Just doing it.

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The thing is in the doing.  Thinking about doing is almost always scarier than actually doing.

Expansion and contraction of time.

I wrote these words on my drawing pad right before I went to bed the other night.  (Yes, I bought myself a drawing pad, and yes I have used it a couple of times to make truly awful sketches.)  I didn’t want to open up my computer and I didn’t really want to write anything in the moment, nor did I want to forget those two thoughts.  And I am glad I wrote it down – those ideas have been bouncing around my head for a few days.

Although those are two separate thoughts, they are intertwined for me at the moment.  I am 4 weeks into my new not-working-in-an-office life.  When I think back to my last post – the early morning of my first non-office day, I was thinking about the doing.  What seemed so scary then is now the new normal.  I can’t remember the quote exactly from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but the author talks exactly about this phenomenon.  When you are looking towards the future and the unknown it can seem daunting, but when you are in the middle of it, taking it one step at a time, that fear dissipates and you become wrapped up in just doing.  I want to take that to heart – every single moment of every single day – because it would be easy to fall into the trap of worrying about what comes next.  I also easily fall into the trap of thinking I will be rewarded if I accomplish something – write a novel, take good pictures, draw a nice sketch, etc.  But yesterday I realized something I already knew deep down inside.  I had to turn off my mind to realize it but here is what popped up: “Life is its own reward!”  The reward isn’t in the external achievement, but being able to embrace the moment, even if you have a throbbing headache and you haven’t gotten out of your pjs by 3pm, like me the other day.

And that is when I started thinking about the expansion and contraction of time.  I took a leave of absence from work in order to be more present for my son’s senior year of high school.  Yesterday I got an email about his graduation date – late June.  That is 9 months from now – gee – that hit me as symbolic!  I have nine months with this boy before he heads on to a new chapter!  And for me – I have nine months in this current chapter of self-discovery.  A few months ago, if you asked me, a school year felt like a long time.  Now I see that 10 months, quickly turns to nine months, which turns into eight months, and so on until you are counting the days and the experience will be over.  So like a loop- I return to my first thought – “The thing is the doing.”  Just do – and keep on doing.  The time will pass without me having to fret or worry about it, so focus on the days you have, be grateful, savor the small moments, and do things.  Do  scary things.  Do things that put you out of your comfort zone, because once you do them, you realize the scary part was thinking about it, not actually doing.

Older Wiser Better Stronger…and Motivated

 HUSTLE

IT IS ON!! This is the day that I am getting my HUSTLE ON! Not tomorrow, not next week, but TODAY!!

Sometimes when I read an inspiring quote, I write it down on a little slip of paper. Miraculously, those little slips of paper turn up just when I need them the most and the other day I got the little jolt I needed:

“The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately” (Unknown)

Now ain’t that the truth. I am a dreamer and for a long time, dreaming was where it ended: dreams of starting my own business, dreams of planning for retirement, dreams of financial security, dreams of being released from a day job, dreams of writing a book, dreams of working for myself.

And yet dreaming is not the same as doing. Dreaming is not the same as making a plan. Dreaming is not the same as putting yourself out there and risking rejection. As they say: “A dream without a plan is just a wish.” I’m all for dreaming and wishing but now I am planning, too.

So it starts — I am going to make something happen. And this isn’t just about money –this is about trying new things, about having no fear, of making things work, getting out of the comfort zone, figuring things out.

Many things inspire me: my friends, artists, other writers. However, the other day I was inspired unexpectedly: I found out my young nephew, who is in his early teens, decided to start a photography business. He has a website, he is approaching companies, and he is putting some money in his pocket. No Fear! So I have been telling my son he also needs to get out there and hustle. Very rarely do you get handed things on a golden platter. And, in my humble opinion, usually if someone is giving you something for free or easy, it probably isn’t really what you wanted anyway. You have TO GO OUT THERE AND GET WHAT YOU WANT. You have to want it and you have to chase it.

So — why at 45 am I going to get out there? Because I can’t NOT do it! And I want to support all of you in your scary/exciting endeavors!!! Let’s do this together. Another wise quote: “The best kinds of friendships are fierce lady friendships where you aggressively believe in each other, defend each other, and think the other deserves the world.” YOU DESERVE THIS! You deserve the world.

So — I am putting my money where my mouth and have made a list of the things I like doing and I think I have a unique view or ability: Taking pictures, writing, baking the BEST chocolate chip cookies and making amazing granola and granola bars. But I am taking it one step farther than a list. I am also working out how to offer these services. I have four photo sessions signed up this weekend so I can build my portfolio. I am figuring out out to package and sell baked goods. And I will work on a website.  As I said, it is scary. I run the risk of rejection. People may not like what I have to offer. But heck — if I don’t offer it they will never know right?

Let me know what you are working on!! I am so excited — let’s do this together!

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How to be a successful writer in two steps. Or one.

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Here it goes:

  1. Write. Just write. Computer, longhand, with a stick in the sand. Dealer’s choice.

2. On some public forum, like medium, hit the publish button.

Step 2 is optional.

This is along the same lines of how to get a bikini body.

1. Put a bikini on your body.

I have recently subscribed to the school of not giving a flying f@ck… don’t get me wrong, I care deeply about a lot of things. The world hurts my heart. I would lay down my life for my family. I over think almost everything. I scrutinize,analyze,obsess. The one thing I currently can’t care about, is if my writing will embarrass me or if I will fail.

You see, if I wanted perfection or every comma in the right place I probably wouldn’t write. A friend and I are trying to push each other towards creative goals. She recently told me she was working on a story, creating an arc and plot. Well hell, I have certainly heard those words before but not once, let me repeat NOT once, did those thoughts ever enter my mind. My thought process is usually put fingers on keyboard and see what happens. If I am entertaining myself and if it is turning into a readable essay, I keep going. I may revise a bit. I then take a deep breath and hit publish.

That said, if I went back and read some of the things I wrote, I would probably cringe. So I don’t go back and read old stuff. My plan is not to beat myself over bad grammar or wild, meandering trains of thought. My goal is to keep writing. Keep developing, keep working.

And along the way I found out a few things:

  • I have a voice
  • My voice is getting stronger over time
  • Writing is therapeutic for me
  • And, low and behold, some people even seem to enjoy hearing what I have to say

In case it helps you… here my past 2 years of how I got to this point.

1. I made a conscious effort to start a blog. I used WordPress.

This put me into the mindset that I wanted to have a finished essay that I could publish as often as possible — every other week, once a month, somewhat regularly. Putting a little money behind it psychologically helped push me. I think my subscription is $100 a year. I am sure you can get one for less. I am a huge fan of journaling and I have been doing it since I was a kid,but there is a different thought process when you know you are going to send it out to the world. Many blog posts have come from journal entries. They just get cleaned up a little more.

2. I started out blogging about things I observed and enjoyed: a flower shop, a bakery, etc.

Actually, my real goal had been to provide a forum for my photography with an a essay to accompany. Along the way the photography became an accessory to the writing.

3 . After a few months of the travel tips type blogging, I felt like doing something different and I wrote a blog about my feelings on a certain topic. I just wanted to do it. It was a bit scary laying myself out online for others to read real feeling. I am certain I would not have gotten to that point unless I had already been writing and publishing for several months.

4. Feedback is helpful,but don’t worry about it. I love getting positive reactions,but I like to think I would write no matter what. Sure I would love more readers, a book deal (do they even exist?), someone to pay me for putting my thoughts out there. In the meantime,I am going to just keep writing and hitting publish. Voila! I’m a writer. And…drum-roll…you can be too!

5. And by the way — I just decided i want to be a painter. So, in the spirit of my own advice, I am going to do just that. Watch out world.

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