Researching leads

I’m a historian by education. My day job as a gymnastics coach has nothing directly to do with my degree, but I use aspects of it everyday. I often use my research skills when working, but on a much more current level than digging through the past.

When writing I love the research part, sometimes so much that I’m in danger of over-doing it. I can get lost in a thread and forget what I was looking for in the first place. Not very many successful writers forget to write.

However, loving research has its upsides as well. Sometimes when I am lost in research I realise that it has taken me away from my topic to a topic that is more interesting, current or important and the book I planned to write is actually not the best it could be and needs to be tackled from a different angle. I might have gone down the wrong track for way too long and have spent hours researching when I should be writing, but in the end, if that path led me to much better written book, than that is all that matters.

It is all a balance.

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Adventure: Needs v Wants

Recently my brother and I discussed ‘needs versus wants’ when it comes to money and be restricted by it. ‘Money makes the world go around’ whether you like it or not. I want adventures in my life, but do I need it? No probably not. I could probably go about without it. But adventures does not always need to be big and costly. An adventure can be to take a walk in the park or hiking the green belt in your neighbourhood.

I believe that adventures big and small will make me happier. But it is not the size of the adventure that brings the most happiness, sometimes it is the small things. Explore a new part of the town. London is large and there are plenty of places I haven’t seen here yet (if you haven’t read my A-Z challenge about London this year, all posts are available here). To me an adventure is to experiencing something new and step put of my comfort zone.

Using your imagination, every day small tasks can become an adventure, if you let it. What is your biggest adventure? How do you make an adventure in your daily life? Or do you not need it?

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Scheduling time to make time

As I wrote a couple of months ago I am very conscious about time and try to balance my work, writing and play time. If I don’t take the time to schedule something in (or out, which might happen) it will not happen.

I like what Swedish journalist and author Gunilla Bergensten said in an interview,

‘Make sure you build a daily life you like. And remember that you can take away pieces.’ (my translation from: Se till att bygga ihop en vardag du gillar. Och kom ihåg att man kan ta bort bitar)

I have put that quote on Sticky Notes on my computer to reminded myself every week when I prepare my weekly to-do list. Without a proper balance in life between all the ‘musts’ and ‘wants,’ I would not enjoy life as much as I do.

I am incredibly lucky that I get to work with something I love (gymnastics) as it makes life easier when I have to put down my writing projects for an extended period of time to catch up on lesson plans or any major issues that arise every now and then. On the other hand, because I mostly work in schools, there are then extended periods throughout the year when I can spend almost all my time focusing on writing. It’s all those bits in between when I have to juggle both I really think of how I choose to use my time. If I didn’t go out to dinner or drinks with friends or lay down in bed with a book on a lazy Sunday, I don’t think I could continue. Knowing that my life and the world in general is not falling apart around me because I take an evening or day off.

What do you do to make sure that your life is balanced between ‘musts’ to the ‘wants’?

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Sharing and Contributing

Last post I talked about information overload in life. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that if I take the time to read something that someone has taken the time to write, it would be rude of me not to comment, even if it is simply to say ‘Great post.’

In the past, I have sometimes felt that these words are used by people who by commenting on other posts, wishes to only highlight their own person. Make your name visible and someone will find their way to what ever it is you’re selling. I am probably very cynical in this, which is why I often don’t comment on things I read, as I don’t always feel I have the insight to make a thoughtful comment and don’t want to appear shallow and self-promoting.

I thought about this much over the week, and realised that I am probably the victim of my own cynicism and that online relationships just like real life ones need to be nurtured, and through constant contact, the good will emerge from the bad. Yes you might spend some weeks following someone who is only in it for their self promotion and they will keep comment on your posts in the hope that you or one of your reader will click through to their ‘selling’ profile, but these will eventually disappear, because true relationships online and in real life will only last if there is a mutual interest from both sides.

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How I Process Blogs and What I Do With All That Info

In April, I participated in the A-Z challenge for the second time. The purpose is to write on your own blog ever day, but also to visit other blogs who partake in the challenge. You learn quite quickly to get a feeling for other blogs and there are certain ones I add to my list to continue reading even after the challenge. Other times, you visit, leave a note but for some reason the subject matter or writing does not appeal to me.

I find as I add more blogs to my reader list, I struggle to keep up with them and the information they contain. I often feel I am surrounded by an information overload, and I don’t think I am the only one feeling this way. There is always a choice you have to make when you go online, what will I look at, what will I read, where will I decide to interact with the author and other readers. If we all spend the time we wanted on reading and commenting on things online, most of us would get very little done in a day and then we might ask ourselves instead, when does blogging and blog interactions merely become a distraction? What do you do to filter all information coming in? Not just from blogs from the all places on the Internet and in real life?

Ps. I do realise the irony in you reading, processing and perhaps taking time to comment on this post.

Want to read more from my A-Z challenge? You can find previous posts here

Want to read other blogs who take part in this challenge? Find out more here

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The end and reflection

Another A-Z challenge has come to an end. This was my second year participating and I’m really warming to this exercise. I love to find new creative blogs and see how other people have built up their posts and how they keep up the interest throughout the month. I am very impressed with some bloggers and found myself coming back for more.

Since last year, I have started to write my blog regularly and making sure I am always on top of my post topics.

This year, I will focus on reading and commenting on other people’s blogs as well. Something I often feel I should do, but often don’t take the time to do. Since this is an exercise in receiving as well as giving, I did try this year to visit even more blogs and leave comments, even though sometimes they were very short and perhaps not the most insightful. I will try to keep this up throughout the year.

I have already begun the plan for next year’s theme, wanting to stay on top of my posts and plan them well in advance. Those last weeks before April truly flies. What it is you will have to wait until next year’s theme reveal. Do stop by in between though!

A2Z-BADGE-100 [2017]

The extra bits: Read about the guide that inspired this year’s A-Z challenge here

Want to read more? Did you miss a day? You can find all posts here.

Want to read other blogs who took part in this challenge? Find out more here

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Z

It is the last post of this challenge and I can’t fill it. There are no streets in London I have had the reason to visit that start with the letter Z I have searched high and low for this elusive street, on every thinkable website and my trusty A-Z guide, but alas this post will sit empty, like this street I once walked past in the busy finance district.

Z - empty street

It amazes me that in a city that has a larger population then the whole of Sweden on a totally normal day, when life go on all around, there are streets like this that are absolutely abandoned.

The last extra bits: Have I missed out your favourite street? Is there a street I have to visit to fulfil my London experience? I’m waiting eagerly for your last recommendations.

Z

Want to read more? You can find all previous posts here

Want to read other blogs who take part in this challenge? Find out more here

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York Street

York Street - sign

The Grand Old Duke of York of the song has a street in London named after him, or maybe it is after the Yorkshire town. This particular street is located in Marlybone and I have reason to walk down it every Thursday evening as it lead me to the Swedish church in London, where every Thursday I sing in the Swedish church choir.

Living abroad on my own for most of my adult life I am not usually fussed about not being able to speak my native language or even visiting very often. I mostly feel like I’m a citizen of the world, but I have started to cherish the time I spend on a Thursday evening, speaking Swedish and being as Swedish as I can. It relaxes my brain in a way that many other things I do don’t. Then of course the act of singing in itself helps sprout endorphins around the body (don’t ask me for a more physical explanation because I wouldn’t be able to give you one).

No matter how tired I am, half way through my working week, I leave the choir energised and fuelled up, ready to handle a busy weekend. So whenever I walk down York Street I know I’m walking towards something good.

The other bits:  Other ways to boost my energy – visiting my local library and browse the shelves. What do you do when you’re in need of an emotional energy boost?

20170323_120355

Latest book haul from my local library!

Let me know in the comments if you have a favourite Y street in London or in your own hometown/favourite city.

Y

Want to read more? You can find previous days’ post here

Want to read other blogs who take part in this challenge? Find out more here

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Charing X Road

X - Charing X road sign

I admit this is a bit of cheating, Charing X Road is spelled Charing Cross Road but I was getting desperate. In all the years I have lived in London, I have yet to run in to a road that start with the letter X. I hope you forgive me for this creative use of the letter.

Charing Cross road runs straight through the West End and Theatre Land, and thus is lined with theatres and tourists, but my favourite part of this street is the book boxes opposite the cross roads to China town. There are a few antiquarians along this stretch and though I don’t particularly are interested in old book, I do love a bargain for relatively new fiction books. Last time I stopped to supposedly ‘browse,’ I ended up with seven new books to my collection.

Further up the road is the newly renovated Foyle’s flagship store, which was one of the first stores I went to during my first visit to London (after seeing The Tower). I still have the book I bought there The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory.

The extra bits: Xiaolu Guo’s Concise Chinese-English dictionary for lovers, a book set in London about love & loss, culture clashes and homesickness, could it even be classed as – X-rated, or perhaps an x-llent read?

Let me know in the comments if you have a favourite X street in London or in your own hometown/favourite city.

X

Want to read more? You can find previous days’ post here

Want to read other blogs who take part in this challenge? Find out more here

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West India Quay

The Docklands have been transformed from the derelict state they were in the 1980s when the docks and the once largest port in Europe had closed, now it is a new, shiny financial district of London, posing a demanding skyline next to the river Thames, its glass fronted high rises, housing thousands of office workers every day.

West India North Dock

It is not an area in London, I visit very often (there are not any schools in need of a gymnastics coach around here) but of the whole area West India Quay is my favourite spot to go.

It’s on the edge of the Docklands, which means there are fewer stressed out workers and a more laid back atmosphere at the many restaurants along the quay. It has also kept some of the old Dockland architecture and warehouses. One of these old warehouses hold the Museum of London’s Dockland branch which as most museums in London is free. This museum houses a collection of the Dockland history of the trades that were being made here as well as visiting exhibitions. A place I truly recommend if you are heading this way.

West India - London Dockland Museum

The extra bits: Another W place is Woburn Place in central London, where I set one of my stories after a dream I had about a man found in a phone booth along this street through Bloomsbury.

West India - Woburn phonebox

Let me know in the comments if you have a favourite W street in London or in your own hometown/favourite city.

W

Want to read more? You can find previous days’ post here

Want to read other blogs who take part in this challenge? Find out more here

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