This series of articles running through January will explore ways of keeping our head above water in physical, mental, emotional and creative areas. There will be creative challenges, competitions and giveaways. For the full background see here. To receive all the 31 posts, sign up for email notification on the sidebar. On twitter it’s at @31HAW or @alisonwells. Hashtag #31haw and #headabovewater.
Not succeed but sustain
With these posts over 31 days I’m not looking at how we can magically ‘succeed’, I’m looking how we can get through our daily challenges in ways that are sustainable and can sustain us.
We all resolve to do things better, to be healthier, to organise ourselves, to be more productive but if you’re anything like me your good intentions will fade or get lost amidst the chaos that is life. I’ll look next week at goals and how both small goals and gigantic goals can work but let’s be realistic, life gets confusing and things happen so we n eed to build in flexibility so we don’t get discouraged and I’ll talk about that in next weeks post.
Daily practices I’ve undertaken this year
I’ve pledged to write 31 posts on wellbeing and resilience. It’s quite an undertaking and occasionally I wonder, what on earth I was thinking. But I want to make sure that it’s achieveable and if I need to make it easier on myself by taking shortcuts or getting help I can do that too.
I’ve undertaken to get up early to write each day but there’s a get out clause (only if I’m enjoying it and it doesn’t make me too tired to meet the challenges of family life.
I’m also walking regularly and working up to 20 mins each day on the kids trampoline in tiny increments (7 mins yesteday).
Many people follow the daily practice of the small stones, focused, mindful tiny stories or observances of nature or life and I’ve done that in previous January’s. Mindfullness is a fantastic way of calming our restless thoughts and anxieties and I’ll mention it again later in the month.
What I’m thinking is that the activities that we think of committing to at this time of year are those that will make us feel better either mentally, physically, emotionally, financially etc. They need to feed us, uplift us and be fun. If it’s a drudge, it’s not going to last.
I want to share with you today a link to the most inspirational talk that I listened to in 2012 – it’s a talk to young writers by author Ray Bradbury, one of my favourite authors who sadly passed away late last year. It’s about an hour long and well worth a listen and I post it on a Sunday because you might just have the time to sit and take it in.
In this recording he talks about how he got published, how he started out purely by writing the things he was interested in and wanted to write. They were stories when publishers generally wanted longer work but they worked together and the stories were collectively published as The Martian Chronicles. He talks about joy and enjoying writing, the energy as he discusses his own writing is evident.
Read a short story and an article of interest each day
In terms of daily practice Ray Bradbury gives the best advice out there. He tells writers to read a short story every day and to read an article of some kind that will feed their knowledge and curiosity. I love short stories and the complete satisfaction there is within one story, the (often) poetry and humanity. Reading articles on others lives, science, history, film, whatever immediate sends out sparks of interest, snippets that lie in your mind till later when they come out newly minted and dipped in the precious metal of your own interests.
Some of the sites I’ve found particularly inspiring in the past year have been Brainpickings (philosophy, history etc), IO9 (future science) and the site Letters of Note that finds fascinating letters of all kinds of human and world stories. I’ve been inspired so often by these sites and many story ideas have emerged from reading them.
Whatever you set out to do this year let it be something that is possible and that gives you energy and inspiration, not guilt and negativity.
What daily practices do you hope to follow this year? Can you link us to any sites that you find inspiring?
(UPDATE, this is an old post so competition no longer valid!)
Flash fiction Creative Comp
Don’t forget the 31/131 word creative challenge. Winners will be chosen later today. Please comment on your favourite entries. Thank you!