Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Vegetarian

When I was twelve years old, I decided to be a vegetarian.  My mother was not thrilled and told me that if I was going to eat differently than the rest of the family, I had to cook for myself.

So I did.

I had always enjoyed cooking, so it wasn't a huge chore except on the days I got home late after activities and then had to think about what to eat.  And my mother was always harping on about protein and a balanced diet.  Of course she was right to do that, but at the time it was a huge pain in the a**.

I was never a vegetarian for ethical reasons (although of course I understand them), but because I never really liked meat.

I remained a vegetarian for eleven years.  Then I started working as a chef and had the opportunity to taste really beautiful cuts of meat, cooked perfectly.  Little by little I started eating meat again.

Then I met my partner who is a vegetarian and we moved in together.

So now I have a happy balance.  I eat vegetarian at home, but if I go out and want to eat a big hunk of rare beef filet, I do that too.  And I think I'm probably much healthier for it too.

Are you a vegetarian?  A vegan?

Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for Underperformance

I started a new book this week.  In my head, it sounds really cool and I had a really interesting way I wanted to tell the story.

But when faced with a blank screen, the words didn't come as easily as I'd hoped.  The structure I thought I wanted to use doesn't seem to be working as well as it did in my imagination.

I thought writing each section of the book in two weeks was achievable, but unless the words start flowing much more smoothly in the next day or so, that just isn't going to happen.

I'm under-performing.  My expectations were much higher than what I find I'm capable of.

And I don't know why.

Maybe it's the structure I chose.  I tried a different approach last night, cutting in a chapter from the POV of one of the other characters in the hope that might help.  It did a little, but I'm still not certain I'm heading in the right direction.

I've thought about tightening the timeline so each character only gets a day or two of the story to cover, but I'm not sure that's going to work either.  I even got desperate and tried to outline a little bit, but that never works for me.  I just ended up getting more discouraged.

I know I'll find a way into this story.  But I doubt I'm going to finish the first 15K by May 1st which is what I had planned to do.

How do you deal with your own underperforming?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

T is for Talent

Talent is a tricky thing.  It's something you're born with,  but unless you work at whatever it is you're talented at, it's not worth anything.

Can you imagine a dancer with innate talent being able to perform Swan Lake without a lick of training?  No.  A runner being able to run a marathon without training?  No.

So talent is only a small part of being a success.

And talent can be a burden.  Once it has been identified, other people suddenly expect something from you.  There is a reason why so many great talents throughout history have crashed and burned, died young or gone mad.  Living up to your talent is not always easy.

And what if you actually hate doing the thing you're talented at?  The pressure to keep doing it, to make yourself a success must be huge.  But if doing it makes you unhappy, it must be so hard to get up each day, knowing everyone around you has this high expectation of what you're going to achieve doing this one thing.

Makes me glad I'm not really talented at anything…  How about you?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S is for Spin

I never thought I'd be a gym person.  The few times I went to gyms when I was younger, the relentlessly perky, uber-cheerful instructors really got on my nerves.  So it was with great trepidation that I agreed to join a new gym near our house a few years back.

But once I started doing classes, I realized not all gym instructors are as awful as the ones I came across as a student.  In fact, I've even become good friends with a few of the trainers at my gym now.

These days I mainly do spin classes.  I really enjoyed doing weights, but my new job means none of the weights classes are at times I can go, and because I'm sitting most of the day, I feel like doing cardio is probably more important anyway.

If you've never done spin, it's a cycling class.  Over an hour, you work through a series of different 'terrains' on the bike by turning resistance on the wheel up and down.  It's a great workout and I always come out dripping with sweat.  I like that it's entirely in my hands how hard I work.  If I haven't been all week and am feeling tired, I can keep the resistance lighter than if I'm feeling in peak form. And doing it with a group of people keeps you going far longer than if you were working out alone.

Have you ever done a spin class?  Did you enjoy it?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R is for Reading

What else could R be for?  I love to read.  I learned how when I was three and I haven't stopped.  I probably read three or four books every week, but I still never make it through half what I want to read.  Just check out my books on Goodreads if you don't believe me!

My oldest son loves to read as much as me.  Almost every time I want him to do anything, I'll find I'm on his bunk bed, earbuds in, book in hand.  He's 10, but he seems more like a teenager every day.

My youngest, on the other hand, isn't a great reader.  It's really only this year, when he's almost 8, that he's even started picking up books to read alone.  And I have to really push him to do that.  It worries me because I can't imagine a world without reading.

Reading takes you to other worlds.  It's entertaining.  It's educational.  It's informative.  I can't imagine my commute to work without reading, or flights to other cities or countries.  I read in the bath before bed each night and it's so much a part of my nightly routine, I doubt I'd be able to sleep without that forty minutes with my book each night.  I read while I drink my coffee in the morning.  And in any other little pockets of time I might find myself with during the day.

While I'll always be loyal to paper books, I love having an e-reader on my phone.  It means even when I'm going out to a gig or to the theatre or to a fancy party, I always have a book to read on the way or way home.  I think one of my biggest fears must be being stuck somewhere without something to read….

Do you get panicky when you're out and about and finish a book?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Q is for Quiet

Quiet isn't something I get a lot of.  I have two sons and they make a lot of noise.  My partner is a sound engineer and is often making a lot of noise.  I work in an open plan office so there is usually quite a bit of noise there too.

And I need quiet to write.  I'm not someone who writes with music or the TV on.  I need to fall into the world of my story and live in it and if there is a lot of talking or background noise, I find it hard to do that.  So I end up writing early in the morning because everyone else is still asleep and it's the only time I get the quiet I need.

And I'm not a morning person.  Not by a long shot. I've always felt that I really wake up around 4pm…  So getting up at 5:30 every morning for the quiet is not an easy feat.

How do you find the quiet you need?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

P is for Panic

Yes, that feeling when you wake up in the middle of the night and realize you haven't written an A - Z post for that day….

I am enjoying doing this totally random, pantsing it thing for the A-Z this year, but when I'm in another city, without a laptop and in a hotel with a rather wonky internet connection, it is something of a challenge.

So yes, I was up at 3am writing a panicked post on my phone in a hotel room last week.

And there was another crazed moment when I realized I'd missed a letter somehow and forgotten the O post.

Have you had any panicked, last minute posts in this year's A - Z?