Internal Dialogue

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If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?

Status: good. finally feeling human. Maybe I’ll have a dry weekend for the one coming up. I wouldn’t mind feeling human throughout the whole week and not just at the end. Seems to have an effect on my productivity, or lack thereof.

Career.

Pulled the trigger on the return flight yesterday, which has made this Next Chapter feel a little more real, a little more official. There wasn’t an accompaniment of anxiety, so perhaps I’m getting used to the idea. Curious to see how I’m going to react on those first few steps at the beginning of the Next Chapter, how I’m going to feel about seeing old, familiar places which I left behind all those years ago. I’m hoping the experience doesn’t push me down into the depths of depression. If I can just make it to neutral with a hint of sadness, I’ll call that a win.

(All that said, it is a good opportunity and is a stepping stone to the Thing I Really Want. Need to keep reminding myself of that.)

Photography.

Toying with the idea of purchasing some better equipment. I don’t feel like I’m completely ready for it, but once I make the move it will be hard to source the equipment from there, and it’ll potentially be more expensive as well. If I wasn’t going anywhere I’d hold off a little bit longer because I still feel like I need to do some work on learning more about the compositional aspects of photography. It would be a real shame to shell out a small fortune for new equipment and then end up taking “holiday snaps” with it. That wouldn’t be very smart.

Still, better to plan ahead.

Writing.

I’m not so much procrastinating as I am stuck on the next step. I hate the self-loathing which accompanies the lack of productivity. Something else to get my head around. Another lesson to learn. Need to pick myself up, dust myself off and try again. But without the internal invective directed at myself.

That’s not helpful at all.

Nikon D3400
1/100 sec
f/4
25mm
ISO 800

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Breaking Promises

20190302-DSC_0009Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security, or love – you have a treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.

Status: wide awake at 2:30 am and couldn’t get back to sleep. lazed around in bed until the alarm went off at 5am and then got up. Second night in a row with poor sleep and I’m worth nothing this morning. Immediately hit caffeine and YouTube because I was half asleep and needed an excuse to not start writing. Even the meditation didn’t help. All the discipline in the world wouldn’t have saved me, as soon as I’m tired I immediately give up and fold like a house of cards. And then the self-loathing starts because I didn’t keep my promise to myself.

I do that a lot.

Not keeping my promises to myself.

If I don’t treat myself like I’m a priority, then how can I expect other people to do it? If I don’t keep the promises I make to myself, then how I can expect other people to keep their promises? (Is that how that works?) All I know is I have zero tolerance for people who do that to me, yet I’ll do it to myself without even batting an eyelid.

I need to start treating myself better. Starting today.

Photography.

I’m stuck with the writing and procrastinating by raking my brain over hot coals with vapid YouTube videos, so decided to be productive instead and started processing photos from the weekend sessions. I’m actually really really pleased with how some of these have turned out. Not only are my compositional skills getting better, but so is my post-processing on Lightroom. I’m faster, I have a better eye for the style that’s going to fit the photo and my colour matching is progressing (which is saying something because I’m figuratively colour blind – if someone said, “match these two colours or you’re dead”, I’d be dead AF in two seconds). I’ll be posting these to IG over the coming weeks.

I’ve also been able to secure the services of an amateur model to help me with a few shots I’d like to take, and she isn’t too expensive. Will figure out where I’m going to slot it into the schedule. Was so out of it yesterday, I couldn’t even wrap my head around schedules and such, and today I’m not feeling much better, but I’m just going to suck it up and get it done.

Writing.

The short story goes to the editor this afternoon. I promise.

Nikon D3400
1/60 sec
f/5.3
48mm
ISO 800

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Safe Distance

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It is easy to be brave from a safe distance.

Status: good. I wonder how Aesop would feel if he knew that someone was using his name to sell skin care products? Disappointment or, show me the money? Maybe a little bit of both.

Career.

Had a mild anxiety attack yesterday thinking about all of the things I need to and want to do before starting the next chapter in my Finance career. I have 3 months left. Three months of freedom. I’ll be handsomely compensated in exchange for my freedom, but will I be happy? Can I go back to something that was making me miserable? Can I go back to the place which was making me unhappy? Appreciate that this is a practical choice. It’s also the safe choice. So, I’m essentially exchanging my freedom for security. My life mirroring an aspect of the current zeitgeist.

I’ve thought this through already and have made my choice. I suspect that I’ll continue to struggle with this…or, maybe I’ll like it. I won’t really know until I get there and experience it for myself. And, I’ve promised myself that I’m going to give it a year and see how it fits. If it’s making me miserable then I’ll take stock of where I am and re-rationalise the strategy. The good news is that I do know what I want to do long term, and I can continue to prepare for it while collecting a paycheque.

Writing.

I’ve had my best week yet, and my word count is getting progressively higher as each week goes by. Seven thousand words so far this week compared to four thousand last week compared to three thousand for the week previous to the last one. I’ve been able to build up some good momentum and some good habits which are allowing me to be productive. I’ll call that a job well done. For The Win.

I think it’s time to take the next step. I didn’t quite finish the first draft of The Patriot story this week as expected, but I’m close and should be able to complete it over the weekend. I’m finding that I’m very productive first thing in the morning if I wake up, meditate and then start writing, which is good, but then I’m fading in the afternoon. My energy levels drop and then I start procrastinating and then the ball starts rolling in the opposite direction. I need to figure out how to reverse this trend. I talked about using a temporary site-blocking app to help me stay focused, but never pulled the trigger on it. Perhaps now is the time to do that.

Date.

Spontaneous coffee date this afternoon. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see a red flag flapping in the distance. Girls from that dating app who are available to meet on short notice are typically bad news. Most people who have their shit together (and have a life) are not available to do that. In her photo she has wild hair and a mildly crazy look in her eyes. I bet she’s lying about her age.

(Then why you meeting her, bro?)

Because of the entertainment value. That’s it. The crazier they are, the better the stories.

Nikon D3400
1/15 sec
f/5.6
18mm
ISO 100

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The One

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If she doesn’t scare the hell out of you a little, she’s not the one.

Status: good. a little tired. dragging my feet this morning. For some reason my post from yesterday “exploded” and received more views than usual. Not sure why. Took a look at the tags and they are the same as was used in previous posts, although they are less of them. Maybe that’s it.

Writing.

Knocked out two pages this morning and I have five more pages to complete before I am finished the first issue. I’ll try and kill off those pages between today and tomorrow, so that I’m going into the weekend with a clean slate. I’ll then circle back and start working on the second draft of the short story I completed almost two weeks ago.

Or at least that’s the plan. I have a few more story ideas I’d like to work on, and all of a sudden I’m flat out busy and realising just how much time goes into creating this stuff. Not surprising, but at this rate I’ve got at least 6 months worth of ideas to work on, and I need to make sure that I finish some of these stories and attempt to publish them versus working on everything and then completing nothing.

Photography.

Itching to push forward on this, and realising that I may be biting off more than I can chew. A bit challenging to focus on both this and the writing at the same time, but I’ll have an opportunity to get more practice at The Artist Project this weekend, and I still have the photos from the Auto Show last weekend to process. Tried processing one of the construction pics from last weekend and was not happy with the result, so maybe it’s best to set this aside for the moment.

I also have the food pics from Playa Cabana to post as well. Still. They’ve all been processed and are ready to go, just need to organise them in sequence for posting and wrap some commentary around them. If I have some spare time tomorrow after completing the five pages noted above then I’ll work on this.

Career.

I have three months left before I start my new job, so want to make the most of this time to complete as much as I can. Once I start work then my priorities will shift. Damn it. Stay focused, dude. It scares me a little, but it’s a sound plan.

Nikon D3400
1 sec
f/13
18mm
ISO 100

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The Rule of Thirds

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The Rule of Thirds.

Status: good. feeling great, actually. happy. Didn’t skip the vitamin D regimen on Sunday like I did the previous one, so I wasn’t teetering on the edge of depression like last week Monday. Need to remember not to do that and stick with The Plan.

Writing.

Another very good day of writing yesterday. The ‘up and at ’em’ routine is working better. I’m discovering that my word count for the comic book script is higher than the prose, which is to be expected. Building momentum first thing in the morning positively affects self-esteem and encourages me to move forward, so I’ve found the payoff/incentive I need to sustain this model. I am, however, finding that I’m still fading in the afternoon. I’ll try a quick meditation after lunch to see if that helps. Two other things which stick out:

  1. I’m way happier when I’m writing and I need to spend some time figuring out how I can do this full time, i.e. for a living, without pushing myself into the land of poverty. Because, you know, I like money.
  2. I also need to allow myself some time to daydream – that seems to be the best way for ideas to germinate and to work past the sticking points in the story, and I’ve hit a few of those over the last few weeks. I write and write until I don’t know what happens next and then I have to stop. Which is frustrating, but I think this is part of the creative process, so I need to be patient with it.

Tenant.

Aaaaaaaand they’re back with another list of To Do items. I honestly want to take that nit-picky list, set it on fire, take a piss on it and then return the remains of that list to them. But I won’t do that. The key here is to separate Signal from Noise, so I’ll tackle the legitimate items and then politely decline to address the rest. I’m seriously entertaining the idea of terminating the lease and then placing the unit back on the market. I mean, it would make life a little easier to have an available place to utilise while I make the transition from Here to There. That way I won’t have to source an alternative, and I can focus on upgrading and renovating the unit, which I want to do anyway, without having to disrupt the tenant’s living space.

I’ll mull this over some more.

Nikon D3400
1/100 sec
f/5.6
55mm
ISO 100

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Untroubled Days

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“No untroubled day has ever dawned for me” — Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Status: good. Actually, better than good because it was a stellar weekend. I’m still not drinking, although briefly considered taking the plunge on Saturday night because I went to a steakhouse for dinner and I like a nice glass of red wine as an accompaniment. But, I’m glad I didn’t. Got quite a bit of writing done, plus some photography, plus a little entertainment and bit of reading. All-in-all a very productive weekend and as an upside I’m not feeling all musty and depressed first thing on a Monday morning. I’ll call that a win.

Writing.

Tried an experiment on Saturday with my morning ritual. Got up, meditated and then started writing immediately (versus the “going to the office” process of: shower, eat, make the bed, meditate and then start writing). That really worked for me. Kicked out two usable pages of the comic book script which really set the tone for a productive day. I’ve heard this kicked around a lot on Tim Ferriss’ podcast: Win the morning, win the day. This looks like a truism and I’m going to stick with this for the remainder of the week and see how productive I am.

Quick note about Sunday: spent the afternoon reading and writing at my local Indigo and was able to produce a one page synopsis of another story I’d like to write. The best part about it is: the momentum I’ve built over the weekend has created encouragement and I’m excited about getting this story down on paper. I’m going to call that a win.

Photography.

Note to self: don’t use the auto settings on the camera. Because, (a) you’ve passed by that stage of your photography journey and know how to properly use the manual settings, and (b) the photos are rarely good – they’re either partially out of focus, or the ISO settings are too high (which creates a lot of noise in the photo), or both. The above photo is a prime example of that – so lesson learned.

Food Adventures.

Tried two places over the last two weekends based upon recommendations from other folks – a date and a potential romantic interest. Playa Cabana was great, really enjoyed it and will definitely go there again. Michael’s on Simcoe? Not so much. I’m a huge fan of the steakhouse Jacobs & Co and was told that Michael’s is a much better steakhouse. It wasn’t. I’m not disappointed that I tried it, but at $100 a plate (which was without wine included and is on the lower end of their pricing), I expected better.

Anyway, the box has been ticked, I’ll know not to go there again. Caveat: as I was leaving it was transitioning from restaurant to lounge and loads of people were showing up for drinks and entertainment. Amongst the crowd were loads of cute, single Jewish girls. For that reason alone, I may go back.

Ok, let’s call that a win as well.

Nikon D3400
1/4 sec
f/16
18mm
ISO 100

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Born Again

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Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.

Status: good. still dragging myself out of bed, but good. Taking a little too much time to get ready to go to the “office”, but at least I’m getting up and putting myself in an optimal position to be productive. I’ll call that a win.

Writing.

Excellent day yesterday. I’m repeating myself, but full credit to a good start to the day which set me up for later success. I need to remind myself of this every time I don’t feel like going through the morning ritual and just want to lounge around reading and drinking coffee when I first get up. Churned out three solid, usable pages of the comic book script which I think is a reasonable expectation for someone who is just at the beginning stages of learning how to do this. Production varies wildly, but the fastest writers will produce five pages per day, or about four books per month. The slowest will be one page per day, or one book per month. I’m going to call this a win.

On that note, I appreciate that not every day will be like this. Creating art can be frustrating and disappointing, but days like yesterday confirm what I’ve always suspected: I love writing. I just love the whole process and it’s what I really want to with the rest of my life.

Opportunity.

That said, I will need to detour slightly while I work on establishing myself. The call yesterday with my network contact went well. They have an open position available, but there are a few hurdles to clear. It’s multi-jurisdictional, which is attractive to me. The organisation is good, and I know some of the key players. The position is a bit more junior than I’d like, and as such it likely won’t meet my salary expectations, or match the offer received from the other company, but let’s see how this plays out.

Ok, let’s get on with it………

Nikon D3400
1/30 sec
f/3.5
18mm
ISO 400

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