New Journey. New Blog.

I’m excited to let you know I’ve started a new blog. As I wrote in my last post, a new journey has began as I embark on my doctorate degree and take a break from corporate life. The new blog will follow my research as a main theme with secondary themes on photography. I plan to write more personal posts here from time to time.

It would be great if you could continue to follow me on the new blog. You have been so supportive over the nearly 5 years that I started blogging here. Things change and I’m hoping you’ll support that. Thank you so much! I appreciate every one of you.

Advertisements

Novel Writing: NaNo, No NaNo

I clearly had no ideaParticipant-2014-Web-Banner what I was doing when I signed up to NaNoWriMo this year. For those of you that don’t know NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and runs from 1-30 November. The goal is to write a 50,000-word novel in one month.

In 2010 when I first participated, I wrote everyday. I remember it being really stressful but I had a novel on my head and I was stubborn. I got to 50,000 words by 28 Nov and that was that – I won!

This year I’m struggling. It’s my second attempt. I put it off each year since 2010 and now I’ve jumped in. The problem is I’m meant to be at 18,000+ words by today and I’m only at 8,000+. At this rate, I won’t reach 50,000 words till the first week of Jan 2015! It’s a mess – and totally unlike me. I don’t write everyday, which is a major cause of the lack of progress. When I do write, I feel like I’m writing pages and pages but when I look at the word count, it says I’ve done only 123 words. What??!

Anyway, I was hoping for some help. I have put to paragraphs here in the hopes that you will suggest how the story could go for a paragraph or two.

Excerpt  1:

“Why do you tolerate it, Mama? Why?” Gina felt her heart pounding and her hands shaking. She continued before her mother had a chance to respond, “He treats you so badly, Mama! I don’t understand…” Tears ran down Gina’s face. She had had enough. This was why she left home. “Gi, you will understand with time. Where we come from, women don’t just leave their husbands…” Her mother’s voice was gentle. “We women stay and fight.” She concluded. That was the day Gina swore never to marry anybody. She would rather die than live a life sentence.

Excerpt 2:

Bea and Beth sit in silence for a little while before Beth says, “if it makes you feel any better, I haven’t had sex in months!” Bea smiles and then starts to laugh. “Yeah it does make me feel better…” Bea reached for Beth’s shoulder squeezes it and says, “Thanks for being there for me. I have no one to talk to and with Gavin out of town…,” Bea cleared her throat, “I got a little overwhelmed with everything.”

“Any time, Bea…you know I’m here any time,” Beth says as an unpleasant memory flashes through her mind. She reaches for her cup and finally sips her lukewarm latte. Everything is almost OK in the world.

Can anyone help? What could happen next in either of the paragraphs? There may be prizes 😉

From drawing blanks to making conversation

October has been a really good month for me. I learned quite a bit this month, I made some solid decisions and I went on a relaxing holiday! Part of the result of my learning is that I’m more confident about starting conversation with important people.

Drawing blanks

It’s rather embarrassing but when I have an opportunity to chat informally with important people e.g. a CEO or celebrity etc, I cannot for the life of me think of anything to say! I’m normally really chatty with people I know and even those I don’t know but if I was ever in an elevator with Bill Gates, I’d totally freeze up! What’s up with that? I’ve often heard people talk about the “elevator pitch” and how everyone has something like 10 seconds to describe themselves in a way that sells. I swallow when I hear that. There! My secret is out. I’ve heard one of my managers who noticed this describe me as “shy” – laughable, I know. Anyway, I think I’m on my way to overcoming this weakness of mine. I just need to breathe (in a non-obvious way, of course) and then think of something intelligent to say, right? Oh dear.

Making conversation

I once wrote an article on LinkedIn titled, “How to Befriend Almost Anyone At Work”. It’s more for building relationships with colleagues. For me, building rapport with people that I feel are on my level is pretty easy. Some executives can be easy to start a conversation with. They make it seamless and relaxed but more and more, executives- and indeed anyone in an important position in the corporate world – are getting inundated as pressure grows to improve business performance. They just don’t have the time or patience to make it easy. This is why I think I need to try harder (since I unfortunately care about this kind of thing!) even if the executive gives me little or nothing to go on. Gulp.The fortunate thing is that a guy called Bernard Marr recently wrote an article, “How to Start a Conversation with Absolutely Anyone”. It is a great guide and I felt a glimmer of hope after I read it. Unlike my article, it is more about what to SAY or bring up rather than how to befriend someone. Afterall, I’m unlikely to become Bill Gates’ best friend just because I impressed him with a interesting conversation in an elevator. Well, maybe.

Some of what Bernard mentions are (in my own wacky words):

  • Looking for something in the environment to talk about e.g. the food, the guests, the venue
  • Skipping small talk – don’t mention the weather for goodness sake, unless of course there’s a hurricane outside and you are under the table together. I’d imagine it would seem insensitive not to mention it!
  • Ask open ended questions. If you ask yes or no questions then you’ll get a “yes” or a “no”. At this stage, the only way to get more is to ask “why?” There’s only so many times you can ask why before you sound like a 3-year old on speed.

And so on. The article is worth reading if this stuff is of interest to you.

Do you have any other tips for starting conversations? I’d love to hear them in the comments.

Happy Weekend!

PHOTOGRAPHY: Loved & Abandoned

"Loved & Abandoned"

“Loved & Abandoned”

 

I shot this on Sunday afternoon near my home. I caught one glimpse of it and had to make a U-turn.

The scene represents a friendship left to die, passion allowed to wither and a life once energetic, ultimately not lived to its full potential…

 

Photo credit: Yekemi Otaru

Today, I’m Thinking About Family

Chicago, Oct 2013

Chicago, Oct 2013

Photo Credit: Michael Otaru (Uncle Oye)

%d bloggers like this: