Tag Archives: writing

Day 30: Navigating through the fog…

Thirty-one days ago I took on a self-imposed 30 day blog challenge to get moving in the right direction on finishing the unfinished project of writing a book on my 30×30 experience started years ago. It all began with a bad attitude in a California coffee shop, turned into a list of 30 things I set out to do before turning 30, and ended with 29 of the 30 items being checked off…and one very happy, very blessed girl. Fast forward two years later and I was in a fog on where to go next–both on the book and on the next chapter in my life adventures. Stuck and not knowing exactly how to move forward on the 30,000 word book monster, I was inspired by a friend who had taken on the 30 day blog challenge and thought I’d join the ranks of those who blog. Thirty-one days later, it’s time to take a brief look back over this online journey.

Let’s see–several stories were told about memories and lessons of items on the completed 30×30 list, along with a few painful flashbacks, followed with some personal victories and wins in my current situation, and finishing with some admitted challenges along the way. Throughout the last thirty-one days of this blog challenge my next list grew from ideas in my head, to eight items written on a sheet of paper, to thirty-four items publicly posted in the blog…and it’s still growing. This is a really  big win. So how does that work into the ultimate goal of falling back in love with writing and finishing the 30,000 word book monster? It’s currently off to an editor for round one editing and I have a standing appointment on the calendar in September to discuss the next steps in the editing process…and there’s currently talks in the works for the book cover. I do however still need to connect and follow up with some other bookie items and contacts that I’ve been avoiding and procrastinating on. That will come. But more than anything, I am closer to the overall goal than I was thirty-one days ago. That is a big win.

Interestingly, I headed out to walk the pooch the other morning and found myself in the most beautiful cloud of fog that engulfed the canyon that I walk almost every morning. Everything but the steps right in front of me remained hidden. The cliffs, the river, the familiar pastures  and fence lines that I know are there, and even the road ahead. I smiled as I realized that sometimes in life when the fog settles in you can lose sight of the big picture and what’s ahead. This is not always a bad thing. There are times when it’s okay to slow down and focus just on the steps in front of you and not necessarily on the distance you need to go. Sometimes you need to stop altogether and dig your heels in just not to lose any ground. This is the time to breathe deep. Eventually the fog will lift. It always does.

The foggy view

I realized I was in a fog with my book project. I had been too concerned with the big picture and all that needed to happen that I was distracted with the overall view and the end result. The “I don’t know what to do” fog forced me to slow down and focus on the smaller tasks right ahead. It’s okay to feel lost and a bit disoriented, but all will right itself when the fog lifts. And the fog will lift. Fog is always temporary. When it does eventually lift, it usually leaves things refreshed, hydrated, and glistening when the sun comes out.

I look forward to the sun coming out and shining on this project. Keep checking in to find out how it’s all coming along. This isn’t just about the 30,000 word book monster anymore. This is about the next list and the journey of progress towards shaping the next chapter. Cheers to the next list, the next chapter, and all that goes with it!

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Day 18: Privacy, my friends, is out the window.

Google Privacy

With all that’s been going on in the news regarding the CIA, NSA, Snowden, and companies like Verizon raising eyebrows, it’s hard not to think about today’s notion of privacy. Technology alone has made it easier than ever to be able to get our voices heard and communicate with one another, but few probably stop to think about the cost and that the concept of privacy is not what it used to be.

Yet somehow in our minds we think it should be. We keep our smart-phones glued to our hip, connecting us to the world beyond. That one piece of technology is able to give in detail who we talk to, how, how often, when, where we are when we do, and what our interests are through apps and internet usage.  And then we naively think that no one would want or should have access to that data. We willingly post pictures and details of our daily lives on social websites–what we’re eating, who we’re with, why we’re bored, etc–but yet seem to want to maintain the notion that our lives are our own and should still be private. The Facebook generation has no problems posting inner dialogue and risky outer moments on the internet for all to see, but then is surprised when employers frown or even invoke consequences on that same behavior.

Facebook privacy settings...time to check 'em.

As public as we make ourselves, there is still the thought of a “right to privacy.” Every time Facebook changes their parameters and settings, there is a following uproar to the loss of privacy, and yet many of us fail to change our own settings to maintain even the littlest of privacy allotted. If you haven’t yet, Google yourself. It’s not a bad thing to know just what is out there and what others are seeing. (It’s a scary, yet thoroughly entertaining excercise. I highly recommend it.) And just for giggles, Google your parents, some of your friends, and even some collegues too.

Have you Googled yourself lately?

Even with this blog, as a fairly private person I find myself struggling with the fact that my words are out there for anyone to see at any given point–and I’m the one that chose to put them out there! That is extremely intimidating. Once words are out, they cannot be taken back. That’s part of the beauty in what makes them so powerful. Our words shape our future and the future of others. Whether we choose to admit it or not, we are living the lives our long-ago words created.

When I first took on this 30 day self-imposed blog challenge, it was initially for me to tackle my book slump and get the creative juices flowing again so that one day the 30,000 word book monster sitting on my computer wouldn’t just be sitting on my computer. I even had the blog settings locked, set on private, and blocked the engines from crawling it. I meant business. What a strange dichotemy though–I had chosen to publish to the internet and yet didn’t want “the public” to see it. I was a walking talking hypocrisy. So with a big breath I changed the settings and opened myself up to the world…or at least to wordpress.

If I were truly honest with myself, I would admit that the notion of privacy is probably one of the road blocks on moving forward and finishing the book. I want to stay private. I like it. But how on earth am I to publish a book on the 30×30 project if 1) I am not completely honest and open and include details on that particular journey, 2) get over whatever fears I have in sharing the highs and lows of my current journey and situation, 3) don’t tell anyone I’m doing this, and 4) change the dang privacy settings on my blog! There is no way my life is going to be able to help anyone else’s if I stay locked away for my own personal security reasons. The whole point of this journey, this book, this blog, is to help someone else in their own. And when I don’t have good answers on “the how,” I tend to shy away. I’m human, I want to know the plan, the dirty details, the next steps…”the how.”

That is where faith comes in. When we know what to do and have the direction or instructions, it’s time to just step forward and do it. This is me doing it. At day 18 on the blog challenge we’re over halfway done. High five. The settings have been changed and this is a completely open blog, linked to Facebook and everything. Another high five. The 30,000 word monster is currently with an editor for round one editing. That’s the biggest high five of them all.

More than anything, thank  you to all who have been along on this journey so far, who are just joining, and to all those who are a part of the future stages. And when the 30,000 word book monster finally does come to fruition…I hope Google finds it.

Day 4: Writing the vision…and how I didn’t.

Image

Okay, here we are in day 4. I have to be completely honest on why I’m doing this 30 day self-imposed blog challenge. When the last item on my 30×30 list was completed, I entered into a “now what?” mode, and I just put everything on pause and continued on with normal life. As in life, I was tossed some curveballs that kept even the slightest thought of getting back into list-making far far away. (A major break-up, a cross-country move, a new job, taking care of an elderly grandmother, death of a boyfriend…you know, life.)

But the entire time it had been put on my heart to write about my 30×30 experience. And like the good procrastinator I am, I ignored that thought and didn’t do anything for a long time and put that thought on the top shelf. And then people started asking me to write a book. And I did nothing. But after doing a photography shoot for an author’s conference creating bio portraits for author’s books…I got inspired. Over the course of a year I wrote sections and thought bubbles on the experiences and life lessons this 30×30 journey has taken me on–30,000 words worth–and then I did nothing.

I was stuck. The more I tried to get my act together on the final portions of the 30,000 word monster, the more I got frustrated and angry with it. So I set it down and left it there. And there it sat for over a year. Even though I knew the power of what the written word can accomplish–it was a key factor in completing the 30×30 list–I wouldn’t even look at it. The book, the unfinished product, the whole thing just made me feel like a failure. But the publishing siren kept calling and the feeling that I needed to do it just wouldn’t go away.

So here I am. This 30 day blog challenge is set to force me to re-visit the old list, re-open the rough draft, get going on the next steps in publishing, and to hopefully inspire me to begin setting the goals for the next list. What to call it yet, I’m not sure. But I do know that it has been laid on my heart to write, and so write I shall. I know this also means being diligent and disciplined to set aside the time to not only write in this blog challenge, but also to pick up where I left off on the actual book. It also means picking up the phone and making some very embarrassing phone calls to the publishing industry. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the financial side and costs of birthing a book! But before I get too ahead of myself and get caught up on the details, I will put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and continue to do what I was supposed to do a long time ago. Write write write. Cheers to the power of the pen. Here we go!

QUOTABLE QUOTES FROM PEOPLE MUCH SMARTER THAN I:

  • “Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man] —blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he.” — Proverbs 29:18
  • And then God answered: Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision message is a witness pointing to what’s coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.” – Habakkuk 2:2-3 (Message Bible)
  • “To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.” – Herman Melville
  • A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God.” – Sidney Sheldon
  • Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.” – Henry David Thoreau
  •  “If you have other things in your life—family, friends, good productive day work—these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer.” – David Brin
  •  “My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.” – Anton Chekhov