If We Were Having Coffee… (Writer Confessions)

LeCoffee-1If we were having coffee, we wouldn’t be at my house. I don’t have a coffee machine or a French press or even instant coffee. My caffeine of choice is tea, and I have dozens of tasty varieties to choose from in my cupboard, but if you want coffee we’ll meet at one of the many local cafes in my neighbourhood – Torontonians love their coffee shops!

Once you have your coffee and I have my London Fog (must take advantage of the cafe’s fancy milk frother – I don’t have one of those either), we’ll catch up on the last month, because that’s how long it’s been since I’ve seen anybody. This new year has given birth to antisocial Heather, a rare specimen to say the least. Your jaw drops when I tell you I haven’t left the house for anything besides gymnastics classes in three whole weeks! What’s wrong? Am I okay? I apologize for alarming you, though if we’d been having coffee last week, this would indeed be the moment I burst into tears. But I’ve got it together now. I’m going to be fine. I just need to focus on sorting out my writing life. You don’t understand. What’s to get sorted? I’m writing, aren’t I?

The only thing I leave the house for - TRAMPOLINE!
The only thing I leave the house for anymore – TRAMPOLINE!

Yes, I’m always writing, but apparently whatever I’m doing is not enough. I decided to write a novel in 2010 and now it’s 2015 and still no novel. Hence my meltdown last week. So I took a good hard look at my process and came up with things I need to change.

The first was distribution of my time. I thought I was writing a lot, but upon closer inspection it became clear that I squander valuable minutes – nay, hours! – feeding my Internet addiction. Writing status updates and tweets does not count as writing! And the plethora of articles I read cannot all be filed under “research”. I needed an Internet Blocker, stat! I blogged about that search last Monday and came to the conclusion that a program called Freedom is the best option for me. And clearly it’s working because I did not see the photos of so-and-so’s new haircut, nor did I take the quiz on what Serial podcast episode was my favourite. In fact, I’ve barely been on Facebook this past week at all. Yay, me!

The second thing I had to address was my aversion to deadlines. That confuses you. I work in television and it’s deadline-deadline-deadline all the time. I seem to thrive on deadlines. That’s true, but the thing about those deadlines is they are set by other people. I have to meet them or I’m in trouble! But I’ve resisted making my own deadlines for the novel because I was feeling out the process and didn’t know how long it should take me to complete each stage. But I finally have a handle on that…

But enough about me. I won’t reveal my entire dastardly deadline plan now since I’m going to blog about that Monday. More importantly, I want to hear how you’re doing! What’s new? What are your plans for 2015? Tell me everything!

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If We Were Having Coffee is a blog hop inspired and run by the lovely and talented Diana, over at Part Time Monster. Please drop by her place for coffee. You can also see what other bloggers are hosting a coffee party by checking out her hashtag: #WeekendCoffeeShare on Twitter.

Author: Heather Jackson

Heather is a freelance screenwriter, game writer, and novelist based in Toronto. For more, visit her website at heatherjacksonwrites.com or follow her on Twitter @HeatherJacksonW

23 thoughts on “If We Were Having Coffee… (Writer Confessions)”

  1. Me too with the coffee, Heather, but I don’t do tea either–except an occasional no caffeine herbal variety. Like you, I haven’t been out of the house this week–although I went to a party on Saturday. that was the first time out in a couple of weeks, except for grocery shopping. I’ve been trying to force myself to finish my book, and I did send off the first of my trilogy to beta readers last week about this time. But I overdo the solitude sometimes and make myself depressed, so I have to rethink my strategy. Hope your new deadline strategy works for you.

  2. For me the difference between a productive writing day and an unproductive day is whether or not I can get out of bed before 7:30. If I can, then I have enough time to go through my notifications, do some exercise, drink my coffee and then write before work. If not… writing just gets procrastinated.

      1. Funny thing is, I’m not really a morning person, but I can trick myself into auto-pilot in the morning if I get out of bed before I actually realize how early it is. Generally I’m more creative at night, but by that time I’m so exhausted from work and after work activities than I just want to rest. I don’t have a very synchronized body. :/

        1. Agreed, njmagas! I try to do this on weekends now. As much as I want to sleep in on my two days off (bc I am NOT a morning person), making myself get up early forces me into a very productive mindset and give me time to get lots of the unproductive things out of the way before the day is over.

  3. I am the queen of procrastination. I have six novels…or seven first drafts of novels done during NaNoWriMo over the years. I keep saying I will work on polishing one novel at a time between the end of NaNoWriMo and the beginning of the next one. Yeah. I keep saying it. And saying it. But I have yet to work on any of those first drafts. And at least two of the are in fairly good shape…as in they will take very little revision. I still don’t do it. Ask me again this time next year and I’ll probably have eight first drafts!

    1. I have kind of the same thing, but with story outlines. Dozens of outlines over the last few years. However, I rarely look back at them and still like the story. If you’re lucky enough to have a couple good ones, finish them! 🙂

  4. A simple plan (in my mind anyway) in regards to writing, I just want to finish my novel. Oh, and get my kid into college, clean out & reorganize the garage, remodel the bathroom for my wife, build a new back deck with my youngest, start running again, and so on and so on…

    Great post as always!

  5. Wow. Trampoline!

    I have trouble with deadlines, too. I am also an anxiety-ridden perfectionist, so I have to stay on the procrastination or I get myself in trouble. Here are some things I do to manage it.

    1. Break big things down into small tasks and prioritize them.
    2. If I have options, I either do the simplest, easiest thing first, or the most unpleasant thing first. Either can be helpful. Doing the easiest thing gets you the satisfaction of having finished something. Doing the most unpleasant and getting it out of the way is a great stress-reliever.

    That’s about all the wisdom I have. I’ve gotten a lot better at dealing with it over the past couple of years, but it’s a struggle.

  6. That trampoline looks like a lot of fun–totally worth leaving the house for.

    I’ve been squirreled away recently, too, trying to get things done for the business. And I find that I work *way* better when someone else gives me a deadline than when I give myself a deadline. It feels more real, somehow, when it comes from somewhere else.

    1. Yep, that trampoline is the highlight of every week!

      I know, I’ve tried to fool myself with personal deadlines in the past, but my brain always knows it’s just me setting them and there’s no real consequence if I miss said deadlines. However, this year feels different. This year I’m feeling the consequences of not meeting my own deadlines (like my ever dwindling bank account). So I’ve declared 2015 the year I take my boss self seriously!

      1. I’m working on that with myself, too. My dearest friend and I are in business together, and so we’re setting our own deadlines now. I have to remember to be firm about it. It’s a way different feeling than when I had other people waiting on me and actual penalty for lateness.

  7. My mind just went blank there for a moment, it must be the mention of plans! If we were having coffee I would definitely partake in a London Fog 🙂 I’d tell you I’m glad you’ve figured things out, even if you had to shut yourself off from the world to do it. I’d also admit I’m currently reading a book called Anti-Procrastination for Writers – it’s fun so far!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Melissa. I should check out that Anti-Procrastination book, but I don’t know where I’d fit it into my new schedule. Maybe I’ll make time to watch ARROW instead. 🙂 Thanks for having London Fogs with me!

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