We are into November, the month of Thanksgiving. Once again FB has exploded with posts of gratitude, one for each day. They are called 30 days of Thanksgiving or something similar. Because ‘Gratitude’ is a vital component in the WritersButt program, I’m all over this. It’s not like I’m not thankful all the other months of the year. I most certainly am. But in November, I make a very concerted effort to recognize something specifically unique for which I’m grateful that day and share it.
So, on Facebook this morning, a friend posted an article basically bashing this idea of sharing things publically that you are thankful for. The point of the article was that it was fine and dandy to be grateful but to share it publically could be considered bragging and might even inflict pain and suffering on others. Basically it said to keep your thanks to yourself.
What the … what??
Examples from the article suggest that if you are thankful for your children, someone reading it might be battling infertility and thus be saddened. Or if someone expresses thanks for a happy home, someone might not have a happy home life or maybe even be homeless so that little ‘gratitude’ on Facebook might plunge them into depression.
Oh, come on! That’s crazy-talk. We are not responsibly for other people’s reactions to our gratitudes in life. I derive more good feelings for things my friends and family (heck, even strangers) are blessed with. It makes me feel good to see and feel their joy. It makes me hopeful.
I’m not going to link to the article because I suspect the author might not be very happy, and maybe is finding it hard to find things for which to be thankful. So I don’t wish to inflict any negativity in that direction.
But I will offer up a challenge that I truly believe could change your life. As I’ve said many, many times in this WritersButt journey, you should be grateful every day for the things, people, and experiences in your life, big and small. Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to experience the joy of being grateful.
Now I’d like to kick it up a notch with a new challenge. Every day, make it your goal to get on someone’s gratitude list. That is to say, go about your day in such a way that you are looking for opportunities to positively effect the lives of others. These don’t have to be grand gestures. Something as small as a compliment on someone’s shoes could make someone’s day.
Don’t be stingy with your smiles. You can’t imagine how many people need to have one shine on them. The smile you share could be something they remember and give thanks for at the end of the day.
What kind of amazing effect would the world have if we all acted like this? If everyone was trying to positively impact others, consciously and specifically … the ripple effect would be astounding.
Make it your daily goal to GET ON THE LIST!
And SHARE far and wide your Gratitude. Be a part of the wave of THANKS and ride it with joy.
Back in October, one of my good friends and fellow critique partner, Linda Gerber, approached me about a project. The idea was to help writers, who often sit at their desks or huddled someplace with a laptop nestled on their knees, to get up and move and become healthier. But, more than the goal of achieving a higher level of fitness (which should always be at the top of a priority list!), including a regular fitness routine into your daily life can improve your mental output and make your creativity soar!
Why did Linda approach me for this project? I have no idea. Kidding! I think I know. I am a fellow writer but I’m also a certified fitness trainer (CrossFit Level 1). My husband and I own and operate CrossFit Georgetown, a strength and conditioning gym in my hometown. Since Oct. Linda has been the beta-tester for WritersButt with the idea that we’d launch at the beginning of the New Year.
And here we are!
New Years Resolutions are flying all over the place as they usually do with the dawn of a new year. On the majority of those lists is some item relating to getting healthier. Also on many of the lists I’ve read, especially from my writer friends, is to be more productive, write more stories, do more projects, blog more, publish more books!
WritersButt is going to help. It is going to connect physical activity to creative output. This will undoubtedly improve one’s fitness and in turn help anyone to focus better and tap into a higher cognitive level. It’s like the kids who can’t focus in class but after recess or P.E. they are able to settle their mind and get some work done.
“For artists, entrepreneurs, and any other driven creators, exercise is a powerful tool in the quest to help transform the persistent uncertainty, fear, and anxiety that accompanies the quest to create from a source of suffering into something less toxic, then potentially even into fuel.” Quoted from this great article titled The Creative Brain on Exercise:
Now listen, I suspect many of you are already saying; “I don’t have time to exercise.” or “I can’t take away writing time to work out.” What I’m proposing is that you don’t have time NOT to.
“The physical state of our bodies can either serve or subvert the quest to create genius. We all know this intuitively. But with rare exceptions, because life seems to value output over the humanity of the process and the ability to sustain genius, attention to health, fitness, and exercise almost always take a back seat. That’s tragic. Choosing art over health rather than art fueled by health kills you faster; it also makes the process so much more miserable and leads to poorer, slower, less innovative, and shallower creative output.” Quote again from The Creative Brain on Exercise.
Important note: The project is called WritersButt but you don’t have to be a writer to join in. Anyone who wants to be healthier and is struggling with how to incorporate physical fitness into his or her day will benefit. It can just as easily be called AccountantsButt, TeachersButt, ProgrammersButt. The idea is to physically get up OFF your butt and move your body to reap the physical health benefits as well as the mental and emotional ones.
Some questions you may have right about now:
What is WritersButt going to do?
We are going to show you how to implement physical activity into your daily life. This will NOT be time intensive. We are going to work smarter, not longer.
Will it involve ‘dieting’?
The food you consume every day is your diet, so you are ‘dieting’ but I know what you mean. 😉 I will be suggesting some healthy food choices and a diet that will boost your energy, keep your insulin in check (combat mood swings and energy-crashes) and will promote fat loss.
Do I have to join a gym?
No! Everything I’ll be suggesting can be done in your home and will almost never take longer than about 10 minutes. You will not need machines because you’ll learn to appreciate your body as a machine. Your body is what gets your around your home and town, your body participates in various activities, your body is what you put your clothes on … let’s get it functioning at a higher level!
How will all the cool WritersButt people communicate?
This is my favorite part! First, I plan to blog here on my blog every Wednesday about WritersButt. I will give you a weekly challenge. I might share a recipe and any online sources I’ve run across that might be of interest. Second, much of our chatter will take place on Twitter using the hashtag #writersbutt. I have already set up a column on my Tweetdeck so I don’t miss any questions you might have. I also want to cheer on your success, so don’t be shy! Third, it’s my plan in the next week or two to create a Facebook page for us so that we can chat in excess of 140 characters. 🙂 We can also share pictures. (Don’t gasp – I won’t MAKE you!) I think the WritersButt FB page will be a huge hub for us.
Finally, you may be wondering, how do we start? Yay! It’s time for your first weekly challenge. I’m going to ask 3 things of you this week to get you going. Stay with me here, I’m not going to make you run a marathon or do any cage-fighting. But, if you DO any cage fighting, I want you to Tweet the pictures to prove it!
- Drink 100 oz of water a day. YES—I said 100. Find a water bottle that shows you the ounces. Lately I’ve been using the one shown. It is 20 oz and on the side it has a counter so every time I fill it up, I move it over to the next number. I know I have to hit 5 by the end of the day.
- 10 squats every time you go to the bathroom. If you are not used to drinking this much water, you will be going to the bathroom a LOT. (Your body will adjust to this but be prepared to pee-pee quite a bit for a few days.) Because you’ll be in the bathroom a lot, after you are finished, and after you close the lid to the potty, I want you to sit down and stand up from the toilet 10 times. Obviously if you have a low stool in your bathroom or house, you can use that. A kitchen chair might be taller than I’d like. I’m choosing the toilet not to gross you out but because I KNOW you’ll be in there a lot and I want you to get a lot of squatting done. I’m sneaky that way.
- Write 3-5 ‘Gratitudes’ into a journal every night before bed. What the heck does this have to do with fitness? We’re not just working on our bodies; we are also hoping to increase our mental and even our emotional fitness as well.
“…exercise isn’t just about physical health and appearance. It also has a profound effect on your brain chemistry, physiology, and neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to literally rewire itself). It affects not only your ability to think, create, and solve, but your mood and ability to lean into uncertainty, risk, judgment, and anxiety in a substantial, measurable way, …” ~quote~
I’ve kept a gratitude journal before and it had a profound effect on my appreciation of everything around me throughout the day. Just try it! Hey, I’m giving you an excuse to go to the office supply aisle and buy a brandy-new notebook and even a cool pen. You’re welcome!
That’s it! Doable for the first week, right? Also, I will be doing this with you so rest assured I’ll be walking the WritersButt journey right along any of you who want to join in. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun, make friends, improve our fitness, our moods, our productivity and our creativity will be able to spread its wings and soar with abandon.