One True Sentence

There are exercises we can do to practice and improve our writing skills. And I think that the writing process itself can be a mental exercise. Occasionally it is physical exercise: when we pace the room, walk our dogs to help ideas ferment, or we frustratingly throw our ideas at the wall.

In 2016 my resolution was to work on my writing or photography for 10 minutes a day. Those structured minutes often blossomed into 50, 60 minutes as I got engrossed in my daily project. I updated both my personal and work blogs frequently, explored other blogs, conversed online with fellow writers, read works by a variety of authors, and started to head into unexpected areas.

This year, without a specific plan, I recently realized that I am filling that allotted time with additional work tasks. I miss my creative outlet. Ideas remain spinning in my brain, wisps of characters evolving then vanishing, months without poetry.

I am going to mentally slot that time back into my day. It is a gift to myself—just 10 minutes a day.

In A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway said:

You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.

And then you can keep moving forward.

The journey continues.

C

Where Does this Blog Go Next and other New Year’s Resolution Conundrums

I resurrected my blog this year as part of my New Year’s resolution to spent 10 minutes a day (10MaD) to “explore the arts” in 2016. The idea came from an article by Eric Zorn in the Chicago Tribune. 
My resolution included writing in this blog, my work blog, and taking photographs. You can read about my first blog post about my 2016 plans here. I wanted to also start on a novel, but the time is too fragmented to do much more than flush out characters.
What have I enjoyed? 

  • Verbalizing my opinions and ideas
  • Sharing my essays
  • Writing poetry again
  • Taking personal photo assignment days to improve my work
  • “Meeting” other bloggers
  • Keeping my business site, along with the personal site, current
  • Coming up with new ideas to write about
  • That 10 minutes often turns into 30-60 minutes of creativity.

What has been stressful?

  • Carving out that 10MaD during travel or very crazy days
  • Coming up with new ideas to write about
  • Sharing my ideas and thoughts with friends and strangers, opening myself up for criticism

The next month I will be reviewing the type of content I have added to both my sites this year. What topics resonated? what formats? Interestingly, many more people post comments an my Facebook and Twitter links. Should I keep this site active in 2017? Start something new that focuses on one topic?

 I will certainly keep posting on my business site. I often share those posts with clients, prospects can learn from it, other industry sites have shared some posts, and I get feedback from other database marketing industry professionals. 

If you have any ideas or feedback, I would love to hear from you.

#10MaD Release

I don’t always set an annual resolution. This year I was challenged to spend 10 minutes a day (#10MaD) with a goal in mind. I chose to spend time doing artistic pursuits, namely writing and photography. Much of my time has been spent writing, but the last week I have been doing several photography projects.

First, I volunteered to shoot a fundraising gathering of youth performers for Harmony 4 Hope, a wonderful charity that supports children’s rare disease research. Then I set up and tested out new lighting for a photo studio, to take head shots for a friend’s business website.

IMG photo studio

I love photography! I truly enjoy shooting in different environments, experimenting, viewing life through a lens. I can completely lose time reviewing and editing photos. I always want them to look “perfect”—and that vision can change from me to the person I am shooting for.

Interestingly, after writing almost daily for the past 2 months, a week of not writing had me yearning to put some thoughts to paper. Ideas flit in my mind, disappear when not captured, sometimes return, other times vanish.

But it makes me wonder—in my conscious choice of creative exploration, with this increased urge to write, have the daily habits become a mental release?  I will continue to explore and sustain them to satisfy that desire. It feels much like when you are on a regular exercise regimen, you feel that de-stressed and accomplished feeling when the workout is complete.

After writing this, I physically feel calmer. And mentally fulfilled. So I will continue my 10MaD routine…which often becomes a 30, 40, 50 minute routine. See where the journey takes me. Join me.

C

 

 

Just 10 Minutes a Day #10MaD

Ten minutes a day.  (10MaD) That’s all the writing time needed to fulfill my new years resolution. (see related post here for more details about the #10MaD project). Simply write or work on a photo project. Why is completing 10 minutes of decent writing so hard?  After 2 weeks, I think it’s in the planning.

When I start a larger project, like writing a blog post or shooting a basketball game, the 10 minute minimum quickly becomes 30 minutes, an hour, two.  On unscheduled project days, I remember at 10:30 pm that I need to write. My creativity is stalled, my brain fatigued, and my excitement become a chore. Turning two hobbies I love into a reluctant “must do” is certainly not a sustainable way to maintain momentum.

Awareness is the driver to success here! I will carve out quieter and set times to complete on the on-going writing and photo projects.  Better preparation and the reality I am not writing at full creative strength as the day winds down will certainly improve my chances to actually work on that dreamed-of novel. 

Finding 10MaD isn’t the hard part. It’s finding the right 10 minutes that will help lead to success.

C

P.S.  Thus far, I have written creatively or done a photography project each day in 2016. So the resolution is still intact.

A New Year, A New Focus

Wow, it’s been over 3 years since I have written on this blog.  Reading back over a few posts, much of what was important to me then is still key in my life–family, travel, friends, work, yoga, photography, reading. What is old IS new again, in this case.

I still run my consulting firm. I have been blogging on my business website, while this personal site has been sadly dormant.

2016 I am starting a new endeavor, so I am reviving this blog.  Based on an article I recently read in the Chicago Tribune, I am going to try and write or take photographs for a minimum of 10 minutes a day.  You can read about this 10MaD challenge on my business blog.

My more personal writings will be on this blog, the business topics explored on my other site.  I can more easily share those writings with my clients and prospects.

I debated starting a new blog for all the personal writing this year, but I decided to dust of this site, shine it up a bit in the next couple weeks, and use this formerly-well-used one.

Welcome to 2016!