How to make a snap decision in under a month

One day, I’d like to be the sort of person who can make a decision as quick as blinking.  I’m getting there; these days, I can choose what I want for lunch in around five to ten minutes – a process that, in the past, lasted anywhere from half an hour until dinner time the next day.

The ability to make a decision seems to depend on the time available.  When it comes to lunch, there’s a finite time frame that handily dictates the speed at which a decision must be made; when it comes to life choices, the time frame is unknown, which leads to decisions being put off until next week.  Or next month.  Or sometime next June.

What are you like when it comes to making decisions?  Would you care to join me on this beginner’s guide to making quick decisions in under a month? Continue reading

How to Fail at NaNoWriMo

As all good writers (and friends of writers, and families of writers, and distant cousins of writers, and local shopkeepers of writers) will know, it’s NaNoWriMo time – that magical time of year where hundreds of thousands of people around the world decide to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November.  Cafés the world over experience a boost in patronage and coffee sales as writers do their best to reach their next wordcount target in the most bohemian settings possible.

With all of this intensive writing comes an abundance of advice on how to get through NaNo: how to create believable characters or how to create a dastardly plot that would be the envy of Machiavelli; how to deal with characters who won’t do what they’re told or how to write your 1,667 words before breakfast.

So much advice!  You could spend the entire month reading it, with the occasional (vital!) break for yet another pot of tea, and never even realise you’ve forgotten about the writing element of NaNoWriMo.  In fact, you may end up keeping yourself so busy and productive that you can’t understand why your word count’s still sitting on zero.

What you really need is a handy guide to identifying these traps and avoiding them.  A guide written by a veteran of three failed NaNoWriMo campaigns and only one success (yes, that would be me).  A guide that may feel uncannily relevant to your interests.  A practical guide on How to Fail at NaNoWriMo. Continue reading

Don’t Look Back in Envy

In recent times, I’ve come to realise that while there are plenty of pros to looking backwards (you can check out if you’re being followed by some weirdo, for example), there are a lot more cons (you’re more likely to run into things. A lot more likely. Bruises are in your very near future.). And while this applies to everyday moments such as walking down the street, it also applies to less prosaic situations such as how far we’ve come as people.

For example:

Have you ever discovered a plan you’d totally forgotten about? Despite the fact it was quite detailed and you’d written a whole bunch of notes on it and were totally planning to do something about it in that mystical time known as ‘tomorrow’?*

This happened to me the other day. Continue reading