5 Ways To Make Thanksgiving Awesome

Holidays. This one word can bring of flood of emotions. But, I believe if we maintain the right perspective and use our time well, we can make Thanksgiving awesome.

How? See my 5 ways to make Thanksgiving awesome below.

basket of breadBe intentional with your thanks. Often we are so busy we only stop to sleep. Being thankful when you don’t pause to consider what you have in your life can seem stale and old hat. My suggestion is to think of something now before you get to the table so you can have ample time to actually have something real to say, not something made up on the spot.

Slow down. We often want to run from one event to the next accomplishing the holiday rather than savoring it. If you have multiple places to be on Thanksgiving, find a small morsel of time to relax. Maybe even go on a walk and just breathe, don’t talk.

Remember what you have, don’t think about what you don’t. If you are able to read this post, you should dance, you have sight! Can you hear? This person could not hear for 29 years. You most likely have some place to go and someone to share food and drink with. That, aside from all of the awkward family situations that may arise, is awesome. Be grateful.

Do Something Fun. Growing up, my extended family were big bowlers. After a Thanksgiving feast, we went bowling. I am sure I was terrible but I remember those times fondly. Doing fun things together like going to the movies, hiking, playing board games, creates common experiences. So do something fun!

Hug Longer. This may be awkward. But I mean it. When you see people be sure to embrace them. Hugs can go a long way to easing tension and even lower blood pressure. Don’t just go for the simple embrace or side hug silliness, hug longer because it’s healthy and if someone traveled from across the country it may be a while until you see them again. So Hug!

Do you have ways that make Thanksgiving memorable or awesome? Please post them below.

Does Writing Give You Joy?

I am in the middle of a challenge of 7000 words in 7 days. Yesterday I wrote 1011. In total, I have written 3087 in three days.

At first, I thought this would be easy. I love my YA story and the world I’ve created. I love the idea and the challenge. But through the first few days I’ve lost the love a bit. Does this mean I should wait to get inspired or is this the stretched place I intended to reach?

Whenever I get here I read My Why and the joy returns.

Photo Credit: Paul-W via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Paul-W via Compfight cc

My Why reminds me why I am doing this work in the first place. The goal is to finish another book not to feel good every time I write.

I want to be consistent at putting words on the page, this much I know. Since the start of the challenge I have been able to get 1000 words or more written and put together a blog post every day.

All in all, I’ve written about 4000 words in three days. To some, that may be nothing to write home about, but that has been quite a feat for me.

I don’t write this post to brag but to share that the act of writing may not always be incredibly inspiring and joyful. But maybe writing is not about what satisfies now. Maybe finding joy in our work is a combination of the work of writing (filling the quota) and knowing how far we’ve come. From idea, to planning, to writing, to finishing.

And the truest part of all of this? No one will ever know what parts I wrote while uninspired. They will just know I’ve finished my book.

I hope that when you read this you know that anyone who has a full time job, three kids (soon to be four) can write on the side. That sometimes writing can feel like filling a quota and other times be the most thrilling thing in the world but you must keep going either way.

I hope you find joy in your work today or joy in knowing how far you’ve come.

Why The Hard Road Is The Best Road To Take

I recently spoke at a writer’s conference about blogging. After I was finished there were a lot of questions on how to get a blog started, where to look for inspiration, and how to get an audience around your idea.

The real question behind each of these questions?

How can I do that easily

Photo Credit: huskyte77 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: huskyte77 via Compfight cc

Easy and now are two products of our current culture that I’ve come to realize are untrue. You can have easy mac and cheese and you can buy that car now. But that easy mac will clog your arteries and that car payment will follow you around like a bad smell for years.

The hard truth about anything worthwhile is that it takes time, sweat and blood, and patience.

Writing a novel takes years. Starting a business requires a lot of forethought, testing, and saving.

If you long for easy, maybe it is time to look for something else to do.

If you want to stick with your book, I can share this truth with you. That it can indeed get easier. But you must get out there and act now.

Don’t wait for the perfect writing space or that special writing time or that muse to wake from their drunken stupor to inspire us.

Believe it or not but blogging can be fun and not some drag on our writing time if you do it often and have a plan. It can take time to get there but just like the satisfaction that comes after purchasing a car with money saved and finishing a book after months or years, it is euphoric. The feeling also lasts.

This is why I keep coming back. If I can finish a blog in twenty minutes (like this one) I want to do it again. It is satisfying and easy now. But it required work to get here like a well thought out plan and some passion for the craft.

The next time you find yourself looking for the quick fix keep this thought with you.

Anything worthwhile is usually difficult but the tough road is worth all the effort in the end.

Part-Time Novel Turns 4!

I missed it. My blogiversary raced passed with little notice. The good news is I’m still blogging.

Through the last four years I’ve experienced the highest internal highs followed by the lowest internal lows. I knew I was going to have a writing career and I knew I was just not cut out for this life.

Photo Credit: Peter O'Connor aka anemoneprojectors via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Peter O’Connor aka anemoneprojectors via Compfight cc

I’ve also stopped blogging and started again. I’ve help create a writers conference attended by hundreds of people, had coffee with agents, been rejected, and then asked by that very agent to speak at another conference. If you choose to pursue writing, it can be a wild ride.

Reflection gives you perspective and if there is anything I’ve learned it’s two fold. One, that writing, no matter how solitary, requires community. You’ll go crazy and give up without it. So seek out other writers. The other? Patience. It can be a slow life filled with blitzes and surprise requests. That’s the fun part.

So if you are about to give up don’t. Seek council or a trusted friend. Do what you can do today – 50 words, 100 words, and know that the weight of what we do is not contained to one day’s successes or failures. It’s a larger narrative built over years of hard work, discipline, and good friendships.

Here is an excerpt of what my blog was supposed to be about. I’m glad that this still rings true today.

The intention of this blog is to share what I have learned with those who work full time, have children, are otherwise engaged, but still have the wild dream of publishing a novel someday

Write well today and a sincere thanks to you for your encouragement over the years.

It’s meant more than you know.

Writing As Play

The very first error I made with my novel was thinking it was a linear process. Write one scene and the next until finished. This may be true for the first draft, but not the rest of them.

Part of the fun of writing a novel is seeing what lay down the road of each possibility. What if the character didn’t follow when they should have? What if they were killed? How can this portion be even more gut wrenching? – and then writing that scene to see where it goes.

Many of these pieces will never be read by anyone but the author and may be considered by some to be wasted time and energy. Not I. This is part of the joy and play of writing.

As writers we must turn over every stone, make the road long and necessarily weary, before we can stand confidently on our finished book. Through the struggle I admit I lose some of the fun and playfulness. There should be joy and it is work. For me, they are intermingled and confused all too often.

Every now and again my kids remind me of this. They have so much joy in what they do where I take things too seriously. It is a refreshing reminder to pull my head out of the ground and see the sun. I love my children for this and so much more.




A New Joy and A New Challenge

On July 30th 2013, my son was born. I cannot believe how amazing my wife was through the process (Once again! Seriously, you amaze me). Now my son is home, healthy, and destroying sleeping patterns but that is to be expected. Newborns do that to their parents.

As you might expect, having a child changes a lot of things. It also causes parents to reflect on the direction of their life, finances, and the future of their family. I began to think things like; where do I want to live in five years? Am I satisfied with my career? Am I satisfied with how I parent, treat my wife, and write? I hope I can never say I have done enough and continue to dig deeper.

Cute, isn't he?
Cute, isn’t he?

As this is a blog about writing, I wish to speak to that today. When my first daughter was born nearly four years ago I was blindsided by the joy of parenting. I barely wrote for recreation, but I did keep a journal for her every day for the first year of her life. I did not get back to writing for about ten months. For my second daughter I wrote in a journal as well, and got back to it after about six months. Now, for the third child, I want to make a change. I want to keep at it. No interruptions.

The reason for this declaration is not because my son is less important. It is not because I wish to put my own dreams in front of my children and my wife. The reason is that change will always come in life. Roadblocks, new joys, and redirections will come in various forms. That is something I cannot change. What I can strive for is to continue to write despite what life may bring.

How about you?

What excuse do you have in your pocket to pull out and show your novel or writing friends?

What is stopping you today? Got that in your mind? Good. Now, how can you get around it? How can you create space and time to do what you love? Let me know in the comments section below.

Write 500 words today.