10,384 Words

bhlfk8lhvus-farrel-nobel

I’ve written just 10,384 words for NaNoWriMo and the goal is to write 50,000 in the month of November. That leaves 39,616 more to write and only six days to finish. Now, that may sound like bad news, but it’s not. Because I’m that much closer to writing a story that I’ve been thinking about for years.

The good news is that I’ve embarked on a career as a freelance writer and I’ve been busy working with my first client! I’m extremely excited for this opportunity and hope to find success doing something that I truly enjoy. 

I’ve considered doing this for a while now, particularly since there’s been no luck with the job search. I went back to school as a non-traditional student to better myself. I invested a tremendous amount of time and energy considering that I was working full-time. Did I do this to take a job that only required a high school diploma? Um…no.

I’ve always done well in English and writing classes. As a Public Relations major, my coursework was writing-intensive, so I’ve had a lot of practice. But, I wasn’t required to write much in my job. 

When I went home to Pennsylvania in August, I met up with a classmate from high school. She had recently been laid off from a job of twenty years working at a non-profit. Rather than looking for another company to work at, she decided to start her own consulting business and suggested that I consider doing the same.

“Well, I’ve never been paid to write, so I’m technically not a writer,” was my response.

She furrowed her brow and reminded me that I was never paid to go to school, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t a student. 

Our conversation lasted a couple of hours and several times I repeated the same phrase: “But, I’m not a writer, because I didn’t do much writing in my job.”

Finally, she got exasperated and said, “Yes, you are a writer. You were known as a writer in high school. You’ve done various types of writing in college. You’ve been writing a blog for almost a year. Do you know how many people out there with no formal education are writing as a career?”


Other people have complimented and encouraged me, as well. They have all inspired me to take the crucial next step and give it a shot. 

accomplish-1136863_640

I approached a small business, owned by some friends, and offered to write blog posts for their website. They’ve been wanting to do more with their online presence, but simply don’t have time. Unfortunately, their website is bare-bones-basic and I’m currently building a new WordPress site for them. Once I get it finished I can begin writing. They also asked me to give a little love to their Facebook page. Needless to say, I’ve been very busy and grateful to be building a portfolio!


 

I would love to work from home, be my own boss, and set my own schedule. However, all of this means I had to let NaNoWriMo go for now. But, I don’t see it as a failure at all. Writing even 10,000 words has gotten the creative juices flowing! I had a basic storyline formulated and getting started has helped expand upon that original outline. I’ve come up with new characters and better plot ideas.

I won’t make 50,000 words by the end of the month, but I have 10,384 that I can continue to build on.

I’m not an established freelance writer, because I only have one client. But, I mustered the courage and took the first step. And now I can build on that, too! 🙂


 

 

 

Waiting for Matthew

hurricane-matthewrev

Hurricane Matthew: October 5, 2016


A hurricane doesn’t look too ominous from a satellite; just a wispy, white circular pattern floating silently on the blue waters. 

But, if you get up close and personal with a hurricane, it’s a whole different story. We know the kind of devastation these tropical storms can bring to anyone and anything unfortunate enough to be in its path.

And in Matthew’s path are millions of people, including my son, his wife, and my daughter. Of course, they’ve taken the necessary precautions. My son and daughter-in-law are residents of Cocoa Beach and were evacuated yesterday. Living on barrier islands prompted them to move everything from their first floor to the second floor. They’re waiting out the storm near Orlando with their three cats in a pet-friendly hotel, worried that they won’t have a home to return to. 

 

My daughter was invited to ride out the storm at a coworker’s house. At first she wanted to stay at her studio apartment and I initially agreed. However, as the reports on the impending storm grew increasingly more serious, I advised her to go to her friend’s house. Strength and safety in numbers; I didn’t want her to be alone. When I spoke with her earlier this evening, she was grateful not to be alone.

We make so many choices, large and small, inside of a single day. Our goal is to maintain control over the circumstances of our lives. Do we wear a seatbelt, take the vitamins, accept that job offer? Whether to be healthy and make “safe” decisions that will have a positive impact on our lives. Or, whether to engage in risky behavior that could have detrimental effects. 

At first glance it appears that we have a lot of control. And yet, there’s much that we can’t control or predict. 

Right now I want desperately to be with my family in Florida. I want to assure my frightened daughter that she is safe and will be okay. I want to allay my son’s fears about his home and help him feel hopeful that maybe the damage won’t be as bad as he’s expecting. I want to make this hurricane turn back out to sea, so it can’t hurt anymore people or cause more destruction.

While I have no control over any of this, I can control how I deal with it and how I help my loved ones deal with it. As long as they are safe, we’ll manage the rest together. 


 

30 Reasons To Smile Again

30 Days of Gratitude

30 Days of Gratitude


 Today I REALLY need a boost:

  • My job search in Florida is taking far longer than expected; therefore, my confidence has taken a hit. 
  • I’m back in Pennsylvania for a visit and our family plans for Labor Day have fallen through, due to illness.
  • My 85 year-old mother’s health is declining. 
  • I’m missing my dad, who passed away 17 months ago.
  • Other people in my inner circle are dealing with work & health issues.
  • I’m seriously questioning whether moving to Florida was the right decision.

We all have our issues and problems. And it’s so easy to get sucked into the black hole of negativity. Seriously, we all know what it feels like to wanna crawl back into bed and pull the blanket over our heads! That’s what I’m tempted to do right now…

That’s what depression does for us; it saps our strength and energy. It makes all the disappointments seem so much larger and the fears insurmountable. It robs us of the capacity to feel good. 

I do believe that mindfulness is the key to fighting the effects of these killjoy emotions. Simple awareness can be the springboard for the change from a negative to positive attitude.


So, let me do a REALITY check here:

  • It’s a beautiful day; the skies are blue and the sun is shining. It’s a comfortable 79 degrees with no humidity. Perfect for…well, just about anything! 
  • I’m healthy 
  • Job searches vary depending on industry & circumstances – I’m limiting the geographic area; I’ve been somewhat selective of what I’m applying to; I have no network in Florida (no wonder it’s taking longer than I expected!)
  • The weather is predicted to be beautiful for the remainder of the weekend – I’m free to make other plans to enjoy the day tomorrow.
  • My mom is 85 – declining health is a part of growing old; I’ve been blessed to have BOTH my parents into their eighties (some people lose their parents as children & young adults.)
  • I can’t control or change other people’s issues, so I have to step back and do the only thing I can, and that’s to be supportive.
  • Moving to Florida doesn’t have to be a permanent decision. If I decide later that I want or need to move back to PA, I can! I have to stop thinking that every decision I make is final. 

Whew…I’m starting to FEEL BETTER already!

When negativity hits, it’s good to use rational thinking instead of catastrophizing!

Catastrophizing is an irrational thought a lot of us have in believing that something is far worse than it actually is. 


Okay, so WHAT NEXT?

  • I’m meeting a friend from high school later. We’re going to a local “watering hole” to sit on the patio and enjoy appetizers and drinks (and I’m pretty sure lots of laughter!)
  • Right now, I’m going to get the endorphins flowing with a walk in our beautiful local park.
  • I’m also going to start that Gratitude Journal that I’ve planned for so long. The 30 prompts above, courtesy of Pinterest, can get me started!

They are great reminders of the countless things we have to be grateful for. Too often when we think of blessings, we limit ourselves to the big stuff:  homes, cars, jobs, money, etc. However, if we really break it down, there’s so many more!

Gratitude Journals are a great way to remind ourselves everyday of all the reasons to smile. Some days I might write more and other days just a short description. Maybe I’ll get creative and sketch or use photos to illustrate that day’s blessings. The important thing is to keep it current. Maybe a journal is something that could help you, too.

I’m grateful for many things, including my readers. What are you grateful for today? Let me know with a one word response and help inspire others! 

Carpe diem!