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Celebrate the Small Things: Manifest Self-Miracles #FridayFeeling

Fridays are all about celebrating the Small Things thanks to a weekly blog hop created by author Lexa Cain. Joint co-hosts this week are authors L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog The mission coincides with what I’m hoping to do with my own writing, inspire and focus on the light when those slippery shadows creep around our shoes. Want to sign up? Click Lexa Cain’s link to find out more.

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Do you make lists?

Do you write notes to remember tasks you need to do?

Have you ever made a list about all the good things about you?

I’m revisiting an old blog hop called Celebrate the Small Things. It’s a wonderful way to remember all the sunshine in a day when skies seem dark and the wind is so cold you can’t seem to find any warmth, on the inside.

This week I’m picking self -miracles. Those choices you’ve made in your life because you believed in yourself and the work you knew you’d have to do, but you did it anyway.

The idea for today’s post came from my son’s homework assignment. I’ve spent the last two days home with my son who’s had a fever. He had a reading passage on Jackie Robinson, a famous American baseball player, and I enjoyed reading it and reflecting on the questions as much as my son did. Mr. Robinson believed in himself. Mr. Robinson inspired me. I’ve been reflecting of specific choices I’ve made to focus on being a mother these past almost 10 years, and to also live a few of my deeper passions by giving up some larger less weighted ones.

So how am I manifesting self- miracles?

I’m celebrating two accomplishments this week. On the work side, I built a bridge in the office and really listened to what others were saying in order to develop graphic concepts that mattered to a team and not just me.

On the personal side, I’m celebrating my choice to leave a fast-paced traveling career so I could be there as a mother for my two little ones. My son has had a fever for half the week and I’m thankful I’ve been home with him. I’m thankful my current job is so understanding. I’m thankful I’m a short distance away from my kids’ school so I can be there in the event of any emergency. So I can have lunch with each of them once a week. So I can meet all their friends and be involved with their lives.

The key to self-miracles from what I understand, is believing in yourself so much, you “bet on yourself.” You realize what you want and love and need, and you go for it.

As a result of “betting on you,” tiny miracles begin to grow. Faith begins to grow and take over. Before you know it, you’re growing too.

Happy Friday, all. Make that list 😉

“This ain’t fun. But you watch me, I’ll get it done.” ~ Jackie Robinson

Why You Should Celebrate You #IWSG #WednesdayMotivation

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are: Mary Aalgaard,Bish Denham,Jennifer Hawes,Diane Burton, and Gwen Gardner!

And thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

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Years ago, I met someone at work who wasn’t excited about anything.

I sat with her in a conference room, trying to help her imagine what life might be like at work if she could just plan out all the ways she could take control of her tasks, her work life.

Then the tears came. She grabbed a box of kleenex and meekly said, “I can’t. I don’t want to be here. ”

She went on to say she wasn’t living her dreams or the life she really wanted. She felt out of control.

I was much younger then. I didn’t understand at first. But now I do.

Almost twelve years ago, I set a very big goal for myself. I decided I wanted to finally address the passion I’d harbored all my life and had ignored. Writing.

I didn’t know how to get started or what the steps to achieve my dream might look like. I had no formal training, and barely a friend who loved creative writing and would commit to the process the way I tend to commit to things.  What I did have though, was a very big idea, and I knew the best place to get started was to first get up. Every day. And think or write or read for at least an hour. I wrote and planned with a fiery fury.

I finished that first book. I also learned that the first book isn’t always as great as we think it will be and I cried. And then I realized something, after the gentle coaxing of my mother and my devoted friends. I’d finished something huge. I started somewhere, and I used everything in my power in each moment to finish that first huge task. They were right. I needed to celebrate that, and bought myself a new book, and let myself disappear into the story for several days, letting go of my own goals for a brief period of time. I found my smile again, and the will to keep trying.

Today, I’m still not where I want to be. But I celebrate. Then I work. Then I celebrate some more.

This month’s IWSG question asked: “How do you celebrate when you achiever a writing goal / finish a story?”

I may have taken a different route to answer the question, but I think the important thing we all should do when we celebrate is to do whatever makes our hearts feel good. We walk taller, smile brighter and find that joy or light again within ourselves. It’s the best way I know how to make it through the tough days. And that’s exactly what I showed the lady I worked with back then. We may not be able to influence where we are in a present moment, but every moment has potential and we can influence how we feel about it and work to change it. Don’t forget to celebrate that.

Creative Chaos Contained with Scrivener #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

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I am not the most intuitively organized of persons. Creative? Yes. Clean? Most of the time, but only because I focus really hard to remain that way.

When I write, I often disappear inside my mind and shove out the world to track a story. At least in the time frame I allow myself every day. When I have to stop, it’s painful. When I put down the pen, it’s a fight to remember the emotion in that moment. It’s been a fight to go back and search through the index cards, or the word document I used to use, and even the PAGES App I started out with when I outlined my new work in progress.

However, now I’ve purchased Scrivener for my MAC.

Below is a list of my top five highlights that still make me curl my toes every time I open my saved Scrivener file:

  1. Scenes are like Index cards, but are digital and never fade

I began as a color tabbed index card girl. I love pen and ink the most. But now in Scrivener, I have a binder window with a file tab for each chapter, and within each chapter are note cards listing each scene. The middle pane harbors the writing in that scene. The Synopsis window on the right is the perfect place for bullet lists I used to write out on the flip side of each index card.

  1. Multiple Window Views

At my day job, I have two monitors where I manage all my applications and tool menus. This is not a feasible expense at home, nor do I have the space. As I mentioned above, Scrivener organizes all of my prior notes, outlines and index card methods in one view with multiple screens I can see or expand based on the click of a mouse.

  1. Resource Bank Serves as a Collage Wall

I have always loved idea boards. There is a lovely option in the Binder window where I have idea boards set up for characters and complex scenes which include detailed research articles. I drag and drop pictures into these boards. I copy and paste web research articles as well and quoted notes I need. I used to design notebooks for this purpose. In the interest of time, sometimes I failed to pull them out and use them the way I had intended to. That’s not the case anymore.

  1. Grammar and Spell Check

Last year I purchased Grammarly. It’s a lovely multiple application grammar check. It works for PC’s really well, but I am a MAC girl and it currently isn’t available in Word for the Mac.

  1. Word Count, And Word Goal Tools

I’ve not utilized a word count goal tracker before. Scrivener makes it easy. I select the project drop down menu. Then I go to Project Targets. It allows me to implement the projected target date. It allows me to enter word count goals. It tells me how many days I have left and a graph shows me the progress. It’s fantastic. It’s helped me get up every day and know how many words I need by the end of the week.

True, we all have out writing methods. But in my world I need a seamless process where art meets digital organization. I have no office. I have an island in the kitchen and a lovely new storage cabinet to hide my printer and writing resources. Scrivener holds everything visual I need. I have my idea board, my scene and chapter view, my running words in the center, my organized chaos. My writing area is easier to manage with a clean counter top, a cup of coffee, and my writing prompt guide books I put away at the end of each writing session in my lovely cabinet.

This is my new Scrivener freedom, my newest organizational hero.

Chaos can be organized

The Shadowy Road Not Taken #IWSG #Amwriting

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[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are: Julie Flanders,Shannon Lawrence,Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!

And thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

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The best way I know to end 2017, is with a famous poem by one of my favorite poets, Robert Frost (1874-1963). Thank you Wikisource, for posting it so that I could share the inspiring words, too.

The Road Not Taken  (1916)
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost deserves all the praise he received and continues to receive for his literary genius. He summarized a common human question eloquently in the above poem.

Which path do I take, right or left, shadowed or sunshine, less or more work?

Then at the end of the beautiful piece, he reflects on his decision, did I pick the right one?

Looking back at 2017, I  set my goals and picked my road. Not that I can say I picked The Road Not Taken, but I did make huge decisions and proceeded to act on them. I obtained many of the goals I set. Some of them slipped right through my fingers. My life has most definitely changed because of each and every one, and I too, sigh, now that I face another new year.

My list in a nutshell:

  • I am honored to have a short story selected and published by this amazing IWSG group and Dancing Lemur Press LLC. The decision came at just the right time for me. I needed a push. It was a beautiful and amazing push I’ll always be grateful for and honored.
  • I attended a writing workshop in KC and met more than a few talented and inspiring authors. I spoke with three agents and drew the attention of two.
  • Where I fell short is the execution. I think I rushed my submission because I didn’t believe when I pitched my story, one of them would actually want to read the whole entire thing—right then. I guess I didn’t believe in myself.

So what’s next for me?

Frost states it perfectly:

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

This month’s IWSG question asks, “As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?”

  • Could I have done something different?
  • Should I have done something different?
  • What am I not doing, and need to do?

We can all say we would have done something different or would have made a better choice if we had a chance.

The truth? We can’t go back. Experience shines the light on our mistakes. All we can do is dust our hands off and be the person or the writer or the dreamer we aim to be.

Happy IWSG Day! I can’t promise the shadows will fade, but I can say if you love it, keep going.