#reverb10 – Day 2: What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing – and can you eliminate it?

December 2 Prompt

Author: Leo Babauta

Prompt: Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?


Distract and procrastinate.

Aren’t those two of the most powerful tools in a writer’s bag of tricks?

In the thirty minutes or so since I started writing this post , I’ve chosen and fiddled with my choice of background music, flipped in and out of Twitter a few times, gotten Sean a snack and written some truly awful material.

I’m pretty sure I’m distracting myself from answering the hard questions here. Next I’ll procrastinate on actually answering the question.

I’m not so sure I can eliminate distraction and procrastination from my life completely, but I can certainly try to control it better.

How do you control your levels of procrastination and distraction while writing?

Lazy Sunday

Why is it that when I manage to do the following:

  • sort and wash my laundry
  • start Sean’s laundry
  • change the sheets and put the heavy duvet on my bed (stuffing a duvet into the cover is hard, dude)
  • wash my delicates
  • take the kid for her first real haircut (separate post about that coming) and pick up some socks and a toothbrush for her while at the store. Survive the store without using a cart or a stroller and we walked around and waiting in a slow-moving line
  • talk to my mom and sister on Skype (one conversation each) to show off said haircut
  • prepare three meals for said kid, and one for my husband (to be fair, Sean made the hard part of Flora’s supper for his lunch – he made chicken wings – but I still did all the warming/cutting as well as preparing the side dishes for supper)
  • wash dishes (once already, and a second time after I finish my own dinner)
  • run the dishwasher (I may or may not empty it)

it still feels like I haven’t accomplished anything today?

What is the killer chore that takes your day from unaccomplished layabout to kickass homemaker in one easy step? I’d do that chore if it meant I felt like I did something with my day.

Birthdays, beauty marks and being bummed out

Today is my birthday. I am 32 years old.

I’ve always been a birthday person, but over the last few years, I’ve found it harder and harder to celebrate it. I don’t have issues with my age – I’ve always said that getting older will force people to take me seriously. Since my birthday falls at the end of August, it always feels like celebrating my birthday goes hand in hand with mourning the end of summer. I always get bummed out a few weeks before my birthday, knowing that the end of summer is imminent and my birthday and then Labour Day weekend will put the final nails in the coffin. Once fall starts to really kick in, my bummed-out feelings start to fade and I start to enjoy the warmer clothes and cooler days and everything continues on as usual.

Working on my birthday doesn’t help these bummed-out feelings. Being a summer baby, I didn’t go to school on my birthday until I was in my last year at college. Once I started working, I booked my birthday off as often as I could. I stopped that for the last few years due to enforced vacation time at the beginning of August when my office closes for a week. I didn’t want to blow two thirds of my allotted vacation time in one month.

So I started working on my birthday. And my birthday, and all the special things I’d like to do that day just felt like another bunch of items to complete on the to-do list. Nothing special, just obligatory. Now that Flora’s birthday is four days after mine, my birthday should rightfully take second place to hers. At two, she’s not birthday-crazy yet, but at four, or seven, or eleven, she will be. My birthday stuff shouldn’t eclipse hers. I’m okay with that but I still want my day to be at least a little special.

I’m hoping I’ll be able to sneak out and get a pedicure during lunch, but I’m playing that by ear. If I can, great. If I can’t, no big deal. I want to spend time with Sean and Flora, but I also want some time to myself. I wanted that before I became a parent, and I still want it now. I like to wander around, pretend I’m a woman about town. Do some shopping (window or real). Do some spa-type stuff. Read a good novel. Write something interesting about it all. It’s hard to fit all that in after a full work day and being a contributing member to my family.

I don’t want cake because every time we buy a cake for me, Sean and I eat a slice or two and the rest gets chucked after weeks in the fridge. I bought some mini cupcakes that will satisfy the need for birthday cake, and any leftovers can be brought out at Flora’s party without it looking strange.

You’re probably reading this and wondering “why was she babbling about beauty marks in the title of this post?” I’ll tell you that now.

I have two moles on my face. One near my right eye and one under my chin. I’ve had them forever and they don’t bother me – they’re just part of my face. I never thought about them much until Flora started pointing them out to me asking what they were then saying “Amole.” (She says it as if it was one word.) “Mummy’s mole. Flora’s mole.” (Everything mine is hers, even if they’re attached to my face.)

Last week, I was getting ready for bed and was surveying my face for zits. (I must still be young; I look for zits and not wrinkles.) Then I noticed something unusual about my moles.

They have hair growing out of them.

Eww. Eww. Fucking EWW!

They’re not big gross long dark hairs, but I never thought I’d be one of those ladies with the big hairy moles on their face. For all I know, those hairs have grown there forever and I’m only just noticing them now.

Only now that I’ve noticed them, I can’t unnotice it. I wonder if I could (or should) be getting them removed? How much would it cost (since it would likely be cosmetic). Is the potential scarring worth it in two places on my face? What if the doctor poked my eye by accident?

I’m sure I’ll be mostly over this by the time fall rolls around. I may bring it up with my doctor when I have my next physical. But until then, those moles are the symbol of my fading youth and my impending middle age. I never thought I’d be that grumpy about fading youth and impending middle age but those mole hairs really grossed me out.

So yeah, it’s my birthday. Hopefully it’s a good one. The moles will get mad if it isn’t.

I used to be with it

“I used to be with it, but then they changed what “it” was. Now, what I’m with isn’t it, and what’s “it” seems weird and scary to me. It’ll happen to you.

Grampa Simpson, ‘Homerpalooza‘ episode of The Simpsons (Episode 3F21, original airdate: May 1996)

I didn’t believe Grampa Simpson at the time, but in the 14 years since this episode originally aired, I find this statement applies more and more to my life.

I’ve paid attention to music since I was a little kid. I remember rocking out with my parents when my mum and dad would put their records on and turn it up. I also remember when they’d turn up the music when they were having parties and my sister and I were supposed to be sleeping. Not sure how we were supposed to sleep through “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” played at top volume, but it helped when I knew what that song was when they played it at high school dances. (I clearly remember saying “Oh my *gawd*, my *parents* used to listen to this song!”)

I used to read a lot of music magazines. I didn’t always pick up the albums the critics recommended, but I liked knowing about them, and being able to know something about who was singing the song on the radio or on TV. Now, I rarely buy new music. I may pick up the odd album that a favourite band or artist has put out, but I find I’m even doing that less and less. Good thing I didn’t end up becoming a music critic as I dreamed of being when I was in high school.

I’ve recently started tuning into the pop stations when I’m driving by myself for errands and whatnot. I’m a rocker so this feels weird to me, but it gets me out of my head for a few minutes, even if I think some of the songs on today’s playlists are dirty dirty. (Another example of me no longer being with it – where did my cane go so I can shake it at the kids while I tell them to get off my lawn?) I’ve even been known to drive around a little longer just to hear the end of a song – something I haven’t done since I was a teenager.

While I’ve been writing this I’ve been trying out Grooveshark. I was happy to find some of my old favourites, but I got a huge kick out of the Lady Gaga/Beyonce/Metallica mashup “Enter Telephone”. Maybe I will catch up with today’s music yet. Or maybe not  – Sean just bought us concert tickets to see KISS – a band that made it big before either of us were even born. We’re crazy excited about it – we’ve never seen them before, and the show should be high on spectacle. Should be good value for my buck.

Because the biggest thing I’ve discovered about music since becoming an adult is that I’m a lot choosier about what I spend my money on.

Are you still up on the music of your youth? Do you pay attention to the music the kids are listening to? Does music sound as good as it did when you were a teenager? Let me know in the comments.

…where I realize I may need a kick in the pants

Lately, I’ve been full of ideas. Lots of ideas. Big ones, small ones, work-related, life-related, web-related – they run the gamut.

I haven’t really tried to act on any of them.

Sure, I’ve done a lot of “research” – manic Googling about the various things I’m thinking of but don’t know much about. I’m starting to realize that all this research, reading, whatever you want to call it, is just a form of procrastination and I just to need to figure out what I want to actually do and *do it*.

These last few sentences were hard to write, and I must have interrupted myself at least ten different times while writing them. Analyze that, will you?

I like ticking items off of lists. Maybe I need to write some new ones and start with those things. A little focus would probably go a long way.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
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