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.
When I was a young girl I used to go to the library with my mother and she let me take out books on her library card but this one particular library trip when I think I was about eight or nine, she wanted to take out a lot of books and so did I. We were standing at the desk and the librarian was watching us and my mother said to me as I stood there with a stack of books in my arms, “I think you’ll have to put some of those back.”
Understandably my face fell and the watching librarian said to me, “Why don’t you take out a library card of your own and then you can take out all those books?”
I felt like I’d been given the keys to paradise and I remember being really excited. I remember it being one of the most exciting events in my childhood and certainly something I have never regretted.
So what about you? When did you get into libraries?
The advantage of living in Bath, apart from all the wonderful eighteenth century architecture, is that there are lots of great attractions here. Just one of them is the Jane Austen Museum. The house it is in is not actually the house Jane herself lived in but it is almost exactly the same as the house Jane lived in was only about two doors up the street and the layout inside is identical.
The first photo is of a sort of writing table that Jane Austen might have used. The second photo (who is that elegant woman?) is me wearing eighteenth century type clothes. And the third photo was taken on a day when the Jane Austen Society in Bath all dress up in period clothing and have a parade in Bath. I only found about this by accident. When I first saw them all, I thought it was a film set (not unusual in Bath).
It wasn’t until I asked someone that they told me. Everyone looked much more elegant than I did because my photo was just a quick snap taken inside the museum whereas they had all made their own costumes and lavished a great deal of time and effort on looking the part. I think they all look wonderful!
Well back to the grindstone! Have started typing up the Christopher Lee interview for the book that lovely hubby and I are doing together. Have started (yesterday) on my Basics of Astrology book. So the writing part of my goals is going pretty well. I’m aiming for consistency of effort rather than huge word counts and hours at the keyboard. As long as I’m working towards my goals every day then it doesn’t matter too much how many (or how few) hours/words I do.
Have put my new numerology book on Amazon’s KDP. So the putting my work out there goal is doing well. Had a few problems with the cover which involved a great deal of swearing and intervention from lovely hubby but I think (!) its all fixed now. The book isn’t live yet and I won’t really be able to tell how it’s worked until it is.
The reading is progressing very slowly because I keep buying more books or borrowing more from the library which means although I’m reaing all the time my ‘to be read’ pile isn’t getting any smaller.
Still spending too much time on Facebook so no change there.
The good news is that I have finished my numerology book! Well I still have the proof reading and final spell check/edit to do but apart from that it’s finished. I am very pleased that I’ve done a book in just over a month. Have to decide what to do next but I’ll do that either tomorrow or the day after.
I have been reading one of the books in my ‘to be read’ pile so that’s a start.
Will be putting my numerology book out into the world when it’s all polished and shiny!
Spent less time on Facebook today; mainly because we were out most of the day.
Done a few more pages on my numerology book. Haven’t been reading most of my library books and have realised that I don’t like at least two of them so will probably be taking them back unread. I use the library as a testing ground for books and authors I don’t normally read and sometimes I find great new things and sometimes I don’t.
Haven’t put any new work out and am still spending too much time on Facebook.
Got some very sad news from my mother today. She e-mailed me to say that her cat Littley had to be put down. The poor thing had cancer, she had two huge tumours, one in her throat and one in her tummy. She will be much missed.