Find a Way or Find an Excuse: Passion Project Day 1

OK, I know that many people know that I’m a writer.

(For those that had no clue, hi, it’s nice to meet you.)

Some know me well enough to know that I love to start new projects; and those that know me really well know that for how fast I churn out rough drafts, that correlates to how long my editing and revision stages are.

(It takes me For. Ever. to revise and edit a draft, if that was in anyway unclear.)

Well, just FYI, I’m basically finished with a rough draft of a writing project.

And I’ve been ignoring edits. A lot of very reasonable and logical excuses have come up—stuff like “Oh I’m tired! Oh I need to sleep!”—but in the end, I live by basic philosophies.

One is: If it’s important enough you’ll find a way. If not you’ll find an excuse.  

I am not an excuse maker. I hate excuses, it makes me feel icky and powerless. I set up my life to minimize excuses and instead come up with solutions.

The one thing I know that works really well for me is public accountability. So, I’m going to put out there that I will show up every day to do these edits and share one thing from my edits that day, whether it’s a passage of what I’d written or a key takeaway from the process of showing up.

(I’m also drafting a non-fiction book, the working title of which is called Choose Your Own Adventure…it’ll be a learn out loud kind of book about creating your best day, every day, and creating a life your love. As if I needed more things to add to my day, ha!)

I’d even noodled around going live on Facebook, but then it would just be my head talking at you, and that’s not really all that exciting. Anyways, I’m kind of an early bird, so I don’t expect anyone to see them live, but heck, why not.

I’ll commit to be live every day to show some accountability to what I’ve been doing so far, and what that may look like. If you want to follow along, I’ll be posting in this group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/yourbestdayeveryday/

It’s a closed group, but hit me up and I’ll approve you!

Thanks for letting me be a part of your day!

xoxo

Liza

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Thoughts On Monster-Hunting, or The Downside of an Overactive Imagination.


One of my favorite things to say is: Action eliminates anxiety. The more I stay in action, the more I keep my Why in front of me, the more I keep my stage fright at bay and make my closet monsters* disappear.

:::

(*Closet monsters, definition: Those imagined monsters that you realize don’t really exist, or things that are blown out of proportion, or problems that stop being problems when you actually take the time to look at them.)

:::

Open that closet, and realize that you have more power than those monsters.

:::

Unless you’re in a horror movie and you hear rattling from inside a normally silent closet or room. Then you keep that ish closed, and slowly back away toward the closest flamethrower.

 

:::

 

xoxo

Liza

PS,

Check out what I’ve been working on: the new home for my blog ^_^

My Word or Theme for the New Year

I have always made New Year’s Resolutions or goals. Most of the time I’d achieve several of those goals, and made significant progress toward the others. However, I always felt a sense of disappointment or a feeling like I’d missed out on an opportunity or something important.

For all my self-reflection I still felt disconnected from my life. Like I was just on auto-pilot rather than paying attention and driving. It wasn’t until I changed up my New Year Resolution ritual that I started making progress toward goals that mattered.

MY OLD RITUAL

New Year’s Resolutions give me the same peace and reassurance I would get when creating any action plans. It gives me a sense of calm and focus in the scattered white noise of “What Might Happen.”

It’s not unlike looking at a blank white page. The yawning new year of possibility. The empty blankness of a potential story.

I used to sneak off and find a quiet moment in the hubbub of New Year’s Eve, and take a moment to write down thoughts of the past year. They were stream of consciousness and unguarded and (usually) filled with a lot more self-criticism than highlights. Then, sometime after the ball dropped, I’d go to my journal again, and write down my hopes for the coming year and what I want to accomplish, which would then be translated into SMART goals.

It was all so technical and textbook and exactly what I did for my day job to achieve success.

The problem was, I wasn’t achieving success. Not my definition of it, anyway. Yet, I kept achieving my goals.

I usually just chalked it up to my usual self-critical, high achiever nature. I was dissatisfied because I was never satisfied, and I believed I wasn’t supposed to be satisfied with anything. At least, not in this life.

AWAKENING

I wasn’t completely passive over the years, and I don’t think anyone would have characterized me as such. I’ve been told that I was confident and analytical and independent, all attributes that I admire. But, most people that I interacted with at the day job (which took up 90% of my waking life) would never have called me goofy, silly, or creative, which I also felt embodied the Real Me.

I had completely embraced this role of being the Professional (which is a role that I thought I needed to be in order to drive the sales results I needed), that I ignored, ridiculed, and suppressed anything else that didn’t conform to that view of myself.

(Most of my life I was textbook INFJ. Only in the last 10ish years did I flip to an INTJ).

I was enjoying success at work. I had a wonderful relationship with my husband and we would go on these epic adventures. I had a goal to write novels, and even though they weren’t quite polished or publishable, they were still being written, so that’s a positive, right?

I was doing all the right things, so why was I still feeling like I was missing out on my life? Why did I want more?

Of course, the first thing I did was chide myself for wanting more. That was materialistic and bad. But, I knew I didn’t want to stay where I was, so the only choice was continue going up the ladder and be promoted, right?

After (too many) years of self-doubt, I finally stumbled upon thought leaders and books that have changed the way I viewed myself and my accountability toward my life. I didn’t have to be unsettled or dissatisfied with my lot in life always wanting more. The “more” that I wanted wasn’t material wealth or gain. The “more” I wanted was living a life that used up my full potential and talents.

What I had been feeling was stunted growth. I always felt on edge, like I had to do and say the right things or be a certain way. Like I was playing a bit part in the story of my own life.

I had crammed all of me in a too-tight jacket and pointy-toed heels.*

In just a couple of years, I had attained success and awards that only 1% of my peers would reach. I was set up as a mentor and coach. I was respected and sought after.

I didn’t have a concept for it at the time but looking back, I realized my soul wasn’t getting fed.

The only time I felt true joy and light was when I was creating and writing, and I ignored it or wasn’t serious about it because I needed to make the practical and responsible choice of getting an income and providing for my family.

Thankfully, I stumbled my way out of that soul-crushing job into a place where I realized that I wasn’t the problem. It was the system. I didn’t want to move up in a corporate system that wasn’t feeding my soul. And only when I removed myself from that environment, was I able to see that I wasn’t wrong to feel stifled.

It’s OK to want other things. It’s OK to want a career that doesn’t involve moving up a corporate ladder. It’s OK to choose out.

It’s OK to choose me.

And what I realized I wanted was to be in business for myself. I wanted Freedom. Around 2 years ago, on New Year’s Eve 2014, I wrote a new kind of resolution. Operation: Freedom.

MY NEW RITUAL

On New Year’s Eve 2014, I wrote myself a story. It was kind of depressing, but it was a story nonetheless complete with highs and lows and learnings. But I didn’t end it with action plans for creating a better 2015. I continued writing the story, writing it in present tense. I described all I felt and saw and did. I wrote out what I created for myself and what I was known for, and I ended it with a “can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Then, I re-read what I had written, and saw a motif. I realized that in order to accomplish what I needed to get done, I needed to be fearless in action. I couldn’t play it safe or be stuck in analysis-paralysis. Fearlessness is acting in the face of fear. I would “feel the fear, but do it anyway.”

Everything I wrote out for myself in 2015 came to be, and it felt good because they were the Big Things that mattered to me. I was making progress on the goals that fed my soul, and gave me a sense of deep satisfaction. I became debt-free, which was a huge burden lifted. Talk about Freedom! My husband and I enjoyed an anniversary trip to Maui, where we got married. I was still working a day job, but it filled my creative and business side well, not to mention, paid me more than the soul-sucking one. I made progress toward my writing goals. And I laid out a strong foundation for my business.

I wanted Freedom for 2015, and I did it by embracing the idea of Fearlessness.

For 2016, I did a similar exercise, but instead of Fearless, I chose the word Curiosity. It was a subtle difference, one that I could relate to more authentically.I loved acting fearlessly, but I also know that fear is important and signals something, so I didn’t want to quite be fearless all the time.

Besides, I was tired of acting. I’d been acting for the majority of my adult life, and I didn’t want to pretend to be something I wasn’t in my entrepreneurial endeavors.

So, Curiosity would be the fuel that pushed my boundaries in order for me to grow. Curiosity would be the guiding thought that would empower me to “try it out.”

If I ever felt that body-cringe of fear when faced with a new and different idea, I would open up, and lean into it instead. Lean into new experiences. Lean into new challenges. Lean into vulnerability.

Because I did that, I have made strides to launch my business, write new content, create a passion project, and found a coach and mentor to accelerate my success in 2017.

I know 2016 isn’t over yet, but I already know what I want 2017’s theme word to be.

Why.

The last couple of years, and the experience of over a decade, has imprinted this truth into my life: that I need to absorb what is useful and aligned with my core values and purpose. Discard anything else. I need to ask Why? before I even think of adding something else to my vision.

I already know that I can accomplish goals. My question now is: Why is that a goal in the first place? Is it aligned to the outcome I want?

Simple. Efficient. Effective.

See the difference? I think of my outcome first. Then, I design my goals to get me to that outcome.

Thank you for your time today. Maybe in the future I’ll create a challenge around creating Simple, Efficient, Effective action plans. “SEE Your Goals, clearly” or something like that. Still an idea, of course, but it has merit, for sure! 🙂

xoxo

Liza

*there’s nothing wrong with business suits and stylish shoes. I love them! But I also love sandals, Converse, being barefoot…you get the drill.

Only do X if it aligns with my Why

Most of the past decade has been driven by what I can now identify as #FOMO–Fear of Missing Out. I’m sure this is related somehow to the Fear of Success that Steven Pressfield mentions in The War of Art.

Even though I’m multi-passionate and want to Do It All, I have taken the sucker’s path and followed every whim to figure out what all the fuss is about regarding X–X being whatever project seems to be trendy or popular.

I don’t regret the rabbit trails I’ve followed, because I am extremely curious and love figuring things out.

Like, the one time years ago I was so overwhelmed with knitting curiosity that I just had to buy knitting needles, a thing of yarn that I thought looked pretty (it was but it scratchy and NOT comfortable), and a how-to guide for beginning knitters.

I learned how to knit and was on my way to a scarf in about an hour. I could have finished the scarf in another hour. Yet, it took my literally years to finish it. I worked on it maybe one line at a time.

It turns out that I love owning knit scarves and gloves, but I didn’t feel the need to knit my own outerwear. Of course when Etsy exploded on to the scene and all these knitters suddenly became successful business owners I thought, “Well, there goes a lost entrepreneurial opportunity! I could’ve opened up my own Etsy shop!”

Should I have opened a shop? Would that have made me happy? I barely finished a scarf even though I knew how to knit. I just liked learning how to knit, and once I learned, didn’t feel the need to repeat it.

I made peace with my decision because I didn’t truly love it (I barely liked doing it), and why would I go into business doing what I barely liked doing? I already had that experience with my past day jobs, I wouldn’t do this for my lifelong dream of self-employment.

That’s been my pattern with other things and hobbies and topics that I’ve stumbled upon over the years. I’m grateful for loving the feel and idea and act of learning and collecting experiences over acquiring stuff…but I wonder if the downside to all of this broad seeking is a lot of knowledge without any depth or wisdom.

Like I somehow crossed over that boundary from the land of Curiosity to Scatter and Distraction.

Could I be justifying my whims and love for All The Things and desire to Do All The Things behind this veil of being an Inveterate Fullfiller-of-Curiosity? (I have decided to make that my new job title, FYI.)

If so, what is it that I’m trying justify? What am I trying to defend or validate? And more importantly, what am I hiding from myself with my multi-passionate curiosity?

Could I really be hiding my Fear of Success under layers of wanting to Do All The Things??

The obvious answer to me is yes.

Yes because All The Things are lovely to me, but a lovely distraction.

Yes because though I love the thought and idea of All The Things, I have a pretty narrow focus on the end goal for my life: Author. Entrepreneur.

Yes because All The Things do not and have not served me in my progress toward those end goals.

(Ironically, I have ALWAYS achieved whatever tasks I focus on. Unfortunately, those tasks have at best validated the idea that whatever I focus on,  I accomplish (with great effort). At worst, it has delayed my own version of success. (This thought is the most depressing because I value time so much. This blog used to be titled “Redeeming the Time” before I just simplified it as my blog.)

So. I’m going to take my own medicine and advice and choose a lane and drive it. One lane. I am going to remember my Why, and only choose those tasks and activities that will get me to my Why. I will no longer wonder if I should be doing X, I’ll know because I will refer to my Why.

If X aligns with my Why, then I will do it. If not, I will dismiss it.

I will remember these quotes:

“Activity does not equal Productivity” + “You don’t need a new plan for next year. You need a commitment.” (Seth Godin) = Happy Liza

I will be like Gryffindor’s sword and only take in what will make me stronger.

Something positive to end my reflection on: I did have one main constant and focus this past decade, and that was to be successful in business and drive profitable sales growth through an engaged, loyal, and motivated sales team.

I may not have a book deal yet.

I may not have had the courage or conviction to start my own business 5-7 years ago.

But, I have those things now, and I have over ten years of experience creating profit for someone else to give me the confidence I need to know that I can do it for myself.

Thanks for reading.

xoxo

Liza

 

This Week: July 1, 2016

BOOKISH FINDS:

I used to be a voracious reader. I’m talking like four books in one day kind of gluttony.

I was one of those people who would side-eye someone if heard them say, “I haven’t read a book in months/years.” Craziness. Seriously impossible. My ravenous brain monkeys were relentless; I couldn’t read fast enough to satisfy them.

I’d bring home piles of books from the library and read the entire pile in a week. Heck, sometimes I’d read an entire series in one day/night. (I’m looking at you, Anne Bishop’s Dark Jewls Trilogy. I started the series on a random weekday afternoon and finished it sometime around 7 or 8AM the next morning, napped for a bit, then went in for my closing shift at the Job. Totally worth it…one of my best reading marathons EVER!)

…but now…

I’d be lucky if I could finish a book in a week.*

I do have competing priorities for my time now like never before, which has made me pickier on which books to spend my time. And, I have decided to *Adult* and focus on getting enough of that Sleeping thing that so many people have told me was beneficial for my health.

(And, yes, OK, so my eyes don’t bother me as much, and perhaps my skin and overall immune system is a thousand times better…still…)

But, I ‘d gotten overwhelmed with how many books I’ve acquired and have a list of books I have been told I NEED TO READ, that I ended up doing what I’ve always done with things that intimidate me or make me anxious.

I avoided them. I either read something else entirely or ignore reading altogether.

Since reading makes me happy (my original blog title!), not-reading makes me not-happy. So, I’m embracing my first love, and making it a focus to read All The Books (and why I’m returning to this Reading and Writing blog format).

All that said, here are some titles that I was so excited to see available in my digital library (I promise next week I won’t ramble on and on so much before sharing 😉 ):

  • Lair of Dreams, Libba Bray (audiobook)
  • Shadowshaper, Daniel Older
  • Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff
  • Truthwitch, Susan Dennard

I absolutely LOVED The Diviners, by Libba Bray, and had waited so long for the sequel that it fell of my radar! So, when I saw it available, I immediately snatched it up! I also loved the hype around Shadowshaper…anything Urban Fantasy intrigues me.

Some people can’t get into audiobooks, but as someone who commutes to the Job and values efficient use of time, audiobooks are an amazing way for me to get through my lovelist of books. (And, when my eye is irritated, which it often is, audiobooks are a great escape for me!)

Plus, there’s something about audiobooks that makes it easier for me to read books that were “too boring” to read as a physical book…I’ve found and finished so many amazing books this way!

For those who love audiobooks, SYNC is a free summer audio book program for teens 13+ that gives away two audiobook downloads a week (powered by the Overdrive App) from May 5-August 17. I really love this program, because I get to test out books I wouldn’t otherwise have picked up, or re-read a fun classic. (It was through this program that I’d read Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys three or four years ago? Worth it!)

This week, SYNC is featuring Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle (easily one of my top ten fave books of all time) and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. (They have weekly themes, which I’m always delighted by!)

WRITERLY RECAP:

Most days, I’m staring at my WIPs wondering WHAT DO I WRITE NEXT, but today all I want to do is work on my NANOWIP (my clever code name for my WIP that I wrote during NaNoWriMo 2014). Maybe it’s because I watched a whole slew of comicbook movies recently. Or maybe I have a whole load of feels because I may not be able to do my annual summer trip to NYC. Or perhaps it’s the news that this year would be Stan Lee’s last year at NYC Comic Con.

At any rate, I’m really excited and motivated to revisit the rough draft and get a game plan started on it. It’s the only YA Contemporary that my brain elves have fashioned together that survived past the seedling idea stage to bloom into a full-blown story. Hopefully, other people will enjoy seeing the world through the eyes of a teen-aged Filipino girl who secretly works on her art projects while at science camp.

As for WIP 2, I have printed off the manuscript and am currently sifting through it. Oftentimes, I feel like I’m raking through a Maui beach with a back scratcher, but I’ve found so many typos and tense/POV shifts (still!) so, it’s a tedious-yet-necessary step. Considering it took several back-and-forths for my query to finally be typo-free, I was inspired to re-read my manuscript and I’m so glad I did!

Speaking of the query, I’ve sent off my latest, shiny query to Writer’s Digest’s Chuck Sambuchino for a workshop critique. I’ve already gotten positive responses from my writing buddies on this version, so I’m eager to hear his feedback! Then, in about three weeks, I go to my writing workshop! So excited!

My goal is to get the manuscript all cleaned up without these silly typo/spellos, so that it’s ready to send off into the world in August! (After re-reading it a million times, of course.)

Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to bribe myself enough to submit to Pitch Wars in August. We’ll see.

So tell me: anything new with you?

Happy Birthday Month, Blog!

My blogaversary is this Friday, May 4th (Otherwise known as Star Wars Day. Yes, I’m THAT nerdy). It’s been a really fun two years, and I have to admit that even though I haven’t been the most consistent blogger in the world, I’ve really enjoyed the side effect of blogging, namely, the accountability I have to make progress toward my goals (writing or otherwise).

I’ve enjoyed the blogging community, and have met a lot of lovely writers, readers, and delightful nerds (and in a few weeks, I will actually meet many of you in real life!) who have become some of my closest friends. Because I believe in sharing the love and “paying it forward,” I want to celebrate the month by hosting a little giveaway.

Usually, I would normally host a giveaway for a book or two, but since there are so. Many. Awesome. Books out this month, like Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Drowned Cities or Veronica Roth’s Insurgent, I thought it would be better for you all to pick the book you want!

So, for my Blog Birthday, I’ll be giving away a $20 Amazon (or Barnes and Noble) e-giftcard! (Winner’s preference, of course!) All you have to do is be a subscriber/follower of this blog, and comment below, and you’ll be entered into the raffle!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Congratulations, Michele S!

 

Also, because I want you to know how much I appreciate you, any comment on any post this month, will count as extra entries!

So, tell me…Why do YOU blog? If you’re not a blogger, please feel free to share your goals for this year! If you’re a fellow writer, anything fun and shiny you’re working on?

#100Blogfest, A Guest Post by Martin King

I’m pleased to host the next childhood story in Martin King’s #100Blogfest, where he has committed to write 100 childhood memories on 100 different blogs. I’ve been inspired to share a childhood memory myself, so look out for that sometime next week-ish. 😉

“Paint”

by Martin King

It’s funny how memories come flooding back when you start thinking about it. Here is one I forgot totally about. I was about six years old at the time and my mum had bought me some paint to make lots of pretty pictures.

Now this paint which was supposedly for kids came in these smart little tubes and these clever invented tubes of paint for small children had these small tops. Now according to the instructions on the side of the paint, it said that you had to forget about the paint and play with the little totally safe screw caps.

So that is exactly what I did. I invented a game where I had to push the little screw cap as far up my nostril as possible and then see if I could get it out again.

This worked fine a couple of times until the moment I realised I had shoved it too far and I couldn’t get it out. My mother rushed me to the doctors’ surgery, but our local doctor couldn’t get it out neither. He called in all his colleagues one by one in an attempt that one of them would, but alas no.

So I was on the verge of being taken to hospital when on one of his last attempts, he managed to pull it out with his tweezers.

These blogs are all about fun and sharing. Thank you for reading a ‘#100blogfest’ blog. Please follow this link to find the next blog in the series: http://martinkingauthor.com/blog/7094550076

Thank you, Martin, for sharing your childhood memory with us!