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Have Fun With It
It’s January, the month where many people vow to break their bad habits or adopt new positive habits. I’m all for positive change, except when the pursuit of that change results in people beating themselves up.
Last year I joined a gym, and went from exercising alone to exercising in a group three days a week. And then I suffered a setback. Most of my November was spent dealing with a swollen cervical disc that limited the mobility of my shoulder. Once that was settled, I spent much of December trying to figure out how to get into the swing of things again. I felt like I was back to square one, that this fragile habit I’d spent six months coaxing into existence was now history.
This week, I realized, that’s bullshit. Maybe my strength and stamina were challenged. But I can work back up to that. The core habit, the mental attitude, is all very much my decision. I’m not “out of the habit” as if the habit is controlling me. It’s a choice, and I choose to be gung-ho about showing up for class.
Sometimes our limitations are more insidious than that. In December I met a guy who was giving away prints of photographs he’d taken. He told me about a photographer’s group he’d joined that was belittling him for using a point-and-shoot camera. To prove them wrong, he went out and took a bunch of shots and had them printed up big at Costco, just so he could say, “See, I get plenty of detail with my camera.”
The funny part was, I figured he must really know his point-and-shoot to get such a wide range of shots (some landscape, some macro, all with a nice range of color.) Nope. He just left his camera setting on “auto.”
That was a big “a-ha” moment for me. I realized I had been telling myself it was useless for me to pursue photography since I didn’t have a professional camera, and furthermore, I had never taken the time to learn how to override the manual settings on my point-and-shoot to get the effects I was looking for. Looking at this guy’s stack of photos, I realized that those weren’t reasons. They were excuses.
It turns out there are all kinds of cool settings on my point-and-shoot I didn’t know about, since I’d never given myself permission to just have fun with it. Here’s an example of a snowstorm at dusk shot a few seconds apart, with three different camera mode settings. In the shots where the snowflakes are glowing, a flash was used. It never would have occurred to me to use a strobe outdoors at night—just goes to show how much mileage you can get from experimentation.
What about you? Is there anything you’ve been dying to tinker with, but you’ve got a million “reasons” why you don’t? I’m inspired to try new things by the print the photographer gave to me. Maybe the image of my “snow at night” experiment will do the same for you!
Warm wishes for a delightful and inspired 2013,
The Turbulence series is drawing to a close! The last episode, Final Boarding, will be published February 15. At that time I’ll also release a Turbulence Collection omnibus that will allow the episodes to be read as a novel. The Turbulence Collection will be priced at the JCP Books novel price (which is $5.99 for an ebook of this length.)
For the readers who have been voluntarily purchasing the installments at JCP Books, I will run a spreadsheet to see who’s paid more than $5.99 and get a free copy of the collection in their hands. It’s not my intention to make anyone double-pay for the story. Just to give readers options.
I also plan to release the Turbulence Collection in print, though production on the paperback hasn’t started yet, so its release may not coincide exactly with the final ebook episode.
If you’re keeping up with the installments but you think you will re-read the series, I recommend you re-download books 1 and 2 first. Book 1 has a few factual corrections and book 2 has some worldbuilding inconsistencies ironed out. You can check which version you have on the copyright page. The latest version of Into the Bermuda Triangle is 1.2 (or Smashwords edition 1.3), and Autopilot Engaged is 1.1.