Don’t Rush Your Writing

Recently I was pondering how my writing has changed over the years and over the last few months.

When I was a much younger writer I was in such a hurry all the time. I remember how the ideas would flood my mind and I would feverishly write them down so they wouldn’t be lost forever.

I remember the passion and the fervor.

I also remember how quickly I had to get my ideas written up in blog posts and published. I would often get an idea, write it up right there in WordPress, proofread immediately, and then hit PUBLISH. This took all of two to three hours, at most. 

It was almost like I had to write this awesome idea right then and there or else it would be lost forever. And Lord knows, if one of my ideas is lost then the whole world missed out on something amazing. (** wink **)

I look back on those old blogs and I can see and sense the haste at which I wrote them.

That writing was forced.

There was no discipline or patience.

It is no wonder I burned out within a few short months every single time I tried this writing thing leaving me unfulfilled and passionless.

I have grown and matured since publishing those hasty and rushed blogs.

My love for writing has grown deeper and wider.

There are two main lessons I have learned here:

Write first for me.

In previous attempts, I was so focused on getting my writing out into the world that I pushed it out too soon. There was no time for the words and ideas to mature.

And then there came a time that out of desperation, I started to write for no one but myself. I have no idea how many words I wrote just trying to keep my head above the waters of depression. I just know it was a ton. I probably have a book in there somewhere.

The writing was my therapy. And as I went through that therapy I learned to slow down. I learned to take my time as I wrote out my thoughts and climbed out of that pit.

I learned you can't rush the healing process and you can't rush the writing process either. Click To Tweet

I wrote first for myself.

I found my voice.

And I learned how to be vulnerable and authentic in that unique voice.

I found ME.

And in so doing, I learned…

Don’t Rush the Process

Writing is a process. It is not a once and done thing. How arrogant was I to think that I could spew out words and immediately hit publish and it is quality, truthful, honest, and vulnerable?

Want to know my new process?

  • The birth of a new idea. 
  • Write idea down in writer’s notebook.
  • Ponder the idea. Stew over it.
  • Write about the idea in 1000 words a day writing session.
  • Write a blog post on the idea.
  • Let blog post sit for at least a day.
  • Proofread
  • Add other blog post essentials (pictures, upgrades, etc.)

What was once a feverish couple hour process has become a multiple day project.

My writing process has matured and so my writing is getting the time and respect it deserves.

And in so doing readers are getting the respect they deserve because they are getting a complete ME through my words.

Slow down. Don’t rush.

Give the ideas the time they need to mature and grow.

Write Daily. Write for yourself first.

Respect your audience by giving them your best self and best writing. Click To Tweet

And no matter what….

Don’t give up!

 

 


 

 

Stock Image Credit:
Andy Beales

The Life Cycle of a Blog Post

From a Dreamy, Flighty, INFJ Writer

Imagine this scene….I shall call it the Good L’il Blogger Scene

I have my cup of coffee and I sit down at my computer. Beside me is my bullet journal busting at the seams with blog post ideas and titles.

I open my journal and start to fill in my editorial calendar with months worth of post ideas. Each post has its pic and opt-in planned ahead of time and everything is so perfectly planned out.

With everything perfectly planned out and looking so pretty and satisfying, I open up my Word Processor and get to writing the first blog post on the list.

I get the post written out. I let it marinate for a few hours or overnight. Then I get it proofread and formatted in WordPress. I create my perfectly planned out vertical pinnable image and make sure my opt-in fits with that particular post and that the embedded form is just right.

When all the boxes are checked off, I schedule the post for some date way in the future. Of course, because I have this so well planned that I can write for a month or more ahead of time.

I sigh a sigh of pleasure for a job well done and then move on to the next blog post on my list.

*
*
*
*Belly Aching Laughter*

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

One can only wish that is the true scenario.

I know there are bloggers out there that absolutely operate like that and I applaud them. I don’t judge. I glean wisdom from them and have a ton of respect for their focus and organization. I know my weaknesses so I learn where I can.

But, that is not my personality. My personality is more scattered and dreamy. My husband and I joke that I basically live up in the clouds and that he (just like the blogger mentioned above) holds the rope that keeps me from completely floating away.

Here is the life cycle of my blog posts….from a dreamy, flighty, INFJ writer

I get up in the morning and get the husband out the door.

I have my devotional time before the boy wakes up.

Once the boy wakes up, he and I have about 30 minutes of what we call “Coaching Time.” As a family, we follow our personal coach, Dani Johnson, and we want our son to develop the habit of always learning and always receiving coaching. (link)

After Coaching Time, he gets settled in his homeschool assignments and I sit down at my desk or on the couch. Don’t forget the cup of coffee. The coffee might be the only thing that is consistent between these two blogger scenarios.

I open my current writing document in Microsoft Word. I keep a running document where I do all my writing. No, I do not have separate documents for each post or each topic or whatever. It allllll goes in one place. Lord knows, I only need one piece of writing to keep up with.

When the current writing document hits about 100 pages, I will file it away and start another one. I have lost count of how many of these documents I’ve created. They are all saved in my Dropbox…I think…somewhere.

I start writing at the bottom of the page where I last left off. I just write.

I process what I have to do that day.

I process any thoughts and emotions I’m feeling at the time.

I….just….write.

It gets the cobwebs out my head. Doing this helps me think more clearly. I’m sure the coffee helps too.

I also turn on my favorite Pandora Station….David Crowder Radio.

At some point, my writing will shift from a stream of consciousness about my day to being more focused on blogging topics.

Well, who am fooling?

Actually, sometimes it shifts to being more focused and sometimes it never shifts.

Sometimes it shifts to being extremely raw as I pour my soul onto the paper and there is no real bloggable material to be seen.

That’s alright. I am totally okay with that.

After writing at least 1000 words I feel myself out.

Am I in a good place to stop writing or is there more business that needs to be handled?

Some days I just stop and move on to the next task and some days I know there is a lot that needs to happen on this page. On those days I just keep writing.

Writing…That’s why I started this whole thing, to begin with. If I am ever forgetting the writing and replacing with the business side of blogging then I need to just step back.

I check the Editorial Calendar.

(Yes, I do have one of those. See….I do learn from those more organized than I.)

If there is a post listed on the list that I haven’t formatted and scheduled, I go and find the text for the said post somewhere in my giant writing document. I am forever grateful to the “Find” feature in Word. Then I proceed to process that blog post complete with pinnable images and opt-in forms.

BUT, there are days when I there are no unprocessed posts on the list.

OH NO! What’s a girl to do?! Crap.

Fear not, fearless writer.

Remember how I write every day?

I just start skimming through my giant document. I look through either the current one or past ones. I skim until something catches my eye and I think, “Ooooo….that’s a good one. How did I forget about that one?”

Crisis averted. I plug the post in my calendar and proceed as usual.

Sometimes I will even skim until I have material for several posts.

Then I will copy and paste the text into WordPress. I clean it up, proofread, format, and off we go.

There are plenty of days when I am so unsure what to write. I feel like a desert or a dried up well. And what I have found is that it is usually because there is something I need to figure out and process. All the more reason that I need to be writing.

I write no matter what. And in so doing, I will ALWAYS have content. ALWAYS. Click To Tweet

And when I find the lost blog posts in the sea of words I am often reminded of other ideas that lead to more writing and more blog posts.

Writing 1000 words a day has ensured a steady stream of content AND a healthier emotional state. (links)

Perhaps, this method of writing for your blog makes you twitch a little bit. HA! That’s totally cool. No judgment. I twitch at all the organized methods of some bloggers.

But, It works for me.

And we can all learn from each other, right?

 


 

Stock Image Credit:

Billy Huynh“display: inline-block; padding: 2px 3px;”>Mahir Uysal

Beating Writer’s Block: There Is Always Something To Write About

In the blogging world, we spend so much time making sure our writing fits in our niche and it fits the website. Mind you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. There is a time and a place for focused writing and growing a specific, niche website is most definitely one of those times.

The problem with super focused writing is that it can lead to seemingly running out of ideas. Running out ideas gets frustrating very quickly. And then comes the infamous writer’s block. GAH!

I’ve been there so many times thinking, ‘There is nothing to write about!!”

I think that is the biggest lie. There is ALWAYS something write about. Yes, always.

Yes, there is always something to write about even if that means writing about not having anything to write about. Click To Tweet

Remember when I wrote about learning to embrace writing garbage?

Here’s the truth in all of this. I’m going to throw you a bit of curveball especially now that you are finally comfortable writing garbage.

There really isn’t anything that is true garbage.

All the words we write have a purpose and should be written. Every word we write leads to something good even if it is merely getting the mind and fingers warmed up.

It all counts.

It isn’t truly garbage because even those words are important.

Why are they important?
 


 

Every word we write is good for processing our thoughts.

Every word we write is good for getting our brains and fingers warmed up to write the “good” stuff. It’s like a workout warmup. Are we going to say that the warmup is pointless or useless because it isn’t part of the actual workout? The warmup points to the good stuff.

So it is with daily writing.

Sometimes the “garbage” writing is only the first 100 words and then you are revved up and on a roll and can really get to writing. And then sometimes the “garbage’ is the whole day because you just aren’t feeling it. That’s okay.

Just keep writing about how you are feeling.

Write about how you aren’t sure what to write about.

Write about writer’s block.

Open your mind and fingers to write anything. Click To Tweet

And when we write anything that comes out and process the deep recesses of our mind we will find some pretty awesome words to share.

This writing can possibly benefit us in ways we never expected.

When I started daily writing I thought it would be the key to being a successful writer. A successful writer needs to write a lot over a long period of time. Okay, then. Write daily. Got it.

What I didn’t expect was the healing that has come from writing so much. I have allowed some things to come to the surface. I gave words to those thoughts and in so doing I have allowed myself to deal with it. I was able to write it out and let it go. You can read more in my post on The Unexpected Benefits of Writing 1000 Words a Day.

The world is full of things to write about.

We just need to open our eyes.

Become curious.

Observe.

Learn.

There is always something to write about.

Get to writing about everything!!

 

 


 
 

 

 

Stock Image Credit:
Bookblock

Journal Entry: Write Through The Pain

 

There are seasons when my emotions are so raw that I don’t know if I can even get the words down on paper.

The emotions are such that I just know that no one would ever want to read them because doing so would invite them to an extremely uncomfortable place.

I don’t want others to come into that place of discomfort and pain. That is my own personal space and perhaps in some ways, I am not proud of the raw and weak.

I tell myself that I need to lift people up and hold them up on a pedestal. I need to be their cheerleader and scream from the rooftops, “You rock! You are awesome! You CAN do this. You WILL do this.”

I tell myself that I need to be strong like a mountain.

 

 

Who wants to read the words of a mere dirt mound that flattens with the softest of breeze?

I am in a dark cave and I want someone to come sit with me and hear my words. But, I would never want anyone to be in this darkness. I don’t want to be in this darkness.

I am comforted by the presence of my Savior. He goes with me into the cave. He’s there when it’s dark and He is there when it is light. It is HIM who shines through the hole in the roof and shows me how to leave. He is the one who HOLDS me when I have no words to write or say.

But, there are times when I want to share with people.

I need to process through writing and just like any other person, I want to be heard and I want to be understood.

I think that my feelings are just too ugly to share with others and so I won’t write.

Then I am reminded that this whole writing thing is for ME, first and foremost. This is how I process the HOT MESS that is my mind. Writing makes this HOT MESS into a much more functional warm mess.

So, I write.

I write everything….no matter how painful or raw it is. I grab those emotions and bring them to the surface through the power of words. 

I write from a place of pain and struggle. I write as a girl who yearns for her HOME.

In a moment of insane courage and calling, I share my raw writings.

And guess what?

People read my words and they don’t run away! They actually draw closer. They start to slowly tiptoe into the cave with me.

I start to hear, “Me too!” and “I’m not alone?”

No. Oh my, no. You are not alone. I thought I was alone.

I am always reminded in these situations that I should embrace my pain and use it to fuel my writing.

Instead of running from the rawness, I lean in and allow myself to feel fully and then use that to fuel my words. And in so doing I am reaching out.

By going inward, I am, in reality, going outward. Click To Tweet

It’s just that this place, by its very nature, is a place that wants to be alone and is convinced that no one understands. But, the truth is that more people are in that place with me than I originally see.

By writing about it I am bringing validation to this place.

I make this place very real for me and for others. And by making it real I am creating a community.

 

Instead, like I said before, I lean into those feelings and I use them to fuel my writing. I don’t allow the HARD to make me stop or give up on my awesomeness.

Yes, this is hard. Sometimes I write through the tears. Can you tell? Those are the days when I force myself to write through the pain.

And most of the time, it is on those days that I am the most authentic and other people relate.

Moral of the Story:

We write from and through the pain. We use our pain to fuel our words and in so doing we share our souls. In sharing our souls we are authentic and vulnerable.

Our readers see exactly WHO we are.

The most peaceful life is the transparent life. Click To Tweet 

Many of the most famous writers and artists are the ones who didn’t consider their pain to be a liability but instead to be a muse for their work.

We should do the same.

Being human means there will be pain. It is time to stop avoiding it and instead using it for good.

 

 

 

Stock Image Credit:
ORNELLA BINNI

What To Do When Your Past Failures Keep Haunting You

I have stated in previous blog posts about how I have done a bunch of stuff in the past.

I am what many might call a “career shopper.” I have been a real estate agent, a personal trainer, a nutrition coach, a distributor for a direct sales company, a stenographer-in-training, etc. Oh, and I have Bachelor’s in History and a Master’s in Biblical Counseling.

The one thing that is common in all of these is that I have quit them all. One could even say that I failed.

I had all kinds of reasons for quitting. All those reasons seemed pretty legit when I told them to myself. I was convinced each and every time that I was making the right choice and that the next cool shiny thing was going to be THE most awesome career ever.

Do see the problem here?

Growing up, I was always told, “No matter where you go, there you are.”

No matter what career I went after, thinking the problem laid with not having the right career, I failed.

Why? Because the problem was with ME!!! I was the whole problem. It was my problems that kept me from being successful.

Stick with me here. There is wisdom to be gained from my failures.

I have had a dream to focus on writing for a very long time. That is what lit the fire within my soul.

Every time I had the inkling to start writing I would remember every other career I have gone after. I am reminded of all the money my husband and I have invested in these ventures only for the textbooks to be risers for my monitor.

Remembering all the past failures is paralyzing. 

Well, I’m writing to you right now. What changed?
 


 

I Admit To The Failures

It is what it is.

  • Yes, I absolutely failed in all these areas.
  • Yes, I wasted a butt ton of money.
  • Yes, I allowed my ego to get in the way and I did not seek professional coaching. I did not ask for help.
  • Yes, I did not own up to my weaknesses and ask for help.
  • Yes, I was lazy and spent too much time on social media, etc.

I confessed my failures to my husband and other people who invested in me only for me to throw it back in their faces. I confessed and I asked forgiveness.

I said, “I have royally messed up in XYZ. I have sinned against God, you, and myself. Please forgive me for squandering your money and your faith in me.”

I can’t change the past but I can bring it into the light so that it never happens again. Click To Tweet

I allow myself to feel all the emotions that go along with failing. It hurts. But there is healing when I allow the emotions to flow instead of stuffing them down.

Wallow for 3 seconds and then move on. That’s my motto now. 

Send the Reminders to Hell

Reminders of failure are just arrows shot from the pits of Hell.

Satan is the Father of Lies and He will use anything he can get his icy fingers on to keep me and you from fulfilling our destinies.

And trust me, reminding me of my past failures has been a very successful weapon against me. 

I wallowed in the lies that I was not worthy of good things because I had screwed up in all those other things before. I believed that since I messed up then there was no chance I could ever be successful. The success train had left the station and I missed my ride.

Those are all LIES.

In my path of healing, I am reminded that I am WORTHY and CAPABLE.

The very same people I hurt and failed, are the very ones who continue to speak LIFE over me. And THEY are the ones who have shown me how to send these lies straight to Hell.

I Am Not Mentored By My Past

It has taken me a long time to learn this one and it took a major mind switch to accept.

I am not mentored by my past. Click To Tweet

I am influenced by so many things in life. It can be a book, a TV show, a radio show, friends I keep, the church I attend, coaching I listen to, etc. Just about anything can influence how I live my life.

The amazing thing is that I can control how all these things influence me. I actually do have a say in this. I can choose whether or not to read that book or to watch that TV show or movie. I can also choose my friends.

If something is not helping me move towards my success then I can and will take that thing out of my life so that it can no longer influence me. It all comes down to choice.

There is an influence that sneaks in under the radar and this influence is probably the most powerful. Learning about this was a game changer for me.

My Past.

I was allowing my past failures and mistakes to influence my current actions. I was allowing those disappointments to keep me from moving forward.

By listening to the mentor of my past I was allowing it to influence me and convince me that I was not capable of success.

If I want different results, maybe I should do things differently!! *Mind Blown*

When I am haunted by the failures of my past, I tell myself that I am not mentored by my past. All those mistakes and failures are in the past where they will stay. I am doing something new.

When I am mentored by my past I am allowing my past mistakes to determine my future. Click To Tweet

Feedback, not Failure

A big part of moving forward is that I remind myself that there actually are no failures.

There’s just feedback.

  • Did I make poor choices?
  • How can I learn from those mistakes?
  • Where did I mess up?
  • What could I have done differently?

This is all very useful feedback that can make my future completely different.

It is not a failure. It is merely an experience that I can learn from and then change how I live now.

Feedback, not Failure. Click To Tweet

Accountability 

Finally, I keep accountability.

One huge mistake I made in the past is that I did not set up accountability for myself. I thought I was completely capable of doing all this by myself. My ego kept me on an island and that allowed me to go down a path of destruction. I silenced the good influencers in my life and I turned up the volume of the poor influencers.

Now, I keep a team of people who are willing to speak into my life and help me turn back on the right path when I’m veering off.

When my past failures want to creep back in and distract me I know I have a team of people who will help me recalibrate and get back on the right path.

While there have been a number of mind switches that have changed my life, I am still very human and I can’t do this all by myself. My accountability team keeps me humble and moving in the direction I need to go.

Ego kept me an island, humility built me a team. Click To Tweet

 

 


 

 

Stock Image Credit:
Luke Matthews

Take A Step Back To Grow

 

When I started this blog a mere three months ago, I had so many awesome plans and dreams.

I had pages and pages of ideas. I carried a notebook around in order to capture all my ideas that seemed to come faster than I could write them down. I went to bed thinking about my big goals and I woke up excited and thrilled to attack those goals each day.

Writing has always been my biggest objective in this whole endeavor. It’s no secret that I consider myself to be a writer before I am a blogger. I have formed the habit to write 1000 words a day in order to stay true to my writing passion, to create a steady stream of content, and to help me think and process this crazy life I live.

I originally set a goal to schedule three posts a week.

That would allow for two posts to go live each week and to put one post in the bank. I had a goal to keep a month’s worth of posts in the bank at all times. I learned a long time ago to always work ahead with blog posts to allow for days or weeks when life gets in the way or bigger projects take priority.

I’ve got the writing side of blogging down.

I also knew I needed to learn more about how to grow my blog through email subscribers, social media, etc. I’m not dumb. I do still believe and will always believe that writing comes first but there are realities in this world that have to be acknowledged. I can’t be a writer who keeps her head in the sand, refusing to learn SEO and marketing. That’s just how it is whether I like it or not.

Come to find out that there was not much margin in my week to keep up the writing load AND grow my blog.
 


 

I was growing frustrated and disillusioned.

And guess what? I stopped dreaming. The ideas for the blog stopped rolling in faster than my fingers could catch them. I hit a dead spot. Sure, I was writing and scheduling blog posts. I was doing minimal social media when I remembered to do it. But, there was no growth. It was stagnant and I was hating my blog.

And this pressure doesn’t even include where I needed in other areas of my life.

I am determined to make my writing and blogging work but I have been dazed and confused with how to make it all work.

And then it hit me. I was praying for guidance on how to keep writing and to also allow the margin for learning and growth. And what hit me was the last thing I thought possible. I knew in my gut that I needed to back off on posting my writing on the blog.

What? After all this talk about writing consistently, I am actually thinking about backing off a bit. This was crazy.

Now, this does not mean I stop my daily writing of 1000 words. Nope, that’s not stopping ever. It has become such a huge part of my daily routine and well-being.

I’m talking about reducing my blog post schedule down to one post a week and one post in the bank. That merely reduces my schedule down by one post a week. But, the difference is HUGE!

The sweet release that came from that simple decision has been mind-blowing.

 


 

It has been like shaking up a champagne bottle and then releasing the cork. The ideas and dreams and plans have been bubbling over ever since. I can’t keep up with all the bubbles that are spewing forth and I couldn’t be happier.

And now I have space in my schedule to dive headfirst into these ideas and I can commit time each week to learning as well. I can now do all those courses in the Genius Bloggers ToolKit I got this year and I can read ALL those ebooks I’ve been meaning to read.

The passion for my blog is BACK!!!!

How does this relate to you?

Are you feeling stuck? Do you want to grow but don’t think it’s possible?

Do you still dream big about your blog?

If the answer is yes, I encourage you to take an inventory of your writing and blogging.

Is there something that you are holding onto but it doesn’t really serve your big plan?

There comes a time when taking a step back is what’s needed to allow for growth. Click To Tweet

Space for growth does not magically appear. It has to be thoughtfully created.

I was putting such strong expectations on myself and those expectations turned out to be unrealistic. I kept going even when I knew they were unrealistic because I was determined to stick to my output goal. It was killing me and my creativity.

Come to find out that a little ego check was all that was needed for the big goal to be birthed in my heart and mind all over again.

What about you? Are you frustrated?

Try taking a step back so that there is room to grow and dream all over again.

 


 

 

Stock Image Credit:
Milos Tonchevski

The Unexpected Benefits Of Writing 1000 Words A Day

I have written quite a bit about the benefits of daily writing for the blogger and writer. There is no doubt that writing on a consistent basis is key to success for any writer.

Waiting for inspiration or motivation to write anything is the death of any serious writer. If we wait for either of those things then the writing, honestly, will never get done.

Let’s review: What are some of the professional benefits of daily writing?

• Content creation
• Discovering new ideas
• Habit creation

But, as I have been practicing the habit of daily writing (1000 words a day) I have discovered some benefits from the practice that I wasn’t expecting.

Get The Fog Out In The Morning 

I am not a big morning person. I am even less of a night person. So I typically choose to get up on the earlier side to get my day started. Even so, there is a big fog that hovers over my brain when I first get up. I can’t focus on anything.

I have said in the past that I need coffee and writing in order to get the day going at a good pace.

The first thing I do when I officially start my work day is my daily writing of 1000 words.

The first part of that writing is often full of gibberish and rubbish. The fog is quite evident as I can barely put together a coherent thought.

Aas I continue to write and drink my coffee, the thoughts start to come together and start to make more sense.

The fog is lifting.

Once I am done with my daily writing I am able to focus much better the rest of the day.

It’s like my daily habit of writing first is a big blower that pushes the fog away and clears the skies. Click To Tweet

 

 

 

Plan Out My Day And Become More Organized

I often do my daily planning during my daily writing.

As I process the day through the written word, the fog is lifting, and I have a much clearer view of what needs my closest attention and what is a lower priority.

As I am writing, I will often keep a running list of my To-Do’s right next to me and when my writing is done I will attack that list. And often times I will remember items that need to be added to the list as I’m writing. 

Writing clears the fog and then I can figure out what my priorities are.

As I am able to plan out my day via written word I am finding that I am much more organized.

On days when I skip the writing step for whatever reason I can feel it in so many ways. For one, I feel like I am just floating through my day without any kind of direction. I need direction and focus in my day to get anything done and to feel accomplished.

Writing provides the fog lifting focus I need and that focus creates the organization I need. Click To Tweet

Process My Emotions And Thoughts

One of the most unexpected benefits of daily writing has been what has happened to me emotionally.

I am a very sensitive person and I internalize everything. And, unfortunately, I default to a place of depression. 

I have processed so many things from my past and gained so much healing through this writing habit.

I am amazed at what comes flying out my fingers when I really get to writing some days. Some of those words will never be shared with anyone because they are just too raw to be shared. 

But, that’s okay!

Writing those raw words means that they are coming up to the surface and finally coming out. I am not forcing them to stay down inside me.

For way too long I have kept these thoughts and emotions buried because I did not want to ever let them out.

Why? Because I didn’t want to feel them again. I didn’t want to sit in those feelings and really feel them. Honestly, I didn’t want to cry again.

I have cried more in the last six months than probably in the last 20 years. This is good. I am good. And I have daily writing to thank for that.

Builds Confidence

The more I write on a daily basis the more my confidence grows that I can actually do this writing thing.

When I was not writing regularly it was no surprise that I never felt like I could ever be a writer.

Why would I? I wasn’t actually writing!!!

With daily writing, I am fulfilling the biggest requirement for being a writer. 

It’s not just confidence in writing, though.

It’s also confidence in other areas of my life.

If I can get up and write 1000 words a day then I can do other things, right?

I can also get up and go for a run on a regular basis too. I can put all the pieces together so that I build a custom marathon training plan one day at a time.

Building a habit to write every day helps me to see that creating anything of value means tackling that goal one day at a time. Click To Tweet

 

 

 

Stock Image Credit:
Diego PH

2018 One Word: Grit

It is the first week of 2018.

New Year Resolutions are fresh on everyone’s minds.

We know the routine of setting resolutions at the New Year, committing to be a newer and better person in the upcoming year. Some people see their resolutions through but most people don’t. It’s just the nature of the beast of Resolutions. We have these awesome and lofty plans to make ourselves better people and a fresh new year is the perfect companion to becoming a fresh new person.

I get it….totally. I used to make loooooong lists at the start of the year of all the Resolutions for the year. And guess what? I would never get any of the items done in the year. NEVER is a rather strong and absolute word but it is true in this situation. I don’t think I have ever hit any of my resolutions by the end of the year.

Then I learned about setting habits into place instead of resolutions or goals. Each day I focus on the habit I want to improve that year or quarter or whatever. Last year, I wanted to read more. I did set a goal to read 12 books and slew that goal with 22 books in 2017 . But, the cool thing is that I didn’t focus on meeting the book goal. I focused on making time each night to sit down and read instead of watching TV or scrolling social media.

Then I heard about setting a focus word for the year. You have probably seen people already writing about their WORD for the year. This is when you choose a theme for the year for a characteristic you want to exemplify or live out or grow in your life. You can learn more about this practice by reading the book, One Word That Will Change Your Life  I have especially noticed words such as BOLD, SIMPLIFY, GRATITUDE, FOCUS, HEALTH, FOCUS, and PRAISE.

 

 

I confess I hadn’t really been thinking about my goals or habits for 2018 nor had I picked a word for the year. I knew I wanted to keep up the reading and writing and I have a marathon coming in November 2018. But, other than those things I hadn’t thought very hard about it.

All the while I’ve been learning about the word, GRIT.

I remember watching a TED Talk by Angela Duckworth about how she has found that talent is not necessarily the indicator of success but rather it is GRIT. It is the people who stick to a goal through to the end come Hell or High water. That is Grit. Those are the people who don’t give up when it gets hard and the passion is gone. Those are the people who are willing to give up comfort in the short term so that an amazing goal can be achieved in the long term.

GRIT: Being willing to give up short-term comfort so that a big goal can be achieved in the future. Click To Tweet

Then I heard a podcast by Trail Runner Nation on Grit. I listened to world-class ultrarunners discuss what it takes to run 100 + mile races. The consensus was that it wasn’t exactly all about having the perfect athletic body. While training and some degree of athleticism are required, it is GRIT that gets people to the finish line of such long races. It is the runners who can puke in the bushes and keep going. It is the runners who can turn off the thoughts that say, “QUIT! GIVE UP NOW!” over and over and over and over. It is the runners who are willing to run in just about any weather condition. It is the runners who show GRIT on the course who finish the races. And it is the runners who especially appreciate the tough races because those races prove what they are truly made of.

And then I learn from some of the great writers of the past that it was GRIT that got their first book published and it was GRIT that got every book after that published. The main quality that I see in the writers of the past that I consider my mentors is the HABIT of writing every single day whether inspiration strikes or not. They also showed the GRIT to keep writing even when their words went unnoticed. It is the GRIT of putting out quality content over a long period time that makes for successful writers. It is a passion for the art and the willingness to give up comfort now for the reward of success in the future.

2018 One Word = GRIT Click To Tweet

As I was learning about GRIT I came to the realization that I have pursued comfort for much of my adult life. Sure, I would do hard things like running two half marathons, swimming a mile in a lake, and sweating it out in the gym. The truth, though, is that those were phases that would come and go. Ultimately, I wanted comfort. When any pursuit got seemingly difficult I would stop and move on to the next. I did not exhibit GRIT in any of my pursuits be it a career or reading or fitness. Comfort was far more important to me than any goal achieved.

Where did that get me, though?

It got me with a tall list of careers I’ve started and quit. It got me starting and stopping my passion for writing more times than I can count. And it got me almost 40 years old with a long list of goals and dreams I’ve never thought possible.

The truth is that comfort was killing me slowly. 

I’m tired of comfort.

Comfort feels good and comfy now but that feeling is not sustaining.

Comfort does not offer that sustaining feeling that says, ‘Well done. You did not give up. Look at what you did!”

I’m done with comfort.

It is time to go after GRIT.

I have learned a lot about how to grow muscles over the years and it is time to grow the GRIT muscles.

So, my ONE WORD for 2018 is GRIT.

Growing my GRIT is what’s going to get me to the finish line of a full marathon in November 2018 and GRIT will be what grows my dream of being a writer. GRIT will also be what gets me to my goal of reading 30 books this year. Grit will stop me from being the one who runs away from difficult conversations. It is GRIT that will make all my dreams come true.

I am excited about the next year. It will be an uncomfortable year but I know I will be a much better and stronger person for it. And I’m even more excited to have my sister-in-law joining me in adopting her ONE WORD as GRIT. She wrote about choosing GRIT as her ONE WORD over at her blog.

I would LOVE to hear what your ONE WORD will be this year!! Please share in the comments so I can cheer you on!

 

 

Stock Image Credit:
NordWood Themes

2018: Getting Back To The Heart Of Writing

I am a Writer.

I am a Writer before I am a Blogger.

Yes, I write for the internet and I run a blog. I do love having space on the Internet in which I can share my writings. In that respect, I am a blogger.

But, at the core of my being, I am a writer. I write on and off the Internet. I do not write for my blog. I write for myself and then I publish my writings on my website.

If my website disappeared tomorrow, I would still write each and every day.

There are days when I get frustrated with the rat race of blogging, of vying for position on Pinterest and Instagram and Facebook. There are more blogs on blogging to count and all yell about all the perfect ways to do each thing. I hear from every direction how I HAVE TO focus on…

  • SEO
  • Page Views
  • Perfect Pinnable Images
  • Group Boards
  • And perfect email newsletters
  • Opt-Ins
  • And Editorial Calendars

I know all these things are important to the business of blogging and I happily receive the coaching. Lord knows I need the help. 

And yet, I hold my head and shake it back and forth.

I ask, “What have I become? This is not why I started!! I just want to WRITE!”

Wait….”I just want to write!”

“I…JUST…WANT…TO…WRITE!”

YES!

So, disillusioned bloggers, I am asking you (and me) to do something different in 2018.

Let’s get back to the truth of JUST WRITING. Click To Tweet

Forget the Blogosphere.

Forget incessant SEO obsession.

Forget Pinterest craziness.

Forget daily page view checks.

Let’s get back to writing for writing’s sake.

Let’s get back to creating art with our words.

We are WRITERS!

We paint a canvas with the strokes of our words.

We create entire worlds.

We tap into the hearts of our readers.

We give people permission to say, “ME TOO!”

In 2018, let’s start each day with a blank page.

Let’s look at that blank page not as a chore but as an opportunity. An opportunity to open wardrobes and hearts.

On that blank page, WRITE!

Write with reckless abandon.

Don’t edit. Just write.

Reach into your chest, grab hold of your heart, and let it bleed out on that page. Click To Tweet

Don’t censure yourself. Feelings, no matter how raw, are welcome on that page.

Worlds that you have created in your imagination are welcome on this page. You love retreating to these worlds. So why not open that world up on the page so that it becomes real for all?

Write for NO ONE but yourself.

The only thing that is not welcome here is the details of blogging. No Pinterest. No Instagram. No SEO. No niche. No Facebook. And NO pageviews.

The door is locked while you write. It is just YOU and your heart.

In 2018, let’s bring the authenticity back to our writing.

Let’s be true to ourselves and in so doing we grow our own unique voice that is louder than the constant humming of sameness.

Build your voice by being true to yourself in your writing.

And then, when we have written with the truth in our hearts…

Let’s edit and publish, share and network, with our brains.

A good writer is also a people person. Click To Tweet

I am not dumb, Y’all. I know full well that at the heart of every writer is the intense desire to be heard. Sometimes that desire is so strong it just hurts.

That’s when we bring in the Business of Blogging.

But, when you write from your heart first your words will resound in other people’s hearts and then you will be heard.

In 2018, let’s not lose our writing soul on the altar of blogging.

Keep the first thing first and the rest will come together.

Stock Image Credit:
Aaron Burden

Leaders Are Readers: Reading Again in 2017

 

Back in December of 2016, I knew there had to be more that I could do to improve my life. What was I missing in my daily routine that I could start now and would have a tangible effect on my life?

I was reminded that the average Millionaire reads for self-development every day. They read at least one non-fiction book a month and oftentimes, more than one. Fiction reading has its time and place for sure. It has even been shown that regular reading of novels and such helps to build empathy and improve how we relate to others.  But, it is still the self-improvement books that take center stage. Books with topics such as self-help, history, biographies, mental training, leadership, and science are the ones that get the millionaire’s attention most of the time.

That got me thinking. 

What do you do when you want to change your life?

Find people you want to be like and do what they do.

Easy, right?

Well, it is easy when you remain coach-able and follow directions….one step at a time.

I knew that I needed to get back into the daily habit of reading.

 

 

There was a time when I was an avid reader growing up but, unfortunately, it fell by the wayside once I became a mom. Reading with my son was the most reading I got during that season. 

The average millionaire reads at least one non-fiction book a month. Leaders Are Readers! Click To Tweet

As is the case for any habit, I knew for the habit to stick I couldn’t go crazy with huge goals. It had to be attainable and capable of easy growth. Otherwise, I would burn out by the end of January. 

I set the goal to read twelve books in 2017.

My goal for 2017 was to just get into the habit of daily reading. It didn’t matter what I was reading. I figured I could be more strategic in book choices once I was back in the habit of reading. My goal was to just turn the TV or phone off for a few minutes a day and choose a book instead. 

I am happy to report that, at the time of this writing, I have read TWENTY books in 2017. There will most likely be one or two mushed in there before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve.

I used the Goodreads App to track what books I was reading, to review the books I finished, and to keep a running “To Be Read” list. It really helped me keep a running list of books that were recommended to me in one space. 

Goodreads is also a social network for readers so you can keep up with your reader friends and what they currently reading. It’s great because I can peruse their reading lists and click “Want to Read” whenever something piques my interest. You can find MY profile HERE!

Oh, so you want to know WHAT I read this year?

OKAY! Here’s the list… so far!

(FYI…these are affiliate links to Amazon and I will gain a small commission if you click through and buy anything on Amazon.)

The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic by Jennifer Trafton

Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

Silence: A Novel by Shusaku Endo

Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide To Unshakeable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

Celebration of Discipline: The Path To Spiritual Growth by Richard J. Foster

Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith by Ann Spangler

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

The Underground Railroad: by Colson Whitehead (PULITZER PRIZE WINNER!)

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit by Seth Godin

Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle by Tom Venuto

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

You are a Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8 AM) by Hal Elrod

I set a goal in 2017 to read 12 books. I read 20 books….so far. That is a goal smashed!!  

I plan to make 2018 even more amazing. I am setting my reading goal to be 30 books. At least half of those books will be non-fiction books.

How about you? 

How many books have you read this year? 

What kind of books did you read? 

 

Happy Reading!!

 

Stock Image Credit:
Aaron Burden

1 2 3 5