Monday, October 31, 2011

I Only Befriend 25% of People

I got 2 very helpful comments regarding my post about making friends. The main point I got is that it needs to happen organically. I have no problem with that, except in my head. You see, when I am around a new person, my 12-year-old brain starts sweating, "You must like me." The important thing to remember is this is the 12-year-old brain. This is not me (or you) as an adult.

Adults know that not everyone is going to be a best friend. As my husband put it, "If I walk into a bar, 25% of people, I can't stand. 50% of people, I don't feel one way or the other about. 25%, I like and want to be friends." It may be a little early for math, but it seems to me that we can apply this equation to just about anyone.

So, if I only want to be friends with 25% of people I meet, why should I expect those with whom I come in contact to be any different. I can't. Maybe it's time, maybe I'm old enough, to quit worrying about what others think and start concentrating on what I believe and what I stand for

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Getting Personal - on and offline!

Wow! I never would have expected the differences in opinion that would arise from my decision to change my blog into a more personal account of being a 30 ish woman in the Western U.S. Some of you were all for it, while others had reservations. Be certain I took all responses into consideration, but I got more pageviews than ever before when I wrote about changing my content. Is that a hint?
So, Here's my first "new" blog.

I went to my meditation group last night (in the snow) at the local Buddhist center. I am not Buddhist, but I am a fan of meditation, and these guys have got it down. Plus, they are kind enough not to mind the fact that I go to church elsewhere. After we meditate in a sitting position, we do walking meditation on the sparkling honey pine floors.( How do they get their floors so clean? I guess cleaning is a way to Enlightenment for some, though if you check out my earlier blogs, you will know, I am generally not a big fan. I just try to keep away any large globs of dirt).

 Anyways, we had discussion after walking meditation and then some social time. I met some really nice people, and this raised a question for me - being new in town, what's the best way to turn aquaintances into friends. I will admit I'm clueless, as making friends came naturally when I was in school. You just had to offer to share your PBR.

Now, with work and families and ever increasing schedules, it seems we have less time to cultivate friendships that do not take place over the Internet. Does anyone else have this problem? Does anyone else have solutions?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This Is Not Part 2

For those of you eagerly awaiting part 2 of my series, I am sorry to disappoint. I will not be continuing in that vein because I changed my mind, and this is my blog, so I can do what I want.:) Instead, I am thinking about making rennovations - rennovation to  my blog, rennovations to my life.

You see, this advice on writing just isn't working out for me. I truly believe that the best way to become a better writer is to practice and beyond that I really don't know more than the next person. This does not mean I am giving up the blogging game entirely, though.

 I was thinking about taking this blog in a more personal direction. Would you, dear reader, be interested in hearing more about my life as a writer, worker, wife, daughter, and friend? It seems that we have more commonalities than differences, so I would like to spend some time exploring that with you. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Let in a Little Space - Part 1

Today's blog is part of a series all about space - space to think, space to write in, space in your writing.

I spend a lot of time at my other job sitting around. While I'm sitting around, I'm irritated because I like to go all the time. Looking back on that time, however, I have noticed that this empty time creates space in my life for ideas to grow.

I think we have an American work ethic that goads us into filling up all of our free time with activities. If we would just slow down and create a little space, perhaps we wouldn't have so many issues (that's assuming you have issues, of course). We need time to think. And, more importantly, we need time to grow.

We need space in our schedules because we can appreciate singular moments better when we are not scurrying for project to project. We actually have time to breathe and think,"Hey! That's pretty fun. Think I'll do it again." And notice.

 I know most people don't have jobs that require them to take a time out, so it becomes our responsibility to take this task upon ourselves. Enjoy your time!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Make One Little Change at a Time

Personal goals are something everyone wants to attain. I, certainly, am no exception. I have talked about changes I want to make in my life with regard to writing and personal habits from time to time in this blog. Today, I want to share a tip I read in another blog that I thought was really helpful.

When you try to change something (for example, trying the Nikan writing practice mentioned last week), begin with small managable steps. And, here's the key, try to change only one thing at a time. We probably all have a million things we want to work on (at least I do), but we waste our resources if we try to take on too many things at once. As a result, we don't accomplish several things, instead of accomplishing one thing.

Stick with the change for 6 weeks before you move on to something new. I think this is a great strategy. To read more about it, visit

Friday, October 14, 2011

Nikan Is Not Just a Camera

I have written on here before that I am trying to have more gratitude in my life. Being a perfectionist, I have a hard time with this. It seems I want to pick on my life and writing until I've found every single flaw. I have found a new way to combat this. It's called Nikan.

Nikan is a Buddhist practice, started in Japan, that seeks to make us feel more connected to the world. It's so very simple that you can use it everyday, or anytime you need a little gratitude boost. To get started, you ask three questions and write down the answers on a piece of paper (or if you subscribe to, you do this online).

First question is, "How have I been supported today?" This list could go on and on, from the people who make the roads for your drive to work to Steve Jobs, who made your Mac (sort of).Pick only concrete things you can feel with your senses like something someone said or did.

The next question is "How have I served today?" This could be something as simple as making coffee for your significant other or getting up and going to work when the alarm went off so your family has income.

The final question is,"What troubles or difficulties have I caused?" Please notice that there is not a parallel question about what trouble and difficulties have been caused to you.

I plan to write these lists down everyday and, hopefully, increase my sense of interconnectedness and gratitude. Also, maybe I'll increase my awareness of my impact on the world. Will you join me?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Do You Want Sweeping Change?

I was listening to NPR the other day, and they had a guy on there who was a political scientist going off about the state of fiction today. He was saying that there are no classics being written today because writers only deal with personal themes, not sweeping social or political ones.

He used Grapes of Wrath as an example of a great work of fiction that would never be written today because current writers are not concerned with the problems of society. He said they only look within themselves.

I whole-heartedly disagree. It may be true that writers today are more introspective, and I see where, at times, this could be too much off a good thing. However, while the radio man was very persuasive, I don't necessarily think that great fiction needs to institute huge changes in society. Changing one person's outlook on the world, making one person a little more open, is a great change, too. Either way, it is change one person at a time.

Of course, I am not saying that I think fiction should ignore society's ills. I just saying that society's problems are often captured in the problems of one person. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Little Anger Helps A Lot

Yesterday, as you might have seen if you follow this blog regularly, my husband and I got into a fight. No need to worry - we are all made up now, and he even vacuumed the house. I promised him that I would address the topic of the fight in today's blog.

First, I am very glad to be married, and what I said yesterday was not an indictment of marriage. It is absolutely wonderful to have a partner and friend who is always there, even when the leftovers have been sitting in the fridge for weeks. My husband also certainly helps around the house - if it weren't for him, there would be little pieces of toys our dog chewed up all around the house.

My basic argument is that women everywhere often take on too much of the burden of running a household, and this cuts back on the time she has for creating and writing. Definitely we need to work on that.

This brings me to my main point of the day. Sometimes, when you write how you honestly feel, people will get upset. Don't worry about this. If the person is important to you, you will probably have the chance to work out your feelings with them. If you don't know them that well, then who cares. You can't please everyone.

So , clear the air. Get things off your chest. Releasing a little anger can be a big relief.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Improve Your Writing with Feedback!

I read a blog yesterday about how to improve your trade, whatever that might be. The writer suggested doing something where you get immediate feedback. An example of this would be writing a blog for a writer or giving a concert for a musician.

The positive benefits of doing your craft before a crowd is simple - you can quickly find out what works and immediately change and modify what's going on. I am already writing a blog, you say? Well, I am going to take this idea a step further with my next few posts.

I am going to gauge the helpfulness of my writing by the number of hits, comments, followers, etc, that I get. Now I was already doing that to a certain extent, but before I was mainly looking at general trends. Now I am going to look at specific blogs that are really popular to see what I am doing right, and take a peek at those that flop to see how I could improve - livelier title, catchier openers, you get the picture.

I think this is a great idea to hone your craft, whether you are a writer or a banker (hi Dad!). Please think about incorporating some immediate feedback into your career today!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

How to Overcome Your Inner Critic

I received so many good suggestions on how to get started on my new song writing hobby without putting out a lot of cash. Thank you to everyone who made a suggestion!

So, I have a guitar, and now I have many good ideas on how to get started playing it. Unfortunately, it's really hard for me to start something new. I am (surprise, surprise) a bit of a perfectionist, and somehow, in my twisted thought process, it is better to not do something at all than to begin and not do a great job. This is silly because no one excels at a project when they are a beginner, and I could be missing out on some great experiences.

Perhaps this is the problem some have with writing. I know the perfectionist bug has bitten me from time to time when I am writing (I'm thinking thesis).

My idea is to begin writing (or playing guitar or pogosticking or whatever) for small increments of time to begin with. Maybe 5 or 10 minutes. That sounds doable. Any other ideas?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Learning to Rock

I am listening to someone I work with on the radio as I write this. He is a singer-song writer, and it is a strange sensation to witness the creative side of someone you know professionally.

It makes me wonder if I should try my hand at writing a song. As I may have mentioned before, I am just crazy about music. It touches something deep within me that I am unable to access any other way.

 I took piano lessons as a child but never got very far. Now, I am considering starting taking the guitar more seriously and learning a few chords so I can play beautiful music myself.

I know you are never to old to learn but this is a really scary endeavor because it takes years to master an instrument and I don't have a lot of discretionary income to spend on lessons (or time for that matter). Does anyone have any suggestions on ways to get started?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Answering the Call for the Future

I was reading an article the other day on happiness. It said that one way to increase happiness is to look at, listen to, or participate in the arts. What a joyous thought! We are actually doing something good for ourselves by engaging in something pleasant.

I know that not everyone finds reading or going to a play exciting, but I'm using art in the broad sense. I consider making a table or running a marathon an art.

Shouldn't we enhance our children's happiness by increasing their exposure to art at a young age. I know a lot of people believe we need to push math and science on our children, so they can be world leaders in the future, but what about being happiness leaders? Can't we find time for an arts education to help our children increase their sense of well being. After all, isn't a sense of well being the reason we want to be world leaders in the first place?