Personal Growth and Discovery #3

Like many new year’s resolutioners, I’m back! This time, to attempt a 31-day journaling adventure of personal growth and discovery.

In nice terms, 2019 SUCKED. So I’m dedicating 2020 to ME, MYSELF, and I.

I’ll be utilizing the writing prompts from this website.

Day 3: What are some of my limiting beliefs that might be holding me back?

What if I fail and it makes me look incompetent?

What if I’m rejected and have to face those emotions?

As I mentioned in my writing yesterday, negative self-talk is my specialty. I am always convincing myself that it’s better to think negatively, that way if I fail, it doesn’t hurt as bad. I don’t necessarily believe a lot of the negative thoughts I have about myself, but I do let them limit what I do.

I often find myself not volunteering for things, not opening my door to visitors, not willing to take risks to create a better career or life for myself. I let my fear of failure and rejection let me just ride along at the average level I’m comfortable at.

The issue with comfortable, is that line moves.

I was watching Bar Rescue last night, and I made a comment that so many of these bars that do really well for years and then begin to fail are doing so because they refuse to change. They think that what works right now will still work in five year.

Living a comfortable life is the same. Comfortable as a measure changes as we move along in life. What is comfortable now, won’t be in a few years, months, weeks, even days.

I limit myself. And it’s time I take a leap of faith and see what happens.

What does that mean? I don’t know. Is it a leap as a teacher? A leap to further my career? A leap in my personal life? Only time will tell.

Personal Growth and Discovery #2

Like many new year’s resolutioners, I’m back! This time, to attempt a 31-day journaling adventure of personal growth and discovery.

In nice terms, 2019 SUCKED. So I’m dedicating 2020 to ME, MYSELF, and I.

I’ll be utilizing the writing prompts from this website.

Day 2: What do I need to let go of?

I need to let go of my negative thoughts about myself. My self-consciousness, maybe? I think I self-sabotage at least 85% of the time.

At the end of last school year, I got my formal observation notes that were beginning to put me at the “distinguished” level. (In Texas, that’s like a 4/5, where most teacher stay at 3/5, “proficient.”) All that being on a day when I just told her to come by and do it that day. No dog and pony show.

At the end of November, I got an email after an observation of my co-teacher and myself that was one of the best commendations. We were invited to be the “feature teachers” during January’s co-teach webinar.

At the end of the semester, I was invited to a PD by my principal to completely revamp my classroom and try some new, innovative strategy because I’m a “forward thinker” and she knows I’m committed.

All of this sounds like I should absolutely LOVE my job.

BUT I DON’T.

But I’m beginning to reflect and realize that I think I dislike my job because I’m always so negative about it. Perhaps I’m afraid to enjoy it, because then when things turn bad, it doesn’t feel like part of my soul died. But if we’re being honest, part of it is already dead. I killed it.

One thing I’ve wanted to try this year is yoga. I’m considering dumping my gym membership and going to a yoga studio. As much as I’d like to do it at home, I have three dogs, and I don’t think I could fully commit my mind to it knowing that they’re surely getting into mischief. I think a yoga session can give me space to just clear my mind of the negative self-talk.

This year, I hope to lessen my self-consciousness and negative mindset, and truly embrace that attitude is everything. I am good at my job. I am very blessed in life. 2020 is my year.

Personal Growth and Discovery #1

Like many new year’s resolutioners, I’m back! This time, to attempt a 31-day journaling adventure of personal growth and discovery.

In nice terms, 2019 SUCKED. So I’m dedicating 2020 to ME, MYSELF, and I.

I’ll be utilizing the writing prompts from this website.

Day 1: What do I need more of in my life?

In one word, SUPPORT.

I spent a lot of last year feeling really alone. And while I never truly was, that didn’t stop the feeling. I have a husband, and loving friends and family. But I often felt that I couldn’t share my feelings without getting a passive aggressive response. Why is our mental health still such a stigma? Why do people think we need to meet some kind of requirements for feeling down and depressed?

This year, I hope that I receive the support I need when I need it. Support at work, when I’m struggling with my 7th graders and their behavior; and support at home, when I’m stressed about money and how we’re one emergency away from financial disaster.

This year, I’m focusing on MY mental health, and I’m not going to hesitate to reach out for support when I need it. If someone can’t help me up when I’m down, then why are they in my life in the first place?

A Writing Space That Works For You

There’s something about being in the perfect spot to crank out the words of your next best-selling novel. Everyone has a certain “spot” where they find themselves the most productive.

Charles Dickens wrote at his desk.

Virginia Woolf wrote in her basement.

Stephen King wrote Carrie in his laundry room on his wife’s typewriter while she was working the second shift at Dunkin’ Donuts.

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Creating Characters Readers Can Connect To

While doing some brainstorming for my current WIP, I’m Not OK, I realized that one of my biggest struggles is characterization. I have a tendency to focus more on action than on creating a deep character that a reader can feel some true emotions for. I’m Not OK relies on the reader to feel what the main character, Mariah, is feeling. If they don’t, the whole thing falls flat.

Of course I browsed several different “character planning” worksheets and websites and ideas, but the idea of filling out a worksheet felt like drudgery. Perhaps it’s because I’m a teacher and worksheets are hella taboo now.

So I started brainstorming on my own. How can I begin to give some depth to my main characters in a way I won’t half-ass?

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Review: Desperate Paths by E.C. Diskin

Synopsis: In Eden, the truth can have deadly consequences.

Brooklyn Anderson knows it looks bad. She was found wiping down a gun. Her father now dead. His blood on her hands. The incomprehensible nightmare has started.

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Seven days earlier, Brooklyn had returned to Eden to care for her beloved father, who lay helpless in a hospital bed. Her estranged sister, Ginny, said he fell. But as Brooklyn soon realizes, Ginny is prone to lying.

Former Eden resident Darius Woods was in the hospital too. The famous actor had written a screenplay that would lay bare all the secrets of the town, but within hours of his return, someone shot him.

As the Woods investigation proceeds, and Brooklyn starts to question everything she believes about her family, her neighbors, and her home, secrets and lies begin to unravel. But nothing can prepare her for where those lies will finally lead.

And sharing the truth of what happened the night her father died might just make things worse. 


Review// E.C. Diskin reached out to me to review her newest book, Desperate Paths, because I thoroughly enjoyed one of her previous novels Broken Grace (click here for the review). Upon reading even just the first few pages of this new one, I knew I was in for a fun ride once again.

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Making Writing a Habit (or, How I Have Failed At It)

I have to give a round of applause to the people who have made writing something that they do everyday, even with full time jobs, kids, dogs, other hobbies, etc.

Every month I create my new planner spread and tell myself I’ll write just 5,000 words this month. Then I write zero.

When a big writing event comes around, and I know have support and people checking in on me, I write, but the last few years, it hasn’t been as much as I would like to. I’m mostly referring to NaNoWriMo. Last November, even with my students cheering me on, I got just 13,000 words in. Now I am so extremely proud of those 13,000 words, and they’re the beginning of a project that I am SOO SO SO passionate about.

I’ve spent the last month really planning out how to make this the best thing I’ve ever written. I feel like I have a huge opportunity with this novel and I want to do it justice.

Step one to doing it justice:

I NEED TO FINISH IT.

I’m on summer break, so I set the measly goal for myself to finish this novel. I’m at about 15,000 words. I can see it going to about 75,000, but I’m not dead set on a certain word count.

I’m one week into summer vacation, and I’ve written ZERO.

I’ve signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo for July, but part of me is recognizing that my lazy self will probably not write anything until July 1st now, and if that happens, I won’t finish this this summer.

Writing is not a habit for me. My habits are watching Food Network and obsessively checking Facebook. I wish my habits could be working out, eating right, and writing, but alas.

I know I can correct this on my own. It’s as easy as just WRITING EVERYDAY.

But since it took me two hours to even write this, I guess that means I’ll start tomorrow. (and hence, my issue ha…)

If you make writing a daily (or almost daily) habit on top of the rest of your life, kudos to you. I aspire to be you. I have 8 weeks left of my vacation to change my habits before real life (teaching 7th graders) comes back around again.

Wish me well! (or tell me your secrets!)

NaNoWriMo Final Results

Okay okay

I’m guilty

NaNoWriMo has been over for 2 weeks now, and I never posted the final results! I know some of you were waiting too (and at least one of you commented a few days ago asking). I’m so sorry! I don’t know if you know this, but December is honestly the most stressful month to be a teacher. I’m #exhausted and we still have one week left until Christmas break. I took today as a personal day because tomorrow is birthday, yay!

So, in honor of my birthday, and of trying to lead a more productive 27th year, I give you…the results of my classroom NaNoWriMo 2018 project…

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Writing Through The Slow Parts

So I finally sat down and started thinking about where my novel is going. Because I’ve been trudging through this section I’m on for DAYS and it’s been a struggle. Honestly, it’s the reason my word count hasn’t changed in days – because I DON’T WANT TO WRITE THIS SCENE.

So there are two recommendations if this becomes you.

First, you can SKIP IT! Move past it! Write the next scene that you actually want to write! Why should we spend hours and days and weeks struggling through a scene we hate? We can just add that scene later, when perhaps we can see exactly what point we need to get to. Plus, one could argue that trudging through a scene/chapter will just make for more crap we have to revise later when we’re done. It’d almost probably be easier to just add in the scene later than to revise the one you already wrote (plus, what will you have to change later in the story that you changed in your revision?). 

Struggling through a scene means we’re not enjoying what we’re writing. And if we’re not enjoying it, how can we expect our readers to enjoy that scene as well?

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