Things I am trying to be better about

Eating fruit

During my recent travels, I noticed that all of my friends eat fresh fruit every day. Apples, pears, bananas, oranges, strawberries, you name it. Honestly, I look at fresh fruit and think about all the washing and the peeling and the seeds, and I just get too lazy. Which is super, super pathetic. So I’m working on it.

Also: taking daily multi-vitamins, reducing my intake of sugary drinks, and reducing my dependency on ramen.

Not caring if things aren’t tidy

I’m not clinically OCD, but I do have… tendencies. Such as making my bed each morning, arranging our trio of remote controls at certain “random” angles, and struggling to focus when my desk is too cluttered.

Cleanliness may be a virtue, but I let it take up more mental energy than it deserves. So what if Andy’s socks are on the floor, or that stack of magazines is askew, or I haven’t vacuumed in a week? Is anyone judging me? Is this untidiness hampering my work or my life in a real way?

If the answer is no, then let it go.


I’ve spent most of my 20s sitting at a desk, and lately, I can feel that inactivity in my bones. It’s a different kind of hunger, in all seriousness. My body craves movement.

(My daily walks with Riley help but aren’t enough.)

Luckily, my good friend John followed his passion and started his own gym, Kinitro Fitness. I can only attend his classes when I’m back in Houston visiting my parents, but he generously created a few at-home workouts for me. (They’re a lot like this one.) For now I’m doing these “boot camps” once per week, and it feels great.

(Or rather, I want to kill John for about 45 min, and then it feels great afterward.)

I also play co-ed sports with my friends — flag football, softball, and even broomball — but that’s a lot more about fun than fitness.


I used to meditate when I was in when I was in high school. Just a simple practice of breathing, focusing on that breath, and imagining it flowing through me in different ways. I don’t know exactly when or why I fell out of the habit, but a recent post at Writer Unboxed reminded me of how much I used to appreciate it, and how easy it would be to start up again.

Now I have an alert on my phone that prompts me to meditate for just 2 min each day. Sometimes those 2 min fly by; other times it feels like forever. Either way, I think the mental exercise is good for me, and I would like to gradually work my way up to 10 min each day.

Writing every day

For some people, this is a rule. For me, it’s just an aspiration borne out of logic. I absolutely believe that writers can be successful and productive without writing every day. I am personal friends with many of those kinds of writers.

But me, I’m happier when I write, even if it’s just a few lines here and there. So why wouldn’t I strive to give myself that happiness every day?

Also, I am particularly susceptible to momentum. A body in motion stays in motion, while a body at rest stays at rest. For me, writing today makes me more likely to write tomorrow, which is always preferable to not writing tomorrow.

What I’ve been up to

This is going to sound stupid, but I kind of hate my deer header. (The banner at the top of the page that I change every month? It’s a picture of two deer that I spotted the other day.) While I LOVE seeing animals in my yard, it doesn’t have quite the same magic on a blog. (Unfortunately.) I honestly think it’s making me want to blog less, as well as to redesign my entire site. Ridiculous, but true.

Also, I’ve been writing. A lot. (Well, a lot for me.) For now I’ve set aside the Dragon and started using a Bluetooth keyboard (regular, not ergonomic), and just being able to adjust the height of my keyboard and monitor separately has been HUGE in reducing typing strain. Then I invested (a whole $3) in a mesh lumbar support thingie that clips on to my mediocre IKEA desk chair. As long as I force myself remember to sit properly, my back doesn’t hurt either.

Most importantly, I’ve been killing the internet. As in, using Freedom for Mac to work in 2-hour blocks every morning and afternoon. That, combined with Scrivener’s full-screen mode, has been a huge boon to my productivity. (Boon, hehe. I love that word.)

So anyway. Major productivity combined with some travel (Houston this weekend, Rochester next weekend) has me feeling a bit distanced (in a good way) from the web. I wrote a cheeky little breakup letter to the Internet, but I’m not really breaking up with it, so I saved the letter and wrote this post instead.

How to train your Dragon

Guess what I got for Valentine’s Day? A Dragon!

No, not this kind

This kind!

(Although I wouldn’t have minded a Night Fury…)

Dragon Dictate for Mac is a speech recognition program. It transcribes whatever I say into whatever program I have open — Microsoft Word, Google Chrome, etc. See, after just a few days of writing full-time, my wrists were killing me! Not for the first time, but given how quickly the flare-up came on, it could easily have become the worst time.

I mentioned this to Andy, and he agreed that I needed to fix my workstation pronto. Now, we could have solved this in a few different ways (ergonomic keyboard, taller chair, laptop stand) but I think Andy purposely chose a solution that would wear my voice out.

Setting up Dragon took about 15 minutes, and right away it was about 95% accurate. Unfortunately, one of the words it couldn’t get right was my name. You see, “Kristin” and “Kristen” were pre-programmed into the software, so overwriting them with my “Kristan” wasn’t easy. (This may have been the first time EVER that I almost wished for a normally spelled name…)

I tried several suggestions that I found in the software’s forums, but none of them worked. For a while I gave up and just started signing my emails as “K.” But I hated the idea of giving in to a computer. Ken Jennings may have lost to Watson, but I was determined to triumph over my Dragon!

Long story short, I think I found a solution. (I created a Command so that “Kristan” would get higher priority over mere Vocabulary words “Kristin”/”Kristen.”) Let’s do a little test:


Looks good to me!

Anyway, my name doesn’t appear in my stories anywhere, so I’ve been using Dragon to dictate my writing for the past week. I actually use it in combination with typing, because corrections are easier to do by hand. But for quickly writing e-mails, or drafting a scene, it flies. In fact, my last two blog posts have been dictated to Dragon as well. And my wrists are a lot happier.

Now, I can’t take my Dragon everywhere. I mean, can you imagine talking to him in the middle of a Panera or a library? So my hands will still be expected to carry some of the load. But my half-sister Trisha called to give me her tips on how to minimize wrist pain, since she and our oldest sister had typing-intensive jobs for years. I think between her advice and my Dragon, my long-term health is in good hands. Pun intended.