Self-Improvement

Who do you want to be in 2021?

Let’s be realistic here, 2020 was not fun, it sucked, it made me think of negative stuff from my past. But it’s almost over. Thank God for that.

The question is, what does 2021 hold for me? The same thing it holds for you.

A new beginning.

Look. Covid-19 doesn’t have to ruin your life. There’s a vaccine that is making its way around, and there’s hope. The new year is proof of that.

This year sucked, it did. But it also taught me a lot. Some things I learned were.

  • I’m content with being alone, and I can deal with my problems in a civilized manner without going nuts.
  • I’ve missed human contact. And when covid is beat, and it will be someday, I’ll be ready to rejoin the human race. This pandemic might even have helped me become a more sociable person in the long run
  • I realized that I need to be careful of how I spend my money.
  • I can be more social with my family. And I can slow down my pace. I have the worst habit of eating fast and leaving the table early. And now I know that there are others at the table who want to connect with me.

So that’s that. I know what I want to be in 2021. What about you? Make a list, repeat it to yourself, and practice persistence.

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Announcements, Self-Improvement

As winter descends, the end is near

Well it’s almost winter time. This morning I woke up this morning to a bevy of snowfall, so perhaps it’s appropriate I selected a snow-themed picture to close out my 2020 blog posts. I know I didn’t post much this year, but with a busy daily schedule, it could not be helped. I’m sorry if anyone felt shortchanged by my extended absences. So perhaps, this final 2020 blog post will ease any disappointment.

As a tumultuous 2020 draws to a close, we gladly bid it farewell. And what a year it was: a pandemic, economic uncertainty, a controversial Presidential election in the USA, and many lives lost.

But this isn’t a rant. No. As 2020 makes way to 2021, there is hope. A covid-19 vaccine is making its debut, and hopefully, by this time next year, the pandemic will be a thing of the past.

For me this was a year of transition. I left my full-time job and returned to college to pursue a graduate certificate. Saw my young Nieces grow a year older, helped out elder family members in need, and lost over 20 lbs. of unwanted weight.

So when you look back on 2020. Try and find something from it that will help you in 2021. If you suffered tragedy, and many of us did, use the pain to strengthen yourself.

I know I have lots to be grateful for. In a time when people are being evicted and wondering when their next meal will be served, I managed to improve my condition.

So here’s to 2020, it taught us a lot about ourselves, and hopefully, in 2021, we’ll take that experience and make something great from it.

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Self-Improvement

How to make your dream a reality

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Dreams. We all have them. Some are big, some are realistic while others require years to bring to fruition. During these uncertain times in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic maybe some of us have put our dreams on hold. Others, despite obstacles, persevere by taking small steps towards their eventual goal.

And that’s the key word. Small. To make your dream(s) come true you need to look at the big picture piecemeal. Nothing momentous happens overnight, and anyone who thinks it does is only setting themselves up for a major letdown.

Right now I’ve been putting my fiction on hold. Why? Because I’ve invested my resources into gaining new skills which can help me find a better job and to a lesser extent, improve my fiction.

And by relegating my fiction I’m not postponing it, I’m only investing in a prerequisite step that will eventually get me to where I want to go. Until fiction pays the bills for any writer, they must find sustenance in the dreaded “day job.”

So what small steps are you taking to make your dream(s) a reality. Please feel free to post your comments.

Until next time.

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Self-Improvement, Writing Advice

How to make time work for you

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As a professional writer I have many balancing acts to maintain in my daily life. There is my day writing job life which I get paid to write and edit and then there is my hobby writing (novelist)life.

For you it might be the same, or most likely not. But we all can agree that with competing priorities, stress has a way of creeping up on us and threatening to derail our mental focus.

The best way around this of course is mindfulness, the art of focusing on your current priority without dwelling on the past for worrying about the future. For example, if you’ve got that novel/project that’s itching to get out you don’t want to work on it during your day job. For starters, it’s unethical and also your company is not paying you to do your hobby on their time. So to create enough time to write, or whatever form of art you’re into, might I suggest the following things:

1) Create a schedule for personal project(s) that revolves around your daily work schedule.

2)Ask around. Twitter and other forms of social media are great places to connect with others who share your passions. Tweet a question, and some of your followers are bound to respond.

3)Don’t get stressed if you can’t find time to create. Instead work around it by seeing when you can create time for your personal projects.

These are just suggestions. Use them as a framework to find what works best for you. I wish you all the best.

T.A. Uner

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Self-Improvement

Finding a job that defines you.

It’s a tough one. Some of us love our jobs while others are just using them to get that all-important paycheck. So what’s a professional to do?

I’ll admit it, I’m lucky. I work for a company that values my writing and editing skills, I use it to motivate me when I come home to write/edit my fiction.

But what about those folks who don’t have a job they love?

Fortunately, there’s an answer. And it’s so easy, anyone can do it!

Work for it. Wherever you are in life, find a way to transition yourself from where you are to where you want to be. Take classes, get certifications. It’s time-consuming and hard work but whoever said this would be easy.  In this world of instant gratifications that’s a tall order for some, but not if you really want it.

When you go after something worthwhile, the challenges are going to pop up whether you like it or not. If they don’t, then you’re not trying hard enough.

I flunked out on my initial Business Writing test. Yes. But I took it again and guess what? I passed with a B.

So listen to your heart. What kind of job out there will make you happy? Knowing what you want is the first step to getting it. It’s cliche but so very true.

Then ask yourself if you’re willing to put up with the struggle to get it. If the answer is yes, then you’re on your way to a new future.

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Self-Improvement

Why artists should get out more.

As a writer I know the stereotypes that come with the territory. That writers need to be holed up in some dark room writing until our brains fall out of our heads.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Honestly, if you’re a writer or any other type of artist churning out work for fun or profit, getting out of your comfort zone is the only way to go.

Easier said than done right? True, but let’s take baby steps folks. Finding a job that supports you that you love is the first thing. If the company you work for fosters social events then attend and find others that share your hobbies. Or join a meetup group and find folks there.

Being isolated may lead to more writing time, but not always the best quality writing. The best writing comes from interacting with the world itself, and imbuing your writing with the human condition.

And if you’re able to make a few extra friends and hobbies along the way, more power to you!

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Self-Improvement

The value of mentoring.

I’ll admit. I went throughout my writing career for years without a guide or mentor. Then through many personal errors, I learned the best way to gain a mentor was to show interest in other people’s work. The trick is not a superficial interest just to gleam information from someone more successful, but to LEARN.

As a writer, one can be considered an artist, so it’s important to find other artists, usually those who’ve been able to elevate their craft. This way you can learn from them and they can point out your mistakes. Last week I had the opportunity to visit a successful author and his wife. Just interacting with them was valuable in itself. They took time out of their schedule to help me see my mistakes so that I can elevate my craft. Not because my writing wasn’t good, but because it has the potential to be much better.

It’s also good to help others who aren’t as developed as you. You might ask why. Well it’s because you get the opportunity to teach them and help them learn from your mistakes. So it win-win for everyone, and you can’t beat that.

 

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Self-Improvement

What made 2018 great for you?

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As we inch closer towards the end of another year, I can’t help but think of all the positive changes I made to improve myself. This was a year of transitions for me. When I finally took the big step to change the industry I worked in for my day job, and switch to a field I loved. If you guessed writing, then you’re correct.

I also was able to get a lot done for my upcoming novel The Leopard Apocalypse, and while there were some minor setbacks that delayed the publication of the book, I still hope to release it sometime next year, which, last I checked, will be here in less than two weeks.

So what did you accomplish in 2018 that you’re especially proud of? Did you make some personal changes to your life? Complete a big project that you’ve been working on? No accomplish is too small to mention. So long as if pushes you towards becoming a better person. And that to me is what being human is all about, being better than you once were.

As always, I welcome comments on my blog posts. Enjoy the rest of 2018. And work towards accomplishing more in 2019.

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Self-Improvement

Using the holidays to improve yourself

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Happy Holidays! Those two words are even more powerful than you think. Most associate it with fussy shopping and unwanted stress in meeting those pesky relatives you’d rather not see, but the holidays can be so much more than that.
Really!

If you’re stressed out in your work life, or just at life in general, the holidays can be an excellent outlet. How? By realizing that life is full of letdowns and that stressing about it only makes it worse.

This attitude can help you rediscover your love affair with that dreaded word. Work. That’s right. Are you in an occupation you love? Great! If not, now may be the time to make that change.

The Holidays are a perfect time to use what spare moments you have to work on hobbies and special projects. These tend to give us that extra lift in life. Instead of worrying about what gift you need to get for Aunt Betsy or Cousin Ralphie, you can channel your attention into a hobby you’ve been neglecting.

For me it’s writing. For you it could be rock-climbing or volunteering to help those in need. These types of activities can also translate into win-win scenarios into your professional lives, as it adds richness to your life. It may be cliche, but helping others always translates into positive results for yourself.

So when you find yourself with some extra time during the Holidays, and need to recharge yourself, engage yourself in your hobby or giving back to society, and watch your confidence soar!

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Self-Improvement

The long, and painful road to success

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Alex Ovechkin, Captain of the Washington Capitals, an NHL Club based in the USA, lifts the Prestigious Stanley Cup, one of the most important sports trophies in the world.

I must admit, these past few days have been pure ecstasy for me. Especially today, June 12th, 2018 when the entire city of my hometown, Washington D.C. created a spectacle honoring the achievement of its hockey club, the Washington Capitals, who won the Stanley Cup, the holy grail of North American Hockey, that has been awarded to NHL champions since 1892. It was the first championship for the expectant Capitals, and the first major sports title for the Washington, D.C. area since 1992. The parade today made me think real hard about my own journey, especially where my writing career was concerned.

Why am I blogging about this? Well, if you think writing, or art for that matter, is connected with the Capitals’ first championship, you guessed correctly.

But the story would make little sense if I didn’t delve deeper into the Capitals’ once-turbulent playoff history. A past filled with so many tragic seasons where the club under performed in the playoffs despite high expectations. To make matters worse, every year when the playoffs rolled around almost always resulted in another premature exit at the hand of one of their rivals, thus adding another sad page to the club’s tortuous playoff mishaps.

Honestly, this team wasn’t even supposed to win a Championship, let alone make the playoffs. But this group of resilient players persevered, and managed to overcome the decades-long playoff failures that had plagued the club since the late 1980s.

This is where art, or writing for that matter, comes into play. You can write for many years, and wrack up an unhealthy load of rejections along the way. Just like the Capitals you can gain strength from your failures, instead of letting the failures define you.

It’s cliche to say it’s the journey that counts, not the destination, but the fact is that there is no greater teacher of life than the failures you encounter, and a team I have followed since I was a 13-year-old boy proved that to me.

So learn to accept failure as a healthy gauge that can be your compass to bigger and better things.

Just ask the Washington Capitals.

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