Tuesday, July 3, 2018

IWSG: Elbow Room


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Last month, in When Life Gives You Lettuce, I talked about taking time this summer to re-evaluate and re-group, including spending less time on screens and social media.

So far, so good!

The funny thing is that even though I'm hunkering inside my shell, I actually feel . . . freer, lighter. (I even got my hair cut, back to my previous super short style!) I have "elbow room" now - emotionally, mentally, and physically. I'm focusing on what I really want to, including:

Writing - the horror novella is coming along, and I'm working on two short story subs with end of July deadlines.

Health - the "dreadmill" (aka treadmill) is no longer my frenemy but my actual friend - who knew?! - and is helping me with my walking/running. My focus is not so much on dropping pounds as it is improving heart health, strengthening muscles. It's definitely not about speed. (The tortoises are faster than I am. Seriously.)

I plan to stay relaxed yet focused, and make the most of all this glorious space, just waiting for me to breathe and create and dream and stretch . . . .

*****

How's your summer going so far? Feeling pressured? Relaxed? Any projects you're working on? Anything exciting happening? 

70 comments:

  1. Glad you are feeling freer.
    A good steady pace on the treadmill is just as important. Keep it up.

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  2. Congratulations! It sounds like your plan to disengage somewhat from social media has been the perfect path to finding... you. I dunno why, but the title of a Marlo Thomas special that was on TV a bunch of years ago just came to mind. It was called, "Free to Be You and Me." I don't remember a thing about the special itself, but the title stuck, and it's rather fitting for what you're experiencing now. Freedom from imaginary "have-tos" is allowing you to focus on what matters to you. Well done! (And no matter how slowly you walk or run, you're waaaaay ahead of the folks who are parked on their sofas.)

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    1. Thanks so much, Susan! I'm feeling good about the way the summer is going so far. Hopefully, I can keep it all up. :)

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  3. Good on you for backing off and recharging. My hubby and I started walking in the mornings to get back in shape. Then the baby started waking twice a night. LOL. Darn teething... What can you do?

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    1. Early morning would be about the only time you'd find me walking/running outside in the FL summer heat. :)

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  4. Hi,
    I am happy that you have found peace within and balance. Social Media is something that will eat up your whole life if you don't get control of it. That's why I make it a principle to not used my computer, my smartpnjone or iPad tol answer emails, text messages, and whatever else that smells like work on Sundays. I step away from everything at 6 p.m. on Saturday and let myself slide slowly into thing again on Monday afternoon. Thus my summer is going great.
    Wishing you all the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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    1. So glad to hear you're having a great summer, Pat!

      I usually have a daily cut-off time for checking my email, etc. It varies from day to day, but that works for me.

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  5. I've taken time away from social media, as well, and it really does "lighten the load." Glad to hear you're back with the walking/running. It really is all about our health and strength. I'm still plodding along after recovering from a nasty stress fracture. It is too hot right now to worry about getting back up to high mileage.

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    1. Good for you!

      Take it easy - plodding along works. :) You don't want to make anything worse by pushing too hard, too fast.

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  6. Taking time away from the constant electronic barrage on the senses is a great way to recharge and refocus.

    I'm really feeling the pressure of being only two weeks away from a planned release, but I know I can do it in time. These will be the most intensive power-edits of my life.

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  7. Hooray! This made me smile to read. So glad you are feeling better.
    Those tortoises would leave me in the dust, no doubt. :D

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    1. Thanks, Julie!

      We could try a relay race, you and me versus the tortoises. Pretty sure which team would win.... :o

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  8. It's always nice to feel lighter. Gives you room in your head to think and plot. ;)

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  9. Sounds like summer is treating you well. You've become friends with exercise equipment, you're sporting a spiffy new do, and you're making great writing progress. Well done :-)

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  10. I'm so glad you've created some breathing space and that it's working. Enjoy!
    - Happy Writing in July!

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  11. I'm guessing the tortoises are faster than I am, too. :)

    And hooray for elbow room. I know I need to take a step back from social media. Being on Twitter makes my blood pressure go through the roof every time, and yet, I keep going back.

    Best of luck with your short story subs and your horror novella!

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    1. I'm glad I'm not Twitter. I don't think my blood pressure could take it.

      Thanks, MJ!

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  12. It's great to hear things are going well for you! I'm just now getting back into running. I lost a lot of my stamina after taking so much time away from it.

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    1. Slow and steady, Loni! You don't want to overdo anything.

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  13. I love your attitude. Glad to hear about your enemy to friend relationship with the treadie. Doing the same with my elliptical. I like the little demon machine.

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    1. Ha! Now when I see the elliptical at the gym I'm going to think "demon machine." :)

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    1. The anxiety, etc is still hanging around, but it's been shoved into the background for the moment. I'll take it. :)

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  15. It sounds like you've found a good place - so happy for you!

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  16. re: social media
    For something that's supposed to be entertaining, it's become the black hole of bitterness. I'm going to start calling it the anti-social media.

    Good on you for staying with the treadmill.

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    1. Ha! Love the "black hole of bitterness" and the "anti-social media." :)

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  17. Glad things are going well!
    I hate running on the treadmill. Walking is just fine for me.

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    1. I prefer walking overall, but I needed to do something to up my cardio health, and I never walked fast enough. When I ran in the past, it definitely helped with that. :)

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  18. I took a step back from writing to help my daughter get through their spring exams and now there's a big garden project brewing and a cluttered house I can't ignore if my parents happen to come visit this September, so I'm definitely busy. Hopefully this will include writing as well.

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    1. Work on story ideas as you garden and as you declutter! Hmm, what's that buried in the far corner of your land- a treasure chest, a time capsule? Hmm, what if that funky lamp in the attic has a genie inside...or something much, much worse? :o

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  19. I think stepping away from social feels so free yet strange. It sounds like you are doIng well with your writIng and your health. I hope you have a lovely rest of your day :)

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    1. It did feel strange at first. Now, it's kind of like the new normal. I'm still around, just not as much. :)

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  20. Personally I think everything is better away from social media ;)

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  21. I have a couple of friends who are taking time off in creative ways. One is calling it a sabbatical. I'm in as well. I'm pulling back on Facebook to post mostly on my author page and trimming back the regular page to relatives and close friends (the ones who don't post hateful political stuff). I'm also cutting down on the steady flow of coffees and breakfasts to make more time for writing and to explore fun stuff like learning to play that ukelele I bought forever ago. And get more massages. And walk more. And garden more. And read more. It's all so much more satisfying than social media. Enjoy your time off!!

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    1. Yes on the massages, walking and reading! And I remember you mentioning that ukelele awhile back. Good luck with it! It always seems like such a fun instrument to me. :)

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  22. Sounds like things are going well for you! Keep up the good word. I'm just plugging away...as I do. Looking forward to a dedicated writing day tomorrow.

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  23. I've also unplugged, and taken time away from social media/screens.
    I definitely feel much better for it.
    Writer In Transit

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  24. Hi Madeline, enjoy your elbow room :)

    I too need to distance myself from social media, its a huge time suck.

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    1. It certainly can be. Just cutting back helps me. It doesn't have to be all or nothing!

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  25. Hooray - I'm glad to here your new resolutions are having such a good effect on your life. :)

    Happy 4th!

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  26. Glad you are feeling so much better. The turtle is faster than me too just walking. That made me chuckle.

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    1. You should see them move when they're "hunting" banana or basil. :)

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  27. Summer has been stressful for me - and then I read your blog post and realized why: I haven't gone walking in like forever! I need to pack some ice water and face the heat, because I can't sit in my stress any longer.

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    1. I totally hear this - "...can't sit in my stress any longer." The heat is no joke, though - that's why I've been using the treadmill instead.

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  28. Congratulations! I need to follow suit in getting healthy again.

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    1. Thanks! It's all still a work-in-progress, though. :)

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  29. I'm glad the exercising is going well. Everything seems that bit easier to deal with if we're fit and healthy.

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  30. hurray for less screen and more focus on writing and health - i agree with dreadmill, ha! and i’m trying to eat better. it works until i have to go out of town which is so much this summer! ah well.
    happy writing!

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    1. It's really hard to eat healthy when you're out and about and want to try new, cheesy, chocolatey, yummy things.... :)

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  31. Elbow room is great and so is working on what you really want. :)

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    1. I let myself get off track more easily than I used to, but I'm working on changing that and focusing on what's important to me. :)

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  32. Glad you're in a good space! It's easy to get consumed with the social media, to the detriment of other things. The heat is slowing me down a bit but I'm making decent progress on edits.

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    1. Thanks, Nick!

      I hear you on the heat. Good luck with those edits!

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  33. Summer has been...intense, chaotic, productive. We're finally remodeling our house after living with it "as is" for nearly three years. It feels great to be making the changes, but it's a bit hectic, and far more work than we initially planned.

    On the writing scene, I took a workshop that challenged me to grow as a writer in wonderful ways, and I'm applying what I learned in that course to my current WIP. I can feel the novel becoming what it's always been meant to be, and that's an amazing feeling!

    And more plans abound. Attending a writing conference where I'll get to meet some wonderful artistic souls, traveling to a tarot workshop later this year, and more home improvement and writing adventures await. I feel like I'm racing through summer, but so much is getting done and I'm making such positive strides that I can't complain! :)

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    1. It sounds like you are having a productive and wonderful summer!

      We have a few declutter/home improvement projects to work on, too, and we're getting there, slowly but surely. Hmm, sounds a lot like my writing progress. :)

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  34. Congratulations on making better friends with the treadmill. Strength and health are what it's about; be as slow as you need to!

    And hey--after 45 years, I cut my hair super-short, too!

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    1. Yeh for the super short 'do! I'm so glad I went back to it. I kept my hair short for most of my life, but for some bizarre reason I had started to let it grow. Still don't know what I was thinking! :)

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  35. I'm glad you're getting the breather you needed, Madeline. As for me, I'm under a ton of pressure after taking on a new daily teaching gig. It's killing my writing mojo thus far.

    But at least it's "just" for the summer, and now I know what doesn't work for me.

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    1. That mojo isn't dead - it's just resting, trying to figure out a better system for itself. And it better find one soon because I bet you're such a good teacher that they'll ask you back again and again. :)

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