What’s the John Lennon Quote?
Yep, that would be the one.
Living creatively is as much about stopping and experiencing life as it is about creating things that will enhance it for yourself and possibly others. It is impossible to create constantly. If we do we deplete the well of experience and inspiration that we draw from. Once in a while, it is necessary to stop and smell the roses. Whether that is literal or proverbial is entirely dependent on the artist.
NanoWrimo is a huge undertaking even for published authors. 50,000 words in a 30 day span is a huge commitement. It takes planning and foresight. Not to mention everyone in your life being on the same page as you and willing to pick up the slack if you are working full time. Planning is a must if you expect your story to have any sort of flow or cohesion at the end of November. And sometimes, life happens and you know you aren’t going to make that goal.
For me, when it happens, as in previous years, I don’t just stop. Whether I finish a self-imposed ludicrous deadline, or not, isn’t the end of the world. We can’t plan for all the interruptions that can happen in a month.
For example: You get sick. Your attention is pulled away on a project at the office, requiring you to work late most nights. A dog that is persistent in his need for extra snuggles or play time. (Don’t laugh. Have you ever tried to write something with a chiweenie yapping at you from the end of the bed? Impossible! I really need some noise cancelling headphones.) Kids needing attention or homework help. Not to mention extra acitivities with them being off from school or prepping for plays etc. Spouses that want attention or need something from you when you’re in the middle of a huge plot twist. (Suddenly I’m very thankful for my single status.) Toss in a major family holiday to the mix.
The point is. Life happens. No matter how much you plan your schedule or think you have all the distractions in check, life will eventually find a way to pull you away from the projects in your head. And that’s okay.
When you find yourself completely flustered with all these things; sometimes all you can do is embrace them. Enjoy the moment. Be present with the people you care about and who care about you. Whether they be big, small, or furry. They won’t be there forever. They will eventually leave you to your thoughts and projects. And you may find something in those moments that adds just what you needed to your projects.
For me, it is all about embracing this journey we call Life.
If you’ve not already taken the kids out trick or treating then, I hope you have fun, get lots of loot, and make great memories. If you’re recovering from a costume party over the weekend, I hope that it was eventful and memorable for you. Likewise I hope that we’re all ready to jump into the holiday season and make the most of it.
For my Halloween weekend festivities, I kept it quiet. I enjoyed a well-deserved day and a half away from the day job by snuggling with this little guy and watching Stranger Things 2 on Netflix in a glorious marathon of binge watching while working on an embroidery project that will be added to my mother’s Christmas decor. East Texas weather didn’t disappoint me either. It ended up being quite chilly and I was enjoying my new slippers and my favorite comfy pants. I even realized that I’ve lost inches since my sugery in September. That was a big plus for me.
October has been a busy month. The first half of it was spent preparing for a charity event where we displayed this beauty. I’m planning on a post to explain all of it but, just looking at it is awesome. Out of that we actually booked our first wedding cake as well. That will happen next year as they are planning early. I am excited about it though.
As I wrap up the month I am finding myself a bit more determined to make the most of the end of 2017. I need to finish my current WIP draft and get on with the process. I’ve put it on hold long enough. Nanowrimo is a perfect excuse to do just that. I’ll post about that tomorrow and what to expect in November from me. There are definitely changes brewing for me.
There will be more posts of writing projects and other creative endeavors. And looking ahead. 2018 is sure to be a big year for me. It’s all about priorities. And I’m getting those in line.
You know, it is funny how sometimes I have this overwhelming desire to have what is considered a “normal” life. You know the type. The white picket fence, husband, 2.5 kids. I’m sure that it works for some people and they are quite happy with it but for me, it doesn’t necessarily work.
I’m quirky and introverted. I’ve always been so. I don’t think that is something that I can change about myself and be happy really. It is also the thing about me that most “normal people” don’t get.
Now, I can pass for normal when I need to. I can don the dress, put on the makeup, and carry on a conversation with the best of them. But, where am I truly in my element and happy?
At home, in my pajamas, with my dog and my laptop, writing away at my desk or the kitchen table. That’s the usual spot. Sometimes you’ll find me on the couch watching Netflix with an embroidery project or at the easel with my headphones on. But mostly, it is just doing what I am right now. Tapping away at the keys on my laptop.
I think it is important for everyone to figure out where they thrive. I know that I spent way too much time trying to fit in where I never really belonged in the first place. All for the sake of having that version of normal I mentioned before.
Embracing yourself as you are is important for many reasons. I might be a baker and decorator but I rarely like to do anything that is cookie cutter even if I am aiming for simplicity. I try to think outside the box and do things that will make me happy more often than I just go with the flow these days.
So ask yourself these questions. Answer them honestly because, well, they matter to you.
- What makes you happy?
- What are you good at that you honestly enjoy?
- How much time do you spend of your week or day doing those things?
- What keeps you from doing them more?
I asked myself these same questions when I was just out of school and again recently as my life changed again. The answers evolved over the years. They were very different at the ending of my last attempt to be normal than I thought they would be. What I really learned from them was that I needed to find my bliss and stop reaching for something that I wasn’t sure would make me happy and focus on the things that did.
Your normal is likely different from mine. The truth is, it is up to us, as individuals, to create our own version of normal for us. Going with the usual social norms, is akin to letting society tell you how you should live your life without question. And that, my friends, is vastly overrated. Take what resonates with you from it but add your quirks and your own flair to life. Wear the funky ties or the bright colors. Take your notebook with you wherever you go. Sketch in the park or set up an easel and paint. Dance or play your instrument on a busy corner for the fun of it. Speak up at an open mic night. Or whatever else you feel moved to do.
Whatever you do in your life. Just be you. We are all amazing in our own way. So, just as I sign my novels when I meet people, I say to you; Embrace your journey! Your story is in your own hands to write. So make it a good one!
Texas weather is rarely predictable from November through April. This year has been a constant back and forth of cold and hot. Our days seem to go from one extreme to the other. One day I went in to my job and it was 76F by the time I left work is was in the mid 30s. The next day we were sitting in the sixties again. You never know how to dress. Rain is a constant threat this time of year. So, an umbrella is a necessary accessory to have on a daily basis. And of course, when the weather changes, everyone fights off some sort of crud. I’m no exception.
Last week I was at the doctor for yet another upper respiratory infection. This is my second round with this. I’m not thrilled but the antibiotics are helpful and thank God I have sick time to take that is paid at this point; otherwise there would also be bills to worry about while I heal. As it stands, I paid my copay, got my meds, and am on the mend.
Feeling better than I was. For the last couple weeks, I’ve just not had the energy to do much of anything. It was as though I couldn’t get enough sleep. I worked, I came home, I napped, and did only the bare minimum. This left little time to get the creative juices going. Dare I even mention my lack of attention to my activity goals for this year? I didn’t get to the pool at all. And I miss it. So I have to get back to it tomorrow. Routine is not my forte right now.
I am in love with a new skincare and pampering line that I was introduced to. I like it so much that I opted to do the consultant thing and make a little cash for going on about it with my social contacts. So yes, I am an official Perfectly Posh Independent Consultant. You can check out the website and so forth if you are so inclined to help a writer out. One of the many supplements to the income stream so that I can pursue writing on a more full-time basis.
Honestly, I do love the products. I’ll be booking some in-person and virtual parties. Doing a bit of selling when I’m able to. But we’ll see how it goes. I won’t be heart broken if it fizzles out for me. I know how the MLM schemes work. I’m not going to hard sell anyone. Or be annoying about it. Just one more thing that has happened that I wanted to mention.
What else is there?
I am planning a vacation in the beginning of June. So I’m excited to be going to see friends and family again. It’s been too long. I’m overdue some fun times. I also plan to do a writer’s retreat weekend sooner than that. Taking time away for a night or two for the sake of focusing on a project and getting lost in it. That’s something that I can say is difficult when I’m working a full-time job. It’s hard to find the hours to sit down lost in my story. I need to though. I’m overdue for some serious time in the chair with the world of my own making. I think it is far more interesting than the one outside my door. But, I’m partial.
Valentine’s Day was fairly uneventful. My mom bought me one of those Fragrant Jewel Bath Bombs. It had this lovely pink ice ring inside it. It was a great gift really. I was pampered in the tub and then had sparklies to boot. What more can a girl ask for? Maybe a mani because my nails are a mess lately. I really need to think about doing that for myself on payday.
Oh I should also get a picture in the new glasses. Since I got those last week as well. They’ve been a much needed change for me. These help my headaches and lessen the eye strain from being on the computer so much during the day.
I recently purchased a few books that I wanted to read and haven’t gotten around to. Currently on the list, I’m reading Prince Lestat by Anne Rice. I was a fan of the earlier work in the Vampire Chronicles so I am hopeful with this one that she’s gone back to the style and work that I enjoyed so much.
Now, I am going to rest and get back to the grindstone tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll find myself with some time to devote to the book or a short story.
Happiness is a key to being healthy.
Yes, this is my awesome insight for this week. No, it isn’t very profound. But, in my personal experience, it is true.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that until the last seven or eight months months, my life hasn’t been a very happy one. It is true that I put on a good face for everyone around me. Trying to make it seem like I was happy with things when I wasn’t. But, the reality is that the depression that was rampant in my house was taking its toll on me.
I learned a few things about myself as I was going through the process of figuring out who I was again. I figured out that I was an emotional eater. When I got angry or sad, I ate whatever I could find in the house. When my, then, husband came in he always brought sweets and sodas. When I was down, I couldn’t tell myself not to eat them. He certainly wasn’t helping my attempts to lose weight. His attitude, apathy, and emotionally abusive behavior toward me only added to my stress and thus my eating.
There were times I didn’t even know I was doing it.
For example, my biggest weakness is soda. I’m an addict when it comes to Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper. Even now, it is my biggest hurdle to try to overcome. My ex worked for one of the leading soda distributors. So, he kept cases of them in our refrigerator. He even went so far as to put a variety of the flavors all along the bottom shelf for me to choose from. Now, some people drink coffee to get themselves going in the morning, for me, it was always a cold Dr. Pepper or Coke. What was worse is that I would literally drink one after another all day long. I would simply keep telling myself, “one more and then I will switch to water the rest of the day” but, I didn’t. Then, the next thing I knew the case would be empty and he would be bringing in another to take its place. Even after I told him to stop bringing them in and tried to explain.
Changing a habit is hard to do. We get set in our routines and when they aren’t working for our health sometimes it takes a jarring event to make us wake up and take note that it needs to change. For some people that is a health issue. For me it was the fact that none of it was making me happy. No matter how the epiphany hits you, changing to be happier is difficult.It is even harder when your efforts aren’t supported by the person you’re with.
I had come to a point that I nearly hated myself because simple tasks were far more difficult than they should have been for me. Things like washing the dishes, walking to the mailbox, going to the local Walmart for supplies were all too much for me to take. When that happened I had to fight with myself to keep going. There were days that it just didn’t seem worth the effort to even get out of the bed. I didn’t like the person I had become. I was not this depressed person who stared at her walls living vicariously through characters on a page all the time. But, I’d become that person and honestly, it was something of a relief that things fell apart the way that they did. It allowed me to find myself again and become the happy person that I am.
I haven’t really been dieting. There is no “skinny pill” or fad diet that melts away the pounds. What has truly worked for me is finding my happiness. I get out and do things with my family now. I go shopping just because I want to browse again. I take off and spend time with friends playing cards or just talking about whatever is on my mind. I take a little girl to the park, play games with her, and I generally stay busy. With that being said, I do eat less. There’s less emotional baggage to deal with and so, I don’t stress out and turn to food.
Finding my happiness took me a great deal of soul searching and pain. I had to lose everything I’d convinced myself I wanted in life. I had to start fresh, rediscover myself, and essentially reinvent the person I was into who I am now. Change is hard, yes. Being truly happy is its own reward really. Regardless of what size I end up; the important thing is to just stay happy. Life is just too short to let other people’s opinions of you weigh you down.
So many things are happening in my life that quiet moments to reflect on everything seem rare. Tonight, happens to be one of those nights. Charles is at work and I just put the munchkin down for the night. She and the pup are all tucked in and things are still for now. This is normally when I get some time in to write. Frankly, when you have a six year old at home who is super active, you don’t get a lot of time to sit still and just be. Add to that, the fact that she gets into anything and everything she can find and I spend more time cleaning up messes than I do anything else right now. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I am so very blessed and grateful. For the first time in what feels like many years, I wake up happy to greet the day. You see, what many people may not realize about me is that for years I struggled to figure out who I was and how I fit into this big world. I explored many things, had questionable friends, put my family through a great deal of worry that now seems very unnecessary. I married someone I shouldn’t have, for reasons that I shouldn’t have allowed to affect that decision. I paid a hefty price for my naivety for about six years.
On the surface, I seemed confident and self assured. I bucked the system, fought my instincts, and tried to be a rebel for all that time. And I somehow managed to convince myself that it was all okay. In fact, I did such a good job of it that I was blindsided when that marriage fell apart. I didn’t think that I could go on from it or trust anyone again. Now, I’m thankful that it all happened. I did get something out of it. I got a relationship with a pretty awesome young woman who will always be a daughter to me and I got my little cat, Mariska.
I think I got my self-confidence back because I had to fight my way through such a dark place. Before it was over I was depressed beyond anything that had happened to me emotionally since college and dealing with my biological father. Realizing that I married someone just like him was literally a slap in the face that jarred me into realizing what I needed to change about my outlook on things. I was tired of being emotionally beaten down. I realized that I had been abused during that time by someone who would never ever appreciate me as a person and that had to change. I was better off alone.
Then within a matter of two weeks everything was different. After a month and a half, I put myself out there to meet new people. It was time that I try to become more socialized again. I’d been a hermit for the better part of two years. It was then that I met Charles and a host of other people. And I’m convinced that people are put into our paths for a reason. I’m grateful for all the experiences I’ve had in my life with people from various places. They’ve all helped me to come out of my shell in many ways.
But right now, I am most grateful for the way things are turning out. I can run down a list of things that are going amazingly for me right now. I won’t. What I will say is that I finally have an amazing man in my life. I’m doing something that I love to do and have become what I truly believe I was born to be.
It is true that things aren’t perfect but, they never are. There are always things that could be better. But, we have a roof over our heads as a family. We have food on our table every day. We’re ready to home school our little one starting in September. We wake up every morning just thankful to be together and have our own lives.
I am so thankful that things have changed like they have. My life is completely different from what it was a year ago. I am happier and that makes a huge difference in everything.
My life has been a little crazier than usual lately. I have been on the go all week and I didn’t take my laptop with me for many of the errands I was running. Among the list of things to happen this week was my six year old graduating from Kindergarten, fiance got a new job, helping out family with errands, and trying to make plans for summer vacation and homeschooling. Yes, this writer feels like she’s run a race this week already. So, is it any wonder that I decided to take a nap this afternoon while it was storming and overslept? Not to me. I’m still fighting a nasty cold and trying to hold things together and keep working on writing.
My nap is over though. And I’m trying to make up for some lost time in the word count and editing departments. So, I’ve turned on my “feel-good music” and I’m trying to find my rhythm for a night of escapism into my manuscript. Yes, Michael Buble is crooning at me through my headphones, I’m surrounded by notes, dogs, and cats watching my type away and yes, I love it.
But let me get to the heart of why I am blogging today. Big events have happened this week. Not only did my little girl become a first grader but her Momma became a published author with a debut novel out on the market.
Yes, The Secret of the Storm is out in print now. I announced it the other day briefly. I do, however, want to take the time to encourage you all to take time to review it and pick up either the ebook or the print version.
I did a lot of work on that novel. Elora and I went through so many changes as I wrote and edited that manuscript. Her story is one that will always stick with me because it was so similar to my own life. Now it is a work of fiction, mind you. However, Elora and I both found ourselves in situations that we didn’t expect and we both had to make the best of them. Elora’s life changed dramatically. So did mine. And the truth is, just as Elora’s will continue to change if I go on with a sequel, my life had changed in leaps and bounds as well.
When I was writing The Secret of the Storm, I spent a lot of time listening to music and writing. This is a habit that I continue to have today when I work. Yet, back when I was initially drafting an online friend actually turned me on to a band called The Tea Party. I’ve since fallen in love with their deep lyrics and their overall sound. We won’t mention just how incredibly sexy Jeff Martin’s voice is… okay, yes we will. They’ve stuck with me as a favorite over the years. You’ll find them on nearly every playlist that I use to compose. So, I thought I would simply share one of the songs that I heard more than a few times while writing.
Sometimes, even writers, have to contemplate something other than writing and story lines. Every life is its own story. In fact, it is in living your own life to the fullest that you’ll find the greatest story you’ve ever read or, in my case, written. But, you have to truly live in it and accept it to see the gem of a tale that it is. I spent a lot of time in my life not accepting who I was and it caused me a lot of heartache, confusion, and ultimately taught me a good many lessons about myself and where I belong in the world.
I spent a lot of time trying to be something I wasn’t. I mentioned it before but, it warrants repeating. I tried to confine myself to labels that weren’t even remotely a good fit for my personality, beliefs, or goals in life. I explored, yes. In my exploration I was enthusiastic and wanted very much to understand. This often led people to think that I was a perfect fit in their world. For me these experiences were part of my life and part of my research for stories that I felt I needed to write. There are experiences that will turn into books as time goes on for me.
Just as everything that happens to you serve as a lesson, so too do the people who come in an out of your life. I’ve had many of these people in my time. I will never doubt their sincerity or their acceptance of who I was at that point in my life but, the fact remains, I am no longer the person that I was when they were there. I changed and so did they. And though I may wish them the best as they move forward in the adventure before them, I know I cannot be a part of that leg of their journey. So, you let go and you move on. It really is all that you can do.
Letting go is hard. It causes pain because you lose a part of yourself when you do it. Doors close and another opens for you to walk through. In fact, I think that life is a lot like these “pick your own adventure” books that I used to love as a kid. You come to the end of a scene and you’re faced with a decision about what path to take. If “A” happens, turn to page 45. If “B” happens next then go to page 94. If “C” happens turn to page 59. We chose a path, the other doors close and we move on to the next chapter. In life there are no do-overs or going back to make another decision based on knowing the outcome. You have to learn from the experiences and push forward and make the better decision next time. That means looking at where you were, what happened, and how you reacted to it first.
There was all sorts of hype about the year 2012. It was supposed to be this turbulent time of global disasters and upheaval. My ex-husband was obsessed with all of the end-of-the-world scenarios and it was practically the only thing he ever really spoke about with any degree of passion or intelligence. So I had a healthy dose of all the focus on the dark side of that. And 2012 was indeed a year of upheaval and destruction for me. But it was also a year of rebirth, growth, and acceptance.
I can almost pinpoint the day I knew that my relationship was over with my ex-husband. It was long before the final straw that had me moving out and the truth is, I likely should have left him long before I did. Though letting go and moving on from that was painful, there was something better waiting on the other side of it all. Yes, I grieved. But, I also picked myself up, remembered who I was before he came into my life, and I went on.
Picking up the pieces of my life wasn’t easy. I had to make some hard decisions and come to some tough realizations. It is true what they say, it is in your darkest hours that you’ll know who your true friends are. In that lowest point, I found out that people I’d once considered to be like family to me were nowhere to be found. But, I also found that the voids get filled somehow and you just press on.
The more of the baggage I lose, the more amazing things start happening. The book started flowing again. Ideas for marketing started to come. Ways to make things happen for myself became clear and doors began to open. My personal life took a dramatic turn and now, I find that I look forward to every day. Some of those days I’m working at a day job. Other days, I’m writing and marketing my book or spending time with family and friends. But, for the first time in a long time, I am the one calling the shots. Sometimes I still feel like I am floundering but overall I know that I’m putting emphasis on the right things for a change. My family, my faith, and my writing.
I can tell you that I won’t be relinquishing control over my life again any time soon. Of course, I find that my life isn’t filled with people putting expectations on me that I don’t have for myself. I am surrounding myself with people who build up my creative side, encourage me to follow my gut, and accept me and love me for who and what I am instead of what I might be or can be. That, dear readers, is really the best part of life; finding those people and enjoying the time that you’re given. Life is too short to be full of depressing thoughts, what-ifs, and people who only hold you down or degrade you.
So, in honor of Memorial Day, I kept my post to the day and what it was about. Now that we’re all through the barbecues and swimming and ushering in the summer, it is time to get back to the regular posts.
Last week was full of stress factors for me. I work for a temp agency at the moment doing clerical work for a clinic. All in all, it isn’t a bad gig. Fact is, I enjoy what I am doing and the people I am working with. I wouldn’t be opposed to the job going full time however, that isn’t likely to happen because the position that I’m in is supposed to be bilingual. Such is the story of my life, it is always something it seems.
Anyway, I opted to work a day in an outlying clinic over an hour away last week. The normal receptionist was taking a day off and they needed someone to cover. I didn’t mind going. In fact, my day was nice and quiet at the office.
The fact is, my fiance has been working on getting my truck tuned up to try and save on fuel costs. On the way to the clinic, my truck lost acceleration on the hills and my gas tank was draining unbelievably fast. Then when I was coming home in the middle of a major thunderstorm with tornado warnings (something I’m a little phobic about) the truck decided to stop working all together. It just died.
Thank God my Dad was just coming through there on his way to work when it happened. He turned around and came to me and got me home. But here I was car-less for three days until Dad got a fuel filter and changed it out. I had to go to Walmart when it was done and I stopped at the fiance’s house. He immediately went to tweaking things and ended up tweaking more over the holiday weekend to where, now, its running like a champ.
So thankful that the men in my life now are good with cars. I know nothing about them really. I can check the fluids, tell when something isn’t quite right, or explain the noises and make a guess on what is happening but, to get under the hood and know what I am looking at, yeah… no.
I didn’t do terrible over the holiday weekend. We kept things fairly light. Though Saturday, we ate way too much pizza when we took the munchkin on her first trip to Chuck E Cheese. We all had fun though. Her dad and I played as many games as she did. And I loved every minute of it. I love the fact that we can cut loose and just have fun even if we do look like a couple of dorks in the process.
As for the currents of the day. Here’s my list:
Currently Drinking : Dr. Pepper & Coffee today Writing fuel since I get one more day with the manuscript.
Currently Eating: I have no idea yet. Likely just sandwiches or something like that.
Currently Reading: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman I picked it up this weekend after doing bridal registry at Bed Bath & Beyond. Had to go to Books-A-Million because my fiance decided he didn’t want to “girl shop” as he called it. So, I found him in the bookstore browsing in science fiction. Yes, I laugh at this because I love this man. He’s the type of man I should have married in the first place. He’s a reader. I should be married to someone who has a healthy respect for what I do.
Currently Watching: Nothing really. We didn’t watch Season 2 like planned this weekend. Maybe tomorrow night. Writing this the night before it posts I’m about to turn on some Tom & Jerry cartoons and crash though.
Currently wearing: Jogging shorts and a sleeveless ribbed shirt. Kept it simple. All black. Needed something cool today.
Currently Looking Forward To: Getting word about the print edition of my book so that I can get on with marketing.
Currently Working On: The series that I will be releasing this summer. Book One is nearing completion at this point. Will be giving some sneak peeks in the weeks to come and will likely post about it at length in this week’s writing post.
Currently Listening To: Some vacation tunes. I’ve always had a soft spot for Jimmy Buffett and that island sound. So I’ll leave you with one of my favorites.