Sluggish Change

Social Media Detox Project: Day 28

Change is hard.

Change doesn’t happen overnight.

Change often feels like a slog.

And it happens so slowly that we don’t really notice it unless we’re actively keeping track of it.

This is why bullet journaling has been so beneficial to me. With it, I can evaluate what I did in a given week or month, and use my entries as a reminder that I am, in fact, moving forward.

Because some days it feels like I’m not.

What I Did Today

Novel writing

Video editing

Family time at the movies

Something I Read Today

People Don’t Change

“(Unless they want to)

Humans are unique in their ability to willingly change. We can change our attitude, our appearance and our skillset.

But only when we want to.

The hard part, then, isn’t the changing it.

It’s the wanting it.” -From Seth’s Blog, People Don’t Change by Seth Godin

Something I Learned Today

That my unscripted YouTube videos are kind of ramble-y. I think I need to do something about that.

What You Can Control and What You Can’t

Focus on the former.

Ignore the latter.

If you do that enough, you may find that eventually the things that once seemed out of your control are not such a big deal.

What I Did Today

Exercise

Novel writing

Family time

Something I Read Today

“The only way to really care is to have human beings who care (and to give them the authority and resources to demonstrate that.)

Once you’ve got that, it’s pretty easy to show that you do.” -From Seth’s Blog, Too Big To Care by Seth Godin

Something I Learned Today

That I think I’m ready to quit my day job sooner rather than later.

Ask Yourself the Right Questions About Your Life

Social Media Detox Project: Day 25

We all have things we’d like to change.

But, a lot of the time, we find the change never comes.

This is because we aren’t thinking about personal change enough.

And when we do think about change, we see it as a monolith, a whole big mess of problems we need to fix. So, we shrug and say we’ll deal with it another day.

And “another day” never comes, because we are afraid of this perceived monolith. If we even take the time to do a little self-reflection at all, and evaluate the areas we are lacking, we see so many problems that we become overwhelmed and give up before we even get started.

The thing is, change needs to be broken down. If we have a large number of problems in front of us, the best strategy is to focus on one at a time. We can’t do everything at once; we don’t have the capacity for that.

Real change requires real focus and real commitment; it is not something you can half-ass.

You have to be honest with yourself. You have to ask yourself questions about why you behave the way you do.

If we do not ask ourselves the right questions about our own lives, then we have no hope of finding the answer.

What I Did Today

Exercise

Novel writing

Blog writing

Edited video

Something I Read Today

“It is important to remember that the environment drives our good behaviors as well as our bad ones. People who seem to stick to good habits with ease are often benefitting from an environment that makes those behaviors easier.

Meanwhile, people who struggle to succeed could be fighting an uphill battle against their environment. What often looks like a lack of willpower is actually the result of a poor environment.” -From Atomic Habits, by James Clear

Something I Learned Today

If you focus on things you can control, you may eventually find things which were once out of your control are no longer so far out of reach.

The Reason No One’s Reading What You Write

Social Media Detox Project: Day 24

Because what you write isn’t good enough.

Not yet, anyway.

But that’s because you haven’t been doing it for very long, or you just don’t do it enough.

As that realization sets in, this is where most people typically stop.

“Why should I even try?” They say.

Because the other ones who succeed ask themselves that exact same question

And then they keep going.

Just shouting at people to follow you doesn’t work, you can’t pull people by a leash. If you try to do that, the leash will snap.

They have to come willingly.

What I Did Today

Exercise

Novel writing

Time with friends

Something I Read Today

“Direct marketers don’t care how many people they reach.

They care what percentage take action.

Brand marketers have trouble measuring action, so all they have to work with is reach.

If you can measure, stop worrying about big numbers when it comes to reach. Run away from the Super Bowl or a billboard on the main highway.

Small audiences are your friend, because small audiences are specific, and specific increases your percentage.” -From Seth’s Blog, Comparing % and Mass by Seth Godin

Something I Learned Today

We are all wells, but when it comes to anything, we only have a limited amount of water.

I think too many of us are wells with only a bucket’s worth full of water, which is why we burn out so easily.

Don’t Scroll Past Me

Social Media Detox Project: Day 23

We all wish to be heard; to be seen; to be noticed.

“I’ve got something to say, too! Pay attention to me!”

We all say it.

We all want it.

Is that why we write?

That’s part of it.

But I’m learning to be more comfortable with and focus on what I’m doing. To not worry so much about whether or not you will actually read this.

I’m writing this because I want to be a better writer.

Why?

Because I enjoy doing it; but also because I have a desire to be heard.

And why should my voice matter more than anyone else’s?

It shouldn’t.

On a similar note, I think I get what the random likes by people on WordPress are.

People scrolling by on their Reader feed, just clicking on the Like button for every single post, without actually reading the article.

That’s okay, though. Y’all keep doing your thing, and I’ll do mine.

What I Did Today

Exercise

Novel writing

Blog writing

Something I Read Today

“When you’re feeling stuck with your project, grab three index cards.

On each card, write down an element of the project that, if you invested time and money, would change for the better.

If those three things happened, if those three elements improved, what would happen to your project?

Okay, now that you’ve got all three… what are you going to do about it?” -From Seth’s Blog, by Seth Godin

Something I Learned Today

Maybe the meaningful things I do won’t matter today, right now; but maybe someday.

NaNoWriMo and The Blog

This year, I participated in NaNoWriMo for the second year in a row, but this time I won. For those that don’t know NaNoWriMo is National Novel Riding Month, where you write 50K words in a month. I had a good time with it. I had a productive solo writing retreat up near Mt. Rainier and was able to finish a rough first draft.

So, I feel good about that.

Unfortunately, due to this and other reasons, my blog has fallen by the way side.

For the past few months, I have been trying to maintain consistent, weekly blog posts. The past few weeks I have failed to do that. Part of the reason was because of NaNoWriMo, but the other reason is something I have yet to uncover. I’m hoping that, by writing about it, maybe I’ll figure it out.

But let me first circle back to Nano.

For some, NaNoWriMo is a real struggle. They have a hard time getting words on the page each day. It’s true that writing isn’t easy. It can be a grueling struggle at times.

I didn’t have that much trouble during Nano. This can be attributed to the following things:

Outlining

I spent a solid month outlining before I started writing the book, so, for the most part, the words flowed onto the page. I didn’t have to sit and think about what to write. I already knew the main purpose of each scene so I worked to get to that point. It made the writing process much easier. And because I already knew what my endpoint was, it freed me up to think about and sprinkle in new details here and there. It made for much more efficient writing sessions.

Growing Confidence

Another reason I can get words on the page is because slowly, but surely, I am gaining confidence in myself and my abilities. Part of this comes from the fact that I take care of myself. I value myself. Therefore, I value the work I do. While I’m working on a book I don’t think about whether or not I’m writing cliches or how my work will be received or even if the words make complete sense. I’m not worried about how the work will be viewed. I’m just doing the work, knowing that it is a continual growth process. When I come back around for the second draft, I can clean things up–and by then, I’ll have grown even more (hopefully).

Routine

As I have said before, my writing routine is the most important part of my process. I already write every day, so doing NaNoWriMo was just a way to sprinkle in a little extra fun. There’s something satisfying about updating your word count each day and watching the bars on the graph get bigger. Because of this, I didn’t put a bunch of extra pressure on myself to finish. That’s not to say I didn’t make it a priority–quite the opposite, in fact. I made sure to not do any recreational activities until I spent time writing. The important thing is that I showed up every day to work toward reaching 50K, which was made easier because it was already part of my routine.

The Struggle Is Real

If you don’t feel confident in your writing it may be time to step back. Try to evaluate other parts of your life. How do you view yourself? Do you consider yourself a healthy individual? How much time do you spend doing things that could be considered time-wasters? Are you learning new things every day?

If your answers are not positive then it might be time to start thinking about how you treat yourself.

Are you trying?

This is something I have to ask myself regularly, especially as it pertains to my blogging habits. I would like to increase the quality of my posts, but it takes time to get good.

So I had to sit and think about why my blogging was falling off my radar.

One might think that the obvious reason is because I was hard working on my Nano novel (and I was), but the two main reasons are:

I had run out of things to talk about.

I had too many things to talk about.

Let me explain.

I Had Run Out of Things to Talk About

I needed to think about the purpose of this blog. The main themes consist of my experiences in self-improvement and writing.

So, why was I running out of things to talk about? Had I run out of self-improvement insight? Surely there was more to learn.

Was it that my growth has become stagnant? This was certainly a possibility.  I feel like I’ve hit a plateau in my exercise routines and need to push myself harder, for instance.

So I feel that stagnation played a part.

Another reason is that there are other things besides self-improvement that I am interested in writing about.

Too Many Things to Talk About

The other side of the coin is that I have a whole lot of drafts covering many different topics. I have started writing them, but none of them have enough meat to provide anything meaningful yet.

They are ideas in development that require more research, study and asking around. And that takes time. I don’t want to just whip out an ill-informed post about an important topic.

I need to do more research (and likely peer review) to ensure a good post.

In Short

That being said, I think I need to somehow create a balance with this blog, containing light topics I can post each week, mixed in with weightier topics that take more time and research.

So, looking back at these two things: the main reason Nano was not a huge struggle for me is because I had an outline. On the flip side, I do not have much of an outline, if any, when I blog. I have a large number of drafts of different topic ideas, but none of them are outlined.

The conclusion I have come to is that I need to outline what I blog about, perhaps find some templates online. I also need to develop a better outline for my life in general. I have been experimenting with scheduling my weekend days down to the hour, and seeing if I can get more done that day. I am going to keep that up and see how it goes. It will probably be worth it for me to look into various goal setting and reward systems, as well.