Wow! Two weeks have passed but I haven’t quit…
I have to really scratch my head to remember myself doing any physical activity daily for 14 days in a row. If I continue to practice doing these pull-ups for 52 more days, I will have built a habit and won’t have to force myself to do it anymore.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. 52 more days! Let’s build up one more week for starters…
This morning my spirits were higher than yesterday when I compared myself to a sailor having set out to a voyage around the world. Today I’m thinking more of a mason who is building a house. Step by step or brick by brick.
My morning workout consisted of 2 reps of 2 pull-ups and 3 reps of 1 pull-up. That’s total of 7 pull-ups. 2 pull-ups are still a struggle for me but at least I know that a week ago a barely did total of 5 reps of 1 pull-up.
Again, it’s such a privilege just to continue to practice…
It was nice to read supportive comments of the previous post saying that I will soon reach the halfway. When you are in the middle of the challenge, you don’t see if you are moving at all. But I guess people who are looking from the outside can see this.
Because it can get pretty lonely after just 13 days into this mess, every bit of support is wonderful to get. I know it’s nothing to the dangers people face when sailing around the world but the feeling is a bit similar.
You left the land 13 days ago but you can’t yet see the shore. So the only way forward is to continue the voyage. But you also know that the worst it yet to come… For me it feels like I’m committed to see this challenge through but even the midpoint is nowhere in sight.
So this morning I did 2 reps of 2 pull-ups and 5 reps of 1 pull-up with the rest in between the exercises to pick up fallen apples. To my surprise, those initial 2 reps of 2 pull-ups went smoother than yesterday.
If I don’t hurt myself with this routine, maybe, just maybe I can reach 5 pull-ups in a month or so.
Yes, my muscles ached a little when I got out of bed in the morning. But this didn’t stop me from doing my pull-up routine.
In fact, I increased the intensity - I did 2 reps of 2 pull-ups and 3 reps of 1 pull-up with 2 minute rest today.
The first 2 pull-ups felt really strong. I thought I’m progressing. But then the second set went much harder. Nevertheless, somehow I managed to finish the workout.
Tomorrow I plan not to push myself too much - I don’t want to quit because of injuries. We’ll see if I’ll repeat with the same intensity or reduce it a little.
My 10 pull-ups seem ages away!
Right now I’m scared of creating an ending for my book. I feel like for the last month or so I’ve been slowly building this thing step by step. I don’t know if I was ready. I don’t know exactly what I was doing. I have no intention for it to be perfect. I’m sure not enough people know about it. I had a terrific but also a terrifying time of creating it. I’m a different person now than before.
But right now is the time to let it go. Because it’s time for other people be affected by it.
Imagine you have already created something you’re scared of now. A blog post, a book, a painting, a symphony, a play, a poem, a film.
Forget the fear. Forget the excuses. Forget the fact you are not ready. Forget the fact you don’t know how. Forget that it’s not perfect. Forget that nobody knows about it.
Just imagine you faced your fears, you dismissed the excuses and finished the damn thing.
How does it make you feel? Do you feel relieved? Are you proud of yourself? Do you feel excited to be able to start the next thing?
If the answer is yes, now go do it.
Create. Share. Repeat.
Yesterday morning it felt like I’m spinning my wheels…
For ten days in a row I was able to only do 5 reps of 1 pull-up. I thought of quitting more than once. But since I’m documenting my challenge publicly, I feel I have to push harder and not to give up.
But then yesterday evening I accidentally did one more pull-up and one 30 second dead hang.
It was relatively easy to hang with my hands extended for 20 seconds but the last 10 seconds were a light torture. My fingers ached, even though I was wearing my fitness gloves. Nonetheless I wanted to see if I could hang longer than before. And I did it. So maybe I only feel like spinning the wheels while in reality I’m going somewhere.
Today my morning started not with pull-ups but with the hunt for a huge spider. Ausra called me and said with a frightened voice, “Look, here is our Victor”. It’s a sure sign of the fall approaching when spiders are crawling in the house. This time Victor was simply waiting on the wall next to our bathroom. Was he hungry for Ausra or for me? How many domestic concerts did he listen to for free while we practiced our organ duets?
Victor is a spider character in our Pinky and Spiky comics series. Obviously Ausra didn’t want the spider in the house so I had to put it into a container and take it outside as Ausra was opposed to the idea of me letting him grow behind the cupboards.
So I grabbed my spider-hunting gear - a used container from a cottage cheese and a sheet of paper and carefully came over to that wall without switching on the light. After a moment or two Victor was in my container in my left hand while my right hand put the sheet of paper as a lid. I took him outside and as I threw him on the flowers in our garden it landed on the feet and stood there frozen. Either Victor was in shock of sudden change in temperature or my impolite behavior towards him or both. But that’s what you get when you don’t pay your rent, right?
So anyway, with the spider out of the way I was ready to do my pull-ups.
I jumped on the rings and did one pull-up. Not too hard, I thought. Then I picked up some fallen apples in the garden and again pulled myself up one time. Then again picked up some apples. This time I had to save an apple from the angry mob of ants which were eating it.
So I did 5 pull-ups with breaks of about 2 minutes in between them. Similarly to yesterday, the last two pull-ups were harder to do but actually tiny bit easier.
I was done with the pull-ups but still had some strength left in my arms and some fallen apples waited for me to be picked up.
Instead of going home, I did 3 more reps of one pull-up with rests. Total of 8 pull-ups today! Maybe I’m making progress after all…
To be fair, I did the last 3 pull-ups with lots of help from my legs. I know the form was not perfect but I wanted to see how much longer can my willpower hold today.
Tomorrow we’ll see if there are any consequences of this morning’s routine as I suspect muscle strain will be harder to ignore.
Sometimes when I create, it’s difficult to get new ideas. But more often than not one idea leads to the next and I can catch a new idea every hour.
A flood of ideas.
For example, the ideas for the last 5 or 6 posts I wrote came to me suddenly, sometimes while I was writing one post. Sometimes when I was re-reading the last one. Usually I find new ideas when listening to inspirational podcasts.
It doesn’t always work that way. I have to think harder when the subject matter doesn’t move me. Then it can feel forced. But when we are talking about creativity, I get very passionate. I guess this is what helps me suddenly find new ideas. Or maybe the other way around - new ideas find me.
Then there is the question of retaining ideas, not losing them.
Have you ever had a curious idea come to you and you would be walking with this idea entire day but then suddenly forget and when the time comes to create, you can’t remember it… It’s very frustrating.
That’s why I carry my notebook with me whenever I go. Sometimes I can draw Pinky and Spiky comic strip while waiting in the car or when others would simply scroll the phone.
But I guess even better way would be journaling. Sort of writing a diary. Then I would be able to write down all those interesting ideas and later act upon at least some of them.
I have tried to start writing a diary more than once but failed to continue. You probably know that feeling. At first, when the enthusiasm is high, you write every day but after a week or so, it becomes a drag, sort of one more thing you have to do with your limited time and you quit.
One diary writing technique that cartoonist Lynda Barry teaches might be easier to pursue. It only takes 7 or 8 minutes. In your notebook, you list 7-8 things you did in the last 24 hours for 2 minutes. Then list 7-8 things you saw in the last 24 hours. Also for 2 minutes. Then write something you heard someone say for 2 minutes. Like a sentence or two. And the last 2 minutes you spend drawing a picture from those previously listed ideas with something you did, saw or heard in the last 24 hours. That’s it. That’s only 8 minutes and you have your daily diary entry.
I think I’m going to try to start this type of diary again. But I have to figure out where to write it. It seems like it should be a larger notebook than the pocket one I use for drawing my comic strips. But then the problem is that I won’t be able to carry it with me wherever I go.
I’m lazy. I like to have everything I need within arm’s reach. So we’ll see which one works best.
Then I’ll always have something to choose to create from.
A sudden flood of ideas.
Yesterday I heard Elizabeth Gilbert who is the author of Big Magic: Creative Living Without Fear and other books share on her podcast Magic Lessons this idea that only a few people who run a marathon are winners. And there are others who finish the race and those who don’t finish it.
Those who don’t finish tend to look down on themselves. And society of course doesn’t help here. They call them quitters.
But, Elizabeth continued, majority of people don’t even start. So those who did not finish are actually ahead of them.
It’s so true in creating art, too.
If you are frustrated with yourself that you tend to start various projects and not finish them, know that most people don’t even begin creating either because of fear of failure or fear of success. That’s why true artists are so hard to find.
I started but not finished practicing many things, including writing diary, swimming, running, Navy SEAL’s workout, fugal improvisation, playing euphonium, drums and violin and reading many books so I know how you feel. I probably quit because they didn’t matter to me that much.
But I’m glad I’m continuing to practice a few things now that are important to me. And by trying many different things I’m finally finding a few that stick.
It’s better not to finish than not to start at all.
This morning I drank a glass of water, put my fitness gloves on and went outside to the garden to do my pull-up routine. As I jumped on the rings, I felt a little nervous if it will go smoothly today.
This time I was able to pull myself up once without too much trouble. Then I picked up some fallen apples for a couple of minutes and came back to the rings.
To my surprise, the second and the third pull-ups went also rather smoothly. Maybe I’m getting stronger?
But the fourth and the fifth felt like real work. Not as hard as yesterday (and I didn’t let the fart out this time) but they were taxing nonetheless.
I wonder if I could do some pull-ups in the evening too? Maybe my progress will go faster this way…
For the last 3 days we’ve been visiting my mom and I’ve been doing my push-up routine on the stand where people clean the rugs. The height there is suitable for children only so I was really struggling to do those push-ups because in addition to the upper body, my legs too had to be tensed. I actually went back to do 20 second dead hangs most of the time.
Today I’m happy to be home and the first thing in the morning I did was to go outside in the garden and jump on the rings. It made all the difference. I felt like I could do push-ups much easier.
So while I picked up fallen apples in between of exercises, I did 5 sets of 1 push-up. Push up 4 and 5 were funny - I made some sound effects with 3 farts each…
I was lucky the neighbors weren’t around…
Before you tell me I’m crazy, hear me out:
What if everybody who has Internet connection in the world and knows how to write would write a personal blog? Even those who don’t have Internet, could write it in a notebook and later go to a nearest library to type it out. Even the act of writing down your thoughts in a notebook with a pencil or a pen changes things completely. I strongly believe that the world would be a better place.
Everybody could write just 3 things: what their dream is, what they are struggling with and what they have found inspiring today.
Basically, this is the process of documenting someone’s life.
My nephew who will be in 12th grade next year could write about the things that he learned at school. He and his girlfriend are fascinated about photography right now. They could write about that too. His dad who is a doctor could write about the operations he had that day and about his hobbies of fishing and para-gliding.
My mom could write about how she teaches kids to draw. My aunt who is retired art teacher is drawing with watercolor on silk. She could write about that. My friend who is suffering from Multiple Schlerosis could write about his day-to-day experiences with this illness. Or if this is too painful, perhaps about his hobby, what helps him not to think about the MS.
My parents-in-law could write about how they grow vegetables in their garden. My friend who recently quit his main job could write about his struggles to find new profitable passions that might turn into another income stream for him.
So that’s only the people whom I met or thought about in the last few days.
What about others? What about billions of people on the planet?
Oh, and by the way, by blogging I don’t mean just writing words. Creating could be done in text, pictures, audio, video or any combination.
You see, I believe every human being is a creator but a lot of people don’t know that. They accept the rules that society has given them without even questioning them.
Many people never had a chance to speak up about the things that matter to them. To have a public voice.
A lot of world’s problems would go away if people found the guts to tell the world what it is they are struggling with or find inspiring.
Now you can tell me I’m crazy.