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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Motivation, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 335
1. Writing for love

"Yes, but do you love your characters?'

It was my mother asking the question, over breakfast . I’d returned home for a weekend, just before my first book came out.  I’m not very sharp at answering direct questions over breakfast, so I think I mumbled something into my boiled egg about “I mean I like some of them, if that’s what you mean…”

But I don’t think it was.

Now my second novel has just come out, and I’m starting a third, her question has made me reflect on a broader point about writing.   

Of course I love my characters.  It would be much harder to write if I didn’t. I love the heroes, I love the villains. I love the characters that are a pleasure to write, the characters that take more work. I even love the characters that ultimately don’t quite cut it on the published page and the total failures lying lifeless and rejected in my draft folder.

The reason I have to is that, whilst I’ve brought in elements of observation from remembered encounters with real life characters, friends and strangers, real and fictional, every character I write is – in the end – only as revealing or engaging to a reader as I can make them. They are all, ultimately, nebulous and circulating thoughts deep in my subconscious given bones and clothes made of type.

So if I don’t lovethem, I don’t love my work.  And whilst I’m sure this view will change and evolve the more I write, I’m find myself more and more convinced that loving your work – is the only true motivator to sitting down in front of the screen each day.  Especially when you’re under pressure. Or not feeling remotely inspired. Or hungover.

And by that, I don’t mean a narcissistic self-absorption – although of course, a degree of that is almost impossible to avoid when you sit alone in front of a computer for hours with only Twitter and your thoughts for company.  I am also trying to avoid queasy self-help territory.

What I mean is that I’m learning to authentically love my work for itself, and not because of its subjective value for others. Love it when it's easy,  love it when you think you will never ever finish writing this book.

I want my books to be published and read. I want readers to enjoy them and critics to acclaim them. I want the ideas in them to provoke debate. Staying in print, on library shelves, hopefully inspiring or entertaining lots of young readers –  of course those things matter deeply.

But I've realized that ultimately I need to love my characters - the work of creating them -  as writing is the means to an end, that goes beyond all that.

Continued  publication  in some form permits me – just -  a daily existence where I have the freedom and time to work out what I think about the world. To read and read till the shelves collapse. To go for a walk in the park when I want.  To occasionally, just very occasionally, entirely escape from this world and lose myself completely in a fictional one of my own making.

So yes, Mum – I do love my characters. Because they allow me to do all that.

Piers Torday
www.pierstorday.co.uk


0 Comments on Writing for love as of 4/12/2014 4:49:00 AM
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2. This One Tiny Habit Can Help You Become a More Productive (and Wealthier) Freelancer

mini_habits_stephen_guiseby Diana Burrell

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

I make no secret of the fact that I do not like to write, which seems crazy because I’ve been a freelance writer and author for almost 20 years and writers, well, write. But if you’re a professional writer, you know that a lot of the job isn’t writing. You’ve got to do stuff like generate story ideas, market your work, chase down research, interview experts, edit, and manage the business–the fun stuff! It’s the writing part I could do away with, specifically first drafts. Once a first draft is written, I can edit. Bad mood be gone.

Over the years I’ve become good at tricking myself into finishing first drafts. I tell myself, “You only have to write 50 words, then you can take a break and watch YouTube.” Even I can write fifty words, and once I get going, it’s hard to stop, which is how I get so much writing done despite my dislike of wordsmithing.

Needless to say I’m always looking for the path of least resistance to getting more done, so when I read about Stephen Guise’s Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results, I downloaded the ebook to my Kindle.

Not only did his book confirm for me that the best way to create a positive change is through small acts repeated daily, but the book was exceptionally well written and researched — impressive in that the author is not a professional writer — and so applicable to the many writers I meet who struggle with getting query letters out the door or writing big projects like books and novels.

Because I suspected Stephen was a bit of renegade — changing your life in big ways through tiny habits? Sounds renegade to me! — I contacted Stephen and he agreed to a 20-minute interview, which turned into a 90-minute Skype call. This is not a verbatim transcript of our conversation, but a carefully edited-down version containing the most valuable points for our readers.

 

DB: How are mini habits different from most life change philosophies?

SG: Most life change philosophies implore you to get highly motivated to make a big change in your life. Mini Habits are exactly the opposite of that, suggesting you force yourself to do something embarrassingly small, but positive every day.

There are two kinds of motivation. The first type is having a reason for doing something. My motivation for exercise is to look and feel healthy. My motivation for doing this interview is that you asked me to do it and I want to spread the word about mini habits. Unlike the next definition of motivation, your reason for doing things is generally very stable and changes very little over time.

There’s also emotional motivation, which is rooted in enthusiasm and determines your willingness to take action in the moment (“This year I’m going to get in shape so I’m off to the gym!”). Most goal systems rely on this type of motivation; they’ll tell you that you need to find this motivation to succeed. The problem is that emotional motivation isn’t reliable or habit friendly.

When we try to do something like write more every day or lose 50 pounds or get in top physical condition, we’re usually very excited for a couple weeks. We’re highly motivated to write more, eat less, and go to the gym. Yet almost anyone who has attempted to change knows that sometime in those first weeks, motivation starts to wane. For me, it was like clockwork—I’d get motivated to exercise and quit when motivation left me at the two- or three-week mark.

The reason we lose motivation isn’t a mystery. It’s biological. And it’s actually a positive sign! It means the behavior of writing more, eating less, or working out regularly is transitioning to being controlled by the subconscious brain. In other words, a weak habit is forming. But right around this time is when most of us give up. We’re not feeling that burst of enthusiasm anymore, so when it’s gone, we’ll stop doing the behavior that’s just about to become a habit. It’s too bad because the best way to find motivation is to take action! I’m not anti-motivational; it’s just that I don’t believe it works as a starting strategy.

There’s a quote from Sun Tzu’s Art of War which sums up the Mini Habit system: “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” By taking one small action a day—just one small behavior change—we start with a win. After that point, you’re free to do more.

In my book, I talk about doing just one push-up every day. A single push-up! It’s almost too easy, right? But you do it, and because you’re already face-down on the ground, you will probably do more. And that’s how such a small, seemingly insignificant action can grow to make big changes in your life.

Two other factors aren’t accounted for in most other goal achievement systems. First is autonomy. Most systems remove your sense of autonomy; you’re following a plan so that on Monday you do this, on Tuesday you do that, and so on. But with Mini Habits, you do your one small thing like a push-up and after that you can ask yourself, “Am I ready to stop or can I do more?” This autonomy leverages our desire and gives us a feeling that we’re in control, which studies show is a critical factor in goal achievement.

The second is willpower, the ability to force yourself to do something whether you feel like it or not. Most goal achievement systems don’t account for the fact that willpower is a limited resource as studies show. Mini Habits is based on the fact that we don’t have unlimited willpower. Because a mini habit is so small, you can easily complete it even when your willpower is low.

 

DB: We all know that developing good habits is important, whether personal (flossing every day) or work (writing a certain number of words per day). What’s might our readers find surprising about developing good habits?

SG: When you’re trying to establish a good habit, size doesn’t matter as much as consistency. For example, say you want to get in shape and decide you’re going to do 100 push-ups a day. That’s a lot of push-ups each day, so the chances you’ll stick with that plan are slim. Just one push-up a day, though, you’ll stick with it and end up doing more push-ups consistently. It’s better to do one push-up a day for six months than 100 push-ups for 15 days spread out over six months because that single daily push-up can become a foundational habit, the kind of habit that can change your life.

 

DB: How did you come up with the idea of writing a book about mini habits and their power to make positive changes?

SG: I started writing on Facebook using the notes feature, writing about my life and stuff like that. My friends liked it and a few told me I should write a book. When I stopped laughing, I started a blog; some of my blog posts were really long, like 4,000 words. Eventually, I decided that yes, I did want to write a book, but I wasn’t sold on any one topic. That changed when I started having a lot of success with Mini Habits.

In the past, I’d have this goal of developing a full-sized gym habit, but I’d exercise for two weeks then stop. Then I aimed for one push-up and got into the best shape of my life. Based on my experience with Mini Habits, I knew I had to share this with the world. That, and I was frustrated by the other systems that give you the same old advice of “get motivated to live your dreams.” That hasn’t been my experience, and the experience of many others as well.

 

DB: How did you use mini habits to write your book?

SG: I wouldn’t have written the book if not for my writing mini habit. I actually had two writing mini habits: One was to write 50 words a day for my blog, and the other was to write 50 words a day of my book. Most days I would exceed those numbers. Even though goal achievement is a topic I’m passionate about, for some reason I still wanted to avoid writing about it. [DB: Now you can see why I like this guy!] I’d have all these excuses like, “I need to write perfectly” or “I’m not thinking clearly today.” Having to write 50 words a day kept me on track.

It took me three to six months to write Mini Habits, including all the research. At times I made up some conditional mini habits, like “Read one study today.” You don’t realize how small actions can add up until you do them everyday. It’s really powerful stuff.

 

DB: What has been the response to Mini Habits?

SG: Before I released the book, I told myself I’d be disappointed if I sold less than 200 copies in two months. Mini Habits ended up selling 10,000 copies in three months. Most sales have come through word of mouth, some guest posting on blogs, and being seen in Amazon.com’s sales system, which is huge. Once you get good reviews (Mini Habits has a 4.8 average rating on Amazon), readers take interest and it can sustain sales momentum.

I’ve also gotten quite a few letters from readers with their own success stories by using mini habits. It’s great to see how it has changed the lives of others.

 

DB: You had a mini habit of writing 50 words of your manuscript every day. What other types of mini habits could our readers adopt to develop or improve their careers?

SG: Obviously making a mini habit of writing 50 words a day is a good place to start, but you can also develop a networking mini-habit, like contacting one person—an editor, potential source, or peer—every day. At the end of the year, you’ll have 365 new contacts. You could have a marketing goal of looking for one new magazine, publication, or client. If you need more ideas for magazine articles or books, you could write down one new idea every day. You could also make one follow-up call or e-mail on a project or question where if you had an answer, you could move forward.

 

DB: Any last words about the power of mini habits?

SG: Mini habits are awesome. The bar to entry is set low, and there’s no ceiling.

For example, if your goal is to write 2,000 words a day, it’s not only a high bar, but it’s also a ceiling because chances are you’ll rarely write more than 2,000 words a day (due to being satisfied with your work). But if you set your bar at 50 words, you’re not only going to make your goal, you’ll most likely exceed it. Fifty words isn’t much and once you get going, you’ll have more thoughts and words to get down.

It’s Newton’s Laws of Motion at work: “A body in motion stays in motion.” The other part of the law is, “A body at rest stays at rest.” When you’ve got a mini habit (50 words) versus a big habit (2,000 words), it’s a lot easier to get in motion and let momentum carry you further.

(My next Become an Idea Machine workshop starts tomorrow, and it’s the last workshop I’ll lead for several months. Sign up here or send me an email  to be notified of the next workshop.)

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3. What’s Fueling YOUR Run?

Whether it be sarcasm, pancakes or otherwise, whatever fuels your running must be celebrated.

Power of the Running Snark

fueled by sarcasm
Trust me, a runner’s brain is wont to wander on those long runs and easy days, making jokes is certainly one of the best ways to roll. The perks of being your own running comedian:

* No hecklers: yea, let’s be honest, our brains may be a little deprived of of oxygen mid-run so the jokes may not exactly hold-up on a real comedy tour.

* Free laughs: it’s always MORE than okay to laugh at your own jokes, and out loud. Heck, you could wail like a hyena in the middle of the woods.

* Good times: spot really random moments of people when they have no idea anyone is like finding gold. Runners tend to go unnoticed by normal folk, we just blend into the background, so running is sometimes like the People Watching Olympics.

Running For Pancakes

fueled by pancakes
Literal fuel for your running, certainly never to be overlooked. Now the bait reward of the foods to come often spend copious amounts of time on the brain during a run…

* Long run salivation: staring that 22-mile long run? Shall I take a poll as to how many of those miles were spent drooling over just how much you’re going to savor devouring [insert favorite food here] upon return? No judgement if drooling starts the moment the watch starts.

* Pre-food penance: on the flip side, pick the WRONG food before a run and you’ll most likely spend the entirety of that run paying the price. We need to start assigning a Points System for certain foods if ingested before a run: ice cream ands loads of dairy = 15 fart points, super spicy thai = 27 bush-dive points, burrito bomb = 45 clenched cheek shuffle point/27 fart points/39 bush dive points…that may work in making us reeeealllly consider if it’s worth eating that BEFORE we run. ;)

* Energy: okay, let’s take a moment for a bit of seriousness…use food to fuel your performance people, fuel up right and you’ll feel the benefits. Good news is there aren’t militant expectations, it’s all about balance: ensure you get enough protein, time that protein right, make the majority of your carbs high-quality, eat your fruits and veggies, hydrate well and with electrolytes too, get enough iron and THEN…after that you deserve your desserts, treats, and rewards.

So now I ask, Runners, what’s fueling YOUR runs??

——-
Tips for coming up with a winning running nutrition plan.

How to eat out while still eating to perform…BONUS, that means you CAN eat for ‘fun’ and ‘performance’…hehe. :)

More cartoons and humor because, let’s be honest, laughing is the only way to go!

——–

1) Last thing you found hilarious while on the run?
2) What were you thinking about on your last run?
I had this annoying song stuck in my head, and that you just can’t run away from. ;)
3) What’s one tip when it comes to running and nutrition you like to live by?

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4. Runner #CoreandCake Party! A core routine chased by loads of cake

Let the #CoreandCake Party get going, Runners! :) I’m going to start by showing you a quick core routine that you can do post-run. It’s short and sweet but effective at hitting those important core muscles, so there’s NO excuse for not doing it because you can whip it out fast.

I’ve got some picture demonstrations for a few of the ones that might be trickier to explain. Truth: I actually did a video but I think I’ve already grown tired of my chipmunk voice, so opted for the stills. ;)

Here’s how it works, there are group of exercises. Work up to doing three sets of each group, do all the sets for each group before moving onto the next group. Try doing this (or at least SOME core work) three days a week.

Group A

reverse crunch roll in core exercise
1) Reverse Crunch Roll-In’s — Set of 16

2) Ball Crunch — Set of 30
*Note: for the middle set, I like to mix it up and do the crunches alternating side to side.

Group B

alternating ball reach
1) Alternating Ball Reach — Set of 30
* Alternate reaching opposite hand to opposite foot; 30 total, so 15 each side

split crunch scissor
2) Split Crunch Scissors — Set of 16
* Start laying flat, as you reach up to center with the ball bring your left leg up towards the ball. Lower back down then bring your right foot up to the ball. Repeat.

hamstring ball pulls core exercise for runners
3) Hamstring Ball Pulls — Set of 8 for each leg
* This move works in three phases, and similar to the BRIDGE EXERCISE DEMO I did but up on the ball. Start with one foot on the ball and back flat on the ground, lift your butt up so you’re doing a bridge on the ball, then roll/pull the ball in towards you. Roll out, lower your back down to the ground out of bridge, then repeat. Then switch to other leg.

Group C

1) Push-up — Set of 10-15 (Modify on your knees if you have to.)

2) Chair Dips — Set of 10

BAM!! You can’t tell me you can’t bust that out in 10-15 minutes at most. But the benefits to your running are incredibly important:

* Strong Core = Efficiency. Build up your core and ‘weaker’ muscles so you’re able to hold better form as you run. Maintaing proper form, even as you tire, will keep you more efficient…read as faster.
* Strong Core = Less Injuries. You got it, most injuries are a result of an imbalance that result from a weak muscle. Fix those so you don’t wind up injured and not running at all.

Oh wait, we forgot the OTHER major benefit, you do your core and you get cake too! ;)

#CoreandCake Party Phase 2…

core and cake
Nom.
run for cake
Nom.

eating cake

Cake sees no speed. Runners of ALL levels working hard get their cake! ;)


Nom.
eat cake sweats in the city
Nom….check it out, #coreandcake goes #SweatsintheCity style in my Ezzere Run Your Fortune Tee!!

Check out the AWESOME Lisa @ RunningOutofWine because she’s celebrating all the #coreandcake goodness over at her blog too!! :)

Thanks all your runnerchicks and runnerdudes for coming, now go get YOUR #coreandcake on too! Don’t forget you can tweet/insta/social media #coreandcake all day, seeing hardworking runners devouring their just desserts always makes me smile. ;)

1) How often do you incorporate core work into your routine?
2) What’s your favorite kind of cake, or any dessert?
3) Have you partied down with Lisa yet too?? If not…you best head on over NOW!! :)

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5. How to Know When It’s Time to Make a Change in Your Life

I’m a big fan of adventurer Roz Savage, who has rowed across both the Atlantic and the Pacific, by herself, for months at a time in a rowboat. I loved her first book, Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean, and highly recommend it if you’re like me and enjoy sitting in a cozy chair, sipping something warm and delicious while reading about someone else doing scary, uncomfortable things. The scary, uncomfortable things I do myself never feel nearly as much fun at the time.

It was Roz’s solo row across the Atlantic that inspired me to write a similar kind of adventure–along with a pretty serious disaster–for Halli and her grandmother Ginny in PARALLELOGRAM, Book 3: Seize the Parallel. Obviously I recommend that book, too.

Roz was recently interviewed by Cloris Kylie, and that led me to this great post by Ms. Kylie about how to know when it’s time to make a change in your life. Having made huge changes in my own life throughout the years–from leaving my career as a trial lawyer to starting my own business to finally becoming a full-time writer just like I always dreamed of doing when I was a little girl–I agree with what she says in her post.

I’m passing it along because some of you might recognize your own situation in some of the items on her list. Just yesterday I had a long brainstorming session with a friend of mine who has decided to leave her current career and start out on something completely new. She, too, is a big adventurer–an outdoor guide, ski instructor, sailor, travel guide, climber, mountain biker, backpacker, former competitive gymnast–but even with all those brave accomplishments to her credit, she still feels a little intimidated by taking such a big leap. But as Cloris Kylie and Roz Savage and so many others understand, when it’s time it’s time, and you just have to do it. Otherwise you’re living someone else’s idea of your life instead of your own.

So brew yourself up something warm and delicious, settle in for a quick read, and enjoy!

0 Comments on How to Know When It’s Time to Make a Change in Your Life as of 3/27/2014 3:37:00 PM
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6. Believing, Running, and Lies

A runner’s mind is filled with lies. We live in our own sort of warped reality. I’ve talked a lot about how lies are our little coping mechanism so we CAN stay dedicated and motivated to keep reaching our goals. That lies can be a good thing.

The thing is though, not all of those lies are created equal and it’s important to know which lies you should be ‘believing’ and when you need to be truthful.
believe and lies
Good Lies

* Midway through a workout: “I’m only doing 1 more repeat, don’t worry brain!”
* About to start a workout or at the starting line: “It won’t really hurt, I swear!”
* In moments of motivation lulls to just START running: “Just run for 5 minutes, if you want to stop then you can.

These are the lies that help us tune out the pain and call our brains out when they’re just being lazy. These are AWESOME lies and the ones you should be blasting from a megaphone because they’re coming from your inner rockstar runner. The runner who wants you to achiever your goals…believe everything they say, those lies will fuel your greatness.

Bad Lies

* Mid-workout brain chatter: “You can’t keep this pace up.”
* Starting line: “Holy crap, I don’t belong next to so-and-so, they’re going to kick my butt!”
* Mid-race: “They just surged, they must feel way stronger than me…I’m just going to let them go.”

These are all the things that weak, insecure, tired, lazy, annoying, complaining brain likes to shout at you. These are remarks your rockstar runner persona needs to refute and call-out as lies. “I am stronger than I think. I belong at this starting line. A race isn’t over until the finish line and I know they hurting too, I just need to hang onto them.”

Dangerous Lies

* Mid-workout: “What was that POP? I’m sure it’s nothing…I think this pain will just go away in a second…”
* After 6+ days of feeling like total sh*t and workout times getting progressively slower: “Just suck it up…I’m DOING this long run/workout exactly as was planned 4 months ago.”
* In life: “It’s totally okay that I’ve only slept 4 hours the last five nights and been existing on Sugar Daddies, Ramen noodles and Diet Coke.

You get a runner, heck-bent on proving their toughness and combine that with our own ‘stupidity’ (“It doesn’t hurt THAT bad, I can surely make it three more repeats!”) and that’s when things get ugly. Injuries, Baby, injuries. Runners are always riding a fine line between good pain, bad pain, when to push, when to ease back, and to our credit it CAN be incredibly difficult to distinguish ‘right pain’ from ‘wrong pain’ and from there the degree of ‘wrongness’. I’m sure that reads like jargon to normal people, but runners totally GET exactly what I’m talking about.

The thing is, runners usually have to just learn the hard way and suffer through times when they’ve made mistakes to LEARN. Eventually you’ll come to find it’s better to err on the side of caution. It doesn’t make you mentally weak or a lame-o runner; in fact it takes more self control and confidence to hold back and issue that self-restraint.

Think of it this way. You’re running and mid-workout you definitely know something is off.

Option 1: Either slow down to a pace where you don’t feel the ‘bad’ pain or pull the plug on the workout entirely. Follow it up with some easy days and you’ll be right back into training mode after.

Option 2: Grit your teeth, finish the workout come h*ll or high water. You limp through a cool-down and the grimace never leaves your face. You ice like a mofo the rest of the day, chomp Ibuprofen like they’re Smarites and pray you’ll somehow go to bed and miraculously be fine.

What scenario do you think wins out?? Finally, what’s the WORST thing that could happen if for some reason you could have finished the workout and been fine after? The running police won’t come and yell, “SLACKER!!” at you.

Just keep working hard and remember training works on the law of averages, that single workout isn’t going to ruin your entire build-up to your Championship race.

Why it’s Hard to Admit a Dangerous Lie is Reality

On the flip side, runners sometimes grit their teeth through the ‘bad pain’ because they are afraid that if they stop they’re going to lose the ability to PUSH through the ‘right pain’. I know you know what I’m talking about because it feeds right back into the GOOD kind of lies.

Running hurts one way or another whether you’re injured or not. You can’t let your mind actively be looking for excuses to stop. So naturally there is the fear that if you pull the plug on a workout one time, you’ll start a chain reaction that results in you never being able to finish a workout. This does happen, and it’s mental suicide for a runner but here’s the thing…

…it works on a case by case basis and for lots of runners this fear of ‘losing the ability to push through pain’ is irrational. So, be honest here…you DO know good pain from bad pain, you DO know you can push through good pain, so in those pinnacle moments of needing to decide if you need to stop or not, listen to your gut.
runner bones
If your bones tell you you’re in danger of really doing damage, stop. It’s not worth it. You can’t run at ALL if you’re injured.

The same goes for a runner who refuses to acknowledge they need to ease back and give their body some rest rather than keep pushing, and keep digging themselves into a hole. Again, all those fine lines, but if you’re experiencing chronic fatigue for a week or more, you need to adjust.

Training routines aren’t concrete and always need a degree of flexibility. Flexibility goes both ways, sometimes you need to push yourself harder but other times you need to know when to scale back.

Don’t dig a hole so deep you have to take a full-on break. Sometimes a few easy days will do the trick and breathe life back into those legs!

Wow, so many lies!! You see why I said we live in a warped runner reality, no?! But be smart.

Tune into the good lies and believe them with all of your heart. Then be secure and confident enough in yourself to recognize the bad lies for what they are and face the real truth.

——-
More posts on CONFIDENCE
More posts on MENTAL TOUGHNESS
More posts on INJURIES
——-

1) What’s a good lie?
2) What’s a bad lie?
3) What’s a dangerous lie?

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7. Escape into Sanity. Run.

I run to escape. I run to be free. I run for sanity.

run to escape
Go, escape into your run!

——-
#CoreAndCake Party!!! So it’s happening THIS Friday and you’re ALL invited. I’ll be sharing a new core routine to help you runners stay strong, build a more efficient running form and reduce injury risk. Talk of cake will follow. Get the gist?
core and cake
I’d also LOVE for any and all bloggers and social media-ites to hop on board.

1) Blog: Get creative and share anything core and/or cake related. Fitness folk that could mean sharing some of your favorite core moves, all foodies you could make us all drool over your favorite cake recipes! Heck, so long as any mention of core and cake makes it’s way in there I’m sold!

2) Social: Snap a pic of you doing a #coreandcake related celebration and Tweet/FB/Instagram it!

3) Link: If you’d like to be included in some blogger link-up partying, email me at: cait@caitchock.com with your link!

Looking forward to our runner part. :)
———-

1) Finishing the sentence…”I run to/for…”
2) Share a time when going for a run lead you to figure out a problem, get through a tough situation, or acted as your escape?
3) Favorite dessert?

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8. Sunday Morning Running Motivation

Word.

eff fear

———
More Morning Running Motivation

Your INVITE to the #coreandcake party! (scroll down to bottome)
——–

1) What’s on tap for your weekend?

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9. There’s Only One High I Chase

Runner’s…I fully endorse living this high life.
endorphin high
——-
Reminder! The #coreandcake party is happening next Friday…here are the det’s!

More running MOTIVATION

More running ART AND CARTOONS
——-

1) What’s getting you high this weekend?
2) Is the sun poking out for you yet?
3) Best way to reward a hard running workout or race?
A hint…it’ll always be tagged #getinmybelly ;)

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10. Ruling Your Fear: Running Like a Gamer, Fear be Da**ed

Let’s talk fear. Okay, I’ll break the silence and let you in on a dirty little secret: EVERY runner has fear. Regardless of how fast they are, how much they’ve accomplished, the Gold medals sitting in those shiny cases…every, single, runner has fear.

Fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just means that you WANT something. You have goals, you want to hit them and you’re scared/nervous/anxious because if you fall up short…then what? Fear merely proves you have goals that MATTER to you.
running motivation art
With running there is also the fear of the pain. BAM. I just touched on the TWO big taboos runners are never to speak of in the span of less than 150 words: fear and pain. Knowing that pain is going to be there, that you’re going to have to be mentally tough and push through that pain, that you’re NOT going to let that pain break you…that’s also where a large part of a runner’s fear comes from. And it also explains why, every runner, regardless of how good they are, be they professional or back of the packer will harbor some ‘fear’…every runner goes through pain. It’s part of our sport.

Now the thing is, the big difference between elite runners who race like ballers and every other runner who races like a gamer and the runners who implode is: the gamers don’t let the FEAR rule them. Gamers rule the fear. They turn the fear around, use that energy more as nervous-excited rather than nervous-fearful/worried. See the difference? It’s all in the mind.

Not letting fear rule you is difficult, even the most experience runners go through periods where they may struggle and need to get back on track. And to be honest, there’s always going to be a point in a race or workout where you’re riding a fine line between keeping your fear in check, “Am I seriously going to believe I can make it at THIS pace for THIS much longer?”

Combat The Fear

* Find Your Confidence:

Not letting fear rule you means you push those doubts aside with reminders of why you ARE a gamer. Think of past workouts, know that you’re mentally tough, know you’ve survived plenty of times when you’re mind began to doubt your ability…and you proved that silly mind wrong.
* Find Your Mojo: Tap into that confidence and a part of that is just realizing WHY you’re doing something. Without the ‘why’ as a driving force it’s easy to just let the fear take over and not give a flip over the outcome. Set some goals and know WHY you’re willing fight through this fear and OWN it.
* Relax: The thing with running and pain and then running through that pain, if you try and ‘fight’ it you usually wind up running slower. Kinda like you just have to ‘relax’ into the pain, let it come, than do your best to just numb it out. If this makes sense? To put this into more ‘physical’ terms, a good way to describe it is to just make sure your form and body is relaxed, you’re not clenching your jaw or fists or scrunching your shoulders up near your neck. Relax your body, relax your mind, don’t ‘try too hard’ and don’t ‘fight it’.
#epicfailWIN picture
Everyone has fear, and that spans across all areas in life, but I’ve always found the best way to rule your fear is to DO what’s scary and prove that you lived through it. The more times you get through it, the less scary it becomes because you’ve built up your confidence.

I’ll tell you what helps me, and I’m be brutally honest, I say it like it is to myself, “Stop being a freaking idiot, just effing DO it.” Now, usually I’m not fearful of workouts, but I ultimately realize that the fear is stupid. Just effing do it would certainly apply across the board though, and with running sometimes that tough love is what you need. ;)

As for running, you can never let fear of workouts or racing turn into a monster: 1) because that sucks any fun out of running in the first place 2) you’ll implode in the workouts or races. Rather, just STOP thinking so much and freaking start. Just get going, relax, and roll with it…fear be da**ed.

The reason I feel it important to SHARE that EVERY RUNNER has fear is because you shouldn’t feel like a weakling just for having fear. You’re only a ‘weakling’ if you let that FEAR rule YOU. If that’s the case, don’t lose hope because you can always turn that around…tap into your confidence and race like the GAMER you want to be. ;)

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I wanted to do a post on fear because it came up in a really great article by Jason Fitzgerald at Strength Running. Read “7 Quick Lessons from my 16th Place Finish at the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon” because it’s filled with tons of important recovery tips for runners. The bit on doubts is what triggered my idea for this post. SR is a great resource for runners, so go, stay and check out all his awesome reads!

I also talk a lot more on the mental side of running and tips to tune out that pain in my ebook “Effective Mental Strategy: Race better by out-thinking your brain”
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1) Fear is ever-present in running and in life. What is the last things you had fear or anxiety about?
2) How did you deal with that fear in a positive, GAMER way? Or did you find that fear won that time?
3) The last time fear won, how did you learn from that experience and make it so you can overcome that fear going forward?
Yo, we all lose sometimes, it’s just important to learn and make that a productive ‘loss’.

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11. My (NON) Writing Ritual: For Times When I'm Lost


So,
I’m here to report:
there are those times when even though I’ve ritualistically readied myself to write, I am unable to move forward with my story.


I lose my way somehow.
My fingers freeze.
My North Star is elsewhere playing Hide-and-Seek.

The Good News, however?
Like that wondrous woman who lives inside our cars’ or devices’ GPS,
the one who expertly and melodically repositions our course when we turn left instead of right or bypass our designated Exit or come to a grinding halt at the wrong destination,
I know how to RECALCULATE!

Here’s my 3-Step Easy Ritual for finding my way back.

#1
I take myself away from my writing space, sit still and quietly re-read the encouraging hope-filled greeting cards I’ve mailed myself the past 37 years (!) while out-and-about on my Writer’s Journey.



#2
Next I re-read and think on the inspirational quotes I’ve tucked away inside my treasured Hansel and Gretl box.


#3Finally I empty my beautiful one-of-a-kind carpet bag of its contents - the notes, letters and Thank You’s I’ve received, and read my way through, savoring the words,

especiallyand always those penned long-ago by my fellow TeachingAuthor Carmela Martino when I sold, at long last, my very first picture book.


Before I know it,
I’ve recalibrated my compass, refueled my heart and found my way home to my keyboard and story.


Happy Writing – and – Recalculating (if and when needed)!

Esther Hershenhorn

P.S.
The above Rx is a true-blue twofer; the 3-step ritual helps me REBOOT too!

P.P.S.
Let’s hear it for that hard-working second-chance prefix RE! Where would we be without it?

0 Comments on My (NON) Writing Ritual: For Times When I'm Lost as of 3/17/2014 11:37:00 AM
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12. Monday Morning Running Motivation

Love your run. It will always love you back.

run love in heart

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More Morning Running Motivation Art

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1) Any races this weekend?
2) How did your run love you back?

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13. How to Figure Out the Answer to Every Freelancing Question You’ll Ever Have

Wondering what an editor means when she says X, whether you should break a freelance rule, or whether you should drop that PITA client? Here’s how to figure out what to do. At 3:04, I share my special method for deciding between two different options.

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14. My Issues With ‘Fitness’

I don’t visit many fitness sites. Not because I’m a runner snob or purist, but because I don’t like the ‘business’ side of ‘fitness’. Those who instantly ‘get’ what I’m talking about separates the ‘fitness’ minded from the FITNESS minded.

I’m not the running riddler, but the reason I don’t go to lots of fitness sites is because I really don’t like the hypocrisy of it all. I’m a straight-shooter, telling it like it is, kinda gal. ’12 Minutes to FLAT ABs’…’Workout in 8mins or less!’
runner lies
EIGHT minutes? Seriously? I don’t even consider 8 minutes enough time for a proper warm-up. So I guess I should define what a workout is. I’m not talking about a ‘follow-up’ core routine, stretching, weight circuit. For a runner or anyone who is truly FITNESS minded some of those routines can certainly be on the quicker side, maybe all you need IS 8 minutes because you busted your butt doing 800′s and cardio earlier.

When I’m talking workout I mean EVERYTHING. Start to finish, if you do double sessions, those minutes count as rollover. Newsflash: the ‘fitness’ celebrities touting those ’8 minutes is ALL you need!’ workouts, they for DARN sure don’t do THEIR workouts in only 8 minutes.

It’s the business that peeves me. If you’re going to tell people what to do, be upfront. Yes, I know the MAJORITY of Americans DO NOT want to hear they’ve got to bust a sweat doing cardio for at least 30 minutes and follow it up with some core and ab work. Waaaa…I’d rather be watching the Kardashian! Well, you could do both running on a treadmill…haha.

So the 12 and 8 minutes things sell, they are hot keywords, they attract the masses like flies to a bush post runner emergency dive. The same also applies to the warped food pictures and supposed meals ‘fitness’ websites promote. Have you seen the Instagram pictures of a scant sliver of chicken with a side of five sliced cucumbers? If that was my meal I’d wind up eating my foot. Actually on those, I just don’t understand, is that seriously all they eat? But who knows, who really cares (well, actually tons of people do…it comes back to the business thing I guess)…but the fact that it really makes me question brings me right back to my biggest issue…
running fitspo pinterest
I’m a straight-shooter, I like to be upfront. I expect and appreciate that from my readers and everyone else, so I like to do the same. If you want to run your best, if you want to race to PR’s…because da** THAT feels good, it takes work. Lots.of.work.

It will hurt. Workouts will make you wonder why in the flip you have this sick fascination with pushing yourself. Your brain will even try to lie to you and say you really don’t care, that if you just stopped you’d be okay with that. But those are LIES.

Running tests you more mentally than it will physically. Well, maybe a tie, lactic acid sure does hurt physically. But that’s the POINT. Anything worth it takes work. It isn’t done in 8 minutes or less. It isn’t ‘easy, painless, quick’ or any of the other keywords picked up by Google by the ‘fitness’ masses.

We’re runners, or if you totally get what I’m talking about, we’re FITNESS minded. We want to bust our own @$$es because the rewards good… eight minutes be da**ed!

1) What are the majority of websites and blogs that you visit?
2) What is your definition of a workout?
3) What’s your take on the Instagram foodie reverse porn? I think the follow-up snap should be them wolfing down the half gallon of ice cream at 12 midnight. ;)

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15. That’ll Light a Fire Under Your Runner Butt

Yes we may run for our sanity, the betterment of our souls, to push ourselves…but when it comes right down to it there’s a little peace of mind knowing if a situation arises where we need to get the heck out of there FAST, we’re faster than one poor, unfortunate soul. ;)
out run a lion
Darwinism at its finest, Folks. ;) #runtosurvive

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More CARTOONS HERE!!
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1) Let’s hear another situation that you’ve thought of where running fast would certainly help you dodge a bullet? Or any other hazard.
2) When’s been a situation in life that being a runner has helped?
Chasing a bus I was about to miss. Speeding down the terminal trying to make a flight, heart rate at about interval level. ;)
3) What’s making you laugh today?

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16. Running and Chasing Moonlight

I’ve been doing some runs at night. Just me and the moon. Don’t worry, Runners, the light will find you out there. It likes to follow magic.

running in the dark
Not to spoil the motivational moment but in the spirit of keeping it real I have to add there WERE some other things out there besides me and Mr. Moon: a crap-load of gnats and I’m pretending I didn’t inhale about 900, shadows that made me wonder if they were branches that I should dodge, and then some actual branches I didn’t quite dodge but managed to stay on my feet. Take THAT klutzy Cait Gene! ;)

Keep running towards your goals…gnats and branches be d**ned…don’t let them spoil the moments. ;)

ezzere shirts movie

1) Last time you ran in the dark?
2) Do you like running in the dark?
3) Do you also feel like you’re going faster in the dark regardless of whether you actually are or not? The Garmin tells no lies. ;)

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17. Sunday Morning Running Motivation

Running presents a very simple goal…

running motivation art
Keep pushing through to that other side my Runner Friends. It makes us feel alive! :)

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More Running Motivation Art Posts

More Motivation Posts

Posts with Racing Tips
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1) Did you race this weekend?
2) How did you stay mentally tough in your last race or workout?
3) The last time you weren’t so mentally tough, why, and what are you going to do to be tougher next time?

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18. True Running Fitspo…

Honestly, Pinterest and Instagram, please get the message that TRUE running motivation and inspiration comes not from how are training makes us look but rather what it enables us to ACHIEVE.
running fitspo pinterest
That’s as far as I’ll let my little mini rant go. But I DO have say how I laugh at some of the ridiculous picture/quote pairs that pop up. Saw this gem the other day:

“If my fat isn’t going to my boobs then I want nothing to do with it.”
I mean, seriously?

Me, I’m far more inspired and motivated by runners getting out there, sweating it out, busting their @$$es for PR’s.

Chasing endorphins is far more fun than wishing I had more fat for my boobs. ;)

1) What’s one of the funnier Pinterest/Insta fitspo’s you’ve seen?
2) What’s one of the better, really motivating ones you’ve seen?
3) What did you do today that could be pinned and used as inspiration for others?

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19. Where the Magic REALLY Happens

Bippidity Boppity…moooove over, Magic Wand, these running shoes are far more magical. :)

running princess cartoon
And we don’t need no glass slippers either! Talk about a major injury hazard…who comes up with this stuff?!?! ;)

Personally I like my running fairy tales a bit better with some sweat, endorphins, miles, and runnerchicks and runnerdudes. Speaking of Princesses, no one’s been able to peel me out of my favorite new running shirt yet. ;)
running princess shirt

1) What running shoes are you in love with right now?
2) Do you have pretty pick feet?
3) Where was the last awesome place your magic running feet took you?

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20. Embracing Speedwork: Why running faster is mental AND physical, how to shift your thinking to run faster

So one very hot singer has crooned, “Speed kills…” Well any runner can tell you that one! It’s a little two-fold though, speed kills your opponent and if you consider the lactic acid factor it probably feels like you’re killing yourself too! ;) Remember THIS cartoon??

It’s true, us distance runners, of the slow-twitch muscle fiber realm would most likely opt for a 10 mile tempo than sets of 800′s or 200′s. Distance logic right there.
runner on track
The thing is though, while you can’t inject your distance running legs with fast-twitch muscle fibers you CAN hone the ones you’ve got and it’s quite remarkable how malleable that muscle make-up can be with proper training. But here’s the thing, for long distance runners, GETTING FASTER takes both a physical and mental component.

Physical

I’ve written a few articles on the specific physical training tips to run faster. Distance runners SHOULD embrace those horrid 200 repeats, choke down those shorter intervals because speed translates up. You need to reverse ‘common’ distance logic and build from the bottom (aka shorter distances) up.

The faster you can sprint, the faster you can comfortably hold a ‘slower’ pace and longer. That reads as faster 5k’s, 10k’s, and marathons.

Do those shorter intervals, add some hill sprints, anything that involves explosive power. That’s the muscle-building and training factor.

Mental

Here’s the thing, if you’re like me you HATE that short running stuff because you ‘feel’ like you suck at it. You feel out of your element and get stressed more for the short stuff because it feels awkward, doesn’t come naturally, and thus gets a little frustrating.

ALL those thoughts create is PHYSICALLY impossible to run your best sprints. Crazy how the MIND can once again stop you from being the best runner you can be. The thoughts of feeling ‘out of your element’ create a foundation for stress and rather than running RELAXED as you should, you’re running tense. Ironically the more you ‘try’ to run faster, the slower you’ll be. True fact.

Learning and reminding yourself to run relaxed is an ongoing process. Here are some mental thoughts that can help you stay relaxed and allow your body to run faster:

* Arms: Laws of running physics (?? lol) hold that your legs can only move as fast as your arms. I like this because rather than think about your legs (let’s be honest they’re hurting like mad, let’s NOT think about them at all to block out that pain!) I think of moving my arms front-to-back as quickly as possible. The legs will follow.
turn left on the track
* Eff It: This is the mentality I’ve adopted during short intervals, but let me explain. I KNOW ‘trying’ to run faster will shoot me in the foot, so I force my type-A brain to do the opposite. I remind myself, “Don’t worry about the times, I know speed isn’t my strong point, but it will only improve if I work on it. So eff it, relax, you can’t FORCE anything so just roll with it.” Basically you have to embrace the ‘awkward feeling’, loosen up, and just ‘have fun’ with it. Also, stop telling yourself that you suck at the shorter intervals! ;)

* Effort: Tying to my tip above, ultimately running and training comes back to perceived effort. The watch and numbers only tell part of the story, so another thing I tell myself is, “Just run hard.” Run faster and even if you don’t look at your watch (this can help runners if they have built themselves a little speed phobia) if you’re running HARDER and FASTER you’ll get the rewards.

Bottom line here: even distance runners NEED speedwork if they want to run their longer races faster. Embrace the nasty shorter intervals, adopt the ‘eff it attitude’ and stop FORCING it. Relax the heck up and in true ironic distance logic you’ll run faster when you’re ‘trying’ less. ;)

1) Speedwork, love it or hate it?
2) When is the last time you did speedwork?
3) What’s something you tell yourself to make sure you’re running relaxed?

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21. Run, Be YOU, Be Crazy

Runners are crazy. I’m crazy. But you know what…

alice in wonderland crazy

Be YOU.

———–
BIG NEWS is coming tomorrow!! You excited, yet? You should be. In fact be CrAzY excited! ;) It has to do with THIS!!

I HATE to have to do this but I need to add another disclaimer. I’ve gotten lots of questions from people asking to save or download my artwork and cartoons. I ask that you PLEASE do not, I sell prints of all my artwork. Art and writing is how I put food on my table. Be kind, respect the amount of time, creativity, and work that goes into the work that I share with you. Contact me: cait@caitchock.com to order a print or purchase rights to download and share. Thank you.
———–

1) What’s some exciting news you have to share?
2) What are you looking forward to this weekend?

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22. A Running First: The run/swim wade

I’ve run in some pretty crappy conditions, but today marked a first for this runnerchick. I literally had to run/swim, like stop the watch and doggie paddle kinda stuff! California goes from the golden winter to flash-flooding my bike trail today…it was craaaazy!

Actually the episode was actually quite comical. I almost tripped and went full-submersion style. [side-note: I have a phobia of leeches, visions of them stuck to my legs and torso riddled my mind the whole run] So a toast to you, Winter, you pulled a fast one on me today. You done good, but I still won out. I’m pretty sure that was hail there between those bullet rain-drops and I came out looking like a wet, sewer rat but I got that run done.
running through the rain cartoon
And hey, I’d still take a bucket of rain over some of those well-below zero temperature readings from other states. You runners over there, good gracious, seeing icicles in your beards, eyelashes, and hair!! But I did have to make a cartoon for my run today because, quite honestly, I’m not doing one BIT of over-exaggeration for comedic effect.

Sometimes reality, in it’s own sickly sense, is way more hilarious.

Go on, run on…run/swim on?? ;)
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HUGE NEWS!! If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw the Spoiler Alert! My latest running shirt design has dropped! The Peacock Runner…check out my Mommy-O model, the first runnerchick to don this one.

peacock runner shirt
Full details on this one to come and it will be available to buy at my store soon…but my excitement bubbled over and I had to give you the sneak peek. ;)
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1) What’s the deepest water you’ve had to cut through during a run?
Today was well above my waist.
2) Worst conditions you’ve ever run in?
3) Are you pretty good at keeping a secret if you’re excited?
Ummm…no.

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23. Sunday Morning Running Motivation

Today I ran.
running motivational art

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More Morning Running Motivational Art Posts
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1) What was your run like today?
2) What was your running like 5 years ago?
3) What do you envision your running to be 5 years from today?

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24. The Launch of Ezzere Running

My BIG NEWS: I started Ezzere, a brand for my running shirts!!

ezzere running shirts

My mission in starting Ezzere is to inspire runners, make you dream goals big enough to scare you, and GO for them! Then, keep you looking good at the same time. Look good, feel good. ;)

Check out my new site Ezzere.com and help me spread the word!
peacock shirt

Run. Laugh. Be.

ezzere logo

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25. A Running Contrast: Pre and Post Workout

Nervous…trepidation…EXCITEMENT.
…pushing out doubts, finding your STRENGTH, finding your center.

Confidence. Remember you’ve DONE this before, draw on the memories of HARD workouts.
“You survived then, you’ll push through the pain today.”

Collect. Relax.
“Can we just START this thing already?!?!”

pre post workout runners

#nailedit
#endorphins
#confident

Funny the difference a mere workout makes.

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Nervous energy before workouts and races are NORMAL…they actually help boost your performance if you use them right. Posts on NERVES HERE

Posts on finding your CONFIDENCE

More MENTAL TOUGHNESS TIPS
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1) Give one adjective of how you felt before your last workout.
2) Give one adjective on how you felt after that same workout.
3) What is one of the last things you do or say to yourself before a hard workout or race?

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