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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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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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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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!

Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian

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“Jesus,” Dante interjected when the heavy quiet in the vehicle seemed endless. “All this touchy feely is making me itchy to kill something. How about we quit jerking each other off and go blow the roof off this mutha?”
Lara Adrian, Kiss of Midnight

 

Kiss of Midnight

Lara Adrian

Publication Date: 2007

Publisher: Bantam Books

Ratings on Goodreads: 3.94

Ratings on Amazon: 4.1

Yet another Erotic/Adventure Vampire book has graced my shelf this weekend. Kiss of Midnight has a fast paced plot that keeps the reader hooked until the end. I finished it in a day, although I did have to take a break here and there.

As far as Erotic stories go, this book delivered what was to be expected. It had several interesting plot points, but overall was seemingly pretty predictable.

If I’m being honest, I wish there was more Character Development. Like, a lot more. The characters seemed almost…dry. They said and did all the right things, but there wasn’t much of an emotional spark behind any of it. This could have been due to the amount of time spent in the main Character’s head, but even then the reader was told more than shown how she/he was feeling.

There were times that what the Characters did/said just didn’t seem practical.

There was also very little relationship development within the story. The secondary characters were exactly that; secondary, with even less development than the already lacking main characters.

There were plot holes that nagged at me throughout the story. Even after finishing it I had to ask myself, huh?

But with all that being said, I really did enjoy this book. I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to continue  the series in hopes of the Character Development improving. I most likely will, since I’ve started it, but I wont be able to get through 11 other books without some improvement.

Overall Rating: 3.0

A little less than the average, strictly because I am such a junkie for Character Development and emotional angst. It could have easily been a 4.0 if it weren’t for my personal preferences.

 

Sequel or Series Continuation? There are 12 total in te Midnight Breed Series. See the below Goodreads link for more information.

https://www.goodreads.com/series/49140-midnight-breed

 

 

 

 

 

Quote of the Week

“The reason why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”-Steven Furtick

 

Stop comparing yourself personally, professionally, or otherwise to those around you. You are your own, unique person, and you don’t know what’s really going on in other’s lives.

Take time this week to analyze your current writing project. As an Author, you need to know all of the behind the scenes information on your Characters, but you also have to be able to pick out what needs to be on their highlight reel. Go through your current scenes list (If you don’t have one, jot one down). Choose 3 scenes that are essential to your story and spend some time revising them, making them depict exactly what you want your Readers to see and feel.

Moving Onward

An average of 1 post every 2 months is a good rate, right? Right. *mumbles self-deprecating profanities*

It’s all about priorities. I haven’t been posting, but I have been reading and writing, a lot. It has taken a lot of effort to rewire my priorities, but I’m getting there. I am a very habitual individual- something either needs to be a habit or it isn’t going to get done. Ever.

Next on my priority development list is Dream Eras.

Stay tuned for Book Reviews, Book Rants, Writing Prompts, and other Literature related topics.

 

Oh, and guys? Camp Nanowrimo is less than a month away. ARE YOU READY!?

 

Carpe diem,

E

After You

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What’s Good:
Like the book before it, After You is a refreshing and emotional piece of writing. Parts of it were very raw in the emotional sense, which helps the Reader to relate to the grief the characters learn to overcome throughout the story. The author portrays the cycle of grieving beautifully and insures it’s not given a negative filter—just an honest one.

What’s Amiss:
This truly was a beautiful book, but for me it paled in the shadow of its first installment. It lacked the mystery and drive of Me Before You, and at times seemed to be spiraling without much direction. If I had considered this as a stand alone I would have enjoyed it much more. I was hoping for a continuation of the energy in Me Before You and was left disappointed.