Monday, October 26, 2015

365 True Things: 211/Motivation

Nothing like a great conference to get me up and running. Not just that, but actually committing to a few new things that I hope to incorporate into my days.

I don't have many daily routines. This blog is one.

Um, this blog is one.

Yeah, okay, this blog may be the only one—and the only thing "routine" about it is that I get it done each day before midnight.

And then there's walking the dog, which is more a necessity than a choice. But still: I do do it every afternoon, so okay—I have two daily routines.

But I'm about to insert a few more into my day.

The first is daily writing practice, the lack of which in my life I've been bellyaching about for a while now. Having, however, begun a new essay—and so easily, thanks to the inspiring guidance of Mark Doty—that I'd like to continue to develop, I am well aware of the imperative for continuity. I also appreciate the beauty of community, which I was able to share in so productively this last week.

So: I'm joining a very small circle (of two) writer friends who already have a practice that they refer to as "howling." So called because the timer app they use is called the Howler Timer: when time's up, a wolf howls—it's pretty cheesy, which is what makes it so good.

Doing a "howler" essentially means writing for an hour and a half every day at a set time, 7:30 a.m. HST/10:30 a.m. PDT (the latter soon to become 9:30 a.m. PST—which is better for me, so for perhaps the first time in my life I'm looking forward to daylight savings time ending). We will check in shortly before the appointed time to announce our presence, and again at the end of the writing period, when we'll share what worked, what didn't, what's catching our mind's eye.

For this hour and a half a day I intend to read a poem, then get down to either writing or researching my short story project (working title: Amber Moon), or possibly both. The writing may be development of the essay I just mentioned; responding to a prompt in Brian Kitely's
3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction
and the subsequent 4 A.M. Breakthrough, or some similar aid; freewriting my way into a character or scene; going to a coffeehouse and observing the people and conversations and writing them down; etc. The possibilities, indeed, are endless.

I will jump in with Kim and Sherilyn tomorrow morning.

Second, I want to read a short story every day. I started that new practice today with Karen Bender's "Reunion," the first piece in her new collection, Refund. 

And third, I want to watch a TED talk every day: to learn something new, to cultivate engagement in issues that matter, to get inspiration. I started that today as well, watching Jackson Katz, an anti-sexism educator who does leadership training with the Marine Corps, among other groups, talk about gender violence as a men's issue. Powerful stuff.

That doesn't sound like too much. Though considering I'm going from one thing—wait, no, two—to five, I will need to keep my wits about me. Maybe a checklist on my whiteboard would help. I'll go do that now.

Wish me luck!


  1. And your pack is here to help you!

  2. wow you're on fire--I'm looking forward to reports on how this goes. Who recommended the books?

    1. The Kitely books are Patricia's recommendation (via Priscilla Long). And yes, today, at least, I have checked off all five things--except the blog, which I am now sitting down to do.