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making it count

if i tried to describe my life, and everything on my “to do list”, you’d probably sniff and say, “No wonder you call it an asylum. You’re nuts!”

i’m not appealing for sympathy, though.
not looking for pity.

after all, it seems this is normal, everyday life for most everyone in america. too busy. too stressed. too much to do.

for this reason alone, modern society seriously needs an overhaul. how can we be creative when life gets so cluttered?!? work, family, school, work, shopping, entertainment, friends, work, oh and did i mention work?

>straightens wild hair and takes a deep, calming breath<

yes, well. here’s the tip of the day:

make everything do double (or triple or squidruple) duty.

this is a strategy especially useful for creatives like us.

your average working joe cannot always make an action do double duty: he does his job, and it pays the bills. if he’s particularly blessed, it might pay the bills and provide some personal satisfaction. or pay the bills and provide some friendship and entertainment.

but for a writer, or an artist, everything can feed the creative engine.

learning a new Photoshop trick? use it to make something worthy of your portfolio. take screenshots along the way and then use those to post a tutorial so others can learn it to (also drawing more traffic to your website).

stuck in traffic? work through a knotty plot problem or dream up a good comedic relief character for your webcomic.

waiting in line at the grocery story? memorize visual details of the people around you: outfits, hair styles, body types, facial expressions, body language. use at least one detail in a drawing.

researching a non-fiction article? don’t just write that article on the local SPCA. use some detail of what you learn in a fiction story. spin what you learned so it makes a dozen articles, not one. query a women’s mag, a kid’s mag, an animal rights mag, the regional newspaper, and post something about it online.

reading a book on how to write fiction? don’t just learn from it! write a review. link to it on and get some revenue if anyone ever buys it from your site. stop and try one of the techniques it describes, even if you end up throwing the exercise away later. it’s not a waste — you learned something by doing it.

(yeah, i know.
i’m giving myself away here.
and that was the point of my entry the other day. i’m sharing what i’ve learned, which means you’ve probably seen me doing it if you’ve hung around enough.)

remember, now. whatever you do, make it count.
every time.
until you’ve made double duty second nature.


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