Monday, September 23, 2013

Obeying state laws on mandatory rest and lunch breaks

You know how experts tell you the importance of taking breaks? Ten minutes a pop is enough to refresh the mind, and upon returning to the task at hand one will be ready to approach it with renewed vigor. I’m really not a believer in that theory. I’m more of a “if I get off this six-hour jam I’ll never be able to hop back on the train.” And, because I’m self-employed and a lone practitioner, I’m not worried about the state of California cracking down on me regarding mandatory rest and lunch breaks.

Well, a dog has special needs, such as being taken outside to go to the bathroom. Now, breaks are imposed on me. Meet Libby. She guarantees I’ll be taking breaks. At least every three or four hours, Libby puts her paw gently on my thigh and gives me a knowing look. Then it’s outside for a short stroll. And, when I get back to my desk, I, must admit, I do feel better – refreshed, renewed, and ready to tackle the project at hand with renewed vigor.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Inner Editor - friend or foe?

I love to write. The stereotype of the tortured soul enduring bouts after bouts of writer's block does not apply to me. Oh sure, sometimes a deadline is under my nose, and, yes, I'd rather be at the long lunch a group of don't-get-together-often-enough friends is having. Of course, writer's block has knocked on my door, though, I find procrastination and not enough coffee far greater adversaries. Thankfully, I've pretty much got those licked.

Here's what I have yet to conquer: my inner editor.

My inner editor prevents me from taking full advantage of some my profession's most enjoyable and rewarding work. Take free writing, for example. In free writing, one writes (in longhand usually) for a specified amount of time without stopping, without giving a care to spelling, grammar, punctuation, usage, relevancy, and all the other stuff one is to be 100% cognizant when writing (for an audience, for a living, for a college board, et al). The idea behind free writing is that it primes the pump, helps overcome self-criticism, and sets the writer free. Anything goes, and the idea is to let go of the inner critic and the inner editor.

An inner editor is not to be confused with an inner critic. The inner critic is the inner voice judging, and, most likely, demeaning you. The inner editor is the inner voice that says you forgot to put an apostrophe in the first paragraph of your freewriting piece on "Creating My Perfect Day." But, according to the workshop leader to whom you have paid $325 for four hours of "unlocking the magic pen within," under no circumstances are you to go back an insert the apostrophe in that first paragraph.

So, there you are. Vacillating between putting in the apostrophe and trying to get your $325 worth out of "unlocking the magic pen within." What would you do?

I recommend this book. Love Natalie Goldberg. Love her books. Haven't met her yet. Need to save my money and go to one of her workshops.