We all have goals, aspirations or at the very least, desires and wishes that we want to see come true one day. Some of these we work more or less hard for, others we sort of contemplate in an offhand but hopeful manner, waiting for something to happen of its own accord. A bit like wishing you might win the lottery, if you like.
It’s been a while, sorry about that. In my last post I talked about having problems with finding things to write about, which kind of also paralyzed me for a while when it came to writing for this blog. Ironically, I did quite a lot of writing outside of it over the last few months (for work of course, but also on personal projects) so now that I’ve finally found a topic for an article, I hope I’m cured of my temporary block.
There are a lot of things written about mindfulness and meditation out there, so I can be honest upfront and tell you I’m not going to give you any earth-shattering revelations about those practices in this post. I’m not an expert on either subject, by any means. I’m only starting out and I decided to write this article to share with you what I’ve learnt so far.
I’ve been having trouble writing the last few days.
In the middle of NaNoWriMo 2015, I’m struggling to sit down and make sense of what it is I’m doing. I’m typing and words are pouring out. I’ve got about 42,500 words, so only 7,500 words until I win (technically). It’ll be my NaNo record, finishing by day 19 or day 20. I already plan to carry on until the end of November, putting out as many words as I can…
… but will they mean anything?
I’ve always wanted to say things with my words. Sometimes, I want to say so much it stops me from writing altogether. I think to myself “that’s never going to do it justice” and I freeze and give up. Sometimes I never even start. Other people have called me out on it, but all I can do is shrug. What is the use of empty words?
Recently, I’ve been trying to teach myself that it’s impossible to say everything I want to say, in exactly the way I want to say it, in a single story. So I’ve pushed myself into starting one story that will hopefully contain some of the things I want to talk about. Sometimes I feel it does, but more often the sentences I type seem dry and meaningless. I will have to change them, I already know.
A lot of people die every day, in many different circumstances. A lot of people died a few days ago, in Paris and Beirut, in similar and terrible circumstances. I’ve been reading the words of those who survived, soaking in their meaning, trying to make sense of it all.
I wanted to call this post “How can we still write?” but realized that wasn’t the problem. Typing on a keyboard is an easy task, all things considered. I do it every day, for my work and for my own personal projects. It’s what comes out of that typing that matters.
What can we still write that truly matters?
The world is filled with good intentions and abandoned projects… ever wondered why that is?
A very on-point post over at Raptitude made me realize that in order to change my bad habits, I really need to just get on with those tasks I’m perpetually putting off. So I closed Facebook and opened my blog and that helped, because now I’m writing this post. But this post isn’t about procrastination (while writing about procrastination can be useful, I can’t shake the feeling that I would be… well, procrastinating). It’s about improving concentration and staying on-topic, something I could benefit from every single day, no matter what I’m doing.
So a few weeks ago (more like a month, oops) I wrote about how I was quitting my job and starting a new life as a freelance writer and translator. I’ve had about four weeks of it now and I’ve already learned some important lessons along the way. Aside from the fact that admin sucks and that social media is some sort of evil, soul-sucking vortex just waiting to rob me of half my waking hours, I’d say the most important lesson I’ve learned is the following:
Nothing ever happens like you want it to.
I know I haven’t written a post in a while, but I kind of got stuck in a rut with those posts on Japan. While I really really loved Japan and I wanted to share my experience there with you, this isn’t really a travel blog… I kept feeling as though I’d strayed from what I wanted to achieve here and so I kept putting off posting something new. Part of me thought I needed to see the Japan diary posts through to the end, but another, bigger part of me just didn’t really want to do that right now. Maybe one day I’ll feel motivated again. But now I need to break free from that rut and do something else.
Today we were given a choice of buffet breakfast or traditional Japanese breakfast, which the hotel serves on weekends and bank holidays. Feeling adventurous, we chose the traditional breakfast and were taken to the hotel’s other restaurant where we quickly realised that we were the only gaijin (foreigners) brave enough to try this meal. We were a little nervous as so far, we’d managed to stay clear of having fish for breakfast, but we figured we should make the most of trying as many things as possible while we were here. I’d seen the traditional breakfast advertised on the hotel website and it seemed quite expensive, so I wondered if we’d have to pay a surcharge, but it turned out to be free for guests actually staying at the hotel.
We got up early again and did round 2 of the breakfast buffet, which was as good as before (and thankfully I didn’t embarrass myself with the tea this time). After breakfast, we checked our emails and confirmed the reservation for that evening’s meal at Sushi Bar Yasuda (the news had come a week before that they’d had a cancellation and we were off the waiting list – miracles do happen!!). We then left for Mitaka, where the Studio Ghibli Museum is, with plenty of time to spare as we weren’t entirely sure how long it would take to get there. Our 7-day Japan Rail Pass became valid on that day and it turned out to be really easy to get a train almost all the way into the suburbs, needing only one change to get to our destination.
First of all I must apologize for the prolonged absence and lack of posts… As stated at the beginning of this month, I devoted all of my writing time (and more) this month to doing National Novel Writing Month 2014! And… it paid off! I managed to write just over 50’000 words in 29 days. All while keeping up with my full-time job, hosting various dinner parties and dealing with all the crap life tried to throw at me during the month (rather a lot…). I desperately needed to prove to myself that having a day job really is no excuse for not producing a decent amount of writing and I think I did exactly that… only now I have to get on with things and actually produce something worth reading.
Hi there, just taking a break from the Japan Diary to officially commit, on this little blog of mine, to National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo as it’s commonly known. If you like writing and you haven’t tried it, you should, it’s awesome. There’s still time to sign up (today is the first day) and get in your word count! It’ll make you laugh (well that’s up to you and what you right, really), it’ll make you cry (probably) and it’ll change your life (definitely). It’s a great way to make new friends who are also interested in writing and you’ll end up with the (very) rough draft of at least half of a novel (depending how epic you intend it to be) by the end of it. I know it can be done, as I’ve completed it twice before, but this year I really want to win it while having a full time job at the same time (my previous two wins were achieved while unemployed).