The 2020 Daily Writing Challenge – April 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 94 of the 2020 Daily Writing Challenge.

Did you write yesterday? We are living in an upside-down world. The hustle and bustle of daily commutes, the never-ending parade of constant stress, unreasonable demands, over-hyped experiences, and thrilling activities competing for your time, attention, and energy—evaporated. Self-isolation, social distancing, work from home, eLearning, family time, and dog walking, are the newest must-do exercises. No one would blame you if you are feeling directionless in your suddenly open schedule.

Abrupt changes can induce anxiety, but what if you considered this an opportunity to cultivate deep working habits? Deep work is a concept defined by Cal Newport, associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University and self-help author. He defines deep work as “the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.” The concept involves complete immersion in the task. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi would call it “flow.”

Newport advocates approaching and completing challenging tasks by eliminating distractions, committing to block scheduling, and adhering to your intentions. Will applying this strategy help you find your voice, 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

The 2020 Daily Writing Challenge – April 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 93 of the 2020 Daily Writing Challenge.

Did you write yesterday? We are living in an upside-down world. The hustle and bustle of daily commutes, the never-ending parade of constant stress, unreasonable demands, over-hyped experiences, and thrilling activities competing for your time, attention, and energy—evaporated. Self-isolation, social distancing, work from home, eLearning, family time, and dog walking, are the newest must-do exercises. No one would blame you if you are feeling directionless in your suddenly open schedule.

Abrupt changes can induce anxiety, but what if you considered this an opportunity to cultivate deep working habits? Deep work is a concept defined by Cal Newport, associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University and self-help author. He defines deep work as “the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.” The concept involves complete immersion in the task. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi would call it “flow.”

Newport advocates approaching and completing challenging tasks by eliminating distractions, committing to block scheduling, and adhering to your intentions. Will applying this strategy help you find your voice, 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

Coffee to the Rescue – Daily Quote

nothing-can-replace-sleep-but-coffee-can-do-it-best.-i-love-coffee.-kelley-ohara

Spring allergies have hit. Stuffy head, red watery eyes, sneezing, and sinus pressure takes their toll when you are running full speed ahead. While allergy medication can relieve the pressure and ease congestion, it messes with my ability to concentrate and form coherent thoughts. My mind starts swirling, dreaming up countless improbable conjectures. Although none of the symptoms align, you wonder if you have coronavirus. It is crazy, reactionary thinking not supported by facts. Experience says sleep will help.

Ah, sweet sleep. It is a commodity as rare as toilet paper these days. We, humans, are hardwired to worry in the dark of night. We spend hours staring at the ceiling, tossing, turning, and entertaining concerns about the lack of shut-eye. The spinning wheels make matters worse. Sleeping during the daytime is a luxury I cannot afford. Coping mechanism number two is multiple cups of coffee. My hot brew helps ease sinus pressure while the caffeine combats a throbbing headache, and viola, no fuzzy brain. Step aside, I have work to do and I need another cuppa Joe.

What comforts you and makes you feel better?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Happy April Fool’s Day – Daily Quote

true-progress-quietly-and-persistently-moves-along-without-notice.-saint-francis-de-sales

Happy April Fool’s Day? I think? Wouldn’t it be nice if Q1 2020 was the setup for today’s punch line? I can imagine a fool jumping from a box to tell everyone this has been an awful dream. Alack, and alas, we are where we are. When planning and setting my schedule for this first quarter, I expected trouble reaching my normal word count goals. None the less, I set aside time for writing every day and tried to write even a few minutes.

For three months, I was discouraged. Thoughts of “I have gotten little done,” and “I am so far behind where I should be,” were a recurring theme. But my fingers hit the keyboard as often as I could manage, and I didn’t abandon my commitment. Moving slowly isn’t sexy. We admire the overnight successes, the fastest runner, the first to publish, and those who hustle at lighting speed.

Today I sat to review my results and plot my course for the next ninety days. Running my numbers, it shocked me to discover I am only a small percentage below my normal word count target. Without realizing it, I was making slow and steady progress. The key was daily persistence and unwavering dedication to writing every day. That’s an April Fool’s surprise I and glad to experience.

Are you moving closer to achieving your goals?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2020 Daily Writing Challenge – April 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 92 of the 2020 Daily Writing Challenge.

Happy April Fool’s Day. Did you write yesterday? Have you completed 4/12 (1/4 for you math types) of your annual writing goal? No one would blame you if March knocked you off track, decimated your schedule, and messed with your mind. But “unpredictable” is now to be expected.  Are you developing a new normal considering the constantly changing numbers with each news cycle?  Or is quarantine making your days feel monotonous?

I have two strategies I have developed from experience with stressful times. The first action item is to work harder on a focused list. Odds are that plenty of your commitments have delayed, postponed or canceled, while they have added unforeseen responsibilities to your plate. Step one is to keep the to-do list at a bare minimum and attack it with gusto. This month I am setting ambitious goals and getting competitive with myself. If my current writing sprint generated 500 words, my goal is 550 for the next session.

The second action plan is two-pronged. Indulge in frequent breaks and engage in unexpected activities. Have you seen the French man who ran a marathon on his balcony?  Maybe watch a muted movie and create the dialogue yourself. Compete in a dance contest where you are the only contestant or erect a display window for your neighbor’s amusement on their daily walks. What else can you do for April Fools?

The objective is to maintain a healthy level of insanity and stay on track to attain your writing goals.

Let us know how you are doing in the comments below.

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Traveling the Hero’s Journey – Daily Quote

people-with-goals-succeed-because-they-know-where-theyre-going.-earl-nightingale

Even when we know where we are going, the path can be circuitous. Detours, roadblocks, washouts, and fallen bridges block the direct path. The going isn’t easy. We find ourselves unprepared, short on supplies, lacking the right password, and despair threatens to consume the last of our resolve.  We cling to hope’s faint light and push forward.

Having goals is imperative. I compare the path to Joseph Campbell’s structure of the hero’s journey. The goal is set, we answer the Call to Adventure, travel the Road of Trials, descend into the Abyss, experience the Supreme Ordeal. I know the story isn’t complete, everyone is waiting for our hero to prevail against the odds.

Where are you on your hero’s journey?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2020 Daily Writing Challenge – March 31

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 91 of the 2020 Daily Writing Challenge.

Did you write yesterday? Life is an endless parade of challenges, exciting experiences, and thrilling activities all competing for your time, attention, and energy. The glitter and glam captures your attention, turns your head, and you forget about doing what makes you happy. While having multiple interests speaks to your personal freedom and your right to choose, the fragmented focus can keep you from following your passion and derail the attainment of your goals.

What activity lights your eyes, sets fire to your soul, and penetrates every fiber of your being? If it makes you happy to sing, then sing. If your feet yearn to dance, allow them to waltz you around the room. If you are compelled to build, teach, run, give comfort, or host dinner parties or live events, please follow your heart. If you are called to write, make the space in your day to find your voice, open your laptop, your notebook, grab a pen, and record the words and stories that are begging to be told. I promise you there is someone in this world whose lives will be enriched by the passion you pursue.

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

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Day One, Step One on the Path to Productivity – Daily Quote

only-when-your-consciousness-is-totally-focused-on-the-moment-you-are-in-can-you-receive-whatever-gift-lesson-or-delight-that-moment-has-to-offer.-barbara-de-angelis.

Focus and my ability to concentrate is in short supply. Uncertainty messes with my brain, but world events needn’t derail my desire to be productive. Easier said than done, right? Focus behaves like a muscle. The more I exercise it, the stronger and less painful concentrating becomes. The problem is starting.

When life gets stressful, I resort to Warren Buffett’s Two-List strategy. His directions say to create a detail list of 25 things I wish to accomplish. Long-term goals are proving too difficult to consider, so I fixate on this week. Completing the list is challenging, but I won’t be dissuaded. Eventually, my paper details a wide variety of tasks from housework, to writing posts.

With my twenty-five complied, I narrow the field to my five most important desires. Buffet says to set aside the remaining twenty, and he forbids dabbling with List 2 tasks until List 1 is done. On this Monday morning, even five things are overwhelming. I take Buffet’s instructions a step further and select one task. That means if I’m in desperate need of clean yoga pants, and it is on my leading five, laundry is my focus for today.

Sure, I still must fix lunch, and see to the normal day-to-day necessities, but I must do my wash before I allow myself to pick the next item from my list. But with a distracted mind, it may be my only success. And that’s okay. Tomorrow I promise to tackle another goal.

What will you accomplish today?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2020 Daily Writing Challenge – March 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 90 of the 2020 Daily Writing Challenge.

Did you write yesterday? Life is an endless parade of challenges, exciting experiences, and thrilling activities all competing for your time, attention, and energy. The glitter and glam captures your attention, turns your head, and you forget about doing what makes you happy. While having multiple interests speaks to your personal freedom and your right to choose, the fragmented focus can keep you from following your passion and derail the attainment of your goals.

What activity lights your eyes, sets fire to your soul, and penetrates every fiber of your being? If it makes you happy to sing, then sing. If your feet yearn to dance, allow them to waltz you around the room. If you are compelled to build, teach, run, give comfort, or host dinner parties or live events, please follow your heart. If you are called to write, make the space in your day to find your voice, open your laptop, your notebook, grab a pen, and record the words and stories that are begging to be told. I promise you there is someone in this world whose lives will be enriched by the passion you pursue.

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

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Family Tradition – Weekend Writing Prompt

Title: Family Tradition
Source:  Weekend Writing Prompt # 150 – Continuity
Objective: Write a poem or piece of prose in exactly 35 words

green grass under white sky at daytime

Photo by Quaid Lagan on Unsplash

Past generations whisper reassurances. Embroiled in uncertainty, consumed by today, legacy bolsters my future.

The continuity comforts me through trials and tribulations.  Loved ones walked this land, they struggled, persevered, survived.

I am never alone.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer