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January Recap | February Goals

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Can you believe that January is gone. Just like that 2016 has swept into existence and has already dusted off its first month; although I must admit that it did drag itself in its last few days. Nonetheless, here we are, staring at a 29 day month with anticipation of what is to come – and no, I am not talking about Valentines Day or Leap Year proposals. *Wink wink nudge nudge*

Reading

January was the trial month to see how well I could do with reading a book a week and I must say it has been going exceptionally well. The books are at least 400 pages long so that seems to be my limit; anything that seems a bit longer is intimidating. The books I’ve read in January are:

  • The Well by Catherin Canter (3 out of 5)
  • Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (4 out of 5)
  • Finders Keepers (The Bill Hodges Trilogy) by Stephen King (4 out of 5)
  • Whisper in the Dark by Robert Gregory Browne (5 out of 5)

I am currently reading two books at once right now, Endgame: The calling which I am finding more interesting than Perter James’ Sweetheart but perhaps it’s due to the change of genre and writing style.

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461 Pages – Science Fiction – Dystopian – YA

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335 pages – Thriller – Mystery

Writing

Apart from this past Friday, my writing  has been on track with a short story every Friday (Friday Fiction) and working on a couple of stories and novels here and there when time permits. My goal for the year is to get something published. Short story. Novelette. Anything.

My previous Friday Fiction entries can be found here: Friday Fiction, and this Friday I’m posting a Double Friday Fiction to make up for this past week’s lack of story.

Blogging

I am currently a Guest Blogger on Rachel Poli’s blog  in a four part World Building series which she will be putting up on her blog once a month. You can read that here: World Building – An Intro Into World Building

I will also post updates and such as time permits, such as this one, and anything else that pops up.

February

I will be looking forward to more reading as I am really enjoying delving into a book and losing myself in the fantastical fictional worlds that exist in other people’s minds.

Also, eventually, I look to tackle Cracked Flash Fiction on Saturdays (or until Sunday 9 AM thanks to Time-Zone difference, according to a sneekily reliable birdie – yes I am looking at you Carin Marais).

As usual, I’m still going strong with Gamecca Magazine so I know my writing is always covered.

So here’s to you fellow blogger, reader, writer, a prosperous 2016.

What are your February goals?

The 6 to 6 of everyday life

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The 6 to 6 of everyday life is a necessary evil; a daily trip around Routine and Normality ending mostly in dissatisfaction of the “I didn’t do as much as I thought I would” kind. The grind as some so affectionately call this period of time.

It is only now, when I’m back in the grind that I once again realize how much time I had during the festive season. Late early mornings going to bed at 4am because that one story is trying to get out. Waking up at 10am because my stomach has tenderly called up bae, a.k.a. hunger.

Then we engage the rest of the day in doing all sorts of things including watching that one movie everyone was raging about but hadn’t had the time to watch, the TV Series everyone says “you just have to watch” , the anime that keeps popping up on every second 9GAG post and of course, a game or four on the Xbox or PC. All of these, of course, rounded by writing, reading, digital drawing, researching, studying, online courses and a host of other productive uses of time. 10AM to 4AM is a good long time to be productive.

Now however, those glorious eighteen hours spent doing what I want, when I want, how I want, have been severed by the grind to a measly six hours. But I get paid for that don’t I?

Discipline

What does that mean? Well it just means that for the eleven months that I am working the grind and do not have the luxury of doing what I want when I want, I will have to structure doing those things within the “measly” six hours I have between getting home and sleep. However, looking at it, it’s not as measly as one might think.

The first step is laying out exactly what needs to be done (Important) and what can be set aside for the moment (Not so Important) and structuring the hours accordingly. So for Gamecca magazine I have to write a set number of articles before the deadline so I set aside a large portion of time for that (Important). I’m reading a book a week so I set aside a small chunk of time for that (Semi-Important). I want to learn that particular art style so I set a little bit of time aside for that (Not so Important). And so on for each activity, task or project. These may change depending on importance of course.

The second step is to ensure that you keep to those time limits. Only an hour a day to read, then use every bit of that hour to read. Slacking off means one of the others will suffer and it will be a domino effect at the end of it all. Nothing worse than rushing to get something done due to bad time management and discipline.

Lastly, and this is helpful but not a necessary step, is to have someone hold you accountable for these tasks and projects. For Gamecca it’s easy. I have a wonderful, merciful editor but as I have come to experience, a deadline is a deadline; no two ways about it. For reading I have a pending Book Review looming over my head and the fact that I have books littered everywhere around the house is enough to kick me back into gear. For everything else, it’s really easy to slack off so self-motivation has to drive me and self-motivation is exceptionally easy to talk yourself out of.

In that case, get a friend and challenge each other. Tell yourself you won’t touch your phone until the end of that task and reward yourself with a good perusal of social media (chat to that message that has been beeping for the last hour) or however you think best to reward yourself, as long as it’s worth it in the end.

What’s your 6 to 6 grind?

 

Andrew McDowell

An Author of Many Parts

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