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What I learned in May 2016

I have already written and published a post about what I read in May 2016.  I’ll be linking both of these with emily p. freeman.

The first thing I learned was not to set off on a long distance train journey without checking the National Rail app on my phone for the whole of the journey.  (Although it is possible for disruption to occur once I have boarded the first train!)

Next I learned that it is best to answer the question, “May I phone you?” with some delaying tactic, like “It might be better if I phone you. When would be a good time?”

Then there was the problem of dealing with panic attacks.  I need to remind myself that the best reaction to a panic attack is not to panic, but to pray.  Believing the lies that come into my head during a panic attack can lead to over-reacting and causing difficulties for myself and others.

In stressful situations I need more rest than usual.  Do other people find that too?

I was reminded that God really does answer prayer.  For example, I prayed about knowing when to return home.  I took into account the likely busyness of the day after the May Day Bank Holiday.  I consulted with family members.  I considered the other things that were going on and made a rational decision.  The train I travelled on was only going as far as I needed, although it usually continues on this route for over an hour longer.  As a result there were plenty of seats.  I didn’t worry when it was delayed a few minutes and just caught the connecting train.

I hope I have learned not to expect things to go wrong and prevent me from doing the things I really want to do.  I hadn’t previously recognised that I have this tendency.  If I make my decisions prayerfully, it does not make sense to expect that I’ll be prevented from acting on them.

Taking a break from my usual routine allowed me to stand back from my writing projects.  I have decided to abandon my work-in-progress and try to tell the story in a completely different way.  (But I haven’t begun yet!)

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My 2015 in review

This post is about my experiences on social media in 2015.  I am linking with emily p. freeman.

One highlight was starting a new blog.  Sue’s Words and Pictures arose from my revived hobby of photography.  After a busy spring, summer and autumn with outings to document it has been plodding along through the winter with weekly photo challenge posts.

I have found that anything I do to help other people on social media (particularly Twitter) is more effective in terms of views than anything I do for myself.

I have had a few guest posts published on other blogs this year.  The only word of warning about guest blogging is that the post is not under the blogger’s control.  Should any changes be required later someone else has to make them.

The Artistic Christian interviewed me for a post on his blog.  There was something in the published version, which I let go, but has been niggling at me.  When I was a child in England, library books were not “beautiful”.  Perhaps transparent book-backing film had not been invented.  Whatever the reason, library books were specially bound using a limited number of patterned materials. They were all hardbacks.  It was easy to identify a library book from its cover.

Apart from a few regular commenters on my blogs, I find that very few people are prepared to engage on-line.  I have not managed to keep up with all the blogs I follow.  This is partly because I have been fairly successful in keeping my resolution to read more books.  There is a limit to the amount of time and energy I have for reading.

Deciding which challenges to become involved with has required some trial and error.  An A to Z Challenge with less demanding frequency of posts looked attractive.  I began to take part.  However the amount of work compared with the number of views caused me to have second thoughts.  The Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge is well-established.  A large number of participants read other people’s blogs and comment on them.  With preparation in advance the demanding schedule can be achieved.

On Facebook I have been involved in a number of bloggers’ and writers’ groups.  I have been challenged to write poems from prompts and have enjoyed reading the work of others.  I have also read and reviewed some books by on-line contacts.

Taking part in a monthly blog link up “What I learned in …” has given me some focus for some regular posts on Sue’s Trifles.  I had this link up pointed out to me in June, I think, although I have failed to find the comments thread.

At this time of year it is important to look forward as well as looking back.  What is in store for 2016?  I am looking forward to Blogging from A to Z in April on at least one blog (possibly two).   I hope to continue writing offline.  One project I’d like to pursue is the publication of some of my poems.  Spreading my efforts a little less thinly might result in more obvious progress.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog as well as Sue’s considered trifles and Sue’s words and pictures.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,500 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 58 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

How are you planning to build on what you learned in 2015?

 

 

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What I have learned in October

To keep this post to a reasonable length for the benefit of my readers, I am going to be rather more selective than in some previous posts of this nature.

I hope I have learned that I need to pace myself in order not to become overtired.  Whether that could have prevented a virus getting the better of me, I do not know.  I might have recovered faster, had I rested more.  Rosemary (which grows in our garden) is good for relieving sinusitis and smells good, too.

The most exciting thing I learned in October was how enjoyable it can be to meet with a room full of writers.  I also learned that doing actions to stories is far less embarrassing when everyone is joining in.  I must look out for some of Bob Hartman’s books.  (He was the ringleader for the actions as the speaker at the Writers’ Day I attended in London.)

In autumn it is important to seize the day (carpe diem) when the weather is good.  Gardening jobs or long walks need to be timed to make the most of any fine weather.  This year September and October have been remarkably sunny and mild.  Flowers and insects have been brightening gardens and countryside.  Everyone seems to benefit from time spent in the open air in beautiful places.

Making the most of the weather

Making the most of the weather

Keeping up with all the blogs I find interesting is proving impossible.  How to balance encouraging other bloggers with getting on with life, writing and blogging is something I am still working on.  One idea I have is to make a new list of interesting blogs and post it on one of my own blogs.  Then I should clear out my WordPress Reader so that only the blogs I regularly read show in it.

Oh, I nearly forgot – I am learning to use an electric toothbrush!  This is not something I’d have chosen to do, but I am reluctantly taking the advice of experts.  I have been dreaming about toothbrushes and dentists, so it is obviously on my mind.

Linking to What I learned in October with Emily P. Freeman