I'm not here to diet.

An everyday system, TM, is a simple, commonsense solution to an everyday problem, grounded by a pun or metaphor. Propose/discuss new systems here.
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Mika_Onida
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:22 pm
Location: London, Ontario

I'm not here to diet.

Post by Mika_Onida » Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:35 am

Every where it I look in these boards people are talking about NoS and ShovelGlove. It's awesome and I'm glad they've found something that works for them but is there anyone here who's like me?

I'm content with my weight and my eating patterns are still evolving but I have the moderation bit down already so NoS would just be restrictions on a system that isn't broken.

I walk because I have no drivers licence. I walk most places in the summer and take the bus more often in the winter to avoid frostbite but still walk if it's not bitter and icy.

Basically I'm here to become more organized in my goal setting and implementation and I'm just curious if there's people on this board like me

andrewemond
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:43 pm

Post by andrewemond » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:24 pm

This was meant to be a quick response about how I use Everyday Systems for habits other than No S Diet or Shovelglovel, and it turned into a lengthy, somewhat self-absorbed rant. I apologize if this isn't relevant to you, but here's the message: it's easy to adopt and tailor these ideas to your own systems. Here's how I've done it with some short-term success; jury is out on the long-term, but I'm pretty confident.

Here I go...

While I do use the 14 minute rule for my exercise routine, I don't use Shovelglove - I teach Karate and have created a more specialized routine with hand weights approximating a strength/aerobic Karate workout. I've also used the core concepts espoused on the forums here, along with other systems, for developing personalized habits.

At the moment, I'm juggling between 3 habits. None of them dietary, 1 of them a mod of Shovelglove, and 2 of them are habits for maintaining a steady writing output.

My own systems (subject to change) -

Book Thief: I've read of several writers (Hunter S. Thompson comes to mind) copying entire novels longhand of admired works, to digest the author's writing style and their literary techniques. I think HST copied The Great Gatsby around the time he wrote The Rum Diaries, early in his career.

It's an interesting exercise and one way to get closer to the text. I personally set aside 5 minutes out of my day to copy from a favorite book, longhand. I've done this now for about 2 months, with only one or two failed days, and no S days. I'll probably up it to 10 minutes soon, and use it as my warmup before writing. I enjoy it as a meditative practice also.

Why 5 minutes? Something so small it would be ridiculous not to complete. It's worked, so far, pretty well.

Brick by Brick: this is my solution to a problem I have with completing writing projects, perfectionism, and a tendency to self-edit. The unit of measure? One sentence a day. I don't measure in word count since writing is ultimately the pursuit of complete thoughts and I'd find it jarring to stop midway through a sentence because I maxed out on my daily word quota...and then having to remember the next day what exactly I was writing seems arduous and annoying.

This method fulfills my perfectionist needs by allowing me to write a sentence in the morning and then to sit on it for the rest of the day, toying and rewording it until I'm happy. Sort of a slow cooking approach for the writer. There is a stipulation though, and that is once the calendar day is up I can't go back and rework the sentence until the first draft is finished.

The plan is for every month I successfully complete, I add a sentence to the allotted amount. So, given everything is going well, by the second month I'm writing 2 sentences a day; by the third month, 3 sentences a day; by the fourth month, 4 sentences a day...ad infinitum. Or until the system breaks, and then you have an idea of how much you can write everyday, consistently.

After doing some research - and I use that word lightly since my research method consists of reading the first two links of a Google search and then giving up (hey, at least I don't use AltaVista) - I've concluded the average word length of an English sentence is 15 words...I suspect my sentences might run longer.

For those afraid of the relatively small output, consider this: at a pace of writing only 4 sentences a day at roughly 15 words on average per sentence, you'll have enough for a short story every 2 months. A book every 3 - 4 years at only 6 sentences a day.

End of description.

Lastly, I think it's important when selecting an appropriate daily dose for any habit is the feeling you could do a lot more if you wanted. By never burning out in the short-term, you make it really hard to burn out in the long-term.

Mika_Onida
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:22 pm
Location: London, Ontario

Post by Mika_Onida » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:08 pm

Thanks for your input. :D

I currently have a personal goal of two short stories, flash fic, or chapters of a longer story per month. (so far 350-3500 words each, averaging 1566 each over 12 stories/chapters) The idea of splitting up the writing into daily chunks interests me. Do you do a point form plot map before writing or just write a sentence(or more) a day and see what happens?

I am considering adding a daily fitness activity of some sort to increase my strength and flexibility. I just found the 14-minutes-of-anything podcast and this seems more my speed. 14 minutes of dancing to some music, 14 minutes of jumping jacks and walking up an down the stairs, 14 minutes of yoga or tai chi, these are things that seem a lot more relevant to my overall fitness level. (I get enough of shovelling in the garden. :wink: )

Thanks for your reply... I was starting to think I was the only one here who wasn't doing NoS. :)

andrewemond
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:43 pm

Post by andrewemond » Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:16 pm

Hi Mika. How weird that you're a writer too. Always fun to bounce ideas off other people, so this is welcome. I think you're goals are good. My sentiment is it's better to have modest, teetering on underwhelming goals, than to burden yourself with unrealistic ones. Especially in the beginning.

Personally, I want to refrain from giving too much advice on my habits since they are new and somewhat untested. At the moment, I'm not doing any planning/outlining which flies in the face of what I normally do. I tend to like structure and order and write mostly mystery/crime fiction, a genre that often requires meticulous plotting. When I do outline, I've stolen the model described by Syd Field for screenplays - 3 acts: beginning, middle, and end...fairly obvious, with two plot points at the end of Act I and Act II. Even though I'm not writing a screenplay, I think this narrative structure is ubiquitous.

Interesting side note: I've found that since writing only a sentence a day, the slower writing process allows me to plot the story out in my head. I've already decided on the next 3 or 4 sentences (ahead of the current one) and major narrative milestones, and because I'm intentionally taking my time, I suspect my subconscious is behind most of it. It seems every time I sit down to write my sentence, I have more of the story worked out. I think whenever you give birth to an idea, there are certain processes in your mind/imagination, hammering away, far off in the recesses. If you are constantly working in the now, writing large amounts all at once, you choke these processes and don't allow your creativity to gestate. What's also nice is I'm never struggling to write or force myself to develop story. In fact, I'm chomping at the bit to write more. A good sign, in my opinion. But it's still premature to tell. Will keep you posted.

As for the 14 minutes of any exercise. I think that's a great idea. In the beginning phase it's probably more important to just establish the routine of daily exercise, than the exercise itself.

Mika_Onida
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:22 pm
Location: London, Ontario

Post by Mika_Onida » Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:14 pm

I'm more of a ... I don't really know what it's called but I spew words on the page in one big blarg.

Whether it's just a scene over the course of an hour or a whole story in the course of a weekend. It seems that a steady work flow would benefit me because this feast and famine model creates a bit of stress.

andrewemond
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:43 pm

Post by andrewemond » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:00 pm

Let me know how it goes. What kind of fiction?

Mika_Onida
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:22 pm
Location: London, Ontario

Post by Mika_Onida » Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:32 am

:oops: Naughty fiction....

Sooooo I'm not really going to share but I will let you know how the daily thing goes. I'm going to start next week.

andrewemond
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:43 pm

Post by andrewemond » Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:14 pm

Oh la la. Often that's the best kind. You gotta walk a bit on the wild side.

Cheers!

Mika_Onida
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:22 pm
Location: London, Ontario

Post by Mika_Onida » Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:27 pm

Didn't work. I blurted out a story today. (868 words) Maybe in January when I'm going to have a more steady schedule. I think my problem might be worrying that if I go slow something will happen and I won't finish it.

andrewemond
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:43 pm

Post by andrewemond » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:38 pm

Well, I think the point of all this is to get you writing, so if you seem to have a method that works for you I'd stick with it. My own system addresses specific problems I have, so it makes sense for me to maintain. Do whatever works best, don't force anything.
Last edited by andrewemond on Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mika_Onida
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:22 pm
Location: London, Ontario

Post by Mika_Onida » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:40 pm

The voice of common sense... :)

The reason I was thinking of changing is that I tend to stress that I won't have time to get it done.... Then I meet the goal in week 3 and slack til next month. I don't want to raise my goal but I can't seem to shake the early (and end of month) procrastination.

andrewemond
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:43 pm

Post by andrewemond » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:00 pm

Here's an idea and one I briefly toyed with until I reasoned it didn't work with my way of doing things, but might be more suitable for you: raise your daily minimum output to something nominal, but allow for your binge sessions. Find an amount of writing you can realistically complete on your busiest day, and make that your bare minimum. Measure with whatever unit makes most sense: word count, number of sentences, or maybe time - for instance, 5 minutes of writing - but make it consistent.

This way you're writing on days you normally wouldn't (i.e., you have a packed schedule, or you're ill, or you're in a bad mood - you get the idea), and on days you feel incredibly expressive and creative, you aren't hemmed in by a stupid rule. Win, win.

Mika_Onida
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:22 pm
Location: London, Ontario

Post by Mika_Onida » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:04 pm

:idea: Andrew you may have just found the cure. :)

I'm starting a day planner in January and since the holidays are going to be a mess I'll start this then. (There's a lot of "daily" stuff I'm starting in January including training for my new job)

Thanks for your help.

andrewemond
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:43 pm

Post by andrewemond » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:19 pm

Great! I hope so. For me binge sessions don't work because every day would turn into a binge session...I become obsessive about writing and wording and grammatical structure and it prevents me from moving forward and completing stories. Inevitably I burn out and give up, hence why in addition to having a bottom/basement, I also have a ceiling. But for you, it sounds as though you don't have this problem. Let me know how this works out.

I was thinking of implementing this strategy to reading. Have a minimum daily quota, but also allow myself to go on long reading tangents. This way I don't stagnate with my reading. I tend to read a lot, and then have dry periods.

I am also of the belief to not pile on too much all at once, so I take things in stride and really abide by the one new habit a month rule, or one new mod a month rule. Slowly but surely is usually the better approach.

Mika_Onida
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:22 pm
Location: London, Ontario

Post by Mika_Onida » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:56 am

Only two days into January but I've written something both days.

I've set a goal of three sentences per N-day, and Wednesday is my "writing" day so I'll be spending at least an hour each Wednesday focusing on writing.

There's a lot more to my schedule and I'll make a post later but I thought I'd tell you how the writing was going.

andrewemond
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:43 pm

Post by andrewemond » Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:46 pm

Cool! Good to hear.

I myself had to add a new habit this month: early rising. I found I was putting off many of my habits to the end of the day, and it was becoming a bit tedious. Much better if you get things out of the way early. Hope you the best in the new year, and keep us posted!

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