This summer has been a new level of mean. The teasing way it throws us a ‘cool change’ for five minutes before blasting us with a super powered wave of heat for four more days is just mean. Like many Australians, I have no air conditioning, and my goodness, it has been a struggle to will myself to concentrate. On the one hand, the excruciating heat sends me momentarily into states of mild hallucinations, giving me some hilarious and awesome ideas for my creative writing. On the other hand, I have a permanent and thick layer of revolting sweat pasted over my entire body, the motivation to sit down and be productive is at a scary low point. Procrastination has become a real and stunning art form.
I can’t possibly sit down at the computer – it’s letting off heat, I’ll pass out
Of course, this is the best time to attempt to make homemade ice cream for the first time, without the right equipment
This fan isn’t doing anything, perhaps if I fiddle with the settings for another fifteen minutes, the air will suddenly cool and relieve me from this fire
I’ll just have a quick shower to cool down
The list goes on and on.Don’t get me wrong, I procrastinate with the best of them even when I am not covered in a layer of sweaty grime. But this whole heat wave has really reminded me how much I need to trick my brain out of its wildly imaginative coma. And write!
Don’t get me wrong, I procrastinate with the best of them even when I am not covered in a layer of sweaty grime. But this whole heat wave has really reminded me how much I need to trick my brain out of its wildly imaginative coma. And write!
The key seems to be not too much at once
The prospect of hitting your 1000/2000/5000-word goal on a day like today can be wildly daunting. I mean sitting in one spot for that long in this blinding heat is a terrifying thought. Forget about your word count – give yourself a time limit.
I have found with my writing, as odd as it is to flip in and out of the imaginary world I have created, giving myself a time limit has led to more writing days than anything else. 30 minutes is nothing. Grabbing the laptop while the toddler is hurling his rice around the kitchen and knocking out a few paras has produced some of my better work. The reason? I think partly it’s because I am not overthinking things. I have my time limit, I have my distractions, but I also have my commitment.
Create little games for yourself
When you run a household that includes small humans the excuses for not making time for yourself come in waves. We forget that we are better parents, partners and human beings when we are healthy mentally and physically. That means committing to the stuff.
When I exercise, I like to trick myself into doing more with funny little mind games. When swimming laps, for example, I’ll count backwards and only half the time. Somehow, 80 laps become 20 in my head. Works every time. I know! When it comes to concentrating in this heat I find myself doing the same thing.
I’ll give myself limits to reach and then just before I reach them, like my own little PT I extend it, by just enough that my conscious self doesn’t realise. Odd yes, but oh so very productive.
Mix it up
Being stuck in one place for too long in this heat can just make things a little unbearable. Move around. Take the laptop to a café for a coffee, write in your living room or get out the old quill and parchment and write something down. It’s another little game I play. I think I am procrastinating, and yet at the end of the day, I have produced work.
Make your own homemade ice cream – seriously, it’s so tasty
I’m not even joking. This heat makes our minds turn to mush. Creating environments that force us to be creative can be just the jump start you need to get your inner engine working again. I’m not saying it must be ice cream, although with this weather it kills multiple birds.
Sometimes a little procrastination is all you need
I know, I know I am a proud card-carrying procrastinator. But I genuinely think it can be helpful sometimes. Rather than berate myself because I spent the morning creating tasty and refreshing treats instead of writing, I could embrace the refreshing break and use it to inspire myself back to the keyboard. Yes, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of inspiring tales on Reddit or bored panda, but you know what? Sometimes it’s that random Redditor that inspires you to find that hook you’ve been fighting to discover all week.
Do it! It’s not cheating – it’s a bloody excellent tool. You can’t ride a bike without pedals and you can’t write quality without the right inspiration. That can come anywhere. Use prompts and use them often. You never know what could come from them. On that note, watch this space for some upcoming prompts and ideas that I have found fantastic.
They all say it but seriously, it works – write a little every day.