Posted in community, Public Service Announcements

Gone Too Soon

 

This week I’d like to dedicate this post to Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. It makes me sad to think these bright, creative people had such scary demons they felt the only recourse they had was to end their lives.

 

Photo credit: annainaustin on Visualhunt / CC BY

Photo credit: AIGA New York Chapter on Visual Hunt / CC BY

Depression is such a scary thing to deal with because your brain tells you lies. It tells you you’re not good enough. Your family will be better off without you. You’re a burden. And it never stops telling you these horrible things. I imagine Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were dealing with these demons for a very long time and the battle wore them out.

I wish we could pull together and fight this disease. Please, if you’re feeling down talk to a professional before it’s too late. Someone who can help you with these intense feelings and help you back to a healthier way of thinking.

If someone isn’t available please call the suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255 and let them help you.

And if you don’t suffer from this disease but you see someone struggling with it, please reach out and lend them a hand. Sometimes all they need a little guidance back to the light.

RIP Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. You will be missed.

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Posted in Writing

Do you Self-Sabotage?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after an amazing Memorial Day weekend. We had awesome weather and we were on the lake, listening to the waves lap the shore and the far off buzz of jet skis and speed boats. The scent of grilling meat filled the thick, hazy air. It was almost summer. It was so idyllic. We haven’t had that kind of a weekend in a long time. I also got some writing done. Boy did that feel good.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about something that we all do to some extend or another. We self-sabotage. Why do we do it? In my opinion, we do it because we don’t believe we deserve to be successful, whether our goal is to be traditionally published or make the New York Times Bestsellers list. There’s an underlying belief deep in our subconscious that we don’t deserve to make our dreams come true. We sabotage ourselves in a variety of different ways. I’ve listed a few below. See if you recognize yourself.

The Procrastinator:

This person truly believes they want to accomplish their goals, but in reality, they find fifty million other things to do besides their writing. They’ll do housework, read Tarot cards, or just plain hang out on Facebook until all their time is sucked away.

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To remedy this situation, recognize when the procrastination bug hits you and stop. Take a deep breath and look at why you’re avoiding your writing.  Are you at a spot that’s difficult? Are you stuck? If so do something to get yourself moving again. Sometimes it’s best to step away from the project and go for a walk to clear your head. I’ve worked out many plot holes while traipsing through the woods and you can, too.

 

The Waffler:

 

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This person also believes he wants to accomplish his goals. He’ll even seek out advice from Critique Partners and other experts in order to bring his writing to the next level. However, he won’t accept any of the advice given to him because he disagrees with it. He likes his story just the way it is. He’s not really looking to make his story better, he’s looking for someone to tell him how great he is.

To remedy this situation, you first have to recognize that you’re doing it and admit it to yourself. That’s the hardest step. Then you have to take steps to really listen to the advice from the experts you’re working with. As uncomfortable as that may be, that’s the only way you’re going to grow as a writer.

 

The Ego-maniac:

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This person believes his story is the best and even though he seeks out advice from experts he never ever takes it because they just don’t get his vision for his story. Sometimes that may be true, but not all the time and if you fall under this category you may want to take a step back and reexamine the feedback you’re getting. If more than one person is giving you the same advice, you need to consider it.

To remedy this situation, you have to again recognize yourself in the behavior and check your ego at the door. Establish a relationship with another writer and ask them to be your critique partner. You also might want to explain to them about your big ego, that way they won’t get frustrated with you when you argue with them over the changes they think you should make in your story. Then follow their advice. 🙂

 

The Doodler:

Photo credit: .bravelittlebird on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

This person is someone who writes but it’s more social than anything else. They join all the Facebook groups on writing and engage in all the Twitter chats and even belong to a writing group that meets once a week or once a month. They talk about the story they’re writing, but they rarely finish the story they’re working on. They just like talking about it.

To remedy this situation, you have to make the decision on whether you really want to finish your story or not. If you just enjoy the social aspects of talking about your work, that’s okay there’s nothing wrong with that, but if you do want to finish you’ll have to cut back on the socializing and put your nose to the grindstone.

So there you have it, four types of self-sabotage. Do you recognize yourself? If so what steps are you going to take to remedy the situation? Leave a comment! I love hearing from you!

Posted in Holiday Posts

Memorial Day

Related image

 

This is just a quick post to say Thank you to all who have served and fought for our freedom. It is greatly appreciated. Take the weekend and spend it with your family and friends.  Be grateful that you can have this time with them. I’ll be back next week with another post. Enjoy your holiday!

Posted in community, environment

We’re all made of Stardust

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I want to talk about the fact that we’re all made from stardust. Isn’t that amazing? We all have the elements of iron, calcium, and magnesium in our bodies. We are literally the by-product of exploding stars.

 

Photo credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

That totally blows my mind.

That being said, we all are vastly unique at the same time. Just like snowflakes we all have our own makeup. Each one of us, even a set of twins, is different. I find this intriguing and it begs the question. If we’re all made up of the same elements how can we be so different?

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It’s our DNA. The unique way it’s arranged makes us different, and that’s true, but I’m wondering how many different combinations there can be. Well, I did a little digging and the best answer I could find without going into a lot of scientific mumbo-jumbo is that there are seven billion people on the planet so there are four hundred and twenty billion different combinations. Wow.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that even though we’re all made up of the same elements we’re all vastly different. Each one of us. But we’re also the same. It’s mind-bending when you thing about it. What I’m trying to say is we’re connected. And that connection is what I’d like to focus on.

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Historically, we humans have been afraid of other humans who are different. People who have different skin color, different genders, different sexual orientations, and different ideologies. We need to stop ourselves for a second and instead of coming from a place of fear, we need to come from a place of love. That’s right. Love for our fellow man. We don’t all have to agree, but we do have to respect our differences while at the same time remember our similarities out number our differences. That is the only way we will be able to survive on this planet. You have to remember we continue to reproduce, but our planet does not and it doesn’t grow larger either.

 

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In order for our species to survive, we’ve got to take care of ourselves and our planet. We don’t have time for anything else. In a crisis, I’ve seen people come together and forget their differences and work together until the crisis is over. Why can’t we do that all the time? Why does there have to be a major disaster before we’ll work together? I think we should work on that. Don’t you?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Writing

The Faleena Hopkins Saga

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. It’s Mother’s Day Weekend and I’m excited to celebrate my mom.  We’re all gathering at her house because she’s lives kind of in the center of all of us siblings.  That means I won’t be able to spend as much time writing as I would like, but it’s always like this at the end of the school year.

Anyway, today I thought I’d talk about a big blow up in the writing community.   This is one of those stories that is stranger than fiction and it’s totally true. We’ll call it The Faleena Hopkins Story.

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To get the full scoop check out Jenny Trout’s post on it here.   She has written so eloquently what everyone in the writing community is feeling and she gives you the facts on how it all came about. I’ll give you a quick run-down. Faleena Hopkins is a self-published author who has a series on the market with the word “Cocky” in her titles because her characters are the Cocker brothers. She has trademarked the word “Cocky.”

Now everyone in their right mind knows they can’t trademark titles or even words for that matter.  Because if you can, I’m going to trademark the words “The” and “And.” Do you see why you can’t do this?

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We all know Faleena is mistaken.  Her biggest mistake is that she doesn’t understand the difference between her brand and her title. “Cocky” is a word she is using in the title of her books. It is not a brand. Titles cannot be copyrighted and neither can names of characters.

To protect her “brand” she has sent cease and desist orders to other authors with the word “Cocky” in their titles. This has caused quite an uproar in the writing community and we have to question her motives. After all, I’ve never heard of Faleena Hopkins until this transpired. Now, all of a sudden her name is in blog posts and tweets have exploded on twitter discussing this issue. Could this be a publicity stunt that has gone hopelessly awry?

Photo credit: Steve Crane on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

No. I don’t think it is. I believe Faleena actually believed she was protecting her brand. She misunderstood what a brand was and unfortunately, this misunderstanding has hurt her writing career. Most likely ruined it. I know there are many readers who’ve been put off by Faleena’s actions. So if she’s hoping to ever get a traditional publishing deal…yeah…well that bridge has been burned.  The RWA (Romance Writers of America) has joined this battle to help some of these authors who now have to engage in costly legal battles to keep their titles.

We can all learn from Faleena’s mistake. When you start marketing your books, set some goals and figure out a way to reach them. If you have questions on how to do this, talk to other authors who are doing it. The writing community is filled with people who are willing to lend a hand. It’s such an amazing group of people and for God’s sake make sure you understand the difference between a brand and a title. It’ll save you all kinds of money in legal fees if you do. To get more info on the saga just follow the hashtags #cockygate and #ByeFaleena on Twitter. It’ll be interesting to see where this all goes.

Photo credit: m_shipp22 on VisualHuntCC BY

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What are your feelings on the Faleena Hopkins saga? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Parenting

Do you have Grit?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week with work and kid events. I love my kid events. I love seeing how my kids have grown and changed from one year to the next. Sigh. They’re growing up so fast. I’m hoping I’m instilling in them resilience so they can navigate this tough, uncompromising world.

 

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I’ve been hearing rumblings that one of the factors needed for kids to be successful in life is grit.

 

What is Grit?

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To some it’s a small loose particle of stone or sand and that is one of its definitions, but it’s not the one I’m talking about. The grit I’m talking about is:

 

A distinct combination of passion, resilience, determination, and focus that allows a person to maintain the discipline and optimism to persevere in their goals even in the face of discomfort, rejection, and a lack of visible progress for years, or even decades.

 

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How do we develop grit in our children? That’s a good question and in my opinion, grit is like a muscle. It needs exercise to become stronger.

We develop grit in our kids by supporting what they’re passionate about and encouraging them through the learning process. I remember when my youngest was three and he was working with Transformers. It was difficult for him to change the transformer from a robot to a car and then back to a robot. I remember how upset he’d get when he was struggling to learn the process and I’d tell him to take a break. He refused. Even though he was crying, he wouldn’t stop until he mastered that Transformer. That’s grit.

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  He found something he wanted to achieve and he worked at it until he accomplished his goal, overcoming failure time and again. The next thing he wanted to do was learn how to read and he was reading before he started kindergarten. I had to read stories with him over and over again, until he felt he had accomplished his goal. That’s important, too. The fact that he chose when he felt he was successful.

 I believe part of developing grit is finding a passion. Something to strive for that gives us purpose. For me, it’s writing. I strive to constantly improve and make my stories better. I love writing, bringing characters to life and creating a story. Part of that process is weeding out what isn’t working. Sometimes we have to fail to be better.

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Having grit means that you’re aware failure is part of the process. This is important because if we don’t accept this concept then when we fail we may just give up.

It’s important for my kids to see me fail and struggle with my writing. Why? So they understand that failing is not something to be feared. It’s important to success because we learn more from our failures than we do our successes.  

If we develop the attitude we’re always learning then failure isn’t so scary. If parents hide their failures from their children, which many do, they’ll never learn that it’s okay to fail.

When you have grit, your will to succeed is stronger than your fear of failure. So lets encourage our kids to keep pursuing their dreams. They’ll get there when they’re supposed to and not one moment before. 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What do you think our kids will need to be successful? What’s your definition of grit? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!