“Dead Air,” The Results — Week 1

No "dead air" here!Last time, I told you about the radio station where my friend works, and how their computerized broadcast lineup served as a visual aid to help me grasp the foreign concept of “planning.”

Motivated, I vowed to make up a to-do list and try following a schedule. Good timing, too: I’d gone out on a limb and told my critique group that I would bring a chapter to read the following Tuesday night. Or at least a half-finished chapter.

And here are my results, as promised:

Sunday night, I looked at Monday and Tuesday’s pre-scheduled items in my planner, and filled in some of the time gaps with “Work on Story.” Then I blocked out some time for a freelance editing project that’s in the works. I even jotted down what I would fix for dinner, to avoid that “5:00 PM deer-in-the-headlights” routine. The plan was to check off each item or work session as it was accomplished, boosting both morale and productivity.

Over Sunday night, insomnia struck and I ended up oversleeping by, say, an hour or two. Monday morning I got done only those pre-scheduled items. The afternoon went better, but a stream of messages kept luring me to Facebook, where I would then fall prey to one “amazing” or “cute” video clip after another. And my mom called.

Tuesday morning I had a class at the gym, a doctor checkup and a grocery run. I spent an unexpected 45 minutes filling out the doctor’s paperwork online so I didn’t get writer’s cramp writing all the info out by hand. The system didn’t like the way I formatted my dates and kept switching my birthdate to some time next year. Finally decided that Liquid Paper is my friend.

A good chunk of the editing work got done at Whataburger, but then I couldn’t find stuff at the grocery store and it took forever to get out of there.

The afternoon was ticking away and my new chapter consisted of only two sentences, written the week before. With five hours left for putting groceries away, writing, and fixing dinner, I closed my Internet browser. Then I hammered out two and one-third pages of manuscript. It was like wading through Jello, and I didn’t finish the chapter, but dadgummit, I had something to take to critique group.

Here, then, are the insights Week 1 brought me:

1. Falling a little short of your plan is better than having no plan.

2. Regardless of how well you plan, life sometimes gets in the way.

3. You can try to plan a day down to the 15-minute level, but everything takes longer than you think it will.

4. Especially if you allow yourself to get sucked into every cute video anyone shares on Facebook.

5. If you work at a computer, productivity somehow skyrockets after you close your Internet altogether.

6. Accountability provides a useful kick in the pants motivation.

I can’t promise any more updates. I mean, I can put it on my to-do list, but….

Thanks for reading!

PS: I’m linking up this week with Jen and the girls at the Soli Deo Gloria Gathering.

About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
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4 Responses to “Dead Air,” The Results — Week 1

  1. Oh, sis, you’re singing the truth here. Especially the part about productive writing. “Step away from the computer.” Simple, eh?

    I love reading what you write–down to earth and amusing. 🙂


  2. marlece says:

    Ohhhhhhh, you always bring a sense of comfort to these bones of mine. I have the problem with am I putting off ‘obedience’ when EVERYTHING takes over in my little world? Because the mundane things in life can take precedence over something that might last a lot longer than a clean kitchen. IT’S ALWAYS A HARD ONE! I love ya!


  3. It IS hard! I remember in 2006 when I was applying to go [back] to university, I wrote an essay about why I wanted to study English there. I said I wanted to write, and that “anything worth doing is worth doing with excellence. Don’t look at my kitchen floors.”
    (My critique group recommended I leave out the kitchen-floor line…)
    Thanks for visiting, Marlece!


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