The Purse

The Purse

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I had to smile today when I was standing in line at the grocery store…
There was a little toddler in front of me, a rather impatient little boy. I admit he reminded me of my son when he was that same age. While his mother was putting the groceries on the conveyor belt, the little boy was digging through her purse frantically. He knew there was something in there he wanted, but with all the other things that his mother had in there he was having a hard time finding it. Finally, with a look of absolute exasperation, he looked up at his mother and asked, “Mom, why do you carry all this stuff in your purse?”
His mother calmly stopped what she was doing, and looking down at him, smiled. Taking her purse from his hand, she reached in and magically brought out the little toy truck he was looking for so frantically. With a look at me she grinned, and I returned the smile knowing exactly what she was thinking…
She carries all the stuff in her purse because everyone expects it to her too.

Oh, how I can relate to that mother’s reaction to her son’s question. We carry all that stuff because our husband hands us the paperwork his pockets won’t hold, our daughter hands over her brush because she doesn’t want to carry her own purse. The mother carries her son’s toys so he will have something to entertain himself with, and he’s sure to lose it if she doesn’t hold it for him.

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Then there’s all the other things we carry for emergencies; not only for ourselves but for our family too. That extra package of tissues, the hand sanitizer, paper and pen to keep the child occupied when we’re standing too long or waiting too long in line or in waiting room. Our makeup case, because we never really have time to make it back home and reapply our makeup before we go from work to dinner. The emergency sewing kit, because somebody’s always popping a button or ripping a seam.
Does that sound familiar to you? I’m sure that’s just the start of it. You can probably add to my list with your own “gotta-have” items you store in your purse.

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As a writer can you imagine what our characters could carry in their purse? Be the character villain or hero that purse could provide many clues. Anything from a weapon to protect your hero, to a needle filled with poison to take out an enemy. Secret documents, codes, lock picking tools, camera, my goodness, the list goes on the more you think.
Let your imagination start and well, let’s just say we will need a bigger purse for our characters.
So the next time you reach into your purse looking for something you’re sure is in there, give pause and think about how your character would act at that exact moment.

The simple things in life can create the most interesting plot twists.

Pile It On

Is it just me, or does it seem like life is crazy?

We all say there aren’t enough hours in the day, but do we really do anything to less than our daily schedule? I don’t think so. I think we try to pile on more and more. We are trying to be the super person who can get it all done-and with smile on our face.

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We’ve become so overwhelmed with wants and demands in our life, we forget how to simplify things and only deal with our needs. That’s all well and fine to say, but the reality is the American lifestyle demands we go at full trot, resting only when necessary. Whoever coined the phrase 24/7 was setting us up for an exhausting lifestyle.

And I’m as bad as the next person! I just signed up for NaNo camp in April. Am I crazy? I can barely find the time to do my regular work, let alone try to fit in a 50,000-word book on the sidelines. But I’ve been successful at previous camps, now I’ll to do it because I’ve proven to myself it can be done.

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This time, I will go about it a bit differently. With 30 days to prepare, that’s exactly what I will do. I have the outline for the book I had planned on doing it this summer. I’ll move up my timetable so I need not prepare a project for camp. In the meantime, all the little tasks that take extra time, when I could be writing, will be accomplished. The desk will be cleared off, spring cleaning done, and meals made ahead of time-frozen so my hubby won’t go hungry.

Now is the time to concentrate on managing my time. As my husband says; “plan- don’t react” and I’m convinced that’s a good start. Of course, things will come up that I can’t control. But if the nitty-gritty stuff is done and out of the way beforehand, it might not feel so overwhelming.
So, here’s to all the authors who are doing camp this year! Your deadlines are in front of you, be it for writing, or work, or family. Plan ahead, but don’t over react when things don’t go the way you planned. Don’t forget to take time for yourself. It’s okay sleep in an extra hour on a Saturday or take an extra-long shower. Go ahead and sit out on the patio with friends, enjoying a glass of wine and good conversation.

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Because that’s what we’re here for; to enjoy life, not just work life.

The Great Gift of Mentoring

 

Find a mentor, be a mentor.

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As you go throughout your life, without even realizing it, you are mentoring to many people. Be it your children, friends of your children, or people that you come in contact with on a daily basis. Either at work or play, there’s always somebody there that is looking to you to be an example and to answer questions.

Don’t be stingy with your knowledge. Sharing helps other people learn from your experiences, be it good or bad. Sometimes, we learn the best lessons from our mistakes. Why not share those lessons with somebody else so that they don’t make the same mistakes?
I’ve been very lucky in this journey of writing. I’ve developed a number of friendships, both virtual and in real life. Some of these closest friendships are with writers that I’ve never even met the person. Yet they are the ones who helped me through the struggles of authorship.
As I’m doing research, or as I’m struggling in the passage of my book, or getting over the let down when you get when you finish a book, they are there. As I’m beginning to start a new book, we bounced ideas off of each other, throwing out possible plots and twists.
Fellow authors, I find, are willing and generous in sharing what they learn about the industry, as well. From ways to advertise and promote our books, to new tools on the market, the writing blogs and forums are quick to post this information. It is another type of mentoring, but it is priceless. In an industry where there is not a high turnover of money, every bit of help you can get goes a long way.

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The friendships that I developed doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) are priceless as well. Each one of us in our cabin are going to the same struggles at the same time, together. As we strive to achieve our own personal goals, we are also there to give each other support. Or, just to cut up and laugh at each other and ourselves.
Sometimes that’s all a mentor needs to do; be there to hold your hand, laugh with you at your mistakes, and help you get over that next hurdle.

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But mentoring also takes on community responsibilities. I feel it is our responsibility to bring up the next generation to be responsible. We need to help them develop good business sense, sound moral standing, and the sense of self pride when they accomplish their goals. It can be lonely when you’re trying to start up a business, learn a new career, or are just moving ahead in life. Having somebody there to help you through the obstacles we call life, is a blessing.

So, thank you to all those who have taken the time to mentor me. I may not say it enough but you’re truly appreciated.

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