The Toxic Productivity Trap

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In the midst of the current state of crisis and upheaval, we’re all mostly at home in self-isolation. Or, we should be. And I keep seeing all these ‘ways to stay active and productive’ videos and blog posts.

On the one hand, I do think finding a new routine is essential, particularly for those not used to working from home.

As someone who has worked from home for years, it’s important to keep yourself motivated. And it can be infinitely more difficult when you’re not in an office.

But.

But.

But, I think productivity at times like this can be a dangerous and unhealthy trap.

We put our health to one side. We base too much of our self-worth into what we accomplish. And then, we seem to fall into a cycle of work, work, work, and not much else.

In a global crisis, maybe the best thing we can do is take care of ourselves–and each other.

Maybe the most ‘productive’ thing I can do is read a good book or play one of my favourite video games.

There’s nothing wrong with accomplishing.

Crossing items of your to-do list can become a bit of an addiction. But we shouldn’t be beating ourselves up for relaxing either. Doing nothing can be the healthiest part of your routine.

So, maybe while we’re all busy being productive. We should pencil time into our do to do nothing at all. Relax. Read a book. Binge-watch a new TV show. Something fun.

 

 

Late to the Party.

I’m currently writing Cosplay Killer an MM Cosy Mystery featuring two men who are into video games, music, and musical theatre.

In doing research, I had to brush up on some Broadway stuff. I’m not massively into plays. It’s never been my thing, though I have a lot of friends who are. I knew a little about Hamilton from friends and also because I think Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius of a wordsmith.

So, I found this video of him performing Alexander Hamilton at the White House.

I watched it twenty times. I was mesmerized. History has always been an obsession of mine and I was entranced by his performance.

Now, I’m autistic. I frequently fall down rabbit holes into new obsessions. And I haven’t had a new ‘special interest’ in a good while.

And I certainly didn’t intend to find one while researching a new cosy mystery series.

But there I was, going from one video to quite literally watching every Hamilton thing I could find on Youtube. Now I’ve listened to the soundtrack of the original cast a hundred times at this point.

Christopher Jackson and Lin-Manuel Miranda performing One Last Time are particularly brilliant.

The things I do for book research.

 

 

 

I love my publisher.

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I do.

Genuinely.

I’ve worked with Hot Tree Publishing (and now Tangled Tree Publishing) for several years. I adore them. They’ve taken good care of me.

And then some days, I want to drop kick them across the ocean.

Kidding, mostly.

We announced my upcoming release a week or so ago.  Primrose Poison. The first in a new cosy mystery series–The Motts Cold Case Mystery Series.

As we were discussing the ongoing series, we realized the first book stood out amongst the titles. While I haven’t written anything but the first, I know what the titles will be. And they were a bit jarring when you lined up the titles with cover ideas.

So we had two options, first, change all the other books.  That would seem to be the better option. Except it wasn’t.

The other option was to change Primrose Poison to Poisoned Primrose.

Have you ever debated something so much you completely lose interest in the subject?

That was me.

The good news is…I still love my publisher. I love the cover (I can’t wait for everyone to see it.) And the titles are all aesthetically pleasing when side by side.

Crisis averted.

(Love you, Becky.)

 

 

Writer Problems.

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Author Problems — and how not to solve them.

Problem:  Your spouse/partner comes into the room to talk about absolute nothing for ten minutes during your writing sprints

Solution: Since smothering them is frowned on–try for a ‘don’t talk to me for an hour’ rule while you’re writing.

It never works for me. But it might for you.

~

Problem: Getting distracted by the internet.

Solution: Let me know if  you find one.

~

Problem: Seeing other people’s daily word counts.

Solution: Remind yourself everyone writes at a different speed–and you’ll get there. If it really bugs you, try muting them on social media until you hit your goal.

~

Problem: OMG. I got a bad review.

Solution: Step away from your computer. Do not respond. Do not engage. Remind yourself that every single author out there has gotten a bad review. You’re in good company.

And eat a bowl of ice cream.

 

What do I do when I’m not writing?

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Do you have hobbies?
It’s one of the questions authors get asked. What do you do when you’re not writing? And sometimes it’s a hard one to answer.
Writing, technically, started as my hobby.
I’ve turned one of my hobbies into my passion and career.
The boring answer is my hobbies are mostly writing, reading, and playing video games. I’m the perfect combination of Gen X and Gen Z. =)
But, I’m also autistic, and I have a tendency to throw myself headlong into trying new hobbies.
When I was younger and not really aware of this habit, I used to buy EVERYTHING required to try a new hobby. And frequently, I’d wind up abandoning it after a few months.
A lot of autistics I know struggle with this as well.
We go all into an interest/hobby. And when we’re done, we’re 100% finished. No looking back at all.
So, what have I tried and abandoned?
Making soap: The fragrance stared making me sneeze.
Knitting: The yarn bothered my fingers. Damned hyper-sensitivity.
Chainmail: Fun, but my fingers also began to struggle with it.
Painting: I can’t even draw a straight line. I don’t know what I was thinking. Seriously.
Scrapbooking: Just. No.
 
What about hobbies that have stuck around?
Photography: I adore photography. I really want in 2020 to get back into doing macro photography. Maybe I’ll do one of those 365 challenges again.
Video Games: It counts.
Reading: Lifelong hobby that I’ll never give up.
Planning: A more useful version of scrap-booking, in my humble opinion.
 
What about you?
Do you have any hobbies?
 

Fear is the mind killer.

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Fear can talk you out of doing just about anything. Fear is a lying bastard. It plays on any insecurity and anxiety that you might have.

I distinctly remember publishing my very first novel, Ivy. I also remember getting a copy for myself because I was suddenly hit with the fear no one would buy it. And I wanted at least one sale.

Fear almost kept me from putting it out. Ivy was my first NaNoWriMo success several years ago. I didn’t think I could finish a novel. But I kept telling myself to stop doubting. I could do it.

Fear does that. It paralyzes you into not trying. If I don’t try, I can’t fail.

And it’s all a mental game.

I think in so many aspects of my life. Combating fear has often been the hardest part. I have definitely talked myself out of even attempting things.

It’s something I want to do better at in 2020.

How about you?

What am I binge watching this month? Part Deux

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I thought I’d share the shows I’m currently enjoying on TV, Netflix or Amazon Prime. They’re in no particular order.

  1. Rosemary & Thyme
  2. This Farming Life
  3. Cold Case Files
  4. Father Brown
  5. Million Pound Menu
  6. Nailed It! Holiday
  7. Murder Maps
  8. Queer Eye
  9. Broken
  10. First and Last

What about you? What are you binge watching this week/month? Do you binge watch at all?