This was my Writing Life before I had a baby. BEHOLD.

Once upon a time, I was a full-time writer. Now that I’ve had a baby and that baby keeps learning to do all these cramazing things like crawl and wave and pilfer, my writing time is limited IN THE EXTREME.

In fact, I should be noveling right now intead of blogging. But lately, anytime I open the document of my work-in-progress (Elevator People), my brain turns to mush. I try to think words, and all I get is BLURGLEMAMJUFLOOBELSCHNITZEN.

*sigh*

Anyway, I thought I’d have some fun at my own expense, so I looked up this DAY IN THE LIFE OF COURTNEY that I jotted down once upon a writing time. This was what my life looked like back when I was still writing full-time. I hope it’s as meaningful and paradigm-shifting for you as it is for me.

8:00-8:30 Get up. Lately, this has taken place 1-2 hours later than noted here, but who’s counting.

8:30-9:00 Check online stuff. Messages, email, Facebook, Twitter, what-hast-thou. Sometimes, this takes 45 minutes, but who’s counting.

9:00-10:15ish Prepare and eat breakfast while reading something not on the computer.

10:30ish Sit down at computer to start writing.

11:00 Force self to stop editing the results of previous day’s writing. Start writing for real.

11:03 Go to bathroom. Get cleaned up for the day.

11:30 Pet cat. Get something to drink. Wonder why that line of dialogue reads janky.

11:31-11:36 Really get down to writing.

11:37-12:00 Check Facebook. Reply to comments. Look up something on Wikipedia. Read Twitter feed. Possibly reply to tweets.

12:01-12:25 Typing, leaning back in chair, backspacing, typing some more, turning around to fix back of chair, typing some more, reading aloud, deleting everything written today.

12:26 Check Twitter.

12:40 Wander into kitchen to check fridge for anything. Anything at all. Ponder whether or not Character X should just die and get out of the way.

12:43 Return to office with drink and stand there, staring at computer screen. Computer screen stares malevolently back.

12:44 Coo over cat and re-write scene in head.

12:45-12:55 Re-type scene with improvements, taking previous day’s writing into account.

12:56-1:05 Find favorite funny scene and read aloud, giggling.

1:06-1:30 Check online stuff.

1:31-2:30 Prepare and eat lunch while reading something not on computer. Go to bathroom.

2:31-2:40 Check Twitter. Retweet ALL THE THINGS. Ruminate on the benefits of moving on to a different scene and leaving current one alone until the Apocalypse.

2:41-3:00 Re-read everything written today. Write one line of dialogue and delete it. Copy and paste dialogue from Chapter 11 into Chapter 6.

3:01-3:45 Fix glaring plot hole in Chapter 6.

3:46-4:10 Check Facebook. Resist temptation to scrap everything written today.

4:11-4:30 Speed-type. Pass “Go,” collect 200 metaphorical dollars.

4:30-6:00 Housework, optional cooking, errands, bills, other such.

6:01 Return to office

6:02-6:21 Speed-write amazing plot twist that popped into existence and hope the sudden mania is sated before the husband walks in the door.

And that’s it, folks. That’s the nutty life that I miss, even though I don’t regret a single moment with my Itty Bitty. The Writing Life will be waiting for me when she needs me less. And I’m okay with that.

Iñigo Montoya: You Keep Using That Word

If you enjoy the movie “The Princess Bride,” you’ll recognize the following quote:

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

~ Iñigo Montoya

Even if you’re not a “Princess Bride” fan or haven’t seen the movie, it’s likely you’ve been around the intarwebz long enough to have seen the quote bandied about in forums (fori?), in memes, on Twitter, on Facebook, and anywhere else web users tend to bandy such things about.

Today, I’m gonna bandy it some more.

Reality

We each perceive life, the universe, and everything differently. We make judgments, form opinions, and choose courses based on these observations. Lots of times, we don’t understand each other’s judgments, opinions, or courses simply because our perceptions of the same event/person/situation are so vastly different. We’re operating from different realities; therefore, if m/any of our interactions are to be beneficial, we have to step back and try to learn each other’s language before we can even talk to one another.

Please To Be Noticing

I am not saying, “Absolute truth does not exist.” I happen to believe that absolute truth does exist. For one thing, the statement “absolute truth does not exist” is, in itself, an absolute truth if one believes that it is true. Therefore, to make the statement is to contradict oneself.

I try to avoid contradicting myself. As one does.

You Keep Using That Word

So. As I look around at our world, our cultures, our occupations, our communications, our notions, ideas, brain-farts, and conundrums, I keep coming back to the quote from Mr. Montoya:

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

And I ponder that it applies to all of the things I just mentioned (and more):

I do not think that argument supports what you think it supports.

I do not think that conversation meant what you think it meant.

I do not think that person said what you think s/he said.

I do not think that person feels what you think s/he feels.

I do not think that job functions the way you think it functions.

I do not think that party espouses what you think it espouses.

I do not think that candidate stands for what you think s/he stands for.

I do not think that religion embraces what you think it embraces.

I do not think that country represents what you think it represents.

I do not think that culture embodies what you think it embodies.

And so on.

And, of course, it would be perfectly valid for you to direct those statements back at me.

That’s how interesting conversations start. : )

TEDTalks and Learning Through Doodling

“In the 17th century, a doodle was a simpleton or a fool.”

~ Sunni Brown
of The Doodle Revolution

Sunni Brown and The Doodle Revolution

I have no idea where I ran across this video; I only know it was a long time ago, because it’s been sitting in an unfinished draft on my WordPress dashboard for ages. So it’s about time I did something with it and shared it with y’all.

In a TEDTalk, speaker, author, and creative director Sunni Brown had the following cramazingness to say about doodling:

The main definition I’ve always heard of “doodle” is even less flattering than the one Ms. Brown considers most offensive.

The definition I’ve heard is: “doodle” = “piece of poop.”

Especially after you’ve watched / listened to Ms. Brown’s Talk, don’t you think this is majorly unfortunate?!?

Permission to Poop ENGAGE EVERY BRAINY LEARNING MODE

Dearest inklings, if you’ve been paying attention (and I know you have been, because that’s just the sort of studious darlings you are), you know that I grew up in Germany and attended German schools until I was 19 years old. At some point this month, I shall be blogging about said schooling in more depth; here are posts where I’ve at least mentioned it before.

For now, suffice it to say that I can best describe my 7th – 13th grade (yes, 13th grade) education as rigorous, strict, exhausting, intensive, demanding, terrifying, thorough, and comprehensive. It was seven years of high stress…and though it resulted in my breezing right through university and graduating summa cum laude, it didn’t exactly foster an artistic mindset.

(OH HOW I LOVED MY ART CLASSES.)

(That said, it’s worth noting that I am grateful for my German education, rigorous and heart-wrenching as it was, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything easier.)

I didn’t get to doodle. There wasn’t time. My attention had to be riveted on the day’s lessons to the exclusion of all else. Teachers expected us students to take copious notes; and indeed, if you didn’t write down every word, you missed something that was bound to be on the test later. Take a few seconds to doodle in the margins or on an extra sheet of paper? Risk that, and you risk a “letter grade.” (The German school system uses numbers: from 1st – 10th grade, 1 = highest score and 6 = lowest score; from 11th – 13th grade, 15 = highest score, 0 = lowest score.)

So. I didn’t get to doodle. I am convinced that this is a major part of why I struggled in many of my classes: I wasn’t allowed to engage every learning mode of my brain.

I doodled at home. I doodled in church. I doodled everywhere and anywhere I could. When I was 14, I convinced my parents to let me draw on my bedroom walls. I COVERED THEM IN DOODLES. Somewhere, there are photographs of this; alas, I have them not in my possession.

In school, I constantly resisted the urge to add my vandalistic artwork to that already besmirching the surfaces of our classroom tables.
(Okay, sometimes I didn’t resist at all.)

When I could doodle, I did. But I didn’t get to do it regularly until college, when academics finally slowed down. The margins of my class notes drowned in doodles. I acquired a ginormous sketchbook that I hauled with me all over the place.

Finally, my pen had permission to do something other than jot down someone else’s words. And suddenly, I was retaining all sorts of information in ways I’d never been able to do in high school.

Huh. Imagine that.

The Adult Doodlebug

What I learned to do in college, I’ve continued on in adulthood. Everything’s a canvas, especially when I’m sitting and listening to something that I know is important. I illustrate whatever notes I’m taking. My pen wanders over to blank notebook pages and before I know it, there’s an entire scene of weird somethings sketched out on the paper, and I have no clue how any of them got there.

But they make things stick in my brain.

When I don’t doodle, the stuff I listen to fades to hazy in my memory.
When I doodle, what I listen to acquires crystalline clarity…and it affects how I see the world.

For me, doodling is essential to positive paradigm-shifting. Doodling changes how I view the universe.

It’s that important.

To wrap things up, here are some of my doodles. Please click to embiggen and enjoy! : )