In the Moment Monday -September 26, 2016 : Procrastination Station

In this week’s post, a reintroduction and testimony about dodging difficulty and productivity.


by Jason Martinez

So, yes, the motivational column previously known as “Motivational Mondays” is back. This time the column will be known as “In the Moment Monday.” “Why the name change?” you may ask. Well, in the time that I have been away, I have learned the importance of truly living in a moment. It is a micro focus on ideas rather than the macro of general “motivation” that I previously wrote about. Yes, there will be motivational material, but instead of exploring the dark corners of only my psyche, we will explore ways to not only live in the moment, but to overcome any obstacles in a productive way.

For this first post back, let’s take a look at how procrastination can set a person back with goals, specifically when it involves someone doing something that the don’t want to do. What is a common subject of avoidance? Schoolwork. Or, even work-work. Anything that has to do with responsibility I would say is fair game to be avoided with menial, time-killing behaviors.

For me, I have a weakness for digital media, specifically in the form of Netflix and other streaming services. I’m sure that it is because there is a certain type of hypnotic quality of watching or observing passively, where our brains can voluntarily take a backseat and defer doing more work. However, that may be just a brain like mine, one that is prone to cycles of productivity and creative bursts and is not a workhorse.

I do know many who have the aforementioned workhorse brain that allows them to find activities like writing or reading after a long day of work as relaxing. For me, creativity is a rewarding but tiring endeavor. When I have a full day of consulting, I feel that my brain is firing on all cylinders for as long as possible. Sometimes not all day, depending on how many appointments I have, but there is an extended period of engagement that my brain will eventually register and feel the drain at the end of the day. But that end of the day drain is so rewarding.

But if there is a reward to that behavior, then why do I negate the benefits of the drain? I think that in my case, and maybe with others, we are so pre-programmed from years of actual media programming options that we don’t know how to live in the moment and relax. There is a constant party of voices and noise that seems to fill my head, usually filler noises, half-completed song verses, movie or television quotes, all of which can derail me at any given moment for an undetermined amount of time during the day.

I’m practicing ways to stop what I’m doing and take a few minutes to recap what has happened, what is happening, and what is planned to happen. But the emphasis is on what is happening. The other two are mere bookends that just provide context and really should not be fixated upon, lest you fall into the trap of compare and despair of your past and future. Sitting in a relatively quiet space, a living room, a library, or even the car sitting idle without the engine on can all provide good spaces to just focus on the now.

As difficult as it may be to drown out the noises of the day’s events, friends, drama, classes, work, or just anything that you allow to take up valuable real estate in your brain, rest assured that you can do it. It takes practice and repetition to at least feel a moment of relaxation and focus that is not drenched in the day’s concerns.


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Word Nerd Wednesdays

by Kristi R. Johnson

For today’s WNW post, instead of focusing on a certain word or phrase, I decided to highlight one of my favorite sites that consistently alerts me to new words and phrases, as well as some that may not be used anymore, but probably should be.

Mental Floss has a lot of information on it. It is essentially a place for anyone who likes knowledge, especially about random stuff. I discovered them through their YouTube channel, and was immediately convinced that it was something I needed in my life when I realized that John Green (author of The Fault in Our Stars) was involved.

The Mental Floss website contains all sorts of information, from lists such as 33 Unusual Majors Your College Probably Didn’t Offer, to maps of the U.S. Distorted by Population, to incredibly satisfying videos of dominoes falling in an amazing pattern.

Their YouTube channel includes a weekly List Show that offers up such information as 26 Facts About Magic, and 50 Great Facts about the 50 States. And then there is their Big Question series where they answer questions such as What’s the Origin of Fireworks?

But I digress: we’re here for the words. And Mental Floss has some great lists full of them.

Ever thought you needed more Beatnik slang in your life? There is a list for that. What about more words to mean ‘cheap’ or ‘stingy?’ They have you covered there too. Need more two-letter words that can boost your Scrabble score? No problem. And then one of my personal favorites: how about a list of old British dialect words we should consider bringing back? I have no idea when my next opportunity will come to tell someone they’re being ‘polrumptious,’ but I am kind of looking forward to it.

Mental Floss is where I found out that the word ‘honeycomb’ could be used as a verb. For instance, to honeycomb something is to drill wholes into it, weakening the entire structure. And while nostalgia usually means a sentimental longing or affection for a happy time in the past, it can also mean a condition in which someone can only act as if they are battling in a war.

Basically, Mental Floss has been incredibly helpful by feeding my word nerd habits. And finding obscure and out of use words and trying to work them into a story or piece of dialogue makes for a fun and challenging writing prompt. So check it out. You may be surprised by what you learn.

Word Nerd Wednesdays

by Kristi R. Johnson


Many will recognize the above scene and quote from Dead Poet’s Society, a 1989 film starring Robin Williams as an unorthodox teacher at an all boys prep school, as well as the book of the same name by N.H. Kleinbaum. John Keating lets his students know that using ‘very’ in their writing simply will not work. And after telling them that using the word is lazy, he gives examples where the word has been substituted for one that gets the same point across, while sounding better and painting a clearer picture.

I’ll admit it: I am a recovering ‘very’ junkie. Same can be said for the word ‘just.’ In most cases, both of these words can be deleted from a sentence and not be missed.

“He was very hopeful that the meeting would go well.”
“He was hopeful that the meeting would go well.”

“Kim just wanted to go by herself, with no one tagging along.”
“Kim wanted to go by herself, with no one tagging along.”

“John is just very annoyed with Beth because of what she did.”
“John is annoyed with Beth because of what she did.”

I am sure many of you out there shuddered after reading that last one…it kind of hurt me to type it out.

The point is this: try to avoid using ‘very,’ and ‘just,’ as much as possible, especially in academic writing. For one thing, there are better words out there, especially if they are being used for emphasis. Second, most of the time, these words can be done away with completely, making your writing much more clean and concise.

Word Nerd Wednesdays

by Kristi R. Johnson


Welcome to Word Nerd Wednesdays, or the WNW. And before you wonder, yes, I was indeed a fan of World Championship Wrestling, or the WCW, back in the day. Don’t judge.

The above picture is the end result of the efforts of two former writing center consultants. In an attempt to give our students more options in their writing, Michelle and Scott wrote out over 80 different words/phrases to use instead of the word ‘says’ on one of the ACE white boards. Many of us who enjoy writing fiction or who write using material from interviews and transcripts have been in the position of not wanting to use ‘says’ in every other sentence. And of course, the moment the fear of being repetitive sets in is the same moment all other options seem to escape our memory. Well just one click to enlarge the photo will give you all the options (at least in English) that most could ever need.

Quick tip though: Try to use words and phrasing that will not distract from the dialogue or the overall focus. I love opportunities to use ‘delineates,’ ‘extrapolates,’ and even ‘hypothesizes’ as much as the next person, but sometimes they just aren’t appropriate.

What is your go to word or phrase when attempting to avoid ‘says?’

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