Get Motivated


Today I’m THRILLED to announce that my long-awaited novel, a middle-grades fantasy adventure, is finished and going to be published! I hope to have it available in time for Christmas. To receive book updates, insider promotions, teacher resources, book-related games, etc., please sign up for my e-mail newsletter at the top right corner of this screen. Thank you!!
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No matter how old you are or what you do, there are times you feel like you’re a failure. That you’re bad at what you do. That you’re just barking up the wrong tree in life. 
But when that happens, often the truth is that we’re tired. (Or lonely, or hungry. Sandwiches have solved some of my life crises.) Sometimes we do need to stop and rest, but there other times when we just have to press on. Move forward. Get it done. 
And it’s in those times that motivation becomes priceless.
As a writer, I may have more self-esteem problems than the average person. It’s important for me to stay reminded that I’m doing what I’ve been called to do, what I’m good at doing, what I love to do–especially on the tired days. Even with a book about to be published, it’s easy to get bogged down in the immensity of work and lose sight of the goal.
So I’m sharing with you 5 signs in my home/office that motivate me. They’ve helped me through some dry days, and now they help me celebrate as I get ready to see my dream come true. Most of them are word-based, because I love words, but I think motivation can come just as easily from pictures. When I lived in Seattle, nearly every student’s desk or worker’s cubicle contained a desk calendar with pictures of palm trees and white sand beaches. Case in point.
This one came from Barnes and Noble when I was probably 15 years old. Now I hang it on my door when I’m working instead of a “Do Not Disturb” sign. I look forward to the day when it’ll come true!
This was an “award” I received during my freshman year of college. Apparently it was my dorm floormates’ unanimous prediction. Later that year, I started writing my novel. Thank you, ladies.
This was drawn by my artistically gifted and always-faithful mother on a paper plate when I was in 7th grade. That’s me, doing what I still do almost every day. (Maybe minus the scrunchie.) 
This was a Trader Joe’s greeting card that almost made me cry when I spotted it in the grocery store. I bought two, framed one for my wall, and mailed another to my knit-designing friend Audry. When you’re in a career that doesn’t make financial sense and that takes a long time to produce gratification, you need this reminder EVERY SINGLE DAY. Actually, maybe you need it in any career, at any age. 

And last, a beautiful picture made by my late grandmother, which she gave me for my 24th birthday. I think it’s made of watercolor, pen, and of course her signature–glitter. Besides representing a heritage of art, this picture reminds me of one of my literary role models, Anne of Green Gables, and all that she stands for: optimism, hope, and adventure to be found in the wild blue yonder.

So happy Friday! Be motivated today!

What signs or images motivate you in your daily endeavors? 

Confessions from a Home Office

After almost 9 months of chugging away as a freelance writer, editor, and English tutor, I feel that it’s time to share my perspective on working from a home/office…er, home office. It’s often glorified as the ultimate work situation, but it’s certainly not free from challenges. 
After college, I moved back into the room of my childhood. The challenge was converting it into an office as well. Organizing the same amount of space to serve two purposes was a challenge. At first I just kind of put my work in a blender and watched it explode all over the floor. 
I eventually got a bit more organized, at least space-wise. But organizing time can be harder. I am my own boss, which leaves me accountable only to myself for time management. Sometimes I’m distractable and not productive enough. More often, though, I’m doing five things so efficiently that I multitask myself clean out of productivity. Trying to do too many things can actually keep my thinking so shallow that I’m not productive at anything, especially writing. 
Working from home can be hard to explain to others. Sometimes people think that because I stay at home, I don’t actually work. I promise–I do. But getting respect for that isn’t always easy. It can also be tough to guard my work time. Because I’m within earshot of the phone, the dishwasher, the oven timer, the front door, it’s the easiest thing in the world to get interrupted and distracted. Or to use home chores as procrastination stations. 
My job can be lonely. Sometimes I get to the end of the day overflowing with words because I simply haven’t opened my mouth to talk to a human being all day. My brain gets tired from juggling e-mails, flashback scenes, and semicolon placement, but there are no co-workers to socialize with around the water cooler. I’m learning I have to be proactive and intentional about spending time with people.   

But there are also some undeniable perks to the job. I love that my mornings aren’t dictated by a rush to beat traffic or catch a train. I really enjoy the quiet and calm of my own home atmosphere. It’s pretty nice to be able to grade papers while watching blue jays perch in the backyard birches or redline a manuscript while wearing my fuzzy slippers. And it’s been a special blessing to be available to help care for my grandma these past five months. 

A few days ago I wrote an e-mail to a friend who asked me what it was like to be a freelancer. My response was long. It’s a lot of work, and trust is a constant challenge as I have to keep surrendering my question-mark future into God’s hands. But I also realized that I love my work. I sure don’t feel like that every single morning. But overall, I’m so grateful to have this chance to pursue my God-given passions from a base of nurture and support.  I look back over the last nine months and realize that this time has not been wasted. In spite of the logistical snags, the isolation, the multitasking, the procrastination–I’m moving in the direction of what I was made to do. And that is a great feeling.


One of my goals this summer is getting my children’s novel ready to start the publication process! In the interest of productivity on that, I’m going to be cutting back to blogging once a week for the summer. Don’t let me slack off! The race is on!