The Outgoing November Challenge

Part Two: How to get ready for a November full of inspiring encounters

In November, I want to get away from online stories and into more real life experience. I invite to for making new connections with people and refreshing the old ones, recovering our creative potential and getting a heap of inspiration. This is Part Two of the Outgoing November Challenge. If this is the first time you read about it, don’t fret. Go back to Part One and quickly get an overview. We’ll wait here until you are ready. Remember last week’s lists? We need them now for some scheduling and connection action. People Connect to the people you found in your social media contacts and in your phone book and whom you listed last week. Ask them out. Invite them to your favourite café, to your party, to a meeting, for lunch, a get-together or an event. Use few but personal sentences. Don’t be nervous. Nothing can go wrong. The worst they can say is No. We listed ten (at least). Ask them all! Also: Find local groups or meet-ups online. Join likeminded people who share your interests. Connect with them online, then schedule their meeting in the calendar. Here are the people I will write to/ have written to:

  • the Volunteers (2) (Nov 10)
  • the Magazine People (3) (asked)
  • the Soprano (asked)
  • the Base (asked)
  • the Gals (5) (asked) (meeting one at the graduation)
  • the Artists (2) (asked both, meeting one Nov 5)
  • the Guys (3) (asked)
  • His Classmates (5)
  • my friends wife (asked)

Places and Events Chose at least five from last week’s list. Those that sound interesting, those that are for free, those that are easy to reach. Put them in your calendar. Buy the tickets, if you have to. Look up the opening hours. Ask other people if they want to join (ideally those from the People section above). Here’s my schedule:

  • McMillan Library
  • Sarakasi Dome
  • Pine Tree in Sarova Hotel
  • Greenspan Mall
  • Jamia Mosque
  • Shree Swaminarayan Temple
  • Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Family
  • Kitengela Glass (set: Nov 3)
  • My friend’s place upcountry (asked)
  • Informal Studio Architecture Exhibition (Oct 30 – Nov 23)
  • Lusophone Film Fest (Nov 1) (going!)
  • Movies at Alliance Francaise (Nov 3, 10, 17, 24)
  • Pwani comes Upcountry Art Exhibition (Nov 6-23)
  • Couchsurfing Meeting (Nov 7) (registered online)
  • African Documentary Film Fest (Nov 10-15) (going! waiting for the programme)
  • Water! Performance (Nov 21-22) (set: Nov 21)
  • Maasai Mara University Graduation (Nov 28)

Exercise Think of something small you can do. Something you may want to pick up again. Something that pushes you outside the door. Or chose something completely new. Find out how and where to do it and schedule it. Again: Join groups or invite people. I will:

  • pick up running (twice a week)
  • yoga
  • go swimming (Nov 10)
  • go dancing

Me, myself and I Whatever is on your list: pick three things and find out how and where to do them. Watch tutorials, but better: Find people in your neighbourhood who do it, who can teach you, who meet for crochet cafés or jam sessions or gardening action. Record their meeting dates, schedule them and go there! Here’s my list and action plan:

  • taking more photos in the streets, especially in the evening
  • crafting earrings from shells (buy hangers and thread at Maasai Market on Nov 16)
  • learning how to use a sewing machine
  • making a new calendar/diary/planner for 2015 (on Nov 8)
  • planting veggies on the balcony (started in October, collect more seeds and soil and expand!)
  • biking in town
  • baking bread
  • Permaculture course (Nov 23, registered online)
  • donate blood

Combine the areas above. Invite people to places, meet people at events, do exercise in new places, learn something with new people… Make this Outgoing November happen!

Share your lists! Put them on your blog and link them here. Tell me on facebook. Join the email list and write me there! Or let me know in the comments.

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The Outgoing November Challenge

Part One: How to make next month a really inspiring experience

I have spent way too much time in front of a screen lately. So I am going to push myself away from it. And I invite you to join the Outgoing November Challenge.

It’s about getting away from online stories and into more real life experience, making new connections with people and refreshing the old ones, recovering our creative potential and getting a heap of inspiration. Are you in?

Here is how it works

In the coming weeks we’ll prepare ourselves step by step, so that in November we just have to go out. We’ll focus on four areas. Pick one or more:

People

Reconnecting with lost friends, meeting new people and make real-life connections.

Places and Events

Getting to know our surroundings better, experiencing our places, exploring our cities.

Exercise

Picking up on exercise routines that disappeared in the course of the year and getting the fun back into regular workout.

Me, myself and I

Discovering our talents and abilities beyond the internet and focussing on our creative potential.

Excuse buster

This will be a bit stressful. There will be less time for things. You will have to schedule your blog posts and assignments ahead, you will have to do some night shifts for some assignments. So why do it anyway?

There are two kinds of exhaustion: Sometimes I fall into bed and I am drained but I don’t know why. During Outgoing November I will be exhausted more than ever – but I will go to bed with the feeling of accomplishment and inspiration.

And don’t worry about Christmas preparations. Just incorporate them into the challenge.

Money is not an excuse, either. I am currently unemployed and living on a budget. So I look for free events and places close by that are easy to reach.

You don’t have time for this? Neither do I. (I just committed to write about 2000 words every day of November.) That is why we are starting now: We will plan and schedule the Outgoing November around the rest of our November tasks.

This week we’ll look at our resources, everything that is already there.

People

Go through your facebook contacts, the contacts in your phone, your social media connections, and pick at least ten people you want to (re)connect with in November. They shouldn’t be your closest friends, but maybe those you lost touch with. Or people you don’t know very well yet, or someone new you always wanted to meet in real life. Chose people within geographical reach.

In my case that means:

  • the Volunteers (2)
  • the Magazine People (3)
  • the Soprano
  • the Base
  • the Gals (5)
  • the Artists (2)
  • the Guys (3)
  • His Classmates (5)

Places and Events

Almost every place has a tourist office, where you can find free flyers and brochures. Stock up on those and look around on the internet. Make a list with at least ten bullet points and fill them with places, sights and events in November.

Here is what I found:

  • McMillan Library
  • Sarakasi Dome
  • Pine Tree in Sarova Hotel
  • Greenspan Mall
  • Jamia Mosque
  • Shree Swaminarayan Temple
  • Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Family
  • Kitengela Glass
  • My friend’s place upcountry
  • Informal Studio Architecture Exhibition (Oct 30 – Nov 23)
  • Lusophone Film Fest (Nov 1)
  • Movies at Alliance Francaise (Nov 3, 10, 17, 24)
  • Pwani comes Upcountry Art Exhibition (Nov 6-23)
  • African Documentary Film Fest (Nov 10-15)
  • Water! Performance (Nov 21-22)
  • Maasai Mara University Graduation (Nov 28)

Exercise

What did you do, or what did you attempt to do during the year? Write it down!

I started (and stopped):

  • half-marathon training
  • yoga

Me, myself and I

List at least five things that you wanted to do – without using a computer. It can be anything, really.

For example:

  • taking more photos in the streets, especially in the evening
  • crafting earrings from shells
  • learning how to use a sewing machine
  • making a new calendar/diary/planner for 2015
  • planting veggies on the balcony
  • biking in town
  • baking bread
  • doing a Permaculture course

I am looking forward to see your lists! Put them on your blog and link them here. Tell me on facebook. Join the email list and write me there! Or let me know in the comments.

This Outgoing November Challenge will be more fun if you are part of it!

Dear Life. Just so you know: You are in my stories

How to balance personal experiences in public articles

I have written a good amount of stuff lately. About sharing things online and my relationship with a bag of rice. And I keep sending out stories here on the blog.

What I realised is that even if you want to sell cars, you have to tell stories. Stories are the new marketing strategy apparently. The tradition of storytelling is probably as old as mankind and we have always had stories. But nowadays it is being stressed as a skill or a tool to make a message clearer.

And those stories should be rather personal. That is how people, readers and potential customers connect.

MY stories are rather personal.

In the rice bag story I revealed a bit of my way of life and my shopping habits in Sweden.

In the online sharing story I shared my photo mania in Kenya.

I also wrote essays about peace and leadership for some competitions. My favourite human appeared in all of them. While he was much stressed writing exams at university, I wrote about him and his family, because those stories stand for something.

Sometimes I feel bad about it.

I am not sure, just like with taking pictures. Who owns the picture? Who owns the situation? Can I just use their stories for my own purposes? Is it okay that a boy named Pope appears in my leadership story – actually, appears HERE in this very blog post in this very moment? He doesn’t know about it.

Here are my solutions

  1. Letting them know and sending them the story to read.
  2. Making them anonymous and not using their real names.
  3. Fictionalising the whole incident and tweaking it the way I want it, taking out the very personal things.

Those stories don’t appear out of the blue.

They are rooted in my everyday experience. Going out provides me with a lot of inspiration.  If I would make up things all the time, I would be an authour, not a writer, I guess. I would compose fiction. (Which I am also enjoying, but in another venue.)

I am an expert in living my own life. That is what I can share here.

Life is more than just a collection of moments strung on the chain of time. Those encounters, those events, those stories mean something. They teach me lessons. Every day I am learning something. Although we cannot graduate from life, we are graduating daily.

I am more than happy to share these stories and insights. They can be of use for you, too. Not because my life is extraordinary or particularly special, but rather because the advice I draw from those events is not only meant for myself but also for you (and you and you and you, too).

So as you score along these pages, say hi to my life. And, Life, if you read this, I hope I pay you due respect and represent you here and in all the other stories just the way you want to be appearing.

How do YOU deal with this? Share your stories in the comments below!

I was traveling to the countryside and put some photos up at facebook. And do you want some stories straight to your inbox – with love?