Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dare to Believe

Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance ~ Bruce Barton

You have to believe that you are destined for great things.  That can be tough, I know.  We grow with well-meaning people constantly trying to give us advice about our lives and vocations.  Sometimes when things get tough it’s hard to believe ourselves that we can overcome some of the obstacles that we face.

The biggest part of a dream journey sometimes is the personal growth you can experience.  I can’t believe that a year ago I was lamenting because writing 250 words a day and this year I am easily hammering out about 800 words per day, easily.  I think this creative energy is coming from three different places.

First of all, my current WIP is better outlined and brainstormed than my first project, A Place to Call Their Own.  I have some very good notes about what is going to happen and that makes writing each scene and each chapter easier. 

The second source of energy fueling my productivity is confidence with myself that I can write 5000 words in a week.   Back in February I took a week off of work and was able to meet that word count total that week.  The next week, I was shocked when I did again, after working 40+ hours.  And then I did it again another week, and another.  In fact, I think the only week since the end of February I haven’t written that many words was the first week here at my new job when I worked a different schedule.  Now it’s a habit and personal expectation that I achieve that goal each week.

My final source of creative energy is coming from confidence with myself that I actually wrote a novel!  A Place to Call Their Own is my first full length novel.  It’s completely written and I am in the final stages of editing it right now.  Hopefully it will be ready for some beta readers soon.

If you would have told me even a year ago that I’d be writing 5000 words per week, consistently, I would never have believed you.  But I proved it to myself I could do it and now I do it consistently. 

I hope you can find some pearl of useful information in my posts about my writing.  If you’re not a writer, I hope you’re able to draw parallels on your personal dream journey.  I hope everyone has a great week.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Never Let it Go

When you have a dream, you've got to grab it and never let it go ~ Carol Burnett

Enough said.  There is nothing more I can add to this today, except to wish you a wonderful weekend.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Discover You and Trust IT

You have got to discover you, what you do, and trust it ~ Barbara Streisand

I recently watched  “Stan Time,” an episode  of American Dad! where Stan takes pills to stay up all night.  By taking the pills, he’s able to feel rested without sleeping.  He uses the time to indulge in his own activities that he’s not able to during the day, like playing a video game.  Francine eventually catches him and wants the pills as well.  They agree to use the time separately rather than spend it together.  Stan becomes the video champ he wants to be and gets invited to a tournament.  Francine uses her time to get an advanced degree and then discovers a rare giant squid. 

My initial analysis of the episode was the difference between what Stan chooses to do with his time and what Francine chooses to do with her time.   Even though Francine achievements seem to be a bit more noble that Stan’s (at least in my mind), Stan does find a goal and works very hard to achieve.

I think that’s what Barbara Streisand is telling us in the quote.  You have to discover what you do and trust it.  Stan discovers he’s good at the video game, trusts it and gets the invitation to the tournament.  I think we all need to be working towards “the tournament” whatever that means in our own personal dream journeys.  For me, that’s the journey on the road to publication.  For some of my friends, the road is a road to direct sales success. 

Do you trust IT, whatever IT is for you?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Dark Side

We all need to look into the dark side of our nature - that's where the energy is, the passion.  People are afraid of that because it holds pieces of us we're busy denying ~ Sue Grafton

Have you stopped to think about the dark side of your nature lately?  What goals or dreams are lying out there? 

For many people in creative disciplines, this is the master of our art.  Adele has received numerous accolades for her CD, 21.  Most of the music was inspired by a break-up.  Sometime, you can’t reach any darker place than that.

Writers are encouraged to write the books they want to read.  Again, this comes from some of the deepest darkest parts of our brains.  And while some of this can be very disturbing, it can make for some fantastic stories.  The Hunger Games trilogy is one of my favorite set of books I’ve read in a long time.  Again, there are some very deep, dark undertones in this world of teenagers battling each other to the death for food.

What part of your dark side is holding you back?  Don’t let it.  Use the dark side to your advantage, to meet your goals (not to rule the Empire!).

I hope everyone is having as productive week as I am so far!  I’d love hear about your week!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Complicated is Commonplace

Making the the simple complicated is commonplace, making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity ~ Charles Mingus

When I was a corporate trainer, most of my prep time was focused on breaking complex work place tasks into simpler, easy to remember, steps.  As a manager of work groups for the last few years, I also did my best to keep things as simple as possible.

After a difficult time with the Missouri DMV in March, I created my own simple mantra for my own achievement as a writer:  write, read, and be social every day.

No matter what dream journey you're on, you should be able to identify simple steps for success that you can follow every day.  If you do enough research on the Internet, you'll probably find someone who has already formulated those steps as well.

Once your simple tasks are identified, perform them every day and one day you'll find that you've reached your dream goal. 

What are your simple steps for success?  I'd love to hear about them!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Not Smart Enough to Know Better

Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible ~ Doug Larson

It doesn’t take anyone special to reach a dream goal, anyone who sets their mind to it, can do it.  Thomas Edison started as a telegraph operator and went on to originate the concept and implementation of electric power generation and distribution.  Alexander Graham Bell ‘s research in hearing and speech led him to the invention of the telephone.    Could you imagine life without either electricity or your cell phone today?

Take me for example, I have a business degree and have been working in call centers and banks for most of my career.  I don’t have a degree in creative writing or English.  That’s not stopping me from writing novels. 

I love the world we in which we live with access to the Internet.  If you want to learn something new or change careers, the Internet opens doors that only public libraries could in the past.  Whether it’s formal training with online courses at accredited universities or just articles you can find online about the skill you’d like to develop, it can all be found online.

So if you’re aren’t already on a dream journey, it’s never too late to  start one.  And with the resources available like never before, you have the world at your fingertips.  Go for it!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Excellence is Not an Act, But a Habit

We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence then is not an act, but a habit ~ Aristotle

I absolutely believe that we become what we repeatedly do and I absolutely believe that excellence is a habit and routine we have to strive for every day.

I thought I would take today to review my strategy for dream journey of becoming a published novelist.  I know there are quite a few new followers out there that might be getting bits and pieces of the message.  If you’ve been following me for a while, this will be good review.

My plan is a five part plan for success, excellence if you will:
  • Create Your Vision
  • Set Goals
  • Develop and Follow Routines
  • Define Boundaries
  • Find at least one Friend

Last week I wrote quite a bit about Creating Your Vision.  The next step is to Set Goals that support your vision.  Then you Develop and Follow Routines that support your goals and Define Boundaries so that you create some balance in your life.  Finally, Find at least one Friend to share your journey with.

And then when you’re done figuring all that out, you go back and continually refine what you’re going after and what you’re created.  Remember Sunday’s post, Eudora Welty brought us don’t think you’ve ever seen the last of anything.

Have you reviewed your plan lately?  I’d love to hear!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

An Awful Mess

So what adventure have you encountered on lately?  And has it made you stop and take note, maybe even think, what did I get myself into?

If so, congratulations!  I’m glad that you made the plunge. 

If not, your adventure is out there.  You just have to figure it out! 

Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Never Think You've Seen the Last of Anything

Yes, never think you’ve seen the last of anything because everything comes back around.

This week, my posts have focused on creating and refining your vision for your dream journey.  This is not the first time I’ve written about vision.  I started with topics on vision when I started blogging three years ago. 

And this will not be the last week that I write about your vision.  Even when you think you have it down, you’ll find something new and exciting to include in your vision statement. 

In past years, even prior to working on my novel, I used December as my reflection month and preparation for the New Year.  It’s just been coincidence that my topics have been about vision this April.  The point I want to stress is that it’s never too late to revisit and refine your vision of success for yourself.

And just like Eudora Welty says, never think you’ll have “finished” your vision for good. 

I hope you all had a great weekend and wish you a productive and dream-worthy week!

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Happiness comes only when we push our brains and hearts to the farthest reaches of which we are capable ~ Leo Rostan

If you’ve been following along this week, on Tuesday and Thursday, I encouraged you to write a journal entry of what your vision of success looks like in the future.  Now I want you to revisit that vision and make sure it pushes you to the farthest reaches.

Having revisited my own vision lately and taking the time to come up with that dream lifestyle has fueled my writing and progress lately.  On my first novel, it is exciting to be done writing it, but sometime editing can get boring and tedious.  Reviewing my vision helps me get back to the task of editing; I really do want to get A Place to Call Their Own on the market this year.  

It has also helped fuel my creativity and work on my next novel.  I am stretching myself by using a non-linear plot and setting the story in a foreign country.  That will mean a whole different set of challenges and research to make the story believable to native readers. 

And I’m so happy to be in this moment on my journey.  I was a bit overwhelmed at first with the prospect having to balance editing with continuing to write a new story, but I think I have the appropriate balance for both projects.  And I’m still getting consistent blog posts published as well.

I hope you found time this week to create that dream vision journal entry.  Now go back and ask yourself, am I really pushing my brain and heart to the farthest reaches?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Something to Bring to the Table

You would not exist if you did not have something to bring to the table ~ Herbie Hancock

Just about two weeks ago we finished the first quarter of 2012.  I hope the plans that you have laid out for yourself this year are going well.  I am excited to share that everything seems to be working very well for me this year.  I finished the first draft of A Place to Call Their Own and am working on editing my manuscript.  In the meantime, I have started a second piece that is just as exciting and even more challenging than A Place to Call Their Own.  I planned for all that to happen and even seem to be a bit ahead of schedule.  What I didn’t plan to do this year was to change jobs a week ago.  And thankfully, my schedule gives full support to my writing schedule.  Everything is working out just fine.

If your dream journey isn’t moving along the way you’d like it to this year, maybe you need to go back and re-examine your vision.  Yes, all the way back to vision.  Tuesday’s blog post was also about your big picture vision statement.  Have you really taken the time to have a clear vision in your head of where your dream journey is taking you?  If not, this is the perfect time to stop and take the time to do so.

I compare your vision to outlining and noting my novels a bit better than I did when writing A Place to Call Their Own.  I just started writing with a vague idea of where I wanted the story to go.  Along the way I got paralyzed because I didn’t know where the novel was going.  Once I figured out where the story was going and had the plot completely fleshed out, the writing came very, very easily.  And for your dream journey, when you know exactly where you’re going and have a vision of what you’re trying to achieve, you’ll be able to move forward, confidently, every day, towards your goal.

Did you complete the vision journal entry I posted on Tuesday?  I’d love to hear!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

When All Else Fails, There's Always a Delusion

When all else fails, there's always a delusion ~ Conan O'Brien

What does your delusion of success look like?  Have you thought about it recently? 

I hope you have! 

Recently I made my own journal entry of my own that described my grand delusion of what success will look like in fifteen or twenty years. 

There is so much research about the power of the human mind and suggestion.  Go for it!  Make your journal entry about what your life will look like in five, ten, fifteen, twenty years after you achieve your dream goal.

Be very specific: 

Describe your daily routine:  be very specific, do you do things differently on the weekends rather than the week days?
Where do you live?
What does your house look like?
Do you have more than one house?
What kind of car do you drive?
What other activities do you have the time and money to do now that you've achieved your dream goal?

Again, be very specific so that you know exactly at what you're looking forward.  This grand delusion that you create will be your vision of the future.  Once you have that vision in mind, you can always fall back on that journal entry when things don't seem to be going your way on your dream journey.

Here's to a Grand Delusional Week, everyone!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Best Time

The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes ~ Agatha Christie

Does it ever feel like all you ever do is work on your dream goal, whatever that might be?  And at the same time, sometimes it doesn’t feel like you’re moving forward? 

If you think about, maybe it is because you think about your dream goal or journey all the time, but set boundaries so that you only work on your dream during certain times of the day or certain days.  Remember, unless you are brainstorming goals, action plans, etc.  you’re probably not actually working towards your dream.

So the important thing to think about is, are you devoting enough time to your dream that you want?  If you aren’t and that’s why you are thinking about it a lot, then maybe can you change a routine or a boundary so that you can work on it more.  If you are devoting enough time to your dream project, then maybe you’ve reached an exciting time and it’s on your mind.

If you are good with the amount of time you are actually working on your dream goal, maybe you need to set a boundary with yourself to take your mind off of your dream goal.  I’m all about being totally immersed in achieving a goal, but there are times when you just need to let things go and relax.

What new routine or boundary have you implemented to help you with your dream goal lately?  I’d love to hear about it!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

You Want a Piece of Me?

The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying, “Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses.”  She’s a got a baseball cap and yelling, “You want a piece of me?” ~ Robin Williams

Doesn’t the image of the Statue of Liberty yelling that at someone make you chuckle?  At least a bit?  Come on you can admit, it’s funny!

I think what makes that image funny for me is the fact that we always picture the Statue of Liberty as the stately lady she is, guarding the New York Harbor.  But it’s nice to think about her in more modern terms, using vernacular current with today’s pop culture.

Achieving your dream goal is a bit like buying into Robin William’s modern day image of the Statue of Liberty.  Sometimes we have to do things differently than we’ve ever had to them before to reach and achieve our dreams. For example, if you told me a year ago I’d be working in a doctor’s office, I would have told you you’re crazy.  But things happen and here I am working for a group of seven doctors.  I don’t come in until later in the afternoon, so I have a big chunk of my day that I can devote to my creativity.  And I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to do it, like it did with my other job.

The growth we experience from our dream goals will be different for each of us.  But through this change, we’ll achieve our dreams and goals and should become better people for doing so.

What change have you implemented this year or what growth have you experienced so far?  I’d love to hear your stories!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Born This Way

I believe every person is born with talent ~ Maya Angelou

Every person is born with talents that are uniquely all their own.  We owe it to ourselves to figure out what our talents and passions are and to pursue them.  If you can make a living doing something that you truly love, then you will be much happier in life.

What if you don’t know what your talents or passions are?  Believe me, there have been times in my life when I was just showing up to work earning a paycheck.  And most of the time I was having fun and enjoyed what I was doing. 

Then I hit 30 and that’s when the importance of talent and passion and my every day work life started becoming important.  At the time I was a corporate trainer with a major U.S. bank, which I loved.  I just started a new job this week that is less stressful with a schedule more conducive to my writing career.  Someday I hope that I can earn a full time living from just writing.  

Are you working on your talents this year?  I’d love to hear from you!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Breath of Life

Here's to the nose and the breath of life it gives us when it's not stuffed up ~ Jill Badonsky

In the Midwest, we've had a very mild winter.  As a result, the bugs are out early and allergy season is already in full swing, at least a month ahead.

But also as a result, the early spring flowers bloomed at least two weeks ahead of schedule.  My cilantro and spinach is doing great and I have yellow squash and cucumbers coming up.  I even planted my tomato plant outside about a month earlier than normal.  I'll just have to keep a close eye on the overnight temperatures.

I've also switched the clothes in my closet:  I took out most of the cold weather clothes and replaced them with the my warm weather clothes, definitely about six weeks in advance.

To me, the exciting thing about the warm spring weather this year is being able to enjoy some of my favorite warm weather activities and rituals, just a bit earlier in the year.  I remember recent springs when we were still getting rain and snow well into April.

Another thing that the warm weather reminds me is my dream to be able to have the flexibility to enjoy the warm weather, work on the next novel on the patio, edit the next novel in the park. 

What are you doing different with this unseasonably warm spring weather?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Bumper Sticker if You Will

To have a reason to get up in the morning, it is necessary to possess a guiding principle.  A belief of some kind.  A bumper sticker if you will ~ Judith Guest

This is the first day of the second quarter of 2012.  If you're not already well on your way to achieving your dream goal this year, hopefully can you use this weekend to recharge, refuel, and get going on your goal.  You still have the rest of the year to achieve your goal.

When I look back at some recent success that I've had in the last six weeks, there are three things that stand out to me.  These have become my bumper sticker that have helped propel me forward.

The first thing that seems to help is a well though-out plan.  By taking a bit more time up front to prepare my notes, I'm getting through the sometimes more difficult chore of actually writing.

Tracking my weekly progress has also helped me move continue to move forward at a new, faster pace.  By setting large goals like 5000 words a week, I am actually achieving those goals and the new WIP is moving forward much faster because of it.  I am keeping detailed records of my weekly activities (word counts) so that I have something to reference each week.  I never thought tracking would help me so much.

The third thing that has helped me is sticking to the routines that I know work for my life.  Making sure I hit my writing goal for the day, editing goal.  Even new goals and routines around blogging has helped me be more consistent and deliver better blog posts.  More people are reading my posts.  Maybe because I'm more consistent, maybe because the posts are better?  Hopefully it is both!

How are you doing this year?  I've love to hear from you!