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30 Day Trial: I Are a Writer - Day One

This past weekend, I visited the Windy City of Chicago with my friends Ryan and Leanna for a Magic tournament. Though the tournament did take up a bulk of Saturday (and no, though the competition was probably not as fierce as in Kentucky, we did not come anywhere close to winning), we had a large amount of free time to take in the sites of the city. Though they were unstated, two themes guided our decisions this weekend: “action” and “new experiences.” For example:

- Why sit around the hotel and relax when you can go see Put the Nuns in Charge?
- Why eat at McDonalds’s when you can eat at Vong’s Thai Kitchen?
- Why drink Blue Moon when you can sample the beers of Rock Bottom?
- Why go back to the hotel and sleep when you can check out Andy’s Live Jazz?

We had plenty of “free” time, but we didn’t really allow ourselves any down time, nor did we do much of anything we could do in Kentucky. This got me thinking; perhaps the way off of my current dead end path is through action and new experiences. With that in mind, I’ve decided to undertake a 30-Day Trial and focus on writing.

The concept of the 30-Day Trial is simple: try something out hardcore for 30 days. That’s enough time to fully commit to something, but it’s also short enough if the idea you’re trying out doesn’t work. My writing challenge will be three fold:

- For the next 30 days, I will complete Morning Pages each morning.

- For the next 30 days, I will spend a minimum of one hour a day writing. I am not really concerned with what I write, just so long as I’m writing. Acceptable writings include poems, stories, significant lj entries, significant letters/emails, Magic articles/forum posts, random McSweeny’s-type stuff, and even Amazon.com customer reviews. At the point, I’m only concerned with producing pages.

- For the next 30 days, I will submit something for “publication” once a week. LJ entries do not count towards this quota, as they are self-published. Mailing a letter does count, however, since the intended audience will actually get to read my “work.”

Simple enough. After 30 days, I should have a good idea whether I enjoy writing or not. I also expect added bonuses of re-defeating the snooze button and having more structure to my days. Clearly, I will need to free at least an hour a day (more actually, counting morning pages), which means I will need at least a rough plan for each day. With TVLinks going down, I shouldn’t be too distracted by mindless internet things, but you never know.

Here goes nothing…

Grocery Shopping...

... is depressing. Or rather, was depressing. 50 bucks bought me (in alphabetical order): Ale8, cereal x3, cookies x2, diet coke, granola bars, OJ, PB, Propel x6x3, soy milk x2. What kind of a sad grocery list is that? Apparently, all I do is drink.

I do most of my grocery shopping at Wal-Mart, which is conveniently right by Joseph-Beth. I stopped in tonight and picked up two new books: one on procrastination and one on the Beatles. To answer your other question, I don't know. No nametags, no skirts, so your guess is as good as mine.

Roger and I are playing Saturday at Common Grounds. According to the email, we're going first from 9-10.

I have two old setlists to post. I'll get around to that eventually... probably. As soon as I get out of this funk.

I'm so jealous of Seiko. She got to meet Steve Smith, and I didn't.


Upbeat Cafe Show

Saturday night I played out at the Upbeat Cafe in Georgetown. Dad kept the setlist, making comments as he went along (on the paper). For fun, I thought I'd include his comments along with the list. He put all his comments in parenthesis after the song title.

If I Told You (from the new CD...)
Whatever You Want (Wall Street crap)
Stay (a cover)
I Told You So
Heavy Metal Drummer (some sort of cover) (with no drummer...)
--(I miss the innocence too...) (Wilco!)

Broadway (Hey!! We're on Broadway!!) (Holy shit)
Soulmates (Liquor in a jar!) (Hey, the souls are also in jars... damn.)
--(Oh shit!! You're the devil!!)

Restless (With Van Halen intro...) (Dr. Ilvento)
On Your Own (Some Kind of Country Song)
Happy Out of Love (Sub par) (a little high) (special request)
Sarah McLachlan (Throwin' out stuff...)
Satellite (Dave "Can't Sing" Matthews) (Apparently, this is a coffeehouse cliche. You know, when they invented coffee houses back in the hippie days, they hadn't invented Dave Matthews yet, so I don't see how this can be cliche...)

That's more aesthetically pleasing on paper. Overall, the show went well. Bo Warren's crowd was super chilled out, so I didn't get much crowd response. Maybe I should start bringing my own crowd (actual fans!? what a concept!!) The acoustics in Upbeat Cafe are really good, which actually threw me off a bit. I could hear everything I was singing/playing very clearly, which meant that I could hear every little mistake, pitch problem, tone problem, etc. Eventually I learned to let go and just play.

Thanks to Dad, Ester, and Vicky for coming all the way out to Georgetown. I'm playing this Saturday at Common Grounds with Roger on the drums again. I'll play from 9-10 and then I'll play with Roger from 10ish-11. Come on out!

Show, February 2007 Recap

This Saturday:
March 3rd
Upbeat Cafe
Georgetown, KY
w/ Bo Warren

February 2007 RecapCollapse )

Common Grounds with Roger

In case you missed it, last Friday was the debut "Jon and Roger" show at Common Grounds. I did my usualy thing, and Roger played the drums.

Angel From Montgomery
I Told You So
If I Told You*
Heavy Metal Drummer*
Suicide Watch*
Whatever You Want*
Not for the Seasons*

* -- with Roger Dittert

Okay, so the show was a little short, but we're still working on set length and timing. All in all, I was very happy with the performance. We successfully introduced drums into a coffeeshop without everyone complaining about volume. Roger's drum parts were also rather tasty. Yeehaw. Look for our dynamic duo coming to a coffeeshop near you.

Show Tomorrow, Show Two Weeks Ago

!!Tomorrow Night!!
Jon Dittert
w/ Special Guest Roger Dittert
Common Grounds
Lexington, KY

Tomorrow night I'm playing down at Common Grounds. Roger's playing drums. It should be fun times. Come on out and bring your friends or maybe your whole indoor drumline! Todd Kessler performs at 9, then we go on at 10.

On February 2nd, I played at Upbeat Cafe in Georgetown. I know that was a long time ago, but I'll post the setlist anyway, just for my own benefit.

Not For the Seasons
If I Told You
Heavy Metal Drummer
Song of Me and You
I Will Follow You Into the Dark
Whatever You Want
Message in a Bottle
I Told You So

Thanks to Renata and Andrew for coming out. If it weren't for them, well... there would have been no one there. I'll be back at Upbeat again on March 3rd.

See you tomorrow night!

February 2007 Goals

Well, I waited until the third to post my goals this month, so I'll start by saying, "Happy Birthday, Dad!" Dad's 50 today, which is not really that old... at least not for old people.

February 2007 GoalsCollapse )

January 2007 Recap

One month of goal planning down, a bazillion more to go. Fun times. January was a decent month for achieving my short term goals. I managed to play guitar every single day for at least 30 minutes, and I kept a journal about what I practiced. I bought a distortion pedal and inquired about voice lessons (opting against, for the time being). I added 11 new friends to myspace. Financially, I began using Quicken to keep track of all my data, and I imported all my 2006 data into Quicken as well. Physically, I bought a scale and added both OstioBiFlex and Listerine to my daily routine. I met 100% of my Personal Development, Social, and Recreational goals as well. All in all, I more or less accomplished what I set out to do this month.

Obviously, there are exceptions. I didn't end up writing a page a lyrics every day (I'm probably around 60%), but near the end I gave up, since I wasn't allotting time to review what I had written. I felt like I was writing just to implement a process instead of writing to express ideas/make new music. Physically, I didn't run 3 times every week. I went once a week for the first 3 weeks, and then 3 times the last week. My lack there was a result of just not having enough time. Also, it was very, very cold. I only succeeded the last week because I started going to the YMCA, which is indoors.

My biggest hole was in the "Music - Back of House" category. I didn't update my website, and I didn't call/email the 6 new coffeeshops I planned to. The only place I did call, Alfalfa's, has yet to review my material. As such, I only have 2 shows booked for February. My initial thought was that I need to determine exactly why I'm booking shows. Booking several out of town venues doesn't make much sense in the context of my current life situation. Obviously, I need to change my current life situation, but I'm not sure that many out of town shows will fit into the context of my new life situation. We'll see.

I will say, though, that goal setting has been much more helpful with decision making this time around. For example, earlier this month, I had an hour's worth of time. I could either run or change my guitar strings for the show that night. Looking at my goals and yearly focus, I decided that getting ready for my show was more important, so I did that. Similarly, I had to choose between a big Magic tournament in March and booking a show. Looking at my goals, it was clear I should book the show. There's a sense of mental peace in knowing what you want to do and then doing it.

Finally, here's a list of books I completed in January:
Eckhart Tolle - The Power of Now
Barack Obama - The Audacity of Hope
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
David Allen - Getting Things Done

Common Grounds w/ The Redding Brothers

Last night, Common Grounds:

If I Told You
Song of Me and You
Beautiful Day
Suicide Watch
Not for the Seasons
I Told You So
Old Love
Whatever You Want
Three Sunrises
Fiona's Blues

On stage, I felt really good about this show. There were a good number of people there, including some people who came especially to see me (like the fam, Corey, and Bob). Some people were actually listening. I saw people tapping their feet, bouncing their heads, etc. I had a good time and I'm grateful.

So my question is now, how come nobody bought a CD or signed the emailing list? I understand the CD thing. Only a certain kind of person is going to buy a CD at a coffeeshop. I'm that kind of person, and I don't always buy a CD, even when I like the artist. But the emailing list? That's free and passive. Why not? Am I doing something wrong? Could I be doing something more right? I need to mull this one over.

Still, fun times, noodle salad. The Redding Brothers, out of Nashville, played afterwards. I enjoyed their set; they had some nice vocal harmonies. Thanks to everyone for coming out. I'm playing again this Friday at Upbeat Cafe in Georgetown. See you then!

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