Do The Thing! Moving Edition

Do the thingRacheline and I have a project due on Wednesday. We have another major deadline Sunday — which is also the day Racheline is leaving for South Africa for two weeks for her day job. On Saturday, my partner and I are moving to a new apartment on the other side of the city. All of this is super awesome life-stuff, but it doesn’t really particularly leave a lot of time for things like sleep.

Help pls

The current state of my living room.

Some days (or weeks, or months, or years) the hardest thing about Doing The Thing! is not The Thing or any of its component parts, but everything else. Resources — time, money, emotions, and sleep — are limited, while the Things to Do are infinite.

What’s your biggest logistical obstacle to Doing The Thing? How do you do you balance the demands of all of your Things?

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19 Responses to Do The Thing! Moving Edition

  1. Starbucks is my secret weapon right now. I already keep weird hours, and have a writing space in my corner of our five-person, two-dog flat, but sometimes I have to get out. Those sometimes are usually Saturday and Sunday mornings. I just show up right around when they open (5 on Sat, 6 on Sun) and work until I’m tapped out or hungry for something that’s no freeze-dried fruit or potato chips.

    Plus, you know, I get free refills through their loyalty program now. That’s kind of amazing.

    The resource I have trouble with right now, though, is fear. I’m an anxiety guy (as part of a larger machine of mental health challenges), and procrastination is a fear behavior for me that snowballs. If I leave a thing undone, it’s like fighting a giant robot to return to it. Friend/co-writer or editor support means a lot in those moments, especially if I am likely to be forgiven when I break down.

    • RM says:

      You can always freak the fuck out to me. I’m like, yup, it’s the freak out time. I do a lot of fear too. I try to treat it like lucid dreaming — if you let the monster catch you, you wake up. If you just do the thing you’ve been avoiding, it will stop haunting your terror. I dunno though, I was a kid in the 70s and 80s, so I grew up with “run towards ground zero!” as a coping strategy.

      • Yeah, I know intellectually that it’s like dentistry: not fun, but usually not fatal. But man, I am wily with the distractions, numbing behaviors, and justification when I get going.

        I like this lucid dreaming idea. I may play with it.

    • erincmcrae says:

      I do the procrastination/fear thing, too, and god bless any and everyone who puts up with me when I’m in the bad place. I’ve been trying (trying!) to act on the knowledge that doing the damn unpleasant thing is actually less unpleasant than putting it off and dreading it.

      I also do guilt like WHOA, and if I put off a thing not only do I have the fear I have the terrible sense that I have transgressed and need to punish myself (I was raised Catholic, can you tell?) Which is not good, and keeps me down in the fear place longer. What I do to get out of that is remind myself (over and over and over again) that all anyone wants is just for me to do the damn thing, and beating myself up over shit is inefficient and counterproductive.

      Also, coffee is god.

      • I have to be careful with coffee. I’ll go from zero to caffeine intoxication pretty fast because given coffee, I will drink All The Coffee until I can feel my hair growing.

        Those can be very productive weekends if I manage to steer myself adequately. Unfortunately, it’s also a bit like hard drugs for me in that the crash can be significant, and I will get into a cycle where I want that Best Weekend all over again, but have to drink a lot of coffee just to get back to Good.

        Strong black tea and I have made friends. Red Bull in a pinch.

  2. I’ve just been in Paris, while reading a book about the life of the impressionist painters. And realizing that Toulouse-Lautrec managed to be an over productive asshole while spending all his time drunk, drugged and living in a brothel, made me realize that I can manage to do boring daily things and The Thing, being sober and sleeping just the right amount.
    Usually what always blocked me doing The Thing was the feeling of banality of having a day full of things. But I realized that the only way to fight the banality is ACTUALLY DOING THE THING. DOING THE THING makes life bearable.

    • RM says:

      It’s like fighting the Nothing in The Never Ending Story!

    • erincmcrae says:

      Doing The Thing is fucking amazing. And a lot of days is the thing that gets me out of bed and doing all the things I need to do (Day job, grocery shopping, laundry), in order to be able to Do The Thing! (Boredom, it is my enemy)

  3. Anonymous says:

    It shocked me when I first read you saying “If you can write 250/300 words a day per an entire year, you still get a novel done by the end of it”. I’m willing to give it a try, but besides the work/time it takes, what bothers me most is the fear/anxiety that it won’t be “good enough”, that it would be plain, boring, etc. How can I fight that kind of feelings?

    • RM says:

      I would say it’s not up to you to decide. You can only decide if the process and the experience and the story is enjoyable for you. If it is, then there’s probably other people it’s interesting to as well. All you can worry about in the first draft is your own entertainment. After that, read what you’ve done, see what it’s about, figure out what to change to make it more effective, and then start redrafting.

      We’re on final edits of a manuscript about to go out to first readers now, and we’ve cut a good 5,000 words in places because we were boring or repeated ourselves or were unclear. It’s happens. It’s fine. After you write 250 words a day for a year and get to the end, put it in a drawer for two weeks, do something nice for yourself, and then reread it with a red pen and get excited that you have a story in your hands, and now the only thing you have to do is make it even better.

    • erincmcrae says:

      There’s the mantra that “the only thing a first draft needs to do is exist.” Doesn’t have to be pretty. (And anyone who tells you their first drafts are perfect, is lying to you or themselves.)

      Stories grow in the telling. You will find FASCINATING stuff come out of your story that you never expected to find. Basically, if you write, and work, interesting things will happen — all you have to do is enjoy the process.

  4. RM says:

    Hi Team Do the Thing! We just got this comment in last week’s post, and I wanted to move it up here, so people would see it, as I suspect some of you will have awesome contributions to this on.

    Here’s the text:

    Submitted on 2014/04/28 at 6:54 pm

    I’m trying to date for the first time in my life which means trying to figure out my sexuality. I’ve never been intimate with anyone and I’m not in my twenties anymore which is when it seemed like everyone had blanket acceptance to be confused and I’m terrified of the entire process. Any advice?

    • Being scared is okay. Dating means vulnerability. You’re putting yourself out there.

      “It’s complicated” is an acceptable answer. So is “I’m trying things out.” Not everyone will agree that this is okay, but that’s a pretty good way to screen out people you don’t want.

      Be as much yourself as you can. It’s tempting to be someone else to make other people interested, but that just means you’ve got interested persons who want something you’re not, and that’s exhausting.

      Don’t just take something if you don’t really want it. Singledom is better.

    • RM says:

      Everyone is always terrified, so you’ve got that going for you. And you know, every date with anyone new (and sometimes not new) is a lot of internal “Am I into this person? How am I into this person? Do I want to do anything about it?” and that process is going to be the same for you, whether you’re clear on how you define your sexuality yet or not. I agree with Christian though — you have a great filter at hand for what you don’t want to deal with.

    • Anton says:

      I just want to say it is totally okay to try something/someone and find yourself going “Yeah I thought I wanted to do this but now that I am I really don’t like/want it.”

      I’m about to turn 34 and I’m still trying to unravel parts of my sexuality. Internet high fives of encouragement.

    • Anonymous says:

      Though I can’t offer any advice on sexuality (I am in my mid twenties, never even held hands with anyone and not pursuing a romantic relationship at the moment), I am however going through a similar thing with intimate platonic relationships which might translate to your situation.

      Don’t be afraid to disclose the fact that you are new at this. I’ve found that saying something along the lines of “Hey, I’m sorry if I’m a bit awkward. I’m not very used to meeting new people but I’m working on it.” helps me feel more comfortable with the interaction and in consequences makes me less awkward. Being honest with the other person about my issues with interpersonal relationships (without being inappropriate and freaking them out by over-sharing) also diminishes the chances of the other person misinterpreting any “odd” behavior from my part. Things that without knowing I’m not used to this might come across as mixed signals or disinterest.
      It’s also a good way to weed through people who are not worth it. If they are a jerk about your inexperience you can move on to someone else and not waste your time.

  5. verity says:

    I know this isn’t necessarily helpful w/ unpredictable schedules dictated by Life and Job, but for me the great weapon in Getting Stuff Done is routine. I wake up at the same time every day, get up, go write at the same cafe or Starbucks if the cafe is full or work (also a cafe), all of which are within a 1-3 minute walk of each other. On days I work, I then go to work. At night, I deal with email and tumblr and stuff. On my weekday day or days off, I deal with Grownup Minutia. Robot Life is the only way I’ve found to successful manage Getting Stuff Done and my particular mental health/physical disability cornucopia.
    Which is all to say, I have no exciting secret answer to this stuff, nor one that I think is necessarily applicable to coping with all the obstacles that I know Rach, at least, has to cope with! but I’m all about the daily grind. The daily chai. The daily words that I might or might not chuck at the end, but at least they’re words.
    (Like, somebody’s gotta write the het knotting. I’m just saying. I’m still fucking pissed off about that ebook that I paid $2.99 for. FALSE ADVERTISING.)

    • RM says:

      I want Robot Life to be an answer. I think it could be, but only if I had both different input variables and a clock announcing the “this is when we….” time.

    • erincmcrae says:

      I just have to say, that ebook thing will never cease to amuse me.

      I am such a creature of schedule/routine, which is one of the reasons my day job works for me — it’s predictable. What’s been a challenge is living with someone who thinks spontaneity is THE BEST and that days shouldn’t start before noon (I am such a morning person. Like I get up at 8 on weekends voluntarily). So we’ve learned to do the whole negotiation/compromise/I will wait to go anywhere til 2pm on Saturday if you tell me Friday night where you want to go thing (Working the timezones: Not just for creative partnerships!) If I don’t know what’s coming I fall right off the rails, but if things are on the calendar I can deal with pretty much anything.

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