An Update on Nanowrimo.

No, I don’t want to talk about word counts, or if I’m on track or if I’m behind.  Life is crazy and I’m just happy I have words down…

Here’s a tidbit of what I have gotten done so far.  Yes, I know there’s a lot of editing to do.  Did I mention that its Nanowrimo?

 

Other Half – A Novel

Written by H. L. Jaden

I watched him ride down the street, pride wellming up and overflowing to my eyes.  My oldest had the last training wheel taken off two hours ago, and after an hour of running beside him up and down the street, Chase finally got it.  We had been practicing for over a week now, first bending the training wheels up, so they only touched the ground when he was off balance, and then only removing the right one, since he had a tendency to falter to the left.  His biggest obstacle this morning was his own confidence, suddenly falling off his bike only when he realized that I was merely running beside him, not actually holding onto the back of the seat, holding him steady.  He was going to be so proud going to school tommorrow, to brag to his friends that he was finally able to ride his bike on his own.  All summer he would only ride his bike close to the house, embarrassed that he still had training wheels on his bike, when all of his other friends had shed theirs before school had let out in June.  Such an odd trait us humans have, suddenly disbelieving of our own ability, when we were infact doing it on our own all along.  And now, on his own two wheels he was riding on his own as though he had always done so.  

My husband stood beside me on the walkway leading from the sidewalk to the front porch, arm draped over my shoulder, beaming with his own pride.  He was standing tall, and for a moment I had to look up to him, having forgotten that he is in fact taller than me, having adopted a standard slouch in the last few years.  

“It’s too bad your mother isn’t here with us.”  he said.  His arm fell from my shoulder, and he stooped down to pick up some garbage that had blown onto the yard.

“What?”  I misheard what he said, surely.  

“It’s too bad your mom passed away when you were young.”  

I stared at him in disbelief.  Did he really just say that?  After this many years of marriage, how could he possibly get a detail like that wrong?  

He stood, stepped a bit further away, and couched down again, pulling a few weeds from the edges of the walkway that the lawn mower had missed early this morning.  

“What did you say?”  I dared him to repeat it.  

“I said, it’s a shame your mother has passed away.” he said over his shoulder.  “It would be nice if you could share these family moments with your family.  I mean, I know my mother treats you like one of the family, and of course me and the kids are your family, but I’m sure it’s not quite the same as having your own blood that’s known you all your life.  It just feels like you don’t have anyone to share with.  Except me of course.”

“My mother isn’t dead.”  I said, hostility dripped all over the conversation

He stood again, turned to face me again slowly, a look of bewilderment on his face.  

My husband generally has a look of bewilderment on his face, but it takes a wife to be able to decipher the difference between actual bewilderment and just a resting face.

Think, Hope, think.  Why would your mother being alive seem like such a shock to him?  

My pinched, angry face, slowly melted into a look embarrassment as I remember all the Christmas I had spent without my mother, all the conversations I hadn’t had with my mother in the last 10 years, all the times she had not held my children.  The decade I’ve lived without my family.

I shook my head, a futile attempt at loosening myself from this conversation, and took a step backwards.

“Oh, right.  She is dead.  Sometimes I forget.”

I stepped past him, down the walkway, towards the sidewalk, but not before I saw the look of bewilderment intensifying in the furrow of his brow. I looked for Chase who was just coming towards the house again.  Seeing me, his attention waiver, and he careened too close the hedge that separated our front yard from the sidewalk.  Turning a moment too late, he toppled over, landing into the hedge, his face taking most of the blow.

In two large steps, I was at his side, picking him up, and untangling him from the hedge and his bike, with a speed and strength that is only lended to mothers.  

“Shhh… Don’t cry, darling.  Let me have a look.”  Chase buried his face in my right shoulder, snotting on my shirt.    His right arm was tightly around my neck, hand grasping my pony tail like a handle, a habit he’s had since he has been able to reach it.  

“Is Chase okay?” Audrey side, appearing at my side.

I looked down at her, her round face looking straight up at me.  She turned four last week and thought the sun rose when her brother woke in the morning.  “He’s just fine, love.  He took a tumble while practing.  But he’s just fine.”

Dave was beside me again, one hand on my back, one on Chase’s “Let’s see, buddy.  Did you hurt yourself?”  Chase lifted his face to meet Dave’s, tears still on his cheeks.  A few scratches had appeared on his cheeks, the more severe ones being on his neck.  He tried hard to stop crying, a sob catching in his throat, and breath coming out in a shudder, wanting to show his father how brave he could be.  “Oh, no damage done!  You can get back on your bike.” Dave said, after his five seconds of reviewing Chase’s injuries.  He took a step back, his judgement final.  

Hearing his father’s approval, Chase arched his back, and wiggled from my arms, heading back to his bike, another sob hitching in his chest.  

“Chase, how about we clean up your face first?”  Chase stood on the sidewalk with his bike, a hand on each handle, an eager look on his face at the thought of just a bit longer in mother’s care.

“Hope, he’s fine.  Let him play.”  

Chase rubbed his right arm across his face, leaving a runner of snot on his sleeve, dirt mixing with the tears not quite dry on his face, leaving a dark smear across his face.  The movement had disrupted the clotting of the larger scratch on his neck, smudging it to look worse than it actually was.  He picked up his bike from the sidewalk and slowly got back on his bike, and pushed it slowly down the sidewalk again with his feet dangling from his hips, toes barely touching the sidewalk.  His head was down, the earlier enthusiasm for bike riding visiable diminished.  

“C’mon Chasey!  I’ll beat you to the Mrs. Parkison’s house.”  Audrey had her tricycle on the sidewalk too, and with one big push, she moved towards the neighbours driveway, feet pedling up a storm.  Chase faked a smile and pretended like he was going to try and beat her.  He was good with her, and always let her win.  

“Hope,”

“I’m going to go and change my shirt.”  Fearful that Dave would bring up my faux-pas about my mother again, I shot myself up the walkway and porch steps, and through the front door of the house.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – by Carol Dweck

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success  – by Carol Dweck

 

I learned about this book through some training I received through the Fortune Builders series of workshops and e-learning.  As well as reading the book, I had to opportunity to attend one of Fortune Builders Live Bootcamps, where this book was analyzed and expanded on.

As with many self help books and nonfiction books pertaining to one single concept, there was a lot of padding.  The endless parade of cherry picked examples turned me off of the book towards the end, however without them, I might not have gotten the concept as deeply as I inevitably did.  I had hoped there would be some insight on how one would change their mindset for the good, but beyond being diligent in identifying the traits listed in the book, it would appear that these tips are kept for the author’s Brainology classes, which of course are not included with the price of the book.

The initial concept of this book is that people, in general, can be divided into two different mindsets; the growth mindset and the fixed mindset.  The growth mindset grows continually and looks for opportunity to grow, whereas the fixed mindset is the opposite, and will seek out excuses and reasons for things to stay the same.   

 

Attributes attributed to a Fixed Mindset:

  • Needs to prove abilities and competencies: needs to be smarter, more talented, more likeable in order to feel successful.
  • Feels smart only when they are successful.
  • Feels that natural talent is the only way to be an artist of some sort and often resorts to ‘That’s just the way it is’
  • Let’s stereotypes invade their thoughts
  • Establishes superiority, pure and simple
  • Wants revenge when hurt or feel they have been wronged or rejected.
  • Feels that ‘Love conquers all’ and there is no need to work at a relationship.
  • Sees conflict as a character flaw, which then taints the entire relationship.  And since the problem comes from fixed traits, the problem never goes away.  
  • Often puts friends and peers down in order to boost their own self worth, with back-handed compliments.
  • Being shy as well as having a fixed mindset means that social relationships will be limited and harmed
  • Concerned about judgement, and avoids the risk of making mistakes.  Shyness and anxiety take control.
  • Creates an internal monologue focussing on judging.  Puts strong evaluation on each and every piece of information and action.
  • Believes only in extremes; it’s either very good or it’s very bad.
  • Will not pursue dreams that may become destroyed.
  • People with a fixed mindset hold on to them because at some point in their life it served a purpose; it told them who they were, who they wanted to be and how to do that.
  • When they are promoted, they often feel like it’s because of other factors, such as the boss being threatened by her.  

 

Growth Mindset Attributes:

  • Continues to learn and grow
  • Feels smart when they realize there’s more opportunity to learn or change and is challenged.
  • Recognizes that stereotypes are other people’s opinions.
  • Finds success in doing their best.  
  • Wants to heal, move on and learn from hurtful experiences.
  • Knows there is work to do.  “They worked together, happily ever after.  There are no great achievements without setbacks.  There are no great relationships without conflict.”  
  • Recognizes that there are three factors in a relationship; themselves, the other person, and the relationship itself.  All three need to be encouraged to grow.
  • Nurtures and encourages friends and peers to grow.
  • Being shy and having a growth mindset; looks at the challenge of the situation, not harmed by the social.  They still push through the anxiety of meeting new people.
  • Internal monologue is geared much more towards learning, improving and helping other to do better.
  • Works hard at remembering that much can be learned from the bottom of the ladder.
  • Willpower isn’t something you have or don’t have.  It’s something that needs help.  

 

A fixed mindset tends to think of nature talent is the only way to be good at certain things, the opposite is something to consider: natural talent, or being exceptional at anything, can be seen as a curse.  There’s no motivation to improve if the success seems inevitable.  

Probably the most significant piece of information that I took away was teaching my children that pride in the process is more important than pride in success.  Being honest with my child, explain their failures to them, and tell them they have done a great job with gaining skill, to avoid judgement and just teach them, will encourage them to grow and work harder.

Change is not like surgery.  You can’t just ‘change’ something and have it stick.  Old beliefs aren’t removed when changing.  Instead, new beliefs are take a place beside old ones and become stronger as we use them.  Changing towards a growth mindset can be quite unsettling.  A growth mindset  isn’t just a matter of picking up a few tricks, it’s working at it every day.  

The first step to changing a mindset, is to identify the limiting belief.  Coming to this is going to be different to everyone, whether it be through observation, reading, or a best friend who never holds any punches.  

Determine how that belief is limiting.   

Decide who you want to be, act and feel.  Want to be a painter?  Act like you feel you would, if you were a painter.  Feel what it’s like to be a painter.  Tell yourself and others that you are in fact a writer.  

And finally, create a turnaround statement that affirms or gives permission to be, act or feel a certain way.  Following a negative thought with a positive one, doesn’t cancel it out.  In order to rewrite a negative though, a bigger step needs to take and the positive idea needs to said out loud.  

 

Keep growing.  Progress is progress, no matter how small.  

Nanowrimo 2015

Each year, on November 1st, there are thousands of people hunched before a screen, writing furiously towards one common goal: 50, 000 words by midnight of November 30th.

Enter Nanowrimo, a movement that started in San Francisco with 21 people in 1999, and grows each year, with over 310, 000 participants in recent years.  I’m proud to say that this year, after nearly a decade of saying ‘Some year I’d like to do that’ I’ve put fingers to keyboard and updated my word count today.  851 words so far.  And hopefully more to come.

Please follow this link to see the success of another writer in my area, who is more brave than I, and actually posted her words for day one!  (And go visit her at her first book signing!)

https://adventuresofdylandavis.wordpress.com/