Hello out there in quarantinesphere. How are you doing? I hope you cope well and can find something positive in all this uncertainty! And if you can’t, know you are in my thoughts and prayers!
After my left arm and shoulder complained a lot on Sunday, I decided to give myself a little break. Yesterday’s post was a little shorter and less motivational but after playing Farmville2 for about 24 hours 😉 (I’m joking, I’m joking) I am back on track.
As you know, I schedule my posts for the middle of the UK night for reasons unknown to me. So I share yesterday’s experiences even though I think for my US readers it is still today (Monday). Do I ramble? Probably. Please forgive me, but I am pumped full of paracetamol and had a nap, and napping isn’t complementary to my cognition. My left hand desperately tries to type, but I don’t let it. Not supposed to do repetitive movements yet.
Gosh, stop it Bee, you told us already.
It’s gone quite cold in North Norfolk UK. I haven’t been out in the garden for a couple of days but have to say I miss it. My days are dominated by taking tablets doing exercises, reading, playing, and writing. That’s not so bad, isn’t it? I am wondering though how much my operation (lymph node clearance) has impacted my immune system and how much I need to worry about that darn virus.
I don’t want to worry about that though. As far as I understand the government advice I only fall into a vulnerable category if I start chemo- or radiotherapy. I wont know about further treatment until the 9th though. So I just don’t worry, keep away from people and read, write and play my days away.
And why am I writing about my day?
Linda over at “Life in Progress” has started the “What day is it anyway” blog event. She invites us all to share a little of our new daily routines, struggles and successes. She writes: “
Why I’m writing this post:
Because if you’re like me and stuck at home already, or if you’re going to be like me soon, the days of the week are going to be hell to keep track of. We have a wonderful community here on WordPress and all over the Internet as well, and I’m sure many people are feeling nervous and/or isolated. I want to make sure every one of us has somewhere to congregate and someone to talk to.
I want everyone to know that you can start discussions with each other in the comments, and if you’d like to write your own “What Day is it Anyway?” post, you can link to this one. Hashtag #WDIIA.
Ok, enough of the worries lets get to the good news. My home country of Germany is pretty shut down too but there are caring individuals who keep each other’s spirits up. One of them is Pato Cervantes a sports trainer who keeps his neighbourhood entertained with a daily workout:
When I saw this young man’s smiling face and passion for sharing his exercise regime, I instantly cheered up. He just made my day and I hope he gives you a smile too.
And what about you? Do you have a good news story that made your day? Please let us know in the comments because shared joy is double joy. Thanks! And while we are sharing: what about a funny video, gif or photo that could cheer us up? Here is an example 🙂
This post takes part in “Good News Tuesday” inspired by JoAnna on “Anything Possible”. Please head over and find more wonderful and inspiring stories. Thanks!
Some of us might have more time on their hands than usual and might get bored. That is why I share some cool and mostly free resources for online learning that researched a couple of years ago. Todays are:
BBC Academy: Are you looking for a first-class education in journalism and broadcasting? Then have a look at the BBC Academy. Its page is grouped into different topics like “BBC News Skills” or “Drama Career Skills”. Click on those, and you find vast collections of articles and videos freely available. No sign-up needed but no certificates possible either. This is no-frills learning on a high level.
Canvas Network: Canvas is a platform that offers a collection of courses from different providers. It is one of the bigger networks usually mentioned in articles about MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses), and you need to sign up to access courses.
Carnegie Mellon University Open Learning Initiative (OLI): The Open Learning Initiative a grand-funded organization and offers courses to anyone who wants to learn. They are connected with Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University, and some of their classes are part of the research of the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center. Sessions are free for single learners. Courses used in a classroom environment sometimes ask for a fee. There are, however, no certificates or credits available.
And while we can’ travel at the moment, let some music take us away:
Please, if you can spare a little money hop over to their Just Giving Page and give as little or much as you can. Or share the page on your social media. Your support means a lot to me! Thank you very much.
This article is reprinted by permission of the author. Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 16,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.
I did the following interview with Jim Rubart via Skype and then transcribed it. We started out talking about motivation, which is a terribly dull-sounding topic. But by the end of the interview, I realized I’d been thinking about motivation completely wrong. Here’s how things ran:
A Novel is Mount Everest
Randy: A lot of writers I know have a problem with staying motivated. Writers love writing. So when they finally have a chance to write, what is it that would cause them to lose their motivation?
Jim: They don’t realize what kind of mountain they’re climbing. They think it’s one of the hills in the Blue Ridge Mountains, when in reality, it’s closer to Everest. I love the old anecdote about the brain surgeon and the author who were chatting one day when the surgeon says, “I’m going to take six weeks off this summer and write a book!” The author looks at his friend and says, “What an amazing coincidence! I’m going to take six weeks off this summer and become a brain surgeon.” Writing is hard. Which is good news for those willing to keep climbing, because most toss their gear halfway up and trudge back down the mountain.
Randy: Yeah, come to think of it, I’d like to try brain surgery sometime.
Jim: Let’s do it!
Randy: You bring the brain; I’ll bring the knife.
Jim: Umm …
The Silent Killer of the Soul
Randy: I do think it’s true–writing a book is a major challenge. What keeps you going when you’d really rather watch Netflix?
Jim: There’s a number of specific techniques I’ve developed that kept me motivated early in my career and also ones I use now, but for the sake of brevity let me mention a quick thought that might help your readers, Randy. Regret is the silent killer of the soul. Whether it’s having that extra piece of apple pie when you’re trying to lose weight, or wasting time watching a show when you promised yourself you’d write instead, regret sits inside us and eats away at our spirit. So imagine yourself a day into the future. Maybe two days. And consider what you’ll be saying about yourself a day or two days from now. Will you be saying, “Well done, another ten pages closer to the dream!” Or, “Another nail in the wall between me and stepping into my destiny.”
Randy: So if I’m staring at the screen trying to get started for the day, how do I take the leap forward to type that first word? And what is this vendetta you have against apple pie? Apples are very nutritious.
Writing is Playing
Jim: I want you to know the rumors of me eating half an apple pie at one sitting are almost entirely false. When we were kids, drawing with crayons or building with Legos or creating tea parties with friends, we weren’t working. We weren’t judging ourselves. We were simply playing. Often I find writers staring at that screen, judging their words even before they’ve typed them. They’re working! Stop working. Start playing again. Create sandcastles and if you don’t like them, knock ‘em down and start over. Another way to say this is, “Kill the editor,” but it helps me more to think of being on the playground, reveling in the joy of playing with stories.
Randy: I think that’s really key. To remember that this is all about having fun. I went to my critique group last night and was kidding one of the writers about her tendency to judge her own work and prevent herself from writing. I told her, “Stop crushing your soul by telling yourself that your work is terrible! That’s our job!” And she laughed and promised to stop. But it’s a tough habit to give up–crushing your soul.
Randy: But I like your insight there about playing. Great writing comes out of just playing around. Writing something that you don’t have to show anyone because it’s just for you.
Jim: Many people speak of getting great insight when they’re in the shower. Why? They’ve turned their minds off and ideas flow from their hearts. Same with writing. When we get past the mind, our heart often give us wonderful stories. Play gets us past our minds
Randy: Yes, showering, shaving, and driving–the three great fountains of inspiration.
Jim: You gotta do that book, Randy.
The 20-Minute Club
Randy: But I’ve also discovered that when I’m really angry at someone, that’s also a great source of inspiration. I used to tell myself, “Write your rage.” Meaning that if you find something that makes you angry, you can tap into that and say something deep. Of course, then you also have to tone it down a little, because raw rage is not all that interesting. It’s the thing that the rage drives you to say that’s interesting. Do you have an exercise to prime the pump and get you going?
Jim: For me, that binding, legal contract I signed with my publisher always seems to motivate … I think for many writers, the idea of completing a 90,000 word story is overwhelming. They see the hours and days and weeks in front of them and it becomes too daunting. The trick I used for myself was commit to writing just 20 minutes a day. That was it. I figured I could do anything for twenty minutes. Didn’t have to be good, no set word count, just give me twenty. I wrote the majority of my first book that way. So the exercise would be reduction to the ridiculous. For other writers it might be half an hour, others might say they can only do ten minutes. Great. Just do it. (And I probably should let you know that 20 often turned into 40 ‘cause I was having so much fun.)
Randy: That’s a powerful tool–setting the bar so low, making it so ridiculously easy, that you know you can jump it. Because once you’ve jumped it, you want to raise it a little and jump higher. And then you’re off and running.
Randy sez: This concludes the part of the interview on motivation. Let’s review the four key points Jim made that resonated with me:
Writing a novel is a Big Project—an Everest. Don’t approach it like it’s a nothing-burger.
Regret is the silent killer of the soul. Live your life so that your future self won’t regret what you didn’t do today.
Writing is playing. If it’s not fun, then stop taking it so seriously and get back into making it fun.
Set the daily bar low. 20 minutes. Or 500 words. Something so ridiculously easy that you can get started. Don’t be surprised if you jump FAR over that bar.
Hello out there, how are you doing? I hope you are doing fine and are not bothered by any extreme weather event. My thoughts and prayers go out to the good people of New Orleans and the surrounding areas. Please stay safe!!!!
I am doing fine overall besides my usual self-critical attitude. Just wrote a little about it over at Therapy Bits so I won’t go into this here.
I have shared the above quote by Cicero several times on my social media but I just feel this to be so so true that it makes its way into my blog too.
I am grateful because we have both. We have a huge garden with a big veggie patch and enough space for the dog to run. And our front room is filled with two bookshelves full of books. Of course, we also have a kindle with a “take-away” library. Aren’t we lucky?
Yesterday I wrote about the fact that I try to do a gratitude journal where I write down ten things I am grateful for every day. I have to admit that it is usually the same things:
enough fresh water
the ability to learn for free on the internet
lots of time to do the things I love
It’s the basics in my opinion but I believe if we are not grateful for the basics then we do not appreciate them enough and we might very soon experience that food and fresh water is in short supply. What is it that you are grateful for today?
As we are short of money I have learned to appreciate that through all this challenging time we have enough to eat and that we can make do with what’s available. That is a skill I am actually quite proud of. God bless my grandmother who taught me this by example.
She is the one I am thinking a lot of lately and the little quirky things she did that I did not understand when I was young. Like re-using freezer bags many many times. She cleaned them in the dish washing water and then hanged them up over the tabs when she was done. Something that comes in very handy in a time when plastics pollute the ocean.
I have to admit that I am not as good as she was with being frugal but I am getting there. And re-using freezer bags is certainly one thing I am starting to do.
She was also a great veg grower. My granddad always dreamed of having a farm but granny was a town girl and felt a proper farm would be too much for her to handle. So they compromised with having a huge allotment all of their life.
I now wish I would have asked her to teach me how to pickle vegetables for winter use. Our freezer isn’t too big so freezing everything isn’t an option. Many of our veg like the huge white radishes or carrots can stay in the ground but runner beans come en masse and I would love to keep some for winter. So I am going to learn how to do that via good old YouTube. I’ll keep you updated. Is there anything you wish you would have learned from your parents or grandparents?
It is rather overgrown at the moment because we have a “green house amosphere” here in North Norfolk: it is often very humid and warm. Today especially: We already had 16c/60.8F when I walked Sherky in the morning just after 7am and we both came home rather shattered.
But it had rained just before we left which was good because I didn’t need to water the plants so much. We only water our veg and what we just planted. The rest has to get on with the rain its getting to save as much water as possible. I also experiment with mulching around the plants to keep the moisture in the ground. Well, I am not a person who potters around in the garden all the time. But I use the mornings to weed a little and do bits and bobs all around. That is why our garden looks a little wild 🙂 in parts.
I like to give all sorts of creepy crawlies a home though and they like it wild. I can’t remember if I posted about the wood I left in the fairy garden for a creepy crawly hotel. Haven’t checked it yet. There is also a bowl with water thats all mucky now. Need to clean it soon and put fresh water in it.
I somehow got lost in talking about our garden and lost my train of thought. Well, maybe you want to know what will be on our table later in the year?
I mentioned the courgettes in one of the above images. This year I build some lovely but rather wonky tipis over them so they can grow upwards rather than using up all the growing space on the veg patch. The greenery you saw to the right side is two rows of chard and two rows of… I think they are called Welsh Onions. They are like spring onions and we cut both chard and onions down for them to regrow. I also sowed some more on the other side of the apple tree with two rows of radishes.
I have planned to grow more radishes because we really love them and some carrots too. Not sure yet where exactly I am going to put them. As I said I love it wild 🙂 . I am rather proud of the parsnips we grew earlier this year. They definitely need some weeding and thinning out.
And then there are the beans. I love beans even though they can be a pain to prepare and get off the plants. One seeded out on the other side of the apple tree so it got a single bamboo stick to grow up on. I feed them with nettle and comfrey soup practically daily as well as the courgette and the apple cucumber. Do you know them?
They look like little green apples and taste rather intestingly. I think they come from Italy but do just fine around here.
So, one last update on my garden projects for today. This is the front of our house and garden:
It is not as colourfull yet as I had planned. This part used to be fully overgrown with brambles and other fast growing plants. I cleaned it in spring and planted some daffodil-, crocus and other bulbs and hope it will be a little colourful next spring. Then I moved some valerian and mint over from the back. Unfortunately, I didn’t recognise the valerian in my last weeding spree and ripped it out again. You can’t see the mint but I hope it will give the bees some lovely flowers later on. And then again lots of poppies and nasturtium. I had sowed out a wild flower meadow mix but didn’t take into consideration how much at an angle this part is. So those seeds washed away. Just the red poppies stayed on.
And I tried some sunflower seeds but they didn’t make it either. Shame 😦 . My hope is that the poppies and nasturtium self-seed and that we get a wild but colorful front next year. So, that’s the rundown on my gardening projects for today.
a little plot of land
custodian for creepy crawlies
I mentioned it before that I try to incorporate old posts into this new version of my blog (may god (however she or he looks like) grant me the preserverance to stay with it 😉 ). That is why you get a climpse back to February 2015 when James Mayfield was so kind to offer a guest post:
This post is a re-blog from February 2015:
Today I am honoured to have James Mayfield as my guest blogger about motivation:
~ “But” is an argument for our limitations and when we argue for our limitations we get to keep them”
Most people desire success in their lives. We wish to leave our mark on the world and be remembered for achieving something. Some chase riches, others power, while some simply want to feel happy and be respected by others through creating something amazing.
But it’s not always enough just to want something. For it to actually happen, we must focus our efforts and develop the right mentality. Yet, most people have no idea how to do just that.
What happens to most people is that they develop the argument of “but”.
“I want to be a successful writer… but… what if I can’t write? What if I fail? Maybe I should just give up.”
“I need to market my book… but… what if I just waste my money and it doesn’t work? What if nobody likes it? Maybe it’s better to not even try.”
Every time you make an argument for “but”, you are validating your own limitations. And those limitations will strangle your potential.
“Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit. Shoot for the moon, because even if you miss, you’ll land in the stars.”
~ Les Brown
You need to have big dreams and the courage to step forward even if success isn’t guaranteed. Because that is the only way to have real success.
But you also need to work on your goals the right way. Realizing your own potential is invigorating but you still need to put in the work. And the key here is to be consistent and to start with the small things. Dream big, but start small.
“Sometimes it ain’t about being the most talented. Sometimes it ain’t about being the smartest. Sometimes it’s not even about working the hardest. Sometimes it’s about consistency! Consistency!”
~ Eric Thomas
You don’t succeed suddenly because of one single action taken in a moment of inspiration. The blueprint for success isn’t realized in huge chunks, but rather in tiny pieces that are put together day after day.
You don’t become a successful writer by trying to finish your book in a day or concentrating all your efforts on a single day of marketing. No, you succeed by doing small things every day to the best of your ability and then seeing it all add up in the near future.
“Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out.”
~ Robert Collier
You have to have faith in yourself. You have to believe in the fact that the small pieces of daily effort will indeed come together to form something greater down the line. Learn to visualize the finished puzzle even when you’re still only looking for the corner pieces. You can see the end result in your mind, can you not? Believe in it. Know that it will become reality as long as you keep working on it.
Can you still experience failure despite giving what you thought was your best effort? Of-course. But don’t be afraid of setbacks if they happen. Failing at something is a part of life. You learn from it. It’s all about your mentality, about how you see it.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
~ Thomas A. Edison
By experiencing setbacks, we learn to succeed more effectively in the future. And the success will feel better for it.
Always believe in yourself and in your dreams. The world will be a better place for everyone if you make your dreams a reality.
I hope you guys now feel more motivated to chase your dreams and put in the daily work needed to achieve them. I know first hand how fleeting motivation can be and how hard it can be to resist depression when faced with setbacks. But never give up!
In the early 1980s, Ashe is believed to have contracted HIV from a blood transfusion he received during heart bypass surgery. Ashe publicly announced his illness in April 1992 and began working to educate others about HIV and AIDS. He founded the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health before his death from AIDS-related pneumonia at age 49 on February 6, 1993.