The 2020 Daily Writing Challenge – July 4

2020 Daily Writing Challenge

Writing is like driving at night in the fog.
You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
– E. L. Doctorow

Today is Day 186 of the 2020 Daily Writing Challenge.

Did you write yesterday?  We get knocked down sometimes. Current events have done an excellent job of destroying normal. There is a silver lining. These times have granted us an opportunity to reexamine life, priorities, and what happiness really means.  I am determined, and I refuse to stay stuck in a mess. Today, I stand up, regroup, reset my intentions, and recommit to attaining my dreams.

An ongoing topic of exploration is Cal Newport’s concept of deep work, “the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.” Newport advocates approaching and completing challenging tasks by eliminating distractions, committing to block scheduling, and adhering to your intentions.

What are your intentions? Unlike goals that concentrate on achievement, intentions emphasize awareness. They are essential elements necessary to effect lasting change and establishing meaningful habits. Acting intentionally probes the root of your “why.” Examples of an intention may include creating space for writing and creativity. Do you hope to bring light to others, develop your skills, or gain strength? Perhaps your aim is to commit yourself to hard work and following through, regardless of the outcome. Does your purpose require you to face your fear and resolve to move forward, anyway?

Will identifying your intentions and reviewing them daily help you find your voice? Does it compel you to open your laptop or a notebook, grab a pen, and record the words and stories that are begging to be told?

Try it and let us know how you did in the comments below.

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Resuming My Reading Addiction – Daily Quote

why-buy-a-book-when-you-can-join-a-library.-ricky-gervais

Owning books is a joy. I appreciate seeing my dear friends staring at me from their homes on my bookshelves. I relish running my hand across their spines and visualizing the words, worlds, and adventures we experienced together. These are my loyal companions, and I am determined we will never part company. I enjoy reading eBooks and listening to audiobooks, but they can’t compete with the tactile aspects of a real, hardcover book.

I am lucky to have so many purchased volumes populating my bookshelves, but I also exercise my library membership. It is not unusual for me to have five, or six on loan at any point. It comforts me to know money is not a barrier, or an excuse, for not reading different genres. The library is a great resource for indulging without a huge financial commitment. In fact, I am more likely to purchase a book I have borrowed from the library so it can find a home on my shelves. My personal copies are the ones I recommend and lend to friends and family.

My biggest change for the lockdown was when they closed my library. Thankfully, I had just picked up six books, but in extending the due dates, they deleted the books I had placed on hold. Last week, they opened a new bin for returns, and next week, they plan to loan books again. I can’t wait to meet my new best friends.

Do you supplement your purchased books with library books?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2020 Daily Writing Challenge – July 3

2020 Daily Writing Challenge

Writing is like driving at night in the fog.
You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
– E. L. Doctorow

Today is Day 185 of the 2020 Daily Writing Challenge.

Did you write yesterday?  We get knocked down sometimes. Current events have done an excellent job of destroying normal. There is a silver lining. These times have granted us an opportunity to reexamine life, priorities, and what happiness really means.  I am determined, and I refuse to stay stuck in a mess. Today, I stand up, regroup, reset my intentions, and recommit to attaining my dreams.

An ongoing topic of exploration is Cal Newport’s concept of deep work, “the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.” Newport advocates approaching and completing challenging tasks by eliminating distractions, committing to block scheduling, and adhering to your intentions.

What are your intentions? Unlike goals that concentrate on achievement, intentions emphasize awareness. They are essential elements necessary to effect lasting change and establishing meaningful habits. Acting intentionally probes the root of your “why.” Examples of an intention may include creating space for writing and creativity. Do you hope to bring light to others, develop your skills, or gain strength? Perhaps your aim is to commit yourself to hard work and following through, regardless of the outcome. Does your purpose require you to face your fear and resolve to move forward, anyway?

Will identifying your intentions and reviewing them daily help you find your voice? Does it compel you to open your laptop or a notebook, grab a pen, and record the words and stories that are begging to be told?

Try it and let us know how you did in the comments below.

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Baby Kaizen Steps Move You Toward Your Goals – Daily Quote

life-is-a-series-of-baby-steps-along-the-way-and-if-you-add-up-these-tiny-little-steps-you-take-toward-your-goal-whatever-it-is-whether-its-giving-up-something-a-terrible-addiction-or-tr

In business, there is a proven technique for attaining long-term improvements. Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy that focuses on continual improvement. We can apply the method to every aspect of life. It relies on minor modifications that snowball and, over time, culminated in growth, advancement, and progress. There are six steps: Standardize, Measure, Compare, Innovate, Standardize, Repeat.

Standardize: What are you doing today? You have a process, even if you don’t realize it. Study what you are doing and commit it to paper.

Measure: Objective examination of your current workflow helps you determine where you are efficient or inefficient.

Compare: Inspect your results and plot them against your goals to see if your present operation is moving you in the direction you wish to go.

Innovate: Search for a better way to execute your plan. Your innovation may be big or small. Studies show that modest incremental changes get superior payback because they are easier for you to achieve and faster for your team to integrate.

Standardize: Implement your innovative ideas and make them part of your daily practice.

Repeat: Once your modernized workflow is a habit, you start the procedure again. Until your baby steps lead you to your target.

How are you progressing toward your goal?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2020 Daily Writing Challenge – July 2

2020 Daily Writing Challenge

Writing is like driving at night in the fog.
You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
– E. L. Doctorow

Today is Day 184 of the 2020 Daily Writing Challenge.

Did you write yesterday?  We get knocked down sometimes. Current events have done an excellent job of destroying normal. There is a silver lining. These times have granted us an opportunity to reexamine life, priorities, and what happiness really means.  I am determined, and I refuse to stay stuck in a mess. Today, I stand up, regroup, reset my intentions, and recommit to attaining my dreams.

An ongoing topic of exploration is Cal Newport’s concept of deep work, “the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.” Newport advocates approaching and completing challenging tasks by eliminating distractions, committing to block scheduling, and adhering to your intentions.

What are your intentions? Unlike goals that concentrate on achievement, intentions emphasize awareness. They are essential elements necessary to effect lasting change and establishing meaningful habits. Acting intentionally probes the root of your “why.” Examples of an intention may include creating space for writing and creativity. Do you hope to bring light to others, develop your skills, or gain strength? Perhaps your aim is to commit yourself to hard work and following through, regardless of the outcome. Does your purpose require you to face your fear and resolve to move forward, anyway?

Will identifying your intentions and reviewing them daily help you find your voice? Does it compel you to open your laptop or a notebook, grab a pen, and record the words and stories that are begging to be told?

Try it and let us know how you did in the comments below.

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Slowing the Onslaught of the River of Time – Daily Quote

time-is-a-sort-of-river-of-passing-events-and-strong-is-its-current-no-sooner-is-a-thing-brought-to-sight-than-it-is-swept-by-and-another-takes-its-place-and-this-too-will-be-swept-away

It seems like 2020 started yesterday, and today I check my calendar to discover half a year swept away. July is living up to its reputation for hot, sun-soaked days, but the expected lazy summer lull is not materializing. Instead, crazy workloads, and increased family demands coupled with uncertain procedures for completing once-routine tasks, rule the day. The normal state of my mind is a constant barrage of busy-ness. Thoughts chatter incessantly. I plan the future, review past performances, plot new trajectories, and fret about what I might be forgetting.

Time rushes onward, we stress about the lack of time and wish we could slow its passage. However, research suggests we control our perception and how we experience time. When we engage in benign, semi-pleasant, routine tasks, we enter a mindless state, and time slips away without conscience awareness. Likewise, when we must complete boring, non-challenging tasks that demand close attention, we can experience time stretching into a never-ending waste of precious moments.

Researchers say the cure for both situations is to focus on the moment and allow your brain to become fully engaged in the task. The act of full engagement alters your perception, time slows and expands. Call it mindfulness, focus, awareness, zen, meditation, or whatever, we may reap significant benefits from more purposeful observations of the world.

How do you slow down?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2020 Daily Writing Challenge – July 1

2020 Daily Writing Challenge

Writing is like driving at night in the fog.
You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
– E. L. Doctorow

Today is Day 183 of the 2020 Daily Writing Challenge.

Half of the year is in our rear-view mirror. Did you write yesterday? Have you completed 1/2 of your annual writing goal? Perhaps your January forecast bears no resemblance to what has happened so far. There is no shame or blame to assign if the pandemic and ensuing issues have decimated your schedule, messed with your mind, and derailed your fondest dreams. Or have your creative sessions expanded? Is your motivation surpassing your expectations? Are your ideas flowing fast and furious? Either way, today offers a marvelous opportunity to reevaluate, determine where you are in relation to your goals, and adjust your plan so you can continue to move forward.

July will be an odd month. Most of the normal 4th of July Celebrations, picnics, festivals, and parades have been canceled. I’m not sure how comfortable most of us would be in attending those events when going to the grocery store presents a risk. The silver lining is we are adapting to online conferences for learning, critiquing, book clubs, and shared family dinners. We are gaining unique experiences, struggling with challenges, growing, and internalizing arcs that we can apply to stories and characters. Inspiration lurks where we least expect it.

Whether your realigned creative endeavors focus on brighter days, eliminating now impractical past practices, altering long-lived traditions, or embracing unexpected habits, I hope you find meaning this month. Moving into uncharted territory is reason enough to celebrate.

Try it and let us know how you did in the comments below.

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Wasteland of Unproductive Time – Daily Quote

doing-nothing-is-hard-you-never-know-when-youre-done.-anonymous

I loathe having nothing constructive to do. Being productive, maintaining neat lines of items to complete on my personal agenda is much nicer. I get a rush when I can cross them off my list, call them done, and move forward. Time wasters include standing in line, driving in traffic, or having to re-working projects because of miscommunication. They top my list of anger-inducing ineffective misuses of my life. I strive to avoid those situations. Where possible, I order online, shop during off-peak hours, align my route to combine errands, ask extensive questions when beginning group activities, and document agreements in writing.

Coworkers have admonished me to slow my pace, so they didn’t need to work harder. Managers have accused me of cheating or lying as no one could do the task in such a short timeframe. But I have always been vindicated. To keep a project on track, I sometimes resort to completing assignments delegated to specific team members. It doesn’t bother me much because it beats staring at the clock and waiting for the minutes to pass. There is nothing better than the satisfaction of a job well done.

How do you handle unproductive time?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2020 Daily Writing Challenge – June 30

2020 Daily Writing Challenge

Writing is like driving at night in the fog.
You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
– E. L. Doctorow

Today is Day 182 of the 2020 Daily Writing Challenge.

Did you write yesterday?  We get knocked down sometimes. Current events have done an excellent job of destroying normal. There is a silver lining. These times have granted us an opportunity to reexamine life, priorities, and what happiness really means.  I am determined, and I refuse to stay stuck in a mess. Today, I stand up, regroup, reset my intentions, and recommit to attaining my dreams.

An ongoing topic of exploration is Cal Newport’s concept of deep work, “the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.” Newport advocates approaching and completing challenging tasks by eliminating distractions, committing to block scheduling, and adhering to your intentions.

What are your intentions? Unlike goals that concentrate on achievement, intentions emphasize awareness. They are essential elements necessary to effect lasting change and establishing meaningful habits. Acting intentionally probes the root of your “why.” Examples of an intention may include creating space for writing and creativity. Do you hope to bring light to others, develop your skills, or gain strength? Perhaps your aim is to commit yourself to hard work and following through, regardless of the outcome. Does your purpose require you to face your fear and resolve to move forward, anyway?

Will identifying your intentions and reviewing them daily help you find your voice? Does it compel you to open your laptop or a notebook, grab a pen, and record the words and stories that are begging to be told?

Try it and let us know how you did in the comments below.

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer