Stillness Big Year: Nick Wignall on meditation

A psychologist in Albuquerque, Nick posts regularly and thoughtfully. Check out I enjoyed all of “25 Tiny Lessons I’ve Learned from a Daily Mindfulness Meditation Practice” even though he slams both the app-based nature and short duration of my daily Headspace habit. As an example of why I enjoy his musings:

We are what we habitually attend to. Meditation teaches us how to pay attention with purpose, and by extension, live with purpose. Attention is the most important skill no one talks about. And meditation is the best way to cultivate that skill.

(Image adapted from Nick’s.)

Injury unplugs me . . . need to plug in again

I jogged a couple of days ago, not 10 kms as per my Freshness Big Year, not 5 kms as has been a frequent last-resort action, but only 2 kms. And it didn’t work. My right quad muscle is messed up and it’s time to see the physio. In the meantime all my exercise goals are moot and need to be sensibly revised. My other Big Years also flounder, I’m not sure why.

So, with a quarter of 2018 remaining, let me reorient and recommit.

Tractor Big Year: The puzzle of email lists

Day 245 of this Big Year, of daily exploration into how to publish in 2018, and I’ve run out of general topics to pursue. What’s more, I’m moving closer to self publication of the first of my mysteries. My strategic and tactical choices from this moment onwards will have momentous implications, and I’m not ready to make those choices, so today I’m going to tackle a first big decision.

It’s a given that a self published author needs to self promote, to find ways to be “discovered” amongst the millions of ebooks out there. Social media, in particular Facebook, is a powerful discoverability option, but a vigorous school of thought is that an author’s most potent asset is her email list/newsletter. An email list is a group of people who consent to be regularly emailed to. “Grow your list,” is one strand of commonly perceived wisdom. And yet . . . and yet . . . there are authors who eschew emails yet do well, and there are authors who decry emails as “not my style.” What should I do?

As ever, I prod a decision by reading a book. Tammi Labrecque, a multi-genre author, gets plaudits for her US$300 newsletter course (formerly called Email List Expert, now Newsletter Ninja, find this at but the next one won’t run till January, so the next best choice is to read Tammi’s just-published book of the same name.

An hour a day on this book and then I’ll make some big scary decisions. Wish me luck!

Freshness Big Year: New gear cheers me up

I should be so lucky. An unexpected but brilliant birthday gift was my first ever running watch, a Garmin Forerunner 35. I’ve only tested it once, on the run that stressed out my quad muscle, and I’m far from mastering it, but it seems a most welcome step up from carrying an iPhone (plus Ziploc bag plus little towel as rain insurance). Strava on the iPhone used to talk to me every kilometer, which I enjoyed, whereas the Forerunner just buzzes on my wrist, but at least I’m no longer straining to hear my Strava companion over traffic noise.

Now to figure out how to use the new heartrate data . . .

Freshness Big Year: Running shoes take a break

I’d begun to imagine I was bullet proof. After months of feeling undercooked, my jogging last week was regular and improving. Sturdy legs were my undying allies. Or so I thought until I stopped halfway up a hill to walk-then-run-then-walk and noticed a quad muscle twinge and kept part running (I had a Big Year goal to upkeep!) and experienced the shock of gripping pain and kept part running (goal!) and limped the final hundred metres. That was four days ago and I suspect I’ll be grounded for a few more days.

Icing . . . stretching . . . using a roller . . . dreading the eventual reassessment of my Big Year possibilities . . . so it goes.

Jogging and singing to a hospital

At last I’m running consistently. These two photos are from Street Regular, a 10 km run without greenery. The first shot is of a  hospital on the way out and the second is taken of the same hospital when heading homeward, tired. Both times I raised my eyes to the hospital windows and sang a song of encouragement and hope.

1,000 Big Year: It’s working!

See the magic cup sign of Bar Ristretto? Note the dawn timing? See the scribbled graphic of arcane book material? Feel my pride and happiness?

Mostly I’ve moaned about this Big Year, which I sum up as “1,000 words a day by rising early and chucking morning energies at work (no Facebook!) and planning/monitoring.” I’ve struggled with inertia, insomnia, and sleepy sleep-ins. But now, with just under a third of a year left, it’s all sweetness and light. Long may it continue!

Tractor Big Year: Educating oneself can confuse

Roz Morris is an excellent writer of an eclectic mix of books. I came across this intriguing blog post, “Building readership: a quiet rebellion against three pieces of conventional marketing wisdom.” Use pictures, bribe potential readers with cheapies or giveaways, and find out what readers want . . . like Morris, that’s what I’ve been told in my research. She reckons you do the opposite: use words, engage as a person, and follow your own muse.