Okay, I admit it; I’ve been in the doldrums for a while. I haven’t written a word in ages because first I told myself I was going away to Ireland and I’d start again when I got back. Then I told myself that I’d start at the beginning of July, but I missed that date. I realise that I was just making excuses so yesterday I bit the bullet and just wrote another chapter of my work in progress. I must say that I felt a lot better for doing it. Yesterday I also managed to sort out the favourites on my computer, which was a job I’d been meaning to do for ages and kept putting off. I practised my guitar, figured out how to listen to an audio book on my Kindle Fire and did 750 words.
Today I chopped all the weeds back in our front garden, wrote another chapter of my work in progress, practised my guitar and had another guitar lesson, did this blog post and plan to do another 750 words later. So after a long pause it’s back to full speed ahead!
Since about September last year I have been learning to play the guitar. I don’t think I’m doing very well but then I never do. But it has struck me how much like writing learning the guitar is.
Firstly, progress is always painfully slow. I sincerely wish I could pick up the guitar one day and play like Hendrix the next but that’s never going to happen. It’s endless hours of practise that improves one’s playing and nothing else. I have heard rumours that if you go down to the crossroads and sell your soul to a tall dark gentleman with horns and a tail, then your ability can drastically improve very quickly but that’s too high a price to pay in my book. But there are so many other things to do in life and so many times when the last thing you feel like doing is writing or practising the guitar.
And when you’re learning anything new is can be so disheartening. As someone who suffers with a lot of self doubt, I never think I’m doing enough or doing it properly. I feel guilty if I don’t practise the same as if I don’t write. At least I have a guitar teacher to give me a small sense of perspective. He’s always a lot more enthusiastic about my playing than I am. But with writing, it’s much harder to get perspective and I’m sure all writers are familiar with the feeling that every thing they write is probably garbage and how they feel they’re probably wasting their time doing this.
However, when a break through does occur and something goes well, the feeling of achievement is monumental. Music, writing and creativity in general is, despite the difficulties and setbacks, such a joy. With the guitar, my aim is to be good enough to be in a band. With the writing, I want to be a successful published author. What I really want is some sort of public vindication. Yes, a best selling novel or a grammy awarded album would be great but what I really want is for people to like what I do. I want my creativity to be appreciated. Surely that’s not too much to ask?
Not such a good week as last week I’m afraid. Did my 750 words and worked on my novel The Bear In The Woods every day but I only blogged once and that’s today. Didn’t fit in as much reading as I wanted to nor did I do as much cleaning/de-cluttering as I wanted. Didn’t practise my guitar for two days but I did over forty five minutes of practise today to try and make up for that.
My guitar teacher really likes my new guitar so that was good and he was impressed with the progress I’ve made and joy of joys, he said I have the strumming pattern that I’ve been practising for the last six weeks to the point where it was driving me insane! I can’t play it at the right speed but he said I do play it right and I figure that playing it right is more important than playing it fast. I can learn fast later but better to get it right to begin with.
Bought five new books at Glastonbury on Saturday so they’ve all been added to the To-Be-Read list. And I got another book out of the library! Ordered two more books from the Oldfield Park Bookshop and have to pick them up tomorrow as well!
Another year, another round of ROW. So I have a list of seven daily goals and my goal is to try to do all of them every day but not to hate myself if I don’t manage that. Then every week I shall assess how I’ve done and report back on that.
So my daily goals are
1) Do one page of my W.I.P. every day. So far I’m five for five on that one.
2) Practise guitar. Haven’t done that so far today but I have for the four other days this year.
3) Do 750 words every day either on the computer or longhand. Am five for five on that one too.
4) Blog every day. I have two blogs now. This one and The Queen of Books one so I must have something to say on at least one of them every day, you’d think but this task seems to be the one I have the most trouble with. Only two out of five on that one.
5) Reading. No problem there. Five for five as I would rather read than eat.
6) Cleaning. By this I mean above and beyond what I normally do. Not just the usual cleaning up but deep cleaning and/or decluttering. Managed three out of five so far.
7) Read Mike Young’s book, Kirk’s Landing and write a review on Amazon when I’m finished. I’ve read the first seven chapters.
And finally I’ve chosen my keyword for the year and it is ‘magical’. This will be a magical year for me in every sense of the word. It’s time for me to stop dabbling and really dive into the depths of my magical powers. Look out world!
Gosh I haven’t done one of these in ages! It’s been so long I’ve forgotten what my original goals were! Never mind, that’s a good excuse to come up with new ones. I now have a list of daily tasks which I aim to complete. So far I haven’t had a day where I do all of them but I managed to do most of them. The tasks are:
2) Write at least one page of my WIP
3) Practise my guitar
4) Work on my jungle/garden
5) Do 750 words thing
6) Do one blog post for either of my blogs (I have tow now!)
7) Carry on with all my with assorted reading
Today so far I have done one, three, six and seven. So I don’t think I’m doing too badly. I know full well that I’m not going to do everything every day; as I said I haven’t managed to achieve one day yet where I have done every task but if I’m doing most of them then that must be a good thing.
If I don’t do one task then I try to prioritise that one for the next day. Yesterday I forgot to practise my guitar so I made sure that I did that today.
Well I only had one goal and the news I have to report is…epic fail! I have only typed about two pages last week when I should have done seven! Looking on the bright side, I suppose two pages is better than nothing at all.
It’s all that Mike Young’s fault because he was talking once about doing free online courses and being a (nosy cow) intellectually curious person, I looked up the site. Oh dear! What a cornucopia of treats! Here’s the link for anyone that wants it. https://www.coursera.org/courses
Anyway, I signed up for a beginner’s guitar course. I have always wanted to play the guitar and started back when I was fourteen but found it hard going and gave up, something I have always regretted. Since then I read this book called Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice by Matthew Syed. Like so many others I believed that people where born talented and so when I picked up the guitar and couldn’t play like Hendrix I thought, I’m just no good at this and gave up.
But in this book the author explains that no-one comes out of the womb doing incredible stuff. We learn things through doing them over and over again, by practising. If I had known that when I was younger then I might be the axewoman cometh by now. How annoying!
The author reckons that to get really good at something you have to spend ten thousand hours doing it. Well I’ve started my ten thousand hours on the guitar this week. It’s going to be a long road but this time I’m determined to learn to play the thing! So not much news on the writing front but more about music. My dream would be to combine my love of writing and music and learn to write my own songs! I’d be in seventh heaven if I could do that!