Tag Archives: Writing

Have Extra Time? Do Something Meaningful.

I woke up at 4 AM. For me, this was a good thing. As an often insomniac, I frequently wake up between 2:00 AM and 2:45 AM and then spend three hours trying to go back to sleep, only to doze off for 15 minutes or so before I need to get up.

So, waking up at 4 AM and getting the better part of seven hours of sleep was like winning a little lottery this morning. Having some quiet time to myself while the rest of the world is still sleeping felt like quite a treat.  How best to savor it?

I wrote for over an hour.  I have a new book idea and I wanted to start getting it down.  So, it was the perfect time to do it. Will it be a best-seller or get published for that matter… I don’t know.  I do know that it was time better spent than on watching TV or clicking around social media.  How you start the day is important.  It can set the tone for the rest of the day.  So, it’s the best time to do what matters the most to you.

 

 

NANOWRIMO…to do or not to do.

NANOWRIMO starts today.  Many aspiring novelists around the world will begin writing their books.  They have until the end of November to write 50,000 words in order to be considered a NANWRIMO contest winner.

Last year, 402,142 people participated in this annual online contest. They filled out a profile on nanowrimo.org and started writing.  Throughout the month, they had the opportunity to earn badges for hitting certain word counts. 34,214 participants completed first drafts of their novels. Relatively few of these novels ever get published but I am not sure that matters. I think it would be an accomplishment just to complete a novel regardless of how many people read it.

So, will I be participating this year? Although, I feel like I have a novel in me, I won’t be a NANOWRIMO-er this year. It’s simply because I know a novel is not a sprint for me.  It’s a marathon and I have not trained properly.  It’s been a challenging year and I have had a lot of distractions which have kept me  from writing.

I am inspired to start getting my writing chops back though.  So, NANOWRIMO may have already helped me with its mere existence.  I’ll be happy if I have completed a novel by the end of NEXT November!

Good luck to all the NANOWRIMO-ers who are getting started today.  May you exceed your daily words counts and complete your first drafts by November 30th!  You can do it!

Naturally Confident: 31 Blog Posts in 31 Days MISSION COMPLETED!

I took a training class about six months after I fell. We were asked to draw a picture of what we wanted our lives to look like within a certain time frame. I was completely flummoxed. I really didn’t know what to draw. I did the best I could. When the time was up, I looked around the room at other people’s drawings. They were crowded with people, new houses, where they wanted to travel to and major life events.

When I looked back at my own, I saw myself sitting alone on a yoga mat with my eyes closed in meditation. The only other thing on my drawing was a smile with dollar signs around it.  Dental reconstruction has been foremost in my mind.  If I had more time I probably would have drawn my dog Chauncy sitting next to me. Clearly, after falling down the stairs and the hurricane, I had gotten out of the practice of setting goals.

Going through major life events can give you valuable insights. I mentioned before that while I was driving in the hurricane that I had a feeling of peace, knowing that as long as Chauncy and I could safely get to our destination; I was okay with losing what was back at my apartment. There is a flip side to that though, there is an almost constant awareness that anything and everything can be taken from you at any second. That chilling realization will spur some people into immediate, hard-core, relentless action and make other people VERY cautious. I fall into the second camp. (I always hold the handrail now!)

“Self-confidence grows every time you keep a promise to yourself.”

– Asha Dornfest

I think this challenge of writing and putting up a new blog post every day for the month of August has been really good for me. I set a goal for myself and followed through on it. While I didn’t cure cancer or do anything similarly monumental, I did do something that wasn’t exactly easy either. Posting every day with my job and commuting schedule, challenged me. Sometimes, other things like my yoga practice were sacrificed in order to keep this promise to myself.

I learned that I could rise to the challenge and meet it. I also learned that I do need to write every day. I learned that I do not want to post what I write EVERY day. I want more time for editing, proofreading and polishing my work. I also want to do other types of writing. I learned that it doesn’t matter what response I get, it’s about committing to the work, trusting that what comes out is enough and then following through.

My new plan (Ooo, look who has a plan!) is to post weekly. I may post more often than that but I feel comfortable that I can keep to that schedule and maintain a satisfactory degree of quality in my writing.

I want to thank all of you who have been reading my posts during this August Adventure Post-a-day Blogging Challenge. I have received some really wonderful support throughout this process and I am very grateful!

Many blessings,

Cynthia

 

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justdragonfly

 

Naturally Motivated: Keeping the Faith

Did you see Julie and Julia? The movie about a blogger who records her experiences while cooking her way through Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking in one year? There is a scene where Julie has been writing for quite a while and is, momentarily, elated to see she has finally gotten her first comment; only to open it and read something like:

“Julie, this is your mother. It appears I am the only one who is reading your thing. Why are you doing this?”

Luckily, she didn’t get discouraged. She kept true to her vision, kept cooking and kept writing about it. Eventually, Julie’s audience found her. She completed her project on time and wrote a book about it. That book was adapted into the movie. Voila! The rest is history.

Sometimes, it seems like we are doing everything we can to make a difference in the world but no one is freakin’ listening. Worse yet, maybe the people who are listening are critical of us and tell us that we are wasting our time. If you have an idea for something that you believe can help make people’s lives better, brighter or happier in any way, I’d like to encourage YOU to keep going, regardless of what seems to be happening at this moment. Stay true to your vision and just keep doing the work!

It is very easy to constantly look to other people to see if we are on the right track. I suspect it’s because approval from other people helped us out early in life; when we were learning to do things we had never done before like walk and talk. We would have learned those things anyway from modeling other people but it’s certainly a lot more fun when someone is cheering you on at every step! Most of us find that our cheering committee seems to dwindle a bit, as we get older. ‘Attaboys and ‘attagirls are often replaced with comments about fears, worries or warnings to do things a certain way in order to be safe or respectable. While these comments are probably well meant, they certainly aren’t exactly motivating to the creative individual.

After letting this blog molder for several months, I really didn’t know what to expect in terms of readership. I’ve noticed something interesting. A lot more people read it than comment on it. When I first launched, I didn’t get stat reports on click-throughs from social media. The only way I knew if people were reading was when they were kind enough to leave me a comment or send me an email. Even though I know now that more people are reading than I had evidence for before; I don’t know what they think about it because they don’t directly engage with me.

Then the other day, I was blessed with an eye-opening email from Jodi:

Hi, loved your last post on veggie scraps. I commented away on that already! lol.

Did I mention I am well on my way to vegetarianism – even dare I say veganism??? Probably since February. And Garry is right there with me, sometimes ahead of me! He feels so good, his glucose numbers are normal (he tests every morning). He’s lost 30 pounds. It’s kind of been a process – but I figure every meal without meat, fish, or dairy saves or helps an animal, the planet & our health. The reason I wanted to mention it to you is because one of your blogs about being a Vegan & the whole thought process of being a snobby Vegan or a militant Vegan really made an impression on me. Also, that it was a process & took you a while to give up cheese. I never forgot that post – so remember that when you write, even if you don’t know it, you are making an impact on some people. I didn’t switch right away but it was stored away in my brain – not word for word but the gist of it! We are probably 98% there.

Wow! I wrote those posts on being a vegetarian, which Jodi so kindly refers to, well over two years ago! Last week, my best friend, who is not a commenter, sent me this text: “You are a really good writer Cindy. Did you ever consider writing a book?” I can’t tell you how moved I was by these wonderful and completely unexpected remarks!

Keep moving toward your dream. Keep doing the work. Keep going even when you feel like nothing you do matters because you may be making an impact on someone right now, who just hasn’t told you… yet!

Many blessings to all,

 

Cynthia

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justdragonfly

Naturally Challenging: One Week Down! Stomping Past Self-sabotage!

Phew, I made it through the first week! I posted a new blog post every day for seven days in a row. That is a new record for me. In fact, I’ve always been pretty pleased with myself if I posted weekly. However, this is not the time to rest on my new laurels (…perhaps a bit of an over-statement but you get the gist.) I still have 23 more posts to go after today.

Procrastination and I may have parted ways last week but that little devil, Self-sabotage, is still lurking around, waiting for a chance to strike. It’s funny because you need almost super human awareness to realize that it is even happening. It can look like procrastination but the difference is that procrastination usually stops you from starting something in the first place. Self-sabotage creeps in when you are going strong on a project. It happens like this:

7am

“I need to sit down and write…. but first let me take a shower,” (even though I took one a mere 10 hours ago.)

8am

“I feel clean! Now I can write… I am just going to check my email first… real quick.”

(Who even knows what happened between 9am and 11am…)

11am

“I know I need to write but let me just reorganize this cabinet right now because it is bothering me.”

All of the sudden the day is over, the post didn’t get written. Then the feelings of humiliation and failure come in and Self-sabotage reigns victorious. If I let that happen, I would have only myself to blame. Where does this self-sabotaging tendency even come from? Why would anyone do it to herself?

I am not a therapist but I suspect it is a way of dealing with insecurity. Putting things off after proving yourself capable of accomplishing them; seems to me, to be a form of self-denial. It is way of not dealing with the new potentially painful thoughts that might come up like:

“Yeah, I am making headway on my goal but does it really matter?”

“Will people care about what I write?”

“I am not making money from this. Should I be doing something else with my time?”

“What if I don’t make my goal? What if I do then what next?”

Usually once I start asking myself questions like these, my accommodating brain will bring up evidence or rather memories that will support these doubts and fears. I use the word “memories” because they are not actual proof of anything. Just because I failed to complete some writing projects in the past, does not mean I will fail this time. Also, remembering doubts and fears other people have projected onto me are not facts, regarding what I am truly capable of accomplishing. They are just opinions. (… And you know that old phrase about opinions!)

I feel pretty confident I am going to make it all the way through this challenge despite the shadow of self-sabotage, attempting to keep step with me today. I made myself a promise that I would do it for myself, no one else. It doesn’t mean that I am not watching the click reports like a hawk at times. In fact, I beam with happiness and gratitude whenever someone takes the time to leave me a comment. (…no pressure!) I just have finally figured out that it is my opinion that matters the most! I don’t need permission or approval from anyone else to do something. Knowing that now makes all the difference!

Does Self-sabotage ever stop you when you are making progress? Please leave me a reply in the comments section. I love hearing from you!

Many blessings to all,

 

Cynthia

Blessings to all,

Cynthia

justdragonfly

Now for Something Completely Different… Naturally!

A few months ago, I signed up for daily writing prompts on www.sarahselecky.com.  I needed some external inspiration… and reminders I ought to be writing.  Although, it is aimed more at fiction writers, I find her prompts have helped me to get my brain chugging.

Often, she will send out prompts that ask you to write a scene with seemingly incongruent elements like yellow sports cars and fingerling potatoes.  My first reaction is usually, “what? how?”  Then my brain sets about answering those questions.  My pen flies over the paper (by the way, her rule is you must write by hand in a notebook) and suddenly it all makes sense.

Today’s prompt was more of a challenge than a scene:

Write about something that is too sweet. Describe without using the word “sweet” (obviously.)

Write by hand, in your notebook for at least ten minutes.

This is what I wrote:

My eyes grew wide as I looked at the triple chocolate mousse that the server placed in front of me.  It looked so pretty in a silver-trimmed piece of glass stemware.  The deep dark brown confection was whipped about an inch above the rim of the glass.  Shavings of more dark chocolate graced the top in fragrant curls.

I felt a pleasant tingle of anticipation as I picked the spoon and slid it into the dreamy dessert.  I placed that first decadent spoonful into my mouth and closed my eyes to savor it.  I was transported to chocolate heaven for a moment.  Waves of pleasure radiated from my mouth to my belly as that first bite melted.

I eagerly scooped up another spoonful.  The second bite was good but perhaps a bit too sugary.  My teeth began to hurt with the third bite. A hard pit formed in my stomach.  The luscious bit of cool deliciousness turned on me in my own my mouth.  It seemed to be assaulting my taste buds with a thousand tiny arrows.  I forced my new frenemy down with a big gulp of water.  Slight nausea rose back up. I set my spoon down and pushed my plate away.  I was done!

Blessings to all,

Cynthia

justdragonfly