Monthly Archives: January 2013

Is 2013 treating you well? How to get back on track

It’s almost February. You’re one month into your New Year’s resolutions and you feel…well, how do you feel? How is 2013 treating you so far? This January has not been my best. I’m not where I want to be thanks to having emergency surgery when my gall bladder ruptured. Take my advice, when you feel bad don’t wait to go to the doctor. Sometimes playing it tough will only knock you down longer. Anyway, life happens. For whatever reason, if you are not where you want to be at the end of this month don’t freak out. You still have 11 months to get it right!

With one month nearly behind you, it’s time to regroup, re-plan and tackle the rest of this year. It is one thing to set yearly goals but without monthly goals to help you get there the path may be a rocky one. For me, my career goal is to finish 3 books; my next non-fiction and two fictions. In addition I will be teaching 4 online workshops this year while still maintaining my freelance contracts. Yep, it does sound like a larger order but to break it down to more manageable goals I’ve planned monthly goals. You can also set weekly goals and modify these plans based on your life and what obstacles creep into your way.I think I'm having stress

I love this image posted to this blog. This picture of a zebra losing his stripes belonged to my Grandfather. It was in his office up until the day he passed away. I took it and have had it at close visual range from where I work ever since. It serves as a reminder to me that things could always be worse. At least I’m not losing my stripes! Stress happens. Put something that makes you laugh and reminds you that this is life somewhere you can easily see it each day.

How do you get through life’s obstacles and regroup your resolution plan? Are you breaking annual goals into smaller, more manageable ones?

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Due to my surgery, my popular “Writing Moms (and Dads)” WANA International workshop has moved to March. See details below:

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Online Workshop

Date: March 4th, 2013 – April 4, 2013
Description: Plot, character arc, transitions, climax, revise, rewrite, make that deadline, blog, check social media sites, continued education, volunteer for local writing group, read critique partners manuscript, research agents/publishers, read books within your genre, read a craft book and network. These are ALL things that go through writers’ minds on any given day. But what if you had to add: Make bottles, keep up with diaper/Gerber/ formula supplies, feed baby, play dates, bathe baby, wipe up thrown sweet potatoes, shower to get sweet potatoes out of your hair, more playtime, hope for a nap time (for baby, you must write,) read to baby, and hope baby actually goes to bed at the designated time.
For many writers, this is reality. In fact, many full-time writers are made because of a child being born. Some amazing mothers write late at night, around their day job. However you do it, being a writing parent is a challenge but very doable and rewarding. Learn easy self-study tactics, time management tips and suggestions from a ten-year freelance journalist, published author and speaker who also has a two-year-old daughter and a high maintenance dog. You can have it all without losing your mind.

Register HERE

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Personal Consultation

Dates: March 4, 2013 – April 4, 2013
Length: Two 45 min. phone consultations. The first consultation will be within the first week of the four-week Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop. The second will be scheduled prior to completing the workshop.
Description: Take what you learn from the Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop and get one-on-one guidance on developing the best plan for making you a smarter writer. The first consultation will be a detailed interview followed by a discussion of time constraints. The second will be about developing the best plan for you based off your first consultation discussions. You will also get personalized methods for implementing, testing and carrying out your plan.

Register HERE

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It’s never too late for a New Year do-over

This post may come across your computer too late but here’s to hoping my experience helps. It is never too late for a New Year do-over, in fact these do-overs may come in unpleasant events that force you to sit back and refocus.

I ended 2012 at a great place in my blog. I always worked a month ahead and tried to follow trends that would best appeal and help my readers. Then the holidays happened and I fell behind with my organization. I was getting back on track and had just finished wrapping lesson plans for my upcoming Writing Moms (and Dads) workshop with WANA International when disaster hit on a medical and professional scale.

My gall bladder became inflamed. Without going into the gory details I was scheduled for surgery. With a week to go I tried to work ahead on projects but the pain became too much. Yesterday I was rushed to the ER and now am typing from a hospital bed recovering from a more invasive abdominal surgery than originally expected.

Don’t feel sorry for me. I will be fine but have your heard the saying God laughs at those whom make plans? Yep, that was me but this time it is proving to be a great (yet painful) time to reflect and look forward. I have been not feeling like myself lately and now I know why. I may have celebrated 2013 but for me my recovery from this surgery marks my true New Year.

When learning I would not be working my usual writing schedule for at least a week I was horrified but that feeling of not being able to have my typical day quickly went away at the knowledge of how not having me at my best would impact those around me. My husband, daughter and yes…the furry babies are all in this with me. So instead of missing my work, I’m missing my life and using that thought when beginning my recovery. I miss feeling well, I miss picking up my daughter, hugging my husband close and romping on the floor with my dog Oscar and the bunnies Diamond and Jedi hopping on me.

I also miss my work and regret falling behind in working ahead. I’ll NEVER make that mistake again. No one really knows what each day brings. But this is also a great time to reflect on my work. Read over scenes, notes, story ideas. I really am looking at this as an opportunity to rest and restart my New Year. January 1 may not always jump start the year you want. My January is clear proof of that as I certainly left intense pain off my resolution list. So, I guess what I’m rambling about from my hospital bed in Saudi Arabia is that it is never too late to think about your New Year goals. It’s never too late to take time and reflect. And working ahead is ALWAYS a great goal but sometimes life just happens. When it does, try to relax and make the most of the experience.

NEWS

Start off your February by taking career changing classes like the many listed through WANA International. I will be teaching my popular Writing Moms (and Dads too!) monthly workshop starting February 4th. By signing up for an additional consultation component you can get a suggested work schedule set by me that will meet your personal needs. Let 2013 be the year for the writer you!

Writing Moms (and Dads!)
Many full-time writers are made because of a child being born. Some amazing mothers write late at night, around their day job. However you do it, being a writing parent is a challenge but very doable and rewarding. Learn easy self study tactics, time management tips and suggestions from a ten-year freelance journalist, published author and speaker who also has a one-year-old daughter and a high maintenance dog. You can have it all without losing your mind.

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Personal Consultation
Take what you learn from the Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop and get one-on-one guidance on developing the best plan for making you a smarter writer. You will get personalized methods for implementing, testing and carrying out your plan.

Are you really ready to fly through 2013?

We’re nearly halfway through the first month of 2013. You’ve set your goals, began your diet and are feeling excited about the opportunities ahead. Word of caution, time will fly. Close your eyes and imagine it’s December 31, 2013. Have you met your yearly goals? Where do you stand in the “big picture,” meaning are you any closer to your grand vision regarding long-term goals?

The truth is that the habits you put in place today on January 11, 2013, will help you reach December 31, 2013 as a sane person. Unfortunately we don’t get awesome DeLoreans and Doc to help us time travel and tweak our lives. If any of you have found said DeLorean with Doc then please let me know because my husband has been asking for that only since our first date. The same applies for the Batman Mobile and Iron Man suit. Anyway, I digress. 11 more months may seem like a lot of time to get things done but it really isn’t.

What you do now will set the tone for the entire year. So how do you set yourself up for success? I begin each year by organizing and stocking my workspace with office supplies and motivational decor. Now when I say motivational decor, I’m not talking about making your workspace coordinate with the colors and theme of your home. That is what living rooms are for. No, I’m referring to surrounding yourself with motivation in the sense of inspirational quotes, goal lists, and pictures that ease tension and provide a positive work environment.

Another important step to pointing yourself in the right direction is to design a plan and smaller goals that will get you to the big goals. Assign goals to each month. I even write this on the calendar in my office. This also is a great psychological de-stressor. I always find that my smaller monthly goals never seem as overwhelming as the yearly ones.

Whatever tricks and tactics work for you this is the time to plot them out and put them in motion. Vow to not look back on 2013 with disappointment. Think big, take small steps, and make it happen. It’s time to sit down, buckle up and prepare for this year to fly.

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The Value of Paper

It seems that today everyone is going green. More companies are forgoing paper statements for electronic statements. Paychecks are automatically deposited in your checking account and their stubs are available online. Even doctor offices and hospitals have moved to electronic records. It seems that paper print outs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. This is great and I’m thrilled to see how society is on board with helping our planet and cutting down on our insane paper use. However, no matter how environmentally conscience society or I become there is one area where I will always “waste” paper.

Currently, I’m very actively revising a draft in my Middle Grade dystopian novel. Like previous projects, I always do a quick revision pass to check continuity after drafphoto(4)t one but when I need to get down to the nitty-gritty meat of the manuscript there is something magically helpful about holding and marking on physical pages. Time after time, I see that I’m more likely to catch mistakes when I’m reading from a page than when I read on my computer screen.

My house is very environmentally friendly. We recycle plastics, glass, aluminum and paper and we try to limit our usage of such items. However, for editing I can’t ever see myself saving on paper because I value too much the importance of this needed writing step. Such physical pages are valuable and a must-needed investment to my writing career.

How environmentally friendly is your household? Do you have an area, such as revising pages where you must throw environmental thoughts out the window and do what you need to do?

 Blog Spotlight:

If you don’t already, I highly recommend following author and speaker, Kristen Lamb’s blog. She recently posted a great piece on time management and productivity. This is always a topic that I love to study and continue to grow in. Don’t miss, “10 Ways for an ADD Writer to be OOH! SHINY!…Productive”

Also don’t forget to browse the latest writing class option at WANA International. There’s no better way to pressure your 2013 writing goals than continued education.

Finding serenity in a limbo-filled January

I love the start of a New Year. It feels like the first day of school, which I always loved. I always had my binder, backpack and other supplies in perfect order. I wore a new outfit and entered the school with a smile and high hopes for the New Year.

Now as a professional and with a family of my own I still view the New Year with the same excitement. I always get new office supplies, organize my desk, clean and organize my house and clip all my New Year goals on my giant white erase board easily seen from my desk. Often January is my most productive month as inspiration and excitement take over after the Holiday break. However, this January is different.

If you follow this blog, then you know that we moved to Saudi Arabia this last September. We only brought with us what could fit in suitcases and paid extra to bring three excess baggage boxes. The rest of our things though we packed up for a sea shipment. This process takes a long time and all of our things are expected to arrive later this month.

And our waiting game continues. I found out just after Christmas that I need Gallbladder surgery. I’ve been listed as a top priority with the surgeon and hospital here but even then I don’t have a pre-opt scheduled until the middle of the month. Until then I’m in pain and desperately working ahead on projects so I can afford to take a week off and rest during my recovery.

So I begin this new year feeling like a kid anxiously and nervously waiting for something dreadful and exciting like a move. No one likes moving. It is surrounded with hard work and the nagging irritation of getting settled but once you get past that initial phase many find happiness in new homes. For me, I’m excited about getting our shipment but I dread all the work and organizing that will accompany it. I also dread this surgery but know that once I’m recovered I will feel like a new person.

This January I sit in limbo but if you’ve ever felt this way at the start of the year, there are things you can do to conquer the wait and get your year started.

I always wear a silver bracelet stressedengraved with the Serenity Prayer, “God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.” No matter what your religious affiliation is, this prayer can see you through tough times. For me, it encourages focus on what I can control.

I may not have my desk and office set up the way I like to start the New Year BUT I can buy office supplies, decorate it and organize it to my taste as best as I can. I don’t have my giant white erase board BUT I can tape paper to the wall and post my 2013 goals. I also have taped favorite quotes or pictures to my wall. You might remember them attached from previous blog posts ☺ I can also organize my house to the best that I can until my shipment arrives. I’ve taken time to hang up the wall art and family pictures that we brought with us. Anything to give our house that sense of home.

I can’t pick or move up my surgery date BUT I can turn my dread and anxiety to positive work. There are many things in my life that I cannot control at the present but I can control what I do each day to write towards my goal and how I live and see the world around me.

Are you starting the New Year in a state of limbo? How are you finding serenity in a limbo filled January? Have you experienced this before? How did you prevent a slow January from dragging down your year?

 

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Categorizing the New Year you

It’s that time again. You’ve eaten your black-eye peas for luck, the cabbage for wealth and are sufficiently full and ready to face your New Year’s resolutions head on. But what is your resolution this year? Is it related to your diet, career, personal life, etc? I’ve always been against the single resolution method. Don’t we all strive to be well rounded in our attempt to have it all? Your resolution should reflect just that, your journey to becoming the well-rounded person you aim to be.

It’s because of this idea that our resolutions should match the categories of our life. Strive for balance and improvement in all areas.

These are my resolutions for 2013:

Family- Play outside more with my daughter and eat on fine china once a week for formal sit down family meals.

Fitness- Work out every morning and focus on toning and flexibility.

Career- Publish non-fiction, polish and pitch 2 fiction novels.

Personal- Become fluent in French, again.

Making a New Year’s resolution is smart but make them realistic. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Have a plan to go with each goal. Don’t just resolve to get an agent in 2013, plan out how you will accomplish this goal.

Set deadlines for achieving goals. Set smaller goals at various stages throughout the year as a way to stay on track and achieve greater goals. Be your own boss and set progress reports throughout the year. Judge yourself and keep yourself on track. I think you will find that you will be the most challenging and difficult boss you’ve ever had!

Are you looking at your life in categories when setting a New Year’s resolution? How are your 2013 goals contributing to the balanced you?

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