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Life Changes Roll with It or Stagnate…

October 27, 2014
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Man Sitting In ValleyWe all have different coping mechanisms when it comes to changes in our lives. Some changes are welcome, some raising curiosity while others are certainly not wanted or wished for. I experienced two smaller occurrences in the last couple of days and it began a line of thought I wanted to share. Do I resist change or embrace it?

As some of you will know I attended Words in the Park over the weekend. The hall was full of forty nine authors and nine vendors – all displaying books and accessories for the discerning book lover. In past years, I have been positioned close to my publisher, Dream Write Publishing and my writing group, The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. This has led to an enjoyable time overseeing these tables in rotation with others and conversing and chatting with friends and visitors alike. This year as I had booked a whole table instead of half, I was placed on the other side of the venue, away from my usual comrades. It may seem childish (especially considering my age!) but I felt excluded at first. I could see them talking and laughing but unable to join in. Then I realized that I should take advantage of the opportunity and be more proactive in my promotion rather than await passers-by. I surveyed my display and knew it was eye-catching so stood behind my table and greeted everyone, stating the age groups for each book and a short description of the stories. It was a successful day for sales and I also received lots of compliments on my table arrangement and each individual book’s themed items. Several friends did stop by for a chat and one looked after my table while I went to participate in an author reading. All in all I feel I made more sales because I was more engaged and not distracted to my goal.

Today was a day of change as well at my workplace. After nearly two years, my manager and I have a new work colleague. We have been comfortable in how we arrange our work days and the day to day routine is pretty much set. The new employee will bring her own ideas of regime and structure and it is probably not a bad thing. We can all get stuck in a rut so easily. We will embrace this change and see what it brings in the months to come.

What changes have you experienced lately that made you leave your comfort zone?

Was the outcome successful?

What did you learn from the experience?

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How Do You Cope With Being Overwhemed..?

March 17, 2014
mandyevebarnett


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As writers we frequently become overwhelmed with expections, some are self imposed, while others are derived from external sources. We are told we need to have a social media presence, ensure our manuscripts are edited, revised and polished, submit to magazines, publishers, clients, promote our books…the list goes on and on! However, these are only the tip of the iceberg, as many of us also have full time jobs and a family life to squeeze into our daily 24 hours.

How can we cope when we are being fragmented in so many directions? We are advised to maintain a work/life balance but as this article shows it is sometimes more a ‘blending’ than balancing.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/ronashkenas/2012/10/19/forget-work-life-balance-its-time-for-work-life-blend/

My question is should we not ‘switch off’ at some point? Have ‘down’ time? Refresh the creative juices as well as restore our emotional needs?

What is your coping mechanism?

Here is a link detailing how some writers cope. http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/5-ways-to-balance-writing-and-life

Presently, my ‘work load’ looks something like this:  I am helping organize a writers conference, volunteering for my writers foundation as secretary at events, deciding on illustrations for my children’s chapter book, revising my cowgirl romance, working full time, spending time with family, household chores, being taxi for kid, promoting my books, advertising for a writing retreat, maintaining my social media presence, and transcribing my Mother’s journal. I’m sure I have forgotten some things but you get the picture.

How do I cope? Admittedly, I do ‘drop the ball’ sometimes but I try not to beat myself up about it. I realized a while ago that whatever ‘moment’ you are involved in is the one you should be experiencing. It may not be on your schedule but rules are made to be broken after all. I have a weekly schedule but it is flexible. Why not accept an invitation for dinner or a movie? After all there may be inspiration in those experiences, you would miss otherwise. My mantra is New Opportunities – grab them when they present themselves with both hands.

For instance, we are dog sitting at the moment so I did not have time for my morning ritual of reading through my emails. Instead, I enjoyed an early morning walk under the bright glow of a full moon. It was spectacular and if I had kept to my schedule I would have missed it entirely. So let the unexpected intrusions come and enjoy them.

My week is full time work during the day, with writing related meetings every Tuesday evening, aquasize every Wednesday, assisting at my publishers every Thursday, but these are open to change. Such as an author reading to a Brownie troop last Wednesday evening. The evening was extremely enjoyable and the questions raised were insightful and fun. I gained new perspectives on my narratives and the Brownies learnt how books are published and writers come up with their ideas. As always there will always be someone busier than you!

None of us can ‘do it all’ – enjoy what you can do – that is more than enough.

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These tips may, or may not, help you decide on your own balancing act: http://www.webmd.com/health-insurance/protect-health-13/balance-life?page=1  Full descriptions on link.

1. Build downtime into your schedule.

2. Drop activities that sap your time or energy.

3. Rethink your errands.

4. Get moving.

5. Remember that a little relaxation goes a long way.

Writer’s Need A Thick Skin…

February 13, 2013
mandyevebarnett


As writers we need to develop a thick skin or allow unkind comments to be ‘water’ off a duck’s back – such is today’s word – Caustic – definition: 1) capable of eating away by chemical action : corrosive 2) likely to offend or hurt someone’s feelings.

English: La Belle Sauvage - motto and emblem f...

Submitting our creations to agent’s and publisher’s is daunting enough without the numerous rejection letters we receive back. Some bounce back via email almost immediately, stunning us at the quick reaction but other’s remain in a void for many months. These are possibly harder to cope with as our eternal optimism believes the delay in replying is a positive thing. We imagine our manuscript being read by increasingly important staff on the corporate ladders of the publishing firm. Eventually landing on the CEO’s desk where our creation is read with reverence and pleasure prior to the acceptance letter being dictated and sent out.

We can be deterred by a rejection and stomp around berating the said publishing house for not realizing its potential or we can learn from the experience. This second choice is the hardest and there is no reason why a good stomp can’t be enjoyed first! If we are fortunate enough to actually get comments written on a rejection letter or slip, we must treasure them. If the writing, concept or plot is truly bad there are no comments just a form letter. However, comments mean the manuscript was seen to have merits but needed work in some way or another. Take heed of these gems and revise to incorporate them. A newly revised submission may get accepted because of them.

My writing group is very conscious of and encourages, kind but constructive critique offered with compassion. To be blasted with unkind words or forced to write in a certain way, has a detrimental effect on another person’s writing and emotions. Be kind to those people who ask for your opinion and offer your honest critique without self interest or bias. There are as many styles of writing as there are writers so be open to the differences – you may learn something about your style through the interaction.

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We may need a thick skin but there are ways of surviving without one.

Do you have an experience – good or bad – you could share?

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