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 Family, Health, mental-health

Keep Fighting the Good Fight

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of being busy at work and working hard on my WIPs. But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about the importance of exercise in your self-care regime.

The reason I’m writing this post is to remind myself to exercise. It’s getting colder outside and I’m at that point where I have to transition from running outside to running on a treadmill. I don’t like running on a treadmill and I do it grudgingly because it’s important for my health. So, as you probably have already surmised it’s very easy for me to skip my run during this time.

But I shouldn’t do that because exercise is so important for our bodies and our brains. It increases blood flow which helps in the absorption of oxygen and strengthens all our muscles including our hearts.

It also helps with depression and anxiety. I must remind myself of this during the winter months when it’s easier to slip into that seasonal funk. So, I’m making a concerted effort to continue my exercise routine, but this year I’m going to try something new. I’m thinking about adding another dimension to my exercise routine. I’m going to try Pilates. I’ve heard of it and I’m going to check out a new gym that just opened near my house. I’m not stopping the running, but I think it’s time to build up strength in my core, so I don’t have back issues later in life.

Our bodies need a solid foundation just like our writing does. Did you know running is good for your bones? It is. In fact, running can reverse osteoporosis, so can walking. Any weight bearing exercise is good for your bones.

I feel exercise helps me with my writing as well. All that extra blood and oxygen going to my brain gives my creativity a boost. Since being a writer is my passion, anything that boosts my creativity is good for me.

So, why do I find it hard to exercise when it’s so good for me? Because it’s hard work. I get hot and sweaty and I have to clean up. All of that takes time and right now time is precious to me. I want to spend it with my family. I want to spend it writing. I don’t want to spend it slogging away on a treadmill even if it’s good for me. So, there you have the dilemma I face when I must choose between exercise and writing or exercise and my kids.

It doesn’t sound like a tough choice, but it is. Because exercise is so important, and I must remind myself that I will have MORE time with my kids and MORE time for my writing IF I exercise. I’m extending my life because I’m putting time in now to take care of myself.

This post is a reminder for me, but it’s also a reminder for you to keep up the good fight against disease and illness and continue your exercise regime. What is your exercise routine during the cold winter months? 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

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

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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.

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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!

Posted in Family, mental-health, quarantine

Dealing with the Isolation

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a very busy week at work and working on my writing. I’m making progress on my new story and I’m enjoying the new characters, but it is in the beginning stages, so I have far to go. But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about dealing with isolation while we’re all under quarantine.

 

typewriter, keyboard, paper, letters, work, desk

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It’s hard. I haven’t seen my co-workers since January. I can skype with them, but it’s not the same as being able to read their emotions to see how they’re handling things. They’re the only ones who really understand about my job because they’re dealing with the same issues I am.

 

I also miss meeting my friends and my extended family for a quick bite or a movie. Last week was the first time I’ve seen one of my gal pals in forever. We finally got together for dinner and we talked the whole time. It was so good to see her. Even though we chat on social media, it’s not the same as getting together and being spontaneous. We shared all kinds of ideas and it was motivating. I wanted to follow through on some of those ideas as soon as I returned home.

 

Clinking with friends

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We were good. We both wore our masks until we sat down and the restaurant had us sit a couple of tables away from other guests, so it was safe. I wonder how long we’re going to have to keep this up.

Coronavirus - SARS - Free Medical Photos

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I’m still worried about school. My oldest wants to go, and who can blame him? He misses his friends. I’m still leaning toward online schooling. I just don’t want to take the chance with their health, but I can see the isolation is taking a toll on them as well.

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I am grateful that my family is healthy. From what I hear this virus goes dormant for a while and can come back with a vengeance. I know a few people who’ve caught the virus and they’ve been sick for months. I know the isolation is necessary, but I hope it ends soon.

 

On the plus side, I have been getting a lot of writing done, and that’s a good thing. It has also brought our family closer. We’ve had quite a few family nights and I feel fortunate that I have had this time with my kids, so it isn’t all bad.

Family taking selfie

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How about you? How are you dealing with the isolation? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, quarantine, raising kids, Reading, social media

Quarantine: Week Two

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. My family and I have gotten through another week of quarantine and we haven’t lost our minds…yet. I’ve been putting my story together and I’m getting more and more excited. I’ve written this story differently than my other stories and I really like how it has turned out. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

So far, my family and I have stayed healthy, so the quarantine is working for us. It has also brought us closer together with late night Uno games and binge-watching Netflix. I love hanging with my kids.

 

Photo credit: hannah.rosen on Visual hunt / CC BY

But this quarantine can be hard on people who don’t have a family. People who live alone can become depressed and lonely. So, check on your friends who live alone, send them a text to make sure they’re okay. This is a time to stay connected even if we can’t get together.

There’s a variety of ways you can stay connected in this trying time. Social Media is a great way to stay in touch and make sure everyone is okay. There’s also program’s like Skype and Zoom where you can video chat with your friends. At the very least, you can pick up the phone and give them a call.

 

Photo on Visual Hunt

Another way to fight depression is to stay busy. I’ve been working on my book, so it doesn’t register that I’ve barely left the house in two weeks. Hubby has a couple of major projects going on around the house that’s keeping him busy and the boys have their video games where they communicate with their friends. I’m letting them have more screen time because playing video games is another way to fight depression.

They’ve been reading every day and their school has a website set up where they can do some assignments. I think it’s great, but I’m not forcing them to do it. I believe they’ll be just fine when they get back to school. The school must adjust to the students needs and I believe they will.

 

Photo on Visual hunt

So, that’s how were dealing with the quarantine, working on our own projects and having more family time and staying in touch with my single friends. How about you? How are you combating depression in this crazy time when you can’t leave the house? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in inspiration, Women

International Women’s Day

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week starting off with an author visit to a school. I didn’t get pictures this time because there literally was no time to get them. I was busy with the kids, then signing books and before I knew it, time was up.  But I did enjoy it and the kids seemed to have fun, too.

 

I took a couple of days off from work and connected with a couple of old friends  I haven’t seen in a while. It was fun and relaxing. I needed a few days off. I also got some writing done which felt good. I get frustrated when I can’t write, so it felt good to get some wordage down. But enough about that, today is International Women’s Day, and I thought it would be appropriate to give a shout out to some women who have inspired me in some way.

The first one is Anne Lamott. I heard her speak about ten years ago at a Writer’s Conference and she was amazing. The way she connected with all the writer’s in the audience and her down to earthiness and honesty. It was refreshing. She’s the one that said:

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You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.

This is so true. So, for all you writer’s out there. Tell your stories and don’t stop. The world needs them.

 

The next woman that inspires me is Gloria Steinem. She’s a feminist and political activist and I must say she’s been a driving force behind the women’s movement, dating all the way back to the sixties. Her relentless pursuit of women’s rights has inspired me to stand strong and believe in myself. She is the co-founder of Ms. Magazine and a voice for women all over the world. Some of her more famous quotes are below.

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The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.

 

Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.

 

A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.

 

And let’s not forget Rosie!

 

 

There you have it. Three women who’ve inspired me to chase my dreams and overcome my obstacles. How about you? Do you have any women who’ve inspired you in your life? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Health, mental-health

Strive for Balance

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a weekend of writing. I had a procedure done this week that left me exhausted. It was a routine procedure and everything came out fine, but it did wipe me out. So I didn’t get much writing done during the week, but I made up for it over the weekend. 😊

Photo on VisualHunt.com

However, today I want to talk about finding balance. It’s hard when you’re juggling so many balls like family, a full-time job, writing, and exercise. Sometimes, you must spend a lot of energy  helping your family. Sometimes you have to spend extra time for your job. When this happens, things like your writing, self-care, and exercise fall to the wayside. This is unfortunate, but quite natural.

Photo on VisualHunt

However, when things settle down, it’s important to get back into your routine and take care of yourself. Right now, I find myself out of my routine and I’m struggling to get back into it. Why? Because this procedure I had to do this last week left me exhausted. So, exhausted I didn’t have the energy to exercise. I also had a couple of nights when I didn’t sleep well and that has also wreaked havoc on my motivation.

So, I spent most of the weekend writing and I feel good about that, because my story is one of my goals, but I need to get back into my exercise routine because it’s important for my health. Taking care of myself is one of my goals, and  I’ve lost some weight. I want to keep it off, so I need to get moving again.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

The way I try to maintain balance is to set up a flexible schedule for myself each day. I actually schedule time for exercise and time for my writing. Some days, it’s hard to maintain my commitment to my schedule, because sometimes I don’t feel like exercising or doing housework during my allotted time. During those times, I have to fight the urge to get back to my story and do what’s best for my health.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

Sometimes I give in and write instead of exercise. When I do this, I just adjust my schedule and exercise another day. The flexibility is important because the routine can sometimes grow restrictive and boring.

So, strive for balance by scheduling the self-care you need to do into your weekly routine. It’s important, especially as you grow older and less active. You’ll be happier when you do. I know I am.  What self-care activities do you do? How do you balance them with your other goals? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!