The Weekly Round-Up

It’s been an intense week here for a lot of reasons. Don’t get me wrong and think that I’m complaining or calling it “bad”, it was a week full of multiple balls in the air for each of us. JB traveled back home on Saturday and it feels as if Coffee in The Netherlands, October 2014we barely had a weekend before it was full speed ahead into the week.

There was a management shift at his office recently, which has led to more meetings than normal and the new guy’s attitude that he must “fix everything – even if it isn’t broken”. That meant a mentally tired and sometimes frustrated JB at the end of the day and more than once, we were in bed before 8:30 rolled around.

As for my world, I blocked off writing and editing time almost every day last week. And not just “writing time” but appointments on my calendar for two hours on this project or two hours on that project. I made significant progress on each of my projects, but to be honest, I have created some mighty big deadlines for myself. Those deadlines have me feeling a little on edge and a little afraid and a lot empowered.

My What I’m Writing

I just wrapped a three-week series based on my personal history of keeping a journal: why keeping a journal is good, how I recovered from the betrayal of having my teenage journals not only read, but destroyed, and how to take care of yourself when you create new truths about yourself.  Though all of those pieces were written earlier in the month, I did a fairly heavy edit on this week’s piece, 10 Tips to Hasten Post Fire Recovery to the point that in some places, it felt as if I was writing it fresh again.

I got four drafts written this week. Two drafts for future articles for  YourTango, which I owe edits to my editor tomorrow.  One piece is about marriage and the other piece is about parenting a child with mental illness. The other  pieces – one about Being Busy (SO Busy) and another about being true to your own soul – are for my work blog.

I dusted off the outline for my memoir this week and begin laying out the structure of that book in Scrivener. I also create a draft of part of the forward.

I set a publication deadline for my other Work in Progress that’s a bit on the aggressive side, but logically makes a hell of a lot of sense. I spent most of my time organizing this, again in Scrivener. This project needs significant attention in the coming week.

What’s Happening with Work

One of the decisions I made in regards to my business in 2016 is to restructure how I offer my current courses.

ClearingBrainClutter_AdI am converting Make Your Inner Sex Kitten Roar to a fully downloadable, do-it-yourself course available beginning October 12, 2015, which means I need to get to editing, don’t I? Previously, I offered the material delivered via a weekly email.  Right now, I have all of the course material in Word just waiting to be combined and edited into one giant document.

Most of the courses in the 30 Days to Clarity family are also being moved from the email format to a downloadable workbook that can be purchased at any time. I committed to delivering the first version to current participants of the Fall courses as a bonus, so the first deadline is the Clearing Brain Clutter: Discovering Your Heart’s Desires to be delivered on September 8th. I have a rough version of the book completed and now it needs to be edited.

What I’m Reading

I’m still reading An Altar in the World, mostly in the mornings, though on occasion, I’ll read a bit from it before bed.  I go for a tiny dose each day, until I’m “full up”.

Fiction wise, I’m finishing NYPD Red 3. Taking the Master Class with James Patterson has shown me a whole ‘nother side of taking ideas and getting them in a publishable format, so to read what comes from that process always fascinates. Besides, Patterson and the writers he works with (Marshall Karp on this one) shows me how collaboration can be successful and a way to develop characters that are real.

This week, I skimmed Delicious!  I read it in June but refreshed my memory a bit before my book club meeting on Tuesday.

And last night, I finished reading A Vision in Velvet, pure cozy mind candy with lovable characters and little doses of humor. I enjoy Juliet Blackwell and am looking forward to her first “non-cozy” book coming in September, The Paris Key, which I’ve already pre-ordered.

What We’re Eating

I’m “off” cooking anything new, elaborate, or super involved right now, yet I’m desperately missing creating in the IMG_20150616_194211kitchen.  One of the simple facts of living is that I can’t do everything even when I want to, so I have to be honest with myself and admit that just to much of my creative energy being spent in the office that I just don’t have IT when dinnertime rolls around.

What that means is we’re having old standby meals that I ensure are healthy by choosing quality ingredients. Typical dinners this week have been oven roasted Wild Salmon or Wild Halibut served with grains and spinach, Dorothy Lane Market Salmon Patties on whole wheat buns with oven fries, or chicken sauteed in a pot with veggies – corn, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, spinach and onions.

I have to confess, though, that I’m hoping some new cookbooks come out this fall to inspire me to experiment.

What’s I’m Shaking My Head At

The new wave or Guru Preaching that routines mean you are doomed to be a boring individual. I love variety of life, but I know that taking the attitude of “just taking life as it comes” equals not “getting shit done”. Things like a healthy lifestyle, writing a book, creating change in your daily living all require solid and supportive routines. Yes, we gotta shake things up, but anyone that accomplishes true transformation does so with solid habits. Just sayin.

Because years of being a coach has shown me that most folks need help to establish new habits and they can’t create new ways of living, because frankly, how can you master anything if you don’t approach it with regularity and respect? That’s why I keep reminding myself that compassionate self-discipline is the key to really moving forward towards goals.   Yes, we need to shake things up and evaluate what’s not working, but to preach that the new gospel is no routines will make you happier just isn’t logical to me in any form.

Most people that transform their life do so through structure and a steadfast approach. They take small, but consistent action.

What happens when these glamorous and seemingly-have-it-all-together gurus preach this is that people believe that their answer to happiness lies in emulating their Guru’s life and then find they don’t get any lasting results.

Maybe my life – and my approach to life – is “boring” or seems mundane. But I can tell you I’ll take this loving, nourishing approach over the years of worshiping busy and having no foundational routines to help make move things from “idea” stage to real.

What’s Really Floating My Boat

I’ve begun a letter writing project with a friend. Sure, we could (and do) email, however, there is a different kind of intimacy in putting pen to paper and sharing what’s happening in my inner landscape. It’s helping me to get clear around a portion of my desires and goals, too.

The process of going from Writer to Author. It’s a mindset shift and has changed how I am approaching writing that isn’t immediately consumed.

Getting my eyebrows dyed. My hair is dark brown (and grey). My eyebrows? Blonde. Making my eyebrows the same color as my hair? Priceless!

My relationship with JB. It’s always floated my boat, so to speak, but in recent months I’ve been more San Diego 2014 (5)transparent with him around what I want long term when it comes to career and lifestyle. He’s getting more verbal around the same and has taken to remind me, often, because I need to hear it out loud, that no matter what I choose, he’s behind me 100%.

Having a partner that has my back, that’s willing to listen as I talk about what I want in five years and ten years and what needs to change in order for that to happen is completely new to me in my life experience.  I always dreamed about a love like that, but never really thought I would have it.

Happy Sunday.

Do you like reading this kind of weekly round up?

4 Responses to The Weekly Round-Up

  1. Becca August 23, 2015 at 7:32 pm #

    I LOVE this kind of weekly roundup 🙂 But you probably knew I would.

    I totally agree with you about routines. Without them, I am lost. If being happier and more settled makes you “boring,” well, then call me boring and proud of it!

    • DebraSmouse August 26, 2015 at 9:55 am #

      I’m glad you enjoyed the weekly roundup, Becca! Incentive to regularly do this….and it’s a kind of compassionate discipline for writing.

  2. Amy Putkonen September 5, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

    Hi Debra,

    I love your writing style. I feel like I know you. Clearly, all your journaling into blogging has paid off in making your writing speak to people like a dear friend. I love what you said about your life partner. Sigh. I was just thinking that about my husband as he shared a tidbit about himself this week that was new to me. He shared about a journal book that he keeps. It is leather bound, one I had given him several years earlier. Me? I write in notebooks and fill them with everyday stuff. Recipe ideas mixed in with I Ching readings mixed in with blog ideas. Him? In the 5 or so years since I’ve given him that journal, he’s filled maybe 30 pages with only those little tidbits that inspire him greatly in a spiritual sense. Although I know that these are just two different styles of writing, mine felt cheap and silly when held up against his. It made me love him even more. He eagerly shared what was within its pages and I wept for who I had married. Life is sweet.

    • DebraSmouse September 7, 2015 at 10:25 am #

      Thank you so much, Amy! When I sit down to write here, I do it with the goal being connection, as if I were sitting across the table with a friend and sharing the tales of the week over coffee or a glass of wine.

      My life has done a 180 since JB and I became a couple. I am a big believer in the need to love ourselves, but sometimes, the unconditional love of another person opens our eyes to who we truly ARE in the world. I am so grateful for that.

      JB doesn’t keep a journal, though he is meticulous with his Outlook calendar. He does, however, write these occasional cards or notes and I cherish those. Like you, my journal is a mix of everything – sheer personal thoughts, inspiration for blog posts, notes about social media or courses, and bits of recipes and ideas. My journal isn’t fancy – I now use 9 X 12 Sketch books.

      I believe that each of us keeps the kind of notes we need to move forward in this world and your’s isn’t “cheap” or silly, it’s YOU and what you need to move through this life.

      Life is indeed sweet, dear, Amy. <3

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