Writing Goals Set and Met

The end of November and beginning of December have found me meeting some of my writing goals. Some were posted here long ago and others not. Here’s a list of my accomplishments so far:

  1. Bought my domain name.
  2. Applied & accepted a position with a media company.
  3. Applied & accepted a blogging job blending my mental health experience and writing. (So excited!)
  4. Established a better sleep routine, which allows me to get up early to write.

One last major thing for me to do this month is to set up hosting for my domain name and get my websites transferred over. It was the last hurdle for me to really declare myself a writer. Besides writing (and thinking about writing) all of the time, I still struggled with just buying my domain name. Seriously, it was all in my head. My hope is to have everything done on my new website (which will remain nameless for now) by the end of the first quarter of 2013. If I could do this, I can do anything. lol

Happy Tuesday!

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Writerly Goals

As the new school year approaches, I find myself considering what my options are for writing. I can say that I’m a good blogger, though I can be better.
Right now, my focus has been settling into the new job and making sure kiddo has a good summer. And both goals have been met. It’s been much easier for me to have goals, both short-term and long-term for my son’s education and my own career. When it comes to writing though, it’s been a challenge.
I’ve set and kept a goal of writing at least once a week on the blog. I’ve even hit a couple of conferences this year (like BlogHer12). But, I wonder what is really going to light a fire under my ass to put myself out there enough that will get me the blogging jobs I want.
So, I’m going to set this goal for myself – that the end of 2012 will find me with a redesigned website to showcase my work. That leaves me four months. Period. Onto the weekend.

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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.

2011 in review

Here’s a round-up of my success here. I couldn’t have done it without my faithful readers. Happy 2012!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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.

Catching up with myself

This week brought me one major accomplishment – passing my licensing exam. I rarely share it here, but one career goal is to be a licensed professional in my field.  No more waiting for the exam date, no more stressing out over what I know or don’t know and no more darn studying.

I’d been studying for seven months now and felt stuck in other aspects of my life because I was waiting to pass this one exam. I stuck with it because I knew that gaining my licensure would open many doors.  I’m in shock right now that something I set out to do six years ago has finally come to pass.

I realized that this morning as I shared the news with a friend. Six years from the time I started grad school until now. The first thing I wanted to do was sleep because I hadn’t slept well for several nights prior to the exam. To suddenly have the weight of this lifted from my shoulders and see this huge goal achieved has really caused me to stop and reflect on what I want to do next.

Of course, the next step is to find a new dayjob with my shiny, new license (ie better pay and better hours). Then I started thinking of what else I wanted to accomplish because I really can do anything I put my mind to.  So, I thought about my writing.

I’ve felt stunted in the writing process simply because it wasn’t my central focus for the last several months. I still wrote, but not in a planful way because I didn’t make the time for it. My time was for studying and building up my self-confidence for the exam.

I’ve now been doing research on breaking into magazines (yet again), but with small goals in mind. I’m starting with fillers just to get my feet wet. I’m also doing research on effective blogging so that I can grow The Freshman Writer blog as well as to market myself better as a blogger in general.

I can see that my writing talent now is in blogging. Since I know I can blog, why not put my energy into it? Other ways I’m catching up with myself is to focus on things that I love doing – writing, reading and having time to myself. I really missed just being 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.

Depressurizing

I wasn’t sure if the title was even a real word, but on Free Dictionary depressurization is defined as such:

tr.v. de·pres·sur·ized, de·pres·sur·iz·ing, de·pres·sur·iz·es

To reduce the pressure of air or gas within (a chamber or vehicle, for example).
 
The pressure is my life and the chamber is my brain. I’ve been feeling under pressure over several things going on in my life. Dysfunctional relationships (both near and far), limbo at the day job and generally overthinking things has all been affecting my writing. I’ve been talking about writing, but not doing it lately.
 
Other than the posts for the parenting site, I’ve not done much. Not even journaling. After a rough start to my morning (thanks to one dysfunctional relationship) I began journaling. I can’t say enough how great it is to get the junk out of my head and onto the screen. My innermost thoughts are exposed (though only to me) and I feel lighter already.
By finally writing about all the crap taking up space in my brain I feel better able to focus on where my writing (and the rest of my life) will go.
 
Depressurizing has really helped me today and inspired me to write a post for The Freshman Writer. Happy writing for me!