Tag Archive for procrastination

Using the Time We Make

Last night, I sat down on the weight bench so exhausted I could hardly lift the plates to put them on the ends of the barbell. I thought about just skipping the workout. To hell with it. Crash out and get some much-needed sleep.

Tired as hell, but the weights will not beat me.

Not as heavy as the soul-crushing weight of defeat

Then I got pissed.

I don’t have time for this shit. When do I make up a workout? When I’m at work? When I’m writing? When I’m in karate class? During my next workout?

No, I made the time for this workout, and I needed to use it. I got under the bar and started pushing. I kept moving and watched the clock during my rest periods to make sure I didn’t waste any of that precious time. An hour later, my sets were done and I felt great.

The same attitude applies to creative tasks.

When I’m writing, I don’t have time to screw around. The fingers need to be flying on the keyboard if I’m going to get anywhere. If I’m tired and the words come out in long streams of crap, I can clean them up later.

It’s about time I remembered that.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Time is When You Make It

I’ve been hearing a lot of “I don’t have time” lately. Hell, I’ve been sweating a lot of that lack of time myself.

I thought about going for a run this morning. It’s an unseasonably warm day, and there’s a storm and a cold front bearing down on us that will plunge temps back down into the thirties. I may not have another nice running day this season.

Then I took a look at all of the things I’ve got on my plate for today:

  1. Clean up the dishes
  2. Get lunch started
  3. Lower the storm windows all around the house
  4. Seal up the attic fan
  5. Finish rewriting this graphic novel script
  6. Put together invoices for a publisher
  7. Go through photos from Friday’s karate graduation
  8. Head out to the dojo to work out with my attack team

It would be nice if I had some time to hang out with the Wife and the Rugrats. This list also fails to address bigger projects like the short stories I need to write and tackling the last round of revisions onĀ Lie with the Dead. Nor does it address my desire to revamp my weightlifting workouts because I haven’t been happy with the routine I put together a few weeks ago.

If today were a normal workday at the day gig, I’d be hosed.

I felt bad about not going out of the run, and griped about not having time. But it occurred to me I’m still going to get a good workout at the dojo. I want to get better at running, but what’s the ultimate goal? Getting in shape. Does it matter how I sweat the extra weight off? If I don’t have time to sit down and look at my weightlifting routine today, will it kill me to stick to the current routine this week? Either way it amounts to moving heavy stuff around and working muscles.

We can’t find time because we’re not looking for it. I don’t think it’s because we’re not working hard, though. I think it’s because we’re not working smart. We’re not addressing and attacking our tasks in a diligent manner, and we let our failures to address some items weigh us down far too much.

Our failures should not outweigh our successes. We should concentrate on what we’ve achieved, then address a plan to address the things we had to put aside. Not the things we’ve failed to do, the things we simply need to reprioritize.

It’s 11:30am as I start this, and for the most part I’ve already taken out items 1-3. 7, honestly, can wait. If I don’t do 4 today I’ll get a chewing from the Wife, but I’ve been chewed out before. 5, 6 and 8 are must-do.

Following lunch in a moment, I’ve got another ten hours or so in the day.

Boom, time made.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Procrastination As Process

I’ve got a confession to make: I haven’t written a word in several days.

I’ve got a bad habit of only writing in a linear fashion. In other words, I write chapter 1, then chapter 2, then chapter 3, and so on. I just can’t get myself to jump around, even if I have an outline, because I’ll add detail and come up with some new ideas on the fly. This means more rewriting on the back end, or worse, scrapping chapters.

As a result I tend to sit around and mull things over, maybe scribble in the notebook a bit, and generally wait until a solution hits me. The current example of this is Chimaera, the first graphic novel in the The Pack series. I have to write a monster attack scene, and it just felt flat. I needed an angle, something to spice it up and give a little more information to the reader without cluttering things up with extraneous captions or rambling dialog.

Then I brushed my teeth. I stared at myself in the mirror, thought about the scene, thought “no, that sucks,” a couple times. Then BOOM!, the scene hit me. Now I’m excited about it, and not just churning out filler to get to the next scene.

It tends to happen this way a lot for me. Maybe procrastination is just part of my process. The benefit is it saves me some rewriting, and it helps ensure my first drafts are not far off from my second or final drafts. It also means I rarely have to scrap already-written pages, which I absolutely hate having to do. Excising filler is one thing, but abandoning passages because I sabotaged myself just kills me.

The downside is it slows me down. Sure, I can bust out several pages at a stretch when I’m on, but that procrastination means less time at the keyboard and fewer of those stretches. That’s just deadly if I were doing this full time. My friends writing for a living don’t have the luxury of waiting for scenes to come to them. If they sat around with their thumbs in their asses, they’d quickly starve to death.

It’s a habit I’m going to have to break if I want to make a living at this myself.

And finishing Chimaera instead of rambling here is probably a good start, no?

Later.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Finally Feeling It

I haven’t been this excited about writing in a long time.

It’s tough to put my finger on why, as I’ve been working with this same project through most of the summer. I just find myself more motivated to put the time in, and the upside of that is it shows on the page. I’m not going to sit here and claim I’m pumping out Hemingway, but it feels a lot better than how it’s been going before.

Whatever the reason, it’s about freakin’ time. Announcements are pending and deadlines are looming. I don’t like breaking contracts or personal promises. If it’s deadline stress that’s motivating me, then next time around I’ll have to set shorter deadlines or buy my editors a cattle prod.

A huge thanks to those of you who’ve been waiting for the next big Oliveri project.

Tomorrow, things get interesting.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

What do you mean it's July already?!

Memorial Day and the Fourth of July are only a week apart, right? No? Sure felt like it.

It’s been one of those months where I did a lot but accomplished little, especially on the writing front. Sure, I got a short story done and submitted, but I haven’t been able to make (yes make, not find) the time to put a dent in my other obligations. I’m sitting on two accepted outlines and a publishing schedule, so I really need to get my ass in gear.

I guess that’s what “next month” is for. Stupid procrastination.

Writing that short also made me realize my creativity has been in the crapper. I labored over its plot far longer than I should have, and it also took me far longer to put together some simple outlines than it would normally have taken me. Hell, I’ve even been silent on the blog because I didn’t have much to say, and the following picture is as close as I’ve come to doing anything remotely creative with my camera in weeks, if not months:

Beating procrastination is so fn metal

Beating procrastination is so f'n metal!

So, yeah. Half the year mostly pissed away. You people really need to smack me around more.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Last-Minute Larry

Let’s see… how long have I know about Wizard World? 10 months? And how long have I known I’d be sitting down with a publisher? Let’s call it 3 months. When do you think I finally put together an outline we could talk about and really get the ball rolling on some projects?

Yeah. Over the weekend. With a second still to be sent off tomorrow or Wednesday.

I don’t know what it is about deadlines, but I usually wait until last minute and get a last charge of energy to push them through. If I don’t have a deadline, I don’t make things a priority, much like what’s happening with the Top Secret Novella and the final act of “To Fight With Monsters”.

Not to mention the one other thing I forget every year: business cards. Yeah, I’ve got a new address for writing, but I still had time to get something printed up. Only now I’d be stuck with a slap-dash, sub-par design that I’d be hesitant to hand out. Again.

I really need to make sure I have my act together for the next con. I guess in that respect I’m lucky I don’t have a lot to sell this time around.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.