Tag Archives: daily

Checking In…

What do you guys think about short, daily check-ins when I don’t have big announcements to make?

 

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Fair warning: It’s probably going to happen, but I promise to include some useful content, too. Maybe not EVERY day, but I have a lot to share on my Author Promo Network blog after I get the newsletter redone and moved to MailChimp!


Doctor Pychyl On Procrastination | Quote of the Day 9/7/2017


Doctor Pychyl On Procrastination | Quote of the Day 9/7/2017


Quote of the Day – 3/5/2016

“We are still masters of our fate. We are still captains of our souls.”
-Winston Churchill

I used to struggle with the concept of free will versus God. It took me a long time to realize that God chose to give people free will for a reason. I used to wonder why on earth he would do that when he knows what flawed creatures we human beings are. He knows that we can make very poor decisions when left to our own devices. I wrestled with confusion over that for many, many years, until I finally realized just how much His children we are.

We are the Lord’s children in the truest sense of the relationship. If you’ve ever been around kids, you know there’s nothing like a bought lesson. Children are hard-headed. They have to do things their own way and in their own time. God lets us learn things for ourselves and when we make mistakes he’s waiting to help us pick up the pieces with open arms and a loving, understanding heart.

So, how does any of this apply to heeding your calling?

Only you can know when you’re doing what you’ve been called to do. It’s not something that an outsider can tell you, but you can feel it. When everything clicks and feels right, when what you’re doing is fulfilling and spiritually satisfying, you know it. You can feel it when things are falling into place. Even if what you’re doing isn’t benefiting you monetarily, it may be fulfilling you in ways you never imagined, and you may one day be able to achieve a life making a living doing what you love. Don’t let the insidious voices in your head tell you that you’re wasting time doing what makes you happy. Pursuing happiness and trying to share that happiness with others is NEVER a waste of time.

If you feel called to do something, you have the free will and spiritual fortitude to pursue that calling. If you’re still not quite sure what your calling is, try some prayerful meditation on the subject and see where God leads you.


Quote of the Day – 2/4/16

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” -Napoleon Hill

How many times have you heard the mantra, “If you believe it, you can achieve it?” I could swear I’ve heard it about a million times. This begs the question of whether the phrase still holds any value, or whether it’s been overused. I’m willing to argue that the message is still valid, especially for those of us who feel we must pursue our respective callings.

Can you picture yourself making a life and a living pursuing this calling that you love? What is your calling? Do you know? If you do, say it out loud. Write it down. Embrace your calling. Prepare to live it.

If you’re not sure what your calling is, I can help you figure it out.
Have you felt it? If you’re anything like me, you’ll realize when you’re doing what you are called to do. You feel a glow down to the core of your soul when you’re actively heeding your calling. You feel driven to achieve that bright, humming rightness in your spirit that you only feel when you’re embracing your calling.  You can’t resist engaging in your calling, and your life feels richer and realer when you do. That’s a sign that you have found your calling, and are doing what you were always meant to do.

As a Christian, it is my belief that God calls certain people to serve and glorify him trough the things they enjoy doing.  He has given everyone special gifts, and your soul hums like a tuning fork when you follow your calling and use your gifts for His glory.

I have chosen to share a year’s worth of inspiring quotes–some Biblical and some not–and my thoughts about them as a fellow servant heeding her calling. I’m sharing my struggles and triumphs of pursuing my calling in writing with you in the hope that you will find them uplifting, inspiring, and that they will encourage you to heed your calling, too.
Have faith in God. Trust yourself. Heed your calling.


Quote of the Day – 3/1/16

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” -Sir John Lubbock

You can choose how you perceive the world around you. As a person following a calling, you can choose how to frame everything that transpires in your world. You can opt to look at things through a positive lens, or a negative one. I have done both, and I can tell you from personal experience that choosing to see things in a positive framework will improve your life exponentially.

Sure, sometimes it’s easier to see the negative, and wallowing in it may feel like the easiest path to catharsis, but focusing on the positive will ultimately be more uplifting in the long run. I know how hard it can be to see the positive. I have struggled with depression in the past. That is a state that it’s very difficult to find positivity from. If you’re struggling to see the positive in any situation, but especially in regard to pursuing your calling, I urge you to take a moment and pray about it.

Sometimes praying doesn’t present answers immediately, but it can be calming to hand your troubles over to God. Sharing your grievances with the Lord can ease whatever burden you’re feeling and make it easier to see the positive in your situation. Don’t bring negativity to your calling, though, because it will not benefit you or the work you feel called to do.

If you have to take a break until you’re feeling better and more positive, do so. I’m not saying that you should use negative feelings as a crutch to avoid pursuing your calling for days on end. That would be letting fear get the better of you, and you’re better than that. What I’m saying is that it’s okay to take a sanity day every now and then. Take a breather and come back to your calling when you feel better equipped to serve it from a positive and more peaceful place.


Work It #16 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Pick a recent criticism you’ve received. Write a rant. Really go for it. No one ever needs to see this, so there’s no need for censorship of careful language. Let it out. Rip the page with your pen. Bleed your pain dry.

Next be your own kind mentor, receiving the rant. Write a gentle letter back to your ranting self, offering support or encouragement.

Then, if you’ve received a recent critique that left you feeling raw, after geting some necessary distance, try to look at it objectively. Identify whether the critique is asking for something you just can’t deliver or whether it simply touches upon a feeling inside you, such as disappointment because you thought you were finished. Read the critique as if it were written to someone else. Can you find a point or a place of agreement? See if you can’t take just one small piece of the feedback and run with it.

Okay, so I’m obviously not going to share these things with y’all because it’s just too personal. I think the point of this exercise is to work out some personal kinks. Just know that I’m applying this Work It exercise to some critiques I’ve received for Frost over the years (some of them I even got in college when this project was in a much earlier iteration). I’m hoping that it will be an exercise in healing and improvement for me.


Work It #16 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Pick a recent criticism you’ve received. Write a rant. Really go for it. No one ever needs to see this, so there’s no need for censorship of careful language. Let it out. Rip the page with your pen. Bleed your pain dry.

Next be your own kind mentor, receiving the rant. Write a gentle letter back to your ranting self, offering support or encouragement.

Then, if you’ve received a recent critique that left you feeling raw, after geting some necessary distance, try to look at it objectively. Identify whether the critique is asking for something you just can’t deliver or whether it simply touches upon a feeling inside you, such as disappointment because you thought you were finished. Read the critique as if it were written to someone else. Can you find a point or a place of agreement? See if you can’t take just one small piece of the feedback and run with it.

Okay, so I’m obviously not going to share these things with y’all because it’s just too personal. I think the point of this exercise is to work out some personal kinks. Just know that I’m applying this Work It exercise to some critiques I’ve received for Frost over the years (some of them I even got in college when this project was in a much earlier iteration). I’m hoping that it will be an exercise in healing and improvement for me.


Quote of the Day – 2/29/2016

“Making the work you want to make means finding nourishment within the work itself.” -David Bayles and Ted Orland, from Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

I think that this quote is quite relevant to my notion of heeding your calling. The thing that I feel called to do is writing. I gave up on writing for quite some time because I was trapped by the illusion of overnight success. I felt like I was working my butt off for little to no gain. I was failing to appreciate the journey I was on. I deviated from the path I was meant to be on because I had this stupid idea that I ought to be making money RIGHT NOW because I’m a talented writer.

Nothing happens instantaneously. Success does not go hand-in-hand with instant gratification. The need for instant gratification will drown you, your calling, and your innate gifts in a quagmire of frustration, resentment, and it will cause you to give up.

Don’t concern yourself with external pressures. People may say that you shouldn’t consider yourself successful until you’re making money at whatever you’re doing. I disagree. I think that you should only consider yourself successful if whatever you’re doing fulfills you spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. If you don’t walk away from your work feeling a positive charge–a spiritual boost–then you aren’t doing what you’re called to do.

Don’t confuse your calling for a way to make “easy money.” Do what you’re called to do for its intrensic rewards. Do it because you love it, and the rest will come when the time is right.


Work It #15 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence

Work It #15 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 15: Consider No Effort Wasted

Brainstorm a list of all the unpaid, unseen, unrewarded hours you’ve invested in projects, people, and writing. These may be things that haven’t “paid off” in your mind. When you’re finished, look objectively at each item on the list. See if you can’t come up with one “gift” each item on that list has given you. Even if the “gift” is something like “It made me realize I never want to do that for a living.” or “I learned to get back up after a fall.” Reward yourself for your hard work with chocolate, a movie, or something that makes you feel good.

  • A Collection of Reflections – The first work I ever self-published. I learned that self-publishing is harder than people think. and that I don’t love writing poetry enough to try to make a living at it.
  • My Blog – My blog has taught me that not everything pays off the minute you start doing it, but if you stick to it, you will eventually start seeing benefits from it. After years of working on this blog with no visible results, I now have tangible proof that it is touching people’s lives and inspiring them.
  • JukePop – It may not be a writing job with a paid advance, but it’s helped me realize I am a talented writer. I know I can reach readers. I have fans who follow me, and my longest-standing project, Frost, has over 4,000 +Votes.

Work It #15 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence

Work It #15 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 15: Consider No Effort Wasted

Brainstorm a list of all the unpaid, unseen, unrewarded hours you’ve invested in projects, people, and writing. These may be things that haven’t “paid off” in your mind. When you’re finished, look objectively at each item on the list. See if you can’t come up with one “gift” each item on that list has given you. Even if the “gift” is something like “It made me realize I never want to do that for a living.” or “I learned to get back up after a fall.” Reward yourself for your hard work with chocolate, a movie, or something that makes you feel good.

  • A Collection of Reflections – The first work I ever self-published. I learned that self-publishing is harder than people think. and that I don’t love writing poetry enough to try to make a living at it.
  • My Blog – My blog has taught me that not everything pays off the minute you start doing it, but if you stick to it, you will eventually start seeing benefits from it. After years of working on this blog with no visible results, I now have tangible proof that it is touching people’s lives and inspiring them.
  • JukePop – It may not be a writing job with a paid advance, but it’s helped me realize I am a talented writer. I know I can reach readers. I have fans who follow me, and my longest-standing project, Frost, has over 4,000 +Votes.

Quote of the Day – 2/28/16

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you. Don’t let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful. -John 14:27

I don’t know all that much about peace, comparatively speaking. I’m prone to embracing chaos far too readily. I’m learning more about peace, though. I know that I feel restless and unfulfilled when I don’t heed my calling to write. Stagnant dissatisfaction sets in. However, when I follow my calling, I feel a sense of peace and advancement, even if what I’m doing is only benefiting me. I feel like everything is good and smooth and bright, like Bay La Launch on a still, warm day, when I heed my calling. When I make time to write, I feel like all is right in the world. I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, and I think that’s what peace is. Everything clicks. Everything feels right.

Look for the things in your life that make you feel that way. Look for that warm, calm hum that waits under the surface and only breaks through when you’re doing the things you’re called to do. I believe that God has a plan for everyone. I believe that God instills feelings of peace in us when we are doing what he’s calling us to do. I believe that when we follow our respective callings, God takes away trouble, turbulence, and fear from our hearts.

When you feel peace, take note of exactly what you’re doing because I guarantee you that it is directly linked to whatever your calling is. My calling is writing. What’s yours?

P.S. Have a blessed Sunday, y’all!


Work It #14 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld – Part 4

Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 14: Relish Revision

Choose a scene or a chapter or a paragraph that is in the first-draft stage (or write a fresh one). You’re going to do three drafts (it’s okay if you break this up over several days). Follow these steps.

  1. Make sure all the elements of a scene are included: The character has an obvious, consistent point of view; your sensory descriptions and imagery show setting and emotion; the action creates a sense of real-time movement and/or dialogue, and a plot goal is present, some piece of which is apparent in this scene.
  2. Cut all flabby, extraneous language, such as adverbs, adjectives, “telling” language, and pleasantries between characters. Hone your sentences. Strive for clarity and beauty.
  3. Add a “push-pull” energyof tension to any dialogue or interaction between characters.

Today, I’m going to take the revised scene from yesterday, and I’m going to apply step 3 of Jordan’s revision advice.

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to keep my eyes open, fighting exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it makes me sound like a jerk, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a sleepless night. Every time my head bobbed, I would blink and squint into the hospital lighting. I bet you’re wondering how I could be that tired.

Well, our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced around our vintage two-bedroom home, bayed, and howled all night, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs quieted between 3:45 and 4:15 this morning. We were drifting off to sleep when we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop.

By the time we made it out to the cinderblock structure, whatever knocked over our shelf of tools and racecar parts was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan window out of the back of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places and dented the trunk. The Camaro is my husband’s baby, and to say that he was upset is an understatement.

We spent the two hours before he had to go to work cleaning the shop. After that, I had to drag my ass to Mobile Infirmary with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through my mind-numbing exhaustion and stay awake, but my body at 26 can’t bounce back from lack of sleep as well as it could when I was 16. I was fine when we were standing up and moving, but when the physical therapist took us into a room with a couch, I was done for.

The moment I sank down onto the cushions and felt the morning sun beating down on me through the window, I knew I was doomed. The more the physical therapist talked, the heavier my eyelids got. After a minute, I decided it would be easier for me to listen with my eyes closed. I felt a sense of guilt as the physical therapist’s voice got muffled, but it was suppressed by the sleep that overtook me. I don’t know how long I slept before I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s “Yea, Alabama!” ringtone. “Hello?” My voice was drowsy.

“Babe?”

I spoke through a yawn. “Yeah, honey, what’s up?”

I heard him take a shaky breath and sigh. “I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was at a job site.”

I was awake in an instant, and my heart started pounding with violence at the news. It pounded until I could feel my pulse in my fingertips. “WHAT?! Oh, my GOD! Rick, are you okay?”

Another shaking breath on the other end of the line. “I don’t know.”

“How the hell did that happen?!” I could feel myself shaking, and saw the four women in the physical therapy room with me pale at my words. The physical therapist stopped speaking. All of them leaned in, listening. I tapped the speaker button on my phone so my husband’s grandmother, mother, and sister could hear his reply.

“Cops say it looks like a Molotov cocktail started the blaze.”

I heard Granny moan. “Oh my God.”

“Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned to ashes. My granddaddy’s truck and some poor excuse for a human being burned it to the ground.”

“Oh, Jesus, honey, I’m so sorry.”

Granny started crying. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law both clapped their hands over their mouths and shook their heads in unison.

“I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they should pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

I started crying, too. “I’m so sorry, honey, I don’t know what else to say.”

He may not have known…but I had an idea of who would do something like that to my husband. I’d been trying to handle the problems I was having at work myself because I didn’t want to be the girl who cried wolf. I didn’t want to overreact. I didn’t want to be the histrionic personality that people assumed I was. My mouth went dry and my tongue felt like sandpaper as I struggled to work up the courage to reply.

[I’d love to know what you guys think of the revisions! Thanks!]


Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld – Part 4

Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 14: Relish Revision

Choose a scene or a chapter or a paragraph that is in the first-draft stage (or write a fresh one). You’re going to do three drafts (it’s okay if you break this up over several days). Follow these steps.

  1. Make sure all the elements of a scene are included: The character has an obvious, consistent point of view; your sensory descriptions and imagery show setting and emotion; the action creates a sense of real-time movement and/or dialogue, and a plot goal is present, some piece of which is apparent in this scene.
  2. Cut all flabby, extraneous language, such as adverbs, adjectives, “telling” language, and pleasantries between characters. Hone your sentences. Strive for clarity and beauty.
  3. Add a “push-pull” energyof tension to any dialogue or interaction between characters.

Today, I’m going to take the revised scene from yesterday, and I’m going to apply step 3 of Jordan’s revision advice.

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to keep my eyes open, fighting exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it makes me sound like a jerk, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a sleepless night. Every time my head bobbed, I would blink and squint into the hospital lighting. I bet you’re wondering how I could be that tired.

Well, our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced around our vintage two-bedroom home, bayed, and howled all night, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs quieted between 3:45 and 4:15 this morning. We were drifting off to sleep when we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop.

By the time we made it out to the cinderblock structure, whatever knocked over our shelf of tools and racecar parts was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan window out of the back of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places and dented the trunk. The Camaro is my husband’s baby, and to say that he was upset is an understatement.

We spent the two hours before he had to go to work cleaning the shop. After that, I had to drag my ass to Mobile Infirmary with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through my mind-numbing exhaustion and stay awake, but my body at 26 can’t bounce back from lack of sleep as well as it could when I was 16. I was fine when we were standing up and moving, but when the physical therapist took us into a room with a couch, I was done for.

The moment I sank down onto the cushions and felt the morning sun beating down on me through the window, I knew I was doomed. The more the physical therapist talked, the heavier my eyelids got. After a minute, I decided it would be easier for me to listen with my eyes closed. I felt a sense of guilt as the physical therapist’s voice got muffled, but it was suppressed by the sleep that overtook me. I don’t know how long I slept before I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s “Yea, Alabama!” ringtone. “Hello?” My voice was drowsy.

“Babe?”

I spoke through a yawn. “Yeah, honey, what’s up?”

I heard him take a shaky breath and sigh. “I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was at a job site.”

I was awake in an instant, and my heart started pounding with violence at the news. It pounded until I could feel my pulse in my fingertips. “WHAT?! Oh, my GOD! Rick, are you okay?”

Another shaking breath on the other end of the line. “I don’t know.”

“How the hell did that happen?!” I could feel myself shaking, and saw the four women in the physical therapy room with me pale at my words. The physical therapist stopped speaking. All of them leaned in, listening. I tapped the speaker button on my phone so my husband’s grandmother, mother, and sister could hear his reply.

“Cops say it looks like a Molotov cocktail started the blaze.”

I heard Granny moan. “Oh my God.”

“Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned to ashes. My granddaddy’s truck and some poor excuse for a human being burned it to the ground.”

“Oh, Jesus, honey, I’m so sorry.”

Granny started crying. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law both clapped their hands over their mouths and shook their heads in unison.

“I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they should pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

I started crying, too. “I’m so sorry, honey, I don’t know what else to say.”

He may not have known…but I had an idea of who would do something like that to my husband. I’d been trying to handle the problems I was having at work myself because I didn’t want to be the girl who cried wolf. I didn’t want to overreact. I didn’t want to be the histrionic personality that people assumed I was. My mouth went dry and my tongue felt like sandpaper as I struggled to work up the courage to reply.

[I’d love to know what you guys think of the revisions! Thanks!]


Quote of the Day – 2/27/16

“Nobody’s perfect. We’re all just one step up from the beasts and one step down from the angels.” -Jeannette Walls

You probably noticed that I missed a day. Most of you probably expected it to happen sooner or later. I can hear the bitter grumbles in the back of my mind now.

“Liar. Fraud. You said you were turning over a new leaf. You told me you were committing to writing, at least, one post a day every day, if not two. You let us all down, and you’re a failure. Whoever told you that you have no follow through was right. You will never be a successful writer. You don’t have any real commitment. No wonder you’ve been working on one book for ten years, and you’re still not finished. You know you’re a fraud and a failure. Stop wasting everyone’s time and just give up.”

Okay, so y’all might not be saying those things, but those are the voices I hear in my head after missing a day of writing. I should have posted yesterday, but I got called to substitute teach at the last minute. It was unexpected and the school system I work for has blocked WordPress. I could not access my content editor.

I also had to study for and take a skeletal anatomy unit test. It was challenging and exhausting, but I put in the effort and made 100%. I had an imperfect day and I did my best to work around it. I didn’t get around to my writing for the day and that’s ok. You will occasionally find things that trump your calling, like working toward contributing more to your marriage.

I am human. I make mistakes. I drop the ball. Sometimes my commitment to my writing slips a little. All of these things are ok and they will happen because I’m human. As long as I pick myself up, recommit to my calling, and keep moving forward, slipping for one day isn’t going to destroy the grand scheme of things.


Quote of the Day – 2/25/16

“Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” -Lao Tzu

Parts of my personality don’t really jive too well with my desire to be a writer. One of the facets of my personality that makes living a writerly life difficult for me is my impatience. I have so many fantastic, creative ideas and I want to be finished with them RIGHT NOW.

I constantly get ahead of myself. I have been known to get SFDs professionally edited before I’ve done any revision on my own. I’ve been known to get started on a story before I actually finish my outline, and neither of those situations has ever worked out well for me.

I’m bad about sharing stories before they’re ready. I’m also bad about jumping into a story with both feet and working on it maniacally for days on end, pushing to get as much done at once as possible. Every time I do that, I burn myself out on the story. I plunge into a headlong, blind pursuit, and I inevitably end up trapped in a briar thicket with no discernable way out.

Being impatient and trying to tackle a whole mountain at once always gets me in trouble. Biting off more than you can chew is so utterly counterproductive. Excitement is all well and good, but I’m learning how not to get manic with it. Using up all your energy at the beginning of a project and trying to do everything at once doesn’t serve you or your calling as a writer.

Take your project, and break it down into manageable sections. Budget your time, and don’t overdo it. Doing too much at once will only drain your energy stores and make you love your project less in the long run. Take the journey of pursuing your calling one step at a time. You will still get there, and you will be happier for it.


Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld – Part 3

Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 14: Relish Revision

Choose a scene or a chapter or a paragraph that is in the first-draft stage (or write a fresh one). You’re going to do three drafts (it’s okay if you break this up over several days). Follow these steps.

  1. Make sure all the elements of a scene are included: The character has an obvious, consistent point of view; your sensory descriptions and imagery show setting and emotion; the action creates a sense of real-time movement and/or dialogue, and a plot goal is present, some piece of which is apparent in this scene.
  2. Cut all flabby, extraneous language, such as adverbs, adjectives, “telling” language, and pleasantries between characters. Hone your sentences. Strive for clarity and beauty.
  3. Add a “push-pull” energyof tension to any dialogue or interaction between characters.

Today, I’m going to take the revised scene from yesterday, and I’m going to apply step 2 of Jordan’s revision advice.

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to keep my eyes open, fighting exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it makes me sound like a jerk, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a sleepless night. Every time my head bobbed, I would blink and squint into the hospital lighting. I bet you’re wondering how I could be that tired.

Well, our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced around our vintage two-bedroom home, bayed, and howled all night, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs quieted between 3:45 and 4:15 this morning. We were drifting off to sleep when we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop.

By the time we made it out to the cinderblock structure, whatever knocked over our shelf of tools and racecar parts was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan window out of the back of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places and dented the trunk. The Camaro is my husband’s baby, and to say that he was upset is an understatement.

We spent the two hours before he had to go to work cleaning the shop. After that, I had to drag my ass to Mobile Infirmary with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through my mind-numbing exhaustion and stay awake, but my body at 26 can’t bounce back from lack of sleep as well as it could when I was 16. I was fine when we were standing up and moving, but when the physical therapist took us into a room with a couch, I was done for.

The moment I sank down onto the cushions and felt the morning sun beating down on me through the window, I knew I was doomed. The more the physical therapist talked, the heavier my eyelids got. After a minute, I decided it would be easier for me to listen with my eyes closed. I felt a sense of guilt as the physical therapist’s voice got muffled, but it was suppressed by the sleep that overtook me. I don’t know how long I slept before I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s “Yea, Alabama!” ringtone. “Hello?” My voice was drowsy.

“Babe…I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was at a job site.”

I was awake in an instant, and my heart started pounding with violence at the news. It pounded until I could feel my pulse in my fingertips. “WHAT?! Oh, my GOD! How the hell did that happen?!”

I could feel myself shaking, and saw the three women in the physical therapy room with me pale at my words. I tapped the speaker button on my phone so my husband’s grandmother, mother, and sister could hear his reply.

“Cops say it looks like a Molotov cocktail started the blaze. Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned to ashes. My granddaddy’s truck and some poor excuse for a human being burned it to the ground. I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they should pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

He may not have known…but I had an idea of who would do something like that to my husband. I’d been trying to handle the problems I was having at work myself because I didn’t want to be the girl who cried wolf. I didn’t want to overreact. I didn’t want to be the histrionic personality that people assumed I was. My mouth went dry and my tongue felt like sandpaper as I struggled to work up the courage to reply.

[I’d love to know what you guys think of this revision! Thanks!]


Work It #14 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld – Part 3

Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 14: Relish Revision

Choose a scene or a chapter or a paragraph that is in the first-draft stage (or write a fresh one). You’re going to do three drafts (it’s okay if you break this up over several days). Follow these steps.

  1. Make sure all the elements of a scene are included: The character has an obvious, consistent point of view; your sensory descriptions and imagery show setting and emotion; the action creates a sense of real-time movement and/or dialogue, and a plot goal is present, some piece of which is apparent in this scene.
  2. Cut all flabby, extraneous language, such as adverbs, adjectives, “telling” language, and pleasantries between characters. Hone your sentences. Strive for clarity and beauty.
  3. Add a “push-pull” energyof tension to any dialogue or interaction between characters.

Today, I’m going to take the revised scene from yesterday, and I’m going to apply step 2 of Jordan’s revision advice.

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to keep my eyes open, fighting exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it makes me sound like a jerk, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a sleepless night. Every time my head bobbed, I would blink and squint into the hospital lighting. I bet you’re wondering how I could be that tired.

Well, our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced around our vintage two-bedroom home, bayed, and howled all night, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs quieted between 3:45 and 4:15 this morning. We were drifting off to sleep when we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop.

By the time we made it out to the cinderblock structure, whatever knocked over our shelf of tools and racecar parts was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan window out of the back of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places and dented the trunk. The Camaro is my husband’s baby, and to say that he was upset is an understatement.

We spent the two hours before he had to go to work cleaning the shop. After that, I had to drag my ass to Mobile Infirmary with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through my mind-numbing exhaustion and stay awake, but my body at 26 can’t bounce back from lack of sleep as well as it could when I was 16. I was fine when we were standing up and moving, but when the physical therapist took us into a room with a couch, I was done for.

The moment I sank down onto the cushions and felt the morning sun beating down on me through the window, I knew I was doomed. The more the physical therapist talked, the heavier my eyelids got. After a minute, I decided it would be easier for me to listen with my eyes closed. I felt a sense of guilt as the physical therapist’s voice got muffled, but it was suppressed by the sleep that overtook me. I don’t know how long I slept before I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s “Yea, Alabama!” ringtone. “Hello?” My voice was drowsy.

“Babe…I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was at a job site.”

I was awake in an instant, and my heart started pounding with violence at the news. It pounded until I could feel my pulse in my fingertips. “WHAT?! Oh, my GOD! How the hell did that happen?!”

I could feel myself shaking, and saw the three women in the physical therapy room with me pale at my words. I tapped the speaker button on my phone so my husband’s grandmother, mother, and sister could hear his reply.

“Cops say it looks like a Molotov cocktail started the blaze. Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned to ashes. My granddaddy’s truck and some poor excuse for a human being burned it to the ground. I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they should pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

He may not have known…but I had an idea of who would do something like that to my husband. I’d been trying to handle the problems I was having at work myself because I didn’t want to be the girl who cried wolf. I didn’t want to overreact. I didn’t want to be the histrionic personality that people assumed I was. My mouth went dry and my tongue felt like sandpaper as I struggled to work up the courage to reply.

[I’d love to know what you guys think of this revision! Thanks!]


Quote of the Day – 2/24/16

“The only limits to our realizations of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

Doubt is a trap, and the worst kind of doubt you can fall victim to is self-doubt. As a writer, I know that I have been my own worst enemy on more than one occasion. None of us intend for this to happen, but as a species, we tend to be harder on ourselves than anyone else in the world could be. We have deep, endless wells of faith in others, but when it comes to the self, our wells run dry rather quickly.

Sometimes others trigger our doubts with critical remarks, but you can choose not to allow those doubts to live inside your head. Only you can allow yourself to succumb to doubt. Sure, it would be wonderful to have a broad network of supporters who never doubt you for a second, but even that can’t fix the doubts you have about yourself.

Before anything else, you have to get out your mental weed killer and kill self-doubt in its kudzu-like tracks. Self-doubt breeds the possibility for others to be able to derail you from your calling because you’re helping them rip up the rails! If you want to succeed at anything, you have to get rid of self-doubt and believe that you can do it.

You’re not always going to have others to support you and build you up. If you have faith in yourself, that’s not a problem. But, what happens when you don’t have a support network and you also suffer from self-doubt? What reason do you have to keep pressing on and pursuing your calling? If you’re riddled with self-doubt, it seems like there is no reason for you to keep moving forward. It can be overwhelming, and it can be life-shattering. Self-doubt can stop you from achieving the things you are meant to achieve in life. Self-doubt is the enemy.

As a person who struggles with bouts of depression as a result of Type II Bipolar Disorder, I know just how difficult it can be to overcome self-doubt. I know how powerful an enemy it is because I have allowed myself to be oppressed by self-doubt in the past. I’m going to tell you something that is going to sound a little harsh, but I promise you that it is meant with all the kindness in the world, and it is for your own good.

If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else is going to do it for you. It is your duty to take care of yourself. It is your duty to do the absolute best you can do for yourself. There will be times in your life when you have no one and no one believes in you (or at least it will feel that way). You are the only one that you can truly rely on to remove doubt from your life.

If you treat yourself well, if you do the absolute best you can for yourself every day, and if you believe in yourself in spite of what the rest of the world may or may not think, a wonderful thing happens! What is that thing? You find true freedom because you’ve created a better situation for yourself. The only opinion of you that ACTUALLY matters in this world is your opinion!  Don’t be afraid to have faith in yourself. Listen to your calling. Pursue the things that make you feel fulfilled and like you are leading the right life for YOU, and I promise everything else will fall into place.

When you take care of yourself, the rest of the world will follow suit. So, practice your calling every day, whether it affects anyone else or not. That is why I write blog posts every single day. I am practicing my calling. I believe that writing more, and writing consistently on a daily basis is making me a better writer, and that will eventually pay off in multitudes of ways. Still, there’s only one way that practicing my calling pays off that REALLY matters, and that payoff is this: I am taking care of myself by practicing my calling on a daily basis.

By taking care of myself I mean respecting myself by being diligently dedicated to my calling, whether or not it affects anyone else. Even if the only way that my writing ever benefits me is that I improve myself through consistency and practice, I still feel fulfilled and happy. The more I respect myself and take care of myself, the less room there is for self-doubt to exist within me. Instead, beautiful things like self-confidence and happiness can grow. The more self-confident and happy you are, the easier it is to follow your calling, and the harder it is for anyone else’s doubts to affect you and pull you off the path of pursuing what you feel called to do.

Heed your calling. Pursue it relentlessly, and leave no room for doubt (from yourself or anyone else). For me, the calling is writing. I write every day, rain or shine, no matter how I’m feeling. Even if I only get two blog posts done and nothing else, I have still practiced my craft and pursued my calling.

Nobody can take the things that you do for yourself in pursuit of your calling away from you unless you let them. Don’t let them!


Quote of the Day – 2/23/16

“Do not just seek happiness for yourself. Seek happiness for all. Through kindness. Through mercy.” -David Levithan

I feel like this is one of the best quotes I have shared for writers, so far. Try not to make your writing practice and your writing life solely about you. Remember that the world does not revolve around you, and it helps to keep that in mind when you’re writing.

Bear in mind that you’re doing something that has the potential to affect others. Why not make sure that the effects of your writing practice are positive and uplifting? Why not help those around you with this gift you have for words. Share faith, happiness, positivity, hope, love, and empathy with others through your writing practice.

Whatever your calling is, even if it’s not writing, always try to use it in a positive way. Seek to make others in the world happy, and you will find your happiness along the way. I honestly believe that everyone in the world has AT LEAST one special gift–at least one thing they are astonishingly good at. My husband, Lake, is a skilled mechanic. My best friends, Tori and Christi, have gifts, too. Tori is a fantastic cook. Christi is a gifted percussionist.

Witnessing them utilizing their gifts is an absolute pleasure for me. I enjoy watching them do what they’re good at, and doing so benefits me, too. I feel emotionally uplifted when I get to witness my husband fixing something or Tori cooking, or Christi making music.

My point is this: your gifts aren’t just for your benefit. Your gifts are meant to be shared with the world around you! Don’t be selfish with your gifts because you never know whose life your gifts may change for the better.


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