It’s 4:46 PM as I’m typing these words. Today I have already practiced my organ music for 4 hours or more at my church until lunch. Even though I took some breaks, I feel quite tired, a little exhausted from sitting on the organ bench for far too long.
I feel quite good about myself, about today’s work. But something is still missing, I’m not complete. Because I haven’t created anything yet. I have just practiced performing what other people have created which is not the same for me.
I started my day by reading 14 fascinating articles I came across on Steemit in the morning. Each of them helped me think about things I didn’t know anything about. I even tried to encourage these authors and wrote thank you comments with my feedback. Four of them replied and a nice discussion was born.
All this time while I was reading those articles and playing my organ music I was aware of the idea that today I will need to create something. It might be my daily Pinky and Spiky comic strip or it might be some article written about some creative idea. I didn’t know yet.
While I was consuming content, I also needed to let some of my content out today in the form of text, pictures, audio or video.
You see, reading thoughtful articles and books is important, there is no question about it. But reading alone won’t let me feel complete. I have to let some of those ideas out into the world too. Maybe other people will be reading them. Maybe they will later interact with me.
Now after typing 270 words, I’m starting to feel a little better. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that writing is not required to me. Playing is because organ playing is my profession and I will do it no matter what. So sooner or later it becomes like a given to me, like nothing special.
Maybe for some of my students to sit down on the organ bench is a big accomplishment but for me it’s what I do. Therefore, doing something extra with my time, like drawing or writing things which nobody expects from me to do gives me this kind of satisfaction which I can’t get from anything else I’m doing with the time I have left.
A few moments before these words where still in my head and now they are on the screen. Are they good? I don’t know. Is it a valuable content? It’s not for me to decide. Will they be important to anybody? I guess we’ll find out when I press the “Post” button.
I don’t do it for somebody to thank me or to be moved by my words. I do it for a very selfish reason - to let the ideas out so that I would make space for new ideas tomorrow.
What comes in, must come out (in a different form or shape, of course).
The balance between input and output.
I've noticed something weird about Messenger app today. Right at the moment when I meant to shut my phone, after watching YouTube videos, a notification pops up that one of my Messenger friends, John is waiving at me...
Looks normal, but wait a minute...
How does Messenger know that I'm about to stop watching videos and go to the church to practice playing the organ?
I have a feeling that Messenger watches me and when I feel like I'm fed up with the phone, it starts to send me these notifications. I'll tell you what's happening:
John has hired some of the students who were eating at the same cafeteria I was in to take turns of watching me. And as soon as I was done with the phone they were supposed to message back to John saying that I'm about to leave.
"Get back to the phone. Messenger is paying me to keep you on the app."
Or maybe it was this way:
My church organ was fed up with me playing his pipes, forcing the air go from the bellows to wooden wind canals into the windchests.
"I'm sick of you touching my keys and pedals with your greasy fingers. That's it! I'm calling John to wave at you and keep you focused on the phone. I'd rather have woodworms eat my wooden pipes than you touching my keys again..."
"Yes I'm talking to you! Wave back at John now!"
These 16 ants were so focused on their breakfast that they didn’t see me pick up this bright red juicy and a little bit rotten apple on which they were standing. They didn’t even move when I slowly turned the apple around. Only when I blew them away they slowly fell down on the grass one by one.
All of this happened this morning when I came out to do my pull-ups in the garden. It’s this time of the year when every morning I find more and more apples on the ground. This also meant I have to do more and more pull-ups in between of picking them up!
So I did my ladder 1-2-3-2-1 and then continued to do one pull-up once every two minutes. I’m pretty sure I did at least 4 additional pull-ups this way but then lost the count.
In case you’re wondering, there were no farts this morning while exercising! The gas wasn’t ready to come out as I haven’t had my breakfast yet…
But the ants already were having one. And I could only imagine what they were telling me:
“Hey, mister, want to join us eating this juicy apple?”
“Oh no, thanks! I’d rather not fart while exercising.”
“That’s OK. We’re in an open air.”
Or maybe angrier:
“Hey you one with the fitness gloves and not so big biceps! You bother us every day when you jump on those rings. That’s our lawn. And you’re not paying any rent! Good for you you’re so big. Otherwise our gang would pee on you with our acid!”
For several days now I was itching to do my maximum number of pull-ups, just to see my progress. I could feel I could do more than 3, if I gave all I got at the first set.
Today, after I came home from the university I wanted to take out hedge twigs I cut last weekend to the special holding place for green waste. As I was putting the bags into the trunk of the car with my fitness gloves on, an idea came to me that I should use this opportunity and go to the rings right away.
So I finished with the bags, jumped on the rings and pulled myself up not 3, not 4 but 5 times! Yes, you’ve read it correctly! Today I did 5 pull-ups in a row…
Then I almost wanted to get into my car but thought what if I did my maximum number of pull-ups again. Maybe I would do more than 2? Sure enough, after resting a while, I did 3 pull-ups.
I repeated the same process 3 more times and completed 3, 2 and 1 repetitions of pull-ups with every set. So, 5-3-3-2-1 gave me the total number of 14 pull-ups. That’s my record so far.
Then I got into my car and drove to the green waste lot. My hands and chest were burning. Even my legs felt somewhat tired.
Will I be able to repeat the same set tomorrow?
￼It was nice to read supportive comments after yesterday's post about the ladder method which helped me do the total of 9 pull-ups. Maybe some people can try this in various activities and challenges that they do themselves.
Today was the first day of school for Ausra. But not for me. I quit teaching at National M.K. Ciurlionis School of Art at the end of the last school year because I want to focus more on the work I’m doing online.
So this morning she went to teach and I - to the church to play for the opening of the academic year of the Philology Department of Vilnius University during which I improvised some organ music.
Then I worked on compiling Ausra’s new Pinky and Spiky comic book which I hope to complete by her birthday this September and after that came to meet Ausra for lunch. We then went home and I picked up some fallen apples in the garden and did the ladder of pull-ups: 1-2-3-2-1.
The feeling when doing exercise was different than when I used to do them in the mornings - my body was awake but a little heavier because of lunch. Nevertheless, I finished the ladder a little easier than yesterday.
Then I drew a couple of Pinky and Spiky comic strips and had some coffee with leftover cake from our book club meeting after which went for a walk with Ausra in the woods. We saw several families of ducks swimming in the river and communicating among themselves.
Very nice day!
Last night we had lots of guests in the house. An opening meeting for the book club. Because our friends didn’t see each other for the entire summer, everyone wanted to tell many stories. Some were less concise than others. To make a long story short and including lots of wonderful potluck food, our guests left the house only around 9 PM. And we started the meeting at 2 PM. Entire Saturday spent discussing books… Yummy…
So it’s no surprise that the guests voices whirled in my head already from 2 AM tonight. Luckily even they went to sleep around 6 AM so I did get some sweet sleep afterwards.
When the time came in the morning to pick up apples in the garden and do my pull-up routine, I decided I’m gonna go for a ladder: 1-2-3-2-1.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of the ladder, it’s very nice for warming up and avoiding muscle strain because you start small, say with just 1 pull-up. Then you rest and do 2 pull-ups. Then rest and do 3. And you continue this way until you reach the maximum number of reps you can do. Then you climb down the ladder. For example, 2 pull-ups, rest and 1 pull-up.
I kind of enjoyed doing it this morning. Of course, the middle 3 reps were extremely difficult to complete. That’s OK, tomorrow I can repeat the same ladder again until it’s not that hard and I’m ready to add one more pull-up to the ladder.
I guess the concept of the ladder could be applied to many activities that you do, even the creative ones. Let’s say you want to write for a certain period of time or you look for a certain number of words. So your ladder with words might look like this: 100-200-300-200-100. If you are a beginner, you can start even with a smaller amount of words: 50-100-150-100-50. Or if you want to draw, you can aim for time in minutes: 5-10-15-10-5. Or it could be longer - 5-10-15-20-25-30-25-20-15-10-5. Or if you’re playing an instrument, you can gradually speed up the tempo and slow down again.
Then point is to have some initial sets to warm up, then reach your maximum and then cool down again while taking regular breaks to rest. This should work for people who don’t like to work or practice or exercise without interruption for a long period of time.
Choose your own ladder, try it yourself and let me know what you think.
Now I’m ready to draw a Pinky and Spiky comic strip and have some breakfast…
Today I had an awesome time listening to the 3 audio books by David Kadavy and author of the podcast Love Your Work while vacuuming the carpet, picking up raspberries in our garden and drawing Pinky and Spiky comic strips. The books were:
The Heart To Start
How To Write A Book
Make Money Writing On The STEEM Blockchain
Here’s what I thought about The Heart To Start:
I have read a Kindle version and listened to the audio version of this book. David Kadavy will help you find the courage to start living your life on your own terms and not be paralyzed by the fear of failure and fear of success. It helped me write my first book on creativity. Now I just need to prepare it for publication.
Here’s what I thought about How To Write A Book:
After listening to the audio version of the book, a new idea came to me for my next book and I have an urge to start writing it. The steps David Kadavy lays out in this book are so simple. If you know how to read, you’ll be able to finish your first book in a month! Highly recommended!
Here’s what I thought about Make Money Writing On The STEEM Blockchain:
This guide will be useful for any writer who is searching for an additional way to monetize their brain through blockchain-based blogging platform such as Steemit. As a blogger on Steemit myself, I can testify that David Kadavy does a great job of efficiently explaining complex way that Steemit works. Steemit is not an overnight path to riches for sure, but if you post valuable content regularly, you will start making some money here.
Excellent work David Kadavy! I’m so looking forward to reading/listening what you create next!
I have a headache all day long today. Not a very nasty one but still enough of an excuse to skip my practice. Doing pull-ups, writing a report on the workout, drawing Pinky and Spiky comic strips, playing organ etc.
All these activities require a comfortable state of mind and body. My mind is OK but the physical pain might seem like an easy way out today.
Luckily, I’m committed enough to create every day and document my days in texts and pictures so I should also do those pull-ups, right?
I was surprised my workout went smoothly this morning. And I was able to increase the workload: 3 reps of 2 pull-ups and 4 reps of 1 pull-up.
I even ate 2 juicy apples in between the sets!
I’d like to try the maximum number of pull-ups tomorrow. Hopefully it will be more than 2…
I just know these days will come and go. Pain or without pain, my physical and creative challenges will need to be completed, at least at a healthy minimum level.
Oh, and I had worked on trimming the hedge for a few hours before and after lunch. Doing some physical activity in the open air actually helped reduce the pain.
How do you deal with a mild physical pain? Does it affect your creative and physical activities? Or do you push it away, kind of ignore it until it passes away?
I was waiting for this day too long!
For quite some time now I was doing 2 reps of 2 pull-ups and 3 reps of 1 pull-up. And all the while wondering when I can do 3 reps of 2… So this day was today.
I guess it would be too strenuous to add one more pull-up every day at this stage. I’ve read someplace that you should only increase the intensity for 10 percent a week to keep advancing and exercising without injuries or burnout.
It seems the 10 percent rule would work for many other activities. Like writing. Increase the word count by 10 percent a week, if you want to be able to write long-form posts. Like playing an instrument. Increase the speed of the piece by 10 percent a week. Like drawing. Increase the amount of time you spend drawing by 10 percent a week.
It’s interesting that I was barely able to do the 3rd set. Since today was the first day I even attempted this, I assume it’s normal.
Then the remaining 3 reps of 1 pull-up were hard but not impossible. With each one my muscles got weaker and weaker but I knew I could complete this workout today.
If my level was higher, say I could do 10 pull-ups, then adding an additional pull-up would come much more frequently. But now, since I’ve just progressed myself from the couch potato, I will have to be much more patient.
For every level its joy, isn’t it?
This morning I did 2 reps of 2 pull-ups and 3 reps of 1 pull-up. I rested in between the exercises while picking up fallen apples in my garden and eating a couple too.
I can feel that my progress has been unsteady one. Sometimes the workout was relatively easy to do but sometimes - very hard. I guess this is normal. It takes time for the muscles to recover and if I didn’t sleep well on some nights - then I find it very difficult to pull myself up.
The public accountability is a great motivator to continue to practice. People are waiting for my report online, they give me feedback and this positive feedback boosts my confidence the next day.
I think one of the reasons I failed at so many challenges in my life before was because I didn’t do them in public. I used to practice violin, tuba, trumpet, drums, Shotokan karate, Swedish, German and Italian, yoga and running just to name a few.
I did most of these activities in the comfort of my home where nobody could disturb me. But at the same time nobody held me accountable, nobody gave me feedback and thus my motivation to continue to practice vanished.
I feel that as long as I keep posting my reports about my pull-up challenge online, I will have motivation to go out every morning and jump on those rings.