Pondering Tomorrow

Gee whiz!! Covid, quarantines, financial losses, miscellaneous other failures, hurricanes and fires! The other day, I even had a friend announce to our virtual book club that she wouldn’t be surprised to see zombies sauntering up her driveway! Of course she was joking, but I had to agree that looking through current lenses can all seem pretty bleak.

Thankfully, we don’t have to be that kind of person. I refuse to believe that difficult seasons won’t end at some point. I refuse to believe that we, as highly competent people, can’t rise….or even re-rise…to come back stronger down the road.

I started my life inside of a difficult family bubble. AND I ROSE. Maybe you did too? The history lesson for most of us has been clear…even in the midst of most anything, we can find a way to see past the ugliness to something beautiful and tangible. I believe that’s what writers excel at…..finding this path….writing our way out of the proverbial fog. We are really good at searching, sifting and signifying what others can read as encouragement, entertainment and education.

Keep writing – both for yourself and others! But take time out, now and again, to emulate my friend, Norman, pictured below. Look out the window, soak up the sunshine that surpasses our circumstances….and imagine a better tomorrow!

Entertaining Enrichment

I’m not one to do many things without thinking my actions through beforehand. But, we’ve all heard something similar: “You’re a writer. You have to market. Nobody is going to do it for you!” And, unfortunately, those are all true statements. So, like most everyone else, I bumbled through the motions, until I had the bare minimum completed. I established social media accounts. I created a website. Mischief managed! End of story!

Or is it? Honestly, it wasn’t until I paired myself with a marketing accountability partner that I realized just how little effort I was applying to the process. The biggest secret about marketing is that it remains a secret! What works for me may not work for someone else. It’s why everyone is so darn busy consistently trying new things. And it’s also why enrichment comes into play.

Enrichment, put simply, is improving the quality or value of something. And I discovered a number of ways I could enhance every single marketing outlet. I took the time to click through everything, on every site, learning and adding. I snuck a peek at the authors I love to see what buttons they were accessing and using to their advantage. There’s no harm in parroting what someone successful has done! A tweak here, a bio adjustment there, a pic update and even the addition (or posting consistency) of a blog and marketing presence starts to stand out in ways it didn’t before. When is the last time you took an objective look at your stuff? Maybe you should set aside the idea of something new this week and entertain the idea of enrichment. It just might pay off!

Posturing for Change

Okay. You’d have to live under a rock not to notice that there is almost nothing we did back in February 2020 that can be done the same way in August 2020. That goes for writers too!

For example….virtual everything!

It looks great on the advertising, right? BUT I’VE NEVER DONE VIRTUAL TEACHING! So, in pondering that fact, I realized there are probably a lot of you who are also standing at the bottom of the I’ve-never-done-that-mountain as well. Let’s encourage each other! We can do this! All we need are a few guidelines:

First, we have to go back to school – whether it be for Canva, Google, ZOOM, Instagram, Facebook or whatever. And honestly, we should remain open to learn what we can about ALL of it. How else will we know what works best for us? This is the time to snoop around and see what everybody else is doing!

Second, we are going to have to develop technological habits that include proper lighting, background, posture and knowledge about any equipment that creates a suitable representation of who we are as authors. Network, network, network. There will always be those ahead of us and those behind.

And finally, most importantly, we have to allow ourselves and others the grace of a learning curve. By the end of August, I will have done many things I’ve never done before. I’m absolutely sure I’ll make a few mistakes along the way. But, also, I’m (albeit clumsily at times) posturing for the change that has been thrust upon us. I’m attempting to reside inside the space of earnestness, humility and open mindedness. Is it time for you to do the same?

Do You Need a Bean Jar?

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Our world is a bit topsy-turvy. Many of our usual habits and routines have gone by the wayside. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been thrown a little off kilter in the past few months and it has taken a toll on my writing life.

I’ve been experimenting with a different, even fun, way of retraining my brain – by employing the Bean Jar Method. You don’t actually need any beans, or even a jar to start the process. I use a decorative bowl and a set of wooden, hand-painted buttons that I happen to have in my sewing supplies.

Here’s how it works: set a daily goal, accomplish the task, throw a “bean” in the “jar.” Let’s say you want to write for one hour every day – just to get back on track. Get that first day behind you, then you’re on your way to filling the jar.

My bowl occupies a prominent spot on a table I frequently see. It helps to remind me of what I’ve done….and what I may need to do on any given day. After a few buttons, I started to take pride in being able to add to the pile!

If you’re having trouble getting back on course, try a bean jar!

Welcome to The Blue Jean Blog

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Greetings from the Life Coach in Blue Jeans! Allow me to start my very first blog post with a true confession…lean in a little closer, so I can whisper. Ready? I’m not exactly a beginning blogger. In fact, I’ve been ghost blogging for many of my clients for years. But I’ve been just like the mechanic who repairs everyone else’s car and neglects his own. 

Photo of Melanie Stiles

Nevertheless, this is indeed a new season. Wouldn’t you agree? It’s a time when relationships must be primarily built through connections other than face-to-face. And I’ve decided to reach out through this blog. 

What will we be discussing? I have a few ideas. Since I am an award-winning author, life coach and speaker who honestly believes we are better together, I’m looking forward to connecting with you in a variety of areas….writing and speaking encouragement and tips, reviews and comments on books about writing, announcements in support of books written by you (a fellow author), interviews with interesting authors willing to share what they have learned, tips on how to live life to the fullest, stay organized, celebrate victories, overcome setbacks….the list goes on and on.

The biggest concept I intend to continually share is how we can not only survive this (or any other) difficult time, but actually learn how to thrive and come out on the other side even better than when we started! There’s no need to sit on the sidelines (even if we are stuck indoors). I believe we can all move forward into the plans and visions embedded in our hearts and spirits. We might have to readjust our course to allow for certain temporary roadblocks…. we may have learn and try new things…we could even start a blog. If you feel as I do…or if you are simply curious about how to start on a similar journey, please join me. I promise not to deluge you with posts. Let’s be better together!