Lining Up Stars

Do you ever feel like the universe is just lining up your stars?

I’ve always thought that there is something bigger at work. I’ve never believed that Earth is the only life-sustaining planet. I’ve always believed in coincidences. There just seem to be too many of them in my life.

A few months ago, I decided to begin journaling again. Frankly, it goes better some weeks than others. I write so often in other ways that sometimes, when sitting in front of a journal, my mind is blank. I try to accept this as part of my offering to the world – that there are days I have nothing to offer my journal thought-wise. If I’m at a total loss, I do always try to write down what I’m grateful for. I often forget to write things down because I’m grateful for so many of them.

I think that when you’re grateful for things, more things that you can be grateful for start to come along. Here’s the thing: I try to always be grateful, even for the bad stuff. I get into a fender-bender: I’m grateful it wasn’t worse. I get stopped at every single red light: I’m grateful for more time listening to my favorite band. I injure myself when running, I’m grateful that I have the ability to run again after I’ve healed.

When I was younger, it was harder. There were days I didn’t have enough money to buy more for groceries than three packs of Ramen for a dollar which had to last me a week. I was grateful that I at least had enough to cover rent and gas to my low wage job.

When I do this, I feel as though the universe is more inclined to line up better opportunities for me. Crazy?

What do you believe?

Leaders are Born…or Made?

The old saying goes that great leaders are born, not made.

What. A. Crock.

Needless to say, I completely disagree.

See, I was not born a leader. There was not, for nearly 29 years, a single bone in my body that ached – even a little – to lead others.

Not that I wanted to follow, per se. Though that’s often what we find to be the easiest path, isn’t it?

You follow. You work for others. You concede to your friends and family. You smile. You hide your quirks.

I was a follower for many years. This included the first two years of running my own business. I allowed my ideas to be stolen and steamrolled, my schedule to be determined by the client, my limitations to be tugged and poked and prodded until I stepped into unfamiliar, unwelcome territories.

That last one was when I finally said “enough is enough.” Not that I’m against learning or change. I’m all for being shoved out of the nest. I’m not a fan of being shoved off the cliff.

Something occurred to me: I work for no one but myself.

Suddenly, it was like all of these doors swung wide open. I don’t rely on my clients, my clients rely on me. Sure the money that they send me is great. It pays my bills. But no invoice amount is worth my sanity. I can find another client. I can find another job. I can do something that makes me happy, not crazy.

So I fired a bunch of people. I’d never fired anyone in my life. I didn’t know how. I poured over books and blogs and how to manuals. Nothing I read made me less uncomfortable about what I had to do.

That’s the thing I’m realizing about being a leader as I find myself warming to the role.

I might be uncomfortable firing people or interviewing potential clients or asking for someone to pay their damn invoice, but at the end of the day, I’m all I’ve got. I am…a leader. And I wasn’t born this way. I made myself.

Why Indie?

I’m not asked this question a lot, but I am asked often enough that I feel inclined to post about it. While the subject matter is a bit more geared toward this blog, I felt it deserved a more personal space.

The question: Why be an indie author?

Frankly, there are a lot of different reasons I picked this route. Some are well thought out and others not so much. Then again I’m not the most strategically minded decision maker, but I find that shooting from the hip works for me better- maybe that’s why I keep doing it.

The best laid plans, right?

While I could make this blog impossibly long (I have 5 reasons for self-publishing in my head as we speak and more just keep popping in) I’d really like to focus on the main point in my decision making process as I feel it’s the most important to understand.

If you’ve self-published or if you’ve considered self-publishing. If you’re a reader who loves indie authors or if you can’t understand the indie phenomenon – the bottom line is:

I’m good enough.

Don’t get me wrong. I may still be in my 20s (barely) but let me stress that this is NOT a generational/immediate gratification thing. Frankly, I have my opinions on that as well, but that’s another day/another blog.

Here’s the root of it: technology has reached a point where, as a writer, I don’t have to depend upon a higher up for something if I’m willing to work my ass off and do it myself. That’s why I’m an entrepreneur. Being an indie author is simply another way that I can flex those entrepreneurial skills.

By self-publishing, I don’t have to worry that someone is going to tell me my writing isn’t good enough. I don’t have to wait to hear back about the major changes I need to make in order to be put into a consideration pile and hey, maybe I’ll hear back one way or the other after 6 weeks.

Screw. That.

I’m all for learning, improving and taking constructive criticism (or not so constructive as it sometimes may be). I did bring on an editor, after all.

However, I put my hours, my crappy eyesight, my tears, my money and so much more into producing a product that I’m proud of. You hear that? I’m PROUD of what I wrote. Best of all, I’m CAPABLE of sharing it with you myself if I put in the time and effort to learn how (or if I invest in someone else who does). Why let someone tell me that I shouldn’t have wasted my time because it isn’t THEIR idea of worthy work?

As far as I’m concerned, it IS good enough. Good enough to share with the world, in fact. And while I’ve had friends and family compliment my writing, I’ve submitted my books to a variety of book bloggers, too. Book bloggers that read hundreds of books every single year. Guess what? They seem to think it’s pretty good, too.

So that’s the bottom line for me. I can. Granted there are some really crappy self-published books out there. You know what? There are some really crappy traditionally published books, too. I’ve read plenty of them.

Whew!

I haven’t posted in a long time and for that, I apologize. I did have a long ramble about the Boston Marathon. That hit home for me considering I’m working to qualify for it within the next two years. I rewrote it about a week ago and still decided not to post it. Today I decided to forget the whole thing and just write a brand new blog that has nothing to do with it. I WILL say that my heart is in Boston, still. Everyone who ran, spectated, or simply lives there…you have my happy thoughts.

Now then…
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I Can

There are days when the world makes absolutely no sense. Where you have tried and failed so many times at your dream that you are at serious risk of giving up. I don’t know how you all react to such depression and pressures. My old reaction was to curl up and cry for a few days- “no, world! I can’t handle you anymore, just leave me alone. Go bother someone whose dreams you haven’t stepped on!” Once all the tears were out, I’d usually mill around like a zombie for a few days, deep in a fog of mixed emotion- angry, sad, depressed, exhausted, alone, the only person to ever have issues…that kind of thing. What do I do these days when defeat keeps kicking me down? I sign up for another marathon.
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That beautiful word known as “failure”

Last week was horrendous. Felt like I was failing everything I bothered to touch. That little voice in my head wasn’t helping matters:

Failure.
You fail at everything.
You’re never going to make it in this business.
You don’t know anything ABOUT business.
You had to take economics twice.
Being creative will get you nowhere- that isn’t a business concept.
Moron.
Wrap it up- stay in your cubicle.
You just don’t have what it takes, kid.
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Writing Machine

You may recall that I wrote a post awhile back about my inability to learn from the mistakes and/or the advice of others. This has happened yet again in recent days and I wanted to share- not to guide you away from mistakes that I have made or consequences that I have suffered (you stubborn mule) but rather to warn you that stubbornness can and will make your life a living hell. If you can’t trust anyone else on this point, trust someone who can out stubborn her own mother.
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