Time Out

My computer has requested a break. It did break.

Bad news: my three years of Apple Care have recently expired, and it’s a defective logic board. “Sounds expensive,” I say.

“Very,” says Zane the Genius. Good news: it’s covered by the supplier NVIDIA because it’s under a recall.

Bad news: Apple and NVIDIA have known this was a bad batch. I even got one of the last of this model. Neither company thought I had a need to know.

Good news for them: they didn’t have to replace all of them, and only if and when our computers suddenly died. The expense to NVIDIA and trouble to Apple got spread out over several years. Very clever.

Bad news for them: I prefer to schedule recall replacements at my convenience, not without warning, so I’m griping about it online!

Good news for them: Zane was actually happy to have his suspicions confirmed by all the testing so he could help me. I suspect he’d find a way to make buying a new computer sound like a happy outcome. Great customer service skills.

Good news:  They had the logic board in stock.

Bad news: If I want the the lower case replaced (just for the defective latch) that part shipment adds a few days.

Good news: They discontinued that latching mechanism on newer models.

Good news: My computer is not dead. I get it back soon.

Good news: I have my data backed up–I think.

Good news: I’ll do more of those handwritten drafts I recently reminded you about.

Good news: I get to laugh about the irony of that.

Good news: The symbolism of having a defective logic board is not lost on me. (Does the one in my head need a replacement, a repair, or only a reinstall?)

Good news: My problems are minor.

Good news: I’ve been one diligent blogger and I’ve earned a few days off. See you around sometime.

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2011. All rights reserved.

Are You Addicted to Blogging?

My last post introduced me to bloggers reporting on a poll, “How Addicted to Blogging Are You?” My own results:

I am 55% addicted to blogging.

So what does 55% mean?  I thought addiction was like pregnancy. Can someone be 55% alcoholic? I expected my blogging pathological score to be higher, given this daily practice I’m experimenting with, so I have to consider the source: it was originally sponsored by an online dating service where they probably encourage a high tolerance for online addictions. And the wording, “How Addicted Are You?” assumes a certain degree thereof.

Still, I’ll take it as freedom to encourage you to write daily, whether you blog or not. Come on in, it’s only 55% problematic.

Yes, we writers can get compulsive in the throes of a project–working crazy hours, neglecting health needs, ignoring loved ones. We can also use journaling in a meditative, exploratory way, actually listening for what our bodies and are loved ones are saying.

Addicts escape from painful feelings. Writing can immerse you in your feelings, expanding gratitude, and healing pain.

Addiction breaks every heart within striking distance. Writing can connect you with kindred souls.

Addiction is selfish; publishing, service.

Addiction damages brains, and wires them to require continuance of the self-destructive behavior. Writing fires neural pathways for memory, pattern recognition, critical thinking, problem-solving, and imagination.

Addiction destroys people and projects. Writing creates.

Another View on Blogging Itself:

James Delingpole, “Blogging’s Not a Job, It’s an Expensive Addiction” for Spectator

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Image from How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Blessings of Daily Blogging

Having posted daily almost a third of a year (six times a week with only two misses), I’m amazed that I’m still getting it done, and that it’s been so easy. Here are my 10 favorite results of daily blogging:

  1. The daily habit: easier to maintain than weekly, monthly, or sporadic writing.
  2. Permission to be ordinary. Not every post has to be inspired and profound. The less I worry about that, the more I get inspired.
  3. More personal topics, sharing more of my personality and my life.
  4. Broadened topics, reaching beyond my own world.
  5. Greater connection with others as I explore new ideas to write about.
  6. Encouraging great writers I discover this way.
  7. Audience. My readership jumped as soon as I began blogging daily and has grown steadily ever since, with interesting readers from around the world.
  8. Title and topic testing. There are time-of-day and weekly patterns to my stats, but mainly it’s title attraction.
  9. Practicing what I preach to clients, inspiring friends–to have a daily practice, and be willing to practice in public.
  10. Detachment from results. It’s all about the writing. Only practice. Simply do.

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Random Unexpected Blog of Awesomeness

Pokemon Rayquaza Sky Judgment
Pokemon Rayquaza Sky Judgment

Younger son’s blog idea: “It’s time for your random blog of the month.” I didn’t know I had such a thing. He explained, “Oh, you just write about Pokemon cards or how to train a puppy or any totally whacked out blog that has nothing to do with anything you’re trying to tell them. It’s just a totally crazy, random, unexpected blog of awesomeness.”

Well, since I write about writing, anything I write connects to writing, right? It works for your topic as well. Synchronicity and your meaning-making mind machine will connect the most random ideas for creative clarity and pure poetry. So try that. Be random. Ask anybody for a random topic and marvel at what shows up.

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Text © Gwyn Nichols and Young Son, 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Image Pokemon.com

“Show Me Difficult”

Werner Erhard often talks about things that exist only in language: “Show me Difficult. Whales do not find anything Difficult.” And he also says something like, “I don’t have ‘too much to do.’ I have only ‘what I am doing’ and ‘what I am not doing.'” Here’s one of those places he said it. 

At this moment there are dozens of things which I am not doing. And there is this one thing that I am doing. We always have time for whatever we put first. A challenge like this keeps this blog on my DO list, rather than my NOT DO list. There is no guilty-for-not-doing list. Nor any guilty-to-be-doing list. Simply do and do not, to mess up Yoda’s famous line.

Enjoy what you’re doing. Enjoy what you are not doing.

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2011. All Rights Reserved.

The Sport of Writing

Some sports are played against the clock. Their time-centered rules vary greatly, but they include judicious use of the time available. Basketball rushes through its quarters with shot clocks to keep things hectic. If you want to pause and plan, you call a time-out, hoping to save one for any last second, secret club preparations for buzzer miracles. Football stops the clock for every play. Even competitive chess has cumulative time limits.

It could be that life is like that, racing against a pre-assigned death date to get all of life in, until ready or not, your buzzer sounds. But I like to think that life is more like baseball. It can go on all night if necessary. You have nine innings in which to alternate your roles and get the whole job done. You have at least three tries per player, and succeeding about a third of the time makes you a star. You can steal ahead and/or slide in at the last second, and it all counts. Ties do get broken, and only by one run, not a whole new time period. It all seems designed to give you every possible chance, like a benevolent God.

The catch is that, naturally, your opponent enjoys the same favor. And here’s another way baseball is like life. You need that opposition. The better your opponent, the better you become. You can’t hit a home run if that pitcher walks you. And if you strike out, there’s more respect if you strike out swinging, not merely looking.

As a writer, sometimes you’re on the clock. (Blog challenges.) School is like that: timed essays, calendared classes. The pressure’s intense, especially for perfectionists. As an undergraduate, I took two creative writing seminars. The playwright/Russian professor didn’t know what to do with me because I’d write a beautiful page and get stuck. (Blogging had not been invented.) Because I never finished anything, he gave me a C.

In my second creative writing seminar, poet/English professor didn’t know what to do with me because I’d write a beautiful page and get stuck. (Blogging still hadn’t been invented.) Because I never finished anything, he said, “Well, I don’t know any publishing writers who finish anything in four months either.” He gave me an A-.

Journalists keep writing to length and to deadline–in public. That’s the basketball of writing. There are novelists who write one book per lifetime: chess?

It helps to have some clock, some external deadline, to keep us in motion, and it’s nice to have flexible projects where you can take an inning here and there.

When I edit, I get to be the catcher signaling pitches, pounding “Put her there,” pulling a wild pitch into the strike zone. For me, journaling is my batting practice, and blogging is like a pre-season game, still practice, only public.

(Remind me to tell you why I like cross-country.)

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Carved in Amethyst

I didn’t write today, and I wouldn’t be here either except for this blogging commitment I made.

But I did create! Last year a favorite necklace broke. Today I did more than repair it–I revised it! (I’d photograph it for you, but I can’t find my camera computer cord.)

Such healing and protective properties have been attributed to amethyst, its name means “not drunken.” And these chunky, randomly faceted beads were fabulous comfort for my whiplash. My neck chose this necklace. At room temperature, the stones are almost ice. Then with wearing, they seem to warm beyond skin temperature. Remove them to cool and begin again.

Well, this amethyst necklace was several inches longer than my frame requires, and it had a decorative toggle clasp to wear in front, but no other embellishments. So when I bought the replacement beading wire, I chose silver spacer beads as well. Then I reserved almost half the amethyst to made a second necklace. I fell right into a new hobby.

We writers tend to come from personality types who have a hard time doing nothing. We’re at least thinking all the time. So this was my attempt at being frivolous.

Meanwhile, I was thinking of Jung playing with his childhood architectural blocks, shortly before his major ideas came together. I was considering lapis lazuli for the second necklace–and how it was the expensive ingredient of that gorgeous blue in illuminated manuscripts. Sorry, I’m thinking again.

Get a hobby.

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2011, All Rights Reserved.