Making Each Day Count

I was browsing my bookshelves for a book to read, and I pulled out Make Today Count by John C. Maxwell.  This book was a purchase I made when Walden Books was still open, several years ago.  It is a book that really made me think.  At the time, the author's assertion that he could tell how successful someone was by following them for a day (any day), seemed unlikely to me.

Reading it now, I think differently about that claim.  I tend to agree with him.

Mainly because what is done daily showcases what you are prioritizing, what is important to you.  In that light your day takes on a new shape.  In a year filled with loss, it has been hammered home more often than not that there are no guarantees.  This moment is all I have and I'm striving to make each day count.  This book is a short read and has some interesting points that it makes.  It is a short read, and worth the time spent on reading it.

My favorite passage from the book is:

"What you become is the result of what you do today.  Every day of your life is merely preparation for the next."

If someone followed you around for 24 hours what conclusions would they draw?  Are those conclusions an accurate portrayal?

Making the Switch from Writing Nonfiction to Fiction

I started out writing make believe stories when I was younger.  My imagination ran wild with me and I scrambled to keep up with my writing hand.  Then life sort of happened, as it tends to.  I kept all those scribblings and fond memories in my desk drawer.  It might as well have a label that said "Someday" on it.

Fast forward to 2016, and I was coming to grips with a diagnosis for sarcoidosis.  A rare disease that not much is known about, and there is no cure.  As cliched as it sounds, there is nothing like facing your own mortality to make you look at things in a fresh perspective.

One thing I knew I needed to do right away, was I wanted to finally get serious about writing.  So I joined an online mastermind and set to work on my rough draft of what turned into my first book:  Breaking the Chains of Silence.  I faced some of my biggest fears during the writing and publishing of that book.

Seven months later, I published Exploring Atlantic Canada my travel memoir of a solo trip I took to visit some of Canada's eastern Provinces.  Now, I enjoyed writing nonfiction, but ultimately it is not the final destination for me as a writer.  I have my eye set on writing fiction.

As a reader, I devour both fiction and nonfiction.  However, what do I pre-order the most of?  Romance.  Shout out to some of my favorites like Jay Crownover, Meghan March, Karina Halle, Penny Reid, Alessandra Torre and more.

Making the switch from nonfiction to fiction writing is much more than just a new genre.  Everything from how I mind-map/ brainstorm, to how I outline, to how I write has changed.  

My whole approach has been modified as I go.  It has been an interesting process so far.  I've hit some roadblocks and made a few breakthroughs.  

Here are a 5 helpful hints so far:

~Set daily goals to build momentum and consistency.  Get in the habit of writing every day, even if it is only a half an hour.  Then you can build from there.  This is one I am still improving on, but I have set a goal of writing 500 words a day in my project targets in Scrivener.  Having my session targets helps me focus and push to reach my set target and surpass it.  (Today's session pictured below.)

~Read some structure and story basics books.  Be careful.  It is easy to keep on reading, convincing yourself you aren't ready to start writing, yet.  This can become a form of procrastination and avoidance of getting started on your writing.  I was guilty of this, then I opened up a new project in Scrivener and started writing my first scene.

~Keep a notebook to jot down ideas when you are in line at the grocery store, or at a doctor's appointment.  Write down conversational snippets, observe people and their mannerisms and facial expressions.  The best way to write real dialogue is to listen to people speak around you.

~Reverse engineer the story if you want to.  You do not have to write linearly.  Start at the ending and then go back to middle and work your way back.  I'm not a pantser or a plotter when it comes to my outline, but more of a flexible outliner.  I write like I travel.  I know my destination, but I'm not rigid and allow some creativity and spontaneity along the way.

~Set a deadline for rough draft completion.  This is not set in stone, but it is a very clear goal to work toward.  That whole saying about a task swells to the amount of time you give it, is true.  No floundering and working toward someday.  My goal date for this draft is June 19, 2017.  My word count is at the bare minimum 55,000.  By the time I publish it will be around 65-70,000.  I know I usually add chunks during the editing phase, so 55,000 is a jumping off point.

I'm excited to share more on this work in progress as I go.  Have a great week! 

Standing at the Corner of Should and Must.

Did you ever feel like there were signs that you were on the right path?  I had a song stuck in my head, The Foggy Dew by Sinead O'Connor.  Random, I know.  Her version of the song is used by the Dropkick Murphys when they are playing live as an intro for them to come out on the stage to.  

I hopped onto YouTube to listen and watch the video.  The next video to play was a Chase Jarvis interview with Elle Luna.  You can find that video here, it is part of the 30 Days of Genius Series by CreativeLive.

Previously, I had started to watch this video but had to leave before listening to the whole thing.  When the signs led me back to it, I had to see it.  Once I watched the whole video, it inspired me.  She mentioned her Twitter handle and I went over to Twitter to check it out.  

The signs kept on coming.  Her agent posted that her book was on promo right now.  I went to Amazon and one clicked on that right away.

Her book is colorful and a quick read that I highly recommend!


At the Crossroads of Should and Must:  Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna.

In the book, Elle defines Should as "how other people want us to live our lives".  As opposed to Must, which is "who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest most authentic self."

One line that stood out to me and followed me long after I finished reading was:  "If you believe that you have something special inside of you, and you feel it's about time you gave it a shot, honor that calling in some small way-- TODAY."

I am standing at the corner of Should and Must from moment to moment through my days, and you are too.  It is the choice we make in that moment that leads us forward.  The way she put it to choose a same way to honor that today.  Not tomorrow.  Not a huge jump into the unknown, but a small, doable way.  Follow a sign and head in the direction of your MUST.

Can you do something small today to turn down the road of must instead of should?