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Sunday, May 6th

Okay narcissistic rants aside – I do enjoy writing every day. As the (over written?) introvert, I do better when I can process. Writing allows me to process.

But, what to process? The never-ending balancing act and working towards my deemed purpose.

I want to educate people on the importance of a sustainable society. So, I’ve picked volunteer projects, paid jobs, reading material, and seminars to support that idea. I’ve started endeavors to support that idea. Every choice I make tries to support that idea.

My thinking on what I should be doing with my life has always been ongoing. Growing up Catholic, there is a certain amount of time dedicated to thinking about listening for God’s calling. I never felt like I had one. I only knew to follow my interests. My interests have always been consistent in the environment and education. When I was 18 and a freshman at Michigan State University, a first year at James Madison College eagerly awaiting my studies in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy, I thought maybe I would or could be a lobbyist. I’d lobby for the virtues of the environment or education. I thought maybe I’d need a law degree, which always has intrigued me.

Then I got a bunch of loans through two universities, and suddenly spending more money I didn’t have on law school didn’t seem so important. In between those two universities, the school of life focused my studies on environmental thought, food, and community building. Those themes coalesced at Portland State University with the opening of their Sustainable Urban Development minor. My studies then concentrated on geography and urban development. Two themes where I continued to think about food, people, and how to make it all work together.

Is it any wonder then that I work intimately with a food buying club that focuses on local food sustainability and an environmental nonprofit that guides its thoughts in stewardship? One of my parting studies introduced me to the concept of “servant leadership”. It’s this idea where you lead from behind. A great example is how I stopped arguing with my husband about what to have for dinner and just focused on whole foods, home cooked foods, and organic foods (as budgets allowed). Now, he tells me the virtues of the food we eat.

Each refocus can be identified by a shift in thinking and impatience with the day-to-day. Like when I finally graduated. I had spent so much time thinking about my degree, that when I finally got it all I wanted was to put all those studies into action and work towards some semblance of a career. Then, there was the (housing) crash of 2008. Just one month after I graduated. I was loathe to apply for just any job – I had an idea of what I wanted to do. So, I focused on environmental jobs. I applied to be program coordinators and managers. I tried for AmeriCorps jobs. I tried for a plethora of administrative jobs. I had interviews. I had second interviews. I applied for more than 300 jobs in three years (starting in 2007).

I get a job. And, well… it proves to be more or less as dysfunctional as the twenty some jobs I held in my twenties. So, maybe working for others doesn’t work for me. I don’t get their lack of vision. I don’t get their lack of leadership. I don’t get their in ability to properly facilitate meetings. (Meetings that could identify vision and leadership and focus the organization past dysfunction!!)

These weeks of not writing have been thinking about all of that. It’s been spent thinking and doing the day-to-day, just to get by. It’s been pondering how to fix the rut and get into a career. I think I have some ideas. Now, to put them into action.

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Nothing Profound Here

Pacific Northwest: 1841 Map of the Oregon Terr...
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I like to write. I like words, and I like thought exploration. I am an introvert, so daily processing is a must for my sanity. As such, writing serves as a useful tool for something I can do by myself to process, as I’ve said before, all those daily inputs in order to make sense of the senseless.

I saw the “Post a Day” and “One a Day” challenges on January 2nd. I’ve needed/wanted motivation to write daily for some time. It’s commonly stated that if you want to be called a writer, you must write daily. Free writes, simple exploration of thoughts, branching out into new literary territory – these are all up for grabs for the self-proclaimed writer.

I’m not comfortable calling myself a writer, just like I’m not comfortable calling myself an artist even though I can sketch better than the average bear. But, I do enjoy writing. So, to do something, you must practice. Practice is best had daily. When I saw the challenges, it seemed a natural merging of my wants with a public accountability system. So, I signed up. I’ve been successful in posting more than enough posts for a post-a-day. There have been a few times where I haven’t had time to write on that day, but I wrote more than one on a previous day so I use the “scheduled post” option WordPress graciously gives to allow for a seamless post a day.

But, how much of this writing is worthwhile? I imagine it is a good conduit for family living far away to keep light tabs on the life happenings here in the Pacific Northwest, with commentaries on birthdays and job changes. I’ve written a few things that I found were enjoyable to read, maybe thought provoking, and even, yes, a little profound. Writing a post a day though – not everything is profound.

The lack of profound thoughts is something I’m … adjusting to right now. On one hand, I’d like every post to be a quality post. But, to achieve this challenge, most things posted are simply to get that post a day done so I can state that I’ve done the thing I said I would. This is an experiment in habit forming and word tests. I am experimenting with the discipline of putting “pen to paper” or “fingers to keys” or “butt to the chair.” I’m experimenting with doing what I’ve wanted to do for a very long time: write.

Thank you for following along. Thanks for commenting, when posts justify comments. Thanks for telling me about how you’ve been keeping up in conversations outside the realm of the Internets. It’s all motivation to keep up the habit, to practice, to experiment, to write.

So, I would rather have more than just “I don’t want to write posts.” Sometimes, they will be, in keeping with the habit. But, I did have some guidelines in mind when I accepted this challenge. The basic guidelines being I want my posts to be between 500 and 750 words. More than 750, I’m being too verbose. It’d better be a damned interesting post if I’m going to spend that many words on a daily thing, that I would like read. Less than 500 seems like cheating. I’ve admitted they exist and will continue to exist because habit forming trumps quality. But, the idea is that 500 words is a good cut off for an essay. A good cut off for exploring a thought through, explaining my pros and cons, or describing the alliteration of a thought.

While there might not be anything profound here. I’m hoping for consistency and something fun to read. You can help keep me accountable by commenting! (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

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Writing 2

Art !
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

39 posts for January. 15 more than my previous “high” month of September 2008, where I posted 24 posts. I have so many rambling thoughts that I want to explore throughout the day, that when I saw this “Post a Day” challenge, I thought it perfect motivation. It has been.

Now I am curious how these thoughts will change, ebb and flow over this year. I will likely end with more than 365 posts if I continue on this pattern of ensuring there is at least one post a day, because that’s the way I interpret this challenge. I might have to explore less social commentary and more fiction ideas to keep the creative juices, as they say, flowing. Once a week social commentary or the sporadic multi-week I’d generally do is fine, but daily – it gets a little trite. And, really, there isn’t that much going on that I care to comment on it daily.

I enjoy all these motivating tools created to help us write and continue to write. (Here’s the social commentary, I can’t help it!) We like to complain about our text messaging society and what it does to our grammar, so it’s refreshing to see so man advocates of writing.

The Daily Post at WordPress.com

The One a Day Project

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