Not only should we “give it up for our writing” as in applaud and cheer, but sometimes we need to make choices about what we're going to give up in order to get more writing done.
What are you willing to spend a little less time on in order to move your writing business another step forward?
I gave up TV 6 days a week for Lent, and wow, has it opened up more relaxing time! In addition to going to bed a little earlier, I also have more personal reading time. And even with that extra sleep and extra reading, I'm finding more time to work on my books.
What is something you could cut back on for awhile, and how could you use that time?
Welcome to Write Now Workshop Podcast, where you can write a book and change the world, I'm your host, Kitty Bucholtz, and this is episode 238, Give It Up For Your Writing, an Encouraging Words episode coming to you on Sunday, March 7th, 2021. You know, there's a saying, let's give it up for… And then often it's something that's said at the beginning of introducing someone who's going to be like the speaker or something.
And what it means is let's all applaud for… And so definitely let's give it up for our writing.
Let's definitely applaud our writing and all the things that we're doing to create stories and books and how-to guides and who knows what you're making right now that will do something to help somebody, to cheer somebody up, to do something that could change somebody's life, who that person changes somebody's life and that person changes somebody's life. And altogether, we are contributing to changing the world in a more positive way. And that's one of the things that I love about writing and one of the things that I absolutely, positively believe that any of us can do.
But another way is looking at the words very specifically, give it up. What are we willing to give up for our writing? And that's what I wanted to talk about today. So we are about halfway through the Lenten season on the Christian calendar. And John and I have given up TV for Lent, so we've given it up six days a week. So no Netflix, no Disney plus, no video games, no just sitting there relaxing because we're super tired and it would be nice to not do anything.
None of that. No, we choose one day either Saturday or Sunday, whichever day. Honestly, we choose whichever day we'll have the most time, though, on this upcoming Saturday to me, yesterday for you if you're listening to this on Sunday, we had our little pod of people come over to watch “WandaVision” all the way through from episode one to nine, because the last episode is airing today.
As I'm making this recording, we're super excited and of course, we can't watch it because we gave up TV. But tomorrow will be our one day and I don't know if we twisted their arm or if they were eager. But our little pod of friends, just two other people who also, like us, are trying to be super careful, not go anywhere, wear masks when we do, that sort of thing, at least until everybody can get vaccinations, right? We are going to make them watch WandaVision.
So I'm very excited. But that being said, some days are definitely harder than others. I've had a couple of days this week where I was just like, please, I just want to sit in front of the TV. We had a very odd and brand new experience for us on Monday right before this episode came out. So it was March 1st.
We woke up at 3:30 in the morning to a bomb going off in our apartment building.
It's totally bizarre to me, but apparently organized crime is very, very good at planting bombs that only do enough damage to break your door and scare the crap out of everybody else in the neighborhood. I don't even think the neighbor, the owner of the shop, I don't even think he lives in this building or anywhere near because he drives to here in a vehicle. So anyway, very annoyed, actually kind of more than annoyed at organized crime and their ability to freak people out into paying them protection money, apparently. Grr. I have all sorts of thoughts on that.
But obviously on that day, my point is I really just wanted to sit in front of the TV and eat chocolate and drink hot chocolate and just be someplace else. But having given up TV for Lent, I could not do that. I did do some reading. Thankfully, I have had a couple of awesome books. I've been reading some Stephen King books that are related. So “If It Bleeds” is the name of the — I'm totally going off on a tangent right now because I'm reading these really great books and I want to share the titles with you.
“If It Bleeds” has four novellas in it and the title novella I didn't realize was related to “The Outsider,” which I didn't realize was related to “Mr. Mercedes,” “Finders Keepers,” and “End of Watch” or something like that.
Anyway, so now there's like all these other books I also have to read about these characters, so I was happy to be finishing that. And then I got some Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher for Christmas. I'm super excited. I finally had time then to start one of those and then I usually read on my Kindle at night so I won't keep John up with lights. So I've been reading a Tessa Dare book, which I was sure I was rereading it, but I'm reading it going I don't think I read this one. I must have bought it and just forgot it. So I have a lot of really happy reading days happening, and one of the great things is, is that because I can't watch TV, I'm not watching TV, so the only thing I can do to relax is read. So I'm actually getting in a lot more reading time, which is nice. And I feel like, like I don't understand why, because I'm very happy to sit in front of the TV and relax that way, but when I can't and I'm doing more reading, it seems like the night actually lasts longer. And I end up with not only more reading time, but a little bit more writing time, which is also nice. Maybe because of the extra reading. My brain is just like working on stories and stuff. And of course, because I'm talking to you about writing, I had to wear my favorite writer's shirt today. So this is it. I'm a writer, what's your superpower?
So here's the thing. Giving up things for writing, even if it's just for a little while, it can change and break habits that maybe we're glad that we're breaking a little bit. Like I don't want to give up TV forever, but giving up something that I enjoy for a few weeks helps me to remember what is really important to me in my life. And so what am I doing to fill that gap?
Well, I'm doing more reading. Oh yeah. I forgot, like not really forgot how much I love this, but forgot how little of it I've had time or made time to do. It helps me to just have a change in perspective. And the idea of keeping in mind the things that are most important to me also helps me to remember that it's worth it to give up a little bit of something that's less important so I can have more of what I love most in my life.
It helps me to remember that it's really easy to slide into habits that I didn't intend. And I don't necessarily mean the TV, but particularly this last year of the pandemic, I do a lot more eating and drinking. I've noticed a ton of people are agreeing and nodding their heads going, yeah, me too. I'm struggling to lose the pounds that I gained. It's not a ton, but still it's annoying and I want to find ways to reverse some of these things.
So if I give up one thing and then it helps me to see other things differently, then maybe during this period and after I'll be able to find some of these other things that I want to change, like I've given up my exercise time to do more work, which that isn't good, not in the long term. So I'm slowly getting back into adding exercise time back into my everyday, not even just a couple of times a week.
And I'm still getting plenty of work done. The TV used to take up some of my reading time. Now I have more reading time, which is great. It's also kind of awful because if I get involved in a really good book because I work at home, it can be very, very difficult for me to be like, well, lunch hour's over and I'll be like, I just had a three hour reading lunch hour. Oops. So, you know, there's pros and cons of that. But just like, letting things take up time that's not, in the end, the way that I wanted to spend my time.
So on the one hand, I did just join Tik Tok and I found an author community there that is super cool as far as I can tell. They're super cool, nice, fun. And you probably know that I like doing videos, so I'm going to get started on there, which I wouldn't have time to even think about if I was, you know, still watching…basically, we just finished season five of Agents of Shield.
So that's a hundred and ten episodes or something. But I love it. So it's hard, you know. Which thing do you love more? Which thing do you want to do more of? But if just during a season, whether it's once a year or once a quarter, you take a little time and you change your habits, you take some of the things out of your life so that you can just give yourself some space, some room to think.
I feel like I've had more room to think, which is awesome. I often feel like I definitely don't have enough time to really sit and think about things. I just feel like it helps us to make sure that we kind of have this, maybe a touchstone possibly would be the right way to say it, this place to just keep coming back to once in a while at some kind of regular interval and going, OK, yep, hold on. I'm going to take some things out of my life so that when I add things back in, I make sure that I'm adding in the things that I most love find most important.
And for me, definitely writing is one of them and also just having time to think about my stories.
So I've actually been dreaming a lot more lately, which I very much enjoyed, except for a couple of nights ago. My entire dream time seemed to be focused on a very scary man from Stephen King's The Outsider, so that was borderline nightmares, but still, I woke up feeling like I just watched a really long horror movie that I was the star of. So I'm just saying that that you may find things happening, that you're like, oh, that's really interesting. And what does that mean and how do I feel about it? So that's me.
I've taken TV out of my life for six weeks and I'm doing some things that I'm enjoying. And I'm sure I will get back into my old habits in many ways. But if I can keep from getting into all of the ones that I didn't want to be quite so mired up in, then I'll have made a little bit of progress.
If in the next year I get totally bogged down in all of these things that I want to do less of but find myself doing more of anyway, then next year, you know, I have the opportunity — or sooner, but Lent just makes it easy because it has a certain day that it starts in a certain day that it ends.
But I can do it again and I can tell myself, OK, remember, you don't need this. It also helps me to keep from getting too attached to things that I think are important, but really might just be anesthesia, especially for me during this pandemic here where we can't go anywhere and we can't see anyone and yeah, there's like no human interaction. I feel like a veal, you know, in a little booth that doesn't get to hang out with the rest of the herd.
And yeah, it just gets me thinking about things differently.
So all of this to say, I hope that all of this, me telling you my experience, gives you some ideas for what might you want to change, give up for a day, maybe like every Monday you don't do X, or every first Friday of the month you don't do X, and you see whether or not things shake out in a little bit different way that you like. You can do it any way you want. That's the best part. But I think that you might find some really interesting and hopefully very positive outcomes.
So those are my encouraging words for today. I hope that it helps you and gives you food for thought for the month. And the next Encouraging Words episode will be the first Sunday of next month. In the meantime, as usual, you will get another episode with a fantastic interview on Thursday. And I hope you have a fantastic week.