows that procrastination is not necessarily ALL bad ;-))
I can’t even read the rest because I keep going back to the picture of Spock. LMAO. oooh, I needed that. I
I totally agree! Funny thing, my latest post (after temporarily closing my blog less than a year ago) has the same thing to say: to write more. I really love writing and because work has become so demanding last year, I always end too tired to write. Now, I’m back to blogging. It’s a great feeling and I hope that I will be able to write 3 posts every week. 🙂
Reblogged this on Twyste and commented:
I thought this was a great post. I especially thought the part about making your list and the 20%. Good thoughts.
Fantastico. Not a ‘writer’ but great principles for anything you need to get done. Never heard of the book till now. Thanks ++
Reminds me of the saying that anxiety stems from failure to act – Cheryl Richardson, I think?
Awesome post, I love your voice! (I also love that first picture in your post. Hilarious! …And true.) Writing has always been a hobby for me, but I’ve decided to try to make a go at it now, so I appreciate all the advice I can get on how to make it happen. I intend to look up Eat That Frog and your books as well. Thanks for posting this!
Kristen, How clever of you to turn stressed around and turn it into desserts. I agree with you. Writing it down reduces stress. When I was a teen hiding from my would be Mazi exterminators during World War II in Belgium I kept a diary. Thirsty or so years later I turned it into a book: At the Mercy of Strangers Growing Up on the Edge of the Holocaust. Writing the diary helped me wascrucial to my self-esteem. Today the published book is a wonderful eyewitness account of a very diffuct time
Suzanne Loebl: author of WordPress blog: Branching: thoughts of and Ever-curious Autho.
Oh thank God that I am normal in making excuses for not finding enough time to write! I hate it about myself and feel that I am the only writer who never has enough time. But you hit the ‘nail on the head’ many times over in your blog and I truly appreciate all your wonderful guidelines and honesty. The only person I can truly blame is myself and that fear of failure is something that needs to be faced head-on. No-one is stopping me but myself! Thank you so much and I enjoyed reading your blog!
Reblogged this on I am Chase Hartley and commented:
she is smart like my mother, great advice.
good stuff, i will apply this to my own writing!
Although I began writing a few blogs last year; I have allowed many things to hinder me. Writing is such a passion of mine. Thank you for sharing this wonderful information. I would love to know when you are having your next blogging class.
Thanks for the great advice! Now if I can just stop procrastinating long enough to buy the frog book…
great stuff and nicely said!!!!thanks!!!
Wow, I’m glad I am not the only one! I find my writing gets really messy and does not “flow” smoothly which hurts my voice! It doesn’t help either that high school standardized English exams forces us to produce great, first drafts under time constraints and I’m always the one finding it hard to produce the perfect piece in 25 minutes or so. I’ll definitely continue reading your advice. Glad you were freshly pressed. Congrats!
I think I wanna cry. +cry+
(Guess I need your book, ‘Hello Blog….’
You know, all I wanted to do was write, and would’ve stayed put in the Dark Ages…I still prefer pencil!!!! )
Another good read that helped me with procrastination Dr.Kevin Leman: WHy your best is good enough.
My biggest weakness is motivation. It’s so easy to just sit down and read blogs or solve sudoku or doodle on my tablet … I think my big fear is the fear of being bad. I constantly move from project to project because of that fear.
Also … organization. Though I believe I am becoming better at it. Every time I fail at it, I learn something new about it.
Reblogged this on .
“Liked” for future reference!
In addition to also being an ENFP, I also mirror more closely to the hare, as in “The Tortoise and the Hare”. It’s all beginning to make sense! Wonderful post. Thank you! I will be joining the MyWANA.
I met you this last weekend at the DFW Writer’s Conference (I took your Antagonist class – which was AMAZING!) and I wanted to let you know how helpful I’ve found this blog. I can’t tell you how much it helps to hear from another writer who struggles with the same things as I do – and knowing that I can overcome them! Thanks again for the insight and sharing this with everyone so we know we are not alone!
You are most welcome! I know I struggled with a lot of this stuff for YEARS, so I am thrilled to be able to help you guys.