Weekly Roundup

Hello again, campers! Ready for your campfire tales? No? Not really?

I finished listening to the Camp Red Moon short anthology, and it took me a while to recognize the voice in the second story. Kevin T. Collins, who’s performed the audiobooks to the Sam Capra series by Jeff Abbot. Speaking of, it’s about time for another installment in that series.

Anyway, here’s what’s on my plate this week.

Reading: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. Just getting started, and I haven’t seen the movie either, but I recognize the desire to travel, isolate, and found yourself. A lot of my library seems geared towards those sentiments, even if they all haven’t been read yet. A 26-year-old, reeling from tragedy, decides to make the 1100-mile solo hike.

Listening: You Learn from the Alanis Morrissette jukebox musical Jagged Little Pill. I had this in the nineties (it’s probably still floating around my cd collection somewhere). This ensemble number is really touching, and I enjoy it a lot.

Doing: Goal setting. I’ve been using a couple of resources – Designing Your Life, Tony RobbinsSeth Godin, & Tim Ferris. Before I start making cuts to some of my projects and interests, I want to make sure I’m doing it for the right reason. So having those goals set are important.

Sharing:

Catching up

Again I have some posts sitting in Drafts that need some TLC before I push the Publish button. But I wanted to take a minute and reflect on how the creative process works for me.

I usually walk around every day with a pocket notebook and a pen. My current pen of choice is the Parker ’51 I purchased last year at the antique store. I write anything in the notebook, which includes lists, snippets of prose or poetry that comes to me, songs I like or books I may want to read.

But working my way from the back page forward, I’ll usually have a list of items that I want to look up. These include words or phrases (such as feedback loop or parsimonious); authors; artists; organizations; etc.

Many of these become posts eventually, or they sit in drafts. I don’t know that this matters to anyone, but it’s a glimpse into how I work these posts out a day at a time.

Why I post daily

This was an easy decision to make, but slightly more challenging to put into practice. Some days I easily write four or five posts to queue up. Other days it’s challenging to put a sentence down.

The prompt was Seth Godin’s interview with Tim Ferris on The Tim Ferriss Show (ep. 138). “The first thing I would say is everyone should blog, even if it’s not under their own name, every single day. If you are in public making predictions and noticing things, your life gets better. Because you will find a discipline that can’t help but benefit you. If you want to do it in a diary, that’s fine. But the problem with diaries is because they’re private, you can start hiding. In public, in this blog, there it is. Six weeks ago you said this; 12 weeks ago you said that. Are you able, every day, to say one thing that’s new that you’re willing to stand behind? I think that’s just a huge, wonderful practice.”

I like looking at the world – its working philosophies; the creative industries; environmental concerns and conservation efforts; books and publishing; and many other things that come into my attention. If I’m lucky, I have an original thought about them.

At the very least I have something to say about what’s happening, or maybe I just to shine a light on it.

And the world needs perspectives – of all shades – to be shared.

We work, then we ship

This blog is shipping. It’s a continuous reminder to me to get the work done. I’m at a point where I can now write every morning. I write here, and I write in my other media (at this time a novel, which I started during NaNoWriMo, but which has been a holdover).

Work completed isn’t much until we get it out. Really, it isn’t completed until you put it out. And it’s scary to put it out. There are times when I’d rather not see the finished product.

I do some work in improvisational acting, and that’s instantaneous shipping. That’s getting up, creating a scene (doing the work) and performing it in front of an audience (shipping), all in one moment. Terrifying!

But doing that, it’s helping me here. It’s helping me everywhere. Because in improv, as in any other work, it’s okay to fail. Maybe one project lands flat. Flatter than flat. Just put it in the dungheap and move on.

Seth Godin has a graph of shipping that looks like this:

6a00d83451b31569e2017ee8407661970d-500wi.jpgOriginal post here.

This is specifically for the publication of a book. But it applies to any artistic medium. The Y-axis is the joy you feel for the project, and the X-axis shows time passing with each milestone. I think data point 6 is even lower than what’s shown because fear can take hold. That resistance.

But it’s so important to ship. To accept that fear. That fear is a gift. It’s your body telling you that what you’re doing may very well be important. So don’t stop now. Accept the gift, and get your idea out there.

Rearranging

After three years, I’ve changed my tagline. No longer am I trying to keep it together. Now it’s all about exploration. I’ll be changing the look and feel of the blog as well, though I’m still committed to daily postings.

That’s been a challenge, but one that’s kept me focused these past couple of months. I’m planning on some positive changes to complement some other of the other projects that I am working on. Hopefully I’ll have more to say on that before the end of the year.

And that’s coming up soon!

Letting Go

As I progress in my blogging, I start to think I’ve used titles before. Like Letting Go. I search. I don’t find it. Maybe the search bar doesn’t work like I mean it to. Or I actually haven’t titled one Letting Go. I don’t know for sure.

Either way, I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Letting go. Of the past. Of stuff. Of the personal baggage that I hang on to. It’s little things.

This item went to the trash tonight:

coconut crow
Jamaican-made bird feeder from coconut.

I had purchased it from a street vendor in Jamaica – exactly which area I don’t recall. I was in Jamaica for a mission trip with my significant other. She and I are no longer together. I also have no relationship to speak of with any of the church members that went on the trip.

I think I paid $10. I could have gotten it for cheaper. But the words of a very persuasive priest came back to me.

“While talking with a parishioner,” he said in his homily, “she was bragging about how she had talked the seller down on some item she purchased on vacation.” [I believe it was in Mexico, but it could have been anywhere].

He proceeded to ask her, “Are you saying that you’re proud of taking away the money the this person needs to care for the family, put food on the table, and keep a roof over their heads?” This particular priest is an odd, joy-filled individual.

He then said, “I guess I shouldn’t go on vacation there. I’d be haggling the price up.”

So in looking at this strange coconut bird feeder, an authentic carved item from Jamaica, I couldn’t bring myself to haggle the price down.

But it no longer serves me. I took this picture of it to have the memory, but item itself has been let go.

Where’d you go?

Took a few extra days (false start) after my trip. There was a lot going on, and some things I’ve been thinking about. 

For instance, why posting every day is a silly strategy. Now I’m not necessarily using this blog to drive traffic or strum up business, but the thought did occur to me – what am I writing for?

The answer I came up with is I write because I have to. So if no one reads it, or doesn’t follow the latest post, it’s not really a big deal. When I started writing, it was about being accountable. Going to the daily (until the Alaska trip) postings, that was about accountability and productivity.

Getting back into the swing of being productive hasn’t been easy. I realize that everything I say in defense of not writing daily becomes just an excuse. That I could find time to sit and post. I could make time.

The truth is, though, sometimes you need to step back. It’s impossible to just keep moving along, everyday. In The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz writes, “Always do your best… Your best is going to change from moment to moment, it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self judgment, self- abuse, and regret.”

So I can start each morning stating I will do my best.

I can end each night asking Have I done my best?

And that’s all anyone can ever really do.