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How to Tame Your Subconscious

Beyond willpower: training yourself to perform effortlessly.

Sarah Hoyt


July 27, 2013 - 1:00 pm
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It's not that your subconscious is stupid.  It's that there is so much of it to train.

It’s not that your subconscious is stupid. It’s that there is so much of it to train.

Organizing Your Creative Life in 13 Weeks: Week 4

Prolific science fiction novelist Sarah Hoyt follows up her “Your Novel in 13 Weeks” PJ Lifestyle series with a new weekly experiment each Saturday to figure out the best way for all creative types working from home to better organize their efforts.  

Week Zero, Introduction: Organizing Your Creative Life In 13 Weeks
Week 1/2, Preparation: The Case For Making Lots of Lists
Week One: How to Make Your Mind Like Water
Week Two: What Are the Best Apps For Artists and Writers Desperate To Get Work Done? 
Week Three: The Lone Writer Against The Time Masters


So here is where I am in week four. The Pomodoro Technique and the index cards are working with the Getting Things Done method. For a definition of working: Sometimes the penguin timer rings (where else do you get to read a sentence like that?) and I continue working “just to finish something.” But mostly I try to keep to the 25 minute/5 minute schedule, and take the half hour (and one one hour, where I walk three miles, roughly half way through the day) break every four pomodoros.

How does this work? To an extent very well. I finally finished a novella that has been languishing, unfinished, on my screen, with maybe two sentences written on it a day. This week I wrote seven thousand words. And I’ve proofed stories to put up, which have been printed and piled on my desk for two months. And I’ve done some work on my novel which – assures her publisher – will be ready in August, yes. Overall, I think I cleared more work of the slate this week than at any time before. Or at least more than at any time when I didn’t go to a hotel or take part in a writing challenge or some other incentive to productivity.

Two things remain annoying:

-          One, is that I’m having trouble remembering things that should have been hard-penciled in. Now, part of this might be the transition to the Getting Things Done method of working. I need to remember, when I get a deadline, to edge over to the calendar and write it down. The fact that I just glanced at my wall calendar and it shows April is probably part of the issue. The other part of the issue is my tendency to jump on whatever just came in via email, even if I have a few days on it. This is part of a fear I’ll forget it, which brings me to my next problem.

-          Two I’m still bypassing tasks that should have priority over other tasks. Frankly, I attribute this to the fact I don’t have a functioning corkboard yet, and you can only shuffle index cards so much. The corkboard is half behind a desk and far too small. I might have to install a bigger corkboard there and work around the desk with the cards. Alternatively, I can put it on the side of my bed. Surely my husband will understand, right? After all, he’s a writer himself.

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Whoops I misstated my zinger. Should have said (Only hard to read if you believe that SCOTUS opinions should be comprised of actual reasoning, and not mere platitudes) Can't you edit these comments?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is great in concept, and probably works well for most professions, but I don't know how well this would work for lawyers. Have you ever tried to read a SCOTUS opinion in 25 minutes? Starting to read one and then taking a break is no solution either. I tried to do that, like 3 times, for Lawrence v. Texas, before I gritted my teeth and read all the way through that test of internal fortitude. (Only hard to read if you don't buy into the current paradigm that SCOTUS opinions should be comprised of actual reasoning, and not mere platitudes).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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