Walking slowly with his cane, Kristof was in no hurry to meet his grandson at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest. The boy could use some time away from his video games to experience history. Kristof tipped his pointed hat to the familiar ladies behind the counter of the museum as he strolled past. He pushed his eyeglasses back up to the bridge of his nose.
Kristof found his teenaged grandson, Dominik in the Hungarian Revolution section of the gallery. He was sitting in the corner playing with his phone. Kristof sighed with disappointment as he slowly approached Dominik. “This is our time together. I’m going to insist you hand me that phone now,” he requested with his hand out. He was tempted to throw it in the garbage, but instead slipped it into his suit coat pocket.
“I’m not sure why you made Mom drop me off here on a Saturday, but I have lots of plans with my friends,” Dominik said with an attitude. “So whatever dumb old thing you want to show me, can we get this over with?” He mumbled under his breath, “I could be killing aliens right now.”
“Sure, sure,” Kristof responded with more patience then he expected. “I can see why killing fake aliens with your friends is more important than learning about a war hero in our family. I don’t want to waste too much of your time, so follow me.”
Dominik stood in place for a moment, thinking about what his grandfather just said. He ran to catch up with the old man. “Sorry Papa,” he said looking down at his feet. “You shouldn’t have heard that. What do you mean a war hero in our family?”
The old man remained silent with anger until he arrived at the painting. “This is what I wanted to show you. What do you think?”
Dominik looked over unimpressed at the average size painting that hung on the wall. “I think I see a painting with two dudes in it. One looks dead and dropped a red flag while the other is reaching to pick it up. They look to be on a stone road.”
“I’m disappointed in you,” Kristof answered. “You’re just looking at the painting. Close your eyes and look at it again. Study the colors and the texture of the work. Feel the painting with your heart.”
“I see a lot of blue, grey, and green,” the young man scoffed back. “I’m not sure why you’re so in love with this dull painting.”
The old man sat down on the bench in front of the painting like he did many times before. “The year was 1956 when my best friend David and I marched through Budapest to protest the Hungarian People’s Republic. It was the communist government in place at the time.” He paused for a moment tapping the bench next to him for his grandson to sit down. “I was young then. I knew I could change the world. So, David and I marched with a bunch of other college students to the Parliament building.”
“I didn’t know you were in the Hungarian Revolution,” Dominik interrupted feeling bad for his disrespect earlier.
Kristof smiled then took off his brown hat. He rested it on the left knee of his light brown slacks. “The protest was exciting. There were white vans with speakers that played voices with demands of new government. David and I stood by a small group that decided they were going to enter a radio room in the Parliament building to make our demands louder. I remember clearly a young man handing David a red flag. The State Security Police took that small group into custody. I remember the uproar as we demanded them back.” A tear fell down the old man’s cheek. “Shots were fired into our crowd. Only one person died that day.” Kristof stopped his story unable to go on.
Dominik stood up to view the painting for the first time. The dead man wore a blue coat and a satisfied smile on his face. The strong man wore a ragged white shirt and dark pants. With blood on his face and hands, the man in the painting looked out at the world with dark eyes determine to change it. Dominik was familiar with the eyes that stared at him. They were the eyes that read him stories when he was sick. The eyes that watched him play sports when he was young. “Papa,” Dominik called out in alarm. “This is a picture of you!”
Kristof rested his chin on top of his cane. The same eyes from the painting looking up at the young man with pride. “Dominik, I want to introduce you to my best friend David,” he said pointing at the painting. “I come to visit him every day to tell him how thankful I am. Through his sacrifice on that day, it started the revolt that led to the great Hungarian country we live in. I am truly blessed to have fought for the change that my friend believed in.”
The thought of editing always seemed boring to me. That's where my dreams of becoming an author would stop. I was never interested in completing the important process to prepare your story for the reading audience. I wondered why my first draft just wasn't good enough to let everyone read, because honestly that's where I felt most creative. So I did everything I could to avoid the editing phase of writing a novel.
Shame on me! Writing a novel is much like painting on canvas. Just by getting the story on paper, my canvas was filled with one color. Any art lover knows, that one color is flat and boring and not really much to look at. Through the process of editing, you add additional color and dimension to your work. This is something that just can't be rushed.
Holding down the excitement of releasing my first full length novel has been hard, but I'm embracing the editing process. Honestly, I'm enjoying it more then I thought I would. I've even surprised myself to discover that I'm actually good at it too. Holding up in a small coffee shop (who loves having us) tearing apart sentences only to rebuild them better with my friend has been fun. It's time consuming, but worth the improvement made to the story. And that to me is the most important thing.
So let's hear it for coffee, editing, and loving the time spent on improvements. What is your editing process?
Motivation: the reason someone is acting or behaving in a particular way. Motivation is the crucial element in setting and attaining goals.
In my fulltime job I'm a customer service manager. To be successful in this position, I have to know how to properly motivate my team members. Motivation is my secret superpower. So in preparing for the busyness of November and NaNoWriMo, I thought I would share some of my secrets to keeping myself in the game.
1. Make a public commitment - Not wanting to fail in front of your friends and family can be great motivation. We are blessed with living in the times of social media. Use it to motivate yourself. You will be surprised on how well you commitment will be admired and followed. So be brave and announce your goal to the world, or just your friends list.
2. Plan ahead - I don't know how to emphasize the importance of this for motivation enough. What is your plan of action when your brain tries to talk you into slacking for a night? Do you call a friend? Planning ahead also means having all the tools you need to succeed in one spot. There is no greater motivation killer then wasting time tracking down your tools. BE PREPARED!
3. Get support - Surrounding yourself with people who want to be a part of your journey will help push you to the finish line. Share your success and failures with those who are following the same path. You might be able to learn from someone else's mistakes, so your journey goes smoother.
4. Make your goals visible - I'm preparing to participate in NaNoWriMo in November. I'm dividing up my 50,000 word count commitment onto a chart so I can visibly see my progress and how much more is left to my goal. I also fill my area with inspiring pictures to draw motivation from in my time of need. Whatever it takes to make your goal visible.
5. Break your goal into smaller goals - This goes hand in hand with tip number 7. Smaller goals are easier to tackle then an overwhelming larger goal. Schedule yourself time to complete these smaller goals. In the end, the large goal did not stand a chance.
6. Chart your progress - Remember how we made a public commitment before and surrounded ourselves with our support group? Well here's where you give them an updated on your progress. Don't worry, it's your adoring fans. They want to hear of your strengths and weakness. Getting a thumbs up from Aunt Martha once you announced you're half way there is success in it's own right.
7. Reward yourself - Remember those smaller goals we set? Well here is where they really come in to play. Hang the carrot in front of your nose. Set rewards to keep you on track. I love being pampered by getting a pedicure. So guess what the reward is for my first small goal? That's right I will have some cute tootsies before you know it.
8. Hold yourself accountable - If you're not accountable for your own goals, no one else will be. Failure just means that you haven't found what motivates you yet. Look back on why you didn't accomplish your goal, then come up with solutions to set you up for success going forward. Just like the reward system, you could commit to doing a chore you hate if you do not reach your goals. Let me tell you NOTHING will motivate me faster in writing 10,000 words in a week if I knew I would have to empty the litter box everyday in the month of December if I fail.
9. Realize you can do it - There is nothing more devastating to motivation then self doubt. Those negative words you use to scold yourself, you just don't have time for it. The time you waste in your head arguing if you can do it, is time you can spend actually accomplishing your goals. So if self doubt seems to find you in a vulnerable state, look up at your visible goal on the wall or text Aunt Martha. You are responsible for your own success.
Time management is just not a written subject on your yearly review at work. Juggling all the wonderful things life has to offer hasn't always been easy. No one is ever born with a organizing or time management chromosome; even though some people make it look that easy. The truth is getting your life together is a life style choice. It's not easy either, but it does get easier with practice and discovery of things that work for you.
I am often asked how I keep me and my family so organized. The honest truth, it is a lot of hard work. But in the end my family appreciates all the time and effort I put in. Currently I'm juggling: a salaried position with 50+ hours a week, social media platforms to understand the marketing part of self publishing, planning weekly family activities and adventures to post on our very small YouTube channel, small patio garden, getting our new house in order, a weight loss competition, working out with a trainer, and last but never least writing a novel.
Holy smokes! That's a lot. Here are some of my tips and tricks to make sure I have time for everything.
Tip#1: Meal Planning
Kind of sounds like a no brainer, but it took me awhile to figure this one out. With my husband and I working so much, we would find ourselves home at night exhausted from working 10-12 hours. The desire to figure out something to eat and the motivation to cook it was lost. Going out to eat was always the solution and an expensive one at that. So taking the guess work out of what's for dinner has saved a lot of time and money. We post our menu plan for the following week on Sunday. My stepson loves this practice. He is big into daily routines. So he keeps us accountable for what's posted on the menu.
Tip#2: Use your Crockpot
If you like home cooked meals with fresh ingredients then become friends with your crockpot. This is the easiest way I can suggest any busy person to eat healthy. You have so much control of what you eat. There are thousands of free crockpot recipes online so no need to eat boring pot roast all the time.
Tip#3 Meal Prep
This is an absolute must for a busy person who is watching what they eat. It really goes back to Tip#1 with Meal Planning. Knowing what you are eating for the week, make sure it's easy to stick to. Nothing will set you up for failure faster then a hard to follow plan. Take the guess work out and grill all your chicken you need for your salads or chop all your veggies and store them in individual size portions. Make this a grab and go type of lifestyle. You'll thank yourself for giving up a few hours on the weekend. I love having our crockpot dinners all together in a bag ready to grab in the morning and dump right in.
Tip#4 Schedule Schedule Schedule
A schedule keeps us accountable for our daily tasks. It literally takes me 10 minutes to plan my weekly schedule of when I'm writing, when I'm hitting the gym, when am I visiting my trainer, and what activities we are doing as a family. Once I figure out what I want to accomplish and how much time I would like to devote to it, I throw it in my calendar. I'm pretty demanding of myself to stay on task. So I never waste time trying to figure out what I want to work on that day. My biggest suggestion is to realize you have to schedule yourself some downtime too. All work and no play....well you know the rest.
Tip#5 Cleaning Routine
Assign a room every night. Assign daily chores. Whatever it takes to keep up on the housework. We tried different routines until we found one that worked for our family. Sharing is caring, get your family involved with the upkeep of housework.
Tip#6 Reward System
Getting organized and staying on track is hard work. Hard work should never go unnoticed. So set your goals and rewards like a boss. You will find yourself getting more things done if there is a new shirt or a mid day nap dangling in front of you. Recognize your worth all the hard work your putting in.
Sorry this was a longer blog post. Thanks for sticking around to the end. If you have any questions or more tips, please share with all of us below.
NaNoWriMo 2016 is officially just one month away. (Woot!) My excitement for this reminds me of Christmas morning when I was a kid. I am looking forward to the challenge and the late night caffeinated writing binges.
Wait, what? You don't know what NaNoWriMo is? Silly me, let me explain myself. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a 50,000 word first draft of that story you've had floating around in your head. In the month of November, use the support of other writers with the same goal. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Today I start prepping for the craziness of this month. I want to have a solid foundation when the clock strikes midnight on November 1, 2016. To be able to meet and surpass my first time goals, I know outlining, plotting, and character developing is the answer. I have my pad of paper and my idea ready. Now let's bring on the magic.
If you're a first timer like me, let me know what you're doing to prepare. If your a NaNoWriMo vet, what are some tricks you can give us newbies to make sure your successful?
I raise my tea cup to all the participants this year. I look forward to meeting new friends in this process.
The definition of drama: an exciting, emotional, or unexpected series of events or set of circumstances.
I absolutely hate drama in my personal life. I avoid it at all cost. If you add any sort of drama to my life, you will be finding me exiting stage right. Life's drama just makes me uncomfortable. Being emotional is not for me. But...
As an avid reader, I love drama in books! The more drama the better for me. Some of my favorite books have you feeling every emotion there is between the covers. If I find the book like this, I usually do not put it down until I've finished. If I'm forced to stop reading, my soul will miss the story until I can pick it back up. One example of this is The Host. I was recommended this book at work. It took me forever to start it. (It was a slow start) But the book picked up in the middle by hitting the mother load of emotions.
I'm a big fan of any book or movie that changes my emotion. Not going to lie, I'm a crier. I really don't care who knows it either. That is a sign of a story well told.
I hope to be an author that writes a novel that can stir someone's emotion. I would love just one person to pick up a book with my name on the cover, and be late for work the next day because they were unable to sleep. That's such a compliment.
How are you a drama fan? (Come on you know you want to leave me a comment!)
When you get the chance to meet a new friend, I would encourage you to do so. You never know when you will meet someone of interest, that could inspire you to be a better person. The only part of meeting new people is the uncomfortable "get to know me phase." Not to say I'm awkward, but it's hard for me to truly open up.
It usually starts off easy with an introduction of names and a shaking of hands. Then I prepare for the question. What question is that, you're asking. It's simple, what do you do for a living? Now I could easily get out of this question and tell them about my primary job, but what's the fun in that? That's not who I truly am. So I give my typical answer followed up by, "I write part-time." As soon as my lips are closed, you can see the judgement. "That's so hard to get into," or "You're probably wasting your time."
Why do I write?
I write because it is in my blood. My family has always been made up of story tellers. We sit around family functions and talk about times gone past. We talk about the crazy things that have happened to our family and dream about the crazy things left to happen. Dreaming is in my DNA.
I, also write to escape the troubled times of today's society. You have to admit, it's a scary world out there. I feel safer at home in front of my computer creating lovable characters and adventures then I do going grocery shopping. Paralyzing fear of danger has inspired some interesting characters through out my stories.
Writing is not a waste of time. It is time well spent. While I write, I'm inspired by my family in a safe place. So if you ever feel the need to ask an author why they write, the real question is, "Why don't I write?"