Thoughtful Thursday – Short Weeks

Sometimes short weeks feel longer than regular ones. The first time I heard that, I shrugged it off in disbelief. But this week, I feel it.

I think the phenomenon can be best described as Vacation Brain. It’s where your thoughts continually drift toward weekend plans. This is often experienced on Friday afternoon during regular weeks, but seems to happen for much of the day before a getaway. Productivity becomes as slow as the clock, whose seconds seem like hours.

I have a busy weekend ahead including a wedding and a family visit. They are in two different cities.

I have some things to do yet like laundry and packing, but now that it’s finally the evening, my heart’s into cuddling and watching a movie. I figure I can manage a bit of play time in with the responsibilities. Laundry mainly washes itself…

A few other things to do before leaving town like an oil change. It seems there’s always something.

I think I’m getting very close to being caught up though. Pretty soon my life should be smooth in the right areas and exciting instead of where it’s hectic now. At least, that’s the plan.

R~

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Make-it Monday – October Plans

It’s a new month, so some goal tweaking and other changes are in store.

1. Reducing Facebook use: The app has been sucking up too much of my time, so I’ve disabled it on my phone. I’m keeping messenger, but I’ll only use Facebook sparingly going forward.

2. The Page & The Magician: I’m targeting the end of this month to have my edits complete on it.

3. Movie logging: I’m moving away from keeping an album on Facebook related to my movie watching and switching to Letterboxd. I was using Letterboxd earlier this year and stopped for no real reason. I think it’ll generally be less maintenance and I can connect it to Facebook anyway.

4. NaNoWriMo Prep: I’ll also be taking some time to get ready for National Novel Writing Month. I plan to add as many words as possible to The Blood Waitress Club in November.

That’s it for now. I’m hoping some allergy medicine kicks in soon as I’ve got an allergic rash that’s making it hard to fall asleep. I hope you’re having a better night than I am.

R~

Make-It Monday – New Directions

bitmoji_goalsFall marks a return for many to school, to a regular work schedule, and to the activities enjoyed in cooler weather. For me, that means it’s back to martial arts and to a more rigorous and disciplined writing schedule.

It was nice to see my writer’s group tonight. We talked about how everyone’s summers went and what their goals for the year are including what each of us might work on during National Novel Writing Month in November.

One of the things we often ponder and discuss is how best to support each other, because that is a key reason for bothering with a writer’s group. Not that it’s the only reason, but it does help define group direction. There are all sorts of writing groups. Some push each other to reach their goals. Some just read and offer feedback. Some just get together to be around other humans.

Many writers find just having regular contact with other writers can be helpful for inspiration and for touching base with other people who get it.

Get what?

The life of a writer has many layers to it. So many people don’t understand that writing isn’t just a hobby for many, but a calling. Many of us couldn’t stop writing if we wanted to. The pen beckons us to lay down the words as our characters lead us into discussions we might never have had with anyone otherwise. We take everything in around us and bleed onto the pages, screens, and anywhere else we can put the words because they will cut themselves out if we try to ignore them.

All this to say that I’ve always found fall brings a sort of fresh start. It’s a time to figure out whether or not the direction I was heading is right for me at this time in my professional and personal life. I spent a lot of last year worrying about what time to publish my blog posts and trying to blog everyday because some articles said I should. Well, I’m done with what articles say I should do. I’m just going to write posts when it makes sense for me to. Lately I’ve felt like blogging has been cutting into my writing time and I think it’s far more important for me to get some projects finished and out into the world for people to enjoy than to blather on about something just to remind people I exist. At least, I hope they’ll enjoy them…

So expect that I will be busy getting things done.

Things like:

  • Rewriting Crisis.
  • Polishing The Rat Race and submitting it to contests.
  • Completing The Blood Waitress Club (first draft).
  • Finishing edits and submitting The Page & The Magician to publishers.
  • Shopping Puppy Chow around.
  • Writing screenplay #2.
  • Working on some collaborations.
  • Learning about song writing.

What I’m not going to work on at this time:

  • Doing more with martial arts beyond practicing, teaching, and enjoying it.
  • Doing more with my blog because being a professional blogger isn’t my goal.

More on where I’m at with this blog right now:

  • Make-It Monday is one of my favourite posts to write.
  • Theatrical Tuesday was fun now and then, but I really don’t enjoy writing reviews, so I’m going to use it for talking about specific experiences like working on movie sets or when I do background extra work and the like.
  • Warrior Wednesday I like, but I struggle to find the time for it and I’d rather be doing martial arts than writing a blog about it.
  • I miss Thoughtful Thursday, so I might bring it back.
  • Frisky Friday hasn’t been happening because I feel like too many moments are too precious to share with the world.
  • Symphonic Saturday has become scarce because I’ve had no time to work on my music recently.

I haven’t fully figured out the blog stuff, but I expect I will soon. It will be a lesser priority than all my other writing regardless.

R~

Make-It Monday – Discover Your Love

bitmoji_goalsI’ve been off enjoying the summer.

I recently started watching a documentary on the keys to mastery. It includes interviews with musicians and actors such as Carlos Santana and Stephen Tobolowsky. In the early part of the documentary, they talk about the first key being finding the thing you love.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard something along these lines time and again.

What haven’t I heard much?

How to figure out what you love.

In the documentary, they say that many people never do. They die without figuring out their true purpose in existing. How sad is that?! I can’t think of anything sadder, so I thought I would explore that angle and offer some suggestions I’ve gathered from talking to people and from my own experiences.

  1. Try a lot of things.
    • You may have heard this advice before. When I was newly separated six years ago and slightly before that, the reality was that I didn’t even know myself anymore. I didn’t know what I wanted out of life either. So I set out on a quest trying things. That was the first time I tried to get back into the theatre scene, but it didn’t feel right back then. I hadn’t yet figured out that I was meant to write, not act. I spent a year watching hockey avidly and though I enjoyed it to a degree, I never felt like I couldn’t miss a game. It never gnawed at my innards like an unfinished story does. I initially set out to try everything that I didn’t or couldn’t do with my ex. From those, I found several loves. Some, like roller derby, I didn’t stick with because it was too dangerous for someone with a history of neck injuries and I really didn’t enjoy refereeing.
    • Make a bucket list of things you know you need to try before you die. Start doing them. You’ll love some and hate others. Some will be okay, but not fun enough to repeat.
  2. It’s okay to have multiple passions.
    • I’m so sick of hearing that the only way to make it is to get good at just one thing. That’s ONE way to make it, but there are many paths up the mountain. Yes, you’ll have more difficulties prioritizing if you have multiple passions, but that may be the thing that makes you more successful in the long one. J.K. Rowling isn’t just a writer. She’s been many things over the course of her life. Stephen King has also led a fascinating life including being the member of a band at one point. Those other hats make them both better writers. One must do things worth writing about to write stories that people connect with.
    • Furthermore, I think it’s more than acceptable that you have a job that isn’t your passion. Why? Because if you’re like me, maybe when you’re worrying about paying the bills and keeping a roof over your head, it’s too hard to focus on producing stories. It’s far better to have a job that ensures survival. The image of the starving artist has been glorified, but I wonder what the statistics are on those that didn’t make it, not because they didn’t work on their passion, however slowly, but because they actually starved to death. Many people, once they figure out their passion, can convince a boss to let them put those skills to use in their current role, or as part of a project team on loan to another division.
  3. The thing you’re meant for might currently be out-shined by something you’ve put in the forefront.
    • Don’t forget to look behind. In your past or perhaps something you think is too simple to be important, you may just find your golden ticket. You might be doing it all the time. Maybe you can’t imagine not doing it because you’ve always just done it. This tip was suggested to me by a friend.
  4. You need to minimize distractions.
    • I’m not just talking about the little bits you go on Facebook or watching a favourite TV show. I’m talking about the bigger drains like following Trump’s every move. I get that he’s screwing a lot of stuff up for many, but do you really want him to be the thing stopping you from finding your calling in life? If you’re not chasing dreams of being someone in the political field, you need to find a way to tear yourself away from the daily stupidity surrounding him. This goes for anyone you are having an unhealthy obsession over, which may be a jerk at school/work or an ex-lover.
    • And yeah, we could probably all do with less Facebook time unless we’re working in a social media job. I’ve always had the everything in moderation philosophy. Watching TV and movies are important for me as an emerging screenwriter, but I need to make more time to read scripts and work on my projects than I have been lately. My renovation has been distracting me a lot and it can be difficult finding a balance between getting that completed and not being away from the writing for too long. Thankfully, I’m doing the last wall section’s second coat today, so I’ll be able to focus more on the business of writing. There are legitimate distractions like health issues that one must attend to. Though I haven’t been making a lot of progress on some of my projects, I’ve been writing ideas down for later. I’ve also been watching movies and reading books in my genre.
  5. Learn to critically think.
    • If you’re one of those people that says you can’t relax because your mind starts thinking, you need to work through that. You need to learn to critically think to find the way to your path. Stop regularly dulling your mind and emotions with substances. You can use them to unwind within reason, but don’t let that be in your way either. Thinking is a good thing. You simply need to channel that power to learn to make it work for you instead of letting it overwhelm you. I say this as someone who is prone to overthinking about EVERYTHING. What usually puts my mind to rest? Making a decision, planning the next two or three steps, then starting on step one. Turn that restless energy into something productive.
  6. Eliminate what you hate doing.
    • Okay, this one should be obvious, but if you loathe something so much that the thought of it knots your stomach up and makes you feel like you’re a step away from murdering someone that says hello to you, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. At least not long-term. Sometimes we have to do undesirable things in the short-term to get us out of debt or to move up into something better. Don’t stay there though. It won’t be good for you or the people you work for. Also, you might be taking up a position that is someone else’s dream. It’s hard to believe that something we abhor could be someone else’s love, but that’s part of the beauty of this world. It’s why my dad was a mechanic and not an auto-body specialist. He could do the refinishing well enough, but he preferred not to do it regularly. Similarly, while I don’t mind discussing politics with some friends, the majority of the time it just pisses me off. This is how I know I don’t want to be too involved in the industry. I don’t mind helping others who have political aspirations, but I don’t want to be the one on that hot seat.
  7. Make a list of the things you’re decent at doing.
    • Often, it is when people combine several things they may not be exceptional at that they find something they excel at. I have friends who may not be the best at grammar and spelling, but they love writing anyway. They have other skills that have lead them down a musical path because lyrics don’t have to be grammatically perfect, they only have to resonate with others. You may have heard something like play to your strengths. Make a list of your strong points. Get a friend to help if you’re struggling to see what you’re good at. Actually, get several perspectives because people see you differently. Somewhere in between what you know and what they perceive, you may find something you never thought of before. Marie Forleo has a good video on this.
  8. Stop making excuses.
    • I hear stuff from people all the time that is an excuse. Not enough money is an excuse. You can qualify for OSAP and other bank loans if you’re thinking about going back to school. Want to open a business? There’s probably funding out there and you can probably also get some crowd-funding. If you want to make a change in your life, you’ll find a way. I know single parents of small children who found a way to make it work. Hell, take night classes or do courses online. With many MOOCs, you have so much freedom to learn something and many don’t cost a thing. Next you’ll say you don’t have time. If you have time for things like Facebook or soap operas, you can find the time for whatever goals you are brave enough to make. I know people who manage to write novels in 15 minute chunks while waiting for appointments or buses. Is it harder? Yep. But you CAN do it.
    • The truth about excuses? You don’t want it bad enough to risk your current comfort level. I get it. I risked a lot going back to school. I cleaned out my savings and used OSAP. I’ve had a hell of a time getting caught up on all my bills and I know I’m lucky I got a job. Despite how hard I’ve had it at points along the way, I’d do it again. Maybe I’ll never write an award-winning anything. Hell, maybe my books and movies will never sell, but I love writing them too much not to be chasing the dream. It’s not easy. It’s scary, hard, and lonely, but also worth it. For every one person that is supportive, there are many more who aren’t.
  9. Get lost.
    • No, I don’t mean go away you annoying person. I mean, when is the last time you did something that made you lose track of time? This happens to me when writing, when sewing, and when playing music. It also happens when I’m with certain people. Things that transport you away from the clock are your passions. Video games also do it to me, but I haven’t figured out if I need to work in that industry or not yet. Maybe they’re just a way for me to unwind for now.
  10. Know thyself.
    • Yeah, you’ve heard it before, but it’s important. All of the previous steps are part of knowing yourself. Your likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses can all help you figure it out. Just because you’re good at something though, doesn’t mean you should be doing it for life. You might be skilled at something and detest it, which wouldn’t be healthy long-term. Similarly, just because you’re currently bad at something, doesn’t mean you’re not meant to do it. It means you have a steep learning curve ahead and you’ll have to work harder than someone who may be naturally skilled at it.
    • So how does knowing yourself factor in? Well, you’ll be able to figure out whether or not something is meant to be a hobby or a career for one. Writing hasn’t been a hobby for me for the past eight years. It has been something more. I recently thought I wanted to do more with martial arts, but now I’m doubting that I want to keep them as anything more than a hobby that is part of my fitness regimen. This realization may lead to blog changes, or it may not, but I feel at peace inside. The better you know yourself, the more easily you’ll be able to figure out which opportunities are worth taking or should be passed on. You’ll know whether or not the crappy stuff that is part of every passion is worth putting up with too.

I hope someone found this post helpful. I’m off to finish that wall of mine and enjoy this holiday Monday. I think by next Monday, I’ll have a good idea of my fall priorities, but I expect they look rather like:

  1. The Page & The Magician: Finish editing and resubmit.
  2. Puppy Chow: Figure out what the next steps are based on the outcome of the contest.
  3. The Blood Waitress Club: Finish writing it.
  4. Script #2: Finish writing it.
  5. French: Read books to improve my vocabulary.
  6. Home: Continue to declutter and organize.
  7. Collaborations: Work on projects with others.

I suppose that’s about it.

R~

Make-It Monday – My First Day

bitmoji_goalsToday I rejoined the office worker lifestyle. It has been two years since I last worked for someone else, so it was quite a big day for me. First days are often a mixed bag emotionally.

Things I felt today:

1. Anxiety: No matter how much I tried to prepare yesterday, there was always something this morning of that didn’t go the way it should.

2. Eagerness: I was ready and raring to jump in and get things done.

3. Frustration: Some things weren’t quite set up for me yet, so I couldn’t do all the things that are part of my role. That’s a typical first day thing.

4. Tiredness: I tried taking a brief nap after work, but no go. It’s always a challenge to switch from the #writer schedule to a regular one…

5. Happy: The people were really nice and I’m grateful to be part of a wonderful group of people.

6. Sore: I have a little blister on my one heel, but thankfully I was smart enough to pack large bandaids, so it’s not nearly as bad as it could be.

7. Relief: It’s been awhile since I had a full work day, so I’m happy I was able to survive it.

8. Hope: I’m looking forward to this new chapter and whatever else it brings.

9. Overwhelmed: I learned a lot of things today, but some I couldn’t apply or fully understand yet. I bet in a couple of weeks or months it’ll be second nature.

10. Hungry: I must go eat all the things.

11. Stressed: I must do laundry and make my lunches for the rest of the week instead of just relaxing tonight. But I can probably do laundry while watching a movie…

12. Unburdened: There is a part of me that feels like everything is going to improve from here on.

Goals Update

Many of my goals are on pause this week while I get used to my new routine. It’s just too much otherwise. I’ll probably still plug away at some things, but not as intensely as I usually would.

R~

Warrior Wednesday – Updates

sword

Image created using Bitmoji

Natsu Matsuri 2018

It was a soggy day, so the event was moved inside this year. Though it was a little more cozy in the smaller space, it was a success.

My dojo was the opening group of performers and I was leading my portion, which was scary. I can’t recall if I ever heard my sword, or if my heart was simply beating too loud to hear it.

Because we were first up, I got to relax and enjoy most of the day. The booming drums of Oto-wa Taiko were even more amazing than usual. The dancing was more difficult to participate in as it became very challenging to figure out who actually knew the dance you were supposed to follow along with. I didn’t buy much for food as most items had ingredients I couldn’t have or all Japanese labels where I couldn’t tell what I might be eating.

Training in July

I always struggle with martial arts in July. It gets too warm for me in the dojo. I dehydrate easily during this month. I always look forward to the fall when it cools down, so I can train more. I wish they’d get an air conditioner, but the people who own our practice space love the over 40 Celsius days it seems.

Taekwondo

I’m looking forward to joining taekwondo. I haven’t set a time for it yet. I was originally thinking half way through August, but that might not be financially reasonable and perhaps I should wait until half way through September. Why half way through? They have a 2-week deal where starting is discounted and comes with an outfit.
It makes sense to me to have my payment schedule close to the beginning of the month, though if I think about it more, I may think it better to have it in the other half of the month. I’ll be combing through the finances soon to see what is best. Many of my current payments are twice a month, so it might not matter.

Yes, I just said I’m struggling with the training I have now and it probably seems silly to be adding more on top, but I believe the cardio aspects of tkd and the different muscle groups used will help me handle more.

Battle on the Home Front

I’m still decluttering and expect I will be fore quite some time yet, but it’s getting better. I now have a pretty nice space in my bedroom for all things music. It looks so slick. I’ll post pictures soon 🙂

Work

I’m starting a new position on Monday. There is much I can’t talk about related to it for security reasons, but I’m not one to spend my free time droning on about work. I’m really excited about it and much of my time this week is being spent getting organized and also changing over from the #writerslife schedule to a regular working schedule.

With gratitude,
R~

Warrior Wednesday – Aims

sword

Image created using Bitmoji

I’m taking a self-directed literary course to improve a certain aspect of my writing. It brings up the continual battle between writers who want to portray the world realistically as it currently is versus writers who want to portray the world as they would like it to be. This has been going on for more than a century actually.

It’s an idea that I think bleeds into everything else. It may even be one of the reasons why so many are quick to believe fake news over scary truths.

In terms of martial arts, the battle is often between those who practice more theoretical arts versus those who practice more sport style with competitions that regularly test your mettle, though not as they would have hundreds of years ago. In the old days, death was a common outcome for the weaker party.

Many of the writers I know hope to change the world by writing it as it could be. A problem I can see is that it can be hard for people to read something that is a blatant lie. For others, they love the chance to retreat from the horrors in their everyday. Many of the realistic works are more pessimistic than my own experience of the world, which can be helpful in promoting a feeling of gratefulness about where things are at versus how bad they could be.

I know a lot of people who wonder the point of learning a martial art that won’t prepare you for a street fight. The thing is, most people I know doing the main art I do, didn’t start there and many of us do other arts as well. I went to blue belt in karate and did some jiu-jitsu long before I found iaido. I’m planning to try taekwondo when I have the funds for that, because I think you need both hand-to-hand and some more theoretical arts to get everything you should from ‘the way’ today. It’s a mistake to think that all people who do an art like iaido can’t defend themselves.

Does focusing on how you would like something to be make it more likely for it to become reality? Sometimes. One of the often touted keys to success is visualizing where you want to be. The thing is, you can’t just live in a dream world. You must take actions that will get you there. If I keep seeing how lovely my living room is going to look in my head and do nothing to move it from where it is to where I want it, it won’t ever become that nice place I see in my head.

At the same time, changes take time for people to get used to. One can’t just force things. Part of me would love someone to do one of those home makeovers in my condo. The rest would be wondering where all the paper and stuff I need to go through went because I know probably half of it needs to be digitized and kept rather than thrown out. Sometimes doing it yourself and going slowly is the way to get something done properly.

And many goals take a lot of time to achieve them. Some novels take a decade to write. Others a few months. Fitness goals can take a long time too. The body doesn’t magically become fit overnight. I know my glutes suck right now. My quads are stronger than my glutes. This is causing an imbalance, which when combined with tight hip flexors means my posture is in trouble. Both of those things are because I sit a lot as a writer and office worker. I have a plan involving my soon to arrive space gym I backed on Kickstarter two years ago, taekwondo, and maybe a small piece of equipment like a stepper to reduce my seated time while watching the things I need to for my career and not taking up tons of space I don’t have in my small condo.

All of that takes money I don’t have to spare right now except the space gym, but I know what I will be working toward when I do have the funds. Having a direction is important.

I think that in everything one must decide who they want to be. For me, I prefer the balanced centrist path. I don’t think it benefits me to create works which ignore reality, but I also don’t think my place is to write stories so out of touch that they ignore important issues. I know only practicing a predominantly theory based martial art is never going to help me achieve the level of fitness I want and I know it won’t help me pursue my other goals. How do I know? Years of karate followed by around a year of roller derby have put me in tune with my body. Hell, iaido was my cool-down exercise when I was doing roller derby. I’d work hard skating and using every muscle in my body for three hours, then do all the lunges and such that are inherent in iai right after.

Back to learning more about writing.

R~