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!

 

♠♥♣♦

 

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.

 

♠♥♣♦

 

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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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

A Mournful Time

“All I know is that I’ve wasted all these years looking for something, a sort of trophy I’d get only if I really, really did enough to deserve it. But I don’t want it anymore, I want something else now, something warm and sheltering, something I can turn to, regardless of what I do, regardless of who I become. Something that will just be there, always, like tomorrow’s sky. That’s what I want now, and I think it’s what you should want too. But it will be too late soon. We’ll become too set to change. If we don’t take our chance now, another may never come for either of us.”
Kazuo Ishiguro, When We Were Orphans

 

There is nothing, NOTHING, more depressing than someone that has been pressured out of following their dreams. For the individuals out there that feel as though their friends, family members, or significant others are wasting their lives pursuing a dream, I hope you feel the utmost shame in your words and actions. For the individuals who have been convinced that your dreams are pointless, I hope you find the courage and inspiration to overcome those misgivings and start again.

 

I have.

Almost 3 years ago now I started Dream Eras, and during the short time that I kept up with it I felt more alive then ever before. Sadly, life happened. I had to dedicate more time to completing my Masters Degree (In Human Resources, a field I’ve since discovered I will never thrive in), I switched jobs (no less than 3 times now), bought a home, and have generally dealt with the normal day to day stressors of “being an adult”.

I’ve faced many changes in my life, but the one thing that has remained the same is my passion for reading and writing.

 

Oh, and remember when I was falling in love with the New Adult genre? It’s beyond love now. I’m completely obsessed.

 

To my wonderful followers from all that time ago, I’m sorry I abandoned you. This time, I’m here to stay.

Devote.

To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal.

This post is a little off topic in comparison to what I had planned to write about today. Then again, I had planned to write this post almost a month ago, so it would only make sense that it doesn’t quite fit the original intent. The majority of my time is spent doing things that have to be done, such as work, school, housework, and exercise. Only in my very limited free time am I able to write, blog and read. That free time spent doing the things I love is what defines me. I want to give you the most important writing advice you’ve ever heard. I don’t care how good you are at grammar and spelling. I don’t care if you have plot holes the size of New York. Your characters can be as flat and boring as a blank sheet of paper. Regardless, if you love to write and you spend the majority of your time wishing you were writing, then do it. If you want to succeed as a writer, in whatever way that you define success, then just remember this one tip. Devote.

Devote yourself to your passion. Don’t get bogged down like I’ve let myself be in the last month-the last few years even. We live in a society where we’re told how to define out success, how to define our happiness, and how to define our failures. Throw all of these misconceptions out the window the moment you decide to be a writer. YOU have the power to decide what will make you feel successful and happy. YOU are the only one that can deem your work a failure, and as long as your work has brought some sense of positivity into your life, I beg you to never consider yourself or your work a failure. You aren’t a failure if you can’t life off of your writing. A woman who I hold in very high regards told me in all honesty that making it in the writing world has nothing to do with talent. It has everything to do with devotion, dedication, and drive. Consider them the three D’s of writing success.

I have 64 days until my M.S. program is complete. In those 64 days I plan to focus as little as possible on school and as much as possible on what exists  after: devoting my life to things that will make me happy, make me successful, and make me a better me.

A New Year, A New Start

The New Year is right around the corner. About this time every year people begin to reflect on what they want to change about themselves in the upcoming year. I would like to challenge each of you, as well as myself, to spend more of my time focusing energy on my dreams. Too many times the world beats the dreams from us with the daily grind of 9 to 5 jobs and the ever present financial crisis the majority of us live in. I’m not going to promise myself to blog and write every day, but I will promise myself to spend more time writing because it’s what I truly love. What change in your life would improve your happiness? I challenge you to make that change. The worst that could happen is remaining at your current level of contentment.

To a new year, a new adventure, and a new story.

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