This is not a blog post

I’ve struggled with blogging lately. I’m happy and doing fine but my brain is preoccupied on other things now; I just can’t hear my writing-self. I’m not worried.

This happens from time to time. When I’m still and reflective, there’s a voice in my head dictating every word and I cannot help but stop and write. I’ve been known to park on the side of the highway to write. I even walked out of a crowded concert to write. I’ve written on the table, on a napkin, behind of a business card – I just needed to put it down. Yes, I could carry a notebook around but sometimes the words are gone when I try to “formalise” its capture.

These days, I’m thinking about ideas. My thoughts are in pictures and concepts. Not words or feelings. Like I said I’m not worried – not this time. I’m at peace because the words always find me. And when it does, I don’t always notice until the end.

Blogging Review: Why I’m Rubbish At Small Talk

For me, blogging restarted in March this year. I wasn’t expecting to do so little blogging in 2013 and I did even less in 2014. What triggered a restart?

It wasn’t just the quantity of writing that worried me. The depth of it was unlike me…there was a lot of small talk with very little to go on in terms of how I was feeling about life in 2013 and 2014.

Then fast forward to March 2015. Blogging has become deliberate. I owned the fact that writing helps me verbalise my thoughts such that I can move on quickly.

I got great encouragement early on such as the pleasant surprise success of “I lost my mojo. Then I found it on a plane.” I tried out a different writing style with that blog, more present in the story. It seemed to work.

I occasionally take part in the weekly photo challenges. I have to confess that those take very little effort compared to my musing but I’m always surprised by how many people read/engage with those. WordPress promote those well and I get the most likes with weekly photo challenges.

A small portion of people engage with deeper thought provoking posts such as my recent one, “My Early Midlife Crisis: Bear, Manoeuvre or Heal“. I expected more attention for that post for sure.

The first half of 2015 has seen me blog more and blog honest. I have had to pause to wonder if I should please the majority of folks with more weekly photo challenges and small talk or whether to say what I want when I want regardless of who might engage.

I will need to keep blogging for me and I hope that’s ok. 

But I wonder: 

What makes you read and engage with a post on a blog?

I submitted my 1st journal article…and now I can’t sleep

sleep thief

What’s my most recent realisation?

Eh, I am hopeless at waiting.

Until a few months ago, I would have described myself as reasonably patient. But over the past few weeks, I have needed to physically and manually distract myself almost daily from worrying about the journal paper I have submitted to the Industrial Marketing Management journal. The paper is based on research during my MBA at Henley Business School in 2012 and focuses on the change management process in business-to-business social media. The paper is co-authored with David Rees, Visiting Executive Fellow at Henley. If you are wondering why I’m writing a journal paper, see this post.

write or be written off

There is nothing I can do but own up: I am chronically impatient. I know there’s no point losing sleep over it (but that hasn’t stopped me going sleep bankrupted). Whatever the feedback from the journal editors, it will be valuable and enable me improve my writing skills. It’s just that it’s taking a while for this truth to sink in. The hyper-competition in the academic ‘publish or perish’ world suggests that if I have half a brain, I should prepare for total annihilation.

It doesn’t help that I checked out typical review times for peer-reviewed academic journals and found that it could take up to 6 months before I hear back. If accepted, it can take up to 2 years before the article is published.

Ohhh. Myyy. Worrrd. I am going to have to put it out of my mind…for now.

Wish me luck.

Images from flickr users: David Bleasdale – Sleep Thief (yawn); Djuliet – write or be written off 

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 😉

Starting Over: Unhealthy Detour Ahead

I wanted to start over in 2013. I had plans to start a new career and build leadership capabilities. The years before now have been rewarding – no doubt – but I often felt stuck in 2nd gear (including the annoying sound and irritating other road users). Every once in a while, something would happen like a promotion or a commendation and I’d think “yeah…I’m coasting into 3rd gear.” There were a few false alarms.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I started a new job this year. This is my second week on the job and it really has been great. People are nice and I feel like I could fit into the rhythm and culture – this is good for me. However, the actual start of the job didn’t go as planned.

My elaborate list of things I was going to do to prepare and read about to help me “hit the ground running” was cut off and took a slight detour. Also, I was going to treat myself to spa and relaxation as I transitioned mentally into a new job/company. Well… on New Year’s Day, 6 days before the start of my job, I was hit with a really bad flu. Not the type that goes after 3 days. I mean, this flu took over my body and (eventually) my soul. You can guess what I spent the next 6 days doing.

I prayed hard AND sneezed harder. I didn’t want to start sick on a new job. I couldn’t breathe or think. And worst of all, I sounded like a pathetic little mouse! Everyone would say, “Oh, look what the cat dragged in!” if I turned up that sick at work. By day 4, all hope was lost. Things were not getting better and I felt like my big job plans were being attacked. How can I be at my best when I can’t breathe properly? Then things took a turn for the worst. I developed the most disgusting cough ever. I was doing things with my oesophagus that I didn’t even know was possible. I couldn’t cough or clear my throat without something gross settling in my mouth. Sorry but you need some details to understand my pain.

Day one of the new job came and I basically went in, ready or not. It was a very busy day and I remember only coughing once on my way to a meeting, at which point I turned right back to go to the restrooms to empty my mouth. I was sleep deprived and throbbing but somehow I was enjoying my first week.

I went from getting up at 7am to getting up before 5.30am as I have an earlier start at work. I’m not a morning person so having intelligent conversations by 8am was the biggest challenge!

I’m making personal changes such that I’m more organised to leave home early. I’ve gotten lots of support from family and friends, and I’m so grateful to them. They know how much I want to start over. I’m getting excited after a rocky start to my health. Things are looking up and getting brighter. And I’m growing up and getting happier about the changes – because frankly, I wanted things to change.

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