When You Need A Moratorium on Learning

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I’m not sure about you, but that is a horrifying thought, especially for someone like me. I love to learn.

People who can’t answer a simple question and shrug, drive me insane. Is their curiosity gene malfunctioning? That’s really the only thing I can imagine. Who wouldn’t want to learn? Who cares if it’s a small thing like what aisle three houses beyond shampoo? It’s a good feeling when you can save a time-crunched soul ten minutes of searching by telling them that lip balm is also in aisle three.

Or maybe the learning is a little more in-depth: someone wants to know is it St. Petersburg Russia or Leningrad Russia? Well, it was originally St. Petersburg, then it was Leningrad and now it’s St. Petersburg again. Wait, I learned something else! I Googled to get dates of the name changes and low-and-behold, it was even named Petrograd at one time.

Here’s the snippet from www.encyclopedia.com : From 1712 until 1918, St. Petersburg was the capital of the Russian Empire. Peter I (the Great) began the construction of the city as his “Window on the West” in 1703. During the subsequent three centuries, St. Petersburg was identified with the three major forces shaping Russian history: Westernization, industrialization, and revolution. The city was renamed Petrograd in 1914, at the beginning of World War I, because it sounded less German, was then named Leningrad after the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924, and again became St. Petersburg in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed. Confusingly, the surrounding region (oblast) is still known as Leningrad.

See, I’m a nut when it comes to learning, things like this make me giddy.

So you’re probably wondering why a learning freak like me would recommend a moratorium on learning.

I recommend putting a halt to learning when you’re using it as a crutch.

I’ll use myself as a prime example of this.

Reading and writing are my joys (outside of family and friends).  However, I didn’t attend a college for a degree in journalism, nor did I attend for an MFA. Truth be told I don’t hold a degree, although I did complete a year and a half of college with the intent of getting a degree in Business Administration.

So when the thought of writing for publication, and as a means to bring in some extra money took root in my brain stem, I did what I always do. Hit the library and stocked up on all the books I could carry on the subject. And I read and read and read.

That was when I started freelancing. I like freelancing because it opens my mind to all the hidden areas I wouldn’t normally know about. Before freelancing I knew nothing about catalog copy or blogs or web content. I’ve gotten to talk to doctors, veterinarians, nutritionists, business owners, families of extraordinary pets, and more. Freelancing is a life-long-learner’s dream job.

Then I assumed there was more I needed to know, so I signed up for some online courses in journalism and other freelancing arenas.

But I also wanted to write fiction. So of course, I went back to the library and stocked up on books and read and jumped in. Then I got stuck. So I found a few online courses and signed up for those.

Then I got back to writing. Quickly got stuck and checked out more books and then I began searching for more online courses.

Thankfully, God has a way of leading me. It may seem harsh to others, but he knows I’m kind of stubborn and blind, so he gives me hard lessons. This time our finances were stretched thinner than a pea-sized-dollop of lotion over a six-foot, eight hundred pound body. So courses were out of the question.

Not to be deterred, I began searching for free courses (there are tons out there). Yes, some of those thunderclaps on blue sky days are God smacking his forehead in exasperation with me. Sorry.

After taking signing up for an unfathomable amount of courses, I learned pretty much what I learned the first few times. For about a week I bemoaned the issues that brought about the tight finances, they were holding me back from taking courses I could learn from.

Then I realized, every time I’m working on fiction and hit a spot where I can’t identify what exactly is wrong I start searching for courses. Because obviously, the problem would be fixable if I learned what it was. And there must be a course or a book out there that would circle my problem and tell me how to fix it.

No there isn’t. And that’s when I need to step away from learning and focus on solving the problem myself.

And that’s why I recommend putting a moratorium on learning; if you’re using it to avoid a problem that only you can solve.

What’s your favorite avoidance maneuver?

 

We All Need a Partner

Brothers, Competition, Support System. They push each other to be better.
Brothers, Competition, Support System. They push each other to be better.

I took my twin boys out driving the other day. Twin A had a really good day. Twin B had a fairly off day. As twins their dynamic is always fascinating. They compete with each other and it serves them well. They work hard to edge out each other out. However, they also have a natural support system. They know when to stop competing and start encouraging instead.

As I watched the boys do their competitive/encouragement merry-go-round it dawned on me how much we all need a partner Continue reading “We All Need a Partner”

Are You Disrespectful of Your Readers or Fellow Writers?

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Do you really care about your readers? Do you care about the writers and/or readers who attend your conferences, workshops, and author readings? Let’s find out.

Everyone has an opinion. That’s good. Life would be miserably boring if we all thought alike. There would be no differences. It’s why politics is such a hot-bed of chaos.

Sadly, over the past twelve years, elections have become more and more volatile. Couple that hatred with the ease of spouting off on social media and everyone is lambasting everyone.

Three Ways You’re Disrespecting Your Reader: Continue reading “Are You Disrespectful of Your Readers or Fellow Writers?”

Part Two: Lists I Love – Rules of the Rebellion

Last week I posted the number one list I love – you can find it Here.

This week, I’m swooning over this list by Steve Kamb who wrote Level Up Your Life (link will take you to Amazon because I thoroughly believe everyone needs this). It’s kind of self-help meets rules for life meets tough love. And that is why I love it! Kick-Ass Cheerleader is so happy right now (she wears a leather jacket, black jeans, and instead of cheering with pom-poms, she cheers with a swift kick to the keester with her kick-ass boots). Continue reading “Part Two: Lists I Love – Rules of the Rebellion”

Value the Small Things

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My husband and I had to switch vehicles a few days ago. I drive a truck since I’m usually hauling a crew of boys around (and because, truth be told, I love the truck and its horn). My husband drives a little wagon perfect for decent gas mileage and getting in and out of tight spots, which is super for him because he’s all over the place for work. However, on this day I had a doctor appointment in Seattle. The garage at the doctor’s doesn’t accommodate anything over a peapod on wheels (yes, hyperbole, but not too far off). Hence the great vehicle swap of 2016. Continue reading “Value the Small Things”

5 Tips for Carpooling

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Over the years I’ve heard of moms who carpool kids between activities and school. Always seemed like a good idea, save on gas, give yourself a breather once in a while, etc…

This year a group of us parents hooked up and decided to set up a carpool. I was thrilled because our kids have been in the same elementary school, middle school and now high school together. They know each other, they are all good kids, and they are all in band, too. Fabulous.

We are two weeks into the carpool and I’ve learned a few things that all moms and dads need to note when setting up schedules.

  1. Do not drink and schedule. We all gathered at one lady’s home. Her husband made us Mai-Tais. Somehow we plum skipped a day. We figured out carpool for Monday, Tuesday Wednesday and Friday – before school, after school, to band, from band. Come the first Thursday we realized our error and ended up in a last minute scramble.

Continue reading “5 Tips for Carpooling”