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.

Superpowers

Yesterday morning, 1010 WINS announced that Marist College released the results of a poll of 1000 participants asked what superpower they would choose from a list of five. The five superpowers were: time travel, mind reading, flying like Superman, invisibility and teleporting.

As I was listening to this report, I thought about several things. What superpower would I choose? Why does this poll even matter? And how cool it was to think about something other than the craziness of congressman’s resigning, people killing each other, and the protests in Egypt.

I also thought about all the shows I watched as a kid. Wonder Woman with her golden whip, He-man with his sword and other superheros of my youth. As a single mom though, I’d probably choose the ability to teleport.

When I thought of flying like Superman, all I could think about was how cold it would be to fly in this weather. And mind-reading, I wouldn’t want to know what people REALLY thought of me. As for in invisibility, it rates the same as mind-reading. The only difference is that people can’t see you while they’re talking about you. And time-travel doesn’t appeal either as it would change history or simply confuse me.

So teleporting it is. To shut my eyes and travel with the speed of thought. Get kiddo to school on time, travel quickly during my day job or run away to Fiji when I want to escape? Sounds pretty good in my book!

Have a great day!

Snirt, snow & winter evermore

Since New Year’s Day, New York City has had only four days with alternate meter rules allowed. Why? Because of the snow, ice and, according to Kelly Ripa –  snirt (dirty snow) all around with Mother Nature showing no signs of slowing down.

Mother Nature seems to think that we New Yorkers can tolerate more snowstorms in the history of bad weather. We’ve been lucky though, two days so far (including today) has found Mother Nature hot-flashing us to a temperature of 42 degrees.

But, that will soon be over as we’ll be hit with rain and frigid temperatures again.

Thanks a lot Mother Nature. PS – you can take back all the snirt you’ve given us since December. I don’t want to climb over dirty, garbage-filled snow anymore.

PPS – Please stop blasting us with snow long enough to get the garbage collection schedule back on track. Thank you ever so much!

 

Ch-Ch-Changes & hot topics!

Hello all. I’ve decided recently to be more proactive here on my blog by expanding my subject range and writing about hot topics in my life.

As I have more time on my hands lately, I’ve chosen to keep busy by writing regularly here or at the very least once a week or so.

That being said, thanks so much for keeping up with me as I’ve struggled for the last several months with writer’s block. My hope with changing the mood here is to keep my writing fresh with news of the day, week or simply anything that I’m thinking about. Feel free to come by to visit, comment, or suggest topic ideas. I hope you like what you read here and keep sticking by me.

Thanks!

Chugging Along

Well, October was pretty good for me. Got a new blogging job while maintaining the one I already have, plus my dayjob and kiddo. I’m pretty proud of myself. The new blogging gig is a parenting site and right up my alley.

I’m blogging more and more now and it’s starting to feel like this is my niche. Blogging is a great avenue for me as a writer. Not only do I keep the writing short, but my work is usually up in a few days, which is great for me because I like instant gratification. lol

My goals are to keep blogging/writing regularly as well as to plan out my editorial calendar for the month so that I can keep up. I felt a bit stuck today and I don’t like the feeling.

Also, it’s National Novel Writing Month. I chose not to participate this year since it was a disaster for me last year. My dayjob craziness took over to the point that I stopped writing for months. So, I’m cheering on my writer pals taking on the NaNoWriMo challenge this year! Way to go peeps! Freshman Writers can read about it here.

Other than my writing goals, I also have a studying goal. I’m studying to pass the exam to be a licensed mental health counselor. Since I’m doing this, I really need to be on top of my writing. That’s all folks!

Centering myself

Well, I’ve decided to come back here to let you know what I’ve been up to. For a long time, it wasn’t writing, but my dayjob that took all of my energy and focus. That and my sleep and appetite along with it. Now that things have settled down dramatically, I’ve been able to get back into writing again.

So far, I’ve written two blogposts for Women on writing (WOW) as part of my internship with them. Also, I’ve done a few posts for Flaimahmy.com. Little by little I’ve been stretching myself and my writing. Happy to share the news that I applied to another blogging job and got it last week! So, I’ll be working on posts for that as well. In addition to the blogging, I’m still a discussion leader for Momslikeme.com. Hoping that my writing will continue to bloom.

So far, the blogging seems to be my niche since I’ve been doing it for the past two years. Two years since this blog and the Freshman Writer have been up and running. So happy anniversary to my portfolio and The Freshman Writer. Thanks so much for coming along for the ride!

 

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!

Joy and how I found it again

This week’s Prosperous Writer newsletter by Christina Katz asked its readers to talk about joy. I had to stop and think for a while on this because I forgot when I lost my joy.

I know that my highly stressful day job worked me to the bone, kept me from spending quality time with kiddo and got me into easy spats with my son’s father. When the usual case was for me to be a trooper and joyfully live well, it just wasn’t so from April through the first week of June.

Thanks to the advice of my wonderful pastor, I went to a weekend retreat for women in Riverdale, NY. Yes, still in the Bronx, but far enough for me to find my joy again. A weekend for me to breathe, not worry about kiddo or cooking and sleeping in a box big enough to hold a twin-sized bed, simple desk and sink.

I had time to separate myself from those things that were stealing my joy primarily the day job, not sleeping or eating well and not spending enough time with my favorite kid in the whole wide world. It was enough for me to be joyful again. Not necessarily well-rested or with a hearty appetite again, but enough to make some changes. Looking for a new job and spending time away from the computer until I found the joy again in writing, which I had also lost as a result of the stress from the job.

The only writing I did over the weekend was journaling my thoughts and conversations with God. Complaining of course, but also to ask what was the point of all of this for me. Regardless of the answer, I was able to hear and accept it with a joyful, open heart.

That first weekend in June allowed me to regain a sense of appreciation for everything in my life and allowed me space from the joylessness of my job. Joy is about being able to laugh in the midst of hard times and remembering why I’m doing the things that I do. Remembering that I want to help others through counseling as well as through writing and remembering that my child brings me joy.

I had forgotten that in the midst of the chaos of several weeks and reconnected with my spirit. By doing so, I was able to let go of a lot of anger and negativity. And recuperated my joy. Joy in myself, my writing and my life.

April Round-up

Well, April has brought me nice weather and much success with my writing. While I did my usual tasks of blogging, I also sent out job/internship applications to various places as well as paid for my first magazine writing class.

Out of three emails out, I received a response from two: one an acceptance; the other a rejection. I wasn’t too upset about the rejection because I got it today, while the acceptance I receive the week before last. I was so excited about it because I’d be stretching myself as a writer while learning new skills. Yup, I got an internship.

The writing class was also a step for me. I’d been wanting to take a writing course since the failed attempt at the last one. Self-study with monthly feedback wasn’t for me. I don’t have time for an in-person class, but need that contact with other writers on a weekly basis. I didn’t enjoy the other class because of that so I dropped it. I felt disappointed that I couldn’t finish it and more so because I could’ve received college credit for it. Thought about using the credit to go for an undergrad degree. Would’ve been nice, but I’m not too upset over it.

I’ve been looking forward to the magazine writing class for a couple of years now, but didn’t have the funds for it. I invested part of this year’s tax refund in myself. If I don’t, who will?

Both start this month. Read on for my round-up. I do have to say, I’m really proud of myself. 🙂

April Accomplishment List:

1. Posted at The Freshman Writer 14 times.

2. Posted here twice.

3. Applied for two writing gigs. (No response and a rejection)

4. Applied and got a writing internship.

5. Paid for an 8-week writing class.

6. Filed business taxes for the first time. (My first with writing income!)

7. Posted 5 times at the parenting site.