Saturday, March 31, 2012

You Can Have Anything

You can have anything if you want it desperately enough.  You must want it with an exuberance that erupts through the skin and joins the energy that created the world ~ Sheila Graham

Yesterday ended the First Quarter of 2012.  Last night on the new, NBC reported that it was probably the strongest quarter for Wall Street since 1998.  The strongest quarter since 1998!

How is your 2012 coming along?  Are you achieving everything you want to so far this year?  I am proud to say I am having a rather productive year!  Two weeks ago I finished the first draft of my novel, A Place to Call Their Own.  I am working on the first round of edits and rewriting of that manuscript and working on my current WIP, currently titled Love Suffers Long.

I learned a great deal about the outlining/note taking process towards the end of finishing A Place to Call Their Own.  I'm now learning just as much in the editing process.  Of course I'm trying to apply all that to the new project as well.

I'm excited to start a new work-job next week that will give me a schedule more conducive to my writing and creativity.  It means giving up some personal time with my partner, but it's a good job and he understands.

How about you?  How are your plans coming along?  If they are just as planned, good for you!  Keep up the good work and by the end of the year, or your goal date, you should have reached your goal. 

But if not, don't despair.  Step back and take a look at your goal and ask yourself some questions.  If you planned to start your goal earlier than now, why haven't you?  Are you truly passionate about your goal?  If you are, have you made the necessary routines and boundaries necessary to work on your goal or dream every day?  If not, ask yourself again, are you truly passionate about your goal?

How is your 2012 going?  I'd love to hear!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Miracle

The miracle is this, the more we share, the more we have ~ Leonard Nimoy

If there’s anything I’ve learned in life, the more I share, the more I seem to have.  I love Christmas and birthdays, not because I’m the one who gets all the gifts, but the because I enjoy seeing the people close to me open their presents.  The more I share, the more I get in return.

That’s part of the reason I write this blog four times a week.  I want everyone to know that if I can go through this journey to write my first novel, then you can do anything that you set out to do.  Just create your vision, set milestone goals that support your vision, come up routines and boundaries so that you work on your dream goal at least once a day, and finally, it’s always nice to have friends and buddies doing the same thing to help you along the way.

What have you shared lately with your dream journey buddy?  I’ve love to know!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Weather

Here's the special spring weather can bring ~ Jill Badonsky

Spring has definitely sprung in the Midwest!  Actually, I think it’s been spring since about the middle of January, and I’m not complaining!  I hope you’ve enjoyed a mild winter as well (although  I know some of you had your share of snow and messy weather).

But now it’s time for Spring and I’m so excited for new routines, new projects, and new ideas.  In a couple of weeks I’m starting a new job with a new schedule and new duties.

Last week it felt really different, almost like I was cheating on my first project.  And now, it’s exciting to get to work on a new WIP and jump into the editing process on A Place to Call Their Own.  I never thought juggling two projects at once would be as exhilarating as it has been.

And that brings me to new ideas.  I do confess, the prospect of editing one project while starting to write another did seem a bit daunting last week.  It’s taken some time to get used to, but I think I’ve worked in my new routines to make sure the new WIP grows by at least 250 words per day and that the editing process moves forward daily as well.

I hope everyone is having a great start to the week.  Tomorrow I am closing a chapter in my career and taking the rest of the week off of work-job activities.  I’ll be working hard on the two projects and maybe some Spring cleaning.

What about you?  What is Spring bringing new to you this year?  I’d love to hear!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Everyday Magic

Here's to the every day magic of the way light looks when it is filtered through the trees ~ Jill Badonsky

Our lives full of magical moments.  Remember when you graduated high school?  Went to college?  Initiated into various clubs and organizations?  What about your first job?  Your first promotion?  If you’re a parent, most likely you repeated all those moments with your children.

But what about the magic that we experience every day, in our every day lives?  How often do we stop and wonder at the magic all around us?  It’s up to each and every one of us to make the time to understand that magic and use it on our dream journeys.

Some of the magic I experience daily is when my writing just flows.  I like to visualize the readers who will read A Place to Call Their Own.  Hopefully after they experience the novel they’ll have a renewed sense of hope and awe in their own lives.  And now that I’m even more prepared with my new WIP, I get to continue everyday magic with new characters in a new setting, both location and time.

So take a quick break from your dream journey and make sure you’re experiencing the every day magic along your journey.  I’d love to hear what you come up with!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Best Way to Have Good Ideas

The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas ~ Linus Pauling

No matter what dream journey or task that you’re focused on, you normally have to some sort of idea how to accomplish your task or tasks.  The best way to come up with a good idea is indeed to come up with a lot of ideas and then whittle them away until you come up with the best ones for the project for the moment.

On my dream journey of writing and publishing a novel, I have found out, the hard way, the value of good brainstorming sessions before setting out on the actual writing.  Now don’t get me wrong, fellow writers, I know there were times when just sitting down and pounding out the thoughts on my mind helped me push forward and get the novel finished.  But because I didn’t do enough outlining, there I’ve had some pretty long stops because I didn’t know where the story was going.  So my lesson learned was to do as much outlining and preparation up front so that the writing process was smooth and fluid.  By knowing exactly where the story was going, I was able to easily write 1000 words or more a week, some days I wrote as many as 2000 or 3000 words in one day alone.  And the other lesson I learned is that when I do get stuck or haven’t done my outlining, that it’s OK to take a step back and do more brainstorming to get the story moving along again.

And all along the way I am gathering new thoughts for future chapters and future novels.  During the writing of A Place to Call Their Own, I came up with the rough idea for five sequels (That’s why I like writing historical fiction, there’s usually a lot of history to write around), at least two non-fiction books, another trilogy, and a standalone story.  As the ideas started pouring in around the work in progress, I found more ideas that didn’t fit.  I just moved those notes elsewhere and those WIP’s are just waiting for me to work on them in the future.  And sometimes, I work on them instead of the primary WIP because I find some inspiration that I can’t sit aside with some notes.

So if you are trying to come up with some ideas, come up with as many ideas as you can.  You’ll find as you get going you’ll just keep coming up with more.  Take the ideas from the stories you read in the newspaper, online, and the novels you’re reading as well as TV shows and movies you’re watching.  Creative ideas to help you on dream journey are all around you!

What’s the most creative idea you’ve had lately?  I’d love to hear about it!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Each of Us Has a Spark

Each of us has a spark of life inside us and our highest endeavor ought to be to set off that spark in one another ~ Kenny Ausubel

I love to share ideas that have been successful for me with others in a the same or similar dream journeys.  It seems to be part of my nature.  My dad was a high school teacher and is currently and adjunct professor at a community college.  I worked for U.S. Bank for nine years in a culture of idea sharing and cross-pollination across the company.  I’ve also been involved in various direct sales companies; anyone who’s been involved in any of those knows that idea sharing is critical to one’s success.

The whole point of my blog is to share with you, my readers, my hopes, my fears, and my struggles as I set out to get my first full length novel written and published.  If you’re a writer yourself, I hope you identify with some of my own struggles and inspiration. If you are not a writer, but on your own dream journey, I hope you’re easily able to draw parallels to your journey.

Has one of your “sparks” inspired anyone to action lately? I’d love to hear about it!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Plus Name for Regular Activity

Creativity is merely a plus name for regular activity.  Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better ~ John Updike

Any activity does become creative when you try to do it right or better.  I have spent the last year at my current job figuring out ways for my team to do things correctly 100% of the time and get better at doing it.  All we’re going to taking messages for doctors and paging them out.  Now that work has turned in to a new career opportunity which I get to start in April.

In the last few months I switched all my cleaning products from expensive brand name products to a very effective and more cost effective replacement.  I now use white vinegar for all most of my cleaning needs.  By mixing one part vinegar to one part water, you can clean just about anything:  appliances, counter tops, glass, bathroom fixtures.  Believe it or not, the vinegar smell rarely lingers.  And a small bowl of vinegar placed strategically near the cat box has helped to neutralize odors there, too.  Cleaning was so much more fun those first few weeks than it had been.

Is there some day to day chore you can figure out how to do better, which in turn might help you reach your current dream goal?  I’d love to hear about it!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Major Milestone Achieved!

For those of you that have been following me for the last two years, I am happy to announce that I reached a major milestone in the writing of my novel, A Place to Call Their Own.  I finished the rough first draft of my manuscript!  It currently sits at 64,000 words and I can’t be happier to have achieved this goal.  I have been dreaming and goal-setting and blogging about accomplishing this for over two years and the day is finally here.

Now, don’t expect to A Place to Call Their Own available through Amazon or Barnes and Noble any time immediate.  This is a rough, rough, rough draft.  I have a lot of editing to do:  I know there are inconsistencies where I changed character names, traits, background info, etc that I need to go back and change.  Since it’s a historical novel, there are a few facts I need to check.  I am excited to be at this point with the work.

This has been one goal for that I’ve set that I’ve never questioned whether I would achieve it or not.  My mindset has always been, when I get the novel completed.  This was just like setting the goal to quit smoking (which by the way, I celebrate 15 years smoke-free this April) and going back to school to complete my bachelor’s degree.  It was a never a question of if, but a question of when.

I’ve been reminded of many things about goal setting and dream chasing along the way.  It’s taken many different incarnations of routine and schedules to get the writing done.  I might even put out there, it’s taken a change of work schedule to accommodate writing and productivity.

And I’ve learned a lot about the writing process as well.  I’ve learned about story structure and how to write effective, interesting dialogue.  I think the most important thing I’ve learned recently is the need to have a well developed outline ready to go.  It seems that most of my stumbling blocks came when I wasn’t sure where the plot was going.  Once I figured things out, the writing just started flowing.  I’ve probably written more in the last three weeks than I had written in the previous six months, seriously.

Thank you for all your support and wish me luck in my editing process.  Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Try Something New

Everybody who has a creative mind should try something new ~ Nat King Cole

Whether you consider yourself a creative/artist type or not, try something new is advice anyone can take.  For many folks in Corporate America, annual review time has either just happened or is in the process of happening.  Many of us get advice from our bosses on trying something new at this time of year.

Are you trying something new on your dream journey this year?  I went so far as changing work schedules that has helped me be more creative during a time of day when I have more energy.  I also have more time to work on my novel and I’ve even had to create a new boundary for myself so I’m not so wiped out before I go to work and have to concentrate.

Another something new I’ve learned recently is that I need to do more brainstorming, story planning, and outlining up front.  If I would have done that earlier in my process, I don’t think I would have had as many stops and stress and blocks in the process.

What have you tried new and different recently to help you on your dream journey?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

You Can Reach Out

There are things you cannot reach, but you can reach out to them, all day long ~ Mary Oliver

The only thing I would add to this quote is the word yet.  There are things you cannot reach yet, but you can reach out to them, all day long.  There are things we cannot reach, that's why we're on our individual dream journeys together.  But we can reach out to them every day.

We're almost through the first quarter of the 2012.  How is your dream journey coming along this year?  It have probably made more progress in the last three weeks than I did all year last year.  I know that's an exaggeration, but it sure does feel like it.  I am going to start recording my word count weekly so I can keep track of my progress.  It's been wonderful to tell friends that I've written 5000 words a week for the last two weeks.  I have a new schedule at work, and soon a new job, that allows me more creative time in the morning to work on my novel.

I've also created some new routines with updating this blog.  That's working very well; I feel a sense of urgency to have the next blog post written 24 to 48 hours in advance.  In the past, I was paralyzed with fear when I was trying to blog every day.  And blogging every day never worked out very well.

And at the same time, I understand if you haven't started on your 2012 goals.  Two of my biggest accomplishments were not started until April or May.  Just don't wait too long.

There are things that we cannot reach daily, but we can reach out and work towards them everyday.  Have a great week, everybody!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Any Time Not Spent on Love is Wasted

Any time not spent on love is wasted ~ Tasso

In my life, any extra time not spent on my loves:  my family and my dream, is wasted.  I hope that any extra time you have, you are also spending on your next step in your dream journey.  And I hope that you are loving every minute of it.

And I’m using the term “extra-time” loosely.  Remember if you are working towards a dream goal, you have to create routines and boundaries around your time to make that a reality.  And even after you create those routines and boundaries, you have to be flexible enough to change them.

I recently accepted a new job and will be changing careers just a little bit.  Part of the appeal is later hours in the day that allow me to get up leisurely in the morning and work on my writing before going work (and not having to be up at 5:00AM to do so).  I’ve had a taste of the new routine the last couple of weeks at my current job and one new boundary I’ve had to set up is only working on the novel for about 500 words at time.  Anything beyond that, I start exhausting myself where I can’t concentrate later in the afternoon.  That’s a good thing, because by limiting myself, my brain is just salivating the rest of the day with great ideas that I can type out the next day.  Sometimes I have time to work on them at work as well, so that helps.

Anyway, I hope whatever you spend your time on you absolutely love.  If not, why not find a dream journey to spend time on, in love?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

There Are No Rules

The only rule is that there are no rules ~ Del Close

The Internet has opened more avenues for entrepreneurs than ever before.  The Internet allows anyone to create a very professional looking “storefront” out of which to operate.  And once the Internet started, the rules of doing business changed.  Then social media changed the way we do business again. 

Just using my example of writing a novel, there are millions of people offering help with writing, from very specific help to general creativity coaching.  After you get your work written, there are, again, many options to get it published hardcopy, e-version, traditional, indie, etc.  And then there are more sites that will help you market and sell copies.

My thoughts today are that to reach your dreams and goals you’ve got to be willing to break the rules and understand there are no rules.  Make your dream important enough that you are willing to break all the traditional rules to succeed.  If you do that, you are nearly guaranteed to succeed at achieving your dream goal.

What rules are you breaking to reach your dream goal?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Music...Magic Beyond What We All Do

Ah, music.  A magic beyond what we all do here ~ JK Rowling

Do you have a “soundtrack” to your life or a soundtrack to the work you’re doing?  I definitely have certain songs that are attached to certain memories in my life.

The “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler reminds me of the year I graduated high school.

Whitney Houston’s “I will always love you” reminds me of the year that I turned 21.

“Hey, Soul Sister” by Train is a recent addition to the soundtrack of my life that includes my partner Thomas.

I’m sure you have some memories as well of good songs.  As a writer, I also have a “soundtrack,” for my current novel.  Sometimes the I ran across the song after I had a scene or a chapter written.  Other times, I have been thinking about a scene and a song pops into my head and I think, this is the same mood I want to this scene to convey.

Music is just a part of our lives.  Imagine a movie without a background score, the Super Bowl (or any football game for that matter) without a Half Time Show.

Does your current dream journey have a soundtrack?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Simple Moments of Delight

Here's to ceremonies that exalt simple moments of delight ~ Jill Badonsky

I usually think of a ceremony as a special event, most of the time something big.  But something as simple as regular afternoon tea can be seen as a ceremony.  Even accomplishing a daily goal that you’ve set can be ceremonious, even if it does start happening every day.

That’s what has been happening for me on a daily basis.  I’ve been reveling in my morning ceremony of getting up, working out, and getting my writing accomplished and out of the way for the day.  During the week I had off, I was able to re-charge, do some serious brainstorming and now my novel is moving along at a breathtaking pace.  I was excited to tell a writer friend over the week that my novel has grown by about 5000 words in just the last week.  Here’s to another week of that kind of progress.

And now that I can see the end in sight, I have another ceremony on my mind:  my publication launch party.  If you’re a new writer on the same journey, are you planning yours yet?  And if you’ve already published your work, what about your next publication?  Have you planned that launch party?

Part of what is fueling my progress right now is my ability to visualize myself at my launch party.  I’ve planned the hors d’eurves we’re going to serve, the people that will be there, and how Facebook and Twitter will be used to interact with family, friends, and fans unable to make the launch party in Kansas City. 

What is vision of your success do you see for yourself in your dream journey?  I’d love to hear what it is!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ideas Are Like Rabbits

Ideas are like rabbits.  You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon, you have a dozen ~ John Steinbeck

Once I get some inspiration or get an idea for a scene or story arc, my writing is very productive.  It's when I run out of steam and am empty of ideas that my progress stalls.  And, I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, employed brainstorming with paper and pen to get my plot moving forward.

What helped me with my latest brainstorm was a vast array of different works of fiction that I'd recently read.  And to be a fiction reader has a been a big shift for me since I started on my journey.  Up until about four years ago, my main reading material was non-fiction:  self-help and business books.  Of course, I was into Harry Potter and read all those books and every once in a while I read the book that became a movie.

But when I started my novel, I started reading fiction.  I now read a wide variety of fiction that has helped shape my writing and armed me with a plethora of ideas for my own stories.  I read mysteries, thrillers, sci-fi, even chick-lit and YA titles.  I just finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy.  Not only was that some of the best reading I ever done, it taught me a lot about story structure and plot development. 

If you're a writer, you know exactly what I'm talking about.  If you're on another dream journey, you'll have to seek out the resources needed for you to generate the ideas you need to achieve your goal.  I remember selling Tupperware and attending every training session I could.  I gleaned at least one new idea to grow my business from each meeting.

What new ideas have your run across recently that gave some vigor to your dream journey?  I'd love to hear about them!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Vary the Routine Every Now and Then

Here's to varying the routine every now and then to keep life fresh, the spirit spontaneous, and the mind awake ~ Jill Badonsky

Routines are essential to achieving most of life's tasks, professional or personal.  The idea of creating person routines was introduced to me nearly fifteen years ago when I worked in cash services for a large commercial bank.  We always coached the employees to develop personal routines to help them achieve their accuracy when handling large amounts of currency (upwards of one million dollars per day!). 

I took this idea of developing a routine and applied to my job at the time and have employed it every position ever since.  As a corporate trainer, I had certain administrative duties that had to be completed after each class and usually only had Mondays to complete them.  As a call center supervisor and manager, I created routines to ensure all my tasks are completed in a timely manner.

Routines are important when you're working on a dream journey.  Since many of us on a dream journey are also juggling other responsibilities like a full time job and family responsibilities, routines help ensure our dream journeys continue amidst our everyday lives.  Routines also help our family, friends, and supporters understand how important the time is to you and understand that their time is coming soon, and in your plan.

At the same time, sometimes it's just fun to mix things up every now and then.  For example, instead of setting a goal to just sit down and write, I am breaking up my writing time into bits and pieces.  This morning, I went ahead and did my workout, sat down and completed half my writing goal on A Place to Call Their Own, took a break to play on Twitter, wrote out this blog, and then I will return to the novel to complete my writing for the day. 

For me, sometimes it is just easiest to get the writing done and out of the way.  Sometimes it's nice to break it up, either because I'm struggling with a section or because during the breaks I might be doing something else I don't like, such as chores around the house.

I hope your routines are helping you achieve your dreams and goals this year.  Vary them every once and a while and I'm sure you'll get a new spring in your steps towards your dream journey.

What are your thoughts?