Chasing Inspiration

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Soundtrack Friday

I have no story for this week's song. It's haunting. It tells a story in and of its self that needs no additional words from me. And I love Susan Tedeschi. Have since I first saw her at Saskatoon's Jazz Festival back in 1999. In fact, the husband and I try to see her in concert every chance we get. Susan solidified my husband's love affair with blues, for which I am eternally thankful. :)

Enjoy Susan's live rendition of Angel from Montgomery. And some day when you're reading something I've written, I hope the words on the page convey the same honest truth that Susan's music brings.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Today I'm Thankful For...

I started off today grumpy. Has nothing to do with turning 40 and everything to do with daylight savings time robbing me of a precious hour of sleep. I'm always grumpy a few days after we change to daylight savings.
Instead of being grumpy and bringing the people I share an office with down, I decided to intentionally find things today I'm thankful for. This ties back to my posts on gratitude here and here. While I haven't been posting daily the things I'm thankful for, I have been keeping a journal. I'm forced to be a little more creative with each day to find those things I'm thankful for and to be authentic with what I choose to highlight.

Today proved no different. I could write a list of the things I'm not thankful for without even thinking. This wasn't going to help my mood so I went to the office kitchen, made a cup of green tea and let myself sink into thought.

Here is what I came up with:
  1. I'm thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow as a professional through projects as large and complex as the one I'm working on now. Without these opportunities I think I would sit back on my accomplishments and stagnate.
  2. I'm thankful for people who have my back and are willing to let me know when I missed something or have made an error - before I go too far down a path that would lead to sticky results.
  3. I'm thankful for authors who write about the redeeming power of love and show me through story that at the end of the day it is love that saves all.
  4. I'm thankful my muse isn't fighting with me anymore and that I'm making progress on my stories even if my plotting is still my weakest link. I can fix plotting. I can't fix a blank page.
  5. I'm thankful laughter is contagious.
I looked at this list through out the day as I was tempted to sink back into feeling grumpy and low and behold it is now 5pm and I'm ready to head home with a smile on my face and a lightness of being.

Hmm, maybe there's something to this gratitude stuff after all.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Contemplations on Goals and Birthdays

I turned 40 today. Don't worry, I'm not about to jump off the edge of reality and fall into the mire of midlife crisis. I'm actually looking forward to this milestone birthday. I hear from many friends that they really started to shine in life when they reached 40. I'm hoping this is true for me, as well.

While I'm excited about 40 I'm feeling reflective today. 40 is an exciting age to be. I'm excited for it. I welcome it with open arms and a huge smile.

I also approach this new decade looking back. I was thinking about this yesterday. I'm at midlife, unless I live to be 100. I haven't accomplished some of what I hoped to by this point in my life. Some of that is because goals and wants and needs changed over time. Some because I realized the goals I had set were not in any way realistic.

40 also means that there is less time to do some of the things I had wanted to do by now. Since I'm in that reflective mode and want to see opportunities rather than loss, below are my thoughts on a couple of the big items.

I am not published - by a formal publishing house or self published. I wanted to have several published novels under my belt by this time in my life. I don't. I have several unpublished novels under my belt so while I'm mildly disappointed I don't feel I've missed the mark with this goal. Until the last year or so it wasn't realistic to self-publish in any way that would allow the author to actually make money. As for a traditional publishing house, that is up to the whims of the powers that be, not up to me. I will continue to pursue traditional publishing but I think I will also find a critique partner this year or a mentor so I can grow as a writer. If I'm good enough I may pursue self-publication. This is not lost time. This is the right time and I firmly believe that.

I haven't traveled beyond North America. I want to travel to Tuscany, Venice, Ireland, Scotland, London, Bath, New Zealand, Thailand, Japan, and many additional places. I haven't. We bought a house that needed much fixing up and that is where our money and time has gone. I had hoped that by now we would have at least one trip under our belts but no. In the next 5 years my goal is to have at least 2 overseas excursions beneath my belt - with or without the husband.

I wanted to have a coaching business by now. I recognize that a couple of things have stood in my way. I'm not certified by any of the BIG certification programs and that makes me feel I should get certified before I build my business. It's more a CYA thing than a competency thing, but it does keep me from moving forward. Choices around where to spend money have continued to bump this down the list but the husband and I have an agreement that once the house is done (please let it be not too much longer) we will have the funds to pay for certification. Yay!

I also know nothing about running my own business and honestly am a little freaked out about not having a consistent paycheck. In the next couple of years along with a writing mentor I want to find someone who has been there and built their business to see if they would be willing to mentor me. Knowledge is power and my fear is based on not knowing. I may always have at least a part time job but it would be nice to remove the fear and barriers to see if I can really make a go of coaching.

Those are my big items and as I approach 40 I can see with clarity what I need to do to move forward with these dreams and take them to the next level. I don't think that has anything to do with turning 40. Or maybe it does. Maybe with age comes that crystal clarity and as I approach a milestone marker in my life I recognize that life isn't forever and if I want to take dreams into reality I need to make conscious and actionable goals. Or maybe it's just I needed to grow up more in order to really truly reach for these goals.

Either way, I'm now 40. I'm excited and while a lot of life has been lived, there is so much more life waiting for me. I'm looking forward to seeing what doors open.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Soundtrack Friday

 I've been listening to a lot of interesting music lately. Mostly because the characters in my head keep telling me they listen to this music or because it fits with story flow and emotion.

As I'm writing Mallory's story I'm also working on what I thought was going to be a nice easy contemp romance. HA! It seems the characters in my head don't like easy. And since plotting doesn't work for me at this time I go with with they tell me. Sorry all you plotters out there. I've tried everything and all I end up doing is screwing up the story. This is why it takes me so. freaking. long. to. write. If you have a way to plot that works and is doable for a dyed-in-the-wool pantser, please share!

Lana, who is the heroine of my nice and easy contemp that isn't, puts on music while she works on renovation projects in her house. She listens to Matchbox 20, Death Cab for Cutie, Florence and the Machine, Bruno Mars, and when things are really intense or screwed up she listens to heavier music. Dark music. Music I don't own and while I hear the driving beat in my head I couldn't tell you who performs any of it. If you know of any really dark heavy music that isn't your traditional hair band or 80's metal group, please let me know. I need to down load something to the iPod to appease her.

The more I get to know Lana the more I know she's been kicked around in life but has come up optimistic. Her favorite movie is the motion picture Ever After. Which is kind of fun because it's also one of my favorite movies. In this movie we have a Cinderella story where Cinderalla needs to know she is loved but doesn't need someone to save her. In fact, she does a lot of the saving herself. I love stories like that. Apparently, so does Lana.

In honor of Lana, and the fact I'm writing again, on this week's Soundtrack Friday I bring you Texas and their song from Ever After - Put Your Arms Around Me. Enjoy!

Texas Put Your Arms Around Me
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