Saturday, October 31, 2015

JOIN: Celebrate This Week - Story Exploratory and NaNoWriMo

Every Saturday, join me as I CELEBRATE This Week 
with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.

Last week, while the kids were at swimming lessons, splashing away in the pool, I bought a domain name and set up this blog, a sweet place for me to explore my story, share my love of writing, and hopefully inspire others.

So here we are.

And I'm so happy you are here to celebrate with me today!

Thanks to the remarkable Ruth Ayres, Saturdays are reserved for celebration. I've been celebrating with Ruth on my Teach Mentor Texts blog for a long time. It's definitely a highlight of my week and I'm happy to bring celebration to Story Exploratory. 

To be honest, making the choice to start Story Exploratory didn't just happen on a whim at swimming lessons. I've been thinking dreaming about how I might share more of my story as a writer for a long time. Writing makes me feel empowered and maybe it sounds cheesy but I would love if others would get to feel that way too. Sharing my story seems like the best way to start. 

That doesn't mean it wasn't scary. But I decided that when something feels scary, it doesn't mean you should give up. It means you have a chance to be brave.
So here we are (again).

Starting Story Exploratory is enough to celebrate but I'm starting on another crazy adventure tomorrow too.

Tomorrow is November 1st and that means NaNoWriMo! Just typing it makes me wince but I already signed up so I'm not looking back now. The first time I tried NaNoWriMo was in 2011. I so totally did not win all. 

Of course, that's part of what freaks me out about doing it now BUT I wouldn't have a super polished novel that I'm querying if I hadn't started it four years ago. 

It seems worth it to start a new get as far as I possibly can...whether I win NaNoWriMo or not. So I signed up. 

Last night I worked on my beat sheet, which is my super-skeletal outline based on Blake Snyder's Save The Cat. If you're thinking of writing a novel, I definitely recommend it. I've been thinking about these characters for a couple of years and finally getting ready to tell their story is exciting. Plus the story is set at a pool so I get to "live" in summer even though it will be November. How fun is that!?
I'm looking forward to having so much more to celebrate here. If you're doing NaNoWriMo too, please let me know! We can suffer the torture have so much fun together.

And if not, *maybe* next year. ;) 

No, seriously, if not, what are you celebrating? I've got (virtual) confetti at the ready! Thanks for stopping in to explore with me!

Friday, October 30, 2015

WRITE: Why Are You Here?

Our life is made up of story after story, 
strung together, making us who we are.

A few years ago, after I left teaching for a teacher leader position, was working longer hours, and commuting an hour both ways to work, I looked closely at my life and my priorities. Even though I was excited about my new position, my life wasn't in balance and I knew something had to change.

Writing is a way for me to process so I spent one night pouring my hopes and dreams onto the page. I wrote all sorts of ideas, trying to get to the heart of what I really want in life. At first it was a mess but then I started to see patterns and was able to corral those thoughts.

Thanks to Sage Cohen's book, The Productive Writer, I spent time finishing the statement: “My life is ideal when…” and I found that my life is most ideal when I’m spending time with my family, when I’m reading, when I’m writing and when I’m taking care of myself by exercising, eating healthy, and spending time with friends. Gaining this clarity helped me recognize baby steps I might take to get myself to a point where I spend my life doing what I want to do.

It was glaringly apparent that taking care of myself and my family is what is most important to me but I was spending a lot of time at work instead of at home. I still take my work very seriously and am passionate about supporting teachers but I'm lucky to now be working much closer to home. I get to do drop off and pick up and have so much more time to spend with them. It's a big change that has made a big difference in all of our lives. But I know I wouldn't have been brave enough to make a huge career change if I hadn't realized how much my heart needed it.
If you’re like me, I’m guessing somewhere along the way, while meandering along this journey called life, you have thought about the meaning of it all. I’ve often wondered:
Why am I here?
What am I meant to do?
How can I make a difference?

The truth is, I'm here to live the best life for me. And if I'm true to myself and my heart and my dreams, then I can make the world a better place. That's how I make a difference. 

It can feel overwhelming to want to change the whole, entire, great, big world so instead lets live our best life and together make our little corners of the world better places. A lot of us making better can make a whole world of difference.

Let's Write! Explore what your ideal life looks like. Remember that words like "ideal" and "perfect" are subjective. Your ideal is whatever works for you. Your ideal is perfect because it's yours. Finish the sentence, "My life is ideal when..." and then write down a few actions steps to more towards your more ideal life.

More about the notion of "perfect" next time!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

WATCH: The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A friend recently pointed out to me that when you assume you make an ass out of u and me. When we don't understand someone else's story, our brain does its job to fill in the blanks. Our brain makes assumptions based on cues and prior experiences whether we are conscious of it or not. It's natural for our brain to make connections to what we already know, desperate to fit a person into our schema, however it can.

But hearing someone else's story helps us avoid assumptions and base our understanding of a person on their truths instead of our assumptions. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie shares The Danger of a Single Story in her 2009 Ted Talk and speaks to how important it is to share our stories.

Watch and think about how sharing your story might reveal who you are inside and dispel misunderstandings. What would someone be surprised to know about you that he or she might not realize at first glance or even after a few years?

Thanks for stopping by
and exploring the power of story with us!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Welcome to Story Exploratory!

Welcome to Story Exploratory, a place to find your story, nourish your creative mind, set your story free, and ultimately make the world a better place. We're committed to giving individuals, groups, and organizations the opportunity to practice mindfulness through writing and align their work with their values and beliefs. 

Check in here for thought-provoking reads, intriguing videos to watch, opportunities to connect with others, and ideas for putting pen to paper or fingers to keys and exploring the story within you. 

Read posts will share tidbits 
from our very favorite writing resources.

We'll share our favorite inspirational videos for you to Watch.

Write posts will give you exercises or activities to help you
 practice mindfulness through writing and connect to your story.

We'll be sharing upcoming opportunities to Join in with through challenges, workshops, and webinars.

We're glad you're here to explore the story within you!