Write Your Book This Year: Start Very Small

Writer silhouette, copyright Chris LeCraw iStockPhoto.com #000000818351
© Chris LeCraw

Yes, this is the year you’re going to write that book—your first book, or your next book. That’s why you’re here.

However, this is not the usual resolution, or exactly a goal. I love the way Leo Babauta of Zen Habits suggests that we can change our lives in four lines:

1. Start very small.
2. Do only one change at a time.
3. Be present and enjoy the activity (don’t focus on results).
4. Be grateful for every step you take.

In case you believe you must work harder than that, Leo offers examples of dramatic changes he made by beginning so simply.  You can find that here. And more about Leo here.

So this week, you’re going to breathe, and smile, and be grateful for the enjoyment you will feel this year, because you will enjoy the process. You may think about writing if you like. You can start writing, if you promise to keep it small and enjoy it. Be grateful that you’re even thinking about writing, that you are capable of writing.

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2013. All rights reserved. WritersResort.com

Photo © Chris LeCraw iStockPhoto.com #818351

Related Article

(If you must have a goal, Susan J. Morris has wonderful ideas in this article. Remember–one small change at a time. Not all 10.)

Welcome the Sunset, 2012

50 Stunning Sunsets of 2012 by Weather.com Millie Alford Scottsdale
Click to see 50 Stunning Sunsets of 2012 from Weather.com
Thank you, Millie Alford, for this Scottsdale, AZ sunset.

Sunset is my favorite time of day—a reminder to pause, enjoy my Arizona sky (Where else would dust be spectacular!), connect with the source of it all, reflect on that day’s blessings (at least in gratitude for surviving that one), and seek guidance for the next phase of my journey. It’s like a mini New Year’s Eve. So today, I wish you a beautiful sunset on your 2012 and an even better dawn for your 2013.

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2012. All rights reserved. WritersResort.com

Screenshot from Weather.com, Millie Alford photo.

Poetics and Paralysis

Matthew Sanford reading from his book: demo video screenshot
Matthew Sanford reading from his book. His site is http://www.matthewsanford.com/

Continuing this theme of learning to listen to silence, consider Matthew Sanford. He teaches yoga, his spinal cord has an interruption, and his story and poetic observations teach us about the mind-body connection–how miraculous it is in every ordinary moment. He’s reading from his memoir, Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence, in an interview with Krista Tippett:

Mr. Sanford: (reading) Imagine walking from a well-lit room into a dark one. Imagine the darkness as a visual expression of silence. My rehabilitation made a mistake with the silence by focusing on the absence of light. It too quickly accepted the loss and taught me to willfully strike out against the darkness. It told me to move faster rather than slower, push harder rather than softer. It guided me to compensate for what I could not see.

“Another course of action, however, is patience. Stop moving, wait for the eyes to adjust, allow for stillness and then see what’s possible. Although full-fledged vision does not return, usually there is enough light to find one’s way across the room. After a while, the moon may come out, sounds might gain texture, the world might reveal itself once again, only darker.”

Obviously, his poetic mind is part of the story here. And his words are a great example of the power of story–as in experience plus interpretation–to transform all who are touched by it.

Here’s the whole interview: http://being.publicradio.org/programs/bodysgrace/

(I subscribe to Krista’s podcast, but I missed this one, so thank you, Daily Good, for giving me a second chance!)  http://www.dailygood.org/more.php?n=5027

I’d love to know what inspired you most about Mathew’s interview.

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Comment © Gwyn Nichols 2012. All rights reserved. WritersResort.com
Image: YouTube screenshot of Matthew Sanford’s demo video

Hamlet in Prison

This American Life Hamlet in Prison, screenshot

Jack Hitt’s hour-long report  for This American Life on Hamlet performed by prisoners, originally broadcast in 2002, has inspired me all week with its deep insights about Hamlet and encouragement for my own students, a few of whom have come from prison.

Nobody points out the ex-cons in my classes–I wouldn’t know that detail if they didn’t confide in me themselves. A couple have broken my heart by returning to prison or to the streets, but most are determined to take their second chance and become a blessing to their families. Like this reporter, I don’t necessarily want to know what they’ve done in the past. For me, their life begins here and now.

And I’d love to have all of my students think of my class-as one prisoner/performer said of his experience with teacher/director, Agnes Wilcox–“For a few hours a week, we get to feel human again.”

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2011

Friday Flick: Music with Shining Eyes

If you’ve never loved classical music before, give Ben Zander twenty-one minutes to change your heart. If you’ve loved it already, share this with someone who could use a little healing. Ben conducts the Boston Philharmonic and speaks about his transformative experience with Landmark Education–a beautiful combination. This is Benjamin Zander’s TED talk.

Benjamin Zander at TED: Music with Shining Eyes
Benjamin Zander at TED: Music with Shining Eyes

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2011

Image YouTube screenshot

Thanks, I Needed That!

WordPress showcased “10 Prolific Post a Day/Week Participants,” and I’m one of them!

Shall I tell you what this meant to me?

I realized today how burned out I’ve become in the last few weeks. New quarter, new classes, new students, new preps, new circadian schedule, forecast of 116 degrees and no rain, no summer vacation. When students whined, I felt their pain all too well, and my short fuse required amends. Already, life had been warning me so strongly of impending burnout that three of the four classroom projectors I had touched in the past week had refused to shine, and today, the fifth worked barely long enough before burning out. Colleagues comforted me, assuring me that vulnerability is wonderful for my growth as a teacher, and my students received me better in that vulnerability. The spill gates had opened and I came home weepy.

My son is writing a musical, Invincible, in which he explores vulnerability. (He’s wise beyond his years. And we were discussing it way too late last night.) So maybe I can receive the message now?

So here is the unvarnished truth: I came home, looked at my computer, and resented my blog for the sixth blogging day in a row. I hadn’t even been here in a week. I wasn’t being consistent anymore, felt I’d lost my stride, and had nothing I wanted to say in public. Vulnerability schmulnerability. (There, Drew, we’ve finally rhymed it.)

Here I’ve been writing all year to encourage your writing fluency and confidence–and my own had fizzled out.

I did check e-mail this evening, where I found several congratulating comments on this recognition. It could not have been better timed. This challenge itself has been a blessing in my life, and today, when I hit that wall and wondered whether I should quit, there you were, handing me a cup of water and cheering me on. Bless you all!

I look forward to visiting the other nine. Maybe one of them is as thirsty as I was today.

WordPress Daily Post
WordPress Daily Post

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Friday Flick: Flashmob on Recycling

Can you imagine if every gesture of conservation and kindness received such a welcome? Do it anyway.

Flashmob on Recycling a Bottle
Flashmob on Recycling a Bottle