The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – July 26

2021 Daily Writing Challenge Q2

Yesterday, my online writing summit delivered six hours of lectures. One presenter blew my mind, opened my eyes, and got me thinking in a new way. I’m not sure what exactly this means for my future, but I now have more options to consider. In between sessions, I started reading another book. I’ve been learning a ton of information this weekend.

With my mind running in overdrive, I needed action and food. The evening presented the perfect opportunity for grilling a beautiful piece of salmon. My tomatoes begged for a good long drink of water after another warm day. I scrubbed the birdbath and refilled it with fresh water for my feathered friends. I also arranged transportation services for the eight boxes of items I earmarked for adoption. Yesterday, they arrived at their new home, where I am sure everything will be loved. The best part is, their removal frees up space for me to sort, categorize, and stage the contents of the other storage boxes in the basement.

I always remember my number one priority. My core habits are strong, and writing a little every day is my secret weapon. Yesterday I wrote 452 countable words.

Did you write yesterday?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Test Your Limits, Expand Your World, and Dare to Learn Something New Today — Daily Quote

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I was that strange kid who couldn’t wait to start school. No teacher taught me how to read. I learned before I ever went to kindergarten. I completed most of my homework while I sat listening to lectures. Extra credit work was fun, and I enrolled in every advanced placement class my school offered. As a result, A’s populated my report card. My lower marks reflected my associated boredom level. An instructor once reprimanded me for working ahead in a math workbook, even though the answers were correct. I didn’t stop. Her class was boring.

I love challenges. Cracking a code, solving a puzzle, or learning a new skill is exhilarating. Throw me in the deep end, and while I might thrash around and almost drown, chances are I will soon be swimming like Michael Phelps. A wise man enlightened me on the benefits of becoming a perpetual learner. He warned me that no one knows less than the person who thinks they know everything.

This weekend, I have been taking an online course, studying a topic I love. I am pushing my limits, forcing myself beyond my comfort zone to create new connections. It’s as scary as Nik Wallenda’s volcano walk. I am happier than most students on the first day of summer vacation.

Are you pushing your limits today?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – July 25

2021 Daily Writing Challenge Q2

Yesterday, I attended an online writing summit. The summit delivered seven hours of valuable information while I sat in my comfy chair, sipping coffee and taking copious notes. As a result, I added some novel exercises designed to improve my current writing process to my To-Do list, and I am excited to get to work. In between sessions, I finished reading “5,000 Words Per Hour” by Chris Fox, took more notes, and added a few “ah-ha” items to my ever-expanding list. I also read James Joyce’s short story, “The Dead.” Because I was on a roll, I completed another module for my online class, then I printed the worksheets and reviewed the directions for completing the next big assignment.

I felt stiff after all that sitting, so I got moving and watered and fertilized my tomatoes. They are thriving in this hot, humid weather which leaves me sweaty, exhausted, and irritated. But I am always amazed when my carefully cultivated seedling being to bloom and set fruit. Next, I moved into the basement, where I identified, sorted, and earmarked eight boxes as candidates for relocation. I have the perfect house in mind for them, and it is not mine.

I always remember my number one priority. My core habits are strong, and writing a little every day is my secret weapon. Yesterday I wrote 392 countable words.

Did you write yesterday?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Indulge Your Summer Binge Reading Obsession, Fuel Your Creativity, and Fill Your Daily Writing Sessions with Inspiration — Daily Quote

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It seems I am always writing. I have written in doctor offices, hospital rooms, and coffee shops. I have composed pieces during quiet moments while babies napped, while standing in countless lines, waiting for a mechanic to fix my car, sitting with the family watching tv, cooking and eating dinner, and while I listen to blaring music. None of those situations impedes my ability to concentrate or stops me from constructing sentences, forming paragraphs, and searching for unique word combinations. The more distractions, the more I write. My mind focuses, and I block the cacophony.

Reading, however, requires solitude and silence, and binge reading is my secret indulgence. Others might consider a spa day as self-care, but there is nothing I enjoy more than the luxury of reading a book from cover to cover. My idea of a glorious Saturday night is curling into my chair with a book. If I have selected wisely, I turn the pages, blissfully unaware of time passing. Time stretches as the pages turn. My thoughts surge, forming deep whirlpools of unconnected facts, and the well of inspiration fills. The only interruption is the sound of my pen scratching notes in the margins. Tired, inspired, I feel my neurons rewire themselves. In the early Sunday morning quietude, I grab a steaming cup of coffee, and I fill my notebook with ideas.

Does reading fill your creativity tank?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – July 24

2021 Daily Writing Challenge Q2

Yesterday, the week’s activities and a few sleepless nights caught me. Tiredness smashed my resolve to move, and a migraine wrecked my concentration. When I can’t complete my intended goals, I review my long To-Do list for simple tasks. They are typically mundane jobs—things I need to accomplish. But either they never make it to the top of the list, or they are just downright repugnant. Cleaning the basement bathroom, weeding the thistle-infested, thorn-filled rose garden, and sanitizing the sunbaked, reeking trash bin make the top, or rather, the bottom of my list. They are thankless jobs, and I always reward myself for my perseverance when I finish the chore. Besides, these hot and humid summer days demand a cool drink and an indulgent afternoon of reading.

I always remember my number one priority. My core habits are strong, and writing a little every day is my secret weapon. Yesterday I wrote 488 words.

Did you write yesterday?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Bad News About Waiting for Your Friday Night Drink — Daily Quote

10 am on Friday…all you can think about is wine. Anonymous

Some weeks drive me to drink. I admit it is a short trip, and no one really needs to twist my arm. Besides, I always opt for healthiest options. It’s true, and I even have the blessings from the Mayo Clinic website.

Among other things, they say red wine is full of antioxidants that may prevent coronary artery disease by increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or the “good” cholesterol while lowering the bad (LDL) cholesterol and helping prevent blood clots. The trick is selecting wine made from dark grapes. This is not a problem for me, as my tastebuds prefer a full-bodied Chianti Classico, a rich and oaky Merlot, the earthy flavors of a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, or Brunello di Montalcino. What can I say—Adoro i vini Toscani.

The health benefits don’t stop there. Thanks to the antioxidants like resveratrol, epicatechin, catechin, and proanthocyanidins, red wine may help regulate blood sugar, reduce the risk of cancer, fight the common cold, keep your memory sharp, and keep you slim. Wait, hold the presses. Keep you slim? According to researchers, piceatannol, a chemical converted from resveratrol, reduces the fat cells in the body by blocking the receptors that form the pathways required for immature fat cells to grow.

Red wine can also reduce the risk of depression and aid digestion. Moderate wine consumption is defined as a daily intake of 1 glass (150 ml) for women and 2 glasses (300 ml) for men. Ok, sorry, but I’m still stuck on the part where I drink red wine daily and grow fewer fat cells. Where is my wine glass?

How do you celebrate Fridays?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – July 23

2021 Daily Writing Challenge Q2

The full-court press is underway to get current on my course homework. So, yesterday I pulled out my notes and wrote a piece to submit. I have several more modules and their associated exercises to complete, along with two more writing pieces before I am back on track. The end of next week is doable if I apply myself and avoid distractions. Let’s see if I am up for the task ahead.

Work continues on my mission to select and complete one small task from my House Remodel Project To-Do List each day. The most daunting task is unpacking, sorting, and either finding a new home, donating, or selling each item packed in the countless boxes stored in the basement. There are specific items I am searching for that I can’t locate. Lurking somewhere is a card table I want to use as my sorting space. Yep, it is MIA. Yesterday I discovered a missing bed sheet in a box of paperwork and a container of bathroom products mixed in with mismatched shoes. At least the mover appropriately labeled both boxes as “Miscellaneous.”

I always remember my number one priority. My core habits are strong, and writing a little every day is my secret weapon. Yesterday I wrote 1,963 words.

Did you write yesterday?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Close Your Eyes and Find Inspiration Within the World of Eigengrau — Daily Quote

To draw you must close your eyes and sing. Pablo Picasso

I love watching singers perform. As they close their eyes, they pull emotions from unfathomable depths, and I wonder if they notice the crowd swaying and singing with them. Emotions bubble to the surface, hearts soar, eyes fill with tears, and thousands of audience members connect to a collective, familiar feeling. Everyone at the concert transforms into your new best friend, even if you have never met them. Individual differences, petty grievances, and personal agendas dissolve as we recognize ourselves in the unlimited beauty reflected in the sea of humanity.

It’s not only singers but poets, painters, gardeners, writers, architects, bakers, and every creator who has ever lived who finds access to the source of inspiration by looking inside themselves. I’ve always wondered how we can feel, see, and sense more when we momentarily and voluntarily blind ourselves. How can we connect more fully with others when we block out the world and lose ourselves in the creative process?

Yet, even with our eyes closed, we still see. A kaleidoscope of colors, stars, lines, swirls, flashes, negative images of what we were viewing before shutting our eyes, and pulsations populate the darkened world. Scientists classify the many things we “see” collectively as entoptic phenomena and dismiss them as “visual noise” or “closed-eye hallucinations” or “phosphenes.” They speculate the retina in its resting state produces electrical charges that create the images.

The nineteenth-century psychologist Gustav Theodor Fechner baptized what our eyes observed when they remained closed, a color now cataloged in HTML as #16161d – Eigengrau. Fechner pulled from his Saxony German dialect to create a word that poetically illuminates that world. “Eigen” translates as “own light” while “Grau” means simply “gray.” It is the color of nothingness and everything. Somehow it seems fitting.

What do you see when you close your eyes?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – July 22

2021 Daily Writing Challenge Q2

Business, as usual, resumed yesterday. After the familiar 9 to 5 nonsense, I got to work on the fun stuff—homework. I’m behind on my online class, and I kicked butt and completed three modules along with the associated exercises. Yippee.

I felt a tremendous weight lift from my shoulders when we completed the major work on the house remodel. Plenty of smaller projects occupy my To-Do list waiting for me to finish them, but nothing urgent presses on my available time on a day-to-day basis. Every evening I devote about an hour to work on something minor. Yesterday I collected a box of items destined for donation, and an armload of garbage found its way to the curb. It isn’t earth-shattering progress, and nobody but me will even notice the change. But bit by bit, small steps eventually culminate in massive changes.

I always remember my number one priority. My core habits are strong, and writing a little every day is my secret weapon. Yesterday I wrote 525 words.

Did you write yesterday?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Stop Holding Yourself Back, Own Your Desires, Take Daily Actions, and Live Your Dream Life — Daily Quote

A somebody was once a nobody who wanted to and did. John Burroughs

We all start somewhere. We each have 24 hours every day and seven days in the 52 weeks that create an entire year. If you checked in with most of us, you wouldn’t notice much difference from one year to the next. Minor changes, maybe. There is an updated hairstyle and the vacation to the family cabin we visit every summer. That, despite insisting this year, we will learn a new language, change jobs, lose weight and get fit, and start visiting those bucket list locations. Almost everything remains the same.

Except for our one friend. You know who I’m talking about. They backpacked through Vietnam, took up Jiu-jitsu, lost 20 pounds, and they are starting a new position on Monday where they will advance their career further by working with the big-name guru in their field. Yeah, I’m looking at my shoes too and wondering why I’m not as lucky as my friend.

Perhaps the reason I haven’t done those things is that I don’t want them enough. Yikes. Could it be true? Do we imagine it would be “nice” to learn French, or are we determined to do whatever it takes to speak the language like a native Parisian? It is a subtle distinction, but it creates a shift in the underlying mindset and increases your aspirations and your willingness to walk the walk.

Have you always dreamed of being a concert pianist? What is holding you back from your dream? We can’t control outcomes. There is no guarantee you will perform at Carnegie Hall, but taking ownership of your life means you can control the “doing.” Owning your dreams means taking action and aligning your daily, monthly, and yearly activities with your desires. You may fail. It’s a risk, but what have you got to lose? There is no rewind in life – taking risks generates rewards, and unforeseen opportunities materialize when you are willing to accept the worst that might happen.

What do you really want to achieve?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer