Tuesday, December 29, 2015

When Your Heart Knows the Truth, it Never Forgets

I don't make New Year’s resolutions. I’m not entirely sure why, but I think it has to do with the fact that resolutions are well meaning goals that most people abandon within the second to third month of the year. Most involve fitness, living a healthier lifestyle, and I remember moments at the gym in January where you couldn't find a machine to work out on, and by Valentine's Day the gym was empty. For me, I feel you should make daily goals, and work toward achieving those. A once a year resolution seems ridiculous to me. It's like saying this is the only goal I want to achieve this year, and then failing at it. I know some people actually succeed with their resolutions, but experience has taught me a good number don't. The idea of setting a resolution just doesn't appeal to me, never has.

There are things I would like to accomplish this year that some would say are resolutions, and I do hope that I can find a way to accomplish them.

I didn’t write for myself as much during the year as I had hoped to. I was too busy writing for others. This year I am hoping to change that, and do less work for others and more for myself. I've already started the process of writing blog articles for a fitness site and a beauty site that I created, but it's going to take time to build them up. I've begun the process of pulling notes out of my notebooks and typing them on to the computer. Once I'm in the flow of moving words from paper to word processor, I find myself writing paragraphs from my head, and completing large gaps in stories, easily hitting a thousand words and sometimes more, in a short span of time. I am hoping to use those short stories to produce my first e-book of shorts. E-books can be as short as thirty pages. Seeing that number makes the process of producing less frightening, but it still feels like the fitness resolutions some people make and then abandon. I am working on finishing two novels that I began a long time ago, placed on a website, and then pulled down. After having reread my work, and looking at the word counts I already have, I am at novel length for these stories. I know I have what it takes to complete projects, but time is a factor, and there is never enough time to do everything I want to do. Time slows down the process. Writing is not a resolution for me. This is a career goal. It's the most important goal for me.

The world wide web has made earning an income at home so much easier, but it still takes more work than most people realize. If you are thinking you'll get rich quick on-line, you are dead wrong. Most people who have had success on-line worked hard, produced lots of content, and then added advertising to that content to generate an income. There is a point when you can run on autopilot because you have built up enough on-line that it generates residual income, but you still have to spend time producing new content in order to remain relevant. So yes, those cat videos that go viral on-line has netted someone a hefty profit, but those people started from nothing, and worked to build something. That's a goal of mine, to build websites with my own content, and build a following. It takes dedication and perseverance to succeed at this type of on-line business. The reason most people fail in this type of work is because they give up too soon.

And then there is this fashion blog. This year I've really started putting an effort into writing for this space. I would like to increase the amount of posts that I produce. I don't know how realistic that goal is considering how many other balls I'm juggling, but I also feel like this is my home and that I owe it to myself and my followers to come up with more content about myself so that they can get to know me better.

When I work towards something, I take a whole lot of time preparing and agonizing over details. What that means for me is hours and hours of writing, and reading, and then rewriting. It means hours of research. It means hours of window shopping and programming so that I receive compensation for what I promote. It means accepting products for review, testing the quality, and then producing an article or review for the company sending it to me. It means writing for others so that I receive a paycheck while working towards achieving my personal goals.

For all my preparation, I still have moments that I have to face where I feel like I am diving into the deep-end of uncertain waters, and I do get insecure. Say I've just finished a story (or a blog post), and now I am sitting in front of my computer screen, with the little arrow hovering over the publish button, about to release a story I originally wrote for myself, and now I'm contemplating releasing it to the public. These are moments when I question if my writing is good enough, when I question if I even have anything valuable to say, and sometimes I feel like I need reassurance. These insecure moments are terrifying for me, and they are never easy, but they are necessary. These moments remind me that I can’t let fear rule my life. When you are writing you should be writing for yourself, and there should be some expectation that someone someday will read your writing.

So no, there will be no New Year’s resolutions this year because it is not my style, but that doesn't mean I won't set goals for myself, or that I won't be working hard to achieve them.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Life is a Learning Experience

There is not one person on this planet that has not, at one point in their life, been judged unfairly; and even though many of us want to believe that we don't, we, personally, do our own fair share of judging others just as unfairly.

It's in our nature to compare ourselves with others, to find fault, and to envy. While some judgment is healthy, in fact, it's instinctive (survival), there are times when things get out of hand and people can get downright mean and nasty, and say and do things that are hurtful to the person they are judging.

It is not uncommon to judge people based on trivial things; where we come from, how we live, where we live, what we do for a living, how much money we make, by the color of our skin, whether we are male or female, gay or straight, the type of clothes we wear, our looks, or the car we drive. We are even judged by how we spend our free time.

For me, it was a work environment that allowed for slanderous behavior. I have heard gossip and rumors about myself that were utterly ridiculous, and had no basis of truth to them, but that didn't stop people from spreading them. I attribute this to the fact that I never talked about myself, never gave details about my personal life, so everyone came up with their own theories as to who they thought I should be.

The behavior could have been construed as workplace bullying. It allowed for some of the worst criminal behavior to breed. It created a hostile and dangerous work environment, not only for me, but for the other people that were subjected to it. Some of the behavior could have been stopped, but none of it was.

What I learned from this experience is that there are times when things should be left alone, because, eventually, people will get bored and find something new to talk about. In my case, that is not what happened.

And then there are times when you need to take control of the situation because they aren't getting bored, they are finding more to talk about, and it creates uncontrolled chaos. You can't always count on others to fight your battles. There is a trick to gossip, and I learned how to use it to my advantage, in the process I pirated the ship (so to speak), and steered it in my direction. My words had actions that matched, mysterious magic and undeniable truth, thereby giving them something positive to believe in. Because I took action, I was able to control the situation, and reverse the damage that was caused by it.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Passionate Desires Come From Our Thoughts, and Flirting

Currently, I am working on several writing projects, and I am going to share with everyone some of what I am working on.
I have three writing goals. I want to publish a novel. I want to publish a book based on my created drink receipts. I want to publish a book of short stories.
This is going to be a short story that will probably end at roughly five, maybe six pages. The word count will probably hit at roughly three thousand words when it's finished. This story has no working title, yet. It is still in the development stages.
I will share tidbits of what I'm working on as kind of a teaser, but any story I plan to self-publish will not be published on-line.
She thought it was over. His words had been final, driven with a hammer's blow into an eternally buried coffin.

So why was he calling? It was a question she'd asked herself a million times already, her mind not resting, exhausted with the effort of trying to decipher the meaning of a little message that was hardly threatening.

She looked out of her bedroom window at the aggressive cloud covered sky. The clouds had shifted from a dingy gray to an impossible black, and it reflected her mood perfectly. She saw the long wild silver streak of lightning light up the darkened sky, heard the loud, boisterous boom of angry thunder, and it complimented the raging storm inside her.

He had managed to break her heart, shattering the billions of pieces into a billion more when he announced he was leaving her for someone else. So why was he calling? After long, bitter months of no contact, out of the blue he calls, using the ambiguous and tired 'I miss you excuse' as a justification for throwing her mind into a whirlwind of old, lost, and forgotten memories.

She turned away from the window, soft tendrils of auburn hair slapped her harshly in the face with the quickness of her sudden and heated movement. She looked at the answering machine, with its blinking red light beckoning another playback, and a hot, fresh wave of pain and anger flooded her insides. She tried to convince herself she should destroy the message, but try as she might, it was a fight lost because in the end she missed him and the sound of that blessedly beautiful baritone voice.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sincere Words are Felt in the Heart and Triggers a Smile

Over the course of each of our lives, we tend to embrace hobbies; we find things that are interesting to us as individuals and they become important aspects of our lives. For me some of those things have been: collecting comic books, playing video games, weight training, running, reading, writing - just to highlight a few, but nothing has brought me greater pleasure, even in the moments when I face writer's block, as writing and blogging have brought me. In some ways blogging has been therapeutic. It is, essentially, to me, the same as Facebook is for my family and friends, a place to share tidbits of information about me and my life, but I feel blogging is a little more personal because my blog is the place where I share details of who I am.

I started blogging as a way to help me feel comfortable about sharing myself on-line. I feel my blog is a safe place for me to be, even though I know it's easy to search, and it takes no time to find this blog if you know my name. 

There are many reasons to start a blog. Some people blog to give themselves something to do, stave off boredom. Some people start blogs to show themselves as authorities in their given fields. Some start blogs as a way to generate income on-line. Some do it as a way to keep in touch with their families. Some do it as personal journaling. Some people blog because they enjoy writing, expressing their views, and sharing their life experiences. Some find it to be a form of therapy.

I feel I need to write this because I have so many people asking me how to start. The answer is simple: you start writing by writing. You start blogging by blogging. If you are hoping to make money writing, then the sooner you start, the better.

You’ll become a stronger writer by constantly writing, and it even challenges you to improve when you have others critiquing your words. Writing is essentially communication. You are communicating thoughts and ideas, and when you put those thoughts and ideas on-line, you are recording those pieces for others to read. When you write a view point piece you are compelling people to agree with your views, in some cases you'll end up debating your words, but when you are writing you are looking for like minded people who you can bond with. When you blog, you are not forcing yourself to become a better writer, it happens naturally. Communication (all forms of it) is a practiced art.

Writing changes the way you think, not necessarily about your life views, but how you phrase your words to maximize effect. It goes beyond all the research you do as a writer. We all have views as to how we see the world, and how those views have shaped our lives, but we don't always know how to articulate them. It may also come down to not feeling comfortable expressing our thoughts and feelings. Once you've become openly committed to your words, it becomes easier to share them. Everyone has something they can contribute because we all have unique experiences.

You don't need to go into blogging with the mindset that you are going to make money from it, but from recent conversations I've been having, this is the area everyone is most curious about. Unless you are a professional blogger, the average person doesn't know how to monetize their blogs. I can tell everyone, from experience, that numbers are key for advertising, and you won't make a dime without traffic. You will not gain a following until you start writing. No blog, no followers, no money. It all comes down to one thing, willingness to start.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

You Never Needed Wings to Fly, You Only Need Love

Most of the women I know, I've known for years. All of them are loving, supportive, caring people, and I feel blessed to know and have them as a part of my life. If a woman feels threatened by me, then I'm going to have a problem trusting her. If I can't trust her, then I can't have her in my space, near my family and friends. Jealousy doesn't work for me. Drama doesn't work for me. I will not subject myself, or the people I care about, to this type of behavior.

I am at a place in my life where I only want to be surrounded by positive, supportive people whose purpose in life is to help build others up, not tear them down. I want to see my family and friends happy. I want to see them in relationships. I want to see them getting married, building a career, buying a house, having children. I want to go to their birthday parties, bridal showers, weddings, baby showers; the list goes on. If I say I'm your friend, then I'm your friend. I'm busy building a business, but I'd be there for anyone of my family members or friends if they called me and said they needed me, in a heartbeat. Personally, I am extremely loyal. I take relationships seriously.

But, if you are jealous of the good things that are happening for me, the things I've worked hard to build, and the goals I've set for myself; well that's childish and immature, and you need to worry about fixing your own life and staying out of mine. I have no time or patience for people like this. If you're happy with your own life, you'll be happy for the successes of others, plain and simple.

If you say you want to have nothing to do with me, and you want nothing to do with my life then you need to leave it. If you can't publicly announce a friendship with me, then we can't be friends, not even privately.  I am not the kind of person who is ashamed to be seen talking with anybody. I think it's cowardly to conform to what other people expect. I appreciate authentic real individuals, regardless of how quirky their behavior seems to be.  I most definitely do not allow others to choose my friends for me. I never allow anyone to have that sort of power over me or my life.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Every Word You’ve Ever Said, is Written Somewhere in My Soul


This week has not been everything I hoped for.

In addition to getting fabulous ideas from my brainstorming sessions, reading some great writing, finishing NANO, turning another year older; I also got a large helping of bad news. Can we say change of plans? The news is not about me personally per se, but affects me personally.

I don’t know what you do when you’re crying your eyes out or wanting to sleep so you can forget everything that is going on, but I have work deadlines and they are looming much too close to lie in bed all day. I still have to work, and in some ways the distraction is good, in others it takes an emotional toll. Needless to say, even though I didn’t feel up to writing, I got busy doing it.
This is what I managed to accomplish:
  1. Typed outlines, notes, and rough drafts from my notebooks to a word processor.
  2. Created a few new characters, and gave them identities.
  3. Updated this blog.
  4. Read a few short stories, including one from my sister, and offered feedback.
  5. Researched ideas that had nothing to do with any story I'm writing. They are article ideas.
  6. Created content from those ideas.
  7. Planned a sudden, unexpected week long trip to Santa Fe to spend with my family.
Do you resist change? While normally I relish the idea that some change is a good thing, in this case I am not happy with the changes that are soon to come. My mood will be affected, and possibly my posting schedule, as well as looks of the day for my fashion sites. I'm feeling day to day, and that feeling is going to determine what I do, and what I put off.

I'm still planning a trip towards the East in the Spring, but depending on the circumstances, those plans can change at a moment's notice.

When life tosses you a curve ball, and we all know that it will, sometimes you just have to figure out what you can do at the moment, even if you know it’s not going to be much, or necessarily your best work.

This week I’m clearing the clutter from my desk, because I have piles of notes in front of me, so that I can write from the thoughts in my head instead of notes in notebooks. That’s not such a bad idea, right? Because, after all, I have a lot of usable thoughts rolling around inside this chaos I call my mind. The best time for this writer to write, is when my emotions are raw.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

What If...

What if changing your life, and discovering who you truly are, is as simple as getting on a plane?

If you knew only three steps separated you from finding your true love or your true calling, would you risk taking the first step?

I think we have this misconception that we have all the time in the world to accomplish everything we dream of without realizing that sometimes life can be cut short. We put things off because they don't necessarily standout as a priority. I realize that I am not guaranteed old age. What happens if I don't see my forties, my fifties, or my sixties? Will I be satisfied with the life I've lived?

What if you don't make it to old age? Will you have regrets?