The next phase

After every blog entry that I publish, WordPress (the online platform/system that so generously and graciously hosts this space and makes my blogging possible {truly}) gives me a confirmation message with a few brief statistics, as well as a small note of encouragement (which is really quite kind).  Here is a screen shot of the message I received last night:

It’s been one full year since I began my blogging adventure.  One full year of posting a smile-worthy moment every day.  Some days the writing was fluid and easy; other days it was more of a struggle to extract a smile from the day, much less type it up and publish it for others to read.  And yet day in, day out, it was done – and I am genuinely a better person because of it.  Yes, my writing skills have improved pretty dramatically over the past 12 months; but more importantly, my life has improved.  I’m quicker to laugh, faster to forgive, and genuinely lighter in spirit.  It astounds me.

While this blog has been a very enjoyable hobby for me, it does take time to do.  And some days, I found that I was spending more time at the computer than I might like, more time typing than was probably ‘healthy’ for me.  I’m an introvert by nature, and a semi-extreme one at that – so I can happily spend days at home alone (literally), sitting and writing and creating.  And while creative expression absolutely has a valid place in my life, I don’t want it to overtake my life.  I want to live in the ‘real world’, among ‘real people’, too.

Over the past month or two, I’ve found myself facing a bit of a dilemma: How do I continue down this healthy road of self-expression and personal growth, while also living – really living – in the world?  Perhaps more importantly, how do I do both of these things without sacrificing time spent with my husband, sleep, outings with friends, etc.?  (All of which have been slipping in the recent past.)

And, how do I also help ensure that my time – my life – doesn’t get carried away in a stream of computer code and keyboard clicks?  How do I help ensure that I’m not only living a creative life via words on a screen, but also with my actual physical self in the actual physical world around me?

After some contemplation and reflection, I think I have come upon a few different ‘solutions’ that I think I’d like to implement.  Three of them, actually.  (Of course three.)  😉  Here they are:

1)     I want this blog to remain a source of joy in my life, and not begin to regard it as an obligation.  I also want to have some time to try some new things, too (see item #2 below).  So, I think it’s in my best interest if I reduce my posting schedule for the year ahead.  I loved posting every single day in 2010-2011; but at this point, I think I need to scale things back a bit.  As such, solution #1 is that I’ll now be posting every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday or Sunday (depending on the items on my schedule each weekend).  Three posts a week instead of seven.  Still good opportunities for me to focus on daily delights in life; but also a chance for me to invest in some new things, too.

2)     While I ‘like’ open time in my schedule, I don’t do very well with complete laxity.  As much as I sometimes resist structure, I really do need an amount of it in my life in order to remain healthy and grounded.  The ‘trick’ for me is learning how to balance my desire to be open and flexible with my simultaneous want for order and discipline.  How do I find a gentle middle path between these two potential extremes?  After more internal examination (and external inquiry), I think I found a framework that can support me.  The Day Zero Project (aka, 101 in 1001) is a semi-popular configuration that seems to help individuals maximize their time (indeed, their lives) – but in a relaxed, moderate way.  Adhering to a commitment to complete 101 tasks in 1001 days (roughly 2.5 years) seems like a terrific way to give me structure-yet-flexibility, and also to hold me accountable to living out in the big World vs. staying secluded in my private little domain.

For my 101 tasks, I chose to focus on things I have been ‘wanting’ to do for some time now, but have just never made the effort to actually experience.  In the spirit of keeping the list balanced, I chose to document some ‘easy’ tasks (i.e., #80) as well as some more challenging ones (#99, for example). The only universal ‘rules’ I applied to every task is that each one has to be new to me (so, something I have never experienced before), and I have to really want to do it (no items born out of a sense of responsibility or obligation; only authentic desire).  Now, if any of you would like to do any of these items with me (be it in-person or virtually), I would love the company!  Just let me know which one(s) spark your interest(s), and I am confident we can work out a plan to experience them together.  Also, if you can support me in achieving any of these items (or if you know someone who can), I would genuinely appreciate the help.  (For example, do you have a terrific success-guaranteed scone recipe for me to try?  [#88 – and please don’t make me ‘cut butter into’ anything.]  Please send it my way!  Do you know a golf pro that could give me a lesson?  [#68] I’d love for you to facilitate an introduction.  Does a friend-of-a-friend have a gentle horse I might ride? [#16]  I’d deeply appreciate an opportunity to ride it.  And so on.)  I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to complete several of these items on my list [#13, #29, #94…]; and yet, I know in my heart that once I state the intention, somehow, someway, they will all work out.  I have faith in the process, and in my peeps all around me.  😉

3)     Finally, the third facet of my three-step solution: If you have high attention to detail, you may have noticed that item #101 on my list is a bit of a doozy.  I’ve been ‘thinking about’ writing a book for literally five years (maybe more); and I have lots and lots of ideas; but now I need to actually commit to one of them, and just see it through…

In order to complete this item reasonably and rationally, (and again, not become a slave to my computer), I have created a two-year word count writing schedule.  If you have amazing attention to detail, you may have noticed a new box on the right side of this blog titled “WOW” (which stands for “Word Offering Widget”).  Each week, I will update that little counter with the current number of words I have written towards my book objective, as well as the week’s word count goal (for an easy compare-and-contrast).  My hope is that doing this will provide me with accountability to stay on track, and not to quit when I get stuck or feel insecure.  (All of which will occur, I am certain.)  Despite the semi-intense fear I’m feeling over this one, I sense tickles of excitement and joy inside me, too; so I ‘know’ that this is an item worthy of pursuit.  Now I just need to do it.  (Gulp.)

So, there you go.  A BIG, lengthy post, with some semi-big news (as it relates to me, anyway).  To recap:

  1. This blog will move to a Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday [or Sunday] publishing schedule, starting…. now.  😉
  2. Some of the coming posts will likely be connected to my 101 in 1001 project – but progress on all of the 101 tasks will be kept current here.
  3. “WOW” will be updated once a week.  (Yikes. Gulp. Smile.)

Alrighty, I think that’s more than enough for today… If you’ve read to the bottom of this post, I’m proud of you!  Here’s a little reward.

(I felt a little nervous driving behind this vehicle…)

[And if you have no idea what this license plate is referencing, you can get some insight into it here.]

Until Thursday, my friends.

Stef

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About Stef

A "serious" gal who is trying to remember to lighten up and smile.
This entry was posted in 101 in 1001, day zero project, rule of 3 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to The next phase

  1. Though I love reading your posts every day, I must say it’s so important to follow your muse. Your blog should be a source of joy, so post when you are inspired to do so (three days a week sounds like a great plan). Perhaps, 2010-2011 was all about finding your creativity and your gumption to stick to something . . . writing a book requires loads of those two things. Do what feels right and joy will inevitably follow you. 🙂

    Like

    • Stef says:

      C.B., thank you so much for your support. Truly. I agree with you in that I think 2010-2011 helped me access creativity/the will to create on a daily basis – and it really grew that ‘creative’ muscle into something much more strong and limber. I’m excited to continue with the blog – but even more grateful to all of the folks who continue to read it (and support me). 🙂

      Like

  2. Haha, Scooby Doo for UHOH! 🙂
    Good luck on all your new goals and I’m glad that you will still be writing 3 days a week! 🙂

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  3. Hallysann says:

    CONGRATULATIONS !
    And it’s truly meant. I’ve had to slow down my posts (and my reading of other posts) because I can’t find the time to live in the real world and the blog world. Although the blog world is safer, cosier, and usually much happier, my real world has started to collapse around me and needs propping up.
    I’ve always had a problem comitting longterm and although I considered the 365day blog, I chickened out but I am still here, and so are you so REALLY WELL DONE !

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  4. First, congrats on the year of posting, that’s quite an accomplishment!

    Your plan cut back or change things sounds awesome! I started out with the intention of doing Post A Day but stopped for two reasons: 1 it started to feel like an obligation, and 2 I was publishing posts that weren’t really related to my blog’s focus.

    I definitely look forward to your posts, and am heading over to read your 101 right now 🙂

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    • Stef says:

      Thank you! I’m proud that through the duration of this blog, I have always stayed true to its’ focus and ‘mission’. It really helped me having deep clarity on what I wanted this space to be.

      As for the 101, I’d love to hear any thoughts you have about them. 🙂

      Like

  5. Lia says:

    Congrats on the full year of posts! And on all the improvements this project helped you achieve. It sounds like you have a full plate on your hands with the 101 in 1001 (and a book! woo!!). I’m looking forward to hearing more about it all as you begin to complete the 101 tasks. 🙂 Here’s to moving forward!

    Like

    • Stef says:

      Thank you Lia – both for the congrats *and* for the encouragement as I continue on. It is exciting (and nerve-wracking, and more-than-a-bit scary…) – but I feel like I can ‘handle’ it now. Or at least give it a go and see what comes… 🙂

      Like

  6. rutheh says:

    Dear Stef, I will send you my biscotti recipe for #89. And I will recommend #101 to my book club and you can come and talk about your book after we have all read it!(and all bought it)
    I know you will accomplish your amazing and energizing list. Sounds like an excellent use of time, and so often I don’t use time wisely(one of my least favorite comments on the report cards) and I look forward to hearing about some of the new experiences.
    I am glad to have connected with you in the blogosphere and thought your post really addressed so many of the issues that “bloggers” face, especially the daily bloggers.
    My keep or pitch had to go on hiatus with my return to the new and demanding school year and schedule. And because I am hosting a bridal luncheon for Laura I am actually pitching with a frenzy but no time to photograph it and feel nostalgic.
    But enough me. I wish you all the best in your new endeavors and look forward to your future posts, whenever they may be.
    Cheers to you from Pittsburgh! 🙂
    Ruth

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    • Stef says:

      Ruth, thank you so much for this very thoughtful (and kind) comment. I would love to receive your biscotti recipe – so long as I don’t have to cut cold butter into anything. 😉

      I’m SO excited to hear that Laura’s wedding is incredibly close; that’s wonderful. And I’m proud of you for continuing to pitch, even if you don’t have the time to snap pictures as you are doing so. Way to go you!

      And I do plan on staying active in this space (and in reading the blogs I currently follow); with just a bit more balance, is all. 😉

      Thanks again Ruth; I’m delighted to have gotten to know you better over these past few months, and am looking forward to continuing our sharing, learning, and growing in each other’s presence.

      Like

  7. 365 – Wow!

    Stef, are an amazing writer & I look forward to following your next chapter.

    Thank you so much for sharing your smiles. 🙂

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    • Stef says:

      Aw, Jonathan, thank you so much! I appreciate your very kind words, and am delighted to hear that you’ve enjoyed the blog thus far.

      More is coming, I promise… 😉

      Like

  8. N. Barnes says:

    Oh laughed at the plate, clicked “like” and went back up to peek at your 101 list, and noticed your “If not now, when?” Congratulations on your 365th post! It is a milestone, and a great time to change things up.

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    • Stef says:

      Thanks Nancy! I’m admittedly a little nervous for the changes ahead – but I’m also excited to see what might occur. It’s been a delightful year – and I’m so lucky to get to continue to share parts of life with such truly wonderful people around me. (Present company included.) 🙂

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  9. Stef, I don’t think I’ve ever told you how much I truly appreciate you. Every time I read a comment from you or stop by your blog, my admiration for you just continues to grow. You are a wonderful writer, but more than that, I feel like you are a wonderful person. I look up to you—to the way you live your life and the way you view the world. You are an inspiration to me, and to many others I’m sure.

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    • Stef says:

      Amelia, you are incredibly kind! Your comment absolutely made my day (and night) – truly. Thank you *so much*.

      It’s a delight to be able to live this way. It has been a lot of work to get here – but all of the effort has been (and continues to be) absolutely worth it. 🙂

      Like

  10. Wow. Stef, i love how your mind works and this new direction. I’m looking forward to your posts, of course, and also to follow along and see what all you are accomplishing on your amazing list.
    walk in beauty, dear soul, every day.

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    • Stef says:

      Joss, thank you – your kind and encouraging comment means a LOT to me.

      May both of our dear souls experience levity and love in our journeys, together. 🙂

      Like

  11. Bill says:

    Stef — I meant to comment when this post first appeared in my inbox. I was always in awe that you managed a post every day, and I remain in awe that you did it for a full year. I’ve been trying to write something every day, whether it’s the blog or my journal (reading a Ralph Waldo Emerson biography made me want to keep a journal) or a reasonably substantial letter/e-mail to a friend. And I still miss some days. Your comments on my blog have been very kind and supportive, and I’m glad you’ll keep your blog going. It continues to make me smile.

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    • Stef says:

      Bill, thank you so much for this very thoughtful comment. (It’s never too late; I’m glad you decided to write here even though some days have passed.) 🙂 I’m so pleased that you enjoy this blog, and that it brings some brightness to your day. That was (and continues to be) the spirit I want to cultivate – both here, and throughout my life. 🙂 Thank you for letting me know that!

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  12. I am comment #23rd! 😀

    Hey i felt the same with my photoblog too, that it’s becoming more of an obligation to post daily so i had to cut it down… the problem that i had after was i never faithfully took on the schedule i said i’d be posting (4x a week) so now a new post can take as far as a month since the last. 😦

    Your list of tasks to do are also cool!!! I think it really makes you organized and focused. I have a 25 Things To Do Before [i hit] 25 [years old], but i haven’t crossed a single one yet!

    I’m glad to read about your realizations, that you’ve become a better writer and a better person through writing positive stuff in your blog, even if some days are hard. I wish i could have coffee with you sometime, i think i could really do with a talk from someone like you^_^ argh, why am i on the other side of the globe???

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  13. Stef says:

    Odee, this was a popular post indeed. Thank you for continuing the comment thread! I love it. (Truly.)

    So far, the schedule of posting 3x each week has been working out well. For me, I like the accountability of assigning specific days to post – because I know if I just said “three days”, it would be easy to let too many days slip between posts. I can always find something else to do besides blog…

    But I love blogging too much to not do it. (For now, anyway.) I adore the positive connections I get to make with people all over the world – literally! I mean, how many people get to say that they get to communicate regularly with people from another state, much less another country, much less another ‘non-Western’ country?! It’s too much of an amazing opportunity to let it just “slip by”…

    So, I write. And I read. And I comment. And my life has been deeply touched, and truly blessed, as a result. It’s incredible.

    As for coffee – hey, who knows what the future might bring? Should our paths cross, I am most definitely down with a cup of java with you! 🙂

    Like

    • yay thank you! i’ll keep my fingers crossed for that coffee then! ;D and thank you for the equally lengthy reply. i love leaving traces in your posts because i look forward to your replies, and i think your avid readers love it too^_^ a BIG THANK YOU!!!!!!

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      • Stef says:

        Odee, you are most welcome. My attitude is if people are going to take the time to read and comment, I am most certainly going to take the time to reciprocate in kind. Time is so precious and valuable these days, and I am deeply and genuinely flattered when people choose to spend some of it with me. So thank *you*! 🙂

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      • rutheh says:

        Hey Stef, You are the top commenter on the rutheh photo blog. I feel there should be some sort of award or recognition.
        I appreciate your insightful and intelligent remarks and your well wishes for my family.
        It is an exciting time and I am glad to document it as it can become a blur.
        I keep thinking about your list and also the sentence for every year alive. Still thinking about that one. I use a lot of energy thinking! Best,
        Ruth

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  14. Stef says:

    Ruth, I’m delighted that some of my posts encourage you to think, and that they ‘stick’ with you. I don’t think I could ask for any higher compliment as a writer. 🙂

    As for being your top commenter: It’s easy to do when you create such good posts. You are also a consistent commenter on this blog; I appreciate how we all help and support one another. It’s pretty darn amazing.

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  16. mkmercurio says:

    Thanks for posting the link to the Day Zero Project! It looks like fun and a great way to set up some goals, challenges and create memories along the way!

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    • Stef says:

      You are very welcome! I had a lot of fun thinking up my list; and have had even more fun completing some of the items! I think you are right – it’s a great way to create some cool memories. 🙂 I highly recommend it!

      Like

  17. Steffanie says:

    So glad that I found you but have to admit it’s kinda spooky! While reading this post, I realized quickly that you could be describing me! I love your list of “to do’s”. I’ve started mine but haven’t published it yet. You’ve given me the incentive to finish it up.

    From one Stef to another… thanks for sharing!

    Like

    • Stef says:

      Steff, wow, cool to hear from you! I flipped over to your blog and poked around for a bit – and some of the similarities are a little spooky 🙂 I’m glad you left a comment here; when you finish your list, I’d love to read it!

      Like

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