Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If I can finish a book of this length in under a week it must be good. The story is gripping and brutal. What I liked most was that the characters are realistic - they are neither black nor white, but shades of grey. This really appealed to me because it kept me guessing at what each character would do. This is a must read for all fantasy fiction fans. J.R.R.Tolkien is the only other author who has come close to engaging me in such a way.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

5 Tips To Work From Home Productively

What I really need right now is a motivational kick up the butt. I have recently started working from home - a dream come true - but I don't feel like I have done much with the extra time. Because I had been working six days a week I took the first two weeks off to rest and catch up on sleep. Two weeks morphed into three before I decided to knuckle down with my writing. After a few days chained to my desk I started procrastinating. I managed to jump back on the writer train, only to fall off again now that I have some kind of cold/sickness that makes my brain all fuzzy.

Phew, I really, REALLY need a motivational kick up the butt. So I am coming up with some tips and tricks that will hopefully help me (and you!) work productively at home.

1) Perhaps the first tip that I always used to employ when I was a student is to take regular breaks. You need to keep your mind fresh. For my own part I try to take a daily walk. This not only keeps you healthy, but it also refreshes you brain.

2) I still get awkward about telling people that I am a full time writer. I guess I feel like a bit of a phoney because of the whole procrastination thing. And yet a friend recently gave me that advice that I need to tell everyone I meet that I am a writer. This puts the pressure on for me to actually write. So that when a random person asks me what I wrote recently I can tell them I just completed a chapter, or a scene, or a paragraph. Rather than blushing and changing the topic.

3) The next thing I would suggest is to set measurable goals and holding yourself to them. I even considered setting up a sticker chart for myself (yes I'm a teacher, guilty as charged!). Once I have achieved a certain number of my goals I can give myself a pat on the back, and maybe an outing to buy some coffee or something. Without measurable goals how will you know you have achieved anything?? We all need to succeed at something to have the motivation to keep going. For example, my measurable goal today was "Write a motivational Blog Post". This was also my goal yesterday, but I put it off and put it off. Now, today, I have written it!

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4) Changing the scene is really important for someone as energetic and curious as myself. Staring at my Paddington Bear wallpaper is good for a while, but I get fidgety after a long stretch. I try to break up my routine by walking down to the local library or cafe at least once a week to complete my writing there. Those are always my best writing sessions.

5) My final tip is actually harder than it sounds. It is important to just write, even if you're not feeling the writing vibe that day. I have lost count of the amount of times, when I worked full time, that I just didn't want to work. But I did, because I had the responsibility to work. Just because I work from home for no wage does not mean I have any less of a responsibility to roll up my sleeves and get on with the daily grind. So, even if it's not the project you are currently working on, even if it's a Blog Post, or a Short Story, or a poem, I would encourage you to daily put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

This is by no means an exhaustive list. And, due to my long history with procrastination, I would LOVE to hear any other tips you might want to give to me. Please, please, please help me stay accountable for my writing!