Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spring Birds and Summer Challenges

I can't believe we are at the end of May already. The month flew by and, as usual, I have no idea where the time went. To all my American readers, I hope you enjoyed the Memorial Day holiday weekend, and the unofficial kick-off to summer. We certainly have summer temperatures here in Ohio as we turn the calendar over to June.

I met some new little friends in May as a pair of robins built their nest in the forsythia bush in my parents' yard. We discovered the family when my nephew was trimming the bush, and nearly cut the branches that held the nest. Thankfully, he saw the nest in time and quit trimming, but it was a big shock as the parents had done such a great job of hiding the nest, we had no idea the babies were there.

At first, we were afraid the nest would no longer have enough shelter since the bush had been trimmed, but luckily that wasn't the case and the babies continued to thrive and grow. I loved checking on them and watching their progress.

Yesterday morning, my mom saw one of the little birds fly away and, sure enough, by the end of the day they were all gone. When I went to check on them yesterday afternoon, the nest was completely empty, and had the look of a vacant house. No traces of the little bird family remained.

I can't deny I'll miss checking in on these guys. But, it was somehow fitting that as the temperatures soared and the holiday marked the start of summer here in the US, the little birds of spring went away.

As May ends and the summer months begin, I am measuring my progress on some ongoing challenges.

I joined the 400 Mile Fitness Challenge back in February, and I have found it to be very motivating. I love watching my little runner move forward on my exercise ticker, and was excited to see her reach the halfway point last week. I want to say thank you again to Shanae Branham at Triumph and Tears for taking over hosting duties on the challenge, and keeping it going. I'm anxious to continue on, and look forward to staying on track with early morning walks this summer.

Unfortunately, staying on track with my writing challenge isn't really possible, as I'm so far off the track I can't even see it. I signed up for May...You Write Your Novel at the beginning of May, with the goal of writing 1000 words a day and ending up with 80,000 words by July 19th. By now, I should have around 30,000 words. What do I have instead? About 8500.

I can only blame this on my typical pattern of procrastinating until the last possible minute to complete anything. If MYWYN had been an assignment back when I was in school, I would have been up all night on July 18th trying to hammer out as many words as possible. Old habits die hard.

So May was a bust for me on this challenge, but I'm determined to make June better. I still have 50 days to go until the end of MYWYN, so I can start now, give myself a kick in the pants, and crank out those words. I'm turning to one of my favorite motivational quotes to get inspired.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. ~ Samuel Beckett

Happy June, everyone!


  1. Great quote. I'm excited to start my next round of revisions. I'm hoping that my excitement will overcome procrastination.

  2. Baby birds are awesome. We were at a barbecue on Sunday and there was a baby screech owl. So cute. Try not to beat yourself up, Julie. We can only do just so much. You'll get there.

  3. Hey, any step forward is progress. Just ask those baby birds that left the nest. :)

  4. Aww, those baby birds are so adorable! Great capture! So nice you were able to watch them grow like that. :)
    I'm keeping my fingers crossed on the MYWYN challenge! 50 days to go doesn't sound all too bad, I know you can do it. :)Hang in there.
    Congrats on the 400 miles challenge, 204 miles is so great!

  5. Adorable little baby birds!
    Happy summer to you!
    Nice to meet you! Thanks for visiting me!

    True, old habits die hard. Love the end quote!


  6. Julie it is a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for stopping by my blog. I lived in Cleveland Ohio for twenty years.

    I totally understand procrastination. We're very good friends. But, you should not let it get you down. I don't like setting goals like that because they get me off track. Your mind should be on writing not deadlines. Stay in your write mind...

  7. Great quote that I'll have to pass along to my boys! We couldn't procrastinate that much in April during A-Z, so you're entitled to slow down. I also always put everything off until the last minute. You are a successful, published writer now, so I know that you will do well! Julie

  8. It's so fun to watch bird's nests.

    If you hadn't signed up for the challenge, I bet you would have had 0 words instead of 8000+. You are being hard on yourself!

  9. You are lucky to have the nest where you can watch it. I have a new baby bat, well under my deck. :)

    Best of luck with June, cheer, cheer!!
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  10. So bittersweet, watching the little creatures come into being, and then so quickly, off they go! You'll do just fine with your writing, just gotta do it.

  11. Hi Julie,
    What a fun blog! Thanks for following mine. I've left a little something on there for you. Hope you enjoy it!! I'm really looking forward to reading more of your posts!! All the best!

  12. @Carrie, good luck with the revisions!! I can imagine you must be really excited. :)

    @Karen, thank you. Oh, I bet that little screech owl was cute! I don't think I've ever seen a baby owl up close, how adorable.

    @L.G., good point, thanks!

    @Carina, thanks so much, I appreciate it! And I just loved those little birds, they were so cute.

    @stacey, thank you, happy summer to you as well! Thanks so much for coming by.

    @Orlando, thanks for coming by, great to meet a former fellow Ohioan! You have a good point about deadlines, maybe that is the best course for me to take as well.

    @Julie, that's so nice of you to say, thank you so much!

    @Michelle, good point, I hadn't thought of it that way. Thanks!

    @Jules, I did feel lucky to be able to see the nest like this, I've never been able to see little birds so clearly before. Thanks so much for the good luck wishes! Best wishes to you for June as well. :)

    @Melissa, it's so true, they were gone so quickly I couldn't believe it! Thanks for your encouraging words, I do just need to do it, very true.

    @lormandela, oh, thanks for leaving me something, I will be by your blog to see, thanks so much! Always fun to have a surprise! :)

  13. Great job on your 400 mile challenge. 1/2 way there is great! I could not think of 1000 words a day for a novel so I guess that is why I'm not a author! Rats, I can picture me at book signings but first I have to write the book!!! Where to start, what to say, what to do with it when it's done. So many questions, no answers.

  14. @LynnMarie, thanks so much, I was excited to reach the 1/2 way point. LOL, I know what you mean, I can imagine the book signings too, never mind that I actually have to write the book first!

  15. Great quote. Fail better. Love it!
    Look at it this way - you've got all those words actually written ;-) So what if you didn't make the goal yet - keep going!

  16. @Katie, thanks so much, I will! :)

  17. I understand procrastination all too well. With challenges like these, though, I think they can be used to help me slide into a routine or push past a roadblock, so even if you don't complete your original goal, starting partway through is nothing to be ashamed of. It's good to challenge ourselves, but not to let it turn into something else to beat ourselves up about, you know? Good luck with your fitness challenge and the MYWYN challenge!

  18. @Shannon, thanks! I am terrible about beating myself up, and that is a bad habit I need to break. You are so right, and I do think just getting a good start is a great thing as well, I need to remember that. Thanks for your good wishes!


Thank you for your comments!