My First Day at Alt Summit Ever

It’s a week and a half before my wedding, and I’m at Alt Summit Summer 2015! I haven’t been blogging due to wedding planning (and who knows how many other excuses I could come up with), but now that I’m here at my dream blogging conference, I feel compelled to write.

I have been dreaming about going to Alt Summit ever since I first learned that it existed a few years ago when I started dreaming about being a blogger. As I sit here on my hotel bed with the Alt program at my side, I can hardly believe this dream has come true!

Over the past few years, I didn’t have the courage to come to the conference, not thinking that I was a real blogger. Being inspired by Organized Jen’s post about attending the winter session, the same blogger and vlogger who inspired me to start my own blog, I signed up this past winter as soon as tickets went on sale.

After some back and forth about should I go or shouldn’t I go to save money for the wedding, I ended up deciding I would go the night before the trip. And I don’t have to tell you that I am so glad I did! continue…

Gratitude Tuesday: Good Things That Happened Last Week

Check back this coming Monday for the launch of a related series called “Everyday Miracle Monday Weekly Recap Series,” in which I recap my everyday miracles from the previous week.

Gabby Bernstein introduced me to the concept of an everyday miracle. According to Gabby’s work, largely based on the teachings from A Course in Miracles, a miracle can be simply a shift in perception. When you are in a bad mood and have an epiphany that it doesn’t have to be so hard, that could be your miracle that day.

Last year, I randomly found out Tara Stiles would be teaching a yoga class down the road from my house, and was able to attend and even meet her that day at her book signing! It was right around that time that I started noticing the little and sometimes big good things that happened in my life everyday.

We have access to experience a miracle everyday. It might be a little tiny shift in perspective, or the universe might come in and hit us with a lucky stick. The exciting thing is that we never know what this day will bring. Who knows? You might get to meet your favorite author later today! Or get a perfect parking spot at the store. Or an unexpected opportunity might sail right into your life at 3:06 p.m. It could happen!

Weekly Miracle Recap

I have had this idea of recapping my own everyday miracles on a weekly basis for a while now. My “Everyday Miracle” series will be a recap of one good thing from each day during the previous week that I identify as being my “miracle” for that day. Some days it will be something that I could never have dreamed of, others it will be something relatively small but still good.

While I haven’t kept a gratitude journal before, I feel that this aligns with the idea of keeping a gratitude journal in my own way. I also want to inspire other people to look for their own little or big miracle everyday. I believe that by expecting good things to happen each day, we are more likely to attract them into our lives.

This past week, I forgot to keep track of my everyday miracles until Thursday, when a big one happened for me. That’s when I realized I really have to start keeping track of these and do this blog post series. So here goes, my everyday miracles from this past Thursday to Sunday (next week will include the full week): continue…

One Way To Decide What To Do Next

How do you know if what you are about to do next is what you are supposed to do? The thing that will be for your highest good, propel you towards the life of your dreams? Or at least not result in catastrophe or other unpleasant outcomes.

This morning I woke up remembering that there was a free yoga in the park event today at 9 a.m. I hadn’t signed up for it yet, but it was in my calendar and I told myself yesterday that if I got up in time, I might try to make it.

I didn’t set my alarm or anything, since these days I am all about getting the maximum amount of sleep (I slept for nine hours last night – go me!). But I woke up a little more than an hour before the event.

Getting excited that I could possibly make it (the town is only about 15 minutes away), I hopped on the website to see if I could sign up. I did, and then got a message that they would be contacting me shortly.

Unfortunately there wasn’t an automatic email message, and the exact address of the park wasn’t included in the event information. I called the studio, but no answer (not surprising, since the first class wasn’t until 9 a.m.).

So, I sat there. My phone telling me if I left at that moment I would arrive at 8:51 a.m. But I still wasn’t ready. And I still didn’t know at which park exactly the outdoor yoga would be taking place.

I had a choice to make. I could try to rush around, brushing my teeth, washing my face, throwing on yoga clothes, grabbing my yoga mat. Only to arrive with probably no minutes to spare, and the possibility that the location I was thinking was right was actually wrong. continue…

Be Unapologetic About What You Want

I thought I wanted to be a writer. According to everything I have read, by the act of writing I am a writer. I don’t even have to be any good at writing, apparently. As long as I want to be a writer and I write, then I am a writer.

But I have apologized with every inch of my being for wanting to be a writer ever since I first was told that math and science are where the money and value are – not reading and writing. I have grown and come to terms with my writer ways over the years. But not without apology.

I often feel guilty telling people that I have a blog when asked what I do. I usually tell them the “real” thing that I do, as in the thing that actually produces an income. Then I slip in at the end (nervously) that I have a blog. Talking about myself as a writer makes me feel super apologetic. Like I haven’t earned the right to call myself a writer, or a blogger.

A Little Bit of Inspiration

I will be attending Alt Summit Summer this year. Alt Summit is a design and blogging conference held twice a year (January and June) in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have known about it for several years now but could never bring myself to attend a conference for bloggers, not feeling like a “real” blogger myself.

Fortunately one of my favorite vloggers, Jennifer Ross, pushed me over the edge this year with her vlogs and blog posts from the January conference. I am so excited to finally be going!

I received an email recently with links to the keynote speaker presentations from the January session. One was by Lisa Congdon, the other by Dallas Clayton. Both are amazing and I would definitely recommend checking them out.

Lisa Congdon talked about the path she took to get where she is as a creator of lots of different amazing things. She talked about being unapologetic about what you want, and that got me thinking. continue…

How to Choose a Mentor for Your Dream

Who is the one person in the world you are absolutely fascinated by? You look at their accomplishments with awe, and think that if you could only achieve a fraction of their success, you would be ecstatic.

When I set out to lose about ten pounds almost ten years ago, I chose Oprah. I have never met Oprah or corresponded with her on any personal level, but that didn’t stop me from mentally channeling her positive energy and sound advice in every single moment that I was tempted to eat a cookie or sleep in and skip the treadmill.

I read everything on the internet that she had written about weight loss, soaked up her whole philosophy about the emotional component of weight gain and weight loss, and followed her trainer’s (Bob Greene’s) weight loss plan, which they freely shared online, to the letter. I heard her voice in my mind every day as I battled all the messages from the world to buy a candy bar or eat yet another a piece of birthday cake at the office.

At the time, I didn’t think of her as a “mentor.” I always thought a mentor was a person who physically met with their mentee at regular intervals, providing advice, going out to lunch on occasion, maybe attending an awards ceremony of some sort. At least someone who provides direct correspondence via Skype, phone, or email. Right?

A Different Kind of Mentor

This morning I was noticing thoughts coming into my mind that I didn’t want, but I was struggling batting them away and thought about how nice it would be to have a person in my mind with advice that I could choose to focus on instead.

I decided it was worth a shot, and I made a list of the people who I currently admire as I work on my writing dream. Here is the list I came up with: continue…

To-Do Lists & Dreams: Is There Enough Time for Everything?

I am obsessed with getting my to-do list to zero. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

I totally understand that I am not going to get my to-do list to zero and it is just going to stay like that forever. That isn’t my goal. My goal is to clear out my to-do list on a regular basis, keeping it clear to allow space for new things to come into my life without the weight of old tasks from like three months ago. Or even three weeks ago.

Reading through Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks has helped me more clearly shape my perspective on clearing my to-do list while allowing ideas of new things to do to come into my life.

What My To-Do List Means To Me

My to-do list used to be a thing of complete dread, shackling me from enjoying life because I felt so behind all the time. I couldn’t see getting out from under the pile of stuff, no matter what I did. Not a good thing.

Today I am still working at chipping away at a few remaining tasks from several months ago, but I can see that my dream of having a regularly cleared to-do list is within reach. I am so excited about that every day!

I see my various to-do lists as simply a system of reminding myself what to do next, so I don’t have to store all that information in my brain. To-do lists are meant to liberate us from the constant cycle of remembering and forgetting things that still need to be done.

My goal for my to-do list is for it to eventually hold only items to do that I feel purposefully passionate about. I want my life to transform so that everything I do feels on purpose and exciting. I get all tingly just thinking about that! continue…

How To Get One Step Ahead

As a recovering procrastinator, I am all too familiar with the unpleasant feeling of constantly being a step behind, five minutes late, or scrambling to finish something at 11:45 p.m. I feel tense just thinking about it.

I think about how if I can be one step behind, why can’t I be just one step ahead instead? I know there is a lot of psychology involved with procrastination, but all of that aside, practically speaking, why can’t something or someone be early instead of late?

Bottom line: it is possible. It is possible for people who find themselves chronically late with arriving places or turning things in or getting things done to eventually, one day, find themselves to be people who are chronically early and turning things in and getting things done ahead of schedule.

Sigh of relief.

The Feeling of Being A Step Behind

The biggest drawback of being behind that jumps out at me is the constant nagging thought track that keep coming to mind the whole time something isn’t getting done. If I have something that is about to be overdue, my mind will not let it go.

It’s a major energy drain. Not to mention: What You Focus On Expands. As in, thinking about constantly being late and behind is pretty much a guarantee that you will continue to be late and behind. Kind of guaranteed! continue…

2015 Reading Challenge

I haven’t signed up for reading challenges in the past, but I was recently inspired by another blogger to bite the bullet and go for it this year! I get so super excited when it comes time to choose a new book. I almost get more enjoyment out of browsing through the countless books available to read than the actual reading. The possibilities are endless! I am particularly stoked about the ridiculous amount of books available in eBook and audiobook format through the library. I used to love going to Barnes & Noble and browsing the shelves (and still do!), but now with so many digital titles available at my fingertips for free, I can have as much fun spending a whole evening in the comfort of my own home, plotting out my reading list for eternity.

My 2015 Reading Plan

I am aiming to read about one nonfiction (most likely self-help) and one fiction book per month in 2015, with a goal of reading 25 books (because it sounded better than 24). I participate in the Hay House Book Nook Blogger program, where I receive free new release self-help books in exchange for my honest reviews of the books. I haven’t participated as much as I would have liked in the past, so I hope to up my game in 2015! This is a perfect program for self-help book lovers if anyone is interested. I still entertain the idea of writing young adult fiction at some point, so I will probably plan to read a mix of young adult fiction and other types of fiction.

Audiobooks

I am not currently a member of Audible, but have been in the past and would join to buy an audiobook if it weren’t available at the library. I love having the OverDrive app on my phone to listen to audiobooks for free through the library. I’m not sure about other library systems, but mine has over 11,000 audiobooks available for free…insane! I am wrapping up The One and Only by Emily Giffin via library audio, which was a new release in 2014. Definitely check your local library to see what you can get before buying a book, you might be surprised what they have to offer! I can’t say enough good things about audiobooks. Having the audio reading option is largely what is giving me the confidence to even take on a reading challenge this year. Twenty-five isn’t really a ton of books, but I figure if I end up reading fifty I will feel better about myself than if I said fifty and read twenty. continue…

Why It’s Up to You to Follow Your Dream

Do you wonder what your purpose is, if you have a greater purpose, and if so, when will you ever find the time to fulfill it with the mundane tasks and responsibilities calling your name at every turn?

It’s You

While meditating this morning, I was asking these very questions. I feel called to function a certain way in my life, as a writer, but I constantly struggle with whether this is a true calling or if it is something I just made up. Secondary to that struggle is my battle with time, and where to find the time to carry out these crazy quests of my soul.

The phrase “it’s you” popped into my head. As in, it’s on you, your responsibility, to live out your dream. It’s your responsibility to the world to do whatever it is you are called to do that will help others.

No one else can do it for you. Whatever unique gift you have to share with the world, even if you are unsure of the specifics (like me), you are the only one who can deliver that one specific idea.

I think about Glee, and what if Glee never existed. What if the people who created Glee just didn’t bother, and went on with whatever else they were doing or were going to do. You might think of Dr. Seuss, Steve Jobs, a favorite author, or whoever else you see as a figure who has changed the world by being brave enough to share their ideas and gifts. continue…

Make Time to Move Forward

“Once you become consciously aware of just how powerful your thoughts are, you will realize that everything in your life is exactly how you allow it to be.” — Melanie Moushigian Koulouris

I get all bogged down by my excuses more often than I would like to admit. There are so many things I want to do in a day, and my most common complaint and excuse is that I don’t have enough time.

Not enough time to cook a low carb meal, not enough time to work on my blog, not enough time to go for a walk. I suppose the counter argument could be that I am trying to do too many things in a day, but what if I’m not? What if it is the perfect amount of activities and just letting go of my excuses and complaining would bring in that extra touch of time I needed all along to get things done?

Procrastination Battles

Things either get done or they don’t. Perhaps an over-simplification, but I am so tired of procrastinating. The worst thing in recent times is that I have somehow repackaged my procrastination as a lack of time. I tell myself I am constantly busy and just couldn’t get to it, which leaves me feeling confused and betrayed. continue…

How to Go on a Mini-sabbatical This Week

A few weeks ago I started getting up at 4 a.m. I tried this a few years ago, but felt like I couldn’t sustain the insanely early hours, so it didn’t stick. This time around, I feel completely different about it.

I have gone back and forth about what to do with this time. The two hours before I have to start my job is just about enough time to get in 20 minutes of yoga, 20 minutes of meditation, and about 40 minutes of walking.

How early is too early?

I also would like to have a good hour or two in the mornings for my writing. I attempted to get up at 3 a.m. one Monday a few weeks ago. I was very excited about the idea of getting in three extra morning hours to work on my dreams.

Getting up at 3 a.m. didn’t seem to work as well as 4 a.m. has, at least for me at this time in my life. I know there are people out there who do it, so who knows? Maybe someday. I found that I had a hard time sleeping because I was so preoccupied with waking up on time, and then later in the day my whole body felt off and very tired. So for now, 4 a.m. it is.

I haven’t run into the same issues with getting up at 4 a.m. In fact, I have been pleasantly surprised to find that I have more energy all day after getting up at 4 a.m., even if I got to bed late the night before, than if I got out of bed with hardly any “me time” to spare during the weekday mornings.

Turning Early Morning Hours Into an Ongoing Sabbatical

Have I mentioned my obsession with the idea of a sabbatical? If I could do anything in life that I wanted, I would go to Europe for one year to write my first book, à la Emily Giffin. As it is, I have other things that call my attention away from writing, and taking a year for my writing is not exactly in my foreseeable future at the moment. continue…

What I Want for You

I have been looking forward to Labor Day Weekend all summer. Last year, around Labor Day, I decided to start reviewing my goals more frequently than once a year at New Year’s. I decided to start a seasonal review process, in which I would review, refresh, and revamp my goals and aspirations in the core areas of my life four times a year at the start of each season.

Time for a Plan & a Change

I am a planner, and I thoroughly enjoy the seasonal review process. Probably even more than I enjoy actually doing the things I say I am going to do! This summer has been okay, but I haven’t felt like I have been functioning optimally and doing the things that I really want to do.

I feel like I have been eating unhealthily, sleeping in late, and generally worrying and not feeling like the best version of myself. I had been looking forward to Labor Day Weekend as a time to really focus on getting back on track with my goals.

Yesterday, I got up early and set out to do the seasonal review. I knew deep down that there was no way I would accomplish the task of planning out the next three months in a few hours, or even in one day. I decided to be okay with that. continue…

Decide to Not Feel Bad & Fiction Friday

I have felt kind of bad all week for not writing. I have been a person who feels bad for not doing the things I say I am going to do, rather than either a) just doing them, or b) acknowledging that I have a lot going on and cutting myself some slack.

I have also been a person who desperately wants to write a book, and who has talked about writing a book for years now, but somehow, still, no book. When I woke up this morning, I decided I have a choice: I can either choose to feel bad about not writing, or just write and move myself, slowly but surely, into the category of people who actually write books rather than those who just talk about writing them (while feeling bad).

Feeling bad about not writing does no good. It doesn’t enhance my word count or my chances of success. All it does is bring about more bad stuff that I have no interest in. I get down on myself because I think I don’t have enough time to write. I just have to accept that I have whatever time is available to me and work with it. John Grisham managed to find time to write while he was still working as a lawyer, didn’t he? continue…

Why Exercise is Essential, Found Time, & a Blogust Status Update

Over the past few days, I have revisited creative ways to find the time to go for walks and get in reading on even the busiest of days. I was inspired by Robin Sharma’s video on You Tube the other day in a moment of desperation for a glimmer of hope and insight into how I might get on top of my life.

Why Making Time to Exercise Matters

He mentioned the power of exercise. These days I am not big into exercise that requires excessive amounts of exertion and sweating, but I do enjoy light yoga and moderately paced walking. The idea of getting up even earlier popped into my mind, and I have been doing it ever since. continue…

Fiction Fridays: What I’m Writing & What I’m Reading About Writing

“Novel writing isn’t always about finding the right ideas. It’s about finding the time and the energy.” – 90 Days to Your Novel by Sarah Domet

My first Fiction Friday of Blogust has arrived and I haven’t written a single word of fiction. Since August first, that is. My current work in progress is up to 6,459 words. So that’s something.

I have dreamed of, and many times attempted, writing young adult fiction for several years now. I even got up to 17,000 words once a few years ago. I mostly feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, but then visions of Stephanie Meyer and J.K. Rowling writing frantically drive me to wonder: what if? continue…

Blogust Schedule at a Glance

Since I have committed myself to 30 more consecutive days of posting, I figured today would be a good time to plan out my posts for the month. I have been wanting to do this ever since I started blogging but never got a grip on the organization of my thoughts more than a few days in advance.

Themed Days

I have always liked the idea of posting based on specific themes on certain days of the week. This is how I came up with the idea for Meditation Mondays. Here is the general idea for my posting schedule during Blogust: continue…

Be Unwilling to Disappoint Yourself

For as long as I can remember, at least since I made the decision of what I would major in in college, I have been desperate not to disappoint other people. To my own detriment. I do my best to do what I am supposed to do to make sure I am meeting the needs and expectations of the people around me.

I have expectations for myself as well, but unfortunately they are largely trumped by those of other people. I want to be considered responsible, yet fun. Even if that means staying up too late and then getting out of bed the next morning so as not to disappoint anyone at my job by being late. Forget about disappointing myself by not making time to meditate. Well, at least put it secondary to what I perceive others expect.

Living from a Place of Fear

I would estimate that the majority of the time I am living from fear. I fear being late for work, saying the wrong thing, making a mistake, disappointing someone, being criticized, and mostly, not following my dreams. I fear, constantly, that I will never get the courage to write my book or make my blog a success, while simultaneously fearing that I am not doing enough to deliver on what other people expect of me.

It’s exhausting, and I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Which is why I share. The fear has improved, otherwise I wouldn’t even be sharing my thoughts today. We all have fears, but living from them day after day is not the recipe for a healthy life.

In my extreme unwillingness to disappoint other people, I have, unfortunately, become comfortable with disappointing myself. If I feel that someone else or some task needs to be tended to, then I likely take care of that need and skip my writing for the day.

Time is tricky. I can say I don’t have time to write, but I would have to carefully remind myself that if I believe everyone has the ability to make time to exercise, then I must also have the ability to make time to write. It isn’t lack of time that prevents me from moving forward (although I often cite that as the defining reason), but fear and a willingness to disappoint myself. continue…

Meditation Mondays: All the Words Are Already Written

Yesterday I had the best meditation I can remember in a while. I know we aren’t supposed to judge our meditation sessions as being either good or bad, but sometimes they feel more luxurious, probably more likely on the weekends. An ideal meditation session for me is 20 minutes, with the first half spent going through in my mind what I am grateful for and then my intentions, and the second half spent melting into the floor and the space of nothing.

Yesterday I realized that I could simplify the first half even further, going though anything I want in my life as if it were already here. I do this a lot, but realized there is no need to separate what I want from what is already here during meditation. Why not act as if already?

Meditating for Creativity

That part was fun, but the really great part was the second half. I have read many times that one of the great benefits of meditation is the creation of increased receptivity for creative ideas. The nothingness portion of meditation is where creative ideas might come to us. Or, by creating a bit of space between the constant recurring thoughts, we might increase our chances of receiving creative ideas at other times throughout the day.

During my meditation time, I suddenly felt very content that the creative ideas I hope for are already out there somewhere, I just have to tap into them. I realized that any words I might dream of one day writing are already written. There is no need to strive or fret that creativity might never touch us. It is out there, waiting to connect with us and be used for the greater good. continue…

Daring Greatly: How To Overcome Not Enough Time

In her book, Daring Greatly, Brené Brown writes about the theme of scarcity in our culture. The aspect of scarcity that I (and I suspect many others) identify with most is scarcity of time.

Not enough time to write, not enough time to read, not enough time to sleep. Not enough time is often the go-to excuse for just about whatever isn’t getting done: exercise, eating right, following our dreams.

I use the not enough time excuse anytime I am feeling sorry for myself for not being as awesome as I aspire to be. As aware as I am of the fact that this is nothing more than an excuse, and that I have the ability to overcome this perceived scarcity, it’s just too easy to fall back on.

Antidotes to Time Scarcity

One of my affirmations in my core value category of abundance is “I am enjoying an abundance of time each day.”  I am getting better on my journey towards this eventual reality. I am starting to realize that just because I don’t find the time one day to work on one of my projects doesn’t mean it won’t be there tomorrow. I am learning to take advantage of pockets of time in the day as they present themselves, and to let go of the time when other activities inevitably come up.

In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown mentions that she believes it’s not that we need an abundance of time, but enough time. I do believe she is on to something with the whole “enough” philosophy, although I don’t see anything wrong with my affirmation for an abundance of time. It may just be a matter of semantics. In my mind, enough time is as good as an abundance of time.

Here are a few ideas (inspired by Daring Greatly) for overcoming the issue of scarcity of time: continue…

Motivation to Get Up On Time

I have struggled with getting up on time forever. This week, I managed to get up on time on Monday, and told myself I was going to do the same the rest of the week. Today, I share my feelings on the whole issue of getting up in the morning.

What Does On Time Mean?

Determining what time I need and want to get up in the mornings during the week has been a constant issue for me for the past several years that I have worked from home with a login time of 6 a.m. For the most part, I have aimed to get up at 5 a.m., but have also gone through phases of convincing myself that 5:30 a.m. would give me more time to rest, and others where I attempted to get up at 4 a.m. to have time in the mornings to write.

I don’t want to get up early just because I have to go to work. I want to get up because I am ready to start my day. Many mornings in the past I have stayed in bed beyond my appointed wake-up time out of dread for the upcoming day. That is no way to start any day. continue…

Book Nook Review: I Can See Clearly Now by Wayne Dyer

“My life is my message.” – Gandhi

Ever feel like you don’t belong on the path your life seems to be on? Like there is a different path you’d rather hop on to? I Can See Clearly Now is Dr. Wayne Dyer’s personal reflection on the pivotal moments in his life that shaped him into the influential spiritual teacher he has been for many years. These moments were not all glamorous, but Dr. Dyer reflects on his past with nothing but gratitude for the lessons he takes away from even the most difficult situations. continue…

Seasonal Review: Mid-Season Check-in

It’s not quite time for my summer seasonal review, but I have been thinking a lot about where I am in my goals for spring and thought it might be a good time to do a mid-season review. Spring is a great time for changes and there are certainly many good changes in my life this time around.

Shortly after I moved to Arizona I developed the daily ritual of starting to read my affirmations as soon as I get out of bed in the mornings. By the time I’m doing mouthwash, I’m wrapping them up. It takes less than three minutes to read through these 15 or 20 items, but before I hadn’t been referring to them on a daily basis. I am happy to have finally found a method that works for me. It makes sense to start the day with positive thoughts and reminders about what my goals are, and to review these before practicing yoga and meditation in the mornings.

Based on my core values, here is a brief look at where I am in my personal goals so far for spring: continue…

Anyone Can Learn Anything

I have been hearing the advice for years to read everything you can get your hands on if you want to be a writer. I have been a casual reader, but didn’t really grasp the intention behind this advice until recently.

Setting out to accomplish any large project is usually majorly overwhelming, and the largeness of a project can be what sinks us before we even start. I am a person who wants to write a book, but how do you write a whole book? I still have no idea. There is plenty of logical advice out there, but when it comes down to it, every time I have tried to start I have gotten overwhelmed by the thought of writing a book and quit before giving it a fighting chance.

I get excited that maybe I will read three books in my genre and then I will have a grip on what it is to write a young adult series book. Ya, right. Just to finish one book typically takes me at least a week. I also get discouraged that I want to have written a book like last year already. Why bother starting again if I couldn’t get it done before now?

These are the questions that trap me into thinking I’m better off not bothering. continue…

Giving Up is No Longer an Option

“Well you always throw away the first pancake.” – Reba on Malibu Country

The other night I watched a movie called A Case of You about a writer (my favorite kind of movie!) and it got me thinking about my dream of being a writer. This thought frequents my mind, but it often gets pushed to the backburner.

I have almost finished or barely started reading so many books about writing with titles like Writer with a Day Job, The Right to Write, and No Plot? No Problem! (written by the founder of NaNoWriMo), not to mention On Writing by Stephen King. To say that I am slightly obsessed with being a writer would be an understatement.

The Fear of Starting

A Case of You begins with the main character (played by Justin Long) agonizing over the first sentence of his book: starting, loathing, deleting. Some of the sentences were mediocre, others seemed really good, but they all had one thing in common: they all got deleted.

I know the feeling of attempting to start “chapter one” of some crazy idea I dreamed up in my head. What if it totally sucks and I pour all of this time into it and then it ends up being nothing? This is my ego trying to talk me out of doing something that makes me happy. continue…

A Warmup Activity to Start the Day

In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron describes the idea of writing morning pages. The strictest definition of morning pages is handwriting 3 pages first thing every morning. There is no goal to the writing, other than to clear the mind.

Writing can be a great way to get out the thousands of thoughts in one’s mind, clearing space to get to the real work to do that day. You don’t have to be a writer to do morning pages either. This activity clears the path for creative ideas necessary for all different kinds of projects to flow into the mind. This is why I meditate, and this is why I write in 750 Words. continue…

Hi, This is Your Natural Energy Cycle

Our schedules do everything in their power to fight our natural energy cycles. Sadly, this innate part of our existence often gets ignored.

When I set out on my mini-sabbatical just a few days ago, I proclaimed that I would attempt to get out of bed at 6 a.m. each day by my alarm, with few exceptions for special occasions.

As a special treat, I decided to not set my alarm clock for the first day, and ended up getting out of bed around 7:30 a.m. By that evening, I decided to do away with my alarm clock altogether for the duration of the month. I certainly want to get up early each day so I can get a jump start on all the things I want to get done, but I decided to ease up a bit on all the pressure to stick to such a regimented schedule.

Rather than use an alarm clock, I am experimenting with my ability to set an intention for the time I would like to wake up the next morning right before going to sleep. I have read about this technique, but never got into trying it. I would be too afraid not to set an alarm clock if I have to work, and on the weekends I have tried to give myself a break and just sleep in. continue…

A Mini-Sabbatical

Today is officially day 1 of my 30 day mini-sabbatical. Although I wasn’t planning on posting anything until Monday, I figured I would outline my plans for my time since it is so heavily on my mind and I am so excited about it.

First of all, I have to say that this is truly a dream come true for me. I can’t even count the number of times I have wished that I could get a month off to focus on myself and my direction in life. I know I am so lucky to get this chance, and I do not take it lightly. continue…

A Month (or at least a moment) of Authenticity

I am about to be ecstatic, because tomorrow at 3 p.m. PST I will log off from my job for 30 days! The last time I had this much time off from work was before I started working full time for real in 2007.

Last year I took a week off hoping that I could have some time back for myself that I felt I so desperately needed, but the week came and went with a few blinks and I was left feeling chaotic, scattered, and burdened by the constraints of expectations and responsibilities once again.

Well, here comes round two! I know that there is a way for me to fit my writing into my days that I work if I really really really try. Anything is possible. But I have just not gotten myself motivated to consistently do so. I have felt strongly that I am a writer for years, but struggled to match my dream to the expectations that I felt other people placed on my life and how my “success” in life was defined. continue…

Reflections on Blooktober

There are still four days left on October, but I figured I would go ahead and get put my thoughts on Blooktober out there, since today is the due date of the book proposal contest that I was entered into.

I slowly started to accept over the past week that I was not going to be a contest participant, even though I wrote at least two posts about my determination to do so. I guess I could be slightly embarrassed since I said I would but now I am not, but more than anything I just feel relieved. continue…

Blooktober Kickoff

“The beginning is always today.” – Mary Shelley

Fall is in the air! This year, for me, this means Blooktober during October, and then NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November. More about NaNoWriMo later.

What is Blooktober?

I participated in Blogust this year, posting everyday during the month of August. I will admit that I did take some liberties in what is technically considered posting everyday, as I ended up missing days and having to go back and post later during the month of August. In the end, I completed all 31 posts within the month.

In September, I lost my writing and posting momentum that the challenge of participating in Blogust fueled. I am glad that I gave myself some in-between time, but I also feel that I am ready for another challenge. I wasn’t sure if I would participate in Blogtober (posting everyday during October), but I now know that I must. Sometimes, there just comes a point where you realize it is now or never. I am sensing that this is one of those times for me. continue…

Planning Projects – Part 1

Now that I have my to-do lists (which I now call my reminders lists) under control, I feel like I can really get into getting my life organized the way I have always wanted to. I have read so many books about getting organized and improving productivity, and while I liked many of the ideas they described, I never felt “with it” enough to even begin to follow their advice.

Getting organized takes a lot of time, not to mention the difficult decisions the process forces. When I was buried by a mountain of tasks, it seemed totally impossible to make progress on getting organized. How could I dedicate 4 hours to organizing some files on my computer when I had a good, oh, say, infinite amount of hours of tasks nagging at me? continue…

Spark a Change

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  – Anais Nin

What does it take to ignite the spark to make a change? I wish I knew the magical formula. I have been trying to figure it out for years. Some days I have tried so hard to get inspired to try something new, almost forcibly so, only to be overcome by my doubts and fears.

I think there must be some kind of breaking point that, if we are lucky, we can reach eventually – where enough is enough, and we know that we are at a crossroads: we can either keep doing the same things, or pivot our direction. continue…