Life Hack: Give the Greatest Gift

Greatest Gift You Can Give Someone Is Your Time

I have had some awesome teachers and mentors who have freely given of their time, and I treasure that. We can all make more money, but none of us can buy any extra time. (Although we can manage what we have better, perhaps.) As creative, we need to give back some of that precious time we have been given.

When I think of how I pestered and questioned my mentors, when I pulled every last shred of knowledge and insight from them that they could afford to give, I feel just a bit embarrassed. My enthusiasm can be, ah, a wee much. There. I admitted it. But they were patient, kind, and generous, God love them.  I wouldn’t be who and where I am today without them.

Make a list of two other creatives who could use some of your time. Do they need a card, a hug, a shout-out of their latest work? Today I read a beginner’s poem. It was fun for both of us, I think, although I did suggest he call his poem “The Thread Amendment.” I’m not sure he saw and/or appreciated the pun.

I instantly know when I’ve met a creative: I feel that magnetism. Sometimes it’s stronger than at other times. I can even feel what I call “repressed creatives.” But that’s a different topic for another day.

Give the greatest gift to another creative — give of your time. It doesn’t take very long to comment on a blog post, to share good news on Facebook, or to favorite an item on Twitter. Just do it. Let’s be there for one another!

P.S. The above photo and quote express well what I mean, but the photo isn’t quite my style. But you probably knew that already. 🙂

Life Hack: Power Hour!

Ireland and  Chicago 2013 203

Sometimes we creative types can become easily overwhelmed. It’s not because we are flawed (never that!), but because we have so many great ideas.

I think I already explained that we are a bit, ahem, disorganized, but I am convinced that too much organization is a creativity killer. A little, however, can be helpful.

This leads me to my next life hack: Power Hour! It sounds like the title of a religious TV program, but it’s not.

Here’s how it works:

Are there little niggly tasks that never get finished? Or started? Don’t know where to start? Make a list of creative tasks — reading a blog and commenting, sending out a query, checking out contests, or maybe reading a writing magazine.

Got that? Great. Then all you need to do is schedule a “Power Hour” for the week. This is for tasks that you just aren’t getting to…like blogging, lol. Now use every minute of that hour to go, go, go! Do as many tasks as you can in that amount of time, and when you are finished, quit feeling guilty until next week’s power hour.

How much can you do in an hour? That’s what I thought.

Does an hour sound like too much? Fine, just start with half an hour, or even fifteen minutes!

Here are some things I can do in fifteen minutes:

1. Submit a story (or two, if I cut and paste my query) online.

2. Record all of the writing contests I want to enter for the month on my Yahoo! calendar, complete with reminders.

3. Print a story and stuff it in an envelope if it’s, sigh, for a snail-mail market. (Sorry, not a fan. Love the markets, just not the cumbersome process. I’m a creative, remember, not a clerical type. Some of my best friends are detail people, though.)

4. Research a residency and daydream about getting in.

5. Write on my “go-to” story.

6. Begin an essay.

7. Read an article or a story from one of the magazines that tend to pile up.

And that’s with only fifteen minutes! Now quadruple that for your Power Hour. What can YOU do with fifteen minutes? Or an hour!

What’s the advantage to doing this? It’s been my experience that we have to make time for the big picture things or the day-to-day will swallow the future. These little things should be those that will add to our lives, to our sense of having a future, of achieving our dreams some day.

Okay, that’s it. Creatives have a short attention span. Or maybe that’s just me. Squirrel…

With my “Power Hour” today I wrote and sent a query, called for sources on Facebook, and sent an email with questions to a source.

What will YOU do with a Power Hour? Share your ideas and let me know your progress!