Tag Archives: writing

New Month, New “Someday”

The calendar has flipped over to a new month which means it’s time to add a new “someday” to my journey.  This month I’m going to begin learning Italian in earnest.  I’ve piddled around with language in the past, but it’s not something that comes easily to my brain.  I’ve tried for a week or so (much like dieting), but I’ve always given up.  I love Italy.  I love the pace and the beauty of Italy.  I love traveling in Italy.  I would love to speak Italian so I can communicate better when I am there and also to keep a piece of Italy with me.

Reviewing the last three months, writing, for my blogs and in my journal, is moving along smoothly; writing my book (November’s “someday”) is lagging.  However, I have been giving the book’s content a lot of thought and my writing is usually done in my brain before I even begin to put words to screen.  I am meditating regularly (December’s “someday”) and feel the practice has taken hold as part of my daily routine.  I am walking and/or running daily and I am ahead of plan on the 1200-mile annual challenge I started last month (118.76 miles to date).  Now, it’s time to add language lessons and practice.

To begin this month’s “someday”, I’ve downloaded an Italian language program to listen to in my car.  I’m in my car a lot, so that seems the most reasonable way to get started.  I also joined an online language program I’ll use to supplement the audio program.

I’ll keep you posted.  For now, ciao!

12 Months of Somedays

As I think about my plan of tackling a “someday” every month for a year, I realize I’ve created something similar to the 12 Days of Christmas where each day something new is added and all become cumulative.  Day One:  Partridge in a Pear Tree.  Day Two:  Two Turtle Doves AND a Partridge in a Pear Tree.  For me it’s Month One:  Daily Writing Practice.  Month Two:  Daily Meditation Practice AND Daily Writing Practice.  Next month I’ll be adding in the physical challenge of a daily four mile walk/run and it goes on from there.  I see myself at the end of the year getting up in the morning and spending the first four hours writing, meditating, walking, playing the drums (I’ll need to save that until everyone else in the house is awake), practicing Italian, etc.  This could become crazy.

I have always said “Embrace the Crazy”.  Many have said my family and I lead crazy, busy lives.  But additional craziness isn’t really on my “someday” list.  Perhaps my 366 Somedays only seems a prescription for crazy.  Perhaps it is the route to sanity…wait, would that mean my life is already crazy?

Sigh.  What a year this is shaping up to be.

Voice of Fear


Month One’s goal was to write and publish a book in 30 days.  Failed to finish, but still working on the book.  It’s only a fail in terms of the timeframe.

Month Two’s goal is to develop a meditation practice.  I am meditating every morning, but don’t seem to be getting any better at keeping my mind reigned in.

Month Three’s goal (next month) is to set off on a challenge to walk or run 1200 exercise miles in 2016.  Thoughts on that?  Total fear!

I’ve been sick for two weeks and other than a short one-mile walk with the dogs a week ago, I haven’t exercised at all.  As the days pile up and I struggle to get through the basics of what has to be done each day, I’m beginning to feel a little panicky about the idea of trying to maintain an average four-mile/day, six days/week schedule starting January 1st.  I wrote about “resistance” early on and I now know to identify this type of fear as simply resistance, but I must admit to feeling discouraged about the amount of fear I’m able to generate.  I wake up in the morning with my head and chest congested, my body aching, and I think, What if I get sick after January 1st?  How would I maintain my running/walking schedule?  Two weeks of missed workouts is 48 missed miles!

Part of challenging myself to “366 Somedays” is the exploration of why we put off so many goals and desires to “someday”.  There’s the excuses of lack of time, limited resources, other commitments, but I have realized perhaps the biggest reason, excuse, rationalization, whatever you want to call it, is FEAR.  Fear of failing.  Fear of embarrassment.  Fear of “what if?”  FEAR.  I’ve also realized most of my FEAR comes from inside my head.  I’m beginning to think perhaps the most substantial growth I’ll experience this year is learning to quiet the Voice of Fear inside my head.  My goal can be summed up in a quote from Yanni:  I don’t have a You Can’t Do This voice in my head.

Tilting the Pinball Machine (Part 2)

As I said yesterday, I’ve been listening to Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation.  In addition to figuring out the best time of day to meditate and the duration of my planned meditation sessions, the instructor also talks about where to meditate.  I go back and forth between two houses and I want to be prepared at both houses.  As I thought about my options, I decided that the closet is the best place in both houses.  Interestingly, the closet at one of them is already known as the Buddha Room.  It’s the back closet in a warren of closets off the master bedroom in our very weird primary residence.  Yesterday, at the other house, I slid the bathroom rug into the closet (it’s a cold tile floor) and placed a couch cushion on the rug (in a future blog post I’ll talk about yoga cushions and my thrill at having a reason to shop).  Today, in the Buddha Room, which is carpeted, I simply pulled a chair cushion onto the floor.

A few years ago I downloaded a meditation timer app.  Yesterday morning, I logged into the app for the first time in a long time, figured out how to use it again, and set my five-minute timer.  It’s kind of fun because the app lets you know how many other people in the world are meditating right then using their app.  There are a lot!  Many of those people were also meditating for short periods of time, so I felt in good company.

I lit a candle because I can’t stand being in complete darkness, sat down on my cushion, and tapped the start button on my app.  (I was going to say, “hit the start button,” but that sounds too violent when describing meditation.)  Five minutes!  I was really worried about how I would be able to sit still for five whole minutes.  I worked on keeping track of my breath – in and out, in and out, but I have to admit my mind wandered – a lot!  I found myself thinking of my mind as a team of horses pulling a cart.  They’d run wild and I’d have to reign them back in.  In and out, in and out – there they go again!  Reign them back in!  In and out, in and out.

When the horses ran loose, most often they ran towards writing this blog in my brain.  I had ideas about what I wanted to write.  What if I forgot them when the five minutes was up?  At one point, the horses ran towards writing this blog and then I laughed at myself as I thought about writing about thinking about what I would write (does that even make sense?).

Yesterday, I was completely surprised by how quickly five minutes went by.  I thought perhaps one minute had gone by when the five-minute timer went off.  I even checked to make sure it was set correctly.   Today I wasn’t as surprised, but I realize already that I can probably extend the time, but not yet.  I’m taking baby steps with the hope of cementing this practice in my daily routine, so five minutes is fine for now.

With two meditation sessions behind me, I feel the pinball machine slowing down, at least for those five minutes.  The ball is still in play, but I’m not so inclined to go for the all-out tilt.

Too Much Mr. Ed

People yak-it-ti-yak a streak
and waste your time of day,
but Mister Ed will never speak,
unless he has something to say.
“Mr. Ed” theme song
Written by Jay Livingston & Ray Evans

Today is the final day of my first “someday”. My goal was to write and publish a non-fiction book in 30 days. I’ve already acknowledged I didn’t make my goal, but I’m not calling it a failure. I will continue to work on my book and it will be published within 366 days of when I started. The month has not been a waste. I have learned two very important lessons this month, which is why I’m not calling this a failure.

First, as I’ve written about before, this challenge was a lot harder than I expected. That’s okay as long as I don’t let the difficulty completely derail me – and I won’t. Second, I’ve come to realize I am Mr. Ed in my writing practice. Mr. Ed was a 1960s sitcom featuring a talking horse. Crazy, I know, and not up to the standards of today’s “sophisticated” sitcoms, but I loved this show. As you can see from the theme song above, Mr. Ed only spoke when he had something to say. That’s how I write – only when I have something to say. I’m reading Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg; she recommends having a writing practice that includes regular writing of any type just for the sake of writing. She makes the analogy of a football team. Nobody would expect a team to run out on the field on game day and play a superlative game without prior practice. So, why expect to sit down and write with quality without practicing writing beforehand? I have trouble with writing for the sake of writing, but I’ve realized this month, I need to do more of that type of writing. Writing just for myself, whatever comes into my mind, just to get myself into the habit of regular writing.

So, my takeaways from this month are: stay the course, even though I’m behind schedule; and, unlike Mr. Ed, I need to write…and write…and write. I need to write more yak-it-ti-yak.

Big Words

While doing some research, I came across a comment that said, simply, “Existential angst.”  I looked at that and thought, Really?  I don’t mean to denigrate people who use big words (some might think denigrate is a big word), but I prefer to read and write more simply.  Am I lazy or incapable?  Neither!  When I read, I’m fine with needing to roll the ideas around in my head, but I don’t want to be running to the dictionary to understand the meaning of seldom-used “big words”.  My writing style is pretty much my talking style.  I want my writing to come across as if we’re sitting at a café having a conversation.

“One should use common words to say uncommon things.”

–Arthur Schopenhauer

That describes what I like to read and also my dream goal when I write.

Time & Space

I’ve been writing regularly for almost eight years.  During that time, I estimate 95% of my writing has been done before the sun comes up.  This month, while I’m tackling my first “someday”, write a non-fiction book in 30 days, I have found I need to write at other times as well.  Part of the issue has been this blog because I write here first and the book writing gets pushed to a later time.  Writing by the light of day – interesting idea.

Prior to November 1st when my “someday” project began, I worked at prepping my office/studio so I could write there.  We moved recently and my space is the last to be organized.  It still isn’t completely organized, but it does have a comfy chair with a table beside it.  Still, here I am, writing in the living room.

I guess the takeaway is it really doesn’t matter where I write or when I write.  If I want this “someday” to happen, I just need TO WRITE!

I’m writing a book.  I’ve got the page numbers done.
                                            –Steven Wright