Friday, January 23, 2009

The Pie of Life

The subject of pies scared me a little right from the beginning. Then, when my coworkers posted yummy recipes, I seriously considered panic. Not that I don’t cook, mind you. I do. The thing is, I write by the seat of my pants, and I tend to cook the same way. I sort of figured posting a recipe for apple cobbler that started, "take a bunch of apples, core, chop, cook with some sugar and cinnamon until soft…" well, you get it. Not too helpful.

Then I realized there was another "pie" I’d worked with just a couple of weeks ago: The Pie of Life. I’ll bet you’re wondering what the heck a pie of life is, so I’ll explain. I’m taking a class called "Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors: Allow Writing Productivity and Creativity to Soar" from Margie Lawson. One of the exercises she assigned to us is a pie of life. Take a circle, make twenty-four equal slices, fill in the hours you sleep, work at the day job, write, eat, do housework, watch television, etc. I tend to be visual, so making this pie was a real learning experience. What did I learn? That television was my downfall.

Before I go any further, I have to put in a good word for the amazing Margie Lawson. Her classes have already changed my writing for the better. This month, with the Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors class, she’s changing my life. I can’t recommend her highly enough.

Now, back to revelations due to pie. I knew I watched too much TV, but I didn’t realize just how big a percentage of my day I spent in front of the thing. I’m easily fatigued, and I tend to just want to sit and stare. Even reading can seem like more than I can handle. I’m picky about what I watch, but several hours every day is still too much.

What did I do? First, I just plain don’t turn the television on. Before, I would flip on the set "just to see what’s on later" or to listen to the music channels. Within a few minutes I’d be watching something I just "had" to watch. Three hours later, I’d be feeling guilty I hadn’t hit my word count. So I make a point of leaving the dang thing alone.

Second, I pulled out the crochet projects that I never seemed to have time to do. If I’m going to sit there, I might as well do something constructive.

Third, I keep a notebook or my Alphasmart beside me a lot of times. During commercials, I can jot down ideas, write a couple of sentences or a paragraph, or brainstorm names for characters or subjects for an article or blog post.

These three steps have been helpful, but by far the most effective way to keep me away from the TV has been to take Margie’s advice and make "winner" and "super star" lists every day and use the DUH plan. This way I’m working toward a doable goal that I know will advance my career. If I miss something on TV, oh well.

I’d rather be writing.


  1. Oh, I love Margie Lawson's classes.

  2. Wow, maybe having little ones around helps me in the TV area. There's hardly anything these days that's appropriate for the 2 year old to view along with me. And anything she wants to watch (Dora! Diego!) I tune out.