Taking Advantage of Lazy Days

This is Day 4 of my 31 Days of August Awesomeness Blog Challenge. Want to know more? Check out the inaugural post here.

Today is Saturday, and you know what? I woke up late with nothing to do. Now that’s not to say that I didn’t have an agenda in mind of things that I wanted to accomplish, but there wasn’t a single place that I needed to be today unless I chose to be there.

These kinds of days are bliss.

It’s kind of easy to zoom through lazy days and forget to appreciate that they are dabbled in amongst the chaos that is our normal busy day lives, isn’t it? When our game piece lands on a lazy day, I think the most common reaction is to go into some kind of schedule paralysis and turn the dial the complete opposite direction “I must get the 5 bazillion things on my to-do list that I never look at done before 11:59pm when my pumpkin disappears!

Ok, that’s a little extreme, but I think you know what I mean. We don’t enjoy the fact that our schedule and our time are our own. So we overcompensate. What that does is ensure that our brains and bodies aren’t given any kind of break from the normal day stress. We still click away to a beat that has stopped, but we’ll know will be picked up again in just another day or so.

No wonder I’m always exhausted!

As I look into August, I see these beautiful glimmers of light on the calendar like today, and I am making a promise to myself to appreciate and enjoy them to the fullest. That definitely doesn’t mean that I plan to do nothing with them. But I am going to be very intentional about how I chose to spend my time. I don’t see any downside in doing that.

Today’s “schedule”? I slept in later than I have in forever, and I didn’t beat myself up about it. I’m doing three planned writing sprints to progress my current WIP (the sequel to Heiress of Lies), but I’ve already taken a nap in-between. I’m sitting at my local coffee shop enjoying a caffeinated beverage. Tonight I’m going to wrap up by watching the Olympics and probably Underworld Awakenings. (yea yea, I’ve heard it’s horrible but I’m going into it with low expectations.)

I feel relaxed and happy. Which is exactly what I love and appreciate about my lazy days.

(Photo credit Retroeric)

Need a Kick in the Productivity Pants? Try Journaling

 This is Day 2 of my 31 Days of August Awesomeness posts. Click here for how it all started…

 Ask anyone who has known me for any length of time, and they will confirm what I am about to tell you: I am a lifelong procrastinator.  It is a crippling habit when paired with my other “p” weakness: perfectionism. What do you get accomplished when you are a perfectionist procrastinator?


I have had a bazillion false starts in my writing career. That’s why I spent 7 years working on the Edge of Shadows manuscript. That’s right: 7 YEARS! I wrote it, I edited it, I changed it, I got brave in 2009 and gave it to a bunch of beta readers, I edited it some more based on their feedback, I lost that version (whole other story), then I tweaked, moaned, and edited some more. It still wasn’t right. I felt like I still wasn’t ready, and so I shoved it away for another day.

Now that easily could have been the end of my story. Aspiring writer finds reality and trudges back to day job content to live out the rest of her life. 

Then quite by accident, I stumbled across a reference to a book on a writing blog called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. If you are an artist, not even a writer but any kind of creator of artistic work, and you are stuck, you must run (don’t walk!) to Amazon and buy this book. I’m absolutely serious- the book will change your life.

I’ll wait.

The single most important habit that book taught me, and a habit I continue today is to journal. I journal three long-handed pages almost everyday. I started the self-paced The Artist’s Way course in October 2011, and as you can see by the picture at the top of this post, I’m on my 5th journal.

Why do I consider this course and this habit life-changing? I got out of my own way.

Consider this. Prior to October 2011, I had written two 50,000 word manuscript drafts which were both collecting dust in a drawer. Fast forward ten months. One of those manuscripts I published (Edge of Shadows), and then I’ve written and published 4 more. Ageless is written and with my editor, so that’s really 4 1/2 by my count. And I’m well underway on the next book.

My writing has been taken to a whole new level. I’m not afraid to take risks. I’ve had my share of failures and lessons learned, but that is far outweighed by the massive burst of energy and productivity that I’m leveraging on a daily basis.

It all starts with my journaling. In it, I allow myself to be whiny. I allow myself to be self-deprecating and get down on myself. I nit-pick dumb things I’ve done. But I also plan out what I want to get accomplished each day. I pat myself on the back for every victory. And I have a fabulous record of my writing journey. I get shivers thinking about being able to come back and read my first entry in my first journal five or ten years from now.

It’s heady stuff, powerful stuff. And it’s addictive.

Journaling has opened up my mind and jumpstarted my productivity. It’s one of my awesome productivity secrets, and I’m delighted to be sharing it with you.

By the way, you may be thinking “Well sure, Cege, you’re a writer so journaling is easy for you.” I may have written in a diary a couple of times when I was a teenager, but this kind of structured writing has never been part of my writing routine. Finding the time and sticking with it was a challenge. But in the end, it became part of my day and it’s something I look forward to.

So if you are looking for a way to shake up your routine and find massive loads of inspiration? Try journaling. Plus, it’s a great excuse to go shopping at your local bookstore. 🙂