Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Part Four of "30 Deadly-Effective Ways to Free Up Bits, Drips & Gimungously Vast Swaths of Time for Writing"

Part Four 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

26. Use a "bucket" for all your to do lists and ideas. In other words, quit trying to keep everything from next week's dentist appointment to the ideas for a holiday party in your head. I use David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) system and thereby free up great jazzy swaths of short term memory for more creative work. (One day I may set up a little altar in a corner of my office to St. Allen.) For me, a Filofax is an indispensable tool for implementing GTD.
>Listen to this podcast of November 6, 2013 about the GDT method for creative people. (I couldn't find the direct link; you may need to scroll down for it once you land on that page.)

27. Keep your closet decluttered and organized. Clutter not only makes it difficult to find things when you need them, it pulls and yanks and pinches your attention to decisions you haven't made (like, when and how to get rid of that mustard-colored shirt that doesn't fit / has two missing buttons?) So you're rushed and addled, right at the start of the day. It all adds up over a week, a month...

28. Fie to piles. Piles are sinkholes of chaos and, to pile on another mongrel of a metaphor, they tend to sprout and ooze all over the place like fungi. (Yeah, did that need an editor.) Any time you need to do anything important, pay taxes, file a claim, send out a manuscript, if you have to paw and dig through piles to find what you need you will add possibly hours, possibly days, possibly weeks or even months to the process-- not to mention a walloping dollop of time-sucking anxiety. So get a filing cabinet, even if it has to be a cardboard box, and make proper, labeled files, and dagnabbit, file things.

29. Let go of things you won't use but someone else might. This might sound strange as a source of time for writing, but think about it: any clutter, anywhere, becomes a drag on your time and attention. So all those old winter coats, faded towels, mismatched dishes, clothes than haven't fit for 10 years, overflows of flower vases, toys… For heavenssakes, sell that stuff, gift it, and/or make regular runs to Goodwill or the like. (But remember, trying to sell it will take up your time.) As my favorite estate lady 
Julie Hall puts it, "the hearse doesn't have a trailer hitch." 

And last but far from least:

30. Remember to bring your pen and notebook. Always, except in, say, a swimming pool, keep these on your person; you never know when the muse may whisper. What I'm saying is, some of the most valuable writing time arrives in snatches-- while you're standing in the dog park, about to get out of the car, riding an elevator, etc. In other words, you might not have been planning to write, but write you do because write you can.

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


judy said...

Very creative idea list. I wonder if you know how much time these ideas have freed up for writing (assuming you follow your own advice.)

C.M. Mayo said...

Hi Judy, Glad you found it of interest. No, I have not tallied up the exact amounts of time I've saved-- I'd rather be writing! Your average TV show runs, what, an hour? A Saturday afternoon shopping mall excursion, say, 3 hours? Even the roughest calculations turn up some big chunks. And yes, I do follow my own advice. Mostly. (Though I am working on a couple of piles..)