Cross It Off! #LiveYourBliss

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You probably noticed the blog has a new look. Tell me what you think. I’m not sure yet, how I feel about it, but I made some changes because things are changing for me. My middle grade series is finished, unless you all tell me you’re dying for another Gabriel Hunter book, and currently I’m working on an adult novel. It falls somewhere between Women’s Fiction and Romance. The book is in its infancy stages, but the story is about a middle-aged woman evicted from her predictable life when she receives an anonymous gift – a dilapidated house.

I’m also getting ready to open my doors as a development editor for fiction work. More to come on that in the future.

We’ve been talking lately about living your bliss. If you missed the posts check them out here and here. I hope you have begun taking some steps to bring your bliss to reality. You know, I received a message the other day from someone I went to high school with. It went like this: “Are you really an author? LOL – good for you.” I wasn’t sure what the LOL meant (and I know it’s Laugh Out Loud, thank you,) maybe he found it humorous I could write? But I think the most important part was the “good for you” And I want to say that to you.

Maybe you’ve done some research, hopefully, you found your partner to keep you accountable, but how do you stay organized while on your journey?

I like lists. I’m slightly anal retentive. You should see my cabinets. I make a two lists. One for my personal life and that includes anything I need to get done for me or the Noodges. My second list is my professional one. All my writing stuff goes there. I sit down either Sunday or Monday morning and I focus on only my lists. I write everything I need to do down (Yes, on paper and with a black pen.) I don’t care how long the lists become because once I have down what I need I don’t have to think about the “to-do” list anymore. I focus on completing my tasks and not trying to juggle, in my already crowded mind, what I must be doing.

I cross off each item as it gets done. I love seeing lots of black slashes on the page. I feel accomplished. Even when the page looks messy. As a matter of fact, the more scribbles through the list I have, making the list messier, the happier I am. Goes against the neat cabinet thing, but have I mentioned I’m a writer? We’re all a little off our rockers. If the end of the week comes and I haven’t finished a task, it goes on the list for the next week.

Even though I keep my calendar on my iPad because it syncs with my phone, allowing me to have my calendar with me at all times, I also block out my weeks on a paper calendar. A sample of my calendar page is right below. For this I use pencil. Step one: block out everything I can’t change like what time the school bus comes or kids’ activities. I add doctors’ appointments, hair appointments, social outings. I even include exercising and when I need to make dinner. Whatever white spot I have left on the calendar I know I can do what I want with that time. If you’re trying to live your bliss, that’s what the open time is for. It’s your appointment with yourself to follow your dreams. calendarpage

When I started writing novels seriously, my Noodges were somewhere around the ages of 3 1/2 and 2. You know when my open time was? 5 am! That’s when I wrote. I dragged my butt out of bed and wrote, by hand, until someone woke up which was usually around 6. It took me three years to write that first novel. (It’s unpublished and will remain so for fear of total embarrassment.)

If you’re reaching for your bliss you’ll find the time. I promise you. Write it down. Cross it off. Namaste. 

 

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Do You Need A Partner?

wineryRecently we spoke about living your bliss. If you missed it, you can check it out here. I was glad to see this started many conversations around the dinner table. I truly believe everyone should be doing what brings them joy.

Today, I thought we’d talk about a way to start that journey.

Find a partner.

You need someone in your life who will hold you accountable. Could be a spouse. If your spouse doesn’t completely understand your need to be a tight-rope walker, that’s okay. Find someone who does. There’s probably a tight-rope walker support group near you.

Make an agreement with this person to email them, and they you, about the steps you’ve taken to accomplish your goal (and theirs). Set a date to send that email by. And keep it simple. Write your accomplishment in the subject line and hit send. It doesn’t have to be a big, long email.

Maybe you need to do research on how to open a bakery. Let your partner know that you did it. Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a photographer. Send your buddy a picture every time you take one. Or start an Instagram account to catalog your accomplishments if your friends are tired of seeing pictures of squirrels eating nuts.

I have critique partners and many writer friends. My one writer friend, Leslie, (she has a fantastic blog about books, writing, and being a librarian. Check her out when you get a chance,) and I will often email each other our daily word count. It keeps us accountable. Meeting with my critique partners also keeps me accountable (I have to bring pages once in a while) and my wonderful writer friends, especially M. Kate Quinn, Shari Nichols, K. M. Fawcett, and Chris Redding keep me from jumping off the ledge with things get tough. (All these women are wonderful authors. If you’re looking for something to read, don’t miss them.)

If you’ve looked around and there is no one you can share this new, exciting journey to bliss with, then tell me. Leave a comment or send and email. I want to hear about how you’re changing your life and living your bliss. And if you’re already living your bliss, then share your inspiration with us. Namaste 

Welcome To Bibliotheca, Book Two in the Gabriel Hunter series, for Kindle is on sale May 3-4 for $.99. Don’t miss it.

Choose Your Time Wisely & The Hat Trick

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Photo courtesy of Ankakay at Flikr Creative Commons

 

Everyone I know never has enough time to get to everything they want and usually the things that get ignored are exercising, health, and passions. I hear this a lot. “I’ll write that book when the kids go to college or when I turn 50.” “I don’t have time to exercise after a full day at work and running the kids around.” It’s hard to find the time.

We all get twenty-four hours in a day. No one gets extra time. (And if you’ve figured out how to get more than 24 hours let us know.) It’s how you choose to spend that time that matters. Yes, it’s a choice. You can choose to sit on the couch and watch your favorite television show or you can choose during the commercials to drop on the floor and do twenty push-ups. You can choose to go for a walk around the neighborhood or you can choose to eat the ice cream. You can choose to start writing that book or you can do the laundry. I can’t tell you how many people tell me they don’t have time to read. But I bet you money, if they got off that computer, stop playing Candy Crush, scrolling through Facebook, or staying away from Amazon there would be more time to read.

I know how hard it is to “find the time.” When I decided I was going to take my writing seriously, learn my craft and write a novel, my children were toddlers who didn’t nap and I was the primary care giver. The Coffee King had recently started his own business. He worked all day making sure he was successful enough to support all four of us. He used the only computer we had. That meant, if I was going to write I had to get up before the kids did at 6 a.m. I woke at 5 and wrote by hand.

I thought when the kids were old enough to understand, “Mommy, is going to do some work now” they’d know they couldn’t come looking for me for a while. How wrong I was. So, I employed the red baseball hat trick. I told them, when I was wearing the red baseball hat they weren’t allowed to talk to me unless there was blood or vomit involved. I promised to warn them before I put the hat on so they could ask all the questions they had (and they always had questions) but no talking to me until I took the hat off. It worked. But it was a choice to carve out the time.

Even now that they are teens I choose to say, “I’m working now.” Or I stop what I’m doing and pay attention to them. I choose to work out instead of taking a nap because exercise keeps me nice. Sometimes I choose the cookie and not the fruit. Or I choose to return a call to Person A instead of Person B.

But at the end of the day I’ve chosen how to spend my time. And you can too.

I like lists and calendars. I mark out my whole week on a calendar. I pencil in the things I can’t get out of. Like going to the bus stop or doctor’s appointments or making dinner. Then I see how much white space is left and then I pencil in the other stuff. Sometimes I have to choose exercise over writing. I don’t like that choice because I want to be able to do both in a day, but I choose. Or I choose not to meet a friend for lunch so I can write and exercise. That’s how I carve out my time.

I’m always looking for ways to improve. But I’ve published three books in three years, I exercise pretty regularly, I keep a somewhat neat house, and I’ve been known to volunteer. In no way am I perfect, far from it, but you can trust me when I say you have a choice on how you spend your time.

So, tell me. How do you spend your time? How would you do it differently? What’s the one big dream you want to go after if you only had the time? Namaste