Writing to Know

This is my 126th post in a row. It’s getting hard now. My goal with this blog, ultimately,  is to write content that adds value to the reader somehow.

I don’t even know what that means. When it comes to a blog like this, which is not really a yoga blog, or a food blog, it’s kind of a “lifestyle” blog. It’s the lifestyle of a yoga teacher, meditator, and writer, living with her partner and Corgi in small-town rural America. (The scenes on TV of where they were looking for the  recent escaped inmates  at Dannemora look a lot like  around here.)

I am writing to figure out what my natural themes are. My hope is that I will write myself toward enlightenment. I want to drop crumbs and then go back and retrace where I’ve been.

Eventually, I would like to post only once a week. This posting every day is a game to see if to see if  I can cut my chops, to practice persistence and stamina. It’s also to see what I write when I have nothing to say.

Like tonight.

I feel resolutions coming on.

Crank Time

Here in Pennsylvania it rained. All day.

G is so sick she sat on the couch and binge-watched DVR-ed episodes of Long Island Medium  and drank copious amounts of hot water laced with coconut oil and raw honey. She is really sick.

I did 47 loads of laundry, went to the ATM, and to the store for ingredients to make homemade chicken soup (Jewish penicillin) tomorrow. Between Jennifer’s good advice (thanks Jen!) and my soup, we’ll wean her away from women with scary fingernails who speak to the dead.

While we were in Portland I did no writing except here. That was the plan. I gave myself permission not to write on vacation, but what it means is that tomorrow I need to sit in the Space Chair and start to crank.

Cranking isn’t writing. Cranking is like hand-pumping water. Nothing comes out for the first 500 pumps, but then, lo and behold, a little trickle, then a gush, and another, till eventually you’ve got a nice gush of paragraphs flowing.

I had that gushy rhythm going before I left, but I lost the momentum.

So now it’s crank-time again. This is why writers need to write every day, to keep the gush going.

 

How to Write Your Personal Manifesto

I got knee-deep and dirty into my book today. I changed my working title from “Amp Your Vibe” to “How to Create a Project-Driven Life” which is really what it is about.

There are list-making exercises.

There are ways to beta-test project ideas before you commit to them.

There are tips on how to build and sustain your energy and focus for the long-haul.

There is an exercise aimed at helping your write your Personal Manifesto.

This last one is the most important exercise in the whole book, I think. It will reveal what you believe and what you stand for. Knowing this is tremendously helpful for living your life as well as vetting project ideas for their potential “worth.”

Here’s the exercise. Try it. If you do, and need help in creating a Manifesto out of the answers, let me know (or wait for the book!)

Answer these questions as completely as you can.

Who do I admire?
What do I value in the people I admire?
What do I value in the marketplace, as a consumer of goods and services?
What 1 or 2 qualities do I have, that I wished my children, friends or colleagues had?
How do I feel when I feel seen?
What makes me feel safe, secure, appreciated?
How do I want to show up in the world? How do I want to “present”? How do I wish to be seen?
How do I want to express?
How do I want to be known?
What do I want to be known FOR?
What would be the best thing someone could say about me in a eulogy?

If you would find it helpful, I could show you my answers to these questions and show you how I came up with my Personal Manifesto. Let me know in the comments.

Namaste.

What do you love? What don’t you love?

Okay, now I’m excited.

The blogger John, from Stories in the Struggle posted a Love/Hate Challenge. The deal is that you list 10 things you love and 10 things you hate, and then ask all of your readers and followers to do the same. I’m in, John!

This is the core exercise of my book. Making and keeping up these 2 lists was the  key to figuring out who I was, and what I needed to be doing in the world. I write about lists A LOT on this blog. A recent post about how you are what you love, can be found HERE. I think this is the very best thing a person can do. Because when you notice what you love and what you don’t love, in the noticing you are paying attention to your life.

And when you pay attention to your life, you discover who you are. It’s freaking magical.

Things I love (in no particular order)

  • Cedar waxwings
  • Sinking down farther and farther into the sand with each incoming wave.
  • The little spit sink and cup at the dentist.
  • Office supply stores.
  • Marching bands.
  • Ironing
  • A great white shirt
  • Unplowed snow
  • Pudding
  • Fountain pens.

Go here for a more comprehensive comprehensive list of all the things I love.

Things I hate (in no particular order)

  • Vacuuming
  • Inserts in magazines that either fall out, or you have to rip them out to read in peace.
  • Plastic cutlery
  • The warm feeling of dog poop through the plastic bag.
  • Parallel parking
  • Styro packing peanuts
  • February
  • Mother’s Day
  • The cereal at the bottom of the box.
  • The phrase “poster child.”

Go here for a more comprehensive list of all things I don’t love.

I am so amped to know what is on the lists of the people who read this blog! I hope lots of you will play.

Thanks, John!

Week 1 Gratitudes

Time for some appreciation and gratitude.

This is the end of  Week 1 of my new intention to write every day, Monday through Friday, on The Project.

First, I appreciate G. For everything, but especially for understanding why I am squirreled up in my room so much, and for making the elixir (we are doing a liver and gall bladder cleanse that involves juicing limes and mixing that lime juice with olive oil and chugging it.) And for making dinner, and for asking, with love, how it’s going each evening, and listening to my blather.

Next, Jennifer, my friend and Naturopath who understands that my eczemic ears are one thing, but that it’s actually my inability to finish stuff that’s the real itch.

And to Dani Shapiro for writing Still Writing which I am finding incredibly supportive and inspiring at the moment. I am so grateful to writers who write about their process: Anne Lamott, Natalie Goldberg, Virginia Woolf, to name a few. Thank god for them. For without them I wouldn’t be able to brazen this out. I’d feel too weird, too lonely, too guilty. They write stories and novels, yes, but they also take time to write about what it’s like to wake up in the morning and embark upon the endless sea, and have to build your boat, too.

Those are the people who supported me through Week 1. A deep bow of gratitude to all of them.

Tomorrow is Saturday. I have given myself the weekends off. Time to focus on other things.

Talk In Ink

Today I planted marigolds. In pots. I then arranged them around the patio, here and there. Sprinkle, sprinkle. Little dots and pots of yellow. Very nice.

I thought: “When these marigolds are all bushy and beautiful, my book will be done.” This thought made me happy. Like when I was pregnant I would think: When the lilacs bloom, I will have a baby.

I talk to myself all day long. It’s a problem. It creates a lot of static in my brain. I don’t like it. It’s just buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz blather blather blah blah blah…endlessly. Nothing productive ever comes of this. Ever. It’s just unproductive noise. I never get “ideas” by just ruminating.

I resisted writing this morning. So I sat and meditated for awhile. That always helps. I focused on my tinnitus.

I brought my tinnitus up with Jennifer today during our FaceTime meeting and she advised when I hear the tinnitus I should ask: “What do I need to know now?”

(Oh boy. The answer to that could be interesting.)

Then I picked up the trusty purple fountain pen and started talking to myself about my writing problems on the page. Instead of worrying about it in that vague angst-y, buzzy, blathery way that makes me crazy, I transcribed every nuance of the problem in an hour-long word-vomit that covered 10 pages. I asked myself all the thorny questions and tried to answer them.  At the end? Clarity. Space. A Plan.

I am putting this into my toolbox of “Useful Strategies.” Instead of “thinking,” just write. Transcribe the buzz and blither instead of just talking to yourself in your head, Kath. Talk to yourself on the page. Talk in ink.

 

 

Writing is such a head game

I was tired. I didn’t feel like it. It was cold. I have been breaking my “No Humans Before 11 AM” rule by switching my workouts to 9 which is NOT GOOD..

Vince had me do a million squats today. And lots of ab work, and the hated pull-ups. And burpees. And what I call the “Mr Roboto” exercise for the delts.

Oh, and the hammer, which I hate.

“What’s wrong with you today?” he asked. “You getting enough sleep? Good food?”

“I dunno…”

Did I mention it was cold? 46 degrees on the bank thermometer.

I got home and crawled immediately back to bed. Put the heated mattress pad on, even.

When I got up, I knew I had to work on the book. Oh lord. I did not feel like it.

Since I have been writing in my Moleskine for the past 2 days, I thought: “Why don’t I just transcribe my scribblings into Scrivener and call it good?”

And that’s what I did. But then, about a half hour in, I got into it, started tweaking and fixing and at the end of 2 hours I had figured out my tone, decided on point of view and written my Introduction. Boo-yah.

So the lesson of the day is this: When I don’t feel like writing, just start transcribing pen writing into the computer.

Writing is such a head game, man.