#MFRW Best Friends


badge-blog-challenge-updated

‘Member when I said I was adding a new thing? Yeah, this is it. A blog Challenge. Like I don’t have any other thing to do. *Laughs uncontrollably* OK, now that we’ve had a good laugh.  You know me though, over achiever! Anyhow. . . I love a good challenge.

It’s week 5 of the 52-week MFRW blogging challenge. They said that it’s never too late to join, so I am jumping in at this point. I have to give you fair warning, I feel compelled to “catch up” and post the previous ones as well,  just not today.  To learn more and join in on the fun, go to MFRW.

This week’s topic is Meet My Best Friend. I can’t just pick one.

On one hand, my best friend forever would be my hubby.  He’s the yin to my yang. We are complete and total opposites in our personalities, yet we have common values. I’m outgoing and talkative and he’s the quiet reserved type. I’m creative, he’s analytical. It causes some problems at times but things are never boring. I’ve often joked that our problem has never been a lack of passion, but rather misdirected passion at times. Passion that has resulted in heated arguments. Passion that led to big fights. OK, I know some married folk who will say they never fight. Good for them but how boring. I mean come on! They miss out on all that good makeup sex!

He still puts the beat in my heart. OH wait,  you don’t want me to go there. Anyway, where was I? Maybe we should move on to my bestie.

My writing buddy, my sounding board, my soul Sista chick friend! That would be my wonderful friend Misty! If we lived closer, we would be a force to be reckoned with and get into way too much trouble.  It’s not like we are twinsies or anything,  but we think alike on several points. Misty writes horror/thrillers. I write romance/drama/ whatever I feel like dabbling in. We seem to have similar struggles in certain areas, and common core values.  Misty isn’t afraid to be gut level honest with me either and tell me when I am way off base, or what the heck was I thinking? I respect her opinion and honest talk.

I have to be honest, I  have been guarded most of my life against allowing anyone really close. One part of me sees other women with their girl friends and I am a bit jealous that I don’t have those kinds of connections. It’s my fault that I don’t though, because I don’t allow anyone to get that close to me. If you allow someone close, they can hurt you. Yes, issues that go way back to my childhood days and are tied to roots of abuse,  that have been dealt with but scars still remain.

You have to give the hubs credit for dealing with the baggage and the scars. Same goes for Misty or any of my friends for that matter. I tend to be cynical and not let very many people close.  I have a million friends that I can talk to,  schmooze with, talk about anything yet nothing. But, only a very select few ever get to that part of me that gets beyond the superficial.

Other than that, my close friends are limited to a couple of ladies from church and my writer group, Chatty Chicks. Without these wonderful online friends, I would never get any writing accomplished.  We discuss life, writing, struggles, drama, and everything in between over coffee and writing sprints. This is my rock solid grounding in the morning. We share in our victories and console each other in our losses. One of the ladies in this group does not drink coffee, but rather tea. It’s OK. She’s British, so I guess she can be excused. She’s also adorable and brilliant so we keep her. She’s our surrogate across the pond daughter. The rest of us tend to be mothering towards her. Part of it is the age gap,  but another part is she is just so stinking cute you can’t help but take her under your wing as if she were our own. Each member of our little group offers something unique. I guess if we didn’t, one of us would be unnecessary. As it is, it’s the perfect blend of sass, laughter, sense, and nonsense. Each of us are on our own path, but in that small group, our paths coalesce for our morning (afternoon for Emily across the pond which also allows the non-coffee drinker more grace.) sessions of chat and word wars.

Friends make life worth living. They truly help us get by. They help us get over the hurts hang ups and hard knocks. They urge us to do better than average. They push us to rise up out of the muck and mire. They are there for you, even if they don’t like where you are, what you say, what you are currently doing. They overlook all of those things to see the real you inside and come along side us during the happy moments and offer us tissues during the sad parts. They celebrate our wins, cheer us forward, and share the Ben and Jerry’s when we have fall aparts.

Give your friends a hug today. Send them a card, offer a hug, buy them lunch or a balloon!
http://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=276245

Other posts in this series:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

 

 

22 Days Since my Last Confession


It’s been . . . wow has it really been that long? It’s been 22 days since my last post. Not good, not good at all.

I have no excuses. There were days when I planned on posting,  I even have half of a dozen posts in the archives because after writing them, they just didn’t feel quite right. Maybe a future day or maybe I’ll just delete them – who knows.

“Only the shadow knows.”

Stepping into the ‘Way-back’ machine for a moment, in my last post  on January 18th I shared this bit:  

I’ve been working on my current WIP, Roxy Sings the Blues. Revising, editing, rewriting, . . . and  I just wasn’t happy with it. It wasn’t flowing.  It wasn’t drawing me forward even and I am the author! I had to take a serious look at this and step back to evaluate what I had as opposed to where I wanted this to go.

I set it aside for a couple of days as I researched master plots. This was prompted when I was trying to convey my story idea to a wonderful lady who is kind of mentoring me in my writing. OK, I was a persistent nag until she took me under her wing. I’m not ashamed to admit it.

I was working through her class, had fully developed character worksheets,  even made myself character cards to stick on my bulletin board. I spent 4 days working on shaping my plot into a reasonable timeline and developing the major nine points of my plot. I thought I had it all worked out.  It seemed logical. There were twists, turns,  lovable characters, one that you love to hate. . . I thought I was ready to go.

Of course when it was time to meet,  either my computer or hers was acting glitchy and we couldn’t connect for video chat. So we went to the phones.  I have to be honest, the fan-girling had to be tampered down under control before I could get any semblance of intelligible speech out of my mouth.

Alright, enough of the flashback. So what have I been doing with myself these past 22 days that I couldn’t be bothered to post on my blog?

I’m so glad you asked!

Yeah, that part above . . . in the midst of my sulk-fest, when  I got me out-of-the-way,  the ideas came like a grand finale of a fireworks display. One day to the sulk-fest, two days to get my ideas sorted into some semblance of intelligible speech/writing. ( My poor husband, Y’all should have pity on him. He’s the one that actually had to face the many phases of creativity.) A day and a half with two friends and eventually the hubby to take the pieces of the puzzle I had and make an entirely new picture. A half of a day lost to other things –  you know someone has to cook the meals. Two more days were given to brainstorming and ordering things.

Just a note here –  one of the things I like to do, and this may not work for everyone, is to write out my ideas on pieces of paper. Ideally, sticky notes would work for this but I was out of sticky notes.  OK fine – I wasn’t out of them I just couldn’t find any right then.  There are times when you need it NOW and you don’t have time to search the office, the desk, or the box of stuff you cleared off of the table.  Now the slips of paper are interchangeable on a large board  AKA my wall,  which I moved a few around to make more sense then numbered them from 1 to 25 and added a couple of transitions in between reaching my 30 points of light, er story.

Three days to let it sit while I worked on an editing job, hoping that things would mesh. Another day to go over and move a couple more things around slightly.  A couple of days for family/ married life – don’t judge!
Then the fun began. Six days of feeling like death warmed over until my daughter drove me to urgent care where they prescribed three medications for my illness.

Oh Joy! Fun fact –  the one medicine turned my pee bright neon orange. Let me tell you if that wasn’t a shocker!  That could really be used to freak someone out if played right, but sadly I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to exploit it.

OH, don’t even try to tell me you wouldn’t do it. Alas, I missed my window of opportunity.

So that leaves us two days where I had to redo some of the edit calls I made while feverish. I have my notes transferred to index cards in a neat little numbered stack that are right here beside my laptop. Now I can move from one card to the next, not wondering where do I go from here, not bored because I already know what’s coming,  but focused on that one card before I  go to the next.

This is the best method I have come up with for me. It doesn’t inhibit my creative flow or stifle the voice of the muse,  yet it reconciles my sense of order and OCD-ness.

Most of you know I’m not a neat freak, but I do like order.

So, February is shaping up to be a better month for me. I have a plan to move forward in my writing. I have 2 editing jobs on my desk and I am excited to get busy with these three projects. ( My writing plus the two jobs I have the privilege of editing.)

Glad that you’ve stuck with me so far,  things are going to get better.  I still haven’t  gotten my pizza fix, but maybe that’s for the best as I am serious about losing the weight I have gained. One bad thing about being a writer is the backside spread which has been complicated by the back injury.

Objects at rest tend to want to stay at rest and resist exercise. Regardless, I’ve laced up the New Balance and hit the track despite the cool weather. SIGH – ain’t nobody going to do it for me.

Nobody is going to write this book for me and nobody is going to whip this dough girl back into shape but me.

I’ve got a lot of work ahead. I hope you’ll join me in the upcoming weeks as I share tidbits of this new improved tale along with my usual sagacious wit.

You know you love me,  that’s why you keep coming back, right?

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

Phase 1 – Master Plan


Quotidiandose does not own this image. All rights reserved to the original artist.

Quotidiandose does not own this image. All rights reserved to the original artist.

Welcome to Operation Rockstar.

2017 is going to be my banner year. How do I know that? Because I am going to make IT happen!

If you are anything like me, you’ve got your goals written down. Writing down your goals is an important step towards getting them accomplished. But, how do you move them from written down to actually accomplishing them? It starts with planning.  By making a plan, then working the plan, you can move items from your to-do list to checking them off and moving onto the next item. In order to do that, though, you need to take your goal, or goals and make a plan of action.

Let’s back up a bit for a moment and take a peek at the Master List. The Master List to make 2017 the year you become the rockstar!

  1. Be your best every day.  No matter what you do, do your very best at it.  If your best for that day is to say thanks to the person caring for you, like if you have the flu and they are bringing you hot tea then be thankful. If your best is running a marathon that day, then run like your life depends on it and give it 100%. Your best fluctuates from day to day. There are days we are unstoppable. There are days when it’s a trial to get from one minute to the next. Whatever your best is, do it. Know that it is your best. If you can’t with a clear conscious say inside your heart that you gave your best effort then do more. If you are running the marathon and you gave 100% and didn’t win then be at peace with yourself that you gave your all. If you only exerted 85% effort,  then evaluate and learn from it,  and know that you are capable of more so that the next time you will know that what you thought was 100% was only at 85%. Are you with me?
  2. Make your goals crystalline. For some, this means one goal. Just one. For me,  it means a few. You know, an overachiever and all. I’ve narrowed it down to just a few. A few years back, I had 50 goals. Yeah, who was I kidding?  I did manage to accomplish a few of those things but for the most part, they were on the wish list, not the master list. This is where you write them down. Post them on your fridge, on your bulletin board, wherever it is visible for you to be reminded often.
  3. Become a Rockstar! Become amazing. Become the best version of you that you can be. Become the you that you want to be. Become the you that you want to see in the mirror.  How?  Small steps. That is how we get from the not so hot mess to the total rockstar that everyone is going to take notice of. Look, I don’t expect to be on par with Gina Carrano, or Sophia Vergara. Those women are hot! Those women are amazing but I’m not them. I am ME. You are you. That sounds like a duh moment but if you think about it,  it’s a profound revelation. My job is to be the best ME I can be. Your job is to be the best YOU. Each of us is a one of a kind original masterpiece. Don’t be a copycat of someone else when the starring role of YOU needs to be filled! Take a few moments every day to contemplate your life,  what your hopes and dreams are, who are you?
  4. Get it done! Take your master list, and break each item down into bite size steps. For instance, a top priority goal for me is to lose 50 pounds. How am I going to get there? It seems like an insurmountable task when it has been such a  problem for me. How? I am going to take steps to do that. 1. I am going to follow a healthy, portion controlled, carb controlled diet plan. 2. I will increase my physical activity for improved cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health. (Say that 3 times fast!) 3. I will use daily meditations, prayer, and motivational material to improve my mental state of being because the battle is in my mind. 4. I will break it down to smaller increments of ten pounds with nonfood rewards when I reach those smaller goals. 5. Work those steps until the goal is completed.
  5. Work the Plan! You have to stick to it.  It gets hard. It gets dull. It gets tedious, but don’t give up. This is where a vision board might help you. I am creating myself a vision board this weekend. A vision board can be a very personal thing. It is what motivates you. The point is to make your dreams visible in order to achieve those dreams and make them your reality.  If anyone is interested in me sharing the vision board, leave me a message and I will take a photo of it to share. I haven’t done one in a few years,  but it really did help when I did it. It also helps to have an accountability partner. Work with someone that will encourage you, that will celebrate your wins, give you the pep talk when you are in the pits,  scream at you like a drill sergeant when you’ve been a slacker,  someone who will call you on your bull! Just for the record, an accountability partner is not someone who is simply going to be your cheerleader.It’s the coach making you drop and give him twenty, the drill sergeant that sends you out for a five mile run to clear your head, it’s the personal trainer that pushes you to do more than you FEEL like doing because our feelings are liars. It’s the person that knows when you are honestly sick and should rest for two days, then gets you back on track for 363 days to achieve your goals.

There you have the master plan. 5 easy steps to make this year a great year!

Issues of Life


The past few days have been an emotional rollercoaster for me. It’s times like this that I question Cassidy’s sanity. I mean, who would choose this?

We had such a good day on Saturday, I suppose it was inevitable that the wheels should fall off on Sunday.  While tackling one project, I was being pulled by someone else’s project, continually asked questions until I reached a point where I had to stop what I was working on.

First off, this project was one that I had procrastinated on to the point that I couldn’t put it off any longer.  I needed to get it done. So I was already aggravated.

The project that my husband was asking questions about, was valid for him to ask me questions as it was pertaining to our finances. Then everything degenerated down from there. *hangs head*

How many of us know, I mean really know that you can’t compartment your life like a waffle into little squares? If you can manage that then message me  and share how you do it.

In my world, things are all interconnected like a woven cloth. The white strand touches twenty others. Or you can look at it like the plate of spaghetti. Well, I got my spaghetti all over his waffles.

If we are being  honest,  it’s more like spaghetti. How we view our finances are affected by a) our upbringing, b) past problems c) expectations d) fears e)our relationship with the financial partner. All of those factors come into play at some point and are often expressed through what we communicate.

I’m not going to  tell you all about our finances,  that’s not what this is about. We have some differences between us about them that we will work out. My problem is the underlying problems that come out in  moments like this.

I have been so guilty of this in the past,  that I am acutely aware  of carefully choosing my words and not blasting my first thoughts without a filter. The filter needs to be applied to similar problems in the past, past words that were spoken, past situations that you’ve been through,   past fights over the subject. . . it all plays a part to the emotions that come up with the current topic.

In a microsecond, our brain goes to our retrieval file and pulls up the entire folder on how we feel about finance anything. Last time we got into a fight – shields up. We’ve been married for a few years,  there has been more than one fight over finances. In most marriages, there is one that spends and one that saves. I’m the spender and I know you aren’t surprised.

My issue with this whole thing is not the finances.  It’s not about how much I spent because I know that I spent too much. It’s  the comments that cut me to the core that are outside of the topic that are affecting the statements made.

The current plan isn’t working, so I need to rethink, reevaluate, and make a new plan. How ironic that  I got a notification this morning that  two readers liked my post, Unceasing. Wow, thank you for that reminder. I needed to hear that.  I needed to be reminded that it’s not the negative words of someone else. It’s not getting validation from anyone else. The reason I write, and that I will NOT stop pursuing my dream even if it is at a snail’s pace, is because it is part of who I am.

I had some amazing  friends encourage me in this  matter, some were kind loving words, others were  straight and to the point, and yet others were tactlessly pointed out,  but valid all the same.

On one hand, it is devastating to hear that  a loved one doesn’t believe in your vision.  That’s ok. It’s not his vision after all but mine.  It’s not his place to validate me or give me approval. I need to do this for myself. On the other hand, it’s good to know where they stand so that I can adjust my course, my expectations accordingly.

Giving up on my dream isn’t going to make him think any differently but it will certainly make me think differently.  It would be quitting on myself and I can’t do that.

I’m not angry anymore. I’m not hurt either. I know that I am taking the road less traveled.  This is my path and it needs to coincide with our path as much as his career path does also. Neither of us is wrong, just different.

Sometimes we embrace the differences, other times we accept them.

Soon I will have important news to share and to think, I almost  quit just before the finish line – tsk tsk.

It’s all good! Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

Success in September


Ah September!

There’s a promise of cooler weather, at least some of the days. I am looking forward to fall fests! Our local town will be holding  an Octoberfestus, (Town name is Festus –  I thought it was cute) which is the end of September and beginning of October. Penned Con is coming up fast!

As usual, my to-do list for the month is lengthy. I know, none of you are surprised.

Before I get to the point of  what I wanted to say, I’m going to  take a little side trip. A bit about the to-do list and  the  over scheduling – I went to a training class this past week where we had to do a personality quiz, (yeah, I’ve done those many times and crazy thing – they always come out the same)  and surprise,  I am an overachiever. Was I supposed to be surprised? I mean come on, I could have told them the results before  I ever had to take that stupid quiz. Let’s see on one test – I am

Was I supposed to be surprised? I mean come on, I could have told them the results before  I ever had to take that stupid quiz. Let’s see on one test – I am a choleric/sanguine. On another, the Myer-Briggs I am ENTP,  and on this one – called a DISC test I am a D/I which al translate basically to the same thing –  Type A overachiever.   I’m going to address this again maybe next week,  but for now . . . I was just aggravated that 1. I was required to attend this stupid training class which I have already done before a few years ago and am only required to attend because the director revamped  the courses, but the content is basically the same. Why do I and many of the others have to redo these stupid courses because he feels the need to micromanage and has to redo everything repeatedly? This is the types of things that stress me out. Someone else’s stupidity shouldn’t become a crisis for others. But that’s what happens when you  get a spoiled toddler in charge of things, they get upset and take their ball home when they don’t’ get their way. Or else they make ridiculous requirements for others. Not that I have strong opinions  or anything.

Back to the main point – Success in September.

Part of succeeding at something is planning to succeed.  I am a firm believer in planning. I don’t always follow through, sometimes I change the plans midstream, and other times I toss out the plan altogether.  The point is,  it’s a compass heading.  I have a rough map and a direction to head in.

My success plan for this month is mainly focused on health and fitness. I focused on getting back in my daily habit of writing last month. I plan to continue that while adding another ball in the juggling mix.  Getting myself back to a healthy lifestyle. How in the world did I get so far off track? Oh gosh, who knows! One slight deviation here, a wrong turn there, then  continuing on that path and I find myself miles away from my intended destination. I’m not doing any crazy diet or extreme fitness program.

I shared on Monday with my cover reveal that I get my rights back for my first book in November. I have many many books that are backlogged to be released. Which means I have a lot of work to do to clean them up and  make them presentable to the world. I can’t do that if I am running on empty. The past several months have been  draining for me. Stress has been a constant from various  sources.

Not focusing on the  ” it’s been a bad several months” part, I’ trying to turn things around for the good.  I need to get back to being in charge of myself and my life. I am going to be the captain of Steamship Mack and I am going to need some fuel in the tank.  I have  just a couple points I am going to focus on.

  1. Eating healthy foods in appropriate portions.
  2. Daily movement. Starting off  with just ten minutes of movement,  by the end of the month I plan to be active for thirty minutes a day.

Sounds simple enough right? Well the overachiever part of me has already been fighting my beginning point. ” You should be able to do at least fifteen minutes starting off.” I had to remind myself of the  guidance in a medical journal that stated, to START SLOW in order to avoid injury. I tend to ignore that voice and I’ve injured myself by pushing too far too fast.

I’m not ignoring  that guidance this time. I can’t afford the downtime for injury. Besides, it will give me more chances for stars in my bullet journal!

What are your goals for the month? What area are you focusing on?

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

Time to Destress


The  local school district started back on their school year  on Monday which also coincides with my daughter returning for her college semester. I thought this was a good time to implement changes in my own schedule.

I had every intention of making a post on Monday, and on Tuesday, and on Wednesday . . .  you get the idea. Wow, cray cray comes out to play when you decide to make improvements. Has anyone ever experience this?  It’s like, as long as you exist in the current chaos karma doesn’t notice you.  Let me stop right there for a moment.

I know in the Christian community it is frowned upon to refer to karma however, for all intents, karma is a non-Christian way of explaining a very Christian phenomenon. The Bible clearly states that ‘whatsoever you sow, that also shall ye reap’. In other words – what goes around comes around. In still other words – karma is a bitch! Do good – get good. Do bad – get bad.  It’s a simple concept that is universal, not exclusive to the Christian community. So, if you are going to get all bent out of shape for using the term, I don’t know what to tell you.

Where were we? Oh yes – KARMA. The existing chaos. Making improvements . . .  well, trying to at least. As soon as you disrupt the status quo, it apparently wakes up Karma and her evil sister Fate, and they in turn wake up the third sister Destiny. In this particular instance, Destiny apparently said ‘Oh good for her. That will bring her closer to realizing her dreams’ and rolled over and went back to sleep. Karma was pissed about her reaction in addition to your changes and persuades Fate to her side by bribing her with caffeine.

Never the less,  I proceed with my  intended changes. These are changes to improve, to correct, to streamline and become more efficient with my time.  Once upon a time, I had a schedule that worked. I was doing great then something changed and I let my schedule lapse. I knew that the 15th of August was when my daughter returned to college. I knew that would be a good time  to put myself back on a schedule. Keep in mind,  I don’t do well with a rigid structured schedule.  It has to have some flexibility built in.  However, I don’t do well with open-ended freedom either. It’s all about balance.

I  was rather slack over the summer which resulted in  three weeks of a frantic scramble to make up for time that I had wasted. Since Monday, all hell has broken loose in our household. Some of you might think to throw up your hands in defeat and say why bother. Not me. Nope, this little grey duck thinks –  I must be on the right path if I am getting this much resistance. (life experience has proven this to be the case.)

Having said that, let’s do a quick review to catch up, then I’m going to share the coolness that I found online. Ready?  Buckle up, hands and feet inside the cart while it is in motion.

  • Monday – new schedule in place, honored my time breaks, was quite efficient and productive. Focused efforts on beta read for a fellow author and progress made on my super secret project. (Come on, aren’t you just a tiny bit curious?)
  • Tuesday – errands, driving,  resale business, – I fell behind and didn’t get everything accomplished which  dictates that my afternoon today is going to be completing the tasks left unfinished from Tuesday.
  • Wednesday –  finish the beta read, 3600 words towards next project, review of potential covers and logo, arrangements for Penned Con, then  the internet went kaput. sayonara! Wait – no!  NOOOOOOOO! I wasn’t done putting my information in. I didn’t . . . tech is scheduled to show up on Thursday.
  • Thursday – working offline, domestic goddess duties, resale  tasks to complete, wait on tech guy, still no internet. 5600 words towards next project  – I’m on a roll!
  • Friday –    yay! We have internet again! Make up for all the work lost earlier in the week, finish domestic duties, resale business prep for the weekend. (there is always more foot traffic on the weekend)

In all of that,  I have specific things but not a rigid schedule.  As the blog posts were not at the top of the list,  they fell off the bottom and were moved to the next day.  This is just one aspect of the bullet journal that is both frustrating and  helpful. There is no sense beating ourselves up over it, just move it to the next day and it becomes the top priority. I will be perfectly honest, if I didn’t have my bullet journal I would be lost and have given up ten times over.

So, I am going to share what I thought was a creative idea in my planner.  Bear in mind, I am not an artist.

20160815_135543 The only purpose of this page is for self-motivation, a sort of self-talk when I feel down and feel like I am a failure, which is often.  I’m thinking of adding a pop of color over the eyelashes like eye shadow, but I haven’t decided quite how to do that. Feel free to copy it make your own, make something similar, laugh at my artistic attempts, whatever ripples your nipple!

Sometimes we need to take a deep breath, slow down, and realize that there is more to life than (fill in the blank). It’s easy to get caught up in the hectic pace that we set for ourselves and feel as if we are failing at every turn. This is why I love my bullet journal, it helps me maintain some semblance of sanity.

NOW –  for the cool stuff I found online. How many of you are familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality profiles?

Go HERE to find out what yours is.

That’s not the cool part.  By understanding your personality, then you can understand why you do things a certain way and what works for you. My personality type is ENFP – a campaigner. Read the description, you’ll see that it fits. This is the cool part –  a friend shared a link with me about how the personality types reacts to stress. Mine was dead on!

What stresses out an ENFP:
– Environments where rules are rigidly enforced
– Focusing on repetitive, detailed tasks
– Having to focus too much on sensory details
– Having to focus too much on the past or present
– Not being able to use their intuition
– Constraints on brainstorming or envisioning
– A lack of outside stimulation
– Being micromanaged
– Having creativity stifled
– Having to complete projects before they’re ready
– Criticism
– Lack of appreciation
– Having their values violated
– Overextending themselves for others

ENFPs tend to overextend themselves, and procrastinate, which is often a source of stress as it complicates their lives. (It’s like they know me!)When they become stressed, their naturally charming natures become more irritable and over-sensitive. (I can neither confirm or deny that this is true.) When stressed, ENFPs feel alienated and engage in deceptions to obscure what is occurring within themselves. They will feel that they are losing control over their own independent identities and feel conflicted by intruding circumstances. During continued stress, they may fall into the grip of their inferior function, introverted sensing. When this happens, they become obsessive and depressed. They will become hyper-aware of minor bodily sensations or abnormalities and interpret them as a sign of a serious illness. They may have a hard time communicating clearly, and feel numb and frozen inside. Their thinking may become cloudy and convoluted. They will feel that there are no possibilities or ways out. (This is why I am obsessed with the self motivational talks which you read here.) They may feel overwhelmed, out of control, unable to sort out priorities, and thus become inflexible. Some become obsessive about record keeping, cleaning, or other household tasks. (I should be so lucky that I obsess over something useful like cleaning!)

How to help an ENFP with stress:
– Give them space and time alone to sort out their feelings.
– Remind them that they are able and competent.
– Give them permission to “escape”
– Don’t give them advice. It won’t help right now.
– Don’t ask for details.
– Don’t try to “fix” the problem.
– Meditation often helps ENFPs
– Listen to them.
– Encourage them to exercise
– Encourage them to get enough sleep
– Encourage them to get a massage
– Be warm and kind in the way you speak to them
– After they’ve calmed down a little, ask them if they want help evaluating the situation.

I agree with all of those things except the massage.  Many people are all about getting a massage, not me.  I don’t like uninvited touching.  It kind of freaks me out to have some stranger touching me. Yes, I know I have issues. My issues have issues. Those issues have grand baby issues. Let it go. I have.

If you want to find out what it says about you, and possible ways to de-stress yourself and maybe how you can avoid your big stressors, go to psychologyjunkie and see what it has to say about your own personality!

You gotta admit, this is kind of cool!

I hope next week is better and things begin to flow like a gentle stream. No Karma, I did NOT say like a stream overburdened with rains from a thousand storms that  threatens to destroy everything in its wake.

I hope your week goes well for you! Are you making changes for the better? Trying to be more efficient? Leave a comment and share the changes that you are making.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Trailblazing on the Wine Trail!


Girl Wearing Walking Boots Hiking Up A Mountain

I mentioned last year some time that I was working on a wine tour  tie in for a book tour.  For those that don’t know, Missouri has some of the best wineries! There are several wine trails, numerous wineries,  and wonderful locations to visit.

Fall is just around the corner, can you believe it? I’m looking forward to the cooler weather for certain!

Our local town is having an Oktoberfest celebration. That centers around beer,  but we may have to participate in it anyway.

These celebrations and special events at the wineries are lining up during the cooler fall months,  which  holds a great deal of potential for possibilities. This is where my planner comes in. Just when you thought I had set aside the bullet journal, it resurfaces.

If it weren’t for my bullet journal I’d be drowning by now with numerous balls dropped. Sadly I had to admit I dropped a few even with the planner but that was because of my own overachiever tendencies. I”m juggling as fast as I can. I have made myself a promise that I can’t add any new balls to the  act until the others are taken out of rotation either by completion or being dropped. I hate to drop them. I really hate to drop them. I am doing better about not taking on new projects.

Thanks to my morning writing buddy, she has encouraged me to focus on one project at a time.  In doing so, I have been breaking down the tasks in my planner. This is really working well for me. It’s more than a to-do list.  using the calendar to schedule dates that I should accomplish specific tasks from the overall project have helped me progress forward. Ideally, I should be able to just do it but that isn’t the case. Left to my own I find  creative time-wasting activities that do not help in progressing me towards my goals.

I would think that the older I get, the more second nature these things would be but it seems to be the opposite. I can’t wing it like I used to. I have to make myself a list or I forget. I must have a list to keep myself on task when my mind is wanting to do anything else.

Yesterday I sort of spilled the beans about my latest project. In working on this, it has  rekindled the fires that I had nearly let go out.  Renewed, invigorated, and  reminded how I’ve let myself become derailed. No problem, set a new course! The only problem is I find myself in a situation akin to my first encounter of orienteering. For those of you who don’t know, orienteering is a sort of race where you are given a compass and a map and you find your way to the specific markers in a specific order in a timed event. Picture this, a fourteen year old girl, her stodgy teacher, a compass shared between us and a map. I got the map. I didn’t care about the compass. I understood maps. A topographic map of the park where the event was held with a trail marked on the map. Easy peasy right? WRONG!

Things look different at ground level than from a bird’s-eye view. We found ourselves in a thicket of brambles that blocked the direct path (a short cut because I was a newbie and we had taken a long time to find the first marker) to the second marker. No problem. We’d simply go around. Going around involved climbing up  a six-foot embankment, crossing a shallow creek then ascending the embankment on the opposite side. The opposite side was muddy. It was slippery and  we ended up going further upstream to climb up,  where the water had deepened in the small creek to about ten feet across, maybe six feet at the deepest point.. We managed to climb out of the creek bed and find the path at the top. It was a short distance to where the marker was. YAY! I ran in my enthusiasm towards it,  not hearing the yells of the teacher until it was too late and my head banged into a low hanging hornet’s nest. Literally a hornet’s nest! They were instantly pissed and on the attack. We ran back towards the creek, basically taking a flying leap from the top of the embankment. We waited out the hornets but not before several got us both. We still had three more markers to find and we were way behind schedule.

Let me just say, I have learned to listen to my teachers since then. We were soaking wet, with several hornet stings, and our map was now useless as it deteriorated in the water.  Just before dark,  the group had sent out a search party for us. My teacher had twisted his ankle climbing back up from the creek, so we were moving slower than ever. I never went back for a second attempt, I was too embarrassed at my failure.  I was fourteen. Today I would take the map and compass and find my way through their stupid maze and be done.

So how is it similar? So glad you asked.  That point where we found ourselves faced with a hedge of brambles blocking our path, then having to detour around. . . yup I’m right back there again. Well, I was.  LIke I said, in working on this project, I’ve rekindled the fires.

YOu don’t realize the fire is dwindling until you are left with just embers that are about to die out. I have to retrace some steps and find a new route. I can do this. You can do the same in your own life. It’s never to late to make changes unless you are si feet under. We aren’t there yet so there is still time to do some trail blazing!

Any day above ground is a good day!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

Writing THAT scene


iheart

I am rapidly approaching a milestone, posting my 500th post. I was amazed last week when I saw this. Have I really made that many posts? HOW? This prompted something that I’ve had in my head for a while. I’ve discussed it with my writing group but up until now, I haven’t done anything with it. In that vein, I am working on something that will be ready for release during Penned Con! ( September 23 and 24)

This was originally posted February 15, 2012 entitled Steamy Sex Scenes. This was one of my most viewed posts. I received a lot of feedback from this, most of it comments that I did not share publicly. I find it disturbing the number of creeps that come out of the woodwork if that three letter word is used. Oh, I so wanted to respond to some of them, but at the end of the day, I chose to ignore and quietly delete them instead of engaging.

The WIP referenced is the third book of Realm Wars, tentatively titled Faere Guardian. I have shelved this for the time being as my previous coach advised me that I need to tell the story arc main plot first, to which I agreed.

First things first, this very much depends on the genre you are writing for.

In an Inspirational Romance, there will be NO steamy sex scenes. The list of words not allowed by the CBA is  extensive. Any impropriety is frowned upon and the slightest touch of hands can be provocative. The word desire and provocative are prohibited. You can imagine how monumental that first kiss has to be.

I like to read historical fiction and historical romance. Often the societal norms are to be observed in the telling of the romance between characters. The conflict and tension have to be developed in a manner that draws the reader expectantly along to the point of anticipated release. In these novels, a very sweet innocent progression of love usually culminates with the conclusion of a marriage where the sex is kept within the norms. Isn’t it fascinating however that within the Victorian Era of “proper society” was a sharp rise of immoral behavior?

What I’m working on now is a paranormal romance. The paranormal genre has been dominated by vampires and werewolves, but not exclusive to just them. Time travel, shape-shifters, magical elements, and yes vampires,Lycans and other mythological beings qualify in paranormal. Whatever subplot is going on, the primary story is always the romance. My story does not include vampires. It revolves around the Celtic mythology of the Tuatha  de Danaan or the Faerie realm.

My WIP (work in progress) is not an erotica nor am I a smut peddler. I hate when people use that term! Why is it  wrong to write about the love developing between characters and their natural desires for physical love, yet it’s OK to write macabre tales of murder?

Why write the sex scene?

If the story doesn’t call for it, don’t! If it’s just inserted for the purpose of sex, it’s gratuitous and should be omitted. If it moves the story forward, moves their relationship forward, and moves their own development forward then by all means, the characters should be between the sheets.

That’s a lot for a sex scene to have to accomplish!

Yes, it is! If it doesn’t accomplish these things leave it out or push it till later. Again, I’m not writing porn here!  I’m not writing a gratuitous sex scene just to write it. A good sex scene is difficult to write.

There are my own feelings to deal with.  If I’m not comfortable with the act, how am  I going to convey it effectively to a reader?  If you’re not comfortable reading about it, or actually doing it, then I suggest you move on to some other topic. I’m sure there are several articles about the current mortgage rates and the recovering housing market if that is more interesting.

There is the matter of the characters likes and dislikes. Maybe Joe is a sloppy kisser and Jill has hangups from being raped in high school by a man who was a sloppy kisser. This is why a writer has to know everything there is to know about their characters.  My characters are not flat Stanleys.  They are fully rounded people with backgrounds, families, quirks, and dreams. Just as in real life, there are certain turn-ons and turn-offs.  It’s the  spark that ignites between Jill and Joe, not between Jill and Tom, Brad, Bill, Derek, Randy, and every other man. It’s the spark, that secret key that unlocks their hearts and makes them willing to take the scary plunge into the sea of love.

There is the matter of building the expectations. By chapter 2 my characters are attracted to each other but in my personal world, it’s not proper protocol to jump in the sack on the first date. They have to wait and let the tension build. The relationship has to escalate, desire building to a crescendo of emotional turmoil,  the physical desire so strong  that they are willing to risk everything to be with each other.

Dramatic?  Yes, it’s supposed to be.

Cheesy?  The premise yes, but this is the stuff every woman fantasizes about and seldom realizes. This is why women read romances in the first place.  Real life demands our attention in various directions. A good romance offers an escape from the mountain of dirty laundry and the mess the kids just made on the floor for the umpteenth time.

Usually, the sex scene occurs about 2/3 of the way through the book. I have a friend that skims the first few chapters then jumps to this point, reads it then she’s done. Her philosophy is that all romances are the same, just different names so why not jump to the good part? Because she misses the entire story. It’s all about the story!

My paranormal romance is about a man and a woman who are falling in love. My moral integrity dictates to me what I am comfortable writing and what I’m not really comfortable with. To be honest, I’m more comfortable writing a battle scene that is more akin to 300 than to write the sex scenes. Sex is an intimate issue. It’s an important part of a relationship, but not the only part. I believe in a one woman one man relationship where there is mutual trust and respect. The couple learn about each other, explore each other, and give pleasure to each other. Isn’t that what is supposed to happen in a loving relationship? My characters may get frisky, may experiment with food, or blindfolds and silk scarves but my hero is never going to invite another guy into the picture or  have a bit on the side.

Sex is not just the physical act, if you want that go read Penthouse or some  gratuitous erotica that’s out there. Let me say here that not all erotica is gratuitous sex either. There are authors who make the effort to tell a story that happens to include a lot of sex. I write romance, a story that shows the developing relationship in the midst of whatever chaos happens to be going on in the world I created. In a romantic relationship, sex eventually happens when they progress to that intimate level.

The steamy part is tricky. Writing the scene to show the building tension, the desire, the passion without telling. Conveying the emotional impact of every touch, scent, and senses while making it last long enough to peak the reader’s interest and satisfy the character’s needs is a daunting task.

Ever see the Olympic figure skaters that make it look easy and natural? A good writer can make the sex scene like that. The reader never sees the hours of practice, the blood coming from the fingertips, the strain of putting the words together to show and not tell.

Having been married for many years, I know very well what goes on. Knowing that tab A is inserted into slot B is only part of the puzzle. I have read some things that make me wonder if the writer has actually ever experienced what they had written. Makes me wonder if their anatomy is somehow different.

Being comfortable in writing the most intimate acts down is another matter. Writing the scene that conveys the emotional impact while progressing the story is my goal. When Joe and Jill take that step, they have to be ready for it. Things between them will never be the same after the scene.

It’s really the same in real life. Once you share the intimate act of sex with a partner, there’s no going back. You’ve crossed a line that can never be uncrossed. If the line is crossed too soon, the relationship may never develop beyond “the act”. If that line is never crossed one or more may lose interest and move on.

I’m a firm believer in friends first lovers second. I married my best friend. It wasn’t a light matter for us to cross that line and I believe it shouldn’t be for my characters either.

The bottom line in romance is that we all want somebody to love us unconditionally. Letting someone into your heart at the level of intimacy that sex requires is a scary and tricky risk. In my romantic world, taking that risk should be rewarding. Ah, but there’s always the plot twist of unrequited love.  The darkest moment when the whole world is collapsing in on them and everything has gone wrong.  The moment they realize their own vulnerability because they took that risk and have to decide if it was worth it.

How much more impact does the steamy sex scene have when a few chapters later she is left heartbroken by the man she gave everything to? Sex scenes carry power if they are done well.

Revision #32


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For as many years as I have been an adult, I’ve always  implemented a bit of advice my father shared with me during a fishing trip.

He had asked me what my plans were for a future career.  At that time, I was planning to pursue  becoming a psychiatrist. After he explained to me how many additional years of schooling that would require, I decided to change courses. I sometimes wish  I hadn’t but that is neither here nor there. The point is adjusting my course.

“There are several options that are available to you. College has a limit, however. Your scholarship will only cover four years, so make those four years count. Make certain that the path you choose is the one you want. You can always adjust your course but it’s more difficult. It’s always good to evaluate where you are as opposed to where you want to be. If you are on the wrong path, get back on the right one.  If the path you’re on meets with a dead-end, then  look around at  another route or change the destination.”

Those honest words spoken in advice when I was 17 or 18 have stuck with me. I assess where I am,  in comparison to where I want to be. Always adjusting  my course.

When one door closes another one opens. When one path is blocked you must choose or make an alternate route.

It’s one thing to set your heading in a direction, another to check to make sure your ship is running true. Mile markers along the way let you know you’re on the right path or  if you’ve gotten off track.

“Memphis? We should be seeing signs for Lexington not Memphis!”

Set your  course and  head to your horizon.  I’m having to adjust my sails into the wind.

 “The second star to the right, and straight on till morning” 

 – James M. Barrie

I hope you find your dreams, your Neverland where your inner child never ages. It’s where the fountain of youth really lies.  Our outward bodies  will waste away, but the internal spirit lives on, changed and transformed  by each life lesson, our hope renewed and invigorated.  Such a grand adventure in store for each of us!

Pursue your goals,  chase your dreams,  and never give up!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

Communication


In order to have a successful partnership, communication is essential. This applies to personal relationships as well as professional.  After 30 years of marriage, you’d think that  a husband and wife could communicate well. Wrong! Isn’t it ironic that the communication we once had  seems to have filtered down to a few grunts, assumptions, and preconceived notions?

We aren’t the same people we were 30 years ago. A lot has happened in that time. Births, deaths, conflicts, romance, celebrations, and life.  Everyday life can wear you down until you have little energy remaining for the people that are most important to you. How did that happen?

Very simply, you lose sight of the bigger picture when you are in the trenches. Head down, dealing with the current situation, one after another, time after time, and life continues to go on until you finally look up and don’t recognize your surroundings. Don’t panic,  adjust your internal GPS and  your course accordingly.

It is the same with business relationships.  Communication is essential. There are a few basic rules that you need to understand to interpolate the  communication.

  1. What is the business relationship? Boss/employee; business partners; coworkers; manager/employee;  contractor/subcontractor.
  2. Which role are you in the relationship? 
  3. Do you  communicate accordingly with  the other person/people involved? 

You are responsible for your words and actions, not the other person.  You are responsible however, for your responses and reactions to the other person.

 

By now you are scratching your head wondering what it is that set me off this time because if this isn’t your first rodeo on my blog,  you know that something lit the fire burning inside my gut. Crude I know,  but I’m feeling rather gutted at the moment.

Well, you’re right. I’m having trouble coming to terms with a couple individuals with whom I have relationships.

The marriage is an ongoing daily thing and thanks to  a third party counselor, we’re doing better. But this really isn’t about  that.

It has everything to do with Business dealings.  One of which is with the spouse.  I view this as a partnership, each responsible for different parts of  our business.

I am the creative force behind  our business. He is the analytical one that keeps me tethered and  aware of our meager budget.  We are working together  in this area but it’s still not running as smoothly as we’d like.

I am marketing and public relations while he handles research and development.

I am the planner. He is the analyst that provides charts and graphs for feasibility.

I provide general labor while  he provides all things computer related and  physical labor for larger things.

All of these roles are necessary, and for the most part are divided fairly equally. If you keep in mind that he gets all of the heavy lifting. Hmm, well maybe I should balance that a little by providing treats at the next board meeting.

This is a fairly new venture, so it’s understandable that we need to work out the kinks.

 

There is a second relationship that  really has me on edge. This relationship is trying my last nerve.

How do you relate to someone who doesn’t have the same view of roles within the relationship? How do you communicate with someone who  acts like they are a dictator  and repeatedly  refuses to listen to anyone else’s input?

Communication is a two-way street, or at least it is supposed to be.

I’m having a real issue with this arrangement because my ideas and their ideas are not meshing.

  1. This is not a dictator/subject relationship.  This is not a manager/employee relationship. This is supposed to be a  mutual contracted agreement.
  2. Do NOT talk down to me in a condescending tone as if I am a moron. I am not. Do NOT talk to me like I am some clueless idiot  that is your subordinate. Just because this particular job does not require certain technical skills does not mean that  it is not possessed.
  3. Do NOT lecture me on  not fulfilling my parts of the job when  the parts that you are NOT stating are not defined. If additional tasks are needed they need to be spelled out and defined, otherwise I will proceed according to what I know and what was designated in the arrangement.
  4. Bossing people around does not make you in charge. Bossing people around that are supposed to be team members just makes you a Bitch. And not in a good way either.
  5. Do not belittle your fellow team members. You don’t have to go to happy hour with them to do your job.

How many can relate? I’ve been the employee many times when the supervisor or manager treated others poorly. I’ve also had supervisors that I greatly respected. You know the biggest difference? They treated others as valuable individuals validating their efforts.

The above situation  has me at my wit’s end. But it also pushes me to strive harder in our own business.

Nobody likes to be talked down to,  or treated like they don’t matter, or made to feel belittled. NOBODY!

While I continue to work out my struggles in this, I can’t help but wonder . . .  someone who treats others like this has to feel horrible inside.  I try to live my life by that age old rule –  treat others as you would like to be treated.  There is no crime against being nice. However, some seem to view it as a weakness.

It’s not a weakness at all.  It requires great strength and integrity to face a person like this without engaging in the same poison that they are spewing. Karma, the law of reciprocity,  or whatever you decide to call it is  a bigger Bitch than  you can dish out so be careful what you’re dishing.

 Remember the Four Agreements: 

  1. Be impeccable with your words. Speak with integrity.
  2. Don’t take anything personal. Nothing others do is because of you.
  3. Don’t make assumptions. Ask the questions, communicate, avoid misunderstandings.
  4. Always do your best. Always – even if you don’t like the “Boss” or coworker.  Do. Your. Best. Because at the end of the day, you have to live with your conscious.