Categories
Writing and Publishing

How to Avoid the Poison of Procrastination

Procrastination is a serious problem for writers and when taken to excess, it can be fatal to the craft. Procrastination can manifest itself in many different ways, but the result is the same: writing is deferred.

When it is time to write:

  • Does the sink of dirty dishes or unmowed lawn suddenly seem more important?
  • Is there an inescapable call to check email, your favorite blog, or Facebook?
  • Do you convince yourself that you’re not in the right frame of mind?
  • Do you notice the accumulation of dust on your computer and have a sudden urge to deal with it?
  • Is the lack of an idea or inspiration enough to defer action?
  • Do you “ease” into it by playing solitaire or watching the game first?
  • Do you put if off because you have writer’s block or want to wait until you are inspired?

These are all forms of procrastination. In your writing career, you have likely experienced one or more of them. Perhaps one is your current nemesis. (Are you reading this blog when you should be writing?)

While a dogged self-discipline to preserver is one sure prescription to procrastination, it may be helpful to explore the underlying impetus:

  • Do you have a lack of self-confidence in your ability to write?
  • Are you bored with your subject or assignment?
  • Do you fear the rejection of your work once it is complete?
  • Are you not fully committed to being a writer? (For example, is it more fun to say you are a writer, then to actually write?)
  • Also, know that a common side-effect of perfectionism is procrastination

Whatever the distraction or the cause, know that to be a writer, you must write—even if you don’t feel like it.

Don’t delay, do it today!

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

The Work of Publishing Periodicals

I publish four periodicals: two magazines, an e-publication, and an e-newsletter. There is an established workflow to each, with every day requiring that some task be accomplished for at least one of them.

Additionally, one of the magazines has an overlapping production schedule, meaning that sometimes I have to start the next issue before the current one is finished. The result is that at any given time, I am working on four or five publications. Given a bit of discipline, it is all quite manageable — when I am in the office.

Two weeks ago, I missed four days in the office due to traveling to and covering a convention. I began my preparations in earnest two weeks prior to departure, working in advance and accomplishing tasks ahead of schedule to the degree it was possible. Essentially, this meant doing three weeks of production work in two weeks. Some ancillary things, such as blogging, fell by the wayside.

Then I was gone for a week. Then I spent a week getting caught up from being gone. This included doing those tasks that could not be done in advance, responding to issues that arose while I was gone, and following up on everything from the convention.

So, the essence is that being gone for four days required a concerted effort lasting four weeks.

Although this may sound like complaining, it is really explaining — why it has been 21 days since my last blog entry.

[If you are interested, my publications are Connections Magazine, AnswerStat, TAS Trader, and Medical Call Center News.]

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

My Netflix Reviewer Rank

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of Netflix, the online movie rental site.  In addition to making movie selections, I spend time rating movies so that Netflix can make recommendations of other flicks that I might enjoy; it generally works quite well.

After watching one obscure selection online, Netflix asked me to write a review for it.  Since there were no reviews posted (which shows you how obscure it really was), I happily reviewed it.  After doing so, I was assigned a “reviewer rank.”  I started at around 500,000, meaning that there were half a million who has a more favorable rank.  This started me writing reviews (60 so far).  In part, this was because I enjoy movies and writing, so reviewing them was an obvious extension. However, my competitive nature also wanted to see how low I could push my reviewer rank.

The rankings are updated weekly, and I feel compelled to check mine out.  Usually, it moves up or down by a few hundred points.  Ironically, the movement doesn’t always track with my activity.  For example, I’ve seen my rank improve when I submitted no reviews, and I’ve seen it decrease when I have submitted reviews.

I suspect another factor in the ranking is the percentage of people who find my reviews helpful.  But that’s impossible to tell, since there is no way to do a controlled test with all the other reviewers making their own submissions.  I’ve also wondered if submitting “Top Ten” lists is a factor (I’ve made 10 so far), as well as doing the social networking thing by making “friends and favs”connections (which I’ve yet to pursue).  Again, there is no way to verify that.

Sometimes my reviewer rank makes huge jumps,anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000.  I assume that means Netflix tweaked their formula.  This is fun when my rank improves, but disconcerting when it drops.  A couple a months ago, I had worked up to a rank of13,381, but a month later, it plummeted to 104,010.

That sure made me lose interest.  Even so, I’ve worked back to 85,696.  But when the rules can apparently change without warning, the effort to earn a good rank looses some of its appeal.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Seven, Eleven, and Zero

A few weeks ago, I lamented about the number of syllables in the letter W.  I asked for he be given equal treatment to the alphabet’s other 25 one-syllable letters.

Today, I have the same concern for seven.  You see, of the single digit numbers, all but seven enjoy one-syllable conciseness.

(In case you are wondering about zero, we already have “aught,” so there is no need to advance another alternative.  Nil also means zero, though I have yet to hear it used in this context.)

Therefore, to offer fairness to seven, treating him like the other single digit numbers, I propose we give him a nickname of “sev” (rhymes with “rev”).  I suppose it could be written like a contraction: sev’.

However, this brings up another problem.  Seven and Eleven rhyme.  So to maintain this convention, if seven becomes sev’, then eleven needs to become ‘lev’ (again rhyming with rev) for the purposes of consistency.

Adopting both of these recommendations will result in one syllable counting from aught to twelve.

What do you think?  Do you want to try it?

Categories
Writing and Publishing

How to Spell the Letters of the Alphabet

Recently  I pondered the correct spelling for W. Not finding an official answer, I went with “double-u.” Upon further contemplation, I realized having similar doubts about the spelling of many letters. Therefore, I advance this list, which I ultimately found in Google’s scan of the book “The Institutes of English Grammar” by Goold Brown. (I’ve parenthetically added my own thoughts and suggestions):

A – a (how about “aye”?)
B – bee
C – cee
D – dee
E – e
F – eff (TheFreeDictionary.com indicates “ef”)
G – gee
H – aitch
I – i (How about “eye”?)
J – jay
K- kay
L – ell (TheFreeDictionary.com specifies “el”)
M – em
N – en
O – o (how about “oh” or “owe”)
P – pee
Q – kue (I prefer “queue” or “cue”)
R – ar (how about “are”?)
S – ess
T – tee
U – u (how about “you” or “ewe”?)
V – vee
W – double-u (slang might be “dub-u” or simply “dub”)
X – ex
Y – wy (how about “why”?)
Z – zee

Although vowels are spelled with only one letter, I prefer an alternate, longer spelling.

Why do I need to know these things? It’s quite simple actually: I may need them for crossword puzzles. I’ve already used Cee, Dee, Ell, Ess, and Tee. I want to be ready in case the others pop up. (For the record, no self-respecting crossword puzzle will have a two-letter answer; perhaps that is why I gravitate towards three-letter spellings.)

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.