ROW80

Waiting for Stacy

Although I am back on track with check-ins, I can’t shake the feeling that I am spinning my wheels.  It’s one of those dreaded periods of self-doubt.  It will pass. If I am objective, I’m doing better than I had been.  

I am eating better, avoiding the foods that waft their siren song toward me, then stab me in the back by making me feel ill. I see their true appearance now! My wonky shoulder is slowing me down a bit, but I am seeing a doctor on Thursday, so I give myself kudos for self-care. I will discuss what exercise won’t hurt the shoulder, so hey, a two-fer.

As for tv marathons, between the World Series and NFL football, I have graciously ceded the tv to the men in the house.  Aren’t I just the nicest?  I have also put a timer on the computer games–15 minutes twice a day.  I still twitch when the timer goes off, but so far, I comply with it.

Today we are hunkering down for Hurricane Stacy.  We are on the edge of the worst winds and storm surge, but are still under a wind and flood watch.  My neighborhood was built in the early 1930’s, and the trees were planted at the same time.  While I usually love looking out the windows at the huge trees only feet away, I must admit I am a bit nervous.

I have spent a lot of time on the blogging class, but I know it will pay huge dividends down the line.  The logline class is more focussed, less of a time commitment, but still takes a lot of brain power.  I’m tweaking my resume for the day job, as well as writing an article.  Both are outside the normal 9-5 time commitment, so I feel like I do nothing but write these days.

Rather than feel overwhelmed by all the writing, I am energized by it. I have a chance to attend classes at the New York Writer’s Institute, since it is housed at the university where I have my day job.  I need to get some of my other commitments out of the way, but I am going to attend some of the talks and workshops when I can.

So that‘s all the news in my neck of the woods. I hope everyone in the path of the storm stays safe; here’s hoping we all keep our power!

The ROWers would love to get a comment and an encouraging word from you. The blog hop is here.

ROW80

Rebooting

I missed the last two check-ins, which is never a good sign for me. I’ve had some personal angst going on, which has added to the stress level.  I’m not that good at handling stress, sigh.

It’s time for a reboot–not so much a change in goals, as a refocus and refinement.  I do three things when I am stressed, none of which are good things:  I eat comfort food, I do marathon tv watching; and I play computer games.

My husband is rebooting his diet to control his diabetes, so I’m going to tag along with that and his exercise. I am swearing off the tv watching for a bit, saving it as a reward.  Finally, I am paring back on the computer games, by giving myself seven minutes a day. I now write in a notebook at break and lunch at work, so the computer is not as big a temptation.

Also, not all the news is bad.  The blogging class is going well, although it is an amazing amount of work. I’m still struggling with describing myself; unfortunately, the timing is the same as my having to come up with a detailed resume at work, so the whole thing is making me run around in denial.

I’m also taking a loglines class, which should help me stay focussed on the plot line of the novel. Everyone is commenting on everyone else’s work, so it is proving very helpful.

Last Saturday night, I went to a pre-season NBA game at the local arena, with both sons and hubby. It counted as somewhat of a date night, since we had to wait for an hour to get out of the parking garage after the game.

I’m also keeping up with my sponsor duties, so that’s one in the plus column as well.  I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week.  If you  have a chance, go encourage someone here.

ROW80

Musings on music and comfort zones

This check-in is more ruminative than anything else.  I find it interesting what things stretch my comfort zone.  Saturday night, I went to a performance of Bach’s Magnificat with Eden.   There was a piece by Hayden beginning the evening and then a piece written in 1959.  I hate to admit it, but I immediately sighed to myself, thinking, “I don’t like modern music.”  I know *hangs my head in shame* how awful that sounds.  

Once the music started, I was drawn in, feeling the gooseflesh that usually only the “greats” can elicit from me. It was a challenging piece, more than willing to dip me into atonal depths that I have sworn never to revisit, but it deposited me whole and safe, shaken in good ways, at the end.

Earlier on Saturday, I was endeavoring to work on an exercise for the blogging class that makes my teeth hurt and my eyes water–to describe myself.  I would rather scrub toilets, grade freshman English composition papers, swim a mile. . . well, you get the picture.  It seems like such a small thing to my husband and sons, none of whom pat my hand when I whine to them.  

Obviously not done with locking myself out of my comfort zone, I did an online writing exercise at noon today. It made me write and think in ways I don’t often (or ever) do, and it was among the hardest writing I’ve ever done!  After I got over my surprise at the difficulty (my perfectionist never likes to be shown up!), I realized how much I had learned from it.

Both the music and the writing exercises are opportunities to leave my comfort zone, and to grow.  I’d forgotten how much growing hurts, but I’d also gotten terribly complacent, and I am glad to ache in good ways this evening.

I haven’t hit all my goals, but I’m happy with the progress I’ve had in the last week.  I stayed at work late Thursday night, revelling in the quiet and lack of interruptions, and got some writing done.

I hope everyone is motoring along well and finding their stride.  If you have a chance, go encourage someone whose link you find here.  It helps to hear from other writers!

ROW80

Lessons Learned and Au revoir, New York

Today I leave New York City and return to my now-familiar haunts in upstate New York.  I enjoy the dip into the big city, drawing energy from the crowds on the sidewalks, the taxis blaring by, horns in counterpoint, the aromatic steam rising from the food trucks, all waking me early and filling the well.

I’ve been doing back flips into the research pool, and must admit climbing out to go back to my day job reminds me of being summoned from the neighborhood pool on hot summer days when I was a child. I also had to deal with the magpie this week, as I kept finding interesting side paths while working on my article.  I am proud to say I just kept putting notes in an idea file for future research trips.

My husband came to the city yesterday morning, so I managed to meet my date night goal.  We didn’t do anything much, but wandered around the city and talked.

Tomorrow, I’m starting the blogging class taught by Kristen Lamb at wana.intl, and am looking forward to learning and improving.

Speaking of learning, I want to share something I learned from the academic writing group in which I participate. This quote is from Dame Eleanor Hull’s post where she attributes the quotation to Dr. Isis’ post here.

“A friend just gave me a new framework for ways of comparing things: normative, ipsative and aspirational. So think about reaching a goal, say training for a marathon.  Normative – how do I compare to others around me with whom I train: are they getting better faster than me? Ipsative – how do I compare to where I was: am I running at a consistently faster pace than a month ago? Aspirational – how do I compare to where I want to be – can I run 20 miles without puking?”

It made me think about how we can make these comparisons negative or positive, depending on our psyche, or our mood of the moment. For example, I could take the normative comparison to beat myself up–”this acquaintance easily wins NaNo every year, so I’m a failure since I haven’t ever won.” Or the aspirational comparison could be so far out of reach as to be ridiculous–”I’ll have a book contract and three novels under my belt by this time next year.”

However, I can make positive normative and aspirational goals, which are the kind that work best in ROW80.  I have to admit, though, that I am intrigued by ipsative goals, where I compare myself to me, and I can celebrate progress, or even give myself little rewards. 🙂

Also, Kait gave a wonderful explanation and rationale for visiting each other and strengthening this great community in her check-in post.  You can find everyone here.

Let me know what you think about these comparison techniques for goals, and how you might use the different techniques in your own goals.  I love to hear from you.