5 Ways To Get Rid Of Inertia In Your Life

 

by Kristin Nador/@KristinNador

*Knocking on microphone* Hello? Anyone there?

I’ve been MIA from this blog for a while. Quite a while. I haven’t touched my WIP for almost 4 months. I’ve lost my way. I could blame it on a lot of legitimate reasons. Continue reading

Unexpected Joy In Ordinary Places

sari, photo courtesy Thamizhpparithi Maari, Creative Commons on blog kristin nador writes anywhere

sari, photo courtesy Thamizhpparithi Maari, Creative Commons

by Kristin Nador/@KristinNador

In the spring of 2011 Artist Daughter and I were trying out hairdos for her upcoming nuptials.

A.D. wanted to take a trial run at the local cosmetology school and experiment with ringlets before she committed to anything for her big day. She encouraged me to try some curls, too, so we could ‘match’. I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Continue reading

Babies, Apple Dumplings, and Midlife Reflections

The nurse waved me over.

“It’s okay, you can come closer. Come say hello.” The doctor set the squirming baby on his behind under the warming lamps, supporting his head. The baby blinked two or three times, arms wide and fingers flexing. He opened his mouth, the shock of unexpected red hair still plastered to his scalp. I did my best to stay quiet, calm, and out of the way throughout the labor but seeing this beautiful, miraculous new person who had just been pushed into the world released all my emotions.

He cried, and I cried. The nurse patted me on the arm. “Aww, it’s okay, he’s just fine. You’re a grandma!” Continue reading

Discover Your ‘First Things’ for Success in 2015

Spring Dogwood Blooming, Oxley Nature Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma photo by kristin nador kristin nador writes anywhere blog www.kristinnador.com
What are your ‘first things’?
by Kristin Nador/@KristinNador
The start of a new year inevitably creates pressure to think about the past, and the future. We examine what has happened during the last 365 days, take away fine memories, or slam the book shut on an unproductive or particularly difficult or heartbreaking year. We have a finite amount of time, and time seems more pertinent as the years progress. Each year means one less year on our personal ‘deadline’, and while some feel the pressure to make the best of it, others experience guilt that they haven’t been using their time wisely up until this point.

Continue reading

Write Anywhere #79: Japanese Friendship Garden

by Kristin Nador/@KristinNador

Walking and I have been having an epic struggle lately.

I enjoy walks outside. A stroll around the neighborhood, a paced walk around a track for some intentional sweating, or a gentle hike in the woods all suit me fine.

My foot and ankle haven’t agreed with that assessment at all. They protest in pain, refusing to participate in the simplest activities. Foot and Ankle were forced into an intervention with a podiatrist, and now after some painful injections and custom orthotics, foot is about 85% better. Ankle is still questionable, with MRI results pending, but much better than before.

I’ve gotten to the point where I can take very short walks without aggravating the healing process. We have nice sidewalks in our apartment complex, but once you’ve walked around a building a few times, it’s time for more interesting views. I found the perfect spot for gentle walking just a few minutes drive away, and discovered it helped coax some gentle writing out of me as well.  Continue reading

Write Anywhere #78: Kentucky Horse Park

I’ve discovered some things since moving to Kentucky. They call it bluegrass, but the pastures of Kentucky are bright green. A hot brown sandwich tastes pretty good considering it’s the bottom of a turkey sandwich with a pile of gooey stuff plopped on top. Drive-thru liquor stores are open on Sunday. And two things folks in the Lexington area are very serious about: Wildcats (college humans of the athletic variety) and Horses (large animals of the fast variety).

When some Tulsa friends stopped for a visit while traveling, they mentioned they might like to see some of the famous Kentucky thoroughbreds. I don’t usually think of myself as a horse person, but thought it would make an interesting outing, nonetheless. We were happy to include them on a trip only ten minutes from our home to a place full of horses and history.

Write Anywhere #78: Kentucky Horse Park

Kentucky Horse Park

Kentucky Horse Park

Continue reading

Write Anywhere #66

It’s been a quiet summer here on the blog. I needed to take a break because of carpal tunnel symptoms, so I took a blog vacay through July. I geared up to start again in August, and life slapped me in the face. Instead of working on my blog editorial calendar, I ended up dealing with some sad and serious family events, and traveling across three states alone to do it. So I’ll be devoting my next 10+ Write Anywheres to my strange adventure. I hope you’ll come along and discover like I did, that you can find the fuel for creativity anywhere, in any situation, if you choose to keep your heart open and make room for it.

That Saturday morning started out great. I attended a local writing workshop and learned some great tips on writing, publishing in both traditional and self-publishing formats, and enjoyed hanging out with fellow writers. I even earned second place in a first page contest. I walked out of the workshop and into the hot afternoon feeling somewhat accomplished, so I decided to treat myself to a cool reward that took me back in time.

Write Anywhere #66: Snow Cone Shack

IMG_1624

I drove over to the local snow cone shack for some icy refreshment. The shacks pop up around the area throughout the summer, but there are one or two that take their snow cones very seriously, and because of that they have a strong customer following. The offerings range from traditional to weird, but people stand in line every hot Friday and Saturday night for their favorites. When I showed up on a Saturday at 3 pm, the sun baked the sidewalks and not a soul stood in line. I ordered a simple cherry limeade ice, and made my way to a picnic table under the shade of a lone tree.

Ahhh... snow cone, post-modern style

Ahhh… snow cone, post-modern style

Spooning the sweet ice from a modern styrofoam cup got me thinking about the Snow Cone Man who used to drive around my childhood neighborhood in South St. Louis so many summers ago. Playing in the heat, ignoring the sweat dripping down our necks, we’d take off toward the sound of his musical truck. We’d happily fork over our quarters for a scoop of ice in a paper cone, watching in fascination as the bright white globe took on color from the flavor sprays. The flavors back then were pretty straight forward: cherry, 7-up, and berry, which didn’t really taste like anything but made your lips a deadly blue. If you had the extra coin, you could get a bomb pop-inspired cone and have all three. Then we’d try to slurp the melting concoction down before the majority of it ended up on our hands and legs.

We always tried to catch the Snow Cone Man on Neosho Street, or Nottingham Avenue, but if he got as far as Murdoch Avenue, we didn’t get a snow cone that day. We didn’t go on Murdock Avenue. That’s where the gangsters lived. Yes, real live gangsters that were part of a well-known crime family in the city. I accidentally became friends with the daughter of a gangster. Tina was in my second grade class. We played together at recess and one day she asked me to come to her house to play after school. I asked my mom and she said sure (parents were much more trusting back in the day).

We walked home from school together on Brannon Avenue. When we got to Murdoch Tina said “We turn here for my house.” My heart started racing because I knew the street was filled with gangsters. There was a row of houses no one went near, and that’s directly where we headed. Because I was taught to always be polite, even if being led to a gangster’s house, I said nothing.

With knees knocking, I walked up the steps and went inside, maybe to never see the light of day again. Who knew what happened in gangsters’ houses?

Well, I lived to tell about it. Turns out gangster’s kids play Barbies, have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and watch Tennessee Tuxedo on television. No gun battles, tough guys, or  fights. Tina was a nice girl. Her older brother was a little creepy, though.

After I told my mom what happened, I never got to play at Tina’s house again, but we still remained friends through the second and third grade. As for the gangsters, Tina’s uncle, who lived next door to her on Murdoch Avenue, was arrested and convicted for a car bombing that killed another gangster. Real live gangsters.

As I finished up my shaved ice, I got out my notebook and wrote down a few of the memories the refreshment had brought back to my mind. With a little research, it might make a pretty good short story. Then my cell phone rang.

I slurped up the last of the snow cone, and the sad news on the other end erased all thoughts of snow cones and musical trucks and Murdock Avenue, and started me on a journey full of grief, joy, discovery, hard work, and traveling mercies.

Where did you write this week?

Do you have any interesting memories of the neighborhood where you grew up?

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10 Shortcuts To Defeating Writing Procrastination In Record Time

What are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for?

Do you find yourself with all the good intentions to sit down and write that novel/memoir/poem/magazine article/editorial/blog post that’s been tugging at your insides, only to find yourself at the end of another day with nothing to show for it?

If so, you may be a writing procrastinator.

There are a lot of legitimate reasons your writing doesn’t happen, but if you find yourself struggling on a regular basis, procrastination may be an issue for you.

I’m a procrastinator. I struggle. I wallow in indecision on a regular basis. It seems at the moment I decide to write I realize the dishes need washing, the bills need paying, the cat needs feeding, and suddenly messes that have been messes for months must be organized. When I want to I can find all kinds of things to distract me from writing, from de-cluttering to cruising Facebook and Twitter to making lists of things I need to accomplish ‘whenever I finally have the time’. What’s wrong with that picture?

Procrastination affects about 20% of the population. Some people procrastinate because they get a rush from putting things off even though it creates anxiety. Those are the people who say they do best with a deadline looming or cramming for tests at the last minute. Other people procrastinate because they want to avoid the activity they need to accomplish, even though they would tell you they really want to do it, ‘if only’.

If you procrastinate in other areas of your life, it creeps into your writing time as well.

“Lack of confidence, sometimes alternating with unrealistic dreams of heroic success, often leads to procrastination, and many studies suggest that procrastinators are self-handicappers: rather than risk failure, they prefer to create conditions that make success impossible, a reflex that of course creates a vicious cycle.” – James Surowiecki

Many prolific writers have occasional times of procrastination. Procrastination is often confused with writer’s block. Writer’s block is when you have the discipline to sit down and write but nothing comes. Procrastination is when you do all you can to avoid sitting down in the first place, though you may have lots of writing that wants to come out. I think more writers are actually dealing with procrastination issues rather than true blockage.

Perfectionism is also a willing partner to procrastination. A perfectionist would rather not do something than do it with the possibility that it doesn’t turn out perfect. Perfectionism is based in fear and the need to control all circumstances, but in reality it causes a lack of control. Perfectionists have a cushion in procrastination. They don’t have to take responsibility because ‘there wasn’t enough time’.

I know this from personal experience. I’ve struggled with perfectionism and the guilt that follows all my distractions in order to avoid writing because the truth, if I’m willing to face it, is that I fear I will be found out as a failure.

Procrastination boils down to fear.

Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of judgment, fear of commitment, self-doubt.

Fear.

“Procrastination is not Laziness”, I tell him. “It is fear. Call it by its right name, and forgive yourself.” – Julia Cameron, The Prosperous Heart

Procrastination guarantees one thing. You don’t move forward. You don’t move at all.

What does procrastination look like?

  • You ignore the activity or act like it doesn’t exist.
  • You wait until the last minute until it’s too late to do anything about it, and blame it on your ‘lack of time’ or ‘being so busy’.
  • You have a Scarlett O’Hara attitude. “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”
  • You downplay the importance or priority of the activity.
  • You substitute a less important activity for a more important one. “These dishes aren’t going to wash themselves, I need to shine the silver (that you haven’t used in three years) in case someone drops by.”
  • You deserve a reward or comfort for all you’re going through. “No one cares about all the frustration I’m going through with my writing. I’m going to cheer myself up with some comfort food/drink/new shoes/a night out, etc. This is legitimate until it starts happening regularly while writing does not.
  • Unproductive productivity. You convince yourself that your delaying tactics actually help your writing. “I can learn about dialogue so much more if I watch the entire season of Duck Dynasty, read these fifty blogs and seven writing instruction books that I need to read before I start writing, and go meet my writing friends for coffee four times a week to talk about writing.”
  • You focus on your weaknesses and give them all the power. “I’m just too tired/angry/depressed/anxious/in pain/lonely/to do any writing.”

Self-sabotage is the sneakiest kind of roadblock to your best writing life because who better than you knows all your triggers and knows how to use them against yourself?

Sometimes the universe aligns and the words seem to drip off our fingertips. But most of the time we slog. We march in the mud. We throw wild punches at the air. We rant and rave at the blank page. And then we write.

Writing is hard just like life is hard. As you work to move forward through life, don’t let procrastination keep you from moving forward in your writing life. Fight for it. Push back at fear.

Here are 10 Shortcuts To Stopping Writing Procrastination:

  1. Admit it. Just like any other bad habit (and it is a learned habit), you first have to admit you have a problem before you can do something about it.
  2. Consider the root cause of your procrastination. Why do you delay and distract yourself from the writing? Fear? Past failures? Lack of discipline? Not wanting to face the truths you are writing about? Take time to examine the heart issues that result in procrastination behaviors.
  3. Ask for help. Let your friends and family know this is an issue for you (although they already know) and that you’d like encouragement and support as you’re trying to change your habits.
  4. Find a buddy. The buddy system works in many behavior modification scenarios. Procrastination is no different. Connect with someone else who is struggling with procrastination and hold each other accountable. Three writing friends and I used a calendar system for accountability to help us focus on writing productivity. It’s surprising what you make time for when you know someone is watching.
  5. Get unblocked. If you feel like you are dealing with true writing blocks, try some unblocking techniques like writing prompts, free writing, other creative pursuits (painting, photography, etc.), or work on another project for a change of pace.
  6. Be realistic. Perfectionists tend to make grandiose plans that they know they can’t complete in the finite amount of time they give themselves and quit before they start. If you have a day job, small children, or other obligations, know that those things are not going away and you have to negotiate your time. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Start your time management make-over with small consistent bites of time to encourage yourself. A timer set for 15 minutes works wonders.
  7. Show up. Position yourself at your desk or wherever you usually write and hang around awhile. If you write, that’s great. But if you don’t, that’s okay, too. Train yourself to show up and eventually the writing will come.
  8. Stop comparisons. Comparison is only helpful when you are trying to find the best deal on hamburger at the grocery store. Don’t compare yourself to your writing friend who writes for seventeen hours straight or writers who may be at a different skill level than you are. Do what works best for you and be content with that.
  9. Embrace the process. Vanquishing procrastination is not something you do in one fell swoop or a single proclamation. “I’m not a procrastinator anymore. Ta-dah!” Instead it’s the accumulation of a million small choices, day in and day out. Don’t quit just because you backslide into old habits from time to time.
  10. Resolve to do one thing every day towards your writing goals.

BONUS SHORTCUT: Let go of excuses. Today.

Stop postponing your dreams – what are you waiting for?

Eradicate procrastination with this epic blog post master class:

What has been the greatest self-imposed obstacle to your writing?

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Write Anywhere #50

For the last year finding new and unusual places to write has been a lot of fun for me. My purpose has been to build self-discipline, expand my own creative horizons and hopefully encourage other people in the process. This week I ended up writing at a place that showcases the latest technology, but the experience awakened an old memory.

Write Anywhere #50: Car Dealership

gas station, Florida, image by kristin nador

Remember when getting your car fixed meant sitting on a sticky plastic chair in a gas station watching the mechanics dive under cars? Now its a destination. I found out first-hand when I had to take the Write Anywhere-mobile in for some maintenance. An in-house coffee house furnished with big overstuffed leather chairs, John Mayer over the speaker system, cars spotlighted like art works, and several high-definition televisions throughout the building made it feel like a big living room.

While waiting for my car to be looked at I sat in very cold air conditioning on a very hot day with the sound of a beautiful landscaped rock waterfall in the background. The experience was a bit surreal. Not a hint of oil or engines or exhaust; just the sweet smell of muffins and coffee.

The work is done in a glassed-in area to keep dirt, the smell of oil and noise away from the sensitivities of the customer. I watched the mechanics and cars through the window, and one young man working on an engine brought back a quarter century memory…

***

Bobby’s gas station was closest to my little shotgun apartment. It was still the days of full service pumps at gas stations. I had a long commute to work so I stopped at the gas station on a semi-regular basis. I saw Bobby about twice a week on my way home from work for about two months. We didn’t talk much, but we were both young and there was a bit of a spark between us. We were awkward and mostly communicated by smiling goofy smiles at each other.

One day my brakes started crying in the squeakiest way. I went to Bobby’s station for help, and between car diagnoses with his boss Norman, Bobby would come to the front where I sat waiting. He’d make small talk, puff on a cigarette, and shuffle back out. About an hour in, he bought me a Coke from the machine in front of the station. Old Norman kept giving me dirty looks and hollering for Bobby. Bobby talked about his job and I talked about mine and we agreed both our bosses sucked.

Bobby had Bo Duke hair, but more tousled and carefree. He looked like he should have been on a surfboard instead of a mechanic’s creeper.

“We should go get a beer sometime,” he finally blurted out.

“We should,” I agreed.

“We’ll figure it out when you know your work schedule next week and I know mine. Tell me next week when you stop by.”

“Sure,” I said casually, but beamed inside.

I couldn’t wait to run out of gas and fairly sped my clunker to the gas station the next Thursday on my way to work. His smile dazzled, despite the smudges of grease across his dimpled face. He leaned into my window. The smile faded and his forehead wore the question mark in his mind.

“I’m on my way to the sitter before work. Have to work a 12 hour stretch. Why do so many people buy new shoes for Easter? This is my daughter. She’s almost a year old,” I spit out and laughed nervously in answer to the question on his face.

He forced a smile and waved a half-hearted finger in her direction. She giggled a reply.

“So, uh, brakes okay?”

“Yep.”

“Need a fill-up?”

“Yes, please.”

He went to work, filled the tank and stayed by the pump. I waited for him to ask me about our tentative beer date.

“Okay, then, take it easy,” he said after taking my money. He looked down at his feet, sighed, then shuffled away, hands shoved in his back coverall pockets.

We never got that beer. I got my gas somewhere else. I understood. Children were not a small consequence. We were a package deal, my daughter and I. I might be lonely as a single parent but my child was worth waiting for someone who wanted to get to know both of us. It would be worth the wait I told myself. And it was. For all three of us.

Where did you write this week?

Question: Do you remember full service gas stations? What’s the cheapest gas price you can remember?