This week I’ve been climbing out of a dip. It’s gone well.
The book word count hasn’t increased because my ‘writing’ time wasn’t spent writing. But it’s been productive just the same.
I’ve been using a couple of tools to help me wrangle words and get some clarity.
First up mind-mapping. I use a program called MindNode. I have it on my Macbook and my iPad. It’s simple to use on both and it syncs seamlessly between devices. After trying many others this is the one that stuck.
I used it to create a timeline of the key events that will make up the content of ‘A Foolish Odyssey’.
Here’s what that looks like after this weeks work.
You’ll not be able to read the content. I’m not ready to share yet. But you get the idea.
Maybe access to some of this background stuff might make a worthwhile Patreon bonus. Any thoughts?
I’d expected that the mindmap would be enough to get me unstuck. It helped, but I needed more.
Enter my second tool.
Index Card for iPad. This app works just like a physical corkboard. If I lived ashore I’d have a study with a big corkboard on the wall. That’s not an option on a sailboat.
The app allows me to create ‘cards’, colour them, stack them, write on both sides and shuffle them around.
The screenshot below shows my work in progress Index Card.
You can see some of the text on this one. Don’t read anything into it. It’s just a first draft and it’s not there for comment. Some of it will not make it into the book.
Actually my writing software Scrivener has a corkboard built in. I love Scrivener but it has a steep learning curve and levels of ability far above my own. I prefer to use tools that match my simplicity.
Anyway, now I can use these individual index cards to guide my writing sessions. I’ll know exactly what I’m writing about and how it fits into the whole story. This week I’ll be back to early morning focused writing.
I mentioned Patreon earlier. It’s just one of the possible income streams I’m investigating. The other is linking to selected products as an affiliate. Affiliate marketing is something I once considered as an online business. I invested a lot of time and money in courses and setting up a number of websites. In the end I discovered it just didn’t work for me. Too many dodgy practices, dodgy products and a huge investment of time needed to make it worthwhile.
Despite that I think it’s still something that could add a few coppers to the pot. So far in this post I’ve mentioned three products I use. I included links to their websites. Right now they’re just links. If you clicked through and decided to buy the product I wouldn’t get a penny. Being an affiliate means setting up those links so that they can be tracked. If any purchases are made through that link I get paid a small commission.
That’s something I’ll be doing over the coming weeks. I may even set up a separate product page on the site. There’ll be no promotion though. I’ll only ever include things that I’ve personally tested, used myself and that I think might be helpful to you.
Don’t worry. This isn’t the thin end of a wedge. You’ll never see advertising of any sort here.
There’s been some other income activity this week.
I’ve taken on some paid work.
There’s a big catamaran just down the pontoon from us. They have a load of solar panels that need removing and replacing with new ones. They’re all stuck to the GRP anti-slip cabin tops with Sikaflex. It’ll be a long tedious job. The owner asked if I’d consider giving him a hand in return for a few euros. I said yes.
It’s not the first time I’ve been asked to work on another boat. Folks find out I built ‘Gleda’ and figure I must be ‘handy’. I’ve always helped if I could but I’ve also refused to take cash. We had a few meals out in Lagos in return for services rendered but that was it.
My thinking is different now. The No15 project is about using all my talents and abilities to make this lifestyle sustainable. That means making the most of any opportunities to do so.
Two runs completed this week on Tuesday and Saturday.
For the first time I was able to finish each leg without stopping. At the moment each leg is 2.5km to my turning spot up above Cala Cortina then 2.5km back. There are some wooden benches at the halfway point perfect for my 5 Tibetans routine.
That means I’ve run 4 x 2.5km this week. I’m really pleased with that. I’m also now completing the full 21 repetitions of each Tibetan exercise. When I started in January I could only manage five or six.
On Wednesday Gail and I walked up to the Hermita de Calvario (Hermitage of Calvary) high above Cartagena.
It’s a steep scenic walk with some religious significance.
The church and hermitage were founded by Augustinian monks in 1256. The site was chosen because of it’s similarity in vegetation and climate to the hill of Calvary (Golgotha) outside Jerusalem. There are three crosses on the summit. A large one to represent that of Jesus Christ, flanked by two smaller ones to represent those of the two thieves he was supposedly crucified with.
Along the path up to the church are 14 numbered ‘stations of the cross’. Each depicts a different scene from the day of Christ’s execution.
At the end of March each year the Romeria del Carvario takes place. The statue of Our Lady of The Solitude normally resident on the altar of the church, is carried on the shoulders of a dozen or more men up the rocky path back up the mountain.
They stop at each of the ‘stations’ to give prayers. Having walked the path ourselves I’m guessing they also stop to catch their breath.
Since the dictator Franco died in 1975 Spain has changed. It is not a Catholic country anymore. Religion has become tradition.
I don’t subscribe to any organised religion and I hesitate to categorise myself. But just this afternoon someone asked about my beliefs. I found it a difficult question to answer and it bugged me.
After a bit of research I think I’ve found a label I can use.
I’m a Pantheist.
The Wikipedia link is there because you may want to look it up; I had to.
Short version: Pantheists see human beings as one small part of a vast natural order, with the Cosmos itself made conscious in us.
Travel the world and you’ll see temples, cathedrals and mosques. You’ll see stone circles, statues and altars They are all places where once many came to worship the deity of their choice. To find spiritual comfort or gratification. A few still do.
For me these places and the religions associated with them are part of history, no longer relevant.
So if tradition has replaced religion in Spain I think it’s a good thing. From what I’ve seen these so far these traditions harm no one. They seem to bring people together, there’s laughter and joyful sharing.
We’ll go and watch the Romeria del Carvario ascend the mountain in March. I’ll let you know if I’m right.