I’ve Been… (Lockdown Edition)

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  • Editing what I once called Frozen Heart, or what I might now call Frost. Which title do you prefer? Or a different one? It’s going alright, but I think I’m at the point where I need to call in a professional editor.
  • Writing. I’ve started a new project. It’s inspired by Cinderella. I never saw that as a fairy tale I’d want to retell (my first thought is always that it’s over done) but much like the case with Beauty and the Beast, I realized that I had something to say about it. I will say it’s a Cinderella I don’t think we’ve seen quite like this before, and a Godmother who is also rather unexpected. But it’s still a very new project, so, for now, I won’t say much more.
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    Locked down. My city has pretty strict rules about staying in, but even if we didn’t, I don’t think I’d be going out much! My weekly grocery runs are about as much stress as I can take. If you told me a few months ago, that it’s the only time I’d really go out, I’d have thought it would be something I’d look forward to. But between worrying about staying a safe distance from others and showering and wiping down my purchases as soon as I get home, it just doesn’t seem worth it!

  • Reading. I always read a lot  and this lockdown is certainly no exception. And if nothing else, this has convinced me that it makes perfect sense to have a huge pile of unread books in your space. This is a perfect example of just such an occasion. That’s a big “so there!” to anyone who ever told me that it was a waste of space! If you want to see what I’ve been reading lately, it’s all on here.
  • Working Out. Fortunately there’s enough of Youtube to keep me fit! I love some of these workout channels. Check them out. They’re a way to stay fit indoors (all have low impact workouts or at least low impact options so you don’t need to jump around and disturb the downstairs neighbors, if you have them)
  • Binging:
    • Ozark– It’s not my usually type of show (slow burn crime drama) but somehow I got drawn in and now I’m hooked! I’m just starting the third season, so no spoilers please!
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      netflix.com
    • Schitt’s Creek– I caught up on the finale last night. I’m really going to miss this show! Feel good viewing that makes you laugh is rare, and with the loss of this and The Good Place in the same year, it’s now lacking in my TV line up!
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      Hollywoodreporter.com
    • Unorthadox– I saw this recommended a few places and I loved it. How often to we get a miniseries with no big “stars,” set in the Hasidic community, about a young woman’s self discovery? While it’s not exactly what I’d call action/adventure, this character driven drama is really compelling and absorbing. It’s only 4 episodes so you can binge it in a day if you want.
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  • Oddly, socializing a lot. My extended family has gotten together for “virtual brunch.” My book club started doing virtual meetings. And I’ve touched base with a number of people to check in and see how they’re doing. It’s not ideal, but I appreciate the various ways that we’ve found to keep isolation for being too isolating.
  • A wreck. If any of this makes it sound like I’ve mastered quarantine, rest assured I’m just as nervous and stressed as anyone else. I’m just hoping and praying for the best for myself , my loved ones, the people around me, the people away from me and the world at large.

How have you been dealing with this weird, frightening experience?

Stay in and stay safe everyone!

Sharing Resources

One thing that I’ve noticed is that in almost every field there seems to be a notion that there isn’t enough success to go around and that when we have an advantage we have to protect it. But that’s something I’m trying to move away from. I believe that a rising tide lifts all boats.  One of the advantages of the internet is  the incredible resources we can find, so let’s share. These are some great tools and things that I’ve discovered that help make life a little easier.

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Health

NextGen Jane– A data driven women’s healthcare company that tracks data to allow women to make more autonomous decisions regarding healthcare.

Career

Fairygodboss-  A career community for women with jobs, company reviews, advice and connections.

Ladies Get Paid– a free, private online network that connects thousands of women around the world who share advice, resources, and opportunities.

Self Care

Positively Present– A blog focused on helping readers to be positive and live in the moment.

Mindful– Offers information and resources for people who want to practice meditation and mindfulness. It offers practical suggestions, guided meditations, and podcasts.

Noisli– This site lets you mix and match sounds and create ambient noise that will let you relax or improve productivity. You can even get it as a chrome extension.

Activism

5 Calls- Allows people to easily call their representatives about national and local politics, which is one of the most effective ways to make your voice heard. Provides scripts about important issues and explanations of the issues and their history.

Fitness

Charity Miles– An app that donates to the charity of your choice for each mile, you run/walk/bike etc. You get exercise and your charity gets money. It’s win-win!

Cocolime Fitness– Suzanne Wickremasinghe created this fitness program aimed at people who suffer from chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, adrenal fatigue, and more. You don’t need these conditions to do the workouts though! Medium intensity exercise can benefit lots of people whose bodies can’t handle high intensity for whatever reason and you can still get a great workout. The youtube channel has free full length workouts and there’s more information available on the website.

Jessica Smith TV– Jessica Smith’s youtube channel features hundreds of free workouts of various lengths and intensity. You can find hour long workouts but even if you only have 10 minutes you can get a workout in. Her website also features fitness tips, workout programs and more.

LWR Fitness– Lucy Wyndham Read’s fitness channel is awesome if you don’t have a lot of time, but still want to get in shape. She has a lot of 4 minute and 7 minute workouts (along with some longer ones) that keep you burning more all day long and she explains how and why these work. She also has lots of ebooks, courses, recipes and podcasts, and her blog has a ton of information .

Writing

The Hemingway Editor– This is a writing software that edits your writing for adverbs, passive voice, phrases that have simpler alternatives, and difficulty. You can paste your writing into the website or download the desktop version.

Grammarly– This free software checks for grammar, spelling, plagiarism. It’s available as a browser extension or an app.

Scrivner– I use this software for writing novels and it’s a life saver! It lets me compose text out of order and put it together later, in sections as large (or small) as I want. Everything I write  is integrated into an outline so I can go from one chapter to another with a quick click rather than scrolling through a lot of pages! I can also keep resources and research right by my draft so I can easily refer to them when I need to. You can download a 40 day free trial and then it’s only $45 to buy the full version.

What are some of your favorite resources?

Evaluating Last Year’s Resolutions

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Every year I write down my resolutions. It keeps me accountable.  So how did I do in 2018? Let’s see:

  • Continue to write on a regular basis and finish my second novel. Also, I will think of a title for my second novel.

I’ve finished the first draft of my second novel. Does that count? I probably should have specified if “finish” mean a draft or the whole thing! The working title is “Frozen Heart” but that may change because I’m not sure if I like it.

  • Publish Beautiful this summer.

  • Make more of an effort to submit my writing to publications and to publish my work in general.

I’m combining these two because publishing Beautiful was a Big Deal. It was a lot of work! I did submit my writing to a few other publications and I had a story published in Z Publishing’s New York’s Emerging Writers anthology, and I’ll have an essay about indie publishing in an upcoming magazine, but a lot of my time and focus was devoted to publishing Beautiful.

  • Continue to bother my elected officials on regular basis about issues that I feel are important. Also look for other ways to make a positive impact on the world.  Fight for what I believe in.

I certainly bother my elected officials regularly and I encourage others to do so as well. More information about that is available here. I encouraged people to register and vote this past November, and I have tried to put more positive energy out there in different ways. Sometimes in something as small as a blog post even. One thing that has frustrated me in the past is that I don’t have enough disposable income to give to causes that I find important, so the discovery of the Charity Miles app was really great for me. It uses corporate sponsors to contribute to charity for every mile I log running, walking, biking etc.  This has allowed me to work toward fitness goals and help several organizations including She’s The First, Save The Children, World Food Programme, Operation Smile and Charity: Water.  The app is free and I recommend it highly. Remember that with both exercise and charity, doing anything at all is better than doing nothing.

  • Get out and be more social. I tend to be a homebody, which is fine sometimes, but I do value my relationships with my friends and my family and I want to do more with them in 2018.

This is something I need to continue to work on in 2019! Not that I was antisocial this year, but when you’ve had a long week sometimes it’s tempting to just stay in over the weekend with a good book, some take out, and Netflix. But I feel like investing in relationships is worth the effort it sometimes takes.

  • Don’t be afraid of leaving my comfort zone (or rather, be afraid but do it anyway!) Try new things. Be open to new adventures.

My first instinct is to say that I didn’t do this, but then I realized that I’m going through a career transition that’s scary but will hopefully lead me to somewhere positive and productive. So I guess I’ve been braver than I thought this year!

  • Try to relax and enjoy things more. Don’t analyse every detail of everything and try to plan for all possible outcomes. Go with the flow more, and enjoy the present.

OK now this is something that I need to work on! I did relax and enjoy at times in 2018 but I am still very much a worrier at heart. So this is a resolution that I’ll need to renew!

I’ll post my 2019 resolutions in a few days.

How did you do on last year’s resolutions?