The Power of Inspiration

I’m just coming off of a whirl wind four day of attending a local, award winning, writing conference. I have posted about When Words Collide before (Inspiration, Creativity and Community at When Words Collide), but every time I attend I end up completely compelled to share.

This year was my fourth time attending. Thus, only three years ago, I showed up at this massive conference and I didn’t know anybody. At that time, I had written my book ‘Just a Girl and a Bike’, but I had no idea how to put it together and get it out there. My goal was simply for even one person to read it and feel inspired and infused with belief in themselves. Well, I’ll be honest, tears are trickling right now as I write this, because that goal has been surpassed. And not just because I have been able to get my book into many hands of people who needed the message within, but because this time at When Words Collide I had a profound and touching experience.

The second time I attended When Words Collide, I signed up to give a presentation on steps to self-publish. I was terrified – I questioned what I really knew. But, I had learned that this conference was about sharing with each other what we had learned along the way. It was a fantastic experience. I did the presentation the next year, and again this year.

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Reflections from the Mountains

I’m back from a very full two days in the mountains. After a solid two days of non-stop adventure, my heart is full of gratitude. Living so close to some of the most beautiful mountains is absolutely amazing. Every time I make the trip out, I come back feeling renewed and alive. My being feels open. My soul is infused with a energy and a sense of peace and calm.

The trip was oriented around a fitness expo, paired with the Banff Marathon. The expo itself is a beautifully run little event. People from all over the world come to run through the mountains, participating in the full marathon, half marathon, or 10 km run. The expo is set up such that participants come through to pick up their race packages, and have an opportunity to peruse the vendors. I have been fortunate to be able to be part of this as Just A Girl and a Bike for several years now.

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It’s always exciting to sell a book, of course. But, the conversations I end up having and the connections I end up making are what really stick in my mind. All sorts of people with a wide range of experience show up to run. I find myself relating whole heartedly to those who have never done this beforeor have nervous energy all over their face. I love that I can relate, talk to them, and perhaps even help them to focus their minds and their energy.

This year, after talking to a lady who was quite worried about the run, she said to me, “Thank you. I really needed that.” She walked away with a smile. Now, that made my heart sing.

So, not only did I sell some books, and selling books means more money raised for World Bicycle Relief, but I talked to many amazing people. And, I made a connection that could turn into a wonderful opportunity to encourage girls to be confident, seek the activities they love, and find their whole selves. Yes. I’m excited.

Now, of course, being in the mountains, I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to get in some activities. I LOVE activities. I went up early the first morning and snuck in a bit of cycling. I was able to do a short, sweet loop up to Lake Minnewanka, with enough climbing to get my heart pumping.

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On the way up, I saw about eight or so mountain sheep, with babies! On the way down, I rolled right by two moose munching away at the gras on the side of the road. What an experience. These animals are truly magnificent, majestic, and have an aura of calm about them. I was even able to sneak in a side trip to Johnson Lake, adding on a couple more km and a wee bit more climbing.

I just felt SO good to be on my bike, surrounded by mountains, the fresh air kissing my face, and the essence of nature infusing my soul.

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After a long second day of talking, interacting, and being ‘on’, I unplugged by hiking aggressively up a series of switchbacks to the top of Sulfur Mountain. The peace and quiet of nature, the smell of the trail, the fresh air, and the earth, and the general calm that clings to the air on such a trail, absolutely refreshed me after expelling so much energy.

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Of course, I was happy to be home, in my own bed, back in my sanctuary. And now here I sit, writing, reflecting, and feeling happy and full of life. What an amazing place to live, so close to such mountains. And what a wonderful path I have been taking on by sharing my own story of facing my fears.

Writers Helping Writers: BIG REVEAL!!!

Have you ever held onto a secret you’ve been dying to share, and then finally…you can?

For the last few weeks I’ve been helping Angela and Becca at Writers Helping Writers keep a BIG secret…what the next book in their thesaurus series will be.

It might seem strange to not tell one’s readers what book you’re planning to release…unless you happen to write books on Show, Don’t Tell like Angela and Becca do! They couldn’t resist the opportunity to show, not tell, by waiting for the cover reveal. They even created a *REDACTED* cover for it, which you might have seen floating around.

We’re revealing the cover at long last!

*drum roll*

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Surviving My First NaNoWrimo: Lessons Learned

I wrote and published one, single, lonely book. I chose the self-publishing route for this very personal, non-fiction story in which I open up about my struggles with anxiety and weight by facing a very big mountain, equipped with nothing but a bicycle. During this time, I found myself starting to encounter a whole new world – the world of writing. Many a time I heard the word NaNoWrimobut never really understood what it was.

20180331_110417About a year ago I made the decision to embark on the long, daunting, unknown journey of writing my first fiction novel. There were many stops and restarts due to, well, life. However, I found myself wanting, even needing to continue with this journey I had started, and to see if I could indeed write a novel.

As November approached, I again heard murmurs of this mysterious NaNoWrimo thing. Then, a dear friend of mine, and very accomplished editor and author, told me I should just do it with the goal to reach a word count that would complete my first draft. The premise of NaNoWrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is to write the first draft of a novel in a month. But, you can frame the challenge in your own way.

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When Words Collide: A Whirlwind of a Weekend

I absolutely LOVE When Words Collide.

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A conference for writers, readers, publishers, editors…anyone passionate about books in some shape, way or form, this year it took me away in a  whirlwind of activity. I first heard about WWC two years ago. It is  affordable and for me it is also localThus my decision to attend the first one was easy to make. My intention, initially, was to learn. To absorb as much information as possible. To be a human sponge! And learn I did. The wealth of sessions to choose from was overwhelming. At that time, I had written my first book, and had no idea how to ‘put it together.’ I learned so much, I went home and spent the entire evening creating my project plan to assemble, promote and sell my book. And that I did. Incredibly, my book is now a concrete thing. I continue to promote and sell one book at a time. Capturing my personal story, this first book is very near and dear to my heart. My goal was to inspire at least one person with my words, and to raise as much $$$ as possible for a great cause. (Learn more here).

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Why Writing is Like Power Lifting

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeWelcomeWelcome to my monthly post in participation of the Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG). If you have never heard of it, check it out!!!

After a full day of writing yesterday, followed by more writing this morning, I decided to take a break and get some exercise. It’s been raining, a lot, so I chose the gym. When I am cooped up inside, I like intense activities. They are effective and efficient. Power lifting meets this criteria.

As I positioned myself under the bar, setting up for my first set of squats, the striking similarities between writing my first fiction book and power lifting shot through my mind.

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The Writer’s Tool Box

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Welcome to my monthly post in participation of the Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG). If you have never heard of it, check it out!!!

I have embarked on my first fiction book. I will fully admit, this is hard. But, I am totally committed to finishing what I have started! I have launched myself completely into this, and have scoured the resources out there. I have read books, taken classes, and asked for advice from the many talented authors that I have been so fortunate to meet.

The main result is that I have learned a lot, and I have built myself a writer’s tool box. I am so excited to share with you what is in my tool box. I hope that you find something here that will help you, no matter where you are in your writing journey. Continue reading “The Writer’s Tool Box”

The Writer’s Happy Book

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeWelcome to my monthly post in participation of the Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG).  I am still a new member to this amazing group of writers, this being only my third post.  If you have never heard of it, check it out!!!

A special thank you to the founder, Alex Cavanaugh!

A long, long time ago….when my professional career as a computer scientist was just starting to blossom, I was exposed to a brilliant idea.  It was quickly becoming apparent to me that within the corporate world the work environment could be less than morale boosting.  During a professional development course of some kind, I think it had to do with leadership, the instructor shared with us her portfolio.  Yes, a beautifully laid out path of what she had accomplished and where she was going.  Deeply inspired, I was soon building my own professional portfolio, and out of this sprung a side idea to build a happy book!

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Kickboxing, Power Lifting and Empowering People

I recently had the absolute pleasure of getting to know Tasneem.  Tasneem is small in stature, but big in personality.  Her energy flows from her, and leaves one feeling uplifted, excited, and ready to take on life!  She is extremely hard working and dedicated to quality and the people in her life.  She is an absolute fireball, taking on life straight ahead, no backing down.  She is also wise beyond her years, embracing both balance and learning from her mistakes.  Let me take you on a journey with Tasneem…

Tasneem has been a part of many sports thoughout her life.  Many, including basketball, rugby, rowing, running and trialathon, came into and went out of her life.  In high school she took her first kickboxing class.  She immediately knew this was the one.  She really got into it in her 20s, and at first she struggled!!  She had two left feet and no co-ordination.  But she chose to keep getting her ass kicked, literally.  She stuck with it, she worked hard and she learned.

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