Many people will not understand how engaging in a true debate could be relaxing in any sense of the word, but for me, debates offer a great distraction that keep my mind in a healthy state of exercise and contemplation. I don't have time to dwell on negative thoughts or frustrations brought on by other people whom I cannot avoid or address.
So winter has truly set in for me now. We've had enough snow in the past week that the private lane I live on is covered with a compacted layer of icy white stuff. You don't get to my place without four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive at this time of year. It's great if you don't like visitors! But at the same time, it can be more than a bit of a problem. Sometimes I can get snowed in or snowed out.
This weekend, western Pennsylvania and the surrounding region had to deal with some relatively common winter weather. So most people in our region spent the weekend at home, avoiding the cold as much as possible. I took advantage of the long, uneventful hours by working on some fanart. I know I should have probably spent part of the weekend writing or editing, but it's been nearly a year since I took time to work on a piece solely for my enjoyment. And the time spent on sketching, painting, and coloring helped distract my mind from other things.
There is nothing wrong with remembering your past and acknowledging it. It's okay if things that you've lived through still hurt and bring you pause. But you should not allow your past to overrule your present or your future. It can take some people longer to get over past damage or loss or injustice, but that does not justify clinging to your grief and pain so tightly that you not only fail to heal but also do more damage to yourself.
While painting and sketching will always remain a hobby for me, they are still activities in which I want to develop my skills. As I've explained previously, these types of visual arts can help me with my writing process, particularly when I'm trying to hammer out details or rid myself of a distraction. Over the past few days, I have been doing the latter, working on a fanart project that has been distracting my mind from my current manuscript.
For me, New Year's Eve is a night to stay in and relax. I may watch one of the First Night countdowns on TV, but chances are better that you'll find me tuning in to some educational marathon or a good movie. Many of my friends and relatives do the same. We're not late-night party people. (Most of us prefer caffeine to alcohol!) But with 2019 starting in just a few hours, we are trying to set some goals and make plans for the new year.
Holidays can be an overly busy time with little wiggle room to relax and take care of oneself. There are social events and associated preparations to be made on top of typical work and home life. For those inclined to creative pursuits, we run short on free time. Long-term projects often get put on hold, but sometimes smaller projects pop up in the way of making gifts or helping others with their own giving.
Coming near the end of another year brings many people to reflect back on what they've done since the prior holiday season. I had plenty of goals that I wanted to accomplish in 2018, but few of them materialized. Last December, I was already a month into having mono without knowing it.
Despite having a long weekend to go with the Thanksgiving holiday, I have gotten very little done in the past few days, at least in the way of writing or photo-editing. Early in the week, the cooling fan for my laptop decided to go on the fritz, and I'm afraid to do too much work on any of my files due to the warning messages I keep getting about the fan. I often run through hardware before my software becomes obsolete, but each time it happens, I always wonder if it's worth getting repairs done or if I would be better served buying a new computer.
There is a lot of advice floating around out there concerning growing your social media followers and how to promote yourself (something every writer wanting an audience needs to do), but the marketing gurus I watch don't seem to receive much interaction from their tens or hundreds of thousands of followers. Maybe their analytics show that their posts are getting a lot of views, but I can't help but notice that they aren't getting very many likes or retweets... So how effective is their advice if their followers don't seem to believe it's worth sharing?