Every Author’s Valentine!

While much of the world will be commemorating true loves on Valentine’s Day, writers have an additional reason to celebrate. February 14th is also LIBRARY LOVER’S DAY! Initially started in Australia in 2006, the holiday quickly spread around the world. If you dare, you can join others in various locations as you dress up like a favorite book character or participate in other themed events.

On a more philanthropic level, there are a few kind expressions that take little effort. Donate books to your local library. Thank the librarian for creating a haven where you’ve been able to surround yourself with one of the things you love the most – words! You might even consider delivering a small bouquet to make her day! Check out any volunteer opportunities available and invest a bit of your time in 2022. Apply your writer creativity to support a good cause.

Let’s finish up with library miscellany.

The very first documented library was formed in the 3rd millennium B.C. in the Babylonian town of Nippur.

Other names for a library are: Athenaeum, amber, archives, reference collection, and incunabula.

The city that has the most libraries per 100,000 people is Edinburgh in the United Kingdom.

The largest library in the world is the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. It stocks more than 39 million books!

Find a way to promote and LOVE your LIBRARY soon!

Coaching YOU:

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Life coach and author
Life coach and author

Here’s one way to start the new year with P.U.R.P.O.S.E. Apply this acronym to your tasks and watch your future grow!

P=PASSION. It helps so much if we can focus on what will incite joy, excitement and overall fulfillment. These emotions tend to dwell inside our purposes. Of course not everything we do can bring forth these things, but we can certainly make sure to include as many activities as possible up front that will propel us forward with stamina!

U=USEFUL. Very often, it is distraction (television, internet, etc) that causes the biggest interruption to living out our best year. Try to pinpoint and list what your own sneaky, distracting pests are and how you will avoid them.

R=RESPONSIBLE. Keep in mind that it is a responsible act to decline what does not benefit your purpose. There are only so many hours in a day!

P=PERSONAL. Self-care is often the thing we tend to overlook or leave out when we are chasing our dreams. We should consider our bodies much like we do our automobiles. They must have fuel, oil changes and tune ups to keep performing well.

O=OPPORTUNITY. Reflecting on our skill sets, talents and interests can often lead to otherwise unrecognized opportunities to step up to the next level. When is the last time you evaluated your capabilities in view of your purpose?

S=SMART GOALS. Unrealistic expectations will always put a dent in our annual goals. We must be careful that our intents are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

E=ENJOYABLE. Nothing should require us to work, work, and work even more! Building in relaxation and reflection times can supply refreshment and renewal, so we can chase our purposes all year long!

Are YOU starting your new year with P.U.R.P.O.S.E.?

In the Meantime…

We all seem to be heaving huge sighs of relief because the year 2020 is now officially behind us. Maybe you’ve said it yourself, “Happy New Year…so long 2020 and GOOD RIDDANCE!” In reality, what we are really doing is ramping up the hope in our hearts. Covid is at its worst, BUT there is a vaccine…which signifies the light at the end of a year-so-far tunnel. Smiles are erupting over the sheer idea of removing (and dare I say building a baby bonfire out of) the masks.

I’ve done my own share of happy dancing, but I have also decided NOT to wait for the day of facial freedom to pursue other projects. Even while receiving my own hope infusion, reality still lets me know that there are a few miles yet to travel. There are no instant releases, rather the responsibility to finish the journey. Instead of pouting about the facts, I’ve adopted a mini-mantra that says, “In spite of Covid, I will….”

You see, I’ve also learned that waiting for the perfect time was a part of my other (pre-Covid) life too. It was the thing I used to stall out, ignore or purposely overlook the things I needed to do/learn to move forward. All that shut down time gave us ample time to look in the mirror, right? So……

In spite of Covid, I will continue to press in and climb my ladder, rung by rung, until I am standing in the position I daydream about. I hope you decide to do the same! Perhaps we can even give each other a hand up or a shove every now and again during 2021 🙂

You are invited to join my teaching partner, Laura Domino and I for one class a month…these classes are virtual and designed to provide one-on-one feedback..if interested you can email me at Melanie@MelanieStiles.com OR join my writers Facebook Group: WLG Writers Life Group where the videos and links are posted. I hope to see you there!

A Christmas Collection

Could I interest you in a quick course on Christmas tradition? Okay…here we go….

The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine.

The two most popular Christmas carols of all time are:

  1. O Holy Night 
  2. Silent Night

The world’s tallest Christmas tree is artificial and located in Sri Lanka. It measures a whopping 236 feet!

The two most loved desserts in America are:

  1. Chocolate chip cookies
  2. Apple pie

As for the standard American Christmas dinner? It varies from state to state.

Alaska prefers prime rib, while Connecticut leans toward turkey. Hawaii prefers Kalua pork and Louisiana cooks up a gumbo. New Mexico includes tamales, Pennsylvania grabs a goose and South Dakota slices up a ham! And the most popular main course in Texas? It’s deep-fried turkey! 

The average age that children stop believing in Santa is eight, but this author has lived far beyond that age – AND STILL BELIEVES! 

Rudolph remains Santa’s favorite reindeer, although he’s NOT one of the original eight…can you name them?

The three most common Christmas gifts are:

  1. Gift cards/money
  2. Makeup products
  3. BOOKS!!!

Of course, that last entry lights up my author’s heart. And on that note, I’d like to encourage you to go out and buy a book for someone this Christmas.

May God bless each person who reads this blog. May you find supreme joy in celebrating the birth of Jesus! Merry Christmas!

On Finishing Strong…

I know I sound like a broken record, but it continues to be a lumpy, bumpy kind of year. I review my business calendar/journal habitually in November. It’s helpful to use it as a base to plan forward. There are very few things that haven’t drastically changed from January until today. I’m sure it’s the same with you. And because we are where we are (wherever that might be), most of us can safely assume 2021 will at least begin in similar fashion.

That’s exactly why I propose we bring 2020 to a close by encouraging ourselves with what has NOT changed. 

Ask yourself the following:

Were you chasing a writing life before 2020? 

Do you still feel the passion to put words on a page?

Do you carry the belief that there are people who can appreciate your labor in some way?

I’m assuming you replied yes to all. If that’s true, then YOU can go ahead and define those answers in one word – PURPOSE. 

And here’s the interesting thing…purpose that has lasted throughout a year like 2020 is not likely to dissipate anytime soon. The only thing that can (and probably will) alter is the path we may have to take to achieve our final goals. The essence of who we are, as writers, remains the same. So get a head start on the coming year. Stand up now with faith, courage and a refreshed determination in who YOU are!

YOUR PURPOSE will prevail if you persevere! 

Brick by Brick

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Whether you’ve taken the dive back into society or you are holding back in lieu of a vaccine date, no doubt there exists new dimensions to old dynamics. Some things have probably altered considerably or even faded into the background, while others have presented themselves for attention front-and-center. In essence, writing, editing, marketing, platform-building and dealing with everything else can seem a bit much – given the state of the day.

So what to do? Throw up our hands and wait for a better season? Of course not! But it may be time to learn how to better pace ourselves. I was commiserating with a writer friend about the losses of particular career opportunities such as in-person events (lost nine of those), conferences (two of those) and the general mind malaise that crops up unexpectedly (very different from traditional writer’s block, right?). Her words of comfort took me by surprise.

“Well, most of us are going back to square one and starting over together!”

Hmmmm….does that matter? By embracing the idea of starting over, with a relatively clean slate, was she saying it could (dare I say it?) be an exciting, even invigorating experience, to step outside of our old methods? Could we thrive in this chaotic season by learning, initiating new processes and communally networking with others to advance our writing and marketing endeavors? I believe she was…and I’ve taken the hint. But the real question is: HAVE YOU?

No writer can ever hope to become an expert at anything overnight, but it is a VERY realistic expectation to simply place one block of learning and application upon another. We can come back better and stronger – brick by brick together! If you have any questions I can help with, let me know!