agenda, books, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Doing Big Things

Do you ever have one of those days where you’re just like, Wow, I did a LOT today? Today was one of those days for me. It was ultra-productive and I feel like I’m taking big steps forward. Started off with the regular job but with tons of stuff thrown in there, fit in a webinar, and headed out for some training to be a Guardian ad Litem for the local court system. Now I’m getting ready to do some online learning and another webinar before bed. I also got some editing done on 3 articles, so I’d say it’s not a bad day.

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Busy as a….. BEE!  Hahaha – I crack myself up!

What I would have liked to have done today was get back into my book. I am going to remap my time so I have a minimum of 30 minutes with my book as well as the other time for actual paying gigs in the evening. That may mean cutting down on some of the training or reallocating time from one day to another but I need to get it knocked out. I’ve missed my personal deadline of a book a month and I’m behind the 8-ball to get the April one finished and started with May.

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Not the 8-ball, but you get the idea

How do you balance life and work and family? How do you keep all the balls in the air? I’d love to hear your organizational masterpieces! I currently have a paper planner/schedule so I can have a visual reminder. I also set reminders on my phone for webinars since I can listen from the phone and download slides later for most of them. What’s your trick?

I almost forgot, I’m also planning out some proposals! I’m putting information together for a client that could start some of that good ol’ steady income I’ve been hoping to get going. And I’m starting the research on a travel ebook. Fun times!!

Tell me your May agenda. What’s going on for you this spring? Are you powered up by the sun? Or are you a prisoner to the pollen?

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Uncategorized

Partaking in Earth Day?

So, today’s word is partake. What a fun word! You can partake in an adult beverage or you can partake in a game of Words With Friends with your coworkers. You can partake of a slice of cheesecake…  All of that sounds lovely to me!

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Can I just have this for breakfast, please???

Today I will be partaking in Earth Day. Well, technically we started yesterday with the front yard – new mulch, raking up sticks, leaves, and that gross tree pollen stuff that is all stringy and everywhere. Then we moved out to the garden and laid fresh dirt, planted peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, zucchini, corn and a beautiful purple basil. Oh, and marigolds because, who doesn’t love some color? We’re nowhere near done with the planting but I love that I can help create what goes into our bodies and that there are no poisons or chemicals involved.

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Aren’t the azaleas gorgeous???

Today’s job is the little side bed I dug out last year. Sadly, my fig and my hibiscus didn’t survive the winter but I have not given up on the roses or the Russian lavender that are still hanging on in there. It’s desperately in need of weeding and a good layer of mulch, so I’ll be doing that today. Overall, the yard is looking much better – thanks to the hubs for mowing!

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They’re gonna grow big and strong!!

We actually embraced Earth Day a little early this year. The school I work at adopted a few city streets, so we took all of our students out of class and we walked the city streets, met a few people, homeless or otherwise, found quite a few interesting things along the way, and scouted out a great place for lunch. They seemed to really enjoy the outing, though they were working and many of them are not accustomed to anything of the sort. But in the end, it was a fantastic team-building experience, a humble nod to our co-inhabitants in the city, and a giving back that we don’t often have the time or desire to partake in.

It’s a beautiful world, every day, and I hope we can continue to keep it that way.  What do you do to keep your world beautiful? Are you an outside person?

books, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Writing Tips

Write Every Day, They Say…

I guess you can think of your ability to write as a muscle. If you train it and use it consistently, it becomes stronger and more defined. If you don’t use it, it shrinks down, gets surrounded by fat and can’t be found unless you’re cut open. And that’s just not a good idea at all. I say because I’ve convinced myself that I’ll be doing actual writing every day. That’s it. I’ve said it, so let it be. Well, maybe not that instantly, but that’s the plan.

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This is how my writing guns need to look!

Just moments ago, I was kicked back on my bed, mostly laying on my squishy, comfy pillows, with my eyes closed. I was right at that point where I could just let go and fall all the way to sleep. BUT, I realized that my dogs are still in the backyard and my son is still up playing on the iPad. If they stay out and he keeps watching it unchecked, I can’t be responsible for the havoc that will be wreaked. Not really. I’d be totally responsible. Thus, the reason I cracked open the laptop.

I’m taking this moment to type while sleepy. Yes, it’s dangerous. I have no idea what I could be sending out onto the web, but I committed. In between turning on the laptop and now, I actually found a very interesting blog and a post therein that encouraged me to jump into writing daily. And it made sense.

The more you use it, the better you get. The more you type, the faster you are. The more you run, the less you feel like you’re going to die. The more you fly a plane, the more credibility you have as a pilot. While writing a shoddy article is not as life-threatening as potentially crashing a plane,  it still reflects on you poorly. Clients are looking for well-thought out commentary and interesting subjects. They don’t want to hear the same thing with new descriptions and colorful words. They want to be moved.

The same goes for books. You can’t repeat the same rhythm over and over with your sentence structure. You wouldn’t want to hear the same cadence repeatedly in your music, so why would people want to see it in your writing. Such an amazing observation and so true! I’m easily distracted, so the book or article needs to keep my attention or the proverbial butterflies will drag me away.

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Oooooh, butterfly!!

The awesome thing is that you will pick up on that the more you write. And the more you forgive yourself for making errors or putting a bad string of events together, the less likely you are to do it. The even more awesome thing is that you don’t have to keep those particular pieces. You can let them go and give it another try tomorrow. Isn’t that lovely? Second chances and endless opportunities.

Have you made a similar commitment? Do you write daily? weekly? monthly? Ever? Are you a schedule person or a do-it-when-you-feel-it person? I’ve always been the latter but I’m embracing the former and giving this a try. Tell me your thoughts – I’d love to hear different perspectives!

 

books, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Writing Tips

Why not now? Maybe later?

I’ve already told you how much of a procrastinator I am. So, why am I even talking about this again, you wonder… Because it’s a huge problem! So many people I know get caught up with a series on TV/Netflix/Hulu and don’t get off the couch for a few hours. Hours. That precious time when you’re not required to be anywhere or do anything. Nobody is watching the clock, looking for you to show up. Yes, I know a good binge is important from time to time but that’s just it – once in a while, not every day!

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If this is what you’re watching, I’m just gonna assume you life in a nightmare. Is it talking to you??

I found a FANTASTIC article today about how to avoid procrastinating as an author. And I’m so motivated! I even bought a planner so I can old-school schedule stuff. Don’t judge me. I’m a visual person. If I can’t picture it, did it really happen? But that got me onto a whole anti-procrastination search. Yes, I’m also a huge tech  nerd. Love to find answers in seconds…

Tools! There are actual tools to help get past procrastinating and reopening that notebook or laptop or whatever your weapon of choice may be. How awesome is that? People have actually thought through this and have put together lists and helpful hints. Were you aware of this? I don’t think you were since you’re on season 6 of Archer and you just started watching it yesterday.

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I wish I had tools this organized!!

I actually go in spurts. I have days when I can get a blog post done, edit an article, do research for another one, and even spend quality time with the family. How? I have no idea. But I do know that it doesn’t include Archer. Or television at all. For some reason that is such a huge time-suck for me. If I actually sit down and get interested, all plans are out the door. OR, I bring the laptop into the living room and half watch and half write. No bueno. That is not a good combination for me. I don’t do well with distraction and my writing suffers.

But I do love the idea of giving myself a timer or a deadline for the day. I’ve talked about a 2 hour a day commitment. Yep, that’s my goal, to write for 2 hours a day, or work on my business somehow for that time period. Today, I’ve put in about 3 hours. But others will be 6 or zero. Who knows. That’s the beauty of this life. I can be flexible and meet my own needs and desires. It’s absolutely lovely. But I have to be organized too.

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Gotta have that balance in life!

If I don’t have things written out or emailed to me regularly, something will certainly fall through the cracks and that is also no bueno. That’s not me. I’m a control freak when it comes to my work and my creative outlets. Ask anyone who has ever worked with me. I’m a team-player but I need to make sure it’s getting done. That’s just how I’m wired.

So, tell me, how do you get past your distractions? Do you see them for what they are or do you just roll with them? I’m curious! I love finding new ways to be efficient and productive but still maintain balance. Because, who doesn’t like to goof off??  Tell be in the comments!

 

books, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Stay Humble, But Brag

I can’t stand writing about my accomplishments. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love to write and talk about my books and I love to dig into them and relate them to other peoples’ experiences because, let’s just agree on this, life is pretty universal and there is very little in this world that another person hasn’t already experienced. But that’s why we reach out. We want to connect. We want to relate. We want to know that we aren’t alone on this gigantic, floating rock, hurting through space. Right?

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Your bio should have a quick shot of fireworks that makes the reader stop and say, “hey, I like this person”…

That’s the fun part. But actually putting in writing what I’ve accomplished in my life and trying to pull someone into my world is a challenge to me. Especially if I’m going to keep it under 300 words. I’m a bit of a Chatty Cathy when I’m at the keyboard, if you haven’t noticed yet. I’m not sure if it’s humility or shyness or if I’m just no good at summarizing who I am. This is my current struggle.

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I can get to talking sometimes. Okay, a lot of the time. But there’s so much to say!!

On the back of the books, or on the inner sleeve if it’s hardback, is generally a quick bio of the author. And some people are really witty and silly while others are serious with credentials up the wazoo. My credentials aren’t necessarily in creative writing or fiction writing or journalism. But I can write. And my life is fairly standard, 2 dogs, 2 kids, a husband and a house. Where do you add the personality?  Where’s the character? What will draw you to connect to me as an author and make you want to ready MY book?

I found a great blog post today with some instruction on exactly how to do that. And I’m going to revisit my own bio and play around with it. I like it but it’s missing a little something. I need to add some originality, some Jenn to it. Because it is me. It came from me. I want it to invite you to get to know me and come hang out with me for a while because we have a fantastic story to discuss.

Daily Word Prompt, Inspiration, Writing Tips

Day of Rest – Not Really

It’s another beautiful day in the world!  Luckily, I don’t have to drive to the office for a couple of hours but that also means it’s the weekend and I have a whole new list of things to do. Is there ever really a day off? Do you ever go into the weekend filled with energy and  excited to embrace the days doing incredibly productive activities and chores? Yeah, I can’t say that I do. When I use so much energy all week long I’m just wiped out by Friday night. Depleted. Gone. Nada. So I need to recharge.

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Such a beautiful Spring day!! Finally!!

I don’t have any specific way to recharge. I try to sleep in but sometimes I have to work early Saturday mornings. I have dogs who need to go out and be fed. I have a 4 year old who wakes up happy and excited for the day at seven no matter what day it is. And I have deadlines, typically Sunday. So, yeah, sleeping in doesn’t do it for me.

How do you recharge? Do you have a spa day? Date night? Girl/Guy time? From time to time I grab a book and carve an ounce of serenity out of my day. Otherwise, I go out to the backyard and work in my garden. Since Spring is just showing its true face, I’ve got a few sprouts popping up from seeds I’ve been waiting on, and I love it. Seeing nature at work is so peaceful to me. I also really love a freshly mowed lawn, so I’m especially happy if the hubby has gone out and done the dirty work that weekend. I also take the kid and the dogs on walks through our neighborhood. They all love it and my arms get an extra workout because they aren’t well trained and like to pull and walk all over each other. Double win.

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Not my dog, but check out that smile!!

Most importantly, I try not to totally deplete my energy. I try to save some because I don’t really have the kind of time that lets me just relax. That’s a special occasion. And rare. Really rare. So I make sure the kid goes to bed on time and the dogs are fed and relaxing on schedule. Keeping the world around me on a normal routine actually makes life easier for me and makes my nightly writing a relaxing experience and nothing like work.

Tell me in the comments how you refill after your energy is completely depleted. What do you do for you? If anything… Sports? Nail time? Sleep? I’m curious.

Daily Word Prompt, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Shake Things Up

I’m really starting to get into these daily word prompts.  WordPress gives a daily word to inspire your writing for the day. So far, the words have done exactly what they intend. I feel like they might actually be speaking to me. Wait, are they? Are they following me? Nahhhhh, I know they’re not but it’s so interesting that sometimes it feels like the universe just puts everything together perfectly to encourage you on your path. Some would say that’s proof of God. Some wouldn’t. Who knows?

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Hello Universe!!

So, today the word they chose is Disrupt. It could be taken a few different ways, like you didn’t pay your electric bill so they’re going to disrupt your service. Or your child is extra gregarious today and is determined to disrupt their class. Or the dog won’t quit barking and it is disrupting your sleep. So many ways to take it but those examples all seem so negative. I’m choosing to use disrupt as a shake up. Sometimes we need to disrupt our lives to open the door for bigger and better things. We have to experience some disruption to get our tails in gear and look for that better job or the new house. While the disruption itself can be stressful or scary, the outcome can be so amazing.

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Positive disruption!  Breaking the egg shell in order to be born or free from your confines…

My life has been one big disruption after another lately. A few years ago, I chose to shake things up and moved across the country to a new job, a new city and a new life. And that’s exactly what I got. It has been so worth it! I’m glad I chose to make the changes I did because it brought me to my husband and my son came out of it. We found a perfect home and I now have a bigger family than I ever thought I would.

I’ve even disrupted my nighttime routine. I used to come home and binge watch HGTV – I love the Property Brothers and all things Fixer Upper. But now I rarely turn the television on unless it’s Disney Junior for the little guy. Now I will hang out with the kid, have a relaxed dinner, play outside, get him to bed, then I get to work. I spend 2-3 hours working on my writing projects each night. And I go to bed feeling accomplished. Sometimes it’s a little more, or even a little less if I find a good stopping point, but the point is, I broke up my time wasted and turned it into productive time. And I couldn’t be happier about it. I’m being acknowledged for my work.  It’s helping out my family. And I am personally challenged by some of the research I am assigned. Winning all around!

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My imaginary Property Brothers home – on a basket weaver’s & a dog walker’s salary, of course!

Maybe it’s time for a disruption in your life. A controlled disruption, if possible. If you’re not happy with what you’re doing, who you’re with, where you’re living, do something about it. Embrace the chaos and take those steps forward that you’ve been thinking about or dreaming about.