Friday, September 23, 2011

Coming full circle

True enough, when you know what you are looking for, the universe will conspire to give you all the support to attain this. - Anonymous

Yes, I am still here with my Post A Week Challenge.  This is my 3rd blog post since I started, or should I say, re-started blogging again.  Breaking a 'habit' of posting here only when I am in the mood to write is one of the challenges I need to get over with.  It's not good, I know, and it doesn't align with what I want to achieve this year.  But I have memorized several 'alibis' for not writing regularly which include:

  • Having a writer's block
  • Too busy catching up a deadline with an ongoing project
  • Too busy being depressed about something I don't remember now
  • Not knowing what topic would interest visitors in this blogsite
  • Having a sore throat or something (what has this got to do with writing?)
  • And many other reasons my creative mind could come up with ...

I became so good in procrastinating and started to believe that these are good enough  reasons for not blogging.

And so after making a commitment to post at least two times a week, I had to come up with very strong and powerful justification for this commitment.  There were two things that came to my mind --

One of these is my desire to develop a discipline to write in the manner I am most comfortable with -- intuitive and structured.  That's not supposed to be hard, isn't it?  While this may sound a bit paradoxical, it's actually a matter of knowing what you want to write about and allowing your fingers to do the typing and the work for you.  That's the way I wrote my blogposts for the past years.  But soon I found out that this practice of "having no idea what I will be writing next and when this is going to be posted" can only work when you are brimming with so many thoughts and ideas that can feed your blog for an entire year.  It doesn't work when you are going through some 'dry spell' in your writing.  One needs to prepare for those 'dry spell' as well.

That is the kind of discipline I want to develop in writing -- being able to write even when you experience that not-so-creative feeling inside yourself.

The second one is the realization that for the past decades, I have actually been into many things.  On the professional side, I have experienced working full-time as a development worker for at least two decades and became a freelance researcher-writer-trainer-consultant for almost nine years up to now. 

My personal life is also filled with stories on single parenting or stories of how it is to live with more than ten animal companions at home (as of now we have ten pet cats and three dogs).  

But what's the point? How do I organize those topics for blogging?  What kind of message can I write in my blog?  This is the second point I want to learn, to achieve in doing this challenge.  I want to find my message.  This thought came to me after I chanced upon this article "How to Find Your Message and Stand Out."   I enjoyed reading it and used it as a guide in identifying possible topics and the kind of message or messages I can share with target readers.

Beaming with excitement, I shared this exercise with my youngest daughter who is also into blogging.  She suggested I write down these topics, with one topic written on a piece of paper, and draw out one piece everytime I need to write an article for this blog. 

I did exactly what Kim suggested.  I now have a list that I will be sharing with you in my next blog.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Raving for UP Pep Squad

"Sporting blonde hair and effortlessly executing lifts Madonna-inspired routines, the UP Pep Squad danced their way to the 2011 Samsung Cheerdance Competition title, beating injury-hit De Salle Animo Squad and FEU Cheering Squad for their second straight crown." (The Philippine Star)

Since the UP Pep Squad won champion in the recent UAAP Cheer Dance Competition, I haven't stopped talking about it.  I felt so proud and excited in describing their routine to anyone interested to listen.

I watched the competition on live stream since I wasn't able to buy a ticket to watch it live.   When the first runner-up was announced, I heard the crowd chanting "U-nibersidad ng Pilipinas! U-nibersidad ng Pilipinas!" although it was De la Salle University that got this second place.  Everyone was already anticipating for UP to be declared the winner.  And when UP Pep Squad was finally announced the champion, even those from other universities were also chanting "U-nibersidad ng Pilipinas! U-nibersidad ng Pilipinas!" Goose bumps and teary-eyed ako talaga.  I couldn't explain why.

After showing the video to my youngest daughter, I was surprised to notice how cool she was while watching it.  I was hoping she would be as excited as I am, but instead this is what she said: 

Daughter:  They should have reduced the number of members in the pep squad para hindi kalat ang kanilang performance (so that their movements is more synchronized).

Me:  Oh (looking at her with an amazed look) but they look very synchronized to me.

Daughter:  Okay, yah, there are instances that they are able to move as one but there are many instances that they are not... (and she went back to clearing the dining table as if wala lang :-))

Me:  Hmmm ... (thinking to myself: I think they did it perfectly well.  What's wrong with my daughter? ... and continued watching the video)

Daughter:  Hey Ma, (suddenly facing me) of course you couldn't see the imperfection and mistakes in their routine. (with a grin on her face)  That's your alma mater!  You are biased to your school!

I was about to react to that but then I chose to smile instead because she was right.  I wouldn't be able to see any mistake and even if I did, I could easily find a justification for that.

I want you to watch this video of the UP Pep Squad and see for yourself why I enjoy watching them over and over and still not getting over it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Post a Week Challenge - Why I am doing it

How did I start blogging?  What was it that inspired me to write and share my private journey through life to the public readers?

I have been a journal writer for quite a long time; I've been writing since I was in high school.  But these remained "for my eyes only" and took it as a violation of my rights to privacy when I find out that someone has been sneaking on my journal notebooks.

Although for some people I appear to be an extrovert, an easy-go-lucky type of person, but the truth is I am more inclined to keep things to myself, keeping private the thoughts that accompany me in all of my undertakings in life. 

Then there came a time when I realized that sharing them with others not only relieved my anxieties of being unable to meet up to my perfectionist standards on myself.  These conversations opened up my eyes to the reality that I wasn't alone in this journey.  There are many others traversing parallel paths to the one I chose to take.  Most of them even have crossed my path several times.

Opening up my private thoughts about what I experienced in life was, at first, a scary step to take. Later on, with constant encouragement from friends, and the impact this had on me and also to those I've shared stories with, I decided to start blogging.

As I have mentioned in my very first blog post, the book Leaving A Trace pushed me further to continue writing and sharing these thoughts and writings in public.

While writing in my journal notebooks came easy for me, publishing them for a public reader was not THAT easy at all.  I still continued to keep handwritten journals while striving to build this blog site as some sort of an online journal.  Statistics on blogs I've posted here compared to what I have written in my journal notebooks is so incomparable.  While I now have an additional ten journal notebooks filled with handwritten stories and insights from reflections, I was only able to post around 42 blogs for the past 5 years!!!  I even had only one entry posted in 2010. 

I want to be a writer.  And a good one at that.

I want to write a book, lots of it.  But to become what I want to be and do things I really want to do I know I need to overcome these challenging obstacles to blogging regularly.  As somebody once told me, the only way to conquer my fear is to do exactly what I fear most.

With this in mind, I decided to take this challenge -- to blog regularly and more frequently, and conquer whatever fear I have in writing and in writing for a public reader. 

I intend to post twice a week for the remaining months of 2011.  I want to beat my track record of blogs posted in 2008 and push all these fears away, too.