Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Nothing Can Dim the Light Which Shines From Within

Patience can be a real pain.  There is no denying we are a nation of impatience, but hopefully writers can turn that into motivation.  If you want to be a writer so bad you can hardly wait for it, then you better get started today.  That doesn't mean all the pieces of the puzzle will magically fall into place, but at least leverage that jittery, itching ambition to start creating something beautiful right away. Whether it's starting a blog, writing an article, or diving into chapter one of a book; don't dwell in your impatience, use it.

 I love the idea that patience is "concentrated strength." For me patience is hard when it comes to building my freelancing career. My first job was an unexpected explosion of fireworks, so now everything else seems rather drained of its color. It's hard to re-adjust expectations and remain joyful in the waiting.  Writing is a tough gig. Getting published is harder yet.

 An important piece of advice I've recently come upon is not worrying about the quality of others work. Don't compare your writing to successful writers and your peers (who may well be successful writers). This can only lead to impatience in seeing that your work isn't up to the level that you wish it was (which is good, but impatience is the wrong response). Just try to make the piece you are working on the best it can be - it needs to live up to itself, nothing else. There are no expectations for a piece of writing than the full realization of the idea it contains. That's what I try to remember when I think towards my future as a writer.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Life is a Great Big Canvas; Throw Paint Where You Can


Words

 Consumer. Producer.
Never abuser.

Complacency.
Fixed by movement. Forward.
Rarely back.

Deciding. Believing.
Planning.
Fast.
Action. Massive. Again and again and again.

Consistency.

Further action.
Determination.
Correct action.
Honesty.

Productive activity.
Correct activity.
Income-producing activity.

Diligence.
Discipline.
Undeterred.

Vision.
Defined. To the T.
What will it smell like?
What will it look like? Feel like? Look like?
Defined. To the T.

Adjustments.
Good for the spine.
Balance.
Change.

Efficiency.

Ears, mouth.
Proportionally used.
Say less. Listen more.

Create. Act.
Make something.
Art.
Yours. Yours?
Yours. Own it.

Acceptance.
Open-minded.
Drive.

Control.
Sometimes you can.
Sometimes you can’t.
So what!

Acceptance. Situations.
Determination. Anyway.
Balance.

Respect.
Kindness.
Honesty. Integrity. Love.

Reflect.

Honesty. Self.
Who are you?
Acceptance.
Acceptance.
Acceptance.

Do it.
Be it. Embrace it.
Act on it.
Hunches.

Success.
Comes after actions.
Comes after beliefs.
Comes after thoughts.

Think well, friends.
Think good stuff.

It’s not the easy way.
Do it. Anyway.

Little things. Make differences.
Always little things.
Exponential. With consistency.

Kill ’em with the littles.
Again. Again. Again. Again. Again.

Your success.
Defined by serving others.
Help. Guide. Lead.

How many?
Define it.

Servant heart.

Reach for their success.
Them. Focus.
Yours, bagged.
Easy peasy.

Want more? Help. More.

But first, follow.

Everyone starts.
Follow first. Copycat first.
Learn. Absorb. Adjust. Relearn.
Follow, then lead. Follow, then lead.

Optimism!
Positive thinking.
Honest, but positive.

Roses make pretty glasses.
Sometimes.

Think big.
Think scary.
Think even bigger.

Just think. Like, at all.

And smile.
Smile. Smile. Smile.
Gentler face.
Happier face.
Happier you.

Smiling. Doesn’t hurt.

Opinions sometimes can.
Power.
Place it correctly.

Your dream.
Not theirs.
Their words.
Strong only as you assign.

Power.
Place it correctly.

Business.
Personal.
Sometimes mix.
Most of the time, don’t.

Wheels exist.
Don’t reinvent.

Lead.
Follow.
Knowledge.
Courage.
Wisdom.
Actions.

Innovate.
Create.
Live.

Efficiency.
Tools.
Resources.

Awareness of the differences.
Makes all the difference.

Humble.
Grateful.
Respectful.
Strong.

Joyful.

Willing.

Happy end-of-the-week, all. :)
Hugs

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Love is the Most Beautiful Story Ever Told



Lately, I have been thinking a lot about my bucket list. I've been evaluating my life's goals, not just career goals; I've been evaluating all aspects of my life in an attempt to determine what goals I have for myself as a person. I've been thinking of the things I want to do, and the places I want to see, in my lifetime. My life has felt very limited. I am a child who has grown up moving from place to place because my father's job dictated it, so I've never really felt grounded. I've always had this restless urge to move around, like I don't belong to just one place. I've lived in my current state longer than I have lived anywhere else because my ex-husband's job required him to be here, and marriage meant I was tied to this location. This desert was never a plan for me. It's not the place I want to be. It seems to me that I've made choices about my life and career based on what other people wanted, and not what was important to me. 

 

I love this quote for many reasons, but ultimately for all the promise it holds. “We are made up of every bit of our past, present and future thoughts. The places we have visited before, the things we have already read, but also of all the dreams we hold and all the places that call to us for some reason.” 

 

Right now, what is calling to me is an immediate desire to see the world around me, to immerse myself in it and explore its hidden corners, to get lost in the culture. I would love to go on an extended road trip that would take me from town to town. I want to travel from here, all the way across the U.S., from the Pacific to the Atlantic and stop in all the in-between places. I would love to spend a few months trying out different states; eating in the mom and pop diners, browsing the shelves of a local bookstore, sipping tea on the sidewalk of the corner bistro. And while I don't know if that will ever really happen, at least not anytime soon because I still have to earn an income to fund journey's like this, I believe that specific desire is a part of my soul for a reason and I believe it's part of the make-up of who I am.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Best Way to Pay for a Lovely Moment is to Enjoy It


Who I am is who I want to be.

I gave myself the best gift ever . . . freedom. I have embraced my freedom and am fully aware of my thoughts. Instead of re-acting to the things that happen in life, I make a choice as to how to respond to each situation as it arises.

When something happens, good or bad, I take a step back and observe events with detachment.

Once I see the “what is” as it is, I choose whether or not to respond, and make a decision as to how I respond to those events.

Sometimes my response requires nothing more than re-focusing my thoughts.

Emotions arise. Happiness, sadness, anger, or frustration signal me to watch my thoughts with mindful attention. If I’m happy, I keep doing what I’m doing. If I’m not happy, I evaluate what is detracting from my happiness.

Watching life with alert curiosity allows me to sidestep master manipulators who use guilt, anger, or idle flattery to control my thoughts and actions.

I don’t worry about my reputation. What others think of me is none of my business. I use an internal compass to guide my actions, without using others as a frame of reference.

I wake each morning absolutely determined to enjoy the day.

I don’t hang on to yesterday’s junk (disappointments, anger, or sadness).

Nor do I worry about reaching some elusive future destination “down the road.”

Unfulfilled desires create unnecessary suffering. Life is short and can end without warning. Why worry about a tomorrow that may never arrive?

I focus on enjoying the journey right here, right now, allowing the path to unfold before me . . . moment by moment and step by step.

The way teaches us the way.

Be Here Now.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Rekindle the Magic of Love in Your Heart

In all my years of existence there are plenty of things that I have learned about life. Some of those things are a constant struggle, others are a work in progress, and there are many lessons I won't include in an attempt spare everyone from an incredibly long post.

Lesson one - accept yourself for who you are – in life, it doesn't matter what anyone thinks, YOU are amazing just the way you are. I think everyone needs to try and remember that because personally, I know there are plenty of people out there who see themselves as failures and they beat themselves up for the things that they are not. It is all of our unique qualities that make us who we are, and create our individual personalities. Let's face it, life would be boring if we were all the same. It's a constant struggle to embrace ourselves for who we are, and not compare ourselves to those around us. But once you learn to accept the qualities that set you apart, you realize just how special you truly are and all that you have to contribute.

Lesson two - always say I love you – you should always tell the people you love how much they mean to you. In my opinion, hearing someone say they love you never gets old, and I am not talking romantic love. We love many people in different ways. I love my sisters. I love my brother. I love my father. I love my family. I love my friends. And there is nothing wrong with expressing my love for them. It doesn't have to mean anything more than you appreciate the impact they have made in your life. You never know how those words can affect a person, and it's best to make sure that the people you love have no doubt about your feelings for them.

Lesson three – always trust your gut- follow your heart and trust your instincts. They're usually right. There have been plenty of incidents where had I just listened to my gut, I could have spared myself unnecessary heartache. Sometimes we let what others say sway us into believing what we know in our hearts to be untrue. Had I listened to my instincts, I could have saved myself a whole lot of bad feelings.

Lesson four - go see and do- travel! In today's economy, it's hardly affordable to just jump on a plane and go anywhere, especially when you have to consider what you are paying for. It's not just a plane ticket: it's food, it's lodging, it's taking in the local areas, exploring, spending your money on trinkets, and attractions. You have to plan for it, and you have to budget and save. If it's important to you, you will find a way to get out and see the world. Travel is important to me. It's my belief that the more cultures you experience and places you travel, the better understanding you'll have of this world and the people who encompass it. Meeting new people and seeing how they live and understanding the history of their culture grants you compassion and understanding for other people and their way of life.

Lesson five - never settle - I've seen far to many people in my life get stuck in a routine they feel safe and comfortable in. They are complacent with where they are in life, while wishing they could break free and do something they love, but they rarely push themselves to reach their full potential. I could have easily been one of those people. Thankfully, I worked up the courage to take a risk. And although it was hard, I am one hundred percent happier today, and so thankful to be where I am now.

Lesson six - it's okay to say no sometimes - I am a people pleaser through and through. I am still working on this one. But I'm learning that it is okay to say "no" sometimes. It's better to put the best version of yourself out there, then spread yourself too thin. I'm still trying to learn not to put too much on my plate. I've learned that when I focus on a few things that matter to me, I see better results and feel more fulfilled than trying to please everyone and do everything.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Kindness, I've Discovered, is Everything in Life


While I was reading today, I found a list of challenges that are supposed to help inspire daily blog postings.  While I don't post every day, I still found certain topics on the list to be interesting enough to encourage me to partake in the challenge. 

I think that this challenge could possibly be my favorite topic. I'm sure the intention was to create easy challenges intermixed with harder ones so that there wouldn't be so much pressure on the writer to get a post written: life gets in the way, people have jobs, and sometimes blogs sit for long periods without new content being placed on them (which is a blog killer if you are trying to Google rank because you need constant content and words to rank).  I know... this blog was a victim to that for a period of time, and yes it had everything to do with life getting in the way, but I never actually meant to stop writing all together.  With all that has happened, I am more cautious about my approach to blogging. I didn't stop writing because I had writer's block or I lacked the time; I felt bullied into quitting, and I am determined to make sure that doesn't happen again.  I'll take on as many challenges as I find as long as it keeps the words flowing. 

Today's challenge is all about our favorite quotes, and personally, I freaking love quotes.  I actually have a notebook where I write down each and every quote that inspires me; those that spark memories in me, quotes from my favorite books and films, and those that make me laugh, cry, and smile. But honestly, to pick just one quote?  I couldn't possibly do that. There are so many amazing quotes out there, and I even write my own on occasion.  Instead of choosing one quote, I've narrowed down my list of quotes to just a few.  Here they are:

What would you attempt to do if you know you could not fail?

It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends. - Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling

Words are of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. - Rudyard Kipling

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. - Winston Churchill

It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more. - Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, - JK Rowling

Preparation can only take you so far, after that you gotta take a few leaps of faith. - Prison Break

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. - William James

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Change is the Only Constant in the Universe



I've been thinking a lot lately about my current struggles at this juncture in my freelance career. For me, I think the areas that I need to focus on are keeping balanced, staying disciplined, and being proud of the work I do every day. For those of you who may be confused about what I do; I run this blog, I freelance write, and I am in the process of writing a novel. Between those three things, I have more than a full time job working for myself. For all the time I spend on other tasks, such as marketing, blog posts, and programming - I spend three times as much on the writing. A large part of my day is writing. I daydream stories and as those stories come to life in my head, I have to get them down on paper or I am likely to forget the direction the story was taking. It can be stressful and frustrating. Books are not written in days. Writing anything is a process; a very long process, filled with moments of wanting to rip your hair out because you can't get your ideas to come out right. I have to write as fast as I think or I risk losing my place in a story. Don't get me wrong, working for myself is absolutely wonderful... it really is, that's not a lie, although the pay fluctuates because I don't have a set pay rate, and honestly, that comes with the territory of building your own business, especially when it's freelance work that you are doing. For me, it helps that I can see great statistical improvements each week, and my passive income streams are generating income, but even that is hard work. Those passive income streams require as much attention as writing does and I don't always have the time to do all the things I need to do, and with the weather acting crazy, I'm not even getting outside to take a fashion image which kind of defeats the purpose of a fashion blog. And if I was totally honest, I'm not as much into the fashion aspects of blogging as I am the writing, and I think that was the mistake I made with this blog in the first place. Fashion has its place, but Google indexes based on words not pictures. Still, I like the idea that having an image of myself attached to my words somehow gives those words more of a voice.

I also struggle beyond the building phase with a couple of things I feel relates to all this. One, I still get this feeling that people in my life think that I don't do anything because they themselves don't understand how freelance work works. Or because they think novel writing or short story writing is a pipe dream because they don't know where they would submit their work to get it published in the first place. If you are a writer, like me, you probably have accounts set up in various different writing communities and have access to multiple job boards, but the average person doesn't see that. I sometimes get the impression that everyone believes that I have all the free time in the world; that I can't be employed unless I am making a professional salary by leaving the house and going to a "real" job, and that what I am doing on-line doesn't count as work. I get the impression that maybe they think of writing and blogging as a fun hobby that I just happen to make some money off of. This really gets to me, and of course I don't know what they are actually feeling, and maybe I'm projecting those feelings onto people and they're not really feeling them at all, though I do still worry that they are. I think doing what you love and what brings you joy is always, always more important, and will always, always pay off in the end. It's worth sacrificing for, even if you struggle in the beginning, because realistically, your work gains value and so do you as you build your portfolio.

I work all day long and on weekends, too, but I think what I'm struggling with most right now is feeling proud of how my time is spent. I am constantly having to shift when I do certain tasks. Sometimes I feel pressured to do more than what I am doing when I know what actually needs to get done. I am someone who thrives off of accountability, and I am accountable to my sponsors, to those people I write for, and to myself. Even after breaking myself free of corporate chains and starting on this path to owning my own business, I still find it difficult to take myself seriously in this role as my own boss. I lack certain discipline, and even though I work all the damn time, I recognize that my actual productivity could be better. My boss - she's a pretty easygoing task-master. She doesn't crack the whip. I'm not scared of her. If I get really stressed out, she says to me, "Amy, I think the answer to your problem is an episode of Friends that turns into three and a couple of cookies and maybe some ice cream." Before I know it, there's two hours of my day gone. If you know what I mean.
 
So there are my current struggles. What I struggle with right now is being proud of what I am doing during these early writing stages before everything I have done grows legs and really takes off running and becomes legitimate in the eyes of others, not that it matters what others think. I struggle with sticking to the rules that I make for myself, and I struggle with managing my time in the most wise, productive, and profitable ways. I'm sure that working from home, being an entrepreneur, writing for a living, and making a good income while doing it seems glamorous or awesome or whatever to some, but it takes a certain amount of commitment to succeed at it. You don't just get rich the moment you decide to be a writer, or a blogger, or anything else for that matter. If you aren't willing to put in the work, you will never succeed in any type of freelance position. Writing doesn't write itself, it has to be written, and I need to make sure I stay committed to it.

What about you? What are you struggling with right now? Lay it on me!