Category Archives: Success

Blogging 101: Dream Reader

Life is a crooked and varied path.  Get on it.  That is what I want to tell people.

I’m not kidding when I say that a funny thing happened on the way to quitting smoking; I got a life. I’m dead serious.  Before I quit smoking I was on a constant run of being half-assed and not quite right.

Oh, I did a lot.  The more time got short the more often I had to just make do.  By the time I could catch my breath I was off planning the next birthday, the next holiday, the next girl scout meeting, the next trip.  I was always running from one job to the next trying to please multiple leaders with my work ethic.  I usually held two or three jobs in trying to manipulate my schedule.  First to avoid paying for day care then later to be everywhere the kids were.

I’m a B personality who worked in highly competitive atmospheres.  I lived for years on the edge of yelling, “sit down and shut up!” But I couldn’t put my finger on what was really going on and instead I whined, “That’s not fair.”  I knew those co-worker were alike and I was different so I had to fix me to keep up.  And I tried, because I wasn’t going to let them stop me.  The more I tried, the more I felt like they shoved me aside, or at least held back.

My generation was to take the baton of feminism and be a success with it because all the generations before me had fought hard and won equality.  Somewhere along the line I realized I had become this anti-feminist, feminist.  I did what I was told and I didn’t know why it wasn’t working!  I was supposed to be happy and all I could see was that I was half-assed and not quite right.

Well as the way change usually happens, it all came to a screeching halt and I was the one who sat down and shut up.  “young and twenty” recently posted an axiom “you’ll never understand the way things pass until you step aside.”  That is exactly what I did.  I gave myself several quiet days and went about my day as I watched and learned.  There were two experiments that I did.

To quit smoking I started off with False Quit Dates.  I’d set a quit date which would bring up an excuse to quit quitting and start smoking again.  So I’d work on that excuse and then set another false quit date.  I kept setting them until there was nothing left but the real quit date. And I made it.  I quit smoking.

In the middle of all that I stopped and worked on my fruity experiment.  As a kid I got mad at my Grandma for trying to teach me the Fruit of the Spirit Bible verse as I was having trouble memorizing it.  Well because of that I recognized it when I saw it as an adult, and made a note of the verse and where I could find it.

One Christmas I saw Love, Joy, Peace everywhere, when it struck me … What if, you can’t get to the love, joy, peace until you enact the Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control?  ???

I stopped the False Quit Dates and I took one virtue a day and used it against anything that came up in my day.  I started with Patience.  Turned out I learned some things and I wanted another day.  Then I took another day and did it with kindness.  Turns out kindness only works when you are kind to yourself too, this was no Random acts of kindness exercise.  The difference was, I wasn’t putting things out there.  I was responding to events that came my way and not all those events were kind.

These two experiences gave way to other epiphanies such as:

  • You can care without worry.
  • I am not naughty, naughty, naughty.  I am an adult.
  • Be responsible without being held accountable.
  • Life is not fair.  Quit trying to make it fair.
  • Control yourself; Not others.
  • Be honest.
  • Don’t rely on motivation.  I work on my non-motivation skills.
  • Don’t make douche bag choices.

I am sharing information and I am a writer marketing my books about my experience.  My Dream Reader is someone who also has an interest in these topics.

Blogging 101: Introduce Yourself

Hello Bloggers!  I am April Heather and my blog is Heather Publishing.  I am a writer and my blog is part of my marketing platform.  I have three little books that I call commuter reads for sale on Amazon and I am writing the fourth.  I call them commuter reads because if you are a passenger, you could most likely read them on a flight or on the way to work and back home and be done.  I’m not going to link during a Blogging 101 assignment but there is one on my about page if you want to check it out.

For me blogging is more of a conversation while writing a book is more of a one-sided discussion.  A blog is a chance for imperfection.  I might be on the pulse of an idea but, I might not have it fully figured out yet, and I will blog about it to figure it out.  As for perfection in grammar and punctuation, I save that for the books I publish, because I have an awesome editor.  With the blog it is just me.  My editor usually lets me know how I am doing on the blog.  (I’d love to have the income to pay my editor to work on my blog.)  Most of the time, I am blogging before work and I have to hurry up and be done, plus, I want to get back to writing my books.  You know, writing time is writing time, so I’m either writing my book or writing my blog.  So at any rate, I don’t mean any disrespect I’m just trying to get things done.

I have 8 months of material and that is a pretty good sampling of what I blog about if you care to pursue through them, right now, I want to talk about why I am here.  I am here because I was so involved in the assignments of last class that I didn’t finish.  I also didn’t spend very much time in the commons area.  The people who did spend time in the commons area came out of it with w-a-a-a-y more followers than I did.  I was happy with what I got and they have 20x more than that.  So yeah, spend time in the commons.  Be nice and help each other out.  Anyway, I was going to go ahead and finish the class on my own, but I heard they were going to do another course in Blogging 101 so I did a NaMo for blogging in November and I waited.

I’m looking forward to installing the WP app on my phone and I might change my theme.  I think I want my blog roll in a footer, so it is relevant on my shorter pages and on the longer pages it won’t matter. I’m looking forward to getting into doing the work again.  The work wasn’t hard, unless you find it hard to ask questions.  If you can ease up on yourself for not knowing what is going on and again for asking a question to find out, you are going to have a lot fun.  I know I did and I know I am going to again.

Happy New Year! 2015!

I’m starting this new year off the way I want live this year.

  • I took today off so I can write without going into work.
  • I’m giving away free copies of Goodness and it is off to a good start.  amazon.com/author/aprilheather
  • I already did dishes and some laundry, later I will do some dusting and vacuuming.
  • I’m posting to my blog today.
  • I’m working on my Virtual Tour Blog Award which is due on January 5th.  I will be trolling the internet for 4 nominees.  It is very introspective.  I enjoyed working on it.
  • I will spend a substantial amount of time on my next book Faithfulness.
  • I got enough sleep last night even while ringing in the new year, so I didn’t over-imbibe and I ended 2014 as quickly as possible and went to bed soon after midnight.
  • I’m cooking a decent breakfast after this post.
  • I will walk/run 3 miles with a high of 27 and a low of 8.
  • And I will spend time with family and friends today.

I don’t think I could ask for a better day.  Isn’t that what everyone wants?  A little work; a little fun; good sleep; some good food; and a little socializing.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not expecting simplicity. I’m expecting to be WoWed!  I want to be dazzled by life!  I want to be entertained in the moment! GOOD entertainment!

For the last 7, 8 maybe 9 years I have hoped for the best and put up with mediocre.  My recession is over this year.  At least as much as in my control.  I expect A LOT and I’m going to go out and get it.

Man, I hope I’m on the right track because I am expecting God to me half way.   Well, I have all year to figure it out and the year already began.

New Years Eve!

In many ways this has been a crappy year and I am eager to put it to an end.  I suppose it is a matter of perspective because I have met most of my goals.

Last year, I was going to be tiny by Christmas.  Well I’m not tiny, but I think I have found the problem and fixed it.   I went to the chiropractor and got everything back into alignment.  I fixed my digestion so I don’t have heartburn anymore.

I increased my exercise.  I rode my bike like crazy this year.   I also started running which is like huge leaps and bounds from someone who has always HATED running.  I have fallen out of routine since winter set in but I end the year not any bigger than the last.  That is success!  Usually I find another 10 lbs over the winter.  Not this year!  Tomorrow I start a new goal; 3 three miles a day, everyday; don’t care if it is walking or running; 3 miles a day minimum.

I started a blog.  I see activity daily, even on days I don’t post.  Now, that is exciting.  That is success.   I registered for Blogging 101 in January.  This time I will finish.

I published 3 little books and I do see some activity in sales. For next year I want to finish the series, complete the quitting smoking book.   I think I want to have that one published by Black Friday.   That is a tall order.  We will see where I am at next Thanksgiving.    Exciting.

Day 28 NaBloPoMo; Motivation 3rd post of 3 part series.

In the first parts I talk about how fleeting motivation is and I talk about how I had to work on non-motivational skills to carry out some of my goals.  That leaves, what to do when motivation strikes?

Go for it!  Like I said motivation is fleeting, capture it when you can.

Just remember to keep things balanced.  Shower, cook and eat your meals, get enough sleep, and spend time with loved ones.

This is where the work in my non-motivational skills hit home.  If I went to bed which can halt my motivation I can keep up the task even though my motivation waned.

For instance this month.  I was able to meet multiple goals.  My personal NaMo project was to create a timeline for a fiction series that I might get to someday.  Once I found out about the blog posting challenge, I thought that was a great way to build a new blog.  I was highly motivated. But, since I did some work to not rely on motivation, I still was able to get some work done on my timeline and I kept at it for most of the month.

Then my editor returned my manuscript for my next book and I was highly motivated to get it published. After that, it was a daily fight between a daily blog post and to format daily until published, until I got it done.

Not to mention my hours increased at work; cutting into my writing time and my cleaning time.

Now that I mention it, I was also not as motivated to clean my floors or my oven, instead I kept choosing to work on my blog and formatting my book.  Since I wasn’t waiting around for motivation to strike, I found pockets of time to clean and I finished a day a head of time.

I did short myself of some sleep, but the culmination of everything is winding down.  Thanksgiving is over.  I published my book and I’m having a free giveaway day tomorrow, (Saturday) and another one on Cyber Monday.  I have a new project simmering and NaBloPoMo is ending this weekend.

The only thing that took a real backseat this month is my exercising and running.  Earlier this year, my running friend wanted us to join in on the jingle run we have right before our Christmas light parade.  Umm,   I guess that was tonight.  Like right now.  Well motivated or not I blew that goal.

Humph.  Maybe there is a New Years Day run….

Day 25 NaBloPoMo: Sleep Deprivation

I’m not sure if this is a smart thing.  I am going to post while sleep deprived.  It is a holiday week and as the snow falls, I’m actually caught up on everything two days before Thanksgiving.

Today, at work, while I was still feeling the stress of just trying to get things done and having nothing but hurdles thrown at you, I thought about the last 7 years.  I used to run sleep deprived like this all the time.  Highly strung out on stress, being stupid because of it.  Today was a good reminder of that.  I kept forgetting this and dropping that and I kept gravitating toward tedious monotonous tasks just so I wouldn’t have to think.

But I did start to think.  I’ve made huge strides in improving my life, my outlook and my attitude and I am so much better off for it, but I began to wonder am I really happier?  I know if I need a picture I start heading towards the ones from 7 years ago.  I think these are the ones that look like me.  Thinner.  More active.  All involved with the kids. I certainly look happier in those pictures.  So how come I don’t go after any happy current pictures.  Aren’t I happier than I was 7 years ago?

Truth is, I am more content that I was 7 years ago.  Being broke for so long has taken its toll, it is so restrictive. Back then I may have been able to get happier or have happier moments, but I would have equally low moments, full of stress, more sleep deprivation than this, more fear of …  fear and judginess and wondering when I would “arrive” so I could quit trying to prove myself.  I kept waiting for the day where I could quit striving and start living.  Actually that day never came.  I pretty much said screw it all and then was able to start living.  And all that came after getting caught up on some rest, cooking and eating regularly, and trying to eliminate everything I didn’t want to do.

So would I trade places with myself from 7 years ago?  No.  I wouldn’t.  But, I will still grab a 7 year old picture to represent myself.  Ha Ha.

Day 12: NaBloPoMo; Writers Block and How I Deal

Typically I don’t have a problem with writer’s block.  Usually, I get mad that I have to stop writing and go to work. Since I’m never writing when the best ideas come, I’m always jotting ideas down and making notes.  My friend at witty word smith came up with some personal notebooks for the writers association and calls them itty-bitty Brainstorm Dissipation Prevention Devices.   Yeah, I need that.  If a person is going to write, it’s all about capturing the idea.  My phone works too.  I always have that around and don’t have to rely on having a pen.

Oh, I do sit in front of a screen staring at the wall or out the window.  I’m trying to get the puzzles pieces to snap together.  It’s frustrating to force them to work together.  Especially when I know I have to stop soon and leave for my job.  So here are some tips and tricks that I have in my arsenal to keep things moving.

  • When making notes, jot down the inspiration.  Date, Time, Where, People.  Standing in line at the lunch counter on Tuesday with Debbie.  During writer’s block, you are waiting for inspiration to show up and hold your attention.  Well, revisit that place.
  • Got a non-fiction moment with a fiction deadline?  Incorporate it.  If two writers come out with different results on the same topic, why not one writer come up with two different genres on the same topic.
  • Leave it for the editor.  Human form or software form; doesn’t matter.  I know my grammar could make a grammar teacher cuss and induce urges to wrangle me back in, while shaking a finger in my face, “You don’t do that in front of people.”  I gave up that fight and I just write things out and then post them.  I always, always, do the best I can to edit my work first.
  • Learn to love to edit.  I really had to learn how to get over reading my work. Oh it is horrible.  I know why actors say they don’t watch their own films.  Blech!  But, if I am not writing, I’m editing. This keeps my writing moving forward.  If you have serious writers block… go edit your earlier work.  You will still get something done.
  • Go with your urge.  Right now, I should be formatting my next book, Goodness, for a Black Friday release.  I’ve fought this urge to post something on my blog since I got up.  I saw today’s prompt and I couldn’t help myself.  I went with my urge.  Seriously, I don’t know how I’m going to push formatting for later in the day, because I know I’m going to have some wine tonight.  I’m not going to format while shknockered.  Even if it is just a ‘lil bit.  But I know I will get it done.
  • Always adjust your goals.  I tell myself, “This is going to happen.”  Goodness will be published.  It seems as though I never make a self-imposed deadline.  Except! If I want to get something done, it gets done.  The deadline almost becomes obsolete.   Example.  If you write about holiday cooking and make a deadline for Thanksgiving, you’ve got to be wrapping things up about now, if you don’t make it shoot for Christmas.   If you miss Christmas are you late or are you a year ahead?
  • Don’t punish yourself.  Okay, if you earn a paycheck for that holiday cooking article, you’ve got some trouble to deal with.  But, I think you know what I am talking about; you have a finished article on holiday cooking and it is past the holidays.  If you aren’t naughty, naughty, naughty, you might be thinking you are ready for next year.  Maybe you’ll do the research to shop for a magazine to print your article. Maybe you will get a collection going and look towards publishing a book.

Keep moving forward.  You are doing this because you want to do this.  If you aren’t doing this, you’d let other things get in the way of it.  Sitting there and forcing something to come, just results in sitting there.  If I have the urge to get up from my desk, I get up.  I think of my best stuff, when I get up to put dishes away.   Of course this leads to running back to my computer, but this is my writing time.  Getting a few dishes put way is a bonus.  Maybe it will create more free time to write later… during my cleaning time.

Day 9 NaBloPoMo; My Work in Non-motivation pt. 2 of 3

I spent some time working on “non” motivational skills before I quit smoking.  I was looking for something to sustain myself through the withdrawal.  In the past when my motivation had waned, I’d quit quitting, and would decide to try again later when my willpower was stronger.

With the False Quit Dates, I was getting tired of relying on motivation.  It was a frustrating lesson because motivation is so fleeting.  Motivation has peaks and valleys of energy flow.  If my to-do list consists of exercising and cleaning house, motivation may have me expending my energy to one so I can avoid the other.  Sometimes, when I was sitting around waiting for motivation to manifest itself, I could have done the chore.  There were times where motivation had never come.

Instead of waiting for motivation, I was training myself to just get it done.  I’ve never been in a job that I particularly loved nor was a natural extension of myself.  I’ve never been motivated to go to work.  Except I do, everyday, rarely call in sick, and do my best while I am there. I also may whine all the way through it, but! I show up, do my job, get paid and pay my bills.

Why am I doing this?  Honor.  Integrity.  Money.  Fear of being lazy.  I want to succeed. (Although success has more to do with my back up plans.) But seriously? Because when hired, I said I would show up and do the work.  I made an agreement with my employer, I’m told what time to show up and I show up.

Overlay this onto cleaning house. A lot of my lessons in motivation centered around household chores and adjusting my attitude towards them. First I had to ignore the urge to look inward for that quickening that brings energy and excitement to mundane things.  You know, when all done to go, “Wow, that was fast!  And so easy!” — Don’t search for it.  Don’t wait for it. — I say I’m going to do the chore.  I allow enough time for the chore. (It’s not race nor competition to best any times set in the past.)  I do the chore, because I said I would and it is time.

I did keep it kind of loose, like…  I need 20 minutes before work, after work, before bed, but, I had to get it done that day.

Again, overlay this lesson on to quitting smoking.  I continued with the False Quit Dates because I knew being ready wasn’t just going to come from nowhere.  I learned how to be ready and be ready without a doubt in my mind.  I was making some big moves, such as putting money down on a cabin.  I was going to leave my family for two weeks.  I was to be by myself with no distractions and no excuses.  Most of all, no cigarettes. I was also giving myself every opportunity to quit without those big moves.  If I didn’t quit at the end of this, I was never going to quit.   But I did.  Because I was ready and because I didn’t rely on motivation or will power.  I quit because I wanted to quit and I said I was going to quit and I allowed enough time to finish the quit.  (the withdrawal)

These days, I overlay this lesson on exercising.  Even though I have all this knowledge, it is hard keep it routine.  I haven’t done any real exercising for over two weeks now, but in the meantime, I got a lot of other stuff done.  Does that make it right?  Does that make it okay?  I can say that it’s different from exercising a few years ago, I’m not so negative about downtime.  I know I will pick it up again.  I also believe the downtime is shorter in duration.  I don’t wait for motivation to schedule a time to exercise.

Working on my “non-motivational skills” has been one of my best time savers.

My Work in Non-motivation pt. 1 of 3

Day 1 NaBloPoMo

It’s National Blog Posting Month!  I thought what a wonderful way to build content for a new blog!  After all, when I found National Novel Writing Month  (NaNoWriMo)  I took March and created my book by writing 1,500 words a day.  Four years later I’m still editing that book and I’m in the middle of publishing a series of six little commuter reads, but hey, I’m figuring things out.  I’m finding out how to be a writer … and today is no different.

Today I am eager to get started with creating my post … but wait!  How do I cross-post?  Where do I cross-post? There is a newsletter to sign up for too, gotta remember that.  Log in and create a profile?  I did.  It seems … separate.  Did I do the right thing?  I’ve gotta be somewhere by 12:30.  Will I be done by then? 

This is what I do.  I am uncertain about everything and I pick one thing to get started.  Most times that leads to more questions, but hey, that just means I will be more thorough as I get more done.  Leave no rock unturned, but it’s my choice to take or leave what is under the rock.  I base those choices on if I really want to do this or not.  So far it is looking like I want to do this. The need to post is outweighing all the angst and fear of what I do not know.  The satisfaction I feel after, figuring that out, is telling me to keep on going.  Find the next step.  Cover all bases.  Be curious.  Be thorough.

Today is the day to figure it out.

Tomorrow is the day to see if I can repeat it.

The next day; see if I can do it in less time.

AND I’M OFF and running …  I NaMo!

yay!

Blogging 101 Dream Reader

My dream reader is women.  All of them.  All women.  I want to talk to single, married, mom’s and not, females at work, females not at work, old, young, middle-aged.  You see something has gone wrong.  I am a feminist but I cringe at the word.  Why would I want to cringe at something that says I’ve got just as much right to do something as everyone else does?  What has gone wrong?

I read an article from Fortune.com titled, “The Abrasiveness trap: High achieving men and women are described differently in performance reviews.   The author of the article was curious to see if review tone or content differed based on the employee’s gender?  Including if the manager’s gender was a factor in how they reviewed their employees.  The results that the author came up with was, “Men are given constructive suggestions.  Women are given constructive suggestions — and told to pipe down.”  It didn’t really matter if the manager was male or female.  Then the article asks for change to quit calling women, bossy, abrasive, and aggressive.

Lean In had a similar campaign a few months ago, to Ban Bossy.  I understood the campaigns goal, but as a parent, I felt the restraint of society removing a tool to correct my daughter when she was acting inappropriately.  Moreover the media campaign was teaching her to talk back to me while trying to correct her.   Not literally, my daughter grew up, but I could see this whole scene play out and it wouldn’t have been very positive.

I want to jump in to the new wave of feminism, but it seems like we are slightly missing the point, because these two examples don’t make me cringe any less.  I cringe because I have worked for abrasive women.  I cringe at my own abrasiveness.  I have worked hard.  I have fought to defend my parenting.  I have fought to get it all done.  Oh yeah, I have been abrasive.  Should I be ashamed that there has been a time or two where I have cursed this gift to go out and work?

Instead of continually going to the men to say, don’t call us abrasive, or let me climb the corporate ladder.  Maybe we need to address the abrasiveness?  Think back a couple of decades ago.  I can see women enter the male workforce.  The men sit back, smirk and say, “You want to work? Well go ahead and work.”  I see women trying to lead and the men not following. (Women in the past, did fight for us to work.)  I see no one really teaching the women to lead.  I see the women get abrasive while trying to get their crew to move.

On a side note, I see a whole other industry, built on teaching people to get others to be motivated do stuff.

Instead of trying to get others to do what should be done.  What do we need to do ourselves?  What I would like to see is a whole new movement of feminism, where we lead successfully as ladies.  Where we don’t have to pretend to be men, or at least think we are acting like men.  Where we go out and get our own paychecks and negotiate our own raises.  Where we don’t need federal policy to back us up for equal pay.  Where we don’t need to be bossy or abrasive to get things done.  I want to see a time where we have true respect for the Mother.

My dream reader?  Women who want to celebrate being female.

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