Day 31: The Final Day

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THE CHALLENGE IS OFFICIALLY OVER.

It was going to be thirty days, but if you recall, on day three I just waffled, and said nothing. Therefore, chums, I have decided that this is the final day. Here are five things I’ve learnt during these Thirty (One) days:

1) It’s a bittersweet affair.

Have I enjoyed it?

Yes.

No. 

At times it was torturous and frustrating. Getting home late after a busy day, having dinner and then wanting nothing more than to sleep, but realising that I have to create interesting sentences with words and then publish it to the blogosphere. Eurgh.

Other days, I really enjoyed it, especially when the words would flow, or I had something in particular on my heart to share. I do feel I’ve grown as a writer by completing this challenge, especially in terms of discipline. Sometimes you can’t wait to be in the mood to write, sometimes you’ve gotta just make yourself write.

2) Forcing yourself to write can help you clarify what it is you want to write.

I really like poetry. I already knew this. But since the majority of my posts from this challenge have been poems, it just clarified, and reaffirmed that It’s probably my easiest/ go to writing form. Or maybe it’s because I really like making things rhyme…

I did find it a challenge to do reviews, and it’s only through doing this challenge that I could identify that. (Practise reviewing = added to To Do List)

3) Blogging frequently takes a lot of willpower, creativity and time.

It is possible, and I’m pleased that I’ve completed this challenge, however churning your work out without rest can limit the quality of what you produce. Writing interesting, unique and engaging posts can be hard to do on a daily basis. So, I’ve decided that I will blog weekly, on Thursdays. I may or may not blog more frequently than this, but I will blog at least once a week. That way I can really think about what I’m going to post, and hopefully say something of interest, value and merit.

4) Proof-reading is essential.

We all know this, but it only becomes an “I told you so” when you’ve posted something, all chuffed with yourself, and then find out a few days later that you made a completely fundamental error thanks to autocorrect, and lack of proof reading. Linking to my previous point, because I haven’t had a lot of time to proof read my work before posting it, I made so many mistakes – some of which I spotted early on, others of which I didn’t spot – other bloggers pointed them out to me. Oops.

5) You don’t always have to follow (or stick to) a plan.

After the failure of day three, when I couldn’t think of any topic to write about, I wrote out a plan for each day’s post. This however became a source of stress, as after the first couple of days, I would look at the plan and think

‘No, I don’t want to write that.’

or

‘That’ll take too long, and I’m too tired to make it interesting.’

or

‘I’m not in the right frame of mind to cover that topic.’

or

‘I haven’t the time to research.’

or

‘It’s 11:30pm. I need something short and sweet!’

After continually rearranging my plan (so that I kept pushing back the things I didn’t want to cover), I finally decided to scrap the plan. Mostly, I ‘winged it’, went with whatever had happened that day, drew inspiration from present/past experiences/observations and/or feelings.

Plans are great when it comes to writing, but they aren’t fundamental. They can keep you on track and inspire you, but other times they can hinder your creativity. There are also times when we can be too lazy to follow the original plan. I didn’t delete the plan, so I still have it as a reference point of some interesting things to blog about. I may decide to use some of the ideas. We’ll see.

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In honour of this special day

Here’s a little note to say
Thanks for reading my ramblings,
I’ll try to post more interesting things.

It’s been fun at times and tearful at others,
But it’s part of growth, break free from the covers,
And don’t let yourself be hindered by fear.
Write whatever you want to, my dear.
The keyboard and pen await.

🙂

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Day 29: The Importance of the Comma

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Grammar Lessons (Part One)

Punctuation is important – but use with caution – a comma placed in the wrong place can create, shall we say, confusion.

Take this scenario for example. It’s dinner time on Christmas Day. Your Mum has told you to gather your family members to the table. This is what you say:

A) “Let’s eat grandpa.”

B) “Let’s eat, grandpa.”

C) “Lets, eat grandpa.”

NB: this is basically the same sentence, but where you place the comma completely determines and alters the meaning.

A) This doesn’t send a good message to children. They’ll grow up believing it’s okay to eat their grandparents. Guys, this is never okay.

B) This is the real message. You want to tell your Pops that it’s time to eat. This is a good use of the comma. This is what we want.

C) Okay, so this is unusable but just imagine that there is someone you know called Lets (it’s possible). By placing the comma here, you have invariable commanded your associate to eat grandpa. What kind of friend are you? Where are your morals? You’re setting a really bad example here.

Guys, let’s ensure that our words can’t be misinterpreted. Use the comma, with caution.

Day 23: Entangled Nightmare

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The tears began to blur her vision, ready to spill unto her cheeks and reinforce her sorry state. “Why does this happen? Every single time?!”

She gave another tug, but the knot just tightened. All she wanted was to release the melody and enjoy it with ease, but it seemed that the limp wire had other ideas.

She was almost defeated, but the desire to shun the world made her fight harder. Eventually, she felt the thin wire loosening between her fingers. SUCCESS! 

Her path to comfort was untangling. With a content sigh she loosened the rest of the knots, basking in the knowledge that she could now listen to music, unrestricted.

 

How frustrating, eh? Headphones + Knots = Grrrr (and eventually tears). Who can relate?

 

 

 

Day 22: Social Media Problems

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There’s a few particularly pathetic problems I’ve been having. They’re in the category of petty, pointless, and superficial, but nonetheless they are problems.

1) Why is it so hard to delete ‘friends’?

Why do we pretend that our friendship is real, when we never talk?! And no, snapchat is not a form of communication. There are many people I’d like to delete, from Facebook for example, simply because we don’t ever speak. But there’s a part of me that is concerned it might be awkward if I delete them and then bump into them in the local shopping centre. It’s very popular to like each other’s statuses, say happy birthday and all that, so the world thinks we’re friends. Really, who are we fooling, if not ourselves?

2) Do they really care, or are they just keeping tabs?

Its discomforting to think that I could be sharing my business with a bunch of strangers, or to people who have ulterior motives. It’s frustrating when it feels like certain people are keeping tabs on you. Especially when those people should be the ones to love and respect you, but instead they put on this facade to find out details, and then gossip about you. It’s as if they don’t care about you at all, and they just want to snoop, judge you and keep you in a labelled box.

3) What will they think of me?

Sometimes we can hesitate when we’re about to share something godly, or when we’re sharing something new that’s happening in our lives. We shouldn’t be ashamed of who we are. If we’re ashamed of Jesus, then He’ll be ashamed of us. Ouch. I think that’s motivation enough to spread the word! Don’t hide your light, just because ‘so and so’ is following you. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what they think. We’re living for an audience of One. Don’t be a sell out.

And actually, if they have nothing better to do than to keep tabs on what you are doing, judging you for moving forward or changing for the better, then don’t hide away. We might as well just keep living life to the full, so they have something to keep tabs on!! We can’t keep trying to please others, otherwise we’re the ones who lose. We can only please God, and He’s the only One we should be seeking to please. People will talk, whatever you’re doing. Maybe it’s time we stop trying to control what they say, and prevent them from talking, but maybe we should keep walking right, and give them something good to talk about.

Sow into what you want to produce. Don’t be concerned about all these people and situations that don’t matter. Ultimately, we have one heart, and we’ve been commanded to guard our hearts, for they are the wellspring of life. Let’s not subject them to unnecessary aches.

Sometimes I don’t want to go through the trouble of typing happy birthday to all those people that I never actually talk to. But then I’m reminded that we should owe no man anything but love. So I have to remember that even if they don’t respond, it’s really not a big deal. Do it out of love, not pressure.

I guess what I’m trying to say it that although it’s almost impossible to get away from social media, if we understand that the different platforms, apps and sites are tools for different purposes, we can use them in a meaningful and fruitful way.

It’s been said that Facebook is for people that you used to know, Twitter is for people that you want to know, and Instagram is for people that you want to be…. Do you agree? And have you faced any seemingly pathetic social media problems?

Day 20: a shockingly pointless poem

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Remind me why I decided I’d blog every day?
Because right now I really have nothing to say.
The hours were long, I don’t mean to let you down
But I gotta be real, I’m not up to it now.

Otherwise all you’ll read is a waffley nothing.
My stream of consciousness is not that exciting,
Not when I really want to sleep, eat or both.
Didn’t want to try, and give you false hope.

Would you look at this, I’ve typed out a post
With no real meaning, a short poem at most
But hey, this is writing, and all the words matter
Tomorrow, my friends, we’ll resume the natter.

Day 19: What’s that you’ve got in your hand?

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Throughout today the song That’s When He Steps In by Alvin Slaughter has been playing on my mind. It’s a beautiful song that reminds me of Moses’ encounter with God in Exodus 3. It’s definitely the encouragement I needed today.

(On a side note, I always find this. God always knows exactly which songs to bring across my path at exactly the right time. God knows us. He knows how we respond to different things, and what impacts us the most, and He speaks to us in ways that we can understand.)

It is so easy to get swamped by the cares of the world and the pressures of life. But God has called is to cast all our cares onto Jesus (1 Peter 5:6-7) , and he requires that we don’t lean on our own understand, but we submit to, and trust in Him (Proverbs 3:5-6).

So often we can try to make things happen, to make ends meet, to try and figure it out, work it out, make it better. God is faithful, and He is good. We must remember that God will supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19), and we need to trust in Him. He is Who He says He is.

My favourite lyrics from the song is the chorus –

‘What’s that you’ve got in your hand? I can use it, if you’re willing to lose it. Take the little you have and make it grand. I am El Shaddai, and I’ll more than supply your need.’

This is what God is saying to us. This has been playing on my mind the whole day, and I believe God is reminding us that we have to let go of trying to be in control. Trying to ‘fix’ the issues we’re facing. We don’t have he answers in our own strength, but God does. We have to trust Him, and live to please Him, willing to do what He says. God requires our obedience, and our faith to be IN Him. That’s our sacrifice – living to please The Lord. Denying self, and living for His glory.

God wants us to be experiencing the fullness of His love and His grace and His freedom and His peace. We have to learn to let go.

So what have you got in your hand? Are you willing to let go, and trust God?