What do you do when you’re not writing?

Here is another #everydayinspiration post for you inspired by Daily Post and WordPress University.

As someone who is changing careers to pursue my passion for writing, I know how to keep myself busy when I’m not writing. None of which includes; watching Netflix, binge watching a new show, neglecting my health, spending hours on Social Media, or just plain wasting my time. Only to name a select few…

To keep things in the present, I’ll discuss what I’ve been doing since I began focusing on my blog and writing career. I start by writing my three long-hand “Morning Pages” each morning. I then let my goals/objectives dictate my day. If I have a big project I will work on that, but sometimes I’ll schedule a personal day to handle finances, expenses, email, calendar, and catch up on any missed tasks. Sundays are great for this. I’ll then spend my time with constructive activities to stay busy and engaged with the world when I am out and about not writing.

I enjoy many hobbies to clear my mind and get out into the world. I enjoy all things; surf, skate, snow, golf, yoga, and fitness. I do some form of exercise daily to keep my mind and body strong.

I recently purchased a jump rope inspired by ZenDudeFitness – Check out these high energy guys on their website or Instagram. They are inspiring the world to stay in shape, exercise and most importantly jump rope every day or #dothething.

Lately, when I am away from my desk or escaping the Starbucks induced caffeine high, you can find me; walking around the beach, surfing some waves, playing nine holes of golf or at the driving range, skateboarding around town, going for a run, getting some exercise, hitting my local gym, reading, or listening to a book on Audible.

Reading is my favorite constructive non-writing habit. Especially print books which I can annotate and ask questions of. I carry a pencil with me everywhere now. I love this habit. It was inspired by “How to Read a Book“, by Mortimer Adler. Adler explains the benefits of annotating a book as you read. I find myself writing down questions, answers to those questions, underlining and circling words and phrases I like, and more. I now enjoy the process of buying a book knowing that I am going to fill it with my own creative annotations. My proudest accomplishment of this technique is “The Personal MBA“, by Josh Kaufman. I’d never previously physically taken notes ‘inside’ the book before until I read Adler’s book before starting on Kaufman’s. I found myself asking questions about the content, why he said certain things, quotes I liked, new words, reverting back to important pages, etc… Every time I pick it up I know exactly where to look for what I need it. This is why Kindle books aren’t always the best idea. They can be difficult to search, tough to track notes, and hard to annotate. Does anyone have suggestions with Kindle?

Right now I transfer passages, questions, thoughts, and quotes to Google Keep with a specific label for each book. I will take notes in my journal.

How I spend my time when I’m not writing helps me to be in a position to write at my best. I need nature. I need social interaction. I need solitude.

I am a big proponent of ‘accidentally’ leaving my phone in my car or at home. ‘Forget’ it at home and head to the beach. I like to get lost. The feeling of being completely immersed in nature; hiking a mountain, paddling out to surf, riding around town, biking around unfamiliar trails, and escaping the noise of the world. The feeling of being free from technology is surprisingly rewarding, and the freedom from everything else in the world. If I’m going hiking somewhere new, yes I’ll bring my phone but I use it only as needed.

This explains why I love to travel.  The feelings brought on by traveling to new places and far away parts of the world is captivating. When I’m not traveling or exploring a new place, you won’t find me at the bar or out late a night very often. I’m a morning person. You will, however, find me trying to catch a glimpse of a sunset or seeking to find the road less traveled as often as I can.

To summarize, I need excitement in my life.  I’m usually quite spontaneous which helps when I need a day to clear my mind. I’ll go one place and allow the day to take over and dictate what happens. Sometimes I find myself heading home early, sometimes I stroll in late wondering where the time went. I like those nights. The sunny, summer nights where the day escapes you and nights never end.

I practice yoga regularly as well for typically 20-30 minutes a day. This has helped me minimize physical injury and ensure my body can keep up with the demands of the life I desire.

I’m hoping to become a full-time writer (amongst other Entrepreneurial ventures). I love learning, researching, and writing about new and innovative companies, products, services, ideas, people, and more.

What Can You Write in 15 Minutes?

Write, carry a journal, research and more. What can you do in 15 minutes?

A Writer's Path


by Kelsie Engen

Writers can mostly agree that writing is a time consuming process. You write a first draft, step back, revise into a second draft, send out for feedback (beta readers or developmental editor), receive and revise, send for final edits, then finally submit and (possibly change) and then publish. Whew. I get tired just writing that list.

Then factor in this: Some authors spend a decade or more writing and perfecting their novels.

So…what can you possibly do in 15 minutes?

View original post 801 more words

Writing and Thinking Space: My places to write

Where do you write?

Where do you produce your best writing?

Best thinking?

I’m back again this evening with your daily dose of ‘everyday inspiration’ encouraged by WordPress University. The question for today as I highlighted above is, “Where do you write?”

I write everywhere.

My bed in the morning and night. I begin expressing gratitude for what is great in my life and end each day with what amazing things have happened that day. This was inspired by the “Five Minute Journal“. A simple little journal with great powers of increasing happiness.

As I settle into Wilmington, North Carolina I feel fortunate to have space in the office at home where I sit each morning with a fresh cup of coffee to begin writing. Somewhere between 5:00 am and 6:30 am. I hand write three ‘Morning Pages‘ (sometimes I dread this, sometimes I am excited) as I’ve discussed in previous posts. This is not always enjoyable, especially when I am running on little sleep (often), but ALWAYS worth it.

Morning pages have shaped how I start my day. They clear the clutter in life. To express the negative and endless chatter of the mind. Writing morning pages in my office help; declutter my day, organize thoughts, ideas, concepts, plans, goals, strategize, and focus on what is important.

These help to get the mind into the ‘flow‘ of writing. I’ve gone 12 days in a row and have thirty-six pages consisting of; a lot of complaining, ranting, some good, some bad, frustrations, goals, objectives, ideas, projects, and more. This is my art. This exercises my mind to think about my life, family, friends, and make it real before I get overtaken by the day. It is important to note I write these each morning before looking at any technology. No TV, no media, no stimulation (except coffee or tea).

As a Writer, the hardest part of the job can be simply writing. This is a new part of my routine to get into a better state of mind to write. The creativity comes flying out of nowhere in my mind. It helps to surmount the ugly side of writing. The jumbled, mixed up thoughts and unfocused attention. As I continue to master my writing techniques and style, I’m very curious to see how the Morning Pages help me become better every day.

About my most recent writing space:

The office at home isn’t anything special. It includes a window which shines a ton of natural sun each morning (on clear days), plenty of space to stretch, exercise and move around as needed.

I keep books on my desk for inspiration (yes, I’ve read most of them). Most important is; my vision board, full-size world map and of course a fresh cup of coffee. My vision board is filled with my life aspirations, dreams and goals; mentors, leaders, role models, quotes, life goals, dreams, pictures of what I desire, and much more. A vision board helps me remember why I discipline myself and work so hard on myself. Why I say no to things which sound fun today but won’t contribute to my purpose. Don’t worry, I get out when I need it, I’m happy.

I look up each morning thinking about where I can go. Where do I want to travel? What do I want to see? Where could I live? What experiences could I have? Who do I want with me? Who would want to join me? Where I begin? More importantly, how am I going to get there? When am I going to go? I look up and see the world. The endless possibilities our fascinating planet has to offer. The map helps me dream. It aids the creative juices with forward-looking thinking. Possibility thinking. The idea of what exists in our world that I am missing. Travel is high on my list of life goals and I convince myself each day that if I keep doing what I am doing travel will become much more simple to justify. I don’t want to keep telling myself I want to travel, but… “I want to travel”. And write.

I dream of being a Travel Blogger or Writer.

Explore the world, meet fascinating people, and soak in unique experiences of other cultures and places on our planet. To write about the adventures, the experiences, cultures, and learn along the way. That is a big-picture purpose of my blog. A place to share my adventures and travel experiences with the world. Maybe the more I think about it and keep convincing myself it is real, it will actually happen…

As a writer, my best work doesn’t always come from the office. I’m notorious for heading to a local cafe for both Wifi and a change of scenery. I enjoy writing from new places, about new places.

Some days I will head to the beach, find a bench (yes I took the featured image above) or picnic table and spend some time writing outside. I find this soothing and very beneficial. I’m a nature and outdoor enthusiast so once my body is moving and I am physically outside my mind starts to flood with ideas and inspiration. This is critical for idea generation and to deeply ponder their possibility.

Cafe’s are probably my favorite. I will order my usual grande (medium) black iced coffee or a cappuccino, throw my Spotify writing playlist on and boom. I spice it up some days depending on the time and project. I will write for 5-10 minutes to get my mind right, then shift gears, set a timer and focus! This keeps me in the seat, focused, ready to attack the page. No distractions, interruptions or anything. Even the smallest distraction for me while focused writing can be a killer.

Lastly: Here are a few tips that have helped me avoid distraction while writing. This is why I imagine Authors do a lot of their writing between the hours of 10 pm and 5 am.

  1. Keep your phone on silent and put it away. Don’t even tempt yourself. It is not worth it and will be there when you are done.
  2. Set a timer. This helps me stay focused on the task at hand and disciplined to what I am working on.
  3. Close all unnecessary applications. Don’t be tempted to check an email or let your mind race to another task on your list.
  4. Kill the tabs. Don’t overwhelm yourself with countless tabs open in your browser. You’ll most likely need a browser open, so hide your Bookmarks bar and stay focused on what matters!

I hope you enjoyed my post. I’ve been working hard on my website and blog!

I encourage you to check my ‘Connect with meorContact page and submit a comment on what you think I should write about in an upcoming post. I will respond ASAP!

https://matthewwetmore.com/contact/

Inspirational Quote of the Day brought to you by Bruce Lee

It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” – Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee was a legend in Martial Arts, a cultural icon and also became well-known for his philosophy catching fire later in his life.

I chose this quote today for #everydayinspiration. This comes from WordPress University. They send out daily recommendations for blog updates and to educate users on using WordPress. Today the prompt is to leverage a quote and create a post. Here is what I have for you.

Thank you Momentum, the ‘new tab’ productivity Chrome Store Extension for helping inspire productivity through stunning imagery, inspirational quotes, and the ability to keep a To-Do list of important tasks right on your browser each time you open a new tab. When I first learned of Momentum I took immediate action, told two of my close friends at the time because I knew how great it was. I use it daily without fail. Anyone who uses a desktop computer opens a new tab at some point each day. should have it installed for something better to look at than a blank page. Momentum is a productive way to stay on track, remind yourself of tasks for the day, week, or month to stay focused.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I get distracted researching quotes and incredible images they display. But that is sort of productive, right?

Hack away at the unessential, says Bruce Lee. What does that mean? To me, that means to hack away from unessential people. Unessential tasks such at mindless scrolling through Social Media. Hack away at what is distracting you from what you are here to get in life. Trust me I’ve had my fair share of unessential fatuity. Sometimes this happens for a short time, but most often it takes a major event to realize the unessential even exists.

Be mindful of your ‘unessential‘, stand guard of your mind and focus on the daily decrease, not the increase.

For me, I was caught up in unessential habits, routines, and disciplines which were not contributing any value to my life. I began to focus on the ‘daily decrease’ of bad habits such as sleeping in, not exercising, eating poorly, watching too much TV, Netflix, and not reading nearly enough.

What in your life do you consider to be unessential which could use improvement?

If you started small while ‘hacking away‘ each day at your ‘unessential‘, how do you think you would feel? Would it make your life better? We have all something unessential that is prohibiting us from reaching the next level. Don’t let your time escape you, start hacking away at the futile and push forward to success.

One Word Inspiration: Choice

Choice: an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities.

Our lives are compiled of conscious and subconscious choices which shape our existence. The one life we get is impacted by the choices we make, even more so as we enter our adult years. The choice to go to school, start a business, travel the world or whatever. These decisions will lead up to be the memories of our lives and who we end up becoming.

Who do I need to become to get all I want?

This question fascinated me. It enabled me to begin looking at my life from a big picture perspective. I made a choice to begin assessing my life. To think about what possible changes needed to be made for me to to get all I want out of my one life. What I desire out of my life. Who I want to become. What I want to accomplish. The associations I want to have. The impact I want to leave on others. The type of person I want to be known for. The skills I need to achieve my greatest desires.

These are choices. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 365 days in a year. The choices we make end up shaping a good portion of who we become.

Who are you becoming?

Our lives consist of habits as I learned in “The Power of Habit”, by Charles Duhigg. The beautiful thing about the human body and mind is our fascinating ability to change. To learn about our habits and disciplines. To apply the necessary changes to better shape the outcome of our life. How you decide to do this is up to you.

What are your habits? What are the choices you are making each day? Are you satisfied with them? Are you fulfilled on a daily basis? Are you maximizing your potential? Will you be satisfied with your life when it is all said and done?

We are faced with choices each and every day which makes up a majority of our lives. What do I wear today? Where should I stop for coffee? How am I going to get there? Should I take the train, bus or drive? This is why productive and successful people have disciplined habits and routines. They often wear the same clothes every day, eat the same breakfast, or wake up at the same time most days. You need to do what works best for your life. Be mindful of how the choices you make are impacting your life. If they are good, keep them up. If they are not, reassess how you can make small improvements in your daily life.

What choices am I making?

I will travel the world and write about my journey because it is the life I desire. A choice I will make to immerse myself in the world we live in and escape from the material world most of us are far too accustomed with. This is a difficult choice and requires a lot of planning, scheduling, organization, risk, and execution. I believe in my gut this choice will shape my future. I want to learn from life. There is no ‘right’ time make the choice you’ve been contemplating. We all say we want such a great life but rarely put the effort in to deserve it. I’ve lived the life of uncertainty while I was influenced by other people rather heavily. This is the change I want to share with you all. The ability to make conscious decisions to change your life through small disciplines, habits, and choices.

I’m in this unique stage in my life where I feel excited to be alive and grateful for another opportunity each day. This has enabled me to start thinking about investing in areas of my life that are of the utmost importance. Contributing more to society in a way which will help shape my future. I find joy in the little things each day. I relish in the opportunity to appreciate the people who serve me in my life and which I am fortunate to serve. I believe I’ve impacted some people in my life in a way has helped them change their life forever. For this, I am grateful.

We all make choices. Make sure you are making the right ones for you. For your life. For your purpose. Be yourself, and don’t settle for mediocrity.

Here is an article from Tim Ferriss that helped me to understand that regret is past tense decision making. We all have regret. Take control of yours today and don’t wait to make important decisions in your life.

| The ‘write’ to remember |

Wrightsville Beach Sunrise
7/13/17 Sunrise @ Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina!

Why do I write?

This is a great question for me as I continuously debate the purpose of my blog. Do I err on the professional side or share more of the personal connection and detail of my life? I think a good combination of both will do well. What do you think?

Writing is my way of bringing together the non-stop flow of ideas and madness that occurs in my mind.

It is my way of not only expressing myself and my thoughts but having them join forces. I’ve found endless inspiration from a variety of books lately that have changed my life from all different platforms (Print, Kindle, and Audible). Every Author intends for their message to be interpreted well by the end but this is sometimes unclear. Writing helps me to connect the message of each book I dive into while incorporating the concepts, philosophy, strategies and more into my life (or not).

Not only is writing valuable to increase learning, but enhance the memories of your life.

The time I spend ‘reflective writing’ has helped me recall my experiences in vast detail compared to memories that seem ‘foggy’, not hangovers I promise (although plenty of those exist). As a twenty-something, I am enthusiastic and grateful for life yet struggling to clarify what brings me the greatest joy in life. Writing is either making this process easier or worse (I am not quite sure yet). It certainly helps to remember both the good and the bad.

Recently I’ve implemented the habits of writing a 5MJ (inspired by Tim Ferriss) and 3 long-hand  “Morning Pages” from the book “The Artist’s Way”, by Julia Cameron. These two habits combined each morning have enhanced my creativity and serve as a vital part of my morning to help me understand the responsibilities and goals ahead of me that day. Since the beginning, it has been a lot of ‘soul searching’ as I continue my journey towards sharing my gift of life with the world.

I ask of you the same question. Why do you write? What does writing do for you?

Writing brings me to life. I feel it is my way of adding the utmost value to the world. I write about my experiences, travel, emotions, feelings, thoughts, ideas, the past, present, future and much more. I find it crucial to write about my life experiences such as; Hiking Mt. Washington, snowboarding in Colorado at Breckenridge, or learning how to surf. It helps to solidify these memories in my mind so I can remember the subtle details that so many forget. I write to remember, but most importantly I write because it brings me joy.

One of the hardest things I’ve realized recently is actually hitting “publish”.

We all have this problem, right…?

The pressures of Social Media (Overcoming the stimulation of checking your phone) – How to get back to reality!

Why are we all addicted to social media?

Is it the stimulation of technology that we require the constant ‘high’ from scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and others? I want to engage in more deep, meaningful conversations to enhance the quality of life in those around us. Not spend them constantly and quite frankly rudely interrupted by social media, email and more. Don’t get me wrong, they are important and have their place, but knowing that place is vital.

Use social media with discipline!

Social media has completely transformed the world as we know it. Our days are overtaken by the countless time spent on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, only to name a few. I say overtaken because maybe you are like me. Maybe you are puzzled at the lack of interaction in our daily lives. Maybe it’s the lack of engagement in people to have a meaningful discussion. What bothers me most (and probably you too) is when in the middle of a conversation with family, friends or colleagues is that their phone seems to get all the attention. Have you ever had someone check their phone and completely ignore you, right in the middle of a discussion? Why are people so preoccupied with the lives of others on social media? So much so to neglect the human interaction and relationships right in front of them. This seems to be a trend that most are unhappy about. It’s time we take control of the precious time of our lives we spend on social media and focus on what we can actually control. Our time. So what can we do? Let’s start with listening to each other more!

What does your morning look like?

How many of you wake up each morning and mindlessly swipe through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and then watch everything your friends were doing on Snapchat from the day before? Be honest. This is important. I use to be this person until I realized the impact it was having on my life.

I ask this because I found myself in the same predicament. I began each day focused on the lives of other people instead of myself. What they were doing, who they were with, the things they have, people they know, you get the point. If you were to transition that energy towards yourself and what you wanted, who you wanted in your life, where you wanted to live, and what you wanted to accomplish, you’d be impressed with the results. To start and end each day staring a screen, disengaging from reality, and focusing on other people’s lives is no way to achieve your dreams and spend your time.

Enough is enough!

I woke up three months ago and gave myself a reality check. I told myself that it was time to go on an information diet and start reading and writing every day. The results have been immeasurably positive. I replaced my morning rituals of social media and hitting the snooze button with exercise, reading, and writing. This usually includes audio books depending on the day, journaling and reading books of quality substance. Nightly reading/writing as well to decompress from the day and recall all of the amazing experiences that had occurred. I am a firm believer that being proactive is critical to each of these habits for the day to be a success. Be proactive on your day, wake up early, and focus on what is important in your life!

What we feed our minds deeply impacts our lives. How we feel emotionally and the state we live in each day is affected by what we put into our bodies (physically, mentally and spiritually). I started researching ways to discipline my time and increase productivity to take control of my bad habits. We are lucky to wake up each day and have another opportunity for life. Instead of using my precious mental capacity for mostly useless information, I changed my life. Overwhelming feelings of anxiety, stress, jealousy, envy, regret, and more were affecting my life and I was blind to this. I realized that my actions each day were not only having a large impact on my personal happiness but the happiness of those around me. To all those affected, my bad. I won’t let it happen again!

Here are five tips that help me overcome the negative impact of social media, “win my mornings” and most importantly win back my time.

How I stopped occupying my precious brain capacity with mental activity on social media that added little substance of my existence:

Turn off social media notifications

  • Eliminate the need or temptation of social media triggers by turning off all notifications that would cause you anxiety. If you don’t see them immediately, you’ll be less tempted to check them.
  • Schedule specific time throughout the day that is scheduled for social media. This can be to make your posts, respond to others, share with your friends, or take a break from work. Limit this to as few time-blocks as possible to increase efficiency.
  • How to turn off notifications for Android
  • How to manage iPhone notifications

What are the benefits you think this could have in your life? Are you willing to try it?

Place your phone/alarm across the room

  • Force yourself out of bed. Don’t give yourself the chance to roll over and hit that damn snooze button.
  • This will stimulate your nervous system and allow your body and mind to start working together to get your day started.
  • Resist the temptation of checking social media and convince yourself it can wait. You won’t regret waiting. You’re not missing anything at 5-6AM when the rest of the world is sleeping.
  • Here are some biological reasons and analysis summarizing why the snooze button could be ruining your sleep.

Have you tried this before? How has it helped you to be more proactive in your life?

Why I stopped listening to music in the morning

  • For me, music was similar to social media in the way it was affecting my mental capacity. Try listening to Audible books instead to start the day feeding your mind with valuable information. If some noise is required early in the morning it’s fine, but I sometimes will leave my phone behind during my morning workout or listen to a meditation playlist that helps keep the mental stimulation to a minimum.
  • An alternative completely is trying to exercise or workout without any headphones or noise at all. This varies day to day for me. Some days I want some noise, others nature will handle it quite well for me.

What do you listen to during your morning rituals? Does music distract you? Is there a connection between headphones, music, and energy in the morning?

Meditation/Breathing Exercises

  • 5-10 minutes of either lying or seated meditation. Still, with no social media connection, I allow my mind and body to be present and aware of all pain, stress, anxiety, aches and relax
    • I highly recommend meditation for anyone who is considering it but hasn’t tried. Headspace and Calm are great for beginners.
  • If you are unsure of meditation, check out Wim Hof and his incredible breathing exercises. I do this every morning before I workout and it has helped me consistently run further with less struggle early in the morning.
  • 10-15 minutes of yoga can also be a good way to relax, stretch out your muscles and quiet the mind.
  • Allow your mind to be present and think about the important things for the day and the priorities in your life. This is a good time for thoughts of gratitude and appreciation.

How have yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises helped your morning routine? Which do you find best prepare your body and mind for the day?

Morning Pages or 5MJ – Thank you, Tim Ferriss, this is my favorite part of the day.

  • The first three hours of the day are claimed to be the best and most productive of the entire day. Focus on what you are most hoping to accomplish in your future and how you are going to do it!
  • This is a great time to express gratitude and understand how lucky we are. We can achieve our greatest desires in life by focusing on what is vital to our purpose in life.
  • Ask yourself questions. What do you want out of the day? What are you grateful for? What would make today a success? Are you going to give today your best possible effort?

What you focus on, you become. Focus on your greatest desires in life and cultivate the ability to think big. Think about your life, don’t daydream about other people’s lives. Visualize what you want your life to look like. Where do you want to live? Who do you want in your life? What do you want to have? This way you can start your day with an increasingly more clear picture of how you are going to accomplish your goals and become the best possible person you are destined to be. To achieve the things you desire most in the one life we are lucky to have.

Do you journal now? How has this helped your life? What do you write about that others may benefit from?

Let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute. We are all far to overtaken by social media stimulation. It is just as much of a habit as is brushing your teeth, taking a shower, putting on your shoes or anything else. These are not always good habits as we’ve come to learn. What I do is schedule time for checking emails (2-3 times a day) as well as social media outlets for a set amount of time, depending on the level of engagement necessary. Typically after my morning routine to make sure I’m not missing any important business connections, messages, or important commitments that require my attention. For more science and extensive research on habits, I highly recommend everyone either read or listen to “The Power of Habit”, by Charles Duhigg. It will help you understand why humans do exactly what we do not only in life but in business as well. It will certainly not disappoint.

How can I improve?

I hope you enjoyed my post and found valuable information here!

Any questions, advice, topic suggestions, or feedback please comment below! I will be posting weekly on Thursdays’ with a new topic that may help guide us through life sharing my experiences along the way. Feel free to add me on all media outlets to follow my journey and subscribe to be notified of my weekly updates!