Struggle on day 10

My note from yesterday refers. After ten days of writing every day, and with the family responsibilities dominating life on the virus lockdown – I am a little short on ideas for writing. The thrill is gone (as BB said) and the seven year itch has itched me good. I’m tempted by Netflix, video games, the day job, ANYTHING other than writing a blog post.

And yet – here is another post.

It is always the way – a post comes from the sheer act of writing. You need to start with writing to get the idea, not the other way around. Well…rarely the other way around. Stream of consciousness writing can be whittled away. We are lucky to live in the digital age where drafting is so very cheap.

When in doubt, do something. At least if your doubt is related to writing – if so, then just write.

Onwards to the next post tomorrow – hopefully more inspired and thought through than today.

okaythanksbye.

Going for thirty

In my long quest for productivity, I have downloaded an app called coach.me.

It lets you set goals and then track progress day by day. I set myself the goal of thirty days consecutive writing on this blog.

So far I am on day 9. I have started writing streaks before, and around about day 10 it feels like that Marilyn Monroe movie “The 7 year itch”. The excitement is gone and the grind is real. This app certainly helps, though.

This is nine, tomorrow is ten. And on we go.

Living with Heartbreak

An unexpected halt to an idea will cause heartbreak. Heartbreak is inevitable and yet we spend most our lives trying to avoid it. How to live with heartbreak?

Like most of the world, South Africa is shutting down in response to the corona virus. It is heartbreaking. Heartbreaking for my kids who have had their holiday cut short. Heartbreaking for my wife and I to forget all the plans we had made. Our ideas around freedom, health, community are all being challenged. This too is a heartbreak. How to live with heartbreak? I’m finding this quote from David Whyte helpful:

If heartbreak is inevitable and inescapable, it might be asking us to look for it and make friends with it, to see it as our constant and instructive companion, and perhaps, in the depth of its impact as well as in its hindsight, and even, its own reward. Heartbreak asks us not to look for an alternative path, because there is no alternative path. It is an introduction to what we love and have loved, an inescapable and often beautiful question, something and someone that has been with us all along, asking us to be ready for the ultimate letting go.

The quote suggests that there is a use to this feeling of loss and damage. We must be ready to let go. We must all get ready to die. Not just in times of crisis but every day. Use the time you’re given as if you will have to let it all go one day. As if your time will come to an end. Because it will.

Dining Room (a study)

This wasn’t always a dining room. In fact, like a pimply-faced teenager this room is not quite sure of what it is yet. The dinner table gives some structure and purpose, but there are also bedside tables in the corners, a bean bag at one end, and what was designed to be an office cabinet along the wall. My fish in his tank greets me each morning for food. I assume he is a he, and not a she. More confusion in an adolescent room.

The light in here is lovely in the mornings. While the air is still cool, the sun pours in to light up the dining table for breakfast time. Strangely we never take advantage of this as we are generally in too much of a rush to sit down and eat in the morning.

There is also a door in one of the walls, next to the bean bag. This leads straight onto a flight of stairs and is remarkable for not having a landing. Instead one has to step up into the open door at a different level to the room. Perhaps not the best design, and apparently illegal for health and safety reasons. Oh well. The teenager stumbles through life until it figures out what it wants to be.

When we first moved in, this was my music room. My favorite room at the time, I filled it with jazz, rock, blues. There were movies and computer games. Speakers and amplifiers. A turntable and cds littered the floor. These days my beautiful children turn it into something different every day. Sometimes it is a race track for scooters, sometimes a camp site, a beach, a mountain top for epic adventures. Sometimes we even eat at the table. I’m just glad my amps and speakers are not in here.

Oak Desk (Study)

The fine polished grains of the oak desk – sand coloured – it looks like a flat desert beneath me. At ten thousand feet I see a lone ant navigates the expanse. An elephant looking for water in the Kalahari.

Cables from electronic stuff – computer chargers, headphones, amps – they tangle and take over all space. My laptop ekes out position for writing among the snakes.

Swing my view right. A picture of love. A window into the past, a Me and a Her sitting next to the ocean. In the background a lighthouse looks over us.

Underneath in a little nook is the man’s best friend. Hairy, warm and ticklish on the feet, a fine addition to a cold hard desk. Four more legs which stay as long as i do.

Foundation

I’ve started reading Isaac Asimov’s ‘Foundation’.

Well, sort of. I’ve actually started listening to it on audible. It’s great and very entertaining. I can see echoes of the story in more recent fiction.

Audible as a way to consume books is a revelation to me. It will help me to work my way through this great sci-fi list: link

Imagine a city which covers a whole planet…

Handwriting

When I was 11 years old, I changed my handwriting in an effort to be cool. I wanted to be more like my friend. He wrote with far more flair than I did. His pages had words that stood out at you. They were all in in neat rows, but they looked artistic and full of purpose. His paragraphs were all in joined up writing and each word was at an angle. His pages looked like they came from someone interesting. Mine just looked like they came from a bog standard 11 year old kid.

I remember clearly deciding to write an assignment in this new style – with my new found flair. The words were all at a painful angle across the page. It took me ages to finish because I was more interested in how it looked than what was written. I put my name on it and handed it in. I felt satisfied and liberated. My new, cooler, more angular identity was emerging.

When the teacher handed our marked papers back, he stopped when he reached me. I got a poor mark. He was disappointed with me, he said. And what on earth was wrong my handwriting? He could barely read it.

I couldn’t hide my blushes as I mumbled some sort of response. I reverted back to myself the very next class.

Happy Sunday chimps. To thine own self be true!

3 things a day

Here’s a thought experiment – if you could do three things for an hour every day to achieve your goals, what would they be?

Personally, if I could exercise, read and write each day for an hour, it might make a huge difference.

However, today was not so productive. If you took today as a representation of my long term goals, you might think that my life goals are to get fat, to buy as much new tech and apple products as possible and to write emails.

I’m getting good at those three activities.

Tomorrow is another day. I plan to carry on reading my book about interior design and well being, to write the blog and to do some sort of exercise.

Happy (late) Tuesday, chimps.

Writing habits

Do you remember the first time you fell in love? Of course you do. Kind of like discovering chocolate for the first time, you just wanted more and more.

My first proper relationship was notable in that it was mostly long distance. Soon after we met I went overseas to study and decided to pour my heart and soul into keeping the relationship going. And a writing habit was born.

We were prolific. The amount of words written in letters, emails and text messages was at an almost Shakespearean quantity. Every single day, for months on end. Quality was highly questionable, but quantity was admirable.

This laid the groundwork for blogging and writing regularly for the rest of my life to date. I’m thankful. Thankful for the habit, thankful for this blog, and thankful my current relationship is in person.

What are the origins of your habits?

Happy Monday chimps.

Motivation vs discipline

I can’t think of anything to write. It’s often the way with writing. Or painting. Or creating anything.

Sure, every now and then the words flow like wine from a carafe. Sweet muse does her thing and inspiration hits. But most of the time it feels more like squeezing water out of a rock.

What helps in these situations is discipline and routine. This forces you to do some work despite the way you feel. Open the laptop. Write something. Anything. Go through the motions.

And there’s another blog post.