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Inspiration is for Freakin’ Amateurs

Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. -Chuck Close

I realize this is a funny thing to say given that my work is largely infused with inspiration/motivation, but you’ll see what I’m really getting at. As writers and/or artists, we know that 90% of the battle is just putting your damn butt in the chair to write, or picking up the paintbrush (or pencil), or whatever implement you use to create. Yet all too often we expect this flash of inspiration to hit us like a gift from the gods.

Sure sometimes that happens, but more often than not it’s a slow build.

For me, creative writing, especially nonfiction about my life, is often an arduous process. There’s the occasional moment where the clouds part and the Universe says, “here you go, honey,” as they hand me a nugget of flow.

But usually, it pretty much goes like this:

 

As a kid I was a good student. I hated disappointing anyone almost as much as I hated being anything less than perfect. For the most part I got straight A’s. I was highly disappointed in myself if I didn’t.

Classmates would often remark that I was “so smart” or how they wished they could get A’s like I did. Frankly, this kind of pissed me off. Sure, on the surface this was a compliment, but underneath was the assumption that I just had some special gift that they didn’t. Bear with me, I know I sound like a bragging asshole right now.

I spent hours studying, doing drills, and practicing to earn those grades. In fact, in fourth grade when I got my first D ever (ironically, in spelling), Dad and I worked every night for months to bring that up to an A.

I was lucky that my parents definitely passed down their genetic propensity for traditional intelligence (make no mistake there are many different types of intelligence), but after that, it was up to me to get the grades even in subjects that felt like my brain was being torn apart. I’m looking at you math and conceptual physics!

In seventh grade this girl Mary and I competed for the best grades, we were often neck-in-neck for who had the best percentage A. This was when I realized there were smarter, harder working kids than me. She wanted it more and maybe she was smarter than me, too. I backed down a bit from my quest for perfection and sometimes settled for B’s or C’s (conceptual physics, you bitch). If I couldn’t be THE best, I’d get by with my reasonable best.

The thing is, I never applied this drive to physical activity as a kid. When it came to sports of most kinds, I was riddled with self-doubt and self-pity. If I couldn’t hit the ball, run fast enough, or catch often enough I just gave up. I needed to be at the top, and if I couldn’t I bowed out. It didn’t occur to me that hard work might just get me to “decent” eventually. I understood how to apply hardwork to school, but not as much to other things.

~

Fast forward twenty-some years to when I started out at UCLA X Writers Program. I entered thinking I was a pretty good writer who just needed to learn some tools in order to write better. From my first class, I realized I was an amateur. I was not even close to the top tier. Again, I wanted to be THE best. 

I secretly dreamed of being the next Joan Didion, or Mary Karr, until I realized I would likely not only would have to work for decades, but also was not born with their level of talent either.

Something had shifted. After a brief mourning period around not being born a golden child, I was able to better fight the urge to be perfect. I cared so much about becoming a better writer. Writing was something I’d wanted to learn since high school, and now I was finally doing it. I wanted to learn as much as possible, and push myself to my best, but not THE best. 

The initial momentum of my dream to become a writer propelled me, but it was the revisiting of it that got me through the hundreds of edits and thousands of hours of writing. I still feel as if I have a long way to go, but now just being on the path is enough to keep me going.

~

I liken creative work to walking. When you’re doing the work, you often feel as if you’re just staring at your feet as they step over the earth. You’re not sure where things are going, or even where you’ve been. There’s beauty in that presence, but if you don’t look up occasionally you’ll likely fall off a cliff or wander into a bad neighborhood.

On the other hand, if all you do is look up and around and your surroundings, looking for inspiration or motivation, you’ll never effectively see the path that leads you to your goals. And we all know the path is always a winding one.

I think then that our best bet is to do both. Observe what’s happening in our world, look forward toward our goals, our ultimate vision, as we call it in my personal branding course.  But we must also remember to look down at our feet, be in the moment, so we don’t stumble over that rock, or we can step over that brook, or clear out those branches that have fallen to block our path.

The rewards are all around us and even within the work of our path. But it’s that combination of steps, moving forward–the daily work–that leads us closer to our dreams, while that looking up that reminds us why we’re here.  

The more we do the work, the more inspiration follows. We don’t have to be the best, but when we are relentless in the pursuit of our calling, dream, or purpose, our most inspired work bursts forth.

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Nine Traits of Astonishingly Successful Authors

In a market of ideas, why do some take off while others don’t? Why do some authors have mega status while others continue plodding on in obscurity, or with only moderate success?

The literary market fascinates me. There’s this vast ocean of books, ebooks, audiobooks, etc.  published each year and just a handful of them hit it BIG. I won’t pretend to guess that I know the reasons, but thinking about this got me wondering if there are some common traits among bestselling authors.

I think if there was a magic formula we’d know. We’d know because only be those who fit that formula would get books published. But as a writer trying to make it–and by that I mean support myself with my art–I do keep my eyes peeled and my ears open to what seems to set wildly successful authors apart.

Here’s what I’ve learned in the past few years or so in my work with writers, and participating in writing seminars, networking, workshops, and of course, my own research.

To be sure, this kind of mind-blowing success–I’m talking JK Rowling, John Grisham, Elizabeth Gilbert level–is not likely to just happen to most of us, but it can’t hurt to know what these authors have in common.

So, let’s dive in, shall we?

#1 They write a lot. And often they have been for a while. One of the big fallacies that I wish that some successful people would stop perpetuating is the idea that they just tried something and it worked. Sure there are those lucky ducks who get rich quick. I’m not saying luck never has anything to do with it.

But read enough success stories, or listen to enough podcasts like How I Built This or Being Boss and you’ll notice a pattern that successful people worked really hard for it. Whether it was practice, trial and error, or getting a degree, more often than not, it takes time and commitment.

There’s a reason they say “building” a reputation and not “sprouting” a reputation.

Neil Gaiman offers this advice, “Something that worked for me was imagining that where I wanted to be – an author, primarily of fiction, making good books, making good comics and supporting myself through my words – was a mountain. A distant mountain. My goal.

And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain I would be all right. And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain. I said no to editorial jobs on magazines, proper jobs that would have paid proper money because I knew that, attractive though they were, for me they would have been walking away from the mountain. And if those job offers had come along earlier I might have taken them, because they still would have been closer to the mountain than I was at the time.”  (Here’s his full commencement address at The University of the Arts: http://www.uarts.edu/neil-gaiman-keynote-address-2012)

But before you go quitting your job, please read on.

#2 They submit/pitch a lot and are in it for the long game. One of the stories that has encouraged me the most is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Ted Talk where she shares how she submitted her writing to publications for almost SIX YEARS before getting something published. That’s a long fucking time to wait. And that’s real commitment.

#3 They believed in their project(s). We’ve all heard certain authors say that they didn’t think anyone would actually publish their work. This is one of those moments where I wonder if their hindsight is really 20/20.

Who writes for so long and submits proposal after proposal if they think they have absolutely no hope?

It’s likely best not to have expectations, but I have a hunch that they believed someone would say yes, eventually.

When asked about her faith in her first Harry Potter book, before it was published, J K Rowling said, “You know, I can say this now, I was quite diffident about saying it for a long time. But I did have a belief, with Harry, that the difficult thing would be persuading someone to take it, because it didn’t fit. People said children’s books had to be half the length, and what an old-fashioned subject, a boarding school. I did have this feeling that the difficult thing would be persuading someone to publish it – but that if it was, people would like it.

(Read the full interview here: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/nov/28/conversation-lauren-laverne-jk-rowling-interview )

#4 They stood for something. Often something different/unique. These famous authors have instant recognition in our minds. We know them for their style, their voice, their subject matter, or persona of writing. I think a big reason many authors don’t get there is because they aren’t deeply rooted in who they are, what they offer, what/who they stand for, or what they seek to understand. Aka they don’t know what their brand is.

This of course, is of utmost importance in the stories we write as well. Depth of plot and character, as well as intimate knowledge of themes and what both you and your writing is about is key.

#5 They are as tenacious as fuck. They made time for their writing, they got agents, they created book proposals, they wrote essays, or stories, or whatever. The point is, they didn’t make excuses for finding the time to finish their work. They did the work. Stephen King wrote every night after his two day jobs, in the laundry room, on a makeshift desk his wife made for him.

#6 They are focused. Maybe this one could be combined with the point just above, but I want to emphasize it. Perhaps because I need to remind myself of this so often. I love ideas, always have. But the problem is, I find myself jumping on too many of them and doing way too many disparate things, which makes me fall behind on finishing the things I’ve already started.

“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.” –Ray Bradbury

What is clear is that all of these fabulously successful writers carve out time to write, consistently. They make it a priority.

#7 Most of them had day jobs, so there’s no excuse. JK Rowling was a single mom with a low-paying job who was on state assistance while she wrote the first Harry Potter book. I try to remind myself of this when I’d rather be working out a storyline than getting my other/paid work done.

Besides I think writing in a vacuum often produces navel-gazing, academic, philosophic work, whereas having other obligations while writing, however you do it (doesn’t have to be a day job), produces richer writing and more interesting work.

Here’s what Maya Angelou said, in an interview with Harvard Business Review:

Interviewer: “When you were working at those early jobs, did you ever envision what you would become?”

Maya: “No, but I didn’t think I wouldn’t. I somehow got the feeling early on that if human beings did a thing, I could study it and try to do some of it too. And one thing led to another. If I had not studied Latin in school, I wouldn’t have found it as easy to comprehend the structure of language. Had I not danced, I might never have really listened to music and known I could compose something. You see? I understood early that not everything I did wasn’t going to be a masterpiece, but I would try to do it the best I knew how. I’ve listened to an inner voice and had enough courage to try unknown things. And I think everything in its time.”

And that brings us to what I think is one of the most important points of success.

#8 They had really great ideas/stories that were usually well executed. It seems to me that more often than not their stories or ideas were not only great, but were well crafted. How many times have you read a book, seen a movie, or watched a TV show and thought, well it was a good premise, but it lacked [fill in the blank]? These BIG successful books, essays, screenplays, etc. are (with definite exceptions) excellent ideas, well played.

I think we often underestimate the power of great ideas.

#9 They often felt a higher calling to write. One more quote from Maya Angelou, to sum this point up: “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”

Whether you or I ever get to the top of our mountains, I think Ms. Angelou’s advice is always good.  If you love what you’re doing, even if you’re making your money elsewhere, you’ll enjoy this life more anyway.

Here’s hoping that someday, your name will be in lights. Or at least that you get to do more of what you love.

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Free Your Creativity with a Low Information Diet

Low Information DietI’m one of those people who naturally wants to do 4.5 million things almost all the time. Life is full of possibilities and opportunities and, let’s face it, there’s never been a time when so much information has been so available. Did I mention I’ll also love researching the hell out of things?

But, as the saying goes, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” If I want to actually get anywhere I have to pare down.

This was a big realization to me as a I began to pursue my dream of becoming a writer and speaker. Honestly, it’s been something I have been working on ever since I read The Four-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss, back in 2008. This book changed the way I would forever think of life optimization and work–you should read it. But let’s get at the point here.

One big ‘ole important step to figuring out what you want and how to get it is by clearing your mind of distraction. Easier said than done, I know.

Post-election, I’m realizing how much more I need to do this lately. I can feel my stomach turn and my shoulders tense when I see yet one more story about Trump.

Every time I’ve gone on an information diet, whether it’s for a week, or a month I feel more at peace, more focused, and happier. It’s helped me focus on what I really want, and take bigger strides to making it a reality.

We humans aren’t meant to carry all the information that is lobbed at us every day; and science is starting to show us just how bad this problem is.

So here is the Tim Ferriss Low Information Diet, in short:

  1. No newspapers, audio books, podcasts, magazines.
  2. No news websites
  3. No TV (or YouTube), except one hour of purely pleasure viewing each night.
  4. No reading books, except one hour of fiction pleasure reading.
  5. No browsing the internet, unless it’s completely necessary.

These are pretty strict, and in the beginning, people (me, ahem) often need to go on this drastic diet in order to “reset” their information addiction. Here’s my personal version, for right now:

  1. Only check social media accounts twice/day (yeah, I’m that bad)
  2. Only listen to story-driven podcasts (like Modern Love, The Moth, and Dear Sugar), limiting “work” podcasts (like How I Built This, BinderCast, etc.) to once per week.
  3. TV: Only Netflix and Amazon (no advertisements)

I find that if I don’t go on social media much I don’t end up browsing around the interwebs aimlessly. And I don’t get caught up in the next crazy political headline.

Think about starting your own version of a Low Information Diet. And tell me how it goes!

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Parting Words of 2014 (from Amy Poehler)

I am reading Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please right now [love]. I especially enjoyed the preface, entitled “Writing is Hard: a Preface.”

amy-poehler-yespleaseThis year more than others I’m intimately aware of that statement. Writing a book is a bitch, but one that is worth it.  The thing is it’s not about the result–it’s about the work. There is beauty, bloody guts and somehow magic in it. And when you are doing something you love, even when it’s hard, it fulfills like nothing else.

Here are some words, better than what I have for you, from Amy Poehler’s preface:

“So what do I do? What do we do? How do we move forward when we are tired and afraid? What do we do when the voice in our head is yelling that WE ARE NEVER GONNA MAKE IT? How do we drag ourselves through the muck when our brain is telling us youaredumbandyouwillneverfinishandnoonecaresanditistimeyoustop?

Well, the first thing we do is take our brain out and put it in a drawer. Stick it somewhere and let it tantrum until it wears itself out. You may still hear the brain and all the shitty things it is saying to you, but it will be muffled, and just the fact that it is not in your head anymore will make things seem clearer. And then you just do it. You just dig in and write it. You use your body. You lean over the computer and stretch and pace. You write and then cook something and write some more. You put your hand on your heart and feel it beating and decide if what you wrote feels true. You do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing. That is what I know. Writing the book is about writing the book.

So here we go, you and me. Because what else are we going to do? Say no? Say no to an opportunity that may be slightly out of our comfort zone? Quiet our voice because we are worried it is not perfect? I believe great people do things before they are ready…”

Keep it up my friends! Find that thing you believe in doing and do the hell out of it! Happy New Year.  Here’s to many wonderful years to all of us!

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Just Write

“There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this:  It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.  What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.”

I’ve just dipped my toe into the great book, The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.  This quote is from the book.  More on Resistance later.

Incidentally, this applies to all arts and acts of creating something worthwhile.  So insert your chosen craft into this quote and feel the words sink in to your soul.

 

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I don’t wanna wait!

I have a confession: I am very impatient, but sometimes I also take a while to make up my mind. (I know my friends are rolling their eyes here)  It’s a one-two punch of needing  time to decide and then once I have, I want it NOW!

Over the years I have become more comfortable with being “ok” with the way I work and don’t beat up on myself as much for not being able to make quick decisions.  Still, sometimes, there’s that gnawing ache to be on with things already!  When I’m in that mode there are a few things that help me cool my jets when my impatience kicks in.  Hopefully you’ll find them helpful as well.

impatient-paulo-cuelho

“It took almost 40 years for me to become a writer.
Before that I always dreamt of becoming a writer, but I never dared to take the necessary steps.” – Paulo Coelho

1. A light at the end of the tunnel.  If I know where I am headed (sometimes even just the general direction, if not the end result)I feel so much better.  Taking the time to really think things through & feel confident in your decision can help stave off impatience.

2. A plan. Sometimes a goal seems awesome at first but then you don’t know where to start, or you like me, you research the hell out of what to do so much that you get lost in the details.  Breaking your task down into bite-sized prices and calendaring it out can give you the peace of mind to carry each item out without freaking over the entire project.

3. Do it when you don’t feel like it.  Acting on those bite-sized tasks can sometimes feel like drops in the bucket. But the reality is that each activity either brings you closer to or further away from your goal. Ask yourself this question every time you feel like making an excuse to avoid the task: Will this action bring me closer to my goal or further away? It’s surprising a simple thought like that can help you empower yourself to move forward.

4. Friends. Talking with friends not only boosts your mood in general, easing that sense of urgency, but you’ll realize how much you are accomplishing when you actually ‘catch up’ with your friends. And hey these are your friend for a reason, you’ll likely get some good advice, insights and encouragement for your goal.

5. Breathe.  Mindful practices are scientifically proven to change the way your brain works (in a good way) and improve executive functioning (ya know the part of your brain that governs things like impulse control/patience).  Yoga, prayer and meditation are just a few examples of mindful practices.  Essentially, you’re tuning out of the rat race of your daily life to take a moment to breath and make some space in your head.  Mindful Awareness is ridiculously awesome and is proven to help with mental and physical ailments.  Check out UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center to learn more.  Also, here’s a bunch of free 5-10  minute meditations (my fave is the Loving Kindness meditation).

I’ve seen how much these practices have affected my own mindset as I am finally actively working toward writing my first book.

What are you up to? I would love to hear about your goals and how you keep from letting impatience, laziness or confusion take over.

Photo credit:  http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2011/09/07/impatient-to-change/ (A great little post on following your dream by someone how has – Paulo Coelho)

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Who do you want to be?

10,000 hours, that’s what experts, like Malcolm Gladwell, say it takes to master a subject.  Whether it’s chess, cooking, or public speaking it takes that long to truly master your craft.  Daunting, huh?

That’s a ton of hours, if you really think about it.  For instance, let’s say you have a ton of time and can devote 20 hours per week to your craft.  It would still take you about  10 years to become a master.  Oh gee, is that all? Piece of cake.  (I figure I’ve got about 6k hours left to become a “master” at writing, and probably  9k hours left to becoming a public speaking master.)

To be honest, it’s a pretty obscure goal.  I mean, sure there’s a sense of accomplishment to saying “I’ve written for 10,000 hours!” but after your friends congratulate you and then roll their eyes, there’s not much left.  It’s not as if there’s some certificate of completion or doctoral degree to be awarded.  So perhaps it’s more useful to set a more tangible goal, like who you want to be, and then choose the goal.

In  Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed (a must read, btw) he quotes grand master of chess, Jonathan Rowson, “When it comes to ambition it is crucial to distinguish between ‘wanting’ something and ‘choosing’ it.”   If you decide for instance, that you want to become a best-selling author, you may not only not become one, but you will then suffer the disappointment and regret of falling short of this goal.  However, if you choose to become a best-selling author, then you will then “reveal your choice through your behavior and your determination,” as Rowson says, “Every action says ‘This is who I am’.”

Of course this is not new news; we’ve heard this philosophy of positive visualization before in books like The Secret.  Particularly poignant though is the idea of choice when it comes to who you will be.  There’s something especially powerful and frightening about choosing one’s destiny.  There are a lot of “what if’s” in life, and it can be petrifying to take the reins and say “this is who I will be.”  Ironically enough, there is also something equally terrifying about not choosing, effectively letting the chips fall where they may, possibly never living up to your own potential.

How can you choose to be who you want, knowing there’s a possibility you may fail?  Life is both implicitly simple and dangerously complex.   It has certain “rules;” for instance, you can say that you will be a flower, but you will never actually metamorph into a petalled perennial.  Yet someone can grow up in poverty, living in a van and then, with determination, become one of the funniest, wealthiest comedians in Hollywood (yep that’s Jim Carrey) .  So how do you know if it is possible to be the person you want to be?  In essence, are you thinking unrealistically that you want to be a flower?  This the point at which some logic is thrown out the window and you move into the realm of possibility.  Is it possible, in some way, despite the challenges you face, to become what you want to become?

Where is the possibility in your life?  I know you’ve got a million excuses for not being “where you want to be.”  I’ve had them too and still wrestle with them.  But at every crossroad you make a decision to either move closer to who you want to be or further away.  It may not be an easy journey, but it may be a possible one.

Contrary to what many success gurus say, you very likely will not start making six figures 3 months after you decide to choose your dream.  God knows I haven’t had that experience and honestly, I’d be a shitty person if I had.  There is beauty in the hard work and chaos that goes along with fighting for your dream.  Sometimes the universe just aligns with your goals and it is an unbelievable ease.  Other times the universe tests your resolve.

In order to live in the Possibility zone, it takes faith.  You have to start having faith in the possibility that you can achieve your dream – YOU, not someone else.  You can have 100 people who believe in you (and boy does that feel great), but if you, at your core, secretly do not, then you’re in for trouble.  Sure you may even make it to your goal, bolstered by the love and support of others.  Believe you me I am not downplaying that support.  I would be nowhere without the help of my support system.  However, unless you learn to have faith in yourself you will always be seeking out the acceptance of others, which is just plain draining.

On my desk, I keep a framed little artwork piece with a quote from St. Theresa, it’s an absolutely beautiful quote and this line is just perfect:  “May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith,”  Just soak in that for a bit.

Think of the unending possibilities for you if you can have even a start of faith, in yourself and choose.  You aren’t on this earth for nothing, choose who you are.

st-theresa-may-there-be-peace

And of course, I couldn’t write this post without a shout out to Incubus’ Make Yourself:

 *Read Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed to see what that foundation is.

 

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My Personal TOP 5 Get Sh*t DONE! Tips

get-stuff-doneI’ve recently been given the gift of more time (hope it’s not temporary)!  Now, that’s pretty much a miracle, especially for a single mom.  So how is it that I feel like I get LESS done now that I have more time?

It’s amazing how many “To Do” items keep cropping up now that I have more ‘free time.’  From laundry to doctor appointments to bills, there’s always something.  Have you ever felt this way?  It’s like none of these things seem really important in-and-of themselves, yet they had to get done.

I’m going to confess that I have a compulsion to get shit done.  It started when I became a single mom without child support.  I pretty much feel like I always need to be productive, except during my designated relax times.  But I get distracted too (one of my biggest distractions is the internet).  Keep me away from Facebook or reading articles online because a “quick minute” turns into hours, fast.  

So how do you keep the momentum going if you’re trying to get ‘er done?  

Here are my TOP 5  Get Sh*t DONE! tips (some from 4 Hour Work Week)

#5.  Limit interruptions.  Turn your phone off, close your email program, log out of Facebook, tell everyone you can’t talk right now, shut your door, escape to the library, whatever you need to do.  Interruptions are the devil!  You can always check your phone, email etc. once you’ve completed your task.

#4.  Dress for success.  I know this sounds silly, but for some reason you just feel more professional & focused if you prepare for your day/work – even if you work from home.  So go ahead, take a shower, do your hair and wear a nice shirt – you’ll feel more prepped for your tasks.

#3.  Create a sense of urgency by using a timer.  Think about how much more productive you are when you know you have a limited amount of time to do a given task.  (For example, cleaning up your house when a last minute guest is about to stop by)  If you’re working on your computer, use http://e.ggtimer.com to set a timer that will interrupt you when your time is up.  (I like to set a timer for each specific task, i.e. check Facebook, write an article, etc.)  This also method also gives you that bonus warm, fuzzy feeling of completing something before the timer buzzes!

#2.  Plan Ahead.  Create two things:  a To Do List and Calendar for your week ahead (I like to do this Sunday nights).  Make your To Do List first, then see where you can fit the items in to your week.  Remember to allot some “free time” for unexpected events and relaxing, and always overestimate how long things will take you.  If you can’t fit everything from your list into your calendar, then prioritize & either bump these items to the next week or see what you can remove from your existing calendar.  Knowing what lies ahead helps create peace of mind and a clear head means better, more creative results throughout the week.

#1.  Get RID of CABLE TV!  A few years ago, when I was operating two businesses, raising my kids and acting VP of Marketing for a women’s business organization, a colleague asked me “How do you manage to do all of that at once?”  “I don’t watch TV” was my answer.  Think about how often you watch TV – 1-2 hrs a day or more?  That’s at least 30 hrs per month.  Just think what you could fit in those wasted hours (Hint, hint: achieving your dreams)  Now I’m not saying never watch, I enjoy a good movie or even a TV show sometimes, just scale back and see what you can accomplish.  [If you’re more of a gamer than a TV watcher…this more than applies to you as well!]

Hope these will help in your quest to get stuff done.  Please share your tips below as well.  I’m all ears!!

 

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Confessions

I have a confession to make, sad but true. I haven’t been writing. On April 9th I wrote that I would be scaling back my blog writing to 3 days per week, but writing every day. I have not held my word on this.

It’s amazing how the discipline of the first month propelled me to keep up with daily writing. Then once I gave myself too general of a goal I basically used it as an excuse to put it off – for weeks.

Of course a lot has also changed over the past few weeks – I am working my jobs but have also received a wonderful influx of side work, kids have a ton going on and to top it off we just moved. Oh & we have a big trip in a couple weeks. So as my wise boyfriend told me – “wait til you’re back from your trip to recommit to a more disciplined writing schedule again.”

So that’s the plan. I’ll be back more consistently, with some nice juicy posts I’ve been mulling over, probably mid to late May.

In the meantime though I do want to tell you that I am seeing some awesome things happen in my life since I took the leap of faith to pursue my dreams. It’s amazing how the universe (God) steps things up when you set your intention on what you were made to do.

I look forward to sharing more about those things with you very soon.

Oh & while I’ve slacked off on writing I have still been attending Toastmasters! Still actively working toward my dreams…just a little slower at the moment.

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A change

So I have been thinking…
While writing every day has been great for me I feel like I am not writing the quality I would like to.

I don’t get time to do much more than a first draft usually. I would like to delve in a bit more than that so I will be posting at least 3 times per week, but still be writing in the background every day.

“At one time I thought the most important thing was talent. I think now that — the young man or the young woman must possess or teach himself, train himself, in infinite patience, which is to try and to try and to try until it comes right. He must train himself in ruthless intolerance. That is, to throw away anything that is false no matter how much he might love that page or that paragraph. The most important thing is insight, that is … curiosity to wonder, to mull, and to muse why it is that man does what he does. And if you have that, then I don’t think the talent makes much difference, whether you’ve got that or not.”
― William Faulkner [Press conference, University of Virginia, May 20, 1957]

“He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
― St. Francis of Assisi