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.
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.