As writers, we’re encouraged to avoid the smorgasbord of clichés when cooking up our next piece of copy or simmering in our creative juices. Yet several corny chestnuts have stood me in good stead during the indigestion-inducing mess we know of as the global pandemic.
In 2019, I followed well-worn routines and disciplines. Ready for change, I looked forward to growth, expansion and a new kind of success in 2020.
When 2020 hit for real, I lost my way.
You too, huh?
Your peak morning creativity also got swallowed up by home-schooling distractions?
You also missed the productive buzz from your morning take-away coffee, until we all watched enough YouTube videos to use the fancy-schmancy coffee machines in our kitchens?
Our new menu of undertakings got stale pretty quickly, right?
My output reduced to zero for weeks. I was gutted.
One day, amongst my doom-scrolling on the internet, I discovered several recipes for productivity. I picked the simplest.
Months later, after peeling back my scared, twisted, outer layers, I’ve whipped my output levels back into shape.
I start by eating a frog for breakfast every morning. That’s right, I identify the most challenging task of the day, and get it out the way first and fast. I might re-work a piece of writing from the day before, draft a piece of copy, or finalise a proposal. A juicy morsel is always waiting to tempt and test me. I swallow it down, and move on.
For the rest of the day, I eat an elephant with small bites. I make sure these pieces of work are petite enough to fit in and manageable enough to digest. I pick no more than six of these little snacks and spread them over the day. I write, edit, publish, invoice and market. Little, by little, I bite off just the right amount to chew. Sometimes it’s tough, other times deeply pleasurable. But either way, I make grateful progress and achieve forward momentum.
I finish each day with a sweet treat. On warm evenings, I sit in the garden and read a book or laugh at my youngest trying to whistle. When the evenings draw in, I enjoy a brisk walk, a warm shower, and a foot rub. I can have my cake and eat it too! And so can you, I promise.
Eating frogs and elephants might not be most people’s idea of comfort food. Can’t argue with the cake, though. However, the deep satisfaction I get from reaching for these unusual foods, especially in times of stress, keeps me balanced and bright.
Try it for yourself…
I’m Rananda, a Sydney-based writer and editor.
With 25-plus years in corporate life, a financial background, a science education, and a lifetime of writing, I know there is more to starting and growing a loyal following than just the words on your website or saving that draft manuscript in a folder.
I bring comprehensive practical experience to supporting your writing needs.