Monday, August 18, 2014

Motivational Monday


FOR ME, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING
IN YOUR LIFE IS TO LIVE YOUR LIFE WITH INTEGRITY 
AND NOT TO GIVE IN TO PEER PRESSURE
TO TRY TO BE SOMETHING THAT YOU'RE NOT,
TO LIVE YOUR LIFE AS AN 
HONEST AND COMPASSIONATE PERSON,
TO CONTRIBUTE IN SOME WAY.

SO TO CONCLUDE MY CONCLUSION, 
FOLLOW YOUR PASSION,
STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF.

NEVER FOLLOW ANYONE ELSE'S PATH 
UNLESS YOU'RE IN THE WOODS AND YOU'RE LOST 
AND YOU SEE A PATH AND BY ALL MEANS
YOU SHOULD FOLLOW THAT.
(Ellen DeGeneres)

I've spent a chunk of my life fighting my way through the dense underbrush of "normal," through the thicket of "traditional," in order to find my way in the world. And as rewarding as it's been, it's also exhausting. 

Here's something I've learned - it's okay to stop fighting now and then. It's okay to rest, to take a breather. It's okay to admit we're lost. It's okay to find the people we admire and respect, and pick up their paths for awhile. When we're ready, we'll branch off on our own again. We'll discover a new, exciting direction for our lives. Maybe we'll even create a path for someone else to follow....  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Motivational Monday


PAY MORE ATTENTION 
TO WHAT
YOU ARE DOING RIGHT 
THAN
WHAT YOU ARE DOING WRONG.
(Barbara O'Neal)

Because, you know, we are doing some things right. 

We often forget that. We're too busy focusing on what we're not doing, on what we should be doing, on what's not working. 

What if, instead of berating ourselves for "failing" yet again, we recognize our successes, however "small" we might consider them? What if we give ourselves a pat on the back? What if we cheer and root for ourselves? What if we stop highlighting and harping on all that we think is wrong with us, and we focus on and celebrate all that's right with us instead?

I don't know about you, but I believe I'd be a much happier person.

Let's go for it!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

IWSG: Anyone Have a Life Preserver?


CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

I don't feel "smart" anymore. 

I was once knowledgable about my craft, my career. Back in the day, I hunkered down in the library to study Publishers Weekly and other reference materials. I subscribed to writing magazines, read them cover to cover. I diligently followed guidelines, included self-addressed stamped envelopes in every submission, and bit my nails in a weird combination of dread and excitement when I went to the mailbox. Yes, I was on top of things.

Now, every time I turn around, something new! and necessary! and urgent! screams at me from the writing world. Genres and categories burst into being like popcorn in a microwave. No one leaves two spaces after a period anymore. Ebooks are the new paperbacks. Social media options spread like some wild, rampant vine, sprouting branches and leaves every five minutes. 

I can't keep up! I'm drowning in information. I grab at jetsam, float safely for a moment, only to have it sink from under me, leaving me floundering again. 

I don't want to be a curmudgeon or a Luddite, but how do I know what I need to know? How do you all handle the deluge of craft and publishing information out there? Do you feel smart and on top of things or are you drowning alongside me? 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Motivational Monday


WHEN YOU REACH THE END OF YOUR ROPE,
TIE A KNOT IN IT
AND 
HANG ON.
(Thomas Jefferson)

This one is for all of us who think we're at the end of our ropes, whether in our writing careers or in some other area of our lives. 

Hang on . . . until a net appears, cradling us, easing us down safely.

Hang on . . . until strong arms appear, supporting us, settling us on solid ground.

Hang on . . . until our own muscles gain the strength to haul ourselves back up that rope so we can begin again. 

Hang. On. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Motivational Monday


THE MOST IMPORTANT WORDS
WE WILL EVER UTTER 
ARE THOSE WORDS WE SAY 
TO OURSELVES,
ABOUT OURSELVES,
WHEN WE ARE BY OURSELVES.
(Al Walker)

Have you ever spent an extended period of time with people who don't ask you anything about yourself? Or, when you bring up a topic of conversation, they twist it to be about them or they change the subject to something they want to talk about?

It's exhausting, and it can mess with your head.

I'm more of a listener than a talker, and I'm good with that. But after awhile, I feel like all I am is a receptacle for other people's words - for their rants, their complaints, their interests, their experiences. My words find no friendly ear, find no home - they fall flat on the table or on the rug, flopping around like dying fish. I want to stand up and shout, "I am a person! I matter, too!"

But then I start to wonder. Maybe it's me. After all, I've seen the same people who don't ask me one question about myself hold actual conversations with others. It's probably me. I'm not interesting enough or smart enough or funny enough. I'm doing something wrong. I'm social awkward. I'm....

And before I know it, my confidence has left the building.

All because of the words I said to myself. 

Let's not put too much emphasis on the conversations we have with others, on the words they say - or don't say - to us. It's the talks we have with ourselves that are crucial to our well-being and to saving our creativity, our self-worth, our sanity. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Motivational Monday


DON'T BE 'A WRITER'.
BE WRITING.
(William Faulkner)

Well, what are you waiting for? 

Get writing!

Get painting!

Get dancing!

Get cooking!

Get dreaming!

Get creating!

Get going! Now!

(Boy, did I need this kick in the pants myself. It hasn't been such a great summer for writing or creating. But it's a new day, a new week, and the summer isn't over yet, right? Right!)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Motivational Monday


AS FAR AS I CAN TELL,
A YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
IS A REGULAR NOVEL THAT
PEOPLE ACTUALLY READ.
(Stephen Colbert)

Back in college, I read a lot of "classics" for various courses. I enjoyed some of them - like Lord of the Flies - but others made me want to poke my eyes out with my pen. Still, after graduation, I attempted to keep at it. I wanted so badly to be someone who read literary novels, who quoted famous authors, who was intellectual and interesting, and who sounded…smart.

What was I thinking?

Thankfully, those days are long gone. Now, I am who I am, and I read what I want to read. I still occasionally challenge myself to read something more literary, more experimental, something outside my comfort zone, but only because I want to, not because I think I should

Life's too short to spend it trying to be someone we're not. And it's definitely too short to spend it on stories that don't move us in some way.