Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On Confidence

We often hear that writers have to be their own sources of confidence. But how we do measure that confidence?
After another enlightening conversation with my dean, I walked away with another one of his quotes:

"Confidence is entirely internal. It is simply believing that you can do something to a certain level. This has nothing to do with being the best or even better. Because true confidence does not require external validation."

You see, when you tell people you write, they expect to hear something palpable.
"What have you written?"
"Is it in Barnes and Noble"
"Did you get a book and movie deal?"

So maybe it all comes down to measurements. We construct ourselves based on others' commentary.
And that's quite unfair.
If I hit my own landmarks, whether that's a word count, scene transition, etc., then that should be enough.
So, here's a promise: to separating the internal and external, if for nothing else then to ensure that I give this my all.

**Thank you so much for your support in my last writing endeavor!! This community has been the greatest source of comfort and encouragement for me.
I've missed blogging and am excited to catch up on all of your posts!

Dream Home

I was never one of those girls who had a dollhouse or created sketches of a dream home.
But if I had to, I'd imagine this image would be a part of it.
Comfortable furniture.
Striped, inviting pillows.
And New York as the backdrop.
Nope, it can't get any better than that.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Some News for You

...of a dream coming true....

Hey fellow bloggers and readers!

My favorite NYTimes columnist, Nicholas Kristof, had an essay contest a few months ago. I screamed out loud when I learned I was a finalist! I'm published for the first time in my life and in the Times. I've admired this man and all of his humanitarian efforts on Oprah and was even more enthralled after I read his book on empowering women, Half the Sky.

He has put up an album on his Facebook page of the finalists and links to their essays.

If you are on Facebook and thought my essay was okay, I'd appreciate a comment and/or like under my photo.

I'm so grateful for all of your support so far and will definitely keep you updated on how things go!

Link to the facebook page

(If you'd like to vote by a "like" and/or comment...I think you have to "like" his page first to be able to like and comment under my picture)

Link to essay: http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/win-a-trip-2011-student-finalists/#dave

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Own Your Time?

I am only beginning to learn how valuable just a single hour is.
I am also beginning to learn how valuable it is to spend time with just yourself.
To be honest, if I answered every "urge" and "instinct" I have, I would never get around to doing a lot of things that just need to be done, such as washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, etc.

What usually happens?
I go to school, study, return e-mails and phone calls, and before I know it, the day is
gone and I haven't written a single word! Not only that, I have spent all of my time around others. Making plans, listening to problems, venting about my own, reading comments from patients, meeting with professors, blah, blah, blah

As an extrovert, this is where I derive a lot of energy.
(Warning: this might sound emo, ...)
Sometimes, we need to just get away from everyone, from the responsibilities, duties, "I should"s.

An article I read in Forbes suggested to answer the important e-mails right away, delegate minimum time for social networking, and then shut everything else out just for 30 minutes.

That's why for the past few weeks, I have scheduled "alone time" in as a necessit
y. (Seriously, it's written in demanding, red Sharpie ink in the planner.)

Since I am a student, do not have kids, or a husband, a lot of my time is a little more in my control than I give it credit for. This is a habit that I hope
to continue throughout my life, as it is therapeutic on many levels.

Because let's be honest, if we sit around and wait for the time to do things, it won't ever come!

Do you schedule time just for yourself?

P.S. On a side note, I went home this weekend because my baby brother went to prom!

This is hard to pin on!

Siblings a.k.a. my little princess and prince!

Friday, March 11, 2011

To My Lovely Readers...

I know I've been terrible with the posts but I promise I'm going to catch up soon! Thank you so much to the new readers. I'm excited to come check out your blogs and I appreciate your support.
As soon as I get my act together, I'll be filling you all in with:

*Writing tips, helpful links, excerpts, query mistakes, etc.
*Epiphanies on friendships, relationships, and career
*Updated pages
*A giveaway!

But in the meantime, here are some wonderful bloggers you may want to check out:

Alex: not only does he have interesting posts, he always takes the time to leave thoughtful comments

Laura: my first writer friend in the blogging world and an amazing girl! She has weekly writing quotes and exercises, among other things.

Laurel: beautifully written posts that provide comfort, encouragement, and advice

Sangu: her book is about to come out!! I always love reading what she has to say about characters and her life in England

Jennifer: a poet and compassionate blogger who always gives me motivation!

Rachna: one of my newest friends in the blogging world. I am so grateful :)

These are just a few of the many incredible bloggers and I will link to more in my next post!!

Hope you have a wonderful Friday :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Because Nothing Compares to a Hand Written Note

Something about aggressive rain instills a sense of laziness, urging me to take a long nap (or drink a massive mug of hot cocoa).
But at the same time, it is also perfect writing weather. The dependable rhythm of the drops is that perfect, let-me-create-something-intense kind of white noise.

So, I took a nap and then wrote, all the while thinking of balance. The weather sent my desires into two contrasting directions but in moderation, I could tread through both.

In writing, and life, we may occasionally "feel" like doing two opposing things at once:

*Diet but eat that last Girl Scout cookie
*Read a few more blogs but write a couple hundred words
*Create but enjoy the work of those who already have created

I've seen some efficient bloggers stick to schedules with their posts and well, I wish I was that disciplined but something about routine makes me go a little crazy.

Throughout different periods of our lives, or even during different projects, we will have distinct obstacles to overcome. I have realized that once I start reading---blogs, newspaper articles, a book---it's difficult to stop. Gosh, I could read forever! (This is the same way I feel about school; I could be a student forever. Real world? What real world?!)

I keep seeing that a writer is always reading, but in my case, it is imperative that I set time limits to stop and move on to other things.

"You can have it all. You just can't have it all at once."
sorry to quote Oprah for those of you who refuse to watch her show ;)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Can't We All Just Get Along and Be Happy?

Being human teaches us that certain emotions---jealousy, pride, insecurity, as a few examples---are inevitable. Many times they serve as reflections into our own selves, indicating what is lacking in our lives.

The most interesting thing about them is the number of ways they can be manifested. Some people retract into shells while others just become bullies.

So, I have had a couple of friends throughout the years who seem to love taking the "snide comment" route. Sometimes indirect, sometimes not. And the comments will apply to anything, even things that I did not think were bad.

"Oh, people who write aren't really doing anything."
"You know, your problem is that you get so close to people. You just become friends with everyone."
"Nobody really has a good relationship. If you say you do, you're just trying to cover up how terrible it is."

I used to react to these comments by shrinking myself down
. Anything to not open the door to more comments. If a person complimented me around this type of friend, I would cringe and silently beg, "Please stop. PLEASE!" and rushed to change the subject.

Why didn't I ever say anything back? Maybe I should have. I always told myself that someone would only behave that way if they were experiencing their own avalanche of internal negativity. That psycho-analysis and consistent excuse of the root cause kept me quiet and only empowered those comments.

And I'd wonder why this person felt the need to sneakily criticize every aspect of my life, especially when I was happy. Why, why why? Eventually, I reacted with fear and shame.

But lately, I've made a promise to myself. To not shrink. To not be so sensitive. To let it go but not let it go.
Because nobody is being helped by my fear and isn't it almost insane to be ashamed of your own happiness?

And with the positive environment of the blogosphere, I ask you, have you ever been in a similar situation? Do you think this is more common among women? Have you ever had a toxic friendship?

(I don't want to gender the issue but am simply stating the context I've heard this in the most.)

Natural Caffeine

On Thursday, I set my alarm to 4:30 a.m. to be able to study.
A pretty foolish plan for someone who is not a morning person.
The alarm went off and I snoozed for fifteen minutes.

Then I got up, splashed my face with cold water, held my eyelids open, willing them to stay that way.

Scrolled through Power Point presentations, as names of drugs and diseases flew by.


Opened a fresh Word document and began typing.
About everything.
The misery of the morning. Slants of light seductively peeking in through the blinds. The quiet yet comforting hush of the apartment.
Words flowed, followed by energy.
Minutes passed and when it came to studying, everything was absorbed.

And I was so grateful, for that verbal cup of coffee.