Dancing outside my comfort zone

Posts tagged ‘Holly Lisle’

August 28, 2015 Without Even Realizing It

That ol’ Subconscious Gets Me Every Time

This week, the lovely and talented Gina Horkey challenged us to make use of our social media contacts to expand our business. I had not planned to take the challenge since I’m not even meeting my goals for editing my book right now. (more on that later). It seems the Universe and a part of me which hides in the background had other ideas. While dancing last night, I got into not one but three conversations in which blogging for hire came up and business cards or emails were exchanged. OK, to be fair, the third one is more likely to yield accounting work, if anything, but hey, networking is networking and work is work, right?

I’m also finding that the niches I imagined for myself are not materializing. Instead, I’ve been doing a lot of writing about healthy eating, natural remedies and the like, which is fine as the subject is definitely of interest to me. It just wasn’t where I expected to go. But it’s working and better yet, I’m learning something with every post I write. To me, that’s a win-win.

Where Has All the Writing Gone?

Meanwhile, back at the computer, I’ve done a lot of extra running around this week, finished some accounting work for one client and written a couple of blog posts for another, but my own projects have fallen by the wayside. Today, I was trying to read the crit pieces for my group tomorrow and just couldn’t think of a single thing to say about any of them. I walked away for awhile and finally came to the conclusion that it’s because I have failed myself. Until I can rectify that particular problem, I won’t be of any use to anyone else, and my brain will just not focus on the work of others. I hate to neglect my fellow Inklings, but I will truly be a better critiquer for honoring my commitments to myself first. My dear friend, the Universe is making it clear that I will not be allowed to proceed until I make the effort to move myself along my chosen path. I think I also found myself intimidated by a very well thought out story complete with a fully-built world which I read tonight. Despite the fact that I’m in revision number 3, I have yet to actually sit down and figure out the rules for my world or create a chapter by chapter map of where the story is going.

The question is, is it necessary for me to do so, and frankly, I don’t have the answer to that question. But one thing I know for sure, sitting around stewing about it instead of actually getting something done is worse than proceeding without a real plan. In all honesty, the story has already changed a lot and most of that isn’t even my doing. Every time I sit down to work on it, I just somehow know what needs to be cut and where I need to go next. I flip through the already written pages to find that next section, despite the fact that I haven’t re-read the manuscript all the way through in months. Do I question this guidance and try to force myself to meticulously create the world and the outline of chapters? Not at this juncture. I think it would thwart me more than help me.

Can a Pantser Learn Some of the Techniques the Plotters Use?

In some ways, I envy the plotter’s ability to map their story out so effectively. Some of their techniques would surely allow me to tighten up my story…I think. I’m still working my way through Holly Lisle’s writing course, ever-so-slowly. Perhaps that’s where I’ll learn how to better organize my thoughts and do a more effective re-write. Or maybe I won’t. I think my worst enemy right now is sitting around thinking about what I need to do to improve the manuscript and not getting any further. Thus, I’m going to skip tomorrow’s meeting, stop stressing over trying to critique the three pieces and focus on getting a good night’s sleep and an even better day’s work tomorrow. Sasha’s Journey must get through the second rewrite before November 1st. I’ve promised myself it will and I really hate to disappoint myself!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the little self-talks I have which get me back on track.
2. I am grateful for a day of quiet reflection under the latest Super Moon. (which may be why I’m so unsettled)
3. I am grateful for my furry companions who don’t allow me to sink too far into myself.
4. I am grateful for my dance friends and the dance community in general. I share a healthier lifestyle simply because I dance socially.
5. I am grateful for abundance: epiphanies, challenges, lessons, love, music, friendship, joy, peace, harmony, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be


I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com 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!

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March 29, 2015 Writers and Procrastination

Writers as a Group are Well Known for Their Exceptional Talent in the Realm of Procrastination

Add in what I believe is a tendency in many creative types towards ADD/ADHD and you see procrastination raised to an art form, worthy of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel (which, by the way, leads me to believe that by today’s standards, Michelangelo himself would have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. How else could he hyper-focus and spend the hours necessary to complete such an amazingly massive, intricately detailed work?) Allow me to give you an example of a typical day in the life of a writer.

After coffee and a light breakfast, the Writer sits down at her desk to begin working on one of her many current projects.
Noticing that her water glass is empty, she picks it up and takes it to the kitchen for a refill.
In the kitchen, she notices that there are dirty dishes on the counter, but the dishwasher is full of clean dishes.
She unloads the clean dishes, rinses and puts the dirty ones in the dishwasher.
Looking out the window, she notices that the plants need watering, and goes outside to turn on the hose to irrigate the planters.
Leaving the water running, she goes back inside, retrieves her now full water glass and returns to her office.She sets her water glass down and notices that her makeup bag is still on the desk where she left it before going out the night before.
She takes her makeup bag to the bathroom and puts it away in its drawer, then notices that the cat’s litter box needs scooping. She scoops all of the litter boxes, takes the poo filled bag to the garage, puts another bag in the wastebasket and washes her hands.
She returns to the den to select a project and notices that she has a new email.
Opening the email program, she stops, listens, then realizes that she’s left the water running for the last hour and has now flooded the entire yard.

Lest you think this is an anomaly, believe me, this is a typical day unless extreme self-control is exercised to stay on task. The good news is, if such control is applied, the Writer will continue working for hours at a time, stopping only to refill her water glass or answer nature’s call. Today, for example, I completed 12 parts of a freelance writer’s course, wrote this blog post and am 500 words into another I hope to publish on Huffington Post.  The bad news is, this diligence must be practiced daily in order to achieve proficiency and combat the natural tendency towards procrastination.

This doesn’t even begin to cover all of the other enemies to productivity a Writer faces.

Another personal favorite of mine is the “Brilliant Idea”. These often come when you’re in the middle of something else, requiring you to stop and write the idea down (as well as a dozen or so opening paragraphs, lest the idea which exploded in your mind fully formed decides to self-destruct before being added to that growing list called “Projects in Process”.)

Speaking of Projects in Process, it is a good idea to keep a weekly To Do list as well, to ensure that the daily, weekly and monthly tasks find a way to be addressed at some point. My own list includes the following:
1. Brush teeth-morning
2. Brush teeth-evening
3. Take all vitamins and supplements
4. Pick up produce box
5. Grocery shop
6. Cook (chili, stir fry, spaghetti sauce, etc.) when my freezer full of single meals is running low.
7. Blog post-word count
8. Project #1-time and word count
9. Study whatever course I happen to be doing this week (and it is often more than one)
10. Read about writing
11. Go to the gym (and this one has now been broken out into my three workouts, plus a line for crunches and squats)

Anyway, I’m sure you get the picture. With a mind going in 17,000 different directions at any given time, the only way to assure myself that I’m doing the things which are necessary to daily life and health is to hold myself accountable. Of course, the To Do list has a secondary advantage. My equally ADHD daughter gets a bit twitchy if one of my home improvement projects sits on the To Do list for too long, especially if boxes of hardware or racks of clothes are smacking her in the eye every time she visits. Case in point: the towel bar and toilet paper holder I bought over a year ago to match the faucet, shelf and vanity I put into my master bath were, until yesterday, collecting dust in the guest room closet. They now look rather nice, attached to the walls where they belong. And last week, I moved all of the clothes from my bedroom closet to a rolling clothes rack in preparation for pulling up the carpet from the last carpeted room in my house. Before she left yesterday, she informed me that if it wasn’t up by the time she returned in a couple of weeks, she would help me do it. I love my daughter. She keeps me honest, even with myself.

Procrastination, a gazillion unfinished tasks and a longer than necessary path to publication aside, the Writer’s life is still for me!

To normal people, this life might appear to be chaotic and crazy making (I know my OCD friends are probably losing brain cells just reading my rambling) but for those who must write to live, to breathe, to retain a modicum of sanity, it is absolutely, positively, unequivocably perfect.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my crazy, busy, weird, chaotic life.
2. I am grateful for the things which are steering me closer to a life as a real, published freelance writer.
3. I am grateful for the people who share their experiences in order that the rest of us can make one or two less mistakes along the way. I’m talking, right now, about Holly Lisle and Gina Horkey. Thank you for all you do!
4. I am grateful for a busy day, even if an outsider would see no apparent progress.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, joy, writing, inspiration, sharing, peace, harmony, health and prosperity.

Blessed Be

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and my website, http://www.shericonaway.com. 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!

March 4, 2015 Does productivity yield more productivity?

Here’s another chicken and the egg question: Which comes first? Getting lots of things done or being productive?

Today jump started itself with a morning webinar about writing hosted by Holly Lisle, whose “How to Think Sideways” writing course I began a week or so ago. After that the day seemed to just take off like a stone rolling downhill. By the time the webinar ended, I was ready to dive into the project I’d planned for today; making a giant pot of spaghetti sauce to add to my burgeoning collection of meals, ready to eat in my freezer. I cooked up a spaghetti squash last week and froze it in single servings, but needed the sauce to go with it. As I received another spaghetti squash in this week’s Harvest Box, I’ll likely cook it up and add it to my collection as well. After adding the sauce to my freezer and removing the tubs of frozen turkey stock, I find myself wondering just how I’m going to manage to fit everything in, not to mention, I’m running low on single serving size containers. How can that be? I bought a ton of them for my last freezer filling rampage.  I feel a game of freezer Tetris coming on.

In the last week, my freezer has gone from nearly empty to full once again with chili, the aforementioned spaghetti squash and a spicy chicken stir fry as well as today’s saucy delight. Yet to be added, the stewp which will utilize the four containers of turkey broth from Thanksgiving plus a plethora of fresh veggies. Now that Underwood has re-opened its Moorpark stand, hopping over to restock my larder has become easier and quicker.

But wait! That’s only half of the day!

The doubters will say “Surely you jest. That sounds like a full day to me.” But I merely left you with the sauce simmering busily on the stove, comingling all of the lovely ingredients and spices into a cohesive, tummy tingling bouquet of yummyness. The nice thing about throwing together a pot of soup or chili or spaghetti sauce is that I can go about my business while my latest vat of freezer filler finishes making itself, not to mention how it fills the air inside my house with the most delicious aroma!  All that is left for me to do is package it up, label it, move it into the freezer and clean up. What could be easier?

But again, I digress. As I said, this only filled about half of the day, leaving me hours to work some more on my writing class which encourages me to write down any and all random thoughts that skip aimlessly through my brain. I now have six sheets of printer paper taped together with all sorts of random thoughts scattered across it, yet I know I’ll pick it up again over the next few days and randomize all over it some more, adding pages as I run out of room. Sure, there will come a time when I have to make sense of the seeming randomness, but right now, my brain is delighted to have permission to run amok to its heart’s desire.

What could be better than a well-rounded day?

Achieving the ultimate in perfection means having just the right balance, and finishing my day meeting with an accounting client did the job quite nicely. It gave me lessons to work on, creativity to unleash both in my office and my kitchen, a lot of logical brain stuff to chew on and a freezer full of food.

In fact, I’m so filled with the bliss my perfect day evoked that I’m actually at a loss for words. I realize this is a rare occurrence, so please enjoy my version of brevity tonight, and spread the joy I have exuded all over the page as I bliss out on productivity.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to be almost free of cooking for the next month.
2. I am grateful that the pudgy roll which resided on my posterior has miraculously disappeared and been replaced by lovely muscle. Those trips to the gym, even though they’re less frequent than I like, are certainly leaving their mark!
3. I am grateful for an extremely productive day and look forward to more as this week draws to a close.
4. I am grateful for another visit from my daughter and the installation of my white board. I already have things I want to attach!
5. I am grateful for so many new things to learn; technique, tools, corralling and coordinating all of my random thoughts and just motivation to write more and more and more.
6. I am grateful for abundance: lessons, meals-ready-to-eat (which aren’t ghastly like those dehydrated nasties), friends, activities, projects, processes, happiness, health, peace, harmony and prosperity.

Blessed Be

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my website at http://www.shericonaway.com which contains a link to this blog and my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. I’ve created both page and website as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” it or leave a comment! Thank you!

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