Friday, December 28, 2012

Fifth Place

I wrote about my 2012 horse show adventures a few times in my blog posts, focusing on the idea that winning when you felt you didn't perform as well as your competition feels worse than not winning when you think you and your horse did really well.  I mentioned that because both my veteran show horse and my young horse, in his first show, won nothing but first and second place ribbons and always won Reserve or Grand Champion ribbons for their division at almost every show. I didn't think any of us were that great, and the competition was pretty good. I won't say it wasn't nice to win, but the enjoyment was lessened because it felt undeserved.
     At the last show of the year, both my horses won nothing but fourth and fifth place ribbons, which was interesting because I felt we performed as well (or not any worse) as we did at the first four shows of the season (with the exception of one jumping class where my mare - who never spooks - was startled by some crazed wildlife in the field next to the ring and went off course; I am certain we would have placed first or second in that class). Really, fourth or fifth is about where I would have placed us in most of our classes through the season.
      While placing where I felt we deserved did feel more right than winning when I didn't feel we should have, I was still - only very slightly - disappointed. I was surprised to feel that way. Having never had a show series go quite like this, I had never been able to juxtapose the two situations. A small part of me thought, "Well, as long as we are going to perform consistently under par, isn't it better to place higher?"
     In my past blogs on the subject my point had been that it was better to write well and be unappreciated than to write poorly and have your work praised and/or published. Maybe it has something to do with getting older, but now I'm thinking that even if I write mediocre stories or books, isn't it better to have success with getting them published or appreciated by others rather than ignored? It certainly would be nice to earn money from work, even if it is not as good as I would like.
     I may have to revisit the question posed by one of my writer friends: Would you rather become rich and famous for writing crap that is commercial success, or write great works that are less popular or lucrative?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Unexpected Motivation

For more than a decade my oldest sister has given everyone in my family a wall calendar for Christmas. This started as a very practical thing, mainly so all members of the immediate family would have a source listing  birthdays, anniversaries, impending graduations or family trips, which my sister writes in every one's calendar before wrapping them.
    One really fun part of this - for my sister and the rest of us - is what calendar she chooses for each of us. For the first few years mine were always about horses, then cats and dogs, then wildlife and onto more diverse things my sister thinks I would like. My other sister's calendar themes went from lighthouses to seascapes to ships to nature scenes and so on. Mom's calendars started with pictures of schoolhouses and old barns and historic sites have since featured things like churches and gardens.
   Besides having amazing pictures, these calendars often have tidbits of information or great quotes that also influence their being chosen. The other day I turned my calendar to December and found this quote: "Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies." - Mother Teresa.
    That quote was very meaningful to me as I have just returned to writing after an unexpected and prolonged hiatus. The words remind me that to do just a little writing each day will keep me moving forward and strengthen my skills and hopefully my discipline. And I know from experience that when I start writing, even if I just plan to do a small amount, inspiration may strike and carry me along further. Getting started and keeping going is hard; focus on one step at a time and it becomes easier.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Blogging Topics

 Many months ago, a writer friend sent folks in our writers' group a list of 100 topics to blog about. They were generic things like response to an article you read, details about a trip you took, a dream or an event. It made me think: If you need to find something to blog about, why bother?
    If you google ideas for blog topics most of them suggest posting about various things in your "niche" (in my case that would be writing) and tend to be business oriented; ways of marketing your product or service, increasing productivity, things you've learned about certain aspects, etc.  (I have since wanted to find that generic list my friend sent out, to challenge myself to post something on each topic and somehow tie it to writing.)
   Having just this week once again returned to my writing, I am following the example of many of my friends who blog that keep no schedule. They blog only when they have something to share, an idea or experience or whatever, that most other people can relate to, like family life, jobs, everyday adventures like errands or school functions.
     I often find myself applying many of my blog posts on writing to other talents, professions or life in general. Perhaps my new blogging "schedule" will make my topics more universal and if I only blog when I feel driven to, the posts will be more inspired.