My take on the “One Lovely Blog Award”

Like the lovely Melinda Tognini, whose erudite thoughts you can read at Treefall Writing and who kindly nominated me, I have decided to gratefully accept and participate in the “One Lovely Blog Award” because I like the idea of supporting other bloggers. I’ve seen a similar scheme badged under “The Versatile Blogger Award” and I’m sure there are others. Of these “awards” what I have enjoyed is seeing blogger’s recommendations of other blogs that I may not have otherwise found, many of which I have ended up following.

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A nominated blogger who chooses to participate is asked to:

  • mention the person who made the nomination;
  • add the award logo to their post;
  • list seven things about him/herself; and
  • nominate other blogs for the award and let them know.

So in the spirit of fulfilling these requirements …

7 things about me (I’ve strived for things you most likely won’t know):

  1. Living the first five and a half years of my life in Kalgoorlie has conditioned me to hate going outside with bare feet – the ground was often blisteringly hot and not infrequently full of nasty prickles.
  2. I howled in confused terror the first time I saw rain – I was born during a drought and didn’t experience rain until we travelled to London to visit my grandparents when I was aged 2 ½ years. Paradoxically I am always comforted to hear rain on the roof now.
  3. I also vividly remember screaming at the colour TV when Playschool featured a tractor driving towards the camera that same holiday – I thought it was going to drive out of the screen. There was no television broadcast in Kalgoorlie so it was all new to me (indeed when TV came to Kal a couple of years later it was only in black & white).
  4. I adore silence when I’m alone – so good for the soul just to be rather than fill the void of an empty house with TV or radio.
  5. I am not sure if my love of dragonflies came from my love of art nouveau or if I was drawn initially to art nouveau because of all the dragonflies.
  6. One of the many things I love about Australia is the multicultural cuisine – yum! The palate has no excuse to be bored in this country.
  7. I have more grey hair in the latter half of my forties than my mother does in her seventies.

And the nominees are … a mixture of new and not-so-new bloggers. I will not be at all offended if those I nominate prefer not to accept the award. This is about sharing blogs I enjoy, not obligating anyone! My rationale is that to support emerging bloggers, established bloggers who post GREAT content should also be eligible. I think you’ll see my bent for writing, creativity and health with the huge overlap noted.

Because I am a list-freak (you possibly already know that from my bio’s) I need order and this may help you work out which are relevant for you:

Writing

  • Tips from Belinda Pollard at Small Blue Dog Publishing – one word = INVALUABLE
  • Natasha Lester – a veritable font of writing support
  • Elizabeth Spann Craig – great posts and a weekly list of twitterific links which are fab too.
  • Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn and Molly Greene – both share all manner of wonderful insider knowledge about writing and publishing.
  • Write to Done claims “Unmissable articles on writing” – close to the mark.
  • Writer Unboxed – varied and helpful posts and I highly recommend the WU Facebook group too.
  • If Melinda Tognini hadn’t nominated me first I’d most definitely have nominated her – Treefall Writing is newer but clearly one to follow!

Creativity

  • Because authenticity and creativity go hand in hand I have categorised Dionne Lew’s Be Your Whole Self here … but this blog truly has so much more!
  • Inspire Portal – there’s a lot here to browse so I recommend you visit the “About” page for an explanation of the tabs – The Island, The Boat, The Beach, The Temple, The Juice Bar and The Forest …

Medical

  • Fellow GP, Dr Edwin Kruys at Doctor’s Bag taught me heaps about how doctors can blog, especially the older posts on his Social Media tab.
  • For Australian GPs: FOAM4GP – A fabulous free quality online medical education blog.

A wonderful hotchpotch of the above topics and more

  • Mother, doctor and writer, Louise Allan on “Life from the Attic” – heartfelt posts and spot-on book reviews.
  • Laura Zera mostly on travel and mental health, a blog I keep coming back to.

Social Media

  • Dionne Lew – Yup, a second nomination for Dionne but a very different and useful blog.

At first I thought I’d struggle to think of 15, then found myself struggling to keep the list to 15. Apologies to those who didn’t make the short-list.

What are your thoughts on awards like these?

What great blogs have I missed?

I’d love to hear about blogs that you’d suggest are worth a visit – please share them in the comments.

With best wishes for your creative health and that of our community.

Jacquie

P.S. If you’d like to be sure to catch my next post, please sign up to follow by email (your email address will be kept private and will not be spammed). You can also follow me on Twitter (@JacquieGS), Facebook and Google+.

Disclaimer

© 2014 Jacquie Garton-Smith

When push comes to shove – juggling priorities in a time-poor world

I’ve had to make a conscious choice about my writing in recent months. Write? Yes, absolutely! But I’ve needed to prioritise which writing to focus my time on. The truth is I enjoy researching and writing blog posts. But in an already tightly scheduled life, every minute I spent preparing posts was time I was stealing from work on my novels.

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“We’re all busy!” I hear you cry. Indeed we are.

“You must post on a regular schedule,” many blogs proclaim. Indeed in an ideal world that is probably true.

“Blogging will make you a better writer …” Writing regularly will make you a better writer. Variety is good and blogging is but one great way to do this. Most importantly we must be writing.

“It doesn’t take long …” I have found that depends on the topic – some fly onto the page, others need a lot more thought.

I started blogging in 2013 and my fiction writing slowed down. Dramatically. Since I’ve taken a deliberate break from blogging, I re-found my momentum. I’ve been more focused and writing with greater clarity. I’ve finished the first draft of my second work-in-progress, completed a couple of rounds of editing on my first novel and gone back to do one on my second. This stage, although exciting, requires a major investment of time and emotional energy. As for most writers, juggling writing, family, work (I have three part-time jobs all of which I love), the usual chores and a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise can be challenging. What I have come to realise is it isn’t just about the time. It is also about the mental space to develop ideas and let them percolate; to process and, at times, stand back to gain perspective. To recharge the emotional energy bank. And to deal with the other challenges that life throws our way, especially if prone to be more of an intuitive type. Sometimes we just need to say “Enough!” I applaud you if you are doing it all and managing well and I thank those of you who have shared that you couldn’t. I came to the point that I had to accept my own limitations. As a GP, I’m constantly talking up work-life balance. Writing is a tricky one because it is as much a passion as an occupation. So maybe it’s more of a work-life-creative balance. If the need to prioritise strikes a chord, how might you do so?

  • What must you do? These are things that have to be given your attention (warning: do not let negotiable items slip in here). I put them at the top because I know they distract me if I don’t work out a plan to do them. Sometimes it’s best to do them asap to liberate yourself, otherwise scheduling time to do them later can free you to fit in regular time for other pursuits …
  • What do you most want to do? You may know immediately or you may have to reflect on this. There can be more than one but it can’t be everything … anything that isn’t a burning desire should go into the next category.
  • What’s negotiable? Being a fan of writing down what I need/want to get done to release them from my brain without fear of forgetting, I usually have a longish list. Sometimes something gets to promoted to one of the categories above, others slowly get ploughed through when I have a free minute, am too tired to write or need a short break from something else. They do get done but in my own time and not in competition with the more important items.
  • What you have achieved? Acknowledging what you have done is energising. Even crossing something off a list is satisfying, or even better, starting a new list because one has most items completed. Big achievements need even more celebration.
  • REVIEW your priorities regularly. You can shuffle them and sometimes they need adjustment to meet life’s demands.

Why am I writing a post now?  I’ve come to a natural hiatus, needing to take a step back for some distance before more editing and with ideas for my next novel gestating (yep you guessed it – in the form of a list of ideas!). Writing this popped up in my most-want-to-do category this week and here we are …

How about you? Have you had to prioritise your creativity?

What happened? What did you find useful?

With best wishes for your creative health and that of our community.

Jacquie

P.S. If you’d like to be sure to catch my next post, please sign up to follow by email. You can also follow me on  Twitter (@JacquieGS)Facebook and Google+ .

Disclaimer

© 2014 Jacquie Garton-Smith

From Books and Band-aids to Blogs

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How daunting is it writing a first blog when there are so many great blogs out there?

I feel thoroughly enriched by reading many blogs. Even when they touch on the same subject, I find each one reinforces the others, often offering a different take and building further understanding of the issue. And what a joy when you read the line that gives you an aha moment or truly resonates.

I thought looking for a good blog would be like finding a needle in a haystack, to use a cliché that is not very relevant today. But the art of blogging that I have observed is one of being efficient with words and concepts and hence valuable key messages are not hard to identify.

What also amazes and impresses me is how willing people are to share their knowledge and ideas so freely, both to write their blogs and respond to comments. In some cases, even to connect in a more meaningful way.

In the first few weeks of participating actively in social media I have been fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity to have coffee with a local academic GP leader to discuss collaborative opportunities, to Skype with a GP in England who shared some visionary ideas around electronic health records and to join a national initiative that will have enormous potential to create positive change in health, Change Day Australia.

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I am hugely grateful for the time that people give for the greater good. I’m not sure these would have arisen via my usual networks, and certainly not so quickly and easily.

The collective momentum has potential beyond anything we could have dreamed of in the pre-digital era. It is also important to ensure that quality information is available, particularly when there are some dodgy sources out there.

Anyone who knows me knows that I usually have something to say. So why not say it on the most public platform of all, the internet? And join this fantastic community of individuals sharing their perspectives with anyone who cares to read it.

I hope to bring together my experiences as a doctor, a writer and a very ordinary human being, as we all are at the heart of it, to contribute to the greater good. My mum has recently reminded me that as a child all I wanted for treats were books and Band-Aids so perhaps my callings were evident from a young age!

I hope you will join me for my next blog on where health and creativity intersect. If you’d like to be sure to catch my next post, please sign up to follow by email. You can also follow me on  Twitter (@JacquieGS)Facebook and Google+ .

How has your life been enriched by a blog?

If you blog, what has been your journey?

With best wishes for your creative health and that of our community.

Jacquie

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Photo by Mia Holton

Disclaimer
© 2013 Jacquie Garton-Smith  (Photo of Jacquie by Mia Holton,Change Day image thanks to changeday.com.au )