Writing

Our Curriculum Picks for 2015-2016 (Big Changes)

It's insane that it's that time of year again. Time to start putting in your orders for next year's curriculum picks. Yikes, I'm feeling behind.

I shouldn't though, because I've know for several months what we were going to do. There was even a big crisis over it.

Why does everyone push the new school year stuff so early? Pretty soon they'll be having back to school sales the day school lets out.

Let's cut the chit-chat and get right to it!

 curric post 2015-16

First, Let me tell you what we did last year.

We used KONOS Curriculum, Volume II. I sincerely loved it. I switched for three reasons.

  1. It was so much work. If I got behind I just felt I could never catch up.
  2. The costs added up, buying all that random stuff that I didn't have lying around the house.
  3.  I learned more than the kids did. I had to learn it all, then teach it to the kids.

Sure, I love to learn and want to do that, but I was becoming a crutch for them. I'm not saying they didn't learn anything though, they still spout off random facts and information all the time.

It also ignited their love for history and maps. I'd say that's a win!

They learned to love America (spent a lot of time on the American Revolution).

My oldest still doesn't get that we're friends now with the UK, he still thinks of them as the Red Coats. Ha ha ha.

After about Christmas we switched to Charlotte Mason, by way of Ambleside Online.

It took me a bit to figure out how to navigate it all and find all the resources we wanted. I really liked it, it did cut down on our full days and my work load, however, I still needed something else since I was having to read a ton aloud every day.

With my health issues I needed something that would give my children more independence. And wouldn't make it so if Mom was having a bad day, health wise, that we got waylaid more than could be managed.

Hence the last switch.

Robinson Curriculum is the BIG change. I'll post all about it another day.

1

The Captain, 9, entering 4th

Math -- Math-U-See He'll be doing Zeta (he's still mad at me because I was supposed to get it for him over the summer), and then moving on to Pre-Algebra. The kid is obsessed with math, so I am sure that he'll be in pre-algebra by November.

Writing -- The Writing Course

Reading -- Robinson Curriculum

History & Science -- Our co-op, supplemental materials, and self-interest studies

Music -- Piano: 67 Fun Songs Primer by Jon Schmidt. I'd like to have him start another instrument, preferably a string, but we'll see how it goes.

Foreign Language -- American Sign Language using ASL Done Right Vol. 1  & French

Gymnastics -- We're switching to a gym with a  competitive boys team.

Basketball -- He really wants to join up, but we've never put him in sports and it seems most parents put their kids in sports before they can even walk, so I'm worried about him being super behind. Also, I'm trying to find a team that doesn't play games on Sunday.

Art -- Creating a Masterpiece DVDs & Mark Kistler's Draw Squad. Fun fact, I used to watch him on PBS when I was a wee lass.

Handwriting -- I tried to use Handwriting Without Tears cursive, last year, but I'm pretty sure that stink-butt threw the book away. He denies it, but it's GONE. This year, I'll be switching to this book: Teaching Cursive! This Method Works It was recommended to me by another homeschool mom in one of the many groups I'm in. I'll let you know how it goes.

Typing -- Looking into Keyboarding Without Tears. We used Dance Mat typing, but I'd like something more comprehensive.

2

Little Miss, 7.5, entering 2nd

Math -- Math-U-See. She's going to finish Gamma and we'll also be working on drilling her math facts like crazy. After that she'll move up to Delta.

Writing -- The Writing Course

Reading -- Robinson Curriculum

History & Science -- Co-op, supplemental books, and self-study

Music -- Piano 67 Fun Songs Primer by Jon Schmidt & other instrument during the second semester

Foreign Language -- American Sign Language using ASL Done Right Vol. 1  & French

Dance -- Ballet or Hip Hop

Basketball -- Gotta find a team that doesn't play on Sundays

Art -- Creating a Masterpiece DVDs & Mark Kistler's Draw Squad

Handwriting -- She has great handwriting and is dying to learn how to write "fancy," so I know she's gonna love cursive.  Teaching Cursive! This Method Works

Typing -- Looking at Keyboarding Without Tears

3

The Animal, 6, entering 1st

Math -- Math-U-See, finishing up Alpha & memorizing math facts.

Reading -- Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (we need to finish up the book) and books from Robinson Curriculum

Music -- Piano 67 Fun Songs Primer by Jon Schmidt

Foreign Language -- American Sign Language using ASL Done Right Vol. 1 & French

Swim -- Swim lessons to transition to swim team for next summer

Handwriting -- Handwriting Without Tears. He did the first book pretty quickly last year, but definitely needs refinement. It is probably due to the fact that I wasn't so strict on what he turned in to me.

 

4

Sweet Cheeks, 3.75, "preschool"

I'm not a huge supporter for preschool. To me, it's unnecessary and all that. However, my friend said she wanted to put together a preschool group, and I thought it might be nice as a way to have her out and about having fun with some friends and give me some good time to focus on working with The Animal.

I'm not sure if the preschool group is a go anymore though, I haven't heard back about it.

I'm determined to come up with some activities in a bag for her to use to keep her out of trouble (read: my makeup, or the toilet) and focusing on something worthwhile.

I'm going to plan in a set time each day to spend some time with her just reading together and some play time. She has technically two years before she's eligible for Kindergarten so I've got plenty of time to work on reading ;)

 

6

The Babe, 1

Snuggle time! Hopefully, lots of naps and playing.

 

To wrap it up

I'll give a report on how things go with our new curriculum picks after a few months into the school year. For now, I've got to go through the school budget and start purchasing stuff. Agh!

 

Next week we're going to use Easy Peasy (it's free) to get us a bit back on track since we haven't done any school over the summer like we usually do.

 

Leave a link for me to check out what you're doing this year. It's my favorite way to explore new curriculum ideas and to get to know great new people and families.

Writing Lessons: Build Your Own

 

How are you teaching your kids to write?

Following a set curriculum? Making it up as you go? Somewhere in between?

 

Through the years we've followed a set curriculum and it just didn't seem to stick. I'm not sure why, perhaps it's just the way my kids are wired.

Writing is a passion of mine. It's what I do day in and day out. If I couldn't write I'd shrivel up and die. No hyperbole here.

 

I want this for my kids.

 

I know they can't be just like me, and that's for the best. I don't need them to have this incredible driving passion for writing.

I also don't want them to look like all those nincompoops I see all over the internet that can't string words together, nor spell them correctly.

 

Where are my talons so I can scratch my eyes out?

 

*digs in diaper bag*

Found 'em!

 

I want my children to be intelligent human beings capable of sharing their intelligence in many forms and mediums.

In order to do this I've rethought our method.  I'm so freaking excited about it I could pass out from excitement fumes!

 

writing lessons

 

Let me just tell you what we're doing. What I know so far, and what I don't know so far. After that maybe you can help me fill in the gaps. Sound like a plan?

The basic plan

[Tweet "Write something every day. "]

The slightly more complicated version

I know, I'm being a pill (as my Mama would say with a quick snap of the dishtowel).

5

My goals for the kiddos

Since I can't just say "be amazing writers" I need some measurable goals.

  • Record their daily life
  • Learn letter writing skills
  • Develop relationships with far away family
  • Connect in meaningful ways with the world around them
  • Understand structure of sentences, paragraphs, essays, stories
  • Have ownership of their writing
  • Learn grammar rules and use them well

Okay, maybe those aren't yet measurable. I'm a filthy liar, what can I say?  I'll get right on that.

 

What the heck are they gonna write?

Here's what I've got so far.  I've included some links for your inspiration.

 

Monthly Newsletter

I came up with this when doing my round up of Back to School ideas.

Create a monthly newsletter.

What a cool way to help our parents and family connect with my children!

  • Share things they've written over the month: poems, stories, papers, etc.
  • Gymnastics and piano updates
  • Share a funny story that happened
  • Share a field trip experience
  • Let them know what's planned for next month.

The possibilities are endless!

I can't wait to start this up. I'll have this blog post to keep me accountable (Hi Mom)!

 

Poems

I'm not a big poetry person. I have nothing against it.

Wait... I lied (again), I do remember a stint back in college where I wrote a ton of poetry. It was awesome. I still remember a poem I wrote and gave to a guy (who broke up with me the day after I gave it to him - guess it was creepy :/ ).

 

Okay, I like some  poetry.

It would be fun for the kids to write acrostic poems for holidays, or just any other type of poems for holidays. I remember learning about haiku and thinking they were pretty cool. They might be a bit young for them this year, but it's on my to-teach list.

 

Letters, Postcards, Pen Pals

We'll write letters to family members. We have a billion of them. They could write one a week and still not get to all of them!

They can write letters to companies they love: LEGO, Hasbro, Barbie, American Girls, Disney characters (send it self addressed and they'll write you back), etc.

They could write the President, the Mayor, the Governor of Oregon, etc. Anyone of influence, anyone they admire.

We could do this!

I found a homeschooling pen pal group. I'm sure there are more if I just Google it!

*Side note - where would be without Google? Probably still stuck in the early 90's. (Fun fact, they started Sept 4, 1998)

 

Essays, Research Papers

We actually have a separate time set aside to do this kind of writing that we'll be using for KONOS.

They will have a separate paper they'll write based on a subject they're interested in. Maybe they want to write about creating board games, a famous gymnast, etc, etc.

 

Journals

I found this pretty cool Q&A book.

I also found this awesome idea. I bought the index cards, then realized they're the wrong size. But I haven't figured out a container for them.

The oldest 2 have composition notebooks I'll have them decorate and use as journals. I'm not sure if I want to do both the index cards and the bigger journals.

What do you think?

 

Stories

  • My book of writing prompts. Here are some other ones.
  • We made story stones last year that they can use to come up with a story.
  • Find a picture we like and then each create our own stories about it.
  • Story Cubes.
  • Short ones, long ones, and itty bitty ones.

I was at a teacher conference this last week and they had a great idea of modeling your own story after another book we read.

For instance, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carlyle. We could write our own book about what so and so sees and model it in the same style. Find a fairy tale -- like Cinderella and write it from someone else's perspective. The possibilities are mind boggling. And thrilling!

 

We'll be making our own books! I've got some blank books for us to use and we'll make some more as an art project as well.

Emails

It could be fun for me to set up an email account for the kids and have them email friends and family. I'd keep it safe and it's good typing practice.

 

Their own dictionary

We'll create our own dictionaries from our this year's vocab words.

I'm not sure how to do it in a way to keep it alphabetical. Maybe type it out instead of hand write it? Or just a page for each letter and not worry about alphabetical order. Any ideas?

 

Scripts for their videos

My kids loooove YouTube. My sons watch video game tutorials and reviews. They watch board game tutorials and reviews. They watch LEGO reviews and videos. My oldest daughter watches makeup tutorials, Littlest Pet Shop stories, and baking tutorials.

They are always pretending to make their own. Now they can!

They will write their own scripts for a review or tutorial. They also can write plays for their toys to act out and for them to act out.  I'll keep the videos private and share every once in a while.

 

Rules for their games

My kids, especially TC, love to make up their own games. TC will draw out his own board games. It's awesome. He'll come up with the rules as well. Now he'll write those rules down and really think about them and how they'll work out.

 

Setting it all up

I've created a writing station (inspired by this one) in our homeschool closet! I just set it up yesterday and it hasn't been road tested, but that's okay! I'll tweak it if necessary!

 

writing center 1a

 

1 = Bulletin board with writing resources.

2 = Letter writing materials, dictionary, thesaurus, addresses, cute mailboxes for their own notes to each other.

3 = White stack of blank books, caddies to carry supplies, silver box filled with pre-made homemade cards for holidays, brown box holds our AAS materials.

 

writing center 2a

 

1 = Letter and envelope guides, alphabet strips (can be taken to seat) and chart, and stamps.

2 = List of people they can write, folder of various book report pages.

3 = place to put our unit's vocabulary and cool printable to help teach them how to self edit.

 

writing center 3a

1 = Lots of paper.

2 = Reference books and eventually books we're currently reading.

3 = Various books sorted by level.

4 = Harry Potter and American Girls!

5 = Some of our art supplies.

6 = Learning materials for Sweet Cheeks.

7 = MathUSee blocks and white boards.

 

Picking what we'll do

I've blocked out 30 minutes every morning for the kids to work on writing.

On Mondays I will have an extra hour blocked out as well for writing.

 

I'm not exactly firm on how we'll plan the projects. Perhaps devote one writing project to one week.

For instance, if they're writing a story, give them every morning to work on it and extra time during Monday's hour block. If they finish it earlier they work on something else, of course.

Depending on the project they may not need a whole week to get it done.

I'm going to be somewhat flexible with the timing.  I will need some control over the projects or else we'd probably only be writing scripts for their videos.

I'll think about this more as we go and come up with a solid plan, but a loose schedule.

 

When thinking about our new writing plan I feel like this guy:

 

♥ Rochelle

Tell me your ideas!

What am I missing?

What have you tried that your kids loved?

What didn't work?

Follow Rochelle Barlow's board Homeschool + Writing and Reading on Pinterest. Check out my Pinterest board for Reading and Writing ideas. I'll be adding to this board all year long!

Gifs via Reactiongifs

This post contains affiliate links. This do not effect the price for you at all. They earn me a tiny commission (which goes towards school supplies) should you decide to purchase any of the items ! See full disclosure.

7 Tips For a Successful Writing Retreat

ashland writers retreat For my birthday my husband gifted me with a writing retreat.

 

I had one for my Mother's Day gift, and it was glorious.  Having done one I was even more prepared for my second one.

 

It was a DIY writing retreat, not anything fanciful and expensive.  You don't have to blow a ton of money for the best retreat possible.

 

[Tweet "Planning a writing retreat? Here are 7 tips for you."]

 

You want to make it as successful and efficient as possible.

 

1. Reservations 

This may be obvious, but I didn't make them this last time, so I wound up in a less expensive, but also less nice hotel for my stay.  Make sure your room has Wifi, table/desk, good lighting, thick walls, comfy bed, a mini fridge, and a microwave.

 

in the hotel

 

The place I wound up had all of those except good lighting and thick walls. It was not my favorite thing overhearing my neighbors through the night, though I suppose I could use some of it in my novel.

 

2. Food

This is why it's good to have the mini fridge and microwave.  The first time I brought some yummy food from home.  This last time I bought some snacks at the store to bring. I recommend some favorites and make sure you've got both junk food and healthy snacks.

 

pull n peel face

 

You want stuff that will keep you energized, alert, and focused!

 

3. Materials

I brought my laptop, my tablet, my phone, notebooks, note cards, mini notebooks, pens, pencils, chargers for all devices, USB, and my writing books (or at least my favorite ones).

 

I made sure I had everything I could possibly need so that when I wanted to sit down to work I wouldn't have anything keeping me from getting my writing done.

 

3.  Schedule

Not a minute by minute schedule, unless that works best for you.  I had my arrival time, and I knew what I'd be doing that first afternoon and night. Then I had my schedule for the next day.

 

ashland streets collage

 

My first day I walked around the city for some decompressing from my daily life.  I got lost in my mind and in the shops and people around town.  I got some food, I took pictures.  Then I went back to the hotel and got to work.  The next morning I had a tour scheduled at the local theater and then work time.

 

4. Preparations 

The whole week before my retreat I did some prep work.  There were some structural things I needed to work on so I read two of my favorite books on structure to get my brain working in the direction.  I took copious notes for reference as well.

 

I sketched out things that I really needed and wanted to work out and write.  There were some things that demanded my attention before I could continue on with the story. At home, my life is so here and there and everywhere it has been hard for me to scratch out a huge block of time to tackle these harder items. My retreat was the perfect time!  The only distraction I would have would be my own wandering mind.

 

5.  Sleep

I don't mean sleep while you're there.  You need to make sure you're as caught up on your sleep as you can possibly be. In my world, that's getting 6 hours of sleep a night instead of 5.  It's not much better, but it's a step in the right direction. I even took a nap on Friday when the kids were napping.

 

1 am

 

Being tired was definitely something I struggled with when I was out there this time.  My first retreat I stayed up until 4 AM working and the next day I woke up at 9 AM and wrote until 9 PM.  It was glorious.  This time I went to bed at 1 AM (and felt guilty for it) and then woke up early to check out and make it to my tour. When I was writing there was a good chunk of time that I was fighting sleep. I just wanted to rest my head on my desk   *sigh*  but I pushed through and was rewarded for it.

 

6. Know your location

The first time I was on my retreat I spent an hour in my hotel room studying  some complimentary city maps. I planned my routes everywhere.  It's a smaller city, and you mostly get around by walking.  You just find some place to park and then hoof it the rest of the day.

 

ashland shop collage

 

Well, if you're in a 2 hour spot you'll have to go back and find a different one.  That first trip out I spent a lot of time walking around really getting to know the city's ins and outs.  What the locals do, the short cuts everywhere.  Everything I could.  My book is based in this city so it is partly research.

 

ashland park Collage

 

I figured out the best places to eat, the best places to write, where I could plug in, where I shouldn't go.  If I needed to bring a sweater because it was cold.  Where the best parking places were. There is a 4 hour parking lot and there are some awesome side streets to park on that some people haven't discovered yet!

 

This last trip I knew right where to go. Which streets to walk on, park on, etc.  It was very efficient and I felt like a local.

 

7.  Plan

I knew exactly what I would be working on Friday night.  I was working on all my major plot points and my world building.  Saturday I had some research done via a tour. Then I had the rest of my afternoon planned out from 12 - 9 PM when it was probably a good idea for me to walk back to my car before any crazies started popping out on the street. I spent that time planning my scenes and more world building.

 

ashland osf collage

 

I had a plan for what I'd work on and I had a back up plan.

 

I also had a plan for where I'd be working.  There is a local university that has a student center that is supposed to be open on Saturdays.  They lie. They lie like filthy animals.  I had parked on this awesome side street, walked 3/4 of a mile to the center (in the rain) and all the doors were locked.  Each door boasted that they were open Saturdays from 9 AM - 6 PM.  Filthy filthy liars.

 

Back to my car I went, praying the whole way I wouldn't wet my pants.  My bladder isn't that strong after having 4 kids and holding it halfway through the tour.  I drove to another side street and walked another 1/2 mile to the local library.  Yes, I did go to the bathroom. I also found a perfect spot.  It was a lovely desk all to myself by the window.

 

view out window

 

The window did provide a few moments of distraction for me though.  I was at the library until it closed (5 PM) and then I walked to a restaurant, ate and wrote there until I felt guilty for taking up a table. Then I headed to Starbucks and parked it at a table until dark and headed home.

 

I'm so glad I had a back up plan for that stupid student center or else I would've been in trouble.  I couldn't have written outside since it was raining off and on all day.

 

 

For my next trip

 

I wouldn't do anything different except get more sleep and save up some money to stay two nights in a row.

 

That would be harder for me to do since I would have to find someone brave enough to watch all four of my kids for one of the days while my husband was at work.

 

These short trips are perfect for once a quarter and then I could do a longer retreat one to two times a year.

 

 

[Tweet "Here are 7 tips for a successful writing retreat"]

 

Your Turn

Have you been on a writing or work retreat before?  What are some tips that you have found to be helpful?

 

 

 This Friday I'll have a fun surprise for y'all!  Get excited!!

What ASL Can Teach Us About Writing

490806286_45617d8c53_o  

ASL can teach me about writing?

 

No, I have not been sniffing glue.

 

American Sign Language is a vibrant and engaging language. There is such freedom in the way you use the language to communicate and express yourself.  If you know the rules you can shape the things you say to your liking.

 

I'll show ya.

 

You want to say you're confused. You could:

  • sign the word confuse
  • sign a question mark
  • sign it's over your head
  • sign a question mark at your forehead and look really confused (take your index finger and hook it like a question mark right at the front of your forehead)
  • If you're really really confused you can take all 5 fingers of one hand and sign questions marks with all 5 at your forehead.  Mega confusion!  You add in some crazy facial expressions and they know that you're crazy confused.
  • sign you don't understand and some combination of the signs if you feel so inclined.

 

[video width="640" height="480" wmv="http://rochellebarlow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Video_00006.wmv"][/video]

 I threw this video together so you could see what I was talking about.  My toddler was desperate to get on camera so I had to rush it and couldn't redo it.  

When you sign something is large you not only show that with your signs and classifiers you show it with your face.  You puff out your cheeks, you open your mouth to make the CHA sound. You frequently will hear people signing as much as you see them.  When you sign something is tiny you can kind of fold your body in, squint your eyes, pinch your mouth together and get really close to your hands.  Ya know, get small.

 

[video width="640" height="480" wmv="http://rochellebarlow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Video_00008.wmv"][/video]

 

When I interpret I often wind up making sound effects.  I'll say it's like you know, CHA, and making explosion sounds, or making my voice baby tiny squeaky.  It makes it more fun that way, right?!

 

You can change the pace: zip through them or slo-o-o-o-w down. You can change the meaning of a sign or emphasize a sign. You can get really big and all up in their grill or small to create mood, show emotion, and convey attitude.

 

3256729969_1e922b01e6_o

 

Now how does all this help with writing?

 

[Tweet "Can ASL really help with writing?"]

 

Word choice.

 

There's so many ways to say one thing.  You can take the language we have and shape it to communicate our message.  You can say confused, but there's innumerable ways to say or show confusion.  It's that whole show versus tell thing again.

 

Can you manipulate your words to convey what you want to say in a unique and fun way?  I'm sure you can think of amazing writers that have this gift to bend words into beautiful profound prose.  It doesn't have to be beautiful. You want just enough to blow people's undies off.  In a good way.  Not a creepy-sick way.

 

Sound effects are really effective as well.

 

I like to think of that scene with Mrs White in Clue.  Yes, the flames on the side of her face, but also that part where she says Pfft.  She does a reverse raspberry (I prefer the term zerbert, but I'll conform just for you).  It stands out in the audience's mind and adds an element that otherwise wouldn't have been there.

 

Facial expressions are vital.

 

4146942636_f01e42e739_o

 

You can show confusion with a raised eyebrow, a blank stare, an open mouth, or some kind of combination of all three.  In conversation it is important to have expressions to follow along with.

 

When you are in a conversation with someone what things indicate they are listening to you?  Understanding you?  Interested? Bored? Doubtful?

 

You use these subtle (sometimes not so subtle) cues to guide your conversation.  If they seem like they're not paying attention you start talking crazy:  "I just killed 20 people and ate my own boogers."  They're still not listening?  Kick it up a notch or find someone else to talk to.

 

3716224915_b5e91ca011_o

 

490807618_947010eba8_o

They're distracted by someone behind you?  You'll probably turn around to see what it is.  They look doubtful you'll probably start defending yourself or over-explaining.

 

In a story these cues are just as vital to the reader.

 

 

 

Add on to facial expressions with body language.

 

We all use body language to tell our true meaning.  You've heard those studies. We communicate 55% with our bod,y 38% with our tone (or in ASL, your face and hands), and 7% with our words.  Are you keeping true to this in your story?

 

Body language is another engaging way to pull the reader in and to connect with your characters and set the mood.

 

5815349222_4d94f34466_o

 

You can show confidence, irritation, anger, excitement, nervousness, and worry with the body.

 

With ASL you really learn to key in to other people's movements and face even when they're not signing at all.  In writing I think it's important for it to be natural and subtle. Then at other times to be in your reader's face with emotion and attitude.

 

Character Development

 

2566059787_0f1a80a9f5_o

 

Does your character have a tic unique to them?  For instance, when my husband is nervous about something he touches his earlobe.  I have no idea why he does it and he doesn't even know he does it.  {Sorry babe}

 

Does your character show his emotions in a certain way.  I may show nervousness one way, but Johnny shows it differently.  Maybe I'm obvious: shaking voice, wringing and shaking my hands, pacing, and sweaty.  Johnny is more subtle: eyes dart around and he cracks his knuckles.

 

Maybe your character has a weird quirk.  Since I outed my husband it's only fair that I share something embarrassing as well.

 

Whenever I feel any intense emotion: nervous, anger, excitement, sad, or any extreme temperature I get so sweaty.  Just my underarms.  No other place.  It doesn't matter how much deodorant I used.  It doesn't matter if I just got out of the shower (I can sweat in the shower), it doesn't matter that I use prescription deo. I will sweat. It won't be pretty.  I think I can even sweat when I feel extreme boredom.  Thank goodness I'm rarely bored.

 

That was more than you wanted to know about me.  Sorry.

 

Can you still look me in the eyes?  Why did I confess this ridiculous physical issue?  So you'll be my friend out of pity!? Yes! I mean, no. I did it so you can see that these things are important for your characters to be real people.

 

Your other characters will notice these things about each other.  If there's pit stains on a shirt it'll show up.

 

Your character will base their choices around these things.  Do I wear gray shirts?  Not frequently.  If I am going to be in a situation where I know I'll be hot/cold/full of emotion I will make sure my shirt won't show sweat puddles (loose and gauzy).

 

Your character will be aware or even paranoid.  I've had to sign and had sweat issues going on.  I'm going to be moving my arms around all sorts!  What am I going to do?  Go to the bathroom and put squares of paper towels in my underarms to try and soak up sweat and prevent more sweat.   Gross!  Now you really can't look me in the eye.  Don't judge.  Desperate times people, desperate times.

 

ASL can teach us something about writing.  We may have already known these things and that's okay.  ASL has taught us its true importance to include these various elements in our stories and in our characters for a rich story.  Bonus: you learned some weird things about me and some fun things about ASL.

 

P.S. I have a character that is Deaf in my novel. When I have her in dialogue I do not write it out in gloss -- meaning written ASL. Example: I STORE GO I   Yes, it's in all caps.  I do not write it out like I store go I either.  I don't put it in italics as I have seen one author do.  It's not a thought, it's dialogue.  I write it like so, "I'm going to the store." she signed.  If it's a conversation I don't add the dialogue tag she/he signed each time, just as you wouldn't with he/she said.

 

If it's ever good for the story I will show a sign.

 

Writing Prompt

 

Pick one of the pictures in this post and write a scene about it.  Use the above techniques and the other ones you keep in your tool belt.

 

[Tweet " ASL really can teach me how to write richer scenes and characters."]

If you enjoyed the post, please consider sharing it with your writer friends!

 

Question for ya:

Caption one of the photos for fun! Put your awesome caption in the comments below!

 

Did I miss anything?  What element listed here do you think you could implement  in your writing?

 

 

Featured Image Photo Source: Luca Cerabona

Can't Keep Up? Streamline Your Writing Time

You have this grand idea, this story, this thing living inside you (not an alien), yet you aren't getting it out of you the way you envision.  

You can't stop thinking about it.  So, why isn't it coming to fruition?

 

What's missing?

 

A schedule.

 

 

Now, before you roll your eyes and throw your pen at your screen, hear me out.

 

Yes, a schedule is what you're missing.

 

But, but, but Rochelle!  A schedule doesn't work for me!

 

Okay, dearie, we'll talk about it.  Just give me a second and I need you to put your big-kid undies on.

 

I understand, I really do.  I'm one of those people that take on way more than they can actually do all at once.  I love it.  And then I crash and burn.  I'll map out this dream-world schedule and then never look at it again.  That's lame.  Here's what I've figured out since then.

 

Why it's important

You do know why it's good for you, right?

 

If I want to write a great novel, or a great blog post, or a great book about marsupials then won't I need just the tools, the know-how, and the desire?  You do need those.  But if you're just trying to do it all when you're struck with inspiration or have a bit of time in your busy day, then you won't write consistently, and you won't be where you want to be in a month or a year's time.  Then you'll scowl at yourself and throw a tantrum like my children sometimes do (not pretty) and no one will be happy.  Not you, not me, and not anyone near you when this tantrum is taking place.  Then you'll regress into this cycle of self-loathing and resentment.  But I have a cure for that!

 

There's my son, right about to go into a full-blown tantrum. Take cover!

 

 

[Tweet "Scheduling writing time prevents tantrums."]

 

But schedules are so rigid and unfeeling

That's very true.  If you are a fly-by-your-pants type of person then you may find schedules to be too binding.  I tend to be that way.

 

You've probably heard of routines.

 

They are lovely.  I do these in many aspects of my life.  For working, cleaning, home schooling, writing, and any other obligation I have.

 

What's the difference?

 

A schedule looks like this:

7 am: Wake

7:15 - shower and get ready

8 - breakfast

8:30 - leave for work

etc.

 

A routine looks like this:

  • Wake up
  • shower, get ready
  • breakfast
  • chores

 

You can do most of these out of order (except you have to wake up first).  You just have blocks of time that you need to accomplish these items, or they could be just do it sometime today.

 

Pick whichever one works best for you.

 

I am a hybrid.  I need a schedule for certain things and a routine for the rest.  The things I really don't want to do I have to put into a routine or I'll never do them.  Like cleaning.  Ugh, I hate cleaning. If I say I have to do wash the dishes and sweep the floor and start a load of laundry right after breakfast I'll punch someone in the throat then I won't clean until someone is coming over next month.  If I say, you have these to do as your morning routine then I can do that because it feels less like my mom is forcing me and more like a choice.

 

A hybrid would look like this:

7:30 - wake up

Morning Routine

10:30 - calls to Jones and Montoya

11:15 - email Martin and Johns

12 - lunch

Afternoon Routine

5:30 - make dinner

6 - eat dinner

6:30 - clean up dinner

7 - family time

Evening Routine

 

You list out the items that would be in each routine block.   Or you could have one routine for the whole day and then just do those as you go.

 

I have fiddled with my writing schedule/routine and think I have what I like.  I am still tweaking it a bit here and there.

 

[Tweet "Schedule or Routine? Which do you prefer?"]

 

 Time of day

Now you need to pick the best time of day for writing.

 

clock

 

When do you have a moment to yourself?  Never!?  Well, you'll need to make one then.  Can you wake up earlier?  I can't, so this is a no-go for me.  This would be a quick trip to failure land.  Have time free at lunch?  In the afternoon?  After everyone is in bed?  Hey!  Right after dinner you could take off and write and let everyone else clean up the mess!  Yes!  Perfect.

[Tweet "When is your favorite time of day to write?"]

 

How long?

Well, how long are you going to write for?  5 minutes, 10, an hour, two hours?  Make it realistic and attainable.  If you're swamped every day then don't put in a 3 hour block.  Perhaps you have a really long Tuesday, but your Monday and Wednesday is more open.  Schedule 3o minutes on Tuesday and then 1 - 2 hours for your Monday and Wednesday.

 

You need to schedule some time every day, no matter what.  But you don't have to set yourself up to fail with something that's never going to happen.

 

If you're a word count kind of person, then set a word count goal for each writing session.  Again, tailor it towards your time available.

 

One or chunks?

No, I'm not talking about tossing your cookies.  That's no fun.

 

Would it better if you schedule one writing time per day or a few different times throughout the day?

 

Now, I know I just said you need to schedule time every day, and I do think that's true, but I have heard of some people that schedule marathon sessions over the weekend instead of shorter sprints throughout the week.  That's what works for them.

 

schedule combo

Here's my schedule/routine.  My green blocks of time are when I am transcribing live University classes which means that is a set schedule. Mealtime is scheduled but can be flexible, depending on my children's appetite that day.  My blocks of Home Schooling are a set time, but it is a routine and not an exact scheduled out block of time.  Sometimes that block might be science and history, sometimes art and math.  Just depends on what we're doing that day. I have times dedicated to blogging and writing, but when I have a moment otherwise I'll either be napping or fitting in more writing time.

 

The orange blocks say Blog, but that also includes Writing. I think this schedule that I took a screen shot of just didn't have the blocks filled in with writing and I'm too lazy to go back and screenshot a different day with the correct heading in the orange blocks.  I see the color orange and know that means to get out my laptop, notebook, and pen and get to work.

 

What's clear to me is that I need to give something up to make way for a little more free time!

 

In the end

 

You need to find out what works best for you.  Don't do what I'm doing or what Speedy Gonzales  is doing, or Betty Boop is doing.  Do what works for you and your lifestyle.  If you don't it'll never work for you, no matter how color-coded and pretty you make it look.

 

What kind of schedule or routine do you use?  When is your favorite time of day to write?

 

If you enjoyed this post please Tweet about it!

[Tweet "Streamline your writing time with these tips."]

 

Then sign up to keep up!

[yks-mailchimp-list id="0accab85e8"]

 

How to Take Charge of Your Self-Doubt Part 3

This is Part 3 in a 3-part series.  Here is Part 1 and Part 2

 

Source: Amy Wilblanks http://www.flickr.com/photos/arazas/

 

Self-doubt does not need to come between us and our dreams.

 

We can take back control over our fears and doubt.

 

In Part 1 you figured out where your self-doubt was stemming from.  In Part 2 you learned how to differentiate between a thought and a feeling and why that's important.

 

[Tweet "Laughter is poison to fear. ~ George R.R. Martin"]

 

Now we'll finish it up with some of the best tools.

 

Act as though you already are

 

What is your dream?  Okay, that's great!  Now you act as though that already is true.  Let's try one together.  I want to be a best-selling author (It's true, I do).  What does a best-selling author do?  Besides sign books?  Ha!

They write.

They read.

They promote.

They blog.

They are involved in their community.

They are involved in many online communities.

They help others.

What else am I missing?

 

I could break that down even further to really get into the nitty gritty.  I could look at what some of my favorite authors do and emulate them.  I won't go walking around offering to sign books (after all I wouldn't be signing mine just yet), but I will walk around telling myself and others that I am a writer, an author. I will tell myself that my writing is best-selling-book-grade writing.  What!

 

You want to be a painter?  Bam! You are.  You want to be a coach?  Bam! You are.  A proctologist?  Bam!  An esthetician?  Bam!  Of course, don't go operating on people if you haven't graduated yet.  You may have several steps to go to actually get there, but you tell yourself you're there and you'll start to believe it.

 

 

Source: Symphony of Love http://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/

 

 

The mind is a funny thing.  As a kid I would tell some made up story so much that over time I actually believed it was true.  Some of my childhood memories I don't even know if they ever happened.  I could have easily passed a lie detector test in the midst of an outlandish lie (I told some doozies -- I'll save that humiliation for another post) easily because I believed what I was saying.

 

Don't lie to yourself, but tell yourself you are that someone that you want to be often enough and you'll believe  (clap your hands if you believe in fairies).

 

Wait!

Did you see that heading up there?  It said act as though you are, not just say that you are.  That's a big difference.  Our actions and in-actions, our choices, are what shape our lives.  If we want a full, rich, meaningful life, we need to make choices and then follow them up with the actual doing part.

 

choices

 

The 3 tools of fear

 

tools of fear

 

1.  Discouragement

Something happens to us, or doesn't happen, and we're discouraged.  Maybe we didn't get as many page views or comments on our blog as we were hoping for.  Maybe we got a bad review, or someone unsubscribed.  An opportunity didn't work out. Or maybe someone did the same thing as you, but they succeeded when you didn't.

 

Talk about lame.  That hurts.  You try and you skin your knees.

 

Source: Massdistraction http://www.flickr.com/photos/sharynmorrow/

 

2.  Doubt

That's what this is all about: self-doubt.  You are discouraged and then you begin to doubt yourself, doubt your abilities, others, or even God (or whatever higher power you believe in). It's gone from "gosh, it didn't work out" to "it's just not possible."

 

This is even worse.  You don't think you'll be successful.  You don't think you can actually write, blog, paint, dance, coach, teach, operate, etc.

 

 

3.  Despair

This is the lowest level.  You say to yourself,  I'll never be able to do anything good.  I'll never amount to anything.  No one loves me, no one cares about me, I don't deserve to be loved or happy.  I'm a total screw up.  Nothing I want to do works out and nothing ever will.

 

This is heartbreaking.  This isn't where you want to be.  You'll never be able to do anything that brings you joy if you are in this stage beating yourself up.  No one deserves to be told this.  Ever.  Even those poor people that try out for some reality competition show that really can't dance or sing or whatever.  They may not be great at those things, but they are great at something.  Everyone is great at something.

 

Source: Mourner http://www.flickr.com/photos/mourner/

 

What do you do when you find yourself in any of these stages?  What do you do when you feel stuck?

 

The 3 tools of confidence

 

1.  Hope and Trust.

 

hope quote

 

Have hope in yourself and your abilities.

 

Have hope in others.

 

Your family, your friends, and other people out there in the world sincerely want to help you, guide you, and teach you.  They are there!  Since blogging I have found so many people out in the blogging community that truly care about helping me to succeed and to grow.  I am blown away by their sincerity and their advice.  There are others that you know that care about you.

 

Most of all, trust yourself.  Have faith and hope in your abilities.  Go back to your Part 1 exercises or start over again.  What are you thinking and feeling (part 2)?  Let's replace the negative thoughts and feelings with something a lot more realistic, logical, helpful, positive, and true.

 

thought progression

 

2.  Service.

Most of the time when we are stuck in a vortex of negative thinking it's because we are thinking of only ourselves.  We're on Me Planet. Captain You Planet (you can watch the whole video, it's hilarious, but the Cpt You Planet part starts at 3:53).

 

The best way to stop thinking about ourselves is to think about others.

 

Is there a charity that means a lot to you?  Is there a charity in your community that needs help, even if you don't know anything about it?

 

Is there someone - a family member, friend, neighbor, or stranger - that needs help?  It doesn't have to be major.  In fact, it's those little somethings that bring the biggest smiles.

 

Someone just had surgery or a baby?  Bring them a meal.  Someone just lost their pet? What could you do for them?  A stranger needs help jump starting their car, or a friendly or encouraging smile.  A friend needs a break from her kids, or needs help organizing her closet, or folding her laundry.  Maybe your brother needs a night out.  Maybe his job is stressing him out.

 

Source: Rosie O'Breine http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosieobeirne/

 

The more we think of ways to help others the better you'll feel.  Weird isn't it?  You help others with their issues and the joy you feel gets deep inside your heart and sets roots.  You will feel encouraged and lightened, even if you weren't directly working on your problem.  You never know, maybe someone you help can in turn help you in other ways.

 

We need to get out of our way and realize that the world doesn't revolve around us.  This world is a community.  We each do better by helping others do better.

 

3.  Meditation.

I'm not saying you should sit on the ground, ankles crossed, fingers pinched and say "omm" over and over again.  You can if you want to though!  Take time every day.  In the morning, in the afternoon, at the close of your day.  Take some time to just sit and think. Or not think.

 

Photo source: Moyan Brenn http://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/ Quote addition: Me!

 

Just be still and quiet and at peace for a time.  If you are going to think, think of positive action oriented things.  Think of the good in your life, think of the positive steps you're taking.  Celebrate your successes.  Brainstorm ways you could tweak something you've been working on.  Give yourself a break.  Do you need help? Where could you go to get help?  Who could you go to?  If you are religious, say a prayer from the heart.

 

{Tweet "Courage is fear that has said its prayers. ~ Dorothy Bernard"]

 

easelly_visual

 

Gratitude

Be grateful for what you have, no matter how small.  Just like the song from White Christmas, count your blessings.

 

The place you live in, your comfy bed, your food, your job, your ability to read, your freedom, the mountains, the sun, the stars, your favorite candy, water, toothpaste, and on and on and on.

 

[Tweet "When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears. ~ Anthony Robbins"]

 

Here's another challenge for you: keep a gratitude journal.   I kept a gratitude journal a few years back when I was having a hard time and it changed my outlook within days.  I listed the big to the mundane.  I thought of everything I could in one sitting each day.  Even if it takes a while to get rolling  just write until either your hand or your brain is dead.  Keep a gratitude journal for at least one week, that's 7 days folks!  That's not too rough.

 

In the end...

 

I have really enjoyed writing this series and I hope that it has helped you.  We do not have to let self-doubt keep us from living and being happy.  You ought to be confident and hopeful.  You have so much to offer.  Self-doubt can come and go in cycles.  You may be feeling great now (yay), but then for whatever reason hit a slump.  That's okay.  Stand up, read these posts again, and get back to work.  If you need me, I'm here!

 

Source: Always Thirteen http://www.flickr.com/photos/dlba13/

 

Your Turn

 

What things have you done that have helped you let go of your self-doubt?  Let us know some new strategies in the comments.  Also, I'd love to hear your thoughts on these latest steps.

 

[Tweet "Take charge of your self-doubt now!"]

 

 

 

 

 

Stage Makeup 101

Ever watched a play or movie and thought, I want to know how they make them look like that (and not with CG)?  Want to know how you can rock the best Halloween makeup ever?  

Why do I need stage makeup?

  • Great Halloween costumes
  • Dress-up for kids
  • Pranks! (think wounds and scary stuff)
  • New hobby
  • Become your favorite movie/book/show character for fun
  • Get involved in local community theatre
  • New profession

 

Let's get started already!

 

To Read and Watch

 

stage makeup book

 

Supplies Needed

 

Ben Nye bruise wheel

 

Makeup

There is creme and cake makeup.

 

Creme you apply directly to the face via fingers, sponge, or brush.  You can mix shades on the back of your hand (a great place!) or in a palette to get the right shade.  You then set lightly with powder.

 

Cake makeup you dampen the sponge. Too little and the color won't come off the sponge onto your surface.  Too damp and it'll run.  You may need to experiment with it.

 

Eye shadow, blush, bronzers, mascara, and lipstick - enough said.

 

Concealers and tattoo covers.  These are heavy duty.  They'll cover up birth marks, 5 o'clock shadows, blemishes, and tattoos.  If you used them in daily life though you'd look funny.  But on stage or in a movie, you're gold.

 

Appliance Makeup

These are used over prosthetics using liquid latex, derma wax, nose putty, and gelatin.  You use a red rubber sponge to stipple or press the paint on, never rub.  It goes on smooth, keeps its color, and doesn't absorb onto the surface.

 

Airbrush paints

They can be used to cover up imperfections, used as body makeup, make thin hair look thick, make tattoos, cover up latex and prosthetic.  I won't be going into airbrushing techniques because, well, I don't have the tools for it.  Sorry!

 

You can use creme and cake together but you have to be careful.  You can do cake then add creme parts on top. Or use creme and then use cake to tone it down.  Or creme highlights and cake shadows.  If you want it really intense, use cake and then cover it all up with creme.

[Tweet "Getting into character is easy and fun."]

 

Get Into Character

 

Disclaimer: #1 The woman in the picture isn't me, #2 This isn't about ugly v beautiful, this is about altering our face to be someone else for fun!

 

face divided

 

 

The face is divided into 3 parts:

  1. from hairline to eye brows
  2. from eyebrows to the bottom of the nose
  3. from the bottom of the nose to the bottom of the chin

 

Highlight and Shading Rule: Light colors reflect light and attract the eye and dark colors absorb light and attract less attention.

 

Forehead

 

You want to make the forehead look lower?  Use a foundation color that is 2-3 shades darker than the face.  Blend it downwards into the face from the hairline so that you can't see where it ends and the normal color begins.

 

Want a higher forehead?  Do the opposite.  Use a lighter color and blend upwards into the hairline.

 

A narrow forehead is made by shadowing the temples and blending it into the forehead.  A wider forehead by highlighting the temples into the hairline.

 

If the forehead is too prominent put shadow of them and then highlight the depressed areas.  No more neanderthal head!

 

 

Left it darker so you can see where it should be placed

 

Nose Goes

 

You want it shorter, shade under the tip and bring it over the tip. You can add a highlight at the top of the nose as well.

 

For a longer nose take the highlight from the top of the nose all the way down and under the tip.  Same principles from above apply.

 

Narrow nose, shade the sides.  Wider nose, highlight the sides.  If it's crooked, do a narrow highlight down the nose and shadow on the crooked looking parts.

 

Remember, in real life you blend!

 

Chin and Jaw

Do the same ideas with this area.  Shade what you don't want people to notice and highlight what you want people to notice more.  Double chin?  Shadow!

 

Wrinkles

Wrinkles can't be hidden completely.  Sorry.  You can highlight the natural shadows and shadow the highlight.  Same idea for bags under the eyes.

 

wrinkles

 

Eye-Spy

 

Want them closer together?  Shade the place where the eye socket and nose meet.  Pencil in the start of the eyebrow more, extend it further into the nose area.  Line the top lid, the inner corner and just a portion of the lower lid, at the corner.

 

Further apart? Pencil in the brow, a bit more at the tip.  Line the top lid and extend it out beyond the lash line.  line the lower lid, outside portion of the lid.

 

To turn the eye up shade up from the outer corner, same with eyeshadow in the crease.  To turn the lid down extend the line down and same with the eyeshadow.   Highlighting around the eye make it smaller.  Shading the eye and darkening it, and extending the brow make it larger.

 

wider set eyes

 

 Cheeks

Want thinner cheeks? The part that is too round should be shaded.  Want round cheeks? Highlight them.   Place blush on the cheekbone.  You can also place it in various locations for additional shaping.  Under cheekbones to hallow them.  Nearer the ears (and away from nose) to widen the face, nearer the nose (and away from ears) to narrow the face.

 

full cheeks

 

Lips

For women you can change lip shape by over-painting.  That means you take your lip pencil and draw the shape and size you want.  Then fill it in.  Only do this to men if it will look natural!  To define your upper lip add a thin highlight above the lip line.

 

Thinner?  Cover with foundation. then use lip color (not deep colors) inside the lip and fade out into foundation.

 

Narrower?  Place lip color in the center of your lips and use foundation on the outer corners.

 

Wider?  This is hard to remedy naturally.  Extend the lip color to the extremes of the lips, especially the upper lip.  Don't turn it into a cartoon (unless that's what you're gong for).

 

 

full lips

 

Put it Into Practice

 

Now we have the foundations down.  You can add these all together to create a different face shape for yourself or for your character.  If you don't have professional makeup, you can still use regular makeup, just make sure you get a good shadow and highlight color.  You don't want shimmery stuff, just a nice matte or regular sheen to it.  Good coverage = no tinted moisturizer!

 

whole face

 

Try These Combos

  • High, wide forehead. Pinched chin. Thin lips, wide eye set eyes. Short thin nose.   Thin cheeks
  • Low, wide forehead. Rounded jawline, cleft chin. Full lower lip, thin upper lip.  Small eyes, large nose.
  • Narrow, medium height forehead.  Square jawline, pointed chin - heart shaped. Full upper lip, normal lower lip.  Large eyes, close together.  Full cheeks. Narrow nose.

 

Did you have fun?

 

 

before and after 2

 

Next week we'll do something fun!  Maybe scabs and wounds, or what we look like old.  If you're already old I didn't just say that.  If you want one over the other, please comment below.  Stay tuned to see which one is picked!

 

How to Take Charge of Your Self-Doubt Part 2

This is Part 2 in a 3 part series.  If you missed Part 1 go read it, then come back. I won't go anywhere without you!

You're still alive!  I didn't have to put you on sui-watch after Part 1!  I have fun stories about putting people on sui-watch.

 

Self-doubt is a pesky thing I'd like to take a pick ax to.  You feel the same way? Well, read on my friend, read on!

 

Put Yourself Back in Control

Remember that list of negative thoughts? Pull them back out!  We're going to do a little exercise.

 

Really? Again?

Stop your whining folks.

This is you.

 

Step 1

Take your paper filled with negativity and then look at the first one. You're going to replace that thought with a correct one.  You can take as much time and as many sentences as you need to dispute and dispel your snippet of self-doubt.

 

Here's one of mine:

 

No one will care what you have to say.

Umm, that's not true. My mom cares.  Oh! So do my husband and children. I have friends that go out of their way to support me and listen to what I have to say.  I have important things to share; I can be useful and helpful to others.

 

It's your turn now.  You may have too many to do it all in one sitting.  You will see that many of them overlap and won't require you to do the exercise for each and every single thought.

 

[Tweet "Replace negative thoughts with the truth."]

[Tweet "Devour your fear. ~ Simon Holt."]

 

 

Step 2

When we start throwing our emotions around and don't identify and separate our thoughts from our feelings we lose control of ourselves.  An I Feel statement is a great tool to put you back in control.

 

What is an I Feel statement?  I'll show you the outline of it and then give an example.

 

I feel _____ because I think that I _____.  My hope for myself is _____. My hope for you is _____.

 

Your feelings flow from your thoughts. They are not the same thing.  I don't feel like I'm unsuccessful. I don't feel that you're a jerk. (you're not, by the way). I cannot feel a thought.  You feel a feeling.  Ya dig?  So keep the I feel a feeling.

 

Also, keep it about yourself, not others.  You don't feel something because of what others do to you.  You feel something because of your own thought.  We have to be accountable for our own thoughts and feelings. Hence the because I think that I part.

 

shout

Sorry folks. I'll give an example based on my above self-doubt and you'll see what I mean.

 

I feel discouraged because I think that I am not comfortable putting myself out there.  My hope for myself is that I will push myself to make sincere connections.  My hope for you  is that you will recognize my efforts to be sincere.

 

Your knee-jerk reaction may be to say something full of self-pity.  Or a thought that may be out of your control.  For instance, I could have said because I think that I am unpopular.  or because I think that I am unsuccessful.  or because I think that no one likes me.  The first two are out of your control and full of self-pity. The latter, isn't even about me: it didn't even start with I.  

 

The I Feel statement and its rules empower me.  No one else can dictate how I feel.  I do that.  It helps me to be a better communicator to my friends and family.  I take better accountability for my actions and in-actions.

 

[Tweet "Mastering others is strength. Mastering oneself makes you fearless. ~ Lao Tzu."]

 

Your turn!  Take the self-doubt that is the biggest stumbling block for you.  Now put that into an I Feel statement.  What is the feeling that you associate with it?  What is the thought associated with that feeling?  It helps you break it down into your mind of what it really is and where it's really coming from.  It's not from my brother and all his accomplishments.  It's from me.  It's not from that amazing best-selling author that I compare myself to.  It's from me.  Whatever it is you're fearing and doubting is from you.

 

[Tweet "Your fear is 100% dependent on you for its survival. ~ Steve Maraboli."]

Step 3

Take action!

 

In your I Feel statement, in the "my wish for myself" section, you are guided to what needs to be done next. Now is the time for attainable steps.

 

In my first example sentence I said that I will push myself to make sincere connections.  How?  It is an ambiguous statement.  It's not concrete and it's not measurable.  It's a hope: not a goal and not an action.

Photo courtesy of Michaela Kobyakov.

How am I going to push myself to make sincere connections?

  • I will be involved with my friends in various ways -- phone calls, play dates, girls night out, game night, emails, connect on FB
  • I will be involved on my Facebook fan page in various ways -- polls, conversations, recommendations, contests
  • I will engage in conversations on Twitter.
  • I will follow new people with similar interests on Twitter -- real people, not the ones that are solely pushing products.
  • I will get involved on the blogs that are meaningful to me. -- commenting, replying to others' comments, guest posting, encourage
  • I will be involved in forums and groups and be fully supportive to others.

 

These are all steps I will take to foster real relationships.  They will ensure that my purpose and my passion remain authentic and true.  I want people to perceive me as I am - genuinely interested in their success and happiness.  When I do this with concentrated effort I know I will be successful in accomplishing my goals.

 

My only remaining step is to make these measurable.  I will do such and such 3x a week, etc.  Then I set a date to evaluate my progress.

 

What am I supposed to do again?

  1. Disprove your negative thoughts - replace them with truths.
  2. Write down your I Feel statement.
  3. Take action. List goals and steps to make your hope from #2 happen.

 

[Tweet "Disprove, I Feel, Take Action."]

 

Was it hard for you to work through your I Feel statement?  What are some steps you are taking towards your new goals?  Share your I Feel statement with me! I'd be happy to help you if you're stuck.

 

Stay tuned for Part 3!  [Part 3 is now here!]

 

 

 

 

How to Take Charge of Your Self-Doubt Part I

Note: This is Part 1 in a 3 part series.  I will update this post with links to Parts 2 and 3.

 

We have all been there.  Yes, I just put you in a corner (don't put baby in a corner).  I am not immune to self-doubt.  I do not think there are many people out there that are.  If they are I'd like to slap them until they begin to doubt themselves.  No, no, I jest.  I applaud them.  After all, that is why I'm writing this post.

 

depressed woman

 

Common Negative Thoughts

What's the first thing you say to yourself when you get lost in your "Dream?"  You know, the big one.  The one you've been dying to get started on, or have just put your toe into. I'll share some of mine.  "You're not good enough."  "You'll never be as good as --"  "No one will care what you have to say/do."  "You won't be successful."  "You'll get the worst reviews anyone has ever seen."  "No one will read your book."  "If someone does read it they'll mock it until the day they die."

 

The last one was dramatic, I admit, but when are we ever not dramatic?  I can feel thousands more just poking at my brain, begging to be released onto this post.  I won't overwhelm you with all my self-doubt.

 

Where do these stem from?  What's the pattern of my negativity?

 

Fears

We all have fear.  I am one of the most fearful people I know.  Besides Monk.

 depressed man

 

Fear of Rejection

To me this dictated how I acted in my growing up years.  I was so scared of rejection that I would be friends with anyone who was remotely friendly.  Even if they were the worst kind of people.  I would pretend I knew all about a certain band or show or celebrity just so I wouldn't be made fun of.  I stopped doing that after one friend caught me in it.  She made up some band and asked me if I liked their music.  When I agreed she called me a liar.  Eek.  Thankfully my storytelling (read lying) got me out of that one real fast.  I never pretended to know about something I didn't after that!

Ones fear of rejection is ones fear of love. ~ Alexandria Honey

Fear of Comparison

I'm sure you hate being compared to anyone or anything as much as I do.  Of course, if you're comparing my writing ability to a child's then I'll win happily.  I have a brother who is just sickening.  I am a jack-of-all-trades kind of girl, but he is the Master-of-all-trades kind of guy.  He never played soccer before, joined a club, and the week later the University he went to was asking him to play on the team.  He wants to work with wood so all of a sudden he's a master carpenter.  He can do any outdoor activity there is.  Rock climbing, ice climbing, cave diving (and I mean the real scary ones that no one has gone in before), river rafting, sky diving (all the cool moves included), and on and on and on.  If the stores ran out of food today the man could survive off the land for the rest of his days without a worry.  He is also hilarious.  And handsome (all my friends were in love with him).  He can act!  He can sing!  He paints! He is an amazing writer!  He is a wonderful husband and father.  He is intelligent.  He knows all there is to know about business.  "He speaks Kiribati fluently.  I'm telling you, he can't do anything wrong.    Now you're thinking, where in the blink is his blog so I can read it instead of yours?  Ha!  He doesn't have one!  Yet.  He could fart in someone's face and people would say it smelt of roses.  I'm here to tell you his farts are lethal.  I lived through them.  Barely.  I have let my fear of being compared to my brother, J, keep me from venturing out and trying out my own dreams.  I'd never be able to master anything to the degree he could nor as quickly.   I love you, you dirty rat!

 

Fear of Success

This one is a weird one for me.  My dad is the one that told me I was scared of success.  I don't get it, but I'm sure I've got it.  It probably has a lot to do with my fear of being compared to my wizard brother. Where is the number to that psychologist?

 

[Tweet "Fear kills everything. Your mind, your heart, your imagination. ~ Cornelia Funke"]

 

Your Next Steps

Get out paper and a pen.  Think of the goals, dreams, and projects that are on your to-do list.  See that one that's waving its arms at you like a kid dying to be called on in class? That's begging for you to pick it?  Yeah, that one.  Pick that one.

Put that on a new sheet of paper.

Now, the scariest bit.  Write down all those negative thoughts associated with it.  Every single one.  Don't dwell on them, just get them out quick.

Do you see a pattern?  Is there a theme to the fears on your paper?

 

[Tweet "If a fear cannot be articulated, it can't be conquered. ~ Stephen King"]

 

To avoid leaving you in a pit of despair and vowing to never again attempt a dream I'd like to leave you with something positive.

light and quote

 

[Tweet "If you will you can."]

 

Part 2 has arrived!!

What is the goal you want to accomplish the most?  What is a fear you associate with this dream?  I shared a few of mine!  I won't judge you!  Unless your goal is to destroy the world or the Tri-state area.  I'm looking at you Doofenshmirtz.