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.

Inspiration, Uncategorized

Awakening Outside and In

Today’s daily post talks about awakening.  They talk about their favorite seasons, Fall in South Carolina and Spring in the colder northern states. And I absolutely love that. I love the Fall for many of the same reasons as she listed – it’s cooler here in the South and you can enjoy the outdoors, the garden and the coming holidays. I also really love the Spring the the budding flowers and vegetables poking out of the ground. The feeling of renewal and a new lease on life are so strong as the weather gets warmer and you get that lovely breeze through your open windows. Yep, I love the outdoors.

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Mine are just starting to get to this point. Not ready for the big garden but they’re growing!

But her post also struck me as I’m going through a different kind of awakening. I’m allowing myself to dream. And I’m working toward that dream. And I’m realizing that I can 100% achieve that dream. Isn’t that a funny thing? In the past, I wouldn’t have told myself that I could write copy for an amazing running company or that I could write research papers for mental health providers. Why not? Why couldn’t I? Because I didn’t give myself the room to do it.

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Give it a try! You might surprise yourself.

For whatever reason, I’m allowing myself the opportunity to do this at this point in my life. I love to write. I love to read. I love to research. Sounds like a good fit, huh? And it is. I’m going to roll with it. I’m going to keep sending in my papers and signing clients. I’m going to see how far this amazing awakening takes me. Because I’m worth it. I deserve to enjoy how I spend my time.

What awakenings strike your imagination? Are you in the middle of one right now? Have you gone through something similar?  Are you “woke”?  That last one’s a joke. But you should be. If you want to be. Talk to me. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Have a beautiful day!

books, Inspiration

Trusting the Process…

I decided in November 2017 that I was going to finally put words to paper, or computer screen, and I was going to become an author. And I did. I published my first word search. Not quite a literary masterpiece, but it has had a great reception since it’s very irreverent, curses, talks about sex and teaches new insults. It’s definitely “Not Your Grandma’s Word Search.”

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Yep, that word is in there.  A few times.

Then I got a little crazy and started finalizing a memoir I’ve been working on for about ten years now, Don’t Move, Don’t Breathe. This book is the ripping of my soul and my memories and sharing it for the world. I edited and edited, reread and rewrote passages. This book scared the crap out of me. If I’m honest, it still does. I FINALLY shared it with my sisters and held my breath. That was the 1st time I’d ever told some of my stories to any living soul. It was frightening and sickening. I was a hot mess. While yes, I had a few things to fix as I had switched from 3rd person to 1st person and I hadn’t caught all of my errors yet, they were 100% on board and loved it! The relief was palpable. I still had a lot of fixes to put in and it wasn’t ready to publish yet but that was a start.

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I was terrified. Telling your story is empowering, yes. But also one of the scarier things you’ll ever do.

In December, while working on the memoir, I put together a collection of poetry and short stories as a companion to Don’t Move, Don’t Breathe. At the same time I was going through some strong emotions because I was reliving everything I was reading. Yes, money was tight & holidays are always a difficult time for me. I won’t lie. It was hard. Really hard. And I was not in a good place. But I pushed through and got Memories & Snapshots published and completed the other book within the next couple weeks.

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Sometimes sitting and looking at nature helps when the world is just too much. Serenity. Peace. Solitude.

The big book, as I’ve come to call it, came out in January. The reviews are so amazing and supportive. I had no idea what to expect. Why would anyone care about my story? I wasn’t sure but I had a really strong need to get it out and shared with the world. I’m so pleased when I’m told that someone couldn’t put it down, that it spoke to them and they loved it. It warms me from the inside.

Now that the deep stuff is out, I’m able to focus on my other writing. I put out the 2nd edition of Not Your Grandma’s Word Search in February & followed it up with Not Your Kindergarten’s Word Search in March. This series is so much fun. I love to think outside the box and make people laugh. I started working on my YA Fiction novel in February and it’s about halfway done. I had a lovely dream this morning that sparked a great twist to the story line I’ll be flushing out once I’m finished here.  I hope to share that in May or June at the latest.

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How else can we look forward to the future if we don’t embrace the start of something new?

I’ve even amped up my copywriting business. I’ve completed a few articles and a research piece this week. It’s a great feeling to use your mind to generate an income rather than driving through traffic, putting in 40 hours and repeating week after week. I’ve been able to research very interesting, very different topics and it doesn’t even feel like work.

For me, that means trusting the process is actually working. The jobs are coming. The books are printing and being well received. My efforts are not in vain. Do you have a similar story? Do you have a dream that’s been nagging at you but you haven’t taken those first steps yet?