July 4th

At the beginning of every month, as part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, I take a look at my successes (not just in writing), share the ways I hope to improve in the next month, answer the IWSG question of the month, and provide inspiration (if I have any).

June Goals (I didn't have many…) –
✗ Stick to budget

✓ Read a book.

Additional Successes –
✓ Planned trip to Key West/Miami (checking a few things off of my 101 in 1001 list)

✓ Replaced the transmission in Justin's truck.

July Goals –
Read a book.
• Get caught up on blog comments.
• Decide/plan trip for the solar eclipse in August.
• Write email regarding my car.
• Get car fixed?
• Continue asking around for possible employment opportunities.

IWSG Question: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

Just a life lesson really but WRITE FOR YOURSELF FIRST. I remember getting assignments in college both in writing classes as well as in art classes that I simply could not relate to. How do you write or create when you don't feel inspired? I found that if I turned the assignment around (perhaps upside down or inside out, just found a new way to approach it), I could frequently make the topic more relatable for me. If the topic was relatable, I was more likely to get a good grade, impress the teacher and please myself. (Not to mention how much easier the project was to complete!)

So, for example, when I went into the master's teaching program at my local community college, I decided to focus on two of my strengths: art + reading. Specifically, I began researching how early childhood reading and how the reading of Pulitzer Prize-winning books affected children in areas outside of the arts and language studies. Did it help them with math? history?

Even to this day, I love challenging myself with blog post "challenges". I may not have anything to say about "dinosaurs", but maybe I can talk about how one of the churches in Dresden, Germany was rebuilt over the past twenty years to become the magnificent and beautiful piece of architecture that it is today. The church is a "dinosaur" because of its age, even if it is not necessarily what you'd refer to if you were teaching children about the Mesozoic Era.


A Message to Inspire Women to Lead from Julie Foudy, Morning Edition on NPR

A few weekends ago, my husband and I took my father-in-law out to eat for dinner and some grocery shopping. (Don't ask.) At the meal, he commented on how he was going to print out all of his images from his travels with his wife. I asked, kind of condescendingly (because I'm against wasting paper), what will you do with all of those pictures once you print them out? Thankfully, he didn't take offense to my comment. Calmly, he asked me … "Well, what do you do with all of your pictures?" Taken aback, I commented that the printing process for me is usually a bit more complicated than merely sending my images to print. I edit them, print them, and then edit them again, hoping I will get it right the second time. Printing pictures, especially the same pictures, over and over again gets expensive and feels like a waste of time, money, and paper. So, eventually, I give up. I mean – yes, sometimes I don't stop until I get it right, but sometimes I stop prematurely because I'm frustrated. Then, my husband's dad said something I've been told frequently but never taken to heart. He asked me if I have seen all of the crud people sell at festivals as good "art". He said "if they can sell that, you can sell your work" and he encouraged me to keep trying, keep printing, and not be so hard on myself.

Of course, the same goes for writing. Mine and yours. :) Keep doing your best, keep working at it, keep producing. The more you practice, the better you get.

I especially loved reading this article from NPR so soon after hearing my father-in-law's encouragement. We (or perhaps more specifically I) tend to overthink everything I do. I want to put my best foot forward always. If you show that you aren't good enough, if you post or share something that isn't your absolute best, you won't get the job, the praise, or the recognition. But in this article, Julie says to produce your work, do your thing, lead the way you do, anyway. Don't let your worries about being imperfect keep you from playing the game. Leadership comes in all shapes and sizes. It is not a position (like a boss) but a state of mind.

Your Turn

How is your summer going so far? Are you enjoying lazy days or have you found yourself surprisingly busy? Did you have a wonderful and enjoyable July 4th?

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