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Musing: Tasty Motivation
Today’s musing happened—on time—because of beer. No, no, I didn’t drink before writing, but a tasty motivation is real. Confused? Let me explain.
I’m a procrastinator. “Why do today what can wait until tomorrow?” has been my motto from an early age.
“Hey, mom, can you take me to the library? I have to do a book report.”
“Sure. I can take you tomorrow after school.”
“I have to go tonight.”
“Tonight? The library closes in 30 minutes.”
“We can make it if we hurry.”
“When is this book report due?”
“And how long have you known about this book report?”
“I don’t know. A few weeks.”
“Why have you waited so late to do it?”
“Because it wasn’t due before.”
My decade-and-a-half working in Corporate America made things worse. With jam-packed calendars, infinite tasks to be done, and unrealistic deadlines, getting everything done was impossible. I prioritized each day with to-do lists and project boards. Prioritized is a polite way of saying I figured out what I would do versus what I would not do on any given day.
Early in my career, I learned the A-B-C method of prioritizing my task list. A signified things that absolutely, positively had to be completed. B indicated things that were important and would probably turn into an A, but if they didn’t happen today, it would be okay. Poor C designated the “some day” items, which in the corporate world mostly became the never-gonna-happen items.
A friend of mine used to jokingly call his prioritization list the What Will Get You Fired method. If not doing something could get him fired, it went to the top of his to-dos. If, however, not doing something wouldn’t affect his employment, it dropped to the bottom of his priorities. Laugh all you want, but he’s had a long and successful career.
Part of why I left the corporate world, of course, was my desire to do what I thought was important rather than always doing what others thought was important. Being with my family is, without a doubt, priority one, and I carve out time each day to focus on that. My second priority is writing.
For the record, writing novels is probably about the worst profession possible for a procrastinator. No one gets up, whips out 80,000 words, and calls it a day. All you can do is put your butt in a chair and write a thousand or two or three words and then repeat the process the next day and the next and the next. Deadlines with editors and publishers always feel a long way down the calendar—or terrifyingly close.
I envy those magical people who write multiple books a year. Some of them write multiple books a month. More power to them. That’s not me. Okay, technically, I have a goal of two novels this year, so I guess that is multiple, but barely. To get that done, I set a series of internal deadlines. Not that anyone notices if I miss.
To keep me honest, though, I also do these Monday Musings. I even called them Monday on purpose since it would be painfully obvious if I published a Monday Musing on Wednesday.
The weird thing, though, is that Monday Musings have to be completed on Sunday. Often, it’s barely still Sunday, but it is the day before Monday. That way, you can read it on Monday.
No matter how many weeks I’ve promised myself to get it done early, it hasn’t happened. Sunday after Sunday, I’ve spent my afternoon—and often evening—finishing the Monday Musing.
And, yet, this week, I’m finishing it on Saturday. What got me to do it early?
A tasty motivation. A neighborhood beer tasting. Scheduled for Sunday evening.
When I saw it appear on the neighborhood schedule, I thought it might be fun. To my surprise, my Ever Patent Partner in Life agreed to go. Not being a beer drinker, EPPIL is probably figuring out how to smuggle a good Cabernet, but agreed to join me because we need to meet more neighbors.
Back when we lived in Maggie Valley, we had one neighbor. At least, of the human variety. The bears, coyotes, bobcats, etc.,—even the horses and cattle—probably didn’t really count. If you included the entire ranch, not just our section, we had a few more, but I freely admit to knowing more horses by name than people. Frankly, I talked to the horses more since I was forever getting them to move so we could drive to and from the house.
In Murrells Inlet, we had an awesome neighborhood—the best people. Any group who celebrates surviving hurricanes with a day-after hot dog cookout gets a huge thumbs up from me. But we only had about 30 houses in the entire neighborhood. We had at least a nodding acquaintance with everybody.
But when we moved to Asheville last spring, we settled into a neighborhood with 600 homes. Only our time in Charlotte was in a neighborhood that big. I’ve seriously lived in smaller towns.
And the last year hasn’t exactly been conducive to getting to know others. Many events have been cancelled because of the pandemic. We’ve met some people, but want to meet more.
So when the beer tasting appeared on the calendar, I saw the opportunity. Meet some neighbors. Taste some great craft beers (one of Asheville’s excellent features).
Absolutely perfect. Except for that Sunday afternoon schedule.
I had to get focused. I had to get my tasks done. With that determination, I’m happy to report my Monday Musing was completed on Saturday.
All it took was beer.
Monday Musing In Your Inbox
Writing the weekly Monday Musing has been fun for me, but I’ve been truly surprised at its growth. Several people have asked about being notified about new musings, so I’ve decided to add a new option—Monday Musing In Your Inbox. If you subscribe, the complete Musing will be emailed to you each week to read at your leisure.
As always, the subscription is totally free, I will never sell or share your email address, I will not flood your inbox with unwanted email, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Note that this is a separate email from the monthly newsletter. You can subscribe to one, the other, or both.
Interesting Links: Typewriters Voice
My frustration with negativity on social media keeps me off of it much of the time, but positive voices do exist and deserve our support. One of those is Typewriters Voice, started by Jainender Jindal in 2017. The posts combine beautiful artwork with inspirational quotes. You can follow on Instagram, Facebook, or many other locations.
Books Read: Billy Summers
I read about 100 novels a year and share the best of those with you.
Billy Summers is a hit man determined to retire after just one more job, though even he recognizes the trope of how the last job always goes wrong.
Vocabulary Word Of The Week: Synecdoche and Metonymy
The terms may not be familiar, but we all use these figures of speech. It’s difficult to talk about one without mentioning the other because they are so easily confused.
Synecdoche (Greek synekdochē or simultaneous meaning) is when a part represents the whole (or vice versa). An all hands meeting, for example, does not mean that meeting is just for a body part, but rather all the people.
Metonymy (Greek metōnymia or among or with word) is the use of the name of something to represent something else. We hear daily on the news, for example, that the White House said while we all know a building doesn’t speak.
Gratuitous Dog Picture
Canines are better than clocks. They know when it’s walk time, meal time, nap time, play time, and bed time. Unfortunately, some aren’t so great at weather delays, so Landon questions why we aren’t out for our morning walk despite the steady rain falling outside.
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