2017–The Year of Success

posted in: personal | 4

happy-newyear-2017

It’s January the first. We made it through 2016, thank God. As you know, instead of creating a New Year’s Resolution, I take one overall arching theme to the year and concentrate on that. This year’s theme rides on the coattails of the past. If you’re new, here are the years in review:

2010 The Year of Courage. I stepped out of my comfort zone and published my first book.
2011 The Year of Authenticity. I realized that readers wanted to know the real me, not what I thought a “writer” should be. I made a ton of new friends in 2011. ūüôā
2012 The Year of Balance. Trying to write while working two other jobs and raising two teens meant I either had to find balance or lose my sanity. I learned that organizing time was critical to writing success.
2013 The Year of Change. With royalty checks coming in, I opened my heart to the possibility of leaving education, and I started working for publishing houses as a social media marketing coordinator and author liaison.
2014 The Year of Kindness. As most of 2013 was spent on endless conference calls and working with a myriad of people around the world, I learned that compassion was the most important factor in productive communication. I also learned that, even though I could now afford to leave education, I didn’t want to stop teaching. I make a difference, and that’s too important to let go.
2015 The Year of Simplification.¬†Most of 2014 was spent working 16-20 hours a day, and I realized I couldn’t keep up that pace. I said goodbye to a¬†lucrative¬†marketing job, stopped taking on added responsibilities such as¬†new editing projects and acquisitions consulting¬†and scaled back on inconsequentials.
2016 The Year of Self-worth. I spent the entire year focused on trying to see myself without looking through the critical lens of self-deprecation. I started making self-care a priority, getting more sleep and losing weight. I started saying no, which is a feat in itself, and I stopped working for free. 2016 was the year I learned that the more I value myself, the more others value me.
Which leads me to this year. *cues drum roll*

2017 shall hereby always be known as The Year of Success

[suh 2017k-ses]
noun
1. the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.
Yeah. I’m throwing it out there to the universe. This is the year I achieve some goals I’ve been working on for a while, and while I’m at it I’m throwing out to the universe that my friends will do the same.
It sounds a little crazy, I know. But after focusing the past twelve months on self-worth, I’ve mustered the courage to embrace success instead of worrying if I’m worth it.
Join me! It’s going to be a wild, wild ride!

2016-The Year in Review

posted in: personal | 2
2016
background graphic from Dantes Inferno

Globally, I think we all can agree that 2016 pretty much sucked. Between the political insanity, international instability, and natural disasters, it seemed as if humanity had been cast into various realms of Dante’s Inferno.

Which makes me feel a little guilty because, personally, 2016 wasn’t that bad. Vesuvian Media snatched up the new series, and, while I won’t jinx the good juju by announcing things too early, we have some incredible opportunities on the horizon–most of which I never imagined were possible. I’m now working with Vesuvian books in communications, which I love. The Kailmeyra series is still doing well, and with the consistent feedback I’m getting from readers, I’m seriously considering writing the first book in the spin-off series this year. ūüôā

As I reflected on the past twelve months, I realized, as always, all roads lead back to intent.

If you’ve been following me, you know I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I focus on an aspect of life I’d like to nurture and grow. I choose a catch phrase that embodies the concept. It becomes a mantra of sorts, creating a common theme that runs throughout the twelve months and shapes my experiences. This past year was the year of self-worth.2016-1

2016 was the year I learned to value my talents, and I expected others to do the same. I said no to those who asked for anything that took a huge chunk of my time, and I scaled back on volunteering, which was difficult at best.

But you know what? That free time allowed me to concentrate on me. I’m now getting six to seven hours of sleep (something I never thought I’d be able to do as I usually only get four). I realized that money couldn’t buy health, and so, thanks to Jasinda¬†Wilder’s Big Girls Do It Running program, I’ve cut out sugar and processed carbs altogether and have lost quite a bit of weight. I joined a gym–I actually joined a freaking gym. I’ve made time to spend with my parents, and when my daughter comes home, I’m off the net completely.

Through it all, what I’ve discovered is self-worth takes on a mirroring effect. Simply put: the more I value myself, the more I’m valued by others.

More than anything, that’s what I’ll always remember about 2016.

Five Ways to Survive the Information Revolution

posted in: Informational | 2

locomotive-industrial-revolution-stocksnap_photoIn the 18th century, industrialization led to improved transportation, better communication, and new banking systems. But it also came with unforeseen dangers, like hazardous working conditions that often left workers disfigured or maimed.

Today, technology has helped create an information revolution, which has brought with it incredible benefits and opportunities. However, this past election has forced me to recognize the dangers as well.

We’re drowning in misinformation.

Much like the first factory workers, we can either become victims of the problem or be a part of the solution.

 

Here are a few strategies I’ve found to help survive the information revolution.

 

information-revolution-stocksnap_tiv258vg3n

  • Take responsibility for everything you post–

Be aware that you influence those that respect and value your opinion. You owe it to your social media friends to read every word of an article or watch the entire video before you share.

  • Before sharing an article, check who owns the site.¬†

More than anything, this election has taught me to be leery of posting articles from unfamiliar sites. While it may take a little time, it’s worth the effort. Whois.net is a great place to start.

  • Don’t use social media as a reputable news source. ¬†

Algorithms drive social media, which is the reason a product you’ve searched on Amazon appears¬†mysteriously¬†on your Facebook sidebar. Algorithms assure we see things we like, but when it comes to information, they skew the picture because they show only what you want to see.

  • Be aware of your echo chambers

An echo chamber is a group of like-minded people who love to discuss a subject or topic. Social media echo chambers validate our thoughts and opinions, gives credence to our beliefs and makes us feel like we belong. Sometimes echo chambers can be a positive influence, like a weight loss support group, or a sci-fi lovers reading club. But when it comes to real-world issues, they can become dangerous, skewing our sense of truth or solidifying beliefs that might not be true.

  • Reputable sources are the key, even if you don’t like what they have to say

Unfortunately, after this election season, I’ve lost faith in most of America’s mass media outlets, but these sites are well-known for journalistic integrity.

BBC- News from a world perspective. One of my favorite news sources.

Reuters- Another international news source.

PBS- The NewsHour has a long-standing reputation for being fair and equitable.

NBC-¬†Of all the American “mainstream” media sites, NBC seems to be the most accurate when reporting.

The New York Times- I know some find this outlet leaning toward the liberal side, but their articles aren’t as inflammatory as other papers, and they have a tradition of being accurate when reporting facts.

The Washington Post- As with the NYTs, the Post has a tradition of accurate reporting.

The Atlantic- Has been around for almost 160 years and has published everyone from Emily Dickenson to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Christian Science Monitor- Is known for its reliable reporting on business and finance.

Al-Jazeera- This site is known for fairness and quality journalism, primarily covering stories that might not get a lot of attention elsewhere.

Bloomberg News- Incredible financial reporting.

 

What are your strategies for surviving the information revolution?

 

Grab a Cuppa Joe, and Let’s Chat!

posted in: Blogging | 5

 

A few years ago, in an attempt to simplify my life, I completely overhauled the website and streamlined the thing like a sleek sports car. Gone was the front page that needed new graphics every month, and the blog turned into an iframe leading to my Tumblr account. To simplify life even further, I dumped Instagram and Facebook into Tumblr and Twitter, so I wouldn’t have to be quite as diligent in upkeeping all four sites.

Viola! No more pesky upkeep. Now I had time to write.

Excgrab-a-cuppa-joe-and-lets-chatept things didn’t go as planned. For one, I still kept the same amount of hours on social media, only they weren’t the productive kind, they were the getting-sucked-into-a-black-hole-of-new-recipes-and-Facebook-comments kind. And, while I love Tumblr, I don’t really throw words on that site. I share Instagram on it mostly, and I don’t have near the following on Tumblr as I did on Blogger, back when Google Friends Connect was still around.
Then came the Terms of Agreement changes for Facebook pages, and the Twitter Algorithm revamp, and suddenly I found myself interacting with only a select few.

That’s when harsh reality smacked me in the face.¬†In trying to simplify, I’d done the unimaginable–I had distanced myself from my readers.

And so I’m doing something about it. The website has gotten a facelift and is now more easily accessible on tablets and phones, and I’m cutting time scrolling through frivolous things to blog again. Let’s get back to the good ol’ days, when we chatted in the comments, messaged each other, and had a great time. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with you!