Tag Archives: inspiration

Find what works and do that – a strategy for life goals as well as writing

Over the last six months I’ve lost 35 pounds.

Because of a variety of factors, over the last ten years my weight had slowly crept up to… a lot more than it ever was before. I decided I was ready to make a change. It’s been a hard journey and I still have another 15 pounds to loose to get to the goal weight set by my doctor.

I’m fortunate to have a number of factors working to my advantage. I have minimal emotional triggers related to my weight. Like most women (and many men) I’m impacted by the unrealistic expectations of society and the (false) assumption that healthy automatically equals thin (despite long-standing research and medical finding to the contrary). But I have not struggled my whole life with unsuccessful diets and toxic weight-loss expectations, as many people do.

My privilege includes:
– access to good healthcare,
– access to fresh quality food and the means to buy it,
– living in a neighbor where I can safely walk for exercise,
– possessing the means to pay for and go to a gym.

With all those advantages, my basic weight-loss strategy has been to exercise more, sleep more, eat less, and eat better. I record every single thing I eat, every day. There are a lot of good Apps around for keeping track of diet. I use one called My Fitness Pal. It’s free, although I paid $50 for a year without adverts. The food database is extensive and I rarely need to use the add-new feature, and the recipe add is easy. It’s basically a calorie-counter that (depending on settings) awards additional calories for activity – which motivates me to exercise. I sync the app to my fitbit and let it figure out how many calories I’ve burned.

I anticipate reaching my goal weight in another 3 to 4 months, then a few months more to figure out maintenance.

This is what has worked for me. I think the key to any sustainable life change, like a writing practice, is to experiment. Find what works for your unique self and do that.

Oh, and here’s the obligatory photo:

Miriah Hetherington hand

Still tight, but for the first time in years I can wear my (real) wedding ring.

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Stories we tell

I’ll skip the obligatory confession/excuse paragraph about not blogging in… forever.

Lately I’ve been thinking about stories and narratives in a wider sense. Not just the ones that are published after having been selected and vetted by editors. The ones you hear in news/opinion media. The stories your friend tells you over coffee. The family history conveyed by your grandmother. The anecdote you overhear in the line at the post office. The stories our leaders tell.

Stories are important.
The stories we tell ourselves
    shape our understanding of who we are.
The stories our loved ones tell
    shape our understanding of what matters most.
The stories our community tells
    shape our understanding of the world.

Cragside, UK, August 2017, Owl sculpture, Miriah Hetherington

Owl carving at Cragside, UK

NaNoWriMo 2015

Oidhche Shamhna shona dhuibh, a h-uile duine! (Happy Halloween night to you, everyone!) It’s October 31st, and that means…

NaNoWriMo novels are like mushrooms that spring up suddenly (or some better metaphor)

NaNoWriMo novels are like mushrooms that spring up suddenly (or some better metaphor)

 

 

 

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo starts at midnight tonight!

In 2011 I hit the 50k word goal, with a pile of words that had little to no hope of becoming a novel.

In 2012 I bailed halfway to write a short story that was eventually published (Green Salvage).

In 2013 I hit the 50k word goal, but my multiple storylines blew up like mushroom clouds. I plan to return to this one at a later time.

I did not attempt a nano novel in 2014.

So, here it is, the eve of NaNoWriMo 2015, and I’m doing it again. This will be the first time I have ever embarked on this challenge knowing in advance that I probably can’t hit the 50k word goal. There will be several days in November when I just won’t be able to write at all.

But I’m going to do it anyway. Because, I love the energy around NaNoWriMo. I enjoy going to local write-ins. I love the excuse to really concentrate on one project. I learn so much about myself as a writer and what works for me and what doesn’t. And this year I’m armed with an actual OUTLINE!

I also plan to post several blogs about my progress.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Why or Why not?

Be Entertaining

Mary Rosenblum has this wonderful website, New Writer’s Interface, and recently she blogged her advice for new writers who have trouble figuring out what to blog about. That is totally me!

I subscribe to Mary Rosenblum’s newsletter. I recommend it. She describes herself as the Literary Midwife for new writers. I love the idea of that.

Anyway, her main advice was: be entertaining.

Goats at Farrel-McWhirter park

Goats at Farrel-McWhirter park

Somehow I am reminded of a conversation I had with a friend about twenty years ago. She was pregnant with her second child, due anytime, and worried about needing to have labor induced like with her first delivery. Her midwife told her something like, “Have I got a fun assignment for you! You and your husband go home and have sex. A lot of sex. And have orgasms. A lot of orgasms. That will get your labor started.”

My friend’s pregnancy was near term and she was huge and uncomfortable. It was a hot Southern California summer. She was perpetually exhausted. Her (unsurprising) response was, “Ugh! Not only do I have to have sex, but I have to have orgasms too?!?” (I don’t remember what her husband’s opinion was – I think he wisely kept it to himself.)

Where am I going with this? (Nope, not there. At least, not without a pseudonym.)

But I AM thinking, “Not only do I have to write a blog post, but I have to be entertaining too?”

The most entertaining and thoughtfully funny blog I know of is Chuck Wendig’s – he makes you feel like you’re sitting with him drinking a beer. The most engaging blog I know of is Louise Penny’s – she makes you feel like a personal friend.

Clearly, some (awesome) people just have a knack for making this blogging thing seem easy. Blogging is writing, and writing is what I do for fun. So thinking of ideas/stuff to blog about should be easy, right?

Like everything else I guess it just takes practice.

Where do you get ideas for blog posts?

Happy Writing,
Miriah

Historic Site Inspiration

This Friday is November 1st, and that means NaNoWriMo! Thirty days of writing like crazy with the goal of achieving 50,000 words of the first draft of a novel.

Inchmahome Priory on an island in the middle of the Lake of Menteith as seen from a boat

Island in the Lake of Menteith

This year I will be writing the beginning of a novel that’s been rolling around in my head for some time. It’s a hero’s journey set in a post-science fiction world. To me that means the humans in my world are the ancestors of Earth colonists who landed there centuries ago. Technology has devolved, and the aliens that helped them settle have died out completely but their influence remains. The working title is “Dyoza” after the name of the world.

One of the places on Dyoza is the priory located on an island in the middle of Tcharraz lake. The villain and another character grew up there.

Inchmahome Priory on an island in the middle of the Lake of Menteith near Stirling, Scotland

Ruins of Inchmahome Priory

I’ve taken my inspiration for this fictional location from (the real) Inchmahome Priory, located on an island on the Lake of Menteith, in Scotland near Stirling. I visited there this summer with my family. Inchmahome Priory was established in 1238, but Protestant Reformation ended it in the mid-1500s. It’s a small island, absolutely beautiful, with paths around the edge, and across. I could imagine people walking around the island in quiet contemplation.

Paths on the island, location of Inchmahome Priory in the middle of the Lake of Menteith near Stirling, Scotland

Paths around the island

Happy Writing!

Miriah