Category Archives: Life in Random

On Changing Habits and Backsliding

Okay, so let me preface this entire thing by saying that you will very, very rarely hear me talk about exercise/eating/etc on this blog. I mean that. But this also ties in to some of the other themes of life and writing and business.

My business partner (also a KR so I will call her KA here. Not to be confused with my other business partner JM.) and I committed to working through the Body By You system. This is a strength training program that does not require equipment beyond what you have around the house anyway. It also has a rather strict eating regime of multiple meals during the day.

This program appealed to me because it doesn’t require me to run around in circles or to buy a weight table or anything else. The eating program is pretty balanced with a heavy emphasis of getting a proper balance of foods down your throat and a reasonable amount of calories. (This also helps keep blood sugars even – which impacts mood and mental clarity. Especially for me — I’ve got Type II diabetes. That means I’m not insulin dependent, but I have insulin resistance.)

I even felt badly at the end of the week because I put off my Saturday session of exercise until Sunday. That is a good sign that this is becoming a habit and one that I somewhat enjoy. ish? I’ve done pretty well on the eating program. I made it almost an entire week eating properly. That is, until I took a trip down to Richmond and managed to not only get off-schedule I managed to gobble up some of the many things to which I am allergic. (Don’t even get me started on that list. Let’s just say, that I have some major restrictions.)

That was the downfall.

My eating patterns on Saturday and Sunday were execrable and my patterns on Monday and today haven’t been much better. In fact, I’d say they’ve been worse. I can change it, and I will, but it does take some significant planning. I always need to bring more food with me than I think I do. I will be doing my exercise tonight though, right on schedule.

So, how does this tie to business/life/writing? Humans only really have a certain amount of will-power during the day. When establishing a new habit (say an exercise plan) then it takes a large part of that will-power to go until it becomes something you don’t want to do without. With any venture then, that one wishes to turn into a habit, one must recognize what one has left in the tank. I have creativity in my tank — no problem — but do I have the stamina to work for an hour on a project tonight after food and exercise or do I take that time to do something else? Maybe I need to do 20 minutes not a full hour?

I have a website design that’s hanging out and waiting for me to finish it. I have listings waiting for photos on ebay. Hell, I have more than 81 Works In Progress (WiPs) waiting for my on my hard-drive. I only have enough to work on one of them.

So what do I choose? The business that is looking to go brick and mortar this year? The novel that’s under deadline for the end of September? Or one of the short stories that is begging for a few more scenes until it’s done?

What do you have sitting in your tank? What do you think you’ll get done tonight? Where do you find your internal motivation?

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All Hallows Read

Happy Halloween!

Hope it’s a lot of fun.

I have a Halloween tradition I started to follow a few years ago — I give out books. The All Hallow’s Read campaign from Neil Gaiman’s camp, suggests that these should be scary books.

I disagree. I think any book you might get someone to read is an appropriate Halloween book.

Obviously, for my horror and sci-fi friends I find scary books. For my romance friends – paranormals. For the rest of my list though? I pick up books that look interesting. Books that are hiding in the corners of the used book store or the dollar store or anywhere else where I can find inexpensive books. (I would love to buy brand-new books, but I have a lot of people on my list. It would break me.) I get adventure books or shopping books or even how-to books. It all depends on the person. Sometimes, I manage to find those books that started me on a series. I give those to people I hope will be intrigued and start reading the rest of the books. For my “one book a year” friends — hurts my little heart, but they exist — I give lighter book. Shopping books, slim mysteries, cozies — anything I can think of that they might find interesting, or pleasant.

I try to avoid controversial books. For me, this is a holiday where I can define my own gift-giving tendencies.

And hey, books. There’s nothing I love better.

They always get a smile of surprise. Adults aren’t used to getting random presents on Halloween. I think that’s a shame.

(Candy’s cool too though. *winks*)

On a larger note, Halloween is when the veil between the worlds is thinnest. We can reach out to ghosts and ancestors. Books are still a part of this. They are part of the fabric of our society; what makes us human. We tell stories. We create our history. We use our language to inspire, to create, and to connect.

So, go, give someone a book you love and want to share. Old, new, whatever.

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Musings: Flight

Flying always reminds me that the US landscape is not the neat, homogenized rows of houses and streets that we imagine in our stories. It’s no an industrial campus either. No, it still resembles a crazy quilt of greens and browns with dashes of white and bindings of grey and blue running through it.

I’ve seen amazing things through airplane windows – fields of spun cotton candy illuminated by the orange of the sunset behind us, lightning crackling on top of a distant cloud as a storm ramps up, barges and transport ships on our wide waterways, the lights of Vegas shining out of the darkness in a rainbow of color, farms in swaths of green and dark soil, a batter hitting a home-run in a little league game.

I’ve been flying all my life. I was an infant on my first flight – a military transport bringing me back to the states. When I was a toddler I could identify plane engines with unerring accuracy. Even today, I am more comfortable on a flight path than not.

The night of September 11th, the absence of planes is what woke me up. The same thing happened when the jets stopped patrolling the DC area.

The posters in my room in elementary school were of rockets and topographical maps. I dreamed of being a pilot and of going to space.

My mom let me go up in a Piper Cub at an air show. it was a small, yellow, fixed-wing plane. The propellers were loud and the door stayed open the whole flight so that I could see out and feel the air as we flew over the Virginia countryside. The pilot and I cheerfully pointed out landmarks to one another. He circled around the baseball diamond and we cheered for a home run. Who cares who was playing. I know now that it was supposed to be no more than a fifteen minute ride, but it was closer to forty-five minutes when I returned with wind-whipped pigtails and a huge smile.

No boring, tethered hot air balloon could compare with that exhilaration.

Even in the huge, modern jets from Boeing and Airbus, I can feel the engines rumble through my seat and the bulkhead.  I can recite the safety-spiel for almost all of the variations. (Not the old school Southwest though – those were hilarious. I haven’t gotten a wonderfully sarcastic Southwest spiel in years.) But, no matter how often I board a plane, the flight itself never loses its magic. (Security… let’s not talk about that.)

The strangest thing though – I’m scared of heights. I’ve hung off the side of a mountain in the Alps and cried in relief when I was done.

But I’ve never been scared in a plane. I’ve never been bored staring out of a window thousands of feet up.

Some day I’ll actually be in control as opposed to just along for the ride.

When you see me in a bright red Piper Cub – wave and I’ll waggle my wings.

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Efficacy, Insanity, and Neverending News Loops

I’ve been dreadfully productive in the past few weeks. I’ve gotten more blog posts written (everywhere but here) and gotten two businesses building blog and twitter traffic.

And yet, it feels as though nothing has changed. I still spend the majority of my life on the net at night, scrolling through emails, Facebook, and Twitter. It’s just, now it’s not for fun. (That’s a bit of a lie. I still enjoy it.)

Rolling hundreds of cookies for one business, debating Kickstarter rewards for another, and making arrangements for a large charity event in September – it’s been a busy week. I haven’t gotten a lick of writing done that wasn’t business focussed, and since this is Camp Nano, that is a bit of an issue. I had been planning to get half of a rough draft churned out.

Insanity, they tell me, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Well, I’ve certainly not been doing that. Personally, I think insanity is when you think that you can burn the candle at both ends and the middle and not change your everyday habits.

It takes about a month to change habits. That’s what experts say. I think it depends on the habit. I think when you actually care about something, you find a way to change it. I have never cared about losing weight – therefore, I’ve never achieved it. I do care about keeping my business moving foward, so I have already integrated checking two new emails into my routine and set up blog posts for two businesses.

I wish I could say that I was magnificantly rich because of the work I do, but that is a lie. I am comfortable because I have a day job, and am ruthless about certain expenses. If I weren’t, I wouldn’t have started either of the busniesses. That doesn’t mean I don’t long to leave the day job and spend my time doing things that I prefer doing – writing, reading, making art, making money.

Not listening to the endless loop of CNN that’s drones on in the office.

If my sanity is suffering this week, it’s not from writing, or business, or research, it’s from listening to the endless loop of vultures discussing the memorial speech from the teenager who survived losing her entire family; immigration debates; racism debates; children trapped in hot cars; bad customer service; and whether or not Hillary Clinton is running for president.

That is what makes me insane. Being force-fed inane drivel. And being kept from pursuing the things I’d much rather do with my time.

What drives you round the bend?
What is the one thing you’d love to spend your days doing?

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