Posted in Personal, Writing

Are You a Destination Junkie?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve finally put the finishing touches on my story after making many, many changes. I’ve sent it off to my beta reader and hopefully she’s happy with it. Cross your fingers for me. 😊

But enough about that. I’ve been working out in the yard quite a bit, planting some flowers and shrubs and it’s such a refreshing feeling, especially after being cooped up in the house all winter. I need to get outside more because I’m working from home and during the winter it was hard to get out because it got dark so fast. So, it’s a real blessing to be able to get out and work in the yard.

I’m also running outside again. The dreaded treadmill season is over. The only time I’ll run on it during the summer is if it’s raining too hard to run outside. I’ve also added some weight bearing exercises to my routine to build up my muscles. I’m hoping to get back into the shape I was in before I had kids. I have a long way to go, though. LOL!

I have also gotten vaccinated. I did a lot of thinking about it and decided it was the right thing to do. I ran into a friend who had spoken to the scientists at a drug company and they explained everything to her, and it was her words that convinced me to get the vaccine. I’m glad I did it. I didn’t have a reaction other than a tender arm for both shots.

So, now that we’re all caught up on my news, I thought I’d talk about being a destination junkie. This is a person who thinks that they’ll be happy once they get that perfect job, or finish that book, or reach their goal weight. While these things will certainly make you happy, it’s important to enjoy the process of working toward that goal, because what happens if you never make it?

I know we don’t like to think about that, but sometimes we don’t achieve the goal we’ve been working toward, what happens then? Is all that time we spent working toward that goal a waste?

My answer is no. If you’re getting something out of the journey while you’re working toward your goal, it’s worth the time.  For example, my writing. I would love to be a New York Times Best-selling author, but I might not ever get there. But that’s okay if I’m getting something out of the writing process while I’m creating my stories, then it’s worth it. To me, writing is a stress reliever, an escape when my life gets bogged down in the routine of work, kids, and household duties.

Let’s say it’s taking me longer to reach my goals at work, that can be frustrating and can cause a lot of angst. When I start feeling that angst, I focus instead on my writing and it makes me feel better. So, you see my writing relieves my stress and my angst. It has a dual purpose until I can reach my goals.

So, don’t be a destination junkie. Enjoy the process and you’ll get more out of life. Are you a destination junkie? What are some of the things you do to alleviate that situation? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Writing

There are No Guarantees

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work and writing. I was able to take some time off yesterday and head to one of the beach towns near me and have dinner with the hubster. After dinner, we went for a walk on the beach. I got some great shots of the sunset and it was nice to get some fresh air. It was good to get outside. Other people had the same idea because the beach was packed and there was a lot of traffic, much like the traffic on a hot, sweltering day.

Photo from last night’s walk

But enough about that. Today I want to talk about something that I feel many writers struggle with, including me. And that is, the fact there are no guarantees. You can be the best writer in the world, but your story may not be what agents and publishers are looking for. It’s a bitter pill to swallow especially after you’ve spent so much time writing the story, then editing it, and rewriting parts of it. Sometimes, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth all the time and effort you’ve invested in it.

But when you really think about it, there are no guarantees in anything in life. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get a job in your field of study once you graduate from college. There’s no guarantee that the person you’ve invested so much time with will be the one you end up in a long-term relationship or marriage with. There are really no guarantees for anything in life.

That’s why, you have to enjoy the process. You must enjoy the act of writing. Of putting sentences together to form a story in order for it to be worth it. It can’t be all about the result. We all want to be bestselling authors, but we don’t know if we’re going to get there or not. All we can do is put the time in, write, and hope.

But if you enjoy the act of writing, you can do it just for the pure joy of it. You can see your own growth even if the rest of the world doesn’t appreciate it. When you can get to that point, it doesn’t matter whether or not the public appreciates your work, you do. So keep writing. Besides, there are other avenues available to authors these days, like self-publishing. But that’s another blog post for another day.

So, keep writing and hoping. You’ll get where you need to go. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How about you? Are you writing for the pure joy of it? How do you overcome the end result blues? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Writing

Celebrate the Small Victories

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of being in the editing cave and working. I’m excited to say, I’ve got my edits done and this story is going to stick. I’ve changed the story so many times, I’ve lost count, but that’s okay. It’s better because of the changes I’ve made.

But enough about that. Today I want to talk about celebrating the little victories in life. They’re so important because one they are your wins, and two because it may take you a long time to achieve that big victory.

It can get depressing waiting for that new job or for that agent to recognize what a gem your manuscript is. So, my advice is don’t wait. Celebrate those little victories Meet a friend for lunch or have your hubby take you out to dinner. It’s important to step away and take a few moments to revel in how far you’ve come even if you have a long way to go.

It’s also important to celebrate these small victories because it gives us a moment to check in with the important people in our lives. We get so busy working toward our goals that we sometimes get tunnel vision and ignore them. Don’t do that. Let them be a part of your celebration. Our families are important. We need to let them know they’re more important than any goal we may be trying to achieve. So, let them participate in your small victories with you. They’ll feel like they’re contributing, and they are. It’s just their contribution isn’t tangible.

Now our goals don’t have to be just about work or a creative endeavor. They can be about our health or maybe travel. These goals are just as important and need to be celebrated, too. For example, losing ten pounds to keep from becoming diabetic. That’s an important goal that needs to be acknowledged also. Or maybe planning a family vacation. That’s important, too.

I think you’re seeing the trend here. We can’t get tunnel vision waiting for a big promotion or the acceptance of a creative endeavor. We need more than one goal to sustain us. So, if we don’t make that big goal, we’re okay because we’ve achieved and celebrated all these other goals on the side.

That way we can keep moving forward with a positive attitude. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post! What small victories have you forgotten to celebrate? What are you going to do to celebrate? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Writing

Where to Find your Writing Family

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. It’s Valentine’s Day and I hope you have a happy one. Hubby and I went out for a quick dinner last night. It was good to get out of the house and spend some time just the two of us. The dinner was quick because it was snowy and cold, and we had a nice warm fire waiting for us at home. That fire was hard to resist.

But enough about that. Today, I want to express my appreciation to the writing community. I haven’t done a writing post in a long time, but I felt today was an appropriate day to do so. The authors I’ve met in person and online have been amazing. They’re always willing to help, share their knowledge, and provide support. I appreciate that so much. I’ve been working on my latest WIP for a long time now, and I must say I’m proud of it. I wouldn’t have gotten this far without the help I’ve received from my writing family.

So, if you’re working on a novel, I would recommend reaching out to other authors in your area or online to offer their guidance. Writing can be a lonely job and it’s always good to connect with like minded people who understand what you’re trying to do. To find a writing group, call your local library and see if they know of any in your area.

There are also mentor programs online. I’ve worked with one Author-Mentor Match and it was amazing. We’ve created a family where we offer support and advice in our group. They provide critiques and encouragement and when we get involved in twitter pitch contests, we are there to retweet each other’s pitches. I’ve never experienced so much support in such a competitive environment. Another well known Mentor program is Pitch Wars, and I’ve heard they’ve had great success as well. So, thank you to my writing family. I appreciate all your support and encouragement.

So, if you’re looking for fellow authors a good place to start is Twitter. Start following the hashtags #amwriting and #writingcommunity. That’s where we find each other.

So, come join us! We’re here for you!

Where do you go to get your support? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in books, Guest Author, Writing

Writers Living Right by Sharon Ledwith

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve got a guest today and she’s going to talk about Writers Living Right…take it away, Sharon!

Writers Living Right…

Writers are mostly on their butts doing what they love to do, but our bodies were made to move. I used to write first thing in the morning to get my word count, but as the day blossomed, exercise went on the back burner. So I kick-start my day by either doing free weights, abdominal exercises, and push-ups, or gliding on my elliptical for 20 minutes. Once the exercise routine is done in the morning, I feel recharged and ready to start the rest of the day writing, planning, marketing, or promoting my books. I still try to get up and stretch every hour, and to make sure I do this, I purchased a small trampoline and keep it in my writing office. Believe me, it gets all those author parts moving and shaking in all the right places!

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Another healthy lifestyle tip for writers is to take breaks throughout the day. The truth is—we all need to periodically step away. We skip breaks in the name of “getting one more page written,” but when we don’t break from our work, our productivity suffers. We lose focus. We start making small mistakes and even forget things altogether. Our bodies have a natural ebb-and-flow response to stress that allows us to work hard and then relax and recover. The problem comes when we chronically trigger those responses. We become all flow and no ebb, and you can only cheat the system so long before it becomes counterproductive. Set a timer if you must, or download an app that will remind you to pull away from your task, but for the sake of your health, give yourself a break!

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Want another reason to rest and recharge your writing muscles? I find if I overuse my computer mouse—whether writing a novel, editing, blogging, or engaging in social media—my wrist starts to throb. Then I know it’s time to put on a wrist brace, and rest my hand as much as possible. Or I switch up and use my other hand. Eye strain happens more when I’m revising and proofing. Sometimes I use an eye patch to give my sore eye a rest. The one thing writers don’t want to screw around with is the health of their eyes. So take frequent breaks when proofing or editing. Your eyes will thank you. The key for me as a writer is that I’ve learned to listen to my body. I stop if it hurts. I rest. Stretch if I need to release the kinks. It’s pretty much all common sense!

One more thing. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Your body needs lubrication. Water massages your major organs, flushes toxins from your body, increases energy and relieves fatigue. And if that wasn’t enough to get you periodically up out of your seat to go grab a glass or bottle of water, drinking enough water can also help with weight loss. A bonus for any writer who doesn’t want to drag around that secretarial spread behind them. So, drink to your health, and bottoms up!

What do you do to recharge your batteries throughout the day? How often do you take a break? If you’re a writer, what are you doing to promote health and well-being in your life? Would love to read and respond to your comments! Cheers and thank you for reading my post!

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

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Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her spoiled hubby, and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE

Posted in books, Personal, Writing

Self-Doubt: The Silent Killer

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work and writing. I’ve finally gotten through my story. I’ve eliminated quite a few words because I really had to scale it down. It’s coming around. I’m really excited about it.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about self-doubt. As you know self-doubt is something that writers and artists suffer from. It’s the slayer of many stories and paintings. We all suffer from it. Remember when we were kids and we weren’t afraid of anything? We just found joy in creating? That’s the mindset we need to get back.

I call self-doubt the silent killer. Why? Because it has stifled more creative voices than criticism ever will. It’s that tiny voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough. There’s no way to argue with it because it knows every mistake and tiny flaw you have. It magnifies the missteps or flaws until it’s all that you see.

While a critic? You can argue with a critic because they don’t know all the mistakes and imperfections the voice in our head does. A critic doesn’t really “know,” does he? Whereas that voice knows all.

It blows everything out of proportion and steals your inspiration. So, how do you deal with self-doubt. How do you silence that inner voice and move forward?

First, you surround yourself with people who believe in you. This is a must. These people will help you crush that voice when it starts in on you. To find like minded people you could join a club or a writer’s group. They will help you stay strong.

But what about those times when you can’t talk to those shining stars that talk you down from the ledge? That’s when you need to put together some positive affirmations. You can put them in a book by your desk, or tape them to your computer, or to your mirror. Whatever works for you.

Sometimes that inner critic comes out when you’re tired. When that happens, all you need to do is rest. This is when self-care is critical. I know when I’m tired or feeling out of balance that voice comes on strong. So, it’s important to recognize when you’re just worn out and need a change of scenery. Dealing with your inner critic means you must know yourself well.

Remember, you’ll never silence that voice, but you can weaken it until it’s only a whisper. You can do this by surrounding yourself with like-minded people, positive affirmations, and self-care.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any techniques you use to silence the self-doubt that seeps into your work? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Guest Author, Writing

From the Writing Trenches with Linda Ransom

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! Today, I have a guest post from author Linda Ransom and she’s writing today about how to deal with anxiety and self-doubt. Take it away, Linda!

A Post from the (Writing) Trenches

            Writing is difficult. What I have found, however, in writing a young adult fantasy trilogy and now moving onto another young adult fantasy series, is that the anxiety and self-doubt that accompany the written word are even harder to manage.

            Anxiety and self-doubt are things most writers learn to deal with as they go, but that doesn’t mean those things go away. In fact, they usually get worse the more books you write and publish. This seems odd, you might think, and you’re right – it is odd. I can only speak for myself, and from my own experience, of course; some writers may never feel pressure about their work.

            With each book I write and publish, I wonder if it’s good. Will anyone want to read it? What if my characters aren’t compelling enough? What if no one cares about them as much as I do? All of these questions, and countless more, roam randomly through my mind every day. Mind you, sometimes not as loudly as other days – sometimes the questions are mere whispers that I’m able to ignore. Other days, like right now, as I’m writing this, they roar. The doubt and anxiety shriek inside my head so much that I want to go back to bed and never, ever, write again.

            What causes the stress and the doubt?  Sometimes, it’s bad reviews. More often than not, though, it’s my inner critic. Every writer has one. The IC lives to tell you how terrible you are. It loves to nitpick every single thing you write. On a writer’s best day, she can tell it to be quiet. Or, you know, yell, “SHUT UP!” at it. Those days, it’s easy to believe in yourself and your work. You love your story, your characters.

            And then there are the other days. For me, that’s today. My next series, The Traitors’ War, is one I’ve been circling around and working on since 2005. I have numerous notebooks and Pinterest boards devoted to it. I’ve written the first book several times; it’s never been right. But I just finished what is probably the fifth or sixth draft of it (I’ve lost count by now), and it’s good. It’s right.

            Or, I thought it was, when I finished it last week (September 5th). Today, when I’m almost a week out from it? The Inner Critic is telling me how bad it really is, how no one would ever want to read it, and that my time spent writing is wasted.

            On my best day, I don’t hear my IC. On a good day, a normal day, I can keep its buzzing voice down so it’s not that noticeable. And on a day like today, I just listen to it, because maybe it’s right. Maybe my time would be better spent doing something else, like a reading a book by one of my favorite authors, a writer who knows what she’s doing.

            But the thing is, does she? Do any of us who write? Or do they do what I have to do: plow ahead anyway, pretending like they know they’re decent, maybe even good, writers?  One can only hope. I know I’m not alone in this struggle with the IC. But even if I am, there’s nothing to be done for it but to keep writing, because I’ve discovered over time that I can’t not write. I can’t let my fantasy world I’ve built up over the last fifteen years waste away out of fear that I’m not good enough for it.

            That’s really the root of the thing for me. I love Imperium, my fantasy world, so much, and the people in it, that I’m afraid I’m not the writer it needs. I’m afraid it needs a better, stronger, smarter writer, that it deserves one. But I also believe that stories find the one meant to tell them, too. I believe Imperium came to me because I can handle it. I believe the same of my Flying Ponies trilogy, too. Those antique magical carousel horses and the Flynn family wanted insignificant me to tell their story, and I did, to the best of my ability. Another writer could’ve done it better, I’m sure. I’m still learning my craft. But they chose me, and I’m so glad they did. That was a marvelous adventure, and I know I’ll have many more with The Traitors’ Warif I don’t listen to my Inner Critic.

            So what’s a writer to do when the anxiety and self-doubt set in? I think the answer is, it’s different for everyone. Every writer is unique. Every story is different. And your IC is specific to you, too, and the kind of stories you write. Writing all of this down, getting it all out – it helps. Will it help you? I don’t know. But once you find what works for you, what keeps your IC at bay – use it. Do it. Why?

            Because no one can tell your story but you.

No description available.

It’s time for the final round-up. Charlotte Flynn has fought enemies, battled monsters and fallen in love. Now, with the help of Black, Dante and her family and friends, she will face down Penumbra and his herd one last time. Penumbra’s power has grown. Summoning all the loose magic to himself, the dapple-grey has become almost invincible. Only a few Flying Ponies, including Dreadful and Chieftain, can withstand his call. Knowing time is running out, Charlotte and her allies make a stand at a run-down amusement park. There they hope to trap Penumbra and strip away his magic. But little do they realize how truly dark his magic has grown, or how strong. Charlotte will have to unite her family and ally with her enemies if she has any hope of defeating Penumbra and unifying the Flying Ponies for good.

Spin (The Flying Ponies) https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732058849/ref=cm_sw_r_fm_apa_i_mP7zFbKXB3SBP

XMA Header Image

Lift (The Flying Ponies) https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732058806/ref=cm_sw_r_fm_apa_i_3P7zFb0QC7B2Y

XMA Header Image

Tilt (The Flying Ponies) https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732058822/ref=cm_sw_r_fm_apa_i_kQ7zFbZWB3F80

Thanks, Linda for being a guest today and sharing your thoughts! It’s greatly appreciated. How about you? How do you deal with your anxiety and self-doubt? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in mental-health, Writing

Dealing with Disappointment

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of busyness with work, writing, and kids. The beginning of the school year is hard for me because I have to put my writing on the back burner and deal with back to school chores.

Even though we did virtual learning for the first three weeks, it was still busy. Next week, we start the in-person learning and I have to say, I’m nervous. However, both boys want to do in-person and I’m abiding by their wishes. They miss their friends and they need to get away from their computers. So, cross your fingers for me.

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about goals. I want to get away from the virus for a short time, so I’m going to focus on something more positive.

What do you do when you don’t reach your goal? Let’s say you don’t find that agent or publisher? Or you don’t get that promotion? What then? It’s disappointing for sure, so how do you handle that setback? I know what you’re thinking…this was supposed to be a positive post. Bear with me. It is. 😉

I’ve found a way to take the bite out of that disappointment. The way I handle it is…I feel the disappointment, but then focus on another goal. I have three or four goals I’m trying to achieve at one time.  For example, I’m trying to lose weight and maintain my health, so I have exercise and dietary goals. I am also trying to move up in my work environment, so I have professional goals. So, when one goal doesn’t come to fruition, I focus on another one until the disappointment subsides.

For example, let’s say I don’t get the job I applied for, so I change my focus and focus on the fact that I lost some weight, or I finished my novel, or I started a new one. By doing this, I move on much more quickly and don’t sink into that pit of despair. This technique works for me and I hope it’ll work for you, too.

So, how do you handle setbacks? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Writing

Handling Rejection

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after another busy week at work, and the bustle of starting another school year. We had a few hiccups, but we’ve worked them out, and the boys are settling in to online learning. I’ve also been working on my writing and my story is coming together. This one is flowing and I’m hoping to have it done by the end of the year. Fingers crossed. 😊

 

Girl Writing on the Sofa

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But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about handling rejection. Rejection is hard to take no matter what the circumstances are. In the writing world, it’s especially hard because all the time and energy you put into your story has to be reflected in a query letter and a few sample pages. It makes it tough if that letter and pages don’t hook the agent, and it is so subjective.

 

no, cancellation, rejection

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I’ve queried agents who have given me a rejection plus some feedback. This is like a nugget of gold. They’ve told me why my pages didn’t draw them in. It’s a learning process and I learn from each one. I haven’t received a form rejection in quite some time, so I’ve got that going for me. 😉

 

The way I handle rejection is by reminding myself that by receiving the said rejection is getting me one step closer to an acceptance. That’s all it is, a stepping stone to the right agent. So, that’s the attitude I have when I get a rejection and I feel it’s a positive one.

 

acceptance, tolerance, town sign

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When you write, you need to be open to criticism and to revising your story. I know it’s hard to kill your darlings, but we want our story to not only land agent, but to sell when it’s published. So, take that rejection on the chin, rise, and brush yourself off.  Make those revisions and be the amazing author I know you can be. You’ve got this.

 

How do you handle rejection? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, quarantine, Writing

Have you got the Pandemic Blues?

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Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of vacation. I needed the break. It was a great week of sun, boat rides, and swimming. There’s something about being by the water that seems to calm my restless soul.

When we go up north, it’s easy to forget about the pandemic and the restrictions and the illness. We’re in our own little world of boating, swimming, watching sunsets, and just enjoying our down time. I think everyone needs to do this. Get out of the house and go somewhere and just have some fun.

Wave

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When you work from home, you tend to never leave. You don’t need to unless it’s   to go to the store or run a few errands. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut during these times.

To keep my spirits up, I’m exercising more. That means I’m running. I’m not fast. I won’t be winning any competitions, but it helps me keep a positive attitude and it’s good for my body. Did you know running is good for your bones? If you’re worried about osteoporosis take up running. I just had a bone density scan and my doctor says he can tell I’ve been exercising. 🙂

 

Blonde Woman Running Over The Pedestrian Crossing

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I’m also writing more, which helps me focus on something other than this pandemic and all the information flying around about it. I’ve finished one story and I’ve got another one going and it’s going well. I’m liking this new one almost as much as the one I just finished. The one I just finished has a lot of my heart and soul in the story. I’m very excited about it.

 

typewriter, keyboard, paper, letters, work, desk

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I’ve also started collecting recipes to make some new and exciting meals. We’ve gotten into kind of a food rut lately, and we’ve been eating out more. Which isn’t the best for our health. Cooking with your family is a great way to spend some quality time together and cook up some new healthy meals.

 

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So, the point I’m trying to make is, use this pandemic to work on some projects you haven’t had time to start. You’ll feel productive and it’ll help get your mind off your circumstances. Make it work for you.

How are you spending your time during quarantine? Have you started any new projects? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!