Running Socks (Review)

The History

If you have read this blog before you will know that this year I decided to change my lifestyle. Part of that change was to exercise regularly. These days I run every day, I go at least 8Km and sometimes I do 15-20Km in a day.

Not being the youngest person in the world I do suffer from small strains and injuries. Two that were particularly troubling were blisters caused by shoes (new trainers in one case) and a pain in the arch and ankle of my left foot.

In a bid to try and move away from an ankle support I decided to try a running sock. I chose the More Mile Mens London sock as it had good recommendations of Amazon. I would like to share some of my experience.

The Review

This review can be broken into 6 distinct parts:

  • Fit: The socks are snug and tight, they fit well and do not shrink as long as you keep the wash cool and use colour setting. They also are suited to left/right division and as such are labelled.
  • Support: As promised they support the arch and most of my pain has disappeared. The compression on the toes and ankle are also good.
  • Sweat: The sock works well at getting sweat away from the skin and my feet can be dry after running (or at least they feel dry).
  • Padding: Toes and ankle are nicely padded and as such they have eliminated blisters, another big plus is the padding on the ball of the foot which helps to cushion and protect the side of the foot.
  • Comfort: They feel great, like standing on clouds, snug clouds though.
  • Wear: I have had them for a few weeks and they are only just showing wear, I estimate a lifespan of 20-30 wears for each sock, which is about 10p a run. This might seem high but I think it is a bargain for the level of comfort I have noticed.

Overall I am going to give a thumbs up to these socks. Please note that I haven’t tried their other socks, nor have I tried many other brands that are similar so cannot give a side-by-side comparison.

However I think they are worth the cost and the comfort and reduction in strain and blisters alone is worth double the daily cost.

If you are going to purchase some of these socks please consider using my affiliate link below.

[Note: I was not asked, sponsored, or otherwise tempted to write this review. I made a purchase and this is a response to the usage (personal) of the product I bought. I was not offered any compensation or gain]

Goal Stats

This is an update to the post on this year’s goals that I published back in March. One of the goals I set for the year was to lose weight. I have been working hard to achieve this goal and it has taken considerable will power. I have:

  • Started exercising on most days, in fact I run almost every morning.
  • Watch how much I eat by counting the food intake, but sticking to sensible limits as defined from the NHS website (no calorific reduction to approved intake – 2250 calories) – I use the myfitness app.
  • Changed my diet to have a lot more fruit, vegetables, fish and fewer sugary foods.
  • Try to get a balanced diet of fats/carbs/proteins, again no specific Ketogenic/Atkinsons or Paleo stuff, just balanced eating using the myfitness app. to monitor.
  • Reduced my alcohol intake and switched from Lager/Cider and predominately white wine to real ales, red wine and spirits with low calorie mixers.

So what are the stats so far I hear you cry. Well I have a few for you that I would like to list.

Stats

136  –  Days Counted

Weight

18st 1lb/114.759kg  –  starting weight

14st 3lb/90.265kg – current weight

3st 10lb (52lb)/24.5kg – weight lost

32.9 – Starting BMI (Obese)

26.8 – Current BMI (Overweight – but not by much)

The loss of close to 4 stone (26kg) feels great.

Body Measurements

Body Part / Starting / Current
(all measurements in Inches as the British are random like that)

Neck / 19.5 / 15.9

Chest / 48.6 / 42.5

Waist / 45.5 / 36.5

Hips / 44 / 41

So I have taken a huge 8 inches or 20cm from my waist, which I am very happy about.

As mentioned above I run on most days and walk a lot more than I did last year. An average month last Autumn saw me doing between 220 – 260,000 steps or between 8 – 10,000 steps a day – which is okay but I do like walking and try to whenever I can.

This year I have increased that by about 50%, in fact I have a couple of charts for you to look at below.

My average daily step count is between 17-20,000 steps now which is about double from the previous year. You might notice that the column which shows the percentage of my step count from running has increased from below one fifth to about one third of my monthly average. A last couple of stats I want to share with you are to do with the step count and specifically the running.

When I started in January I could manage to run for 2-3 minutes before being very out of breath with a heart rate that was high. I wear a heart monitor and regularly check my stats so I can give these now:

January

Heart Rate (running): 172-185

Speed: 8-8.5Kmph

Resting Heart Rate: 78-83

Blood Pressure: 135-145 over 85-98 – avg 132 over 86
(Very high end of acceptable, this was bad but it was still lower than last October where I was actually hypertense all the time)

SPO2: 95-97% – avg 96%

Distance: 3.5Km in 36mins
(walking and running 22 mins walk to 16 mins run)

May

Heart Rate (running): 155-162

Speed: 9.2-10.5 Kmph

Resting Heart Rate: 61

Blood Pressure: 115 over 83 avg.

SPO2: 98-100% – avg 99%

Distance: 6.3Km in 41mins
(walking and running 5 mins walk to 36 mins run)

I have managed to complete the Couch to 5K challenge, can run with a steady pace that makes me breathe fast and a little breathless but I am not out of breath. I have done a few longer runs of 45-55mins in length and managed 8-9.5 Km before feeling too tired to continue.

I never thought I would run as long and as steady and have until now never run as far. My longest run that I can recall, even as a child, was 25mins and I completed about 3.3 Km.

And a final piece is a couple of photos. The first was me in December:

 

And this is me about 2 weeks ago with my youngest child.

Feeling pretty different and a lot happier about my weight.* And there have been lots of nice comments about how I look, my favourite was only yesterday.

‘You have gone from the respectable looking businessman who likes his lunches to a wiry goat’ (Thanks Kay 🙂 ).

-Exunt: Chased by a bear**

*Which makes up for all the other sadness I feel at the moment which I mentioned in 2 previous posts Doughnut 1 and Doughnut 2.

** At least these days I might be able to out-distance the bugger.

 

 

Doughnut: A Eulogy in Two Parts – Fit the Second

Memorial Service Eulogy

[On 21st April 2017 my friend of 25 years died after a long and complicated period of illness. She and I shared a friendship that I find hard to easily explain, but it is enough to say that she was very dear to me. Jane asked that I spoke at her Funeral (on 5th May) and at her Memorial Service (7th May).

Since publishing part one I have discovered that this is apparently National Doughnut Week. I think Jane would have loved my timing and the fact that I was oblivious until tagged on Social Media.

I have published my eulogies in honour to my friend and for those who could not be in attendance… I miss you Jane.]

 

“You lived what anybody gets. You got a lifetime.”
[Reference not spoken, just the quote (Neil Gaimen: Sandman)]

It is a curious thing, to give two eulogies. It might seem like one too many but for Jane Harvey, and for me I always used Jane Haggerstone, but she was also always the SuperHero name that I gave to her, ‘Princess Planetary Pants’, it is an immeasurable number of too few things I want to say, all to her.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
[Reference not spoken, just the quote
(Lewis Carroll: The Walrus and the Carpenter)]

So this is the sequel to Friday’s thoughts when I spoke at Jane’s funeral and I told a story about a cake. Today I want to talk more about Jane as I knew her than I did on Friday but I still have an anecdote about her to share.

I met Jane in 1992, we were both at University, and I would loved to tell you that it was a friendship immediately forged in steel and bonded with granite.

But it wasn’t.

I think, and I cannot be one hundred percent certain with the mists of recollection, I found her a little cold, or maybe aloof. Clearly intelligent, clearly sarcastic. But maybe too insightful and too engaged on her own self.

For her part I think she thought I was a bit of a pillock.

But within the first two years of meeting I learned she was a very special person.

Caring, is what she embodied, and she could be so without be patronising.

Jane genuinely felt for the world.

It is why she believed so much in the National Health Service, to the ideal of healing without asking for recompense.

Jane was a believer in social responsibility and a duty of care.

Jane was a person who exhibited what I would like to call random acts of kindness. She would reach out seemingly at random to help someone or be kind to someone without thinking why, without even needing to know them.

Jane was genuinely empathic. She could look at you and instantly know if you were in need. If I was sad or bursting with a secret joy, Jane would know I wouldn’t have to say.

And Jane had a biting intellect.

She was academically smart but she did not use it as a platform for a state of one-upmanship. She was able to hold a deep understanding of subjects, concepts and ideas that were newly introduced to her and be able to discuss and examine them.

But the main use that Jane put her intellect to, was to understand and be insightful. She had this manner that made you question and search yourself with the sole intention of making you better at being yourself.

I learned to respect, admire and hold dear this caring intelligent person over many months of getting to know her better.

For her part, during the same time, I think she learned something about me as well.

It was that she was right.

I was a bit of a pillock. But at least a loveable one.

You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived
You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left
[Reference not spoken, just the quote
(David Harkins: She Is Gone (He Is Gone))
]

Now, I should warn you. I was given some specific tasks by Jane in talking to you today.

One was that I should wear pink and be shocking, which I have achieved, and perhaps, also, to berate you if you are not equally as shocking. So as I look at you now I am making a mental note of all those who are not wearing something exuberant for her.

A second was to make sure that you all at least smiled, if only briefly in recollection of her.

My role is to stop you being, as she would put it, ‘bloody miserable buggers’.

Since I am a master of bad jokes and this is an inappropriate point I have to say what do you call a doe with no eyes. I have no idea.

Jane wanted me to share some joy with you. If she was here we would be wildly inappropriate in our comments to each other, in fact I could hear most of her comments in my head as I wrote both of these eulogies.

Jane was a deeply happy person. Or at least that was the face she chose to share.

She did not like to burden people with her own troubles. It is why her choice of entertainment was things that were fun. She felt the need to be filled with joy and to spread that joy to others.

But it didn’t stop her from telling people if they were wrong, silly or in need of a swift kick up the backside.

One of the main things Jane and I bonded over, where our friendship rooted itself was in the love of art.

Jane was a person who loved a range of different genres of theatre, comedy and literature. She was also a deeply passionate soul and so was drawn to art and visual stimulus along with the written and audible.

Jane had the deep philosophical insight to examine and interpret art, often seeing different meaning than others might. She was one of my biggest fans and loved my own personal stories, poems and even the parodies that I flippantly wrote.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
were sitting in a pub,
to the Walrus, called the Carpenter,
`give my poor belly a rub,
for I have drunk enough,’ said he,
`to fill a whole bath tub’.
[Reference not spoken, just the quote
(Mark Keating: The Walrus and the Carpenter[2])
]

She believed in me when I could not. She believed in people and that they could be the best person.

Jane wrote herself and I regret that she didn’t have the time to write more as she had an insight into the human condition that she was able to express well in story form.

There was a tradition that when we would meet, whether it had been just a week, or if many months had passed, we would talk and chew the fat and go until the dawn was lightening the sky. It was easy to talk to Jane and was easy to listen to her.

Jane and I would talk often through the night. We were weave talkers, drifting across subjects and ideas, using memories and snippets of research, to be wandering minds that occasionally threw out pieces of distracted wisdom and bad jokes.

To jump in with eyes closed but heart open.

Soon as she was gone from me,
A traveler came by,
Silently, invisibly
He took her with a sigh.
[Reference not spoken, just the quote (William Blake: Love’s Secret)]

I want to tell you a short tale about Jane now, and this is all about a hole.

When Jane became very sick, or at least admitted to herself that she was very sick and much of her life and career changed she went through a period of great emotional upheaval.

Or at least that is how it appeared from the outside.

To those of us who knew her it is more than that, it was as if she turned that very insightful gaze upon herself and knew she had to change in an irrevocable way.

During this period she returned to her faith and decided to be re-baptised.

When this happened Jane asked me to be at her baptism. Jane knew what my personal beliefs were and she knew about my own past. For my part I knew that this was deeply important to her and I felt privileged to be asked. So clearly I was there for her.

At her baptism she gave a short speech that has stuck with me all these years because it was so important and said so much about her.

She would forgive the vagaries of my memory as I let you know this is broadly what she said without being an exact recital.

‘When I was a teenager I felt that I had a hole inside me, a hole I couldn’t describe but it had always been there. Just as if something was missing.

So I went to college, to learn how to be a nurse to try and fill that hole. Although I learned and became a nurse the hole was still there.

So I had relationships. I believed it was because I was not fulfilled with love. So I loved deeply, I did love enough it seemed to fill any hole. But even with someone I loved, the hole was still there.

I filled my life with my career. I had a job and I tried hard at it. I learned more and reached out for more experience. I tried to make the career fill the hole. But the hole was still there.

I travelled, I visited faraway places and searched for meaning in the new locations and experiences. But still the hole was with me.

I had a world filled with social desires. Of dancing, singing and groups and entertainment, of friends and fancies and yet this did not fill the hole, the hole was still there.

When all of that went away. When I was sick. When I cried in the night and when I was lost the hole was still with me. But no larger than before.

The hole was still there.

Then I found God. And the hole that was in me was suddenly filled up and I felt whole.

That’s when I knew that the hole that was there was where God belonged.’

Every Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born.

Every Morn & every Night
Some are Born to sweet Delight.

Some ar Born to sweet Delight,
Some are born to Endless Night.

We are led to Believe a Lie
When we see not Thro’ the Eye

Which was Born in a Night to Perish in a Night
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light.

God Appears & God is Light
To those poor Souls who dwell in the Night,

But does a Human Form Display
To those who Dwell in Realms of day.

[Reference not spoken, just the quote (William Blake: Auguries Of Innocence)]

For me, now that Jane is gone, I feel the world, perhaps even the universe, has a hole in it. A Jane shaped hole. She was so unique it feels like it cannot be filled.

And at this time I feel there is a hole in my heart. It may be filled with memories that I know must fade, but it is there and it hurts.

But Jane already showed me what to do with my hole, she spent her life showing all of us.

I will fill that hole with joy, and love for my family, my friends, and for random others.

That is all it seemed my friend wanted, what she wanted from all of us.

To love and be loved and to share that joy with others.

Do random acts of kindness for her.

Smile, wear bright and gaudy colours like pink and purple and orange.

Tell an awful joke or two and at some times, be wildly inappropriate.

Over these two eulogies I told you about a cake and a hole. Just for her, a poor dad joke pun. A cake and a hole, I made a doughnut.

If I should die before the rest of you
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone

Nor, when I’m gone, speak in a Sunday voice,
But be the usual selves that I have known.

Weep if you must
Parting is hell.

But life goes on.
So sing as well.
[Reference not spoken, just the quote
(Joyce Grenfell: If I should die before the rest of you)]

 

Doughnut: A Eulogy in Two Parts – Fit the First

Funeral Eulogy

[On 21st April 2017 my friend of 25 years died after a long and complicated period of illness. She and I shared a friendship that I find hard to easily explain, but it is enough to say that she was very dear to me. Jane asked that I spoke at her Funeral (on 5th May) and at her Memorial Service (7th May).

I have published my eulogies in honour to my friend and for those who could not be in attendance… I miss you Jane.]

“Farewell to thee! but not farewell
To all my fondest thoughts of thee:
Within my heart they still shall dwell;
And they shall cheer and comfort me.”
[Reference not spoken, just the quote (Anne Brontë)]

I have two talks to give about Jane this weekend and together they probably make a doughnut.

Even before Jane became desperately ill we had discussed funerals and in particular what would happen if one of us outlived the other.

It’s not that we were morbid or anything, okay maybe a little, we were goths after all.

We just discussed it as we knew by then that our friendship was going to last a lifetime, in many ways it already had.

I believe at the time we had always hoped it was in some far distant future when we were very old and could be disreputable and maybe spit in the street or swear fit to burst. We could have at least worn purple.

It is at this point that I should scan you all to make sure there are no sensitive ears, and as Leigh would say ‘apply a filter to my speech’, I can see there are small children so I can’t be too blue. Many of you know that Jane could use a profane word if required to make a point but she would not wish me to offend the young’.

‘Right Markie’, Jane said, ‘I want you to smile for me.’

‘And I want you to tell bad jokes. it is, after all the, only type of joke you know.

There were these two goldfish in a tank, and one of them turned to the other and said ‘Do you know how to drive this thing?’.

Tell dad jokes and make people groan, otherwise they’re gonna be a bunch of miserable Buggers.’

‘Also I am choosing you to talk as there is a high chance that you’ll screw this up and make people laugh a little anyway.’

[The original written version used ‘Bastards’ and ‘Cock’ but was changed to help facilitate the observance to sensitive ears.]

Another job I had was to wear pink.’ I can’t stand to think that everyone will just be dressed in black, I love pink, something bright and shocking is what’s required. I hope that people are wearing pinks and oranges and purples.’ is what she would say.

‘Also Keating I want you to say something different for me. Just say something about me. I don’t want this to be a sad litany of what I had achieved or how much I did something or another.’

‘Tell them a story. Tell them something they may not know, it does not matter if they do know it. I want it to be how you saw it. How you knew me. So today for her, I want to tell you about a cake.

Think of this as I tell you this story. We all meet people as we pass through life:

  • Sometimes they make a great impact and are with you for a long time;
  • Sometimes they make a small impact as they pass you fleetingly;
  • It will be no surprise to you that Jane changed me a lot.

When we left college and Jane moved away to the south we kept in touch. For many years we had a tradition that we met up at least at New Year and also usually in the summer for a week as well.

Mostly it involved travelling and staying with the other person, or their parents and I am sure John can attest to how often we crashed his house. We just liked having a laugh.

One New Year’s eve Jane rang and told me should would be late. She would be there for New Year but would be delayed because she had to bake a cake.

I said fine, knowing that I was getting cake and Jane made a tasty sweet treat.

She arrived, late as advertised, and we settled down to talking, laughing and telling of probably awful jokes. After a while I asked about the cake.

‘Cake’ was her reply in a slightly surprised voice.

‘Yeah, you said you were baking a cake? I thought we should eat it to balance all the soft drinks we have consumed!’

‘Oh that wasn’t for you.’

‘Ah’. Now I wasn’t upset, may be a little at this point. I like cake, I liked Jane’s cake especially lemon drizzle cake with custard.

‘Sorry,’ I said, ‘I thought you were getting us all cake, I went out and sourced some custard.’

She smiled and laughed a little, ‘we can still have the custard.’

I of course got to asking who the cake was for, ‘well,’ she says, ‘each year when I come up here I use the Toll Road, and it occurred to me that the poor buggers on the toll road have to work on New Year’s Eve which has got to be pretty miserable. So I made them a cake.’

As I tell you this now it still stuns me how Jane’s mind used to work.

She had such a great deal of empathy for her fellow human beings.

People she had never met

People who were being paid to do a job.

They were in her heart and in her thoughts. She made them cake to cheer their New Year.

“And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.”
[Reference not spoken, just the quote 
(Byron: She Walks in Beauty)]

Some people are with you a long time and have a great affect on your life.

Some are with you fleetingly and have almost none. They might, sometimes, change you in a subtle way.

Jane was a rare individual. She could be with you for a fleeting moment and yet make a great difference.

Imagine for a moment being the person who receives a cake as a gift from a total stranger just to cheer your day.

A small thing that can have far reaching meaning in an otherwise dreary time.

Jane exhibited what I like to think of as random acts of kindness. Part of me hopes there was some greater, more subtle plan.

In reality I know it was something else.

It was that Jane was an exceptional human being who thought far greater than most people, who truly cared beyond herself. It made her a rarity.

“But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!”
[Reference not spoken, just the quote 
(Byron: She Walks in Beauty)]

To end today I am going to follow a tradition and misquote a favourite writer.

‘She was my friend. Take her for all in all. I shall not look upon her like again.’.
[Reference not spoken, just the quote 
(Shakespeare: Hamlet)]

2017 Goals and Aims

I have spoken at some length in a previous post (see http://www.markkeating.me.uk/2016/11/11/the-me-me-goal/ ) about one side of goals, which i called the ‘me goal’ a form of internal embiggening[1] yourself. Today i am going to speak about my goals for 2017.

Well not all of them.

And this is not a continuation of the previous post just I thought I’d mention it so that you could go and look and I could make some mild link that has no value because the kittens have knitted a jumper.

…anyway…

This year I have set myself a number of challenges to do with personal, professional and family life. I have also accepted a challenge from Leigh (www.leighkeating.me).

I thought I’d share some of them with you.

Personal: Been feeling fat and unhealthy and my lifestyle in regards to food and drink has got out of hand. So I have decided to lose weight, exercise more and drink less. I started on the 5th January. I am 2 stone lighter, I am eating better and drinking less. It is a hard regime, I am not massively overdoing it, but I am being firm with myself. So that’s going well, but I need to see if i can mange a year.

Leigh: Leigh asked me to publish a book, I did do one last year and you can find it for free (or make a small donation) on The Dog Ate My Bookshop website. The last book I published was a series of Haiku’s from 2015. this time around it will be a novel of some sort.

Family: Well I have kids and a wife that is devoted to me. I have resolved this year to make the most out of that and to sort out some better way of being a better husband and father. This is not to say I am crap, just that I know I can do better and I know they deserve the best version of me.

Professional: This is a hard one as I am pretty dedicated to my professional work. But this year I am trying to extend the notice that I give to what I, and my work colleagues, do.

We spend a lot of time working with communities in groups both in meat-space and elsewhere. I want to make sure that we get the acknowledgement (this is not respect, recognition or promotion but simply awareness) of what we do. So I have been focusing o making sure I put news on the company website (go take a look if you like) and trying to blog more about the company and the people.

That’s some of the goals I have for the year.

I don’t call them resolutions and I don’t conceive of a fully structured plan. These are changes I want to make or think I need to make and as such they have few requirements or definitive aims.

The weight loss has a general goal, as does the fitness. the challenge from Leigh has an aim but I am not bound to it. And in family and company these are desires to see a change that will benefit a group not an individual-only need.

Hopefully I will report back to you later in the year on how I am doing.

[1] yeah I stole it from The Simpsons

 

The Me-Me Goal

Been thinking a lot about goals and motivational structures recently and I am not quite there when I express my thoughts. This is probably down to the nebulous way in which my brain works, there are not really superhighways of communication more a wool jungle that’s infested with kittens. But the area itself is a little flimsy.

Mostly, probably because of the yearly Nanowrimo competition, I have been thinking about how people face down a challenge or a goal that is an externally originated condition.

There are many people who crave structure, and even some who prefer an imposed structure no matter how abstract or arbitrary as it focuses them on a task. I look at this and think that they are using this to supplement, or maybe supplant, a different desire. It isn’t really a goal that this gives them as they themselves have constructed a different goal, that of completing a challenge. So it is an external challenge that forces them to perform. It always makes me think that this is more to do with an internal desire to combat an expectation.

This expectation might be a self imposed world view that they are unable to perform from some devaluation of themselves, or a perceived devaluation in the society they operate within. It is a combative approach to a challenge, it is about overcoming.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What are goals for if they are not for forcing us to achieve. Whether that is a placebo for the addressing of some other inner narrative or need is probably irrelevant.

Of course there are some darker emotional waters here. There are people who need to address a challenge not to satisfy internal structures of accomplishment but to rail against some perceived injustice or appraisal.

I see people who use a global competitive challenge, that is based in personal achievement, as a method by which to control others. I also see them manipulate people into seeing the goal not just as an achievement but as a challenge for proving their worth.

So they use an arbitrary goal of numbers as a method of distinction not by personal achievement but by the reduction of others. It is even veiled as friendly challenge. There is a certain value in being mildly competitive, there is value in supporting others and spurring them on. But for some people their cheerleading of others, whether conscious or unconscious, is actually being used to highlight their own achievement.

‘Don’t worry that you only managed two thousand words, there are still two weeks to go. I found the first five thousand words super hard and have struggled to get to thirty thousand so I know how you feel. You can do it. I think I will fail every year but somehow I manage it. So if I can do it you can.’

The above sentence is a commonplace style of this mentality. It looks supportive, but read deeper and what is actually being said is that they have turned their attention to how hard things are for them, how much they have achieved, how difficult it is for them each time, but yet they still succeed. It is a me-me focus statement.

The last sentence, which is more commonplace than you think is the painful twist of a knife. Put simply it tells the poor sod who is far behind in the challenge that you are going to complete, which means you have to now, if you don’t then you are not as good as me and I struggle every year.

Of course not everyone who enjoys sharing their numbers has this in mind. There is a certain buzz you get if you have achieved a good push with writing. I know lots of people who are just being friendly and sharing their hard work. That’s actually positive and I love seeing how surprised and happy they are. There are even those who are juggling multiple challenges and supporting others And many who are genuinely happy to hear what your word count is and to indulge in a friendly word sprint (word war).

Don’t confuse that with the harsh focus of the word-self who uses every opportunity to make the focus them. Also don’t assume they even know that they are doing it, it could be for deeply sad reasons. Maybe what we should feel is pity instead of anger at their desire to turn it all into their story.

Their goal, therefore, is perhaps to be recognised, maybe to be admired, maybe loved or respected. Or maybe they don’t care about other people as they see themselves as the principal reason that existence spirals around. The only shame is that this can be a drag on emotional equilibrium to those inside their social group.

So their goal is actually to give themselves attention. Again know what your goals are and how they fit with others. It isn’t wrong t want attention, respect or adulation, we all have an ego, it is just bad to achieve that at the expense of others.

Write A Day 2

Back in March, in my last post, I mentioned that I had been doing a writing challenge in 2015 where I would write at least a page for each day in a small journal. It’s the start of 2016 and I haven’t really blogged much here (though i have managed to blog significantly to my company blog and news pages). I can happily report that I completed my challenge.

So the three things I set out to do (not resolutions but goals) in 2015 that I completed:

  1. Write a page for each day in a journal; Completed.
  2. Write one Haiku for each week; Completed.
  3. Complete 50,000 words in november for Nanowrimo; Completed.

I didn’t complete the two other writing goals I had set myself, but I had a feeling that I wouldn’t as the whole wish list was pretty large. However i do feel very proud of what I have done.

So what now? Well I have already announced to some friends that I have at least one goal for 2016 and I will let you all have another here. I will be publishing the Haikus I wrote in 2015. They need a little editing and a little cleaning but I will publish them as an eBook. I will likely make this available for free to download with a donate if you like link. The idea of a pay what you want appeals to me for the poems, there are at least 52 of them with a few others spread around. This is on the list for release sometime around Easter to Summer. I hope to let you know more soon.

-mdk

 

Write A Day

Back in December Leigh published the following blog all about the diary challenge that she had recently completed and how you could do the same.

It was a call to action to all of us who want to write and sometimes have an issue in finding the time or the motivation.

The basic story is that a few years ago Leigh decided to fill a page of a diary each day with writing for a single year. Life, of course, didn’t make things easy and it took her more than the one year to finish the diary. The important part is that she finished the diary. The really important part is that in doing so she not only achieved a goal but she built up good habits about just writing.

Writing isn’t easy and it isn’t natural and people who say that it is are generally not telling a whole truth. It can become more practiced but it is not easy, and I am not so sure it should be. In order to write you need a lot of motivation, you need to make time and you have to be prepared to keep at it. Like any skill it generally improves with practice. Sure, there are some people who find it easier than others, some natural advantages from evolution, upbringing and attitude perhaps, but even they say probably don’t say it is easy.

I have had some issues with my motivation. I haven’t been writing fiction or even wanting to write. I haven’t felt like even writing my diary entries. All of that was not making me happy.

I did motivate Leigh to publish her call to action to inspire people and I know it has done so as they responded and I have spoken to some about their efforts (keep at it guys, if you miss days don’t stress). If you missed the 1st January don’t worry. I would say that you can start anytime in the year and now is likely a good time to start as you can pick up a diary for less cost.

As for me. I don’t generally use my diary except for work appointments and the formal tasks that I live my life by. I don’t really find the format of a diary condusive to writing for me. It reminds me too much of my structured work and community life.

I like note books.

I like journals.

I like mixed media.

I like the book I bought to try and write every day this year.

I have done so every day this year.

I write a page each day, probably less than 200 words so fairly light. Sometimes I write a little more, sometimes a couple of pages. I write poems and draw sketches in there as well. I have wrote every day so far. Sometimes I have written more than once a day.

On the one day I missed, I wrote twice on the following day to catch up. That was once, I don’t feel it was a fail, but I made sure to think about what I would write before going to sleep even though I was too tired (and a little drunk) to write, and then wrote it the next morning. If I don’t have my journal with me I write in any A6 book I can find and then tear the pages out and put them in the journal later (yes I am bloody odd, thanks for asking).

I was inspired, you see by these words:

“If the diary challenge has taught me anything it’s how to get over that fear of the blank page.”

I am not really scared of a blank page I got over that, but I am for sure tired of never filling one of them. I got tired of looking at a blank page and just not caring if I wrote on it. I wanted to kill my de-motivation. Also, I kinda liked the idea of somethign as crazy mad as this:

“It would be difficult for me to give a break down of exactly what is in the damn thing. At least 1 complete script, 50,000 words of a novel, and many many many short stories, flash fiction, ideas, characters, bits of novels, plots and poems. There are zombies, pirates, aliens, apocalypses, angels and demons, bond villains, parallel universes and a lot of weird Christmas stories. Sounds like the best book ever, right? Well it wasn’t all fun. There’s at least one page describing my fishtank, some shockingly bad poetry, and some filler days that are just my RPG characters having arguments with each other, just to mention a few of the pages I’m less proud of. But it’s done.”

So I want to thank my beautiful, and slightly bat-sugar-insane, wife for inspiring me. I am one sixth into this crazy challenge and I am two thirds through my first A6-ish mixed page journal. For the curious types I use these journals for writing and sketching in, love them.