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.

Day 8 #NaJoWriMoPrompt: Write About Your Creative History

For today’s prompt, write about your past in relationship to creative expression. What are your earliest memories of being creative? Describe some great opportunities or missed opportunities for creative expression? What do you think helped or hindered you from being creative? Do you have creative people in your family? How have they inspired you? These are general questions. Write about the topic and see where it leads you. Happy journaling.

My creative history. Wow. That feels like a massive assignment. Especially since the Create the impossible-course I took at the beginning of the year, which made me realize that there is (an opportunity for) creativity in everything, even something as mundane as making dinner is a creation.

My earliest memories…. ah, I honestly I have no clue. But, my maternal grandmother taught me to crochet (and later on to knit as well), and I do remember being at kindergarten an crocheting endlessly long threads from a ball of yarn. Rolled it into a skein, and voila, had myself a new ball of yarn, in a manner of speaking, to start all over again. So I crocheted yet another endlessly long, but slightly thicker, long thread, from the initial endlessly long crocheted thread. Think I might even have repeated the same procedure yet once again. Limited use for long crocheted threads most definitely, but I did create. And I might have been around 4 or 5, I’m guessing. There’s remnants of other kindergarten creations still remaining at my mom’s place. Various ornaments for Christmas and Easter for instance.

wrist warmersAs I’ve written about before, I think my creativity has, to a large extent, been expressed using my hands, in handicrafts. When I think about creativity, that is where my mind goes first of all. And perhaps there’s a bit of a need for results and usefulness in my thoughts around creation, for myself. I create something which is needed, or desired, or that which is useful. Like the wrist warmers I’m wearing right this instant. I knitted them a few years ago, when the urge to create something with my hands grew within, until I couldn’t contain it anymore, and dug out needles and yarn from my various hiding places… Having a set end goal in mind, I started to create them, working without a pattern, but knowing what I wanted them to become, once finished.

I wonder if that’s a bit of a hindrance I’ve imposed upon myself: there must be a need, an end-result that can be put to use? Have I ever created just to create? For the sake of making it? Without any hidden agenda, a lack of purpose? Just. To do it. Nothing more. Nothing less. I don’t know.

I mean, even my blogging is to a certain extent purpose-driven. I blog with the intention to get my thoughts and ruminations down on paper, making them come alive outside of my head. So… How do you do it, when you just create, for creation’s sake itself? I honestly don’t know. Do you?

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?

Daily habits

Continuing on yesterday’s topic of doing average stuff, but consistently, having it add up to something spectacular, I give you some wisdom from Seth Godin, from a blog post he published in December 2014 (published here):

BoldomaticPost_There-s-a-fundamental-differen

In the past six months, since August 18th 2014, I’ve discovered I’m quite good at this, building daily habits, and just doing it. Because once I committed myself to it (and also voiced it publicly, something that helps me feel accountable!), I have been doing my daily Seven minutes of morning exercise and a Headspace-meditation as well as my daily dose of German in DuoLingo. In September sometime I started doing another daily meditation as well. Also, for the past 39 days I’ve done my minimum of 15 minute #cleanse4expansion, without exception. Just doing it.

Oh, and I have an even longer track record, as it’s just over two years ago that I started to blog daily. There have been a few exceptions there, and I’m cool with that. But I don’t make a habit of exceptions, because then my daily habit is no longer what Seth so wisely points to: something I just do, without having to decide on a daily basis to do them. Rather I can just play around with how to do it, on each given day.

And you know what? I don’t find this taxing. It’s not stressful. And it’s not even something I feel I HAVE to do. I just do them. It’s like brushing my teeth. I don’t fight myself on a daily basis trying to convincing myself to brush my teeth, morning and evening. I just do it. Because I’ve learnt that habit, and I find that it serves me.

The same is true with blogging, Seven and the meditations. In the beginning there was some effort to it. And sure enough, sometimes I’d rather not. But…. it’s like brushing my teeth, I just do it, regardless if I really want to or not. Because I find that it serves me.

The moment it stops serving me (it being any daily habit of mine) – there’s no reason for me to continue. So the trick, for me, is to revisit my Why’s once in a while. I’ll give it a go right now:

Why do I blog daily?
Because it’s self coaching for me, and a great way to reflect. And sometimes it proves helpful to other people as well.

Why do I do a daily Seven minute of exercise?
Because I feel better, I get stronger, more fit, and my back (and the rest of my body) really benefits from the daily movements!

Why do I do two meditations daily?
Well, I started with Headspace because my brother got me into it. Not the reason I’m still doing it though! My reason why has evolved, and now centers around me really enjoying the quiet time with myself and mind, and also I find that it helps me be more centered during the non-meditating times of my day, which of course makes up most of my day. The second meditation is a practice that helps me connect on a daily basis to love and acceptance, and that is also something which greatly impacts my entire day.

What daily habits do you have, and what’s your reason for doing them??

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?