Here we are. Another weekend is over. If you are reading the other stories I post, you may know that I did a little shopping last week. I have tried and tried to get myself into that kitchen. This week, I chose another fight. I decided to fight some inner demons.
I have been working hard on this blog. I am pouring my heart and soul into it, and it is having positive effects in my life. This weekend, I took a much needed break from my routine.
I have given myself a deadline for starting to work on my book. I hope to be done with my Spring Cleaning on or before July 1st. This way I have given myself a full 6 months for each project I am working on this year. If I finish early, bonus. I have no doubts that when I sit down to write, it will happen. I am doing well with the consistency of the blog.
A discussion online made me stop and think about my progress. I have not finished yet what I have resolved to do this year. I am making lists and getting some of the things done, but I never finish the list. The approach thus far has been to make the list, get done what I can, and start a new list the next day. Or continue the same list. The discussion I was referring to was when someone alluded to feeling like a fraud because they have not written a book yet.
I am not a fraud. I work hard at things all the time, even if the progress is made only inside of my head. I am also working on making myself healthier, and that is a project that has no deadline. It is ongoing. Deciding what is best for me to tackle on a weekly basis is moving towards completing something. Progress is progress. No matter how it appears to anyone else.
I did a small amount of puttering. I did not do anything that is picture worthy. So the progress pics will have to wait another week. I have a few vacation days coming up in April, and I plan to use them wisely. I am hoping to catch up in the kitchen this month and be able to move on to the rest of my home. I am going to have to force the issue, with myself, if I am ever going to get it accomplished. That is why I have had to give myself a deadline. At some point, I DO have to finish the Spring Cleaning and move on to the book writing.
Writing this series is helping. I am planning and seeing what needs to be done, and I have ideas of what I will be sharing in the pictures as I progress. Tomorrow after work I have plans to work on a small section of the kitchen while making supper. As I wrote somewhere earlier today on social media, the house does not bounce itself.
This weekend I caught up with some friends, and we had a fantastic time at a local board game cafe. We hung out for the whole evening, and that included the taxi driver being pulled over by the cops for making an illegal left turn while driving us to my friend’s house. If I had a cell phone (what! she doesn’t have a cell phone! the horror!) I would have been able to join in with the Pokemon Go the rest of them played last night. I tried it, and we had fun just hanging out.
Today I spent some quality time chatting with family. Then I went to see the new Smurfs movie with my husband. It was SMURFTASTIC! So familiar, and positive, and full of all the Smurfy jokes and Smurf magic.
I worked on myself this weekend. I recharged my batteries and am ready to take on the next week. I will be working on the Spring Cleaning over the next weekend, and hopefully a little bit all week. I know it will all add up and I will get there. So no, I am not a fraud, by any standard. I am a person that is a work in progress, and I am going to keep working until I accomplish my goals.
In the journey to becoming an author, there are many roadblocks along the way. Inspiration or the Muse must be present to begin. Time must be set aside each day to write and practice your craft. There is a whole different world to enter when one wants to become a published author. WIP means “Work In Progress”. It is the current project that is being written. A social media presence is a must to develop your target audience. Writer’s Block is a fear that can strike at any time, and if it takes hold, can have disastrous effects on that WIP.
If an author survives all of these obstacles, the biggest hurdle of all looms in the distance. Submissions are needed to take the scariest step of all. Submitting the WIP for publishing.
Self-publishing is an option. Editing is a must. Beta readers test read the WIP and hopefully provide constructive criticism and positive feedback. Repeat as necessary. Query letters are sent to publishing companies.
Then the waiting begins.
The self-doubting during this time, which does not always have an exact deadline for a reply can be paralyzing. The WIP is sent out to one or many different publishers, with excited anticipation. As the days turn into weeks, which turn into months, the feeling changes. The belief in the WIP can fade. Negativity creeps into the picture and can cause the author to stop writing. This is the hardest thing a writer has to face.
It happened to me. I wrote a poem and submitted it to my writing group. I have experienced new friendships, answers to many questions, and support in this group. I continue to be a member of the Ninja Writers. I found them on facebook, and I am now a card carrying member. I am supporting a co-operative publication. My submission did not make the first publication.
I got my first rejection letter. It was not the result I wanted, but it is done. As an author, it will not be my last. As an author, I have arrived.
Was I disappointed? Absolutely. Did it break my desire to keep trying? Not a chance. My work is just beginning as an author. There will be times when I want to give up. If I am going to succeed, I have to be able to keep trying. Stubborn determination twisted with an immense amount of patience will help me to persevere and succeed.
I will be looking forward to receiving my first copy of the Ninja Writers Zine. It is called The NW. I am planning to read it from cover to cover, more than once, so that I can up my game for the next call for submissions. More information about it can be found at their Patreon link:
It is a closed group, but the creator of the Ninja Writers, Shaunta Grimes, has given me permission to share both of these links here. She is a published author, and leading the Ninja Writers Revolution! She has created so many useful tools and guides for up and coming authors like me. Thanks for giving me a place to share, learn and improve upon my writing dreams, Shaunta! Ninja Writers Rock!
Finally, I will link the poem that I have published in January here. It was featured on this blog, and I am proud of it whether or not it shows up anywhere else. This is what I submitted for The NW.
Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues. It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on. Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real. The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale. If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Homepage for this blog. I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.
The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name. If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story. The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors. I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.
This week I am pleased to share another of my own stories.
Here is Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 7
The importance of happiness is not something that should be ignored in dealing with weight issues. If I am unhappy, I will eat my feelings, and not make healthy food choices. When I am happy, I tend to be smarter and more conscious of what I am eating. It is not always so straightforward, though.
Happiness is linked to positivity and optimism. Energy is higher when I am happy. Happiness can, therefore, be linked with motivation. When I have the motivation, nothing can stand in my way. Except for dessert. How do I stay motivated? The first trick is to set reasonable goals.
I am not talking about the scale, although anyone that has weight issues has a love-hate relationship with the bathroom scale. We love it when the number on the scale is favourable; we hate it when it is not. It is best to not weigh yourself every day, but if the scale is right there, and you are just going to peek…that can be a depressing habit. Because we all know that weight fluctuates. If the scale shows a plateau or a change in the wrong direction, well there is a reason to just give up and go eat everything you want. So if you avoid the scale completely, or weigh only once a week or once a month, it is sufficient, and the number on the scale does not become an unhealthy obsession.
I am talking about doing little things to make the journey worthwhile. Allow yourself to buy something nice once in a while. Not food. That is not a productive treat unless is a healthy choice. But you’re going to eat anyway, so food is not necessarily the correct reward for someone with weight issues.
A new tube of lipstick or a new nail polish is a way to treat yourself without worrying about size. One size fits all gifts are perfect rewards for people like me because they do not have to be fit into. It is great to find out that you are down a size when you need to go buy a new pair of jeans or a new dress, but it can be counter-productive because the size of clothing also impacts our self-image. If it is a larger size or the same, it implies that what you are doing is not enough, and it can also make you want to stop trying.
Grab your favourite music and go for a walk. Music makes me happy and motivates me. I get so many more things accomplished when I listen to music. Buy a new album and support your favourite artist. If you listen to that album while exercising, you are benefiting from your treat, and it is helping you on your journey. There are lots of ways to listen to your music now, but I still buy CDs from the bands I want to support. I buy them at a live show if I can, they get a bigger slice of the pie that way. Food analogy. I can’t escape desserts no matter how hard I try. There are no calories here, though.
Last Saturday I had an errand or two. I wanted to get a clear plastic tablecloth. A protective cover for my pretty tablecloth and some new placemats. I ‘ve purchased two new pieces of art (I found them at the dollar store a few months ago) for my kitchen, which I can hang up when I finish spring cleaning it.
I found the stainless steel straws I have been looking for, (PLEASE IF YOU BUY THESE ONLY DRINK COLD BEVERAGES WITH THEM). Hot drinks ingested quickly into the stomach…that can’t end well. The straws would possibly increase that heat, and the only way I can think of treating a burn on the inside of your stomach is aloe vera juice. I do not know if that would even work.
The reason I have been searching for the stainless steel straws was for a Trim Healthy Mama drink I make from the plan. It calls for apple cider vinegar, which can be nasty to the enamel on your teeth. It is good to help with weight loss. So I am helping my weight loss, adding less waste to the environment by using straws that I can wash and use forever, and I am saving the enamel on my teeth.
I could not pass up the sale I found on coffee. Keurig K-cups, 75% off. That worked out to $3.00 a box. I stocked up. That is a treat for me that I can be happy about. I drink 3 k-cups a day. Black. I am trying 3 new kinds of coffee, and if I don’t like it, I can give it to someone else and not feel like it was an expensive thing to give away. I hope I like them because I plan to be drinking my bargain coffee for a while.
Soul food isn’t food. It is what makes you feel good. Music is my soul food. I am glad I have it because it helps me snap out of a mood, and kick into high gear. Which is what I need to continue on my not so straight and completely not narrow path. Stop reaching for comfort food, and stock up on your soul food. Find whatever makes you happy, and make it a part of your new routine. Not your meal plan.
Well, I decided it was time to give a progress report. The tunes are cranked. I am motivated. So what did I get done?
I have decided to publish this first thing Saturday morning so I can keep the momentum going that I found last weekend. I worked on my kitchen DURING THE WEEK! I am really happy with my progress.
I moved the dish drainer out of the way to create a new Coffee Station. I blogged about that on Monday, because I was so excited that I had to share what I did. For a recap of that short story, here is a link: Coffee Station Complete!
I washed the curtains, and they are all hung back up. I also had to flip the windowsill decorations to match the flip of the coffee station. The curtain has to be at the opposite side of the window, which caused the rearrangement of the items. I have put the dish drainer on the other side of the sink. It is a better place because the dishes are on that side of the kitchen. Most of them. Then I continued to the last section of the countertop. Breadbox, toaster and blender are shuffled. The electric stand mixer is by the dish drainer now. It meant I could tuck the toaster beside the breadbox, instead of it being in front of the breadbox like it was before.
Then I ran out of steam. My husband helped during the week, which can help me to get going. I have plans to start my day with paying it forward. I am off to help another friend in the land of blogging and website design. I will do what I can to help, and we will see how far we get. The last friend I helped has 2 blog posts published and is still figuring it all out. I plan to help her again when our schedules align, and also to share her blog in the future when it is developed further. I am also planning to share blogs from others that I help, even if they do all the work and I just gave them ideas to run with. There is at least one person I know that is doing this, and it is nice to see them happy about their progress.
After I finish helping my friend today, I am going to go back into my kitchen, and get the house bouncing again! I need to keep the momentum going so that I CAN finish, otherwise I will NEVER finish, and that is just not acceptable to me. I need to do this cleaning challenge, more than ever! I need to prepare my home for neglect while I am writing. I know, it will still need maintenance cleaning, and I shall be looking into that when I am at that stage. For now, I will leave you knowing I am fighting through the procrastination and laziness, doing good in the world by helping friends, and getting my kitchen ready for spring, with a promise of more pictures as I complete different areas.
I am rethinking storage in my kitchen. I sense more reorganization in my future of 4 areas. I have very little room for storage, so I have to plan any changes in detail before tacki\ling them because any changes are critical, and need to improve on how things are now, rather than just add more confusion and not maximize the storage space that I have available. I am preparing to take this project on this weekend.
Have a productive Saturday! Who knows, maybe that next Weekend Warrior will be tomorrow’s story, with those pics I am preparing to share.
This adventure is growing. One like at a time. One laugh at a time. One follower at a time. One share at a time. Most importantly, one story at a time. It has given life to an imagination. It is a small obsession, reaching beyond what it was supposed to be. It is gaining momentum. Every time inspiration strikes, so do the strokes on the keyboard. Is it going to change the world at large? Maybe. Is it going to change my life? It already has.
Something is happening to me. I am gaining confidence in my abilities. I am pushing myself to write several times a week, and I am following through with the schedule that is developing as I write. I am watching the stats, and grinning while shaking my head at them. They tell me that I have reached an audience in 30 different countries. I have had more than 100 likes on this Blog, as a whole. Most of them are from people I do not know personally. To anyone that has looked at this blog, read any of my stories, liked, shared, commented or followed, I want to personally thank you. It humbles me to realize that people take the time to do this, even if it is just for the few minutes they take to read what is on my mind. I am finishing month five today. I have been consistent and persistent. It takes dedication.
I am having fun. I found my passion, I really believe it. I want to write and share the things that matter to me here. I want to expand my horizons, and get those books published. I am also sharing how I am trying to live a healthier lifestyle, and how my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions are progressing. I am writing about things that matter in my world, and from the support I see in the stats, these things matter to more people than just me.
It was a steep learning curve for me to take a run at when I started. For me, HTML was a thing that popped up by accident on my computer when I was surfing. Literally. There I was, Facebooking away when suddenly, there was a box of text that appeared on top of my facebook pages. Thank goodness I found the corner with the “X” to close it when it happened. Which was more frequently than I want to remember. It still scares me, when it is just there because I don’t really know what it does, or why it jumps out at me. But I have used HTML in setting up this blog, and I would not call myself an expert in any way shape, or form, I can now say that I have used it, and that is something I wasn’t able to say six months ago.
Constructive criticism helped me to develop the page you see today. I didn’t know anything about colour palettes for websites or branding myself as an author. I have a long way to go yet, and lots to learn, but if it keeps being this much fun, I see me working on it for the rest of my life. I have always had a vivid imagination and a creative artist inside of me. When I work with beads, and I create something that is mine from concept to finished product, I get this feeling. There is pride, but it is more than that. It is excitement and that thing that everyone says you should base your career choices on. That thing is passion. I feel it even more strongly when I am writing, reading, editing, and previewing every story that I publish on this blog. It is infectious. It is contagious. And it is bubbling out in every direction!
I am happier. I am doing better at my day job. People can see the difference in me. I am feeling the spark of inspiration all around me, and I am fueling it with all of the creativity and optimism I can get my hands on. I am able to process things in my everyday life, even things that I am not writing about, in a different way. I got my optimism back. It was missing for quite some time, but I have hope again. I have always had faith and a belief that things would work out even when times are tough. Now that I am working on this blog, and making plans for my future as an author, I am making one of my dreams come true. Because I am making it happen, I KNOW that things will be better in my future. It is up to me, and I am taking control of the next chapter in my own life.