Author Archives: Anne Belle

Happy Singles Awareness Day…

Yes, I said it.

Yes, I’m single.  No, I’m not anti-Valentine’s Day. It just isn’t something that was ever really celebrated for me. Sure, I gave out the little cards when I was in school. As an adult, if an effort to celebrate was made it was all on me to make it a special occasion. I’m not the sort of girl who evokes a sense of romance. That’s just part of who I am. I’ve learned to accept it. Just as I’ve learned to accept being single.

I used to have big dreams of a husband and kids. I tried the marriage thing for 6 years. I learned a great many things about myself in that time. I also put up with far more than I should have in an effort to make it work. That’s all part of my past though and not something to be constantly relived. Today, my goals and plans for life are much different and, I think, much more practical.

I’ve accepted that a family of my own won’t happen and turned my attention toward creating a life that I find appealing and enjoyable. I spend my time writing and living vicariously through characters that fit more of an ideal for me.

The truth is, I’m too old fashioned for my own good. A woman like me really can’t compete in today’s dating climate. And, to be perfectly honest, I don’t really want to anymore. I value things like loyalty and compromise. I don’t see those things in modern relationships.  I’m more likely to be the eccentric aunt in my own story. The modern spinster with books on shelves as life goes on.

For those of you celebrating the day of romance, I say have a glass of wine or champagne for those of us who are celebrating alone. I think I shall spend my evening in sweatpants with some icecream and my real Valentine, Pip the pup. A scary movie might take my mind off the obvious and put me in an inspired mood to keep the keys clicking away as they are now.

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My Dog Is A Mess…

So this weekend was a little bit unusual for me. Well, it was just outside of the usual routine. I actually got out on Saturday night and went to dinner and listened to a local band while having drinks. If you know me at all, you know how rare that is. Yes, it was good for me to do something different. It allowed me to people watch for a bit and I’d forgotten how amusing that can truly be.

That was all fine and dandy. We made a trip to Walmart afterwards and picked up new collars for the pups while we were there. Now, mind you, Pip had a new collar a couple weeks ago. I bought him a heavy duty one like his bubba Odie. And he was all pomp and strut after I put it on him. Now, with everyone else getting new collars put on by me. He was all butt hurt waiting for his turn. Except, I didn’t get him a new one.

Now, I didn’t want to see him all disappointed. So, I picked him up and took off the collar I bought him a couple of weeks ago. Acted like I made a switch and simply put it back on him. Once again he was all pomp and strut and just as excited as the others were.

This pup is more than I could have hoped for in a companion. He chose me. I really had no intention of getting a pet of any sort when he came into the picture. He was persistent as a little guy and kept coming to me until I took him home. And I am so glad that I did.

He has been a source of constant love and companionship. Unconditional love is so rare and I get plenty of it from him. I’m a firm believer that every girl needs a dog. They are good judges of character. They are loyal and protective. A dog is probably the only thing on earth that would give its life for you if you were in danger. There are plenty of stories out there about dogs doing just that.

So yes, my dog is my baby. And I feel guilty leaving him on his own. Granted he is usually with my mom or dad but, vacations are always tough if I am off traveling. But he is always happy to see me when I come home. It doesn’t matter if I have been gone for days, weeks, or even just to work for the day. There is always a wagging curly tail and lots of puppy kisses for me when I get here.

On my days off he wants to cuddle up on the couch or when we take a nap. And he is always happy to just be near me. He makes me laugh with the way he chases that red dot or tries to trash his squeaky toys. And there is nothing cuter than his ears all perked up and his being curious about something.

I am not the first writer to have a dog for a companion. I know I am in good company to be a dog lover. His antics are a hoot. Maybe I will be able to film some of his funnier reactions for you. At least take more photos to share of my little snuggle buddy and Valentine for the forseeable future.

Doing the prep work…

Anything worth doing takes preparation as well as determination. We all know this. That’s why people spend years in school getting a degree, a year planning a wedding, or even years writing a book. So it is no wonder that the release of a book also takes preparation.

I decided to take time to really prepare my space for writing success. I’ve realized that it is far too cluttered and hindering progress. So with my recent refund from the IRS, I decided to invest in my current set up to make my space both inspiring and condusive to progress and productivity. For me, that means installing shelves and various organizational items but also a bit of frivolous spending as well.

I upgraded my phone which was a much needed item. I chose the LG Stylo 3 Plus which suits me quite well. The size isn’t easily lost in my purse or bag. The camera is a much better quality than my last phone. Incidentally that was also an LG. Android has many options for me as far as apps and working on the go as well. The stylus is a wonderful touch for those times I want to write a note or even do a bit of photo editing on the go. Overall, I find that I love it. It seems to be a perfect fit for my life without breaking the bank the way an iPhone or Samsung would have on my budget.

I also went to Amazon to get new a new external hard drive. I opted for a 2 TB by SeaGate. Which I hope will serve my back up needs for video, photo, and manuscript projects. I made a trip to Target and got some new pens and various stationary items. All good things for a writer when they are facing a battle with writers block.

But my real prize in all of this is something most people will find perfectly silly.  I bought myself a mechanical keyboard with “clicky keys”! Yes, that means that I get the feel of the typewriter that is so nostalgic.

You have to understand that this makes me so giddy happy that I’m all smiles and laughs upon getting it out of the box and realizing that it really does have the sound and feel of the old electric typewriters I started out on. Yes, I’m extremely nostalgic at times. And I can’t really explain why this makes me so stinkin’ happy but it does.

I have a laptop stand and a dust cover for my laptop keyboard on its way too.  And I got those noise-cancelling headphones I have been talking about for quite some time now. Perfect for the gym and for when I need to eliminate the distractions of a noisy pup. I am just too excited about the overhaul on my space. I have big plans for this year and I think that all of these changes prepare me for a very productive year and all the wonderful things that come with spending your time doing something you love to do.

Now, to get all of the organization part done and find the time to take a writer’s retreat to focus on what I really want to be doing.

So what are you changing in your life to inspire you and help you be more productive? I would love to know.  Share in the comments below! And do let me know if you would be interested in seeing the completed workspace after I do some spring cleaning and set up.

How to find your passion in life…

It is no secret that I’ve gone through a big process of reinventing myself over the past few years. The reality is that we’re always evolving into someone new. There is no stopping it. We’re shaped by our interactions with others, experiences that we have, and even what information we choose to feed our minds. Every decision we make is a catalyst for some sort of change in our lives. So, it is perpetual with time.

Living in the modern world is simultaneously easy and difficult. There are all sorts of expectations for how we are supposed to live, be, and even act. For most of us, we do our best to  simply fit in and go with the flow. We get a job after schooling. We work the set schedule with some overtime. We then draw a paycheck, pay our bills, have a little bit of fun with friends and/or family, and then we repeat the process. But for some of us that isn’t enough. Instead, we need to be doing something that truly allows us to be ourselves and to be involved in life.

So, how do you find what really sets your soul on fire? How do you discover that thing that you truly love to do?

This is where a journal becomes a necessity. You start in the past with what you loved to do as a child or a teen. No, I’m not talking about what all your friends were doing. That’s how you ended up where you are. I mean what did you truly love to do when no one was looking? I find that those are the best places to start.

You excavate what you once loved. Dig deep and then you try those things again. Did you spend a lot of time coloring as a kid? Pick up a coloring book and some crayons or colored pencils (if you choose the adult versions). See if it still gives you the same joy it once did.

Did you like to sing or put on puppet shows? Why not go try a karaoke or deliver a monologue at an open mic night somewhere? Pick out a new monologue to learn and practice in the mirror. Why not opt to take a drama or acting class?

Were you a poet or writer? Why not dust off old ideas and see what you can do with them now? There is a thriving writing community out there who would love to have you join whatever your level is.

From there you can explore new ideas that come up. Maybe that love of the dramatic has turned into a love of directing the stage or a film. Maybe a love of coloring turned into a love of feeling the paint slide over a canvas instead. Maybe you are interested in picking up a camera now. There could be any number of things that can help you find that passion in life. The key is exploration.

So pull out your pen, open a google doc, create a video log to talk to yourself so you can hash it out and figure it out. Try new things and explore the world around you through different eyes for a while. You may find that you learn more about yourself than you realize.

The Waiting Game…

We spend so much of our time waiting.

Seriously think about it for moment. We wait to grow up. We wait to have an education. We wait for appointments. We wait for payday, the weekend, our favorite shows to premiere a new season, movie releases, and other trivial things. I am currently waiting on that lovely refund from the IRS as a further example. Aren’t we all? There are things that are worth the wait, of course, like finding the love of your life before you settle down. You’ll just have to take my word on that one. I should know. But what truly baffles me is how we wait to take the steps to live our best lives.

We’ve all found ourselves stuck in the rat race. There are all sorts of ruts and traps to fall into. We settle into many roles in life without even realizing that we’re doing it. I know I did. And in some ways I still do. But, let me just say that a shift is happening for me. It is as much spiritual as it is mental.

In 2017 I spent a lot of time thinking about what sort of life I want to lead. And through my journaling and letters I discovered that I have been my own biggest obstacle in living that dream life. I’d almost be willing to wager a bet that, if you were to really think about this, you would find that you’re in a similar position.

I’m a plus size woman. That fact alone presents a whole list of obstacles in life. Society honestly treats plus size people differently regardless of the circumstances. I think that this, combined with conditioning by various life experiences, leads me to a place where I imposed many restrictions on myself as to what I could do in life. That eventually led to a bevy of excuses to procrastinate.

  • I’ll wait until I lose 50 pounds before I take new headshots.
  • I don’t want to do a book launch until I can wear that dress in the back of my closet.
  • I don’t want to film videos because I look awful.
  • I don’t want to spend money on my hair, makeup, etc until I am able to go out more.
  •  I’m not going to put myself out there because all people will see is fat
  • No one will take me seriously as an author, blogger, vlogger, speaker until I look like x, y, z….

Yes, I’ve said all of these to myself at some point. Some of them more recently than others. And they are all completely ridiculous reasons for not chasing my dreams.

I sit here tonight thinking about where I would be if only I had listened to myself and trusted my gut when I was young and full of confidence. At least, I could fake it when I needed to because I was angsty and rebellious in my own way. And yes, I could be a lot further along in this writing and promotion career. I’m not the spring chicken I was but it is never too late to start doing what you love.

So tell me what is holding you back from pursuing your own dreams? For me it is more than the weight or size issue. But, I’m telling you, I’m tired of excuses. I’m reading more, writing more, trying new things, and just going for it.

I want to cultivate some content for my Youtube Channel based on this issue: Overcoming Your Obstacles To Living Your Best Life. So your feedback will help me to really delve deep into how to deal with those issues and find ways to move beyond them so that you can do what will honestly make you thrive in life.

Don’t want to comment publicly? That’s okay! Email your feedback to me at annebellewrites@gmail.com and I’ll do my best to respond. I’m thinking I may even do a few interviews on the topic as well. So, let me know if you’d like to be included if you care to send me your story.

Monday’s Gotta Happen Right?

Welcome to the start of another work week readers. How was the weekend for you?

I admit that I was a bit of a lazy bum this weekend. I did some writing, of course. Not a ton of it but, enough to say it was productive. I also spent some time with the Winchester boys via Netflix. I know, I’m a little late to the party with this series. If I’m honest about it though, that’s probably a good thing. Seeing as I can never watch just one episode and… well… commercials suck! So, I’m enjoying the catch up. And those episodes will likely serve as motivation and distraction on the treadmill at the gym.

Yes, I said gym. I joined the local Anytime Fitness and got started last week. It’s going to be a long road for me. But, I started and I intend to keep going. We all start somewhere. Might as well be now.

In fact, I think it is important to realize that you can start over anytime and anywhere. Its what life is really all about. We live in one type of series of events for a while and then, we make a decision to change something and start a new chapter. Sometimes they aren’t very big changes. Other times they are upheavals that shake us to our core.

Look, I don’t know where you are in life. Only you know that. But one thing I know to be certain. None of us, including you, are simply the sum of our pasts. Everyone makes mistakes. It is part of being human. But, no matter what you face as a reality of those past decisions, you can make the choice to live differently and move forward.

Above my writing desk I have a quote that I pulled from an old planner years ago. That thing was full of juicy quotes. But this one stands out to me.

Every year, day, hour, minute, second…. is a chance to start over.

It really is true. And only you will know to what degree that applies to you.

Maybe you just need to make more of an effort in a particular area of your life. Maybe you need to make a change to put yourself first for a while and drop toxic relationships in your life. Maybe you need to completely reinvent yourself. Some of those are easier to make happen than others. I know. But whatever the case may be for you, it is time to make the effort to start anew.

So change your attitude, your habits, your look, or maybe just your socks. The point is, make that step to living your best life. Get clear about what that looks like for you and just go for it. You may surprise yourself. You’ll never know unless you try though.

Just know that I’m with you on that ocean of change. The gym, the videos, my writing projects, and even where I am putting focus this year for my own life is changing. It won’t always be an easy road. It is one that I know I need to travel regardless though. Maybe I’ll share more of that journey as we go along. Will you?

 

Even in the midst of sadness…. Ideas Abound

As I deal with some technical glitches with my newest endeavor, I find myself frustrated and seeking solutions to these little problems. I realize how first-world these are. Even as I talk about them with friends and family it seems trivial compared to other things going on in the world.

In our local community a very young boy lost his battle with cancer this week. Understanding his fear of the unknown it is a bittersweet piece of news that leaves me a bit more heartbroken than I thought it would. You see, I have always had a unique outlook on death. Well, at least, I have for as long as I can recall. It has never really bothered me as it does many people. But, I cannot imagine having to comfort a young child who was scared, confused, and questioning everything knowing that he would be facing that unknown sooner rather than later. My heart goes out to his family. I know they are devastated. I would be. But I also firmly believe that he has his answers and he’ll eventually be giving them the scoop when their time comes.

I’m thankful that I live in a small town in times like this. There is something to be said for a community that is close-knit in times like these. East Texas has always risen to the occasion when needed. And this is no different. While not everyone will attend a memorial service for this boy, so many of us are praying for them and grieving with them in our own way. And they will have the support they need, I’m sure of that.

Remember what I said about inspiration turning up at the oddest times? Well, as I’ve thought about this boy and his family an idea came to mind for a short story. I started to put it on the page today and realized that I have plenty of tidbits for stories that could be produced fairly quickly. That got the wheels turning on how to put them out to the world. And that leads me to a question for you dear readers.

Would you be interested in short stories by me? Single stories that aren’t novel length but more a quick read for an afternoon sitting. I would release these on Kindle rather than having them available in paperback. Though I won’t rule out the possibility of releasing a paperback collection down the road. But, I would love to get some input from all of you as I consider how to proceed. Would you prefer them to be singles or a collection?

Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Also, if you don’t mind, say a prayer, send some good will, or just generally give good thoughts for the family of little Brock. I am sure they could use them.

Start Where You Are… This Means You!

The biggest hurdle to any worthwhile endeavor in life is getting started. At 39 years old, I’ve learned this to be true of everything in life. Starting as a baby learning to walk or talk and up to now as I truly start to make a concerted effort to change careers to more artistic endeavors. Getting started is always the hard part.

I’ve started many new things in this budding new year. I fully intend to make this my best year ever. If it turns out poorly, it won’t be because I was slacking. There are three major areas of my life that are in a current state of overhaul.

  1. My career – I make no secret about wanting to eventually leave the day job in favor of working my author platform so that I can write books, help others do the same, and really do something I am passionate about in life. Starting where I am in this area means I am writing more, publishing new material, and working on this platform thing. The YouTube Channel is proving the bigger of those challenges. And I think I might have been a bit too ambitious when I said two videos a week. Fact is, I’m starting small here with the wrong computing power to do that. So, once a week is going to be it for a while until I can upgrade here.
  2. My Health – Last year was a challenge. But with heart surgery and things being back to “normal” for me, it is time to get my butt in gear and focus on getting healthier. So, I’ve joined a local 24 hour access gym and this week I start with the concerted effort to move more. I also bought healthy options for food throughout the week to make it easier for me to make healthy choices. So we’ll see how things go.
  3. My social life – To be perfectly honest, there isn’t much going on here. I’m content to be single for once. Focusing on that career and healthy lifestyle changes keeps me busy enough. I know that I should add more time with friends and maybe even try to date on occassion. I don’t really think that I have the time for that. I’m committed to my dog at this stage in my life. Yes, I am chuckling at the idea even as I write it. It is the truth though. I’ve been through the wringer with relationships. The only thing I am sure about is that my dog is loyal, fun, full of love, and super cuddly. I think we have a beautiful thing going on here. Since not many men can deal with the ambition and what it takes to be successful in this I think I’ll stick with the pup. Maybe I’ll add in a few more Saturday afternoons with friends though. I could use some fun in my life.

The bottom line here is that you have to start where you are. None of these areas are at an ideal time for me to start focusing on them. But, I’m making efforts where I can.

The one area that I don’t think needs to be spoken of is creativity. My life is creative by nature. If I am perfectly honest, I’m feeling it may be a bit too creative. I have too many irons in the fire and not enough space to do them justice. I need to give the space an overhaul and bit of a facelift I think.

I haven’t been at the easel in months. It is just taking up space at the moment. I need to try to find some way to organize the supplies so that I can stow it all away until I’m ready to just back to canvas. I’m in desperate need of functional bookshelves. I have research material all over the place that needs to be organized so that I can easily find it.

I need to set up recording space for the Youtube videos. I need better lighting to do that where I am at home. That takes space. So I’m going to have to get creative with that. On that note, I also need digital space and an overhaul in my set up. It is time to make the switch to Mac I think but that takes a big investment. I need a system that I can use for video production though. So, I’m going to have to find a way to make it happen.

I’ll make do until I can make changes though. I’m tired of using the excuses to stop my journey to being a success. I start where I am and with what I have. It can only get better from there. And that’s true for you as well.

What is it you want to do in and with your life that you’re putting off for the right circumstances? How could you just jump right in and get started this week? What small steps could you take to make those circumstances happen for yourself?

Food for thought readers.

Snow Days

Texas, oh Texas! You and your crazy weather.

So, it was in the 60s all day Monday. The weather stations kept warning of a winter storm coming our way. And so it did. My final hour at the office I saw the thermometer drop about 12 degrees. The rain began and I opted to come on home instead of making my planned stop off to sign up at the gym. Then, when I woke Tuesday there was all this white stuff that I hadn’t seen in two years. And there was no way my car was going anywhere in that.

You see, Texas so rarely sees snow and ice that they really never properly prepare for it. I drove professionally in Wisconsin in the middle of February. There were snow drifts above my head and temperatures well below zero. Try -30° wind chills, my friends. For a southern girl, that was pretty darn cold. I am no stranger to driving in the white stuff. But Texas doesn’t salt or really treat the roads for ice and snow. Instead, everything seems to shut down.

To be perfectly honest, I was happy with a couple of snow days. I spent them cuddling with my pup and writing for the most part. I made loads of progress on the WIP. And it was all good.

Today it was back to work though. The roads had cleared enough to be driveable again. There was really only one particular part that I was worried about on Wednesday. It still isn’t clear but, it is passable.  I tried to park in the driveway tonight. My car started to slide on me. So, I pulled up into the yard instead and proceeded to slip and catch my jaw with my car door. That’s gonna smart for a while. Glad I did my filming today.

I think I was starting to go a bit stir crazy though. I was ready to get out of the house again. So, I was off and running this morning with my travel mug of coffee in hand and gloves on. The experience this morning only solidified my belief that I would not do well full time in a colder climate. While I have a difficult time with the extreme heat we usually experience here, I’m not so sure that I could take months on end of this sort of snow and ice. I should really find something more temperate for when I retire.  Ha!

I was going to stop by the gym to finalize things there after work. I called only to be told that the manager couldn’t be there tonight but will be happy to meet me tomorrow after work to do all the paperwork. Ten minutes and we’re done and I can work out. So, I have my gym bag packed, my fitbit is charged, and I’m taking my water bottle with me along with my earbuds. I’m ready to get this thing started. I need to do it for myself.

Video Days…

Wow guys! I had no idea what an ordeal creating this content was going to be. I am still determined though.

As I write this, it is nearly 1:00AM and I have approximately 5 hours remaining on the rendering of my first video. I have no idea how long it is going to take to upload it to YouTube. But that will have to wait until I get up to be started. So, the video will go up at some point.

In the meantime, I did get my intro to load and I’m excited about that part. So I’ll be working on some other videos this week so I can get some content up but, so you can get the notifications and subscribe. Here it is!

I really wanted to show off the fun side. All the different things I do and I think I succeeded there. I may tweak it as I gather new experiences, clips, and images but for a start I think this is a good option.

I have learned a very important lesson though. I really need to invest in a better computer. This video editing is no joke. And I’m sure it will be a good investment. So, I’m already doing research. Glad this is coming up at tax time.

I know this is short but, I wanted to share what was accomplished. Now, I have to get to the day job in the morning so, I think sleep is a necessary component of my day.