Self Dare, Uncategorized

Mantras for Bad Days

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  • Give this moment its five minutes of fame, and then it’s over.
  • Nobody knows how you are feeling but you. Don’t let anyone belittle your experience.
  • You will heal.
  • Tomorrow or the next day, this will all seem very small, and you will be gifted with perspective.
  • Don’t dwell. Think of better, smaller, easier things: the leaves, birds, waves, sunset.
  • It is all temporary. All of it.
Creative Advice, NaNoWriMo, Writing challenge, Writing Tips

NaNo: It’s Coming

A friend told me today that he is thinking about doing NaNoWriMo. He asked if I had any advice. I would like to share this advice with you too, dear reader, dear writer.

Don’t do it for any reason other than to write and have fun doing it. Don’t do it for anyone else or because you feel like you ‘have’ to. It has to be the marriage of challenge and joy.

Prepare, but don’t prepare too much. The devil is in the details, and analysis paralysis will be your enemy. Think over the next week the type of book you want to write, the type of characters you want to give birth to. If you can create a book jacket summary of the overall arc, cool. If not, also cool.

Small chunks of writing will work better than marathon writing. Squeeze it into your schedule. If you don’t already love to write for five hours, you aren’t going to start now.

Don’t give up. Don’t get to the 20th and go, “I only have x words, there’s no way I’m going to get to 50k, I’m done.” Fight to the end. See what happens. Miracles have happened in mere hours.

Just by wanting to do it, you are ahead of the millions of people who say “someday I’ll…” Celebrate that, but just not too much.

If you want to share your creature as it awakens, do it. But tell people to hand over the roses and leave the thorns until 12/1. Because you will want to edit. Every writer does. You will hear yourself say, “Oh wait, this should be this” or “that should have not happened.” Leave the casualties and save yourself.

You can do it. I believe in you.

5 Things, mental health, Self Dare, Uncategorized

My Top Favorite YouTube Relaxation Channels

I’ve only recently appreciated the fact that there is a lot of awesome stuff on Youtube for relaxation. I’m not even talking about the hours and hours and hours of music and meditation, both guided and musical. But there are a lot of things I thought wouldn’t be relaxing that makes me let go of anxiety and tension. Some of them may sound weird — my list includes ASMR, and there are many that believe that ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is not actually a thing, that it is anecdotal at best.

I tend to react to this the way I do to most self-care: what works for one person may not work for another. So long as it isn’t dangerous, hurtful or illegal, you don’t owe anyone an explanation.

So here we have some of my top five channels I watch to relax.

1. Maqaroon

This handcrafter does a lot of needle-felting (which I love to do), creates stuffed animals, and there are frequently links to places where you can buy the kits she uses. A lot of videos also have really pleasant music.

2. Funkypinkgal

This is another craft channel, but this one is more based on polymer clay charms. Really cute stuff. Again, really relaxing music.

3. Nameless (don’t be alarmed on this one — the person creating the videos had their name stolen, and to protect themselves and others, it was changed)

In Japan, there are these candy-making kits where you mix together water and dry ingredients before “preparing them” in really cool ways. I’ve never tried one of these personally, because I’ve heard they can taste a little odd (sweets across the world are interpreted very differently) but the videos are really cool.

4. K Werner Design

That’s right. It’s another craft one. This one centers around papercrafts – calligraphy, cardmaking,stamps, coloring. The pieces she makes are beautiful, and she has a ton of links and tutorials if you are inspired by her creations.

5. Grav3yardgirl

So this one is going to probably come off very “one of these things is not like the others” and I’m not really sure how to explain it but Bunny’s channel is really relaxing to me. Her biggest focus is on makeup, but she also reviews As Seen on TV products, takes the viewer on shopping trips, and does monthly favorites. Sometimes, it’s very high-energy, but her makeup reviews especially are very informative and make me feel very chilled out.

So how about it, guys? What channels do you watch when you’re trying to destress? I want to know! Tell me. I dare you.

5 Things, Writing, Writing challenge

5 Reasons You Should Do NaNoWriMo

Wow. I have been away. I’m sorry. I was busy getting a year older. But now I’m into the first day of being a thirty-something, and I have news:

This year, I am doing NaNoWriMo.

For those of you who think I may have just had a seizure, November is National Novel Writing Month, in which writers from all around the world will write 50,000 words, which is the equivalent of the Great Gatsby. All while trying not to be “that relative” who hides in the closet on Thanksgiving.

I’ve accomplished this feat before, but I believe I did it a March a while back (while back = years ago now). It’s not easy, y’all. But here are a few reasons why you should get in on this sweet word-crunching action:

  1. Focus: I have been all over the place the past year, what with buying a house, changing jobs, all kinds of stuff. My writing has, as a result, also been a bit all over the place. By taking this month out, I am going to really focus in on getting the rough draft of my next novel done, and I think that’s a good thing.
  2. Blood-pumping: I tried skiing once, and I somehow managed to point myself straight down a mountain. As I realized there was no slowing down, I leaned into it. It was one of the most terrifying, exhilarating experiences of my life. NaNo is kind of like that. Suddenly you’re all, “Gottawritegottawritegottawrite ohgodohgodohgod!”
  3. Drop and give me 2000!: NaNo is a great test of discipline. It means putting your head down, getting your hands on your keyboard and going the distance. CUE THE OBLIGATORY CAKE SONG. It’s, like, the novel-writers marathon.
  4. Love and community: You are absolutely not alone, no matter how much it may feel like it when you’re actually writing. This has become a huge movement, and you need only search on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook or any other pick-your-poison social media site and you’ll immediately get to see other people who are as crazy as you!
  5. Fun fun fun fun fun: Go back and read that in your best Tigger voice. Reach deep in your meaty chest and grab your passion and do-si-do. Write naked. Write with coffee. Write without sleeping. You can do anything! And it’s a lot of fun. It really, really is.

Are you trying NaNoWriMo? I’d love to hear about it! I’ll be blogging about my experience throughout November. Stay tuned as I try to get as much prep work done as possible between now and Halloween.

How to Have a Day Job

[How to Have a Day Job] Six Things!

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So in the midst of a lot of different things going on right now, I looked up and realized that a special day had passed. September 28. On this day six years ago, I entered the company I currently work for. It shall continue to remain nameless, but the lessons I have learned…those I will share.

Here we go: 6 things I would not have learned without my day job.

  1. Finances: money can’t buy me love, but it does pay the bills. And there’s a whole other world of insurance, retirement, stocks…all those words that get thrown around that would not have made sense to me if it weren’t drilled in year after benefit year. And I feel much more comfortable being able to budget and handle finances in my personal life now that I can put those things together.
  2. How to present information: I used to sing in front of my school and church growing up, but it’s different when you actually need to instruct human beings. I have become very eloquent and comfortable working in front of people, and there is no way I would even be able to make that happen if not for the trainings and presentations I’ve held.
  3. Dealing with mean people: despite what anyone tells you, there comes a time when you have to work alongside folks who are not your favorite crowd. Is it fun? No. Will it kill you? Also no. Do you learn how to deal with it and get things done? Unfortunately, yes.
  4. Why bad habits are bad: skipping breakfast, not washing your hands, drinking a lot of soda…it just builds up.
  5. The importance of working hard and playing hard: being present means knowing when to get deep into your job and when to really enjoy life. That means being able to go to bed each night knowing you did your best. That means taking risks, using your sick time, traveling, planning weekends, having parties. By living with joy and adventure, you stop counting down to Friday. And on that note…
  6. How to let go: my day job gets 40 hours of my week and not a minute more. It took a long time to get that skill honed, and now it’s more than my nine-to-five. It’s releasing regrets, anxiety and fear. It’s not always easy, but it’s way better than holding onto things that try to push me down.

What have you learned from your day job?