Friday, February 18, 2011

Follow Friday Top 5 - Feb. 18

It's Friday and in the Twittersphere that means it's time to pay some respect to some of your favorite people (or should I say Tweeple). I don't always find the time to do this. There are so many great people I could spend all day listing them and still not do them all justice. So, this week I had an idea. I started hitting the Favorite button for any blog post that caught my eye. Out of those I chose 5 that really spoke to me. Here they are, as originally tweeted, not in any particular order. If you're on Twitter I recommend you follow these people, if not I hope you consider following the blogs they either write for or promote. You won't be disappointed.

@batpoet RT @nicholebernier Risk-taking, & the courage to flip & flub. Lessons from "Julie & Julia".. Great! by @StephanieEbbert

@simplywriting Gender Bending: Writing a Different Gender than your own -

@linda_grimes Good morning, Twitter. TGIF! Been attacked by any Doubt Monsters of Doom lately?

@randysusanmeyer Got talismanic objects, writers? Yup. @ThereseWalsh on our superstitious natures on Writer Unboxed.

@simplywriting RT @BubbleCow: How to Grow Your Writing Career -

It was not easy choosing only 5 out of all the great blog posts this week. I hope you enjoy and if you know of another great post please let me know about it.


Kristin : )

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Writer Wednesday: Steven Pressfield

Today's post is a good one for anyone trying to make big changes in their lives and feeling like you're continually hitting an invisible wall. Steven Pressfield's The War of Art is an eye opener and a helpful guide to overcoming the obstacles that get in our way.

Pressfield puts all of life's obstacles into one easy to identify category. He labels it all Resistance. Resistance takes many forms, but the result is progress toward your goals is hindered, halted even. There is only one way to fight Resistance; you have to sit down and put in the work to achieve your goals.

Resistance is that pesky voice telling me not to exercise today because I look tired or the weather is bad. It really doesn't care about me; it simply doesn't want to see me reach my goal of getting healthier.
Resistance also comes in the form of loved ones. Every time I sit down in front of the computer to write someone in my family will have a mini crisis or need to locate something only I seem to have to knowledge of where it could be. There are days when I swear they have all sat down together to create a schedule to make sure that every 15 minutes I am reminded that I have 4 children and a husband who have a bad case of the Mr. Magoos and legs that do not bend at the knee. (Really, you're standing at the fridge with the door open and asking me if we have mustard?)

Besides the form taken, there's not much difference between inner and outer Resistance. Both types don't want change (either consciously or subconsciously), both types do everything to resist it. This is understandable. Humans are mainly creatures of habit and we love residing well within our comfort zones. The thought of change, the idea of propelling myself into the unknown of the publishing world is scary for me, so why wouldn't it be for my loved ones?
Fear is the life line of Resistance. It depends on it; feeds on it. So, how do you stop Resistance? I've been trying to figure this out since my first book was published. Steven Pressfield pulls Resistance, in all its forms, out of the shadows and exposes all of its dirty tricks. He also said something that really resonated with me. Fear is always there, you're never going to find a way to completely remove it, especially when you are truly invested in an idea, project, or life changing venture. He said to stop wasting energy and time trying to stop fear and focus on the work. The person who can sit down and do the work despite the fear changes from an amateur to a professional. Resistance does not like professionals because it has less power over them.

I know that I want to be a professional writer. Yes, I want to be published again, but more so I want to give life to these stories I have piling up in my head; give voice to these characters who have for some unknown reason put their fictional futures in my hands. I am in many ways still an amateur with so much to learn about writing and publishing. After reading The War of Art I know I have the heart of a professional and I know that I can reach my future goals by doing one important thing today... I have to sit down and do the work.

I bought an electronic copy of this book and read it on my iPod. Print additions are also available. Visit Steven Pressfield's website for links and information about more of his work.
Thanks for stopping by,
Kristin : )

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Volunteers Needed!

Hi and thanks for stopping by. Today's post is about a very important topic: Volunteering. I will be sharing what volunteering means to me and ways to get me and my kids more involved.

For a while I've been in a rut with my writing and in my social media efforts. Not a complete block, but certainly a hurdle. Recently I've taken some time to step back and try to figure out what's going on. Why am I having such a hard time sitting down to write? Why am I having a hard time connecting on line? What I find is that I do a lot of thinking about me, tweeting about me, my dog, my family, my ups and downs. I spend too much time thinking things like, What should I tweet about today? What should I talk about on my blog? What can I write that will open more publishing doors? I know that to get myself out of this rut I've got to stop focusing so much inward and look outward for a while. What better way to do that than to volunteer?

Volunteering has always been a part of my life. I've often given my grandmother credit for instilling many of my morals and values but it was my mother who made me see the importance of volunteering. As a single mom of four, on and off welfare, and working constantly she had all of the reasons in the world not to think of others, to be bitter about the cruelties and unfairness that life can dole out. But she wasn't, she took life as it hit her and always reminded us that no matter how bad it was for us there were people who had less, who suffered more. This mind set is one of the best gifts she has given me. It taught me to be thankful and to believe that everyone has the power to help someone else. Even if you have no money or vital service to offer, you have time.

I have tried to pass this gift to my children as well. Every year, on the weekend nearest to Halloween I would dress the kids up and we would spend an evening stationed at a doorway giving candy to children who lived in a shelter. On Easter weekend we went back with candy filled eggs to hide in the center's courtyard. Both events added up to less than 2 hours of time and the price of a few jumbo bags of candy, but the smiles on those kids' faces and the gratitude extended was priceless. My kids would leave feeling good about helping others and a better perspective about life. Of course, it would wear off over time and I would think of something else to do. After winning a good amount of money at Bingo (yes, Bingo) I called our local food shelf and asked what they needed most for food donations. I grabbed my kids and the list and went to Sam's Club. The food we delivered was probably gone in a week but the memory of it lives in my kids. My oldest was just talking about it the other day. He also reminded me of the time I made him volunteer with me at our local community college. We helped transform a vacant courtyard into a beautiful playground for the children of students and staff of the college.

Lately I have slacked. Life got crazy, my kids had a million things going on, I had a whole new world of publishing to figure out, and a new 4 legged family member to keep up with. The reasons (excuses) are endless, but the the result is finding myself in a rut of thinking only of me and what personally affects me, my family and friends. I need a refresher in volunteerism and it certainly won't hurt my kids to come along.

My plan:

I'm going to revisit past efforts. Decide which ones work for us now and which do not. Just like everything else in life, volunteering evolves as our circumstances change.

Let the kids have more say in what we do. My older boys were game for anything I came up with, but my younger children are more immersed in technology. It's going to be harder to get them excited about unplugging and getting out in the world.

My goal:

Take time each month to volunteer at a different place or cause.

Teach my kids that they can make a difference in some one's life or help a worthy cause make big differences in many lives. Also to expand their perception of the world.

Remind us all to be thankful for what we have and that we always have something worth giving.

My personal goal:

Push my own limits and volunteer in areas outside of my usual comfort zone.

Record my experiences here on my blog as a journal for me and my kids to look back on. I also hope this venture into volunteering inspires more people to get out there and give a little.

There are so many people, groups, organizations, and institutions that would benefit greatly from volunteers and so many ways to help. I am looking forward to seeing where this adventure will take me. I hope that you stop by again to find out.


Kristin : )