New Year, New Plan


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Just when you thought I had fallen off the face of the earth . . .

Between colds, flu, and a bout of food poisoning December took it’s toll on me. I”d like to say it was reflected on the scale,  but I can’t. That would have been a desirable side effect so we can’t have that, right? That’s how it seems at times.

I fully intend to get back on track with my blog, with writing, with my fitness goals . . . which brings us to that time  – the New Year – when I make my new list of goals.

Three things that you should know about me if you haven’t already gleaned this info:

1. I’m an overachiever. I know it and yet I find myself compelled to continue in my overachieving way. Doesn’t mean I always accomplish them, in fact, it’s often to the contrary.

2. If I don’t plan, I will drift aimlessly along never accomplishing anything, then beat myself up mentally over my lack of focus.

3. I’m seriously ADD and find it difficult to focus on much of anything for very long, hence why I change my themes regularly, digress in the middle of a five hundred word post, and am easily distracted by the next shiny.

So I have multiple categories,  varied topics, and the most consistent stream of conscious seems to be random madness. I didn’t do so well on this past year’s  goals. 2016 was not my best year in any stretch of the imagination. On to the new year, right? It isn’t going to do much good to keep pondering my failures. Learn from them and move on, which brings us to the present. A new shiny!

2017 Goals for Ellie:

  1. Publish 4 books. I’m not restricted by any small publishing house’s  whims or schedules. I have multiple files sitting in my folder with finished projects that are ready for an editor. Valkyrie’s Curse was finished  – so long ago I don’t even remember when. I went back over it in April of last year, making revisions and realized that I hadn’t really wrapped the story, which led to expanding it into a series. Revisions put it’s completion in July, and I was supposed to hand it off to Eclectic Bard at Penned Con before my contract ended.  I am really going to try to focus on one project at a time until completion so the order of release will be: 1)Roxy Sings the Blues, 2) Valkyrie’s Curse: The Awakening, 3) Eerie Isles Chronicles book 1, 4)The Piano.
  2. Blog 12 Times per Month. Goal 1 transitions into Goal 2 because after discussion with other authors, one of the  ‘hits’ of my categories was shared snippets of current writing. ( To include revisions as well.) I’m planning to be back on a regular blogging schedule and do NOT plan to be sick for five weeks straight ever again if I can help it.  But that’s just one topic, right? I mean there are so many other things –  bujo, food, fitness, current events,  and a myriad of things that may pop into my head from time to time. (Trust me, it’s better if you read them one at a time instead of the rapid-fire barrage that  exists inside my cranium.)
  3. Read 30 books. Down from my usual 50 but I still have to read. Consider it research and a job requirement.
  4. Lose 50 pounds. I hate where I am. I never wanted to be here, and yet here I am. This goal is the top priority and if I accomplish nothing else this year,  this one is a MUST. Fifty pounds doesn’t even get me to my goal weight,  but that’s  nearly a pound a week. If I lose more great, but I am currently not at any semblance of a healthy weight.
  5. Build my author’s website and integrate my blog there.
  6. Get our house ready to sell and move. This is a major undertaking as we’ve lived in the same house for 23 years and my husband is a packrat. I tend to procrastinate and avoid dealing with the stuff. We are surrounded by stuff and I can’t take it anymore. The austere living is becoming more and more appealing.
  7. Get my office set up. We’ve been over this so many times. Last time I shared pictures of the area that I worked my butt off ( unfortunately not literally) clearing out only to have that area filled with more stuff. It was disheartening. I haven’t made a lot of headway since then. It’s like getting your feet cut out from under you. Not just having the rug pulled,  but someone hacking your feet off and then having to continue. How can I make myself focus on a writing career as a business when I have to keep moving my laptop off of the table every single night? I need certain writing tools and stuff when I am writing. I need my reference materials, resources, notes, planner, and my to-do list. These end up stacked on the shelf that tops the short wall of our stairwell. For a visual, it’s a stack of clutter in the kitchen of an open floorplan home. This sets off my OCD-ness every day.

Seven goals for 2017. Streamlined tremendously from my 50 a couple of years ago. Should be simple enough to accomplish right? Simple but not easy.

It’s going to take a concerted effort in order to accomplish each one. It will require effort, a great deal of effort. I could use some encouraging along the way. I’ll make you a deal – I’ll cheer you on with your goals if you help me with mine. Deal? So what are your goals? What do you hope to accomplish in 2017?

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

Unceasing


It’s been a while since I’ve made one of my Monday Mojo posts. I’ve thought about it,  debated over it, let the time pass me by, but it’s come down to a case of necessity.

Maybe it’s just me,  maybe it’s  a common thing, I really don’t know. What I do know is this: vacation time is a necessity. I’ve said before that I thought vacation time was essential and I’ve even made my case for it. However, coming off of the backside of vacation the necessity is crystalline.

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This was my morning view for a week. Coffee,  my bullet journal, notebooks, and  ocean waves. The stress and strain slowly melted away. It didn’t happen the first day.  I was up at 5 am, not by choice.  Hotel mattresses aren’t the best and my back was hurting, so . . . up at 5 am  it was.  YES, on vacation. It sucks. Sort of.

So, up at 5 against my will, I started the coffee pot and donned the sweat jacket. Most mornings I was out on the balcony before sunrise. I never thought I’d ever say that. Sitting in a hard plastic chair, with a hot cup of joe, staring out at the ocean under  moonlight and listening to the waves caress the beach in its rhythmic cycle worked its magic in chipping off the stress that had built up over the past year.

The pressure builds slowly,  so slowly that it doesn’t register with us until it’s relieved. That’s how I was.  That’s how most of us are.  Maybe if you are an adrenaline junkie and you go do wild and crazy things on the weekends like base jumping,  then you don’t have that built up pressure. For the less adventurous of us, we work on a regular schedule,  knuckling through the day/week/month over and over not even realizing that it’s building.

Life has stress. Family gives us stress. Relationships give us stress. Our jobs give us stress.

I had been looking forward to a vacation, because it’s always nice to get away. I couldn’t even think about anything before Penned Con was over. My husband couldn’t take off before now because of production deadlines at his work. As adults, we don’t always get to do what we want when we want to do them. Sometimes we have to do unpleasant things because they are the responsible things to do and we have people depending on us.  Then, we get the chance to get away and somewhere between the first day and the trip back home,  you realize just how wound up and stressed out you’ve been.

Clarity –  it’s one of the side effects of being refreshed. 

During those early morning sessions on the balcony, yes it happened every morning except one, I breathed in deeply and exhaled the stale air of daily living. I shook off the tension that had built up over time and had been weighing me down. I have pages and pages  in both my bullet journal and story notebook that I logged in those early morning hours.

Time. Time to think, examine, search, ask questions. I realize that I am probably the last one in the boat on this but bear with me. In the words of Ferris Beuller, life moves pretty fast. Sometimes you get carried along life’s highway and find yourself at a spot where you aren’t really clear how exactly you got there, if you want to get back to point A or move onto point C, D, or Xeta.

I know for a fact that I don’t want to continue with how things have been in my life prior to this time away. My fitness level is at an all time low,  my self-esteem falling rapidly back to a low spot, my confidence withering, and the  home environment has not been a place of peace.

When you reach those types of crossroads,  you can either accept  life status quo or make changes towards the direction of your dreams.

I was at a point of feeling like why am I bothering trying to make a career of writing. I had someone close to me say just before penned con that it was a ‘glorified ego trip’, an expensive hobby. They quickly apologized for expressing it so bluntly but  things like that don’t come out of your mouth unless that is what they are thinking.  It always starts with a thought.

Are they right? Am I chasing a dream that I don’t have the talent to achieve? That was something else they said a few years ago.

Sitting on that balcony alone before the world began to stir, I asked myself questions. What if they are right? What if I never try? What if they are wrong? What do I WANT to do? 

I have to admit, and this is no secret to anyone that knows me or tunes in here very often.  I struggle with time management,  I struggle to stay on task with a project.  I have multiple books in my files that haven’t been published. One canceled contract,  another withdrawn contract, and very soon a contract ending. Maybe they are right. But my best work isn’t out there.

I feel good about some of the things I’ve written.  The Faere Warrior,  does anyone remember that one? It is actually book 2 of a Fae series, set aside to work on book 1.  I got discouraged and set it aside.  Kiss of the Dragon, remember that one?  I worked my butt off writing that and even had part of the second one, Embrace the Dragon written, then some critical comments and a withdrawn contract and I shelved it. Valkyrie’s Curse, started as a serial on Storytime Trysts.  I expanded it, revised it, and it became a series, planned for six books. Then there were differences with the publisher, it was put off,  pushed back and I shelved it.

Do I just give up too easy?  Do I not have the right stuff?  

The waves continued against the shore. Some crashed against the sand, others rolled in gently, some curled back outward to meet the next one.

Why do I push myself to write, then give up on myself?

I have this self-sabotaging cycle that I seem to be caught in.

On the third day of vacation, we were sitting on the deck of the hotel, overlooking the ocean. The waves were gentle, the water became crystal clear. Just like that,  you could see the shells and fish in the water from 100 yards away. In that moment, clarity also came to my mind. The waves have not ceased, they still came in, but they were gentle. Unceasing, never ending, relentless.

What did I want out of this life?

For me. What goals do I have for just me, not my marriage, not my kids,  not my parents or friends,  but for myself?  It’s not wrong to have aspirations.  It’s not wrong to have ambitions.

Why did I want to write?

Because I feel that it is something I can do and do well.  I want to inspire someone else the way that Tolkien inspired me.  I want someone to connect the way Twain did for me.  I want someone to be entertained and laugh the way that Louise Rennison made me laugh.  I want to inspire, encourage, entertain others.  I am an encourager.  Inspiring or entertaining others is part of being an encourager. I’m your biggest cheerleader and my own worst enemy.

Then why would I consider giving up my dream?

Words that someone else says to me? NO

Their fear or lack of confidence in me? NO

Because it’s too hard? NO

I had no good reason to give up but I had every reason in the world to keep at it,  to relentlessly, unendingly, unceasingly pursue my dreams.

I may fail but I’d rather try and fail than to never try at all. At least I will know that I gave it my best effort.

My best effort –  well that was a different matter. My best was far from what I’ve been doing lately.  There needs to be several changes occur in order for me to do my best.

That’s where I start. Get my house in order,  clear out the clutter of our house and my mind.

I don’t expect everyone to get aboard my dream train. In fact,  I rather expect some resistance and maybe even some sabotage.

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The plan is simple. That’s part of the clarity.  I need simple in my life.

Step 1 – WRITE! Step 2- See step 1.

Write on my friends, write on. I know I will.

Ellie

 

 

 

 

30 Days of Sass


"Times past count I done the Tell. But it weren't me that tumbled Walker. 
It was Savannah. So it's only right that she take the Tell."
"This ain't one body's story. It's the story of us all. We got it mouth-to-mouth.
You got to listen it and 'member.'Cause what you hears today you got to tell 
the birthed tomorrow.

I'm looking behind us now. . . across the count of time. . .down the long haul,
into history back. I sees the end what were the start. It's Pox-Eclipse, full of 
pain! . . . but some had got the luck, and it leads them here. . . Time counts 
and keeps counting.

And they does the pictures so they'd'member all the knowing that they lost. 

'Member this?" (dialog excerpt from 'The tell of Captain Walker; Mad Max Beyond 
Thunderdome.)
14123536_10155172587680031_1888954358_o (2)'Member when I said I was so excited I could hardly 
wait to share?
30 Days

Well, today I get to share! WOOHOO!

The countdown is ticking towards hitting my 500th post! Can you believe it?  Wow! That seems nearly impossible. This is a good example though of how a little each day adds up. Which is a good lesson to keep in mind for the overwhelming task of making a full-length

Can you believe it?  Wow! That seems nearly impossible. This is a good example though, of how a little each day adds up. Which is a good lesson to keep in mind for the overwhelming task of making a full-length novel.

pennedcon (1)

Penned Con is  coming up as well, September 23rd and 24th. I wanted  to have something new, something fresh. Many of you know that I have multiple irons in the fire. First, I had to decide which project I was going to focus on. Valkyrie’s Curse was waiting to be read by Eclectic Bard Books. As I had listed that as the next book to follow Red Wine & Roses,  I had to focus on that one. I am not good at waiting.

So . . . news on that front, as of November 18, 2016 I will no longer be with Eclectic Bard Books.

What does that mean?

First off,  all rights to Red Wine & Roses will revert to me  on that date. Eclectic Bard Books has relinquished their first rights to any of my future work as of November 18, 2016. Valkyrie’s is mine. Kiss of the Dragon is mine. Faere Warrior is MINE!

Secondly, I wanted to do something to  benefit Action for Autism, the charitable organization that Penned Con supports. After much urging on my husband’s part and encouragement from  several others, I took their strong urgings to pursue this project, which is more like the opinion column I used to write for the local newspaper, Suburban Journal. Apparently, there are some people that appreciate my delicate sense of smartassness.  My sagacious wit is what landed me the gig on the column years ago, and seems to be one of the reasons that many come back to read my posts on here.

Sometimes our talents take is in a different direction than what we intend. I  envisioned myself as writing a series of romance novels but my writing is less about romance and more about other things.

So here it is . . . . drumroll . . .

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TADA!

Quotidiandose: 30 Days of Sass is now available.

This collection of daily musings combines edgy, funny, practical, everyday reality with a dose of personal sass. There are life-lessons in the words that are applicable for everyone. I hope they will put a smile on your face and brighten your day!

Genre: Nonfiction, humor, encouragement.

This collection is taken from the top 50 posts on ‘Quotidiandose, revised and expanded with additional commentary and . . . well I’m not going to candy coat it, a lot more sass. *shrugs*

A portion of all print copy sales will go towards Action for Autism.

In addition,  I have 4 tickets available for Penned Con! These tickets cover the 2-day event and includes:  signing rooms, panels, & keynote speakers. Travel, hotel, & meals are NOT included.

If you are thinking about going, which I highly recommend, or are in the area and want to swing over for a day of author madness…inbox me on my Facebook account! Ellie Mack Author 

First come first serve!

Thank you to every one of my followers for reading my words of wit and wisdom, or sarcasm as the case may be more appropriately stated. Thank  you for encouraging me!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

Tacking


homeslide1Sailing is one of those activities that I dream of . Maybe it’s  being landlocked in the midwest, but I love the ocean and all things nautical. Except octopus. (Hence the decor ideas for my new office space – more about that later.)

In one of my speaking engagements,  I talked about goal-setting. I used nautical terms to get my point across along with images and youtube videos. Granted, most of the audience didn’t care about sailing and I knew that but by the time I had finished, a few simple terms stuck in their mind and several people sought me out at the end to share with me  that they appreciated it.

Tacking is one of those terms.  Tacking is the heading of a sailing vessel, when sailing close-hauled, with reference to the wind direction. . . one of the series of straight runs that make up the zigzag course of a ship proceeding to windward. . . to change the course of (a sailing vessel) to the opposite tack.  It is a zig-zag course as opposed to a straight line. It is the constant readjustment  of your vessel to reach your chosen destination.

tackThere are 2 ways to accomplish this, through several small zags or fewer larger zags with greater impact.

Small zags would be akin to my monthly adjustments when I evaluate where I am compared to where I want to be. Larger zags would be changing careers, taking a new job.

Life will carry you downstream if you let it. Stuff happens. Disappointments happen. If you let the current carry you along, you will end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Way back when I chose my first career as a cartographer, I had a fascination with maps, mapping, exploring, charting unexplored lands. Still have the fascination,  just not the job. By the way, for those who don’t know cartography is the study of maps, a cartographer is a map maker.  I made maps. I wished for the days of the large sailing vessels and to be an ancient mariner creating those magnificent maps that are adorned with sea monsters and forebodings such as “here there be dragons”. The career choice landed me a profitable career with our defense department with a tidy income and numerous perks. Until the point when I decided to pursue an alternate career choice that turned out to be the biggest blessing and the biggest source of stress. What are you going to do, right? I wouldn’t change it for the world, though.

If you don’t adjust your compass heading,  tack starboard or tack port, you’ll end up dashed on the rocks.

I find myself diametrically opposed however, to certain individuals who  believe –  make a plan and stick to the plan. Keep working on THAT plan.  But what do you do when that plan is snatched from your grasp? What do you do when the company that you have  worked for twenty years decides  they need a cutback? It’s nothing personal, they just need to cut their workforce by 15% and you happen to be on the list? How does that figure into THAT plan?

It doesn’t. That’s when life  has dealt you a bad hand and you can’t even bluff your way into a winning round.

So you adjust, overcome, improvise. Pull up your big girl pants, put on the  steel boned corset and chart a new course.  It’s far easier to make minor adjustments on a regular basis than end up in some strange land where you don’t speak the language and discover that you have lost your way.

Today is that day for me.  I evaluate where I am on my projects and determine my plan of action for the coming month. Last month I started on the massive project of  caring out an office area in our basement.  I shared pictures of the unfinished but mostly clean area. Another project moved into top priority and I lost some ground. The temptation to put stuff in an empty space is too great for some people to resist. I’m not going to name names as I am guilty myself. I don’t even have an office yet,  but I have shelves of my writing related stuff moved in. It would have been so much easier to  get flooring, walls, lighting, and all that painting business done first but it didn’t happen that way.  I needed it out of my kitchen and living room where it was in the way.

Anyway,  tacking to the starboard. The plan for June  on the office front is ramping up  this project and  focusing on existing writing projects. I’m not taking on any additional editing jobs until I get the ones I have completed. I hate falling behind and these will go back to the author  with no charge.  I’ve edited her entire series and I can see growth and improvement in her writing from the first one to this one. This is encouraging to me as a writer and as an editor because it means that my own writing can improve. It also means that it doesn’t have to be perfect to release my babies into the world.  It’s not like the old days when  the only means of publication were the big seven.  It provides a moment of opportunity to tack starboard or port in my writing as well and adjust my course to reach my destination.

Take a few moments today to check your headings. Where are you in comparison to where you want to be? What adjustments can you make in the coming month? year? What goals are you working towards? Do you need to set a new course entirely?

I plan to start  tomorrow on the right foot, the right headings, and make every day count.

Write on my friends, write on!

Til next time,

Ellie

 

Conflicted Much?


Let’s see . . . where was I? The past few weeks have  had me in a whirl. Life is like that at times,  but then at others, it slows down for a moment or two.

I went back through my planner for the previous month and this month evaluating where I am in my goals. I discovered back in April that I wasn’t doing so well on my yearly goals as I would like to  but,  my daily goals were getting marked off the list.

I have a long way to go before I can boast about my pages, they are for my use not for the beautification of the internet. I am pleased though that I  have made a modicum of success in productivity. I know that I have too many irons in the fire.  I think it goes with my personality.  But the secondary part of me protests at every opportunity.

The  hard driving task master Type A over-achiever barely allows enough time after completion of one task before pushing me to the next while the Party Princess  gets excited about an achievement!  Do you realize what an achievement means?

It’s an opportunity for celebration   .   .   .

“YAY! Party! Party! Party!  I can make a cake. We’ll fire up the grill,  barbecue, and have some people over. Corn on the cob, potato salad, chips, margaritas, mac & cheese . . .  or maybe watermelon!” *Party Princess is lost in thought deciding what to do for decorations, appropriate celebratory foods, games, activities, who to invite*  

“Stop! We don’t have time to arrange a party. We need to move onto the next task at hand.” Taskmaster states firmly before purchases occur.

*Party Princess pouts while giving death glare*

“Well, maybe a small celebration. Just the family.” Taskmaster back pedals to avoid a halt in production and appease the Party Princess as she recalls the last halt lasted several days.

“No party? No decorations?” Party Princess’ jaw clenches tighter.

You can decorate a cake.  Keep it simple. We need to move on to the next project or rather get back to the office downstairs.”

Princess sighs.  “I don’t want to work on the office. You pushed all of my ideas aside to focus on cleaning out the daughter’s room and said I can’t paint.”

“Yet.  I said yet.  We still need to get the wiring done, the  light fixtures installed before the drywall can go up.  Then you can tape, spackle and after that, paint.”  Taskmaster enunciates the words in irritation as she glances  over the  long list of things yet to be accomplished.

Princess  opens her Kindle and begins playing Aquarium game. “NO. I don’t feel like working. NO party. NO work.”

Task master’s head sags in defeat. 

(This is the part where the task master debates the consequences of giving in to the inner child and allowing a bit of celebration. Without the party, the princess will pout, mope and not cooperate with anything productive.  The balance of  time lost in production opposed to time lost due to pouting and the latest shiny make the decision an analytical decision while the Princess solely operates in the emotional realm.  If not resolved, it quickly can cause  the chakras [I know I may not be using that right, but I hope you understand what I mean] to be out of alignment and chaos will ensue. This is a delicate situation.

For those who are new here, I am not truly bipolar or split personality. I am not making light of those things either. Within everyone’s personality are dualities and traces of sometimes a third minor aspect to make you who you uniquely are. My personality goes back and forth between these two.

This was  an easy way to share why I don’t  get more done. Not making excuses because sometimes the Taskmaster wins, sometimes the party Princess wins and sometimes on rare occasions when the moon is waning, the  stars are in alignment, and the jet stream is flowing in a general west to east direction without a major trough, they work together happily.

The rational parts of my brain are screaming to  the task master that if she allows celebrations for the small steps,  the general morale of Party Princess will  be at a higher level thus, production rates will increase.  Party Princess is a fast worker when motivated.  Hence the importance of deadlines!

Meanwhile, while I am  working on a truce between the two I am going over my planner. Some adjustments need to be made for the coming month.  This month has looked like one of my old planners with appointments, meetings, daily tasks and not much else.

The inner child must not feel oppressed while the adulting task master must feel like something is getting accomplished. Take some time to celebrate your small victories because life is a journey.

One step after another, along the path that leads to your destiny. Enjoy everyday life along the way to  get to where you want to be and don’t wait until you’ve arrived because tomorrow is not  a guarantee.

Write on my freinds, write on!

~~~~

Ellie

Procrastination Station


How many of you are procrastinators?

 Oh, come on don’t be shy. 

I admit,  procrastination is my arch nemesis.  Has anyone ever  visited Wait But Why blog?  Tim Urban  states it succinctly. He is quite brilliant but difficult to  follow at times.  I imagine that many of you probably think the same about me when I change directions without signaling.

There are a couple of truths that hit home with me.

  1. The 11th hour push. The deadline is 6 weeks away – I have time.  The deadline is 4 weeks away – I have time.  The deadline is 2 weeks away –  I should get on that, . . . right after  the YouTube  video, then the next one, and the next one . . .ooh, shiny!  The deadline  is  HOLY CRAP IT’S 2 DAYS FROM NOW – Work like a madwoman, writing 65000 words in 48 hours skipping meals and sleep, contemplating depends as a means of cutting down on interruptions. I’m just joking.  About the depends anyway.
  2. Procrastinators are ingenious at inventing ways in which to procrastinate. Like, making a blog post about being a procrastinator instead of writing that next chapter in my current WIP, or doing that online class that I must have to renew my  MLO license but instead going down the rabbit hole of Pinterest.  Here’s a short list of  procrastination vices: YouTube, Google, Sudoku, blogging, bujo (ironically both a tool for procrastinating and keeping me on task to avoid procrastinating), Facebook, crafting, binge watching TV series, shopping, planning – just about anything from writing an outline to planning the menu, to planning projects.*
  3. Whatever the THING that is most important, now becomes the least fun. Think about it, it’s true. a) I am an author. Top priority should be writing my books, yet when I sit down to write my mind races with the NEXT book idea. It’s not a matter of writer’s block for me,  it’s a matter of focus on the project at hand. b) I made the commitment  to rent space at our antique mall to sell some of the many  things we own and sell some of my handcrafted items.  Making the stuff is far more fun than tagging, logging and tracking the stuff. c) Much needed housework is not fun and becomes  an easy to put off task resulting in clutter until the point that I can’t stand it and it’s all out war. these are just a few examples.
  4. Being an authorpreneure  leaves an open-ended schedule.  I need deadlines. (Refer back to item 1) I try to set my own deadlines, really I do. But it just isn’t the same. My deadlines are more like guidelines, like the Pirate’s Code – more of a guideline. OOH, maybe we could watch that this afternoon since it’s rainy and . . . NO, I must have stuff ready  for the booth by Friday! See?  I have a deadline.  This isn’t a self-imposed deadline, which is a guideline. This is a hard date deadline set by someone else, in a business that I have paid  hard-earned money to. 
  5.  I had a Fifth point, really I did.  Otherwise known as the squirrel, the rabbit, the shiny. Distractions are a procrastinators kryptonite.

So what do you get when you combine a Creative, a writer, an idea person, and procrastination?

ME, you get me.  You get a creative person that struggles with time management needing a firm deadline in order to stay on task.

The good news is that procrastination can be  overcome. YAY!  IT’s not easy, but it is possible.  Breaking the procrastination cycle  takes hard work and constant vigilance.  I haven’t achieved that yet, just so you know.

  • I mentioned the planning projects as means of procrastinating. This is where the bujo is a double-edged sword. I will elaborate more in a post about  my bujo, but briefly : I am in a group on Facebook for bullet journaling. In this group, many of the people share pictures of their gorgeous planners. I look at my planner which is mostly writing and I get journal envy. I have to remind myself that it’s a tool, not a plaything.  Many of the women in this group (there may be men that this applies to, but I have only seen women.) spend hours decorating their bullet journals, working on their  writing, tracking everything  you can imagine. I found myself trying to decorate my bullet journal to make it prettier, and falling behind on my to-do lists. So the very thing that I began using for  the purpose of keeping me on task became a distraction to accomplishing those items on my to-do list.  It only took me about a week to realize what I was doing and get back on track.

Procrastination enables us to waste valuable time on things that don’t move us towards our goals, but instead keeps us in a waiting station on the ride to nowhere.

Make a choice today to move towards your goals!

Write on my friends, write on.

Ellie

Satisfaction


There are times when you need a good push. This is why coaches are an invaluable resource. They push you to the goal line. They push us when our lazy nature wants to quit.

Humans by nature are lazy. we all are. It’s easier to go with the flow and let nature takes its course than fight against the wind or waves or whatever storm is happening in our lives.

Discipline is doing the things that you don’t enjoy doing in order to obtain the results that you desire. 

But that sort of laziness leaves you unfulfilled, empty and hollow.

It’s a sick feeling in your gut to realize that you’ve sold yourself short and all those people that said you had more potential were right. You haven’t given it your all,  you’ve sold yourself short.  You’re the one that is responsible for being sidelined in your own life.

It’s not the  illusions that you see in media, not the  glamorous lifestyles portrayed by Hollywood. It’s  reaching your own potential,  your own dreams, crossing those small goals off of your to-do list until you cross the big goal off with a sense of satisfaction.

What are you selling yourself short on?

What dreams have you shelved?

Are you living up to your potential?

I know for me the answers to these questions aren’t a simple encompassing yes or no, but a  range from zero to 10 in different aspects of life. For instance,  in parenting I would assess an 8 or 9, always giving my best for my kids.

In the area of personal growth, I would assess myself a 4 or 5.

It’s just my opinion, but I think moms are notoriously givers and are prone to  forget themselves especially after years of doing so. It becomes a habit. So much to the point that when someone tells you to think about your own dreams, it seems odd and even selfish.

This is an unhealthy view. What good are we to anyone else if we let ourselves fall through the cracks?

It’s time to make yourself a priority. It’s time to invest in your well-being and pursue your dreams with relentless abandon.

Come on,  you’re worth it!

Give yourself as much as you would give to others.

It’s not too late to pick up the pieces and start making progress in the right direction. It’s time to believe in yourself.  You may have to discard some pieces of old puzzles that don’t fit into the hopes for your future.  You may not have every piece to see the finished picture,  but embrace the partial vision that you have. As you get closer to the finish line, everything will come into focus.

Start believing in yourself. Start moving in the direction of your future.

Good things can happen to you!

Invest in YOU!

Write on my friends, write on!

~~~

Ellie

 

 

A.N.T.S


I want to address an issue that has really been bothersome  to me lately.  ANTs –  Automatic negative thoughts.

ANTs –  Automatic negative thoughts.

ANTs are those things that we revert to on autopilot when we are not actively engaged. Everyone has negative thoughts. Some of us entertain them less than others, some of us through a fricken ANT party.

When your mind goes to the worst case scenario, that is an ANT. When you eliminate everything short of the worst case scenario, you are giving the ANT top billing.

Every time that you give credence to a negative thought you reinforce it. Your brain releases chemicals that literally forms grooves in your brain so that next time,  the thought already has an established path. After a while, it becomes a trench.

The more time and energy that you give to ANTs, the more they will take over and torment your mind.

How do I stop ANTs?

Here are 3 ways to stop your ANT infestation:

  1. Write It Down.  This will help you to clearly identify them. Sometimes in writing them, you may realize how ridiculous they sound.
  2. Investigate.  OK, so what if the worst case happened?  What would be the results? Research what the cost would be. If anything besides the worst case scenario happens, then you should rejoice!
  3. Talk Back!  By writing them down and researching the scenario you will find that this ANT is fear based not factual based, and  you need to speak the facts!

Before you can write them down, you have to be able to recognize the negative thoughts. If they have taken over your mind and seemingly laid waste to your life and functioning, professional help may be needed.

For a cute acronym, ANTs are indeed a serious matter. I am not making light of this.  This is a real issue that everyone deals with, but some seem to handle it better than others.

Nobody wants to be around the negative Nellie or be the Debbie Downer in your group. If you wonder if your ANTs are affecting you, asking your friends is a good start.  Trust the people that love you and care about you.

Don’t let ANTs steal your joy or your future.

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

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!
~~~~~
Ellie

Who Are You?


monty-python-god

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!

Ellie