This OnE WeIrD TrIcK Got My Motivation Back

Ew. I am SO SORRY about that title. That’s awful. But it’s true, there is one kinda odd thing I started doing maybe a week and a half ago that got me motivated to write more, and I’m going to share that with you now. But seriously, sorry.

So I have been on a slow but steady recovery from a bout of sorrow and grief, and it was super unfortunate that the place I was at in every word-related project I was working on at the time (my serial, my novel, and the book I was reading (A Casual Vacancy, lol I have a theme)) were all quite death heavy, but I knew I needed to push through on at least one of them, and Vacancy seemed the most pressing (Vacancy, my serial, not Rowling’s book which is, by the way, amazing). I needed motivation and inspiration, but from where?

I’m not proud of this, but I have a Pinterest. Hear me out. I both love and hate Pinterest. A link to a Pin should never come up in a Google search (Pins are the worst, almost never have any helpful info, and sometimes don’t even link to the actual image they’re showing!); however, the search feature on the site itself is pretty damn sweet. If you’re looking for actual how-tos or explanations, it’s a fucking crapshoot, but if you want images to create what the hipsters might call a “mood board,” this is where it’s at.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, but I realized I could use this to my advantage with writing. I even had a “Writing” board already, but didn’t put this together til now. I was stuck on Part 1.10, afraid to push Lorelei into the seance, so I was floundering over the basement description and just wanted to look at photos of caves and lakes. As I mentioned, Pinterest’s search is surprisingly adequate at returning what you’re looking for (the catch is that you need to have an account to really utilize the site correctly), so I searched “lake underground” and I got what I needed.

So you’re wondering how this is different from Google image search, eh? Well, you can “save” Pins to your own “boards” for quick access later. I believe the original intention of this was to save links with eye-catching images, but somewhere along the way the users of Pinterest ruined it by adding and not maintaining links to actual sites, so there are a lot of pictures of cool crafts with no explanation how they’re done. But still you can save as many images as you want to a board serving some greater purpose. And you can modify the description of that image/link to whatever you want. It’s usually already a description of whatever’s there (or supposed to be there), but if I’m brainstorming or looking for inspiration, I replace the description with what the image inspires for me.

Pintrest save

You can do this for specific places, of course, but it would work equally well for characters, atmosphere, and of course writing in general to save non-image based links (there’s functionality to save anything as a Pin, so you could take, say, this post and Pin it, and if you’re a responsible user, you’ll get the link right).

Once you’ve saved some Pins, you can go back to that board for inspiration when needed. Here’s a quick example of something I might throw together for a character:

Kimber Board

Since you’re using this for personal reference, I don’t object to losing the written attributions for images by writing over the descriptions, and if the images actually link out properly, you will still have the sources, which is nice.

Anyway, that’s my quick and dirty one weird trick that’s been quite helpful to me these last few days. Maybe you all already do this? Maybe there’s a better site for it? Pinetrest sure isn’t paying me to do this while simultaneously dragging them, so any suggestions you have, I’d love to hear!

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Millennial Motivation

One of the many things that my FitBit does that I love (#notsponsored by the way, as if I needed to clarify) is offers “Sleep Insights.” When you look at your sleeping pattern on the app, there’s a little box that usually says something generic about getting better sleep or offers an average data point like “people your age usually get 6 hours of sleep per night.”

But sometimes, Dear Reader, it praises me. And as a millennial, I NEED THAT. (At least, that’s what the Baby Boomers who hung out with one twenty something and tangentially figured out the internet have been telling me.)

So the other day, my Sleep Insight was basically “you’ve done a great job this week with a consistent wake up time!” and I’m like HELL YEAH. It’s the little things, really.

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Note: That Wednesday night I got an INSANE amount of sleep because I loaded myself up on melatonin and sleepytime tea and went to bed super early to stave off sickness.

And then you can “like” or “dislike” the tip, and if you like it, well, let me just show you:

Screenshot_20180117-075150

IT’S SO CUTE, AND I CAN’T LET THE MOON DOWN.

So I won’t. I’ll keep going to bed consistently (not at 6pm, don’t worry) and being a super good adult and getting the right amount of sleep and be rewarded for it not through anything tangible or actually important, but via a cute little image on an application. And is that really so bad?

Maybe it actually would be bad if it were telling me I was doing a good job when I wasn’t, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. FitBit routinely tells me thing like “looks like your sleep pattern is off, no wonder you’ve been feeling like shit recently” (well, not exactly that, I did say “like”) and in general I can be pretty hard on myself in my mind anyway, so this little bit actually helps. Like for real genuinely helps.

Generation Y (born between about 1980 and 2000) takes a lot of shit, probably because we’re the first generation to be growing up with the internet so every fucking thing is so public and anyone can hop up on their soapbox to bash anyone else. It’s also got to be hard to be from a previous generation and to have suffered under elders silently, just waiting for their turn to be the authority and then to have that last beacon of hope taken away from them by uppity youngsters who demand bullshit like “equality” and “work-life balance” and “pumpkin spice lattes.” But I think the most pervasive dig at Millennials is that we’re lazy and require recognition for even the littlest things.

First of all, it was you fucks who handed out the participation trophies in the beginning, so I don’t know why you’d talk shit on the very thing you created, but what-ev-er. Also, you gotta realize that there were real-world rewards back then that don’t exactly exist now: tuition is up 150% and homes cost three times what they used to while Millennial salaries are 20% lower (adjusted) than when our Baby Boomer counterparts earned at the same stage of life.

But more importantly, I think we should take a look at why requiring recognition irks some people so much. The concept of shutting up and keeping your nose to the grindstone, doing more than your fair share, never questioning, never proposing new ideas, and above all else, NEVER complaining just seems so unhealthy and very much the mindset of someone who is either already in charge and happy with the status quo at the detriment of someone else, or someone who has never been in charge and feels like if they suffered, then everyone else must as well, neither of which are appealing–not to me at least.

There’s so much we can all learn from one another, and nothing can be learned in a world where questions aren’t allowed, and I’d argue that friendly incentives or inspiration are only helpful, so I’m going to keep loving my little moon friend in lieu of a debt-free college experience and call that fair. I hope that’s okay, but what do I know, I’m only 30 (and a half).