The prompt for today was, “Have you ever made a New Years resolution that you kept?”

No, I don’t really make New Years resolutions. I do regularly make mid-month resolutions, which is how this whole 365 Days of Blogging thing happened.

Last month my mid-month resolution was to break my daily tasks into 90 minute chunks, because I read somewhere (probably 99U) that 90 minutes was the maximum amount of time that you could focus on one task before starting to suffer burnout and becoming less productive. I still think that breaking upĀ  tasks into hour and half chunks is a good idea, and when I got started on it I was on vacation, so I can say that it does work (I got a LOT of writing done in that week). However, I think it’s easier to break your day up that way when you have control of your schedule. And I don’t. Time-sensitive things are regularly thrown at me in the middle of the day, the middle of the week, disrupting my schedule and fucking with the patterns I try to establish.

Or I’m just more tired when I get home from work than I thought I would be when I made my schedule.

I still think that it’s a good idea, but I have to work the kinks out in terms of sustaining it.

Another mid-month resolution that I made, which I got about a month of mileage out of, was exercising every day. Not actual exercising, but–okay, I have a neck thing that acts up every now and then. I used to get really bad headaches because of it. I was in a minor car accident that, despite being minor, twinged a nerve at the base of my skull-that area where your neck meets your head. I saw a physiotherapist for it for a while and he gave me exercises to do. And I was really shit at doing them, even though not doing them sometimes resulted in horrible shooting pains in my head. I was supposed to do them three times a day, but I’d forget how many times I’d done them, or think I’d done them when I hadn’t. And so on and so forth.

So I put different coloured elastic bands on my wrist and when I had done a set of exercises, I moved them over to my other wrist. And that worked for a while. But the thing is, I hate being encumbered. I don’t wear much jewelry, I don’t layer my clothing, I don’t like to carry my lunch in a separate bag and resent the fact that I kind of have to if I don’t want to risk food getting out of it’s container and damaging my computer. The problem became that I didn’t like having the elastic bands on my wrist, so I would take them off when they annoyed me and then, somewhere along the line, I forgot to put them back on.

I’ve also, at various times, resolved to make smoothies because I’m shit at eat breakfast in the morning. I’ve made a million different time-management resolutions in my life. I resolved not to buy The Last of Us until it cost less than $40 (and I kept that resolution and bought it last week for $35–small victories). I regularly resolve to stop tumbling down internet rabbit holes, or just tumbling through Tumblr, and fail.

This is really turning into a story of failure, isn’t it?

I guess you’ll bear witness to how this mid-month resolutions goes. I have posts scheduled until October (just the prompts, not any pre-writing beyond that, that would defeat the purpose, I think). I was briefly locked out of posting by WordPress because (FYI, in case you were planning on doing this) there can only be 100 scheduled posts at a time. But that’s sorted now, and I was surprised by how annoyed I was about it. I think possibly the prospect of my failures being witnessed made me more anxious about not keeping to my mid-month resolve.

I wonder how long that will last.

What about you? Are you a fan of the mid-month resolution? Or are you just a New Years person? It might be simpler to be a New Years resolution person, honestly. I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of paper and a lot of post-its with my mid-month kicks…




Retroactive Writing Prompts


As you may or may not have noticed from my absence (has it been palpable? Can an absence be palpable?) from this blog over the last little while, I’ve been having trouble finding things to write for this blog. There are many blog writing prompts, and I’ve decided to go with the 365 Days of Writing Prompts from The Daily Post.

The book goes by day, starting with a prompt for January 1st that reads, “Where were you last night when 2013 turned into 2014? Is that where you’d wanted to be?” Conversely, the prompt for today’s date reads, “Tell us about the farthest you’ve ever traveled from home.”

And indecisiveness rears it’s ugly head. I don’t like to start things in the middle, so I think I’m going to go with the New Years one, despite the fact that it’s pretty fucking irrelevant at this point, so that I can work through the book one post at a time, as I’m sure it was intended. I’m also looking forward to the incongruity that is sure to occur with doing this in order at the wrong time.

New Years has never really mattered that much to me, other than the fact that there are always parties that day (and really expensive food and impossible to flag-down taxis, but let’s accentuate the positive). I don’t really make resolutions, I don’t really care about the ball dropping. I’m up until midnight most nights, so that lost it’s appeal long ago. Somehow, January 1st doesn’t feel like a big deal to me. I think the first time I was allowed to stay up for New Years until midnight it felt like a big deal, but it quickly lost its glamour for me.

The fifteenth of every month always feels like a big deal to me though. The fifteenth is always the moment when it strikes me that the month is half-over. It is usually when I make plans and schedules and try, just generally, to get all the chaos in my life neatly sorted.

Like New Years resolutions, those plans and schedules usually fall apart fairly quickly, but the point is that this is when my brain goes, “Shit, time is passing, I have stuff to do, I have to figure out how to do the stuff before more time passes!”

So, at midnight when July 14th became July 15th, I was sitting in a lazy boy recliner in the den, watching streaming video of season two of Orphan Black with Portuguese subtitles. I got the millionth alert that my Mac needs a system update. For the millionth time, I clicked the “Later-Remind me tomorrow” option. Then, because my mouse was right by the little alert which is right by the time, I realized that it was 12:00am and I should go to bed, because I had to get up for 6:00am for my carpool to work.

And then I had my usual, “Oh, shit, it’s July 15th, the month is half over, fuck fuck fuckity fuck!” moment and looked at my to-do list. Blog schedule was one of the first things (as it has been for about a month now). So, not being a half-measures kind of person, I decided that I would post every day, and then finished the episode of Orphan Black I was watching and went to bed, resolved to find a year’s worth of writing prompts for blogging.

And I did. I linked to it above, in case you missed it. And I’m going to preschedule all the prompts, so that my failure will be visible to all if I don’t post something with more than just a title. I might change the title, depending on what goes into the post, but the prompt will remain in the URL for … I don’t know, posterity. Unless I forget that that was my intention, in which case, I will change the URL and you will be SOL when it comes to figuring out the prompt.

Should I categorize these? I’m going to categorize these.

Oh, the second part of that question was, was I where I wanted to be. Yes. Yes, I was. Orphan Black is amazing, that chair is super fucking comfortable, and it was a Monday night so home is the best.



The Blue Pen Dilemma


My pen died today. I use cheap black BIC pens, because every time I get a more expensive one it dies immediately. You know those Seven Year pens? Yeah, mine lasted seven days.

I went to my boss and asked if I could borrow a pen. But, more specifically, I asked if I could borrow a black pen. Because I hate blue pens.

She had to hunt around a bit for a black pen, which made me stop and think about why even the idea of writing with a blue pen was so repellant to me. Why couldn’t I just take one of the four blue pens she had found and go back to work?

Because of those stupid PaperMate erasable blue pens, that why.

My school sold back-to-school kits. I don’t know if this is a common thing or if this was just because I went to an inner city school, but I remember that every year my parents would buy a kit that contained all the school supplies I would need for that year from my primary school. It usually included a pencil case, glue, etc. And I think second grade was the first year that, instead of just pencils, we got pens.

But they weren’t really pens. They were half-assed erasable pens.

I hate doing things by half measures. I’m a “go big or go home” kind of person. I set my goals high, and either accomplish everything or nothing. Which is admittedly not always the best way of doing business, but it’s just how I am.

I hated those blue erasable pens, just like I hated training wheels. Maybe part of it was because they didn’t actually erase very well, so they were this weird, unpleasant thing that straddled the line between pencil and pen.

Whatever it was, it felt like I was almost-but-not-quite being trusted. I could almost be trusted to write in permanent ink, but I wasn’t quite there yet. Blue pen, for me, is childish. But not fun, scented-crayola-crayons childish. Being told to stay out of cupboards childish. “Don’t touch that” childish. “You’re so adorable for trying” childish. I fucking hated those pens. Those pens were condescension.

I don’t know if all of this was apparent to me at the time, but I do know that as soon as the option arrived to pick between black and blue permanent pens, I picked black. And I continue to pick black to this day for anything remotely serious. There was a brief window of time in university where I kept all of my notes in one notebook, when I used a different coloured pen for each subject, but my “to do” list was always written in black ink.

There’s no grand overarching point to this story, I just felt like offering you a glimpse of the neuroses with which I live every day.