Change Can Start with One Voice…

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With so much injustice happening around us, it’s more important than ever to speak out. For some of us, that’s using our place of privilege to speak out against things we see that are not right—even if they don’t affect us one bit.

I’ve called my representatives many times over the past few months to use my voice to speak out. It’s our right, so don’t be silent when we see things happening that make us uncomfortable. Change can start with one voice.

Find out who represents you.

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2017 Resolutions

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I heard Dr. Henry Cloud speak last night and he said something I really appreciated:

If you want your life to be different, it’s a good idea to sit down and figure out what you want that different to look like. You need vision.

Such a simple statement, but I think this is something that can easily be forgotten at the beginning of the year when we’re all setting our resolutions. It has to be more than just, “I want to have x accomplished,” it’s about clarifying your ultimate goals and then identifying the small/attainable steps you can make in the short, medium, and long term to get there. To use an example: Losing weight can’t be the goal—that’s a step toward an ultimate goal of something else and you need to be able to identify what that ultimate goal is or you’ll lose motivation.

And so that’s why goal casting is always a really big deal to me. I don’t just randomly make goals and throw them into the air hoping something sticks. I’m purposeful about what I want, what I need, and realistically what I can accomplish in a given set of time. So that being said, I have 7 goals this year:

  1. Hike 5 Texas State Parks with my family
  2. Finish revising TSBTS
  3. Draft/Revise historical adventure
  4. Write “Lyric’s story” (a MG novella for my daughter)
  5. Read one published book a week
  6. Finish getting out of debt (so close!)
  7. At least 4 family meals around the table a week

Things that aren’t goals, but are lifestyle changes I would like to see happen include becoming more disciplined about my writing time and drinking more water.

Things that I am putting into the universe that I would LOVE to have happen (but of which I have no control): selling a manuscript (or more!) and getting a promotion at work.

Let’s do this 2017!

Thoughts on Creativity (from smarter people than me)

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Last week I was able to attend the Circles Conference. It’s a creative conference with a bent towards graphic artists, photographers, and those in video production. Although I am none of those, it’s still an amazing creative conference (I mean, look at these speakers) and I walked away completely inspired!

Here are a few nuggets:

Shawn Blanc, writer and designer

“It’s a fight to stay creative. You fight fear, shame, doubt, anxiety, and isolation. Fear can keep you from doing your best work. But fear can also be used as a mile marker. The fact that you’re afraid is proof that you’re on the right track.”

Ways to make sure you won’t quit:

  • Show up every day (establish a routine)
  • Rest well (this goes beyond sleep)
  • Have clear goals and celebrate your progress
  • Have fun (create without inhibition. Spew out a draft and then edit)
  • Find community.

“Don’t complain about what you permit.”

Helena Price, photographer

  • Lay the prep work (pick a thing and commit. Figure out what to do with your time and then spend it getting better at that one thing)
  • Check your motivation (why do you want to do this? Motivation can’t be about insecurities or outside affirmation).
  • Look for paths others aren’t taking (aka don’t do what everyone else is doing).
  • Make the work. (no excuses, start writing! Read Ella Luna’s “The Crossroad of Should and Must.”
  • Stay focused.
  • Take care of yourself. (burn out kills creativity).

“Success can get you off course. Don’t worry about what others around you are doing. Stay focused on your passions and your craft. Always treat success as temporary as it will keep you from getting lazy and also helps you stay thinking long term.”

James White, visual artist and designer

(side bar: I think I have a crush on James White. His work is out of this world and right up my nerd alley! If you love Marvel, pop culture, Star Wars, and the 1980s… CHECK HIS WORK OUT!)

“Always have fun! The Best ideas are usually the ones that start off… ‘You know what would be funny?”

  • Get paid for your work.
  • Don’t bite off too much.
  • Strike while the iron’s hot.
  • Take a shot – do something.

Jeremy Cowart, photographer

Y’all, his talk was a narrated video and I can’t even begin to describe how visually creative and inspiring it was. His life message is: “I can.” I also cried.

I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a Ted Talk in February, so I’ll post the link then!

Larry Hubatka, creative director

“The people who can take dreams and turn them into reality are really rare. If you find one, hold on to them.”

“If you are not intentional about creating the dynamic you want in your projects, then you will end up living in something you never wanted.”

Tad Carpenter, designer, illustrator, and author

His work is absolutely out of this world and he writes children books and illustrates them! He’s also hilarious and I laughed so much during his session I forgot to take good notes.

“You have to pay your dues before you can pay your rent.”

“Don’t ever let your work get unfun.”

It spoke to the creative in me and also was great timing since I just got another round of revision notes from my agent. I’m now hopped up full of inspiration and feel like I can conquer the world! #conferencehigh

Next year they are having the first ever Lines Conference, focused on writers, bloggers and SM managers (aka ME), but unfortunately, the dates overlap with a conference I have to work. Blah. Maybe 2017!