Monday, March 28, 2016

Are You an Isolationist?

by Pam Hillman

So, the end of Speedbo is in sight. Some of us met our goals and some of us didn’t. Some of us wonder a bit wildly if we can cram 31 days of writing goals in to 3 days.

We’ve had pep talks, how-tos, craft posts, encouragement, and everything in between this month. As I looked back over the topics at hand, it was hard to come up with something that hasn’t been posted to encourage everyone to try just a bit harder, write a bit longer, and strive to reach their goals every day without fail.

With my own crazy schedule this month, I started writing this post at 3:30 in the morning because I couldn’t sleep. What can I say to encourage someone? What can I tell you that you haven’t heard before?

First, grab a plate off the sideboard. We’re about to fill it up with all our tasks for the month. I’ll start. Here’s what was on my writing plate this month. Turn in a proposal, finish and turn in a novella, and work on a contracted novel. I’m not as far along as I wanted to be, but I haven’t missed any deadlines, so that’s saying something.

What else was on my plate at the beginning of March or was added during the month? Bookkeeping duties for three family businesses, and working as the treasurer for ACFW. Oh, and babysitting my how-can-any-child-be-this-perfect seven-week-old granddaughter as her mom goes back to work. A plum job opportunity fell into my daughter-in-law’s lap the middle of March, and since our sweet baby is too young to go to daycare, full-time babysitting fell to me for now. This bottleneck of stacked tasks will ease up in a few weeks, but I’ll still get to babysit my little darling part time while still keeping up with the bread-and-butter of work related tasks.

In addition, my meal planning has been very intentional for the last few months as my husband and I try to eat healthier. Like most anything else, healthy eating doesn’t just happen, it takes some planning.

And I forgot to mention that ACFW Conference registration opened on March 1st and contests closed for entries on March 15th, and as the treasurer, there’s always work to be done to keep the wheels turning smoothly there.

So far, we have writing, bookkeeping, meal planning, housework, babysitting, and the occasional two-am bovine labor-and-delivery emergency (yes, we were really up at 2 am delivering a baby calf this month) or errands for My Cowboy. My plate’s beginning to look like a platter!

If I look at the whole platter at once, I often wonder how I’ll get it all done...during Speedbo or EVER. Delegation, Dedication, and a Do-or-Die attitude is the answer. Not to mention a lot of prayer. I had to push a small portion of my March goals to the side of the plate. Other things had to be done immediately…the proposal had a hard deadline; the novella a hard deadline; the baby must be fed and changed. And rocked. A lot. That goes without saying! Tax returns on three businesses are due April 15th.

Oh, and if that isn’t enough, DST started this month. I wasn’t worth a plug nickel for THREE WHOLE DAYS after that. :(

And my Seekerville post (the one you're reading right now) was due March 29th. So, I typed the rough draft of this post at 4:30 in the morning because I was awake. Why lay in bed thinking about my post that when I could be up writing it? So up I got.

What I’m trying to say is that sometimes we have to burn the candle at both ends if we want something bad enough. Life isn’t going to stop while we write our novel.

It just isn’t.

Looking at my plate/platter again, I keep thinking (not for the first time) how cool it would be if I was uber organized and could eat a bite of each thing every day, rotating so that I have a nice balanced “meal” of writing 1000 words in the morning, then working an hour on social media, then an hour or two on business, and so on and so on, starting over the next day, keeping all the balls in the air at all times.

But, my days never seem to go that way. Invariably, I get broadsided by fires that have to be put out immediately, or looming deadlines and have to work until the wee hours of the morning to meet them.

Am I just not organized enough? Perhaps. Or perhaps I'm TOO organized, but I fight my own nature because it doesn't fit what's considered normal. Perhaps I work better under pressure, and gobbling one thing at a time on my plate is my work model rather than taking a bite of this, then that, then the other.

What do I mean? As a child, I was notorious for eating one thing at a time. I’d eat all my chicken first, then my bread, then my peas, then I might take a few sips of my tea at the end of the meal. I distinctly remember as a teen forcing myself to eat a bit of everything my plate and to sip on my drink so that my eating habits wouldn’t look so odd to others. Apparently, my parents didn’t think it was odd to eat just one thing at a time. I never remember them trying to correct or change me.

What does that say about me? Am I destined to gobble my favorite task all up before I move on to the next one? Will I never be able to have a balanced, healthy day of doing a little bit of each task so that I feel like I’ve accomplished something in each area that day?

Seriously, folks, I am NOT making this stuff up. As a matter of fact, after I wrote my post, I began to wonder if anyone had done any research on this. Turns out they had. I found an article on the Huffington Post regarding this very phenomenon. I just discovered that I'm an Isolationist, even though I trained myself to eat a bit of everything on my plate, it’s not my nature. Wow, there's a name for that? lol

But get this...

Even more amazing is the description of an Isolationist regarding other areas of their life. It’s like these people used ME as their guinea pig for their research. Fascinating!

The Isolationist

Read the entire article here:
Huffington Post, 10/08/15

Also, for a more in-depth look at the different eating habits, read this article.

So, if you’re still with me on this wild and crazy zigzag of a post, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. It’s okay to eat one thing at a time. And when possible, it's okay to finish one task before you go on to the next. There’s nothing wrong with spending days working on taxes/ social media/ cooking/ cleaning/ gardening/ day job, etc., and not even looking at your manuscript. But you still have to carve out big chunks of time to write if you want to get it done. I'm not giving you a license to procrastinate! If you're an isolationist, you might very well go dark for four or five days at a time to do nothing except write, especially if the deadline is looming. :)

Having said that, we know that a novel can’t be written in one sitting (aka meal) before we move on to something else. Apparently my nature is to write in marathon chunks that unfortunately include burning the midnight oil instead of short spurts of 1K every morning, as much as I would love to do that every day. That’s not to say that I can't be more intentional meeting that 1K a day goal. I changed my own eating habits, didn't I? Knowing why and how my brain operates is half the battle.

Are you an isolationist? If so, do you also have a “disciplined and border-line stubborn tendency to complete one task before moving on to another?”

And... we have prizes. When you comment, let me know if you'd like to be included in the drawing for a copy of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. Specify paperback or ebook.


  1. This is absolutely fascinating.

    I never, ever thought about how I eat a meal before.

    I must ponder this before I come back and answer.

  2. "Away from the table, fast eaters tend to be ambitious, goal-oriented and open to new experiences, but they may also have a tendency to be impatient, according to Boghossian."

    Sigh. Yes. This is me.

    And we have four days of Speedbo left and I have three BIG things I have to finish.

    Will I finish them?

    Stay tuned!!

  3. Oh. I don't think I have ever thought about is fascinating. I do know I seem to work better under pressure/deadlines, and I don't much like candy. No, chocolate is not candy! Thanks Pam for making me think!

  4. I am a fast eater, Tina. I am ambitious? Wow, I thought I did this because there were eight kids in our family and I had to eat fast or starve. (A habit that has led to my present pear shape!)

    But now I know I'm just ambitious. Cool.

    PS my apologies to pears which are quite lovely. I do not mean to be judgy about your shape.

  5. A lovely shape if you're a FRUIT I mean.

  6. How lovely to be able to care for a new born. They are so precious.
    I guess I'm a fast eater. I want it to be done so I can clean up the kitchen and get back to writing, editing, marketing (ick).
    BTW, I have those same dishes.

  7. Whoa, Pam, you weren't kidding when you said there's a lot on your platter. I'm glad it includes grandbaby time. That's the dessert, and we all know how much fun dessert is. =)

    I've never seen a personality assessment based on how we eat. Clever! Like you, I'm an Isolationist. I'm also one of the most detail-oriented people many of my friends know, so it fits.

  8. My husband eats one thing at a time while I like to cycle through, having a taste of each thing until it's all finished. (Except dessert of course.) Not sure I'm like this in life though (or at least not when it comes to writing). I tend to get a little obsessive about things and have realized that, in my life, I have gone from one passion to another to another, focusing whole-heartedly on each task, hobby, whatever. So I have to focus on being more balanced.

    No grandchildren here, but I do have a two-month-old baby, my first. And that has helped me to be a little more balanced since I naturally want to take care of and spend time with her. But this month has taught me I can do both... And, yes, a little burning of the candle at both ends was involved since I didn't do much "sleep(ing) when the baby sleeps."

    (Btw, already won two great prizes, so I'll leave this one for another lucky winner.) Thanks for the interesting post!

  9. As a psychology major, I'm so loving this post, Pam. I eat one thing at a time, always have. When it comes to multi-tasking, I like to do one thing at a time, check it off and move on.

  10. Thank you for the interesting post. After reading it I realized that I am generally an isolationist in my eating habits--I didn't know that there was a name for eating like this.

    Yes, I do like to finish one task before starting another, although in practice this does not always work out.

    Please enter me in the draw for an ebook.

  11. Okay, I'm a combination of The Slow Eater and The Picky Eater. Although I don't think I'm neurotic, but maybe everyone else does! What a unique and interesting article, Pam. Thanks for sharing.

    I am still plugging along at my Speedbo goal. I will not make the goal I set. I know this however I am happy with my progress so far and will 'keep on keeping on'.

  12. Good morning Pam What an interesting post. Like Keli I had no idea there were personality traits connected to how we eat. Like Jill, I find the psychology of this fascinating. But like Tina and Mary I'm definitely a fast eater. But I thought it was because of all the years of teaching and only having five minutes to wolf down my food. LOL

    I think I'll have to go read that article.

    Thanks, and good luck on all those projects. Whew! You tired me out just reading that list. But I know grandbaby is going to be dessert. smile

  13. Good post, Pam.
    I have VERY LITTLE control over my own schedule right now, so it's fit-the-writing-in-when-I-can. I have "chunks" of goals rather than daily or weekly ones, i.e. by April 1 I have to have this much of this project done. And I keep those goals in the front of my mind, and block out time to work on them. But it's a different chunk of time every day and every week.
    And I did get waylaid during Speedbo, for a number of reasons that wouldn't be interesting to anyone else. But I still have six chapters of a 10-chapter Christmas novella. We never go back to where we started from.
    Kathy Bailey

  14. Good morning!!! Baby is here. She and Cowpaw are asleep on the couch, and I'm in Seekerville. The Keurig is perking and all's right with my world. :)

    Tina, I find it interesting that you'd never ever thought about the way you eat a meal, but that you identified as a fast eater in other areas of your life, while I, OTOH, remember noticing the way I ate vs. other people from 30+ years ago, so that bears out my detail-oriented personality.

    Goodness, just observing kindergartners eating could change the entire way we determine how to teach them. Who knew? :)

  15. I'm so glad I ate breakfast before I read this post! :)

    I try hard not to look at everything I have on my plate this month, but I have learned to try to keep a bit of space clear for those unforeseen this-has-to-get-done-now emergencies. So hopefully, when something else does get piled on my plate (which it will!), I don't have to adjust too much to add it on.

    And I had never heard of looking at your personality through your eating habits. Hmmm. I think I'm borderline "one thing at a time." I'll have to see how that translates into my personality and work habits.

    Food for thought....

    And I am so happy for you! If anything can pull me away from writing, it's sweet babies. What a privilege you have!

  16. Marianne, I think I work better under pressure simply because by that time I have to GET IT DONE. lol There are so many variables rolled into our psyche that affects us. I'm detail-oriented, but I also have a healthy (or unhealthy) fear of failure. I don't like to let others down, but my fear of not getting it right makes me obsess over things.

    Okay, I'm beginning to sound like a nut case.

    Seriously, I'm normal.



    Now I'm worried that you don't believe me.

    Must try harder.... :)

  17. This is so interesting. I tend to work on everything a little each day until the deadline looms and then I have to focus on that alone until it is done. I never compared this to the way I eat. But I rotate my food on the plate in the same way.

    Of course this month emergencies seem to have taken over the whole thing. I can't wait to feel normal again and for life to get back to normal. I see the doctor again this morning.

    Pam, love on that baby for me.

  18. Mary, I do think there's something to that and the article mentions something along those lines. Tina was in the army and they're notorious for eating quickly. My father-in-law and my stepfather were in the army in the late 50s. They both INHALE their food to this day.

    My oldest son was in the ANG and ate fast for the first few years after basic training and AIT, but now he's slowed down. Kinda mellowed out.

    OTOH, my husband and college age son have never been in the military and when we go out to eat, they're done and waiting on me to finish. I tell my husband to slow down and enjoy his food. He says he IS enjoying it. Heartily, I suppose. lol

  19. Very interesting! I've never really thought about it, but after reading the article, I found that I'm a combination. It really depends on the meal, what I have going on, etc. I have traits of the isolationist/fast eater/picky eater. So, I'm not sure what that makes me, lol!

    I'd love to be entered in the drawing for a hard copy of the book.

    Thanks for stopping by, Pam, as I know you've had a ton on you plate this month.

  20. Christy, now you're talking! What a good reason to finish eating and get back to the good stuff. (Well, except for the cleaning the kitchen part.) lol

    Cool that you have those same dishes! How fun! :)

  21. Yay Keli! Isolationists Unite!

    Your description of baby time being the dessert is so sweet!! Now, why didn't I think of that? Grinning from ear to ear at that adorable metaphor. You rock!

  22. Lara, possibly life experiences mold us into different types of eaters/workers. Sometimes our day jobs teach us to work outside our normal tendencies.

    I'd say there are very few jobs that would allow me to literally finish a task and then move on to another one. Bookkeeping, accounting, tax returns is linear by nature so maybe that's why I gravitate to it. But there are so many other things in our lives that "mixes up our food" so that our base nature is kinda hidden under all that.

    BTW, I don't like my food all mixed up on my plate either. I'm okay with a tiny bit of touching, but no pea juice soaking into my fried chicken. Ewwww...

    Oh, and I'd already written this post, but yesterday morning, the preacher talked about this same thing, how he was a picky eater as a kid and didn't like his food touching! lol

  23. Jill, that's so cool! As a psychology major, is this comparison to eating/work habits a new idea for you or have you heard of it before?

    And I'm thinking of living on the wild side and going back to my roots by completely finishing ONE thing on my plate before moving on to the next item. I might unleash some major creativity endomorphic thinga-ma-jig that way!

    Here's another strange thing. My husband is notorious for eating dessert FIRST. Well, then he also likes to have some LAST as well. Yesterday, my mother-in-law cooked Sunday dinner for us, and both my husband and my oldest son had some red velvet cake before the meal. That's just plain out weird to me. I just can't imagine EVER eating dessert before the meal. He says it opens his palate. Whatever. lol

  24. Interesting post, PAM! Sounds like you're not alone in the Isolationist eating pattern. Though if you've changed that habit, are you really an isolationist??

    I like to meander from entree, to salad, to starch, to veggie, then cycle through them again. Meander sounds slow, doesn't it? I'm definitely a slower eater than my DH. But I'm not slow compared to some. I have a friend who's still buttering her roll when I'm half through with my meal. Now that's SLOW. So I think when it comes to eating, I'm just right. LOL Wish there'd been personality traits for mid-speed eaters.

    As to tasks, as I've gotten older I find myself starting one thing, getting distracted with another task, then another... I tend to be a perfectionist and detail oriented so that can really slow me down as a writer.

    Talk about feeling like a nutcase. Pam, let's call each other normal, okay??


  25. Pam, my aunt eats her dessert first, too. She always says that if she dies during the meal, she wants to go out knowing she ate the best part first :)

  26. Ruth Ann said - Yes, I do like to finish one task before starting another, although in practice this does not always work out.

    Yes, this is true. And I find myself trying to rushing through one task because I know something else demands my attention. Maybe this is why I have so many unfinished tasks. :(

  27. Keep going, Rose! Every milestone puts you closer to your goal even if you don't hit the mark perfectly on the 31st. :)

  28. Sandra, with your active lifestyle biking, hiking and playing pickleball, I can definitely see you as a fast eater. Sounds like it came in handy while teaching.

  29. Kathy, sounds like your life is chaotic, but you are moving forward. That is definitely something to celebrate.

  30. Jan, leaving room for unforeseen circumstances seems to be my downfall. Must work on that!

  31. And Wilani adds to the discussion. So cool! I'm just as fascinated by the responses here as I was when I saw the article and it paralleled my tendencies.

    PS... you know my one thing at a time tendency? Well, I have several things to get done today, all of them important (the baby's still sleeping, btw. #SweetLittleDoll!) but I haven't popped out of Seekerville to go work on any of those projects. When I catch up to all the comments here, then I'll quietly run out of the room to go see what's going on with those other tasks.

    PPS...this reminds me of my former day job. I was a purchasing manager responsible for about $10-$15M in inventory turnover. I always had a notepad on my desk with tasks that had to be completed for that day/week/month. The list usually had 15-20 items on it. All things that had to be done eventually. But there were HOT items that had to be completely quickly, most of the time before the end of the current day. If the HOT items exceeded 4-5 things, I became pretty frazzled.

    PPPS...When the baby wakes up, all bets are off. Just sayin'

  32. Leslie, I love that you said it depends on the meal!

    YES! YES! YES!

    What an astute observation. That makes perfect sense.

    I wonder what a psychology professor would do with this discussion? I can picture this link being passed around some lecture hall someday! lol

  33. I'm a slow eater, and it fits. I do multi-task, unless a deadline looms and demands my undivided attention at that moment. But I usually have a schedule and get MOST of what needs to done! lol

  34. Janet, I am still an isolationist. Just recently, I remember eating several bites of something on my plate, then looked at something else and realized I hadn't touched it. So, my rotational eating is very intentional sometimes.

    Yes, we are normal. ;)

  35. LOL on your aunt's comment, Leslie. She has a point. :)

  36. I think nut case might be writer normal because all these descriptions are sounding awfully familiar to me :-)

  37. Like Jill W., I'm a psych/soc major, too, and I'm gobbling up your post, Pam!

    I don't know that I'm an isolationist (I do like to take bites of everything on my plate), however, in life I prefer to accomplish one thing before moving on to another. I used to think I was a multi-tasker getting several different things done throughout the day, but I think that can sometimes lead to stress overload. I've often heard that multi-tasking is a myth, but it's probably an individual preference because one size doesn't necessarily fit all.

  38. Very interesting, Pam! I'm definitely a rotational eater. A few bites of each item on my plate, usually in the same order, and always savoring my very favorite flavor for the last couple of bites.

    And . . . I'm also a slow eater. Everyone else at the table is usually finished way before me, even if they're talking the whole time, which I never am!

    CYNTHIA, I've also heard that about multi-tasking. I think it depends on the tasks themselves, because I certainly can't focus simultaneously on two things that both require active mental participation.

  39. Very interesting post, Pam. I normally eat a little bit of everything and rarely eat all of one thing first. However, my thing is to always leave for my last bite the food that I like the best so my favorite is the last taste I have. Not sure what that indicates about my work habits.

    I rarely ever complete my to-do list so I need to put the most necessary items first. I also need to break down into chunks what needs to be done on things that can't be completed in one sitting, like writing a novel! I have done well on my Speedbo goals. 1K a day was my goal, which included writing short stories. The past couple days I have not written that much but have been editing a short story which I will put in the mail today. I did a little writing on my novel, too, but decided I could count editing the story as my work for the day.

    Please enter me in the drawing. Either paper or ebook is fine.

  40. Oh my, I am so not an isolationist at home. I may start the laundry, carry a clean pile to the bedroom to hang up and see a dusty table so I dust it and if I'm not careful I forget to get back to the dryer in time to pull some of the still damp clothes out to hang up and finish drying so they don't shrink. (With tall people you don't ever want something to shrink because it's too hard to find. Once men hit a certain height you pretty much have to order pants online.)

    At work, I force myself to stay focused on the task at hand, and I try to do the same with my writing.

    Like Sandy, I leave my favorite food on the plate to be my last bite.

    Thanks for sharing today, Pam.

  41. Wow, so I am/was an isolationist! I used to eat one thing at at time on my plate too. Even still, it's very hard for me to leave a task undone and move onto something else. I LIKE CLOSURE. Just sayin'.

    I'm trying to be more disciplined in spending time on various tasks—little chunks at a time (purging, anyone?). But lately, I've had to prioritize what I spend my time and energy on, and very little time has been spent on purging. I need to find a better balance for the things I want to get done. Sigh.

    Great post, Pam!

  42. I don't recall studying this concept in college, Pam...of course that was many moons ago. In a Psychology of Motivation course, I do remember reading about triggers or prompts that can cause certain eating habits.
    LOL! I might have to give your son and husband's habit a try since I never eat dessert after dinner because I'm always full.

  43. Robin, this is why we enjoy our meals together so much. :) I'm an isolationist AND a slow eater.

    And Robin knows about my fork fetish. Can't have crooked tines. :(

    I need to quit telling all my foodie faults. Y'all might get the wrong impression!

  44. lol Lara! If the shoe fits... :)

    Cynthia, I think most of us multitask because we have to. I'm sure there are exceptions. Maybe those with ADHD or excessive energy. Honestly, no one ever said that Pam Hillman has excessive energy...

    PS... y'all probably saw that I sorta disappeared suddenly for a while. Bottle, diaper, and cuddle time. Sweet doll is now cuddled beside me on the couch contemplating a nap. :)

  45. So, Myra even though you eat a bit of everything on your plate, I noticed you still said you like to eat in order. That probably says something about being detail-oriented and organized.

    Do we have any rebels here who just eat randomly? I'm guessing that if we do they've never really thought about it so the idea of even KNOWING what kind of eater they are is totally foreign.

  46. Sandy, a completed to-do list? Is there such a thing? Sounds like you're making a lot of headway on your goals this month.

  47. Like most people, I really haven't paid attention to my eating or task approaching habits! Reading your post Pam, I now know I am a isolationist. Not so much in the eating anymore, but in doing tasks. I'll share one of my foodie faults, I don't like my food to touch each other on the what does that say about me...haha!

    Anyway, back to the subject at hand. As far as tasks, I DO approach them one at a time. Like that full plate you are talking about, when I look at my list of things to do, it seems overwhelming sometimes. But I've learned that I don't HAVE to get everything done in one day or even one hour. I prioritize my tasks in order of importance. And then I do them one at a time, not so daunting when I do it that way! Knowing I don't have to do ALL of them makes me WANT to do them all most of the time. Not that I do, mind you, but it's in my mindset :-) Because 9 times out of 10, once I get started on my tasks, I just want to get them done! And then there are days when I do NOTHING and found out it's really OKAY :-)
    I've found life is a balancing act most days. And I'm no where near perfect doing it! I've learned what my pace is, what I realistically can do in a day & what I have energy for. Some days are better than others, but I don't beat myself up anymore if I don't accomplish what I want.

    Encouraging post Pam! I've found I'm quite like you in a lot of areas. And congrats on that new grandbaby! What a joy to be able to spend your days with her, rocking her, feeding & changing her, and seeing her sweet face. Our grand-girl is now 2 & she's the delight of our lives too! Aren't grandkids the BEST?

    P.S. I love the article you shared about the definition of an isolationist. Because for people like you & I...we are very detail orientated, always think things through, and we have a method for our madness. AND I whole-heartily agree with the "stubborn tendency to complete one task before moving on to another" :-)

    **No need to put my name in for the book**

  48. Jackie, that's just a sign of being overwhelmed. lol Housework is so in-your-face that it's really hard not to flit from one thing to the other. You take a load of folded towels to the bathroom and realize the garbage needs emptying. You take the garbage to the garage and realize... there ya go.

    And I hear you about tall men. My Cowboy is 6'4". He has one style jeans he likes and we order them online from a veterinary supply store. We order 3-4 pairs at a time. Then his mother and I keep our eyes peeled for khakis in his size for Sunday dress.

  49. Jeanne, you sound so much like me! We have our preferences on how and when to do things, but don't always get to do it that way.

    Here's an aside (a bit off topic, maybe) for us isolationists... I personally LOVE soup and stew of any kind. How is this possible when I don't like my food touching and I prefer eating one thing at a time. I think the psychologists would have a field day with that one. lol So... relating this to my writing... writing is like alphabet soup. You do have to keep mixing it up, adding meat, potatoes, veggies and seasoning to get the flavors yummy.

    But on the flip side, the taste would be all off if I tried to mix genres or time periods, or styles. Within reason, of course. I've read some really good novels that seemed like they wouldn't work. Same with some odd ingredients that made delicious dishes. It's all in the way it's prepared, I suppose.

  50. Pam, I need to read the eating article, but wanted to scan the comments first. Such great discussion. I've known folks who eat one thing, then move on to the next. I graze around my plate...must find out what that means.

    You mentioned working better under pressure or deadline. In my medical life, I was in charge of blood bank transfusion centers, which meant STAT orders for blood that needed to be selected, tested to make sure the units were compatible and then raced to the ER or surgery to save a patient's life. Not everyone likes to work in that type of environment, but I thrived on the adrenaline rush.

    Fast forward to my writing career. You can see that deadlines help me move forward.

    It's almost lunch time. I'll be watching my every bite! :)

    Happy Easter Monday! Love the Octave of Easter. Such joy!

  51. Trixi, not liking your food to touch on your plate parallels your desire to complete tasks and get them off your plate without too many distractions.

    You know, I think I have a future career in psychoanalysis.

    I'll send you a bill. lol

  52. Hmm . . . I've always eaten my food one section at a time, generally in a very specific order, and no one has ever commented on it (unless you count my college roommates, who thought it was weird that I preferred to eat most of my taco ingredients separated rather than together in a shell. But since then I've discovered one combination I like in a shell, so they only tease me when reminiscing).

    I guess I do tend to prefer to work on one task and then finish it - how can you stop half-way through a sink of dishes? But on bigger things it helps to have a stopping point in mind, such as in writing: if I hit 1,000 words, I'm good for the day, and I can go on to the next task. When I commit to something, I tend to be very committed and NEED to complete the task I've agreed to, like my speedbo goal - passed it up just last night!

  53. Debby, as much as I don't like it, a looming deadline helps me move forward as well. With every book or novella, I determine that I'm going to finish with weeks to spare and not burn the midnight oil even once.

    We can all dream, can't we?

  54. Rachael!!!! Congrats on meeting your Speedbo goal. Whoohoo!!

    Writing takes so long that you can't do it in a day, so those 1K goals are good motivators. Maybe I can think of 1K as part of my meal for today, and another 1K as part of the meal for tomorrow. See, that'll trick the old brain into playing nice...

  55. Good afternoon, Pam! I love personality and psychology stuff like this. Another book for my tbr list. (Of course, I'd love to win the ebook.) I think I can identify with the isolationist. Get one thing done thoroughly before I move on to the next. Is that why I can only read one book at a time? :-)

  56. Pam, this is very interesting. I had no idea there was a name for this. Like Trixie said, "I now know I'm an isolationist." I always just considered myself obsessive over whatever I happen to be doing at the time. Now I know why I can't for the life of me schedule a day of "bites". Thanks for that!! Please put my name in for the paperback :)

  57. OHHHH Pam, you are SO good at this psychoanalysis stuff!! Maybe add that to your many "hats"...HA!

    The checks in the mail for your bill......

  58. Pam, I once knew someone that mixed all of their food together on their plate. I've always wondered how they could eat that way and why I didn't just throw all their food in one pot and cook it together!
    Your post of a million things to do was encouraging (pretty plate in the picture, too.) I've shared some of those up at 3 AM mornings or still up at 2:30 nights.
    I write every day as a general rule, but a good deal of it is non fiction for my blog. I have a granddaughter and daughter living with me, plus 12 horses to care for twice a day, among other things.
    During Speedbo both daughters had crisis' (they are fine now), my laptop battery died and wouldn't recharge and I was hit with a sore foot, which doesn't sound like much until you try to take care of horses.
    I don't know if this will encourage anyone else but here's what keeps me going: I'm so grateful to be doing things that I love to do. Even when what I love to do has its unlovely moments, I wouldn't trade it.
    I'm blessed to be able to continue in physical things at an age when people around me retire and become old. When a foot hurts I praise God for my feet, I thank him for what I do, and I push on.
    We writers are a very fortunate group. :-)

  59. WILANI! We are praying for you, girl!!! So sorry you've had a rough time of it lately!!!

  60. Pam, what a fun post, and something to think about! I haven't read the comments yet, but Allie Pleiter has a book about what type writer you are. She talks about people who write in little chunks and big chunks. I guess you're a big chunk writer. And I'm more that way, too.

    Although, I'm not an isolationist eater, and I tend to multitask a lot. I do have a son who eats all of one thing at a time! I'm going to send him this article. :)

  61. hi Pam
    Have fun with your dessert of adorable grandbaby. Thanks for this post too. I'm a bit of an adventurous isolationist. I did used to gulp down food, but that was from my times going on short term missions trips during my teens where "you snooze, you lose and go hungry" was the mealtime motto.
    I supposed I'm fairly detail oriented but terribly disorganized as well. I tend to be more of a procrastinator than actually getting things done. (I'm like the cartoon of someone with a sign that says "procrastinators of the world..." Of course, when I do get focused (or under deadline) it's one thing at a time and git 'er done. I think most times, I just feel so overwhelmed that I don't get started in the first place. Terrible, vicious cycle *sigh*

    Writers are crazy creative by nature, so all the oddball things you've mentioned sound perfectly normal to me. Of course, what IS normal anyway????

    Awesome post Pam! Even more fun in the comments.

  62. My husband does the mirror of this - he arranges his plate so that nothing is left alone. For example, if he has beans and meat left, he'll take another spoonful of potatoes so that he finishes them all together. He's detail oriented and has a hard time leaving one task to work on another, like you. And what's wrong with that? Why not finish the chapter or the bookkeeping while you're in the zone. Every time you switch tasks, it takes a few minutes of orientation before you can dig in. Isolationists are instinctively efficient.

  63. Read the eating article, but what about those of us who eat all around the plate at a moderate pace? Hmmm?

  64. DEBBY, I think that means you are a calm, well-balanced person. :)

  65. BETH said: "Every time you switch tasks, it takes a few minutes of orientation before you can dig in."

    Oh, don't I know it!!! I rarely do any writing on the weekends, so when I sit down to write again on Mondays, it takes me forever to get back in the zone.

  66. I like combo meals and I like mixing some foods, and I like to relax and enjoy my supper/dinner, so I'm not sure what that means...

    I've been thinking it was because I was so glad for a chance to sit and eat, why rush????

    But there might be more to it!

    Mostly I eat on the run, so this isn't daily behavior anyway, and does a bag of Fritos count?

    Because I think it should.

    Pam, I love your full plate! I love full plates, I get downright nervous if there's a slowdown. Full plates ROCK!!!!

  67. Dagnabbit, I want to be a well-balanced person! Deb!!! Teach me how. Please???

  68. Loved the post, Pam. I love different foods mixed together. However, I never drink anything until after my meal. I've always been that way. When friends started commenting on it, I looked it up. Read that drinking WHILE eating impedes digestion. :)

    As for writing, I find it easier to reach my goals if I write them down so I can see what they are, and attack them one at a time.

  69. I had to go check out the eating personality post. Insightful! I am the slow eater, married to a fast eater. I have to guard my food so he doesn't have seconds from my plate lol. And I eat dessert first. Always have. My kids did not pick up that trait, however. I'm not sure how they missed it. I want dessert while I'm still hungry and can enjoy it. I love multitasking. It makes the work day so exciting! Great post!

  70. Pam, there was a time when my isolationist son didn't like to eat casseroles because everything was mixed together. :) I can't remember if he ate stew and soups well, mainly because he wasn't a fan of most veggies other than steamed broccoli and roasted asparagus. :)

  71. I see there are some other fast eaters on here! :) I'm glad I'm not alone, even if I am pretty alone in my family. :)

  72. Back from baby duty. This is definitely one of those tasks that require full attention until they are happy again. lol

    Meghan, I tend to read one book at a time, too. And I write one book at a time. Now I've put together proposals and done some editing while writing, but not written rough drafts at the same time, although I've thought about it.

  73. Pat, I've tried SO hard to schedule a day of bites (like that way of putting it) and it just generally doesn't work. I'll find myself halfway through the day on one task, trying to finish it before switching to the other. But in some cases, it's unavoidable, but those multi-tasking days make me feel fractured.

  74. Barbara, you've met my husband? lol

    He is so bad about putting his food in a bowl. Granted, it's mostly foods that would be okay in a soup or stew, but still, it's not for me. If I cook peas, okra, and hamburger helper, I want all three of those things to be on my plate separately. If I'd wanted them all together I would have cooked them that way.

  75. That's so cool, Missy. I haven't seen Allie's book. I'll have to check that out. Yes, I tend to be a bigger chunk writer vs. a little chunk writer. As well as bigger chunks in other areas. I'll tackle several months of bookkeeping for the farm all at once. Stuff like that.

  76. I've written 40,000 words so far this month, because I HAD TO!!! Must write 15,000 to 20,000 more by midnight April 8th!
    I don't remember what my SpeedBo goal was, but I think it may have been 55,000. If it was 50,000, I might make it, but I don't think I can do 55K. Still, it was a good run, and NECESSARY! :-)
    Pam, I sometimes eat one food at a time, but I more often eat a bite of one thing and then a bite of something else because I think they taste good together. :-) I had to work on edits, an early marketing survey, and who knows what else this month, (my brain is too scattered and full of my story to remember), not to mention tons of drama with two teen girls in the house, one of whom is trying to get everything done for going off to college in the fall. It's been a crazy month, but not as crazy as yours, it sounds like! Wow! You have a lot on your plate, er, platter. But your tone, Pam, is so calm. CALM. How do you do that? I'm always so uptight-sounding, mostly because I am uptight! And always stressed. LOL! But I'm getting better and better at handling the stress. ;-)

  77. DebH, you are more like me than you realize. I also think there's an underlying reason for procrastination. And, it's different for different tasks...

    I procrastinate cleaning my windows because I really dread the chore.
    I procrastinate writing the next scene because I'm not sure where I'm going and what if I go in the wrong direction.

    Now, I don't FEAR cleaning the windows or mowing the law, vacuuming, I just dread having to do those chores. However, I do like having them done. But other things I procrastinate because of fear of failure, fear of getting it wrong and having to redo it.

  78. Isolationists are instinctively efficient.

    Yes, what BETH said! :)

    Reminds me of a photo I posted on Facebook of my Oreos (back when I allowed myself Oreos) and milk. There is an exact science to finishing Oreos and milk at the same time. If you run out of one before the other, you have to get more. It's a vicious cycle.

  79. Myra said: Oh, don't I know it!!! I rarely do any writing on the weekends, so when I sit down to write again on Mondays, it takes me forever to get back in the zone.

    Yes, this is a problem with skipping days and writing in chunks. Unfortunately, when I don't clean the windows for months at a time, it all comes back as quickly as if I'd done it yesterday. Feels like it too. :(

  80. Myra and Ruthy, Debby is such a sanguine person, always so calm, organized and put together. We all would like to know her secret!

  81. Jessica, I'm a list maker too. When things are really tight, I have a daily list with what HAS to be done that day first. At the end is things that I'd like to get done. Sometimes those things get pushed down to the next day.

    I use notepad on my Mac for my notes these days.

  82. Sally, you sound like the exact opposite of me except for the slow eater part. You know, I might have to add "Eat My Dessert First" to my bucket list of things to do.

  83. Yes, Missy, casseroles used to be a challenge at my house because none of the guys would eat them. They didn't "like" casseroles because they might not like ONE of the ingredients in there. Thankfully, they all eat pretty much anything these days.

  84. Melanie, I think some of the panic gets lost in translation between my careening brain and the tips of my fingers. Trust me, there are times when I'm pretty much out of control. At least in my head!

  85. Oh, and Melanie, your description of all you had going on in March makes my month seem like a walk in the park. 40K already with another 15K to go? I am in awe. :)

    Typing with baby snuggled against me. So sweet.

  86. PAM, my favorite stew is lamb stew that I make for my family. SOOOO good on a chilly night. And yes, all those flavors and foods melded together make for one wonderful experience. I loved your corollary to writing. :)

  87. Yeah, DEBBY, I noticed they didn't address those of us who ate around the plate at moderate pace. That may mean you're calm but it just means I'm calm when I'm eating. LOL And maybe it also means that I snack when I'm hungry so I'm not starved like my DH who eats much faster than I do.


  88. MELANIE, I'm blown away by the number of words you wrote during SpeedBo. No wonder you're stressed. I've got a stinger in my shoulder blade from writing today. Maybe we should get a massage at that new spa that opened in Seekerville.


  89. Great Post! I'm afraid I am a multi-tasker and I enjoy my salad and breadsticks served at the same time as my pasta. A bite of this and a bite of that, which is good because most of my writing is fit around three busy kids under five and everything that goes with that, etc, etc... :)

  90. This was fascinating, Pam. But I'm TIRED after reading all you've had on your plate (platter---definitely a platter, LOL) this month. Whew!
    I'm a slow eater (unless it's a cookie or a donut) ;) but really prefer to eat "cat-like" as I call it. Nibble a few bites of various foods, go and do something else, then come back and eat a few more bites. Of course that's only during the day when I'm at home, because I can't do that when we have family dinners!
    Thanks for sharing this - - I love learning all kinds of new info. and new terms. Yes, Seekerville is very educational! :)
    Back to SPEEDBO!!
    Hugs, Patti Jo

  91. Janet, snacking might make a difference in the way we treat dinner. But, then we sorta snack on our stories and build them one morsel at a time. Somehow it all works, doesn't it?

  92. Angela, you have a perfect excuse for working in spurts!

    Says Grammy Pammy who's typing with a baby cradled in her arms. :)

  93. Patti Jo, you had to mention donuts. All bets are off if I'm tempted with fresh Krispy Kreme donuts. I'm avoiding the real thing, but can have an entire dozen here in Seekerville.

    Look, they're gone. THAT FAST! :)

    Maybe that's the way it is when we're writing a scene or an entire book that just comes together. The words flow faster and faster until before we know it, we've written way more than we thought possible.

  94. I don't know if anyone else mentioned this (I didn't see it, but there are over 90 comments!!!). The link within the link mentioned the "Mixer" type. That would be me, but it goes beyond that and I do see a connection - mix it around, try a little bit of this or that, but get distracted and move on to the next thing before you finish.

    Not so big a problem in eating, but a mess when it comes to writing. That's me - the mess!

    Thanks for making me recognize this about myself, Pam. *hugs*

  95. I'm the disciplined type but only when I have to be. Deadlines etc. By nature I go from one thing to the other. But that makes me feel dissatisfied, as if I haven't accomplished anything. That's when I settle down and work on a task until it's finished. I find it difficult to write 1000K a day because something 'more important' usually comes up to distract me. Sigh.

  96. I'm not an isolationist, but when it comes to writing, I wish I could be one. I'm sure I'd be much more productive. Instead, I'm a "Mixer," and like Mary Curry pointed out that can be a mess when it comes to writing. LOL!

    Please enter me in the drawing for a paperback copy of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.

  97. Pam, your post could not have been timed better. When my plate filled, I switched it for a platter. Now it feels like I need to switch the platter for a tray :-)

    But oh my gosh that link inside the link is amazing for the accuracy regarding the people I know. One person never, ever wants his food to touch -- and the description fits him totally. The isolationist and the preparer fit two other people I know. And boy does the fast eater fit several! The description of the "Mixer" type is pretty much me.

    Now to figure out how to use the way characters eat to show something about them :-)

    Thanks for such a fun -- and informative -- post.

    Nancy C

  98. Mary Curry, that's so cool. My husband is a mixer, and even though he's an extremely hard worker and finishes tasks, there have been a few tasks that he's never finished if it's not on his list of favorite things. Some of the aspects of the mixer fit him well. :)

  99. Thank you, PAM, for such an interesting post! I've been juggling a few things, but not near as much as you, goodness gracious you're a busy lady! I'm not an isolationist - I do everything in bits and pieces and all willy nilly (or like my confused daughter said one day "all willie nelson).

    You said, "What I’m trying to say is that sometimes we have to burn the candle at both ends if we want something bad enough. Life isn’t going to stop while we write our novel. It just isn’t." Thank you for reminding me of that. I just have to keep plugging away. I haven't reached my Speedbo goal yet, but there's still time :-) Hope to get in another hour or two before bed, and I also plan to check out all the emails that came today from the ACFW course I signed up to receive (just joined recently). So much to learn, and so grateful that they're people out there willing to share their wisdom. Thanks again!

  100. Cara, if it's important enough to do at all, it's important, isn't it? Seems like most of us have a lot of important stuff to do. But we do eventually get it done.

  101. Rhonda, seems the lettuce is always greener on the other side of the salad, to mix up a metaphor! I was just thinking that being a mixer might be better than an isolationist! lol

  102. Nancy C, I thought about that earlier today... using this on our characters. Wouldn't that be fun?

    And I'm going to add the link with the expanded list of types to today's post. I wish I'd noticed that link before now. Thanks to Mary for pointing it out!

  103. Laura, you have the right attitude to get 'er done. Ol' Willie would be proud!

  104. Pam, it's even more interesting when you throw genetics in. So I'm basically a mixer, but one of my daughters is definitely a slow eater and the other is The Organizer. Hubby is pretty much the Fast Eater. And yet we're a family. ;)

  105. Pam Hillman said:

    "Says Grammy Pammy who's typing with a baby cradled in her arms. :)"

    I'm doing the same right now, Pam. I got very good with this baby (who turned 1 today!) at nursing and writing at the same time. I got a lot done those first few months when baby ate constantly. :)

  106. Alright, my first comment disappeared. Let's try again.

    I am in Sales and it's quarter end, so I have been busy. I've had to cut my two novellas by the end of SpeedBo goal down to one, so I chose the one with a deadline and am doing my best to get through the rough draft.

  107. Mary, y'all probably have fun at meals! lol

  108. I get it, Walt... sometimes it's hard to carve out any time when the day job is busy. But just keep at it, one bite at a time! :) You can do it!

  109. Pam,

    Thanks for a great post. I'm not an Isolationist, but I don't know the term for person who goes from one project to the next and back to the first one, then to a new one... a jack rabbit?

  110. Pam: I guess I'm late to the party. Great post. I find myself tackling a big cleaning job instead of writing. Glad to hear I'm not the only one. I try to be a superwoman at times and hold myself to a higher standard. So I take a step backward, and assess what is happening. Reading about someone else having the same problems and juggling their life is reassuring. Thanks for baring your soul.
    I'd like a paperback if I'm lucky enough to be chosen,

  111. Edwina, maybe you're a hopper or a grazer. lol I don't think either of those terms were part of the habits of eating, but they did mention eating a bit of everything on your plate, so you'd fit that description to a "t". :)

  112. Suzanne, sometimes it's easier to put off writing in favor of say... cleaning the kitchen ... because there's not a whole lot I can do to mess up the kitchen. Anything I do is bound to be better than what it looked like before!

    But, writing...ah ... writing feels like such a delicate, beautiful thing that we treat it with kid gloves. And I just had an idea for next month's post. Eureka! :)

  113. This was so interesting! I also tend to leave my "favorite" food until last on my plate. It's my treat for eating everything else, saving the "best for last". Likewise, I finished required tasks at home, savings my beloved writing for last. Saving the "best for last" doesn't allow me the time that I need for my writing.

    This entire concept is amazing! I am going to be a food-watcher in the future!

    Blessings to you all.

  114. Oh, goodness, Pam, I'm a day behind because we've been traveling, so I keep thinking that today (Tuesday) is Monday!! So forgive my tardiness. :|

    I always used to eat one food at a time till my mom yelled at me, saying, "it tastes better if you mix them." So I did, and I found out she was right. :)

    You asked: Are you an isolationist? If so, do you also have a “disciplined and border-line stubborn tendency to complete one task before moving on to another?”

    I am definitely an "Isolationist," and yes, like you, I do have a border-line stubborn tendency to complete one task before moving on to another, which drives me as crazy as it does my husband when I get overwhelmed because I can't get to the things I really want to do (i.e. writing).

    Mary said: "I am a fast eater, Tina. I am ambitious? Wow, I thought I did this because there were eight kids in our family and I had to eat fast or starve."

    LOL, I'm a fast eater, but nobody can accuse me of being ambitious, that's for darn sure! :)


  115. Great post, Pam. My first thought about "isolationist" was being the lurker on this blog, not making comments! Eating habits-not so much. But work habits- definitely. It's hard to find writing time because there are so many other things that need attention- similar to your list. Grandkids, accounting for home/business, chores, volunteer for non-profit organization, and a home-based business. I tend to pick what's most important, and spend hours on it, even if other stuff gets neglected. When it becomes important enough or deadline coming soon (taxes!), it will get done.
    Yes, I'd like to be in the drawing for the book, prefer paper. Too much time with a screen already.

  116. Rebecca, I too like the idea of saving the best for last, but then I'm afraid time would get away from me, and I wouldn't get to the writing. So, there ya go. :)

  117. Julie said: I do have a border-line stubborn tendency to complete one task before moving on to another, which drives me as crazy as it does my husband when I get overwhelmed because I can't get to the things I really want to do (i.e. writing).

    Julie, this is so true. We are our own worst enemy! :(

  118. Ruth, you sound like my long-lost twin. lol