Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Choice to NOT make resolutions on New Year's Eve

Goals written? Passions identified? Happiness and purpose all sorted? Choking on the pressure to have it all figured out by the thirty-first, signed, sealed and slapped to your refrigerator door with your kid's look what I did school magnet? Don't feel bad, I always did too that's why I stopped doing it to myself a long time ago.

I choose now to reflect on the year that always manages to slip through my fingers faster than I can control and listen to my loved ones' wishes and hopes for the upcoming year. Now, don't get me wrong I do make resolutions I just don't do it at 11:58 pm on December thirty-first and offer them up to the three Fates anymore and I am NOT bashing those who do! I am only sending a reminder about how compressed our lives are, and this may be one situation where you can ease up on the pressure valve a bit.

Why not make a resolution on the third of March, or April tenth or hey, how about August twenty-fourth? Why does it need to be figured out and written down by the thirty-first of December? Isn't March third still technically the new year? And if you chose to find your resolution by the twenty-fourth of August? Or maybe you did make it earlier, and it grew overwhelming you had to shelve it for a bit and now you want to take it down, dust it off and revisit it? Who cares? The importance of the resolution is you made a commitment to yourself regardless of when the calendar said you should make it. Be proud of that!

The gym will be less crowded after February!

Happy New Year Everyone!

God Bless!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Writer's Choice Resources

I've been asked a few times how I got started and where I sought help and information. I'd like to share a few of the resources I've used and a few I'm currently looking into and researching as well.

1. Erica is a published author with Penguin who is co-owner of an editing service. Erica is very compassionate, helpful, thorough and offers great suggestions!

2. Erinn Giblin is quick and amazingly kind. She's a joy!

3. I met Matty at a writer's group recently. She has great resources and an informative website. Definitely going to research Matty's resources!

4. This won't apply to everyone but if you're interested in writing romance this is a great place to get feedback and build new relationships.

5. This is a super informative tool for self-published writers I found through my friend Katya! I love this blog!

In regards to book signings, I researched independent bookstores in my local and surrounding area and asked if they were interested in supporting independently published authors - some were not, but some were very enthusiastic! I'm working on building my local platform by contacting more local bookstores as well as continuing to grow my social media one. After the holidays I plan on visiting in person the new list of local bookstores I 've researched.

I hope some of these resources help on your writing journey. If they do or you have more to share, please I'd love to hear from you!

Take Care and Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The choice to change careers from teaching to writing

Changing careers is daunting and terrifying with a mix of motivating and inspiring. When you make the choice to simplify your life and chase your dreams aspects of your life gel together in ways you didn't think possible. Through the love and support of my family along with the support and friendships I've acquired through social media I've been able to make that leap and I'm truly grateful. And if I don't say it enough then here it is again...Thank YOU! For without your help and support I wouldn't be where I am!

I didn't want this blog to be about my first love teaching, but I felt compelled to explain why teaching lost its luster.

Unfortunately, Piaget's hierarchy of cognitive development is ignored in the educational system today. Children, no longer valued for begin able to do what they are age appropriately capable of doing are pushed to accomplish and succeed far beyond their capabilities. A recipe for disaster in the classroom. Tears. Frustration. Anger. And that wasn't just me. My kindergarten babies who struggled with interpersonal skills, social skills, and basic letter and sound recognition were forced to perform at levels higher than their knowledge base. Push. Push. Push.

Indulge me and let's pretend for a moment. You've signed up for a basic chemistry class but suddenly are expected to know quantum physics. Does it motivate you to stay? Does it encourage you to learn? Is learning meaningful taught above and beyond your skill set? Compound that with gaping social and emotional deficiencies making it impossible to express your frustration and anger without punching, biting, kicking and screaming. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say no. Maybe the educator should meet the class where they are academically and socially, therefore making each class an individual society in and of itself instead of a mass producing assembly line of educational goals formulated for the masses. Hm...the last time I checked teachers were thinking, educated individuals who were able to assess their students and strategize a plan to get everyone on point. Not every class should be held to the same standards. Gee, I don't know maybe goal setting should be individualized for each, separate classroom with a plan created by the person who assessed the students in the first place and not the suit that occasionally popped in at the worst time imaginable. Usually, when your barometer child experienced an extremely high barometric pressure day.

 The goal in teaching is to create one successful learning experience after another fostering independence and stacking skills as opposed to expecting Kindergarteners to write like second graders in September when a majority of them, at least where I taught, didn't even know where they were in the world of Kindergarten. Let's throw a little more gasoline on the fire too shall we. The absence of snack time and play time, crucial for the students I taught ratcheted their anxiety and tension to the roof. And what comes up must come down. Where did all that anxiety and tension land? Certainly not on the administrators who created school standards and hadn't taught in a classroom setting in decades. Nope. Not meeting students where they were academically and socially backfired. Administration wasn't pleased. And who was held accountable? You guessed it.

It was a difficult decision. For me, teaching was doing God's work, especially where I taught but feeling more failure than success didn't motivate me enough to stay and encouraged me to simplify my life. My heart will always be with the little ones, shiny and smiling ready to start their day. But the shell-shocked looks on their little faces at the end of the day haunted me. I couldn't be a part of that nightmare anymore and chose to fill my soul with my successes in Kindergarten and my love for words and stories that give others something to chew on while they're swept off their feet.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The choice to accept life's challenges

You want it. You know you do. Whether it be weight loss, a new home, a new job, a new relationship you want it so bad you can taste it. But attaining it will be difficult, almost painful and flipping uncomfortable and that annoying, nagging little voice of insecurity that started out as a whisper grows into a scream. Screaming so loudly it prevents you from going big, and you wind up going home.

It's a challenge overcoming the voice and the fear that wants to shut you down permanently, eat away at your creativity, swallow your dreams. It's so much easier agreeing with the status quo and living a life that isn't fulfilling you the way you crave. Therein lies the challenge. Some days will be easier than others for sure. Some days you'll be so motivated and filled with energy Oprah would be impressed. You're going after your dreams, seeing your goal on the horizon and suddenly a day hits where the nothing comes together; your hard work isn't rewarded much less noticed and even the dog isn't interested in you. Fear not! It is just the universe's way of testing you a bit. You sure you really want this? How bad do you want it? How hard are you willing to work? So when the urge to lay in bed hits or you want to throw a hammer at your computer or eat that doughnut at lunch time because you had anything but a stellar morning at the office remember it wouldn't be a challenge if it were easy!

You might want to try acknowledging the challenge. Embrace it, welcome the chaos and confusion it brings. You only fear it and shirk away from it because you think you can't handle it, but the opposite is true. You can handle it that's why it fell into your lap. You just need to figure out what the universe already knows about you.

Next, maybe try breaking the challenge into chunks, dissect it, make a plan. Seeing the challenge in smaller, manageable pieces may make it less overwhelming.

Then, seek out your support system. Friends and family make life richer and fuller and help you see things in a different perspective. Don't be afraid to lean on them and ask for help. They love you. More than likely, they would be upset if they discovered you were suffering in silence. Talk it out, express your fears, give them the light they need so you can face the challenge. Keeping your challenge in the dark only makes your fear and your insecurity grow.

Embracing and acknowledging the challenge, making a plan, accepting there will be crappy days but more good days than bad. Think of it this way the strongest steel first walked through fire too. I'll end with one of my favorite quotes from Neale Donald Walsch "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Choosing inspiration and motivation meaningful to you!

Rocky is a staple at my house on the weekends. If my number three isn't watching it, then my significant other is, or they are watching together. Soon I found myself ditching the wash, ignoring the pile of dirty dishes in the sink and suddenly taking a writing break so I can lean in. Tuning in to watch Creed over the Thanksgiving holiday was a definite must for The Blisses.

Seeing familiar sections of the city, recognizing landmarks, feeling a tug on the heartstrings when I remember running up and down the Art Museum steps with my family combined with the rumble in the tummy for those yummy cheesesteaks makes every Rocky movie meaningful to me. But Rocky's motivation and inspiration is more than the setting.

Rocky's underdog message resonates with millions of people. His story never gets old. And now that I've decided to take the leap and follow my passion Rocky's message hits even harder than it did before especially with the latest installment in Creed... "one step, one punch, one round." For me, I'm able to translate Rocky's message about taking those first shaky steps and building your confidence into my writing... "one word, one page, one chapter." It all starts with those first letters and builds from there.

The only thing standing in your way? The reflection in the mirror. You are your hardest enemy, your harshest critic. As a writer, you box yourself, always fighting your insecurities and doubts. Learning to fight your fear of not being good enough or going against the grain of living another person's idea of what your life should be is the first step to success not only in writing but life in general. It all begins with one step, one word, one shift in thinking.
 A little eye of the tiger doesn't hurt either. Just ask Katy Perry! Dance through the fire of your worst fears and go the distance, rise, don't stop! Just you and your will to survive whatever challenge blocks your path!
What's your motivation and inspiration? I'd love to hear from you!