I’ve been neglectful of my blog lately. Really, it’s because I’ve been avoiding the internet, as I’ve yet to figure out how to be a part of the current ongoing conversations without getting anxious and overwhelmed. And I think that’s okay. Not to withdraw completely, of course, but to take a moment and recognize what action you can take within your own limits, so that you can be as helpful as possible without hurting yourself. Because you can’t help anyone if you aren’t taking care of yourself. This article has helped a lot.
I’m slowly figuring it out. I’ve started donating monthly here and here. I’ve attended protests. I’ve shared messages and phone numbers. And I’m learning that sometimes I need to step back, away from the internet, and do something kind or something just for myself – work out, read a book, knit a hat, make a pair of earrings.
In any case, being away means I’ve forgotten to post not one but TWO short stories from the Muses.
“Home” by the ever lovely Meredith. “Home” is a gorgeous short story with the quiet feeling of an epic. I love her characters, especially Brighid, who would be best friends with the main character of my short story, Imogen. Check out “Home” here.
“The Beginning to the End of the World” by the incredible Nicole. “The Beginning to the End of the World” is a unique story that will have you hooked from beginning to end. I love the structure Nicole uses in this story! Check it out here.
I hope you enjoy the stories as much as I do! It’s so much fun being a part of this group. Without Joyce, Nicole, and Meredith, I don’t know if I’d have had the guts to start writing again. Certainly, I wouldn’t be able to write now, with the chaos of the world. But this group has given me the opportunity to remember the freedom in writing and also the importance of it. Stories help us empathize with others. They help grow our hearts and our kindness and show us ways to connect to people around us.
And I couldn’t ask for a passion better than that.
The amazingly talented Joyce has struck again! Her new short story is gorgeous. Check it out here!
Here’s the first bit:
There were a lot of things Death once believed to be true, one of which was that the dead should stay dead. It was pointless going against the natural order. Only humans, who thought themselves gods and sought to bring the dead back to life, could be foolish enough to disrupt this course.
But if it helped to ease their pain, was it such a terrible thing to help them? “This job hardens your heart,” Love told her once. “But that’s only if you have one.” She failed to see the irony when Death pointed it out to her.
Now run, yes RUN, to the Muses site to check out the rest! 🙂
It’s no secret that I tend to be quite particular about my planners. So, of course, for 2017 I had to design my own.
I’ve put “The Girl on Fire” on the cover, as a reminder to be strong this year.
Here’s a look at the inside. Don’t mind all of my notes and goals. If I don’t write something down, it will invariably and inadvertently get forgotten.
If you’ve never seen Victoria Schwab’s calendar method before, check it out here.You assign each thing a colored sticker, and then, when you’ve done that thing, you get a sticker. I adore these stickers from Michael’s. They’re tiny enough to fit in my planner and shiny enough that I’ll stay up late working just to earn one.
It’s definitely one of the best motivating systems I’ve ever used. There’s nothing more satisfying than giving yourself a sparkly star at the end of the day for accomplishing something. (And also, nothing more disappointing than not being able to give yourself one because you lazed on the couch watching Fuller House instead…)
Plus, at the end of the month, you can see precisely how consistently you’ve worked to achieve your goals.
And now, as the calendar shows, I’ve got a short story that needs finalizing for the Muses tomorrow, so I should go do that… 🙂
How do you stay motivated to meet your goals?
(p.s. If you want to create your own planner, I recommend using Lulu. It’s easy and super affordable.)
It’s 2017. The year is still relatively fresh and untangled. My new planner is unblemished and full of possibilities and goals. There’s a general feeling in the air of newness, but also How did we get here?
For me, personally, 2016 was both amazingly wonderful and also devastating. I met and got engaged to my fiance this past year. I met three delightful critique partners. I rediscovered the joy in art. I wrote my first short story. But this year also saw the end of friendships, a crushing election, moments of paralyzing anxiety, and the deaths of too many people, including two that struck close to home. For the first time in my life, I understood the true dichotomy of ups and downs.
I expect that 2017 will be much of the same. How do we move forward into a year as uncertain as this one?
I’ve considered that question for weeks now and the thing I keep coming back to, over and over again, is hope. As long as we have something to hope for, we have something to live for.
So, here’s my list of hopes this year:
Be kinder. There are so many ways to be kind. Open doors for people. Smile at people who look like they might need it. If you have the money, carry pre-paid Dunkin Donut giftcards in your pockets and hand them out to the homeless, especially in the cold months up ahead. Read to a child. Volunteer somewhere. This year, and for the next few years, we’ll need kindness more than ever.
Write the world I want. I’ve always written stories. My hard-drive is littered with abandoned manuscripts. This year, though, I hope to write a story that encapsulates the world I’d like to live in. After all, in order to live in a certain kind of world, we have to create it first, right?
Learn to love the fear and pain of writing. 2016 was the first year I did not write at least one novel since 2003. Part of that is probably because I let the fear of potential success play with my anxiety – if I wrote a book I liked and queried it, what if it got rejected? What if it didn’t, but a publisher hated it? What if they didn’t, but readers hated it? Part of it was also because I was terrified I’d waste months writing another abandoned thing, so perhaps it was better to not write anything at all. This year, I hope to love that fear and uncertainty and pain, because without it, I can’t have any joy.
Create art. I love creating things. Sometimes I’ll sit on the couch with a crochet hook and a ball of yarn, and I’ll fuss around for an hour and wind up with a tangled mess of yarn. This year, though, I’d like to channel that energy into creating finished art products, because there’s something a bit more satisfying about holding a completed scarf in my hands than a wavy circle of yarn that I put together. I hope to have more completed drawings and paintings as well this year.
Cherish my relationships. I’m getting married this year, so relationships are more on my mind than ever. But it’s not just my relationship with my almost-husband, but my relationships with family and friends and critique partners that I want to cherish. Life is so precious. The only thing that is guaranteed, as we saw in 2016, is that one day, we’ll also die. So cherish the people you have now, because you never know when you won’t have them.