taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (star)
I think I'm figuring my niche out. Niche, yes: Who I've become, what I love to talk about on a blog, what I am good with.

I find myself wanting to talk about things that can be found in motivational texts.

I am aiming for a constantly positive attitude even in the face of difficulties and hardship. I have those, too, but letting my shoulders drop for days on end has never even once solved my problems.
The problems got solved once I took heart, started breathing again, and found ways to brainstorm possible solutions, to ask for help, to find counsel, and to start hoping again despite all odds and despite whatever came against me.

In German (my native language), and face to face, I actually am great at motivating other people. It seems to be a gift of mine; I just never knew it. Maybe I've also never really calmed down enough before to be able to notice and grow that talent.
Now I do. Now I find the words. Now I learn to listen, and in listening I find ideas, memories, concepts and advice that I can offer, and that after a while even begins to make a difference.

It is amazing to me to really see people go from hopelessness to lightness and joy within the span of an hour or two. I experienced it again just this week. Not every week, but once in a while, sometimes often, sometimes not at all.

But I see that this gift doesn't translate well to blogging and to online life yet, and I think this is because the face-to-face real-time contact is missing, and because social life works a lot differently online.

Here, online, I write a long text, and can't see the reactions, the misunderstandings between us, and might not catch where I misphrase things and explain something badly. (And, when I'm entirely wrong no one stops me in time, either.)
Real Life is more forgiving when that happens. Not if - but when that happens, because we all still are human. I've never claimed to be perfect.

So, I guess I have to learn to translate the gift I am now successfully using in my Real Life; to translate it into the virtual world. It works differently here, and I don't yet know how.

My niche, then, is motivational speaking. I need to learn how to change it into motivational writing to use it on this blog, too, which I had tried to do already without really becoming aware of that.

Sure, I could open other blogs, have a clean start somewhere. But what would I then be writing here? This is who I am now, and it has been who I were since a long time even when I did not understand it.
(Why was I for years going so public in trying to learn and teach how to write well? Because I love to help, and to motivate.)

That recent quarrel at my blog was pretty painful for me, and very unexpected, because I am used to my gift, that talent, working well. I didn't realise yet the differences in the mediums (verbal, interactive, instantly vs. written down).

But I hadn't taken enough time to edit and figure out all the places where I hadn't said things well enough, where my writing hadn't been clear enough. (The headline. I never meant to say that no one actually has depression; I meant to say that what these feelings suggest is a lie: No one is worthless, no one must fail, no one should ever give up.
Rather, absolutely, the opposite: You are worthy, you have so much potential, you can do anything you put your mind towards, you will succeed; please don't ever give up hope!
When put into perspective any current problems will start to look smaller, sometimes much smaller. - What perspective? How little I am actually suffering compared to starving children in Somalia? - No. But in regards to who you really are and how many ways to survive well and to succeed are still open. — Yes, even to you!)

To underline that I'd like to offer a link, too: The Badass Project.
This might not be for the faint of heart, but it definetely is a wake up call, and intended as such by the creators of that site.
You don't have to use such strong examples of prevailing and conquering despite strong obstacles. (Hey, being blind and training yourself to see through echolocation? Wow! I saw that in a movie once. Maybe it was actually based on that guy?)
There are enough other, less hardcore examples and encouraging information out there. But no matter what, there always is a way to fulfill one's dreams and become happy. (Yes, really!)

I think a lot depends on the mood you allow, and on the mood someone else can share with you.
Mood is created by ideas you share, by voice, by facial expressions and by body language, and then you could go metaphysical - buildings seem to have different atmospheres, cities seem to have different feels to them, people feel different to me … but how much of that is just my interpretation of outside facts and how much is actual intuitive/empathic perception I do not know.

So, about my niche? I want to write about anything and everything that fascinates me, but what fascinates me most is what I could call 'my niche', or my gift: Being encouraging, bringing actual help (just sounding hopeful without concrete facts is … not worth much because it lacks the ground, so to speak, something real to stand on), bringing excitement and fun and weirdness — yes, that's me.
And that's what I look for online. That's what I look for when I am reading new blogs, new websites: People that I can learn from to then pass on what I've learned from them to help, encourage, motivate and share with, others. (Who ever would need it.)

So now I finally know a bit better why I continue hanging onto this blog, and why my posts go into that one specific direction.
I just read from Signal vs. Noise an observation that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had shared with them:
"[…] the smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they’d already solved. They’re open to new points of view, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a well formed point of view, but it means you should consider your point of view as temporary."

I have been wondering why in this time of learning and trying to find my place online again - why I was and am constantly adapting and changing my perceptions and opinions.
I'm glad that Jeff Bezos kind of says this is good thing. I was starting to become ashamed of it. But in fact in a world that changes so much no one can afford rigid opinions. One has to stay open for new facts, for dialog, for the chance to learn and understand more.

The cutting edge is constantly shifting and changing. Every day brings new life, new ideas. The conversation continues, we make new discoveries and develop new technologies. No one can afford to stand still, because the world doesn't.

To not get intimidated by these changes but instead be able to start seeing the opportunities and chances and concrete possibiblities that we could take, explore and run with, that is what motivational speaking, writing and filming … often is about:

Seeing the glass half full or half empty (an example that never managed to properly impress me), seeing (and focusing on) the opportunities and the wonderful new beginnings instead of what dies and falls away and is becoming outdated, that difference is created by such a small shift in attitude it seems, but it is increadibly life changing. It also is a learnable habit.

I might have never really learned it before now, but I also never really lost that hopeful outlook on life itself, and on my life, and that really helped me to get through some rough times.

I do not know whether I'll ever be able to translate my offline talents into the complementary online talents. I wish for it, but whatever I am doing here can just be an experiment for now.

Yet this is what I am doing, online and offline, and I can't help myself.

I will not get everything right to my own or to your satisfaction, but I will try to stay open and learn and adapt. I do this because this is me and this is what I've always been about; and I do what I do out of love for people, any people, and out of love for life itself.

This can be a wonderful world. Really! I want to experience what I can already imagine in my mind, I want to see this whole world realise its potential. Wouldn't that be great? But how could that happen?

Well, it all starts with a first step of courage and of hope, every day anew.
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (sunrise in the mountains)
.1 — Six in the morning, and I already have written over 1k. :)

.2 — I just saw that the normal LJ-cut opens like the spoiler-cut now, and it even can be closed again. I've always hated that cut because it created such a break in my reading flow but at least it is more comfortable now.

.3 — I gave up on #row80 again.
Last time I stopped because I came to a point in my project where I lost every motivation to continue.
This time I stop because the challenge itself just doesn't work well for me.*

(I don't need motivation for setting and fulfilling low-pressure goals (because it is the challenge that knows you have a life it encourages you to set small accomplishable (read: boring) goals); I didn't need that I rather wanted to be part of that quite motivated writing community. But I can now still follow everyone's blogs and look at the linky lists without doing these check-ins myself, and I guess I'll be as bad at commenting as I would have been anyway.

I like check-ins, I like reading them from other people, I just find it weird for me to report goals I have set that I don't much respect — yeah so what, I can record a song per day, no problem, have done that before, will do it again. I just need to remember to do it. And, come on, I don't need a challenge to read a book. I just need discipline, and I don't think this challenge would have helped me much with it exactly because of it's low pressure. And for writing there are Nanowrimo, ForwardMotion, and quite a few good communities on LJ.)

*EDIT: Actually, it is a bit more, or rather: different, than that. Mostly I think this blog isn't the right place to do such things. But I don't yet really know what this blog is the right place for; I still have to figure that one out. It probably simply develop in time. So this was a false start - maybe.

.4 — I will think of something for this music stuff. I want to do things with it, so I'm going to. I have some ideas; I just have no concept yet and will need to talk with people about it.

.5 — For writing a short story per day I don't need an extra challenge either: I already have the Daily Challenge on the [livejournal.com profile] artistsguild.
I have been writing several nonsensical stories for them; I am slowly filling [livejournal.com profile] taleastales and I'm having great fun doing it.

So I now have this cute little community with easy challenges that actually fit me.
First I wanted to offer tutorials and some bigger challenges and stuff, but I don't know about that anymore. Google finds a lot of ressources if one has the patience to search, and that's what I would have done: In these tutorials I'd have linked to sites, tutorials and information that I value, usually because it helped me in some way.

I think when I want to have certain information and links in one place I will do such an entry - but not as something regular that becomes a chore to me, something that takes away from my writing time.

Right now I neither need nor enjoy bigger challenges, the monthly and weekly ones that I had planned for the Artists' Guild; that would just put a unnessessary pressure on me. One day I will probably do one of these special challenges, but then I will have fun with them.

So for now Artists' Guild is working as intended: There are daily challenges that I enjoy with prompts that I for once can actually use to get inspired, there are little workrooms that are much fun to write and imagine, and maybe one day people will even use them. (I am already looking forward to "spending" the points I am earning for writing and posting stories on something in the workroom's shop.)
Everything else will be developed later, if at all. Now I need to edit the Profile accordingly.

.6 — It's a Sunday! I like Sundays, it always seems to be more peaceful and lovely on these days. <3
(In Germany nothing happens on a Sunday. No stores are open, no people are out except for maybe taking a walk in a park, everybody except for the few churchgoers sleeps in; there really is peace over the land. Or just sleepyness.^^)

.7 — Now it's eight and the sun is up. It had been raining when it was dark; now there's sunshine outside and it promises to become a really lovely day. I've been up since before four doing this and that and writing. ... And now: Sunlight at 8°C! It'll be a great autumny week.
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (Default)
#Row80 Check-In

While Kait (the founder of A Round Of Words in 80 Days) recently said: write much in your check-ins to give others something to read, I would rather like to write little to make this short and painless. Or at least short. (Not that I ever succeed with that!)

So. What have I done? I use Joe's Goals to record how much or little I do on my main tasks, so I can quickly look it up.

— Writing: I've been writing daily, apparently 5k since sunday. But no short stories, and I missed two deadlines - the one for the Quick Fiction Challenge on [livejournal.com profile] writerverse and the Daily Challenge from [livejournal.com profile] artistsguild that endet yesterday. Whoops. I guess I'll need to catch up today.

Yes, Artists' Guild is open and is posting. The Daily Challenges are being posted since beginning of October, the first (members-only) workroom went up this week, but there are no monthly or weekly challenges yet. That will probably start next month.

The Daily Challenges offer several prompts that can be used but don't have to be used (each prompt used earns you additional points if you're into that but you can also just ignore the whole point system), and the challenges are open to any kind of artist. - I'd record me dancing and use that if it were anything to show off, lol. Maybe I'll upload some of the music I make, but not yet. Mainly I want to use these challenges for writing and hopefully for drawing, too.

So. I did one challenge for Artists' Guild, one I missed, and the next deadline is today which is exactly what I wanted from that community:

A deadline for every day, to get me back into daily short story writing.

And by short story I mean really short: miniature, litte over 100 words (though most of the daily challenges themselves have no word limits). That's enough to find a nice idea to expand on later, and that's my reason for wanting to write miniatures: They give me material to create real short stories from - which is a form I'd like to learn to write.

Yes, forget about me keeping it short even in a Check-In. At least I'm having fun with writing about writing.

— Singing: My goal is to record something every workday, and so far I managed to do that. I'm not editing, though yesterday I did cut out the beginning nonsense and a noise at the end so that only the actual music is left. Usually I don't even do that.

— Drawing: Nothing yet this week. (There is still another half to this week, so I'm still good there.)

— Reading: Yes, a bit, and I signed up to some open courses online creating a far too big workload but. You know. The topics were so yummy…

Also, to get started with writing something, anything, Write or Die by Dr Wicked is a very nice free web application that kicks your butt and gets anyone writing within seconds (20 seconds max! and after that 10 seconds max).
Writing nonsense always counts. Ten minutes after writing complete nonsense it starts making sense, that's one of the mysteries of making art.
For Nano, this little program is a live-saver. (There is a desktop/iPad version for 10 bucks that is a bit better, even. But the website is totally enough, and after getting into a writing flow with this tool I can continue writing on my normal writing software. Write or Die just jumpstarts me into writing NOW.)

Also for Nanowrimo: Taking part in the sprint war threads in the forums (subforum Word Wars) is for me the absolute best way to get the stories written. If these threads were active the whole year long I'd be writing 10 books per year. For sure!

I think I'm done here. Back to work!

- Linky Links to the other ROWers.
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (sunrise in the mountains)
Ok. It has started again.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is beginning its 4th season today. I'll participate again, but this time I'll try to keep going for longer than just a month.

My goals? I don't know yet. Maybe those, for now:

— read a book or two on sciences (and actually understand it)
— try to write for as many challenges by [livejournal.com profile] artistsguild as possible
— write for every Quick Fiction Challenge by [livejournal.com profile] writerverse (<3)
— (figure out how to) continue that novel
— start learning to draw again
aaaaand, let me think,
— record a song every day (or at least do something for it)

Actually, this is the challenge that knows you have a life, meaning, I'm allowed to set very small goals, and, should I fail them, to just get back up and return to the challenge the next day. Originally it is a writing challenge, which it still is for me; I just added a bit outside of writing.

There will be two Check-In's per week where every participant then can report if they managed to reach or surpass their goals or even failed the whole time due to whatever LIFE has brought.

But, still. Doing the little daily challenges shouldn't take more than 10 minutes, recording something can be done in 10 minutes, too, and learning to draw … I can do that once a week or so for half an hour. After all, the goal is just for learning, not for becoming perfect during these 80 days.
Reading a book or two on the other hand, well. These are fat books I'm trying to read. Like ten books inside each of the books. So I'll just read a bit ever other day and I'll see how much I get done.

And since I'm allowed to adjust goals, that'll most likely happen, too. As I understand it, this #Row80 challenge is about getting things done that are important to me, not about becoming Supergirl (though, if someone were to teach that I'd totally sign up for it - I always wanted to learn to fly).

Wish me luck.
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (Default)
Kennt ihr Randy Pausch? Den Typen, der totkrank ist, vor einem halben Jahr seine letzte Vorlesung zum Thema "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" gehalten hat, und dann unglaublich bekannt wurde, weil alle Welt das Video sah und begeistert war?

Um den ganzen Streikaufrufen, Rants und LJ-Dramen mal etwas nettes, erbauliches entgegenzusetzen, verzichte ich auf weitere Schimpftiraden über das olle, uninteressante Drama. Statt dessen gibt es schicke Links und tolle Videos mit deutschen oder englischen Transkripten. Freut euch, hehe!

Randy Pausch hat nämlich noch einen Vortrag gehalten, einen zum Thema "Time Management", und der ist ähnlich toll, witzig und spritzig gehalten wie der erste, weshalb ihn sich niemand, der unter Prokrastinieranfällen, Unordnung, zu wenig Zeit und zuviel Chaos leidet, entgehen lassen sollte. Find ich.
(Und selbst wenn einem der Vortrag nichts bringen sollte, ist er immerhin toll und kurzweilig genug gehalten, das man nicht bereuen kann, ihn gehört zu haben. Aber wem könnten Tips zu diesem Thema denn nichts bringen? Die wenigsten Leute sind Asse in ihrem Umgang mit Zeit.)

Googlevideo: "Time Management" by Randy Pausch, November 2007

Auf dieser Seite kann man sich das Video in High Quality runterladen und sich sogar das deutsche Transkript holen, falls man nicht alles verstanden hat.

Und hier ist nochmal das YouTube-Video, das ja jeder kennt: Randy Pausch Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams. Alleine dieses Video hat über siebenhunderttausend Hits.

Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch, who is dying from pancreatic cancer, gave his last lecture at the university Sept. 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium. In his moving talk, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," Pausch talked about his lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals.

Also, wenn ihr vor lauter Streiken morgen nichts zu tun haben solltet, ihr euch aber trotzdem nicht zu euren Lieben setzen, sondern euch doch lieber hinter den Bildschirm verkriechen möchtet, dann spielt nicht fünf Stunden lang gelangweilt Solitär, weil ja dummerweise LJ tabu ist *augenroll*, sondern guckt mal in diese tollen Vorträge rein. So einen unterhaltsamen Redner, der gleichzeitig auch noch tatsächlich etwas zu sagen hat, hört man nicht alle Tage, wie ich finde.
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (Default)
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by frost.
From ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken:
The crownless again shall be king.

J. R. R. Tolkien


taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (Default)
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