Dream Eras Writing Blog

8 Things That Are Holding You Back

Each and every one of us has a dream or a goal. Whether it’s recreational, professional, or personal, we’re lost without having something to work towards. Unfortunately, many of us give up before we really even get started. Here are 8 things that are holding us back from reaching our full potential. Which are you suffering from, and how do you address them?

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  1. Fear: It’s scary to start something new. It’s scary to put ourselves out there and open ourselves up for failure, but we lose a lot more when we let our fear keep us from trying. Ask yourself what you’re REALLY scared of. Personally, I’m not scared of failure; I’m scared of wasted time. To me, the idea of wasting any portion of time is terrifying, and because of that fear I’ve rushed decisions that should have been given more thought and given too much thought to decisions that should have been rushed. Identify what it is you’re afraid of, and then ask yourself why. If you can’t come up with a good answer (or even if you can) brainstorm ways to push past this fear and get started. You won’t regret it.
  2. Self-Doubt: Ugh. It shows its ugly head again. Will Self-Doubt EVER not make one of these lists? Probably not. It’s a serious problem for so many people out there that it would be unfair not to discuss it. We’re plagued with the fear that we’re not good enough, but the question I pose is who decides what ‘good enough’ is? And who do they think they are making us feel inadequate? Too often it’s our own inner voice that whispers negative thoughts day in and day out. Tell that voice to go to hell. You can do absolutely anything you put your mind to. Every single person out there had to start somewhere.The difference between all those people and the few that are living their dreams? The ability to conquer their self-doubt and stop limiting themselves. Wake up every morning and think something positive about yourself. Set a small, obtainable goal, and feel the pride you deserve to feel when you complete it. It’s time to love and support yourself. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish once you do.
  3. Unrealistic expectations: What’s the quickest way to quit working towards your goals? Set your expectations so high that the chances of you meeting them are nonexistent. Not only will you feel like a failure, but the negative emotions associated with feeling like a failure will more than likely make you quit, MAKING you a failure. It’s a vicious circle that is easily avoided. BE REALISTIC. My overweight, out of shape derriere isn’t about to up and run a 5K in a matter of weeks, but did that stop me from trying? Oh, no. I’m far to stubborn for that. And when I felt like I was dying in the first mile of training? Oh yea, I failed. I’ve since adopted more realistic goals, but the physical pain of that initial failure is still fresh in my mind.
  4. Lack of Support: I am fortunate enough to not have this issue. My Sweetheart supports me in every crazy endeavor I come up with, and his support is invaluable. Especially when I’m feeling down and need a little pick me up. However, for the sake of our list, lets assume that he didn’t support me. It would make reaching my goals 10X harder if I was having to fight him AND myself. So, don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family for support, and try not to take it personal if some of them aren’t as supportive as you would like. There’s nothing wrong with turning to people with similar interests for support as well. Most likely, they’re in as much need for support as you are, so don’t hesitate to reach out to the people around you.
  5. Unfair Comparisons: I honestly believe that unhappiness and discontent stems from comparing our lives to other people’s. This is a sadistic practice that should be avoided at all costs. Seriously. I should have labeled this one JUST comparisons. Who cares if Sallie Mae has already completed her degree, or John Doe has been running Marathons since he was 16? Remember that YOU have things that other people want as well, and your accomplishments are just as impressive as the next persons. Don’t worry about anyone else, just worry about your own goals and your own progress. It’s important to remember here that the destination should only be half of your focus: the journey is just as important.
  6. Other Obligations: Lets face it; unless we’re still kids in High School, we have a lot of obligations that simply MUST take priority over our hobbies. Which kind of sucks- but welcome to being an Adult. You’re trapped. Don’t pass go, don’t collect $200, AND go wash your dishes and make sure you have clean underwear for work tomorrow. My best advice for this is to just do your best to make time for your goals while keeping up with your other obligations. Evaluate if any of them can be postponed or at least reduced at all. I’ve had to start using some serious time management skills, but now that it has become habit I feel like I’m getting a lot more out of my day-to-day life.
  7. Lack of PatienceMe, me, me, mmmeee! My gosh I swear I have the patience of a three-year-old sometimes. I want what I want, when I want it, and by golly if there’s going to be any type of delay then just forget about it. It’s a hard life to live. Patience is something that I’m really having to work on with my 2016 goals. I want my weight down, my running time up, and my blog/social media sites to take off like a rocket!!! See the problem here? I’m way too focused on the end goal than the journey, and I’m way to hard on myself when I do things that aren’t directly related to reaching those end goals. I didn’t publish a blog post AT ALL last week. Literally because I was so upset with myself for missing the initial deadline I set for my FIRST post of the week, so I in turn didn’t post anything. It makes perfect sense, I know (insert eye roll here). Basically, be patient with yourself. If you really want something you’ll make it happen, but it’s going to take time and a lot of effort.
  8. Negative Feedback: To anyone, an I do mean ANYONE, that belittles your dreams and goals, please politely tell them to go to hell. If you’re too nice of a person for that (sadly, I’m one of them) then politely accept their feedback and then refuse to discuss your goals with them again until they’re able to keep their negativity in check. Also work on your need for other’s feedback. If you can get to a point in your life where you only really care about your own opinion your happiness will increase in leaps and bounds-or so I’m told. I’m still working on this little bit of advice.
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6 of the Best and Worst Ways to Build a Habit


If you’ve looked at any of my other posts it’s obvious that the main habit that I’m trying to nurture is Writing, but I’m also focusing on nutrition and exercise as well. So, without further delay, here are my top 3 Best and Worst Ways to Build a Habit based on the last 3 months of my life.

The Best

1. Make it fun and reward yourself

Regardless of what habit you’re trying to form, you’re going to have more success if you do things to make it fun. Consider it a bribe of sorts. An example? Running; the only time I allow myself to binge watch TV shows on Netflix now is when I’m on the elliptical. If I’m REALLY into a show it’s a great motivator to get me up and moving daily. Cooking; I’ve finally gotten into the habit of cooking meals at home during the week, and my reward has been spending the extra money to make things that I actually WANT to eat. Funny how well that has seemed to work. Now with Writing I had to put more thought into how to reward myself. My current attempt at self-bribery is that I can’t read for the day until I’ve written for my alloted time frame goal. It’s a great motivator, but over the last week I’ve simply been too busy to write or read, which is unheard of for me.

2. Be patient

Oh, what a wise suggestion this is! Too bad I don’t know how to follow my own advice. It is CRUCIAL that you are patient with any habit that you’re trying to form. If you expect for it to be like second nature after the first week, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Building a habit takes time, it takes determination, and it isn’t easy. There are going to be days in the beginning that you’re going to miss or you’re going to half-ass, but the worst thing you can do is get frustrated with yourself. Chalk it up to the process, and as long as you’re THINKING about doing whatever it is you’re trying to form into a daily habit, you’re moving in the right direction.

3. Set Realistic Goals

This. This little suggestion right here is GOLDEN. It also makes me laugh hysterically at myself because I, regardless of my attempts to avoid it, always morph my seemingly realistic starting goals into impossible to achieve monsters of frustration and self-doubt. I want to start eating healthy and being more nutritionally conscious? Well then I’m NEVER going to eat food A, B,C,or D again!Even if all four were currently regular staples in my diet before beginning this journey. I want to start running? Well Hell, let’s go! Oh…I feel like I’m dying and can’t walk the next day? Damn. I haven’t been writing regularly, only on rare occasion, but here comes NaNoWriMo and I’m gonna do it because REALISTIC GOALS ARE MY ENEMIES.

Setting unrealistic goals leads to a lot of frustration in the beginning stages of this process, and often can lead to failure. So, lets not do that.



The Worst


1. Binge start, and expecting to keep up that pace

When you’re hyped and excited about something you’re going to be rip-roaring and ready to go. It’s going to be easy, and exciting, and fun and all those things you love about said habit, but then after a few days this excitement and inspiration is going to wear off, and you’re going to replace all of that with simple dedication. People start doing new things all the time, but only the truly dedicated individuals will continue once things stop being new and fun.

Instead, pace yourself. Even if you feel like you can do a 3000 word sprint on your first day, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. The end goal shouldn’t be a word count amount, but the daily habit of writing.

2. The All-or- Nothing Approach

Oh man, this is another one that applies all to well to my life. When it comes to my habit building I am SUCH an all-or-nothing kind of person. If I don’t have the time to write the ENTIRE goal timeframe, I just wont write. If I don’t feel like I can do my ENTIRE run for the day, I just wont do it. This leads to a whole lot of days where I’m not getting anything that I want done, which then leads to frustration and disappointment, and eventually morphs into my third suggestion. Remember, even a little time or effort towards your goals on a daily basis will make a difference.

3. The Debbie Downer

Whatever you do, make sure that you don’t let that Debbie Downer negative voice in the back of your mind gain any volume. Mine gets pretty loud fairly quickly when I’m frustrated with myself, so I have to constantly remind myself of the progress I’ve already made. Any step forward is progress, and every day that you work on your goal is another that it becomes more natural for you. Don’t forget to keep your expectations realistic, and don’t be afraid to change them if you’re struggling too much in the beginning. Be patient, be realistic, and be determined and you’ll have a new habit in no time.

4 Reasons to Participate in NaNoWriMo

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National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, is an international Organization that hosts several writing events a year, generally in April, July, and November. During each month-long time frame participants are challenged to focus on meeting a specific word count goal, generally 50,000 words, which is considered the base-line for a novel’s first draft. This boils down to right around 1,666 words a day. Sounds simple, right? To some it may be, but for most it is a challenge to dedicate that much time to writing in their already busy schedules.

So, why do all of these people participate in this challenging and sometimes frustrating event? To improve their writing, for starters. Practice makes perfect, and the more you write the easier it gets. Many people also use these events to try to push out the first draft of their novels. All of that considered, there are other wonderful reasons to participate in NaNoWriMo as well.

 

  1. To Challenge Yourself: This is a no-brainer. Taking on a goal that is going to take up 2+hours of your time every day is going to be a challenge, but it can benefit more than just your writing and word counts. It will take self-discipline and time management. For me that has meant making myself pack my lunch the night before, keeping up with my chores on a daily basis, and limiting the time I spend doing nothing. That may not seem like much for anyone else, but it has taken daily encouragement for me to be able to keep everything going.
  2. To Develop a Writing Habit: I know a lot of participants get frustrated when life happens and they’re unable to keep up with that 1,666 word goal each and every day, but I wish they wouldn’t. Even if they only write 500 words a day, they would still have 15,000 more words written than if they hadn’t. The most important aspect of the event is the DAILY writing. So even if you can’t dedicate 2+hours a day to writing, dedicate what time you do have. I promise it will not be time wasted.
  3.  To Meet Other Writers: I’m in my 3rd round of NaNoWriMo this month, and this is the first time I’ve reached out to other Writers for encouragement and inspiration. It has been a wonderful experience thus far. I’ve reached out in my assigned “cabin” (a small community provided BY NaNoWriMo) as well as social media sites, and just knowing that there are other people out there writing and struggling alongside me has been a great motivator. So put yourself out there, this is the perfect opportunity to meet people who share your passions and interests.
  4. To Have Fun and Learn Something About Yourself: My goodness, please if you take nothing else away from this blog, take this advice: Have FUN with your writing! Whether you’re writing in an event like NaNoWriMo or just writing on your own, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Enjoy your writing time. Make it something that you look forward to every day. It’s your time, your passion or hobby, and it shouldn’t be something that adds even more stress in your life. Yes, I’d like to meet my word count every day in NaNoWriMo, but realistically I know there are going to be days that I don’t. Like today: It’s the 4th of July and I spent my afternoon with some of my closest friends playing silly games and enjoying myself. Is that bad?  Absolutely not. Could I have been spending that time writing? Yeah, sure. But it’s all about balance. Take the opportunity to learn what’s important to you and enjoy yourself!

 

Can I count my blog posts towards my NaNoWriMo word count? I would, but that would be cheating. =D. If you’re participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this go around tell me how you’re doing!

 

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3 Things to Consider When Creating a Writing Space

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My Writing Area for Camp Nanowrimo July 2016!

I’m so excited to share my Writing Area! It took me several grueling hours to decide where I wanted it and actually make it work. Luckily, my sweetie was very understanding. ‘Cause I wasn’t a Southern Sweetheart during the process. I’m pretty sure I actually sounded like a Sailor, but we’ll edit all of that out of our story.

P.S. My Writing Area is legitimately in the back of my food pantry, which thankfully has doors AND lighting. Hellloooooo late nights without fur-babies interrupting me.

I’m one of those people who function best with a routine. I need a specific TIME to write every day as well as a specific PLACE.

Here’s the three things I considered when putting together my Writing Area.

 

  1. Consider your COMFORT        

Comfort, for me at least, is a must. But, I can’t be TOO comfortable, like laying on my bed, or I’ll literally be in dream land before I’ve finished writing a page. I’m one of those people who can fall asleep within minutes-be jealous.

So, I needed a desk or table to designate as my writing spot.

 

2. Consider your CONCENTRATION

I know there are people out there that can tune the rest of the world out and write to their little heart’s content. I do not count myself among these luckily people. I get distracted way to easy, and then I get frustrated because I’m distracted, angry at what or whom ever distracted me and then I’m too perturbed to really focus on my writing. (I’m delightful to live with, I know. Love You, Baby!)

I needed a place that I could shut the rest of my household out, human and animal alike. So…..my options were very limited. It was a draw between the bathroom (man, that would have been an interesting post!) and the pantry.

Hello, canned goods! Ya’ll are gonna have to move along.

I spent my Saturday rearranging and consolidating my pantry shelves so that I could remove the largest one to make room to sit comfortably.

 

3. Consider CONSISTENCY

I’ve always thought it would be amazing to slip away to a coffee shop to do my writing, but realistically that couldn’t happen daily!

If I want to form a daily habit I needed a place I could go to daily, that wouldn’t cost money or vary from day-to-day.

Ease of access is also an important thing to consider.

I had thought about leaving the long shelf in place and just sliding it back and forth…but that would have taken like 10 minutes to move everything every day…and way too much effort that SHOULD be used on keeping myself motivated to write.

 

What are you planning to do for a Writing Area?

Do you have any tips for creating those crucial writing habits?

 

♠♥♣♦

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways NOT to Record a Presentation for Your Blog

I’m being gracious when I say 5 . I probably recorded twice that many Podcasts/Screen Captures for the book I wanted to review this week.

I HATED every single one. So, that means no book review for you and a very high level of irritation for me.

That’s what I like to call a lose-lose situation.

So, my wonderful wordsmiths talk to me about video posts. Do you use them? What programs do you use? Did you absolutely despise your first few attempts, or is that just me?

 

Boo Hiss.

 

In other news….SEVEN DAYS UNTIL CAMP NANOWRIMO. Ah shit. The pressure is on.

 

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Camp NaNoWrimo Prep Week #3

 

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Count down, Count down. 11 more days to go!

You’ll notice there magically wasn’t a Prep Week #2 post. I spent the time NOT blogging and NOT listening to my own advice, but that’s generally how things work.

I couldn’t spend an entire week on my characters —it felt to0 restrictive. I started diving into Motivations, Conflicts, Relationships,  Scenes…I basically drowned in my pre-writing writing for the past two weeks and loved every second of it.

Now the fun time’s over. We have a week and a day before Camp NaNoWrimo starts.

Be still, my frantic, nervous, excited heart.

 

Here’s what I plan to have ready to go by our deadline, in hopes of it all making my NaNo experience more successful this go ’round.

Cast: The majority of my characters I THINK I’ll need, with their first draft names and GENERAL personalities. I must say, I stumbled upon 16 Personalities and quickly fell in love with using this approach for my characters. Check it out, I doubt you’ll be disappointed!

 

Conflicts: Man, I think I went a little overkill on this one. I got main conflicts, side conflicts, conflicts with self, character, nature,  you name it I’ve listed a potential conflict to be included. It will be interesting for me to see which fit into the story best.

Character Goals: I have these for each  “stage” of my novel.

 

General Outline: This is the main thing I’ll be working on over the next week. I know where my story is starting, what direction it’s heading, and several stops along the way, but I still don’t know the scope of it. How far am I going to go with this novel? Will all the issues be resolved or will it be a series? I have a feeling it will be quite a while before I have any of those answers.

 

If you haven’t already, sign up for CampNano (My Username is DreamEras )and get ready for cabin assignments!

If anyone’s interested in starting a private cabin hit me up! I believe we can have up to 12 cabin-mates.

 

 

♠♥♣♦

 

Stop With the Perplexing Show and Tell

Show, don’t tell.

How many times have we as Writers heard this statement? How many classes have been founded around this one simple concept? It’s simple, yet crucial to a Writer to be able to apply this general rule to their writing, but it’s nothing to overly fret over.

 

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

-Anton Chekhov

 

It’s all about HOW you pull your reader in to your story. I’ve seen books that overly show, overly tell, and overly mix the two in attempts to follow this “writing rule”, and the results were all the same; unnatural.

Each Writer has their own Voice. In my mind this is equivalent to their own internal dialogue and thought processes. There’s simply no point in trying to make your Voice match someone elses just because of their perceived success.

 

Checkhov’s quote is a reminder to craft your words eloquently. We want our Writing to be beautiful and to move our Readers, and it will.

Just not necessarily on the first draft. When you’re focusing on getting your story down on paper, don’t worry about showing vs. telling, just Write! You can dissect your work and craft it into a masterpiece in the 2nd, 3rd, of 30th draft. Don’t over think it.

I took a Creative Writing class in my last semester of College and absolutely fell in LOVE with the course, the Professor, and my peers. It’s one of the only classes that I honestly dreaded the end of.

The Show, Don’t Tell debate came up a lot, especially in our workshop sessions where we had to read our assignments to the class to be critiqued. One of my assignments struck a chord with my peers, but struck a nerve with my Professor.

 

Stay tuned next week for the paper I wrote that caused quite a debate throughout a Creative Writing Workshop!

 

Pulse Check- Quote of the Week

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I’ve struggled with this post, hence why it isn’t going live until almost 8 PM on Monday. When I fell into bed in the wee-hours of Sunday morning I had all of my posts outlined, my Quote of the Week picked out, and had my alarm set to wake up in less than 5 hours to get my day going.

I hit snooze three times, then FINALLY rolled over and picked up my phone to waste a few more precious moments in bed checking my social media feeds. They were all filled with new broadcasts of one thing.

Pulse.

49 dead (I will NOT include the shooter in the death count. I respect authorities wholly for making this amendment) and 50+ injured. All in a few hours of unknown and unimaginable terror.

I didn’t write yesterday. I didn’t do much of anything, really. I kept refreshing the news sites to learn more about the events unfolding in Orlando.

I woke up this morning and realized I hadn’t written a single blog post. My posts seemed insignificant. My quote of the week meaningless. So I decided to do a little something different this week.

I chose images and quotes from the social media news feeds I saw when I first woke up Sunday Morning.

 

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My favorite, by far, although it isn’t very inspiring or thought-provoking.

 

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And then I saw this picture with the simplest of captions “Blood Donations”

It made me realize that we have to focus on more than just the bad. We have to focus on the good that has and will come out of what officials are calling the worst gun massacre in American History. This is what makes us Human.

 

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Fitting.

When I came across this Fred Rogers quote I instantly decided it needed to be the Quote of the Week.

 

To tie this all back to our main focus on creative writing, I have one thing to say: It is the Humanity that we give our Characters that truly makes our readers fall in love. Make it deep. Make it real.  Make your Characters, and thus your Readers, feel everything there is to feel. Give them a pulse, a heartbeat, and a reason to live.

 

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Camp Nanowrimo 2016 Prep Week #1

I have tried, and failed, to participate in Nanowrimo several times. Only once did I complete my transcript on time, and to this day (3 years later) I have yet to look at it again.

Obviously, that’s not the point of Nanowrimo. I forced myself to chug out a nonsensical transcript just to say I had. That’s pretty much a Lose/Lose situation if you ask me.

The main reason I’ve failed in my past attempts (minus not having my priorities in order) is my lack of Prep work prior to starting the challenge.

This year WILL be different. I have 4 weeks to flush out my ideas before the big day.

Nanowrimo Prep Week #1: Characters

Nanowrimo Prep Week #2: Story/Plot

Nanowrimo Prep Week #3: Goals/Conflict

Nanowrimo Prep Week #4: Rough Outline; Scenes List

Over the next week I’m going to focus strictly on my Main Characters and most important Secondary Characters.

With each Character I need to flush out their: Personalities, Backgrounds,Goals;  Likes/Dislikes; Relationships; and Roles.

I’ll create a general Character Profile for each, and by the end of the week I’ll be ready to put them into action.

 

What kind of Prep work are you doing for Camp Nanowrimo? Share your ideas with us!

Creative Writing Prompt Week #1

Take a look at your Main Character.

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What do they care about?

What do they want?

What do they need?

A Character’s wants and needs seldom are the same, at least not at the beginning of a story.

What’s the biggest differences between their want and need?

Would your story be more dramatic if you switched these two things around? Some Authors make it so that their main Character can only have one if they sacrifice the other.

 

Play around with your Character’s wants and needs this week, and map out what changes would occur in your story line with each want and need.

Which would make a more interesting story?