Friday and Its Possibilities

Thank you for being my morning blogging buddy, Viola.

Thank you for being my morning blogging buddy, Viola.

Yesterday was the wackiest day.  I’ve been struggling to come up with new material throughout October (I seriously almost just wrote September, because I’m convinced that month didn’t happen yet), but with the fall flying by and the projects quickly adding up, I haven’t had as much creative energy to devote to this blog than I’d like.  At least that’s what has been in my head all this week.  And usually, when Friday comes, I’m so burned out that I often write the day off.

It’s the “not enough” mindset, and man is it a pain in ass.  A few months ago the idea of writing a blog post a week would have even been a feat, and now I try to write a little every day.  But when that momentum wore out, mainly because I was catching up on other projects, I started to convince myself that I still wasn’t doing enough.

And then yesterday came like a much needed “pull it together” smack in the face from the universe.  In one day, Blogher decided to feature three of my articles.  I don’t know what stars were aligning, or if it was just the order of them reading portfolios, but it was bananas.  I didn’t promote the third one until now because I didn’t want to drive people nuts on Facebook.

But by the time I got the third email, I felt like the Universe was yelling, “Is this enough?  Can you stop nagging yourself, please?”  So I did.  And I stopped trying to push at everything I was working on with the fear the my efforts were somehow inadequate.

The featured article is one that I included here several weeks ago, about cleaning up your mind for fall.  Ironically, I have yet to take my own advice.  So here is the Blogher article, and now I will try to take some pressure off myself and enjoy two beautiful fall days.  Happy weekend everyone!  And thank you so much for always being so supportive!

5 Simple Steps to “Fall Cleaning” Your Mind

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5 Simple “Fall Cleaning” Ideas for Your Mind

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As I talked about last week, September, for me at least, always feels more like a season of renewal than New Year’s itself.  And seeing that Autumn is the new hip time of year, apparently I’m not alone in that.  Who can say why the past decade or so has generated a sudden manic appreciation for pumpkins, but I’m not going to snub my nose at it.  There’s a chance, if we’re feeling super positive about the world, that this growing enthusiasm comes from the developing popularity of the farm-to-table movement, and so the celebration of the “harvest season” is making a comeback.  If I was feeling cynical about the world, I would just blame Starbucks for a brilliant marketing scheme.  Either way, there is a growing buzz about the coming months, and I’m right on board.

With any transition, especially one that lines up with the days getting shorter and chillier, it’s important to feel as if I am starting fresh.  So here are a few easy and free ways I have been jumping into September and saying goodbye to the summer without sadness:

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September Goals and a Note on Surprising Yourself

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As we say goodbye to the last mile marker of summer, there is a lot to look forward to as things start to cool down an the world fills with pie and pumpkin flavored everything.  I’ve found that without the start of a school year, it’s important for me to set goals, or even New Years Eve-esque resolutions for September.  I no longer get to buy new pencil cases or extra long dorm sheets, but instead, things just kind of keep trucking along the way they were.  Except summer Fridays go away.  Grand.  So the impetus to start fresh at the beginning academic year is still very present, and I think it’s important to follow your natural urge to get moving again.

August Surprises

At the beginning of the summer, I loosely set a goal to “get published by the end of the summer.”  I wasn’t really sure what that meant at the time, so it was definitely at risk of never happening.  After reading the book Creative Nonfiction, and thus finally finding a name to my favorite genre of writing, I zeroed in on where to submit my writing.  And then during a particularly confident week in July, I just started Googling to my heart’s content and submitting my blog posts to any site that lined up with my writing vibe.  The whole experience went so much farther than I ever expected, not only reaching my goal, but finally providing some insight into what I’d like to do with my writing in the next year.

One step becomes another

Camino de Santiago

Six years ago marks the anniversary of packing up and leaving to hike in Spain, a crazy venture I also did not expect to shift the path of my life.  Though I could go on and on about the things I learned on this trip, one of the biggest points that sticks with me is you will be amazed at what you are capable of.  And I don’t mean this in a crochet-it-on-a-pillow kind of way.  Seriously, think about all the Tough Mudder and Spartan Race trends- people are finally being reminded that they are capable of doing more than sitting in chairs and following instructions.  So whether it’s physical or intellectual, starting off on a new project with a solid tangible goal very often comes along with a heck of a lot more.  Several years ago, I took a career workshop through the SAG Foundation a few things that stuck with me over the years:

  1. Choose one or two measurable goals within a practical time period.  For example- if you are working on building your website, by the end of the month set the goal to contact 5 people for advice, and create a layout for at least 2 people to look at.  There are numbers to the tasks, and therefore you can clearly mark if they’ve been completed.  If you just say, “I would love to be paid for my writing by the end of the month,” you are choosing something out of your control.  Yes you can submit to a certain amount of places, but the success is not up to you.  So don’t do that.
  2. Create a schedule.  All you need are tiny steps.  If there is one small thing you can do a day, or say 5 a week (in case things get super busy) then the project doesn’t pile up and stare at you like a research paper you left until the night before it’s due.
  3. Find an accountability buddy.  I found one!  My lovely friend Kathleen and I are going to join up for coffee and keep each other on track!  Finding someone to check in with you will keep you from falling into the pit of “Maybe this was a lousy idea.”  It wasn’t a bad idea, keep doing it.
  4. Reward Yourself!  If you reach your goal, take yourself out for ice cream!  Or I dunno, but those pants you’ve been talking yourself out of buying.  You deserve it!  Also, it sets the idea up in your mind that following through is a gift to yourself.
  5. And my own addition: Write it down!  It’s very easy to forget why you wanted to focus on this one particular goal in the first place, especially when you start to talk yourself out of it.  At the start of the month, when you’re feeling particularly jazzed, write down an emotionally charged paragraph about why this is the most awesome thing ever.  Getting back into this mindset when you’re struggling will bring back the same urge that made it happen in the first place.

I’m actually not sure what my goal for the month is quite yet, but hoping to nail that down by the end of today.  Do you have any plans for September?  Lemme know!!