Sunday, 7 February 2016

Taking Stock

Sleeping Dog

As the title implies, this post is dedicated to looking back over the last month to see if the masterplan is on track. Masterplan? You know what I mean - the plan I set for myself just over a month ago. Can you believe a month has vanished already? I'm really pleased I've kept a log of what I've been up to because it's so easy to lose track.

I'm at that age where I don't remember things as well, and if I don't write them down, I forget. So looking back, how am I doing? Overall I'm pleased, I'm writing regularly, working on my rewrite, keeping up with the writing group challenges and getting out and about to meet writing buddies too. On the surface all looks good. Except for last week, when I didn't even have time to blog!

A couple of areas need a tweak, one is timing, something I struggle with on and off. My good intentions to write early in the mornings before the day begins are a bit all over the place. Sometimes it really can't be helped as I'm travelling for work and sometimes I set out so early I can't get up any earlier. However, there are days when I could, but I don't. Why not? Some of it is procrastination if I'm honest, and some is tiredness. I've been feeling exhausted lately. Time to be rest I think.

Looking back over the blog I'm able to see my progress, and it's a good feeling, and where I need to make changes I can see that too.

The plan needs a tweak, which means a bigger effort to get more sleep. During the week, all I can do is go to bed at a reasonable time, but at the weekend, I can perhaps try and grab forty winks during the day. What do you think? The sleep foundation recommends planned napping as long as it's no longer than 20-30 minutes. The idea of it is to take a nap before you feel sleepy. Apparently, it improves alertness, and performance without leaving you feeling groggy, or unable to sleep at night. That should hopefully sort out my tiredness, and I'll feel able to write.

The procrastination is a strange one. I know that if I do my writing first thing, it's out of the way for the day and I can get on with work, family stuff etc in the knowledge that I've pushed on with my novel, and can use the rest of the day to think about things too. It's a good plan, but I keep slipping back into bad habits.

Hmm, all I can do is persevere, after all it's not that the writing hasn't been done, I've crammed it in at other times. Like in-between peeling vegetables and waiting for them to steam, or while travelling on the bus, or on a rare afternoon when I'd planned to read for an hour.  I'll sort it, and I'm not going to be hard on myself about it either.

What I've been watching - 

Stan Lee's Lucky Man - A new TV series starring James Nesbit as a Police detective who can control luck. I'll give it a few more episodes, it's definitely different. The jury is still out though.

What I've been listening to - 

Lots! Really enjoying music again.

Talking Heads, Ultravox, Katherine Jenkins, Queen and Rod Stewart.

What I've been reading - 

Slimming Magazine (For inspiration and great recipes!)

A Parcel for Anna Browne by Miranda Dickinson

What I've done - 

Bit the bullet and had my hair cut! I'll put a new profile picture up soon.

Pinned a smile on my face, even when I've not felt like it, and watched the reaction. Which was mostly very positive.

The Week Ahead

More of the same on the writing front - a new group challenge this week. February is our one word challenge which the incoming Chair sets the previous week. Our word last week was 'Bus' and we had 150 words to write a piece of flash fiction. There were many variations on the theme. Some very funny ones.

This week the word is 'lift' and I haven't a clue what I'll write, I'm relying on 'back brain' to work it out whilst I go about my week. I'm sort of resigned to the fact that I'll be writing it last minute. It seems to be my way.

There will be further rewriting, and I'm also going to send a chapter out to a new reader, who hasn't read anything by me before.

As for keeping healthy, and losing weight, I've been stuck at the same weight for the last three weigh in sessions. I had a short break where I ate differently, and included more treats, but I did get back on track quite quickly, so I'm unsure why this has happened as I haven't changed anything. On a positive, at least I haven't put weight on. I had a word with the leader and she has offered some helpful advice and new things to try, so fingers crossed.

 Exercise may have to take a back seat this week as I've quite a schedule.

How did your January go? Pleased with all you achieved? What plans are afoot this week?                                                                                                                                                                                    


  1. You're doing brilliantly Maria, I'm always impressed with how much you achieve. I haven't been very successful at getting up early lately. I wake up, but I can't seem to force myself out of bed when it's cold. I'm a great believer in napping. I don't sleep particularly well, or not for long enough at night, but 15 minutes in the day is a real life saver. It's just hard to find the time to fit it in! I can't say I achieved that much in January, looking back. Must try harder. Wishing you a good week. CJ xx

    1. Getting up early is difficult at this time of year, I can completely identify with not wanting to get out of bed. I'm hoping as we move towards Spring it'll become easier.

  2. Sounds like your plan is going well. The slight hiccups are to be expected but on the whole, you must be very proud of your January work. The word 'lift' sparks a lot of ideas: a face lift, lift in spirits, getting stuck in a lift (ooo, who could be in there with you?)... just a few things that popped into my head when I read it. I adore the picture of your dog :) Have a great month, Maria!

    1. Not my doggy Nicola, but agree he is rather gorgeous.

  3. I'm fairly pleased with January, but I can already feel my stress levels rising: ridiculous when I have so move control over how I spend my time AND I teach people how to relax! Cobbler's children. You sound as though you've made great progress in lots of ways and have awareness of where the challenges are. 10/10, I'd say. :-)

    1. I think some of us strive on stress, and some need a little bit to keep them on their toes.

  4. Weight loss isn't linear - a pause now may mean a whoosh later. Don't give up because then you'll never reach your goal! (It's surprising how many people do.)

    I've never been able to write at specific times - which means when I'm in the groove, like right now, I can easily put in 11 hour days and ignore the family altogether. It's a good job they're supportive!

    1. I won't give up. I've just got to hold my nerve, and find a way to lose the next stone.

  5. I think you are doing magnificently well. Don't be too hard on yourself. The 'one word' homework idea is good. We could use that for our 10 minute exercise. My main achievement recently is to have unpicked the collar from a jumper I am knitting, which meant that I also had to unpick the top few rows of all the pieces. I managed to do that and I have now nearly completed the jumper. Nothing to do with writing, but is giving me great satisfaction.

    1. There is a certain satisfaction in creating something.

  6. I did OK in January - but I managed a good chunk of procrastination too. I'll give myself a talking to and see if I can snap out of it.

  7. I had every good intention of writing early in the day and then having the rest of the day for other things. The reality has been that I've never managed to start until 3pm!

  8. Seems you had a productive start to the year. My scales won't move either even though I'm eating carefully , but I tell myself that at least my weight isn't increasing.

  9. Sounds like not a bad month, Maria! I have problems with time management off and on because I'm such a procrastinator.


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