Hello all! Happy 2019!!! It’s great to be back from winter break! How’s the new year starting off for you?

For me this time of year is, honestly, a cold, slippery slump. This grey, perpetually icy-rainy season mires me down in a paralyzing form of self-reflection. But it’s not negative. I first wanted to write “inactivity”, but it’s actually the opposite, my mind is overactive: A constant stream of ideas and memories swirling around in a chaotic primordial slurry.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In this case, for every idea there is an opposing idea, but I can’t decide if they are equal, so instead of winning or cancelling each other out, ideas vie back and forth for attention, branching off into fractals in countless directions. But I can’t complain, an overabundance of ideas is not the worst problem to have.

I am soon coming up on my blog-anniversary (um…blog-o-versary?) which marks two years of A Light Circle. Two years! Looking back on these two years, I can see that I’ve spent most of it creating content—joyfully creating content—rather than marketing or networking, something I’m told successful bloggers should also be doing. Always be uh…marketing. I may always lag in that field. All I have to say about that is, I’m a creator. I simply love to create.

When I’m not creating a new essay or a digital image, I’m putting together a new recipe in the kitchen, painting a new picture, or sewing something together. There’s something so magical about putting basic colors, raw materials, simple ingredients together, trying to figure out what they could become, then adding that precious, essential ingredient: the unknown. You never really have complete control when creating something new, but the results can be far better than you expected. At any case, you always learn something, even (and especially) when there are mistakes.

So, in this seasonal slump I find myself in, I decided to do an overhaul of this site (as you may have noticed), as well as do a thorough reassessment of my work. It has felt like a spring-cleaning-detox, which is perfect when your mind feels overly cluttered. The goal achievement program, OKR: Objective Key Results, by John Doerr sparked these actions. Doerr has lectured on TED and written a book which he calls “a handbook for setting and achieving audacious goals”.

Doerr seems like a kind and fascinating person, in a nutshell he explains:

“The objectives are what you want to have accomplished. The key results are how I’m going to get that done. Objectives. Key results. What and how…. But here’s the truth: many of us are setting goals wrong, and most of us are not setting goals at all…So how do you set these goals the right way? First, you must answer the question, “Why?” Why? Because truly transformational teams combine their ambitions to their passion and to their purpose, and they develop a clear and compelling sense of why.”(source)

So I did as he asked for and wrote down my objectives and key results, as clear and as uncompromisingly grand as I could imagine—that is, as grand as I could allow myself to imagine. That was not easy. Fear, shame and ridicule were nipping at the heels of every sentence I wrote, echoing after every audacious thought. What it takes for a normally shy, distrustful, introverted person to turn into an attention-seeking, ambitious one is nothing short of audacious!

Audacious it may feel to me, my objective, it turns out isn’t that rare as far as writers are concerned: Write a masterpiece novel that I absolutely love. Neither is my key result, which Doerr stresses must be “measurable”: Have my novel finished one year from now, January 23, 2020. That is actually not a realistic goal for me (as it may well seem) because in addition to writing and maintaining this blog, I am also a full-time mom of two small children. With my everyday work, I usually only get about two hours of solid writing per day (on a good day) and the interruptions are constant. To meet that goal, I’m going to have to reduce my social media presence dramatically and constantly push myself to work exclusively on my book.

So that brings me to the why. As Doerr rightly emphasizes, the why is crucialWhy am I doing this? 

Pondering “the why” has also led me to these relevant questions as well: Why are you reading me? What do I have to offer that is special or unique? What differentiates me from other writers?

If I were to manifest something truly remarkable, it would have to be the result of my greatest ambition and passion. It would have to be a compelling why.

So, that’s what I’m pondering now in the beginning of 2019.  In my next two posts I will be delving into “the why”. Have you asked yourself these questions as well?


Text and images by M.P. Baecker.

17 thoughts on “In the Beginning…

  1. In regard to my own art, I no longer ask myself why. But, to get to the point of no longer needing to ask, I had go through the exploration. I look forward to reading more about yours. You are a seamstress of creativity MP. You weave words and images and flavors together, to create slices of true beauty that bring upon the act of contemplation, that give pause. You are pretty magical!!!!

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    • Susan, I love what you wrote! (as always!) and your answer is pure magic and inspiration itself! No wonder you write so beautifully, creation for you is as natural as breathing! I am not (yet) at that point where “I no longer need to ask”, but have been there (briefly) a few times in my life with great results coming out of it. I’m striving for a clarity of vision but, perhaps, one simply has to “do”, continue following their passion and all things will resolve! 💚

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  2. My ideas seem to spike in the gloomy parts of the year too, which is why Berlin is so great. It’s gloomy here half the year & makes creating much easier. No urge to go out in the sunshine when there is no sun. Happy blog anniversary! I am in thesame crux as you re: marketing vs. creation. I HATE MARKETING. All I want to do is create. The big irony in my life is that I was a marketing major in college.

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    • I too HATE Marketing with a passion!!!! I still push myself to do it every once and a while but it feels like cold-calling to me (something I also used to do in customer service)! Life is rich with irony! I was an English and Art major in college and at the end I became so burnt-out, I actually promised myself “NEVER to write another essay again!” when I graduated. But now that’s basically all I’m doing!

      I’m glad it is a relatively mild winter here, my relatives in Chicago are freezing in that “polar vortex”, still gloomy though which is great for working! I always feel so guilty if I don’t take advantage of the sun in the summer!


  3. Happy 2019! First off, good luck with finishing your novel! A really inspiring goal.

    On pushing yourself to get your writing done, have you read “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield? He writes about overcoming the ‘Resistance’ that we face in creative tasks.
    Also, good luck with minimising the social media, I’ve realised what a dangerous distraction this has been for me. I now log out completely from my accounts to make it harder to just nip inside and check messages, or I sometimes uninstall the apps completely and only reinstall say when I’ve scheduled a social media time.

    Yes, to the ‘why’..You know, I was sitting here trying to work out my goals and something made me go your site and find this post, so thanks for that 🙂 Looking forward to learning what you discover about your whys. For me, I’ve been feeling very fragmented for many months, so much so that I’ve not been able to write at all. I think the ‘why’ has something to do with it. I’ve got he TED Talk you mentioned open in another tab…..time to take a look (:

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    • Happy 2019 to you too! I love your comment! (as always) I have now put the The War of Art on my Kindle! Thank you for the recommendation! I also read up on Stoicism and followed Tim Ferriss from your suggestion a while back ago and that was excellent!

      Social Media control?! I know huh?! For a couple months last year, I gorged on Instagram and Twitter and really immersed myself to the point of being mentally overwhelmed, but now after about five minutes on each platform I feel like all I’m seeing is the same recycled garbage😂! So sanctioning two short times in the day for it is actually doable now! It’s the writing part that’s the biggest challenge!

      I’m really curious to find out your why. I feel like the internet is no longer this big, open Wild West place as I used to think of it, but a settled land with many structures, old and new, platforms that mainly exist to exploit not reward creators. So for me, the most compelling why has to come from inside each creator.

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      • You’re welcome for the book recommendation, enjoy! Speaking of Tim Ferriss, its funny that just before reading your post I’d been watching a video where he mentions the German proverb “Alles Mit Mass und Ziel”, which is so relevant to the TED Talk by Jon Doerr. Jon’s talk on OKRS really helped me to see how fuzzy my own goal setting has been and could benefit from such a concrete framework and at least tame my tendancy to go wandering off in a million tangents. So thanks again for that 😀

        Yes I know what you mean about the state of the internet now. I think the concept of reward often misguides creators and is used to exploit them, I know how I’ve fallen victim to this. I’ve heard it said that if we create the value / do good work first, then the rewards will follow – it’s hard, to do stuff without thought of getting something in return, but I reckon it’s the only way to produce authentic, satisfying work that really makes a contribution. My own ‘why’ might lie somewhere in there.

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        • Awesome! I couldn’t agree more! I especially love what you wrote, ” if we create the value / do good work first, then the rewards will follow”. I think it depends on one’s expectations and definition of “rewards”, creating something you love is one of the greatest rewards in and of itself and (for me) can be the hardest to accomplish (I am rarely satisfied with my work). Thanks for the infos! I love that Alles Mit Mass und Ziel! (Ich spreche Deutsch und wohne in Berlin seit 7 Jahren! Dieses Spruch passt mir perfekt!)

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        • That’s a really great point about one’s definitions of rewards. Your striving to create something you love is very inspiring and makes me want to get back to that to doing that 🙂 For me, the desire for validation is so deep that it always manages to get in the way. Do you have any recommendations for writers who write from a place of not needing validation? I’ve always admired Charles Bukowski for being able to do this.


  4. Most of the times I read the blogs on the WordPress Reader which is theme-neutral. So I stepped out and checked your corner on the wide expanse of the Internet. It has definitely got a pictorial look, befitting a writer whose images are intrinsically woven into her words. So, tell me why, although how and when are more the pertinent questions for me at the moment.

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    • Thank you for checking out my site outside of the reader! So wonderful that you find my images and text a good mesh! 😊I also prefer to use the WP Reader myself mainly because I can’t comment or like posts outside of it. This year on my blog, I decided to narrow my focus and compound my efforts, I figured I could either keep the blog silent for a year or take you all with me! I chose the latter!

      I normally have a terrible problem with authors and musicians I admire over-explaining their work, when a piece moves me I want to enjoy it for its own sake, and I am a bit scared to learn about the “why” because sometimes it ruins it for me. (For example, finding out an artist is a vain or mean person, etc.) Hopefully, I can share my “why” without ruining things😄!

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