just for fun

What’s the Best Way to Liven Up a Dinner Party?

Get yourself some goblets, wine (or whatever) and make everybody talk Game of Thrones style…

Seriously, this gives me the most irrepressible urge to talk like Queen Cersei to everybody.

Which tv/movie/book character would you love to imitate for a day?

 

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ROW80 Check Ins

That’s How it ROWs

cat on a bench
I see you up there, goals. I will get you.

You know how, when your foot falls asleep and goes numb, then wakes up with that horrible pins and needles sensation? You know it’s going to pass, but it drives you nuts until it does. You just have to remind yourself, it will pass.

At the moment, that’s what I’ve got going on with my motivation and enthusiasm. They’re waking up, so that’s good. It’s just not the most comfortable experience.

Add a nice bit of jury duty (still ongoing, by the way) on top of all that, and it makes for an interesting week, goal-wise.

Anywho, let’s see how much go there’s been in my ROW* since last check in:

Writing

Last Week

Nada.

Yup. Not even a little bit.

This Week

Do I dare set a goal when I still have jury duty?

Nope. I think I’ll leave it open-ended this week.

Cello

Last Week

I worked on a  new fingering pattern for the passage I’m learning. I thought I had that puppy down (not at full speed, but still), but bombed in my lesson. I can chalk at least part of it up to being tired all week during practice, but I also think there’s a few things going on with my bowing and fingering.

Part of my difficulty is tension. The passage is so fast, I tense during the especially swift portions. I didn’t notice that I was tensing until after I made a complete mess of the music during the lesson. I thought fatigue had caused the mess, but it’d really just exposed it. Once I was able to sit calmly at home and evaluate things, I saw that I was holding tension in both my bowing hand and my fingers (especially my left pinky…deadly for the triplet I have to play).

This Week

My strings teacher suggested I slur the bit of the passage containing the triplet. While this didn’t work in lesson (I was completely spent by that time), it seems to be helping now. Knowing I don’t have to make tiny, quick bow changes allows me to relax a little more. Now, I need to work on relaxing completely. If I can nail that, I’ll work on upping the temp.

Health

Last Week

I managed all three workouts. Yay me!

This Week

Same as last week. Three workouts.

Family

Last Week

We binged some Netflix together. Does that count?

This Week

We’re still getting sorted out. Probably no official family game or movie night this week. We’ll just wing it.

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*ROW80, also known as a Round of Words in 80 Days, is an opportunity for us to set goals (for writing and/or other areas) and share them with a community ready to keep us accountable and cheer us on. If you’re interested in ROW80, you can find more info here and the latest check in post here.

Photo Credit
Lilah Cat, mine. Available on Flickr. | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

ROW80 Check Ins

Every ROWse Has its Thorns

Cactus Flower

For the last few weeks, I’ve been struggling to keep my productivity up. It’s partly a (temporary) lull in motivation, partly some minor life upheaval, and partly creative fatigue. I’m thankful things are beginning to turn around. The effects of the minor life upheaval have dissipated, motivation is beginning to revive and the creative well is (slowly) refilling. I’m looking forward to regaining a happy momentum…the sooner the better.

This experience has reminded me that I need to plan for dips in motivation and creative fatigue. Both are normal parts of any goal-oriented journey. And I’ve realized that I can’t always rely on momentum alone to keep me going. Friction, my friends, is the enemy of perpetual motion machines and mental processes (different kinds of friction, I know…but, whatever).

Now, I just need to put a plan together. No problem, right?

Sure.

In the mean time, let’s see what’s been going on with my ROW* since last check in:

 

Writing

Last Two Weeks

Still working on the TTG. It’s been a bear because it’s a big exposition scene. I’ve worked through several versions of this scene and haven’t been happy with any of them. I’m searching for the right balance between action and revelation. I don’t want any of the necessary backstory to bog down the story. If I could cut it, I would, but the main characters desperately need this info.

This Week

I’m tempted to skip this scene for now and move on to the next, which needs virtually no backstory and is mostly action. The next several scenes are like that. I might be able to work through all of these this week…if I could only leave the TTG alone. Yet, I don’t want to have to wrestle with it later either.

In short, I’m not fixed on a writing goal this week. I’ll either finish reworking TTG or temporarily abandon it.

I’m also up for jury duty this week. I’ll need to be flexible with all my goals.

Cello

Last Two Weeks

The week before last, my practice hours dropped significantly, but I’ve brought them back up.

My (infinitely patient) strings teacher informs me I’m improving. I’m still working on bringing up my tempo on the passage I’ve been working on. I’m about 70% of where I need to be, but that’s up from something like 40-50%, where I’d been stuck for weeks.

This Week

Bring my tempo up to at least 80%. Smooth out string crossings and bowing.

No set practice hours. I want to see how I do on that without a specific goal.

Health

Last Two Weeks

Averaging three workouts a week. I’ve brought up the intensity and have noticed improvements in strength and endurance.

This Week

3 workouts. Maintain intensity.

Family

Last Two Weeks

We haven’t had game or movie night the last couple of weeks, but we’ve spent time together for outings.

This Week

The school year is underway, and religious education is starting up again at our church. We may have to be much more flexible with family nights for the next few weeks, until we get back into a rhythm.

***

*ROW80, also known as a Round of Words in 80 Days, is an opportunity for us to set goals (for writing and/or other areas) and share them with a community ready to keep us accountable and cheer us on. If you’re interested in ROW80, you can find more info here and the latest check in post here.

Photo Credit
Cactus Flower, mine. Available on Flickr. | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

 

just for fun · Life and Stuff

Filling Your Creative Well A Little at a Time

Creativity is a bit of a mystery to me.

Sometimes, I feel overflowing with creative energy. I’m driven to make something, anything. My writing calls to me, sweetly, begging me to sit down and pour out the words.

Other times, I feel like I’m looking into a dark, dry well. I send my bucket down, hoping for a few drops of creativity to soothe my parched spirit, but there’s nothing to be had.

What drains the well, and what fills it back up again?

I don’t have the whole answer for you, but it’s at least partly a matter of the balance between play and focus. Sometimes, when we’re working on a big creative task, we get so focused on getting it done, we forget to enjoy ourselves, to play around with it. That lack of play drains our spirit, leaving us feeling barren. On the other hand, when we allow ourselves room to play, even if it’s not with the project at hand, we refill that well.

Lately, I’ve been struggling to find the enthusiasm I need to keep going on several goals, especially my novel-in-progress. We’ve had a couple of big upsets in the family. I think that’s thrown me off. But more than that, I think I’ve been too intent on just getting my goals done. I’ve forgotten why I set the goals in the first place and the joy with which I first embraced them. That lack of just plain fun has sapped my creativity.

My friend and fellow blogger, Jay Squires, reminded me that a little bit of creativity just for the heck of it can go a long way toward refilling the well. Continue reading “Filling Your Creative Well A Little at a Time”

Life and Stuff

How Do You Revive Your Motivation?

bridge
You’ve come to that bridge. Now cross it.

Lately, I’ve been wrestling with a lack of motivation. Only, it’s not so much a lack of motivation in the strictest sense. I want to achieve the goals I’ve set. I’m willing to take the steps necessary. What I’m lacking is enthusiasm. Every step I take on the path to my goal has lately felt like just another thing to tick off my list.

So, is that a lack of motivation? A sign that I just need to keep plugging along until my enthusiasm picks up again? Or do I need some time off to replenish my creative energy?

I found two blogs this morning that I think are helpful for anyone struggling with finding their motivation and/or enthusiasm: Continue reading “How Do You Revive Your Motivation?”

ROW80 Check Ins

Wherefore Art Thou, My ROW?

balcony
O ROWmeo, ROWmeo…

It’s not really my ROW I’m searching for, it’s my motivation. It snuck out in the middle of the night. Probably to party. I expected it to come slinking home just before dawn, shamefaced at abandoning me and ready to get back to work. Alas, my motivation has stayed away.

I keep standing in motivation’s yard, calling up and getting no response.

Right now, I’m working (not very well) on fumes.

Despite the drag I’m feeling from lack of enthusiastic motivation, I keep on keeping on. I’m sure, pretty sure anyway, that I can coax motivation back if I just keep going. Continue reading “Wherefore Art Thou, My ROW?”

Friday Share

A Little Musical Magic, Vol. 3

Those of you who’ve been visiting me here for a little while might have guessed I really dig the cello. It’s a sound that crawls right into your bones and echoes through your blood.

As a beginning cellist and music lover, I find inspiration in a variety of musical places. Today, I offer you one of my favorites, Brooklyn Duo playing a cello and piano cover of Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters:

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What inspires you?

Life and Stuff

Sometimes You Have to Risk Looking Stupid

You ever have those moments where you wonder what the heck you’re doing, if your efforts are worth the time, or you’re just going to end up looking stupid?

It could be you’re learning something new, gearing up to talk to someone new, gathering the courage to speak out for what you believe in, or prepping to do something you don’t usually do. And, boom, you’re seized with doubts. Assuming those doubts are just good old-fashioned irrational fear and not some inkling of the potential for serious and unreasonable harm in your actions, I say check out the chicken below:

Now, folks keep calling this chicken (let’s call her Francine…because I like the name Francine) stupid. But who, with very little effort, walks away with not one but two portable snacks? The other chickens just keep pecking aimlessly, but Francine gets her food to go so she can go on being awesome.

Stupid? I think not. 😉

***

Note: No ROW80 check in today. I’ll update on Sunday. I hope all your ROW80 goals are moving right along!

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How do you talk yourself out of the fear of feeling stupid?