Tuesday, October 27, 2015
At this moment I am getting ready to go visit my sister. What that means is I will be away from this blog for close to two weeks. I plan to write while I am gone, but this blog will not be updated, nor will any of my fashion pages, until I return home. My twitter page will see a few updates, but majority of my time will be spent visiting with my family.
I'll see everyone soon.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
When times get hard for me, I look at the things I do have that make me happy. It's not a cure for all that ails you, but looking at the good things you do have can give you a better perspective.
Here are a few things that make me happy:
1. The two little fur-balls of joy I call Mozart and Daisy. My two kitties show me unconditional love and affection. Sometimes they cling to me, and that can get annoying when I'm trying to accomplish something, but at the same time they just want to be close to me, and that makes me feel loved.
2. Having a sense of purpose in life makes me extremely happy. I need to do something that makes me feel good about who I am, and what I'm doing in life. It's not about how much money I can make, although I am keenly aware of how my path could progress if I stay focused, I want my work to be something I'm proud of.
3. Having a family that loves me no matter what and knowing they will be there for me when I need them. I probably don't tell my siblings enough just how much I love them. Being that our upbringing was more reclusive than most, we really were each other's best-friends for the earliest parts of our childhood. I have a hermit inside me – reclusive upbringing – and we all have our own lives which means I don't always reach out and connect with my family as often as I should.
4. Knowing that my father is in good health. That he is happy in his current marriage, and he and his wife are doing well. There was a moment when his health was at risk. He went into congestive heart failure and I was worried he wasn't going to survive, but he did. I'm overjoyed that he found someone to share his life with after my mother, and that he is happy with the life they have created together.
5. Knowing that I can support myself and be an independent person. I like knowing that I can take care of myself. With any type of freelance work, there are scary moments when you wonder if you'll make enough to pay the bills, there will always be dry moments where you aren't making as much one month as you did the month before, but to watch myself grow, and see progress, and know that everything I've done to this point is just helping me to expand gives me a sense of accomplishment.
6. Having friends who put up with me or the lack of me. I'm always there for my friends. Any one of them could call me right now, tell me they needed me, and I'd be there for them in a heartbeat. I'm proud to have friends who understand that right now I'm working on me. I love them all, but I have to put some things to the side so I can build myself a lasting career.
7. Being able to write, and earn some money while doing it, but really I'm happiest when I'm creating anything (for income or not). Even if I'm the only one who has read my work, to see something written on paper gives me a sense of pride and fulfillment that I don't get from any other type of work I've ever done.
8. Reading books. There is something wonderful about escaping into your own imagination through the words of another. Reading sparks creativity for me. My writing improves based on the quality of the books I read.
9. Taking the time to read my favorite books over and over and over again with no interruptions. There is a reason a book becomes my favorite, and I love to revisit those tales, but I don't always have the time to read. When I can actually sit down and read a book from cover to cover, with no distractions, does in fact make me happy.
10. The moment when I can write and publish articles on my own site will make me insanely happy. The idea of not having to look for work, but still be able to produce it, and earn from it, is my ultimate goal. The majority of those I write for pay me to write content for their sites knowing that they are going to generate income through their advertising, and while I do make money from writing those articles, they make significantly more. I'm happy to write for anyone who is willing to pay me, but I will be much happier when I'm writing for me, and taking the larger cut of profit for myself.
11. Publishing an article that I worked really hard writing. Blood, sweat, and tears, these are the tough ones, and there is a sense of elation that comes from finishing a task that feels almost impossible to accomplish. I'm not always an expert in what I write and that makes those types of articles harder to write. When I finish writing one of those types of articles, and have been paid for it, not only am I relived but I'm elated that I was able to meet the expectations of the person I was writing the article for in the first place.
12. Learning something new. I love being challenged. I like when someone can teach me something I don't know. Life is a learned experience, and I am grateful for those who give me a fraction of their knowledge. Who knows, that knowledge could be the piece of the puzzle that helps me accomplish my goals.
13. Helping someone solve a problem in their life; especially if it’s a problem that has been an issue for a long time. Not all problems see a resolution. I feel good when I help someone move past situations that have plagued them for awhile. There are times when I wish I could do more, but that's not always an option. I'm happy to do what I can to help.
14. Being given a compliment, particularly when I’m feeling down. I think giving compliments are one of the nicest things people can do for each other. It doesn't cost anything to lift someone's spirit. It's nice to see people being nice to each other.
15. Going for a walk with no destination in mind. Let's face it, anyone who knows me knows I wander. I like to put on my walking shoes, step outside, and go in a direction. I don't always have a clear path in mind. Sometimes that is the best way for me to be.
Monday, October 19, 2015
When I wake up in the morning, my thoughts gradually gather as my dreams slowly seep into the back of my mind. I'm aware in my half sleep state, not yet ready to get out of the warmth and comfort of my bed, but also realizing I'm no longer asleep. I wake up naturally, my body has its own internal clock. Same time every morning, I'm wide awake. Sometimes I try to convince myself I need an extra five minutes of sleep, but the reality is that when I'm awake, I'm awake.
I begin to move, slowly shifting about – I never jump right out of bed, I ease into my morning - the sun shines bright through windows; it's a natural way to wake up. By this time, my roommate has already left for work. The house is quiet and still, until my cats realize I'm up, and then they demand attention. It’s a peaceful beginning to my day.
I stretch, and do the standard morning wake up routine, before I change into my running clothes. I never eat or drink anything before I run. I, like most runners, have experienced side stitches and not eating a meal before exercise helps me prevent them. There are mornings when I don't feel like running, and while I know that running gets me home quicker, I will opt to walk instead. Some mornings my muscles aren't as relaxed, because I slept too hard, and walking becomes the best option.
My neighborhood is fairly active in the mornings. I talk to many of my neighbors as they are getting ready to head into work or take their children to school, before I hit the running trail. They are fairly aware of who I am. They are used to seeing me in my running state, and in my fashion look of the day moments. I have a supportive community of neighbors who understand that I work from home as a writer. I never run far from home, I try to stay in the neighborhood, where I can be seen, and I never run in deserted areas.
When my body has decided I'm done running because it's hungry, that's when I head home to eat. Breakfast is a simple meal. I don't have a ton of time to invest in cooking, and there is a point of no return if I wait too long to eat, where I become impossible to deal with, so I keep my morning meal easy.
When I fire up the computer, I'm pretty much set to start my work day. The first part of my day is on-line. I do my socializing, look through emails, and do whatever research needs to get done before I start writing. When I start writing, I'm off-line, on a word processor where my work can be saved. If the ideas come to me naturally, I will write between six to eight hours a day. There is a point during this time when I stop so I can get a look of the day image for my fashion sites. As soon as I've posted that image, I return to where I left off in my writing. When I am in writing mode, I periodically will check my email, I may even do a little more socializing, but I limit my on-line activity so I can get work done.
Just like in any office, there are certain distractions that when they pop up cause me to lose my focus. That's why part of my day is spent away from those distractions.
Thursday, October 15, 2015
On three small, separate scraps of paper, write down one dream you have for your life, the name of someone you love, and one talent you have that you value.
Now shuffle these three pieces of paper and pick one at random. Which one was it?
All people, at some point in their life, have to deal with some form of grief or loss. An accident, an injury, or a random life situation could take away a dream, a person, or a talent from us without warning. Think about what it would be like to lose what is written on that scrap piece of paper. Write down your thoughts. What would your life be like without what is on that scrap piece of paper? How much grief and loss would you experience? How would it compare to losing the other two?
Monday, October 12, 2015
1) Short Stories – I've been writing them for many years, and I've shared a few on different websites. As I've learned from content marketing, those websites make money from my content, but they do not share that revenue with me. I pulled my stories for that reason. I feel I would rather share my stories on my own income generating site or self-publish. The only one who should be generating income from my stories is me. Content is king and if you are not creating new content you are not ranking with Google. While I respect those websites need to earn in order to stay alive on-line, they are not generating their own content, they are relying on others to create for them. I have no intention of producing content for those sites anymore, but I am still dedicated to creating short stories for everyone to read. I haven't decided if I want to incorporate my work on this blog, but I will eventually republish all stories I've released in the past, somewhere.
2) Novel – During the month of November my attention is going to be hard to keep. In keeping with the challenge of Novel Writing Month, I have to write 50,000 words from the beginning of the month to the end. There is no specific word count for each day, but the end result is 50,000 words. The point is not to have a polished, fully edited novel ready at the end of the month. What I will have is the meat of a book that will then need to be edited, and then possibly published. Since, I'll be in Texas for the start of this challenge, I'll be writing in notebooks.
3) Essays – I enjoy writing prompts, especially those with dedicated word counts. I will be writing page long stories based on prompts that my sister has been generously giving me, as well as prompts being sent to me through my writing sites. The nice thing about essay stories is they don't require you to write beyond a page (possibly two), but they can lead to a short story if the idea is good enough.
My plan for the future is to get away from writing for others, and just write for myself. My goal is to be more Stephen King or Nora Roberts, and less content writer. I don't know how my writing plans will affect this blog. I plan to maintain it during these crazy busy months, but at the same time I still need to focus some attention towards my job as a content writer because I do need to pay my bills. In November, I'll be working toward a goal/dream while still working to live, and I'm not sure how late that will keep me up each night. I expect to be exhausted at the beginning of December.
Thursday, October 8, 2015
My name happens to be unique, and often misunderstood. I am questioned regularly as to whether my parents were hippies, which is completely the opposite of who they are. I share my mother's middle name. My brother shares my father's. My first name has nothing to do with a hippie lifestyle. I was named after the gemstone itself (Amethyst), or more specifically the color of the gemstone (purple). My mother was a huge influence as to what I was named. Purple was her favorite color, and it was the name that both my parents could agree on. While I do go by Amethyst, you will often hear my friends and family call me by my nickname Amy or the random Ames.
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
I have moments where I reflect on past situations and sometimes certain memories make me cry. There are some situations in life that require closure to move on. There are moments when I feel like I'm in limbo, haunted by this ghost of a memory, like my mother's death. Recently, I had an issue with falling asleep, and a few days later I ended up having a nightmare. I cried … When I don't get six hours of uninterrupted sleep, I tend to be vulnerable.
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
My handwriting can be nice when I don't rush it, but I often compare myself to a doctor. Sometimes I write so fast, I can't even read what is written.
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
Turkey or pastrami would be my favorites. My perfect turkey sandwich is made on whole grain bread with Swiss cheese, mustard, lettuce/spinach, and pickles. I love pastrami and Swiss on rye bread with a Dijon mustard. My father once took a trip to New York for business - this was back when I lived in Las Vegas - he was introduced to pastrami while on that trip. After that trip, pastrami became a treat food for us. Lunch meats I do not like are ham or bologna. With ham it's a texture thing mixed with a salty flavor. Bologna is just gross. I do not like white bread, unless it's homemade. I think white bread tastes bland. No onion or tomatoes ever touch my sandwich.
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
Do my cats count, because they sure act like children.
6. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
I am sarcastic and playful at the same time.
7. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
Yes, but I almost had to have them removed. When I was younger, I ended up with mononucleosis. I was really, really sick, but thought it was just a bad flu. I was never treated for it. My mother was a nurse, and she took care of me. Later on, in my high school years, I had recurring issues with laryngitis. After a severe asthma attack, which put me in the emergency room, the doctor found the virus attached to my tonsils. My tonsils were swollen and had caused a blockage in my breathing. I underwent a round of antibiotics to kill the virus, and fortunately it worked because I still have my tonsils. That virus was in my system for roughly ten years before anyone caught it.
8. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
When I was younger the idea of bungee jumping appealed to me, and so did skydiving. I think somewhere inside me it still does, but it's not something I would actively pursue. Although, skydiving is on my bucket list.
9. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Marshmallow Mateys. My favorite cereals have marshmallows in them.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Mint chocolate chip. I would have said pumpkin, but pumpkin is seasonal.
11. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
I don't normally talk on the phone. My roommate was the last person I talked to. He called to tell me the plumber was on the way. I had a hose bibb that needed to be replaced because it was dripping water. Mark tried to fix it himself, but he was concerned he'd break the pipe, so I called someone professional to fix it.
12. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
No. Currently, I have perfect vision.
13. STRENGTH TRAINING OR CARDIO?
I prefer cardio, but I love strength training. Lifting weights gives me confidence. I feel powerful and strong, but cardio keeps me lean. When I strength train, I lose too much weight, and I already have a hard time maintaining a healthy weight.
14. COMPUTER OR TELEVISION?
I can live without television, but I can't live without a computer. I earn an income on-line, so a computer is kind of necessary. Besides, you can watch television on a computer just by streaming programs.
15. ANY TATTOOS?
No, but there was a point when I considered getting one. I think tattoos are beautiful, but I decided it wasn't for me. The idea of the needles scared me a little, but my decision not to get one boiled down to not knowing what I wanted.
Sunday, October 4, 2015
After many years of struggling to get to where I am, I realized some very important things that I would like to share with you:
Never give up on your dreams.Even if you pushed your dreams out of the way because someone told you they were impossible to achieve, they’re still your dreams; you’ve merely set them aside.
Think back and remember the dreams you once had, whether it was to go to college or to become an animal rescuer or even to travel the globe. Your dreams have never truly gone away. If you work hard enough and do all of the necessary planning, you can achieve any goal that you set.
Learn to take risks and ignore all of the “what ifs.”When I first started freelance work, I had enough “what ifs” to build an entire country. What if I can't find clients? What if I can’t handle the demands? What if I have to deal with financial pitfalls? What if, what if, what if…
I finally had the nerve to just kick the “what ifs” off of the boat and take the plunge into the sea of dreams. You can conjure up all of the “what ifs” that your mind will allow, but that energy is better spent working toward your goals.
Meditate and live in the present moment.I am going to assume that if you put your life’s dreams on the backburner, it’s because they seemed insurmountable at the time. I am not telling you that it will be a walk in the park, because that has not been my experience, but I will say that taking each piece bit-by-bit makes it a lot easier to chew.
Don’t dwell on the past and do not worry too much about the future; just…be.
Meditation, something I never thought I’d ever do, has been my saving grace. I incorporated a meditation routine into every day (just like brushing my teeth), and it has virtually eliminated all of the stress and anxiety associated with my experiences in life.
Make friends with your obstacles.I used to despise certain tasks, and the more I couldn’t stand them, the more difficult everything in my life became. I finally realized that, because I never gave it a real chance, I did not have the right to be so angry at it. Just like when we first meet someone, it is better to be friendly toward that person rather than to judge him or her and simply walk away.
If something is standing in your way, try your best to give it some gentle understanding. Perhaps you were looking at it all wrong from the start.
Make friends with the things that aggravate you and find reasons to like them; it makes it so much easier to master something when you no longer consider it an obstacle.
It is never too late to fulfill your dreams and become the person you have always longed to be. You just need to let go of fear and step into the unknown.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
1. We learn from our mistakes, yet we’re always so afraid to make one. Where is this true for you?
2. What risk would you take if you knew you could not fail?
3. What is your greatest strength? Have any of your recent actions demonstrated this strength?
4. What are the top five things you cherish in your life?
5. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
6. When do you stop calculating risk and rewards, and just do it?
7. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
8. What do you most connect with? Why?
9. What one piece of advice would you offer a newborn child?
10. Which is worse—failing or never trying?
11. Why do we do things we dislike and like the things we never seem to do?
12. What are you avoiding?
13. What is the one job/cause/activity that could get you out of bed happily for the rest of your life? Are you doing it now?
14. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
15. What are you most grateful for?
16. What would you say is one thing you’d like to change in the world?
17. Do you find yourself influencing your world, or it influencing you?
18. Are you doing what you believe in or settling for what you’re doing?
19. What are you committed to?
20. Which worries you more – doing things right or doing the right things?
21. If joy became the national currency, what kind of work would make you wealthy?
22. Have you been the kind of friend that you'd want in one?
23. Do any of the things that used to upset you a few years ago matter at all today? What’s changed?
24. Would you rather have less work to do or more work you enjoy doing?
25. What permission do you need/want to move forward?
26. Really, what do you have to lose if you go for it?
27. How different would your life be if there weren’t any criticism in the world?
28. We’re always making choices. Are you choosing for your story or for someone else’s?
Powerful questions can change the very fiber of our construction. They give us a chance to challenge our own ideals and perhaps shed some light on what we are and are not committed to.
It’s important to understand that we’re always committed to something. If it’s not success out on our own, it’s staying safe in the comfortable success of someone else. If we’re not committed to creating our opportunities, we’re committed to floating around, hoping, waiting, and wishing for circumstance.
Are you more committed to dreaming it or doing it?
Ask yourself some of these questions when you feel stuck. What comes up just might surprise you!