This post is all about our favorite subject – yourself! As I am stepping up to the plate here, I have had some realizations about self-limitations and what it is going to take to really do this thing. I wanted to share a few of those thoughts in hopes that someone out there has gone through a similar process and may be willing to share their experience, tips, insights, or which wine goes best with frustration and deciphering creating an outline. I bet it’s Pinot Noir. Just kidding, that was a trick question. It’s obviously not a wine at all, it’s vodka.
Invest in Yourself
I told you in my first post that I have no writing experience, no connections, no tools of the trade to help get me started. All I really had was a Coke and a smile. After doing some research (and by some I mean hours upon hours), I realized that my old laptop was not going to help me as much as I had hoped. So, as with any sub-par relationship, I broke up with him and headed out to get a sparkling fresh MacBook. You guys, this turned out to be an excellent decision. There are so many functions that I didn’t know about! I will delve into my new tools in later posts, but I wanted to put this out there: Investing in yourself and your dreams really is step one.
Investing in yourself is not mutually exclusive with reaching for your wallet and making a pricy purchase. I have quickly learned that writing and blogging will require investing the most precious commodity there is – our time. I think what has surprised me most is the sheer amount of time that I have spent researching – researching writing methods, blogs, published materials, on-line classes, software tools and apps; you name it, I have probably researched it.
This side project has pulled up to the driveway, walked right in the front door without knocking, and put his feet up on my coffee table! I am doing this writing thing while holding down my full-time professional job, so between balancing work, my passion project, and just plain old living, I have learned to better organize my time and stick to a schedule while juggling the “creative process”.
One of the new tools I discovered is OneNote from our friends at Microsoft. I love OneNote because you can create a virtual notebook with different tabs to keep track of thoughts, tasks, objectives, notes, and reminders. Think of it as a TrapperKeeper for adults. The tabs are completely customizable, and you can have as many as your little heart desires. I have one tab dedicated solely to the “idea dump” strategy that I discovered during my research. The concept of the idea dump is to just get those brilliant insights that pop up seemingly out of nowhere onto paper or in this case, your computer. In OneNote, I have an entire tab dedicated to random thoughts and musings to be explored later and have the ability to track my entire process in one convenient application. Oh, and the best part? You can sync OneNote across all of your devices so your work travels with you. Out of town when a gem of an idea strikes? No problem, just whip out that smart phone and add your note. OneNote has your back for anything, not just writing. Making grocery lists, lesson plans, trial outlines, whatever you need to track, I bet you can do it with OneNote. I plan to get more granular with the bells and whistles later – remember, I am just oiling the works here.
Believe in Yourself
No other person on this earth will believe in you as much as you do. Not your mama, your sister, your bae, your Twitter followers, NOBODY. That stings a little, doesn’t it? It sure stung when I realized it, and that is why I am telling you. But, if you don’t believe in yourself and instead believe that you can’t, or you maybe can, well everybody will easily believe that too, and fast. The law of attraction tells us that like attracts like, so forget all the reasons it won’t work and believe the one reason why it will. Hint: that reason is because you believe in yourself! This is a principle that I am certain of. Still don’t believe me? The What We’re Reading page has some books on this very subject that happen to agree!
There are days when the last thing I want to do is think about this book, this blog, that article I still haven’t read or the on-line class I signed up for on how to create an outline. (Seriously, how do you create an outline?) Some days, I feel like throwing my hands in the air and watching a reality television marathon. Those are the days I work extra hard, dig extra deep, and push myself to the limit. Those also happen to be the days that I think I have done some of my best work. Even though this is something I am doing for me, it’s still work. And it can be hard. But then, a beautiful thing starts to happen. I force myself to work thinking, just a few minutes, finish the tutorial, write just a little more. But suddenly you get so swept up and inspired doing something that you love, time starts to fly by and then, look at all that progress you just made!
I have always appreciated and loved books, and by association the writers that gift us with those books. So to any writers out there reading this, thank you for all of your hard work -past, present and future.
Next time, we are going to really get into the ball game, I promise!