Day 463 – Sunday Reflection.

I’ve been busy revamping my study.

Basically, I’ve got rid of more stuff I had forgotten I even had, or had kept because it might be useful at some point. I decided that some point had been reached and that the stuff wasn’t useful after all.

A family desk taken by my eldest son, freed up space for an armchair I’ve been looking at with fondness for a while now. I write at a standing desk, but I was hankering after a seat to muse, imagine, read, in.

I thoroughly recommend a standing desk if you don’t usually use one. Some are very pricey but mine is about the size of your laptop and does the job perfectly.

Revamping and tidying up are often necessary but also serve as perfect actions for not writing.

I sway between being really frustrated when I don’t write and just accepting that sometimes my brain needs a pause to fix something in a story, or make the necessary links to the next stage of the story.

I’ve probably mentioned this before but I don’t plot/plan in a James Patterson kind of way. Once the plot is down on paper then I know the story and my brain is off to the next one. The discipline to then take an extended plot and write it up into the finished novel eludes me. Be honest though, James Patterson probably feels the same way, which is why he has all of those co-authors.

I plan more like Lee Childs. I turn up, like Jack Reacher (okay – like a Jack Reacher who has been placed on too warm a wash cycle than the label directs!), meet a couple of people – good or bad – and the rest happens from there.

I am currently writing something new and it is requiring a little more thinking than I am used to. I think? Or I am doing a good job of pulling the wool over my own eyes. Sometimes, kicking back into the habit of hitting a word count each day, no matter what, really does get the job done.

I confess that all my normal habits have gone a bit wayward, with the only one remaining intact is the one where I listen to a new album everyday. Writing 1000 words a day has become disjointed. French language learning hasn’t been learnt for almost three weeks now. Exercise has not been what it should be. I have read more, and listened to podcasts and audio books more frequently.

My cotton-wash-when-it-should-have-been-a-wool-wash Reacher gives a Gallic shrug (as he can’t remember the phrase he was looking for) and wanders off into the night to regain his writing habit and his credibility . . .

Day 456 – Sunday Reflection.

For about twelve hours, the Welsh rugby team were number one in the world rankings. Then a poor showing against England saw them slip back to number two. Poor defence contrasted heavily with the one which secured them the Grand Slam in the 6 Nations. Too much reliance on training park moves saw players going to ground without even being tackled. But the real reason for the Welsh slip was the fact that I watched the first half of the match. I knew I should have just let it record and then watch the glorious victory later on, but caught up in the excitement of cementing that number one spot, I succumbed to impulse over over fair reason. As a sports fan, life is an endless journey of finely tuned decisions which can affect your team. If you don’t believe me, then look at the 49ers preseason win over Dallas – I didn’t watch it live and they won. Okay, I had no way of actually watching the match anyway but that isn’t the point. I didn’t watch the Wigan game and they beat Hull KR. I also didn’t watch the Canberra Raiders NRL game and they did lose. As I said, it is a fine line to walk.

Day 442 – Sunday Reflection.

A week of habit breaking, but not in a good way.

After a one day break in my habit of learning French – actually I missed out by five minutes on maintaining my streak by losing track of time – I then managed a couple more days before blowing it by a couple of days.

Next I blew my Tour de France blog, about five stages from the end.

Then I discovered that Simon Armitage was made Poet Laureate back in May – how did I miss that news?!?!

I did start writing new fiction and not just draft revising.

I read more.

I climbed back on the bike – literally.

A mixed week. Could do better on the report card. Not the end of the world though.

That’s the thing with habits – easily broken but just as easily started.

Day 436 – Sunday Reflection.

Style.

I re-watched the movie The Thomas Crown Affair the other night and Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway clearly had style, in both their personalities and their fashion.

Creatively, I think we spend a long time trying to find our ‘style’. Early works are often composites of our favourite writers/artists/musicians, as we learn new techniques and experiment out of confidence in our ability to produce something maybe worthwhile.

Structure and technique can both define and dictate what we produce, but most of the successful creatives you could name eventually do something a little different and that is what gets them noticed.

What’s your sense of ‘different’ from your heroes or fellow creatives?

Chase Jarvis put out a great podcast/video on style with fellow photographer Alex Strohl – it is worth a look.

Day 429 – Sunday Reflection.

A teacher of the law asks Jesus who his ‘ neighbour ‘ is, in response to Jesus’ exhortation that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord you God with all your mind and all your heart and to love your neighbour as yourself. Jesus gives the ‘good samaritan’ parable.

Three years ago 52% of people who voted in an advisory referendum seemed to want to tell their neighbours to clear off. I’ve despaired in the intervening time at the increasing rise in racism and intolerance.

Today I watched the last twenty overs, and tied-game power play overs, which left the England and Wales cricket team victorious over New Zealand, and them World Cup winners.

Looking at the packed stands it was reasonable to assume that 52% of them were intolerant of anyone who didn’t come from the exact same place as them.

It also struck me that a number of key players in the victorious team were the kind of people 52% of them didn’t want in their country, but were perfectly happy to accept them if it meant their sports team won the big trophy!

From what I have seen of the Cricket World Cup it has seemed to be the multi-national extravaganza which it was intended to be. Awesome. Perhaps our society can replicate that.

Day 422 – Sunday Reflection.

Is it just me, or did it seem to get around to Sunday again awfully quick?

It has been a busy week and I’m not sure I stood still long enough at any point to reflect on anything.

If you do any research on the habits of successful people and ‘reflection’ is often quite high up on the list.

I have The Five Minute Journal app downloaded on my phone but I still tend to be quite hit and miss in how regularly I use it. I like it when I use it. I think I probably would use the book version more, but there is quite a price difference. Tim Ferris has a video up on YouTube which shows how he uses the journal which is good.

I’ve set myself the challenge of trying to learn a new song on the guitar each week. I will let you know how that goes.

Now the summer is here I intend to get a novel written. And one I’ve completed revised and sent to an agent. And continue to blog everyday. Make that blog twice every day (for the next 23 days anyway). I’m sure no one will want me to do anything else for the next 50ish days, will they?

Today had a healthy amount of blue sky in it. It definitely suits my mood, so I’m going to ignore the weather forecasts and be positive about more blue!

Wigan Warriors have secured 4th place in the Super League this weekend with a great win over Hull KR.

Day 415 – Sunday Reflection.

I’m reflecting.

What about you?

No? How about you try it now?

It can be on anything. Focus on this last week, for instance.

In a recent poll of 15-30 year olds in the EU, only 32% of UK young people said they could read and write in another language. The next lowest EU country was at 71%.

Most of my posts on Creativity contain advice I need to follow more closely.

I’m still listening to at least one new album a day. I started this doing this on December 26th. I have been surprised by liking all but a handful of those I’ve listened to. I choose the albums purely on the cover art, band name, or album title, and I never look them up before I listen.

I had a new idea for a novel. Two characters on a pilgrimage. A kind of Waiting for Godot, but where Godot actually turns up. It needs more thinking.

In the Lord’s Prayer, the part ‘give us our daily bread’ really stuck out. Us. Not ‘God please provide my daily needs. Our daily needs. We should always be praying for others whilst we pray for ourselves.