Category Archives: Expectations

The Catch

It’s finished.

Done.

The End.

Let the Hallelujah Chorus resound.

After months of thinking, typing, dreaming, typing, eating, typing, revising, typing, and revising some more, my novel, The Catch, is complete. Aside from a little polish here and there, it’s ready for submission to the powers that be.

What happens when a frustrated writer is visited by the main characters of her work in progress, asking her to help them find their happy ending? Well, a whole lot of interesting twists and turns, that’s what. More about that in a later post.

For now, I am basking in the euphoria of having finished this 65,000 word story by the deadline I’d set for myself. And considering this was not a piece of work that I’d done any amount of prior writing on, it is nothing short of a miracle that it is finished. Seriously.

The point of this post is the catch. (Not The Catch.)

The catch to doing something like this is actually doing something like this.

You can cry and lament and whine all you want about how hard it is to write and finish a book. But until you sit down, with your rear in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard, I’ve got no sympathy. Because it ain’t gonna happen any other way.

I know this.

Because I was the one doing that crying and lamenting and whining for way too many years.

There is no doubt about it; writing is work. It’s hard. It’s not even that much fun sometimes. But you have to stick with it.

Every.

Single.

Day.

And now, less than 24 hours since my last revisions were completed, I am outlining my next novel.

And it’s going to be a doozy!

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Filed under Being Creative, Expectations, Writing

Messed Up Thinking

I used to have messed up thinking. Yes, folks, it’s true.

I used to think it mattered what other people thought about the way I looked or what I did or who I talked to. It doesn’t.

I used to think I had to reach some high level of corporate performance in order to be successful. I didn’t.

I used to think I’d have to be the person I thought others wanted me to be before they would accept me. Not true.

I used to think I was required to meet everyone’s expectations, even if I didn’t know what they were. How dumb.

I used to think I had failed miserably as a human being because I couldn’t do all of the above. A lie.

The thing is, there are countless messed up thinkers out there who are deceived, because this is the way the world measures success, acceptance, love. And the results are failed relationships. Depression. Self-esteem issues. Suicides. Loneliness. Fear. I could go on.

The bottom line is that who and what you are matters to God. You are precious to Him and He loves you – His own creation. He is the only one who will accept and love you unconditionally, regardless of what you’ve done or where you’ve been. He can straighten out your messed up thinking. He can put you on the straight path to real success.

Jesus said in John 10:10: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (NKJV)

Stop listening to the enemy’s lies. Allow Jesus to give you life – and more abundantly!

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Filed under Acceptance, Bible, Blogging, Christian, Expectations, Thinking, Writing

At Last . . .

At last, our move is complete. We bid farewell to the old home and are now settling in to our new one. Although there is much to do before everything is organized and in its place, the rush is over and we can take our time unpacking.

Now the process of discovery begins and questions arise:

– What is the solution for that odor coming from the garbage disposal?

– Why is there an abundance of lights in the house except under the kitchen counter where you need them?

– What possessed the previous owners of our home to drive multiple screws – not finish nails or thumb tacks – into nearly every single wall in order to hang small pictures? Except, of course, in the room I have chosen for my office where we will have to drive multiple screws into the walls for my bookshelves.

– Where is the nearest convenience store? Or Tim Horton’s? Or gas station?

–  Why is there no exit ramp to Evans Road when you’re going west on the highway?

They say it takes 21 days to form or break a habit, to learn a new routine, or to feel at home in a new place. I know this to be true. And after months of being unsettled, living among boxes and anticipating the move, I am looking forward to putting down roots. I can already feel those tiny shoots pushing into the ground.

It’s a new day. A new beginning. A new life.

That reminds me:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

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What is Normal?

I looked up the word normal in the dictionary and this is what I found.

Normal: conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.

It other words, normal is anything that’s not abnormal. And that definition didn’t help me at all.

Because sometimes I yearn for normal without even really knowing that that is. Maybe a week without a crisis of some kind. Or a day where the phone doesn’t ring. Or an hour of uninterrupted reading time.

Nope. Doesn’t happen.

I’ve concluded there is no such thing as normal. Our lives are what they are, and the idea of normal is often just a fanciful imagination. Really, what fun would it be if we actually got what we thought we wanted from a normal life? Not much. And we’d be bored out of our trees. Dullards, perhaps.

Know what a dullard is? A dull-witted person, according to Webster’s.

The lack of normal in my life is what makes it interesting. Enjoyable. A learning experience. A roller coaster of highs and lows and everything in between. No possibility of becoming a dullard.

The lack of normal has become my normal.

And a kinda like it that way.

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500 Blog Posts

Can you believe I’ve posted to this blog 500 times? FIVE HUNDRED! Five-zero-zero. I know, I know, it’s quite shocking.

In honor of this momentous occasion, I wanted to write something profound. Except that there is not much profound about me. I’m pretty much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of person. I used to try to be what other people wanted me to be, but that didn’t work. I was unhappy. Uncomfortable. Always on edge, wondering if I was measuring up to the expectations of people whose opinion didn’t matter anyway. I wasn’t me.

So I stopped getting my hair cut and I let it go gray. I invested in a bunch of flowing peasant dresses and a good pair of Burkenstocks. All in a non-literal sense, of course. My hair is still short and I admit that I cover the gray. I don’t own a single peasant dress, but I would love the Burkenstocks.

The point is that I realized I needed to be the woman God wanted me to be rather than some psycho corporate workaholic, perfect homemaker, flawless socialite kind of woman that stressed beyond reason while trying to please everyone. God showed me that the people who were most important to me were the only ones I needed to be concerned about. My husband. My family. My closest friends. Aside from doing my best at my job and serving faithfully in my church, the opinions and expectations of the rest are on an I’ll consider it basis.

There is such freedom in doing that.

The key is walking daily with the Lord. Reading the Word. Prayer. And then following the direction He sets before you. He gives you strength to say no when you need to say no. He shows you a different route when the one you’ve been following leads you into negative situations. He has the answer when you find yourself at the end of your rope.

On this day of my 500th blog post, I can say that I think am more me than I have ever been in my life. Thanks to an awesome God who is so very patient with me.

And at the end of the day, His opinion is the one that matters.

 

 

 

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The New Year’s Resolution Hoax

Welcome 2013!

Have you got that sheet of paper in front of you, ready to make your annual list of New Year’s resolutions? I’ll bet you’ve got some good ones. Just like last year. And the year before.

Before you start writing, I’d like to take this opportunity to burst your bubble. It’s a hoax. All of it. The whole New Year’s resolution thing was something somebody made up ages ago so you could, for a few minutes on January 1st, feel good about yourself. Anyone with half a brain knows that nothing ever really comes of making those resolutions.

Unless . . .

. . . you have a plan.

Let’s say you’re a fiction writer and you want to get that novel finished in 2013. You can write the goal down on your resolution list, but unless you have a plan to make sure that happens, it will still be on your list at the end of the year. I know this. You need a regular writing schedule. A goal with the number of words you must compose.

Or maybe you want to lose weight or spend more time with your family or get a great new job. You’ve got them written down on your list and you’re smiling. But how will you take that weight off, or be with your family, or find that new job?

Along with every New Year’s resolution you identify, you have to have a plan. A good plan. One that is reasonable and will work for you. Writing down that plan is just as important as coming up with the resolution in the first place. Maybe more.

Then do a checkup on your plan once a month or so to keep yourself on track. Do some tweaking if you have to.

Above all, don’t fall for the New Year’s Resolution Hoax. The goals on your list don’t just happen. There is thought and prayer involved. Planning. And hard work.

At the end of 2013, you want to look at your list and smile in satisfaction.

Happy New Year!

 

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Filed under Being Creative, Blogging, Dreams, Expectations, Imagination, Prayer, Writing

Goin’ Out

image

Time to go, 2012.

Will I miss you? Maybe a little. Would I want to live you over again? Um – no. I’m quite happy to let you go.

I am looking forward to what 2013 has up its sleeve. The year of fruitfuless, I’ve heard it called. The year of new beginnings and creative ideas and happy endings. I love happy endings.

2012, you’re goin’ out with very little fanfare from me.

And 2013, I am anticipating your  arrival.

So it begins.

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How to Avoid Taking a Risk

Taking a risk can be a scary thing because it means moving out of your comfort zone. Trouble is, growth doesn’t happen until you take that step out of the familiar and into the unknown. But for those who want to be sure to avoid the risks, I found a checklist for you:

  1. Never, ever examine yourself.
  2. Never hang around with smart people. Turn down invitations to associate with people who have broad intellectual or artistic interests.
  3. Do not change. Ever.
  4. Nurture a mind-set that labels creative people “flakes.”
  5. Keep your life very structured. Kill new ideas immediately and tell yourself things like: “It’ll never work,” “It costs too much,” “It’s been tried before,” or “If it was any good, someone else would have done it.”
  6. Force everyone around you to accept your situation. Never tolerate any suggestion that implies that your way may be wrong.
  7. Make your plans and goals as vague as possible. Never let anyone know what your “real” plans are, and never change your plans.
  8. Never offer encouragement or compliments to anyone.
  9. Never allow people to have fun in your presence. Keep things serious.
  10. Do not be accessible to your family and friends. Always keep to yourself.
  11. If someone offers an idea, tell them it’s dumb. If they prove it’s not dumb, tell them it can’t work. If they prove it can work, tell them it’s dangerous. Or make up something else.
  12. If someone wants to try something new, remind them of all their past failures and mistakes.
  13. Always be preoccupied with your problems.
  14. Never allow yourself to follow intuitions, gut feelings, or hunches.
  15. If you absolutely must accept a creative idea, don’t say anything whatsoever to its creator. It might go to their head.
  16. Play it safe. When you play not to lose, you don’t have to worry about taking risks, innovating or confronting challenges.

I know this list is a little extreme, but it makes a point, right?

Your growth is dependent on taking a risk. It’s called faith. Faith in the Father who created you and knows you better than you know yourself. Faith in the God of the universe who never leaves you or lets you fall. Faith in the One who wants so much more for you than you can imagine.

Time to step out. Take a risk.

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:6 (NKJV)

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The Place

Have you ever been in The Place? That’s where you find yourself when you’re in between what you used to do and what you’re going to be doing. The Place is okay. Mostly. There can be anticipation and expectation and even excitement. Maybe a little bit of sadness because you don’t want to leave what you used to do and perhaps some dread and fear about what you’re going do.

There is a temptation to stay in The Place, especially if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t embrace change with great gusto. But you can’t stay there.

The purpose of The Place, I’ve found, is for preparation. To help you get past whatever it is you were doing before and to get you ready for what is to come. A pause. Respite. A temporary suspension from the stuff.

You might be hesitant to make a decision about the future because you’re afraid it will be the wrong one. You could be finding it difficult to put one foot in front of the other to move out of The Place because of the great unknown out there.

I know how it is. Because I’m in The Place right now.

But I am getting out.

I know God has a plan for me. I know He has it all under control. And I know that as long as I trust Him and let Him be God in my life, The Place is full of anticipation and expectation and yes, even excitement!

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

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Filed under Bible, Blogging, Expectations, Faith, Hope, Writing

Follow the Rules

I have a vague recollection of having to write these words on the chalkboard back in third grade or so. Definitely not my finest hour, although I maintain my plea of innocence even after all these years.

I have since learned that there are rules one should not break. The consequences can be dire if one oversteps the boundaries set out by the various rule makers of the world. Like speeding through a residential zone = $165 ticket to be paid in full within 10 days or the cops will show up at your door to haul you off to the slammer. At least that’s what they want you to think. This is the kind of rule that demands obedience. Or else. The or else is usually bad enough to make the rule a little easier to follow.

Then there are the suggested rules. These are guidelines that are a good idea to follow simply because other people have gone before you and figured things out so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Most social skills would fall into this category, I think. And procedures for making things, building things, handling things. Consequences for doing it your own way instead could be a hard lesson.

There are also rules for developing the creative process. I’ve made my own list, taking bits and pieces from different “experts” on the subject, and these work for me.

1. Stop saying you’re not creative. God is a creative genius and He made you in His image. Enough said.

2. Stop fearing failure. Everybody fails at something. Just learn from it and move on.

3. Stop sitting on your behind and waiting for the right time instead of doing whatever it is you need to do.

4. Stop discounting your own ideas. Write them down, no matter how far-fetched they seem. Keep referring back to your list. I’ve developed some terrific story lines from ideas I wrote in my little book years ago.

5. Stop thinking there is only one way to do something. There is always a more efficient, faster, easier, fun, interesting, creative way.

6. Stop blaming everyone else. You may have had a terrible childhood or a poor education or got fired from your job. Now it’s time to make a decision to put the past behind and take responsibility for your future.

Are you going to follow the rules?

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Filed under Being Creative, Blogging, Dreams, Expectations, Thinking, Writing