Thought for the Day: Follow your heart, intuition, & bliss

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
~Steve Jobs

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Thoughts for Day: Dream big

“If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” – H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia & winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize

Enough said.

Thought for the Day: The Books I Haven’t Written

“The books I haven’t written are better than the books other people have.” Cyril Connolly

This Twitter post made my jaw drop. Finally someone said what I have thought all these years. I used to get depressed when I read so many books that were so bad. As I turned each page, I hoped it would get better. It didn’t. By the time I ended each book, I always told myself, I can do better than this [fill in the blank with your preferred choice of harsh words].

But I never did.

The bad books continued to pile up, and my good ideas never made it to the page.

I changed my perspective after hearing Suzanne Brockman at a Georgia Romance Writers meeting earlier this year.

Fellow GRW member Pam Asberry describes this part of the meeting in full detail:

First, she asked if any of us have ever read a book that was so badly written that we questioned the sanity not only of the author who wrote it, but also the agent, editor and publisher who accepted it.

All hands went up.

Then, she asked if we have ever read a book that was so beautifully written that the story and characters followed us for years.

Again, all hands went up.

Of course, the challenge isn’t to write a book better than the first book. The challenge is to write a book at least as good as the second one.

Suzanne encouraged us to swear a solemn oath to do just that.

Suzanne encouraged all of us in the room to aspire to be better writers, to do better than the worst thing we had read. The challenge isn’t just to get the damn book done and published. Suzanne Brockman upped the goal, especially for me, the queen of low aim and less-than-desirable expectations. The challenges are to try to be the best, to work to meet the expectations of the readers, and to create a novel that bursts with beauty, creativity, enthusiasm, believable plots, and lively characters.

That’s the challenge. Hop to it!

Thought for the Day: Getting to Happy

“Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling.” –Margaret Lee Runbeck

“It is better to travel well than to arrive.” — Buddha

How many times have you heard someone say “Oh, I’ll be happy when I win a Pulitzer” or “Oh, I’ll be happy when I hit the New York Times bestseller list” or “I’ll be happy when I get an agent”?

Those are goals. Those aren’t markers of happiness.

If you can’t or don’t enjoy the process, achieving those goals won’t make you happy. You’ll get there (wherever there is for you) and feel hollow.

Love where are you are right now. [Trust me, this is hard. I’m trying to love that I have to strip my entire novel to the basic premise and start over again.] Be content in what you have and what you are doing now. Enjoy the moments that build toward your goals. Then when you get to that peak experience or that profound happiness, the taste of success will be much sweeter because you savored every moment to get there.

Thought for the Day: Keeping it real(istic)?

One of the saddest lines in the world is, ‘Oh come now – be realistic.’ The best parts of this world were not fashioned by those who were realistic. They were fashioned by those who dared to look hard at their wishes and gave them horses to ride.
— Richard Nelson Bolles

Dream big. Dream bold. And always live out your dream.

Music Monday: I know how it will end because it’s already been told…

I love music. Music is the soundtrack to my life. Music is the wallpaper of my life, and my writing is infused with the sounds I love. Every Monday I will post songs that have made it into the soundtrack of my life. First one up is KING’s Hey.
A friend who is an ethnomusicologist (I know, I have incredibly smart friends) talked about KING’s EP, and once I heard this song, I knew I had to have this on rotation.

The song is very nice and smooth. This is an eargasm that I never wanted to end. It puts me in the right mindset when I think about the first time the hero and heroine meets, the first time they kiss, the first time for everything that a couple does. It’s reminds me of summer: sunshine turning to dusk, sweet popsicles, a gentle breeze, fireflies, and the one who holds you tight.

Thought for the Day: To hell with circumstances

People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are or are not. In a moment of doubt yesterday and even this morning, I questioned if I should do this writing thing. Criticism stung; harsh and well-intentioned words kicked me in my chest. My writing doesn’t fit the market, so should I give up. Then I remembered these two quotations:

“I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” — George Bernard Shaw

Which is echoed by Bruce Lee: “To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”

The race isn’t given to the swift or the one who fits in; the race is always given to those who work past the circumstances, plow through turbulence and keep their perspective straight.