nanowrimo ’12

I have decided to enter NaNoWriMo this year. I’ve never done it before and I am approaching it with a not insignificant amount of trepidation. I’ve got some characters and a vague outline of a plot but I’m having trouble working out some crucial plot details.

Other life things: my brother has returned home, getting wisdom teeth out is actually really painful, and I dip-dyed my hair purple.

Last night we went to Cottesloe beach for dinner and it was beautiful:

do what you are doing.

It seems somewhat tautological but really it’s a piece of advice I need reminding of every 6 months or so.

If you spend your work hours compulsively checking your email or your relaxation time compulsively checking your code then you’re probably not getting the best out of either. It’s hard to think that you’ve had a successful day of work if you’ve read 20 news articles. It’s hard to think that you’ve really had a weekend if you’ve checked your computer program every half hour.

Sometimes I’m good at sticking to this advice and, of course, other times I’m not. Every now and then I need to stop myself and make up some arbitrary rules in order to get back in the habit of doing what I’m doing (I’ve checked email and tumblr while writing this up so I must be going through a bad phase.)

Here are some various rules I use to focus on doing work at work:

– The Pomodoro Technique (work for 25 minutes in every half hour)

– Turn off your internet (often impractical for me)

– Don’t check any media (incl. email), or leave your seat (at all!) for the first 2 work hours of your day

– Set mini goals with time limits

And, just as importantly in my opinion, focus on not doing work at home:

– Don’t bring any maths books or papers (or whatever you do) home

– Turn off your computer (if you use it for work)

– Go outside

РChoose to do something or nothing rather than being absentmindedly online doing neither (hence this blogpost)

I think the main “problem” is that life has natural pauses. I’m waiting for code to run, I don’t know what to write next, my maths got a bit too hard, whatever. When there are natural pauses we should stop and evaluate what we use those pauses to do. Before you stand up, before you change tabs or windows, work out whether you really need to. All the techniques I mentioned are really just ritualistic ways of forcing us not to do whatever we normally do during a pause.

Does anyone else have any good focusing methods?

PS: The photos are from Austria.

promises we can’t keep

I know I promised words but I don’t really have any. It turns out getting back into life after a break is hard. And once you’ve got yourself back into the swing of things the magically fascinating thoughts you wanted to write have become trivial. So news it is then.

– I submitted my story to a real, live publisher. That’s pretty exciting. I hear it’s something you have to do a lot of times if you want to get a book published.

– I’ve been writing the next book. It’s kind of fun but I’m having trouble concentrating on it what with all the other life things going on.

– One of my brothers is visiting at the moment. It’s nice but I’m ill and that seems somewhat unfair. I’m hoping I don’t make him ill and ruin his holiday…

And, here’s some philosophy from the art gallery that was once the Berlin Wall:

I’m home now.

I’ve got a lot of thoughts about a bunch of different things so you can expect some wordy posts to be coming up soon. But while I try to wrap my thoughts into sentences, let me just say:


I’m also called aivlysann on instagram for those of you who are interested in such things.

I’ve had a wonderful six weeks and I’m glad to be at home.