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Archive for the ‘commitment’ Category

Oh, The Extraordinary Thinks You Can Think!

Thinking’s Missing Link

Dr. Seuss said it best, but Lewis Carroll had it right as well. We humans have incredible minds able to think extraordinary things, even 6 impossible things before breakfast! Humankind has made more advances in the last 100 years or so using that thinker, than in the rest of the documented centuries combined. And yet, we also keep repeating old lessons, never quite managing to integrate them into the structure of our world.

This ability has been called by many names in recent years: Laws of Attraction and Neuroplasticity just to name a couple. People are cashing on on our ability to think, and our inability to see it and take advantage of it. I, myself have spent thousands of dollars on webinars and books, trying to learn to harness my natural abilities. Crazy, right?

What Are We Doing Wrong?

We all manage to think, at least some of the time. What I think we lack is focus. And because we lack focus, we often fail to make the commitment to ourselves to see what we think through.

Take improving our health habits for instance. How many people have joined gyms, hired trainers, and bought all manner of equipment only to give up halfway through? How many of those expensive elliptical machines and treadmills are gathering dust or serving as clothes racks? How many self-help books and exercise videos are piled on a shelf or in a box, or even still in their shrink wrap?

Making a Commitment to the Most Important Person in Our Lives

The problem isn’t our inability to think. We can sit and do that for hours at a time! Our problem is our willingness to see a project through; to make a commitment. Not the kind we make to our kids, our spouse, or a job. This one hits much closer to home and is often the last to get our attention.

I’ve learned through painful experience that the hardest thing we can ever commit to is ourselves.

How many times have we said “I’ll do that when…” and “when” comes only after things like the kids growing up and getting through college. When comes after we’ve paid off this debt or that. When comes after we’ve honored commitments to our family, friends, jobs…in other words, when never comes. That is, unless we make it our first priority instead of our last.

So I’m learning to change the things that follow “when” to the ones that are for other people and things. I’m getting in shape now, because it’s what’s good for me. I’m writing more regularly because it’s good for me. I’m finishing some of the courses I bought months and years ago because…you guessed it. It’s good for me!

Committing to Yourself is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

All of this has given rise to an interesting side-effect. The more I concentrate on doing things for myself, the more time and energy I have to do other things which I’ve moved to the other side of “when”. Once I refused to allow myself to dishonor my self-commitment to working out 3 times a week, I miraculously found the time to write a blog post every couple of days. Desire resurfaced to complete the VA course I’d bought last year.

The whole thing is having a snowball effect. I’m cleaning out rooms and closets which have been dumping grounds for the detritus of my life for decades. GONE! I’ve cleared my desk and surrounding surfaces of clutter I swore I had to keep because I might need it someday. GONE!

When we make our commitment to ourselves first, we suddenly find we have an abundance of time for all the things we want to do. Why? Because we’re finally happy. We finally get to do things which satisfy our minds and our souls. Life isn’t a matter of getting through the tasks we have to do any more. It’s a matter of getting to do the things we love, so we’re happy to accommodate others and fulfill responsibilities to them as well.

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

If I could go back and give my teenage self a single piece of advice right now, I’d say Give yourself permission to do what you love, and commit yourself fully to doing that. Only then will you feel genuine pleasure in helping other people by doing things they ask of you. Only then will there be nothing you truly hate to do.

The light bulb went off for me when I realized I’d always dropped the ball when it came to committing to myself. Though I’m still very much a work-in-progress, I am certain I will continue to see positive changes and continued opportunities to live, learn, grow, and think the most amazing, fantastical things possible, the wildest and most impossible things, and then, make them happen. I hope if it hasn’t already, that light bulb will go off for you too. As I said to myself the day I finally decided to file for divorce: “Life is too short to be unhappy.” But only you can make yourself happy.

More and More Grateful Each Passing Day

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for my epiphanies.
  2. I am grateful for all the lessons I’ve learned, and the ones I’m still learning.
  3. I am grateful for the commitment I’ve finally learned to make to myself.
  4. I am grateful for a refurbishment of priorities.
  5. I am grateful for the joy I feel that increases with each passing day.
  6. I am grateful for abundance; commitment to self, love, joy, happiness, progress, inspiration, motivation, productivity, prosperity, philanthropy, peace, harmony, and enlightenment.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Lightbulb photo courtesy of Julian Santacruz

Committing to Yourself

An Aha Moment

While doing my second workout of the week, it hit me like a ton of bricks. For the first time, I was making a commitment to myself and accepting no excuses. The first time ever! Up to this point, I’ve been what John Assaraf would call “interested” but not “committed”. In other words, I was unwilling to do whatever it took to achieve my goals including accepting no excuses! And yet, when I speak with people who are so incredibly driven, so “on” all the time, I know that’s not me. Which makes me wonder, do we commit in different ways depending on our personality and experience? Am I less committed than someone else because I insist on making time for recreation? (and don’t confuse visits to the gym with recreation unless that truly is where you engage in social activities).

I’ll explore that further as this post progresses, but for now, let’s move on.

What Determines How and When We Commit to Ourselves?

The first question I had to ask was Why did it take me so long to make a commitment to my own well-being?

The obvious answer is I wasn’t ready. I spent many years with more commitments than I could handle just to stay solvent and reasonably healthy. As a single parent working one full-time job with a bit of work from my own business on the side, there were years when I couldn’t even find time for recreation, much less find the energy to laser focus on what I wanted to be when I grew up. Making ends meet or at least minimizing the gap between income and outflow was all I could manage.

Sure, there are people like JK Rowlings who managed to do it all and more, and I have the utmost respect for women who raised their kids alone like I did and managed to build a thriving business of some kind. I can’t even imagine the sacrifices they made in order to do so. But that was their path, and they figured it out much earlier than I have.

Determining Our Worth

The reality of the time, effort and sacrifice required to hack out your own path can be overwhelming at best. Often it’s easier to just choose the path of least resistance.

Maybe that’s why many of us find it easier simply to work for someone else all our lives, collecting a paycheck rather than building our own business. Working for someone else, we’re never fully committed, balls to the wall, all in, firing on all eight cylinders. We simply do what must to earn our paycheck (some less than others). Only on occasion are we fully committed to the job, giving it our all. Typically it’s in response to some sort of surge in the workload, a business change, or a special project. When it’s over we go back to our normal patterns, giving just as much as we need to. Often, we measure the amount of commitment we give our job by the monetary compensation we receive. In our minds, consciously or not, we determine how valuable we are and what an hour of our time is truly worth.

How often do you see co-workers who give less than an hour’s work for an hour’s pay? How often have you done so yourself? I’m willing to bet that either consciously or unconsciously, it’s the result of feeling under compensated. It doesn’t matter whether the market agrees or not. Your own perception drives your effort.

What Price, Commitment? Are We Worth the Sacrifice?

Yet the people who founded the company you work for, whether the company is large or small today had a vision. They focused their efforts to achieve that vision because they were committed to it.

I’m learning it’s a laser focused commitment which causes our dreams to manifest (with thanks to John Assaraf for the term). Until we are truly ready to focus ourselves…our entire selves on what makes our heart sing, our song will be half-hearted at best and more often than not, discordant.

Our focus really starts when we commit to seemingly unrelated things: our health and wellness, de-cluttering our space, helping others. We have to find our balance first because once we start moving towards our dreams and the momentum gets going we won’t have time to set any more habits. What’s already in place has to set a firm foundation from which we launch ourselves into the stratosphere.

Determining Our Willingness to Commit in Our Own Time and Manner

It frustrates me that it took so long to figure this out. It frustrates me even more to think I believed for so long that to get ahead you had to be a workaholic, giving up anything and everything non-business related.  As I see it now, nothing could be further from the truth! Without balance, no matter how committed you might be to your vision, you will burn out. How the burn-out manifests is unique to you, but it will happen.

I realize I’ve answered my own question. I’ve been gathering the bricks with which to build my foundation all this time. I didn’t know it any more than I knew what dream I’d pursue or how the pieces would fit together. I just needed to stay a course I didn’t know existed until now. Will it be my final direction? Probably not. Instead it will open my mind to new possibilities I might not even see until I travel a few more miles down this road.

The bricks in my storehouse are different from those other people gather. My foundation and it’s composition are unique to me. In my case, it’s a home of my own with a herd of cats. It’s a stocked freezer so I won’t need to do a lot of cooking or meal planning for awhile. It’s three unfinished novels, a children’s book, and a memoir. And it’s a driving need to learn new things. What I lacked up to now was tenacity.

One Direction or Many? It’s Up to You!

I started novels and never finished fine-tuning them. I started several courses, dozens of books, and various avenues for my business, but never let them come to term. Some died on the vine because I knew they were the wrong direction for me. Others fell by the wayside because I just wasn’t ready to put in the necessary effort. In short, I lacked that laser focus because I hadn’t figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Or more importantly, I thought I had to choose only one thing. Balderdash and poppycock! Where does it say we can only have one passion, one direction, one item in our career toy box?

You don’t eat one potato chip or one piece of popcorn. Why do only one thing? For someone like me, doing only one thing forever more is equivalent to putting me in a straight jacket and locking me in a padded room. I’d go bat-shit crazy in a matter of days. (Anyone who reads my posts on a regular basis knows I can’t even stay on a single subject, much less a single task for the space of 1000 words!) I actually crave the variety of writing for awhile, then doing something more analytical like accounting or editing. It keeps my brain sharp, and at my advanced age a sharp brain is a happy brain. (removing tongue from cheek now)

My Commitment Looks Different From Yours. So What?

In short, what looks like commitment to some people, looks completely different for me. I am not up at the crack of dawn getting my workout in so I can be all business by 7 AM. My day starts around 8:30 with visits to the gym coming anywhere from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. I do have a single day during the week when I run all of my errands and get in one of my thrice weekly workouts. I do dance at least three nights a week.

But I can also be found writing or doing client work into the wee hours of the morning because that’s when my mind functions best.

You also won’t find me doing a lot of face-to-face networking, at least not in an official capacity. Networking groups have never worked well for me. I don’t have the killer instinct so many of the members have. They are there to sell, and use all sorts of techniques to do so. I’d rather persuade gently. Here’s what I can offer. What are your pain points? I would love the chance to help you thrive by taking the things you hate to do off your plate. I simply function best by phone or Skype. Don’t ask me to get all gussied up to listen to everyone’s elevator speech. My ADD will send me screaming from the room in short order.

Does that mean I can’t laser focus on a few things I do well, or would love to learn to do well? Not at all. It means I just need to find ways to communicate and find people who need my services in ways unique to me. It’s taken me this long to figure out what I love to do and that it has to be a variety of things rather than a single skill. From here, I will commit to improving myself.

Committing to Mind, Body, Spirit, and Passion

My commitment will continue to include physical improvements like food choices, gym visits, and other physical activities. It will also include mental activities like learning more about writing, publishing, editing, and anything else writing related. But the learning won’t stop there. I’ve discovered a love for a few other areas and am compiling the resources to improve my skills there as well. Finding a few people to practice those skills on at a nominal fee will be the next focus; the next commitment.

Just putting all this down is incredibly energizing, and it even fulfills one of my commitments; to write at least three blog posts a week! That’s the easy part as ideas have been flowing so rapidly since I started going to the gym three times a week. Further proof that commitment to physical well-being supports mental commitments well.

What Do Your Commitments Look Like?

Are you fully committed to yourself? What was your turning point? What inspires you to be the very best you possible? How do you balance work, home, body, mind and spirit? I’d love to hear about what drives you, and what makes you want to scream with frustration.

It All Begins and Ends With Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful I found my bliss.
  2. I am grateful I finally learned my own particular version of laser focused commitment to self.
  3. I am grateful for examples of commitment even if they are different from mine.
  4. I am grateful for opportunities to practice the skills I want to excel at.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; opportunities, encouragement, lessons, challenges, tenacity, free-flowing ideas, friends, balance, life, love, joy, happiness, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Wallowing in a Pit of Despair? Try Gratitude.

Finding My Way Back Home

For the last 15 years or so, I have made immense progress in turning my life around. I am no longer the angry, defensive creature I had become through long years of tragedies, disappointments and, what I considered at the time to be poor life choices. I’ve learned that everything I’ve done and everywhere I’ve been had a purpose and came together in making me the person I am today.

But sometimes, pieces of my former self rise insidiously to the surface and if left unchecked, threaten to undo all of the work I’ve done. The trick is recognizing it before it sets me back years.

This morning when I woke with the prospect of cooking a huge pot of chili and spending the afternoon with anywhere from 50 to 100 people, the negative thoughts and the desire to crawl back into my hole and pull it in after me became almost overwhelming. Thankfully, years of training myself to do otherwise proved stronger, and I realized I had all the tools I needed to turn this around.

I looked back over the last couple of weeks and realized I’d become angry over stupid things, reactionary, and downright hateful. And truth to be told, I couldn’t dig a hole deep enough to escape the real problem anyway, so fixing it is a much wiser choice. It would also go a long way towards alleviating the constant, if relatively manageable pain I’ve been in since December, helping lower what has clearly become an upwardly spiraling stress level (thankfully, the every-other-day migraines have eased off!), and the resulting sleep deprivation.

Conquering the Demons Within

The answer to my problems, both real and imagined can be summed up in a single word. Gratitude. Sure, I’ve remembered to give thanks for all of the little synchronicities in my life, and, on what has become the rare occasion I actually sit and write a blog post, list a handful of gratitudes. But I’ve been missing the big picture. I’ve been allowing the “don’t haves” to smother the “haves”. No wonder I’m suffering the consequences. My face is meeting my palm rather violently at the moment.

Instead of rambling on about this or that, or detailing the things I won’t be doing from here on out, I’m dedicating the rest of this post to as many gratitudes as I can conjure, because, really, that’s why this blog has evolved; that’s why it is no longer “Surviving and Beyond”, but “Leaps of Faith”. For the last month or better, I’ve been giving it a great deal of lip service, but failing to follow through in my thoughts and deeds.

Reminding Myself of What the Universe Already Knows

Without further ado, here are some things for which I am grateful in this crazy, beautiful, sometimes insane life I’ve been given this time around:

  1. I am grateful for sunny days.
  2. I am grateful for rainy days.
  3. I am grateful for the fur babies I fall asleep with every night and wake to every morning.
  4. I am grateful that I have already lived nearly a year longer than my mother did.
  5. I am grateful for the people who pointed me towards the path of positivity and offer daily reminders.
  6. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, the ones I am still mastering, and those which await me further down the road.
  7. I am grateful for the pains in my body which remind me that I’m being allowed to age and that I need to get up and move more, stretch more and love my body more.
  8. I am grateful that I’ve learned to recognize when I’m wandering away from my true path.
  9. I am grateful for the tools I’ve acquired which help me get back on track.
  10. I am grateful for signs and head slaps from the Universe which remind me to stay positive and hopeful, and get my attention when I start to forget.
  11. I am grateful for all of the wonderful examples I’ve been given: people who have conquered their own demons and retain the kindness and compassion I strive to achieve and embrace as part of my being.
  12. I am grateful for changing my career path to the one which fuels my soul.
  13. I am grateful for remaining positive despite setbacks and challenges which I know are intended to test my commitment.
  14. I am grateful for those setbacks which force me to seek alternatives and remind me that my path will never be straight and smooth. Easy paths don’t offer much in the way of inspiration for writing.
  15. I am grateful for successful completion of my three novels and Frederick the Gentlemouse and for the strength and tenacity to publish and market them.
  16. I am grateful for the stories inside me that are yet to be told.
  17. I am grateful for opportunities to mentor, coach or otherwise support other people.
  18. I am grateful that I’m learning to Stop, Look, and Listen more; not necessarily while crossing the road, but while interacting with other Divine Beings having a Human Experience.
  19. I am grateful to my daughter for encouraging me to start this blog when I got stuck in the middle of writing my first book about family suicide. Not only has writing about it eased my pain and brought more compassion into my life, it has connected me with others who have had similar experiences.
  20. I am grateful for the people who read my blog, my website and even my comments on Social Media. You touch my life and make it a better place. You’ll never know how much that means to me, nor how much it makes me strive to be a better person.

I could go on and on with this, but I’m already feeling better, just for sitting down and doing it. I’ll likely continue the list off-line. Listing my gratitudes has dragged me out of far deeper holes than the one in which I currently find myself. It is probably the single most powerful lesson I’ve learned in the last few years, and one I need to spend more time doing. Maybe that’s why the Universe sat back and watched me slide into a well of negativity for a little while. Like the stretching I now do every day to reduce the physical pain, the physical act of listing my gratitudes turns the inner pain around and shows me how much joy and beauty I have in my life.

Thank you for being a part of my process…my path.

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

A Grain-Free Week

Switching it Up

A month or so ago, a friend and I became accountability buddies. We checked in regularly, logged our food and exercise and kept track of the pounds. It went well for a couple of weeks, maybe more, and I did drop about 9 pounds. But lately, that’s changed and I’ve gone back to the old “up three, down two” game. My blog writing pitching took me to some paleo sites so I started looking into what changing to that kind of diet entailed. As previously mentioned, it isn’t for me.

What I did realize was that the last time I dropped a good amount of weight, over 30 pounds to be exact, I not only checked in with MyFitnessPal regularly, but I cut out most grains. For me, that’s doable in the short term or perhaps, in sprints. So for the last week and a half, that’s exactly what I did.

I’d like to say I got immediate results, but I think your body and even your eating habits have to acclimate to the change. So it took about a week before I started seeing a noticeable change; not only in weight but in energy. The protein-rich diet fills me up without bogging me down. I’m sleeping better than I was, too! In just over a week, I’ve dropped about 3 pounds, which thrills the heck out of me.

Making it Work During the Holidays

Spending Christmas with my daughter and son-in-law will be challenging. Her house is redolent with her Christmas baking frenzy this time of year, and now that she’s learned a few more tricks in her culinary arts classes, she’s become even more creative. However, she is also incredibly supportive. Didn’t she start learning how to convert recipes to gluten-free because I found the gluten was irritating my stomach after awhile? She’s already stocked up on plain yogurt so I can enjoy my usual breakfast instead of reaching for something grain laden.

Though she won’t give up grain for her or her hubby, nor would I expect them too, she has come up with alternatives for me. Heck, I may snag one of those pumpkin pancakes with Christmas breakfast, but will fill up on the eggs and fruit or whatever other non-grain alternatives there might be. And she’s making sure dinners can be eaten without pasta or rice if I so desire.

All in all, I deem this experiment a cautious success. I’m also counting on my daughter’s usual pattern in which I accumulate between 16000 and 18000 steps per day during my visit. Even if I only manage to keep the grains at a minimum while I’m there, I suspect I’ll avoid the usual bulking up which usually occurs Christmas week.

Setting up for my Next Sprint

Better still, no matter how good or bad I am this week, I’ll be ready to do another week or two sprint with no grain. If I can do about 2 weeks on and one off, I can see me setting a pattern because the two weeks I’m off of grains will get my body accustomed to doing without. If I eat a moderate amount during my week off, I’ll be able to tell just how much makes me feel sluggish and how much screws with my sleep and meditation patterns. If that amount is small, it will simply make it easier to give it up for longer periods of time.

Not Quite Paleo

Giving up grain of all kinds is a huge step for me. I’ve actually given up starches almost entirely. I’ve had potatoes a couple of times, but aside from that, it’s been protein and fresh fruits and vegetables. Snacks include yogurt dip and veggies, almonds and dried cranberries, though even those have slowed down as my body stays full from the increased protein. I don’t however, see a day when I’ll give up dairy or legumes. I love lentils in my turkey-pumpkin chili and my fat-free yogurt and honey in the morning is a quick, easy, no-brainer to get me going. Yes, I may start pre-making the egg casserole I used to take to work, but it’s not going to be a daily or even weekly change. Too many mornings, all I can stomach is that 1/2 cup of yogurt. It isn’t until after noon, and sometimes 2 or 3 before my stomach is ready for anything heavier. But at least I know myself.

Many of us realize we need to change our eating habits to something healthier, but there’s no point in changing to something which has no appeal. You just won’t stick with it unless you’re some kind of masochist who gets off on torturing yourself. When I was pregnant with my twins, I saw a nutritionist and the first thing she did was to ask me what foods I liked and which ones I didn’t. She wasn’t about to help me design a meal plan containing foods I disliked or omitting everything I liked. Nearly 30 years later, I still take her words to heart.

Living in a Land of Plenty

I am very fortunate in that I love fresh produce, and even luckier still that I live in an area Harvest box 11-18-14 view 2where it is abundantharvest box 11-4-14 12 months a year. You can bring me to tears with a nice bunch of broccoli or cauliflower, a bucket of brussels sprouts or a lovely member of the squash family. My daughter has even taught me new and different ways to enjoy these wondrous treats. That very love and abundance is what makes this new path easier to tread. No rice? No problem. I’ll just eat more of this lovely veggie with a little bit of chicken stir-fry. No bread? Let’s throw a few more veggies in the pan and scramble them into a fluffy pile of eggs. Stir fry nearly done 10-22-14

Do I feel deprived knowing I’ll have to pass on the pizza or sushi? Not really. In fact, many times there are versions of sushi which are riceless anyway. Have you ever tried a hand roll without rice? Very tasty! And if I really want pizza, I’ll just wait for my off week. If I still want it by then, so be it.

Leaving Behind a Life of Constrictions

Two years ago, I left behind a life of waking with an alarm to go do a job which built up someone else’s nest egg. I left a world of someone else’s rules and rush hour and being around people even when I didn’t want to be. I’ve made a lot of changes over the least two years, some good, some not so good. I’ve established some healthy habits which have fallen by the wayside, perhaps to be picked up again in the future…and perhaps not.

But I have learned that if I make changes to my life that don’t make me happy, I’ll find a way to undermine those changes or just wander off in search of something new. And yes, I’ve done both. But eating is really easy. I love to eat, I enjoy cooking and find more of the healthy foods appealing than not. Realizing that I need a specific time frame to go off track was the missing link, though. If I lock myself into a week or a couple of days or whatever, I’m more likely to say during the weeks I’m supposed to be diligent “Nope, that has grain. You can’t have it this week, but give it a few more days and you can indulge if you even want to by then.” And for now, that’s enough.

How do you keep yourself on track with those healthy habits you form? Are you just one of those whose internal motivation is enough, or do you have to make deals with yourself so you’ll do what you know is best anyway? Do you hold the results up like a mirror so you can easily see how following those habits has improved your life? I’d love to hear what works for you.

Tonight’s gratitudes are:
1. I am grateful for fresh produce year-round.
2. I am grateful for small successes.
3. I am grateful for the things which motivate me.
4. I am grateful for new opportunities and ideas which help me make necessary changes to my path.
5. I am grateful for abundance: success, motivation, inspiration, support groups, cheerleaders, friends, family, joy, love, dancing, bliss, peace, harmony, health, happiness, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

October 30, 2014 Overture, light the lights… #shericonaway #blogboost

With this post, I complete one writing commitment, only to dive, both feet and a few other body parts, into another!

Yo ho, yo ho, the Writer’s life for me! I love having commitments. I love having projects, deadlines, word count requirements. It makes me feel like I’ve actually accomplished something.

Though UBC didn’t really have me doing something I wouldn’t be doing already, the fact that I had to write a blog post every night made it feel like I was accomplishing something. And that’s enough for me to feel inspired and productive right now.

The funny thing is, it really did seem to work. I’ve gotten to the gym more regularly, been more diligent about my household chores, gotten more done on my two accounting clients with less stress… Even those nasty, lingering projects are starting to reach completion.

My newest project is wandering around in my brain, clamoring to be released. I even have a tentative title now (which is a lot more than I had for my first NaNoWriMo project, even months after I’d begun working on the first revision!). My working title is…wait for it…wait for it…

“The Dubious Gift”

Of course, like everything else I do, it’s subject to change at any time, but at least I have something to start with. I can even explain this one, and I have a better feel for it than I did for the last one. I guess that’s what a bit more pre-planning will do, huh?

As we speak, I’m doing my best to immerse myself in the main character. I want to feel what drives her to make the choices she makes; to push on when things seem hopeless, and change directions when things seem to be working well. I’ll be learning what made her the way she is now. Her dreams, her hopes, her disappointments and her triumphs. If I can’t feel a connection with her, how can I expect my readers to?

Yes, I’ve learned a lot over the last year. More, in fact, than I’d realized. No wonder monkey mind has grabbed me by the ears. I might need a trip to the zoo, just to show my mind where the monkeys belong!

Last year, my daughter pretty much shamed me into trying my hand at writing a novel in a month (or at least half of one!). This year, I’m going into it with a completely different mindset, and I think that mindset is what is going to turn my effort into something far more than the months of struggle to just complete the first revision. I’m feeling an excitement I didn’t feel last time, when my main goal was to simply prove my daughter right and complete the challenge. This time, it’s so much more.

With all of the words I spew, I find myself unable to put this feeling I have into words. I think the only way to explain it with any degree of lucidity is to say that this time, I really do feel like a Writer. Last year, I was still in the final stages of winding up my career as an accountant, and had not yet begun to think of myself as a Writer. This year, when asked what I do, I say, loudly and proudly: “I’m a Writer!” I’m no longer afraid to admit that I’m making my dream a reality, nor do I need to qualify it by admitting sheepishly that I’ve not yet published anything besides this blog. Publishing is now a foregone conclusion. When is still not set, but that it will happen is my goal, my purpose and my passion. People have gotten what they wanted with far less emotional investment.

I know I’ve been floundering for awhile, and I finally realized that I hadn’t really given this my full commitment. I know better. If you give half assed, that’s what you get. I’m very excited to see how things roll out with body, soul, mind, emotions and everything else committed to a single cause.

But lest I find myself still typing at 3AM, I will do my best to put a cap on my excitement for now. Tomorrow is a very full day and sleeping in is not an option. So I’ll bid you adieu until the morrow. The end of UBC doesn’t end my commitment to my readers and followers. I appreciate each and every one of you!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I’ve found the emotional commitment I needed to truly be a Writer.
2. I am grateful for another opportunity to crank out the beginnings of a novel in 30 days.
3. I am grateful for the upcoming, fun-filled weekend.
4. I am grateful for my friends who never fail to make me feel loved and appreciated.
5. I am grateful for abundance: commitment, inspiration, motivation, accomplishments, joy, love, friendship, harmony, peace, health and prosperity.


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