Why I should win a free year in Freelance Writer’s Den?

Note: This contest is now over. Thanks for all of your support!

Because I’m a damn good writer who needs lots of support, that’s why. I’ve been writing for a years and have a few print and online clips under my belt. But my ultimate goal (has been for the last five years) is to break into magazines. I’ve been struggling with this goal while having achieved others along the way – grad school, becoming a licensed bilingual therapist and being a blogger in my own right. But, breaking into a nice glossy, shiny magazine is the one writing goal that hasn’t happened yet. My hope is that a year in the Freelance Writer’s Den will get me there. So what’s my problem?

My struggle isn’t having the money in my budget to join the den. It isn’t putting words together that make an impact. My struggle is simply that I need more cheerleaders and accountability partners to keep reminding me that I need to get out of my own head and get my head in the game. I can write, but I’m afraid of succeeding.

I go through this with anything new I try. I get anxious, then need support (sometimes a lot of it) then get comfortable and confident. It’s my pattern of behavior. I’m confident as a mom, therapist and blogger. I want to be just as confident as a freelance writer – seeing my name in print magazines that I can show to my dad and my son who are my two biggest cheerleaders.

So please, if you think I deserve a free year in Freelance Writer’s Den, share my post via Twitter, Facebook, Linked In (anywhere else you can think of is great, too thanks!). Then check out this contest courtesy of Carol Tice & Linda Formichelli. Thanks friends.

This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Read Heiddi’s Full Disclosure Policy.

Un-Halloween

Well, Halloween’s finally over and I’m here to report that I’m glad about it. It wasn’t just that my birthday was two days before Halloween (and I’ve never dressed up in costume for my birthday). For me, Halloween just isn’t fun anymore and hasn’t been for years.

Here in NYC, I haven’t seen many trick or treaters at all. With a rise in gang activity (initiations taking the form of women being slashed in the face), it’s no wonder that parents are choosing not to let their kids out on Halloween. I was so glad to be off that day from work, not to take kiddo out early, but because I wouldn’t have to deal with my office closing early due to the fear of gang-related activity.

When I was a kid, Halloween was about getting dressed up in a silly costume and asking people for candy. No one had to worry about contaminated candy or getting slashed back then. The only thing I worried about was filling up my bag with lots of candy that my mom would eventually throw out. I stopped dressing up for Halloween after elementary school. By the time I went to high school, I began worrying about getting bombed with eggs and waited until 5pm (or until the area cleared of egg-toting boys – whichever came first) so that I could go home without getting hurt.

Fast-forward 15 years later and I’ve my own child to think about. I was relieved that he DIDN’T want to go trick or treating. Something about pimples (my son’s 10 and got his first pimple this week). But, I was also disappointed. No kid should have to give up Halloween because of other’s people’s issues. Sadly, this is our reality. What I wonder is, when will it get good again, if it ever will.

 

Originally posted on Heiddi’s Blog. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Heiddi unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Heiddi’s Full Disclosure page for more information.

Stepping out of my comfort zone

This past weekend, I attended an exhibit for my friend’s son, who is a photographer. I was happily surprised when a picture of my living room was there and told him so. He apologized and I told him how honored I was to have my living room in his photo exhibit.

As each photographer presented, I noted that some were less confident than others in talking about their work. Some of the students were nervous, fidgety and it was clear that speaking was not their forte. Enter me with my bright idea.

I quickly jotted down the idea to talk to one of the staff members at the program about working with the students on their speaking and presentation skills. Then I picked up a course calender to quickly scan for classes on speaking and presentation. I didn’t find any there.

Surprised at myself, I waited (a bit nervously) patiently until the end of the exhibit to speak to a staff member who enjoyed my comments on the students’ work. (The audience was invited to share comments on the pictures exhibited.) She asked me how I was connected to my friend’s son and when I replied, I added that young people need support from adults who care about them.

It was here that I launched my pitch to work with the teens on speaking and presentation. I asked if there was any thought given on working with the teens on presenting their work and added that I didn’t find anything on that in the course schedule. She stated that the students are busy for the ten weeks of class and don’t get the chance to work on it whereas students in the year-long program had presentation lessons scheduled in. The staff member then stated that it’s definitely a need that someone could fill. So, I presented her with my handy, dandy business card (since I keep them with me at all times). To which she replied that she would pass it on to the program manageer.

Yes, I was scared, but I was also really excited about my idea. My goal in life is to make a difference. Whether it’s with my writing or counseling skills doesn’t really matter as long as I can help people be better for themselves. I’ll keep you posted! Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Reflections on Bin Laden, 9/11 & Kiddo: Part II

I’ve spoken to kiddo ab0ut that day, specifically about how I thought my mother (his grandmother) died that day. September 11, 2001 emerged as an ordinary day. I was at work at Penn Plaza near 34th street by 8:30am. WPLJ announced that the first plane hit the World Trade Center and compared it to when the Empire State Building had been hit by a small aircraft decades before.

I immediately called my co-worker who was on medical leave and asked her to turn on the television. I didn’t have internet access on my computer so I couldn’t watch anything. I told her what happened with the plane and waited for her to tell me what was going on. The dj on WPLJ then announced that a second plane hit the towers and a third crashed into the Pentagon. I realized it wasn’t a normal day; a regular Tuesday.

I called my mother’s work phone and received a busy signal. I then called my baby sitter to check on my son and also called his father. I tried Mami’s number again and nothing. By 10:30, my co-workers and I were all dazed by the news that both towers had fallen. Some had gone to internet connected computers to watch everything. I didn’t. One co-worker came back to her desk and quietly shared that the towers fell.

Our assistant comptroller sent us home to check in on our loved ones. I hadn’t heard from Mami, but still thought she was okay. Mami was very strong and independent. She could handle anything.

I mostly walked home that day. I took a bus up Sixth Avenue and ended up getting off after a few blocks. It took me hours to get from 34th Street to the South Bronx. I called my son’s father to let him know I was coming and stopped at McD’s to get lunch because I hadn’t eaten all day. Arriving at my son’s father’s house, I sat and ate quietly.

By the time I finished, the 5 o’clock news was on and for the first time – I watched with horror all of the video I refused to watch earlier. And I cried as I saw the powder. Mami had asthma and she couldn’t have run away in all of that. Mami was dead. She HAD to be.

Only she wasn’t. She called there. My son’s father passed me the phone crying and I yelled at her. “You’re DEAD!!!” It took her several minutes to convince me that she was fine and was at home. I yelled at her for not leaving a message on the answering machine. I yelled at her for not thinking to call because I was checking the machine all day. Mostly I yelled because she’d scared the crap out of me. It was the only time before or since that Mami let me yell at her. She didn’t take offense to it.

I went home with my son and hugged her. I expected powder all over her, but she’d cleaned up already as if nothing happened. I looked around to find traces of the day’s events because I just could not believe what happened. All I found were a pair of white, dusty Reebok sneakers that I knew used to be black.

Nearly ten years later and the man who was named the mastermind behind this attack is dead – killed in a raid on May 1, 2011. I still don’t believe it and don’t know how I feel about it. Even while others in my city and around the world cheer, I don’t know how I feel. Maybe because as a woman of faith I don’t believe in violence or war or hatred.

I haven’t figured out what to tell kiddo, but I surely won’t be cheering. All of this has left me reflecting on the value of human life, faith and the fate of our world. Growing up now isn’t simple and it isn’t pretty. Parenting now isn’t either.

Reflections on Bin Laden, 9/11 & Kiddo: Part 1

I woke up this morning listening to 1010 WINS announce that Osama Bin Laden was dead – killed in a raid last night. It took awhile to register as I’d just spent most of the night hacking out a lung (almost) and not sleeping.

My son came into my room chastising me for not waking him up and I had to remind him that I wasn’t feeling well at all. As the news continued, the announcer shared that people were cheering in the streets here in NYC. As a native New Yorker, who worked in the North Tower on the 83rd Floor for three months, I didn’t know how to feel about the news. So I didn’t react; I continued to lie in my bed while urging kiddo to get ready.

I did that to keep him from just going along with what I was feeling. Kids do that. They soak up everything we parents do or say without question. Especially young children. So I said nothing and I won’t until I figure out how I feel about all of this.

I’ve been reflecting on this event and on 9/11 all day. Still hoping that I’ll be able to figure out what to tell kiddo when he gets home tonight.

Read here for Part II.

My Struggle with Self-doubt

Hola people. Hope this finds you well and much better than I’ve been in the last several months. My last post here was ages ago and unfortunately, my joy did not last very long.

Since April of this year, I’d been struggling at my current day job (which is highly stressful and taxing physically, emotionally and mentally) with all of the responsibilities that weighed heavily on my shoulders. It led to my irregular eating and sleeping habits, which left me 12 lbs lighter and sleep-deprived.

I also must add that the emotional and mental toll didn’t make my outlook any better. Because I felt ineffective and without control at my dayjob, that also funneled down to my writing.

My spirit took a battering over the last few months, leaving me doubtful of any talent (counseling or writing) I have. So, I took the break from writing. I got off the blogs, stopped tweeting (OMG! I know) and disconnected really from the computer. It was a needed break that I didn’t allow myself.

I allowed myself not to be a writer for a while and try to remember why I wanted to write (and counsel) in the first place. I also took the time to reflect on my spirituality and counted my blessings again. I’m looking more and more for the positive and have been reaching out to other writers and motivators to help me get back on track.

I’ve recruited a great friend to be my accountability partner and ask me about my writing. She did and so I had to report what I’d done so far and what I’d be doing tonight. lol It was great and not so great at the same time. Great because she was checking up on me and not, because she was checking up on me.

I connected with a few mentors about my situation and received so much support an understanding. I also decided to take baby steps by journaling semi-regularly as well as writing down random thoughts that I had along the way. It’s helped too that I put my writing journal back in my purse where it belongs. No more excuses, I’m writing again.

I’m reading “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch to remind me of my dreams and why I set out to write/counsel. I’ll be giving it a long, thorough read-through this time around.

While I still have doubt, it’s no longer the big monster that loomed over my head before this weekend. Hopefully, I can keep the doubts away by connecting with my writer pals/mentors, being held accountable by my friend, remembering my dreams and of course, writing.

Til next time!

Bravery

In this week’s edition of The Prosperous Writer, Christina Katz asks her readers to share their definition of bravery.

For me. bravery means doing something despite my fears. There are times when I’m much braver than others, especially when it comes to writing. It seems like I have a tendency to try new things without fear, but when I realize there is a risk, then I get scared. I can laugh at my silliness later, but in that moment it is hard for me to feel brave.

Another definition I have for bravery is to work on a goal despite challenges or obstacles that may stop the journey. I remind myself of my bravery when I decided to go to graduate school full-time while working full-time and raising my son. Granted I had help from my son’s father, but I did that. Though at the time I didn’t think I was brave. I wanted to do it, get my degree and do something I was passionate about.

Sometimes, bravery show up when I get tired of not having what I want. It is much easier for me to be brave when I’m trying to reach a goal and on my own, I can’t. I am fearful about trying new things (new projects/genres), but I’m more determined to follow my dreams. Determination then leads to bravery.

I know that other writers have fears and bravery happens sometimes in numbers. With support and encouragement, I am brave. By seeing the example of a fellow writer (as well as reading about their fears/hang-ups), I’m encouraged to face my fears and be brave.

So there it is.

Gearing Up

Okay, so I’m only a few days from beginning Nanowrimo and I’m petrified. Butterflies the size of cats are crashing into each other in my stomach. Okay maybe it’s not that bad, but I’m definitely getting antsy now. I only have a few more days until the writing challenge begins.

While I can’t get to in-person events and meet-ups, I can get on the forums to touch base with other Nanowrimo-ers. Hopefully that will keep me motivated (along with my wordcount) to keep writing my book.

My chapter outline is done as well as the research for my book. Its based on bible verses on the life of the Virgin Mary and is for mothers. I can’t wait to see what the finished product will look like. I know there will be a lot of editing to do, but my goal is to hit 50K within the month.

I wrote about Nanowrimo at The Freshman Writer and also posted an article at my parenting site. I still haven’t written a post for my new writing gig, so I’ll need to get cracking on ideas for that site. My goal is to post over there once a week so what I can do is draft ideas this week and then get started next week with my first post.

That’s all the biz from me right now. Keep checking here to see my progress with Nanowrimo. 🙂

I’m getting back to basics

Or at least trying to. I’ve been awol from writing for a couple of months. I’ve been waiting on inspiration and so I wrote about getting back to what it is about writing that writers like. I came up with great questions. I know why I like to write. It gets out all this stuff floating around in my head. And I like helping others as well. Still evaluating and processing. No goals for now other than to get back to basics so I can get back to writing.