Tag Archives: career plans

Marriage Madness: How to Not Fight

Just Married with heart umbrellaIn addition to finding out when I got married that I wouldn’t have to cook, I also quickly found out we didn’t fight. Ever.

We dated for two and a half years before we got married, and there were plenty of arguments during that time. Some passive aggressive ones, some noisy ones, most in the middle. So I expected that to continue, maybe even get a bit worse as we tried to figure out how to live with a roommate you loved and didn’t want to alienate.

But each day flowed nicely and easily into the next, seven days a week. Someone asked us a few months in how things were going. We laughed and said, “It’s been great! We never fight. Of course, we rarely see each other.”

Indeed, it was the perfect roommate situation – John’s hospitality job had hours almost exactly opposite those of my accounting job. I’d get up and go to work while John slept in, then he’d leave for work before I got home, returning after I’d gone to bed. Even his days off were the opposite of mine.

It was great for creating conditions for living together without conflict.

It was terrible for people who actually wanted to spend time with the person they loved.

We continued this pattern for about seven years before we finally found a way to spend more quality time together – change careers!

When we moved to Phoenix from Michigan – where all of our families were – we realized we had a wide-open opportunity to do anything we wanted. Our moms would never know what we didn’t tell them. Freedom!

Rainbows and MonstersSo John decided to follow his dream and go back to school and get an art degree, which eventually led to his animation certification. It was awesome! Even though he now worked crazy hours and went to school, too, we were so much happier. Then he graduated and got a job in graphic design. We worked the same days, same hours, and were home at the same time.

Then we had dozens of new things to argue about and the time to do it! After seven years, we had a real marriage! We were two cute little monsters in love.

 

Do You Have Soul?

I’m one of those people who believes God talks to us. Maybe not in a James Earl Jones voice from the clouds – though I wouldn’t put it past him to do that if He wanted to – but He finds ways to tell us what He’s thinking.

A long time ago, frustrated and trying to make a decision about something, I told God in exasperation, “Can you please try to remember I am slow and half-deaf? I need something concrete. You do lots of things in threes, how about you tell me things three times so I know it’s you?”

To my surprise, God agreed! Every time something strikes me and gets my attention, I ask God if He’s talking to me. I wait to see if the same point or idea comes up twice more in a short period of time, and if it does, I talk to Him about it. I am often surprised when I realize God is trying to get my attention (silly human!), but I love that He cares enough to talk to me and try to help me find better ways to live.

This happened most recently last week on my writer’s retreat. I kept running into people and web sites (much more than three times that week!) who were doing business in such a way that they incorporated the spiritual side of life into their business. For years, I’ve been led to believe by Christian friends and associates that it’s okay for other people to do that, but Christians will get dismissed, disrespected, and torn apart.

rbbp-coverI’m in a business mentorship program with Jennifer Lee at The Right-Brain Business Plan, and she also encourages her cohorts to “show up as authentically YOU.” She believes this is part of how you grow a business. I wonder now if the people who have told me this is how you can destroy a business actually have growing, blooming businesses.

I don’t believe that hiding parts of me is the best way to do business anymore. The people who like me seem to be perfectly fine with decades of my occasional God-talk. I don’t personally know of that many people who don’t like me, but the ones I know about dislike a whole lot more things about me than my spiritual take on life.

So this is what I decided last week: I’m going to be even more myself than I’ve ever been before. I’m going to be authentic. I’m going to stop separating my spiritual life from my business life. I’m going to work on better integrating all the parts of me. I’ll probably lose some customers and gain some customers, and that’s okay.

Because when I’m my real, whole self, being led by the deepest, most important part of me, I’ll be able to help encourage other people to do the same. What if we all lived our lives that way? What if we had the courage to be authentic, to work on getting closer and closer to the people we were created to be?

I think Louis Armstrong has the words for that: what a wonderful world it would be.

It’s not a pipe dream. It’s not idealistic, wishful thinking. If we let our spirits and souls live and breathe and grow, our personal worlds will be better places. And as all of our personal worlds collide online, in the grocery store, in church, and on the street, the good in us is going to overcome the bad in the world.

Don’t believe me? Try it. I’m going to. 🙂

So what do you think? Am I crazy? Have I made a career-destroying decision? Or do you think I’m on the right track?

Looking Back to Look Forward

It’s getting to be that time again. Even if you don’t do New Year’s Resolutions yourself, you know a ton of people who do. It’ll be all over the news soon about how we make goals and then don’t follow through.

Turn off the TV when they say that last part. You know that what you say to yourself, what you listen to and allow into your head, these are the things your brain and body will follow. No matter what time of year it is, you have to believe you can accomplish your goals to have any chance of doing so.

I find that the easiest way to figure out where I want to go next is to look back and see where I’ve been. Life almost never goes in a straight line (it took me awhile, but I finally figured that out), but the curves and circular routes will generally tell us something about  ourselves that we can use to apply to the future, or to change.

As I usually do, I’m going to spend the rest of December thinking about these things. I’ll share my thoughts on what I find on Mondays. I’d love to hear what you discover, too. What have we accomplished that we want to do more of? What do we want to do less of? How do we want to grow, and what do we want to learn?

Most importantly, what two or three things will we focus on this year? If we only focus on a few things, we have a much greater chance of succeeding!

Let’s all think about it for a week and come back next Monday to share what we’ve found. I think 2013 is going to be an amazing year!

Choosing the Next Project

On Wednesdays, I’ll cross-post my blog from Routines for Writers here…

I’m in good company here – the land of What Are We Going to Write Next Month? I met with my friend Betsy again this week to discuss it. She and I both have a fiction idea and a nonfiction idea. There are pros and cons to pursuing either one. One the one hand, I need to get my next novel finished and up for sale to keep growing my audience. On the other hand, NaNo is always a good time to work hard on something you often don’t have/take the time for.

One way to decide is to consider where my mind has been lately, and where it chooses to go without conscious direction. I’ve had a lot of “business” stuff on my mind for the last six months or so. I knew I needed to get my writing business up and running again as quickly as possible once I finished grad school. Some people say they keep their deadlines because they need to pay the rent. I’m rushing to build my business because my student loan is going to come due soon!

Another way to decide which project to work on is to consider what else is going to be happening during November, especially in comparison to other months. For me, November may be a time of packing and moving. (Though it may not; we haven’t heard for sure yet.) I would find it very difficult to focus on a new story during a time of upheaval. On the other hand, I’ve already written the first draft of the next book, so I’d be in editing mode. It’s often easier to edit something than to come with something brand new, especially if you’re already a bit spacey. Given a choice, I’d rather work on nonfiction when I have a challenging schedule. I can do bits and pieces of research any time, for any amount of time, and cut and paste everything into one big Scrivener document. And the novel is going to be finished one way or another because it’s definitely part of my career plan.

That being said, the other argument for the novel is a) NaNo is National Novel Writing Month not National Put Words on the Page Month, and b) it’s always been a time that you spent working on the novel you haven’t had time for until now. I will make time for it over the next few months, but maybe “now” is a good time to start.

I could also look at it from a strictly business perspective: which product is likely to earn me more money faster, the ebook about the business aspects of a writing career, or the book about a girl trying to get the attention of the boy she’s always loved? 🙂 Probably the business book. But you never know!

I’m leaning toward the business book. The business aspects of a writing career – record keeping, taxes, expenses, opportunity cost, business planning, goal setting, time management – comprise the overwhelming majority of my thoughts lately. I’m also giving two short talks on the topic in the next few weeks, and I’m preparing a workshop proposal for the RWA conference next year. Seems like maybe now is the time to go with the flow. What do you think?

Have you decided what you’re going to write yet? We have a week and a half left to make notes and prepare an outline. Oh sorry, that’s me. You pantsters have a week and a half to let your mind wander. 😉 Let me know what you’re doing. Maybe it will help me decide.

Plans

I’m about to leave my four-day writer’s retreat. Always a bit sad about that. But the fantastic part is that we’ve been brainstorming all weekend on everyone’s projects, career goals, and strategies to achieve them. VERY EXCITING!! Woo-hoo!!

I’ve got to get on the road in a few minutes, but I’ll update you as to the new plans later in the week!  🙂  Have a great day, everyone!