Should We Make an Appointment to Write?

Should We Make an Appointment to Write?
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Two days ago was my self-proclaimed Treat Yourself Day. I had it all planned out:

  • 9AM: Order a chai bomb at a new coffee shop and write a blog post
  • 11AM: Enjoy a full-body massage with my spa gift certificate
  • 12PM: Order a glass of wine at lunch
  • 1PM: Go shopping!
  • 5PM: Make (vegetarian) paella for dinner and watch a movie
Spa candles and towels

Credit: DeltaHotels.com

Most of the day went as planned. Except for the 9AM part. I pressed snooze so many times on my alarm clock that by the time I was up and ready to go for the day, I didn’t have enough time for that chai bomb or that blog post.

So I read a book instead before the massage. Not a bad alternative.

But I didn’t miss my massage appointment. And I was actually looking forward to my coffee shop time more than the spa experience.

So why did I make sure that I didn’t miss the massage? Because I had an appointment.

Our society holds appointments in high regard. We work hard at not missing them. We schedule them in advance. We feel guilty for pushing them back or cancelling.

But what about writing?

We often plan to write when it’s convenient in our schedule. We easily push it to the side when something somewhat important arises. We press snooze on our writing opportunities so much that we sleep through our chance to write.

Lightbulb

So then I had an epiphany: Why don’t we make writing appointments for ourselves?

We schedule a time in our calendars. We set reminders hours and days before it’s time to get the ball rolling. We have our writing equipment ready to go the night before—just like we do for an appointment.

 

The most important part: We need to reserve a room somewhere.

If we can’t hold ourselves accountable so that we make time to write, then we need to treat our writing time like an appointment.

Call to schedule a room (appointment) at your library or rent a small conference room at your local co-working space. Better yet, make it a weekly appointment so that you’re writing regularly.

The beauty of writing is that we can write at anytime and at anyplace. But if we’re not creating anything, then there’s no beauty nor writing.

Co-Working Space

Credit: workantile.com

Don’t worry, I’m not just talking the talk. I’ve looked into my local options and was surprised at the results. I can purchase a day pass at a nearby co-working space for $35 (with group lunches every Wednesday!). And my local library branch has free study rooms (although they’re first-come, first serve).

Once we are in the habit of making an appointment for our writing, then we can make our writing habit happen anywhere (and eventually at anytime). An appointment is the start of your writing time becoming a healthy habit.

Do you often skip out on your writing time? Share your experience below.

Why We Don’t Read Anymore

Why We Don’t Read Anymore
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I set aside an hour before I fall asleep at night to read at least one chapter from a novel or non-fiction book. Sometimes I’ll even switch it up with a story from a magazine.

But the standard still stands: I must read every day.

My family teases me constantly about my reading habits. They think it’s funny (and often annoying) that I get antsy when holidays or last-minute plans throw off my nightly ritual.

Perfume spraying

Credit: inmagine.com

It (usually) isn’t my eagerness to get back to the story. It’s because I know how easy it is to fall out of pattern with reading.

It’s not that I hate reading. Quite the opposite. I love to read. I mark library used book sales on my calendar. I visit bookstores for fun—and for hours.

And does eau de aged paper exist? (Answer: Yes)

Yet it’s still easy for me to fall out of touch with reading, someone who has dedicated an entire career to writing words.

Cat gasping GIF

And I’m not the only one that feels this way. In fact, 27 percent of adults haven’t read a single book in the last year.

That’s right. 1 in 4 people didn’t pick up a book for the entire year.

So why is it so hard for us to read?

 

 

Is It Because We’re Busy?

Television GIF

If that’s what you want to believe. You don’t have time to pick up a book and read a few pages because you have to work, do errands and fulfill family or community commitments.

But let me ask you this: How much TV have you watched this week? How much time have you spent online?

That’s what I thought. You do have time. You’re just spending that extra time on something else.

Are We Choosing the Wrong Books to Read?

Book page turning GIF

I’ve fallen in that trap. I’ve started a book that I can’t stand and reading starts to feel like a homework assignment. Yet I find myself finishing it with no problem.

And I’ve found myself in love with a book—but never finding myself reading it.

If you’re not reading because you don’t like your current read, then pick up something else. The real problem is that you’re not picking up any book at all.

Why We’re Really Not Reading

We don’t read anymore because we don’t make it a priority. We don’t value reading enough to make it part of our daily lives.

Books GIF

I have a hard time fitting in exercise into my schedule, yet I don’t quit running because it’s hard to make time for. I wake up an hour earlier so that I can make it happen.

If you love reading as much as you say you do—yet you’re not reading regularly—then you don’t love reading. It’s just that simple.

If you love reading, then make room for it in your day. Look at your schedule and plan where you can dedicate 30 minutes or an hour to reading a good book.

Because how often do you look back at yesterday and regret reading?

Why are you not reading? Share your story below.

My Beef with Comic Sans

My Beef with Comic Sans Font Typeface
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Boo me all you want. But I can’t stand comic sans.

I cringe at every email signature, every business sign, every website homepage that uses that typeface.

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Yes, the font is ugly. Yes, the font is childish. But no, that’s not why it makes me sigh with despair.

Why would someone create such a spiteful font? Here’s the story.

Back in the 90s, while Vincent Connare worked at Microsoft, he received a beta version of Microsoft Bob, a software package designed for younger users. This package featured a dog named Rover that “spoke” to the user through message balloons – but the font was Times New Roman.

That font won’t do, said Connare. It doesn’t suit the comic situation.

He took it into his own hands to design an appropriate font for the talking dog. Comic books were his inspiration for what we now recognize as comic sans.

But the font wasn’t finalized in time for the release of Microsoft Bob. So it was released in the Windows 95 Plus Pack and later bundled in versions of Windows 95 and the comic movie program 3D Movie Maker.

And yes, it’s still included in Windows and Mac OS programs.

So, why all this love for such a goofy font? Connare shares his thoughts in this interview:

“Regular people who are not typographers or graphic designers choose Comic Sans because they like it. It’s as simple as that. Comic Sans isn’t complicated, it isn’t sophisticated, it isn’t the same old text typeface like in a newspaper. It’s just fun — and that’s why people like it.”

He goes on to say that comic sans haters are just jealous they didn’t invent the typeface…

But I’m not the only one whose skin crawls at the sight of it. In fact, there are many vocal haters of comic sans.

Like Holly and Dave Combs, the creators of Ban Comic Sans. They sum up my sentiments towards the font:

“While we recognize the font may be appropriate in a few specific instances, our position is that the only effective means of ending this epidemic of abuse is to completely ban Comic Sans.” 

Comic sans is fitting for comics or picture books where the situation is playful. But when it leaks into professional scenarios like business cards or resumes, it becomes tacky.

The problem isn’t with the font. The problem is with how the user uses comic sans.

Take a hard look at your writing. What is the genre? Who is the audience? What is the intent of the content?

Then ask yourself: Is comic sans appropriate here?

Ninety-nine out of 100 times, the answer is no.

If the genre involves superheroes, the font can stay. If the font is in the near vicinity of professional, stick to a sleeker typeface.

Do you like comic sans? Share why you like or dislike the font below.

Stop Sounding Like a Jerk! Compliment a Writer with Class

complementing a writer
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What I hated about workshopping my stories during my undergrad days were the critics. I’m not a baby. I can take criticism any day of the week. I take it everyday at work whenever I write marketing content.

What drove me crazy was how my critics delivered their criticism. They were so engrossed in their own opinion that they often forgot they were talking about my work in the first place.

Even the compliments were more about them than my work.

Are you making this mistake? Writers are more likely to share their work again with you if you follow these rules when complimenting and criticizing them.

Take Out “I Like” From Your Vocab

The writer doesn’t care if you liked their characters or what their characters said or how they described the setting. You can like a character all day long, but does the character contribute to the story? Writers want to know if the story is working and they are most pleased when you compliment what is working in the story.

Instead of: I like how Nancy is so quirky.

Try this: Nancy’s quirkiness really draws out Chad’s insecurities.

Be Honest

Don’t say something’s great when it isn’t. Don’t try to find a small gem in the work when there’s a glaring error that needs to be addressed. Writers can see through your insincerity and won’t want to share their work with you again. If you don’t have a compliment, then don’t give one. Sometimes talking through an error is a compliment in disguise.

Focus on the Work, Not You

Don’t find a way to tie it back to your favorite writers or even your writing. Strike out every “I” you want to say in your statements. That includes “I think” and “I enjoyed.” Once again, the writer wants insight on the story development. An easy way to remember this is speaking in third person, because you’re really not going to talk about yourself in the third person, right?

Point Out the Details

When complimenting the writer, show that you were paying attention to the story by talking about specific details. Writers love that! Even retelling parts of the story shows the writer that your focus was on their writing while you read it. That’s flattery not taken lightly.

Don’t think I’m complaining. I appreciate all insight in my work, even the bad and ugly. But false positive compliments can be destructive to the story. The writer asks for your opinion because they trust it, and that’s a compliment in itself to you.