What other people do so easily, would be impossible for me: I’m technically retired now, though the last 25 years of my working life were spent on disability, and I can’t just ‘go out for a walk’ like healthy people my age.
I’ve recently gotten to the place where I can walk more, but it isn’t easy or fast or convenient or unassisted, not like when I used to go out the front door, turn left (or right if I wanted to add an extra bit around the cul-de-sac), and just go, walk wherever I happened to decide, and come back when I’d had some exercise.
But I do something similar when I get on my computer in the mornings, and, while I’m waiting for the morning’s caffeine to decide if there are going to be working brain cells today, I walk around my Internet neighborhood – the sites on my navigation bar – and see what’s up.
Procrastinate first, except for the rare days when there’s something my limited brain can do in the writing department before it is warmed up. I’ve tried – nothing seems to work – so I’ve decided to enjoy my morning walk, do it as efficiently as possible, and not fret about the time wasted/spent. Angst is not helpful, so I don’t bother any more. And I almost never add any new stops to the navigation bar.
HOME COMPUTER: Email first – well Duh!
I check email several times a day, and make sure to deal with what I can asap, as friends write, and several newsletters show up with something new, and often a quick response saves much time and effort later.
Plus, as you can tell, I like to write back. Gets the brain moving and the fingers wiggling.
Sometimes I find responses I needed from missives I’ve sent out to friends or other sources, and know I’ll be able to move something forward.
Occasionally, I have to do something, such as go to the basement and read the numbers on the meter for the solar power system, near the first of the month. They can’t do their paperwork until they have my input, so it gets a high priority.
FIREFOX: First stop on the Internet are my own blogs
I refresh the page, and the thingy in the top right hand corner will tell me if I have visitors, and if they’ve commented. New comments on the blog always get first priority
First stop after 9AM – TPV; if much earlier, do this later
I stop by The Passive Voice for the morning publishing news (and several times more during the day because Passive Guy puts up five or six posts every day). It’s like a visit to a cafe where you get good commentary, and rude people aren’t tolerated. We mostly stay on topics related to publishing and books and such, but David has an interesting mind, and gets stuff from lots of places.
Extra points if posts have a comment at the bottom from our gracious, handsome, and intelligent host – his wry humor and delicate satire are things for joy.
People send him stuff. He is a good host, posting an excerpt – and a link to the original. He is careful not to ruin the original post, while giving you enough to decide if you’re going to visit it.
On most blogs, comments need supervision, and are often not worth the time to scan them; if you don’t read the comments on TPV – and subscribe so you get the late ones – you’re going to miss things. Useful things.
WU – ‘about the craft and business of fiction’
I stop by Writer Unboxed most mornings, at least to get a quick look at the topic and the post’s byline. I skip Flog a Pro – kind of hate the idea of people feeling they can freely trash work they couldn’t produce; mean-spirited and negative some times. Not me. Other bylines or topics I know I won’t respond to from the title or a bit of the post, I skip; otherwise, I read the post.
I consider whether there’s anything I’d like to add to the discussion (there’s usually a question or two at the end of the post as a prompt); I leave my little addition to world literature or my (usually different) take on the subject, read those of other people I recognize, and maybe pop back later; I like posters who bother to come back and join the discussion better, but not all of them have/take the time.
FB – for friends and support groups
You get out what you put in on FB. You are a contributing member of a community – or not. Since one group is a support groups for people I know have extremely limited energy, that group’s members get a pass – some can only afford to post when desperate, and we all respect that.
My group of friends is small, and I don’t sell or proselytize much – that’s not what friends are for. My blog posts automatically on my personal FB page; if there’s anything that the groups might find useful, I cross-post them on the group page. A little goes a long way.
I check out any friend requests – most are obvious spammers – easy to tell (and block permanently) if I take a peek at their page. I’ve even reached the point of checking with the ‘friends in common’ if a friend request is odd and unexpected in any way.
I have no author page – yet. It would be one more thing to maintain – maybe if it seems a good idea later.
CHROME: GR and my British friends
A daily stop, maybe several times, is a nice bunch of people on Goodreads in the UK Kindle group who have made me feel welcome. I’ve read enough British authors in my life to practically qualify on that alone. Occasionally there will be something in my inbox from a GR friend.
I usually save those for later response, but almost always read them right away.
The notifications function provides a quick way to keep track of the threads I comment on or read.
The comics – and Dear Abby
And I’ve had my bit of entertainment for the day; I have them set up for easy refreshing on the Chrome browser, and can update and read and pass on good ones to friends with a few minutes’ effort. Doesn’t that happen to you? A comic just makes you have to send it to a particular friend?
Extra points when the friend later emails back that it was especially appropriate or welcome.
The daily brain puzzles – measuring brain speed (if any)
Usually the last stop on my little trek, I set up a few hard sudokus, maybe do one or two, to gauge whether my brain is starting to work the way I need it to work for writing fiction.
I’m looking for a completion time below seven minutes; and I monitor, with a partial brain, how the math processing is going. I can literally feel it when I’m not tracking – I can still do them most of the time, but they feel like slogging through mud, and take forever. The CFS brain fog is clearly at work here; sometimes it won’t go away. I can work a bit, but it almost isn’t worth it without a brain. I’ll get ten minutes worth of writing done in three hours.
If it makes it to Yahoo, I take a quick scan; other news items will show up in paper (The Economist and other magazines), or someone will boost them on FB, so this is really a desperate measure to find SOMETHING to read before I have to (want to/have to) get to work.
The end of the walk – home again, home again, higglety pen
After a final quick check of the emails, and possibly TPV depending on timing, and a superquick and usually pointless visit to Amazon’s pages that show book sales, I grit my metaphorical teeth and start up Freedom or Anti-Social to block the internet for my available writing time.
Then have chocolate protein shake, and take First Nap (sounds counterproductive, but isn’t – search for ‘mental dialysis’ posts), and when I wake up again and come back to the computer, the writing is sitting there ready to go, I’ve checked out that the whole world is okay until I have time to look again, and I don’t even think about all my friends for hours.
Turning into a routine makes it much more efficient than it used to be.
Keeps me sane.
And connected – the most important part of all. My internet friends are REAL friends. I just maybe don’t really know how tall they are.
Thanks to Stencil for images I can create or edit.
Do you have a morning computer routine?