Sunday, March 31, 2013
The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another ~ Williams James
For everyone who celebrates Easter, I wish you a happy one. If you don't celebrate Easter, I wish you the universal message of hope that the day brings to me.
No matter what your beliefs, I hope that you are spending the day exactly as you choose. Whether you take the day off to spend with family and friends or are hard at work on your dream journey, I hope the day turns out for you as stress free as possible.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn't been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn't be lucky ~ Oprah Winfrey
I love this quote by Oprah Winfrey and yesterday I was reminded that I always need to be prepared.
Last Wednesday, I joined a weekly writer's critique group. I found them on a Writer's Meet Up web site and when I saw that they meet on Wednesday mornings, I jumped at the opportunity to join them. And I was prepared with my piece for the day. But what I didn't have with me were business cards.
When I sold Tupperware and other product through party planning companies, I was taught to always have business cards and catalogs with me at all times. I usually did and met people all the time who wanted my products, did parties, or even joined me in the company. But why did I forget that yesterday and on one other occasion I networked with other writers? I am out of practice.
When I was a manager who interviewed people, one of my favorite questions was "Do you consider yourself lucky?" My favorite answer was something along the lines of "I create my own luck," or "I feel blessed."
What are you doing to create your own luck?
Thursday, March 28, 2013
The pathos and the gift of life is that we cannot know which will be our defining heartbreak, or our most victorious joy ~ Alexandra Fuller
No matter what your dream journey, I think it can be bring both heartbreak and joy. The heartbreak comes when goals aren't met or your dream gets rejected. The joy comes when you meet milestone goals or meet company goals. That's the amazing thing about dream journeys: they come with a plethora of emotions, both heartbreak and joy.
Although the the first three months of the year are about to come to a close, it is not too late to discover and start a dream journey this year. If you've been following me, you know I have made New Year's Resolutions in January and didn't get going on them until April or May. It's not too late for you.
Even last year I made a New Year's Resolution to finish my first manuscript, A Place to Call Their Own. I didn't seriously sit down and consider finishing it until the end of February. Once I figured out the final plot points, I was done within a month. Then I was ahead of my publishing plan by submitting it to agents and publishers by the end of the year. Now, A Place to Call Their Own has been accepted by Musa Publishing for publication later this year.
Have you reached goals in January that you didn't start until later in the year? Or have you started goals later in the year and had success in achieving them? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still ~ Barbara Kingsolver
Did you get a rejection email this week? Not book any more parties or recruit any new consultants? Didn't get very far in your dream journey this week? Follow the advice of this quote and move forward today. It's a new day!
When was the last time you had to shake water off your back and tell the voice in your head to be still?
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Engaging the social world without empathy is like going to the mall without any money or pants on; it can be done, but you're bound to have problems ~ David Finch
I am finishing up my application for the Lambda Literary Foundation's Emerging Writers Retreat later this summer (wish me luck). This meant preparing a "biography and artistic statement" about what it will mean to me to be accepted for the this retreat. Yes, this harkens me back to the college application days.
One of the things I think I would gain from the conference is the chance to network with other LGBT writers. Although I have a lot of online friends and contacts, I rarely get the opportunity to meet and talk with people in person.
Community is important no matter what your dream journey. Finding friends to celebrate successes, ask for advice when the going gets rough, or share ideas just helps me keep going some days.
What does community do you for you on your dream journey?
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths ~ Etty Hillesum
The first quarter of 2013 is nearly done. If you're in sales, you might be busy these last couple of weeks trying to make your numbers or add a little gravy to your paycheck. Easter and Passover are also right around the corner so you might be busy with those holidays coming up.
I hope that your 2013 is going the way that you have planned. Mine is coming along just fine. I am currently self-editing Disappear With Me and A Place to Call Their Own has entered its first round of edits with my editors at Musa Publishing. I am working on the outline and notes for my third novel. Yes, 2013 is about stepping up not only my writing game, but also learning to juggle multiple projects at once: writing one manuscript, editing a finished manuscript, promoting a completed work, and researching a future project.
But also important to me is balance between writing, working a full time job, and fun! Although achieving my goals is important to me, I also recognize that rest and relaxation are an important part of the process as well. Whenever writing seems like work or a chore, that's when I know I need to take break to rekindle the old excitement.
Do you set boundaries for yourself to make sure you're enjoying the journey as well as accomplishing your goals?
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Five years ago, I sat down at the computer with a couple of characters and their adventure in my mind. I didn't know a thing about novel writing. It had been years since I had even read a fiction book, let alone study it for style or structure. But I pressed along anyway, knowing that one day I would finish that novel. Now, A Place to Call Their Own is scheduled to be released in July by Musa Publishing.
Had I waited to learn a bit more about writing a novel, I might not have ever jumped in. The only thing about the process I do regret is not having an outline until I was nearly finished. As I was struggling to bring the novel to a close, I brainstormed on the plot points. Once I had that figured out, it took only a month to finish the last quarter to a third of the first draft. I learned a lot more along the way and with those lessons, I was able to complete my second draft in only four months.
I'd love to hear about a task or project that you jumped right into without much preparation and how it turned out!
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
If you are unhappy with anything - get rid of it. Because you will find that when you are free, your true creativity, your true self comes out ~ Tina Turner
If you're working on a dream goal and working full time in another job, you might be able to relate to this quote like I do. For four years, I struggled with balance between writing every day and keeping the novel moving forward. When work got busy or stressful, as you can imagine, my writing and creativity were stifled.
Last year about this time, I made a major change. An opportunity came up for me like no other. On a leap of faith, I took another job with different hours. And what a difference that has made.
If you have followed me over the year, you probably know I work 1 PM to 9 PM. I get up every morning by 7 AM, workout, and then write each morning. After writing I still find plenty of time to catch up on my DVR and spend time with my partner. More importantly, I finished my first novel, and wrote a second novel from beginning to end. I edited the first novel and submitted it to countless small publishers and agents. Now, in July, A Place to Call Their Own will be published by Musa Publishing.
I really don't know if I would have gotten all that accomplished had I continued working a traditional schedule. Every day I tried to get up at 5 AM to get all that accomplished before going to work and every day I hit snooze until I absolutely had to get up. By cutting out a negative in my life - a schedule that didn't work for my writing cycle - I've moved my writing career in the direction I want.
Have you cut out any unhappiness in your creative life recently?
Sunday, March 17, 2013
I see your life as already artful, just waiting and ready for you to make art ~ Toni Morrison
Remember, art is not always the creative things; there is art in our everyday jobs and careers. On this St. Patrick's Day, I challenge you to find the art that is within you and do something with it.
Have a great day!
Saturday, March 16, 2013
I see now that beneath it all was a feeling I didn't want to admit to myself. It felt like relief. Relief because for so long I was working to prevent just this from happening, the falling and falling apart, but when it actually happens, you realize that once spilled, your life never goes back the same way. It isn't supposed to. It's only then that you know you are alive, and that despite the uncertainties, you will survive ~ Melissa Coleman
Are you a prisoner of your own dream journey and dream goal? Have you entered reluctantly into a dream journey just to realize how liberating it was for you?
When I started selling Tupperware, I entered into it reluctantly. But once I started and joined the community, it seemed like that was my goal and my destiny. Thankfully I stuck with it, because most of what I learned about achieving dream goals I learned while in Tupperware. Soon, I will be a published author.
Did you start your dream goal reluctantly only to find out how much you loved it?
Thursday, March 14, 2013
...There are times when we stop. We sit still...We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper ~ James Carroll
I'll never forget the day that a co-worker shared with me that she wanted to write a novel. That was 2006. That one brief comment in passing opened up possibilities for me that I had not imagined before. You see, she reminded me that I, too, had once dreamed of being a writer.
It took me two years to come up with a premise for my first novel and four years to write that first novel. Now I have a publisher for A Place to Call Their Own and it's scheduled for release later this summer.
Sometimes your dream journey reveals itself in the subtlest of circumstance, be prepared to listen to those whisper from those other worlds.
What "whispers" have you heard lately and where have they taken you?
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
If you life is cloudy and you're far, far off course, you may have to go on faith for a while, but eventually you'll learn that every time you trust your internal navigation system, you end up closer to your right life ~ Martha Beck
Do you want the HBO series Girls? It's about four mid-twenty young women trying to navigate life after college in New York City. Hannah and Marnie seem to be trying to find their careers where as Shoshanna and Jessa seem to be trying to find love.
What I like about this series is Hannah and Marnie's unrelenting pursuit of their dream careers. From the beginning, Hannah wants to be a writer. Just last episode in Season 2, Marnie has figured out she wants to sing, so now she's pursuing that after being let go from her dream job at an art gallery.
Again, what I like about these characters is their pursuit of their dreams and making ends meet. Hannah doesn't compromise when her parents want her to move back to the Midwest in Season 1. She is determined to make it in New York. Her life isn't on track in the beginning of the show but she knows in her heart that staying in New York is the right thing to do. Now in Season 2 she is working on publishing a novel. I love it!
What is something you knew was right in your heart to pursue even though it might not have seemed right at the time?
Sunday, March 10, 2013
The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition ~ Alan Alda
Any dream pursuit requires you to go out of your comfort zone and into the wilderness of your intuition to make it work. This seems to be the theme of the quotes I've chosen lately, all the unexpected benefits from pursuing dream goals.
Getting out of your comfort zone but it's worth it. Take baby steps. For me, that was figuring out the best time to write and work every day. Then that morphed into accepting later hours at work so I could have more times in the mornings. Eventually I was offered another position with a permanent late hours. At first I was skeptical of taking a permanent late shift. I went ahead and accepted it.
Now I have a job that I love, paying the bills for me to write in the mornings. I attribute such good luck to taking baby steps to figure out what worked for me and my dream journey and getting out of my comfort zone.
What have you done late to get out of your comfort zone?
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Some of my old memories feel trapped in amber in my brain, lucid and burning, while others are like the wing beat of a hummingbird, an intangible, ephemeral blur ~ Mira Bartok
Along the dream journey there are going to be some good memories and some bad memories. Hopefully you'll have more good than bad.
Hopefully one day you will be able to laugh at some of the bad memories. I'll never forget the time when I started selling Tupperware and I first used a garlic press. I didn't know a clove was just a part of the bulb. When the taco recipe I was using called for one clove, I used six and then stopped thinking that was a lot of garlic. And boy, were those some garlicy tacos that night!
And I'll never forget the first full day when I quit smoking. After work that day, I knew at that moment I would never smoke again. Now sixteen years later, I can say I haven't smoked in sixteen years.
Most recently, I still relish the day that I got the email from Musa Publishing expressing interest in my manuscript. I'll never forget that euphoria of reading and rereading those words over and over again that night and sharing them with friends and family.
What memories, good or funny, do you have trapped in amber in your brain?
Thursday, March 7, 2013
To experience peace does not mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life ~ Jill Bolte Taylor
The thought of embarking on a dream journey can be daunting. One of my biggest misconceptions was the time issue. After working long, tough hours, coming home and working on dream projects didn't always have an appeal. That's being completely honest.
But amazingly, once I made the commitment to myself to achieve my latest dream journey, publishing a novel, time no longer became an issue. If you have followed me for while, you know that I struggled with getting up early to write when I had to be to work by 8 AM. Then a year ago I switched schedules and now have time in the morning to do my writing.
And when I writing, boy it sure does seem like I'm busy. When there are interruptions in my morning: appointments, going into work early, etc, I have to plan around those interruptions in the schedule to meet my goals for the week. Yes, being busy working on a dream goal has actually made me a better time manager in my personal life.
What other benefits have you gained from being "busy" working on your dream journey?
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt ~ Frederick Buechner
Have you reached out to someone else on your same dream journey? I've written before about the importance of community while on your dream journey.
Social media makes this all a bit more easier: groups on Facebook, Communities on Google+, hashtags on Twitter all help us get connected and stay connected with others on the same dream journey.
My favorite two communities right now are in Google+. I belong to the Writer's Dojo and the Gay Authors community. Both are fun places to share and glean good information.
Do you have any groups you like to peruse regularly?
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Look at the sky: that is for you. Look at each person's face as you pass on the street: those faces are for you [...] Remember this when you wake up in the morning and think you have nothing ~ Miranda July
Can you believe it's the beginning of March already? We're already two months into 2013. How is your year going so far?
A year ago, I found my spark. I found a regular blogging routine that has me posting four days a week. I found the end of my first novel, A Place to Call Their Own, and finished writing the first draft. I found a new job with a new schedule that allowed me to the time to write and earn a living.
What a difference a year can make! A year later I'm still blogging regularly, I finished A Place to Call Their Own, and I finished the first draft of a second novel, Disappear with Me. And later this year, A Place to Call Their Own is scheduled to be published by Musa Publishing.
If you haven't started your dream journey this year, it's not too late. Just imagine what you might be able to say a year from now about your accomplishments.
How is your 2013 going? I'd love to hear!
Saturday, March 2, 2013
The most creative act you will ever undertake is the act of creating yourself ~ Deepak Chopra
Quitting smoking, getting my bachelor's degree, and now publishing a novel have been probably my three major accomplishments. I can't even count the residual benefits of chasing those stretch goals.
I can contribute more confidence and health benefits to all three goals. I think each goal also helped me become more methodical and routine in the way that I attack large goals. That skill is invaluable in nearly any circumstance.
What unlikely skill did you develop as a result of chasing your dream goal?