Road to Recovery


Hey!

It’s been a while.

Surgery was a success! They removed the cancerous mass from my breast, about 8.5 cm in circumference with clean margins. That’s the part that made it worth it – clean margins and it had not spread to my lymph nodes! If I felt better, I would be doing the happy dance!

The incisions are healed, mostly. The one under my arm where they removed the lymph nodes opened back up during radiation treatments. I was assured that it is not a problem but it’s disconcerting that there is an opening in my skin under my arm! OK, it downright freaks me out.

Radiation therapy was completed on July 7th – with a celebratory dinner out! In all honesty, it was the first social outing since before my diagnosis. It seems that any “outing” has been to doctors, medical appointments, treatment, picking up prescriptions, or obtaining necessary food stuff. That last week of treatment, the burns started getting pretty bad. I had four days of intense pain – and little to take the edge off.

For those four days, it was how do I get through the next few minutes? Then the next hour? It wasn’t a day to day thing,  it was intensely minute by minute. I spent a lot of those four days in tears. The skin had begun to peel away in the area of the burn which extends from the top of the breastbone to just below the breastbone, and around my side up to the underarm area. For those four days, the area was flaming red, skin gone, several spots of open sores and weeping blisters. not pleasant! Oh the joys of being a white girl!

If you know someone who is going through radiation – do something nice for them! Maybe not hug them, because it hurts. The treatments themselves are painless. Just lay on the metal table, get into the exact location, and let the machine do its thing. Simple – it takes all of about fifteen minutes from donning the hospital gown to redressing.

But later, the after effects of radiation are cumulative. In the digital age of Google and WebMD, I can honestly say my burns were not the worst I’ve seen. I am thankful for that! They were/are painful never the less. What I wouldn’t have given for a morphine IV drip for that week!

I smell like burned flesh – gee, I wonder why?! My husband tries to say he can’t smell it but I catch him cringing on occasion as he brushes by in the kitchen, or if I move my arm in bed. He is trying so hard to not make me feel bad about it. He’s been my champion. I am very thankful for his support.

So, why am I telling you all of this?  I’m not looking for your pity. I’m not even looking for sympathy. This is where I am. I’m not sharing to lament and whine. I’ve had numerous friends call me or say to me that I need to stay positive. A positive outlook is a key tool to fighting cancer. I have a positive outlook. I have a positive view on the whole overall deal.

Let’s be honest though, life isn’t all sunshine and lollipops. Sometimes we have to go through the hard times. I could have opted not to have treatment and then live with the constant fear that it may come back. It might anyway,  but I am doing everything I can to win this battle.

Just because I am being real and honest doesn’t mean I am depressed. It doesn’t mean I feel hopeless. If I felt it was hopeless, then it would be moronic to endure the radiation! There are parts of this that absolutely suck! There is no way to pretty it up.

You can hang streamers on an IV pole all you want but it doesn’t change the fact that the IV is there. You can laugh and joke about all the crazy things people say when they come out of anesthesia but then there are people like me who can’t say a single funny thing because of the violent vomiting post surgery. It’s hard to be happy when you burst a blood vessel in your eyeball from straining because of the vomiting. These things do not make me happy! But, being happy isn’t really the goal, is it?

Isn’t the goal to fight to live another day? To live a better day in the future?

I think part of that 8.5 cm mass they removed also held my tolerance for stupid people. Not that I had much of it to begin with, but my tolerance for things are at an all time low.

  1. Pretentious people – Just don’t. For all of the effort in trying to appear to be something they are not, it’s blatantly obvious to everyone but the most obtuse that they do not possess such skill.  Or those who try to act like caring individuals but in reality  are mentally checked out as soon as they say “how are you doing?” They don’t really care, they don’t want to know. They really didn’t plan on seeing you. It’s much easier to post a smiley face on your social media page.
  2. Perpetually happy people – AKA PLastic Barbie world. Seriously, life isn’t always happy. The day your puppy got run over is not a happy day. The day your fiancee’ breaks up is not a happy day. My guess is they are either in denial because they believe the lies that if you admit that you aren’t 100% happy then you are depressed and may need to take medication.  I’ve got a news flash – you may need it anyway. Seriously, life has some pretty crappy days. The fact that you can dry your eyes and move beyond them to see the bigger picture and a future sunrise is an absolute miracle. I rejoice that they found this cancer early I rejoice that they got all of it in surgery, and I rejoice that I am through the treatments! I still feel like crap. I still am recovering from radiation burns. I have to take this medicine for the next 5 years – but I can make the most of today. And tomorrow. And many tomorrows to come.
  3. Rude people that say rude comments about anyone who is not one of the pretty people. This stems from a couple of experiences I’ve had. The first was an incredibly rude woman dressed like white trash waving her arms around in line at the pharmacy. She elbowed me post surgery in her demonstration of her actions to the other person on the phone – yeah, I don’t get it either. Then yesterday, while waiting yet again at the pharmacy – I got to hear the whispers of people, pointing, whispering, commenting on the horrible burns that I dared to expose to their sight.  I mean the nerve, right? How dare I expose people to an uncomfortable “condition”. Shame on me!

Yes, I’m sarcastic.

So here’s the deal: some days suck. Most days rock. I  plan to have the percentage of good days far exceed the sucky days from this point on. I’m still not up to 100% but I may have to find what the new 100% will be.

I see better days ahead! OH! and writing days as well!

Write on my freinds, write on!

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

 

 

 

 

Another ‘Nother New Thing


I have writing friends who focus on one story at a time.  I wish I could. I really, really wish I could.

I have good intentions, set goals for myself,  knuckle down to a project and then  inevitably. . . it happens.

“Hey, over here!”                                                    “Look at me!”                

                                       “No, look at me.”                                                     “Ignore them, it’s me you want.” 

So many  characters vying for my attention!

The first is Bran, my dragon lord’s brother. (Touch of the Dragon, 2nd book in Dragon series) He hates being second born,  wants the power for himself but doesn’t yet have the where with all to manage his own life much less a kingdom.  Yeah, I really need to get back to that one.

The second, A Viking warrior locked in time for centuries anxious to  avenge  his brothers and win the  beautiful Valkyrie maiden that set him free. (Valkyrie’s Curse: The Trial of Aegir; book 2 in Valkyrie’s series) Book 1 is in revisions right now,  I’ve written about a third of book 2.

Thirdly, the ghosts. OY! The ghosts, they never shut up.  Did you know that ghosts don’t sleep? So they have all the time in the world to  think of ways to annoy you. (new project – Ocean Whispers)

Fourthly, mystery writer Alex McCarthy.  And I thought my head was scrambled with ideas!

The line continues,  but I have to admit Alex has gained my attention.  I’ve spent a few days working on a new genre,   and a detailed outline. This is the story that I am going to tackle during Camp Nano in July while I do revisions on Valkyrie’s Curse.  I  received some feedback from my beta readers so I must make some adjustments. So far the feedback is really great!  A few technical difficulties,  but the overall impression is that it’s good. I can’t even begin to tell you how elated that makes me feel.

On another note, I’ve been recovering from a car accident. I’m still waiting to hear back from the insurance company on whether my car is totalled or will be repaired.  If they total it,  then I am getting a bigger car, one that isn’t cramped.  I will miss my little red sports car, though. Meanwhile,  a year’s worth of  chiropractic visits have been undone, leaving me  wishing that I still had a prescription for painkillers.

Where was I?  Oh yes, the writing projects.  My current project is  about Alex McCarthy.  I took an online course about  outlining your whodunnit.  I couldn’t help myself,  I had to give it a whirl.  Alex has been trying to bend my ear for months now.  Little whispers here and there,  dropping hints that  pique my curiosity,  and finally  parading the super sexy detective  across my vision. THAT got my attention. Oh wow,  did that ever get my attention!

I’m considering adding back in my Sunday snippets as I work through this story. What do you think,  anyone interested in a sneak peek?

Between editing, the home based business, and writing I’ve been meeting myself coming and going.  Anything worth having is worth working for though, right?

I’m working the plan, even if I’m the only one that sees how the dots are connected.

Write on my friends, write on!

Til next time,

Ellie

 

Level Up!


Thanks to Lavender from Pens and Paper -I reached my goal for 2016 for followers!  YAY!!

Lavender, if you contact me –  I have a prize for you! 

What do you do once you achieve a goal? How do you reward yourself?

For me, my reward for this goal was a new book. With so many books already,  it’s really hard to justify more books, especially brand new books.  I made myself all sorts of deals.  I will share it with my husband. I’ll let the kids read it.  I’ll share it with friends.  I’ll apply it to my life. 

Once the book arrived, I immediately cracked it open and started reading. Yes, I know I have other books I need to finish.  Yes, I know the library books are due and I haven’t’ finished them. But it’s new and crisp and . . . OH.  I really need to DO what this book says.  I need to apply this book to my life. I didn’t realize that this book was going to be work. I thought it was going to be another good read but it’s so much more than that.

I have been working on a project behind the scenes that  is completely different than anything that I have done to date.  It is a nonfiction. Talk about changing direction!  This is more akin to the  course workbook that I put together for the counseling class. It is cathartic and painful at the same time. Although I have ben tempted to quit already, I can’t .  I have to get this out. I have to go through the process.

We often hear the line ‘everyone has a story to tell’. Well, this is mine.  This isn’t  a story ideas for a novel. This is my story, my life, my “There and Back Again” tale.  It’s deep – a level that I rarely go to with anyone outside of my intimate circle.

I can only tackle this in small doses, sort of like this other book that I’ve been reading called Boundaries. I’ve been taking small bites of that one  since the first of the year. Between Boundaries and my personal project, it’s been edgy. This has brought all sorts of emotions up to the surface which requires me to take a step back and redirect my attention elsewhere.

It was in one of these redirect moments when I  checked my stats because it’s on my Monday TODO list, that I discovered I had reached my magical number that I had been hoping for. After a horrendous weekend with  bad news piled on top of more bad news,  this was exciting.

Today, as if the Universe felt sorry for me, or letting me have a moment I got free books! One is brand new, one is a hardback crafting book to help with my repurposed and refinished furniture, and the other is a copy of Laurel K. Hamilton’s Obsidian Butterfly. I haven’t read that one yet so it’s new to me!

Instead of giving into the negative thoughts that I mentioned yesterday,  I fought them.  I forced myself to  tackle my list and speak positive affirmations.

Something good is going to happen to me today!

And it did! The Law of Attraction works –  you get what you expect. To top it off,  one of the financial bills that was going to cost us $1600 is now cut in half. WOOHOO! Now  if the other things would realign themselves that would be just peachy!

Instead of giving into the negatives,   give yourself a pep talk. Be your own coach. Start expecting good things to happen. Start expecting more from yourself. Nobody cares more about your success than you do. Be your  own advocate instead of your worst enemy.

Stop saying “Why me?”  and start thinking and saying “WHY NOT ME? Why not me who wins, who achieves, who crosses the finish line, who karma favors?  Why not me who gets the prize?”

Inspiration doesn’t show up until you do.

Start practicing discipline.  Discipline is the ability to make yourself do the things that you don’t want to do in order to  get the results that you want.

By working towards your goals and speaking positive  things about yourself you’ll get there faster. Everyone stumbles from time to time so pick yourself up, dust yourself off, bandage up the  wounds and go kick some ASS!

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

Be Authentic


How many of you feel the pressure to conform?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OH, this isn’t a party?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One truth that should be remembered each and every day:

BE AUTHENTIC!

Whatever that looks like for you, BE IT!

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

 

 

Feature Creep


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

REmoving a bad tile floor.

Removing a bad tile floor.

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

roses_red_9

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

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

Fine. If I have to. I guess.

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

FEATURE CREEP.

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

IT WAS REJECTED. *HANGS HEAD* 

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

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

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

I cried.

I thought about it.

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

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

I had to ask myself -Why do I write?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

Snippet Sunday – Valkyrie’s Maniacal Plans


Courtesy of VL Locey

Courtesy of VL Locey

 

Now is the real test as to whether my “readers” will like the direction of my new WIP. If you were expecting spicy romance, predictable romance, or . . . . romance you may have to wait for another couple of books. This excerpt is from chapter 8: Maniacal Plans where my antagonist begins his master plan.

Grab yourself a stiff drink and have a seat.

This creature’s purpose was to provide the lifeblood needed to gain the attention of Tyr. It wasn’t a random choice. He watched, listened for clues. The gods didn’t accept random choices, there were specific requirements. She met all those requirements and was eager to fulfill her destiny.

Who was he to deny her fate?

He went to his dufflebag and took out the folded dress bag, the Kjolepose. She was a petite girl, she’d easily fit inside. Carefully lifting her, taking great care to not get her blood on his clothes he transferred her lifeless form to the bag. Brushing the hair from her face, knowing that she was a vain creature, she wouldn’t like her hair being mussed or her clothes in disarray. He grasped at the two sides of the bra, pinning them together with a safety pin. Then he took care to adjust her blouse, smoothing down the front as the blood soaked into the fabric. He couldn’t do much about that. Slowly and carefully he zipped the bag.

“We’re going to the yacht now my darling. You did very well.” He lifted her from the stone, breing very gentle to set her on the ground at his feet, continueing to talk with her as he cleaned the stone.

He took the rags from the bag, and began to scrub. “Your parents would be so proud of you. I”m sure they weren’t too happy with your previous behaviour. Allowing yourself to be used by boys for their pleasure, degrading yourself to gain their attention. I don’t understand why such a pretty young girl such as yourself would demean herself so.”

 

Leave me a comment and let me know  what you think. Well after you pick your jaw up off of the floor.

You may wish to check out my friend’s snippets.

VL Locey is sharing a sizzling bit from her latest Venom book.

Cathy is sharing a bit from her story at Cathy’s Romance.

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie