Arts & Crafts, Challenge Yourself, Creativity, Writing

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 😉


*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 😀

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


9 thoughts on “Coping With Change”

  1. I have the freedom of being very new to blogging and writing…and so I have very few “expectations” for myself about adding to my blog or making new pages. I’ve learned that I react poorly to pressure from myself or others, so tend to let things be and appreciate whatever emerges, whenever it emerges…Some days, if I’m a bit more neutral, I wonder if I’ll ever be inspired to make new pages or posts…but have learned to not even go there…if I do add, that would be wonderful, and if I don’t…well, that will be. When I let myself “be,” I find creativity just seems to emerge. Does this make any sense? (I’m not quite sure how to express it…) There’s a wonderful freedom in having my “own” blog and making my own choices about what and how to post…having it completely up to me…a real surprise about a kind of freedom I haven’t experienced before.

    1. “There’s a wonderful freedom in…making my own choices” – that’s exactly why I live the way I do 🙂
      Some surprises are less nice than others, but I take them as they come (okay, I do grumble, for a while); at the least they lead to new approaches and solutions which, I realise afterwards, I needed. In other words: Sometimes the “reasons” for the surprises become obvious immediately, somethimes it takes longer. But in any case I can accept myself and others as we are – no need to beat myself up or blame others, which is very liberating as well 😉

  2. Uh oh…I spoke (wrote) too soon….creativity/inspiration seems to have disappeared and I’m bewildered! I wonder where it went? (maybe because I’m working very very hard at school and I’m tired out/drained when I get home?) I guess before I had a blog, it didn’t matter if I created once a day or week or month or year…it just happened when it happened…How in the world do writers keep writing, when the words aren’t flowing from the heart???? or artists keep painting, when the heart isn’t nurturing the colors and strokes??? this is kind of different…a new, unanticipated challenge (aka surprise?) it seems….not one I want, not one bit! uh oh….

    1. Inspiration doesn’t go with thinking – as soon as you focus on it, it disappears…

      By the way, you are talking to someone who has suffered from and overcome a three month painting block – I didn’t even remember how to hold a paintbrush, and only hoped none of my students would notice. As I found out later, my actual mistake was focussing on being stuck; once I let go I got into gears again.

  3. I hear you on that one… I also have a bunch of posts that might not see daylight until the necessary research is done. With post a day, I’ve had blank moments and barrel my way through using a prayer and the prompts. Honestly, every day I thank the universe for sharing its wisdom through blog friends like you and many, many others. Sometimes a comment or a word gives me the juice for the next post… It’s all good. 😉

    1. My problem is not so much finding an idea or prompt – if necessary I fabricate them from thin air – it’s about writing a post which contains what I want to bring across, in a way accessible to others, and, if possible, “looking nice”. I actually have considered just to post one of my starter-mind-maps (there are bunches of them, literally). But unless I re-write them, you’d need a guide or better GPS to navigate them 😉

    1. I feel with you…many years ago, I had two to five weeks of workshops (three to five times a year), with different workshops on the weekends for a break. Some of them (training teachers-to-be) involved written, oral and practical exams as well; a strain not only for the participants, but as a teacher it was also my task to motivate, to calm down and comfort. – On average, it took me a month to recover from such a class cluster, with “regular” work continuing of course…

      Take care, and take it slowly 🙂

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