Posted in Cool Tools, Writing Prompts

Jobe-Bot Writer-Prompt-ery Fun Times

There was an auto-generate app that showed up on Facebook called “What Would I Say.” It used an algorithym and sifted through all the words you’ve ever used on Facebook (paying particluar attention to phrases, so that the results would make a kind of sense) and spat out with the click of a button what Bot-You would post as a status. This kind of word game tickles me pink so I of course abused this power ad naseum and everyone friended to me got an earful (eyeful). Today when it showed back up in my feed (“Memories” from 2017, 2016, and 2015)  I thought some of this might make decent idea generation and/or writing prompt material. So if you get a laugh out of the below, great. If you get a story starter or a fun idea and write with it, even better. And if you’re weird like me and love this kind of thing too, here’s the link. Play, my lovelies, play!

Love,
Jobe (and Jobe-Bot)

  • If anyone is in bloom already!
  • See also, a mask and coat full of rats.
  • Hate has been.
  • When your kitchen smells the best for miles!
  • Me too, I’m going to be present and accountable today.
  • Natural colors where ARE THOSE OPTIONS
  • Yay my friends gave you two swords instead of just saying it’s a thing.
  • Even if you don’t see why this is a no.
  • Calling all angels, upcoming Women’s Day without a stop to all of it?
  • In dire need to read this.
  • You know red, valentine, etc? Nerds warm my heart.
  • She is so nervous poor darlings.
  • And then they were just sitting there with our story.
  • In the separate sections I believe me.
  • Thanksgiving visit to my hair.
  • I’m supposed to be visiting in the wrong thing where I love you all.
  • Lip bite is code for awesome.
  • I’m supposed to tag 5 ladies to do.
  • Can you believe how many episodes you’ve watched in Jack’s life?
  • 2009 Chevy Malibu with a poly group and the rainbow.
  • ROFL Sounds like a cute lil Malk but she tastes bad.
  • You definitely made a Ta Da.
  • Mowin’ the lawn like a top yellow but they go until you’re 50 or 60. You bleed a day off because you want a custom me doll versions of us.
  • I bet your kitchen smells the best I could do.
  • Mowin’ the garage into a bedroom.
  • Lip bite is nice to me.
  • Happy Six years, I dreamt Jasper and Izzy were superintelligent, capable of the twentyfirst century.
  • When I dream I’m going to that upcoming novel from Chase Night? Honestly, I got everybody here.
  • Jack and Arkansas can be damned annoying.
  • Hers is forest with love I got married. 1 year ago we signed a lease with rage, and petting my baby!
  • And I was a lesbian.
  • Pros, cons, and the ink blots washed out.
  • Tell me if you’re willing to be a dick?
  • Just my brain wandering about, the episode 21 really got 4+ dudes to sleep.
Posted in Cool Tools, Fitness Challenge, Writing Challenge

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (first half)

AW_bookimageThe Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron has lived on my shelf for a while now, and I’ve promised myself for some time that I’d get to it. It’s kind of like a workbook with a program to follow, made up of 12 chapters for 12 weeks. Cameron must be doing something really right, because 2016 was the book’s 25 year anniversary, and it is still selling strong. And Goodreads calls it “the seminal work” on creativity.

The two keystones of the program are the Pages and the Date. Cameron’s original vision for morning pages was three pages hand-written, first thing in the morning. You can write anything, with no structure and no limits—you writing one morning could be complaining about a coworker, the next morning it could be your grocery list, the next an idea that just popped into your head. It isn’t mean to be Your Art, just a way to clear your mind. 750 Words stretches the definition a little, calling them daily pages, and that works better for me since I run in the morning and write in the evening. (If more than one of your habits recommends itself as your “first thing,” well, you can’t exactly have everything tie for first.) I do enjoy hand-writing, but I love the organization of doing everything on the computer. (Maybe it’s a generational thing.)

The other major component of the program is your Artist’s Date, which you do SOLO, just you and your inner artist. It can be an adventurous drive or a quiet walk, a visit to a store or a park or a museum; it can be anything you want that sparks your soul, but no one else is allowed to accompany. Of course, simple as it is, people (read: I) still have trouble. There are weekly writing exercises to help you stretch your wings and there are weekly Check-Ins to gauge and monitor where you’re at with it. The Check-In questions go something like this: 1. How many days this week did you do your pages? 2. Did you do your artist date? 3. Good stuff? 4. Bad stuff?

Here’s a quick run-down of how I’ve done with the first half of the book.

Date Range Week Notes Run 3 pts 750 Write Date
Monday Jan 29 – Sunday Feb 4 Week 0 Gave myself a freebie week to ease into it 5 of 7 x x 4 of 7 (n/a)
Monday Feb 5 – Sunday Feb 11 Week 1 got sick 2 of 7 x x 2 of 7 Yes
Monday Feb 12 – Sunday Feb 18 Week 2 got new running shoes, started using 750 Words 5 of 7 x 7 of 7 7 of 7 No
Monday Feb 19 – Sunday Feb 25 Week 3 emotional writing 4 of 7 x 7 of 7 7 of 7 No
Monday Feb 26 – Sunday Mar 4 Week 4 Mar 1 started Blue & You Fitness Challenge 6 of 7 4 of 4 7 of 7 7 of 7 Yes
Monday Mar 5 – Sunday Mar 11 Week 5 I had a birthday! 6 of 7 7 of 7 6 of 7 7 of 7 Yes
Monday Mar 12 – Sunday Mar 18 Week 6 broke my writing streak bc I stayed out too late w friends 5 of 7 7 of 7 5 of 7 6 of 7 Yes
Monday Mar 19 – Sunday Mar 25 Week 0 fell off the habit, got discouraged, started up again 5 of 7 7 of 7 6 of 7 6 of 7 (n/a)

 

 

Posted in Cool Tools, Fitness Challenge, Writing Challenge

Fitness & Writing Challenges

Hello and welcome to March. Is the weather where you are as gorgeous as it is here? Yesterday I was able to wear a sleeveless dress (joy!) without leggings (wasn’t even cold!) and I even threw on some colorful jewelry. The Spring comes, and with it the season of looking and feeling our most alive as everything around us is waking up. Yay! (Yes, I know, I’m not very subtle when it comes to season-favoritism.)

March 1 marked not one but two special occasions for me: the beginning of the Blue and You Fitness Challenge (which sadly you can only participate in if your workplace offers Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance) and the beginning of the monthly Writing Challenge on 750 Words, which anyone can join and happens every month! I was pretty excited to see both Welcome emails in my inbox (and when I used arrows to block stuff out only to then discover that MS Paint does, in fact, have HEARTS.)

gmail view

So, Fitness. What do you do for exercise? I enjoy swimming but find going to the pool something of a big fat hassle, so I don’t often manage it. Likewise I like the dog park but don’t take the doggo nearly as often as I should. For good ole dependable daily exercise, I use my trusty treadmill, set up in front of the tv. 3mph for 45mins means 2.25miles “run” (jogged? run very slowly?) while I bliss out to an episode of whatever I happen to be watching. Currently, The Magicians. Since I’m a really big nerd when it comes to visual encouragement, I made (found hi-res images and added the quote) and collected (google image searches) a bunch of little thingies.

But I would be remiss in my bloggess duties if I didn’t also goob all about the writing challenge. I started using the site 2/12 so I was too late to join up for February but using it has already upped my average writing sessions from 4ish per week to 7 per week, because I get a little x in my little green box in my little strand of green boxes if I continue to write every single day! And I am a total sucker for pressing the food bar. On the site you get stuff like this:

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While in your email you get stuff like this:

nudge

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badgesI’m pretty into it. (You don’t actually get that pencil graphic, I stole that from a Facebook ad.) Are you excited yet? Because you can also earn badges like these (over there, on the side, no, the other side… grr, you know what I mean). Of course if you don’t know about the indelible connection between writing and birds, you’re in for a treat, because Anne Lamott is the bomb. (Do people still say that? The bomb? Well anyway she’s really cool.) I have no idea if the connection to Lamott is what Buster and Kelli were thinking about when they started the site up years ago, but it’s undeniably part of the ongoing literary consciousness now. In conclusion, go out there and kick this week’s (and month’s) ass. That is all.

Posted in Cool Tools, What Makes You Happy?

My Planner Isn’t a Bullet Journal. (It’s Actually a Sticker Book.)

E99C2305-00D7-45BD-89B4-3D802320474CThis is my Happy Planner. For those who care, it’s the middle size available. I chose the Happy Planner over other cool options because the pages are colorful. I got it at Michael’s on sale (you can catch the sales at the ends and beginnings of each year) and I bought extra cover sets on ebay. This is my current favorite cover, and it says, “If you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine.” I feel like I do that, or try to do that, for those around me. I wear the brightest colored clothing and hair colors I can find (and I wish other people would too). But maybe I just like it best because it’s got bright yellow on it, and yellow’s my favorite. In any case, you can catch a glimpse of my work desk and the Adventure Time skirt I got on etsy. I buy a lot of stuff on etsy. When you open the cover, you can see all the stickers I’ve placed inside, taped in sheets to the laminated pages.

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And that gets us to the back cover. The stickers in my planner take up about 1/3 of the heft of the book. I mostly buy them from all over etsy, but in case you’re dying to know, I’ve included what I hope is a comprehensive list at the bottom of this post.3525FFD0-95DC-4582-89C9-2A3E579F78BF Some of the sticker types I use are filler: rainbows, rainbow hearts, rainbow stars, pink hearts, yellow stars, yellow smiley faces, So So Happy encouragement stickers. They don’t really stand for anything, I just like the way they look, and they take up space and make everything more “filled out” looking. But for the bulk of my stickers, each one represents an action, a mood, something I want to regularly track. So rather than “make a plan” for the day or the week or the month, I actually use my planner as a visually recorded account of what I did/accomplished, and how I was feeling. Since I don’t want stickers for every action I take (poops, for example, which some people wish to track, but I do not) I try to focus my sticker collection on habits I want to encourage myself to keep doing / do more of: exercise, writing, reading, chores. I also want to track things like my period, if I was sick, my mood (I have cry-faces and happy faces and angry faces, etc.) and YES, I do actually write down upcoming appointments and To Do lists as well. Just not maybe to the extent that (actual) planning people do.

Some of my month spreads end up looking gorgeous and amazing. For Nanowrimo, for example, I used extra special stickers to track my daily word counts on rainbow typewriters. So my November month-view ended up extra gorgeous and hyper-focused. Winning! (On the sidebar, Doug’s homework word count, impressive!)

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Glorious November spread

Another month that ended up looking gorgeous and amazing was my February spread, thanks to my awesome and amazing friend Karen, who bought a Valentine’s Day-themed sticker pack for me at Target. I held nothing back, as you can see. (Those little green guys are recyle days and paydays.)

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Fabulous February spread

And then there’s the weekly view, which is the bread and butter of this industry. I love the way the Happy Planner breaks the week into seven days and the days into thirds. I use them for 1) before work 2) at work 3) after work. There’s a weekly sidebar on the left that I use for To Do’s. And different planner companies will give you the option, or not, to start your week on Sunday or Monday. Some people want the work week sandwiched by the weekend on either side, like bookends. I’m not about that life. The reason the weekend is beautiful is because it’s two days together, and hopefully, two days off together.

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I hope you enjoyed my sticker book, I mean “planner.” It must be a planner, right? It has the word right there in the name… So some of the stickers featured here I bought at the Container Store (these and these). But most of the stickers featured here were made by etsy artists:

Happy Cutie Studio UK
Planner Frenzy New Hampshire
Anna’s Planner Bubble Poland
Planner Studio California
iArtisans Canada
Plan Gorgeously California
Tiny Little Tulip Arkansas
Brianna Nicole Designz Wisconsin
Keena Prints Philippines
Domino 626 Virginia
Once More With Love Canada
S. G. Stationery Arizona
Hello Stickers Georgia
Ashwood Arts Texas

Posted in Cool Tools, Jobe Update

Journal Lost & Found, aka, the Commonplace Book

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One of the staples of the writerly life is a penchant for blank books. A long, long time ago, I discovered this book at Wordsworth Books (whose old weblink no longer works because they’re under new ownership) and, though I was there to buy a gift for someone else, I couldn’t resist this purchase for myself. I wrote 3 pages, set it aside, and promptly forgot about it. I rediscovered it in August 2016 and wrote in it through April 2017, a solid 9 months. During that time I recorded quotes from the inspiring works I was reading, a practice which is in some circles referred to as keeping a commonplace book. [Reasons why you should keep a commonplace book of your own can be found at Thought Catalog and with Ryan Holiday, at Thought Co., with Aly Juma, at Self Made Scholar, and at Read Aloud Revival. And of course, Pinterest.] I also used this blank book as my monthly writing journal whenever I attended Scribble with Karen Hayes. Then I set it aside again and forgot about it for 4 months, during which time I established and began running a writing group, called Second Set (because everyone needs a second set of eyes on their work—more about that in an upcoming post). Now I’ve rediscovered my blank book once more, and content includes quotes from:

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

The Scribbles I wrote down the dates for include 10/18/16; 12/13/16; 1/10/17; 2/15/17; 4/27/17; (and most recently, my reason for seeking it out) 9/12/17. In any case, in the upcoming months I think I’d like to hit you guys with some of serious wisdom from these incredible women. And maybe I’ll even finish filling my first volume by the end of the year.

Love,
Jobe