I have been MIA from my personal blogs. Not because I'm slacking off.
Quite the opposite. I have been so busy with writing projects I have
not had time to update.
As a freelancer, being busy is good. It means I am making enough money
to pay my bills. That's always a good thing!
For me, my absence has also been because I have been working hard on
several book projects. Like most writers, I have books in various stages
but somehow I never seem to finish them. I don’t make resolutions,
instead I set goals the beginning of each year. One of the goals I set
for 2016, was to publish a collection of poems I have been working on.
I also have a picture book, a short story and a novella I wanted to publish before the end of the year. These are old projects that have been gathering dust. I also have ideas for two additional books that I planned to work on and hopefully publish in 2017.
In July, I published my poetry collection and proceeded to work on the other projects I have lined up. Along the way, my freelance writing gigs continued to pour in and I ended up putting my creative stuff on the back burner once again.
Then I had the chance to write a young adult book. I am happy to report that I have completed it and it is scheduled for release shortly. Before I had time to breath, another opportunity from the same publisher made its way into my inbox and I was off again. This book will be released in the spring. I also have the possibility of writing another one, if I am able to finish this second book quickly.
I haven’t put my other creative projects back in the drawer to gather dust once again. Instead, I feel such momentum that I am writing furiously every day. Now, I won’t be able publish all of the work I planned to this year but my picture book will make the cut. That’s three books released this year. I think that’s quite an accomplishment.
In 2017, I will publish more and I will update my blog more. But for now, let me get back to work; I have a book to write!
How many times do we, as parents, tell our kids they should try something new but then fail to follow our own advice? I can't be the only one. I'm forever nagging Tyler to "just try it" and if you have teens you'll understand they are often contrite and contrary.
"But how will you know you don't like it, if you don't even try it?" I find myself asking more often than I feel I should. Sometimes I am able to win him over. More often than not, he's the victor. Recently I had an epiphany. I realized my son is like me in many ways. I'm fairly open to trying new experiences but there are times when I am adamant and just plain pigheaded and refuse to budge. For instance, he's always trying to get me to watch some lame YouTube channel or a program on Netflix or Hulu that he swears is funny. I know that given we have totally different ideas of what constitutes "funny", chances are I'm not going to enjoy it and I don't like wasting my time on a bunch of BS.
But how can I expect him to try new things, if I'm not willing to do the same? The answer is, I can't. So I give him 5 minutes of my time to watch his lame videos. I will watch at least one episode (possibly two) of a program he likes, with the understanding that if I don't like it, I'm not gonna watch any more.
Somewhat reluctantly he agreed. We even had an all night movie marathon last Saturday where we each selected four movies we wanted to watch. And we couldn't complain about the movies the other chose and we had to pay attention the whole time! It was fun and now that we've come to an understanding, I think we'll be okay. He's even convinced me to try new food that I wouldn't otherwise try and I love food but some of the stuff he comes up with (from watching YouTube, of course) is gross. But I decided to try deep fried Oreos. And you know what, they're actually tasty.
When I have a bit of downtime, one of the things I enjoy doing is reading weird news stories. Unfortunately there’s shortage of odd ball shit going on in the world. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite recent stories. Here they are:
Happy Creative Beginnings Month! I realize the month is almost over but there’s still time to think about and/or start a new creative endeavor. It’s the perfect time to take a cooking class, learn to paint or write that book you’ve been talking about forever. And you don’t even have to leave home to learn a new skill if you don’t want to. Just head online where you can learn practically anything you dream of.
I’m a pretty creative chick but sometimes I too need a little motivation. Over the years I have discovered great authors who never fail to get my juices flowing. If a motivational push is what you need, try two of my all-time favorite authors.
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
If you haven’t read Women Who Run with the Wolves, please stop what you’re doing and buy a copy now. Yes, purchase a copy. Do not borrow one from the library. You need to own this book. Get a bunch of highlighters and some sharpened pencils while you’re at it. Dr. Estés is storyteller and this well-crafted book is filled with stories of the wild woman told through myths and fairy tales. We are all wild women at heart and this book will allow you to regain the wild woman hiding inside you.
I have been reading Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy’s work for years. I dare you to read any of her books and not feel like you can conquer the world. I’m not sure if it’s her wild woman spirit, or the vibrant colors and drawings in her books that motivate me, but whatever it is, I always feel energized and alive after reading her work.
I’m having one of those weeks. You know the type of week that starts off on a sour note and you find yourself in a funky mood for the rest of the week. Yeah, that kind of week.
After dropping my son off at school on Monday, while stopped at a red light, a young man ran into the back of my car. I don’t mean tapped it — I’m talking slammed into it. I mean fucked (excuse my French) up my bumper, lights and trunk. Okay, stuff happens. But what’s really got me pissed is this dude took off. It all happened so fast that I didn’t have time to write down his license plate or snap or picture or anything.
After he ran off, I was so pissed. Both at myself and at him. I admonished myself for not snapping a picture and for not taking off after him. Of course, taking off after him would not have been a smart move. Not in this trigger-crazy world we live in.
Now, I have to pay the price for his irresponsibility. When you work for someone else and you have issues, you go to work and do the best you can. You don’t have the option of not working. One of the perks of working for yourself is choosing not to work. But sometimes we don’t have that option, so we have to keep it moving—no matter how funky we feel.
This week was not a week for me to take time off to stew in my own depressed juices. I have deadlines to meet. But it’s been difficult getting motivated to write, even with deadlines looming. It’s taken me until today to at least not feel like crying. I’m still not at 100% but I’m hoping to make it through the week and hopefully after getting some rest this weekend I will stop beating myself up over an incident that I had no control over. At least I learned my lesson. If I ever get in an accident again, I’m not getting out of my car without my phone ready to snap a picture, or at least with a pen and paper handy.
I’m sure you’ve heard by now about “comedian” Larry Wilmore’s White Correspondents Association Dinner debacle. The Nightly Show host rounded out the evening with an excruciatingly long 20-minute, racially laced diatribe, ultimately ending his set by referring to President Obama an “my nigga”.
Although many have said that Wilmore’s use of the term was endearing and not offensive. I beg to differ. I feel it was, not only offensive, but disrespectful and as Al Sharpton said, “in bad taste.”
Even if we remove the last statement, Wilmore entire set was cringe worthy. I just rewatched it and my initial impression hasn’t wavered—he’s not funny. He set the tone for the night with his “negro night” joke and then proceeded to drone on in his nasally, slow-cadenced voice. His over emphasis on blackness, I thought was a bit much. Wait, scratch that, I don’t mind racial jokes per se—but damn it, I need the jokes to be funny.
As the cameras panned the crowd, to me most looked bored. Wilmore’s jokes received lukewarm reception, groans and boos. Not to mention blank, awkward stares and nervous giggles. Wolf Blitzer was looking all kinds of pissed off. You know under his breath he was probably calling Wilmore the N-word—and not the one meant as a term of endearment. Don Lemon giving him the finger was the best part of the entire tirade.
From Bill Clinton stripper jokes to Bernie Sanders old folk jokes, this guy sucked big time. Add to that his Ted Cruz Zodiac Killer set, well, it wasn’t my cup of tea.
He should have sensed that he was bombing. Didn’t he have a backup set of jokes he could have whipped out?
Now I read that he says his jokes “didn’t fit the room.” Duh! As far as his controversial final remarks, he says he doesn’t know if he would take it back if he had to replay the scenario.
My problem with Wilmore’s statement is two-fold. First, let’s say a white comedian or speaker had said it. Mind you, with the same perceived terms of endearment. Would the people who are supporting Wilmore have a problem with it? I don’t think so. People would be up in arms. But, you can’t have it both ways. If you expect white people to respect the president, you can disrespect him in a public forum.
Second, let’s keep it “100”, Wilmore and President Obama aren’t homeboys hanging on the block. In that situation, okay maybe it would be okay. If he whispered it in the president’s ear when he was finished with his set, okay, that’s cool. But for me personally, I thought it was unprofessional, disrespectful and certainly the wrong forum to make that statement. And it’s not just because of the sea of white faces watching from within the room and from the comfort of their own homes. I would feel the same way if the crowd was largely black.
guess my main issue is his lack of respect and the fact that they don’t have the type of relationship that warrants throwing around nigga the way Wilmore did. Just because you’re black does not give you the right to get comfy with me. I would get highly offended if some random black person called me their nigga. Nigga please, you don’t know me like that.
I really need to get back on track. Every year around March I start getting distracted. I don't know if it's the nice weather or the fact that school is ending soon and I won't have to get up at the ass crack of dawn to take my kid to school. Okay, technically speaking 6:30 is not the ass crack of dawn, but it's too damn early for me.
The point is, the past few weeks I have not worked as hard as I should. Now, I'm working on projects that I already have scheduled or new ones that have come to me, but what I mean is I'm not spending a whole lot of time looking for new writing opportunities.
As a freelancers that's bad. No work = no pay. But when I'm sitting at my desk and I hear the birds chirping outside my window, well, I just want to go outside and drink up the sun. Or the opposite. Like when it rains (as it did most of last week) and all I want to do is climb in bed and go to sleep.
So what's a girl to do to stay on track? The one thing I've noticed is if I skip my morning walking routine, I'm more than likely to not feel like working much. I guess getting out in the fresh air, listening to my favorite tunes, while those feel good endorphins kick in sets the tone for the rest of my day.
So the one thing that I try to make sure I do is walk. If I can't walk I like to at least exercise at home. I have a Wii and a low impact exercise DVD that are my go-to secondary forms of exercise when I'm not able to (or don't feel like walking).
The other thing that gets me back on track is actually taking some time off. This might seem counterproductive but there are times when you might need to take a break and recharge. Think about kids how they get cranky when they're tired or hungry. Well, adults are the same. That's why businesses offer vacation and other paid time off options to employees. Unfortunately when you work for yourself, it's hard to take time off. Especially when it's just you. Let's face it, again, no work = no pay. But sometimes you just gotta bite the bullet and take time off. Once you've had the chance to rest up, you can then get back on track.
In lieu of taking time off, I will shorten the amount of time I normally work. That's where I am right now. This way, I am able to still get some work done and have a little bit of breathing room. This currently cycle that I'm on will last from now until September. Once school ends it will be harder for me to work longer hours with my son home. Now, mind you he's a teenager but he's as needy as a little kid! And yes, I also want to sleep late a few days a week.
The hardest part for me is not feeling guilty for taking time off. But I've grown to deal with these feelings and am getting much better at reminding myself that I need time off in order for me to be more efficient. So if you don't hear from me, I'm still around, just not as much.
I recently wrote about a new time management technique I discovered called the Pomodoro Technique. Essentially, it's a method of timed, focused task completion where you work in 25-minute increments, with a short (usually 5 minute) break between sessions. After four sessions, you take a longer break, generally 30 minutes. I decided to give it go to see if this would work for me because frankly, at times I get distracted or I have so many things I want to accomplish I keep switching from task to task. Read on to find out my thoughts.
As I said, I was up for the task (no pun intended) of finding out if this technique would work for me. Surprisingly, I am pleased to say that during my 25 minute sessions, I was more focused and driven. Let me back up though. The first day was rough. I wanted to check the time and/or not stay on task. The second day was better but I was still distracted a bit but by the third day, I completely forgot I was being timed and I stayed on task during each of my sessions. I started on February 27, so it's only been a few days but still, I definitely see the potential in using this task as a way to stay focused.
I realized just how much time I waste on a daily basis...checking email, social media, etc. This technique worked well for me because I didn't spend a lot of time on this unproductive activities. In fact, I've gotten my email sessions down to two a day and I spend about the same amount of time on social media. And I've gotten a lot of work done quicker. For instance, I had finished three articles long before their due date because I was more focused. Not that I ever turn an assignment in late, but I finished all three assignments several days before their due date. This gave me time to do other things while I wait for more assignments to flow in.
I plan to continue to use the method on a regular basis. But stay tuned, I've just today learned about a similar method that uses 52 minute timed sessions so I'm going to check it out.
I normally keep my political opinions to myself. But this Donald Trump—David Duke—KKK situation compels me to speak up. Living in Louisiana, of course I know who David Duke is. Being a member of the race on the receiving end of the Klan’s wrath, of course I know who they are. The question is whether a man of Trump’s age would have knowledge of this racist group and the former Grand Wizard? I find it impossible to believe that he does not know anything about the Klan. Forget the fact that his father is rumored to have been among their membership, did he not attend school at some point in time? I’m pretty damn sure this was covered.
As for David Duke, he claimed to not know who is, yet he previously harangued him. So he either has a case of Alzheimer or he thinks that everyone is “the uneducated”. Also, I highly doubt he was unaware of the endorsement. I’m sure he have people keeping an eye on things like this and was probably aware of it. He should have gotten ahead of the situation and disavowed him before others demanded that he do so. Even if secretly he welcomes his support (and the support of other hate groups), he could at least , in public, act appalled.
I think this goes to show just how much of egomaniac Trump is. It seems that no matter what the controversy is, he feels he’s rise unscathed. And what’s worse, his supporters are still drinking his Kool-Aid.
Now, you have the right to vote for whoever you want and that goes for Trump supporters. My problem is he has no real solutions. He seems to spend more time berating and belittling others. I find it hard to believe that any intelligent person would think that Trump is presidential material. Yeah, he’s amusing to a certain point. But presidential. Fuck no.
He also seems to think that running the country would be like running his business. Like he can just command and it will be done. He’s gonna build a wall and send the bill to Mexico. Fool please. He keeps talking about how he will be able to handle the deficit, yet he has failed ventures and bankruptcy in his own personal life and is currently being audited and sued. But he wants to run the country. This is a man who, despite all of his wealth and upbringing is the type of person you can’t take anywhere because you know damn well they are gonna act up and cause of scene if they don’t get their way.
This is not the person that should be leading our country. Don’t waste your vote simply because you want the democrats out of office.
Are you familiar with the Pomodoro Technique? If you’re looking for a way to be more productive, this may be just the thing you’re looking for. I literally just found out about it and I’m excited at the possibilities.
Apparently the system, developed by Francesco Cirillo, has been around for quite some time. I’m really surprised that I have never heard of it before. Essentially you work on tasks in small bursts of times, called pomodoros (Italian for tomato), with short breaks factored in. A pomodoro is typically 25 minutes long. Short breaks are usually 5 minutes and longer breaks are generally 30 minutes.
The technique involves working one pomodoro, then taking a five minute break. Continue until you’ve completed four pomodoros (with a five minute break between), then take a longer break. That’s the simple explanation. The technique involves some additional planning and steps. You can get a general overview of the technique from the official website or you can buy the book (it costs about 80 bucks used on Amazon though!).
You can also do a Google Search for more information. I found this article at Lifehacker very useful in breaking the technique down (so I assume the author actually read the book). Even without knowing all the ins and outs (because I’m too cheap to buy an $80 book and it’s not at my local library), I feel this could be good time management technique. So I’m willing to give it a try. I’ll provide an update later.
Myra Faye Turner, Writer