#SilentSunday

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#Throwback Thursday. Second Tries, or How to make the right decisions the first time?

 

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My brain must be like Emmental cheese these days, soft, spongy and full of holes. I am getting really fed up with trying to think and decide what to do, or even knowing if the final decision is the right one. As they say, if I had half a brain, I would be dangerous!
I can’t decide (or remember) if I have always been like this, or if this state of affairs is yet another symptom of my advancing years.

Time is becoming problematic, far too much of it is spent second-guessing. Wouldn’t life be more efficient if all deliberation could be removed? Easier to pick a winkle out of its shell with a pin, I hear you say. But I am heartily sick of wondering which item to buy, which programme to watch, whether to cut my hair, the list is endless.

Added to my inability to choose anything, is the sure and certain knowledge that whichever one I pick, it will be the wrong one. Always is. I never get anything right on the first try.

Could life be more like plotting a book?

Now, I know that many writers don’t believe in plotting. They believe their characters will do most of the hard work for them, and I have experienced this first hand too. But other writers firmly believe in careful plotting, even using a story board.
All my life, I have been a ‘winger’, hurtling from one idea to the next. Sometimes getting it right, but more often not. Advancing age has changed all that. I no longer have the time for hit and miss. Decisions I make now, have to be right, although how this will happen, remains to be seen.

Now, I am still virtually new to this writing business, and with the idea of getting it right first time (could be a novelty in itself!) I tried plotting. With a lot of practice, I’m getting better. So much so, that the sequel to my fourth book has been thoroughly plotted, storyboard and everything. But this is not something you could really do with your life. Too many decisions, and so many ways of dealing with them.
In addition, other people tend to make your life awkward, sometimes it seems, just to be bloody minded.

Could it be as simple as throwing a dice?

Then I remembered something. (It does still happen sometimes!) I once read about a man who always made every decision with the turn of a dice, and apparently, his life was glorious. Maybe it was worth a try, as my way was getting me nowhere.
On second thoughts though, that sounds worse than ‘winging it’.
But if I were younger…

They say there are ‘two sides to every story’ and ‘everything happens for a reason’, but what if neither of these things is true? What if it is as simple as right or wrong?
Could it be that when life gets too difficult, we are simply trying to force wrong into being right?

Should we blindly follow our instincts?instincts,

Recently, I have been thinking back through my life and all the different choices that I had to make. To that small, persistent voice that nags you, insisting you do this or that. How many times had I ignored it, thinking my own choice was better, usually for all manner of reasons? Would my life have been better if I had obeyed that still, small voice? If I had not always chosen the path of least resistance, the path that always looked inevitable. Maybe the choice that looked the hardest, the most impossible, would have turned out better than what actually happened?

Maybe then, I wouldn’t have so many things to be sorry for, so many people I should apologise to.
If there is such a thing as reincarnation and I get another chance to live a better life, I hope I remember some of the things I have done wrong, all of the people I have hurt, and do it better next time…

God Bless and see you all next week…

Brainstorming Sisters!

 

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Have you ever noticed that when something stalls in one area of your life, it affects everything else?

This was what had been happening in our house for over a week, so my sister, Anita decided that we should have one of our brainstorming sessions this morning. Something we do now and then which usually benefits either my book or hers.

Only this time, it was me, the writer, that was being brainstormed because I was on the verge of a major meltdown over my current WIP.

Somehow, the conversation became all about how I write. The genre, the characters and the way I think about everything. She knew I had been having trouble and had some definite ideas about improving it.

Now, although I usually hate my work being criticised, I have to bow to her greater ability as a writer. She never struggles with plots or character problems, just gets on with it. Her characters don’t argue with her either, and I have always considered that a good sign! She can write more in one day than I can in a week.

So I allow her to say what’s on her mind, not that I have ever been able to stop her! But, all joking aside, she has been a great help to me over the years. The reason I can call myself a writer has a lot to do with the example she sets.

I think she is a natural writer. She doesn’t have to think about it or worry constantly about the plot. Whereas I do. I don’t find the writing process easy at all and this morning I may have discovered why.

I hadn’t really thought about my protagonist at all, thinking the antagonist, or serial killer was all important. That somehow everything would simply revolve around him, which I now realise is not the way to go about it.

I had been digging myself into a dark hole, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, so I needed to sort the problem out, and fast!

Brainstorming with Anita can be a dangerous venture, as neither of us accepts criticism well. But when you are wedged between the proverbial rock and a hard place, you have to do something about it…

Sometime later, after harsh words, temper, tears and finally realisation, (all from me, BTW ) it was agreed that I hadn’t lost the magic, it was a temporary lapse, something that could be fixed. Finding another way of approaching the problem may be the way to go, and maybe a rewrite. Or another story all together…

 

If you don’t hear from me again, it means I have walked into the sea…

 

Reblogging, is it really a good idea?

 

 

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We have been with WordPress for years now and always been happy with the facilities, once I had mastered them, of course!

Early last year, I had to upgrade our account in order to gain more media space. At the time, this seemed reasonable.

Imagine my surprise when it happened again yesterday. For a few minutes, I couldn’t believe we had run out of space again. Something had to be wrong.

I duly checked, only to discover it was true. If we wanted to use any more images, we would have to pay up.

When we first started blogging, I understood that this particular WordPress was free, but it wasn’t long before the costs crept in. First, it was the domain, then the first upgrade. We were still happy at that stage, for £30 a year isn’t much for a decent website.

This latest upgrade has shunted us up to nearly £70 a year, although to be fair it looks as though we are getting more for our money this time. I did wonder what it would lead to and why we seemed to have so many stored images, many of which were ones I hadn’t used?

It took me a while to understand why all these images were among our own, and that we were, in fact, paying for the privilege of having them on our site, by way of reblogging.

Now, we do a lot of reblogging. Sharing is something we have always done, right from the start. If I read something interesting or informative, I love to share it and spread the word. This is how the good stuff finds more people and can actually make the world a better place.

So, is it a good idea to reblog so much?

Will it be good enough to simply like and use the share buttons?

I have recently been reading about how you can reduce your image footprint by altering the size of your images, thereby not using so much of your valuable storage space. But what about other people’s images? We can hardly alter any of those.

If we do have to cut down on the reblogging, we will not stop sharing. But we would be interested to hear any feedback on this…

Are Your Decisions Based on What you Eat?

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I read something strange the other day, something that really made me stop and think. It has been discovered that being hungry actually impairs your judgement.

Here are the articles that prompted this post.

“New research is discovering how metabolic state and the nutritional quality of food influence risk-taking and decision-making behaviours in animals and humans. The metabolic state can have a serious impact on risk-taking and decision-making in humans and animals…”

When Hunger Leads to Anger: Noticing External Influences on Mood

By Nate Kornell Ph.D

Internal states, like hunger, affect us more than we imagine.

The decision to grant a prisoner parole is not something to be taken lightly. It should be considered as seriously and objectively as possible. As a new study of Israeli judges shows, however, these decisions are influenced by a lot more than the lofty ideals of justice. They’re also influenced by snacks.

The researchers investigated the percentage of parole cases that were given favorable rulings. They found that as mornings wore on, the judges became less favorable. But after a meal break, they became more favorable again–followed by the same downward trajectory. The Economist has a figure that says it all: Hungry judges give less favorable rulings.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that people get grumpy when they are hungry. (There’s even a term for it: hangry.) But two things are interesting here. First, hunger had huge effects on a decision that should be, and presumably was, taken very seriously. The scale of the finding itself is pretty amazing. Second, like the judges in the study, most of us underestimate the effect hunger has on behavior.


Could this be why I have been having trouble concentrating lately? Ever since I reinstated the diet in order to take some of the weight from my ever-complaining hip, I have been unable to string any decent thoughts together. The more I try, the harder it seems to get.

The current WIP has suffered, and even the everyday stuff has been difficult to assimilate. Maybe we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of anything, in order to think and feel our absolute best?

I mean, we all know that a good meal usually leads to a good mood?

Anita has just reminded me that years ago many artists ended up starving in a garret somewhere. Makes you wonder which came first, poverty or starvation?

I can believe that depriving ourselves of anything will have a detrimental effect on our performance, as everything is more difficult if you are tired or hungry. I can still remember the torture when I tried to give up smoking. Luckily, a mild heart attack solved that problem and I stopped immediately!

Personally, I don’t want to revert to my previous gluttony for my arthritis demands there must be less of me. So, is there a solution to this quandary?

There has to be a way to convince my subconscious self that I am perfectly happy with the odd hunger pang, and that it needs to ignore the mountain of stress that erupts every now and then like Vesuvius.

Maybe then I can get back to writing 1000+ words a day!

 

 

 

2018…

 

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image by Pixabay.com

 

It’s as if we are on a merry-go-round, and everything is becoming a blur. This was brought home to me this morning as I drank my first cup of tea. I was watching the sky get lighter, gradually changing from inky black to grey, wondering what kind of day it would be.
Would it be boring, or eventful maybe? Busy, for sure, my cluttered desk an indication of that. As I watched, gentle fingers of soft pink stretched across the gradually lightening sky.
Even as I watched the wonder of it all, it faded away in an instant, leaving no trace behind. It made me think of all those sunrises and sunsets of my youth. Was it my imagination, or did they seem to last longer?
Was my memory at fault, or has the world become a much faster place?

I didn’t make any resolutions this year as I couldn’t bring myself to think positively about anything much. Two days before Christmas, I had my second annual mammogram to check if the monster in the woodpile has returned. They never tell you at the time, and the letter took an age to arrive. Luckily, the results were clear and I can breathe again until next year.

This ongoing personal drama has been a timely reminder that time is not elastic, that no amount of cramming and stretching will make it grow or change the outcome.

I didn’t want to write this post, but I thought it might help me to wade through the gloom that tries so hard to envelop me, allowing me to see the light that I know is still there somewhere.

Yesterday, I had an x-ray to see how bad they think my hip is. I am not expecting to be offered a brand new one just yet, although it is possible. It is more likely to be something else to be endured because of my age, and I will just have to give up trying to walk into town.

If I could afford it, I would get myself one of those disability scooters, or zoom buggies, as I call them. Although I would probably end up being banned, as the thought of whizzing around town is very appealing!

Then there are the cataracts. Last time they checked, they weren’t big enough to warrant being removed, so my eyesight is getting progressively worse.

I usually manage to smile at adversity, being an optimistic soul, but since my new teeth are the most uncomfortable things I have ever put in my mouth, that pleasure has been denied me too. I have an appointment next week to see if anything can be done about them, but I am not holding my breath!

So you see, all of these things have rubbed most of the New Year gilt from the gingerbread if you know what I mean. Finding something to smile about gets harder each day, and it is only my online friends that keep me going…

My New Year Resolutions may never make an appearance, but keeping my chin up is probably number one on my list!