Monday, December 28, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – New Years Resolutions

As a new year approaches, we often hear the phrase “New Years Resolutions”. At some point in our lives, we’ve all tried it. Sometimes we succeed. Most of the time, we fail. Why is that?

I do not believe in New Years Resolutions. When I hear someone talk about them, I cringe inside. Why? They very seldom work.

Most people that know me well know that I am a goal-oriented person. I LOVE GOALS! I set them on a regular basis. I set yearly goals, monthly goals, daily goals, and even sometimes even hourly goals.

So what’s the deal? Is there a difference between setting goals, and making New Years Resolutions? YES! To me, there is.

A resolution feels so final, like there is no breathing room. I will write everyday. I will stop eating sweets. I will exercise 5 times a week. I will keep my house clean.

What happens the first time you don’t write? How do you feel after eating the first donut? Only exercise 3 times in a particular week? Too busy to clean the house?

When we go into something with a determination to succeed, but don’t allow ourselves any wiggle room, we will almost always fail. After the first sweet treat, we feel as though we might as well quit trying.

So many times I’ve heard someone say, “Well, I already broke my resolution. I might as well have another one.” Some make it a few days, some a few weeks, but most people eventually quit.

Goals, on the other hand, are much more flexible. You can set a goal to lose weight. You can decide you want to write a certain number of words a day/week/month. You can decide you want to start training to run a marathon.

The difference is that you have to set realistic goals. If you set the bar too high, you will most certainly fail. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to stretch. We should always be trying to push past our comfort zone. That is how we grow and learn.

If you slip up, and eat something bad, you can start again. If you thought you could write 3,000 words a day, but find you can really only do 500, you can adjust your goal. And don’t try to run a marathon the first time you go jogging. Take time, and build up to it.

Write your goals down. I once heard that a goal not written down is only a wish. If you really want to succeed, write it down, and refer to it often. Share your goals with a friend, and encourage that friend to do the same. Maybe you can work on them together, and help each other succeed.

Most importantly, do not quit. If you didn’t make it to the gym this week, don’t cancel your membership. Try harder next week. If you can’t go 5 times a week, change your goal to 3 times a week.

The more goals you accomplish, the better you will feel about yourself. I’ve witnessed this first hand. I’ve noticed a pattern in my life. When I get lazy, and don’t work toward my goals, I always find myself feeling down. I have no motivation, and my patience is not what it should be.

It is during those unmotivated times that it is even more important for me to get up, and get moving. I force myself to do something, even if I don’t want to. Before long, I realize my attitude has changed, and I’m in a better mood. I find that I actually want to work on my goals, instead of dreading them.

Don’t forget to share your goals with Heavenly Father. He loves each of us, and wants to be involved in our lives. No one can give you more assistance than him, if you are willing to ask for his help.

Happy Monday.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Journaling – To type or Not to type; that is the question.

I’ve been a sporadic journal keeper for as long as I can remember. I will write every few days, and then go for months without writing anything at all. Sometimes I like what I’ve written, other times I wish I would have not put certain thoughts down on paper.
My current journal spans over seven years. I only have a few blank pages left, and as the end of the book approaches, I’ve been asking myself how to proceed. Should I continue hand-writing them, or switch to a computer typed format?
I see good and bad to each scenario.
A hand written journal feels more personal. It’s a physical object you can hold in your hands as you read through your own history, or that of another.
There are a couple of reasons I don’t like hand writing my journal entries. I don’t like my handwriting. Sound like a silly reason? I think so too, but it can’t be helped. I really don’t like my handwriting. When I write fast, that handwriting gets even sloppier. I hate going back and re-reading it. I can’t focus on what the words say, only how the handwriting looks. The thought of someone else reading my scribbles nearly gives me nightmares.
The second reason I think would prefer a type written format, is that I can go back and edit. I’m not talking about months or years later, changing the story or anything. But there are so many times that I’ve started writing a sentence, and my thought process changes half way through, and I want to change what I’ve written. I hate crossed out words even more than I hate my handwriting.
As for type written? It’s less personal. I can eventually print it, but it lacks the hand-touched feel to it.
But type written eliminates both of my problems I’m currently dealing with. No worries about what my handwriting looks like, and I can edit.
Also, I think I would write more consistently if it were in the computer. I’m already here most days, emailing, blogging, and working on my manuscript. It might be an easier and more natural way to write my personal history too.
As the new year approaches, I see a perfect opportunity to make the switch, especially since my current journal is almost all used up.
So my question for all of you is:
Do you keep a journal, an if so, what method do you use?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – A Rookie Mistake

I have been married for ten years, going on one. I’ve learned many things over the course of the last decade. But all of that knowledge does me no good if I’m not going to use it.

Last week I made a rookie mistake. I was cooking dinner; multi-tasking at it’s best. Kids are always just a little more needy during “Dinner-making-time”, and I was trying my best to keep them happy, and not burn the food. In my distracted state, the mistake was made.

One of the pans on the stove was finished, and I emptied it into the other, placing the pan in the sink. Something spilled over on the stove, and the smoke alarms started blazing. My husband waved a pillow in front of it, while I opened the window to let the smoke out. Although I do not often burn dinner, we are well practiced in the process of smoke alarms. The smallest amount of smoke sends them into a frenzy.

Once the process was complete, I returned to the task of dinner. Picking the pan up from the sink, I realized my mistake. I had placed a hot-off-the-burner pan directly on top of a plastic Tupperware container. When I picked up one, the other followed.

The lid had melted, and attached itself to the bottom of my pan. Like I said, a total rookie mistake. After ten years of cooking dinner, I should have known better. I pried them apart, and this was the result:

The good news in all of this? At least I was able to pick the plastic off the bottom of the pan, saving me the trouble of buying a new one. The Tupperware was given a proper burial, in the recycle bin. May he rest in peace.

Happy Monday.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – Faith

I love motivating quotes. They are everywhere, if you look for them. I keep a notebook by my desk, where I right down quotes that make me feel good or give me hope.

For today's post I'm simply going to give you one of them. I have a lot of favorites, so this is only one of many.

"Faith makes all things possible, not easy."

I don't know who said it, but I believe it's true. We have to face problems everyday. Some are simple, and some are difficult and heartbreaking. If we hold onto our faith, and put our trust in Heavenly Father's plan for us, we can make it through anything we are faced with.

Happy Monday!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fifty Thousand

I just reached a new mile marker, pushing past the 50,000 word mark. I'm excited about where the story is going, and have enjoyed watching, as it unfolds. I have always known how it will end, but getting there has been an adventure for even me.

My original goal was to finish my first draft by my birthday, in February. Now I keep thinking that I would love to have it done by the New Year. It sounds crazy, and I don't know if I can pull it off. I know that it won't be full length by then (around 80,000-90,000 words), but it's just a first draft, right? I have a lot of revising to do, as well as some major character building.

But for now, I plan to just keep hammering on the keyboard, and not look back. Revisions are what next year is for.

2010: Here I come!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – Christmas Shopping

I am not a shopper. I don’t get a thrill out of being in a crowd of people, all racing to the back of the store for the same item. I don’t think it sounds like fun to get up at 3:00 a.m. to get a good deal at one store, and then racing on to the next. Not even if it’s an amazing deal. I don’t like waiting in long lines, just so I can purchase my cart full of “Great Deals”. The idea of people fighting over who gets into the toy store first, amazes me. I think that maybe, just maybe, those people have lost the Spirit of Christmas.

Some people thrive on the excitement of Christmas shopping. Good for them, unless they were the ones throwing the punches, or pushing some poor elderly woman out of the way.

So what do I love about Christmas shopping? The fact that I always get done early. I never have to go out and fight the crowds, or the weather. It’s true that I don’t always get an amazing deal on what I buy, but I’m okay with that.

I start thinking about Christmas gifts in the summertime. When I find something I like, I get it. And that way, I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to pay for everyone’s gifts at the same time, which makes it nice on the budget.

And I get to spend the month of December enjoying the season. What could be better than that?

Happy Monday

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Optimistic Tuesday?

Okay, so I missed my Monday post yesterday. Sorry "K" for not giving you the lift you need for the week. :)

But it's Tuesday now, and I'm feeling very optimistic, or maybe it's overwhelmed, terrified, and slightly insane. No, it's definitely optimistic...

Today is opening day for registration to the LDStorymakers Conference. I've been so excited about this, and had it on my calender to register December 1st. And... I just got done. I'm officially registered. But I didn't stop with a simple registration, oh no! I signed up for a few extras. That's where the "overwhelmed, terrified, and slightly insane" come in.

I'm attending "Boot Camp", which is an intense kind of critique group. My writing will be reviewed by others like me, as well as a published author, and I can only hope to live through it. (My writing is just as nervous as I am.) It sounds terrifying, but I know that I need to get comfortable with other writer's critiques, so I'm going for it.

I'm entering a "First Chapter" contest, and my first chapter needs serious revision to even come close to being acceptable. It's in first draft form now, and I know of several changes I plan to make. Luckily I have until the first of March to make those adjustments. But first, I want to finish my first draft.

I've also signed up to meet with a publishing agent, to pitch my manuscript. I'll have 10 minutes to basically sell the story idea, and see if they are interested. They will also give advice on what they want me to change, in order for them to be interested. Can you say, SCARY???

So, I've got to finish my first draft, revise my first chapter, and figure out how to pitch the story. The conference isn't until April 23-24, so I can only hope to get it all done in time.

I'm so excited, and Optimistic!! (Wish me luck!) ;)