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Everyone Has A Story To Tell…When Are You Going Tell Yours?

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I self-published my first book in April 2014. Work Your Package – A Guide to Being the Total Package was written in four months in the midst of planning my first annual women’s conference. My wicked editor was member of my board of directors who knows my “voice”. My cover was created by the amazing graphic artists at my job and I used a head shot taken by the staff photographer. The entire thing was low budget and cost me little to nothing to complete, submit and eventually be listed on Amazon. How did I get it done so quick? I put myself out there and told everyone who was coming to my conference or knew about my conference that I was launching my book at the conference. Pressure? Yup, just a little bit. It put me in the hot seat. Made me create a backwards production schedule so that I would have the books in hand at least a week before the conference. I beat my self-imposed deadline by a few days. That’s the book I tell everyone about. That’s the one that I take with me when I have speaking engagements. That’s the book I autograph with pride and personalized messages of encouragement.

Then there’s my second book. The one that I’ve been working on since I was pregnant and on bed rest with my oldest who just turned 10 this past summer. Stop it with the looks of shock and awe. Let me explain (or at least try to) why there has been such a delay. While my first book was created as a guide for women and men to be the best versions of themselves, my second book is purely creative. It’s a romance novel with characters that have lived in my head for ten years. My characters are my friends. They say the things I won’t, do the things that I dream about and have pieces of me woven in each of them. The draft version of my novel is currently 246 pages and I’ve committed myself to 100 more to wrap everything up in a bow and set it up for the next book in the series (which I’ve already outlined). If you’ve never written a book, you might be asking, “Why is it taking you so long to finish the book?” I could come up with some hogwash excuse like “life happens” but the truth is, my creative process has absolutely no linear trajectory. As I was telling a friend the other day, my thoughts don’t come 1, 2, 3…My creative thoughts spout out of my head like 1, 7, 3, 25. Eventually it will all come out, but very rarely in order. My research is just as important as the development of my characters. I have stacks of research that I’ve collected over the years and I pull from it as I write.  I hope when the book is released October 2016 (Yup, I just gave myself a deadline) that people will enjoy it and tell others about it. There will be pieces of my creative heart on each page.

So what’s your story? Are you ready to tell it? Do you have a method to capture your thoughts? (I have journals everywhere…nightstand, car, purse, work) I believe that everyone has a story to tell and with so many different genre’s of books, there is no limit to how many stories you can tell. Are you a technical subject matter expert? Do you have you inspiring story of triumph over insurmountable odds? Do you want encourage our future leaders? Are you the next E.L. James? While you may not think there’s a place for you, someone is waiting to hear your story.

By the way, self-publishing isn’t hard to do but you have to do your research. I used CreateSpace by Amazon and it worked out well for my first book. I’m in the process of looking at other options for my novel. Below are a couple of more options for you to explore. I’m not endorsing any particular company but I want to eliminate your excuse of “I don’t know where to get started.” What type of maven would I be if I kept all the information to myself?

Here’s an article about how to get started:

Self-publishing Companies:

With love,

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7 Ways to Become More Creative

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“I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” Before I get to the rest of this post, I’m calling shenanigans up front. If you say this to me, I will look at you like you have 5 heads with 7 eyes each. No, seriously. I will look at you like you are crazy. Let’s just dispel the common thinking that being creative means you have the ability to re-create the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Creativity can be expressed through the arts, but it can also be expressed through how you cultivate your career, how you serve your community and how you pursue your passion. Here are 7 ways to find, flex and strengthen your creative muscle.

  1. Believe In Yourself – Before you set out to build up your creative muscle, you have to believe that you can do it. Don’t set yourself up for failure before you start with negative self-talk.
  2. Make the Time – Work, family, organizations, church, etc. can fill your calendar with a long to-do list. Carve out time just to be creative. You would be surprised what you can do in just 15 minutes.
  3. Switch It Up – You take the same way to work, eat the same thing for breakfast, do the same exercises at the gym…Following the same routine day after day is BORING! When you switch it up, you open up the possibility of seeing something new that can spark a creative thought and lead to something awesome.
  4. Diversify – Is it comfortable to be around people who share some of your personality traits? Yes…and it also limits you and stagnates any hope of creativity. When you surround yourself with people who have different backgrounds and interests, it takes you out of your comfort zone…and that’s where growth begins.
  5. Be Open To Communicate – Create an environment of open communication and share your ideas with others. Some of the best ideas can be made better when you get feedback from other people. Don’t worry about someone taking your idea.
  6. Take Risks – Don’t worry about looking foolish or failing miserably. Worrying will keep you from trying something new. Innovation and fear cannot reside in the same place. Take the leap!
  7. Give Old Ideas a Makeover – Don’t fall into the trap of thinking creativity is doing something new ALL the time. Sometimes making a small change to existing idea can have a BIG impact.

What are you going to do to strengthen your creative muscle?

With love,

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Creativity

 

I am a creative person. I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t. I’m grateful for the multiple ways I can express my creativity. Writing, party planning, jewelry making, decorating, crocheting…I am content when I’m creating something with my hands.

For example, I was up until 11:30 last night writing my fictional novel (one of two books in my head at the moment). The characters live in my head and sometimes I will have an idea about what they should be saying or doing at the most inopportune moments, like when I’m tired.  The scenario usually goes like this:

Me: I’m sleepy.

My Creative Heart: But what about that idea you had for the main character?

Me: All I want to do is just take a shower and go to bed.

My Creative Heart: Just write a few lines. Besides if you don’t, you’ll be wide awake thinking about it.

Me: (Checking the time) Okay, it’s 8:00pm. I’ll write until 9, but then I’m going to bed.

My Creative Heart: (Jumping for joy) Woo hoo!!

Me: (4 hours later…) Okay, I need to figure out how to tie in these two scenes…(Looks up at the clock) Jeezy peezy! It’s after midnight!!! I should be in bed by now.

My Creative Heart: Well I was going to tell you the time, but you looked so happy.

When I’m in a creative zone I’m happy. I take that back. I’m not just happy; I’m in an everlasting euphoric state of bliss.  When I’m being creative, no matter the form, I lose track of time, I ignore fatigue and at some point common sense is no longer present. It usually takes an external distraction to stop me, like the phone ringing or my kids.

The physical manifestation of my creativity is like a piece of me that I’m willing to share with the world. It takes courage to present a part of you and not worry about the criticism it might face. I admire musicians, vocalists and actors. Their creativity is judged and scrutinized on a daily basis. But what most people don’t know about truly creative people is we will be creative even if the only person that gets to enjoy it is ourselves. I nurture my creative heart because I want it to grow and develop. I want to share it with my children. Some of it has rubbed off on them already. My oldest loves to draw and my youngest loves to sing and dance. And wouldn’t you know it; both of them love to write.

What have you done today to nurture your creative heart?