Three Good Things

After reading the great “How to Be Miserable” I decided to start keeping a “three good things” journal at my bedside and write in it every night, right before I go to bed.

The idea is to write three good things that happened to you today, and if possible attribute them. It breaks off the habit of always remembering the bad, upsetting or embarrassing parts of your day, and I also found that it helps me (together with regular journaling) clear my mind and fall asleep sooner.

The good things don’t have to be large, sometimes they’re just a nice meal that I shared with someone, or something good that I read or watched, or just a friendly exchange with a friend or someone at work. The thing is, once you start doing it you:

  1. Realize that even in the shittiest of days there is something good to remember.
  2. Train your brain to look for those things throughout the day, so that you can have something to write down at night.

I’ve been using the Field Notes Resolution weekly planner for that, but you might want to use something larger. I just chose the Resolution because it gave me a reason to use the notebook, and it’s small enough that I’m sure that I will have something to write in it every day.

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Three Good Things

Chapter 7

Finished rewriting chapter 7. I rewrote it almost entirely, and I had to go back to chapter 2 first to fix a significant portion of that yet again, but the end result is much better I think, so I’m pretty pleased.

The main thing I learned from this is not to be afraid to go back and rewrite from scratch earlier chapters and scenes that I have already reviewed, if the resulting narrative is tighter and more coherent in the end.

So far I’ve managed to cut almost 9,000 words out, which is good progress, but the longest chapter (chapter 8, at a whopping 12,339 words) is still ahead of me, so I need to hunker down.

Chapter 7

Sketchlog January 6, 2018

  • Really glad that I snagged one of Adjiashvili’s charcoal drawings.
  • Yoga is turning out to be more enjoyable than I thought. The new yoga workouts in the NTC app are really good.
  • Wrote a good deal today and going to write some more.
  • 2nd day of the 30 day plank challenge was OK. Yesterday was test day – I can hold a plank in good form for 1min. We’ll see where I end up.
  • Not pictured: I saw “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure”. There’s a reason it’s not pictured.
  • This made me laugh, because it’s true…

Sketchlog January 6, 2018

My 2017 – an utterly positive roundup

 

2017 was the year I ran a race in my underwear.

I also read 42 books, almost twice as many as I originally planned on reading.

I finally finished the first draft of my novel and started working on the second draft.

I went on the Big Thunder Mountain Ride in Disneyland Paris, despite being afraid of heights, and I ran a 5k and a 10k mere hours apart in the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend.

I translated and heavily adapted a Parsley game for a friend’s wedding, arranged a Tabletop Day gathering, played  and I started playing Pandemic Legacy 2. So far Matt Leacock is killing it with the story on this one.

I saw and enjoyed Wonder Woman, and I saw and loved Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I planned on going to more movies (I can’t believe I missed Coco, but travel plans will do that to you), but I’ll make up for it in 2018 I’m pretty sure.

I ran three 10K races, two 5K races (and 3 virtual 5Ks), more kilometres than I have ever run in a year (over 700), and I broke my 10K PR. I ran like through downtown Washington to the Mall and Lincoln Memorial, and through Greenwich Park all the way up to the Greenwich Observatory. I learned to appreciate yoga.

I joined Tel Aviv’s Urban Sketchers and went to sketchcrawls in Jaffa, Neve Zedek, the Carmel Market, Rothschild, and Florentine. I drew 100 people in a week as part of Liz Steel‘s challenge, and I sketched more frequently than I ever have. Learning to let myself experiment with my drawings, let my lines be looser and fortunate mistakes to happen has been a revelation that I plan on exploring more in 2018.

I journaled each day for most of the year, and finally started filling all those notebooks I bought. 2017 was also the year I fell in love again with Moleskines, but more on that perhaps later.

I challenged myself to take a photo a day, and succeeded, and I plan on continuing with that challenge in 2018. It makes me stop, look around, think about composition, lighting, atmosphere — all things that are valuable to me both as an artist and a writer.

2017 wasn’t without it’s challenges, fears, troubles — but it was also full of triumph and hope, good things that I plan on carrying on with me to 2018 and beyond.

Happy new year!

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My 2017 – an utterly positive roundup

General update

  • My to do list today is 45 items long. It’s 10AM and I still have 33 items to go.

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  • I’ve been using the Forest app for the past week to cut down on my phone time, and especially my twitter time. It’s a fun take on the Pomodoro technique that basically lets you set a timer to plan trees in your forest. The tree grows when you finish your timer without touching your phone (you can have the phone play music or a podcast while your tree is growing, you just can’t fiddle with your phone). You can also accept calls while the tree is growing, but you can’t make calls/text/check apps etc. It’s a good gamification of the Pomodoro technique, and a beautiful app.
  • I’ve finished rewriting chapter 2 and am back to rewriting large swaths of chapter 7. Forcing myself to cut ruthlessly cut things down.
  • Reading John Scalzi’s “The Human Division” and thoroughly enjoying it. Also indulging in M.C. Beaton’s “Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House,” because I can.
  • Started working on my 2018 resolutions. It’s the fourth year that I’m doing
  • My (mechanical) keyboard is creaking. It’s time to swap out the keycaps and lubricate the switches a bit.
  • Cutting down on Apple technology podcasts. Getting a bit fed up with them and more interested in podcasts with more interesting content than “guess how much I love my iPhone X”.
  • That being said, I upgraded to an iPhone 8 (not a Plus or a X on purpose), and I’m OK with it. Still frustrated that it doesn’t have a headphone jack.
  • Ran a game of Parsley that I wrote for a group of friends using Discord, and it was a roaring success. Planning on running another game like that soon.
General update

Getting out of a writing slump

I haven’t written pretty much anything (beyond daily journaling) for almost a month and a half. Some of it was traveling — I spent most of November abroad — some of it was just loss of momentum.

Today for the first time in a long while I just sat down and wrote. I started working on a new short story, part of what I hope will be a collection of short stories, and the words just flowed. 646 of them. The story is far from finished, but I have a good foundation for it. And then I sat down and finished rewriting my novel’s second chapter.

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Now, I’ve been dragging my feet with this chapter from the moment I realized that I would have to rewrite it after I had seemingly finished editing it. It’s depressing to have to go back and scrap so much of what you have already written, and I was letting that feeling get in the way of my overall progress.

The good news is that I seem to have come up with at least one strategy to get over my editing and rewriting slump and that is to write something fresh. Once I start writing, it’s much easier to get myself editing, and I’m more motivated to push through to the end.

So even though I need to focus on finishing one work, and not jump from one piece to the next, it is sometimes useful to take a break and indulge in working on a new idea, if only to stop languishing on an old one.

Getting out of a writing slump