Monday, May 21, 2012

Happy Monday!

So the early mornings and general busy-ness of my week caught up with me, so I didn't have a chance to post links on Friday. I hope all of you enjoyed your weekend (and for most of us in Canada it is a long weekend, so instead of being in my cubicle today I'm out enjoying the sunshine, doing some yardwork and relaxing).

I'm just so, so happy that it's summer! The long & cold winters that come with living in Canada can be trying for me (although, to be fair, I do live fairly south compared to many - about an hour and a half from the New York State border). I NEED sunshine, and I tend to get the blues in the Winter :(

But no more!! I have at least 3-4 months of great weather ahead of me and I plan to take FULL advantage :)

I hope all of you have a wonderful week!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Reading Challenge: Week 3

And my book of the week is ...

{I'm reading the new edition}
 This is a book I've been meaning to read for a while. My grandfather gave it to my partner and I during chemo, but I haven't had a chance to read it until now because of my school commitments, so I'm really excited to read this!
I'll admit that my reading choices for the past couple of weeks have been quick reads, so at 222 pages this is a slightly ambitious choice. Then again, when I was in high school I read the fourth Harry Potter novel (over 400 pages) in one single night, so I think I can handle it ;)

I would love to know what YOU guys are reading!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Time For a Margarita!

I'm ALL about positive reinforcement, so ...

I'm celebrating 1,000 views of my blog!

{Pink Grapefruit Margarita ~ recipe here}

Every little bit counts, right? ;) 

Thank you so much for reading my blog!

♥ Friday Links

I think this is going to be a weekly thing ... what do you guys think?

{Photo by Oh Joy via this blog}

 It's that time of the week again ... HAPPY FRIDAY! This is definitely a day worth celebrating for me. Not only is it the LAST Friday for me before I go back to work full-time for the few months of summer, but looking out the window this morning it seems to be the first day of good weather we've had all week!! *do a little happy dance/knock on wood* It's been raining and just all around dreary, so hopefully the sun will stay for a bit.

So, I've been practicing waking up early all week (I'll let you know how well that went on Monday when I have to wake up early for REAL for the job), and I'll be the first to admit that I've been spoiled as a full-time student with a schedule that has allowed me to sleep in longer than most adults dream of. So I will refrain from complaining about the ungodly hours I'm waking at now, because I know none of you would sympathize with me ;p

My plans for the weekend are pretty simple .... DO NOTHING! If - IF - the weather is warm enough, I want to spend my days by the pool. Yup. It's summer alright :)

What are YOUR weekend plans??

Around the web this week ...

Dreams and Nightmares ... some inspiration for those moments when you want to quit.

Some advice on setting by Canadian crime writer, Louise Penny

Loved this post by Lisa Cron: Great Literature or Gibberish? - Helps to gain some perspective (especially for those who are perfectionists and need to push past the urge of getting it "perfect" the first time).

On the business side of writing, check out a month's worth of tips concerning how to build your writer's platform here.

Just came across this site ... I'm now dreaming of beautiful libraries. 

An honest post about how one writer feels about all the bells and whistles that go along with a writing career ... I would be interested to know how you guys feel about this!!

Have a great weekend!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Reading Challenge: Week 2

This week's read is ...

PS: I've added a page to my blog (top right corner) where I'll be adding my summer reading list as I go along. If you click on the title of the book it will lead you to information about the plot, author, etc. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

♥ Friday Links

 Happy Friday everyone! 

I'm feeling so relaxed right now, and looking forward to the weekend. I'm hoping the weather will be nice so we can spend some time outdoors going for walks, doing yard work, and maybe even (fingers crossed) spend some time at the driving range to get get ready for golfing season (yes, I golf!).

What are YOUR plans for the weekend?
Here are a few things I found around the web this week ...

Love this advice about writing like a motherf*cker.
Writing Checklists? YES please - get your list on here

Some thoughts on writer's block (we've all been there!). 

Steven Pressfeild's agent, Shawn Coyne, talks about seizing the day and the changing world of publishing. There are some good references to "being pro" as well, like this gem:

Why did I think this guy would “get” my pitch? 

He didn’t quit on his book. Even when he probably should have. For the pragmatist, quitting and returning the advance would have been the right financial decision.  He could have maintained his ego as a full time breadwinning journalist and write the blowup off as a lesson learned.

But this guy is an artist, not a pragmatist. He made the hard choice.

 This one is from Steven Pressfield himself, about feeling resistance first thing in the morning

How I write: Writer, Nathan Bransford's writing process (does anyone else have to get up just as they're falling asleep because they have a great idea??)

Okay, last link from S.P. I swear!! (He just shares such great advice, as well as advice from others like in this post here).

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Change: Letting Go of Fear and Perceptions

How do we change?

I would like to share with you a story. I’ll let you know now that this is going to be a bit of a longer post than usual. I guess I’m making up for lost time :p

During my earlier college days I was allowed the opportunity to be co-president of our school’s theatre club. We had decided to do two productions that year, and we would each oversee one of the productions. Now, this had been a year of firsts for me, one of which was living on my own. It was a difficult year, and one full of personal obstacles to overcome. Suffice to say, I made many mistakes, including taking on too many responsibilities (I had trouble saying the word “NO”) and the end result was that I let down my team. How? I had the need to be in control (partly personality, partly to get the feeling that something in my life was in my control at the time) but I didn’t delegate when I should have. I was exhausted, and overwhelmed to the point that I let the small things get to me.

What did I take away from that experience?

I chalked it up to me not being cut out for a role of leadership and responsibility, and I left it at that and carried that belief to this very day.

When I first began dating my partner, I told him this story. when I got to the end, I explained that this was the reason for my lack of ambition, why I was never going to be a “boss” or hold a position of responsibility. “I’m just not cut out for it!” His response was simple, but it caught me off guard. “Why not?”

“Well, isn’t it obvious?” I asked. “I clearly did a horrible job, and I’m not good at it.”

“Did you learn from your mistake?” He continued. “Yes,” I responded tentatively, afraid of where the conversation was going. “Then what makes you think you couldn’t do it now if you tried?”

 I’ve thought long and hard about that conversation, and it seems the answer has been staring me in the face. It became more clear to me recently after a less-than-friendly email exchange with an old acquaintance. The details are unimportant, but the gist of his response was based on references to mistakes I made in the past (did I mention that I've made many of those?); references which had nothing to do with the present situation, but nonetheless making them must have made this individual feel better about himself. But his words struck a chord with me.

And that's when it hit me!

Have I been carrying the weight of the past on my shoulders to the point that I’ve been holding myself back from life? That I can’t even recognize the changes that have occurred within me, and that I’m not the same person I was 7, 5, 3 years, or even 1 year ago?!

And then I wondered, has this affected my writing? Am I afraid to write the things I really want to write because I’m afraid of what others think of me now, or will think of me in the future? Most of all, am I afraid of what I think of me? The answer to all of these questions and more is YES. But it’s a burden I no longer wish to carry.

So this is what I have learned:

People are going to have their opinion of you, no matter what. They will go on as little, or as much information as they have and they will file you away in a little box and put that box on a shelf (I should say now that I myself am guilty of this. We all are). Once they do this, unless some event occurs in which they are forced to, the box will remain untouched and their opinion unchanged. Why? Because this is safe; this is easy. It is NOT your job to change their opinion - they are entitled to it after all. It IS, however, your job to let go, to not carry the weight of their opinion with you. I am working on this.

I am thankful for the mistakes I have made. I may not like them, and they may still trouble me at times, but I am thankful nonetheless. They have made me the person I am today, and they are shaping me to be the person I aspire to be - a bit wiser, more understanding, forgiving, loving and stronger; a better Friend. Daughter. Sister. Granddaughter. Girlfriend.

I didn’t realize I even WAS carrying this weight with me, and in turn the belief that I was somehow, un-allowed to change. When you carry such a weight, it affects every aspect of your self - personal, professional, emotional. It affects your very sense of self worth.

So allow me to share this one thing with you (and maybe this is something that you know already, but I know I need a reminder): YOU ARE ALLOWED TO CHANGE! No one can tell you otherwise (even though it’s not something people usually “say”, it’s more of an unconscious thing, and it’s “said” through their actions). They can only cling to their perception of you, but it’s not your problem. It’s not MY problem.

Not anymore!

Have any of you ever felt like you were holding yourself back because you made mistakes in the past, or you were afraid of what others would think? Did it affect your writing, art, business, etc.?

*This blog post is part of a possible series of personal reflections on writing, and life in general. Let me know if this resonated with you in some way, and if this is something you care to read more of in future posts*