Wednesday, January 20, 2016

WATCH: Listening to Shame by Brene Brown

This week, I started reading The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer and I can't wait to talk more about it next week. Until then, and even as a bit of a leading up to it, I'm sharing Brené Brown's TedTalk Listening to Shame. I've read Brené's book Daring Greatly and it is beautiful. Hearing her voice in this talk makes her even more endearing.

The more I write, the more I realize stories come from a place of vulnerability. People love connecting and being connected and one real and true way to connect to another person is to let them see our vulnerabilities. It's a sense of being sincere about who we are, our strengths and our flaws. And sincerity is a way of building trust. (I believe trust to be: sincerity, reliability, and competency.) When we trust another person, we can connect with him or her. 

Watch and think about what makes you vulnerable. Do you see your vulnerabilities as weaknesses? What are some ways you might remind yourself that vulnerability is the ultimate measurement of courage instead of as an example of our weakness? 

Watch and think about your shame gremlin. Brené says shame is two things: 1. I'm never good enough and 2. Who do you think you are? What are some ideas you have for facing that shame gremlin? I suggest writing! Maybe make a list of what that little booger whispers in your ear and then make a list of what you want to say back to him!

Thanks for being vulnerable today, 
looking into your heart, and exploring your story with me today!
I'm glad you are here.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

JOIN: Celebrate This Week - Progress and Puppy Love

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

I did lots of writing in November and December! I have 16,597 words written in my middle grade novel and that feels awesome. But I've spent the last couple of weeks focusing on rewriting my query for my young adult novel. I've sent some queries out and haven't had any luck so I decided to rework my query. And now I feel so much better about it! It was definitely a long few weeks stressing over it...trying so many different combinations of words and sentences. It was hard. 

Living a writing life is wonderful and exhausting at the same time. It's more than just sitting down to write. It's writing and then coming back to the writing, determination and perseverance, revising and revising and revising. And still revising. I'm reveling in all the work I've put into my writing and how far it has come. I have no idea where my writing will go but I know I get to share my blog (this one and Teach Mentor Texts) with so many friends near and far and I get to hang out with writers, some who are just getting started and others who have been writing for a long time, and I get to live the life of a writer in this way. I love to write. As much as it can be tiresome, it can be exhilarating at the same time. And what I've learned most is to just keep going. 
So I've got this sweet puppy living in my house now! We've had her for about two months and she just turned four months old this week. She's been to six weeks of puppy training and she has learned so so much. And I've worked with her so so much. I spend time everyday practicing what we learned in class: sit and stay, leave it and follow me, down and okay come. Over and over. Just like writing, it's tiresome and exhausting...especially when she's distracted or just not excited to listen to what I want her to do. But I've seen an amazing difference in her behavior from when we brought her home to now. She's learned so much in such a short time. She's a super sweet, cuddly puppy, playful and full of energy, but she can also calm down and listen to our commands. We still have a lot of work to do with her but when I think of the difference between now and the first week she was with us, I can see the tremendous difference.

And when I look at my writing in this same way, I can see how my words, my stories, my understanding of what the process looks like for me, has changed over time. Maybe there is still so much for me to learn about writing and weaving words into stories, but I can see how much I've grown and that feels awesome.

Today I'm celebrating the progress I've made with my MG, the revision I've made with my query, and also the fact that I'm ready to start revising the YA novel I drafted over the summer. It feels weird to take a break from my MG because it's not done...but at the same time, when I opened up my draft and starting reading through it, I felt at home with my characters and excited to work on their story to make it better. I'm keeping on!

I wish you the best with your writing life this week! Stop and celebrate any writing you have done - the big and the little - it all counts!

Thanks for stopping in to explore with me!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

JOIN: Celebrate This Week - Year! and Puppies

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

Today I'm celebrating the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016! One of the biggest things that happened in 2015 was that we adopted out puppy Perdita. We call her Perdi for short and I love seeing my kids play with her and watching her run and pounce around the house. I'm so happy we have her in our lives. She's already grown a lot since we brought her home!
In 2015 we also took a great road trip to Disney World. It was such a great trip and we talk about it all the time. We just has so much fun and it was a neat bonding experience, especially for my kids who are now eight and five. They really grew up and grew together on that trip from fighting Darth Vader to becoming pirates, they just had fun. Great memories.

One of the biggest changes that came in 2015 was that I left the school district where I had worked for my entire career (thirteen years) to come to a school district that is closer to home. It's been an amazing change but there were definitely ups and downs along the way and while I love my new position, it has still been a monumental change. 

So when it comes to 2016, I'm excited to soak up the reality that is my life right now. I love my little family. I love our snuggly little house. I love everything I get to experience day in and day out - all the ups and downs, I'll take it. For 2016, my one little word is: REVEL. Even just having this blog as a space to share my story and encourage others is a dream. I started it because I wanted to have a space like this...but now I do have it and it feels awesome. 
I believe in mindfulness through writing and one way for me to truly revel in this beautiful life is to take time to write everyday. A friend shared the Listers Gotta List challenge and I'm in love. Every month, The Reset Girl shares a list of daily topics for lists. She's my first new follow for the new year and I'm already in love with her Instagram posts. 

Here are some highlight from my January 1st list!

What I Loved About 2015:
  • My OLW for 2015 was 'grace' and I'm pretty proud of the deep breaths that I took and how I practiced reacting to situations with grace - I wouldn't say that I was perfect or was able to do this all the time - but I tried and I definitely improved.
  • I visited many a Starbucks but also local coffee shops Hansa and Area General Store where I did a lot of writing. I love the feel of a coffee shop and the sense of accomplishment I get from being there - because I actually get stuff done!
  • I traveled to my favorite conferences this year - ALA, Nerdcamp, and NCTE but also got to travel for Florida with my guys and to Boston with my husband. The best part of all of these trips for me was getting to spend time with friends and family.
  • To get a little out of my comfort zone, I took a motorcycle class, went ziplining, and went on a weekend yoga retreat where I slept in a yurt. I adopted my mantra: "I believe I can and I will." from pushing myself to my limits and finding out I can get past them.  

There is just so much to celebrate. I'm already REVELing in the fact that 2015 was an awesome year and that it feels like 2016 is going to be just as awesome. I'm excited!

I'm very conscious of how blessed I am in this life that I have. I hope that I can spread some love and appreciation and celebration of life to others in my REVELing this year. Whether it's from sharing my story here or in real life. Maybe you'll try the Listers Gotta List challenge...or just try one list today. 

What did you love about 2015?
What are you celebrating? 
2015 or anything else, please share!
I've got (virtual) confetti at the ready. 
Thanks for stopping in to explore with me!