Giving Thanks To You

Yes, it’s that time of the year.

Time to be thankful for people and blessings.

As it’s officially Thanksgiving holiday break for me, I’d like to take a moment to thank you, the readers and supporters of Steph’s Scribe. If it weren’t for readers, we bloggers wouldn’t be doing what we do. From the days when we wrote in journals and didn’t have the vehicle to share our thoughts or ideas, it’s wonderful to have that access through this platform; I’m thankful for the opportunity and take my responsibility of writing for you seriously. It’s an outlet for me, I take great pride in it, and I never want to let anyone down. I’m always open to input and suggestions, so feel free to drop me a line on the blog or at my email, stephanie.verni@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading my Steph’s Scribe, my books, and offering me encouragement throughout the year.

I’m very thankful to know you here.

Thank you, readers!

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Stephanie Verni | Author, Blogger & Professor — Visit my Amazon page for more information about my three contemporary fiction novels and textbook on Event Planning.

 

 

Prompt and Podcast – Day 2 #nanowrimo

Yesterday, I published my first PODCAST. You can check it out here [Podcast 1].

Admittedly, I was pretty proud of myself. I am not too technically savvy, but I watched some YouTube videos and was able to finagle it all by my lonesome.

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With Charles in Boston in March. .

I texted my former boss, mentor, and dear friend from my days at the Orioles, Charles Steinberg, and said: “See what that internship in Orioles Productions helped me produce?”

LOL.

I had worked at the Orioles for two years when I needed an internship for credit at Towson University. I had never worked with audio or video equipment before, and Charles agreed to take me on as an intern, as he knew my work ethic from my time in public relations with the ballclub. That little stint in Orioles Productions was pretty helpful for all that has happened in my life since then, most specifically gaining a stronger understanding of storytelling from a mass media perspective (and now a social media perspective).

But alas, I digress, and I’m telling YOU a story when it’s really time for YOU to tell ME a story as it’s time for TODAY’S #NANOWRIMO WRITING PROMPT.

TODAY’S PROMPT

Write 400-500 words | #nanowrimo | Choose one of the prompts below

For non-fiction writers:

Write about a place you have been to or visited that you can’t wait to get back to as soon as possible; or, write about a place you have been to or visited that you never want to go back to ever again.

For fiction writers:

Two people meet in a place they have frequented together often. However, the relationship is strained and they picked this place to meet because it’s on neutral ground. Describe the place and write the conversation and tell the story that ensues as they reconnect in this location or spot.

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Podcast 2: More on Finding Inspiration

Steph’s Scribe

QUESTIONS FOR THE BLOG?

I can guarantee you, I don’t have all the answers, but I’m happy to share my own experiences with writing, crafting fiction, writing dialogue, building characters, writing description, or whatever else you care to ask me. I’ll do my best to answer the best way I can.

Thanks for popping in, you guys!

 

The Truth About Burnout, Steps to Rejuvenation, and A Cup of Candor

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 11.07.11 AMI know this post is coming sooner than you or I expected it to come, so let me explain.

Earlier this week, I experienced something unfamiliar. It came out of nowhere and yet came from everywhere. I imagined myself in the image of an old wind-up toy that had hit a wall; I was marching along, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was swimming in “noise,” as we communication folks like to call it. It was filling up my head and causing me not to think clearly.

Some people might call it burnout.

Burn•out (noun) /ˈbərnˌout/  def. physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. “high levels of professionalism that may result in burnout”

It was an emotional reaction that, quite frankly, had my friend Elizabeth puzzled when we talked on Tuesday.

“What happened?” she asked. “What happened after our lovely visit to Oxford?”

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 1.19.54 PMShe had sweetly volunteered to come with me and my daughter to the Plein Air event in Oxford where I was signing my latest book, Inn Significant, at the bookstore, Mystery Loves Company. I had been excited to go for weeks as my novel happens to be set in that sweet, picturesque and welcoming town.

“Nothing happened because of Oxford,” I told her. “It just happened after Oxford. I woke up in the morning the next day and didn’t know if I could write one more post about the book. I was becoming exhausted by the idea of book promotion.”

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When I told her more about it, she completely understood. So let me try to articulate it here. Forgive me if I don’t do it perfectly, but here are my thoughts on last Monday’s meltdown.

If you are not an independent author or an author with a small press, you may not understand fully the trials and tribulations of book promotion, but I know that these folks will get it — completely — so here’s the way it goes. Every morning you wake up with the thought, “How can I sell some books today?” For the last six years, that has been my relentless task, in addition to being a full-time professor, wife, mother, writer, blogger, and member of society who also likes to spend time with family and friends. That one, singular thought became an obsession for me, and here’s why: we care about our work, the stories we are producing as authors, but what good are they if no one reads them? The only way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to chip away at book promotion little by little, day after day. We write press releases. We enter book contests. We attend book talks, festivals, and signings. We are omnipresent on social media. We take photographs and come up with tidbits about our books to share on social media sites. We check our blog stats and our Amazon and Barnes & Noble pages to see how many books we have sold daily. We follow other people who are doing the same and see if we can learn from them. We see where we need to improve. We examine peak points on social media and try to post at those times that yield the biggest results. Then, we wake up each day and start over. And over. And over.

We drink a helluva lot of coffee.

And then we hit a wall.

Just like that.

Boom.

And the worst part is, I LOVE creativity. I love it so much, you guys. I love to talk about it, research it, read books about it, and just be creative through my writing and blogging and teaching, and yet, guess what was being zapped?

My friggin’ creativity.

Sucked away like Potter’s Dementors.

And so I had a knee-jerk reaction.

Stop writing. Stop blogging. Stop book promotion.

The problem came two days later when I realized that I didn’t want to stop blogging or writing, I just needed a sabbatical from book promotion.

I also realized that I needed to change my blog. It has been on my mind for a couple of years to rebrand it a bit, while still keeping the Steph’s Scribe flavor. As anyone in business knows, things can’t always stay the same, and change is good.  I’m one of the top Entertainment bloggers on Paperblog, and I have over 10,000 blog followers, so the last thing I wanted to do was start over.

ACupofCandor

So you can see I’ve compromised. It’s got a new title, with Steph’s Scribe as a subtitle so I don’t lose my followers; it has topics that I would like to cover regularly; and my goal is for it to have a little more spirit and candor.

Not everything in life is roses and caviar, and I believe I didn’t always allow myself to be as candid as I would like. So, we’ve got a new approach and a new focus.

And now to you, my dear readers: I would love to hear from you about what you would like to see in the new revamping of the blog. I need some input. Creativity takes brainstorming and often can’t be done alone, so if you have some ideas for me, I am open and in need of them.

To those of you who wrote to me, people like Danielle, Jack F. and Jack G., Deborah, Elizabeth, Whitney, Heather, Linda, Leeanne, Chip, Laurie, and so many others, your words made me examine this much more quickly than I thought was possible. So thank you. Thank you so very much.

And while the “noise” may not be completely cleared and sent to Mars, it’s getting better. And while I cannot fully stop book promotion if I want my books to be read, I can still take a breather from it and perhaps manage the chaos in a different way. And while I may not be ready to write another novel, at some point, I will probably do it again.

And if I love blogging, well then, damn it, I’m just going to keep on blogging.

Was this candid enough for you? If so, I look forward to a cup of candor each week with you as we progress.

Love to you all.  Have a wonderful weekend…

Stephanie

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

Overwhelmed at Work? Block Out Some Time for Yourself | Book Review

The other night when a group of ladies met to discuss my current novel, Inn Significant, for their book club, they asked me this question: “When do you find time to write? As a busy college professor with a family and other obligations, how do you find the time?” The answer is highlighted in today’s blog post: I block out time. And guess what? It’s easy to block out time to do something you love. That’s me today, just finishing writing this blog post, which I blocked out time to do. Enjoy!

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Here’s the scenario: Your inbox is overflowing. You have tons of emails to respond to, in addition to answering social media inquiries, answering texts, and making phone calls. You arrive at work and you already feel overwhelmed with what you must accomplish. You are all set to be productive, and then your balloon slowly begins to deflate as you sit sipping your morning coffee being totally reactionary and not proactive about what you need to accomplish. You know you have things you need to get done, and hope you can squeeze that in during the day.

Does this scenario sound familiar at all? If so, I’ve got some help for you, and it comes in the form of a little book called Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build You Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind, edited by Jocelyn K. Glei. This book gets right at the heart of managing your daily work responsibilities, while also incorporating time for your own work pursuits. Comprised of short articles from experts in the field, you’ll find yourself nodding along and wanting to better construct your daily schedule. I’m certain of it.

While the book focuses on creative types primarily, it is perfect for anyone who feels overwhelmed by technology’s ability to creep into our lives and not leave us alone—not even for an hour or two while we work on something important.

The idea of “chunking” or “blocking out time” on your own calendar to be productive is at the heart of this book. As worker bees, we need to be productive and we need to answer emails. This is true. However, that should not come at the expense of our creative endeavors. They have to be in conjunction with each other.

The book’s brilliant suggestion is to make that morning time YOUR time. Get in early to work when you are fresh and block out the first hour or hour and a half that is YOUR time to do YOUR projects. This makes you less reactionary. Now you are working on things that make your heart sing and make you happy to get to work. Sure, some people may say you didn’t respond to their email fast enough, but you’ll respond in the afternoon (unless it’s absolutely pressing, then I’d get that one done and move on).

It’s so true that we don’t make time for our projects because our day tends to spiral out of control. We lose it to putting out fires, responding to the deluge of emails, or attending meetings that take inordinate amounts of time away from our true productive tasks.

If you’re someone who likes structure during his or her day while also being as productive as possible, I would suggest reading this book. It also has some good examples, like the one I read last night about how someone like Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, blocks out time for his creative endeavors each morning. It provided a lot of inspiration as to how to use your time wisely.

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

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A Review of My Blog by The Villager

Well, I am absolutely flattered that Stevenson University’s newspaper, The Villager, reviewed Steph’s Scribe, and gave it a good review. I can honestly say, my blog has never been reviewed before, so that was exciting to see. Thank you to Chip Rouse, The Villager advisor, and writer Bri Buttner, for the great piece.

I will say that I take great pride in my blog, and I do play around with it quite a bit. I like playing with the aesthetics, photography, and content, and I always try to mix it up. I’ve been consistently blogging since 2011, when I wrote my first post, and I’ve never stopped. I truly enjoy writing, and blogging has become a part of who I am today. It’s a great outlet, and a wonderful way to stay fresh with your writing.

On that note, to anyone who wants to blog, I encourage it. The most challenging parts of blogging remain these two things: (1) coming up with what to blog about, and (2) blogging at least once to twice a week. If you can do that, you’ll get in the swing of things, and when you miss one, you’ll get that itch to get right back at it. It’s a good habit to create.

Additionally, Paperblog picks up my articles as well. For the month of April 2017, Steph’s Scribe was #12 for Entertainment bloggers.

As always, thanks for reading and supporting Steph’s Scribe!

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author ofEvent Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

Celebrating 6 Years of Blogging with “The Best of” Steph’s Scribe

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We all say it.

Time flies.

Before you know it, my kids will be done with high school and college and I’ll be retired, sitting alongside my husband on a beach somewhere sipping something with an umbrella in it and attempting to play golf.

Well, that’s the dream, at least.

Yesterday marked six (6) years of blogging. Six years. It kind of blew me away this morning, but it reminds us what a love for something and a little discipline can do for us. At the minimum, I blog one day a week; most weeks, I blog twice. It’s not always easy coming up with things to write about, but the bottom line is, we do. As bloggers, we always have something in mind that makes us think or that we want to share with others.

As such, to commemorate these past six years, I decided to pull together the posts that get the most hits as sort of a “Best Of” celebration.

Thank you for following, commenting, and sharing Steph’s Scribe with others. I can’t wait to see what the next six years have in store.

BLOGGING has become part of who I am. I cannot imagine my life without it now.

Best of Steph’s Scribe

Birth – The Very First Post on Steph’s Scribe

A Little Game of No Repeat Fashion

Most Attractive Names

How Pinterest Helped with Our Home Renovation

Inn Significant Released

Beneath the Mimosa Tree Wins Readers’ Favorite Award

Instructions for Writing a Love Letter

Lessons from “The Holiday” and James Cameron

Political Opinion Posts and Friends

You Can’t Get There From Here

Learning from Conflict and Experiences & Oprah

Don’t Bring Negativity to My Doorstep

Baseball

Travel

Storytelling

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of the newly released Inn SignificantBaseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree.  Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.  To visit Stephanie’s Amazon Author page and see her books, click here.

 

 

Recounting Five Years of My Life As a Blogger

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On April 6, the notice above popped up in my notifications on my blogging platform, WordPress. I was thankful for the reminder because I wouldn’t have remembered the anniversary of the first day I began the blogging journey. I am too busy tackling the challenge of deciding on what I will write about next. What will the next post reveal? Will I write about writing, fashion, teaching, decorating, films, or books? Or, will I choose to tell a story?

In some ways, I’m amazed that five years have passed since I first began this endeavor. I’ve logged 707 posts to date on Steph’s Scribe. During some months, I turn out a lot of pieces, while there are other months when work and/or family life interfere and I only get to publish so many. It’s always less than I would like, because the truth is, I love writing. Blogging allows writers to write–to constantly communicate through the written word, which in turn, helps us hone and practice our craft. And, it’s executed in a much different way than fictional writing (and you know how much I love that, as well).


Coming up with post ideas can be the most challenging, I won’t lie about that. Years ago my husband told me that my blog was too general, that it needed to be more specific to gain readership. Why not just write about books and blogging, he suggested? It may help you gain followers, he said, pointing in particular to sports bloggers he enjoys. While this is a good idea and has worked for many successful bloggers, I couldn’t imagine myself saddled with just one or two topics. My interests are too varied, as I enjoy talking about so many different subjects. I need the space to be creative. In the end, I just decided to keep it general. And it works for me.

A Royal Lesson: Typing Class Came In Handy was one of the top articles of the month on Paperblog.
A Royal Lesson: Typing Class Came In Handy was one of the top articles of the month on Paperblog.

That said, I would probably say that the most noteworthy ingredient to being a successful blogger is commitment. Of course, bloggers need to have solid writing skills, but even more so, it takes commitment to doing it in order for it to succeed. Today, I have over 8,100 followers, Steph’s Scribe has consistently been in the Top 25 on Paperblog in Entertainment since September (thank you, PAPERBLOG and PAPERBLOG READERS), and I receive feedback both here on the blog and through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from followers when I post something. I was also nominated for a couple of blog awards. But the best part about blogging is receiving comments and feedback. I love that part of it, too.

A Royal Lesson: Typing Class Came in Handy and All The Books We Want to Read | Building Your Summer Reading List were two posts I wrote that were popular on Paperblog this month in the category of Books.
A Royal Lesson: Typing Class Came in Handy and All The Books We Want to Read | Building Your Summer Reading List were two posts I wrote that were popular on Paperblog this month in the category of Books.

The ability to reach people and the ability to write and share information and stories is what keeps me connected to this blogging world. I’ve enjoyed every minute of the past several years, and I look forward to the topic of the next blog post…whatever that may be.
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And Then Inspiration Comes: Start Writing | Hints and Tips for Writers and Bloggers

AltStudios Inspiration

You want to write. Writing is in your blood. You bloggers know this is true. You novelists know this is true. Magazine writers, newspaper writers, nonfiction writers, script writers—it’s part of who you are; it makes up your very existence. You can’t imagine life without it.

And yet, some days it’s difficult to find inspiration.

Some weeks, it’s difficult to find inspiration.

Some years, well, you get the point.

The problem is, if it’s part of who you are, you can’t let inspiration fall by the wayside. You need constant inspiration. These little pieces of inspiration are vital to your success; they help you nurture your creative side, but that creative side yearns to be inspired.

So how do we find inspiration? When does the epiphany hit us and tell us what to do?

I wish I had a stock answer for you that would help make your life easier. I wish I could tell you that at exactly 9 p.m. your creative genius is going to wake up and tell you it has a brilliant idea for you and you will smile and shake its hand and be ready for a new adventure with your writing. But it doesn’t work that way. In fact, that’s exactly the word we are searching for: work. Inspiration takes work.

You become a seeker…someone who needs to seek out ideas and foster them and help them grow. You have a responsibility to nurture them and use your intelligence to make sense of it all.

And, fellow writers, while I may not have the answers—no one does—all I can do is share what’s been working for me lately. These few ideas have helped me get out of the weeds and blow up a project I was working on and start all over again with it.

Open Your Mind appearing behind torn brown paper.

 

  1. Don’t do negative talk. The intrapersonal communication we have going on inside our head should be positive. We do not need to bash ourselves, speak negatively internally, or question our creativity. We are supposed to be our own biggest supporters, and in doing so, tell yourself you can do it. You can write something meaningful. You will come up with something good to write about…it will come soon. I recently showed my sports communication students a Ted Talk by Brett Ledbetter called Finding Your Inner Coach. While it is geared a bit toward athletics, there are good ideas from which we can all learn. One of his ideas involves your innermost thoughts. He asks the audience to consider this: what if you’re an athlete playing in a game and your innermost thoughts scrolled across a scoreboard for everyone to see? Would they be positive thoughts or negative thoughts?  Consider this notion with your writing. If your innermost thoughts were to scroll across the top of your blog or the Paperblog site, would they be positive ones or negative ones?
  2. Find inspiration in the little things. Sometimes it’s just a phrase or sentence someone says to me; other times it’s a quote I see or the way a child holds her mother’s hand. Sometimes innocent things make me stop and wonder and yearn for simpler things. If someone tells you a story, you may be inclined to talk about it or research it for your blog or book. When I mentioned that the character I am writing in my new novel suffers from depression brought on by a traumatic event in her life, a friend of mine said she was glad I was tackling depression. We can’t deny there are stories all around us if we just open our eyes.tumblr_static_pink-typewriter-hi-res-header
  3. Let a photograph take you away. Sometimes when I see exotic photos, pictures of beautiful scenery or cities, or homes and home improvements that people post on Instagram or Pinterest, I am immediately drawn to a particular subject. Let that photograph take you places, expand your imagination, and give you wings to fly.
  4. Don’t allow yourself to feel stifled. One of the criticisms I have received regarding my blog is that it “is not focused enough”—that I don’t just write about one subject area such as writing or decorating or relationships. I have intended my blog to be more of a lifestyle blog, despite the fact that I write books. I am a teacher who teaches writing; I also have a lot of interests. If I had to teach writing during the day and then only write about writing at night, I could possibly go insane. I want to write about things I am interested in—books, movies, writing, fashion, television shows, relationships, children, etc. By expanding your creativity and subject matter base, you may feel more liberated.
  5. Find inspiration in other writer’s work. I just finished The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna van Praag. It was fun, creative, and a little magical. Presently, I am reading The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman. Both of these books are well written and both authors have vivid imaginations. Reading books helps you consider your own storytelling and makes you want to write better. I am always energized after reading a book, dissecting the techniques used, and paying attention to style, diction, description and dialogue. As Jack Nicholson said in As Good As It Gets, “You make me want to be a better man.” As for me, other writers make me want to be a better writer.
  6. Put yourself in the shoes of your readers. What would entertain them? Would a short blog post do for the day, or should it be longer? What type of novel are you ready to attack next, and what type of novel do you think your best friend would want to read? Asking yourself direct questions about your reader and their demographics may help pull you toward a subject matter.Inspiration
  7. Find the prettiest or most attractive journal you can and carry it with you always. There is nothing worse than finding inspiration and not knowing what to do with it. At the very least, you should write it down. Immediately. Before you forget—before that brilliant idea your creative genius helped you think up drifts back up into the sky looking for another creative genius to pass it off to. Cultivate your ideas. Foster them. They are yours, and you owe it to yourself to act upon them.
  8. Keep up with current events, entertainment news, social media, and bestseller lists. Do your homework. What are the hottest topics? What’s trending? What seems to be most interesting to folks? Can you find an interesting story and then put your own spin on it? Can you make something that seems like old news become new again?

I hope I’ve helped a little bit. Maybe the biggest help of all is knowing we all go through it. We all have those moments where nothing is coming. And then—BOOM—the best idea comes to you and you’re off and running.

Or, you could adopt the Tina Fey attitude.

Whatever works.

bitches

After writing a textbook for the last couple of years and promoting Baseball Girl since last March, I had to take a break from writing for a bit (besides the blog) and refocus my energy. The novel I was working on wasn't moving in the direction I wanted it to go. I paused for a long while. Today, I was inspired. It came from somewhere, and I am thankful. I wrote. I got two chapters written, and I'm loving where this story is going. Hearing from other writers is inspirational, but the real motivation for any project comes from a source that only you can hear...it comes from inside you. And it's up to you to foster and nurture it. It's not always easy to believe in yourself, but that belief is what can make you persevere. As Somerset Maugham said: If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
After writing a textbook for the last couple of years and promoting Baseball Girl since last March, I had to take a break from writing for a bit (besides the blog) and refocus my energy. The novel I was working on wasn’t moving in the direction I wanted it to go. I paused for a long while. Today, I was inspired. It came from somewhere, and I am thankful. I wrote. I got two chapters written, and I’m loving where this story is going. Hearing from other writers is inspirational, but the real motivation for any project comes from a source that only you can hear…it comes from inside you. And it’s up to you to foster and nurture it.

 

 

 

Acceptable “B” Words for a BETTER You

cropped-cropped-twinklelights.jpgBonjour, Beautiful Blogosphere Buddies,

As I’ve BEEN thinking about how to make the world around me prettier and lovelier, I BEGAN thinking about how when we make changes in our lives, everything can become more positive. As I pondered this, I was getting dressed this morning. I had to run errands, and I wanted to wear something pretty and feel good about myself. Positive affirmations are real, and we need to accept our lives for what they are and be happy and contented with ourselves. I truly BELIEVE this.

I searched for “positive ‘B’ words,” and from the site Positive Words Research, the list BELOW popped up indicating positive words that start with that letter.

BEATIFY, BEATITUDE, BENEFICIAL, BENEFIT, BENEVOLENT, BELOVED, BEST, BETTER, BLESS – BLESSING – BLESSED, BLISS – BLISSFULNESS – BLISSFUL, BLOOM, BLOSSOM, BALANCE – BALANCED, BEAUTY – BEAUTIFUL – BEAUTIFULLY, BELONG – BELONGING, BOLDNESS, BRAVERY, BRILLIANCE – BRILLIANT, BLISS ON TAP, BEYOND FABULOUS, BIOPHILIA, BRIGHT, BRIGHTNESS, BALISTIC, BLASTING, BLAZING, BLINDING, BREATHTAKING, BUBBLING, BUSTING, BLISSCIPLINE, BUYANCY, BULLISHNESS, BRISKNESS, BUOYANCY, BREEZINESS, BRIO, BE EXTRAORDINARY, BE HAPPY, BEAUTIFY, BEING AT REST, BENEFACTOR, BENEFITS, BENEVOLENCE, BENEVOLENTLY, BENEVOLENTLY CHEERFUL STATE OF MIND, BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS, BEYOND, BEAUTY IN ALL THINGS, BEINGNESS, BELIEVABLE, BLOOD-BROTHERS, BOHEMIAN SOUL, BOHO-SOUL.

Those words are all poetic in their own right, for sure. They are indeed, positive words we can incorporate into our own lives. Then, there are everyday things that can make us feel good, too. So I decided to make my own list of “B” words that make me feel BETTER about myself. Below is what can put me in a positive mood.

BikewithFlowers
It may seem like such a little thing, but my BIKE makes me very happy. BEING on my BIKE and riding it around offers a sense of freedom and allows me to feel like a kid again.
This BLANKET SCARF makes me happy for three reasons: the colors, that it's fashionable, and that my husband bought if for me. The BROOCH has been in my jewelry box since I was a fashion consultant. It's fun to BREAK IT OUT now and then.
This BLANKET SCARF makes me happy for three reasons: BECAUSE I love the colors, BECAUSE it’s trendy and fashionable, and BECAUSE my husband BOUGHT if for me. The BROOCH has been in my jewelry BOX since I was a fashion consultant. It’s fun to BREAK IT OUT now and then.
These BLOOMS make are BEAUTIFUL. During the cold months when winter looms, flowers BRING sunshine into the house.
These BLOOMS make me happy. During the cold months when winter looms, flowers BRING sunshine into the house. And those of you who know me well or see me regularly know how I am most definitely BOOT-OBSESSED.
BLOGGING has become part of who I am. I cannot imagine my life without it now. And BANGLES, well, they're just fun.
BLOGGING has become part of who I am. I cannot imagine my life without it now. BEING a BLOGGER takes time, and it requires connecting all your social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. And BANGLES, well, they’re just fun. As for BLACK coffee, I prefer flavored coffees such as Hazelnut and Vanilla Creme.
BIG sunglasses protect your eyes and sure do help when you have dark circles under your eyes from too many late nights and not enough BEDREST.
BIG sunglasses protect your eyes and sure do help when you want to camouflage dark circles that have formed from too many late nights and not enough BED REST.
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BOOKS have had a positive influence on my life, both writing them and reading them. Hot off the press as of yesterday is a textbook that our BUSINESS Communication students will be using for our Event Planning course, written by my colleagues and me! We are very excited to finally see it in print after a year and a half of research and work on it. BASEBALL Girl is a fictional story I wrote about a girl who works in professional BASEBALL in BAY City, AND BENEATH The Mimosa Tree is a love story about two people who grow up next door to each other and fall in love…BUT something happens and they must see if forgiveness can BE found.
BANANA BREAD. Honestly, do I need to explain this???
BANANA BREAD. Honestly, do I need to explain this???
I have a love-hate relationship with my BODY. I have a tough time losing weight, especially as I've aged, and sometimes I get lazy and don't exercise and eat properly. With all the BODY shaming that is going on constantly, especially over social media, I can BECOME so angry when I see people disparaged about their build or weight. For me, it's a constant BATTLE. BUT, here's me BEING positive and moving my body today. It takes effort, willpower, and time, BUT it can BE done.
I have a love-hate relationship with my BODY. I have a tough time losing weight, especially as I’ve aged, and sometimes I get lazy and don’t exercise and eat properly. With all the BODY shaming that is going on constantly, especially over social media, I can BECOME so angry when I see people disparaged about their build or weight. For me, it’s a constant BATTLE. BUT, here’s me BEING positive and moving my BODY today. It takes effort, willpower, and time, BUT it can BE done.
Saw this gem at my parents' house and asked them if I could have a copy. When I look at this picture, one "B" word comes to mind: BLESSED.
Saw this gem at my parents’ house and asked them if I could have a copy. It’s from their 50th wedding anniversary. When I look at this picture, one “B” word comes to mind: BLESSED.

There you have it. My positive “B” words. I’m curious to know what you would choose.

Hitting A Rough Patch

hearts&books* * *

I spend a lot of time writing. I spend a lot of time reading.

Does this sound like you?

It sure as hell sounds like me. Maybe it sounds like you and me and a lot of other people.

So, because we, collectively, spend a lot of time reading and a lot of time writing (me, for my profession, as well as scribing a book or two or three–what’s your excuse?), coming up with an enticing blog post can get a bit, shall we say, tricky.

Fried brain on toast, if you know what I mean.

Sometimes I just sit here, looking at the screen and saying to myself, “What the heck am I going to write about today?” I used to blog three days a week, now I’m down to one day a week. I’ve hit a rough patch. I’m honestly just so darn busy that this poor little blog of mine has had to take a back seat to my career…my kids…my hubby…and readying the porch for winter.

Seriously. I just finished “closing up the porch” for the season. I wasn’t ready to shut it down, but I didn’t want our brand new cushions on our brand new furniture to become moldy, so I vacuumed them, cleaned them, stored them in bags, and brought them inside. I vacuumed the porch floors and dusted all the furniture before I wrapped it all up and covered it for the season. I suppose I could write about that.

Or perhaps I can liken closing up the porch for winter to my own mind closing up a little with regard to this blog. There are things I know I could write about, but I always wonder whether someone would be interested in what I have to say. It’s a coin toss, and I’m not willing to call it in the air.

CartoonMy husband loves to tell me that my blog is not “streamlined enough.” He says I write about too many subjects, and that if I focused on just one topic, I might find a niche for my blog.

I’ve never much liked niches. It’s like being pigeonholed, and I don’t much care for that idea either.

I tell him I would be bored.

I can’t imagine only writing about one subject (such as writing). I write all day long and I read all day long and I teach writing. Why would I want to write about writing when I already do that?

Nah, I say. I just want to write about subjects I want to write about, and I want to vary my topics. That could involve writing about books, television, movies, fashion, life lessons, childhood stories…who knows?  You never know what I’ll pull out of my twisted little hat on any given day.

No one says a blog has to be one set way.

The power of the imagination is incredibly intoxicating. All you have to do is let your imagination go to places you never thought were possible…be daring…write in a way that is a little scary, dearie…write stories you haven’t told…tell stories you’ve always wanted to tell…

Can’t you feel the creative juices flowing? Can’t you envision the spark that just caught me and lit my fire?

Ugh.

Just focus.

It’ll come to you.

I tell myself that.

A lot.

 

Happy 3-Year Anniversary!

Anniversary3I just popped on to check my stats for the day, something we bloggers who take this seriously often do. (I’m nearing the 100,000 mark—a significant milestone to only one person—me). Anyway, when I logged on I had a little message from WordPress, my content management site, and it said, “Happy three-year anniversary!”

I’ve been doing this for three years. I can’t believe it.

I must have a big mouth, because I always have something to say. I may get writer’s block here and there, but then it always comes back to me. I enjoy “talking” about things on the blog, and even if people don’t actually comment here, they chat with me about it when I see them or on Facebook or Twitter. It’s been fun connecting with other writers and bloggers and readers.

I’ve enjoyed my three years of blogging, and I intend to keep it up.

That is, until I run out of things to say.

Thanks for supporting this blog for three years, readers!