The a-z challenge continues… it’s always tempting to look for the quick fix. To resent spending too much time on something. To constantly move on to the next thing, before boredom sets in.
But very little in life can be done in a short time. Most really worthwhile things have to be worked on, and developed over time.
The problem with the allotment at the moment is that the ground where I’m digging is very hard, so digging is a slow, hard effort, and I’m getting nowhere fast. I’ve put in loads of seeds and a few plants, but I have to be patient and wait for them to grow. I want it all NOW, but even the quickest of plants takes weeks to grow.
With my writing, I need to put in time figuring out who everyone is, how the story goes, the best way to present it – then I need to actually put words down, and I need to edit it. Then it will need to be read by others, to get their feedback, which will need to be dealt with. Nothing about that is quick.
So it’s no good getting impatient and not settling because it takes too long – I need to accept that quick and good very rarely meet and be prepared for the long haul.
Posted by emmyleigh on April 19, 2014
There’s two kinds of plot bothering me at the moment – there’s my allotment plot and the plot for my novel.
The allotment plot is fairly straightforward to deal with; there’s a lot of hard physical labour involved, but not a massive amount of thinking. In fact, I find it a good chance to listen to my Zombies, Run! missions (an app on my phone which plays out a story between music tracks and is designed to encourage running) and just let my mind wander. On the other hand I’m building up my muscles with lots of heavy digging.
The novel plot is less straightforward. I have a basic scenario, a world situation if you like, and I’m trying to plot out a story to fit in that world. I think that short scenarios set in that world might help clarify my view of the plot and help it all come together, but it’s definitely something that involves a lot of thinking. On the other hand, maybe putting in some hard work on it as it is now in my head will help it come clearer, rather than trying to get the overall picture before I start.
In my allotment, I have a rough idea of how it will be laid out eventually, and pick at different areas to work at in order to get there, but I don’t have to do it all at once, and having an overall plan doesn’t mean I have to know exactly what plant will go where before I start. So maybe in the same way I can pick at bits of my story and gradually build up an overall picture that can be developed properly. Building up my writing muscles in the same way that I’m building up my digging muscles.
Posted by emmyleigh on April 18, 2014
Are you ever obsessed? I usually have some kind of obsession on the go. Often it’s something that finds an outlet in fanfiction, or at the very least in stories I make up and keep to myself. Obsession can be a real positive. It can help you keep focus and achieve great things.
But become obsessed with the wrong thing and you become distracted. Your obsession works against you and holds you back.
So what’s your obsession and does it help you or hinder you? I guess my current one is my allotment, as I work on it and plan for it.
Posted by emmyleigh on April 17, 2014
Continuing through the A-Z challenge – looking forward to having time over the weekend to catch up with more of my fellow bloggers. It’s always fun to see what variety there is, given the same letter-prompt.
Now is the time. Enough of the procrastination. The best time to start all sorts of things is five years ago. The second best time is now. What’s the point in putting things off?
I’m a champion at putting things off. At school, during exams, I’d daydream my way through. But only if I still had work to do – I’m not sure why; was I worried about having nothing left to do? It would have been far more sensible to get everything done first, then relax and daydream, but somehow I couldn’t.
There’s always this feeling that the time’s not quite right; that I’m waiting for something. I’m never quite sure what, only that I’m waiting for it.
So am I holding off on the good things, saving them up so that I still have something to do? That’s pointless. Better to make use of what I’ve got, and see where that leads me – it’s likely to open more doors, not come to an end.
So my answer is not tomorrow, or in a minute – it’s now.
Posted by emmyleigh on April 16, 2014
I have to admit, money is something that’s on my mind a lot these days. A year ago, I took the decision to give up a steady income because I decided I valued my self-respect and mental health better. For the past few months I’ve been working on building up my own business offering educational and publishing services.
It’s been going okay. It’s had its ups and downs. I knew it would be tough to start with, but right now I’m locked into a couple of things that will pay but in the long run not immediately, limiting my ability to earn money for right now, and I hate having to ask for money.
So things like a fence round the allotment have to take a low priority, and I’m slowly working through my savings and celebrating every invoice I send off. I need to work on marketing, but until I get this current project sent off I don’t have time to take on anything else anyway.
So I guess I’ll continue to work, and things will continue building up, until I reach a more comfortable level. And in the meantime I’ll continue reminding myself that money isn’t everything.
Anyone need an editor/proofreader? One who’s happy to work with all sorts of writing projects, fiction or non-fiction?
Posted by emmyleigh on April 15, 2014
The A-Z challenge continues – one letter a day, with a break on Sundays. So now we’ve reached the letter L. K was for karma, the feeling that things in life find their own level, that good is rewarded with good and bad is rewarded with bad.
So is luck the opposite of karma? When you hit success in life, is it karma giving you what you deserve, or is it pure luck? When something goes wrong, is it payment for a past wrong, or do bad things just happen sometimes?
If a writer writes a book and it’s snapped up by a publisher, does this mean they’re a good writer? Or does it mean they happened to be in the right place at the right time? Or a bit of both?
There’s a saying: the harder I work, the luckier I get. I’m currently working through The Artist’s Way, which talks about synchronicity – the idea that if you are open to events, things will happen, that maybe look like coincidence or luck.
We watched the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel the other night, and one line really caught my attention: “It will all be alright in the end, and if it’s not alright then it’s not the end.” We’d all like to think that things work out; that there is some kind of narrative in life that ties all the ends together and makes sense.
So is the lottery winner lucky? Or is their fortune a part of some cosmic plan? Is luck purely random? Or can we influence it, or attract it?
One thing I’m sure about is that we can ignore it and drive it away . So given that, isn’t it just as likely that we can learn how to court it?
One of my favourite quotes about luck is “Luck is preparation meeting opportunity”. Because that sums it up for me – when the opportunity comes, you have to be prepared for it, and prepared to accept it.
Posted by emmyleigh on April 14, 2014
Do you believe in karma? Apparently the way we all think about it is wrong; karma is supposed to only happen as part of reincarnation, passed on from life to life, but popular thinking is that it can also happen within one life, that things balance out.
I’d like to think that’s true; that the world has a way to ensure balance. What goes around comes around. As ye sow, so shall ye reap.
It can be satisfying, when wronged, to put aside thoughts of revenge in the belief that nature/fate/call it what you like will at some point take your revenge for you.
Whether that’s true or not, letting go in this way is surely far better for us than holding on to bitterness.
And surely those who are nasty in some way attract nastiness, as those who look only for the good in people bring out that good.
Posted by emmyleigh on April 12, 2014
Every day we make judgements. Most of them are needed: is it safe to cross the road? What task needs to be done next? Who should I trust? Some of them are harmful: What I’ve done here is useless. This is a waste of time. I’m not worth it.
One thing that I’ve recently realised and come to notice more and more is that we judge others differently to how we judge ourselves. We can be really hard on ourselves at times. And yet we’re not even comparing like for like. We often compare what we feel inside with what we see from the outside of others, and judge ourselves as sadly lacking somewhere along the line. In reality, our outside is probably much the same as their outside, and our inside is probably very similar to their inside.
Have you ever listened to someone give a talk, and marvelled at how calm they seemed, only to hear them say afterwards how nervous they were? Have you ever considered how much better someone else looks or performs, while having no idea how hard they’ve worked to achieve that?
One thing I learned with the jantastic running challenge was that many of the people I run with every Saturday, most of whom are a lot faster than me, run regularly during the week as well. They don’t just turn up on a Saturday, run fast, and then do nothing for the rest of the week. Once I started running regularly during the week, I got faster too.
When I read someone’s writing, and fear that I’ll never be that good, I’m not seeing the weeks and months and years of hard work that’s gone into developing their skills, I’m just looking at the end product. Just like ducks, where all the effort is below the water, the effort people make is hidden, and all we see is the peaceful gliding, while we’re bitterly aware of our thrashing legs as we try to move as fast.
My writing has slowed because I’m too busy judging my own work; I’m looking at what I produce and considering it not worth the effort; poor quality; pointless. I need to move past that, forget the judging and just do. Because each day you should be looking not for the rewards, but for the opportunities that come.
Posted by emmyleigh on April 11, 2014