Tag Archives: writing

My 3 Words: Stretch, Focus and Learn.


Using the concepts from the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard Chris Brogan came up with a refreshingly productive new approach to New Year’s Resolutions. In his blog post, My 3 Words for 2013, he walks us through identifying a goal, the barriers to obtaining it and then, identifying three trigger words to remind us how we need to change ourselves to reach the goal. He writes:

Switch, talked about needing three elements to bring about change: a rider (your plans and intents), the elephant (what your mood will do no matter what your plans say), and the path (the environment within which you intend to implement those changes). The concept of the three words is like the path.

I am resolution averse. However, I have had a measure of  success lately with resolutions:  in 2010 by not answering kids when they yell at me from some other room,  in 2011 by starting this blog and in 2012 by baking cookies. This year my goal feels fuzzier:  I want to write more or better or be read more widely. Hard to pin down; hard to define and therefore hard to accomplish. But, let’s see what I can do with Brogan’s technique.

So, I’d like to write. The elephants are crowding the room. I am too busy. I shoot down my efforts. I lack skills in grammar, style and writing technique. I get distracted. What is my path?

Stretch means to make myself a bit uncomfortable. I am short on time. I hate getting out of bed in the dark but, perhaps finding time to write means doing so. Writing regularly means writing less than perfect pieces at times. Or, asking for feedback. Or, writing about difficult topics. Stretching means risking.

Focus means remembering my goals. It is so easy to be swept away by the small pleasures and simple tasks of the day. Day after day until I realize a year is gone again. Focus means giving myself permission to put writing before laundry or phone calls or pleasant visits from neighbors

Learn is easy to define. I went to a liberal arts college which at the time had no general education requirements. I took political science, philosophy and science… no English. Therefore I have a load to learn. Starting with grammar; for example, how to use a semicolon.700206__large

At work I have two exam rooms. This card hangs in the one reserved for teen patients so that I can see it daily. Hopefully some of them read it and I’ll bet many of those that do wonder why on earth number 6 is on the list but, I know.

Thanks go to Bryan Vartabedian whose blog post at 33 Charts got me started with my 3.


I am still reading The Creative Habit by Twila Tharp, I am motivated by Doctor_V  but, I still haven’t gotten out of bed before the sun to write. What a struggle this creating a writing habit is. I write for fun, I write for pay, I write to get better at writing but, increasingly it is hard to carve the time to get the job done.

The kids interrupt. The “dog” barks. The cell phone rings. The house phone rings. I ought to exercise. My hair grew. The garden grew. My neighbor is all kinds of fun. All kinds of excuses. But dear reader, the biggest distraction is this computer! Email (on 4 different accounts, don’t ask), Facebook, Twitter. The NYTimes and LATimes on-line. Love Wikipedia! Need to check to see if I have comments here to respond to. How many people looked at my blog today?…  Oof! How, when we write for a living on the computer, do we turn it off to write?


TV dinners

I enjoyed Dr Vs post about writing being a habit despite the kids and puppy (oh I know that combination all too well).  I read his link to The Myth of the Perfect Writing Environment … I took his message to heart. I tried to get up at 5 AM like him. Really I did….but eww? It was dark out? And cold? Ick.

So, to get my writing in tonight I let the kids watch Home Alone 3 and eat dinner on the floor in front of the TV.  I’m guessing that is not what he meant me to do? But, they don’t watch very much TV really, and most of the time they are sitting with me at the table being force-fed art history so its okay – right?

Thanks and the sound of falling trees

All week I have been struggling with an existentialist question. I am certain that it is one that many new bloggers face:

If you blog and no one reads it, did you write at all?

I did not really begin this blog to gain readers, true. I started it to have a creative outlet, to practice writing, to improve, to challenge myself and to get some of the thoughts about art, parenting, and daily life out of my head and onto “paper”. I have struggled a bit with the scope of this blog; I have questioned the combination of blogging about art/parenting/pediatrics.

Somedays I am too busy trying to balance clinic and home to come up with a good idea to write about. More often, the ideas are busting out of my head begging to get written about but the time is short.

Mostly lately it has seemed sort of quiet around here. Then tonight, I logged on and noticed an unusually high number of visits to my site today. A bit of research led me to the reason why. Bryan Vartabedian, MD of 33charts.com and his post highlighting voices from the medical blogosphere that he has enjoyed; those that are unique and compelling. I am, quite simply, honored to have been included.

It seems perhaps that my fallen tree made a sound after all.