I need to be easier on myself, I think.
I’m not productive on weekends—no matter how I try, various social commitments distract me. And it’s tough for me to be productive mid-week if I have an engagement in the evening.
To put it simply, I get scared. I’m terrified of being late. (Lateness being a Major Sin according to my mother, may she rest in peace.) So I dare not do anything that might put me into an ADHD hyperfocused state… which means I get almost nothing done.
This isn’t an unfounded fear. Before I set up systems to bombard myself with visible and audible alarms, I’d miss about a third of my appointments. I still miss some.
So, having fallen behind—again—in Camp NaNoWriMo, I’m cranking myself up to an unhealthy level of paranoia, which of itself will make it more likely that either I’ll fall behind further, or miss an engagement.
So starting today, I’m going to schedule anything I need to schedule as early as possible. If I have an evening commitment, I’ll arrange for pickup by someone prompt so that if I become hyperfocused, it’s not a disaster. And I’ll avoid evening engagements as much as possible. Not just for the duration of Camp NaNoWriMo, but in future, period. I’m tired of this crap.
You who’ve been with me a while know that I can’t resist playing with new tech. So I ordinarily wouldn’t have bought the Bose QuietControl 30 (QC30) in-ear headset during July Camp NaNoWriMo—but I made the mistake of putting it on my birthday list, and to my astonishment, it arrived! (Thanks, Hubby!)
As an ADHD writer, I need a serious noise-attenuating headset. I’ve had a mid-level active noise cancelling (ANC) in-ear headset, the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC33IS, for years. It does great for airplane noise, but for coffeehouse music and conversation, not so much. I’ve had two gaming headsets, which do well on passive noise attenuation. But I left the quite good Hyper X Cloud II over-the-ear set behind at coffeehouses no fewer than three times, the last time for good. It just wasn’t meant to be. And the Razer Hammerhead BT—well, it’s just not up to attenuating the coffeehouse milieu, either, not even with Comply Foam Eartips installed.
Since I can’t stop losing over-the-ear headphones, there seemed to be only one choice for wide frequency, in-ear ANC—the outrageously expensive Bose QC30. Four times the cost of the ATH-ANC33IS or Razer Hammerhead BT, is it really worth that much money?
Yes. Yes, it is, if you need that level of attenuation. The QC30 drops outside music and loud conversation volume to such a low level that I can turn down the volume on my soothing background music and just write. OMG, it’s wonderful! Occasionally I start thinking that it’s not doing much—but then I turn off the ANC and hastily turn it back on.
The QC30 music quality is great, for my not-too-picky taste. Will it satisfy serious audiophiles? Probably not, but it’s not shabby. Check out this Sound Guys article if you’re curious. I’m happy with how it treats my Bach concertos, though.
There’s also the “Control” part of QuietControl. I can increase or decrease attenuation at will. In other words, I don’t have to dig an eartip out of my ear in order to talk to the coffeehouse barista, then replace it afterwards. I just lower attenuation, talk normally, then raise the attenuation back up to max.
Don’t be discouraged by the (comparatively) low ratings for the QC30 v. the Bose over-the-ear headsets. Expectations for Bose are high, and in-ear headsets always have lower ratings than their over-the-ear counterparts. Here are some common complaints:
- The batteries die after two years. Rechargeable lithium batteries wear out. Depending on how many times you charge them, this isn’t unexpected. Not even Bose can change physics.
- The QC30 doesn’t stand up to workouts. Bose doesn’t claim it will. Their sports headsets are not noise-cancelling. Their noise-cancelling headsets are not intended to stand up to sports.
- The eartips don’t fit. They’re good eartips, provided in small, medium, and large, but of course they won’t fit everyone. Poor eartip fit is the cause of not only fit complaints, but many poor sound complaints as well. I’m lucky the large tips fit me, because the QC30 won’t accept third-party eartips. In my opinion, the inability to accept third-party eartips is one of its few flaws.
- The neckband shifts position. It can slip off to one side a bit if I’m taking a brisk walk to the neighbourhood Starbucks whilst playing Pokemon Go. The only time I’ve had a real problem with this is if I’m listening to music, forget myself, and start dancing. This appears to be part of the “not ready for workouts” syndrome.
- The ear wires/neckband physically wear out. I haven’t had mine long enough to give this a test. However, by design necessity in-ear headsets are more delicate than over-the-ear ones. The wires and components of the QC30 are heavier than those of my old AT headset, which has lasted me years. Many Bose customers complaining about this say that it happens after the 1-year warranty runs out—and that their expectations for Bose are that the set will last several years more. I’ll revise my review if this happens, but like my Audio-Technica set, I intend to treat my QC30 as if it’s made of glass. Similar complaints were rife about the AT set, and I managed to get five years out of it (it’s still going, in fact.) Honestly, I’ll likely wear out the battery before I wear out the rest of the device.
Tips for Using the Bose QC30 Headset
Update your firmware. There are many reviews complaining about the voice microphone for phone calls, sound quality, etc. My unit arrived with firmware 1.2.x. By the time I finished updating, the firmware version was 3.0.3! Don’t just depend on the Bose phone app, Bose Connect. I got a more recent copy of the firmware by going to the Bose update site, btu.bose.com. I have had zero problems with sound quality or with folks I call complaining about call quality.
Change the way you think about voice pickup. There’s no microphone in the control module. It’s not hidden in the neckband, either. No, the microphones(!) are on the earbuds themselves. So holding the control module or the neckband closer to your mouth won’t help. Just speak normally. I’d suggest keeping your voice even a bit softer than normal—one person I called said my voice was “over-modulated”. That meant that I was speaking too loudly for the mics and they were distorting my voice. But please do be sure you have the latest firmware (see above.)
For Camp Nanowrimo this year, I’m tracking minutes spent actually writing fiction, as opposed to new words or some other measure. All well and good, but how do I track it when I’m so distractible? How do I tell genuine research, for example, from a distraction? How do I count minutes when I lose track of time so badly that I forget to set a timer for—how long? Was that an hour that slipped by? Do I count time when I’m staring at the screen for—seconds? Minutes? while my brain throws a distraction event and I check out of the planet temporarily?
Seriously, I have little sense of time passing. It’s the ADHD thing. I have a bunch of systems in place, and yet I still manage to miss occasional appointments—I live in dread of it.
So I’m doing the best I can, here. RescueTime helps if it hasn’t crashed and I’m on my Mac. I assume any time Scrivener’s on screen I’m writing. RescueTime’ll catch any time I check out for more than 5 minutes. And I close Scrivener when I’m done on the Mac so RescueTime can’t count any time when Scriv’s just onscreen momentarily.
iOS has been more of a problem historically. I resist using a free service, but I’ve finally given in and turned on Apple Screentime on both my devices. Again I only count time in Scrivener, regardless of whether I was really, really researching or whatever. I’d rather under report than over report.
Other than that, I can only hope that the time I spend tuned out makes up for accidental double recording.
So as far as I can tell, I managed to catch up to “par” today as far as reaching my 3000 minute goal for the month. Onward!
A very happy Independence Day to my fellow United States residents and happy Camp NaNoWriMo to all!
Here in South California the Fourth started with a bang. A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit about 10:30am. Its epicentre was near Ridgecrest, California, a community in the desert between the Sequoia National Monument and Death Valley. We felt the shaking here in Los Angeles for nearly a minute, though the quake was more than 140 miles away. Luckily it did no more than shake my computer monitor, but it sure woke our household up!
Progress in Minutes (50 hours==3000 minutes total goal)
Progress meter courtesy of honorless.net
|Colour||Progress towards today’s target|
|Red||Progress < 90%|
|Gold||90% <= progress < 100%|
|Green||100% <= progress|
|Date and Time||Description|
|2019-07-17 18:32||Progress posted|
|2019-07-17 13:20||Progress posted|
|2019-07-09 16:55||Progress posted|
|2019-07-08 17:47||Progress posted|
|2019-07-08 00:12||Progress posted|
|2019-07-05 22:45||Progress posted|
|2019-07-04 23:14||Progress posted|
|2019-07-03 21:09||Progress posted|
|2019-07-02 22:50||Progress posted|
|2019-07-01 23:05||Progress posted|
I refuse to let health problems take away July Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s the most productive month of the year, especially since I’ve learned so many things not to do since 2018.
Let the writing begin!
It’s my novel in progress that’s stuck, and a quarter of the way through.
I know where where I want it to go. I’ve gotten my main character off his duff and going there. I’ve written two versions so far of the “middle two quarters” (Act 2 to you fiction and screenplay writers out there.) The first one was rollicking, but petered out in the middle because it didn’t up the conflict. The second is dying of terminal exposition. And it… just feels wrong, the way the back end of the first attempt did.
I haven’t figured it out yet and I’ve been at it so damned long that I’m starting to think I won’t. I’m not giving up—yet—but today I’m feeling really discouraged.
You know the surgeries I alluded to in my 19 February 2019 post? The first didn’t happen until late April. This explains the “radio silence” since; it wasn’t until this very week that I’ve felt up to my old routine. And I have yet another surgery to go…
But I’ve completed the first round of edits on my LA NaNo Anthology short story. Sorry, but that took precedence over keeping the blog updated when I didn’t have energy for… well, much of anything.
But I’m back now, and I’ll keep the blog updates coming! At least until the next round…