Category Archives: True Stories

Saying No to Survival Mode

What do you do when you’re running behind schedule? Run faster?

Since I started rolling with the Small Product Lab, ideas keep flowing, take on shape, expand…just wonderful! I love this creative energy and I want to do everything at once.

Of course I can’t. I can have – and I do have – several larger and smaller projects in progress, so I always got something that fits my current circumstances and mood and keeps me from getting into a rut. But it’s not possible to do two things at the same time and give them my full attention.

So the usual questions are Continue reading

Convergence – Back to Creating the Life I Want

Convergence - everything is coming together in the end :)

Convergence – everything is coming together in the end :)

Tomorrow, 5th December 2014, it will be exactly three years since I abandoned this blog – abruptly, unexpectedly, and completely unintentionally.

Life took over, the hard way.

At least that’s what I thought at the time and Continue reading

My Own Pair Of Glasses

A few days ago, I tried to be clever.

When I work away from home, I usually put anything special in my bag the night before and routine stuff before I leave. Every once in a while I forget something in the morning rush.

That morning, just as I came from the bathroom, I saw both my husband’s and my reading glasses lying on the table, his a black metal skeleton with a brown chain, mine grey with a black chain; and neither of us could tell a dog from a cat looking through the other’s pair. I better take my glasses now, I thought, so I won’t pick up the wrong pair in the rush. I put my pair in its case and right away in my bag.

Shortly after I arrived at work, my husband phoned to wish me a fun day – with his reading glasses.

Lessons learned: 1. When trying to be clever, check again what I’m doing. 2. Only my own glasses let me see the world my way.

For lack of something better to do ;) , I thought about how often we see the world through glasses which are not our own…

  • …following shoulds and musts which others have created
  • …not giving in to our intuition, but repeating “how we’ve always done it”
  • …getting stuck with our obsolete beliefs about how things are or should be
  • …defining our goals by comparison with what others do and are successful with
  • …entering the wrong “competitions” with others
  • …lazy thinking, that is not thinking for ourselves

…What are your examples, from your life, of looking through someone else’s glasses. Or in which cases has putting on your own glasses led to joy and success?


What I learned through NaNoWriMo

November is NaNoWriMo – the (inter)National Novel Writing Month.

Last year I participated for the first time in NaNoWriMo. What I learned during those 30 days had not only impact on quality and quantity of my writing (fiction and non-fiction), but also changed my approach to writing – and other life areas as well :)

I wrote this list of “What I learned through NaNoWriMo” beginning of December 2010. When I reviewed it today for this post, I was surprised at how complete – and still valid – it was. I have not altered my last year’s statements, only grouped them.

Perfectionism vs. flexibility – dealing with obstacles

  • how to plod on even when I didn’t know where I was going or how to get there
  • apart fom finding and using small bits of time I also realized that “having to make” time for something as opposed to “having” the time to do it – makes it much more likely that I use the “made” time for the task I made it for, instead of procrastinating or doing something else – I value the time, because I made it valuable by limiting it
  • my worst enemies are my own doubts – can I write 2500 word in one day if necessary? Yes, I can. They may be crap – but that’s for revision to fix ;)
  • not to be overwhelmed by (or back off) a difficult, confusing or giant long-term goal, but to break it into achievable bits (okay, I knew and made use of that one, but I tended to avoid the real biggies)

Focussing on results WHILE enjoying the process

  • setting quantified goals = results instead of how much time I spent on it, but I do combine it with short sprints of max 25 minutes
  • I discovered many time saving techniques I can also apply in other areas, for instance not procrastinating with details while still in the draft stage
  • It’s about finishing this one step: the draft = getting the story down. If there’s no story, just ideas, what am I going to base my revision on?

My own writing preferences

  • although I type a lot faster than I write (legibly) by hand, the result with paper and pen is better and quicker in the end, as I’m not tempted to correct – and the story flows better
  • I discovered my average draft writing speed and rhythm, one I feel comfortable with at long distance – which helps me also to plan more realistically (I was surprised that when doing short sprints  I can hand-write 250-300 words in ten minutes – I focus on “writing” instead of “thinking”)
  • I found out how long I can concentrate on focused writing, and learned to recognize AND respect the signs telling me it’s better to have many breaks (as long as I’m eager to go on) rather than risk mental exhaustion and lose time during recovery
  • looking forward to revision instead of dreading it as a boring task

Switching on and off as desired

I usually don’t have problems with focus and concentration as long as I enjoy what I’m doing ;) but for some aspects NaNoWriMo helped me to find better solutions – with benefits spreading into other life areas as well:

  • how to switch off when I’m full of enthusiasm – and still not lose momentum
  • how to get going at a time when it’s “inconvenient”, that is when I’m tired, have “something better” to do, “don’t feel like it”
  • how to get started again, especially with complex or ongoing projects, or when I hit an obstacle and get stuck
  • how to switch instantly into writing mode AND how to switch off (took me a couple of weeks, though, to learn it)
  • how to use small time spans of 10 or 15 min (“oh, I still got 10 min” instead of “10 min is not worth starting”)

Even if you never thought of writing a novel, NaNoWriMo is an experience worth having :)

No idea what to write? On the site you can even find titles to choose from, or adopt a plot – so, no excuses ;)

All you need to do to participate is to sign up.  (And perhaps inform your immediate social environment that you might not be quite your usual self for the next four weeks…)

Link to the blog:  The Office of Letters and Light

Stay tuned for my long list of tips on how to survive NaNoWriMo 2011 healthy and sane ;)


What’s The Score? | Keeping Track Of Personal Progress

Do you know this? Busy all day, tired in the evening (or around noon :? ), next day the same, and the following day, and the day after…wondering WHY, because all that busy-ness never seems to lead to anything, at least not to anything of importance.

Dreams are lost on the way, occasional enthusiasm drowns in a workload which has only significance as far as quantity is concerned.

I have been living like this for years. No, not living. Existing. And it seemed normal to me, as most people around me existed the same way. It was so normal that I didn’t even question this lifestyle, until, well, until I couldn’t keep it up any longer. After several warnings (which I pushed aside, of course) I broke down completely. My strong will (or stubbornness, as I would call it) which used to supply me with sufficient energy to move from one day to the next was broken.

With the help of family and friends I recovered enough to decide on a radical change (in that case it was moving country and cutting off most connections to my former life – and no, I would NOT recommend it, there are much easier and more fun ways of turning one’s life around). This sudden change threw me off balance, but revived my stubbornness which resurfaced and kept me afloat. I began to heal.

Then just a few years later, I found myself in the same treadmill again, in a different country, with a different job, but nevertheless I recognized old patterns slowly reappearing.

And that was the point of change: Continue reading

Knitting With Glass – Impossible!?

Making the “impossible” possible is creation and creativity at its finest. Creation starts with an idea or vision – but it takes determination, endurance and resilience to bring it into being, to realise what formerly existed only in our mind.

I’ve been a textile crafts addict for thirty-plus years, and although the technicalities of the textile world fortunately :) still bear lots of surprises and challenges for me, it takes a lot to stun my mind into time-out.

Which is exactly what happened a few weeks ago when I came across artwork which I would not have believed possible:  “Knitted Glass” by Carol Milne.

Cakewalk 7" x 11" x 11" by Carol Milne - Kiln-Cast lead crystal knitted glass

Cakewalk 7" x 11" x 11"

What intrigued me just as much as “How can this be possible?” was the context in which Carol sees her Knitted Glass (see Carol’s statement below). I contacted her immediately to ask whether I might feature her work on my blog, and as you see she said yes :)

Knit Wit by Carol Milne - Self-portrait in knitted glass and knitted copper. 19" x 10" x 12"

Knit Wit - Self-portrait in knitted glass and knitted copper. 19" x 10" x 12"

Here’s Carol’s brief statement about her work:

I see my knitted work as metaphor for social structure. Individual strands are weak and brittle on their own, but deceptively strong when bound together. You can crack or break single threads without the whole structure falling apart. And even when the structure is broken, pieces remain bound together. The connections are what brings strength and integrity to the whole and what keeps it intact.

Darn by Carol Milne - A fraying, knitted glove with a pun for a title. 10" x 18" x 13"

Darn - A fraying, knitted glove with a pun for a title. 10" x 18" x 13"

I found it very difficult to choose only a few photos from Carol’s amazing site, so here three more.  The last one is E.D.’s favourite – I wonder why… ;)

Bustle by Carol Milne - Kiln-Cast lead crystal knitted glass

Bustle 7" x 16" x 16"

Quadrille by Carol Milne - Kiln-Cast lead crystal knitted glass

Quadrille 5" x 11" x 11"

Eddy by Carol Milne - Kiln-Cast lead crystal knitted glass

Eddy 5" x 11" x 11"

Thank you, Carol :)

An inspiring “real world” example for “knitting with glass” – or knitting society by making the “impossible” possible:  Blood-lines of action – Butterfly Effects for Change by creatingreciprocity

Image sources: all photos courtesy Carol Milne

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