November 6, 2017 at 3:26 pm #61229
Ha! I’ve been working to rebuild my daily writing habit since summer vacation started. Last month (October) I missed only 5 days of writing. I haven’t been writing content for my site – my October writing was more daily planning and/or brain cleanse (that’s a really nice way to say whining and complaining, and even that’s a really nice way to express what I’ve written some days). I can change that easily enough for this challenge, though, now that I’ve got a consistent habit in place.
For anyone interested, I use the 750words.com website. There is a free trial period (I think it’s 30 days) and now I pay $5 a month. Some things I love about the site: my writing is private from EVERYONE, it tracks the number of days I write each month, it tells me how many days I’ve written in a row, and I even earn badges for reaching certain milestones. For me, daily morning pages have been a total sanity saver and worth every bit of the $5 I spend every month. I’m sure there are other sites that work well for others. This one has made such a difference for my own daily writing habit.
And, after a few minutes cruising the site, I’ve also figured out that I can share the link to my stats page each day.
BAM! The challenge is ON!!!November 6, 2017 at 4:58 pm #61235
I love your enthusiasm and confidence this month!
It’ll be fun to see where this takes all of us…
I love also how you remind us to share the journey and help ourselves to stick to it and make it a habit… really what I need to do in my life on many levels theses days… Habits maketh the woman and man and habits make all the difference over time!November 6, 2017 at 8:27 pm #61250
@davidj – I’m looking forward to seeing the progress you’re able to make on your project this month! At the end of the day, the writing habit is about showing up and putting something on paper. If you do it enough, even if a lot of what you write is cruddy or not worth sharing, eventually there’s a good chance you’ll get something good out of the practice – either some use-able writing or at least a clearer head.
So I finished my 750words entry this afternoon before reading about the November challenge, but returned tonight because I want to start this challenge off on the right foot. So after taking a few moments to spill my angst about a current event, I leapt into my first project – which is writing out scripts for my next Podcasts, the content from last week’s presentation. I’mnot sure whether I’ll use my notecards or the script for the podcast, but I’d like to include a script with each one, either as a blog post or as an attachment/inclusion on the page. After writing on both those topics tonight, I’ve added another 1200 words to today’s total.
Here’s the link to my daily stats at 750words. I’m not sure if this is the permalink always, or if the link will change every day. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow, eh?
By the way, I’ve read about another site for writing 500 words – I think it’s called the 500 word challenge or something like that. I’ll look it up and fill you in on the details tomorrow. You know, if participating in the GEA challenge isn’t enough for you.
Actually, if someone wants to do something totally crazy, you could sign up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this month. The idea is that if you write 1650 words every day of November, you’ll have 50,000 words written by the end of the month – the length of a short novel. That doesn’t mean you’ll have a finished novel at the end of the month, more like a first draft of a book, but that’s all it takes to win NaNoWriMo. And if you’re not interested in novels, there are groups that break the rules and write nonfiction instead. There’s a whole other community you can join at the nanowrimo.com site. And if you haven’t started writing yet, you can just add a few more words to the daily tally and write maybe 2200 or something like that each day to catch up by the end of November.
Happy writing, folks!!!November 7, 2017 at 1:49 pm #61334
Bobbie Jo Van Den PlasAdventurer@bobbiejo
GO Laura!!! Love your writing commitment. That stat page is awesome! Wow, you’ve got a lot of words written already!!!!November 7, 2017 at 8:21 pm #61369
So the morning routine was interrupted in multiple ways, and I didn’t get my morning pages done this morning. So I was going to carve out time at work, then realized I didn’t have my notecards for writing the script. (I actually did have them but didn’t realize it until later.) So I didn’t write at work. Even after-dinner writing time was interrupted. BAH!
But I did come back to it, I did complete my writing. Here’s the link for today.
Does it actually matter whether the writing is actual content for the site vs. brainstorming, planning, logistics? Just asking because while I plan to prioritize writing content this month – I also spend a lot of time writing myself through resistance and thinking about next steps. I find that writing helps me with clarity and intent.November 8, 2017 at 5:01 am #61386
I just finished my morning pages – here’s today’s link.
I’ve been thinking about what I want to “count” as writing for this challenge. While brainstorming and planning are good things to write about (and things I’ve been good at writing about in the past) – I want to propel myself forward for this challenge and therefore I want to create lots of actual content. I’m going to use this challenge to convert all that planning energy into action.
Today I wrote the second chunk for my podcast, relating my own challenge to take one pill one time daily to that of my patients who are supposed to take multiple pills many times a day. Tomorrow I’m going to script out the next section of the script, which is to describe habits and the process of forming habits.November 8, 2017 at 6:33 am #61402
I like that link @laurakoller That would be a fab resource for me. I think I’ll join it.November 8, 2017 at 12:17 pm #61448
Go Laura! This challenge was made for you! You are a fantastic writer and woah, look at how much you’ve written already! I love the website you’re using – I have never heard of these websites to help you with your writing, they look fantastic! I shall pop them on my list for future help! 😉
I think any writing would be beneficial to you. However, if you could start to direct it towards more content based writing then you will be winning in more ways than one! 😉November 9, 2017 at 10:12 am #61608
My first writing goal this month is to transcribe the “Successfully Changing Patient Behaviors” talk I gave at the end of October. I actually recorded the whole thing as a podcast – I was up until stupid o’clock last night to get it done as I’d promised my audience – but I wasn’t happy with my delivery and I think I can do a better job reading not from note cards but using an actual script. So the intent is to a) Have the information available to share with my audience in written format (as a transcription or blog post) and b) Use the script to re-record and re-publish the podcast in a more finished form. At the moment, this podcast is central to my site. It conveys who I am, what the site is about, and I while I don’t need it to be perfect I do want it to convey the care that I have for my audience and for my work.
Here’s the first segment for the “Successfully Changing Behaviors” podcast, which I just transcribed. 821 words!!!
The Pill Problem
Hi! Welcome to Operation Healthcaring. My name is Laura Koller.
Last month I went to see my doctor for a checkup and – Surprise! Surprise! – I was told that my Vitamin D level was low. The doctor instructed me to start taking Vitamin D 5000 IU one pill daily and to come back to recheck my level in three months.
Fast forward a couple of weeks to a conversation I was having with my clinic manager and secretary. We were talking about feeling frustrated with patients who can’t seem to follow through on the things they’re supposed to do. I decided to share my Vitamin D story and I asked my two colleagues to answer this question: Over the past two weeks since my doctor gave me instructions to start taking one Vitamin D pill daily, how many days do you think I actually took the pill?
Let me ask you that same question. How many days do you think I took a Vitamin D pill during those first two weeks? Do you think I took all of the pills? Do you think I took half of them? Or do you think I took absolutely none of the pills the doctor instructed me to take?
The answer? Well, I hope you had at least a little faith in me, because during those first two weeks I did manage to take a total of TWO pills. But still – two pills?!? That’s less than 20% of the pills the doctor instructed me to take.
The story gets better. After I shared my experience, the clinic manager looked at me and said, “Laura, that’s nothing. I went to see my doctor months ago. She said my vitamin D level was low and told me to start taking a vitamin D pill every day. Guess what? I have taken absolutely ZERO pills since then!”
What makes it so difficult for us to follow through on our doctor’s instructions? The clinic manager and I spend our workdays telling our patients how important it is to follow through with specific health behaviors, and yet here we are – healthcare professionals – and even we can’t follow through on seemingly simple instructions given to us by our own doctors.
What prevented me from starting this new behavior? I had vitamin D pills in the house so that wasn’t it, but there was a difference with the dose. The doctor told me to take 5000 IU pills and the pills I had at home were 2000 IU. There were days I thought about taking the 2000 IU pills, but then I couldn’t decide how I wanted to do that. I could take 3 pills one day and 2 pills the next – and that’s what I did a couple of times – but other days I didn’t feel like making a decision, so instead of taking 3 pills, 2 pills, or even 1 pill – I ended up taking none.
My next step was to go to the store and buy the right dose. Again, this doesn’t seem like a difficult task, but my life is busy (I’m sure that’s true for many of you) and going to the store to buy pills didn’t make my list of top priorities. Two weeks after the doctor told me to start taking the pills, I remembered to pick up a bottle during a trip to the grocery store. Good news – there was a 2-for-1 deal so I was able to get a free bottle to give to the clinic manager.
Even then, I wasn’t free and clear. My next step was to decide when to actually take the pills. Did I want to take them first thing in the morning? That could work, but mornings are chaotic at my house so that didn’t seem like the best choice. What if I put the bottle in my lunch bag for work? That could work on weekdays, but what about weekends and vacations when I didn’t use the lunch bag?
My point? While taking one pill every day may seem like a simple action, there’s a whole thought process involved when it comes to actually enacting the behavior. I’m sure there are some medication-taking pros out there in the audience wondering “What’s the big deal?” For me, though, there were several mental blocks that got in the way of doing what the doctor had asked me to do.
I want to tell you one more thing, something really important. I wanted to take those pills. I wanted to follow my doctor’s instructions. It didn’t make my list of top priorities, not at first, but I did intend to follow through with the behavior. The problem was not my intent. The problem was follow through. Even though I wanted to start this new behavior, I just couldn’t seem to do it. There was a gap between what I wanted to do and what I actually did.November 9, 2017 at 3:02 pm #61664
Bobbie Jo Van Den PlasAdventurer@bobbiejo
Oh, Laura! I love your pill problem story! It is so true! I look forward to hearing more. You’ve got me captivated!November 9, 2017 at 4:55 pm #61683
Me too! Please write more tomorrow.November 10, 2017 at 10:59 am #61710
Laura, really enjoying your writing and wanted to respond to a question you asked (of yourself, of the challenge) — about what counts, and does writing through resistance and figuring out count, and I would say YES YES YES. I have a 3×5 notecard taped to the wall above my monitor with this reminder to myself written on it: “I don’t know, and I’m going to write to find out.” I don’t know what I’m thinking, or what I need to do/say/try/etc.; it is by writing that I discover those things. And those things are the things that inform your course (and the marketing for your course, and your understanding of your course, and other aspects of your course, not just the course content). So count every blinkin’ word 🙂November 10, 2017 at 4:15 pm #61739
@judyb – So true! I appreciate your perspective. I actually have a writing habit that works well for me. I start every set of morning pages with “Today is (day), (date) at (time). Living the dream!” And then I launch into whatever I’m thinking about or grappling with at that moment. Just having something to type when I sit down at the keyboard helps everything else that follows, and often once the words start flowing I do find more clarity. It also helps to brain dump anything that’s cluttering my head or getting in the way of moving forward with whatever I need to do. It’s hard for me to sit down and write with a specific agenda – lots of spurts and stops – and much easier to just jump into the writing stream and eventually arrive at whatever destination I was meant to find and wade through the material later. I’ve also found that 750 words (more or less) is often some kind of magic spot, a spot where I discover some thought or revelation that I would never have found had I not kept writing forward. This is a new approach for me – for the longest time I would sit down with an outline and an agenda – and it feels more organic and authentic. And there’s so much more to work with at the end, too, much more than I would have written otherwise. I love it.
This morning I was writing about the TEDx talk I’m going to give – someday. Our local library is planning its 2nd annual event for May 2018 and I’m going to submit my application before the December 15 deadline. Why not? Yesterday’s “pill problem” is the first story I’ll tell during my talk about “Successfully Changing Behaviors” (that’s the current working title). I wonder if I’ll get called in for an interview in January. That would be exciting!
So here’s today’s writing stats so far. I’m planning to bang out more at my son’s hockey practice later tonight. I’m looking forward to more time for a deep dive in the writing stream!November 11, 2017 at 1:39 am #61767
Dear Laura, I love your consistency and the way you go about it. Many years ago, the morning pages got me to start writing and stick with it until I had two books published. Then I moved to Africa and ‘lost my language’. Everything was in english and I stopped writing in German. Had forgotten about the morning pages and how beautifully they work. Thank you so much for reminding me!
Am going to follow your inspiring example. Your pill story is beautiful! Very much looking forward to reading more, and watching you give your TED talk! Fingers crossed for January and May! Please keep us posted @laurakollerNovember 11, 2017 at 2:14 pm #61833
@jutta – So glad if sharing my own experience leads you back to morning pages. There’s something golden about just knowing there’s a spot to put everything so you don’t have to hang on to it anymore. Funny enough, I was an English major and then taught junior high English for several years before embarking on a different career path – and I never had a daily writing habit or even thought about it during all that time. I just wrote for assignments, for a specific purpose. I love that I can use my writing not just for fulfilling requests and obligations for others, but as a way to indulge and care for myself.
Here’s today’s link. It was not easy to write today. So that’s what I wrote about. I wrote about all the events and thoughts and emotions that were getting in the way. And even though it didn’t really relate to any of my course content, I did what I needed to do. I continued the writing streak for another day, I drained my brain of many rocks and pebbles, and I feel more mentally prepared to face the rest of today and tomorrow. I also know the next step for my project – transcribing the next presentation – and yet it’s possible I won’t get there until midweek. I’ve already written through all the other things that I’m choosing to prioritize first.
Sometimes writing about how hard it is to sit down and write is just what the (writing) doctor ordered.
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