12.29.13

Understanding future you

Posted in Photos at 9:00 am by Natalie

With the New Year on the horizon a lot of us will be setting (or meticulously honing) our goals for the next year. As an avid goal setter, I would like to share one piece of advice for when you are setting your ‘achievable’ goals and that is make sure you understand future you.

Time and time again when I set my goals I seem to believe that future me will be somehow more motivated, dedicated and un-distractible than current me. For example; my list for what I wanted to achieve with my week off between Christmas and New Year gave me three tasks to complete on Boxing day, one of which was ‘paint deck’. By the time I had scrubbed the deck, and painted just the outside fence part it was 7pm and I was exhausted.

Current me stupidly took time off for meal breaks, phone calls and sun exposure which future me apparently would have worked through. Current me also only works at a human pace, while future me gets no muscle aches, hand cramps or frustration at having to save so many bugs.

The point is, you should factor in a lot of contingency in your plan. I’m already looking at my list of what I want to achieve in January and it is looking very full. At the same time I know that I have an event on every weekend, not to mention visitors to catch up with, so the *future me* alarm is starting to ring.

So if you suffer from a bit of future me, my advice is take your list and halve it. It will always feel much better to achieve MORE than you set for yourself rather than less. I’m going to take my own advice and put the red pen to my current list, and hopefully I’ll get the deck finished before I go back to work.

12.22.13

Happy Christmas!

Posted in Journal at 9:00 am by Natalie

When I was a kid I used to get so excited about the approach of Christmas. It was the start of the end-of-year school holidays that seemed like they stretched out forever in front of you, the promise of getting that widget you had been circling in the toy catalogues for the previous three months, and the fun of catching up with cousins, aunts and uncles who you hadn’t seen for what felt like years.

Then in my early adult years I loved the extra pay that working the pre-Christmas trading hours would give me, the trip back to Adelaide to see all my friends (and family) and the mountains of delicious food and drink on the day. It was always something to be savoured on many levels.

Now I confess I get excited about the week off work, the wonder the kids exude as they eyeball the gifts already under the tree (which of course they can’t touch –while anyone is looking) and hearing them speculate about how Santa will get into the house on the big night.

Yes it is true that none of those things are what Christmas is ‘really’ meant to be about, but for me I think it is wonderful that as a society we do take this time to stop, give thanks, and catch up with family. So no matter what your beliefs may be, I hope you have a happy Christmas filled with love, gratitude and relaxation.

12.15.13

Thinking about 2014

Posted in Journal at 9:00 am by Natalie

I’ve started thinking about my goals for 2014, what I want to do more of, less of, and what I want to achieve. This got me thinking about my 2013 goals and I thought that I should check-off which things I had completed. Only I couldn’t find where I had written them down.

I remember being very motivated when I wrote the list, and I remember being convinced I was going to follow everything through. I think I can even remember signing the goal list, like it was some kind of contract with myself. So I don’t know how I expected to achieve those goals if I didn’t have them up where I could see them.

There is now a space cleared on my wall where my 2014 goals can take pride of place. Better still, I’m taking down some of the noise that is currently up on the wall, if I have too many pieces of paper up there, it will just blur into the background and not be seen.

So I guess I’m already getting ready for goal number one; keep my goals front of mind. If you don’t know what you are aiming for, there is a pretty good chance that you won’t get there.

12.08.13

Publication!

Posted in Writing at 9:00 am by Natalie

As I have confessed in earlier posts, I’ve not been subbing much this year. Partially due to my focus on my novels, and partially because I’m being lazy (if I’m honest). But I’m pleased to say that I have had a short story accepted this year, and it has just been published by Stupefying Stories.

I have a bit of a soft spot for this story, it spilled out one night, all in one go, and had me in its clutches from about 8:30pm until 11pm. I still remember sitting on the lounge, computer balanced on my lap, thinking I really should be getting to bed. I’m glad I didn’t because otherwise it might have sat on my ‘stories to be finished’ pile forever.

As much as I had fun with it, I know it is not to everyone’s taste. It has been through both of my writers groups with lovers and haters, more so than any of my other stories. The first time I showed it to the world one person in the group said that it wasn’t working on any level and I should give up on it.

I don’t like that kind of advice, so I ignored it. And a fortunate thing too, because I really enjoyed playing with this story and it was quite different from my usual style. No, it won’t change the world, and you won’t learn anything from the lead character’s journey, but hopefully it will make you smile, and I think that is enough.

So I hope you enjoy Stanhope’s Finest, and I’m grateful that the editors at Stupefying Stories have the same quirky sense of humour that I do!

12.01.13

Can fake rules be broken?

Posted in Journal at 9:00 am by Natalie

A friend of mine eagerly confessed that he had just set up a twitter account, but had not yet worked it out. He was confused about when to use #hashtags and when to use the @ sign.

The @ sign was pretty easy to explain; its role, like that in an email, is to denote an address for someone. The #hashtag I thought I had sussed, and explained it was used when you wanted to join in on a conversation or if you wanted to expose your comment to others who were watching that #hashtag. He asked me to give an example, so I gave one that I commonly use; Chapter three finally finished, so glad I #amwriting.

NOOOoooooo! Bemoaned another friend with an #eyeroll, that’s not how you use it. The #hashtag isn’t incorporated into the sentence, you append it to the end to expand on what you have just said: A whole day shopping with the girlfriend #torture #thethingswedo

I then expressed my opinion that with only 144 characters you don’t have a lot to play with, so I couldn’t see what was wrong with incorporating my #hashtag into the sentence. At which point I was informed that I was ‘doing it wrong’.

It struck me as bizarre that people would want to put rules upon one of the ultimate tools of free speech. It’s okay though, I’ve been #torturing him with #inappropriately placed #hashtags all week.