On Being Unplugged

So for Reasons, I decided to spend this last weekend unplugged. The rules were no cell, and no cheating by using my computer or iPad to check email, Twitter, texts, Instagram, etc. Netflix and Spotify were allowed (I’m not that strong).  From Friday night to Sunday evening, I would live off the grid, ala the 2000s and early 2010s.

Friday night was fine. I was ready to go to bed when I turned my phone over. It wasn’t too bed. But Saturday; well, Saturday taught me somethings.

I woke up Saturday, hot and tired. I had no idea what time it was and no idea what the temperature in my room was. Should I get up? I had no idea. Was it 7:30, 9. or 12? I decided to get up. Normally, I scroll through my social media first thing in the morning. But without a phone, I just got up.

But without social media distracting me first thing, I managed to start reading and got about 4 solid, uninterrupted hours in. So the first lesson of being unplugged: productivity goes up. Which I knew. But there it is.

After lunch it was time to run the weekend errands. And that was when I learned my second lesson: I spend a lot of time doing things I find boring. While we were at Lowe’s and Home Depot, I kept looking down for my phone. You don’t realize how often you do boring things until you have to pay attention.

By the end of Saturday, I was kind of cranky. While I had enjoyed my morning, I felt bored most of the afternoon. And I wasn’t a super fan of interacting with people without my phone to escape to. And I was still tired.

So I wasn’t too optimistic that Sunday would be that great as I went to bed Saturday night. I took a PM pain med and conked out.

But Sunday! Sunday!

I woke Sunday, feeling refreshed. Again, no cell so no idea about time or temp, but this time, I knew what to expect. I came out, had a nice breakfast, and then set up to read a fun book.

We had the usual quiet morning, had lunch, read, and then went swimming. But this is when I noticed the third lesson of the unplugged weekend: when you aren’t constantly checking your phone and seeing the time, you don’t feel anxious to get everything in.

I normally feel upset that I didn’t do every thing on my to-do list. I’ll get alot done, but still feel unproductive. But when you aren’t checking it constantly, you can focus more on what your doing and enjoy the activity more, instead of looking a head to the next to-do item.

By Sunday night,  I was kind of sad that being unplugged was over. And when I first turned my phone, the stress came rushing back. I had so many notifications! I’m an impatient person so I feel the need to check everything as they come in. But this unplugged weekend showed me that I need to step away more often to enjoy life.

Feeling Like It’s Not Going to Happen? Here’s Some Pick-Me Ups.

Just in case you ever need a few motivational pick-me ups, here is a list of yours truly go to favorites.

  1. 40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 minutes. If you need a pep talk.
  2. Happy Little Clouds. If you need some writing reminders.
  3. Evolve. For when you need to remind yourself that “you gotta evolve”
  4. Garden of You Mind. If you need inspiration.
  5. Keep on Cooking. For when you need reminding that you are writing for yourself first and foremost. “Freshness makes all the difference.”

And just for fun:

  1. Pop! Goes My Heart. Because it is Hilarious.
  2. Jolene. Because Dolly and Miley.

And that does it! Remember, we have all been there.

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#Anti-MSWL

So if you are like me, you love to follow #MSWL and see what everyone is looking for. But sometimes, it can be hard to know what an editor or agent DOESN’T like or what they might be pickier on.  With that in mind, below are a few of the things I tend to be pickier about. This not a hard and fast rule, but more of a helpful “behind the curtain” glimpse of why I might not have connected with your manuscript.

So without further ado, I give you:

A GENERAL GUIDELINE LIST OF THINGS I AM PICKY ABOUT WHEN EVALUATING A MANUSCRIPT.

  1. Alternating POV. I do enjoy a good alternating or multiple POV novel. But I see a lot of authors doing this, and sometimes it is to their detriment. Think about WHY you are choosing this style. Does the reader really need more than one POV and if so, are the characters on their own arc with their own unique voice? If the answer to any of that is “no”, stop and think before you query.
  2. Boy narrators. I love Harry Potter, and I love A Stranger to Command. Boy narrators have their place. But I find that I’m not drawn to them often. This comes down to authentic voice for me.
  3. Verse novels and poetry. Not for me. I’ll enjoy it as a reader, but if you are looking for editorial agent, I’m not your gal for this.
  4. Dark, heavy content. I like dark content, but for me, it can’t be too graphic or rely so heavily on it. I like voice driven, tangentially dark content. Like My Life With the LiarsTell Me Something Real, and The Way I Used to Be. If you have graphic depictions of abuse or rape or violence, just know I’m much pickier about this.

Again, this is just a generic list and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t query me. But if I don’t connect or feel I’m the right agent, don’t take it as a judgement. I mean it at face value.

So good luck and may the odds be ever in…wait, let’s just leave it at good luck. 🙂