Friday, April 26, 2013

Future Mind-Set

In the grand scheme of procrastination, I've begun focusing a lot more on life after the Dreaded Exams.This has meant that I think a lot about how to live my life, how to make money, when to do things, etc. This has largely taken form in two things:

1. A Timetable

Admitting to myself that the odds of full-time employment are not necessarily high in the foreseeable future, I've drawn up a timetable for myself. It's divided quite simply into: morning, mid-morning, noon, afternoon, late afternoon, evening and night, with the acceptance that in setting particular times to do particular things I was leaving out a meal per day, and all the household tasks that are necessary for living.

To this timetable, which includes my standard weekend hours at the bookshop, my cinema trip each week, New Comic Book Day's requisite to get into the City Centre every week, blogging on a daily basis (which I have found to be a worthy uptake) and responding to particular emails and duties as they come along, I have added generic tasks. These, being more relevant with particular projects than to the foreseeable future as a whole, are put down as: Non-Fiction, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Poetry and Script. It's not equal, but the timetable doesn't include anything like cover design, keeping up with social media, reading, or the making of book trailers.

I couldn't just remove an hour of work in a particular area for the sake of another task that would occur on an irregular basis and take an unforeseen amount of time, so I've opted to merely designate chunks of the day to the different media of writing.

This is then matched with the second object of focusing on the future:

2. A Daily Review

This requires that I ask myself certain questions (Is the timetable working? Did I do X, Y and Z?) that focus on achieving long-term goals. These long term goals are specified on the same sheet, so I can't just ignore them. They also help in the setting of the next day's tasks.

Setting tasks for the next day will then provide the actual list of things I need to write during the day. This could mean writing a particular novel, working on a task sheet from the New Year, writing haiku on a particular topic, or writing a flash story about a particular myth (because that's my thing.)


Because life is scary and uncertain and I've been living on a timetable for most of my life. Because I need some sort of structure, and I need to continually remind myself to do something worthwhile every day, or I'll fall into the habit of arsing around the house until it gets to the point where my parents would feel guilty about wanting to kick me out, but really needing me to stop living at home for my own good. Let's face it, if I'm not working (at all), I'm not doing anything to change that.

At least by writing (and publishing), I can work towards actually earning something. Not much, but something. A pittance is better than nothing, anyway.

Plus, I need to remind myself to write across a number of different projects, and not just focus on one. I can easily set it up that I don't exhaust myself with writing every day. My tasks will be written the night before, so I'll know how much time I have to do something. I'm not going to say "Write 5000 words of this novel...3000 words of that Non-Fiction book and... yeah, let's add twenty pages of a script." No. That's insane. That's asking for trouble.

While I have written what I believe is the equivalent of that before, in a single day, I don't think it's worth attempting too often. It's exhausting, and I plan on this being suitable for a long-term arrangement, if need be. That means making sure I don't pass out from tiredness after a week of doing it, and keeping my work varied and interesting. Otherwise, I won't actually enjoy it.

I've set it up so that I should enjoy it, though. I should also find some degree of success (i.e. to the degree I've set with my goals) from it, if I keep it up. I don't see it as a bad thing to have a back-up in place in case I really am virtually unemployed. It's not just a fail-safe, but an option to live according to certain standards.

Plus, given the amount of time I'll need to spend at home to do all of this work, I'm less likely to spend money on lunches out (alone...), just because I happen to be out. I'm less likely to spend money I don't really have, because I won't be able to, easily. That is a fail-safe.

I think I can manage this lifestyle. I think having an idea of what to do if there's "nothing to be done" is going to help when the exams finish. It'll be an emotional enough time without having to add despair to the list of emotions I'm experiencing.

So... this is it. Coming to the end of those student days. Coming to the end of when they're fun, too. I have one more week off before exams, and a lot of it will be spent studying. Fun, right? At least it shouldn't be so bad afterwards. In fact, I think things will actually work out well. I'm not dreading June and what it stands for anymore. Funny, that.

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