2/24 – Love those bad ideas!

Seth Godin was asked how he manages to publish such great content on his blog, daily, without fail. His answer, short and sweet, was to come up with a lot of bad ideas.Note one #sethinlondon

What the world gets to see on his blog, is the result of a ruthless culling. Seth told us he writes ten to fifteen rudimentary blog posts a day, fine tunes three to four, and finally decided which is the best. That’s the one we, as his readers, get to see.

This chocked me. And from what I heard of my fellow participants at #SethinLondon, this was one of the things that really stood out for a lot of us.

I mean. I’ve set my sights on blogging daily, and I do, more or less. Have been doing it for soon to be three years now. But I’m still at that stage where I’m happy that I write one post. I mean, sometimes I do write more than one post, but rather than cull them from possible posts to publish on account of not being good enough, I save them for a day when my inspiration is lacking. Which means, you lot aren’t as lucky as the blog readers of Seth Godin are. His readers know what he publishes has been through a quality check, of sorts. My posts, very little quality control in my blogging process, I have to confess. I write, and then I publish. Seldom do I throw it away, thinking it’s not good enough to publish. But perhaps I should start to question my postings a bit more?

Oh well. I’m not putting myself and my blogging down though. I do learn. A lot. I mean, my writing is improving, based on this aim of mine to blog daily. But since I’m actually starting a new blog, solely in English, come the new year, perhaps I should set a higher standard with a lower frequency for that blog? Blogging three times per week, making sure what get’s published is up to the mark?

Reflection #2 of 24 from the notes I took and the experience I had at the Seth Godin Q&A-session in London, November 2015. These reflections will constitute my Advent Calendar for 2015, and will be posted daily from December 1st to the 24th.

Your writing has improved

Your writing has improved, she said.

And I agree. I can feel it, experience it, as I write. But also as I go back a year, two, three, to revisit what I wrote back then. My writing has definitely improved, it’s getting better and better, and what I notice is how it’s taking on it’s very own tone and voice. My tone and voice, something that has never before been expressed and explored like it is now. Taking shape before my eyes, the lines, colors, texture of it gradually coming into being, letter by letter, word by word.

The tone and voice of the books I read (and I am an avid reader!), is something I give thought to. If the tone doesn’t reverberate within me, I put the book down (something which I never allowed myself to do before when I was still oh so harsh against myself. If I’d started to read it, I couldn’t be a quitter…. Oh Helena, how harsh you were…). Pick another. Start to read. Going for a book that vibrates in tune with me.

That vibration doesn’t have anything to do with the topic, or whether or not it’s fiction or non-fiction, No, it’s the use of words, how they are placed on the paper, the pace of it, sometimes who the speaker is, and how he/she speaks to me. There are writers whose tone I love, and those that I just cannot get myself to read.

And my tone is slowly growing, with each word I pen, with every blog post I publish (as well as those I don’t…), slow and steady, a blog piece a day, I am honing my skill at writing. The beauty of blogging is that it’s visible, my journey as a writer is there for all to witness, including me.

As I’ve revisited my blog posts of years gone past, I’m getting the feeling there are topics I’d like to get back to, write about, again, to see what I might be able to do with the same topic today, as a slightly better writer than before.

Better and better….

Don’t misinterpret me, to think I am judging what I used to do, as no good. I’m not. I am merely stating facts. There has been a shift, and hence, what I write today is, in my view, most often of a higher quality than before. But I am not judging myself for having been a bad writer before. No. I merely rejoice at the progression I notice, and take pride in it. Patting myself on the back, for sticking with it, for growing, developing, finetuning and honing my craft.

We all have to start from the beginning, learing the alphabet, to read and write…. and then, gradually, as we learn more and more, as we receive formative feedback, what we produce when writing evolves.

I am happy I’ve rediscovered writing, so that my writing also started it’s very own expansion journey. My writing was at a stand-still for many many years, hibernating, in a state of being neither here nor there, neither alive or dead.writing

But now. It’s alive again.
Out of hibernation. Expanding.

It’s the most wonderful feeling.
You know it too?

DAY 2 #NAJOWRIMOPROMPT: What inspired your creative self?

Yesterday you wrote about ways you express yourself creatively. For today’s journal entry, write about you creative influences. Who and what makes you feel creative. Who and what do you draw creative inspiration from?

Creative influences. Now that’s a questions I can probably provide a multitude of answers to, but nobody but me can make me feel creative!

I find it a bit odd that I read thousands upon thousands of blog posts (most notably school-related ones as well as Seth Godin, Leo Baubata, Arvind Devalia and the likes) up until I started blogging myself. Then, I basically stopped following blogs. I still read some occasionally, but I haven’t followed a blog for years. With one exception, that of my friends Wivan and Anders, as it’s one way to ensure I know what’s going on in their lives as they travel the world.

Since I started blogging myself, I listen to podcasts. (So yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised to see myself pick up podcasting and then cease to listen to other podcasts?!) All through out this year, my Sunday blog post has been, and will be, a podcast tip from me. My absolute favorites are On Being, One You Feed and Good Life Project. There are other as well, some Swedish ones, such as 100%-podden by my friend Charlotte Rudenstam (there are a few episodes in English as well, so do check it out) and Värvet with Kristoffer Triumf, but also English ones such as Freakonomics Radio, Peak Prosperity Featured Voice and several NPR shows with Invisibilia and Serial as my most loved ones. And yes, I draw an immense amount of creative inspiration from these podcasts!

appleNature is also something from which I draw creative inspiration. Walking about. Sitting down. Looking at a tree, a lake, a rock, a straw of grass, ants in an ant hill… anything and everything, nature is a marvelous source for inspiration!

And family and friends of course, it’s like having my very own treasure chest full of creative inspiration! I like to witness and observe, both the ongoings of my family and friends as well as what happens within me when I am in interaction with the ones close to me.

Since I’ve stopped reading blogs so much, perhaps you think I no longer get creative inspiration from written material. Well. That would be a faulty assumption. I read books, I love books, and I get a lot of inspiration from them. Fiction is more to let my mind just be, without triggering it too much, but I also read a lot of non-fiction, which definitely does just that, triggers my creativity, my curiosity, a wish to sit with a certain question or topic, and see what happens within as I do so. A lot of that comes out as blog posts.

Do I have other sources for creative inspiration. You bet. I could jot down another ten sources, easily, but no, I’ll stop here. But what about you? Who and what do you draw creative inspiration from?

Writing induced by flight mode

It’s funny this, how I seem to be at my very peak of writing whenever I am on a plane, with my iPad in flight mode, isn’t it? Or perhaps it isn’t? Very few distractions, plenty of hours to make the most of, and not a whole lot of options as to what to do. I like it a lot though, getting down to it, writing blog post after blog post, that will be published in due time – some might never make it to the public view though! – and just going with the flow, picking up on a thread, and just writing away for a bit, finishing, finding a new thread, and so on. Repeat until breakfast is served…

So I’ve been thinking how I can set it up for me so I actually can get down to this very peaceful and easy-flowing writing without having to hop across an ocean to do it, and one thought that I’ve been having is to go for silent writing retreats by myself, somewhere. Preferably someplace with no or restricted wifi, to make sure I don’t waste my time idly chatting to friends on social media platforms of one sort or the other.

Now, I do write at home though. Otherwise I’d be hard strapped for daily blogging, let me tell you. And once in a while I take full writing days, because the urge to write is so overpowering which makes it a joy to surrender to that feeling! But I’d like to do more of it.

If I get to dream – and I do! -, I’d go to a simple cottage, somewhere out in the country, with beautiful scenery, so I can also take long exploratory walks, and just write. This summer I visited the summer house of the sister of a dear friend – that would be a perfect spot to go. Secluded, amazing surroundings and with a wonderful ambiance to the house. But I’d have to go alone, because I know if I went with my dear friend, we’d be talking talking talking. Then again, that ain’t bad, so I’m gonna dream about going away with her and a few more friends as well, on a talking retreat! And actually, that’s more likely to happen in the near future, because we will make it so.

Silent retreat

So, the question for me is, when will I make my dream of a silent writing retreat happen?