Blog Archives

Progress

Good news. I actually got some things done this week. I am so excited. This week has been much more progressive than the previous ones.  I got a workout in every day before work. I was able to meditate every day too. Those two accomplishments had me jazzed because they keep my stress levels down. It is easier for me to write when I’m clear-headed. I was able to hit my goal of two writing days during the work week. I think I have a story coming together.

I’m finally learning the ins and outs of my new phone. I am looking for apps that will allow me to write on my smartphone and easily sync up documents with my computer. Any apps that help with inspiration or productivity would be awesome too. I’ve been doing some research, but I’d like to get any opinions that you guys may have. I have an android phone by the way.

As for reading, I’ve started the third installment of George R. R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and FireA Storm of Swords has gotten off to a brilliant start just as the others have. I am totally stoked and engrossed. It’s awesome watching the show and reading what happens next at the same time.

I feel like I’ve got my momentum back. My schedule will change again in the next two weeks, but I’m not worried. I starting to get the hang of managing it all. I hope that all is well with you guys. Please hit me up with any suggestions for apps. Best of  luck to you all.

Rock Star Moves

My focus has not been on my writing goals at all since Sunday. On Monday afternoon, I got a call from the company for which I’ve been interviewing. The representative set me up for an in-person interview on Tuesday morning. I’d already had two phone interviews and an assessment. Tuesday morning, I showed up feeling a little nervous, but mostly just excited. The interview went very well. So well in fact, that I felt like quite the rock star. Theme song for the day…

By four o’clock Tuesday afternoon, I had the job. Yay! I cannot tell you how happy, excited, and relieved I am. If you’ve ever been involuntarily unemployed for a long stint of time, then you know the havoc such a circumstance can wreak on your life. Chances are that you get it even if you haven’t had the experience personally.

Today, I’m running around getting paperwork together and completing my drug test. My start date will mostly likely be the 26th of this month. Once I get all my information turned in, I hope to end this round with a bang. Now that I don’t have to worry about job hunting, I can focus on enjoying my last few weeks of complete freedom minus the underlying tension that’s been there.

With all that said, I didn’t write yesterday. I was too busy smiling hard and dancing a jig or twenty. (No video evidence is available for your perusal. :P) I got some reading in over the last few days, mostly fiction. Seanan McGuire‘s Rosemary and Rue is the type of story that usually keeps me riveted, but I’ve just been too excited to focus on much of anything.

Thanks to you guys for all of the awesome support and encouragement. Catch you Sunday!

P.S. Everybody dance NOW!

My Ground Hog’s Day

I went to bed around 2:30 this morning. So, I was totally surprised when my eyes popped open bright and early at 6:30. Unable to go back to sleep, I put on my workout gear and hit the streets. I walked a couple of miles. Then I did a little stretching and some work with weights. I’ve been trIying to shake off my winter sluggishness. Cold weather is not my friend. I practically hibernate. Holiday season and cold weather always seem to throw me off track with my health goals. Let’s hope today was the reboot that I’ve needed. It was 61 one degrees out this morning. The promise of Spring makes me giddy. It feels like my personal Ground Hog’s Day.

ground hog

I’m glad that I got a good work out in. It’s helping with my excess energy. I’m playing the waiting game right now. The results of Monday’s interview will come in within the next week. I’m not feeling very patient right now. One minute I’m confident. The next I’m nervous. I hope to hear back sooner rather later.

My goals are on track. I’ve been kicking butt in the writing department. On Monday, I more than tripled my word count goal. Yesterday, I doubled it. Today, I’ll hit and it then some again. Yay! Not reading a new novel yet. I’ve been focusing on a collection of short stories instead. I finally picked up the craft book that I’d started again. Progress has been steady. Can’t ask for more.

Much love ROW family. Catch you guys on Sunday!

The Courage to Pursue–ROW 80 Check-in

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.

Walt Disney

 

This Walt Disney quote is one of my favorites.  I have posted it on my wall for daily inspiration. Every time I read it, I am reminded that every action taken in pursuit of my dream counts. It doesn’t matter how big or small. It doesn’t matter if I can see how that action fits into the big picture. It is the forward movement that matters, the never giving up.

Since Sunday, things have continued to progress.

I haven’t given Story Engineering much of a look. I am almost finished with it, but I haven’t had the urge to pick it up for a few days. Instead, I’ve been getting deeper into Patrick RothfussThe Name of the Wind. It started off kind of slow for me, but I finally hit the point where the story really gets moving. Now, I’m blowing through it.

I’ve written every day. My story took a  fun and unexpected turn last night. It involves a mysterious white house on a hill. I’m excited to figure out what will happen there.

I got a few more chapters done in novel analyzing. It’s not as many as I would like, but that’s okay.  I’m finding that working in fits and spurts gets the job done for me. I have a list of things to accomplish this round. I started out by trying to work on each of those things a little every day. That quickly got boring and proved too much for patience. Now, the only thing I’m committed to doing every day is writing. The rest I’ll work on whenever as long as I get it done in the time frame I’ve allotted myself.  So, that is the last few days in a nutshell.

Oh!  On a  more personal note, the roommate situation is sorted out. All of his things have been moved out, mail picked up. I feel free as a bird. 😉 And then there were two. Just me and the bestie again. Good times!

Wishing you the courage to pursue all your dreams, not just the writing ones. What words of wisdom keep you inspired?

Until Sunday!

 

 

One Word 2011 and 2012

This time last year,  I was reading Freshly Pressed or tag surfing. No matter. I stumbled across a post about choosing  a one-word mantra for the year instead of setting resolutions. That resonated with me immediately. I’d stopped setting resolutions years ago. Every year, I’d identify what went well and areas where I wanted to move in a new direction, but never set any concrete to-dos. So, the one word idea really suited me.

Words like perseverance and strength popped into my head. Those are words that were profound for me and comforting. Easy. They just didn’t feel right. I decided to let a word choose me rather than me choosing it. I put it all out of my mind knowing that my word would come to me eventually. And it did.

I was cleaning my room when it hit me. I wrote “open” on a notecard and tacked it to my wall. I stared at it. The word didn’t seem very deep and certainly didn’t make me feel much of anything. I stuck with this one because it presented itself with such clarity that there could be no other.

When I look back over this year, I can truly see how being open has served me.

  • I stopped “shoulding” all over myself. I had to let go of preconceived notions, self-imposed limitations, and just plain old fear.
  • I’ve met lots of new people– online and in person.
  • New experiences galore. I went to a taping of  a tv show. I’ve tried so many new foods and cooked tons of new recipes. I’ve participated in Row 80, other writing challenges and workshops.
  • I have no idea how much weight I’ve lost this year in total, but I know I’ve lost forty pounds since mid June.

Those are just some of the results that have come my way from just being open to new ways of being, doing, and thinking. The one-word mantra worked for me. It is now my tradition. With the new year a few short hours away, my one word for 2012 is already written across my heart. Soon, I’ll write it down on a notecard and tack it  to the wall.

The word of choice–action. It came to me sometime in October in the midst of NaNo mania. I am a thinker and a dreamer. I’m good with ideas. I love to read, write, and converse. I’m not always so good about bringing my ideas to fruition, at least in my personal life anyway. So, I need to focus on doing more, completing more instead of  just starting things. That requires action. There you have it. Bring on 2012! Happy New Year!

Never Thought I’d See the Day–Row 80 check-in

I woke up this morning with soreness in my thighs. I winced, simply because I didn’t know it was there. Then, I smiled. Want to hear a confession? I LOVE the soreness in my thighs. It’s a sweet pain, an earned one. It wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t put in work. It wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t done something good for my body. It wouldn’t be there if I wasn’t exhibiting self-discipline and perseverance. I’m showing myself who I am capable of being. It’s a whole new world and I absolutely love who I’m becoming…who I am.

I can see that same progress with my writing. I’ve kept to my writing every day with no real thought to anything else. It’s just something that has to be done. I didn’t get back to analyzing the second novel until yesterday. I find the scene by scene analysis to be tedious, but well worth the effort. Going from Laurell K. Hamilton to Mary Janice Davidson is quite the dramatic shift. Laurell writes in thick, passionate detail. Mary Janice is thorough, but concise. Barely into the second round, I can see why the plot drill calls for six books. It’s an education that I doubt you could get any other way. Loving the journey.

P.S. Kettle bells rock!

The Death of Perfectionism

I’ve been agonizing over the decision of whether or not to keep this blog. I haven’t posted in quite a while. That’s mostly due to the fact that I started studying social media and platform building for writers. And so this blog started to look like a glaring mistake. I’d pretty much decided to trash it and start a new one. After all, this one hasn’t been around long,  hasn’t developed much of a following yet. It’d be easy to just pretend that I’d done it all right from the beginning– start fresh, shiny and new.

Then, Thursday morning, I found out that my grandfather died. He went out for his morning walk and didn’t return. They searched for him and found only his body. Everything else that made him him was never coming back. He was less than two months shy of his ninety-second birthday.

He was a happy, fun-loving man. He was independent in spirit and always smiling. My fondest memories are of him in his little beige truck, the bed filled with fishing gear. I remember playing along the edge of the water as he and my father fished for hours on end, barely talking, soaking up the sun. He was solid, self-assured.

I am sad that my grandfather is no longer with us, but I can’t say that I feel a particular loss. He lived a long, eventful, fruitful life. And I don’t think anyone could ask for much more. So, I won’t dwell on his death. I choose, instead, to focus on the way he chose to live his life.

With that said, I feel an overwhelming need to let go of perfectionism. As unrealistic and deflating as perfectionism can be, it has been a pursuit of mine for longer than I can remember. At times it was a conscious pursuit, but mostly it wasn’t. It’s manifested itself in more ways than I can count. The most recent being my itch to give this blog the axe.

Even now, the idea of keeping a public record of what feels like a mistake to me, makes my stomach turn. It’s silly. I know that no one is perfect and that mistakes are a part of living. Yet, somehow my standards for myself have always been higher than those held  for others. The side effect has been the unwillingness to take the risks necessary to pursue my dreams.

My granddaddy always did the things that made him happy because that’s what made life worth living. I have generally been doing what’s easiest instead doing what works or what really makes me happy. I think its time I followed in the footsteps the great man I’ll always love. To celebrate the life of David Early Sr., I choose to let perfectionism die.

The first step– the blog stays.

Your Focus Needs More Focus

The lovely Amy Sundberg wrote a great blog on the role desperation can play in undermining your goals. It really stuck with me. There’s no doubt that we want what we want, and we want it NOW. Ahhhh…. the lure of instant gratification, also known as “The Dream Killer.” While it is important to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, you can’t let that vision blind you to all else.

Desperation is the dark side of ambition. It’s the side that scares small children and little old ladies.  It’s the side that brings out ugly characteristics like crazy and lazy. Crazy and lazy are desperation’s hellhounds, sent to slow or halt progress altogether.

When crazy bites, a toxin seeps into your blood stream. You become a puppet with crazy holding your strings. You’ll do pretty much anything to get what you want despite the consequences. Hello impaired judgement! Crazy will make you call someone at two-minute intervals until the person answers. Crazy will make you eat cabbage soup for a week to lose five pounds before your high school reunion. Crazy will make you pay obscene amounts of money for headshots from a kiosk at the mall. Enough said.

Lazy, on the other hand, is more of a trickster. Lazy will convince you that you are a prodigy just waiting to be discovered. It says, “You don’t need voice lessons. Audition for American Idol. Again.” Lazy implores you to cut corners. “Send out those stories. They don’t need revision.” Lazy makes you feel like there’s not enough time to get it all done. “Haven’t worked out in years?  It doesn’t mater. Take that three-hour kickboxing class every day this week. You’ll see results faster. No pain. No gain.”

So what do you do when crazy and lazy are nipping at your heels?

That’s easy enough. Ignore the sycophants. Take out the big boss. Desperation. If you are feeling overwhelmed by desperation. It can only mean one thing …

“YOUR FOCUS NEEDS MORE FOCUS.”

In the 2010 version of The Karate Kid, the student, Dre, sees  a woman who charms a snake. She stands on a ledge, strikes a fearsome pose, then uses only her inner reserve and the hypnotic rocking of her head back and forth to keep the snake’s attention. The snake mimics her every move.  So does Dre. He’s fascinated by what he sees.

During his next lesson, Dre tells his mentor that he wants to do what the woman did. The mentor, Mr. Han, tells him to focus on the lesson at hand. Dre only wants to learn what he saw and continues to babble about it. It doesn’t matter that he’s just beginning to learn Kung Fu and that move requires mastery. It doesn’t matter that he has a tournament to prepare for or risk daily beatdowns by the neighborhood bullies. Dre is focused—on the wrong thing.

That’s what can happen to us all.  Somewhere along the journey, you become captivated by something bright and shiny. You forget where you were going or how to get there. Maybe you decided to use someone else’s map and you can’t make it out. The point is, you have  to regroup.

In the movie, Mr. Han does something drastic to get Dre’s attention (see pic above). He guides Dre gently back to the present moment and the day’s lesson. Han utters that brilliant line, “Your focus needs more focus.” Then he continues with the drills Dre needs to become proficient at Kung Fu and to meet the challenges ahead of him.

If you don’t have someone to keep you grounded, then YOU have to be your own Mr. Han. Slow down. Give yourself a good shake if need be. Break major goals down to smaller, manageable ones. Bring your focus back to what you can do right now. Don’t think too far ahead. Celebrate the little successes and don’t forget to have fun. It’s hard to feel desperate when you’re having a good time.