Comfort for Your Monday Moaning Blues

Traditionally Monday is the worst day of the week. I get it. I used to moan about Monday. Every. Single. Week. And it never got better. Monday became a thing to dread. Until I remembered some childhood lessons. There is comfort for your Monday moaning blues in these quotes. Revisiting the wisdom in some children’s books might even be a cure.

Image background is a rumpled sheet and a rumpled pink blanket. Foreground has a sign that reads "I need cake because Monday." and a yellow tray holding a blue plate of cake. Read this post Comfort for you Monday Moaning Blues

How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em. How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.

A Light In The Attic, Shel Silverstein 

Attitude is a Choice

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.

The Little Engine That Could, Watty Piper

The story of The Little Engine That Could is about a happy little train carrying toys and food for girls and boys. But the engine breaks down on the wrong side of the mountain. Large, powerful engines pass by and none of them will help. Finally, a little blue engine comes. She’s never gone over the mountain before, but she thinks she can do it. And she does. 

Next Monday, listen to your co-workers. How many of them are vocalizing Monday moaning blues? How many times does their attitude affect the cheerful or okay people?

If you meet Mondays with dread because Mondays are “always” terrible. They will always be terrible. Find something good today about the day—and mean it. “It’s a beautiful day.” Stop before you grumble about being stuck inside. Whatever you focus on, you will carry with you the rest of the day.

Believe

Life will never be the same because there had never been anyone like you… ever in the world before.

On the Night You were Born, Nancy Tillman

Closely related to attitude, belief is something deeper. It’s part of the core of who you are. Sometimes, life wears you down and you doubt who you are. But belief is magic. Believe you can fly through Mondays and nothing will get you down.

The moment where you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever being able to do it.

Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie 

But there was one other thing that the grown-ups also knew, and it was this: that however small the chance might be of striking lucky, the chance is there. The chance had to be there. This particular bar of chocolate had as much chance as any other of having a Golden Ticket.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl

Sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what to know. You are the one who’ll decide where to go.

Oh! The Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss

No More Monday Moaning Blues

If these quotes from beloved children’s books haven’t cured you, did they help you get through this Monday? If not, reach into your Mental Health First A

id Kit and use a tool to help make this and all the Mondays in your future better.

Image of a cartoon style Glinda the Good witch with big green eyes, purple and pink hat and dress, and a black broom. She offers comfort for your monday moaning.

You had the power all along, my dear.

Glinda the Good Witch, The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum

Listen to Glinda. You have the power to cure your Monday moaning blues. How’s it going?

Progress is Invisible Unless You Track It

Making progress is invisible unless you track it. Especially when you’re a slow writer or working on a long-term project, you need to track your progress. Evaluating your progress is essential to learning how to improve your processes. And making my monthly reports to you keeps me on task.

Image of a black and white target with a red dart perfectly centered on the red bull's eye but how do you know when you've hit a project's target? For long-term projects, progress is invisible unless you track it.

How To Track Progress

My way involves a calendar journal and spreadsheets. Breaking a task, like writing a novel, down into its smallest parts helps keep the creator from being overwhelmed. Focusing only on the small parts can make the creator feel as if they work and work without making progress. 

The way I combat the disillusionment of I’m-not-getting-anything-done, is to track my time, word counts, and project “steps.” You can use your calendar, a tally sheet, or a day planner. Anything that helps you keep track of what you’ve accomplished and what you need to do next will work. The Write Practice has a basic post about tracking progress for writers.

Intentions vs. Goals

I use intentions rather than goals. Intentions allow business to give way to life and life to give way to business. I also use three broad baskets to describe what I do: Making (anything creative), Managing (any non-writing and non-marketing duties), Marketing (from creating ads to attending marketing events), and Home (all activities not related to creating or selling books—from appointments to yard care).

Making

I’m delighted to report progress! More words, more chapters revised, and more time on the making and creating side of business. I have not finished If I Should Die. SIGH. I’m seeing a glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel. I doubt I’ll finish it next month but am hopeful I will finish this draft and send it to beta readers at the end of September or first of October.

Managing

No power outages this month, thank goodness. I’ve made progress in this area too. In the managing area particularly, making progress is invisible unless you track it. Thanks to my spreadsheet, I can see that I’ve caught up on several tasks. Not totally caught up, but I was nearly a year behind so there’s a lot of little things to get done.

One thing I’ve added back into my day is listening to podcasts about writing and marketing and history. Feels good to do that again.

Marketing

Fortunately, it takes very little effort to keep Amazon ads running. New ads on Amazon take a time and work. I’ve met my intentions in the Marketing area. And I’ve benefited from making a few tweaks I learned about in a podcast.

Home

Photograph of the living room of an old, abandoned house--a pedal driven sewing machine, a dining table, and upholstered chairs are thick with dust--progress is invisible unless you track it--in this place, I think it might be visible.

There’s even been progress on the home front. This has been the most neglected area during the past five months, so any progress is progress. My vertigo has lessened significantly. I am experiencing more and more time when I have no vertigo. Yay!

After a half-day of mini-drama, they delivered my new washing machine. Miracle of miracles, I can complete all my laundry in a single day. Guess I needed one more than I knew. *Smile*

I spent half-a-day with two different couples I hadn’t seen in—gosh, a long time. We are all vaccinated and quite isolated. Visiting in person with them was a real treat.

Not only did I get some more of my husband’s things sorted, I gave some items to appropriate persons/organizations. So the house is a bit neater. While no one would say my house is neat and clean, the health department won’t kick me out… yet. (I haven’t reached the level of dust in the house pictured above.)

Events

Felt good enough I attended my weekly write in group and critique group two or three times this month.I also attended a dozen online classes focused on the writing business. 

Last Month & Last Year

I came extremely close to doubling my word count over last month. Yet, I’m still woefully behind in words written compared to July 2020. 

Between all that’s happened the first six months of this year and the fact that I’m revising, I’m counting this month as a win. Higher word counts will come in time, and will soar when I draft book three.

What I Learned

I started reading Robert McKee’s Dialogue: the Art of Verbal Action for the Page, Stage, and Screen. McKee has an interesting take on what functions as dialogue in a story. His view is that all parts of a story are dialogue. I have to agree in that all parts of a story are at least a dialogue with the reader. I’m eager to delve deeper into his insights.

At the beginning of the month I struggled with “the next chapter.” No matter what I wrote, it wasn’t as compelling as I want my stories to be. It took a few days, but I finally remembered to stop and go deeper into the viewpoint character’s mind and heart. Once I did that, the writing flowed.

Going Forward

Creative work comes first. That’s my focus. If I’m not putting story words on paper, I’m not myself. Off my game, I am morose and certain I’m spiraling in a negative direction. Tracking it, evaluating it monthly keeps me mindful of what I do. Reporting here keeps me honest about it. In many creative endeavors, making progress is invisible unless you track it. Do you track the progress of your creative endeavors?

The First Female Olympic Champion to Strike Gold

The first modern Olympic Games took place in Athens, Greece, April 6–15, 1896. Women athletes could not participate for ninety-four years. Hélène de Pourtalès of Switzerland became the first female athlete to compete at the Olympic Games and the first female Olympic Champion to strike gold.

About Hélène

Portrait of the Countessa Hélène de Pourtalès the first female Olympic Champion to strike gold.
contessa

Hélène de Pourtalès (pronounced El-én day Por-tá-lay) was born in New York, New York on April 28, 1868 to Henry Barbe and Mary Lorillard Barbey.They named her Helen Barbey. 

Her father was an affluent financier. Her mother came from a family whose wealth came from a tobacco empire. Helen inherited her passion for horses and love of sailing. Her uncle, Pierre Lorillard IV, lived in Newport, Rhode Island and helped make it a yachting center. He was also a Thoroughbred racehorse owner.

On April 25, 1891, Helen married Hermon Alexander, Count von Pourtalès, (1847–1904). He was a captain of the Cuirassiers of the Guard, a heavy cavalry regiment of the Royal Prussian Army. She became known as Hélène de Pourtalès.

Hélène had dual citizenship, Swiss and American. Her husband had dual Swiss-German nationality. They had three daughters.

In 1896 Europe’s most prominent families had personal flotillas. Among them were members of the Swiss Pourtalès family.

The Olympics

Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937), was a French educator and historian, the instigator of the modern Olympic Games, and founder of the International Olympic Committee. He said that female athletes would be “impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic, and incorrect.”

But in 1900 they allowed a few female athletes to compete as long as their legs were “aesthetically” covered by long skirts. They only allowed women to participate in five out of nineteen sports: tennis, sailing, croquet, equestrianism and golf. Out of 997 athletes, twenty-two were women.

One hundred-fifty yachts from six countries competed at the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris. Each yacht followed rules from their own area since the International Yacht Racing Union did not yet exist. No rules existed to standardize the boats either. They ordered classes by tonnage.   

On May 22, Hélène was a crew member along with her husband’s nephew aboard the Swiss boat, Lérina. Her husband was helmsman. They won gold in the first of the two regattas for the 1-2 ton class boats. In the second race three days later, they won silver.

Sepia tone photograph of the Swiss boat Lérina, crewed by Hélène de Pourtalès the first female Olympic champion to strike gold.

Hélène was the first Swiss female athlete to go to the Olympics, the first female athlete to compete at the Games, and the first female  Olympic Gold Medalist. 

NOTE: England’s Charlotte Cooper was the first individual female Olympic champion, as winner of the women’s tennis singles tournament. She also won a gold medal in the mixed doubles.

From First to Current

Hélène de Pourtalès was the first female Olympic Champion to strike gold. But she wasn’t the last. From 1956 to 1964 the Russian gymnast, Larisa Latynina, won fourteen individual medals and four team medals and became the female with the most Olympic medals. This year in Tokyo, almost 49% of the 10,305 Olympic athletes are female. It’s taken 121 years to be close to gender equality in numbers. Someday, hopefully soon, there will be true equality.