6 steps to creating a routine that will shape your life

rusticwedding

 

So we all know what a routine is.

It’s getting up, eating breakfast, go to school/job, come home at five, dinner, sleep. Repeat.

That’s not what I’m discussing today though. Today I’m discussing a fundamental routine which is a term I made up just now – which is a very small and short routine that serves the purpose of bringing you closer to an end goal.

For example if you have the goal of writing a book in the next three months, then your fundamental routine can be to wake up an hour earlier during  the week days, make yourself a cup of coffee and write 1000 words every morning before starting your day.

 

I myself currently have a night routine that serves as a way to reach my end goal of healing my physical and mental health.

 

 

The reason I suggest you create a fundamental routine in your life is because it’s something that helps you pace out a large task into small accomplishable pieces. It also, through repetition, turns into a habit which will help you sustain positive changes in your life.

 

So I want to break down the process of creating one of these routines so that you yourself can use it as well. I know I normally only share writing advice on this blog with the occasional life lesson here and there but I decided that anyone who wants to achieve something can benefit from this advice. Even if they are a writer.

 

 

First step: What are your priorities?

To me it was a big thing to honestly reconsider my priorities and coming to the conclusion that my health need to be at the top. I am stubborn person who wanted to keep my writing at the top despite the fact that my physical and mental health have been keeping me away from writing since the beginning of this year.

So I asked myself, if I had all the time in the world what is the most pressing thing for me to do now?

The pressing thing for me was to re-establish some form of stability that no amount of pain can shake and which can heal me emotionally and be good for me physically.

So my priority became getting enough time with God as well as physical rest.

 

 

Step two: What is one thing you can consistently do to pursue your priorities?

If your priority is writing then you can write consistently.

If your priority is eating healthy you can consistently eat a good breakfast.

And if your priority is rest and healing then you can consistently pray and get a goodnight’s sleep.

 

So think about it. Write some ideas of what you can do down.

 

 

Step three: Determine when this routine will be taking place.

Ask yourself how often is it necessary to do this small action, for it to have an actual effect on your life.

Once a day? Twice a week? Once a week?

I decided that I need regular rest which to me means every day. I need to let my body and my mind rest and let go of tension every day. So I can start tomorrow fresh and with a relaxed body. (Stress causes my Pain to get worse)

 

Once you know how often you want to do it – ask yourself, what exact time (and day) will suit you best?

Some people I know wake up very early to read their bible – that works for them. Others I know will go jogging right after getting home from their job –because that’s their open slot.

So the trick is to know yourself and how your life generally plays out, and what your routine will require.

I can’t do mornings because I wake up very badly, there are a ton of distractions, and the cold of the morning makes my pain worse. So it’s better for me to take a moment to read my bible at night, when it’s quiet, and then get enough sleep – only waking up when it’s a little warmer outside. Plus if I unwind before bed the quality of my physical rest will be better which is ultimately what I’m aiming for.

 

 

Step four: Working out the details.

Simply saying that on Mondays you will be getting up early to jog can work but I believe that putting a couple of tiny objectives before the big one will help you reach that point in a unhurried and directed manner. Does that make sense?

 

This is very simple because it’s just saying that if I’m trying to achieve X I will have to do 1 2 3

For example: If I’m trying to achieve jogging every morning I will have to get up, get dressed, drink a glass of water and then I can go jogging.

Your sequence can be as celebrate or simple as you want it to be.

My wind down routine consists out of taking my meds, putting on my PJ’s, cleaning my face and teeth, making a hot water bottle and something warm to drink then getting into my bed so I can do some in-depth bible reading and pray in peace.

 

 

Step five: putting this all on a time table.

Alright so you don’t honestly have to go work out your routine by the minute but I think having a set time to start your routine will help you not forget about it. Then if you want you can go and decide in which order to do your small details.

I start my routine at 09:30 pm by drinking my meds and putting the kettle on boil.

From there off on I just go through the motions of preparing for bed in the order of getting dressed and brushing my teeth before getting back to the kettle to make my hot water bottle and warm drink.

 

You can also create a set end time for your routine so you know not to drag your actions out. I personally don’t because I end my night reading bible and if I spend an hour too long reading bible it will honestly do more good than harm.

 

 

So the last step will be to implement your routine.

Go for it. Do your routine with certainty instead of hesitancy and let it become a habit in your life. Each time that you go through your routine remember that you are laying down a block for the foundation that is your future – even if it is simply the near future.

 

So go be positive while I go take a little nap… I’ll write to you again soon.

Turning a life around

how to

I’m not going to write some big dramatic intro that explains that my back has been sore since February.

But to get you on the same page as me I’ll tell you that my back has been sore since February and that this has totally mucked up how I saw my next few years going. I’ve really been struggling with motivation lately and I had a couple of rough days these past couple of weeks when it seemed like my condition was getting worse again.

 

 

So there was a point a little more than a week ago when I was in a really bad place and I just didn’t want to deal with the pain any more – I basically just wanted to sleep and be left alone. But then my mum took me out of the house and we went for hot chocolate – which I have an obsession over.

I felt like I was breathing again and it just separated me from the pain and the struggle for a little bit  so when we go home I was in a much better mood. I was sitting in my parent’s room next to their bookshelf with all our Christian books in. I picked up a book called ‘Communion with God’ and I started reading it.

The book is like a guide to praying (and I definitely recommend it) and I started applying it to my life.

That next weekend I basically just prayed for three days long all the way from Friday morning to Sunday night. I got a chance to talk to God and listen to Him and it healed a lot of my frustrations and made me peaceful again.

 

 

Now I’ve been planning to change my life in a major way but I just haven’t had the strength to do it. And every time I tried to make major changes in my life, I would just get exhausted and fall back into the pattern that my pain created. I would wake up and push myself out of bed despite being cold and sore. I’d drink water and look over my homework. I’d feel exhausted and overwhelmed and then just get back to bed.

 

It seemed really pathetic to me because I use to be, and still am, the kind of person who simply doesn’t stop working. My old mindset was that I can use sheer will power to get through anything but these days if I sit longer than say an hour my back starts to hurt very intensely and I can barely do anything except lie down.

So how I explain this to myself now is that life is like a video game where I get a certain number of energy points at the beginning of each day. Normally I could use these energy points on things such as school work and my job and my writing and then still have a little bit of energy points left at the end of the day.

Now those same amounts of energy points have to be distributed between more things. Now I get to spend some energy points on my school work but while I’m doing that I also use energy points to fight the pain. So throughout the day simply dealing with the pain steals a lot of my energy points.

So I can no longer do everything that I use to do because my energy points run out before the end of the day. Make sense?

 

 

Now back to me changing my life in a major way.

So after I realised that my old mindset and habits won’t be able to get me out of the pain I realized that I need to shift priorities.

I used to have writing as my top priority and then school and then my job and then my Christian walk and then my relationships and then at the complete bottom of the list my physical health and mental well being.

You’d think I’d change all that early after hurting my back but of course as a human I strongly protest against any change.

 

So here I am after a weekend of intense praying and I realise that my priorities need to look different.

Number one should be my relationship with God, and then number two should be my physical health.

The rest of the stuff is important too. But they can no longer come first because if I put all the work first then there will be no energy points left to keep my body and my mind intact. And if I don’t take care of my body, my condition will get worse.

 

 

Once I changed my priorities I also acknowledged that I can’t make any massive changes right now. As much as I would love to wake up tomorrow with a different body that doesn’t hurt and a set of life goals that I can work towards without a problem – that’s not my reality right now.

Right now I’ve got a sore body and a messed up head. I have a job and homework that I’m really far behind on and I’ve got three half finished writing ideas.

So if I can’t make that huge change in my life overnight I guess I’ll have to start with small changes.

 

Which is why on Monday night I drafted up a 30 minute routine that I decided will be the base of my life from here off on. It’s not something that will use a ton of my energy points but it consists out of things that will give me more energy points and ultimately have a real impact on my life.

 

I have an alarm that goes off on my phone and when I hear it I go to drink all my medications. I put on pyjamas, wash my face, make myself hot chocolate and a hot water bottle (a must for anyone struggling with pain) then get into bed and read bible.

All this takes me between half an hour and an hour, depending on what bible verses I’m reading. But at the end of it I’ve wholly relaxed myself and then I get a good night’s sleep before I get up in the morning to do some light exercise.

 

It’s a very simple thing to arrange a 30 minute routine but since I started doing this I’ve been waking up better. I’ve felt happier again. I’ve felt more connected to God and I pray a lot more now.

The biggest thing though is that when I shifted my priorities I stopped beating myself up for any work that I couldn’t finish. I decided to work slowly and to take proper breaks so I don’t strain myself. And this nightly routine is the perfect time for me to accept what I’ve accomplished during the day and to celebrate it – while also letting go of the negative feelings I have over what I didn’t accomplish.

 

I’m more relaxed and at ease and I honestly feel like even though I can’t make any big changes any more, that this small step is a major victory for me.

 

 

That’s my life right now. I’ll tell more another time but for this moment I can simply finish off by saying I’m feeling positive and I hope you are too – in whatever it is you’re busy dealing with.

I wrote a post that is a guide for creating a short routine, so you can go take a look at that and maybe implement the idea into your own life.

So keep moving forward and I’ll write to you again on Friday.

How to tackle a writing session (when your project is done)

writing session

All writers have that moment where you’re not technically busy with a big project anymore but you still have the urge to write (after all it’s addictive) or perhaps you simply want to keep the habit of writing regularly from slipping from you.
Whatever your reason is; now you’re sitting there in front of your computer (or notebook) but you have no clue what to write.
So I gathered the ways that I handle these days in the hopes that they help you.

 

First I would like to set some form of goal for myself to work towards for the day. That way I am focused and less likely to abandon my writing in the middle of a session.
There are two ways in which I can set my writing goal.

 

The first is a timed goal.

Back when I was still starting out with my writing and I still typed slowly I would give myself the goal of writing for an hour. This worked because it’s easy enough to just set a timer on my phone and then no matter how badly I write, or how slowly, I will still have given attention to my writing.

 

The second is a word count goal.

These days, whenever I sit down to write I give myself the goal of typing 1500 words which is approximately one scene from a story. These 1500 words can be achieved through any method.
It can be three flash fiction pieces or one long scene. Anything goes as long as I meet my goal.

 

Once I have my goal I need to figure out what I want to write (obviously)

I’ve got three exercises that I prefer to use for this.

Turn a melody into fiction.

When I was little I had an art instructor who would put crayons in front of us and turn on some music. We were then expected to listen to the music and start drawing lines that we feel represented it. A happy song was bright colour and a sad song was cold colours.
So essentially you have to represent the song in a different medium. You still with me?

Now, what you can try is to put on a song (perhaps one without lyrics) and then listen to it. You must pick up on the tone of the music and let it inspire your creativity. If this music was describing a place what place would it be? If it was describing a person how would they look? If this song was a scene from a story what events would take place?
Play around with it and write as much as you can.
This is one of my favourite exercises.

Use a prompt.

They are all over the internet.
My favourite prompts come from the fake red head. Her prompts are a lot more creative and witty than most prompts on the internet. I feel like the prompts honestly set my imagination on fire and that is why they work well for me.
Again just basically pick a prompt and roll with it. Try to get as much words down as possible.

 

Lastly – read through your old scrap writing and see if anything inspires you.

If you don’t already know – I am a big believer in the principle of saving all your old writing because no matter how bad the writing is you never know what a good idea is.
So if you are like me with a bunch of half ideas scribbled down somewhere or pieces of flash fiction saved on your computer then go read through it and see if anything jumps out at you.
Ask yourself if you can continue with this piece or if it connects to something else you’ve written.
Perhaps you had a cool magic system in one piece but the character wasn’t so great; then go right ahead and write a different version with the right character.
Play around with your old ideas because they might just spark some new ones.

 

Those are my favourite exercises and I promise you that I do not recommend anything that I don’t personally think will benefit you.
With that said I suggest that if you have a time sensitive goal you know where your recourses are beforehand so you don’t have to start googling things during your precious writing time. If the internet distracts you too much it’s better to just turn it off and stumble along on your own.

I hope this helped and as always if you liked this post please share it or comment. I would love to hear your favourite method of tackling a writing session.

My top 3 resources for writers.

3 writing resources

The only things a writer truly needs to write is an idea, some basic language skills and something to write on.
Yet if you do some digging you’ll find dozens of resources on the internet designed to make writing easier for us. Some resources are to inspire us while others are to help as plan or write faster.
I figured that since I’ve been writing for a couple of years now I might as well share with you my favourite resources so you can benefit from them as well.

The first one is obvious and you probably already know it exists.

 

Pinterest…

I tell people about the magic of Pinterest all the time and I still stick to it. Pinterest is an image based social media where you can see other people’s ideas, creations, thoughts and more. I use it throughout my writing process.
It has helped me pick names and faces for characters and I’ve even formed entire plots around some of the opinions that are shared on pinterest. So I suggest you open your Pinterest account and start searching. Look for photos and quotes.

 

Bibisco.

This one you probably haven’t heard of yet but it’s one of my favourite things ever.
It’s a computer program that helps you organise your planning. I specifically use it to help me shape my characters because it has built in character questionares (that actually work)
My experience is that it’s easy to use, it helps motivate and it’s just generally well rounded.
You can even write your story on it but I prefer not to because it just doesn’t compare to word’s Spelcheck.
I used this last year when I got stuck with Pink and it helped me slide past the probable very easily.

 

Finally Hemingway.

Hemingway is the ultimate spellchecker site.
You can copy and paste entire pieces of your writing into it and it will tell you which sentences are confusing. Which sentences are written with a passive voice and which words can be replaced.
It helps you trim your work and round off all the edges.

 

I hope that you try at least one of these things because they have helped me as a writer a whole lot and I wish for them to help you as well.
If you like this post and found it helpful please share it or comment.
I want to know what resources you would recommend. (I’m always looking for new stuff)

(Please know I only recommend things that I honestly feel you would benefit from)

Wonder Woman

Wonder woman

Let me give you a run-down of what just happened. I went and saw Wonder woman. Finally!

I’ve been excited for this movie for weeks and so when we finally went to see it I was almost afraid it would disappoint me.

It didn’t!

 

The story is basically about Princess Diana who was raised on an island full of warrior woman. There are no men on the island and so when the pilot Steve comes crash landing onto their island it’s the first time she see one.

He tells her about the war that’s going on outside of the island and Diana knows it is her duty to go and fight in the war as one of the Greek god’s warriors.

Her mission is clear, go to man’s world, find Hermes, the god of war and kill him to end the fighting.

 

 

Diana is played by the beautiful and talented Gal Gadot – and I feel like the actress did a wonderful job of bringing the character to life.

At first Diana is this adorable character who almost acts as if she’s going on this great adventure. She’s excited and hopeful but also a bit naive.

I looked at her and saw that she was more than just her ability to fight – which is very rarely seen on lead female characters. She was happy and I connected so well to that.

 

 

As for the rest of the movie one of the first things I noted was how they handled the little amount of clothing the Amazonians wore. They could have decided to use the little clothes to display the warriors’ bodies in and objective way which is not something that is uncommon, but they didn’t.  And I’m so happy about this.

They could also have decided to put the Amazonions in more clothes but they stayed true to the story and didn’t do that either.

Instead the couple of times the clothes where used to give an atmosphere or were otherwise part of the story it were shown, not as some skimpy pieces of cloth but as armour.

The exposed skin of the warriors where covered in scars and had muscle beneath. The woman where strong people never just an object to be viewed.

 

 

Obviously this story was created to reshape female stereotypes and so the next thing I want to highlight is the female villain from this story.

Dr Poison was probably one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen on screen.

Normally female villains are very over sexualized and when they aren’t a reason for them being evil is given straight off the bat. But this time no explanation was given for her to be evil and in fact the depth of her character wasn’t given until the end.

I know some writer who would find this annoying because they like knowing why character do what they’re doing but I think this was wonderful because it made space for Dr Poison to be a villain first and foremost.

The fact that she as a villain didn’t need to be explained to the audience. We understood she’s a villain.

 

Something else that I have to mention as well is the fact that Dr Poison had facial scars. Do you know what it means for a female villain to have both facial scars and wear non-sexualized clothes? It means the world is starting to become comfortable with the fact that a women’s strength isn’t simply how she looks.

 

 

But let’s move on from the whole feminine highlights and instead talk about theme.

Walking in I expected the theme to be that women are badass but it seems the writers decided that the audience is smart enough to know that already and instead the theme was love conquers all.

This is something that made me so giddy.

In a piece of back-story it is explained that Zeus created the women to love the men so they would stop war. This could be interpreted as sexist but instead it came over as the love that a woman has is strength. We as women do not need to hide our hearts to be strong because our love is our true strength.

This theme was used throughout the movie. Like when they were in the trenches and she saw a woman with a child. The woman told her that the village had been enslaved and while Diana could have turned her back on the woman and left, it was her heart that made her decision there and it led them to a great victory.

(Plus that was the moment she became wonder woman in my eyes and it was the coolest scene ever)

The theme is then completed in the end when she explains that there is love in the heart of men and that is why she keeps fighting for them despite them being awful.

 

 

Extra bonuses of this movie that I’m not going into right now.

Awesome fight scenes.

A great soundtrack.

Amazing plot twist there in the end.

Diana’s character development.

The male character had a bathtub scene.

Gal Gadots amazing hair.

Tiny Diana being cute.

Chris Pine’s eyes.

Oh and Diana realizing she’s a badass and that she can fly.

 

 

 

The only negative that I can think of right now is the fact that the side characters weren’t given a lot of room. Some of them didn’t exactly do much in my eyes and there where definitely a few scenes that I feel they could have played more of a role in.

 

I’m really happy about this movie otherwise though, and honestly I’m so proud of being part of the generation where we can have stories like this. It’s not simply because of the feminine power that was shared in this story but the fact that the writers didn’t feel the need to make feminine power the story. It makes me realize that we are in a world where woman aren’t just their gender anymore but people. A story can be about a woman and not about feminism at the same time and I love that.

Years of feminine fighting is finally paying off so soon we’ll no longer have to fight.

(Now on to racism!)

 

 

I’m really happy and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this franchise. I’m delighted that teen girls can be empowered through this story and that it can be a message to young men that women are badass and they should be treated as such.

 

I sincerely recommend this movie and hope you love it as much as I did.

Life lesson #6

How you smell matters.

Did you know how you smell affect how people perceive you?

Did you know smell is the sense that is the most connected to your memory?

Did you know that it’s better to not stink?

 

Go to a store. Get soap, cream, perfume or deodorant spray that you like. Wear it. Often.

A good week

Why is it that not every week is a good week? Why am I super productive during holidays and the equivalent of a potato during the school weeks?

I sincerely don’t get it! (It’s probably the emotional rest I get during holidays…)

 

In the past week alone I have…

Written an editorial calendar for July-Sept

I have written 7 blog posts (that’s one a day!)

Written my professional bio.

Arranged to write 2 guest posts

Scheduled my posts 2-3 weeks in advance

Got exercise! (so sore)

Wrote 5-7 flash fiction pieces

Went to a doctor for checkups

Practiced driving (I’m getting good)

Made an interesting lunch for 7 family members

 

 

Seriously why am I not this productive during the school weeks when I need to be (again it’s probably emotional energy)

 

 

I’m actually thinking of spring cleaning my room which is only something I do when I have *gasp* time.

 

Alright so now that I’ve bragged ranted about my week I should probably get back to it so I can bring you good content.

I’m going to clean my room and while I’m at it I’ll think of ways to make this energy stretch through to next week when school starts again.

Wish me luck