Our new year started in a somewhat different way. I had been sick for most or all of the last three weeks of December. My husband was sick one of those weeks as we shared the flu together. My cough, though still with me to some degree, turned the corner on the evening of the 31st - which was a very cold night for central Texas, by the way. During this time I also developed a vision distortion that needed to be checked and which, if it does not clear up, will need to be addressed by a specialist. So, for us, and for me in particular, the beginning of the new year was about catching up and getting back to some semblance of "normal" - whatever that elusive thing is.
But I didn't get some of the things done that I had thought of doing, including, among many other things, some blog posts. So, here is a collection of things and thoughts, some I intended to share before and some that came to me later.
The end of the writing challenges.
I finished the last writing challenges of the year - November and December. November was writing every day and I think I missed only five days that month. December was to read one book for the purpose of improving one's writing or for recreation. I ended up reading solely for recreation due to being so sick and tired most of the month! I read several Nancy Drew mysteries - very juvenile, but so easy to read, even when sick, and it distracted me from my discomforts when I could read. And, truthfully, there were at least two days in which I didn't even feel like reading I was so ill.
I wrote a variety of things in November. As I mentioned before, I didn't write any poetry. I also didn't write any humor that I can recall. I wrote rough drafts for some articles which may make their way to the Home Maker's Corner eventurally.
There were some days when I did my 100 words as a necessity simply to make the effort, these mostly ended up being journal type entries. Here are a few for you to read. I hesitate to say enjoy. :-)
They have been edited a little.
Sunday, Nov. 7
Writing at the end of the day when you are tired and sleepy is probably not the best plan. Once your brain begins to coast along in “whatever” land, it’s hard to focus on anything worthwhile. Furthermore, there is nothing like a blank computer “page” to really kill any ideas that might be lurking just under the surface. This is why one might resort to writing something like this in a desperate effort to achieve one hundred words before going to bed. I recommend trying to get your writing in earlier in the day, personally. Now, if I can just make myself follow my own advice!
Monday, Nov. 6
Today at our house an interesting assortment of food was eaten. Among other things, there was pasta made in Italy, tortas from Spain, chocolate from Belgium, mango chips from Thailand, and ginger beer (non-alcoholic like ginger ale) from Australia. We could have also had some cheese from England, but it isn’t open yet, and we try not to have too many things open at one time that need to be finished within a specific time limit.
Somehow it seems pleasant to realize that our eating is so international - not just in the type, but in the fact that these things were actually made in those countries. Curiously enough, the pasta made in Italy is actually better for me from a nutritional standpoint because it is not made with enriched flour, which may be one thing that irritates my somewhat fragile system.
Tuesday, November 28
Well, the writing challenge is almost over now and I have written almost every day so far. I think I missed 3 or 4 days. Most of the days I missed, I thought of it at some point but didn’t get it done for whatever reason. One day I did completely forget, never thinking of it once all day.
There was more than one hard part to me.
Remembering to write every day was challenging. If I put it on my list or not didn’t seem to make a lot of difference. Just remembering to put it on the list was pretty much the same as remembering to do it and often enough it didn’t make it to the list until after I had written.
Making myself do it was also something to contend with. I would think of it several times some days and keep putting it off. When I wrote probably didn’t have a large affect on the quality of what I wrote unless I put it off till I was really tired. Then it did. But, I have to say that it felt the best when I got it done earlier in the day. Once or twice I put it off too long and either I was too tired or was already in bed and didn’t feel like making the effort to write at that point.
Thinking of things to write about was only a minor problem. I tend to think of things to write about a lot, so if I just made myself sit down and write out a rough idea or even most of an article or something, it usually wasn’t that hard. Some days I counted longer text message conversations or comments made on other blogs. I also wrote at least one email during the month as my daily writing. Curiously, I think I only wrote down one idea for a fiction story that I can remember.
While I do write by hand sometimes, I think that almost all of my writing has been done on my iPad or computer this month. The one time I do remember writing by hand was when I made some notes on my appointment card while I was waiting for my mom in our chiropractor’s office. I heard something on the Christian radio station they had going that started me thinking and so I wrote down some notes that I transcribed to the computer later and elaborated upon.
Although it didn’t have anything to do with the challenge directly, I also watched quite a few instructional videos on YouTube about writing - particularly novels. This was informative and helpful to me in some ways, if I can just remember what I learned.
Interestingly, in some ways I feel like writing more has tended to increase my inspiration in my art as well, especially towards the end. This may be partly due to the fact that I’ve grown a little bored with the coloring I was doing. Although it is helps control stress, it isn’t useful like card and bookmark making for me. And also it’s more inspiring to create my own designs, whether with stamps or as my own original designs. I love being able to send and give away my own creations to others. I think, as people made in the image of God, that should be “normal.”
Altogether, I think it has been a good experience. I would really like to keep it up as some people say that is absolutely what you have to do if you want to be a serious author. However, I am not sure I can maintain the momentum indefinitely, so I may set shorter goals for myself, and intersperse those periods with time spent on art, sewing, and card making. One does accomplish a good deal more by doing something every day. :-)
I hope that someone else tried this challenge, or that perhaps you will another moth. It has certainly been beneficial to me!
I started a watercolor/art journal or "sketchbook" in November or December. It started as a place to try out techniques and just do a little practice. An online friend asked if I was painting my moods or things I saw from daily life and, liking the latter idea very well, I decided to start including some things that I see and want to paint. It proved to be interesting and also useful for practice, and some day it will be a sort of diary for me to look at and not only see my progress in this art, but also see some things that interested me or that were part of our lives at the time.
It is a mixed media book that I am using so I may add some other art forms as well. Whether or not I share any of this work on the blog remains to be seen.
The picture at the top of this post is a card I painted. I scanned it before I added the stamped greeting so that I could use it for other purposes. The verse on this image was added on the computer. :-)
It is strange we go on living our everyday lives
So carelessly, stumbling, dully we plod
Our commonplace paths, and forget that we walk
Every day, every hour, in the presence of God.
- Martha Snell Nicholson
Well, that is plenty for one ramble. I hope that all of you have started the new year well, but most importantly that you seek to walk every day with the Lord. Great goals and long plans may serve some people's uses, but it's the daily walk that gets us there in the end. If we focus on Christ all the other things will fall into the places He wants them to be.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.