Jan 092017
 

 

Every year, I re-evaluate my life’s goals. I take into account, where I am, what I’ve done, and where I want to be in the future. I think about my health, my family, my career, and my friendships. This type of evaluation becomes more essential the older I get. If I know where I’ve been and I have goals, then I know where I’m going.

This year, there have been some losses and health scares in my family. These situations have made me realize that I must make better health choices to get my body and mind to its optimum state.

I also believe that being healthy goes beyond the physical and that I need to be as mentally healthy as possible. This is why I am learning how to take things as they come, surround myself with supportive and positive people, and think before I speak. I will also put out supportive and positive energy. I will be more appreciative of the happiness that surrounds me.

I love being able to witness the good that surrounds my family and friends. I love it when they not only what they want, but what they deserve. This year, my husband received his master’s degree, my son received an excellent report card, my sister went back to college, and my brother helped my parents move to North Carolina to be closer to him. They are all pretty happy, which makes me happy.

Watching my family succeed is motivating because if they can do it, then so can I. They make me feel invincible. I am determined to sharpen my writing, editing, marketing, and design skills. I will utilize these skills to be as successful as possible this year.

The older I get, the more I realize that time is one of the most important currencies in my life. I will not squander it away as I have done in the past. It is important to be selective about who I spend my time with and what I spend my time on. This year, I will spend more time with my family, on my work, and on myself.

I know how easy it is to lose your way. This is why it’s important to set goals with time limits and take action.

Here are some questions you may want to answer to help you with your own life evaluation:

  1. What did you want to accomplish last year?
  2. Did you accomplish what you set out to do? If not, re-evaluate if you would still like to do it this year and create a list.
  3. Think about what you wish to do this year. Where would you like to be? Create a specific to-do list with a plan of action complete with deadlines.
  4. Then take action. Like they say, there’s no time like the present.

This is your year and nothing will stop you. You can do it. Good luck with all of your goals!

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” -Thoreau

Happy New Year!

 

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Oct 072013
 

A few months ago, I stopped working on my novel. I was scared to finish it because I knew I’d have to tackle some painful childhood memories and I didn’t want to deal with them. I wanted to leave them in the past where they belonged.

I did everything to prevent myself from thinking about them including starting new projects, planning trips, and drawing, but it didn’t work. I had the urge to finish my novel, but I couldn’t. Not until I dealt with some issues.

I made the decision to stop pushing away the pain, even though the thought terrified me. And I knew a scratch of the surface wouldn’t do. I was going to have to sledgehammer that bad-boy open. I needed to feel every emotion.  It wasn’t easy. In fact, it was downright painful, but this is bleeding on the page. This is writing born from pain. This is the feel of writing.

I jumped in head-first and started off by interviewing my parents and then each one of my siblings. It forced me to look at the same situation from many different angles, which is a phenomenal gift, but difficult. Their truth was not my truth and vice versa. Since we’re all individuals with our own take on each situation, our perceptions were different. I had to come to the realization that this is okay. This is real.

Then I had my sister interview me. In the middle of the interview, I let everything go and shouted out my feelings. I wasn’t expecting that to happen. It shocked me, but it was also liberating.

I’m glad I decided to interview my family because it recharged my novel. I am now able to look at it with mature eyes.

The process of writing this novel has been incredible. It has broken me down mentally, built me up, and challenged everything I am and thought I was. I am emotionally drained, but enlightened in a way I never thought possible.

I didn’t want those memories to bleed into my current work, but the truth is, that wasn’t authentic. I needed to bust open the memories from my past to write what I am meant to write and I’m glad I did.

Now back to work.

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 Posted by at 6:23 pm
Jul 162013
 

30. Moisturize. Enough said.

29. Recognize your part in everything and take responsibility for your action and inaction.

28. Exercise is a necessity. If you work your body, you will work your mind.

27. Fun is essential.

26. There are a lot of bullies in adulthood. Don’t let people treat and talk to you any old way and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Remember, if you don’t, who will?

25. Fresh foods are the key to healthy living.

Fruit Bowl

24. Go to the doctor and the dentist regularly.

stethoscope

23. Don’t say you’re sorry unless you mean it. It comes off as disingenuous and everybody knows that a phony apology is worse than no apology at all.

22. Having good friends is important.

21. ABL. Always be laughing.

20. Don’t talk to people any old way. They’ll always remember the way you made them feel – disrespected and insignificant.

19. Sometimes it’s better said with a look. Remember the folks from The Office?

18. Take a moment for yourself during the day and go to bed on time to ensure that you’ll always be and feel your best.

17. Travel and make photo books.

16. Some people will disagree with the decisions you’ve made and are making in your life. This is okay.

15. Love yourself.

14. Sometimes you’ll go through a rough patch. Just remember – it’s temporary.

13. Splurge on good coffee. Trust me, you will not regret it.

coffee

12. Believe in yourself. Now take a chance.

11. It is okay to indulge sometimes.

10. Listen to what people are saying and not what you think they are saying.

9. Your spouse/partner/significant other is one of the only people you’ve chosen to have in your life. Remember that and treat them as such.

8. Your body tells you everything. Pay attention to it when it’s shouting at you.

7. There are many young, brilliant minds. Respect the youth.

6. If somebody hurts your feelings, be confident and tell them straight away. Under no circumstances should you let those feelings fester.

5. Your tongue can be just as cutting as a knife. Choose your words wisely.

4. Always be in control of your emotions.

3. Life plans are amazing.

2. Have a running list of nouns that make you happy and refer to it often.

1. When you love the people in your life, love them hard because they won’t be around forever and chances are you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Hearts

That’s what I’ve learned in the past five years. What about you? What did you learn in your 30’s or are learning?

 

*Note: all images were created by me – Janina R. Williams. Please contact me for permission before using.

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Nov 192012
 

Why does living life seem to take up so much time? There are twenty-four hours in a day to spend however we’d like, which seems like a lot, but it’s not. Not when you have to spend eight of those hours recharging. Not when you’re getting ready for work, commuting, actually working, commuting again, eating dinner, spending time with family, cleaning up, decompressing, and getting ready for bed. In that case, twenty-four hours may as well be one.

I think the lack of time is getting to people. Well, it’s getting to me. There are way too many distractions. I’ve noticed that I’m happier when I spend time doing the things I love. Don’t people seem to be happier when they’re spending time doing the things they love? It’s like a personal road map to happy.

What would happen if we took a few moments during the day for ourselves? How awesome would you feel if you did something you truly enjoyed? Now how often do you do that for yourself?

I vow to spend a few moments of each day on myself and you should too.

I made a short video about this very thing. Take a look.

Thanks for watching!

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Sep 042012
 

These past two weeks have been incredible. I won a query critique and a critique of the first two chapters of my novel from Amanda Sun. Her YA novel, Ink is coming out next year, which I can’t wait to read. I won the critique through The Write On Con, which is a completely amazing and free conference for writers. I implore you to check it out. It recently ended, but you can find tons of incredible information through their archives. Please go visit them when you get a chance: writeoncon.com.

A few days later I got notice that my short story, The Town on the Road was to be published in Luna Station Quarterly, which publishes speculative fiction from new and emerging women authors. It’s now live so you can follow this link to read it. I am so glad LSQ exists and I wish them much success in the future. Now I just have to find a home for the other short story orphans sitting on my desk. To read the rest of issue 11, please visit this link. As you all know, literary magazines are labors of love, so if you have a few bucks to spare, please support Luna Station Quarterly by buying an issue. Issue 11 is available for purchase for $2.99 in EPUB, MOBI and PDF formats here.

In other news, I recently visited Stanley’s Fruits & Vegetables in Chicago and bought a coconut. I wanted my son to experience the awesomeness that is coconut. He was super excited, but the best part came when he was watching me crack it open. I used a drill on the seam of the coconut and cracked it open with a hammer. My son was obsessed with the insides, but for some reason he refused to eat any of it. Oh well. More for me! Here’s a photo:

 

I’ve also been working on completing some home projects and as I was pulling the top off of a paint can, it slipped out of my hands and landed on the counter. Here’s what I saw when I lifted it:

 

Even the paint splotch was upset at my mishap! LOL!

Well, I’ve got to get back to work! Laters!

Have a lovely week y’all.

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May 172012
 

Whoa, it’s been a while folks. Sorry, I’ve been you know, living life. But I’m back on the regular.

Recently, one of my friends came by my house and showed me his current picture book project, which is almost complete. It was rather impressive. He’s been working on this project for a while now, so it’s great to see him progressing. Whenever a friend of mine is doing what they love, it’s easy for me to be happy for them especially when they’ve been supportive of my goals. But this visit did something else to me too. It made me want to finish all of my works in progress. It made me want to take inventory of my life.

When was the last time you took inventory of where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and where you see yourself going? You’ve never done that? Well, maybe you ought to try it. It’s a great focusing tool. I try to take inventory of my life about once a year around my birthday. This is always a good time to start anew, don’t you think?

So how do you do it? Here are some questions taken from the My Simpler Life blog to help you get started:

1. Where do I see myself in the next year?
2. What am I passionate about in my life right now?
3. Am I living by my values? Is there any place I am not in integrity?
4. Are my needs being met? Am I meeting the needs of those close to me?
5. What are my strengths? Am I using them?
6. Am I doing things to the best of my ability or is there a place I need to raise my standards?
7. How are my boundaries with others? Do I often feel taken advantage of?
8. Is my daily routine helping me or boring me? Is there anything I want to add or take away from my routine?
9. What is standing in my way of doing my dream? What can I do about it?
10. What am I tolerating in my life that is draining my energy?

Good luck with your life evaluations folks!

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Dec 072011
 

I’m convinced that luck comes in waves. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed that a few people around me are going through rough and tough times, while others are at their optimum. Case in point, one family member was recently laid off, while another was offered a promotion and raise. His wife was also offered a job with a competitive salary. Earlier this year their situations were reversed. What the heck is going on? Is this some kind of reversal of fortune? Is it their turn to get showered with good luck from the universe? Does good and bad luck come in waves? I’m starting to think yes.

This good luck occurred within the last couple of weeks, which brings me to this – the moments before the New Year always count. Whatever you want to do this year, whatever dreams you have can still be reached. Don’t give up just because you may be in the midst of a bad luck wave. Keep pushing along because good luck is heading your way.

Confession: I’ve been putting off the completion of my novel because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it scares me. Sounds strange, I know, but exposing my inner most thoughts is a frightening thing for me, hell, for any writer. It’s a vulnerability I didn’t expect to have and one I didn’t prepared for, but I’m pushing forward. There’s not much sense in keeping my manuscript hidden on a file folder on my desktop. My plan is to finish my novel by the end of this year and edit it early next year to get this pony in the publishing show.

I want to leave this year on a high note. Don’t you? If so, then take this as your sign to sprint to the finish line and get whatever you need to get done – done.

I’m wishing all you writers and artists out there good luck on your current project! You can do it.

“Let me know – do I still got time to grow? Things ain’t always set in stone. Let me know, let me know. Seems like street lights, glowing, happen to be just like moments, passing in front of me, so I hopped in the cab and I paid my fare. See, I know my destination, but I’m just not there.”

-“Street Lights” by Kanye West

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Nov 172011
 

I’m attracted to books that help people explore who they are. I’m also attracted to books that help people figure out what they want to do in life. Why? Well, because for years I struggled with what I wanted to do in life. How do you compete with the big dogs when you don’t even know which industry you belong in? Therein lies the conundrum.

When I applied to the University of Illinois, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Then I was accepted. I went in general, major undeclared because I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know what I was really good at. And there’s a huge difference between being good at something and then being really good.

The truth is I was afraid of choosing a career. I thought careers were forever and that once you chose one that was it – you had to follow through. There was no turning back. What if I failed? What if hated what I chose? I didn’t want to be one of those people stuck in a career they hated. I didn’t want to be one of those people waking up every day going to a job they despised. I was afraid of disappointing my parents, and worst of all, myself. I didn’t want to ruin my life. It was all rather terrifying.

One day, I realized that nobody could help me choose what I wanted to do in life. No counselor, teacher, parent, or friend. I had to make my own decisions. I had to make some choices. Trying not to make the wrong choice was like treading lightly on a ground filled with land minds; agonizing and stressful.

I chose to major in English/rhetoric with a minor in communications. I didn’t realize until my junior year that I wanted to be a creative writer as well as a journalist, but it was too late. I wasted too much time taking a bunch of classes I didn’t need.

If I knew then, what I know now…

I love English and rhetoric, but there will always be a special place in my heart for journalism, media and communications. I love reporting. I love seeking out the truth. Now that I’m older, I can honestly say that not immediately declaring a major was a mistake. I should’ve double majored in Journalism and English right from the start.

For the last couple of years, I’ve been evaluating my life and reading career-centric books. I believe they are extremely useful for a number of reasons. One, they force you to answer questions you have been avoiding. Two, they make you feel like it’s okay to say how you feel. Three, they encourage you to take risks. Four, they inspire you to take action and everybody knows if you want something in life, you’ve got to take action.

I wish somebody would’ve given me a book like this when I was a teenager. I think it would’ve really made me think about who I was and where I wanted to be.

The books below are excellent in helping people to discover who they are:

The All About Me books are amazing. They are interactive, so you just fill in the blanks. There are questions asking about who you are, what you think and what you would do in certain situations. If you want to learn more about yourself, fill out this book and pick it up again in five years. Your answers will blow your mind. No joke! For an extra challenge, fill out the All About Us book with your significant other.

344 Questions: The Creative Person’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to Insight, Survival, and Artistic Fulfillment is a book I picked up a few weeks ago. I randomly stumbled across it and decided to order it and I’m glad I did. This is a book of questions geared towards designers, but applicable to anybody. There are questions in this book I’ve never asked myself and there are others I can’t seem to stop thinking about. This book is written in interactive flowcharts, so you write your answers directly in the book. It took me about three days to fill it out and during that time, I found myself being rather introspective. It’s extremely helpful if you’re interested in doing a life evaluation or are at a crossroads and are unsure about what to do next.

What I’m trying to say is, figure out who you are, what you want and then trust yourself enough to go for it. If you let your fear get the best of you, you’ll never know who you are or what you’re made of. Take a risk. Take a chance. Believe in yourself!

On that note, I’m off to work on my novel. Thanks for reading! Good luck on your life journey.

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Sep 292011
 

Good supporters will lift you up; have your back, stand up for you, and root for you to succeed. They will be on the sidelines pushing you to race faster and harder until you win. They’ll encourage you to dig deeper and do better. They will be upset and disappointed if you fail. They’ll encourage you to dust yourself off, pick yourself, and fight until you reach the finish line. They’ll remind you of where you came from and who you are. They believe in you that much. Now that’s good support.

It’s wonderful to have supporters. It makes you feel alive and relevant, important even. Sometimes these supporters will be family members, friends, or strangers. Whoever they are in your life, don’t ever let them go. They will be with you for the long haul.

Do you have this kind of support? If not, ask yourself, do you give this kind of support to others? Now ask yourself how you do that.

Do you ask your supporters how they’re doing and are genuinely interested in the answer? Do you follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, and whatever the hottest social networking site is at the moment? Do you ask them how their WIP is going? Do you read and comment on their blogs? Do you buy your supporters books, artwork, literary journals, and magazines? Do you believe they do good work? Do you spread the word about them on your blog? If you do, bravo! You are a great supporter. If not, well, you may have some work to do. I know I do.

In the meantime, be supportive to others, build them up, and teach them what you know because the truth is you get what you give. Things in life tend to have a boomerang effect.

Doesn’t matter who you are, everybody needs and wants support. There is room for everybody to be successful.

I owe my supporters a huge thank you, so THANK YOU! You know who you are and you are all golden.

My new motto is to be as supportive as I can to others.

When was the last time you thanked somebody for their support?

I want to give  special thanks to Tegan Pratt for supplying these awesome images for my blog. As always, these images do not belong to me, so please do not use them without her permission. To view more of her work, please visit: http://trpratt.com.

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Aug 302011
 

I recently came to the realization that I can no longer call myself young. Maybe it’s my growing appreciation for animal prints and comfy flats and using words like “comfy” that has me convinced. The truth is I’m getting wiser and looking the part. Things they are a-changin’.

And even though getting older scares me, there are a few things about aging that I appreciate. I am grateful for the experiences I’ve had over the years and for the time I have left. I value who I am. I trust myself and most importantly, I’ve learned who I want to spend my time with and what I want to spend my time working on. The truth is time is priceless. It’s worth more than money and more than any singular object.

I’ve squandered away so much time worrying about the past. So far, it’s had no benefit on my life. In fact, it’s inhibited me from following through and moving forward. I want to create, see new places, and learn new things, but the more time I spend worrying about things I can’t control, the more control I lose over my life. So you know what? I’m not worrying about things I can’t control anymore. I’m living for myself, not for obligation.

About the only thing I can think of worth more than my time are the quality relationships I’ve created with that time. Nothing can take the place of a great confidant or a soul mate.  It’s the good relationships that make life worth living.

When I was a child, I used to the think the key to life was happiness. I now think the key to life is living. Living for yourself and making the most of your time, whatever time you have left.

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 Posted by at 1:33 pm