Wearing White After Labor Day and Other Acts of Rebellion

You Be You. © cristovao31 Stock – Adobe.com

It’s September in Colorado. This year is unseasonably warm even hitting a record 100 degrees on Labor Day. I hate being hot. It’s one of my least favorite things, especially when you’re stuck behind the wheel during peak traffic. I decide to grab a silk tank top and my white summer sweater.

Then I hesitate. It’s after Labor Day. I can’t wear white. My other blouses are too warm. What should I do? Coming to my senses, I grab the white sweater and the tank top.

Whoever came up with the weird rule of no white after Labor Day clearly never struggled with Colorado’s fickle September weather. I’m no fashionista. It’s still unclear why I even care. Life is a struggle. Laundry isn’t self-cleaning. Comfort is Queen. Leave me alone, I’ll wear what I want.

Acts of Rebellion

We have a great deal of faith in the “tried and true” sayings of experts. Hey, they’re experts. Of course, you should carefully consider what they say. Sometimes, however, you have to rebel a bit. Challenging the status quo can bring about new innovations and positive change.

Write What You Know – Stay in your box. Don’t push the boundaries of your knowledge or imagination. Phooey to that! Writers are intelligent and inquisitive. We love to learn, so we may share our knowledge with readers. Besides, hard facts can add depths of realism to works of fiction.

Do your research. Interview experts in your subject area. Ask them to read what you’ve written for a reality check.

Biting Off a Bit Too Much – I encourage you to push your boundaries, but I caution you to know your limitations. For instance: You shouldn’t try writing a complex mechanical engineering textbook on your own if you don’t have any background or knowledge of the subject. Partnering with a mechanical engineer would be a better approach.

You Must Have Natural Talent to Write – Hmmm. Maybe. It certainly helps. BUT:

Love is a powerful motivator. If your passion is writing, you’ll do what it takes to learn, improve and grow in the art form. Failure and criticism will not deter you on the path toward publication. Why? Because it’s fun (most of the time) and fulfilling. Writing feeds your soul. What could be better than that?

Don’t discount natural talent. We all know or know of someone with an amazing natural gift for the written word. Rather than struggling over every word, they make it look easy. These are the Mozarts or Beethovens of the Literary World. You will never be better than they are. Neither will I. AND THAT’S OKAY. Don’t compare yourself to these seemingly supernatural artists. Or anyone else.

Remember: We each have our own stories to tell. You were given your story for a reason. Keep Writing!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

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Top Five Ways to Keep Creative Projects Fun

Joy in Creativity © Vjom stock.adobe.com

We live for our art, don’t we? Sharing our work with the world is a way to give back to the community. It can be gloriously fulfilling and at the same time an overwhelming responsibility.  Keeping the joy in our art is important in encouraging our productivity.

Remember: The world needs your art! Don’t let anything stop you from creating – including YOU!

Top Five Ways to Keep Things Fun

  1. Plan Your Events Around a Favorite Holiday: My latest Dark Fantasy Novel – Creed of the Guardian– comes out October 18th. I’m having a blast with Halloween themed gift basket ideas and marketing
  2. Get Your Friends and Family Involved: Great ideas often come during group discussions.
  3. Don’t Take Yourself or Your Project Too Seriously: Art is hard work, but it should also be fun. Don’t suck the joy out of your creativity by taking it too seriously
  4. Plan Well and Finish on Time or Early: It’s a wonderful feeling when you check off all those tasks on the way to completing your creative project. A job well done!
  5. Don’t Forget to Celebrate! Completing that crappy first draft or a preliminary rough sketch is a major accomplishment. It gets you one step closer to a full creative piece of work. Reward yourself with a nice meal or a spa day.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Keeping Your Cool While Your Hair is on Fire

Is your hair on fire? Relax

Is your hair on fire? Relax! © SFIO CRACHO – stock.adobe.com

Have you started a new job, project or training program? It’s tough being the newbie isn’t it? The first week is the worst. You stumble around trying to complete tasks to impress your new boss, but you end up feeling awkward and ignorant.

Here are some things to remember while you’re running around with your hair on fire.

Five Things to Remember Your First Week:

  • Everybody was the New Guy Once
  • You are your harshest critic
  • Seek Out the Gurus Who Are Willing to Help You
  • Be Kind to Yourself
  • Take a deep breath. It gets better with each passing day.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

The Top Three Reasons to Challenge Yourself

Challenge, Growth

Challenge Yourself! © MarekPhotoDesign.com – stock.adobe.com

We humans love our comfort zone. It’s safe here. We know who we are in our jobs, our skills, and even our relationships. No nasty surprises jolt us. Life is predictable, but it’s also stagnant and boring. We may be stuck in a rut of our own making.

It’s time to challenge yourself. Take up an exciting hobby. Learn a new skill. Go for the job you want. Why now? WHY NOT? Each day that passes is another day you lose to inertia. Our minds crave new experiences. Feed your brain!

Three Reasons to Challenge Yourself

  1. You May be Missing Out on Great Opportunities – Do you daydream about a new job? Maybe you’re lacking a few skills or experience. Don’t stay in your dead-end job. Take some online courses. Volunteer with a few nonprofits to build up your experience. At the very least, you’ll find out whether or not you want to pursue that particular dream
  2. Life Won’t Wait While You Dither – Opportunities for growth and happiness are everywhere. They can pass us by if we don’t muster our courage and go for it.
  3. Our Lives are Finite – Despite the best efforts of the beauty industry, Time continues to pass. Our bodies and brains age. Keep your body moving and your mind alert. You’ll live a longer and healthier life.

What If I Fail?

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”

Winston Churchill

Meet any successful entrepreneur and you’ll find they’ve had their fair share of failures. It’s hard to believe they experience hiccups when you see the abundance they have in success. Many would tell you they learned more from their failures than anything else.

I believe the greatest failure in life is not to try at all.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

 

 

How Work Management Software Can Help Creatives Finish Their Projects

work management for creative projects

Work Management for Creative Projects – © Tartila Stock.Adobe.Com

Creative brains are restless processors of imaginative ideas. Our itchy fingers yearn to start creating the next fun project we dream up. Unfortunately, our next big idea rarely waits until after we’ve finished our current endeavor. Progress on our manuscripts, paintings, or screenplays falter. We lose momentum and begin missing deadlines.

Work management software can assist in planning our creative projects and help us stick with a firm schedule.

What is Work Management Software?

Work Management Software (aka task management or collaboration software) is a category of digital tools designed to plan projects and non-project tasks. Their applications can range from single users or small teams to large project management offices. Easy to use and readily available online, these tools are perfect for creative projects.

In other words, work management software is a project management tool for everyone.

Which Tool Should I Use?

I’ve been a project manager for over fifteen years and have used many complex project management tools to track my large enterprise level schedules. Mastering the platforms required extensive training and some technical knowledge. Many times, the tools were cumbersome and made managing the project unnecessarily complicated. It also limited project management tool access to companies who could afford the expense and resources to maintain them.

The new wave of work management digital tools has opened the door for individuals and small business owners who can’t afford the expense and don’t have time for extensive training. Larger businesses are adopting these easy to use tools as well, effectively reducing their setup and training times.

In researching for this post, I’ve discovered a smorgasbord of new tools. Most of them are unfamiliar, so I’m suggesting a few I know are free and reliable. Asana and Trello are both easy to use and have free basic plans.

A Sneak Peek at Trello

I use the free version of Trello. Why? One of my project teams used it in the past. It’s familiar. It’s free. And it’s fun.

Trill

Trello for Creative Projects

Simple Steps to Set Up Your Creative Project

Trello and YouTube have great “how to” videos to get you started setting up your new account and boards. In this post, I want to give you a few tips to help you plan effectively. You have some things to think through before jumping into the tool. What will it take to complete your project? How long will each task take? If I connect these tasks and their due dates correctly, then will I have my project completion date? Finally, who do I want to access my boards? Are there team members I’ve assigned to tasks and do they need to see those tasks?

Step One – Create your board

  • Give your board a meaningful and descriptive name, so you can quickly identify which project it represents
  • Set it to “Private” (setting located at the top of the board by the name) if you don’t want anyone to see your board
  • Invite your team (if applicable)

Step Two – Plan and create your cards

  • Think about the task categories your creative project must navigate:
    • Create – What steps must you take to create your book, video, etc.?
    • Edit – Do you or a team member need to review the work and quality check?
    • Publish – Are you sending this to a client? Or will you be producing/ publishing the work yourself?
    • Market – Do you need to create marketing tools and advertising?
  • Set Due Dates to hold yourself accountable
  • Plan carefully to calculate a reasonable and accurate project completion date

Step Three – Track your progress

  • Mark your finished items ‘complete’ to gauge where you are in the project
  • Review your splendid progress in ‘real time’ for a boost of self-confidence
  • Watch potential time slips and mitigate them before they happen

Work Management Tools can help you stay on track. Keep your designs easy and straight forward. You’ll soon see the value of organizing your work.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Can What You Eat Reduce Your Stress?

Culinary Medicine, Nutrition

Culinary Medicine © norikko – stock.adobe.com

One of our local news stations holds an annual health fair this time of year. During their morning broadcast, they dropped the term “Culinary Medicine.” I’ll confess, I hadn’t heard the phrase. As a Celiac on a strict gluten-free diet, I was intrigued. There is no cure for Celiac Sprue or gluten intolerance. My diet is used to counteract the symptoms of the disease as well as reduce my risk of developing certain types of cancer.

So, is western medicine moving away from a “pop this pill” philosophy and embracing a holistic approach? Answer: It depends on the doctor.

What is Culinary Medicine?

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, and I am no expert in Culinary Medicine either. However, I am living proof of how a healthy diet can improve your energy, reduce illness and help with depression.

The healthcare industry, to combat rising obesity rates, is increasing its efforts to counsel patients on nutrition. Nutritious cooking to reduce illness is at the forefront.

Food as medicine? It makes sense if we remember the saying, “you are what you eat.”

How Choosing the Right Food Can Help in Stress Management

Blueberry, Nutrition

The perfect berry! © pilipphoto – stock.adobe.com

  • Green Leafy Vegetables – Eat your spinach, because Popeye was right. Green leafy veggies produce dopamine – the feel-good chemical. They help to encourage calm and good moods
  • Oatmeal – This hearty breakfast food is good for you on several levels. It will help to manage your stress by keeping your blood sugar level stable
  • Yogurt – Take it from someone with food allergies. When your gut is sick, then your brain doesn’t work well either. We’ve seen the commercials about probiotics. Yogurt is a great way to increase these chemicals and calm brain functions which handle our emotions
  • Salmon – Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatories which assist in reducing harmful stress hormones. Salmon isn’t as “fishy” as other fish. It doesn’t have to be in fancy dishes. Try it in tacos for a yummy new take on an old favorite
  • Blueberries – “Calling Dr. Blueberry!” I eat these perfect little berries every day. They boost my mood and make me smile.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.