How to Tell if You’ve Found Your Calling

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First off, chances are that if you clicked on this article, the thing you’re considering your “calling” is not it.

When you’ve found that missing piece of your life’s puzzle, your passion, your priority, you won’t have to justify it as such, it will just be.

It will consume you, swallow you whole, and leave you willingly ragged and wide-eyed and desperate for more. It will be the thing you dream about, crave night and day… And another funny thing?

It might just be one of many callings you will have.

Creative types in particular get a bad rep for being flighty and non-committal when it comes to projects and passions. Someone could be head-over-heels dedicated to painting in watercolors, and one day wake up more passionate about photography than anything else before. The transition is usually not quite that abrupt or drastic, but the point is your calling might not be the one and only calling you get for the rest of your life. It might be one of two, or three, or fifteen.

But when you pour all of your energy into your craft and forget the world around you exists, including social media posts about finding yourself, then you have it.

So, when you lock in on something that makes you feel like you’d be empty without it, hold tight and let it rule your life as much as possible for as long as possible, because the fulfillment it will give is worth all of those sleepless nights.


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Please feel free to share any additional tips or your personal experiences with writing/blogging in the comments, and stay tuned for more prompts every Thursday!

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Allowing Yourself to Write the Mundane

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SPOILER ALERT: Not everything ever written is a holy grail.

Many works are steaming piles of inked garbage, and that is ok.

Even when you’re writing about how someone walks around a lake a lot or a conversation you had with someone about your eyebrows, it can still be considered writing … even if only remotely.

And whatever you write can lead to more interesting things to write about. At the very least it could be a challenge to make even the most mundane of subjects into something entertaining.

You know what? I actually kind of like that idea.
Consider this an early preview to this week’s prompt:

Try to think of something considerably boring about your life or surroundings, then challenge yourself to write about it in a way that is humorous or interesting.

Some of the best memoirs have elements of everyday life that would otherwise be considered unremarkable, and the author turned them into tiny adventures, if only to laugh at themselves after the fact.

The incredible thing that comes out of this process, however, is that you’re allowing yourself to play with style. If you remove the urge to make every word the right word, and instead focus on the overall idea, perhaps it will start to solidify that idea, which can be spruced up later.

Or not, your choice.

Writing something boring, something mundane, something that absolutely will never see the light of day is still better than not writing anything at all. Every time you put your pen to paper or fingers to keys, you’re learning more about your personal writing process, whereas not writing at all is training yourself to procrastinate, to hope for that sudden jolt of energy or inspiration that may never come.

Writing is work, and as with any job, writing must be approached with dedication and determination if anything is going to be produced. No, not everything will be the best thing ever…

But it could be.


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Please feel free to share any additional tips or your personal experiences with writing/blogging in the comments, and stay tuned for more prompts every Thursday!

Finding Time versus Making Time

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to write something, but felt I didn’t have the time.

I can’t count that high.

Something always takes precedence, planned or otherwise, and so my plethora of ideas continue to roll around in my head. The lucky few get written in a notebook or on a sticky note, but many disappear into the cerebral nether.

As many already know, I am currently expecting my second child in May, which puts a huge chunk of pressure on my shoulders. Nothing I do feels like it’s enough to prepare, I constantly feel swamped with work and home life, and my writing has absolutely taken a backseat in the chaos. It’s disheartening to know stories I love and want to finish are just sitting there, all but abandoned, but I just can’t find the time for them.

A few months back, I sat down with the publisher of a local newspaper to discuss what I should do if I wanted to become a columnist, and he, too, explained he felt as though he had too many ideas and too little time to make them a reality.

And the people who do end up writing them all have one thing in common: they made the time instead of waiting for it to magically appear.

Thing is, there are no neon signs that direct you to “Write Now” or fairies in your ear that yell at you until you put pen to paper.

The trick, as you’ll hear over and over, is to just do it. 

But what does that mean, really?

A place to start might be to make 15 minute work breaks dedicated to a few paragraphs or an outline. Give yourself one evening a week when you are left alone with your writing. Take an hour before bed or as soon as you wake up to crank out a chapter or short story. Make it one of the most fulfilling part time jobs you’ll ever have.

If you really want to complete a particular work, or set of works, don’t stop making the time to see them through.

Most of the writing I get done is in my leisure time (when I’m on break at work or at home and the only one awake in the house). I take advantage of comfortable, sunny days and go sit outside with a notebook or my laptop during lunch. On the weekends when my kid is napping, I spew some words onto a page that may or may not ever turn into anything more.

And I learned something, too.

When I started to swap out my usual TV series catch-up time to instead draft my own stories, I realized just how much time I spend watching Netflix or playing video games. All that time I was undoubtedly appreciating someone else’s work, I could have been nurturing my own.

All this is not to say you should sacrifice the things that help you relax after a long day, so by all means keep up with those still alive in The Walking Dead or enjoy a quick binge session of Vampire Diaries, but know the writers of those shows (and the books they originated from) put in the time to make their ideas into something more than just a passing thought.

Treat yours the same way they treated theirs: don’t let them sit too long on the back burner and risk losing them for good.

 

Did this article help inspire you? Let me know in the comments! And be sure to check out our other Tips & Tricks articles:

Please feel free to share any additional tips or your personal experiences with writing/blogging in the comments, and stay tuned for more prompts every Thursday!

Keeping track of WIPs // FREE PRINTABLES

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I know we’re at the tail-end of January at this point, but I thought I’d share one method I use to keep track of the stories I start throughout the year.

Writing each one down and when I started writing it helps me to stay accountable and not let a story sit for too long unattended, or to know when to scrap it and move on. It’s a visual timeline of how long a short story or novel (or non-fiction, if you prefer) takes to complete, and gives me room to plan how much time to dedicate to each.

I hope these help you in your writing journey as well! Though the completion dates on mine may not be completely filled by the end of year, perhaps yours will be.

Happy writing!

For the full collection PDF, click here:

Writing Workshop – 2018 Collection

Included:

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Please feel free to share any additional tips or your personal experiences with writing/blogging in the comments, and stay tuned for more prompts every Thursday!

“I should really write that down…” // Conquering the void of lost dreams & stories

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I think it’s safe to say that all of my bestselling novels can be summed up by the infamous phrase “I should really write that down…”

It’s usually said internally during a particularly beautiful, full-bodied dream with compelling storyline and enigmatic characters, all of which of course make me not want to leave the dream. Meanwhile, the rational piece of my brain is screeching “Wake up and write it down or you’ll forget it later!”

And I always do forget.

Sometimes, bits and pieces of those dreams reoccur in other, less exciting dreams of the day or night variety, and sometimes I do write them down, but they’re nowhere near as grandiose as the original. They’re left wanting, just waiting until the rest of the story swoops in and fills in the blanks.

As previously mentioned, all of my bestsellers are defined by that little phrase. The story never really comes back to save the day. And that, to me, is heartbreaking.

Now, it should be said that there’s no way of knowing if those dreams, once turned books, would actually be worth anything at all, but the point is that they could. I feel I’ve missed out on some truly amazing content that has been lost to the void of forgotten dreams, and that’s worth something to me. If I could just tap into that void, perhaps I could resurrect some of the ideas a conscious mind would enjoy, unlikely as that may be, but I am a dreamer afterall.

To remedy this problem, I’ve started keeping memos on my phone that are easy enough to pull up and add to in between REM cycles, and a collection of notebooks strewn around my home and office to capture daydreams. They’re not always the most glamorous notes (or understandable, for that matter), but they do the trick.

The hardest part, however, is breaking the habit of telling yourself you’ll remember and/or write it down later, when you have time. You have time now. Write it down. Flesh it out later, but get that idea on paper before it’s whisked away into the void with all of mine.

Depending on what you’re doing (i.e. NOT while driving), I challenge you for the next time you hear yourself think “I’ll write it down/remember it later,” to write it down right then. Don’t let yourself forget the idea that could turn into your masterpiece. Don’t let the chaos of life push your dreams into the void.

Don’t lose your story.

 

Did this article help inspire you? Let me know in the comments! And be sure to check out our other Tips & Tricks articles:

Please feel free to share any additional tips or your personal experiences with writing/blogging in the comments, and stay tuned for more prompts every Thursday!

Why You Should Follow Your Passion (like, NOW)

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I’m a new(ish) mom of a happy, healthy, exhausting 10-month-old bundle of snakes and snails and puppy dog tails. His name is Deklin. And he is my everything.

While I was pregnant with D, I was working a night shift for a newspaper conglomerate that had been rough even before I saw the little pink + on a stick. I knew in my gut that going back to work after my leave would likely be the complete end of my sanity after a newborn left it in shreds, so I decided to start looking into self-employment that would enable me to remain at home with my little. I tried Thumbtack, I tried Freelancer, I tried what I thought was the whole gamut of options for a wannabe stay-at-home-mom.

None of them panned out.

With defeat on my mind and a baby on the way, I turned to a dream I’d longed to do for years and never took the time to actually fulfill: I put all of my extra time and energy into my blog.

In my spare time both at work and at home, I was constantly brainstorming prompts for the blog, writing outlines for blog articles, and even forcing my beloved then-coworkers into being my sounding boards for any and every blog-related thought that crossed my mind (Kelly and Mark, I’m sorry for that, but I love y’all!).

The result is a site I’m obsessed with and want. When I decided to set my own deadlines and stick to them, blogging stopped seeming like an obligation, even less like a job, and became an escape. It was based on my passion for writing, and through it that passion has only flourished. I’ve launched into Round 3 of revisions for my first novel, plotted out the remainder of my second, created weekly writing prompts that are seemingly well received on Pinterest, and written more articles than I should have any right to.

I’m having fun.

No, my blog isn’t crazy-successful like some seem to be, but what I get out of it is more than money can buy: fulfillment. And what’s even better is that my little chunky monkey of a kiddo has a momma who is proud of herself. As a parent, being able to show your child that success comes in more forms than money is incredible. It’s a lesson I hope he one day understands, so that he, too, can do what makes him happy, even if it’s only in his spare time.

Transforming this site into something that brings me so much joy makes me only regret not putting this much effort into it sooner. So, go forth dreamers, go forth #Mompreneuers, go forth everyone, and follow that unique creativity within you.

You have so much yet to gain.

Think running a blog is your calling, too? Check out these walk-throughs on getting a blog started and see where it leads you:

How To Start A WordPress Blog On Bluehost from Making Sense of Cents

http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2014/08/how-to-start-a-wordpress-blog-on-bluehost.html

THE FOOLPROOF WAY TO START A BLOG from Drink Coffee & Prosper

http://drinkcoffeeandprosper.com/foolproof-way-start-blog/

HOW TO START A MOM BLOG IN 2017 (FOR BEGINNERS) from Twins Mommy

https://twinsmommy.com/start-a-blog-for-beginner/

Did this article help inspire you? Let me know in the comments! And be sure to check out our other Tips & Tricks articles:

Please feel free to share any additional tips or your personal experiences with writing/blogging in the comments, and stay tuned for more prompts every Thursday!