Start Making Sense

I’ve written in this space before about my relationship with writing, but I’ve never really considered how I write, how I get shit done. So using Lifehacker’s How We Work series as a Proust Questionnaire-type model, I’m taking a crack at chasing my workflow, so. Here goes.

Current gig: PhD wonderland
One word that best describes how you work: Ongoing
Current mobile device: iPhone 4
Current computer: MacBook Pro that’s aging gracefully

What apps/software/tools can’t you truly live without?

  • Notes on the iPhone. A good 80% of my projects, both fan fiction and academic, start there.
  • WordPress and Tumblr.The next generation of idea development happens here.
  • Dropbox synched on all my devices and online. Almost all of my teaching materials live there, in various iterations, along with tons of fandom and academic-related PDFs.
  • Good Reader for iPad. PDF access all the time to shit I pull down from Dropbox.

What’s your workplace setup like?

workspace @ school

The key for me is having a big space to spread out in. I don’t need shelves or drawers, really; just a big wide workspace to fill with books, papers, computer, and other detritus  At school, I spend as much time sitting on my desk as I do behind it; it’s just easier for me to work up there. At home, I make a conscious effort to work at my desk and not on the couch. Couch = social media. Desk = writing.

That said, I spend more time working in alternative spaces like the library and the local Starbucks than I do in either of these officially sanctioned places.

workspace @ home

Decorating my spaces, adorning them with the relics of academic fandom, is key for me. I need Batman putting his finger in my face sometimes; at others, I just need some pretty to stare at when the words aren’t coming fast enough.

Blank walls freak me out, is what I’m saying.

What’s your best timesaving hack/shortcut?

Write shit down. Whenever and wherever an idea comes, I write it down RIGHT THEN or else it’s gone. This saves me time later wracking my brain for evidence of my previous brilliance, because it’s all there on my iPhone or in the margins of my homework.

when i run out of space here, these notes migrate to other rooms. my hallway’s full of the things.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager? 

Giant sticky notes on the wall of my workspace. They’re the in-world version of my iPhone Notes.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?

The iPad when I’m traveling and at conferences and a good set of headphones, always.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

Giving myself permission to write. Just sitting down and letting the words come, fucked up or sideways or even right the first time. Publishing my stuff on the internet has done wonders for me, in this way: I write something, I publish it, period. Writing’s like a trap-and-release program, for me.

What do you listen to while you work?

Blessed silence or movie soundtracks like Tron: Legacy and X-Men: First Class.

What’s your sleep routine like?

Ugh. Terrible. I go to bed at a reasonable hour, sure, but then I wake up more than once and check email, which suggests to the cats that it’s time to get up. A struggle ensues, with sleep the inevitable loser.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

Bitch please. I am the textbook introvert.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Listening solves 95% of problems. Help people to know they’re being heard.

The hardest part, for me? Is listening to myself.

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