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My Jobless Life

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CREATIVE PROCESS

And life keeps moving on

So at the beginning of 2016 the resolution I made was to never be broke ever again in my whole life, ever. So I started a home-baking business which has been going very well. I also took up jogging because life is far more fun when you’re fit.

I have been supported in my business by my community in a way I really didn’t expect and I truly appreciate it, and for me this carries through one of my prior posts about the future of business. I really think business is going smaller and everything that is happening in my life right now is showing that it’s true. But then again, we make our thoughts our experience, so it is because of my belief that my life reflects my opinions as reality.

My objective of never being broke again might seem shallow and insignificant to the rest of the world, but I was heartily sick of wondering where the next buck would come from, so I decided to make a buck instead on wondering about it. It might be a self-serving goal, but it’s ensuring that many people enjoy some damn good baking at a very reasonable price.

Next time we meet I’ll tell you more about the jogging and how that’s going for me.

To all my blog friends out there, I hope 2016  is treating you as kindly is it’s treating me.

Love, Netta

 

 

 

 

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Humans of the future

It’s a given that humanity will always grow and discover more over time. The general leaning is apparently that we will grow and discover more technologically, scientifically and even physiologically, but it doesn’t seem to me as if we apply that same thinking to our growth as people. The same humanitarian efforts, fund raising and establishment of organisations that are supposed to uplift humanity fall flat and seem to be less effective as we progress on our journey.
Are we still actively exploring what makes a human being tick or are happy with the definitions and understandings that we have come to thus far? It seems to me that what Freud and Jung and others of their time have been replaced by drugs that are meant to medicate us into being a certain way. We don’t pursue the understanding and knowledge of what we are with the same zeal as we do with things external to ourselves. Our understanding of our human nature and its challenges now lag centuries behind where we are technologically and even medically. We don’t understand these entities whom we are making smarter machines, better medicines, newer information for; no wonder these entities don’t become any happier or any more advanced by things that are meant to make them so.
To me there always seems to be one fatal error futuristic people make, ignoring the force of our inclination to be human. Humanity is an intangible thing, like instinct and emotions. We know it is there but you can’t bottle it and sell it at the shops, and because of that fact our materialistic society has been trained to ignore or downplay it existence and significance.

buck rogers
I remember as a young girl watching programs like Star Trek and Buck Rogers that were all about how life would be in the future. I don’t remember the people on Star Trek ever sitting down to a meal, sleeping under nice soft blankets, playing with children or animals, chatting with each other or doing anything that was just too human to be exciting. I remember warp speed, being beamed from here to there, the crew meeting strange creatures and I especially remember Mr. Spock’s ears. I remember Buck Rogers doing some amazing things, but he never went home to just relax and see his family or friends like my father did. I remember movies or episodes of these space/future programes showing how we would pop a pill and all our nutritional needs would be met for a long period of time. I remember the holo-deck where you could go to any place or time you like, but everyone always went into the holo-deck alone. No shared experiences.
Today we have technology that makes Star Trek and Buck Rogers look ridiculously crude. The machines that we use in our daily lives are mind-blowing and I think only the really dull of mind fail to marvel at it. For us the marvelous has become common-place, and behind it all the human condition persists. Technological advances has not affected us as much as we thought it would. We still eat and we love food as much as we ever did. No pill is going to replace the awesome feel, smell and taste of food and I never foresee a time when it will. We still laugh, act silly and do stupid things, no matter how much we discover that is supposed to make us smarter or how easily accessible that information is. We will never become cold and technical creatures who only look at the facts and act rationally and sensibly. We enjoy our stupidity too much. We even employ people to create laughable situations when none occur naturally. Some of these people are called comedians, others are called politicians. We like silliness. No matter how wonderful a holo-deck there is, nothing will beat the experience of actually being there. We all see from a different perspective, our eyes are drawn to different things, we each remember our experiences our own way and having someone we care about sharing those experiences make them all the more vivid.
We understand so little about ourselves and I wonder why we are so disinterested or maybe distracted from doing research and development of the human entity to the extent that we focus on other areas. Is it because humanity cannot be quantified and broken down to a specific formula like mathematics, science and electronics? Maybe there is a formula or a system to humanity that we can find and use for our betterment but we haven’t been looking for it. Maybe there isn’t a formula and it is just chaos and random action, but who better to understand the chaos and randomness of being human than another human being?
Are we always going to react the way we do to the same situations? Will we always disappoint ourselves and fall short of our intentions? Will we always assume the worst about ourselves and be surprised when one of us perform a noble and caring act? Will we always need laws and rules and restrictions to protect ourselves from each other? Will we keep clinging to the definitions of humanity and how to manage it when those definitions have proven ineffective over and over again?
In one of my favourite movies, The Matrix, the machines that have taken over the world have managed to figure out what it is that would keep humanity happy enough for them to get the required amount of electricity from each in their vast human farms. Too idyllic a life and the human mind revolts, too hard a life with too little reward and the human turns on a kind of kill-switch in their body. A balance between sorrow and joy, and you get optimum performance. The film may also just be another flight of fantasy, but it holds up the hope of getting the optimum human formula right someday. The machines in the movie did it through trial and error before getting the perfect balance. We have millions of years of trials and errors, it’s about time we get down to synthesizing the right formula from all our experiments.
The technology and true science we need to expand on is that of being human. The concept excites me and it’s one of the things that keeps me hopeful about humanity, that somewhere in-between our silliness, eating, fighting, sleeping, chatting, working, loving we will stumble upon a clue and that clue will take us forward in leaps and bounds.
Who better to put a formula to the chaotic mess we are than our very human selves?

DON’T BE AFRAID OF GROWING SLOWLY

IMG_0758
The Harvest

I recently learnt a saying from a member of my blog family,

Be not afraid of growing slowly, only of standing still.

That’s where I am at now, I’m growing very slowly and many times a day I ask myself whether my efforts will ever give me the rewards I seek. What carries me through all these days of doubt is my garden. Gardeners are patient and persistent. We don’t give up, we keep going even when nothing appears to be happening. Especially then.

March 2015 - Finally tiny plants have appeared
The Journey Begins March 2015 – Finally tiny plants have appeared

I now think of my blogs as my little on-line gardens. I’m constantly digging, pulling out weeds, adding compost, mulching and definitely sowing seeds. I know that the quality of the crop depends entirely on soil preparation so I keep on doing what has to be done each day while getting little or no feedback. It’s ok, I know somewhere under the soil little roots are sprouting and coming to life. A gardener doesn’t get a day off and my tiny little plants ( blog posts) call for my attention daily. Even if no one else cares about them, I hear their tiny little voices.

Abundant Blooms: All the love and care makes little flowers grow
Abundant Blooms: All the love and care makes little flowers grow

I’ve committed the next 15 years to growing my own publishing company into life and I think of all the things I’m doing now as preparing the soil and selecting the crops I wish to plant. I’m in no hurry to see great things happen overnight, but I want to be prepared enough to cash in on favourable weather. What’s the use of having good rains when there’s no seed in the soil?

A Bumper Crop of the Finest Produce
A Bumper Crop of the Finest Produce

So when I get discouraged and when I feel like giving-up, I remember that my little on-line garden will only produce as long as I lavish it with care and attention. So I come back the next day and dig a little here, weed a little there, water carefully and fertilise as best I can and leave the rest to Nature and the World Wide Web

I’m positive that with each harvesting my little garden will give back more and more rewards and I in turn will give more love and care. Fifteen years is not that long, by then I should have a fully fledged farm.

About That Side Hustle…

If were sharing a cup of tea right now, I’d start off by saying:

So, I have to make ends meet right, but the plan doesn’t always go according to plan. So what’s the alternative? A side hustle, right? NO!

First of all I know hustlers and I hate being associated with that word. Hustlers can’t be relied on, they’re only as loyal as the amount of cash they can get right now. I’m not even talking about street hustlers, many people who call themselves entrepreneurs are just running an extended, constantly refreshed hustle.  A hustle has a very short life span, so hustles need to be re-invented every day. It leaves you nothing to build on. That’s not for me.

I know that many successful people got to where they are by working a job to pay the bills and pushing their dreams forward in their spare time. I’ve done that too many times in the past to be fooled by that again. I’m just not capable of looking in two directions at the same time. For me the main thing has got to be the main thing.

I’ve been a reporter for a local newspaper, I’m freelancing/subcontracting with a professional content producer right now and I belong to a citizen journalism group. I’ve got my blogs and books and they are the main thing. My side hustles are off-shoots of the main thing and I prefer it that way even if I don’t make much money from it now.

I’ve committed the next 15 years to make this work and I will not be distracted. I’m a creative person very skilled in various crafts and I have a 16 year career as a bookkeeper behind me, so I got skills. But like I tell everyone else who keeps advising me to get a side hustle, just stand aside and watch me do this.  This right here, is The One. I don’t have a back-up plan, I don’t have an emergency parachute, I’m doing this full-force.

Getting a job on the side says to me that I don’t trust in the process, it says that I am not fully committed. It says that I’m building a quick escape into my dream. The only side hustle I’m interested in is the one that enhances the main thing. I know that if I give my writing 100% of my energy and focus, something’s going to come off it. I just know. Nobody else has to believe in me, it’s ok. I believe in myself enough for all of us.

So about that office job. No thanks, been there.

About that bookkeeping service. No, never again.

Selling jewellery part-time. I’d love to, in a different life time.

Running some organisation.  I’m to disorganised for that, sorry.

Writing a report. Writing a letter. Writing a blog post. Writing your life story. Writing anything, anywhere, anytime. I’m there.

And if we were sharing a cup of tea right now, there had better be some cake too.

I KNOW WHAT I WANT TO WRITE

I want to write about who I’d be if I wasn’t me. I want to write about what I’d see if I didn’t stand where I do. I want to write about the pain I was dumb enough to miss out on, the pleasure I was smart enough to allow myself to feel. I want to write the lives I’m not going to get a chance to live this time around. I want to write that girl, I want to explain that man, that day, that moment when they just knew.

I don’t want to write boring dialogue of the “he-said, she-said” variety. Who the hell remembers conversations verbatim, anyway? I don’t care what colour the leaves were, I don’t want to know what time of day it was. I want to know how they felt, what they thought, how it lifted them, twisted them, broke them apart, and put them back together again.

I don’t care what his mother’s name was; fuck the back-story tell me the story playing out right now. Don’t tell me how her dress swishes around. Why should I care? Get me in her head. Let me see her heart. I want to get to know her better with the turning of every page. Who the hell is this woman? Why is she bothering me with her story?

Don’t give me big words, give me true words. Don’t give me adjectives, give me life. If he’s an asshole, tell me about it. If he’s a prince, prove it. Don’t give me twists in a plot, make me feel how fucked-up the world really can be. Make me believe that a happy ending might exist for me too.

I’m your closest confidant who’d never, ever tell on you. Live in these pages you create. Breathe here, love here, dream here, believe, question and learn here. Tell the story from your heart. Tell the story for real.

I know what I want to write, Netta. Don’t stand in my way.

Planned Procrastination

Having recently written between 3 and 4 thousand words per day doing product descriptions I definitely think that hovering between writing and running away from it both helps and hurts creativity.

I wanted to write those words because at the end of it all I could say, as I already did, I’d been writing thousands of words for weeks. I wanted the badge. I wanted to have a go at it. I wanted to rush to my laptop and start banging away like a professional. But I didn’t. It didn’t turn out that way.

I also felt overwhelmed when thinking how writing 200 words would leave a minimum of 2800 to go. I didn’t know whether my writing was good enough. Would they smile and say thank you, then edit with a heavy-duty chainsaw? Would I repeat myself and make my writing stale to the reader? Would my descriptions sell anything? I avoided my laptop because I didn’t want to be confronted by all the words I wasn’t writing. I was never going to get anything done, I just knew it. I would miss the deadline and mess up everything for everyone attached to the project. But I didn’t. It didn’t turn out that way.

In the end I made the deadline and got great feedback. I made it by loafing and working hard alternately. I walk a fine line between doing and thinking about doing. The doing would be pointless without time away. The thinking would be pointless without the act.

I have decided that I have a limit of 2000 words in me per day.  Two days spent writing 3000 deserves a day of writing nothing. Days of writing nothing at all should never follow each other. Planned procrastination works.

To create is great. To prepare to create, equally so.

Thinking as a Profession

A good window to stare through
A good window to stare through

As I child I could never quite explain what I wanted to be when I got older. Nothing really seemed good enough or interesting enough, but I knew there was something I was made for. If I had to put it into adult words now, I would say I want to Think for a living.

I wanted to know everything as a child. I remember looking at the covers of the stacks and stacks of books my father owned and wishing deeply to know what was on the inside. I taught myself how to read better English than that taught at school and set off on a journey to find the things my mind was hungry for.

I don’t remember many of the books I read as I child because I don’t think I need to. Those words, those stories, those ideas, journeys, fantasies are written on the inside of my skin and I take them with me wherever I go. So when you ask me about I about a book I own I might not always be able to give you an insightful answer. But I know that if you stare deeply into my eyes you’d see a page being turned each time I blink. I become my books.

There are only two things I believe I can do well enough to make the world a better place. One is being myself and the other is to Think. Thinking requires that all other things be put aside to focus on the Mind and I believe that every society needs those who do the Thinking. Thinking doesn’t produce many tangible results, and when ideas are your end-product the shelves in the shop will remain empty. The highest payment a Thinker receives is a remark like: “I’ve never thought of it like that”, when offering a new point of view. To apprehend an idea, however old or new it might be, is the work of those who are willing to be quiet, keep still and send homing pigeons into the realm of Mind.

I don’t need much to do my work well. Give me book, a comfy seat, a pen and paper and good window to stare through and it’s another productive day at the office.

How I Created The Life of My Dreams

There are some areas of my life that remain a work in progress, but for the most part I’m living my dream. Through trail and error and a lot of reading and experimenting I have come to learn a few things that have made my journey much easier. Here is what I have learnt during my journey

Know what you want.

I know that one seems too obvious and everyone has heard that before, but it took me almost 40 years to finally admit that writing is where I belong. As soon as I did doors were flung open that I could not have entered otherwise. Knowing what you want is so powerful that I think the +- 40 years I spent fumbling about was not a waste of time but a huge boost in the right direction.

Commit to yourself first.

As a woman and a mother it is accepted that I would always put others ahead of myself, but I have learnt that the best thing I can do for those I love is to love myself first. In this context it means not shelving my dreams, plans and desires for my own life in order to make room for someone else’s. I’m a far more pleasant person to deal with when I prioritise all the things that keep me happy.

Dreams are built one brick at a time.

What has tripped me up in the past has been the idea that success should come quickly or else it might never arrive. I now realise that there is something big or small (but mostly small) that I can do every day to build my dream. Failure to do the little that is required right now is tantamount to self-sabotage.

Dream as big as you want, and then LET GO.

This is the single biggest lesson I have ever learnt. As a driven, determined, self-reliant woman I always wanted to control every step of making my life as I envision it to be. I am learning now that knowing what you want and being steadfast in that while doing what you can is all the effort you need. The quicker you can set a dream free the quicker it will materialise.

Every opportunity to doubt is an opportunity to increase in belief.

Nothing in life is all sun-shine and roses, but your private world – the world as you experience it –  is shaped by the spirit in which you act. There inevitably will be things that don’t work out and days where all efforts seem futile (yesterday was such a day for me) and doubting seems the only logical response. I have learnt that doubt is a habit like any other. It’s a habit that we cling to because we believe fear and worry are sensible. To be doubtful but take no action is just plain dumb. Yes! If you truly are concerned about something just take action instead of sitting around worrying. Acting will already remove most doubt and worry. And any successful outcome that flows from your action will increase your belief in your ability to deal with your life.

All battles are lost or won in the Mind first.

Having a strong mind just makes life so much easier. I have learnt that my Mind can only produce fruits based on what I feed it. In general I think we are much to nonchalant about what we expose our awareness to. Whether it is the right entertainment, the right people, constructive thoughts or even the right food, the mind is too precious to be negligent with. I refuse to let any random thing sully the mind I have been working on to strengthen for all these years. A strong mind allows one to choose your actions consciously, to observe yourself objectively, to experience your feelings authentically to make your decisions with certainty and conviction.

I can’t say that I have the keys to a wonderful life for everyone, but these things surely have made my life much more peaceful, satisfying and purposeful. All those I believe are core requirements for the life of one’s dreams

Don’t Be Stumped by the Obvious

Isn't it obvious?
Isn’t it obvious?

When writers aren’t lamenting the lack of readers or the meagre rewards they receive for their work, when they aren’t explaining to the world why readers and writers are superior to the rest of humanity, they’re bashing the writer who is most successful at the time and criticizing that person’s work. Right now no self-respecting writer feels complete without having a go at EL James and ripping apart her books.

I couldn’t get through the first 20 pages of the first Grey book, but clearly there were many who lapped it up and begged for more; which they got. More power to her for striking gold and grabbing the world’s ear (eye?). I now think I should read that damn book to find out what attracted so many readers, and I think that every serious writer should too.

If you have written a great work of prose or poetry that no one seems to be interested in reading your criticisms of someone else’s work comes across as chomping away on a large portion of sour grapes. In fact I think every writer who has gained more followers, gotten their work noticed or met a pressing deadline by condemning the Grey series should send EL James a royalty payment. She saved some asses.

Hell, because of her I now know that BDSM doesn’t stand for Blood Drinking Slave Masters. Horizon broadened!

All the authors who were published merely to refute or affirm other books should be eternally grateful to all that is free and unoriginal. I failed to find “Da Vinci Code” on book-racks crammed with works about it. Books either back-slapping or bitch-slapping Dan Brown and his theories.

Dan Brown made some interesting leaps and imaginative associations and that’s what writers are supposed to do. Now quit fault-finding or riding his coat-tails and make up some of your own leaps and associations and Tom Hanks might be in the movie based on your book.

Writers make shit up, learn from the ones who do it well. The flip-side of having something to say as a writer, is having something to say that readers want to know. The authors whom other writers are hating on found the golden mean. Don’t be stumped by the obvious.

I’m gonna be frank when I write a book. The title will be “Crap She Wrote” (like Murder, She Wrote). I’ll have my book released after I get a British passport because one thing is obvious to me, you have to be an English woman (JK Rowling, EL James, hello!) if you want to sell millions in a book series. I will not allow myself to be stumped by what is blindingly obvious.

And when the inevitable haters get some air-time because of my shitty book, I’ll be somewhere counting my cash.

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