Tag Archives: chicago

2009: Which goal(s) did you meet?

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

Jim Rohn 1930-2009, Author and Speaker

Did this year fly by for anyone else? Summer in Chicago was cool and mild at best, the Halloween festivities lingered in the air until it was time for Christmas shopping and now, the New Year is knocking. The weeks and months seemed to have melded together and floated off like puffs of dandelion seeds. So, when I sat down to chronicle all that I completed this year, I was doubtful my list would add up to much. Funny thing about lists, what feels repetitious and ordinary becomes quite an extraordinary display when lined up together.

Wanna see?

Little Things I accomplished in 2009 (towards my writing/teaching goals)

  •  Won 1st Place in a Fiction Writing contest, placed as Honorable Mention in two others
  • Attended 2-day AWP Conference in Chicago; had lunch with mentor, Christina Katz : )
  • Created and taught one-week Summer Writing Studio for Young Writers
  • Hosted Young Writers’ Public Reading at Downers Grove Library
  • Began FREE monthly Young Writers’ Groups at Barnes & Noble
  • Critiqued several short stories for my young writing students
  • Began writing my 3rd novel (NaNo)
  • Won numerous novels and writing reference books and a membership to an online writers’ group by blogging and posting and “tweeting”
  • Met numerous authors, editors and organization heads via the online community
  • Celebrated 1 year anniversary for both of my blogs with 60k + visitors to this blog alone!
  • Volunteered as Executive Board Member for Capitol City Young Writers (duties incl. conf calls, brainstorming and implementing new ideas)
  • Acted as Editor for Write On! (CCYW’s Qtrly Newsletter)
  • Invited to write my own column for The Motherhood Muse (first issue debuts on 1/1/2010)
  • Taught 2 Young Writers’ classes for FRoG in Winter ’09 and one in Fall ’09
  • Essay, Cravings, published in Underwired Magazine
  • Hosted Fathers’ Day essay writing contest on this blog
  • Made a valuable connection with the editors of WOW! Women on Writing and have been become a regular partner in their author blog tours
  • Created Facebook FanPage for WriteLike CRAZY
  • Taught an in-school writers’ workshop for Ms Courtright’s 4th grade class
  • Met with Mr. Casey, school principal to discuss afterschool program for young writers
  • Beginning discussions with board member of HGNA regarding journaling classes for 2010
  • Began dream of renting blue building on Maple & Main for a young writers’ studio
  • Obsession, short story, published on coloredchalk.com
  • Got caught up and came back down from Twitter addiction
  • Began plans for women writers’ retreat in Oct 2010

So, what did you all accomplish in 2009? I guarantee it’s more than you think! Share with us!

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Filed under goals, Little Things, Uncategorized

Comfort Zones…

“If you have the courage to step outside of your comfort zone, you will not only be amazed by the marvel and sights of the world, but also with the wonders that lay deep within yourself.”
Rosanna Ienco
From her new book Awakening the Divine Soul – Finding Your Life Purpose

I used to think of myself as an adventure-seeker, or at the least an outgoing, “I’ll try anything once” kind of girl.  In grade school my nickname was Spaz. Shut up.

So, when I had the opportunity to travel downtown (Chicago) for the AWP Conference, I registered without thinking of my comfort zone, i.e. setting my mind on autopilot for my routine drive to the office,  control over when I arrive and when I can leave.

Now, I don’t like driving. In fact, I would say I’d rather wash toilets than drive, especially during rush hour in Chicago winter weather. So, driving downtown on an unfamiliar route was out of the question. But, I had never taken the train.  My husband, bless him, mapped out my itinerary: which train to take and what time, which bus to catch to get me closest to the Hilton and how much cash I should have on hand for the round trip. Still, my insides were twisting with anxiety.  What if I couldn’t find my way out of Union Station? What if I got on the wrong bus, took it to the end of the line and winded up being this little white girl in a shady part of the city?

My husband dropped me at the Downers Grove Main St. train station before 7am. If you were on that train, you’d know me: petite brunette, Old Navy messenger bag balanced on my lap, favorite NaNoWriMo“Author” coffee mug in right hand, Google map in the left.

But, after I found my way out of Union Station and onto the street and onto the Number 1 Harrison bus, I was alive with energy. To be back in the city, blocks away from Columbia College where I studied Fiction Writing, the bustle of Chicagoans on their morning foot commute, Starbucks coffee cups omitting steam into the city skyline.

And the workshops were amazing! Editors on panel telling us what they want and what they hate; published authors outlining their techniques of the short story; college professors and interns giving tips on how to teach young writers to take risks with their characters. I took pages of notes, handfuls of business cards, freebies from the Book Fair and an overwhelming feeling of community.  I am a writer. There’s nothing better than stepping out of your comfort zone to explore new surroundings, make connections and revel in your new found confidence!

Also, I had the honor of  lunching with my friend and teacher, Christina Katz (aka WriterMama)

christina-mary-jo

 P.S.   I discovered I really like taking the train! When I didn’t have to rein in the growing panic of being outside my comfort zone, I was able to relax. I read, I wrote poetry – Poetry! and I planned out my next creative writing class lesson plan. All while being transported to where I needed to be. Kind of like royalty, when you think about it.

So, are youready to step out of your comfort zone ? Imagine a goal, make a list of action steps  – and Act! And, please – share your steps here. Afterall, this is Writers Inspired!

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Filed under Advice, Believe, emotion, Perseverance, writers, writing inspiration

The Lesson…

Winter Weather  lAnyone else spend an un-Godly amount of time in their car Tuesday night?  My usual 1 hour commute home from work was bordering on 3+ hours when I decided I wasn’t going to make it home.

  Instead, I called my little brother, Ken, who lived near my office and asked if he wanted a slumber party!  Weary, tense and desperate for a bathroom, I trudged up his snow covered steps. A warm hug greeted me and great food and conversation followed.

I would never have had this memorable evening with my brother, laughing over old family jokes, catching up on our current lives and future goals, if it hadn’t been for that horrible Chicago snowstorm.

“The Lesson: When you don’t get what you want, it means something bigger and better is right around the corner if you are willing to persist and turn that obstacle into an opportunity.” ~ Jill Koenig, Author, speaker

Are you blocked by an obstacle in your writing or personal life? How can you make it an opportunity?  We have a motto in my household to “Never Give Up!” It is not an easy creed to follow. But, by sometimes saying “to hell with it!” you can reach up and over those obstacles to an outcome you didn’t think possible.

Come read my success story over at the WriterMama blog today!

And share your obstacles and ways of overcoming them…

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Filed under Advice, Believe, emotion, Inspiration, Perseverance, Rest, writers