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

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.

 

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!

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.

Author Interview coming soon!

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I’ve been asked to be interviewed by literary blogger L.M. Durand. This should prove interesting as I discuss writing and other helpful tips for writers. More information on the interview release date coming soon!

Meanwhile, you can check out L.M.Durand’s twitter profile HERE.

When Writers can’t write

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It happens to all of us. Suddenly our fingers don’t want to cooperate with our minds, and our passion for wordsmithing evaporates faster than a desert mirage.

So what do you do when the well of creation dries up? Take a vacation? Catch that new movie you’ve wanted to see? Clip your overgrown toenails?

Well…yeah. Duh! Just make sure you something that doesn’t involving writing. That’s what I’m doing now. I’m taking my mind off resuming my next project-which has been a novel I started way back in 2012-by doing something productive. Writing a blog post about why I can’t write right now. Whew!

Sometimes taking a break can do wonders. The worst thing you can do to yourself is force the issue and write something that doesn’t flow from the heart. And let’s be brutally honest here, writing is something that always derives from the human heart.

Listen, unless you’re a big-time writer with a deadline, you shouldn’t be worrying about why you cannot write.

Most of us will never cash a seven figure check for our writing efforts. I say this not to be negative, but to ground everyone out there in reality, so you can focus on treating your writing as a hobby, and not stressing over it for whatever reason impeding you.

Eventually you’ll get back behind your word processor, and the time spent away will have done wonders for your creativity. Writing doesn’t have to be stressful. Quite the opposite, it should be fun, and when it’s not fun anymore, that’s your cue to pursue another interest.