Thursday, July 24, 2014

Part 2: Deadly-Effective Ways to Free Up Bits, Drips & Gimungously Vast Swaths of Time for Writing

Part Two of "30 Deadly-Effective Ways to Free Up Bits, Drips & Gimungously Vast Swaths of Time for Writing" which first appeared on C.M. Mayo's blog.  

by C.M. Mayo

9. Stop picking up the telephone. As Marie Antoinette might have put it, Let them send email. If you can, pay for an unlisted number and caller ID and change your telephone number at least every other year. If that little click to voice mail distracts you, why, just unplug it! And, pourquoi pas? Fling it out the window!
10. No recreational shopping. Whew, this one adds up over a season, a year, two years. So never, ever shop in stores or on-line or in fact anywhere anytime without your list. If an item is not on your list, do not buy it. Shopping malls are time- and money-gobbling maws and believe it, the marketers, watching your every move on their cameras, are more sophisticated than you think you are. Not only does recreational shopping squander prime writing time, but it tends to fill up your house with clutter-- a time-suck in itself. Go to a park, a museum, a library, the seashore, a basketball court, have fun and refresh yourself as necessary, but stay way away from the maw. I mean, mall. 

11. Stop accumulating a large and varied wardrobe based on navy, brown and/or beige. And give all that away to Goodwill. If you wear clothing that is black and/or coordinates with black, you'll be able to make fewer shopping trips, pack faster, and do far less laundry and dry cleaning. And since black makes colors "pop," your blue sweater, say, will appear brighter. Yet another advantage: black makes you look slimmer.  (Ha, maybe I was a Jesuit in my last life.)

12. Cancel the manicure. Horrendous time sink there. Plus, the polish is toxic and it flakes.

13. Quit following the stock market on a daily basis. This is a tick-like habit that achieves nothing but a heightened sense of anxiety. On par with spectator sports.

14. Quit playing computer games. On par with drugs. Or any other addiction. Including following the stock market on a daily basis.

15. Quit hanging out on Facebook and Twitter. Of course, these can be useful for keeping in touch and promoting one's books and events, but like Burger King, they're best indulged in rarely and only of dire necessity or unavoidable human frailty. On par with computer games.

16. Ignore spectator sports. 
Do not attend games, do not watch or listen to or otherwise follow games, do not discuss games, and whole weekends for writing will emerge from the sea of froth. 

17. Do not indulge in expensive, time- and space-consuming activities such as, oh, say, collecting and expounding upon various types of fermented grape juice.
Come on, folks, once it goes into a carafe, 99% of your guests won't know the difference between one chablis and the next chardonnay. Pick a reasonable brand and stick with it, white and red. For me, it's Monte Xanic-- or else it goes into the pot for coq au vin.

C.M. Mayo is the author of several books, most recently, Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero and His Secret Book, Spiritist Manual. She is currently at work on a book about Far West Texas, and apropos of that, hosts the Marfa Mondays Podcasting Project at

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