Tuesday, July 22, 2014

6 Tips to Bring Yourself Back to the Positive

While I have centered this blog around the writing life, in reality it's purpose is to highlight the writing as well as the joy of following our passion, whatever that passion may be. I've had a lot of experiences over the past few years that have forced me to really look at myself and determine why I do what I do, and where I want to be by the time I leave this world. Or rather, what kind of life I want to look back on and see that I've lived.

The life I'm living so far is good. It's not perfect by any means, and there are a lot of dreams as of yet unfulfilled, but overall it's good. Despite that, I often find myself struggling to stay positive. Life gets difficult. My house feels like it's a monster bigger than I can handle. Children are crying at my feet, tears streaming down their faces, begging me to hold them. Books are calling to me with untold stories aching to get down on paper. Everybody seems to need everything and I find myself wondering... when is it my turn? Anyway, the point of that rant is this... life gets hard, stuff gets in the way until I feel like I'm just getting through, and I start to slip into the negativity. This is a bad habit of mine that I'm really working on fixing.

Negativity. The opposite of positive, the opposite of joy, pretty much the opposite of everything I want. He's a sneaky little guy, coming in when I'm defenseless, taking root before I've realized he's there. Gotta love him. But you see, I have tricks that I'm learning to combat negativity. Do they always work? Nope. But sometimes is better than never. So here are a few of those.

  • Keep a gratitude journal. I've talked about this before but I probably shouldn't because I don't do this faithfully. Still, recognizing the blessings in your life is a great way to shift the context of how you view life.
  • Write. Write. Write. I mean this for everybody, not just writers. Get up in the morning and write about what makes you feel good. I did this this morning and it was lovely. Brought my energy right up. I felt happy, I felt passion fluttering inside, and I felt a desire to take on the day. It was wonderful. I wasn't writing poetry or novels, I was simply writing what I wanted. I was writing about what I liked, and I only focused on what I like about the morning. It doesn't really matter what the topic is as long as it makes you feel good. 
  • Find something that inspires you to be your best self. This could be a book, a movie, or a conversation with a friend. Again, it doesn't matter what it is as long as whatever it is is helping you see the incredible you that's buried under the negative. Seriously, somewhere hiding in there is an incredible person just waiting for you to open the door. So open it. Let your passion fuel your life. Find something that enables you to see you as you were created to be seen.
  • Master mind with somebody. This is a concept I learned through Napoleon Hill's books, and it's a concept worth including in your life. If I'm low or struggling with negativity, I can often find a person that I trust and bounce ideas off of them. It becomes a mastermind where the people involved in the conversation drive the possibilities forward until you gain access to what you are really capable of. It's an effective way to find hope and the positive when you're drowning in the negative. 
  • Take a break. I'm not joking. Get out of the house, take a drive to somewhere that feeds your soul, or go for a walk down the street. If you can't leave the house then find somewhere restful in the home where you can just be with yourself for a while. Don't focus on anything but your body and the incredible experience of relaxing. Take a bath. Have a glass of wine. Whatever you need to do to unwind. Make you a priority.
  • Set aside time at night for yourself. As often as I can I make the nights mine. I get the kids in bed and I turn on a movie or I read a book I've been wanting to read. This is my time. You need that time to unwind and recoup before you have to wake up and start all over again so make it a priority as often as you can.
I know there are lots of tips and tricks you can do to feed the positive. I would love to hear what some of you do to stay positive when you're feeling a little low. Feel free to share!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What's Your Story?

Everybody has a story. I'm a big believer in this. Most people think their story is boring, pointless, and just not worth telling. I would argue that they don't understand the value of their own story. I have a belief that I've been nurturing for a while, and that belief is that history as it is written in the history books was written by the conquerors, not the conquered. Or, to put it in less gruesome detail, it was written by the scholars and the academics, while the stories of those who actually lived through history have long since been forgotten.

Here's an example:

We have Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. The history books praise Thomas Edison as the father of modern invention, and he may very well have been. But what about Tesla? He also lived during that time period and his inventions were incredible. His goal for mankind was far-reaching and, had he achieve it, would have been phenomenal.

New history is cropping up that tells a different story. Who was Tesla and who was Edison? And were they portrayed accurately, or was one portrayed as the failure while the other was painted as a hero? Who wrote the stories that we now believe portray these two men? I would love to read an autobiography of Nikola Tesla. I think that would be a phenomenal piece of work because it may shed new light on an old story.

What would be even better are stories written by the people that lived and worked with these two men. Those are the people that would have told their interpretation of the men, how they acted, how they responded to failure, what their upsets were, and what drove their passion forward. These people would have thought their stories were pointless, but in reality they would have been incredible works that we who live today could have read to get a true look into the lives of these men.

Everybody has a story. Everybody. The elderly have incredible stories. They've lived through wars, genocides, failures and successes in the countries they love, loss, heartache, growth, and triumph. Their lives may have seemed uneventful, but when you string that life into a story you see that they have something to share and incredible wisdom to impart.

Everybody has a story. The young have stories. They view life differently than the rest of us who have been smacked down a couple of times. They see beauty where we see mud, they feel vibrant and energetic while we spend half our lives trudging through exhaustion. Their world is very cut and dry. X = Y. It makes sense to them. Their stories can give us a different view on the world we live in.

Everybody has a story. The teenager dealing with the highs and lows of puberty and of peer pressure. The young soul trying to figure out where they stand in this world and where they're going to make an impact. They are risk-takers, often trying far more than we adults would ever want them to try, but learning from it nonetheless. These stories are worth hearing because we can get an inside look into their world and how life occurs for them.

Everybody has a story. Regardless of your situation in life, whether you're rich or poor, young or old, from Brooklyn or California, Ireland or the Middle East. You have a story and it's beautiful because every story is a story of life. These stories are how we can truly see the world through the eyes of another. That is how compassion is born because, as Ender said in the novel Ender's game,

Our stories when told help other people truly understand who we are and when we understand people, we can't help but love them. So I ask you, what's your story? Have you considered that it's worth telling?

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Why of What I Do

I created this blog for two reasons. First because writing is my passion. Whenever I start to feel lost or like I just need something for me, I start to crave writing. It's a sanctuary for me, a world where I get to live and experience life through the lives of other people, people that I've created. I love that about writing. I love that I get to be so many different people and wear so many different hats, and then at the end of the day I'm still me.
I read a quote that basically said that the person who reads lives a thousand lives in one lifetime, while the person who doesn't read lives only one. I loved that quote. But I would take it one further. The person who writes truly experiences a thousand lives in one lifetime because you become those characters, if only for a brief moment.. You understand them, you hurt with them, and you love with them. Oh, by the way, I might have a girly crush on my main protagonists. I bet I'm not the only writer that does.

I also created this blog because I've been experiencing a shift in my life, and I've seen other people experience that shift is well. It's almost like you see the light fire up in their eyes, and they realize that they were born to be incredible. They were born to live a life of love and passion, one that could possibly impact the world. Maya Angelou is a prime example of one of these people. She discovered this years and years before the rest of us, and look what she did. The woman inspired millions, and she loved them. People are starting to feel that fire inside,the fire that says that their greatness is in there, waiting to shine.

I wanted to learn how to let my light shine, and I wanted to do it in a way that helped others let their light shine as well. Some days I think I'm getting there. My light must be shining! And other days I'm pretty sure I stuck the light under basket and then buried the basket in mud. I feel like every person that made it to earth made it because there is something in them that is so wonderful it wants to be shown in mortality. When they let it out, their lives and the lives of the people around them are transformed. Gandhi is a prime example of a person who tapped into their greatness and lived in that power. He transformed an entire country and his legacy transformed the world. My hope is that we can all learn to live in such a way that our lives touch the lives of others, leaving them better off than we found them.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Great Dilemma

With today's technology, authors are no longer stuck to the traditional publishing model of the major publishing houses. In the past if you wanted to get your book published you would get your manuscript complete then start looking for an agent, who would help you find a publisher. This model is still going strong, but many writers are turning to self-publishing to get their voices heard. No matter how great the publisher is, they can't publish every book that comes their way so there are plenty of excellent pieces of work that get tossed in the slush pile. Remember The Help? The author of that title had more than 60 rejections before her work was picked up. Great books can get lost in that slush pile.

So we authors are now faced with an interesting dilemma. Do we self-publish, or is the traditional model the better route? I have been asking myself this question for years, literally. In that time I have researched both models, talked to authors who have self published and talked to those who have used the publishing houses. More and more I find myself leaning to the self-publishing model. Here is why:

We'll start with royalties. Traditional publishing houses give their authors about 10% royalties. Out of that 10% you pay your agent. That doesn't count e-books which are often calculated differently. I have a friend who published a book that got nationwide attention and he told me it was very likely that he would never see royalties from the e-book sales. I was shocked. E-book sales make up a huge chunk of the market and they cost very little to produce. Royalties should at least be the same on those, if not higher. Granted, the royalties are going to be different depending on the publishing company, but you get the idea.

Marketing. This one is the biggest toss up for me. I don't know how to market a book. I don't know how to market anything, really. But that doesn't mean I can't learn. Marketing classes are all over the place, and if I wanted to I could go get a degree in marketing. I've seriously considered doing that too. But with a book you go through a publisher because you expect them to do the marketing. I think in the past this may have been the case, but I've talked to quite a few authors that are not getting the marketing they thought they would get through a publisher. One young author told me that she had her book published, was making about a dollar per book sold, and had hired a publicist to drive the book forward. I don't know what kind of marketing support she had, but it wasn't enough. However, all of these publishers have connections to the big name box stores that I don't have, so that's a mark in their favor. Regardless of the marketing platform and assistance given, they do have connections. So I'm torn on the marketing. I know, with the technology we have today and the huge reach of social media, marketing is possible without a publishing house, but it will be a learning curve.

Control of the title. This one is big for me. I never liked the idea of pouring my soul into a book and then passing it on to a publisher to control the outcome. I get that you need an editor. That one makes perfect sense to me. But once the title is published I want to be able to control the marketing schedule, book signings, book tours, etc. I may be somewhat of a control freak so keep that in mind. I like the idea of having full control over something that I've worked so hard on. On the other hand, the publishing houses are there because they know what they're doing, so following a set format is a good idea. This one is one of those toss ups for me.

Finances. So let's face it. Financially most of us don't have thousands of dollars to slap onto a book and get it published. There are many costs that come with publishing. You have to buy ISBN numbers, which should be purchased through the ISBN website. Turns out, if you purchase your ISBN for thirty bucks from one of the self publishers online, they then have the rights to the ISBN and you don't. You want to maintain the rights if you're self publishing so pay the money and do it right the first time.

After the ISBN you have cover design. This one has been a toss up for me. I'm pretty good at Photoshop and I have a sister who is great. In theory my cover shouldn't cost anything, but if I were to choose a cover designer that's a few hundred dollars. Editing is anywhere from $200 to $1500 depending on the editor you choose. I think I might have choked on some of those prices, really.

And then, of course, there's the production of the book itself. E-books can be done for a couple of hundred, and the physical book can be done for less than $1,000 for 100 copies. Then there's the business side of it. If you want to publish your book the right way, create a publishing company and publish your book through your company. This removes your liability and changes the tax portion of it. I really don't understand all of that, but I know it's best to publish the book as a company rather than as an individual. Starting a company will cost hundreds. Financially, people flock to publishers because it just doesn't feel feasible. So here's the breakdown.


  • 10% royalties
  • You give them control of the title (you can keep the copyright. Just make sure you read the contract)
  • Connections to bookstores and writers resources
  • Possible marketing help, but no guarantee
  • They fund the production
Self publishing:
  • You provide all the funding 
    • E-book production approx $250
    • Book cover approx $200
    • ISBN varies, but about $300 for 10 and you'll want multiple numbers
    • Editor anywhere from $250 - $1500
    • Print books $600 for 100 copies (figuring on the low side)
    • Marketing: ?
    • Expenses that I am unaware of or that pop up unexpectedly - X
  • You maintain complete control
  • You put together the marketing platform. You have to learn to market. Do you know what a press release is? You'll need to figure it out.
  • Higher royalties depending on where it was produced. 
  • E-book royalties that typically range from 30-50%, sometimes higher
See? It's a dilemma. There are pros and cons to both. I think if I could get my book picked up by one of the big five publishing companies (Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, etc) I'd jump at the chance, but probably not for the smaller publishers. Self publishing may be slower going, but it's possible to build a following through a good social media marketing program. At that point your books would start selling. I've decided that there is no right or wrong decision to the publishing dilemma. You simply have to choose whatever option works best for you.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Life Experiences Fuel Your Writing

When I sit down to write my books I put myself into the minds of my characters. I see what they see, feel what they feel, and hear what they hear. Their thoughts become my thoughts, their actions my actions, and their emotions my emotions. I more or less embody the character so I can fully understand the person I am writing about and express them in my words. This is particularly important for me when writing the experiences of my protagonist. How can I create the proper emotional climate if I can't experience what she (or he) is feeling? The answer. I can't. My words fall flat and the writing is dull. 

What I've learned while doing this is that I think I'm becoming the character, and I am, but to a large degree they are also becoming me. The characters that take center stage in my novels all have parts of me and they evolve as I evolve. It's like a beautiful little dance. My life experiences shape who I am and they shape who they are. I'm learning now to observe people as they live their lives. Oftentimes seemingly minor situations are in fact huge sources of inspiration for a writer. I also write in my journal or on my computer, usually if I'm trying to let go of a particular emotion. Those words can later be used for inspiration as well. 

And that, right there, is the beauty of experiencing life. Every new experience can be filed away into your store of writing prompts, plot lines, or character quirks that make a character unique. People, places, emotions, words, as well as sight, sound, smell, and touch. All of these make a character and all of these are how you experience life. In particular, when I have an experience that moves me to tears or hurts so much I think I can't handle it, I'll often give my characters experiences that will bring out the same emotions, because it gives the character depth, it shows what they care about, and it enables the reader to become emotionally connected to them. Through those experiences you can portray beauty, loss, heartache, joy, love, compassion, etc. These are the experiences that take writing from stringing words along a paper to an art form. Once the reader feels that connection, I believe at that point art has happened. That doesn't necessarily mean I've hit that point with my writing. I certainly hope I have. And if not, I will continue to write and to use my experiences to move it forward. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Loving Writer's Block

I've got a touch of Writer's Block. I'll admit it. I do and it's making writing a bit difficult. I've read lots of different posts on clearing out writer's block, and I think it's all good advice. Yet, I sit here with writer's block, re-reading and re-reading the last sentences, paragraphs, and chapters of the book I am writing. Why? I can't tell you. I guess I'm hoping for a flash of inspiration, or maybe just trying to delude myself into thinking I'm actually doing something on my book. Yes, sometimes I'm delusional. The book is going nowhere.

I know how to get out of writer's block. Oddly enough, the solution is to write. It's a very circular scheme. When you write you open up the creative outlets and the words start to flow. The more you write the more creative you get. So when you get into a slump, by golly you must write! So I sit down to write and I stare at my blank page and that first word eludes me. As does the second. And the third. Should I start with dialogue? Maybe I'll make it exciting, somebody's getting killed! No, we've had excitement. It's time for a break. But they're traveling. Something has to happen. I know what's going to happen, yes! Oh wait, no first word. Sigh.

That's my mind on writer's block. Seriously, it's ridiculous. So I read the previous chapters because I'm bored and lacking inspiration, and it does me no good simply because I want to complete delete everything I've written. Start over. Blank page. Try again.

Sometimes I wonder if I should.

The funny thing about writing though is that I have the finished product in mind, I have the story line figured out, and these characters are opening up as I go. I love it! It's like getting to know someone bit by bit; piece by piece they reveal themselves to you. It's a very intimate affair getting to know your characters, and once you do the story unfolds beautifully, simply, incredibly, and you have a finished book.

I do not know my characters, at least not for my current book. They are still revealing themselves to me. They seem to be shy. Maybe, just maybe they are afraid of me. Like a scared child I need to coax them out of their shell until they blossom for me. Then I will see their beauty. Then I will see their scars. Then I will see how they play into my story. Or, maybe, they'll create their own story. They have a story to tell, I am simply the medium through which that story will be told.

It will be wonderful. It is a beautiful story.

And there you have it. Writer's block is dreaded by an author, but it's there for a reason. It's telling you something. I for one think I'll listen to what it's telling me. It is my chance to unearth the secrets of my characters and expose all of their innermost secrets.

So writer's block, I want to say Thank You. Thank you for telling me I have work to do. This is going to be fun.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Your Past Has Been Edited - Create Your Future Instead

I had a bit of an epiphany today. As a writer one of the things I hear a lot is to keep the editing of your work to a minimum until the writing is complete, at which point you can go back and fix things. Then, you definitely edit but watch yourself so you don't get stuck in editing. If you do you'll end up in a vicious circle where you write, edit, write, edit, write, edit, write, edit, and your book never gets published. The point here is to be okay if the writing isn't perfect. Somebody will always find flaws anyway, regardless of how perfect you make it. So do the best you can and get your work published, don't get stuck in the mire of perfection!

Now the reason I wanted to share this was because I realized that this piece of advice translates quite well if you put it in the perspective of life. How often do we sit and dwell on the past, wishing we had done this differently or that differently, or said this and not said that. Or we look back fondly on the life we once had and look with misery on the life we have now.

I realized that when we do this, what we are doing is simply editing and editing and editing. We're editing our entire lives in some strange effort to change the outcome. We know we can't change it but we keep looking back wishing we could. So maybe we should stop editing and start writing the new chapter of our lives. We live in the present and we can create the future with our dreams, words, visions, whatever you want to call them.

Now is the time to live in the present and create the future - it's time to stop editing the past.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Power of the Written Word

I am a many things, I won't deny this, but ultimately I am a writer. I have a flame burning inside me that I can not stifle. It's a powerful desire propelling me forward, hopefully to the fulfillment of my dreams. Those dreams encompass far more than publishing books - books are simply the avenue I have chosen to take.

Words are some of the most powerful tools on earth. Through this medium of art we highlight the beauty that makes us human, we share our struggles and our achievements, we celebrate our strengths and weaknesses - with words we awaken parts of ourselves that we may have denied or forgotten were there. We see our own pain and loss, dreams and achievement - we see love, hate, passion, desire, strength, and every emotion in between that makes us inherently human. And through all of this - seeing this humanity within us - we see the greatness that dwells in humanity as well. But it isn't only in humanity, it is in each of us. This is why I write. Because someday, my words may bring light to another soul. Maybe, through the medium I've chosen, somebody will find the key that helps them awaken the incredible person inside. To write is to open up a part of your soul and share it with the world. My hope is that by sharing my soul, I will be able to touch the souls of thousands.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Magic of the Mind

If you ask almost any writer out there how you start your novel, the answer they will give will be this... "Just start!"

You may then be thinking, "Sure, that's helpful." This thought would be dripping with sarcasm. But in all honest
y, that is the best advice a writer could give you. How do you think any writer ever got his novel finished? He just started.

I'll go into it a little more for you though. Writing is a highly creative process. Every creative process has to be born somewhere. It has to start. You can't plant a bulb and expect a flower the next day and you can't decide to write a novel and see the finished product the next day. It just won't happen.

However, once that bulb is planted the plant starts to grow. You don't see it at first. You have no idea what's going on underneath the soil, but it is growing. Eventually the first little shoot breaks through the surface. Soon, it's three inches tall. Before long, it's a tulip. Funny thing about tulips is they multiply. You plant one the first year and you get three bulbs the next year. Eventually you'll have a field full of tulips.

This is how your creative mind works. You plant the seed that you're going to write a novel and then you sit down and you start to write. Your first words may be terrible, but if they are that's okay. Keep going! Like the tulip bulb those words will multiply and become beautiful. Creativity creates creativity. The more you write the more you'll find ideas and inspiration coming at you everywhere you turn. If you get writer's block, keep going! You can always cut what you don't like, and you never know what seeds of inspiration might come from those portions you cut. So those writers should tell you this. "Just start... and don't stop! Keep going, keep going, keep going!"

Another piece of advice I think is worth sharing is that writing is an act of the heart and soul. When you write, feel what you write, experience the world through the eyes of the character, and let them tell their stories through you. Don't think, feel. Remember, you can always go back later and adjust what you've written, but a good story comes from the heart. It's a small piece of the writer's soul that she has laid bare for all to see. These are the stories that leave an impact. These are the books that leave the reader in wonder when the last word finally falls from the page. So don't think, feel, and never stop. I'll leave you with this quote from Ray Bradbury.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Obviously it's been years since I posted on this blog. I'm so terrible at keeping up on my posts it is ridiculous. Unfortunately, it is what it is. However, I have some new goals for the new year. I know, so cliche! Everybody has new years goals and by March they're back to their old ways. This could very well be me. I promise nothing. However, I do intend to have my book published and another finished by the end of the year. For me those are big goals, especially considering my four kids who do tend to consume large chunks of my life. So we'll see how that goes!

For now, it may just be little old me on this blog but I'm okay with that. It'll grow as I grow I imagine. Until then, here's to embracing a new years with new possibilities!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Word a Day Keeps Illiteracy Away!

Today's word - Colloquial

A contact of mine used this word in an email he sent me. I've heard the word but never thought to look up the meaning. Today, I'm doing that! Here it is.

Colloquial: Characteristic of or appropriate to ordinary or familiar conversation rather than formal speech or writing; informal

So, there you have it. Now you know what colloquial is. Maybe I'll use that one in a conversation today.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Action Packed Scenes

Last week, from Wednesday to Friday, I wrote about 4,600 words in my novel. WOOHOO!!!!! I felt like celebrating. The best part about it? It was easy, so easy. I started writing and a few hours later, BAM, 3,000 words. For some writers this is probably no big thing. For me, it is a big thing. Sometimes I slow myself down by agonizing over just the right word. Other times I just can't seem to figure out where my characters are going. But I knew where they were going last week so it was a simple thing to write that. 

There's another reason it was so easy, and this is the reason I want to talk about today. The scenes I was writing were action. Let me explain: In my novel the character has a jerk for a boyfriend. He's very obsessive. She's done with him but he isn't done with her. He decides he wants her, come hell or high water, and he's going to have her. So, what does he do? Well, he attacks her. And he's mean, not caring if he kills her. Yae! That's my kind of scene! Not because he's brutally violent but because there's a lot going on so it's a lot easier to write. And, because there's so much action, there are about a million adjectives that I can use to describe said action. If my character's are being chased in a scene, I can write like crazy. If they're having a beautiful romantic moment (yes, I'm a sucker for romance), I can breeze through the scene with a happy grin on my face because there's so much going on.
That being said, when I get to what I call a filler scene, I slug through it. If there's advice out there for stopping this, please share! These scenes are not really fillers. They're scenes that keep the novel moving, reveal more of the plot, teach the character something. I'd love to do all of this with crazy action scenes, but I think if I had a book that was only action, eventually I'd be bored to tears with action.
And the scenes aren't sluggish. There is stuff happening, but it's just not action-packed or love-packed or drama-packed. It's two characters, one major and one minor (though the minor has important info that needs to be shared) sitting at a desk or conversing over a cup of coffee or breakfast. They're sitting, not doing much, but through the dialogue important plot elements are introduced. This is how I do it. I think it gives the book a certain ebb and flow that's necessary for the advancement of any novel. The reader gets hit with emotion then gets a moment to calm down before the next emotional element is introduced. This, in my opinion, sets the pace of the story. It lets the reader know the character is safe or unsafe, happy or sad, losing or winning. As the conflict for the character increases, so do the emotional scenes. They get more frequent and more gripping. Like a woman in labor, the novel progresses, getting more and more intense, until the climax (birth) and then the calm comes. So, that's how I do it. I'd love love love to hear the opinions of other writers out there. How do you do it? How do your filler scenes work (I'm sure there's a better name for them then that, but oh well)? What type of scenes do you breeze through because they're so easy?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Keep Going Even When it Hurts

Remember how I said that part of following a passion or goal is getting yourself in a good place emotionally? Yeah, I wasn't kidding. Unfortunately, you can't always avoid those drops that stick you in the black hole. The trouble is, once you're there, digging yourself back out of that hole usually seems impossible. For me, it's like trying to climb up walls of soft dirt so every move up the wall crumbles beneath me and I slide back down. Sound familiar? I hope not.
Guess what, the hole sucked me up today. Hi hole, how are you? Oh, you're deep today. Nice.
Fortunately, I do this often enough that I've learned a few tricks to pulling myself out. The sucky part is that I haven't yet learned how to stay out of the darn hole. It seems to like me.
Anyway, here's what I've learned.
  • 1. Don't allow yourself to stay in 'the hole'. If you throw a pity party, you're never leaving. Usually that's what I want to do. Sit down and give up, tell the hole he won. But if you do this, he really does win and you end up miserable. If you must throw a pity party, make it quick then get your butt in gear!
  • 2. Don't listen to the hole. Okay, so I sound crazy. There isn't a hole and it most definitely doesn't talk. But the hole is a mindset and it's a very mean, brutal, nasty mindset. It likes to make you feel like crap. It's very good at making you feel like crap. So what is it telling you? Well, it usually tells me that I am really bad at what I'm trying to do (Okay, it tells me I suck). That usually morphs into telling me I'm an awful mom and the worst housewife ever. Then it gets worse. It starts telling me to give up because it's all pointless anyway. What's the use in trying when every time it gets better it usually follows that it gets worse? Give up. Quit. Be done with it all. Stop dreaming. Stop living. You'll be better off. Ouch. Whack. Thump. Smash. Crack. The words beat against my resolve. STOP!!!!!! I finally scream. Get out! I don't want you here!
  • 3. Which leads me to my third point. Do the opposite of whatever the nasty little hole is telling you to do. If it's telling you to quit, don't! If it's tells you to give up, try harder. If it tells you to be done with it all, power through it and keep going! Because, inevitably, you will rise from this hole and you will get back to a place where you can think rationally again. Those screaming voices will fade until they become just an annoying hum in the background.
  • 4. Surround yourself with the positive. I know I keep saying this, but it's the best way I know to improve something that's really difficult. If you're focusing on all the negatives in your life, you're going to get a lot of negative. Trust me. I know. I do this. But I've learned that when I really focus on the positive I can view life in a better light and good things just seem to come my way. My problem is that once I'm in a good place, I forget to keep up the positive and the negative slowly comes back. Then guess what happens? Yep. The hole opens its gaping mouth and I fall in. So surround yourself with the positive! Fill your head with positive phrases, thank God daily for all the positive, wonderful things in your life. If you can't find any, then thank him for your health and the ability to breathe. Stick affirmations all over your house, things like I love who I am and I love being me or My life is filled with joy. Whatever you want to be, those are the thoughts that need to fill your head.
When you get back to a positive place, it's so much easier to see your goals and passions as achievable things, so do everything you can to get there. Don't let the hole win. I won't. I'm going to keep going today. And eventually I'll win my fight with 'the hole' and I won't slide into it anymore. Until then, I will move forward because that's what I do.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Negativity in Life and Valuing Yourself

Part of following a passion or pursuing a goal is getting yourself in an emotional place where you can pursue what you want to. Every day we all experience hundreds of emotions. Most of them aren't great variations from what we're used to, so we don't notice them, but some throw themselves in our path and change the course of that path. Sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes it's a bad thing. It's a good thing when the emotion that threw itself in your way is a strong positive emotion. It changes your course, but it changes it for the better and, because it was positive, it was a change you feel like you had a choice in. Negative emotions, however, seem to do the opposite. They plop their nasty little Jabba the Hutt bodies in our path and we feel forced to vary. We don't decide. We respond, and usually the response isn't something we're happy with.
So, our goals and passions are constantly influenced by our emotions. If we live all the time in a world of negativity, we will respond to everything and our dreams for ourselves will be influenced, changed, and sometimes gotten rid of altogether. This is why I say that you have to get yourself in a good emotional place. Pursuing a passion when you're depressed is a very challenging thing. You constantly second-guess yourself, you constantly wonder if you're just crazy or stupid, you wonder if it's even the right thing for you or if you're just selfish for trying to achieve something for yourself. You fill your head with negative thoughts and they become the quicksand sucking you away from your dreams.
On the flip side, if you can get yourself to a place where most of your thoughts are positive, where you have learned to let go of the negative, then the goals and passions become clear. You're not second guessing yourself or wondering if you're just an idiot for trying. That positive emotional place gives you clarity to know exactly what you're pursuing, why you're pursuing it, and how you can achieve it.
So the obvious question that follows is how do you get to that place? Honestly, I don't spend all of my time there yet so I don't know the exact path. I get there sometimes. I've experienced it. But I'm constantly fighting to stay there, simply because I've been in the negative for so long that now I think my body and mind are comfortable there. Yikes!!!!!! Still, there is one way that should work great, and that is to change your mindset. When you think a negative thought, replace it with a positive one. Instead of berating yourself for all of your supposed failures, praise yourself for your talents. Try to see yourself as God sees you, and you'll learn to live in a more positive place. I'm not saying this is easy, because it's a daily struggle for me, but I do believe it's entirely possible and I have seen a huge improvement in my life since I started trying to see myself differently. Why not choose to see yourself in the best way possible? If you saw yourself as your father in heaven sees you, think about what you could achieve! Why do we not achieve our goals? Mostly because we think we're not worth it, we feel stupid for trying, or we feel stupid for failing a few times and we give up. All of these are simply ways we don't take value in ourselves. So change your value in yourself. See yourself as valuable, treat yourself as if you are your most valuable possession, because you are, and maybe those positive changes will begin to take place.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Kathryn Stockett

I get emails from Writer's Digest. I wait for the weekly email that contains little tibits of writing advice, some of which I take into account, some of which I ignore. This week I followed a few links and found this story of Kathryn Stockett. Now, I've never read "The Help" but I like the advice she's giving: keep going even when nobody else has faith in you. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Perseverance is the key to any passion! Kathryn Stockett persevered and now her perseverance has paid off. Good for her!

Here is the link to the story I found --Kathryn Stockett's Story