5 Reasons Why We Fail

If you’re anything like me, new  ideas run through your brain constantly. Sometimes, we come across a true gem that we just can’t stop thinking about – because it’s Brill!

Come on, you know what I’m talking about.

All rights reserved to artist Sarah McAtee.

All rights reserved to artist Sarah McAtee.

 Constant brainstorming, rapid note taking, and visions of success are all symptoms of this sort of “genius moment”.  I obsess, can’t think of anything else, skip meals, get sweaty palms. . . and sometimes other symptoms as well including visions of grandeur, best case scenario, maximum outcome positive thoughts.
But then, a few days later or even a month or so the motivation behind the spectacular grand idea just seems to die and never evolves into the next step.  Or you bounce the idea off of a realist and they bring you back down to earth, outlining sometimes in detail why it won’t work.  Sometimes, it’s not even subtle they just poke your big balloon with a giant pin and you feel like crying.
OK maybe you don’t feel like crying but I often do.  Then the evil voice inside my head starts in on it and viciously tears apart any good that I could have ever imagined was in that stupid idea.

I am my own worst critic, and am a confessed self defeatist.

It’s rather sad, because some of those ideas are serious money-making material.
If we can get a grasp on why we repeat this cycle over and over and over again,  we can escape that matrix and build momentum taking our lives to the next level.
So, here are 5 reasons why the ideas in our head ends up in our own slush pile:
1. We Don’t See Any Immediate Results
 Let’s face it, we have become a microwave generation.  In fact the microwave just isn’t fast enough anymore. Instant messaging, drive thru orders, instant search on google, it’s what we are used to.
Ideas take time to grow. Quitting or giving up before there’s even a bud on the vine is a guaranteed way to kill a great idea.  Remember what your goals are and why you were so excited about your idea in the first place.
One trick I learned is to make a road map.  Brainstorm, mind map whatever you call it. Get it down, and out of your head.  Create an outline, a business plan whatever it takes to see what it takes to make the idea become a  plan. Think about transitioning this to a dream board to see your plan to fruition.
Write down the steps it will take to get to where you want to go.  You’ll see you’re only in the beginning phases of the entire process. But, seeing the rest of your “roadmap” (including your goal) on paper will  give you the boost you need to keep going.
2. Uncertain What To Do Next
 This happens all of the time, but it shouldn’t stop us. It’s just the first hurdle, and we just have to do a little more research (or simply ask someone for help!), in order to jump over it.
Also, you can go back to your “roadmap” and see what the next steps are. Remember to take things one step at a time. Often the details will work themselves out as you near the next step.
“Cinch by the inch, hard by the yard.”
3. We Just Don’t Care Anymore
 For whatever reason, you’ve lost sight of why you’re working so hard. When it comes to motivation, here’s what you can do:
  • Remember why you were so excited about your idea in the first place! Envision what life will be like at the end of the tunnel. Revisit the gem, ooh shiny!  Get yourself motivated.  (And people think I’m a dork for posting my self motivational stuff!) Journaling can really help with this  because you have a written reference documenting your excitement in the beginning. Revisit it,   it might breathe the enthusiasm back into your plan.
  • Read an inspirational book. One of my favorites is The 4-Hour WorkWeek, by Tim Ferriss.  I also like Michael Hyatt and Dan Miller.
  • Display your favorite quotes. At my desk, I have this quote posted up on the wall next to my computer: “The Harder I Work, The Luckier I Become.”
  • Reading that always gets me going again.  My favorite is framed, done in Calligraphy, very simple.  It says “If not now, when?” Now that I am reminded of that,  I will have to go find that one as it was moved when I relocated  my “office” to a real desk and not at the kitchen table.
  • Talk it out with someone. If you’re feeling low on energy, sometimes all we need is a pick me up from a buddy. That’s why so many people say it’s a lot easier to go to the gym or stay on a diet if there’s someone else there with them. My Facebook writing friends are the best on the planet.  I’ve been in a local group, and it was a bunch of posturing peacocks.  Everyone looked down their nose at me because I was green.  It’s ok though because I’ll have the last laugh, I already have in some measure.  I find that I often need a sounding board.  My husband is willing,  but when I am firmly in the grasp of the brainstorm frenzy describing my ideas, my eyes glistening with zeal, my husband is looking me like Martin in Finding Nemo – she’s speaking to me and I think she’s speaking English, her lips are moving but I can’t understand the words. Sometimes I wonder if he gets glimpses of the sick depravity that is in the recesses of my mind and isn’t working on his plan for what to do when I finally snap.
  • Take a quick break. We often work on something so much that we forget why we’re doing it. Take a day or two off, and you’ll often see the motivation come back in no time.

4. We’re Not Certain if Our Idea is as Great as We Thought it Was

Maybe you’re having second-thoughts about your idea. Maybe it’s not as awesome as you thought. This is the thought that pops into my head more often than the others and it’s definitely a downer. It’s the reason I have dozens – yes dozens, and that is probably a gross understatement – of unfinished projects.  If I were to sit down and finish every book, every poem, and every article that I started, I would be much further along.  This is part of my plan for the coming years, to finish what I’ve started.
But here’s what you can do to keep your idea alive.
Simply put – think positive thoughts.
Have you ever heard of “The Law of Attraction”?
It basically states that people’s thoughts dictate the reality of their lives. In other words, think positively, and positive things will happen to you. Good juju in – good juju out!
I find it ironic that this is a Biblical principle, but the world is more attune to this than Christians.
“For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7 
It takes a secular book like The Secret to get Christians off their duff, and in an uproar over a concept that the world grasps – The Law of Attraction –  before  they will ever consider that they should be following the same basic philosophy.  It isn’t difficult to figure out really, If you think you are worthless,  you behave as if you are worthless. If you believe that you are a person of value, then you carry yourself, value yourself, and work towards achieving  the goals that you have within you.  If you want positive results then  stay your mind on positive things. Makes sense to me.
Also, you have to realize that you’re not going to succeed unless you give it a shot. What’s the worst that can happen? If you’re doing business online, the worst is probably not as bad as you think it could be.  If it’s getting published, seriously take a look at some of the stuff that has been published and ask yourself if they can get published, then surely I can too.
5. We See Someone Else Doing Something Similar, and It Seems Better: we Lose Hope
Okay, so someone “stole’ your idea, or beat you to it. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Here’s why:
  • That fact that you see someone else doing something similar to what you had in mind is actually a good thing! In fact, it shows that it IS a great idea, that others are already using it to make money for themselves. There’s a proven market for it, and now it’s your turn to join in.  And, no one else can tell the story inside your head, or get the exact plan that’s in your head.  Do It!  Quit being a quitter!
  • The Dry Cleaners Theory: Have you ever noticed how many dry cleaners there are in one location? Here in St. Louis, there are over 100s (according to the yellow pages). My point is this: you don’t need have a unique idea in order for it to succeed. And if there’s a need for something, there’s always room for more options and solutions in the market. This is a concept that has been conveyed with affiliate marketing. You don’t need to control the market, you can do quite well with 5% of the market!
  • Lastly, all you have to do is build a better mouse trap. Put some thought into why people will choose to visit your website, read your content, and purchase from you, instead of someone else.  Spend some time asking yourself if you are a writer:  Would I read this? Would I spend my money on this?  What can I do to make it better?  Does it have enough plot twists? If it’s nonfiction, have I given factual data and clear instructions?  Think – engage your brain.

I hope you will agree that staying on course hurdle jumping is the backbone for the success of any business or blog, which is why I spent some extra time today. Truth be told it’s my own personal self motivational talk.  I just let you listen in because I’m a freaking awesome motivational teacher! Just ask my students from CS.

Work hard, play hard.  If you spent half as much time working hard for yourself as you do for a company, think where you will be in 5 years, 10 years.  Not still in the stock room that’s for sure. When you follow through on your own plans you are working for yourself, to achieve your own goals not the goals of a corporate CEO.  Soon you will be your own CEO.  Nobody is going to work as hard for your success than you are, so what are you waiting for?
I have three potential personal assistants lined up for my next step of success.  I’m hoping interviewing will begin soon.
I used some of Pat Flynn’s material in composing this.  Thank You Pat!  It applies to the writing life so well, and to entrepreneurial ventures as well.  I have enjoyed this self-help discussion, what about you?
Leave me a comment with your next step to pursue your dreams.
Write on my friends, write on!

Sunday Snippet – Tunnel Vision

Courtesy of VL Locey

Courtesy of VL Locey

Last week I took a break from the snippets simply because I was drowning in my to-do list. OK, that and we had company.  It was nice to unplug  and make progress on other goals.

I won’t waste a lot of time  jabbering on about what I did.  I know that’s now why you are here.  Who clicks on a link that says snippet if they aren’t planning to read a snippet, right?  So let’s get right to it.

Leading to a critical moment:

Helena grabbed the rifle and handgun and set them both in the small cage of the four-wheeler and took off in a rush. The tires spat gravel as she gunned the engine. She spun to a stop, taking her flashlight from her belt.

Where was he? She shone her light in the direction of the tunnel and two coyotes scurried away. She strapped the gun over her shoulder, tucking the handgun into its place on her belt. “I’m not in the mood to be playing games with saboteurs.”

She rang Scott, no answer. She rang the local

She rang the local authorities and got an answering machine. She left a hurried message, “ This is Helena Eskildson from the University of Wisconsin, in coordination with the Denmark Association of Archaeological research. We have an intruder at our site: white male, long blonde hair, mustache. He is on the premises now. I’m going in.”

It wasn’t the smartest thing she could do by any means. It would be best to wait for some of the guys, or the officials but she was ticked. This was her dream project, discovering a site that had to do with her family’s heritage.

She stomped over the clumpy grass to the entrance of the tunnel, shining her light down the tunnel as she squatted down. “Hey. I know you’re in there. Come on out now.” She waited for a few minutes with no response.

She said a little louder “Hey! I know you can hear me in there. I saw you on the monitors. This is a closed site. You need to get out of there now.”

She waited. ‘Right! He just had to be difficult.’ Helena stepped down into the tunnel, her flashlight in her hand, cautiously moving forward. She passed the first set of aged timbers supporting the tunnel. Flashing the light behind her, then back in front of her she eased forward slowly. Her foot caught on a stone in the floor and she tumbled headlong down the incline, ramming her hand into the next set of timbers.

“Ow! Ow! “ She groped on the floor for her flashlight that had fallen out of her hand. There was a large cut on the back of her hand, blood trickling down. Two of her nails had been broken, and the skin just above her cuticles had been scraped, blood welling in the spots. She stood, placing her hand against the tunnel walls for support. She took two cautious steps forward and her flashlight died. No matter how hard she beat the thing it wouldn’t work. She clicked it on and off, but nothing. “Of course!”

Easing forward even slower in the dark, she felt along the damp, cold wall of the tunnel. Her hand hit the next timber support, and it moved. As it shifted, a huge chunk of dirt fell from the ceiling, along with the sodded grass from above. A few meager rays of bright moonlight filtered in showing her clearly the stone wall less than five feet in front of her. ‘Where did he go? She hadn’t passed him. Maybe he ran out before she had arrived. That would be about her luck.’

She glanced around, seeing nothing but the wall, and turned to leave. As she did, she lost her footing in the dirt and clumps of grass and tumbled back toward the wall. Frantic she turned to catch herself, landing palms first on the stone wall. Only it disappeared and she fell through it, landing at the feet of the intruder.

You can skate on over to VL Locey’s sinful pleasures  with hot hockey players on and off the ice at VLLOCEY and then skip on over to Cathy’s Romance, where you can find your next book boyfriend, then check out Author Misty Harvey‘s latest!

Write on my friends, write on!



Inspiration Source

What do you do when Inspiration does NOT strike?  It is elusive, evading your every turn, seemingly nowhere to be found. What do you do?

One of the ways I prime my idea pump is by reading other blogs for inspiration, pep talks, encouragement, craft ideas, and general interests.

My TOP 10 blogroll:

  1. Kristen Lamb’s Blog
  2. Terrible Minds – Chuck Wendig
  3. Michael Hyatt
  4. The Better Man Project 
  5. Boho Berry – bullet journaling
  6. HOmetalk
  7. AuthorMistyHarvey
  8. Cathy Writes Romance
  9. Thoughts From A Yodeling Goatherder
  10. Grammar Girl

I hope you can find some inspiration in this list as well!

BONUS: Unfinished Business

Alrighty,  I’ve tried to keep up with this month’s challenge but failed.  Technically I am calling it done,  but in my heart I call this one a fail.  So to pick up where we left off:


Last time I shared a post on this challenge (Challenge Update) I covered thru swag- day 15.  Do you realize that it is the 27th????  Holy hotdogs batman!

Day 16: Where I write – A couple of years ago I moved my desk into the third bedroom when my eldest left for college. Then she comes home for the holidays and the summers.  Hmm,  not really a good set up as I lose my writing space when she’s here.  The basement is cold. Therefore, I have returned to my kitchen table. Most of the time I use a corner of the table with my stuff spread out while I work. Yes, I’m one of those.

When we move,  I am going to have a proper office with a craft area and a writing desk. This shuffling back and forth stuff blows.

Day 17: Where I Relax – Typically the end of the sofa next to the bookcase. Whether I am crocheting, reading, watching a walking dead marathon, or fail army videos – it’s my favorite spot to just chill.  Considering we don’t’ have a pool, it’s the best I can do.

Day 18: Research – My latest research has been on Vikings, Valkyries, Norse gods, norse mythology, pagan rituals, and pagan customs.

Day 19: Your Critique partners – My chatty chicks morning sprint group is also my critique partners.  Specifically Misty Harvey, author of 2 horror books. We are like soul sisters. She keeps me accountable!

Day 20: Fave Chapter Ending – in Red Wine & Roses, my favorite chapter ending was when Julia fell into the ravine – I thought that cliffhanger worked well.   OH, also spoiler for anyone that  hasn’t read it, and if you haven’t  WHY NOT?   For my WIP, Valkyrie’s Curse, it is when the boys translate the rune stones.

Day 21: Your Muse – you might want to sit down, maybe back away from the screen a bit.  I know this is very anti-writerly of me,  but I fired my muse years ago. She was fickle and wasn’t earning her keep.

I guess if anything my muse is my inner voice that alternates between saying ‘you can do it!‘ and the drill sergeant that hovers over me barking – Get off your lazy duff and write the damn story! These things don’t write themselves. What do you think, the words are magically going to fall from your mouth onto the screen??? NO!!! Sit your ass in the chair and write, damn you write! Write like your life depends on it. Write like you  only have a month to live. Write like it’s the key to the treasure in Solomon’s mines. Write – I didn’t say you get up for a break get back in that chair!
anyway. . . .

Day 22: A dedication page – from Red Wine and Roses

For my true love – Larry

Thank you for never giving up on me, or on us and for encouraging me when I wanted to quit. For all the years that I’ve spent pursuing my dreams of publication and understanding,  and not laughing at me, you’ve been there through the crazy highs and lowly lows.


 For my girls, for laughing at my jokes, listening to my scenes and ideas and understanding my “scary” excited expression.

For your sacrifices, family nights missed, thrown together meals, spaghetti nights, and a million questions during a movie because I was thinking about the next scene inside my head. Family is the best treasure and  you three are the best!

Day 23: Bucket List Item –  Visit every Island in the Caribbean!

Day 24: Bucket List Item done – Go to Disney world

Day 25: Pimp a pub-sib –   A fellow St. Louisan – Suzie T. Roos 

Day 26: A fave book outside genre – The Four Agreements

Day 27: Your Signature 


Day 28: Fave event outfit/accessory – pearl earrings and necklace that my husband bought me for our 30th!

Day 29: Favorite character –  Of all my characters, in all of my stories. . . .  well in Red Wine & Roses my favorite is Mr. Jackowski. BUT, my all time favorite is Bran, younger brother to the Laird of the Green Dragons. I guess it made an impression when he waltzed in stark naked, ripped, covered  with the sheen of exertion from flying across the ocean.  I may have to bump Kiss of the Dragon up in my order of revisions.

Write on my friends, write on!


An Unforgivable Love Story

AnUnforgivableStoryEbook (1)

Cover Design: Najla Qamber Release Date: March 22, 2016



Love is patient.

Love is kind.



She wanted to forget her past.

He wanted to change the course of his future.

She was everything he never knew he needed.

He became her unexpected.

Everything was perfect.

Until …




One of Five ARC’s for An Unforgivable Love Story

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Direct Link:



Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00014]

About the Author

BL Berry grew up telling lies. Eventually, those lies turned into elaborate stories and when she grew older she started writing them down. When she’s not hiding behind her computer writing, you can find her spending time with her family or catching up on her favorite TV shows. Rumor has it she’ll sleep when she’s dead.

Residing outside of Kansas City, she lives with her husband, two children, and a black pug. Each day her family thanks the makers of e-Readers, because without which they would be living amongst stacks and stacks of romance novels. Conversely, each day B.L. Berry thanks the makers of e-Readers for hiding her book-hoarding tendencies.

Connect with BL

Newsletter signup link: http://bit.ly/1zCPOPr

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/BLBerryAuthor/?fref=ts

Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/629890583798312/

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8441842.B_L_Berry?from_search=true&search_version=service

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BLBerrywrites

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blberrywrites/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/B.L.-Berry/e/B00O0DZATE/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1456287479&sr=1-2-ent


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<h6 style=”text-align: center;”>Book Trailer</h6>



The Name Game


I’ve discussed this topic on other occasions but inspired by a post on another blog that I visited, Ameena’s Musings, it once again prompted me to think on names.

For my personal name, my first name is Laura – which means crowned with laurel, or victor. My middle name is Ellen – nicknamed Ellie – which means bright light.  I don’t often feel like the bright light or a victor, but it does offer hope for tomorrow.

So what’s in a name?  POWER – that’s what!

The reason that we toil over choosing our children’s names and our character’s names – which in a way are our children – is that there is a power behind  names.

We don’t want to name our children something like Ebenezer or Dorcas! I still have my baby naming books which I have on my resource shelf for my writing.

There are certain associations that we make with names, certain images that we have for  names. Babette makes me think of a perky blonde that is not too bright. Harold makes me think of an older gentleman that is balding and has some insecurities.

Mary means bitter. I know a couple of Mary’s and they are indeed bitter and difficult to be around.

Of course, the definition of your name also depends on the cultural background of your heritage. For example, when Chevrolet named their car a NOVA then wondered why it wouldn’t sell in Mexico, where the meaning of that meant “no go”.

For our book characters, we want to make certain that the names are right, and that they are creating the correct image.  Knowing our characters helps to name them. OF course, sometimes they tell you right off the bat what their name is. Like Bran, in Kiss of the Dragon.  He is bold, brazen, arrogant, and in some senses a complete asshat. But then again that leaves a lot of room for improvement.

Names have power!  Whether it was Adam in the garden of Eden naming everything he saw or Rick Riordan in his latest epic novel, names carry a certain power with them.

Write on my friends, write on.



Be Authentic

How many of you feel the pressure to conform?

Perhaps it’s the pressure to be like your group of friends. Maybe it’s felt from your family. Or maybe it’s the office index set by the management that really doesn’t care about individuals but  the widgets that are produced.

I’ve often felt the pressure from all of the above at various times but I have to admit,  most of the time it comes from within me. I suppose it stems from feelings of inadequacy growing up that I have often compared myself to those around me.

Don’t!  It’s a dead end street.  We should not compare ourselves to others.  My writing is not like anyone else’s. My bullet journaling is not like anyone else’s. My daily agenda is not like anyone else’s. There are similarities, but  they are not the same. For instance, a couple of years ago a friend linked me to a site called I write like. I plugged in a couple of passages into their program and it came up that I wrote like Corey Doctorow. Hmmm, I had never read that author so I plugged in a different passage.  That one came up that I wrote like Anne Rice. Wow!  I know her work well! So what does that mean?  It means that I have the potential to be a great author but it’s still up to me to tap that potential.

So what does that mean?  It means that I have the potential to be a great author, but it’s still up to me to tap that potential.

I’ve been looking at Youtube videos of  what other people do with their planners and feeling grossly inadequate. I don’t make pretty little doodles or have fantastic handwriting.  I  have trouble drawing a straight line and my writing is a mess. I spent the better part of yesterday feeling like a complete failure because my bullet journal wasn’t as nice as so and so’s, my writing was lackluster after making an attempt to focus, and my to-do list was growing at twice the rate that I was completing tasks.

Hello darkness my old friend, (admit it, you sang that  didn’t you?) oh hey self-doubt! Decided to drop in and pay me a visit, eh?

OH, I see you brought guilt along to join the party.

OH, this isn’t a party?

My bad. It’s a board of interrogation and accusation?

So . . . . not a party?   I’m sorry, you’ll have to go.  I don’t have time for this nonsense. Did you not read my most recent blog post?

I am me! A one of a kind original with a unique voice that needs to be heard!

And this is the method that I have chosen to express my creativity, give my two cents worth, and offer encouragement to others!

This applies to my bullet journal as well.  The whole point is to help me be more productive and organized. It’s not about  what other people are doing. It’s not about what other people are writing. It’s not about what other people have as hobbies, or how they cook or eat or pursue their happiness.

My natural bent is to be an encourager. Sometimes my approach may be of the “suck it up buttercup” variety, but that’s what we need from time to time. I’m not a plasticine Barbie dream. I’m not  any sort of fashion diva. I like my jeans, my yoga pants, and leather jacket. I adore high heels but rarely wear them because they hurt my feet. You wear what you want and I’ll wear what I want.

I don’t really have anything against anyone with blond hair, my sister is a natural blond and I love her dearly. I have friends that are blond and have no problem with them. It’s often just a joke. I have a wry sense of humor and the snark flows freely. If it offends your delicate sensibilities, perhaps what you really need is a good belly laugh.

Thank goodness that I have friends that remind me of my worth on occasion.

One truth that should be remembered each and every day:


Whatever that looks like for you, BE IT!

Write on my friends, write on!


Who Are You?


Who are you?

(In a voice that echoes like it sounded from the heavens.)

Nobody  (My tiny little mousey voice.)

Why Are You Here? 

I, uh I don’t know.

Come back when you are somebody.

This was the internal dialog  trying to write my author biography. I attempted many times to write something, anything that would say a bit about who I am,  what I do, what I believe, and  most importantly, why somebody would read my words.

Countless attempts  – countless deleted paragraphs.  I return to the portal of the great web, The voice thunders.

Who Are You?

I’m a writer. I uh,  have written stuff and done stuff. Some interesting stuff too.  I have  credentials.  (My voice still timid, but a little louder.)

Why Are You Here?

My friend told me that this was what I needed to do.

I didn’t wait around for  the next statement, I fled. The tormentors have a field day in my head – you are nobody, nobody they chant. They continue to mock me.

I’m not a wimp.  I’m not a weakling.  In fact, I’ve done some pretty amazing things in my life.  I’m not green by any means, not in the sense of youth anyway. I’ve stood on stage before hundreds and  had them hanging on my every word. That is something that many people are more afraid of than dying.

 So why was this little paragraph so intimidating to me?  I thought about it for a while, then  decided that I could do this.

Who Are You?

 The voice no longer seemed to be godlike.

I am me! A one of a kind original with a unique voice that needs to be heard!

Why Are You Here? 

Because this is the method that I have chosen to express my creativity, give my two cents worth, and offer encouragement to others!

Welcome! YOU may enter through the gates! 

All we need is a  chance to process our thoughts and the keys to the kingdom are ours for the taking!  Can you anser these two questions? What would you say to the great god of the portal?

Write on my friends, write on!




Challenge Update


I’ve been really bad about this. Gee is it the 20th already???? How did that happen?

Alright well let’s get to it.

Day 15: SWAG

I like swag. Contrary to a few others, I love swag, love to see what swag others come up with. Most people put out bookmarks, rackcards, maybe a business card. Not me, nope gotta be different.

So, here’s my swag.

2015-09-09 12.56.00

Wine charms for Red Wine & Roses!  I thought it was a fitting match.

Day 16: Where you write

Most of the time I write at our kitchen table.  I had a desk set up, but then when my daughter came home over the holidays, the desktop got covered with her things. I haven’t cleared off her stuff yet, so I set up at the table in the morning. I am remembering why I moved in the first place –  distractions.

Day 17: Where you relax

OH, you mean besides going to the Bahamas?

2015-09-28 18.22.42

OK, so that has only happened once.  I guess the  in home relaxation spot would have to be  on the sofa, either reading or crocheting.

Day 18: Research

I can get lost online researching data.  I hit the library often.  I ask people that I know from a place for details.  Occasionally I get the chance to actually go to a place.

Day 19: Your Critique partner

Actually I have a couple of them. Emily, Misty, Vicki and Cathy.

I swear I will do better for next month’s challenge. Technically I am doing this, but I don’t count it as a win.  More next time – write on my friends, write on!


Journaling Madness

I’ve shared a couple brief glimpses of my latest obsession, my bullet journal. You can reference those if you like:

The Mission, Get Organized            Keeping the Crayons Sharp            Journaling and Challenge

I connected with a group on Facebook of fellow bujo enthusiasts, (Bujo – bullet journal) that are much more creative than I am with mine.  I’ve only been at this  for seven weeks, but I’ve already found a few things where I have individualized mine.

First  of all,  I didn’t go buy an expensive journal. The recommended books are Leuchterm1917, or the moleskin. Both average about $20.00.  I spent exactly 33 cents on mine on a clearance shelf at Walgreens. What can I say?  I go cheap!  Plus, not knowing for sure if I was going to like this, or if it would work for me I wasn’t going to invest much money.  I’m very happy with my little bargain buy!

2016-02-04 11.17.18

It measures 5″ x 7″, which I can already tell you is a little too small for my taste. After following some of the posts in the Facebook group, I decided to dress it up a bit and decorated the cover and back.

New Cover

New Cover

Back Cover

Back Cover

Briefly, the bullet journal system is all about  getting and staying organized. A way to keep track of whatever it is you keep track of,  your daily to do list,  the appointments, and a centrally located place for everything really.  Whether you keep a gratitude journal,  a fitness tracking and diet journal, water intake, daily devotional,  writer’s journal, personal diary – whatever it is that you jot down. The bullet journal combines all of those things  in ONE place eliminating the multiple journals, planners, and sticky notes.

What do you need to get started?

  • A journal
  • A pen

You can add washi tape, or stickers or  wahtever you want but the essentials are a journal and a pen.  I already had a plethora of colored pens, highlighters, markers, sharpies  but that’s another obsession that we don’t really need to talk about today.

I did find some washi tape on clearance of course,  that I thought would be useful to seperate my entries.

Watch the original video from Ryder Carroll over at bulletjournal.com.  I admit, I watched it multiple times.  More than 3 that’s all I’m going to say.  I followed his step by step plan in my initial layout.



My first run of my legend or key is very basic.  The facing page is a vacation destination to keep myself motivated with  the phrase that sold me on the system.  My legend is on the inside of the cover. Next step is to number the pages. This is one benefit to buying a Leuchterm or moleskin they come prenumbered. I want to mention that there are lined, gridded, and dotted paper.  Mine is obviously lined as it’s just a simple composition notebook.  I’ve seen some amazing and enviable journals laid out on the dotted paper.

The index –  Items are added to the index as you progress. Then the future log -at first I thought this was a waste of time but I am finding it invaluable, and as I have mentioned before need to add a year at a glance calendar.

For my first Month at a Glance –  I followed exactly Ryder’s instructions, but tweaked them at the beginning of February.











As you can see,  my calendar is much larger and I split the page because my entries here are minimal. There has been numerous items added since I took that picture.  My monthly todo list has been added.  With today’s post, I can mark off that second goal – woohoo!

After the month at a glance,  is the daily entries.  Some of the posted bujos are very nice, neat and tidy.  They start on a new spread for a new day.  There are days when my entries are minimal –  just the todo list and maybe a specific note to myself.

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On this page you can see that on the left side I have 2 days worth –  divided by the washi tape, then  halfway through the right side I begin a new entry. I made some stickers for myself, the word count and the notepad, as well as a banner and a water bottle. If  you want a pdf copy of the stickers,  contact me and let me know I will gladly share. I just use my daughter’s glue stick to paste them in.

Have a look for yourself on Pinterest at the many varied styles for bullet journaling –  mine is closer to  Ryder’s  original. Most of the time I don’t have time to add beautiful artwork or lay out some gorgeous design.

In the photo above,  you will see the tabs that I added. Post It sticky tabs –   these are an awesome find. This makes a quick reference to go right to what I want. I added a tab for the month at a glance, which so far is just January and February.  Also, on the bottom edges I have put my little eye symbol for research – those are entries that I was brainstorming or making notes for future writing and one for dietary benefits of certain foods.

I don’t know that this little notebook is even going to get me through March and I can’t start the next one halfway through the month.  Not sure what to do about that.  Part of the  reason for a bujo is so that I don’t have more half finished notebooks.  I make a lot of handwritten notes when I am traveling, sitting in a doctor’s office, and all those lovely places that we are required to wait.

Once you see some of  the other bujos out there,  you may laugh at mine,  but that’s fine.  I freely admit that mine isn’t fancy.  It’s mine!  It works for me. Right there is the whole point. You personalize it as your own. While I like the looks of some other people’s bujos,   it’s not really me.  I spend most of my “journaling” time writing todo lists, keeping track of household issues and making notes for my writing. There are days that I consciously work on improving my handwriting.  There are other days that I don’t give a rip about the legibility of my writing.

So far, this has been a “where have you been all my life” experience.

Things I have learned so far:

I need some structure but not too much. – As I said there are days that I have my todo list and that’s about it.  Then there are days that I have pages and pages of writing. The flexibility of bujo –  I will give a 10.

Trial and error –  It’s a matter of finding out what works for you.  I can’t tell you the number of partially filled planners that I have along with partially filled notebooks. I’ve been taking my loose scrap paper stack and entering them into a back section of my notebook that I labeled as NOTES.  Change – adapt – overcome. If something isn’t working for you, change it up!  It’s a fluid process.

Things to Include in the bullet journal –  these are what I include.  You decide if they work for you, maybe add something different.  I have a friend that made a two page spread for her 5K training. Yeah, that’s not going to be in mine.

  • daily todo list – absolutely mandatory. If something doesn’t get finished one day I migrate it to the next.
  • Collections – Ryder  has included what he calls collections,  included  within a month, but I put it at the back of my notebook.  I keep track of blogpost ideas, book title ideas,  book plot ideas, books I’ve read, books to be read, books I need to review,  items acquired for our antique booth, etc.
  • Tracker –  I keep track of the blog posts to hit my goal,  my water consumption on a daily basis, exercise(not 5k training mostly zumba and elliptical), daily calories.
  • Gifts given and recieved –  I keep this in collections.  Gifts for baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries, graduation, etc. This keeps me from scratching my head and wondering what we got for John or Jane last year for their birthday.
  • New recipes –  this was one of my worst offenders for scrap paper, writing down a recipe for something that I wanted to try.  Now I have them all in a collection,  and I can make notes  after trying them  whether it was a hit or a miss.
  • Quotes –  I add these on occasion.  When I find or remember a quote that I thought was good, helped me,  I ad it in. Usually setting it off in some manner.

Give this system a try. It does’t have to look like anyone elses. Mine is certainly not as cool as some of the ladies I’ve seen on pinterest, but it works for me.  Who knows, maybe this is just what you need to move you off of the I wish couch to  taking control of your life!

Write on my friends, write on!


Feature Creep

Have you ever tackle a home improvement project that you thought was a simple matter but turned into a much larger project?

REmoving a bad tile floor.

Removing a bad tile floor.

For example, a few years ago I decided to update our guest bathroom.  Pain and a few themed decor items would have put the total cost around one hundred and twenty dollars. However,  we ran into feature creep.  The faucet was leaking so that had to be replaced. The commode had leaked and damaged the flooring so the wax seal and flooring were replaced. The shower curtain was torn in the process, so that had to be replaced.  By the time the feature creep had stopped my one hundred twenty-dollar update cost us nearly a thousand.


The same thing applies in storytelling. Red Wine & Roses is a good example of this. Originally I had posted a flash fiction piece inspired by an image of a red rose with dew drops on Storytime Trysts. Flash fiction is a way to prime the pump, so to speak. Some of my writer friends use fan fiction, some use flash fiction,  some use prompts when they feel the pump needs priming or are experiencing writer’s block.

A few months prior to this, an online friend suggested flash fiction to me. I dismissed it.  Another hosted a flash fiction Friday feature on their blog. Maybe. Then I was involved in a blog hop and one of the assignments was a flash fiction piece.  * head desk*

Fine. If I have to. I guess.

Flash fiction has kept me in the writing habit when I’ve been stalled on my WIP. I have a file that I keep my attempts in, a few I am pleased with. Most are just practice and shall never see the light of day. They will remain locked for all eternity in a closed file within the depths of my computer. AHEM.


This one kept  drawing me back, the characters demanding more time than the brief glimpse I had written. An opportunity arose,  a specific call for a publishing house that I felt – this story fit perfectly. In a very short matter of time I had expanded it to ten thousand words, which was the  limit for the call.  Well, in all honestly I had to pare it down to meet the requirements as it exceeded it by quite a bit.


The writers come out of the woodwork to tell you that rejection is part of the game.  Stephen King has received X many rejections.  J.K. Rowling received X many rejections. ‘INSERT your favorite author here’- received X many rejections. I know it’s well-intentioned, but it doesn’t make the sting any less painful.

I shelved it. I was frustrated.  I told my closest friends that I  quit. I didn’t write for weeks.

Then a writer friend that used to write on Storytime with me, in his gentle *cough* tactful  *cough cough*manner essentially jerked the slack out of me and my little pity party and put it into blunt terms for me.

I cried.

I thought about it.

I cried some more. (Hey, I’m a woman. It happens.)

Then, swallowing my pride, I let a few out of the file drawer.  Derek and Julia pleaded for my attention. I took a hard look at the rejected manuscript and the deleted scenes.  There  was a larger volume of the story untold.

I had to ask myself -Why do I write?

Because  I am compelled to write.  Whether it’s a psychological processing of  data, or a creative nature, or wild imagination, the bottom line is I write because I LOVE writing. There is a thrill that I’m going to step out on a limb here and compare to an addict. Don’t get all with me for  belittling addiction.  There are many levels of addiction.  I know I have an addictive personality.  With specific symptoms of OCD, and ADD (squirrel!) I am fully aware of the “writer’s high”  when I nail a scene. The euphoric elation when I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that  this,  this last part I just wrote is solid gold. Sadly,  it doesn’t happen as often as I would like.

It’s much like a mining process!  Dirt, dirt, rock, more dirt, another rock, bigger rock, crystal (nice), dirt, rock, GOLD!

My little flash fiction piece has expanded to some 85,000 plus words.

Oh, I might mention that there was much chocolate and coffee consumption during the process as well. It’s good to have real friends that care enough to speak truth to you and not feed you sugar frosted bomb puffs. It takes a village.

Who picks you up when you fall in the mud?  Who walks you home when you’ve lost your way?  Who sets you back on track when you’ve derailed?

Sometimes I feel like I am the village idiot, sometimes the town crier, and sometimes I am the caretaker, lurking in shadows, watching everyone. Never mind me, wrong kind of creep.

Write on my friends, write on!