How to be Successful

Success can be defined in different ways. I like to define success by happiness and fullness of my life, and not by how much I make or what I tangibly own.

Being successful isn’t something that happens by accident. It starts by making the choice to be successful. This sounds easier than it actually is.

excellenceIf it were that easy to just get up each day and be successful wouldn’t we all be doing it? I would have written that book by now, and I would running more often if that was the case.

But the truth is, each day I make choices that contradict the life that I want to live. I choose to listen to the voice inside of me that keeps me from reaching my goals. I listen to the self doubt and I put my dreams on the back burner.

For example I know that I am good at writing. Sure there are plenty of people out there better than me, but that doesn’t take away from what I have to offer, or does it?

Logically I know the answer to that question. But deep down inside there is self doubt that limits me. No one has ever told me that my writing wasn’t worth reading, but still I question what I want to say, and wonder if anyone will read it.

It’s that very way of thinking that stops me each and every day from doing what I want to do.

Also, how many times do we say that tomorrow is another day? I think we do this just to make ourselves feel better. Yes tomorrow may be another day, but it is one more day that we don’t have to do what we want to do. Once today is done it is done, there is no going back.

To be successful we must make the choice to move forward. We have to challenge the stereotypes that have been placed on us, even when have internalized their negative meaning.

One of the biggest mistakes that I have made in my life and continue to make is worry about the what ifs. I limit myself because I am afraid of what might happen. I worry that I might fail, that someone might not like it, or I will get turned down. But living that way is not living. If I didn’t have it before I started my journey then how I can I miss it?

I am slowing realizing that there is more damage in not trying than failing.

The bottom line is that we all make choices, and we have to examine if these choices are in line with our goals in life. Where do we see ourselves and how do we get there? It takes courage to take those first steps, but once you start to see success there is no looking back.

Writers Envy

They say that the grass is always greener, that is until you get over there. I am also finding that writing is no different.

I am a poet at heart.  I like to write basic emotional pieces, no added fluff. I write the occasional memoir, and I thrive on non-fiction.

But…….Like always wanting hair that I don’t have, overtime I have become envious of other writers.

ConfidenceQuotes540I know several people who are beautiful poets. Their use of words is magical and flowery.  Some of my other friends have amazing imaginations and can create stories that I couldn’t even think of.

Then I look at my poems, plain and a little too narrative………

Learning to like your own work can be hard. I think that there is a small piece of us that will always hold that doubt until we get validation from other people around us.

It didn’t really hit me that I wrote something worth reading until I started my Masters program and got feedback from my peers.

I was surprised to find out that people actually enjoyed reading my writing. They even came up with examples of why they liked it-who knew?

I really don’t have the answer for having confidence in your own abilities. That might be something that just comes with time, the right attitude or maybe too much alcohol.

There are times when I am not really sure that I fully like what I have written, but at least I have come to terms with my writing style.

Yes I write for myself, but I also want people to read it too. However, my goal is not for everyone to like it, just the ones who like my style.

Writing: What I lack in knowledge I make up in effort!

I always find it funny when people ask me how to spell something or a grammar questions. It’s almost embarrassing, but I really don’t have a clue when it comes to the finer points of the English language.

Since grade school I have struggled to memorize nouns, pronouns, adverbs and things along those lines. I have no real clue why sentences are structured a certain way, I just know if they sound right….usually.

Some have criticized my approach to writing, mostly the elite English writers out there, but I figure I have something that many don’t–a passion for writing.

You can know all the do’s and don’ts to the English language, but if you don’t love writing, what is the point?

creativityWorking with students at various age levels I have also noticed that many of them lost their drive to create through story telling, because of the rigorous demands of testing, learning, and red pen written all over their paper.

How can you tell a child they didn’t do something right, when they have just poured their heart and soul into a piece of writing?

A while ago we had this debate in one of my classes that discussed the decline in the English language.

Some argued that we had become to lax and that the language was ruined, while others felt that language is like a living organism, always growing, changing and adapting.

I tend to lean towards the latter statement.  We are a far cry from the Shakespearean days, so despite how tightly people try to hold on to the roots of our language it just isn’t going to happen.

What it comes down to, regardless of the level of education, is a love of writing. You’re not going to offend words if you don’t use them properly. And if people don’t like it, they don’t have to read it.

Inspiring people to express themselves through art or written word should be the priority. Once we have fostered that love and devotion then work on the principals that tie everything together.

How to get out of a writing rut

I have to admit that I have been in a bit of a rut myself.  I wouldn’t really call it writers block, because like most writers my brain is full of ideas.

Ruts can occur for any number of reasons: becoming too busy, loss of focus or just plain burnt out. Staying consistent with your goals, means just that, consistency.

Writing takes more than just sitting down and writing. I can sit down and write, but it doesn’t mean that it will amount to anything.

Pushing past the excuses can be one of the hardest parts. There are days when I just don’t want to write.  I feel like rewarding myself with painting or running, many days I wish I could do both.

I have committed myself to being a writer and honing in on my craft. Writing is not just a hobby for me, but a way of life.  But it doesn’t surprise me that when my life gets out of whack so does my writing.

Some people think that taking a break from writing can be helpful. A week here, a week there can keep the mind fresh.  I have to disagree, the more I put it off the worse I feel.

so-busyThe simple solution to all this is creating routine.  I thrive on routine. I have a certain amount of hours in the day and certain tasks that need to be completed. Throw more than the normal amount towards me, and I just might be screwed.

As dedicated as I am, the first thing to always go is my writing.  I write for work, and I write for school and those two aspects of life take priority over my free time for writing.

Writing is not just something I can toss aside either, I miss it. I can feel it on the days that I don’t get to write, it wears on me.  When I don’t write I feel like I am neglected a piece of me that begs to be let out.  When I don’t write it’s like a nagging feeling of something terrible, maybe even impending doom.

So getting out of that rut at least for me is as simple as routine. Slowing it down, staying on task, and getting it done. When the setting is right the words will flow, so no need to worry about that. But if you don’t give yourself the opportunity to write, then the words will never come.

See I feel better already!

Burlesque Art Show

Lukasak1I just thought that I would share the final product of my dot art piece.

This piece was created for The Burlesque Show that is taking place next month.

I am sure that there will be more pictures to come when it comes time for the open house.

Hope you enjoy my creative take on the subject.

(It is hard to see from this picture, but all the shadow or filled in areas are tiny dots.)

It starts with a beginning

I have been doing some dot art work recently. I draw my center piece, and fill the surrounding area with neatly placed dots. The dots create shapes, depth and contrast. It is extremely time consuming, but the end result is beautiful.

The stories that I write follow a similar pattern. There is the center piece: the main idea, the focus of the entire piece. The rest, like the dots, adds to what I want to say, creates shape gives it depth and contrast.

Each word that we use to tell our stories is carefully chosen, either by thoughtful intent or instinct. Each word has a purpose and it adds to the one before it, very similar to the dots.

stepWhile sitting down and working on one of my art pieces, I realized that the same attention I take to create a piece of art, is the same attention that I give to my writing.

Each takes time and skill, but admittedly I am much better at one than the other…..can you guess which one?

I like to challenge myself a bit further when I work on a piece of art. I love to paint, but my roots go back to pen. I love plain black ink, but it is very unforgiving. Each mistake I make remains with the piece, and I have to learn how to accept it and keep moving, much like life.

Sometimes I wish I wrote that way, without self doubt. The ability to delete and rewrite can sometimes be the worst enemy.

I find that I sensor myself a lot. There are many things that I want to write and share, but I don’t. This is something that I am working on.

I go back and forth between knowing that there are stories that need to be told for myself and for others out there reading them, and also knowing that reality exists and sometimes I don’t always like airing my dirty laundry, even though I know we all have it.

Writing a story or starting a work of art starts with a beginning, just like my title states. Simple yet true. We all have to take that first step no matter the journey that we want to take.

I just wish I could be bold and brave, and always use ink, then I would never be able to erase.