_

Pages

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Change Is Hard

A little Bit of Snow

You definitely need willpower to make change, and you need to make a habit of making new habits work for you. Does that make sense?

It's too difficult to change everything at once, but if you make a habit of changing things slowly, you'll not only get to where you want to be, but you'll feel more fore-filled too.

Want to know how I do it? Keep three things in mind, a cue, routine, and a reward. Let me explain.

You want to clear out your writing space but the room is full of junk, needs decorating and you don't have a desk. It would mean shifting and organising over five hundred paperback books and a collection of notebooks and pens to rival any stationary store. It's a mammoth task when we look at it like that isn't it?  But not insurmountable.
So let's tackle it.

Cue - Set an alarm, I'm not joking. Set up your phone to send you an alert telling you  - you have fifteen minutes before you start work. Enough time to clear whatever you're doing. When the alarm sounds - start!

Routine - Make it a regular thing. Once a week on Thursday at 7pm. Every day when you come in through the door from work perhaps? Whatever you decide, stick to it, and do it regularly. Tick it off your mental tasks list too.

Reward - Identify what you'll give yourself before you start. A cup of tea and ten minutes reading time, or maybe ten minutes on social network, or an episode of your favourite show. It's really important to know what treat you'll receive at the end of your efforts.

In a matter of weeks, you'll see change, and as it does, you'll feel more motivated to finish. Until eventually, you're sitting in the space you've dreamt of for so long.

You can apply the above to whatever you want to do, regardless of whether it's writing a novel, pitching short stories to competitions, or  completing an online course. You'll get to wherever you want to get to, in the end, but do ensure you revisit your habits regularly.  At least every few months, and don't be afraid to change anything that isn't working. There is nothing wrong in rejigging things.

What I Did Last Week

Writing - No challenge at my writing group this week as we had a backlog of manuscripts to critique. The session was really good, very positive and there were some great pieces of writing read out and critiqued. Afterwards, I went for lunch with several of the group, it was lovely to catch up with everyone.

The novel has temporarily stalled, mainly because I've been doing some necessary stuff to do with the structure, and I've been away for a few days.

I took part in a very interesting webinar on POV (point of view) over at Red Pen on Wednesday evening, and if you go HERE you'll be able to find out more, and sign up to the FREE newsletter. The site is run by the lovely Anne Rainbow, and this week she is doing a series of FREE launch webinars too. Take a look, I'm glad I did.

Great to see so many writers taking part in #writingchat on twitter too - do join in if you're around on Wednesday 8pm - 9pm UK time. It's a different topic every week.

I haven't been completely slacking on the words either. I wrote the first half of this post whilst away on my short break, and I'm also tinkering with a short story I wrote at a workshop day in 2010, Written long hand in a notebook, I re-visited it, and began re-writing. Ever done that? Gone back to something you wrote years ago? I'm enjoying it, and hoping to enter it into a competition.


Health - So, onto my break, I spent two nights at a health spa, which was nice and relaxing, and gave me time to reflect. I did an aqua class, a stretching class, and a sort of bootcamp pilate session. They were really good classes.

Regards my efforts to lose weight, I was very aware that I didn't want to go and spoil my recent victory, so I did eat healthily, but did include puddings, and very nice they were too. When weigh in day came around, I'll be honest, I was very apprehensive, and gingerly stepped on the scales at group. I'm pleased to report, I've neither lost nor gained. I've maintained. Phew! Really pleased with that result to be honest, as there was also the odd G and T too.

Friends - One of my 2016 goals is to spend more time with family and friends, and over the last week I've caught up with a few people, and it's been lovely. Just being able to spend time having a natter over a cup of tea, or break bread together has made me feel grateful that these people are in my life.

In other news.

  • We had a little bit of snow, it came quickly, and disappeared in half a day, and although I like to see it, I'm rather glad it didn't hang about.
  • Sadly, a close friend lost a loved one this week. I've kept her, and her family close in my thoughts this week. 
  • I've spent time reading a new book, as well as listening to podcasts. 
  • On my iPod this week, I've listened to The Beatles, Black Eyed Peas, Ed Sheeran and David Bowie. 

What's next?

I'll be taking stock of the first month of 2016, and checking to see if I'm on track. I'll be looking at my new habits, as some are working well, and others aren't, so I'll be re-jigging them.

How did your week go? Anything new happen?

22 comments:

  1. You do realise you have perfectly described my writing room (which I don't write in as it's such a mess). Yesterday I opened my drawer full if newspaper clippings, notebooks and goodness knows what else - then closed it again quickly. I obviously need to get myself that timer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mine was like that, it's not completely finished but the above is how I'm tackling it. I've stalled as I don't have anymore book shelves, which means I have to part with more books.

      Delete
  2. Your week does sound nicely organised, Maria, and those are good tips! I'm busy judging two competitions (short story and novel) at the moment which keeps me out of mischief.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I imagine they are! A lot of work goes into judging competitions. have a good week Rosemary.

      Delete
  3. You sound like you're on track and keeping it all in perspective. I've had a birthday this week, so a busy weekend. Haven't done my homework yet for tomorrow and I'm struggling with the stream of conscious theme. My forever mantra is 'never put off until tomorrow what you can do today' so I had better get on with it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maggie, hope you have got your writing done?

      Delete
    2. I did, but not my best work!

      Delete
    3. We all have weeks like that, but I bet it isn't as bad as what you think it is... :-)

      Delete
  4. All heading the right way Maria. Good week for me, rejoined the gym, got back on the golf course and had some precious 'me time'. Sorry to hear of the bereavement, always tough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Stuart, it has been difficult for my friend.
      Go you getting back to the gym. Don't know how you do it. I have tried several times over the last twenty years and I just can't fall in love with the gym.
      Have a good week.

      Delete
  5. You're right, chipping away regularly at those tricky big things is a great way to get started. And once the habit is there things take care of themselves so far. It sounds as though you've had a very positive and productive week. I'm taking notes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks CJ, it does take discipline, but it's worth the effort.

      Delete
  6. What a lovely newsy post, Maria.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Julia,
      I'm never sure if it's what people want to read... :-)

      Delete
  7. I think I said that I did get my writing done but it wasn't my best work. Maybe the reply to your reply box isn't working? Thanks for letting me know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maggie, thanks for popping back into the blog, I've got no idea why you're first message didn't come through correctly. Let's hope we're all sorted now.
      Have a good weekend.

      Delete
  8. You're doing well, Maria, and make me feel very guilty about the untidy state of my 'office'. :D

    It's surprising how something written a year or two ago can be taken back out and worked on to create something new and better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm thinking I might look back through a few more notebooks... :-)

      Delete
  9. I do like to have a little routine, it certainly helps me get things done. The spa break sounds nice, and to maintain seems like a positive to me. I have been trying to keep up with my healthier eating and exercise but haven't stepped on the scales yet!

    On the writing front I have been editing and am happy with the progress this week.

    Hope you enjoy the coming weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like a productive week Suzanne.

      Delete
  10. Routine and structure does have its benefits. But don't forget to add a bit of spontaneity once in a while, just for fun :) Have a lovely weekend Maria. So pleased things are going well.

    ReplyDelete

I really appreciate you taking the time to leave me a comment, and I try to reply to every one. Many thanks!