22 February 2013

In honor of my father: I believed you

Today is my dad's birthday.
PeePaw with Puck and Tink
July 2012

We haven't always had the best relationship, but we're much closer than we were. I know he loves me, and is an amazing, loving grandpa to Puck and Tink.

When I was a kid, my dad was always very supportive of me finding my best path. He believed, and told me often, that I could do and be whatever I wanted. He made sure I knew that as long as I put in the effort required, I could be successful in whatever I chose to do. There were times I thought it was one of those things parents say to their kids because they have to. But he said it enough that eventually

I believed him.

And now I'm a writer by passion and by trade.

Whether my dad meant what he said at the time or not, I decided that he was right. I could do whatever I wanted. And I wanted to be a writer. So I am.

It hasn't always been easy. In high school, I was told that if I wanted to be a writer, I should become an English teacher and write as a hobby since that was the only way I could make a living. In college (not the college from which I graduated) I was told that if I wanted to be a writer, I should become a journalist since that is the only way to have a career that involves writing.

Then I became a marketing specialist at my alma mater and was introduced to the world of marketing writing. Then I was a freelance writer for about four years. And now I am a full-time salaried employee as a writer in the marketing department for an amazing business.

It isn't all business writing, though. I make time to work on the collection, and yesterday at poetry group I read two original poems (which were well-received). And someone I know from poetry encouraged me to try and get a play produced locally, which is something I'd never considered.

I am happy with my career path. I'm excited about what the future may bring. And it's all because I believed my dad years and years ago.

Happy Birthday, PawPaw.

18 February 2013

Big projects vs. small projects

I have a wide variety of projects that come across my desk at my day job. Some are bigger and take a lot of time and research and rewrites (like white papers), and others are smaller and can get turned around on the same day (like press releases). The variety is good. It keeps work interesting, and the intensity of the big projects can be broken up with the smaller projects so I don't let myself feel too overwhelmed with the bigger projects.

I was talking to a co-worker last week about a particular project I've been working on that started as a small one but has become a large, much more complicated one. She likes small projects, too; especially the ones that can get done in the same day. It gives you a sense of accomplishment to be able to add something to your task list, and then cross it off before you leave the office for the day.

The good news is that working on the collection has helped prepare me for big, complicated projects at work. I'm able to prioritize the tasks to complete the projects, and bring the pieces together to do what needs to be done. (Besides, nothing I've had at work so far has come close to being as involved as the collection!)

The biggest thing for me is to have a list of the individual tasks that need to be done for the project and take them one at a time. Each little task that gets crossed off is an accomplishment, and takes me one step closer to being done with the big project.

How do you handle big projects at work or in writing?

05 February 2013

Keep on keeping on

Sample task lists
Every week I have a list of what needs to be done that week for work, as well as my personal life. I then use that list throughout the week to keep on target for my project deadlines. I add to it as needed, cross things off when they're done, and make notes to myself if something changes or needs to be updated.

I used to break my weekly lists into daily lists, as well, so I didn't end up at the end of the week with the whole list waiting for me. I don't do that anymore because it got frustrating if I didn't complete everything on the list for a given day.

By having a general weekly list instead of the daily lists, I'm able to look at my list at the end of the day and know that I still have time to keep working on the list. It helps me take on a "keep on keeping on" mentality rather than a "hurry up and get it done!" mentality. Either way, the tasks get crossed of my list, but one way is frantic and stressful while the other way is more relaxed and encouraging.

I'm the type of person who has to take things one step at a time. If I get too ahead of myself and get frustrated I end up falling behind where I need to be and get even less done. So I have to take it slow, one task at a time.

Whether you're looking at a long list of stuff to do at work, or you've got company coming so you need to clean your house, remember to take it one step at a time, cross one task off at a time, and focus only on what you have to do in the next moment. Just keep on keeping on, and it'll get done.

04 February 2013

Writers get cabin fever, too

It's been cold here lately. Not nearly as cold as I've experienced in the past, but still cold enough to keep me indoors and wrapped up in my favorite hoodie quite often.

But it's also been driving me a little crazy. For one thing, I hate being cold. More than being hot, I hate being cold. So having to, you know, go outside in the cold hasn't gone well for me lately. But it's also been frustrating because I feel disconnected with the world around me. Staying home is all well and good for writers, but I'm looking forward to sitting outside in the warm sun, walking barefoot in the grass.... and not wearing socks.

I know many writers relish winters. The cold keeps them inside, so they spend more time writing. More than a few writers I know consider winter "writing season" since there's little else to do when the snow and ice keeps them close to home. And yet, I want very much for it to be warm so I can go and be outside.

Yes, even writers need to fight cabin fever.

This month, I'm going to go to poetry group. I haven't been in quite some time, and I miss it. Even though the meetings are inside, maybe getting out and being around other people will make me feel less hermit-y. And, soon enough, it'll be warmer outside, so I'll put on my sandals and go for a walk.

How are you handling winter?

03 February 2013

And then it was February

January was a busy month. The kids and I had fun--including a long weekend at PawPaw's house--and work was intense all month.

But now it's February. Puck and Tink are spending some time with Monty, things are becoming more routine at work (in a good way), and I have a lengthy list of projects and things I'd like to do over the next three weeks.

I'm trying to stay optimistic about my productivity for the month, particularly because the last week of the month is going to be a little chaotic. Well, more chaotic than normal, if there is such a thing. In addition to the normal work and household stuff, I've got some deadlines for the coffee house book. And reading. Lots and lots of reading.

What's happening in your life this month?