The Struggle is Real

 

IMG_1529I don’t know about you, but when I first get inspired by an idea. I am obsessed. I can’t think about it enough. It takes over and fuels me. I am running on the pure joy of inspiration and then I get when I get down into it the real work and struggle begins…

I remember when I decided that I was going to run a half marathon. I know, I am crazy and nothing close to an athlete. But I wanted to see if I could actually run thirteen point one miles.  There were points during the training and even on race day when the runner’s high was long gone I kept saying to myself, “See that tree just run to the tree. Then I would set my eyes on the next object in front of me until I reached the end of the course.” The truth is that it is easy to start something but can be insanely difficult to cross the finish line.

I recently decided to open up my own Etsy store. I had so much fun doing the creative part, but once I got through to the other side where I had to work out the shipping and marketing and overcome the fear of putting an item on sale. All the luster of the idea became a heavy weight. I was no longer motivated by the sheer thrill of the creative process. I had reached a point where I had to finish out and not move on to the next fun spark.

Trust me, I wanted to be the butterfly and flit off to the next flower. But instead of giving up and leaving another project behind me. I persevered through the minutia. I kept moving through the difficult and boring parts until I completed my party in a box. During Christmas I made my first sale. It was as if I crossed the proverbial creative finish line.

There is a proverb that says, “Good planning and hard work lead to success, but hasty shortcuts lead to ruin.”

Inspiration can carry you so far, but then you have to do the heavy lifting and hard work to finish it out.  Don’t give up. Keep going. It will be worth in the end.

 

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No Holiday Fuzzy Brain

I can’t believe Christmas has come and gone so quickly.  December was well-planned and executed from Day One to Day Twenty-Five. Then for some reason I had not put any energy into planning activities through the New Year.  It was incredibly low key, uneventful, quiet and on the cusp of being boring. I lamented to my husband that we should plan now for the following week after Christmas 2016 including the New Year so that we don’t find ourselves in the state of nothingness again.

But something interesting happened. The first Monday of the New Year  I wasn’t completely exhausted from the runaway train of joyous holiday shenanigans. Normally I would fall into the category of exhaustively getting back on schedule, putting away the decorations and trying to get back into gear. But this time around, it was different. I was ready to run at full speed again and I recognized that the down time I experienced was actually a benefit. It was refreshing. It set me up to dive into all the creative projects running rampant inside of my head.

I was given this planner for 2016 and it has become a task planner for me.  This is where I  plan out what I am going to creatively work on each day. It reminds me of this proverb, “Good planning and hard work lead to success, but hasty shortcuts lead to ruin.”

2016 journal

 

I am currently working on two projects. I am writing a novel style story currently titled “The Kingston Chronicles”.  It is the prequel story of  “Three Zero”, the TV pilot that I finished last year.  I have written a rough draft of the first chapter and I haven’t even reached the half way mark of this month.

Secondly, I am working on a valentines project for Get Outside the Box Etsy Store.  I collaborated with my mother-in-law and her amazing sewing skills to produce a Valentines Tea Party favor. It is super cute!  Can’t wait to show you the creative process and final product when it is done.

I am now thinking that I will definitely need a few “down” days at the end of this year to ramp up for 2017.  Have you recovered from the holidays? What are your creative projects in 2017?

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Fifteen Minutes

I have had many people say to me that they would like to write something be it a book or story or script, but they haven’t gotten around to it. The want to write versus the actual art of writing is a vast crevice that can be conquered by what I like to call the 15 minute bridge.

If you haven’t yet heard about the 10,000 hour rule. Malcolm Gladwell suggests that in order to master a skill it requires around ten thousand hours of practice. But forget the TEN THOUSAND hours if you can’t successfully put into practice daily what you want to accomplish. So, I suggest to start small, try fifteen minutes a day five days a week. That is seventy-five minutes of writing your story. Once you have mastered the fifteen minutes then move up your time and increase your writing time incrementally. Interestingly enough, you will find that you will write the story and edge closer to changing your want into an actual piece of work.

I started at twenty minutes a day and then increased to sixty minutes a day and beyond. I have completed two film scripts, three children’s stories and a TV pilot.

Now, I have gotten to a place where I have a case of the writer’s itch that I need to scratch. I actually have found that it makes my day more complete when I do the action rather than thinking about what I want to do.

This applies to anything that you want to do or create or master or achieve. If you start little then it will not be so daunting and the beauty of the little is that it grows into a lovely habit that you can’t go a day without.

What is something you have been wanting to do, but haven’t?

Take the fifteen minute challenge and see what idea comes to life!

Happy Creating!

 

 

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Today I write in pencil

pencil

I love to physically write whether it be a list, journal entry, birthday card or my artfully sculpted signature. In a modern world of tweets, posts and electronic signatures I like the art of marking something down that will live on beyond my lifetime and any computer melt down.

Today I chose a pencil. I like that it can erase and the distinct sound it makes as it crawls over my page. The draw back is that it’s permanent mark will fade and it can be erased however accidentally. But it feels nostalgic and free which basically sums up my mindset for today.

Generally I take up my paper mate flair and dominate the page with contrast. But today I feel the whimsy of a pencil.

Today I use my pencil to sketch my plans, tell the story and decorate my blank page that I was here.

What do you like to write with? Do you prefer to type?

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MEET DAN

Meet Dan

In a day and age, where life seems to be moving at the speed of light and success appears to happen overnight, we would like you to meet Dan in real life. No, not the character that Steve Carell so brilliantly performed on the big screen. Our real life Dan is Dan Redwine who lives in Washington State with a beautiful wife, two darling girls and a dog named Charlie. Many times discovering who you are and what you want to do with your life can be a journey. There are moments that define you and then there are moments where you have to risk it all in order to define what you are put on this planet to do. This is a story, a real life story about discovering the dream that is within you.
From an early age, Dan loved sports. He wanted to be a professional baseball player just like his hero Ken Griffey, Jr. Like few, Dan was able to take his childhood passion and translate it into a reality of working in sports as an adult with a career as a soccer coach.
Dan had a great coaching record taking his under eighteen girls team to three State Cup finals winning one and going onto the Regional Tournament finals as well. Dan also owned a soccer camp business, Redwine Soccer, that hosted up to 130 kids at a time with his wife, women’s soccer head coach at Northwest University and professional women’s soccer player for the Seattle Sounders, Erin Redwine.


Dan also had a love for history that in his twenties blossomed from hobby to passion. Dusting off his textbooks from his first attempt at college Dan fed this interest with many late nights. One of those late nights Dan woke Erin up at 1:00am to tell her “I am going back to school.” She was immediately supportive, but neither knew how challenging this decision would be.

For most people this is a major decision but for a thirty year old with a mortgage, a full-time coaching job, a three year old and a newborn this decision seemed like a major obstacle. In the new economy the future is given to those who take on obstacles. He wanted to put his family in a better position thinking that a degree could offer him a good foundation for a stable career.

At first, he went to school part-time thinking he could get a teaching degree that could fold nicely into his coaching career. This was the plan even when he went from part-time to full-time and even joined the men’s soccer team at the university where he was attending. But as in so many stories our hero, Dan, would be faced with an all is lost moment when he went for his coaching A license. The difference between a well scripted work of fiction and real life is that the road of real life is scattered with the corpses of dead dreams from many such a moment. To coach at the highest levels and earn higher pay coaches need to obtain United States Soccer Association licenses. Dan had earned his D, C and B licenses, but on his first attempt he failed his A license, so he decided to try again.

Dan had spent 10 Days in Southern California at his second attempt at the A license testing camp. As the week came to a grueling close of long days consisting of marathon lectures and field testing, Dan felt that he had tested well and performed up to the level of an A licensed coach. Many of his esteemed peers felt the same way about his performance, but to his surprise the result came back and it was a FAIL.

Instead of retreating back into the comfort of his previous plan of coaching and teaching, as even with his several season record of coaching and B license Dan’s resume was marketable, Dan decided to ask himself some tough questions. Was teaching a means to fulfilling a coaching passion or was coaching getting in the way of a passion for history. Was there more? Dan was at a crossroads. He could either follow a path of safety and comfort or he could follow a path of passion that had no map or markers. Dan summed up his courage and chose the path less traveled.

After completing his degree, he began the job search for the perfect teaching situation. But after many attempts nothing came about. He decided to jump feet first into finding a new position by quitting club soccer and taking a job as a waiter to help provide a bridge. Transitions in life are rarely smooth and in Dan’s case his transition provided a real life moment where one finds himself having let go of the rope behind flying through the air stretching out for the rope ahead saying, don’t look down. Dan in his own words:

“In the middle of my hardest days waiting tables I spilled a 30 gallon drum of soy sauce all over my pants and shoes, and the kitchen floor when I was trying to refill some smaller containers. I had to go through my entire shift with soy sauce slushing around in my sox; on top of that I had the rudest tables ever and my manager yelled at me for something really trivial. When I finally got done I had a $30 parking ticket on my windshield because I parked in a spot that wasn’t designated for employees; I had just made $30 dollars waiting tables so I broke even that day. That was a hard day and I had no leads on anything different…I couldn’t even get an interview for a teaching job. The only person that seemed interested in “helping” me with a “new career” was a psycho Amway guy that I waited on at Wild Ginger. I think I cried the whole way home that day.”

But even in his darkest moments, Dan never gave up. He continued to apply to different positions outside of his degree. Even finishing second for a position at Boeing. He didn’t quit. Finally, he met a gentleman at a wedding that offered him a position at a start-up company. All of the sudden, Dan found a place to meld his passion for history by writing animated/interactive children’s books based on the classics in the public domain such as Moby Dick and A Christmas Carol. Now Dan spends his days working at a company with unlimited upside potential, an office on the waterfront on Seattle’s Eastside and pinches himself every day that he actually gets paid for something he would do for fun anyway. His wife commented that she had never seen Dan so happy. From this side of the story it would seem that it happened all of a sudden overnight, but for Dan it was a process that required a lot of faith and perseverance.  For more about Nation9 visit: www.nation9.com

Oh and by the way, Dan still uses his coaching skills he acquired by volunteering with the organization Play For Hope www.playforhope.org having taken two trips to Rwanda. On his last trip Dan was teaching Play For Hope coaches how to run profitable soccer camps that can help fund the charitable work of the organization.

He also continues to be involved withRedwine soccer as much as possible which includes two weeks of summer camp this year. This is Dan in real life.

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A Brilliant Christmas Story

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Leave ‘Em Laughing

A good way to make your audience favor your brand is to leave them laughing.  Several studies recorded with the American Psychological Association back it up with science fact.  If you’re old enough you can still remember clearly “Where’s the beef?”, Wendy’s of course circa 1984, and “Punch it Margaret!”,  Toyota circa 1989.  But don’t confuse branding and messaging.  Although humor will leave someone with a positive attitude toward your brand, laughter has not been successfully proven to improve memory.  So remember laughter increases feeling not recall.  Check your goals and if you are looking to leave a positive branding impression on the cerebral cortex of potential customer’s minds remember to deliver a dose of laughter.

Check out these recent excellent examples of laughter and branding working hand in hand:

All State Insurance recently came out with a string of commercials based on when Mayhem happens.   Dean Winters deadpans a toddler in the back seat distracting mommy with all of his antics.  It brings a sense of hilarity to the reality of the life of a mom.  The humor gut checks you to remind you about safety and making sure that you use All State for your insurance needs.  Humor is a good gateway into establishing your brand.

Is the pen mightier than the sword?

You know it’s true… you’d scream too!

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