Category Archives: Arts & Crafts

The Enermazing Weekly Ticker (16) 21th – 27th November 2011

+ +++ +++ NaNowrimo – Tip of the week +++ +++ +

Nearing the end of NaNoWriMo with less than 10k, the best tip I can give you this year is not to stop – November may be over soon, but life goes on.

In case you are over 40k, you can still catch up (my last year’s experience). Go and get your certificate! :)

If not, consolidate. Take stock of what you’ve learned during the past 27 days, about writing and about life, about creating new habits or at least shaking up old ones.

+ +++ +++ Site News +++ +++ +

During this past week, I’ve hardly been on the computer. My email inbox is overflowing with unread blog subscriptions, I haven’t written a single comment, not browsed or surfed or “researched”.

What have I done instead? Increased my body awareness, with special emphasis on the senses of hearing and smell. Did you know that a slipper, a book and a computer cable produce different sounds when being chewed? Did you know that you can train your olfactory sense to make out directions and locations, instantly, the moment the origin of the smell is being produced? I didn’t, until ten days ago, but then again Bob and Scamp were already about three months old when we found them and ready to be house-trained. When we found the puppy last week, it was so young that didn’t even know yet that it had teeth, and now it’s experimenting with how it can put them to use. (Eating is not a problem – weight increase is 40% in 7 days.)

Wolfy-Stop-It! (which is his new name) is teaching us a lot of things, including taking play breaks when we didn’t even know we wanted them, and certainly living in the moment – using every opportunity, however small it may be, to get some of our daily chores done while avoiding to trip over him, or to wipe up another little mess while he tries to help us ;) I hope that as soon as he discovered all dimensions of his body (including his rear end) he’ll realise that not on all occasions it’s sufficient to have all four paws on the newspaper…

+ +++ +++ Quote of the week  +++ +++ +

When things go wrong, you’ll find they usually go on getting worse for some time; but when things once start to go right they often go on getting better and better.

C.S.Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

+ +++ +++ this & that +++ +++ +

My word count the past week: I’ve lost track with all my different wordcounts and what I updated or not. The only one I’m certain of is Magnifica, at about 8,000 total…

The Enermazing Weekly Ticker (15) 14th – 20th November 2011

+ +++ +++ NaNowrimo – Tip of the week +++ +++ +

When things seem difficult or even hopeless, take another step. If you don’t know which direction to go, let the flow carry you on, just a little bit.

Don’t rely on the obvious, on what you think you see, hear, feel. Thinking blocks the flow, your strong invisible currents which carry you in the right direction with ease.

The last week of NaNoWriMo has begun; I haven’t written more than a few pages for the past two weeks – “the obvious” would be to call my this year’s NaNoWriMo experience a failure and to give up.

Under the surface however that voice, telling me that NaNoWriMo is just one little ripple in the context, has become much stronger: “Stop fiddling with details – trust in the context instead.”

Even if during week three you’ve discovered that your novel is going nowhere, or in the wrong direction, take it from there, do your best for the rest of November and trust in a writing life after NaNoWriMo.

If you’ve come to believe writing is not your thing at all, accept that for the time being. You may be right, or you may be wrong, but dissappointment is certainly the wrong time to make decisions.

+ +++ +++ Site News +++ +++ +

As I mentioned last Tuesday in my post “Playful Professionalism” I’ve been thinking lately about the value of playfulness. In fact, I was wondering how I could bring some more joy and playfulness into my life.

I’ve also written about “dogs”, the stubborn, insistent inner terrier and the inner Schweinehund, both of which bear no resemblance with our two real dogs, Bob and Scamp.

Relieved that I didn’t have to think about a blog post, I sat down early Wednesday morning and wrote two pages, but strangely enough I couldn’t concentrate, without any reason I could think of. After another half page, my husband arrived back from walking the dogs. On his arm was this:

little puppy

Wolfy - day one

With interruptions like someone gnawing at my toes, it’s already taken me one and a half hours to write these few lines, I’ve got to leave for work now… I’ll write more later, as soon as I get the opportunity…

For now just let me say that the dog rescue centers are overflowing. Yesterday we resigned to the fact that we’ve got a third dog and named him “Wolfy” :)

+ +++ +++ Quote(S) of the week  +++ +++ +

A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.
Frank Herbert, Dune

Grant me the sanity
to know that my first draft will suck;…
Sara Toole Miller

+ +++ +++ this & that +++ +++ +

My word count the past week: blog : …  – novel: 4 pages

Playful Professionalism

NaNoWriMo – But Not Only | November 2011, Day 14 & 15

Half-time = time for a pie and a hot-dog, and a revision – or rather…

Half-time watering, the Madejski Stadium - geograph.org.uk - 994437

…half-time watering ;)

For more than a week, this blog post title has been going through my head. That it didn’t make it into an article has got nothing to do with research and the often tedious task of finding real-life examples, but a lot with making my mind up…

…and after having made it through the Slump Swamp once again, I’m more convinced than ever that Playful Professionalism is not only possible, but the way to go.

Maybe you, too, know one of those “Playful Professionals” who don’t call their work “work”? Who enjoy what they are doing, even if it’s for a living? Who come out of the drag-or-drop phases of their jobs or projects more motivated than before?

What is considered “professional” is most of all a question of definition; here mine:

Professionalism is not limited to money-making activities, nor a hollow etiquette ritual following step-by-step instructions on “How not to horrify your customers”. It is an attitude encompassing whatever I can do to provide best service, paid for or not, and if it requires me moving beyond my likes and dislikes of the moment then I’ll do it.

Often enough though, I perceive and react to professionalism as if it were a set of rules engraved in granite – shoulds and musts which activate my Inner Terrier, who is quite the opposite of an Inner Schweinehund and starts digging deep tunnels under ground. My struggle with the spelling of the word stubbornness was just a small indication of that.

Playfulness however pulls me up and lifts me onto a different level, lets me explore the realms of non-thought and inspiration while distracting the terrier with a toy.

My conclusion: Pure, serious professionalism sure helps to get things done when the going is rough, but playfulness ensures that I’ve got and replenish the life energy to do so.

Coping with change – part 2

I had three wake-up comments these past two days (thank you all!) which made me look at what I didn’t want to know: I’ve allowed my terrier to take over, again…

My posts of the past two weeks actually show clearly where the problem is: one blog post a day, on which the terrier insisted. (Trisha, my novel is shouting AND doing a breakdance in front of me…) I do like blogging – I’m so happy about having met so many wonderful people through this blog – but those of you who followed from the beginning will remember that I had this issue (with my terrier) before.

I had arrived at an enjoyable and manageable two posts per week, and then came NaNoWriMo and my terrier pushed and nagged at me, making me feel guilty and obliged, provoking me with “You whimp…talking about exploring your boundaries, and avoiding the real challenge…”

Calling me whimp… That Kentucky-fried brontosauros leg should keep my hot-dog busy and quiet for a while – and I’m going to spend my early mornings on the island of “Magnifica’.

Official statement: For the second half of November, I’m waving the White Flag Of Surrender regarding the post-a-day, and focus on writing fiction.

I apologise to all  readers of this blog (and especially the NaNoWriters) who expected more tips and tools on a daily basis – I hope you find that you’re actually doing what you wanted to do in the first place.

What has your mid-month or mid-NaNoWriMo revision revealed about your novel and the process, or about new habits – or yourself?

Maria

PS: Apart from the comment notifications with the three wake-up calls there was another, related, message in my email inbox, from Glen Allsopp (ViperChill.com), whose informative and insightful blog posts I look forward to. Glen’s newest post covers the whole gamut of procrastination & habits, and purpose, process & results.

“The Post on Productivity I Wish Someone Else Had Written” is definitely the longest blog post I’ve ever read – and enjoyed all the way to the last full-stop. And: Thank you, Glen, for investing so much time and energy in research and writing! :)

Excerpt:

“There is not a productivity method in the world that can help people as much as they can help themselves.

That’s it. Nothing too flash or (admittedly) interesting. It probably doesn’t make you very excited for the rest of this article either, so let’s hype it up a little. I elaborated on how I came to this conclusion with a friend and he sent me this email a few days later: 

[screenshot]

And now, if you’re interested, I’ll elaborate on it for you.”

“If you just kind of want it, don’t expect anything more then just kind of wanted it results.”

My word count Days 14 & 15: blog: 1086 – novel: 0

Easy access to all posts this month via a new menu category: Specials >> November 2011: NaNoWriMo – But Not Only

The Enermazing Weekly Ticker (14) 7th – 13th November 2011

+ +++ +++ NaNowrimo – Tip of the week +++ +++ +

See the quote below for what Winston Churchill has said about NaNoWriMo ;)

+ +++ +++ Site News +++ +++ +

Well, at least I managed to keep up “one post per day” – sort of, in the beginning writing in advance and scheduling, now dragging a day behind.

Not even halfway through the month, I have already discovered that for me it is far easier to do a bit of daily fiction or my usual notes/random journal which no-one will see than get something ready and out – I’m not surprised I was never tempted to become a professional writer…

But then again, some professional writers might be horrified by the idea of having to do 7 meters of traditional Cretan macrame fringes (these two links lead to two macrame blogs) before Christmas ;)

“Each to their own” is what creates variety and balance – our task is to live our own life the best way we can.

Sorry if I haven’t commented on your blogs for a week or more; I’ll make up for it as soon as the number of blog posts returns to “normal”.

+ +++ +++ Quote of the week  +++ +++ +

If you’re going through hell, keep going.
Winston Churchill

+ +++ +++ this & that +++ +++ +

Tired of writing – or reading about it? Try these for a change:

My word count Day 13: blog : 280  – novel: 0

Btw: You can still join the Writing Buddies :) – and it’s not too late to sign up for NaNoWriMo 2011, either ;)

The Slump Swamp

ein zweihändiger Dunk

Image via Wikipedia

The Second NaNoWriMo 2011 Mid-Weekend Review

Oh I love the simplicity of my novel wordcount this week: a fat, round O. Concerning the blog post wordcount I’m getting more and more confused about which day it relates to…

On the positive side, this week I’ve done several thousand knots (real ones, not speed) on a macramee project for a friend of mine, made a shoulder wrap as a birthday present for my niece and knitted one whole sock – in other words, I used the procrastination method to finish some things on which I had procrastinated before ;)

I just found this gem on lifehack.org: How to Procrastinate Productively- I’m so glad I’m not alone…

I’m not tired, but my brain still wants time-out from any sort of reading and writing – hence my crafty activities, and the delay with the blog posts. At the moment it’s only my stubbornness that makes me sit at the computer (and don’t ask how many times I corrected the spelling of the word “stuvvornss”).

How are you doing? Have you taken a plunge into the slump swamp or done a wordsprint slam dunk?

(In case you’re looking for something to procrastinate with, say “plunge into the slump swamp or done a wordsprint slam dunk” aloud, three times, as fast as you can :grin: )

Maria

My word count Day 12: blog posts: 0 – novel: 0

Btw: You can still join the Writing Buddies :) – and it’s not too late to sign up for NaNoWriMo 2011, either – you’ll find it easy to compete with me at least… ;)

Easy access to all posts this month via a new menu category: Specials >> November 2011: NaNoWriMo – But Not Only.

Coping With Change

NaNoWriMo – But Not Only | November 2011, Day 11

Huh, had I thought my spontaneous commitment to a post-a-day would turn me into a prolific blogger, I’d need to think again (and let’s not mention the still more or less fictitious 25k).

Two days ago, my brain went on strike. The best I could do was to upload one of my emergency posts: Why?

Yesterday, after having written a longer comment (a tip for learning a foreign language), life took over…

… and I admit I was about to skip this post as well, when I realized that I could do exactly what I do with writing: Mark The Gap or problem for revision – and go on as I feel appropriate right now.

What I intended to do

In October already I took notes on my blog post for 11th November, to post on the 10th: Remembrance/Veterans Day, A Minute For Peace, and in some parts of Germany the official beginning of the German Carnival Season (Why in November, when carnival marks the beginning of lent? Well, you need a few months to organise the fun, of course…). I was looking forward to the challenge of linking these topics, but not so much to the research involved (as I wantedthe article to be).

In case you’re curious how the carnival fits in with war and peace, here a few of my  bullet points:

  • “carne vale” = “good bye, meat” = the beginning of the spring fast, a physical and spiritual cleansing (“detox”, in modern English)
  • driving away the evil winter spirits by going over the top (the Basler Fasnacht (“fast night” = “Eve of the Fast”)
  • to minimize going over the top, carnival is usually organized in troops, with floats or without, and at least in Germany, Switzerland and Austria occasionally in army-inspired uniforms, (some dating back, as far as I remember, to the times of Napoleon Bonaparte, e.g.  Rheinish Carnival in Cologne)
  • conclusions??

[This represents the gap - to be filled in next year, maybe...]

Schränz-Gritte, Carnival of Basel / Switzerland

Carnival in Basel/Switzerland - Image via Wikipedia

What you get instead

…is a real-life, real-time example of how I write…and how I strive to live: adapting to internal and external change – not by simply caving in, neither by letting myself being pushed around by shoulds and musts, nor by giving up, and not any more by beating myself up, but by choosing how to go on now, “after the fact”, and staying open for revision, sooner or later.

“Commitment”, “self-discipline”, “pushing through the barrier” are great helpers – as long as you like them and believe in their value. After almost 40 years of allowing them to get the better of me (and having developed a distinct aversion, not to say allergy, against pressure) I have, for the past 10 years, turned from struggle, building up resentment, self-punishment, self-reward  and the “that’s how it is -there’s nothing I can do about it” of the 16 basic desires connected with intrinsic motivation:

  • If I don’t like it, I can choose again (that is I stop to ask myself what learned from this experience, then let go and move on)
  • If it’s one of those things where I feel “I haven’t got a choice” (there always is one alternative: “to do or not to do”) I go with whatever leads me towards the life I want to live – if I still don’t like it, hard luck, I’ll do it anyway
  • The result is the reward – the only one and the best one
  • I choose consciously which desires I give in to – or not

Instead of fighting or cajoling my Inner Schweinehund* (and wasting a lot of money on sausages) I open the gates and let him run wherever he wants, and get on with what I want to do NOW :)

By the way, embracing change get’s a lot easier with practice – and can even turn into fun ;)

Maria

*In German, referring to someone as a Schwein or Sau (female pig) can mean that person is externally dirty, but also (perhaps even more so) dirty-minded, foul, mean, lazy.

The Schweinehund was originally simply a dog that guarded the pigs = “pig”herd dog. During the 19th century, “Schweinehund” found it’s way into student’s language as an insult, referring to someone who is lazy and/or a coward.

Der innere Schweinehund would be that part of us that keeps saying “nah” or “later” and finding or making up excuses…

My word count Day 11: blog posts: 860 – novel: a big Zero – with : for eyes and a D for a grin :grin:

Btw: You can still join the Writing Buddies :) – and it’s not too late to sign up for NaNoWriMo 2011, either ;)

Easy access to all posts this month via a new menu category: Specials >> November 2011: NaNoWriMo – But Not Only