Procrastination: That short term dopamine hit we all love

I saw procrastination as a mountain you had to scale. However, Procrastination is standing on a ledge, and all it takes is a single step.

It’s quite simple really. So simple that it hurts. You just gather your thoughts, and tumble off that ledge. Then when you wake up, some hours later you’ve done a lot of stuff. And you can go back to procrastinating again.

Becoming a serial non-procrastinator takes practice. It takes a lot of practice, and grit. But it is possible.

Flashback

I’ve been there. Last year, I was there for two hundred consecutive days. Every single day, I wrote at least five hundred words. Some days were harder. I ended up feeling like a champion. However it clashed with my social needs. Mostly because I had not set up a time to write.

Then I grew sick, real sick. And I stopped my by that time, habit. Then, after I started again, I noticed many of the same trends as it was with the last few weeks of my 200 day run I was growing tired, and certain days simply didn’t agree with me writing. But I stuck through it.

I still ended up a couple of days behind. Because, unlike what I had been doing, I no longer had the same flow, or focus. By the end of April,  the planned content I had for my character and story was running out quickly.

But in the last three days, I caught up. And to catch up, I had to write nearly ten days.

That means 25 000 ish words the first day, 25 000 ish words the next day, then 30 000 ish words the last day. Oh, did I forget to mention my goal was double the word count that I used to write in a month? Yeah, 250 000 words.

After that I took a well earned, I thought 25 day break. Before I started working on the habit again. I still hadn’t caught the hint. The hint that I need to write in the morning. Before my social ties start to grab my attention.

I’m there now. I know when I need to write. But there’s a comfortable space there, the tip of that ledge. I have the ability to not write, to stare at the wall and allow time to flow by. Procrastination. It’s a powerful foe to someone who knows that he can write 80 000 words in three days.

With things I don’t know, I’m often more focused… “Could you write 250 000 words in a month?” as opposed to “Write 120 0000 words this month” Since I know that I can write 80k words in three days, I know that I can be lazy most of the month, and write like a champion the last couple of days.

Future

My plan?

One of the notes pinned to my cork-board.

What am I practising doing now? Getting out of my bed, then immediately writing.

Is it working? I am getting out of bed, ungodly early in the morning more often than not. I don’t usually manage to write though. Which annoys me the rest of the day. I need a routine in the morrow that will stick. Which is what I am working on finding. That and coping with procrastination when it comes to my writing.

Post Script: Sorry I’m a day late in posting this. I completely forgot, due to some meetings with my writing group. Which stalled my writing till late (it’s 00:24 am here now, and I haven’t started yet).

Review: The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

wDYPxDz

 

The setup for this book, is that a storyteller appears, and wants to hear the story of the protagonist.  Who as it is, has become a bartender.

As it is a story within a story-setup, the book takes a little while to get going. But don’t let that chase you away. The story is soon told, and when that happens you’re stuck with this book. It’ll pull you in, and keep you there much longer than you intend. And that, is the power of a good book.

The book tells the story of a young child, that learns of a world where names carry a lot of weight. There are other powerful magical systems as well, but the names are alpha omega.

I liked this book, and can recommend this book to anyone that loves magic. The book may start out slow, but it will continue fast.

One podcatcher to rule them all!

The one

A little bit of a different topic today… My quest for a podcatcher that works for me.

Requirements:

  1. It has to support RSS
  2. It has to number the episodes, even if this isn’t done by the author (because I want to just see in the folder which order things go)
  3. It has to give sensible names to the files “antibullying.mp3” is not a valid name for “172592521-totalbiscuit-causes.mp3” If anything “Causes.mp3” is the right option wherever does it even get antibullying from?

 

My test-RSS is TotalBiscuits ” http://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:35042463/sounds.rss

I will be awarding the podcatchers by the amount of requirements it fulfils. One point each.

FeedDeamon (1 point)

  1. Support RSS
    Yes
  2. Number the episodes, even if this isn’t done by the author (because I want to just see in the folder which order things go)
    No
  3. Give sensible names to the files “antibullying.mp3” is not a valid name for “172592521-totalbiscuit-causes.mp3” If anything “Causes.mp3” is the right option wherever does it even get antibullying from?
    No (exact case as described above)

Other than this, it seems like a fine reader. You can set the refresh rate down to 5 minutes, which I appreciate. It does force you set a delete-limit for your feed max is 2500 (If I want an RSS reader, I want to make it a monster over time. Saving EVERYTHING. Because local storage of news is paramount in this age of perpetual change)

I’ll see about whether it works as the reader of my “dreams” when I make the follow-up to this post.

Juice (1 point)

  1. Support RSS
    Yes
  2. Number the episodes, even if this isn’t done by the author (because I want to just see in the folder which order things go)
    No
  3. Give sensible names to the files “antibullying.mp3” is not a valid name for “172592521-totalbiscuit-causes.mp3” If anything “Causes.mp3” is the right option wherever does it even get antibullying from?
    No

Juice has been a downloader I’ve tried a couple of times before. Since it’s specifically made for this use case. I always end up discarding its use.

I’m not sure what’s wrong with Juice as a downloader, but it doesn’t give me the “advanced” options I require in this case, so we’ll see if I come back to it.

Banshee (N/A)

I NEVER GOT TO TRY BANSHEE, the current build of the podcatcher is in technical alpha. Meaning a critical bug that reffuses to boot the program on my system makes me not able to test it.

I’ll add this to a watch-list of things to test out when it is updated.

CatchUp Podcast Receiver (1.5 points)

IT’S MADE IN JAVA. This means ugly interface and strange GUI options. All from the strange hover-markup when you move your cursor above one of the items in the current stream. To when clicking an item, it won’t properly highlight the item clicked.

An experience of mine earlier with Java is slow startup times. I am no longer experiencing this, but I tend to think that comes down to a monster-machine and an SSD rather than Java actually improving. (this one boots quickly)

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  1. Support RSS
    Yes
  2. Number the episodes, even if this isn’t done by the author (because I want to just see in the folder which order things go)
    No
  3. Give sensible names to the files “antibullying.mp3” is not a valid name for “172592521-totalbiscuit-causes.mp3” If anything “Causes.mp3” is the right option wherever does it even get antibullying from?
    Yes – ish (It leaves the file name that the rss provides, which is infinitely better than whatever Juice and FeedDeamon does)

Clementine (3 points)

  1. Support RSS
    Yes
  2. Number the episodes, even if this isn’t done by the author (because I want to just see in the folder which order things go)
    Yes
  3. Give sensible names to the files “antibullying.mp3” is not a valid name for “172592521-totalbiscuit-causes.mp3” If anything “Causes.mp3” is the right option wherever does it even get antibullying from?
    Yes

All in all, this is currently the biggest contender. That said, I might have to change out of my Foobar2000 clothes. This is a full music player, an internet enabled one at that. I’ll have to consider that later. For now, it does actually download the podcasts, and name them in a proper fashion. I’m tempted to check if Welcome to Night Vale will be downloaded with the ugly underscores, or if it’ll be okay…

Anyways, I’ll be keeping this one around unless something even better comes along.

FeedBooks (N/A)

According to Wikipedia: “Social networking client with support for podcasts.” I found no such thing on their site. And google searches yielded no results.

gPodder (N/A)

I had some troubles installing this one, there was a bug that made it not boot, so I searched google. I ended up finding out that http://python.net/crew/mhammond/win32/ was missing, so I installed it.

Now it’s giving me this:

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This dialog hinders me from testing it out. It continues to pretend I need to install PyGTK so I can’t test it out.

HermesPod (1.5 points)

  1. Support RSS
    Yes
  2. Number the episodes, even if this isn’t done by the author (because I want to just see in the folder which order things go)
    No
  3. Give sensible names to the files “antibullying.mp3” is not a valid name for “172592521-totalbiscuit-causes.mp3” If anything “Causes.mp3” is the right option wherever does it even get antibullying from?
    Yes – ish “totalb~700l8l3~29-Oct~174460972-TOTALBISCUIT-STEPHEN-TOTILO-OF-KOTAK.mp3”

THIS APPLICATION HAS ADVERTISEMENTS. I thought we were over this. I thought inapp advertisements were something of the past, but no.

I will be uninstalling this, though it is closer to what I want.. It’s not quite there. I’d like something between Clementines completely overwhelming interface, and this simplistic thing.

PS: The HermesPod website claims advanced features, I found none.

MediaGo (1 point)

  1. Support RSS
    Yes
  2. Number the episodes, even if this isn’t done by the author (because I want to just see in the folder which order things go)
    No
  3. Give sensible names to the files “antibullying.mp3” is not a valid name for “172592521-totalbiscuit-causes.mp3” If anything “Causes.mp3” is the right option wherever does it even get antibullying from?
    No – The same problem as described above 

MediaGo is a full music library manager/player, though the lacking podcatcher system makes me dismiss it.

MediaMonkey (2.5 points)

  1. Support RSS
    Yes
  2. Number the episodes, even if this isn’t done by the author (because I want to just see in the folder which order things go)
    No – Well, ish. You can date them which is good enough for me.
  3. Give sensible names to the files “antibullying.mp3” is not a valid name for “172592521-totalbiscuit-causes.mp3” If anything “Causes.mp3” is the right option wherever does it even get antibullying from?
    Yes

Initial results looked good, It produced the file “Causes.mp3” Which is better than the above example. Further prodding revealed that you can as I wanted (sort of) name the files yourself, right click the podcast subscription->Edit subscription->Global Podcast Options; Here you will find a beautifully overwhelming dialog. The important parts are the top two fields “Default lownload location:” and “Download podcasts to:”

I set both of those to “G:MediaPodcastsAutoMediaMonkey<Artist><Album><Date> <Title>” I know I later might not want to download podcasts, for now it is fine.

I like it, but I prefer Clementine. They both offer similar functionality, but MediaMonkey tried to steal music-playing rights from Foobar2000 by default.

Also, when I closed it I was met with:

a151

Which, you know, always brightens the day…

Zune (2 points)

  1. Support RSS
    Yes
  2. Number the episodes, even if this isn’t done by the author (because I want to just see in the folder which order things go)
    No
  3. Give sensible names to the files “antibullying.mp3” is not a valid name for “172592521-totalbiscuit-causes.mp3” If anything “Causes.mp3” is the right option wherever does it even get antibullying from?
    Yes 

Personally, I like this interface. If it wasn’t for the botched numbering, and me not finding any obvious way to have the files numbered in the folder. The app was responsive, unlike a couple of the other apps.

a364

iTunes (1 point)

  1. Support RSS
    No
  2. Number the episodes, even if this isn’t done by the author (because I want to just see in the folder which order things go)
    No
  3. Give sensible names to the files “antibullying.mp3” is not a valid name for “172592521-totalbiscuit-causes.mp3” If anything “Causes.mp3” is the right option wherever does it even get antibullying from?
    Yes 

iTunes isn’t my choice. I’ll make that clear. I found no legible support for RSS, sure they had the podcast (including my test-case). But I want RSS, that way I don’t have to rely upon the apple iStore. Interface is alright.

a366

 

Conclusion

My winner is Clementine, as it does all the three things I set upon finding one that did. If provided support on the ones that didn’t work, or suggested new ones, I will update this article.

Writing: My state, Camps and 1M words!

1 Million words!

I recently rolled above 1M words written since I started my focused writing career last august. A reminder if you don’t remember where to find my spreadsheet (or if you are a new reader)

Whenever I think of the number one million, this guy shows up in my brain:
maxresdefault

What did I learn writing one million words? I learned that even if you write fast, your fingers have to hit the keys they aim for. I’ve been above 100 words a minute averaged over 83 minutes. It was during the April CampNaNo, and my typo rate was gloating back at me with 54% (of the words had some form of typo in them).

Since November last year, I’ve made a point to record typo-rates. If I didn’t, I would never know how bad or well I wrote. I find the rate at which I have shifted a space, or a random letter in a word is as good a measure of accuracy as any (which is what most of those typos consist of).

CampNaNoWriMo

Is an event in which you like NaNoWriMo write on some sort of project. However what is different from NaNoWriMo is that the camp-site has the added component of peer pressure to perform. You’re put in a cabin, and the idea is to have the cabin “win” if everyone wins. Which means that you get guilted by yourself to perform (You don’t want to rob the others of a win?). Camp is run twice annually, once in April, and once in July.

April (250 000 words)

I set upon myself the insane task of writing 250 000 words. Which I managed. Not without issues (more on that below), but reasonably well. The goal in April was to describe the early life of Kimberly, the cursed true-born Vampyre, upto her conversion to vampyredom. I spent around a thousand words on every day, meaning that I got nearly 250 days worth of her life (By the end of the month, I was writing on a couple of other stories as well).

July (120 000 words)

I have two projects slated for July:
A co-op book with five other Norwegian writers, the writeup has me write five periods of a groups life with a minimum of 2000 words a piece, set in a post apocalyptic world (It also happens to be in Norwegian ugh) (10 000 words (5*2000 ) but I’m adding another 10k since I might go on tangents… ).

A magic-school novel, which follows an anthropomorphic panther-girl going through her second year of magic school (100 000 words).

I’ve just started on my July run, I don’t have to write for the co-op until the sixth. The first of July, I wrote 8200 words. The second, I wrote 4k words. The burnout from April’s camp came from writing nearly ten days of words in three. I am quite sure I could manage to write 8k words every day. Without ending in a burnout.

State

I suffered two setbacks this year, so far.

Sick

At the end of March, I suffered from my regular (second time) five-year disease. I don’t get sick, so when I do get sick, I get really sick. This time it was a virus, that knocked me about for three weeks. The last time I was properly sick was in 2010.. This period ended my 200 day writing streak. And I’ve been trying to rebuild that habit.
I’ve located one thing that keeps me back from starting the new writing streak. Where previously, I had a strict rule to not sleep unless I’d written, that’s fallen to the need to sleep that I had when I was sick. So even though I am healthy again, I still can’t bring myself to adhere to that rule again yet.

A burnout

The second setback I have experienced this year, happened during (the camp) and especially at the end of the April CampNaNoWriMo. During the camp, I didn’t manage to write every day, and with a target of 8334 words a day,  it racked the numbers quickly. I had a couple of days early on that I was able to reclaim. But the last three days of April, I had to write at least 80 000 words. It was the third of these days that I noticed that my timezone was incorrect. Had been incorrect the entire time. Which meant that I hadn’t started writing until the people in that timezone had started. And it bought me a few more hours (as related to my own timezone).

I wrote 25k the first day, 25k the next day, and 32k the last day.

After this, I was burned out. I just had no fire to write. No will. It was simply knocked out. This burnout lasted for 25 days, before I started picking up the “pen” again.

Blog

While I’ve really started to work on getting back into the habit of writing every day, I have also started looking back at the blog-posts that are in the making. There are quite a few. I’m thinking of making another page that names the ones that I haven’t finished.

I know I haven’t been consistent enough with blogging. Which is why, with this post, I am announcing that I will be blogging at least one post a week. And after a while, maybe I’ll increase that number. I’ll be posting them friday, at 12:00.

I also want to start posting to the “Writing updates” section. The problem with this section is that I write 4k words a day. Which is a lot of words to clean. That said, I do need practice with editing. So maybe I’ll get into that again.

Author’s Page

I have a facebook page, that I use to post my writing updates to. The only problem? I haven’t done that in a while. I’ll see to it that it has more content, as I write more on the blog it’ll have at least that on it.

The future

I have on multiple occasions been called a machine, an alien, a natural phenomenon, and a galactic cataclysm for the pace and efficiency with which I write. Now I only need to rebuild that habit I once had. So I can reclaim those titles. My attitude? Positive, as always.