Tag Archives: optimisim

Wallowing in Karmic Self Recrimination

Sensational Saturdays

my new once a week blog for whatever I feel like

KARMA

That’s right, it’s karma day. A day to seize your comeuppance and enjoy it for what it is, justified.

Whenever I get extra time in my life I think I can do it all. So I sign up for things. And then them come around and I’m handling it. I’m handling my family and my house and my writing and my volunteering. And then I start to work. And then something falls apart.

Then I fall apart.

And I realize that I did this to myself.

Stock Image - CamelI over loaded based on the fact that I was healthy, everyone else was doing great and I could do it all. But when you are at the tipping point and a fat camel comes and sits on your scale, somebody’s back has to break.

And it won’t be the camel’s.

I’m lucky. Okay, I had a rough week. Okay, I’ve had it rough since 2012 began, but none of it is debilitating. None of it will truly set me back for long. And none of it is truly insurmountable.

So what do you do? What am I doing? Well, you already know that! I’m cutting back. I’ve already cut down this blog to once a week. Oh, and I’m forgiving myself. I missed posting yesterday. Why? Well it wasn’t because I didn’t have time, and it wasn’t because I forgot. It was because I just quite plainly needed a day to not do any of this stuff. I needed a day to recover from this H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEY-STICKS week. And I stole it.

I stole it from myself, and it felt good.

I’m hoping that this week goes better, but facing the last two weeks, I’m not sure. So I need to set the second part of my plan in motion and that is do what I can ahead of time, drop what I can, and not sweat everything else. Because karma has come to kick me in the butt and there ain’t nothing to do about it but hang on and survive.

So that goals sheet I set up at the beginning of the year, this week I’m ignoring it. And I’m facing the fact that come next month it may need total revising. My social media frenzy that I’ve been working on for over a year, this week I’m ignoring it. No Twitter, no Facebook, and thanks be to the heavens I already gave up on Linked In. Anything that makes me feel like I’m having a panic attack is getting ignored.

I’m in survival mode and that’s just the way it is. I should have done this months ago, but I avoided looking at the signs. I kept hoping (because as you may know, I’m an optimist) that my life would get whipped back into shape if I just tried harder. But I got hit on the head this week and I’m listening.

I know many of you have done this to yourselves, over-estimated your time, over-committed your time, or over-estimated your capacity for stretching yourself to the bone. Tell me your stories. Share with me your coping strategies. Did you forgive yourself and move on? Or did you wallow in the mud of self-torturing recriminations? 

Free Stock Photo - Pig

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Filed under Optimisim, Sensational Saturday's, Writer's Journey, writing organization

Spring is coming! Believe it or not!

Sensational Saturday

a blog for the moment, and in the moment

Spring is coming.

Free Stock Images - Daffodils
  Okay, it feels far-fetched looking out at the remainder of last weeks snow storm and knowing there is more snow coming. And it seems even more far-fetched when you know this seems like one of the coldest February’s I can remember. But it’s still coming!

And even though it’s bitter (around 22° f for my morning walks) I can see the beginning signs of spring. The cavorting owls that woke me up a few weeks ago, hooting up a storm. The squirrels chasing each other around the bare tree limbs. But most of all it’s the small sprigs of life poking up through the dirt. The bulbs.

I can tell what’s coming already. My neighbors have some slender crocus peeping up, no flowers yet, but they’ll show up eventually. And it’s not just the early bird crocus I can see. My daffodils and even a few brave tulips are poking their green heads up, and it is truly exciting.

And if you look closely at the trees, there are buds forming on those barren branches, signs of emerging leaves way ahead of when I truly expect to see them. It’s coming, despite the frigid weather.

It reminds me of Dr. Suess’s The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. After the Grinch stole the Who’s Christmas, it still came. There was nothing he could do about it. And there were no signs it would show, but the Who’s had faith and Christmas came anyway. And so does spring.

So as I work my way through a few dozen to-do’s and panic at the on-coming final judging responsibilities for the Award Of Excellence, I know spring is coming. Through the winter and despite anything I do, it still comes. The AOE will be over and summer will be coming on and I’ll make it through.

What gets you through? What small things do you see everyday that have you taking a deep breath and continuing with a lighter heart?

Stock Image - Three crocuses

Find me today also at http://joseerenard.wordpress.com/blog/ and read an excerpt from Little Red Riding Wolf.

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Filed under About the Author, Optimisim, Sensational Saturday's

Blind Faith

Sensational Saturdays

a blog for wherever I am at the moment (currently hiding in the closet)

Sometimes this business is about blind faith: the action of moving forward even when you can’t see your feet.

I’m starting a contest, I have a blog tour lined up, and I have no book in hand. Am I crazy?

It sure feels that way. From the moment I opened up my email from Passion in Print Press and saw the contract, my life has felt a little surreal. Like, at any moment, someone is going to shake me awake and yell “Psych!”

As of writing this I have no edits for my book yet, but my editor assures me they are on the way and my January will be a whirl of edits. I do have a cover. I do have a release date. But without the edits I have to wonder, will it all come together? That’s when you have to let it go and trust your publisher. And that can be difficult.

Actually, it makes me realize that this whole writing thing is an exercise in faith. We pick up our pens (okay, open our laptops) and start pouring out our souls onto the paper. We do this without any assurance that someone will even read it, let alone like it enough to publish it. We do this in a sublime state of naivete, confident in our ignorance that we can do this and they will like it and they will buy it. And then reality sets in.

After finishing your first WIP, you have to stop writing. Stop editing. And let someone read it. This is cliff-walking. This is scary.

This is a leap of faith. Putting your baby into the hands of a stranger to read for the very first time. (Or in my case, a very good friend. Thanks K2!) You bite your nails, fret, stop yourself from emailing ten times a day to ask if they like it. And, hopefully they do. But then it’s on to the next cliff.

You have to send it to a publisher, or an agent, or a contest. You have to, eventually, take the leap and let it go into the cruel hard world. And it is cruel. We get rejected. We get hurt. And then, if you are going to succeed, you have to do it again.

Authors are cock-eyed optimists, we have to be. Only an author would take rejection, over and over and over and then still send it out, just that last time. When I heard Sherilyn Kenyon’s story about how she had been rejected, lost her publisher, lost her agent and still sent off her story with her last stamp (from the car where she was living with her family), well…it’s just another example of how crazy we all are. How crazy you need to be to succeed.

So here I sit,  frantically typing blogs for my over zealous blog tour for my first baby novella. Setting up contests and buying swag, all in the hopes that: yes Virgina, there will be a book.

What leaps of faith have you taken lately? Have you sent off your ms, yet again? What about contests? Any Golden Heart entries?

And don’t forget to enter my Little Red Riding Wolf contest. You need to start HERE on the Paranormal Freebies site. Little Red Riding Wolf will be available (my fingers are crossed, which makes typing very difficult) on February 18th, from Passion in Print Press.  And I’m celebrating with giveaways!

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New to the Rodeo

Moonday Madness

a blog about the craft of writing

It’s a wild ride.

From the first moment I decided to write for publication, that was my goal- publication. Now that may sound obvious, but I know many authors who say they are interested in publishing, but they never seem to do the things they need to do to get there. I understand this. It’s easy to let yourself slide into all the myriad things that need to be done and never actually do the few things that will get you to publication.

Why is that? It’s because actually publishing is scary.

It’s scary for me too. From the moment I sent off my first manuscript and received that first rejection I was on a wild ride. First the anticipation and hope of sending it off. Then the deep depression when it comes back, rejected.

Some authors get thrown off and never get back on. They want to publish, even have a deep desire to be published, but the thought of receiving another rejection letter is overwhelming. It’s tough to get back on that horse when your spine is bruised and your ego shaken.

But the reward is great. When I opened the email from Passion in Print Press and saw that it had not just a letter, but an acceptance letter and a contract for Little Red Riding Wolf…well let’s just say I was higher than the top of the stands.

But it’s not over with the acceptance. Then, as a newbie, I’m worried about everything. Is the contract what I think it is? Should I sign? Should I send it certified mail or pay the extra five bucks for Priority? Did they get it? Will they send it back signed? What do I do next?

And worst of all. I can’t stop here. I have to keep writing, keep submitting, and maybe even court another one of those rejection letters. Up and down and up and down, authors have to have wills of iron and buns of steel. Because I know the ride doesn’t stop here, it’s just beginning.

It’s October and my first annual Halloween Treats Contest in celebration of the acceptance of my spicy paranormal novella Little Red Riding Wolf (soon to be released from Passion in Print Press). To enter leave a comment for me and I’ll be announcing the winner of today’s free book on Thursday October 6th when Keridak Kae is my guest blogger. Today’s free book giveaway is Liz Carlyle’s The Bride Wore Scarlet.

And the winner of Saturday’s book is Casey Wyatt! Please email me your address through my contact page and I’ll be sending out books next week! Congratulations!

The winner of The Bride Wore Scarlett is Brinda Berry! Congratulations Brinda, send me your address through my contact page and I’ll send out your book next week! Congratulations!

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Filed under Moonday mania, Writer's Journey, writing organization

bijoux

bijoux, the little jewels I’ve reaped from the retreat

Moonday Madness

a writer oriented blog

Wine, writing and song, (okay, nobody sang, thank God) that’s what writing retreats are made of. As many of you know I attended my very first Colorado Romance Writers September Writing Retreat last weekend. As to why I didn’t write about it last week, well I was still processing.

Our estimable retreat organizers packed the weekend with workshops, hilarious games and time to write. In fact there was so much going on I was never bored and wished we could keep going for another few days. It seems like September is the month for writer’s retreats as my friends Sharon Clare and Sherry Isaac at Romance and Beyond as well as Elaine Cougler were also at their own lakefront retreat and I’ve read of others who were retreating as well.

Why do we have retreats? One of the things I learned was that everyone goes to CRW’s retreats for different purposes. Some went to connect. To make new friends, see old ones and to get that piece of the business that writers are frequently shorted on, face to face conversation. Some went to write. To have time in a beautiful mountain setting where there were no kids, no job, no pesky husbands vying for their attention. Some went not knowing what they were going for, but all went home satisfied.

Why did I go? I wasn’t sure at first. This was my first retreat and I didn’t know really what to expect. I packed my laptop and WIP, hoping to finish those stubborn last pages. I packed two bottles of wine, hoping to spend time with friends. And I packed my Ipod, just in case I wanted to shut out the noise and really work. And I did all that and more. I did do some work (I should underline the word some) on my WIP, I socialized and played games. But I also attended all three of the quality workshops.

Workshops presented by the fabulous Margie Lawson on Defeating Self Defeating Behaviors, Ann S. Brady on handling the grief of rejection, and Liz Pelletier of Entangled Publishing on what editors are looking for in today’s tough market. All three were so fantastic that I decided they each need their own blog. So look forward to future Moonday Madness posts detailing each one. I can’t take you on the retreat with me, but I am sure going to try!

How do you refresh your inkwell? Have you attended a retreat lately or is it still on your bucket list?

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Discovering Adult Playdates

Sensational Saturdays

a blog where I write whatever comes up

 

A few years ago I found that my contact with adults was limited to opportunities that had to do with children. I baked cupcakes for the bake sale, drove here and there for everything from the zoo to the jumpy castle birthday party, and hauled cases of juice boxes. My conversations were squeezed into ten minute increments with a child pulling on my arm “It’s time to go Mom!”

And we seemed to only talk about kids. What was going on at the school or at Girl Scouts or soccer. How the volunteering for swim team was enormous and what a relief it was that the child had decided not to do it this year. Short conversations that revolved around something that wouldn’t even be an issue in a few years. Because those kids grow up.

As my children’s world grew bigger, mine shrank. No longer did I get to walk them to school and meet adults outside on the playground. They walked themselves. Now the drama and trauma of the empty nest loomed.

I tried dialing old friends, then ones with whom I’d partied all night in college, spilled my guts to over early morning pancakes. Those people I thought I’d always be friends with. Turns out while I was busy helping my kids learn to get friends and influence people I’d lost all of my own. I was left alone with the cupcakes.

At around the same time I sold used books out of my house. A job that kept me busy and earned around $300 a week with little time except that spent scrounging around dusty thrift stores searching for treasure. An activity I loved having an excuse to do, but was once again solitary. One of the side benefits was the ton of used books on a variety of eclectic subjects. That’s how I read the 80’s classic The Beardstown Ladies’ Common-Sense Investment Guide.

Why anyone would read an old paperback about a bunch of older ladies and their club is beyond me. But I loved it. I went on to Chicks Laying Nest Eggs : How 10 Skirts Beat the Pants Off Wall Street…And How You Can Too! A more modern hip version where the ladies were hot hockey wives and they met online through emails instead of in dusty small town meeting rooms. I was hooked.

I wanted a club. One where I could talk to adults about adult subjects. And the get rich on the side benefit? Well money is always nice. I reasoned that my busy friends who never had the time anymore to get together would make the time if it was an SIE (scheduled important event). And I was not disappointed.

Under the excuse about learning about the stock market I called my friends who never had the time to go out. They came. They made time for the first meeting. We had our own cupcakes and instead of apple juice in boxes we had glowing red and white wine in glass bottles. It was an adult play date.

The Queens of Green are still meeting three years later. I’ve learned a ton of stuff about the stock market, made a little money, (yes, we are actually up-at least as of yesterday) and now I manage my own tiny investments online. But the best part is my secret tell-no-one goal has been achieved. I now have my own friends.

And the looming threat of the empty nest? Well that is a distant memory. Between my investment club, my RWA activities, and oh yeah, writing full time, I have no fears of the empty nest. I’ve prevented what could have been a catastrophe.

Have you ever had to re-make your life? What happens to those friends who you swore you’d always have contact with? What feeds your soul and keeps you from threats like the empty nest?

I want to thank Shutterstock for the free clip art. Yumm, cupcakes..

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Filed under channeling success, Optimisim, Sensational Saturday's

Embarking on a New Adventure

Sensational Saturdays

a blog where I write, whatever!

For those of you just joining my blog I started the year stepping onto the board of life. Spinning the wheel and seeing where my little car would take me I drove straight into a class by Angi Morgan, author of Hill Country Hold Up (if you love suspense, you’ll love Angi’s books!) where I learned that first time authors have a world of things to do and no time to do them. Angi described her first year as an author as a roller coaster ride, thrilling, but scary.

Angi’s advice was to jump on the roller coaster now! What would you be doing if you were published? And she told us what she’d needed to do. Not only come through with edits for the accepted book, but whip out a synopis and a second book in record time. And the roller coaster continued with websites and promotion and all the things she’d never thought of doing before being published.

And that’s how I find myself in the predicament I am now, amazingly, astonishingly, awesomely busy. I love everything I do and dropping something is difficult. I am very active in my local RWA chapter CRW. I’m working hard on our OctoberFalling into Romance Tea. I am still juggling reservationist, but have a wonderful person to take it on after today. So that will leave me PRO liason and AOE co-ordinator.

Phew! Along with balancing two websites (if you haven’t checked out Paranormal Freebies, please do so HERE), my crazy self-imposed goals for writing, oh yeah, the dog and the family, I have loaded a lot on my plate. But I’m winnowing it down.

And then I came across the Third Writing Campaign! Seems easy, right?

Just check out the 25+ blogs in my group, and accept the three challenges.

Well I couldn’t leave it there? Could I?

I have added in Kerri Cuevas Choose Your Own Adventure to my plate. But how could I resist? I loved those books as a kid. It was like writing your own story. You would start the story, and it would be about you. Something terrible would happen and at the end of the chapter would be those magical words: If you  choose to stay and fight, go to page five. If you choose to run out the door, go to page twenty-two.

Well, what would you do?

Read them over and over and over, till you had the entire thing memorized. I still see them sometimes in used bookstores. Well read, but still chugging along. So I had to jump on Kerri’s train and I’m thrilled to announce that we’re about to start working on our very own choose your own adventure!

You can check out the list of nineteen intrepid bloggers and authors who will be writing this adventure with me HERE, and I hope when the time comes you will all be adventurous yourselves on October 23, 20011 and go to Kerri’s blog and see what happens when the reader gets to choose!

Did you read these as a child? Share with me if you did and if you didn’t what fabulous books held your attention when you were young?

And don’t forget to check back Monday for Moonday Madness with guest blog by Summer Mahan!

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Filed under channeling success, Optimisim, Sensational Saturday's, Third Writers Platform Building Campaign, writing organization

Goal Setting Survival

Moonday Mania

A writer oriented blog

Today’s blog is the first in a series of four about how organization has saved me. The other three parts will run in August, after Sherrry Isaac’s guest blogging.

The blogging Karma has spoken. The other day found me talking with a friend of mine about stress and how it makes her sick and how she needs to cut it out of her life. We both agreed, modern people (especially women) think we need to do everything, do it well and get it done yesterday. And it’s killing us. Some of us end up obese and some with auto-immune disorders and some with shoe shopping fetishes.

Lo and behold the very next morning my friend Sherry Isaac sends me a link to More Cowbell and Jenny Hansen’s outlook on setting a goal to add “worry free writing time” to her list of to-do’s.

What’s this? A to-do on my writing list of killer goals that makes time for me as a person? Crazy. But obviously the universe is telling me something. All my over-stretched goals don’t help me become more productive, they just make me over-worked. Can goal setting actually help us become healthier? And I’m not talking setting weight-loss goals. I mean actual professional goals. Does your mental health require you to set professional goals that encourage you to nurture yourself?

Setting goals is part of my life. I set yearly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals and daily goals. All in hopes of achieving my dream, publishing my writing. (Okay, earning some cash with said writing.) I love the process of goal setting. Purchasing new notebooks and writing things down thrills my inner organizer. But then the inner organizer runs up against the real me, the Procrastinator. And I get stressed.

There is no way I can do all of this. No way I can keep up with the day to day over-the-top goals I want to achieve. So how do I do it all? How do I become a paranormal writer extraordinaire, an amazing self-promoter and still survive?

Am I trying to become superwoman writer and achieve so much that I actually end up sabotaging myself in the process?

Jenny Hansen”s idea of adding “worry free writing time” to her to-do’s is amazing. It’s still a professional goal but it has the added benefit of not being something you can fail at. There are no word counts in worry free writing. No required three-character-sheets-by- the-end of-the-hour deadlines. No plot constrictions. It’s free. And freeing.

By adding one goal to your to do list that feeds your soul its like adding in time for meditation, exercise, or ice cream. Its something that you can relax and enjoy and get those endorphins flowing. And it is still a professional goal. Still one that you can use to drive your creativity. And one that might even improve your creativity while it lowers your heart rate. Amazing!

I’d love to hear how you free yourself within your goal setting. What kinds of goals can you think of that are within your profession, but not constrictive?

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Filed under channeling success, Goal Setting, Moonday mania, Optimisim, writing organization

Straggling Over the Finish Line

My class on Online Author Awareness with the phenomenal Carolyn Cooper that began as my Brave Adventure  is over, finished, finito. And as much as I strove to do it differently it has ended just like many of my online classes do. The marathon is over and I barely crossed the finish line.

I start a class full of good intentions. I will keep up! I will do all the homework! I will end this class at the top! But then life interferes and I’m barely keeping up with reading the messages, let alone the pages and pages from the file section. As moderator for a CRW class I have the responsibility to make sure everyone is having a good time and behaving nicely, so when I moderate I do make sure I read every message, just in case. And that is about all I could do by the end of this class.

While I fell behind somewhere between lesson six (Landing pages and squeeze pages) and lesson seven (the Neuropsychology of choice) I will have plenty of opportunity to catch up. I have all of the files on my computer and I’ve printed out everything but the last case study. I will learn this stuff if it kills me.

Am I unhappy that the class was chock full of relevant information? No! Am I unhappy that I will have reading for the weeks to come? No! Am I unhappy that I couldn’t keep up? Well yes, but not with the class. Carolyn was a fantastic teacher brimming with information and she has given it to me in a form that I can easily review and learn on my own time. She was incredibly participatory and helpful to everyone in class and if you are at all interested in this topic I cannot recommend a better person to learn from. Just don’t schedule anything else!

No, the failings in this case are all mine. I simply didn’t have enough time or energy. But I will now. I will review the last three lessons and make sure I understand them. I will apply what I have learned. And I am still excited about this topic. So excited in fact that I am considering doing it again! Carolyn and CRW are offerering a class in Analytics For Authors and I am excited! Another class where there will be tons of information on something I know nothing about. I’m in heaven.

Of course, now I know what analytics are and what they can do for me as a blogger, website owner, and author. But do I have a clue how to use them? Not really. A full class will help tremendously. Time to don the marathon equipment again, face the starting line and hope that this time I cross with flying colors and win!

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The Dreaded Deadline

An amazing thing happened to me when I decided to become a pre-published author instead of an un-published author. Suddenly I had deadlines. Those crazy things that published authors are secretly proud to have, but all moan about, just so us newbies know what we are missing. Those things, they showed up in my life like small children tugging at my skirts. “Feed us.”

They pull and push. They yammer and yowl. Where did they come from? I don’t have an editor, agent or anyone demanding my work be finished on time. Where could these crazy demanding deadlines come from?

They came from me. When I decided to act like I was published my world changed. I became a person with a schedule and I set up goals for myself and along with those goals came the deadlines, wounded crafts in need of attention, tied to my hardworking goals tugboating along. Being the messed up over-achiever that I am, I set up many goals, big goals, demanding goals. So their deadlines were many and big and demanding.

Deadlines are necessary for anyone to achieve at a rapid pace. There is no way I would be here. When I look back six months ago I had no website, no blog, no business cards. No business calling myself an anything, let alone an author. But now I have multiple works in progress, several are “finished”, and I am getting my name out there. People know me. People I have never met and may never meet know me as an author. And I have the deadlines to thank.

If you set goals without deadlines your odds of achieving them shrivel to nothing. There is no reason to complete anything without those whiny children tugging at you, reminding you, needing you. You float out there in the someday realm, waiting for something to happen. Deadlines keep us on track, keep us focused. And when you hit them, you get the added bonus of not only moving further down your chosen path, but you also get the glow of success. You achieved a deadline. You are great! You are fantastic! You are the bomb!

So set those goals, but make sure you invite deadlines to the table, and stick to them. Okay, even if you don’t stick to them they can drive you forward, but if you don’t hit them you don’t get the bonus. You don’t get to do the happy dance and sing and say “I’m the bomb!”

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