To my mind, it’s all about pipe cleaners and spaghetti noodle thinking.
Yeah, yeah – what on earth am I talking about?
Well, I’m going to take you into a very scary place. MY BRAIN!
So, what is the main difference between a pipe cleaner and an uncooked spaghetti noodle?
Pipe cleaners are FLEXIBLE
Uncooked Spaghetti noodles are…NOT.
Some brains are born more flexible than others. Some are forced to become more flexible by adding heat and water ;-) (aka Trials and Experience)
Flexibility is KEY. People with an uncooked spaghetti noodle brains have a difficult time thinking outside the box or their routine. Their world needs to function in a specific way, follow a specific plan, and look a specific way by the end of the day.
Unfortunately, for the writer who has much more going on than just writing (which is most of us), there are plenty of things in life that do NOT go as planned. Things which jump into our worlds and shake up that well-thought agenda.
Writing CAN happen – even in chaos, but you have to be a flexible thinker.
Repeat after me:
Think like a pipe cleaner! Think like a pipe cleaner!
Or add some trials and experience and think like a wet noodle
Here are 5 tips to increase your flexible thinking/writing skills.
1. Big Deal vs. Little Deal
How good are you at determining the ‘size’ of the deal? If you haven’t honed something’s priority level, now is a GREAT time to start. There are some things that are worth you dropping your pen for, and other things that aren’t.
Can it wait until you’ve finished your word count? Is it an emergency? What are the consequences if you wait until your time frees up? Make your response fit the size of the deal to save on writing time. Everything does NOT have to happen ‘right now’.
2. Time Stealers vs. Just Desserts
Just like I started keeping a food journal to help me count calories, I also started keeping a time stealer journal to see where I could weed out unnecessary distractors. Time is VITAL for me. I don’t have much of my own personal time. Most of it belongs to other people – my hubby, kids, employer, parents of the kids I serve, conference planners, etc. But how do I use what little I DO have?
Some typical Time Stealers are – T.V., Social media, reading, T.V., web-surfing, T.V. ;-)
You get the point.
None of these are bad things, but they can become time stealers REALLY quickly. I think many of us have become experts of procrastination, and kicking procrastination where it hurts can really free up some time for your JUST DESSERTS (aka WORDS on a page!!)
But again – we can’t FIX the problem, if we don’t IDENTIFY the problem. The doors of Time Stealers Anonymous are open now
We all love dessert – and getting that story done is like a triple fudge cake a la mode! How can you take back your time and enjoy SWEET success?
3. Positive Self-Talk vs. Nasty Naysayers
Optimism is a powerful tool. Realistic optimism, that is. Telling yourself, or sharing with a friend, your writing goals can be a powerful tool to keep you motivated. However, as strong as positive planning can be, negativity can hit twice as hard. A trusted set of encouraging people around you will help fight the naysayers and refocus you when you get off track, can really help motivate you to keep your plan.
Life happens, though. We all know it does – and plans have to take detours (or the scenic route). Don’t beat yourself up and then lose even more momentum! Get out the GPS (God’s Planning System) and figure out how to revise your plan, reroute your ideas, or restart the project. Positivity leads to forward momentum. God has given you skills to use for His glory, that’s about as positive as it gets!!
4. Time Snatching Techniques
We all have the same amount of time – it’s just how we use it that makes the difference. Not only do each of us have time stealers, we also have unique ways of ‘snatching’ time. For me, I write in snippets – thirty minutes during a lunch break, ten minutes between finishing with kid homework and starting supper, fifteen minutes before walking into my office a few mornings a week.
Whether it’s brainstorming, daydreaming about the next scene of a novel, or actually writing a few sentences or paragraphs, each of those snippets add to my story.
But thanks to technology, I’ve discovered cooler ways! I use a free app called Novel Idea to audio record dialogue, scene notes, or brainstorming notes when I don’t have access to pen and paper (or my laptop). I have a forty-five minute drive to my first clinic on Monday mornings, which is a prime opportunity to record scene notes. The notes are turned into print which I can email to myself. It’s an awesome time-snatching tool. I use it while in carpool or drive-thru lines too.
I also use a vBookzPDF, which reads PDF books out-loud. I use this feature when driving to hear the content and listen for flow of the story (It cost $4.99 for the voice). I use Shelfster for quick notes, photos, etc – to be categorized for research.
5. Sprinkling mistakes with grace
Finally something we should ALL remember because we ALL need it so badly. GRACE.
No plan is full-proof and no person is perfect. We’re going to spend too much time on FB some days, or get distracted by blog hopping, or procrastinate with a movie, or stare out the window with a brain-bleached look on our faces. Uncooked-noodle-thinkers have a tendency to beat themselves up, and maybe even get off track altogether, but the best thing we can do is remember – WE ALL NEED GRACE!!!!
My granny used to say “Life is hard. We all break things or get broken. There are two important things to remember: Pray…and then do the next thing.”
Praying gets your perspective in the right direction, motivation puts feet onto those prayers.
So…think like a pipe cleaner! When you fail, pray…and do the next thing
In my way of thinking, the heart of managing time well is adapting to your way of thinking + your life + your motivations + recognition of your weaknesses. Throw in a little modern day technology and a whole lot of encouragement from people like the Seekers, and it’s surprising how much more you can accomplish.
What are some time stealers and time snatchers in your life? What are ways you ‘think like a pipe cleaner? Do you have any cool App ideas to share?
Seekerville is giving away a $10.00 iTunes gift card so you can get your own app. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.
Pepper Basham writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She’s a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a mom of five, a speech-language pathologist, and a lover of chocolate. In the wee small hours of the morning, she spends time talking to her imaginary friends and writing stories about them. She writes a variety of genres, but enjoys sprinkling her native culture of Appalachia in them all. She won the Award of Excellence at Blue Ridge and the Inspy Category of the TARA in 2010, and double-finaled in ACFW’s Genesis in 2011. She currently resides in Johnson City, TN where she works as a university instructor, searches for unique hats to impress her friends, and plots new ways to annoy the wonderful ladies at Seekerville. You can find her on her personal blog, Words Seasoned With Salt¸ or at her group writing blog, The Writers Alley. She is extremely blessed to be represented by 2012 ACFW Agent of the Year, Nicole Resciniti.