Well, I did it. I got through Overcommitted October — not quite intact, since I got a bad cold, but — and made it through to Novel-writing November.
Ended the month by reading an excerpt from my novel (in progress), published alongside the works of other talented writing, at Gay’s The Word bookshop to an audience of friends, agents and publishers. What a way to end Black History Month (and I was representing in my favourite jumper, naturally).
I was exhausted, and full of a cold, but it was still exhilarating. And I was delighted to be surrounded by friends and writers. So encouraging!
Now continuing to write my novel. For 50K words in a month (the goal of NaNoWriMo) I need to write 7 pages a day. So far I’m on:
- 3 pages, Monday
- 4 pages, Saturday
- 1 page, Sunday
I was starting to put more pressure on myself, but I decided to give myself the relaxing weekend I deserve. I listened to podcasts about trees, watched videos about crocodiles and did a little writing here and there.
One of my friends asked me what the theme of my novel is, and so I realised things have evolved somewhat.
Now themes include art and science – and how they relate to each other – community, trees & connection to natural world, something about people and relationships, magic, thriving under oppression.
- Intro to The Village Chestnut Tree: Emmett Hoops is clearly a tree nerd/enthusiast, like myself, and he sounds just like me when he’s enthusing and proselytising. Learned a lot about American Chestnut trees (castanea sativa) as a result, including work to save them.
If anyone knows any good podcasts on reptiles, please let me know.
This week in audio
This compilation, refreshed fortnightly on Thursdays, introduced me to:
- Overheard at National Geographic: I listened to The Alien Underground, mainly because the episode name reminded me of The X-Files. And it didn’t disappoint, content was very X-Files-esque, with rocks, space, crystals and metaphysical questions
- The Lonely Hour: “a space to talk openly in hopes of both de-stigmatizing loneliness and underscoring the joys of solitude”. Very timely to listen to The Importance of Doing Nothing.
- Does Social Media cause depression? by The Savvy Psychologist’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Mental Health
Also, whilst we’re on the subject of healthy habits, I told my mum that I was trying not to use my phone at night and she said, ‘Why don’t you switch it off?’ I did a double take whilst I pondered this before realising the wisdom, and promptly complied.
The next day, I decided to only check social media and messaging apps for 15 mins after meals, and to leave my phone in a different room from me. It’s going great.
Oh, also, started reading Zadie Smith’s Swing Time this week.
Liberate ALL the structures!
Working on a real world problem to end exclusions (students being expelled) really made it worthwhile.
And, definitely ready to take a break now.
It’s not impostor syndrome, actually
I spoke about having impostor syndrome this week. But that’s not quite it.
People assume I have less experience and fewer skills than I have, and so I constantly feel like I need to prove myself to get recognition and opportunities.
It’s exhausting and demoralising.
When I do share an achievements that people find impressive, their shock and surprise is palpable sometimes.
Absolutely extracting myself from superficially supportive spaces and only spending time with people who actually nourish me and nurture my growth.
Whenever I’m at a training event, people assume I’m there to be taught. And I’m interested in learning, always, of course. But these are very different situations:
- Participant: You’re here to teach, right? We can’t wait to learn from you! Give us your wisdom!
- Co-facilitator: Yes, but I’m also here to learn from you
- Everyone: 😊
- Participant: You’re one of us; here to learn!
- Me: Yes, of course, continuous learning is my jam, and, also, I’m one of the facilitators
- Co-facilitator: Yeah, we like to get a range of folks involved to show that anyone can do it!
- Me: 🙄
Anyway, just gonna keep reminding myself that I’m putting my needs first now, at least for now, and see how I’m feeling in a few months after some deep rest and some healing.
Also, it’s led me to work on Min Specs of giving my time and energy to work-related activities. Which will help me a lot in 2020.
And I’ll double down on keeping track of my achievements and reminding myself of my awesomeness.
Restorative spending time with people I love and trust. Made all the difference.
Relaxing, as intimated above.
Back to bedtime routine of story time, music & meditation at 8pm.
Another timely reminder that Universal Income is where I want to focus my time, energy and attention.
Words of wisdom… from tea
Never try to impress others try to impress yourself.