Day in the Life: exciting news ‘under construction’

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Photo by WebFactory Ltd on Unsplash

Although still “under construction” (aren’t we all?), behind-the-scenes work continues on my new website, as well as the launch of Always the Write Time once-monthly emails that contain exclusive content, free giveaways for eNews subscribers, special promos to win fun book-related goodies and previews of my upcoming real-life “fairytales.” Spoiler alert: Stay tuned for my latest sweet short story featured in Woman’s World April 12 issue (on sale April 1)! I promise your inboxes won’t be bombarded — and your support would mean the world to me. Connecting with readers who believe it’s always the write time for hope for new beginnings, humor in the messy middle & heart for happy endings will help me better craft the stories that you want to read. As a thank you for signing up, you will receive a complimentary PDF of my Top 5 Sweet Romance Reads for 2021.

Visit my home page at chrismadayschmidt.com, and click on the “subscribe” button to be added to Always the Write Time free monthly email.

Pertaining to work: doing what you love, loving what you do

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Early in my vocational pursuits, my father told me I would be lucky to find a job that not only pays well, but one in which I enjoy. Although you will never have to work a day in your life, if you choose a job you love (according to Confucius), and “the only way to do great work is to love what you do,” per Steve Jobs, I believe to do what you love and love what you do requires removing ourselves from the equation to ask: How does my work impact or bless someone else—a colleague, customer or stranger I might never meet? Perhaps Kahlil Gibran got it right when he penned: “Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.”

How can you do what you love and love what you do?

Image source: associationsnow.com.

 

 

Delete, delete, delete: A better way to break free from toxic thinking

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The other day I sat in a messy space of negativity. You could say I wallowed in it (not a pretty picture). The following morning, I began writing an email to a friend listing all the moody details. After about 20 minutes of spewing onto the “page,” I backspaced through the majority of the conversation. At the same time, a lightbulb popped on to reveal an ah-ha moment: If we could visualize ourselves backspacing (or deleting) over a negative script in our minds—hurtful comments received or spoken, limiting beliefs that continue to bombard our thoughts—how would that affect our moods, our days…the quality of our lives? Personally, I prefer to live without any reminders that I “screwed up again” and to focus on the clean page. To fill that space with positive affirmations, words of gratitude and encouragement (to myself and others). And to quickly “backspace” whenever I find myself trapped in another endless loop of toxic thinking.

How do you keep from rehashing negative thoughts?

Let’s play: Can you describe your life in a six-word sentence?

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I love these types of questions. As someone whose day job and part-time gig (aka the writer’s life) revolves around all things words—such as word counts, both minimum and maximum—I often play little games with myself; e.g., have you ever counted the number of words in any of the blog posts I’ve written over the past several years? Spoiler alert: 168. Even creating a story with 750-800 words stretches me in different ways than writing a 60,000-word manuscript. And that’s because it requires concise word choices sans the “fluff.” In the Bucket List Journey, which I embarked on at the beginning of 2021, one of the 365 questions includes a challenge to identify six words that condense the finite essence of our lives. Non-writers might also enjoy playing along. For me—within the framework of this moment—the six-word sentence that best illustrates a snapshot of my journey can be summed up as Living the life of my dreams.

What six words describe your life today?

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash.

No. 1 game-changing life hack from 2020

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I know, I know: the calendar professes 2021. And that means the proverbial clean slate. Yet, I continue to marvel at the lessons I learned in 2020. One of the best—and I dare say “game-changing life hacks”—happens to be my “discovery” of the podcast. OK, I realize podcasts date back to 2004. (I never promised I’m a quick learner—just that you can teach old dogs new tricks). But when the catch phrases work from home, curfews and self-isolation served to shrink our respective corners of the world last year, my introduction to podcasts provided a way out, so to speak. Podcasts, for me, became an open door to expand my knowledge base on such topics as tips and techniques for authors, writing as a business, online “church” and more. And the best part? You can subscribe—for free—to any and all subject matter that piques your interest. My favorite this week? Write Now podcast with Sarah Werner.

What’s your game-changing life hack from 2020?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

From manic to magical: ‘Funday Monday’

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Dread Mondays? Need to modify your mindset? I can relate. With that conundrum in mind, I arrived at an idea to transition from weekends into the work week by experimenting with something I call Funday Monday. Yes, you heard right. For me, weekends equate to “hustle” and “R&R.” On Saturdays, I cram as much to-dos as I can into the day. Although I realize that may not work for everyone, I like knowing that Sundays represent rest, recreation, reconnection and reset. And, although Mondays mean “day job,” I’ve started sprinkling—throughout—a bit of weekend fun. This might look like an early morning trek through the mountains or include a mid-day walk to McDonald’s for an iced mocha; or maybe a mani-pedi and/or movie marathon to round out the day. You might choose to meditate, meet a friend, schedule a massage or crank up your favorite music. With just a tiny amount of imagination, you can transform Mondays from manic to magical.

How do you feel about Mondays?

Image courtesy of IamTaew at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Imposter syndrome: 3 tips to flip the script

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In the Bucket List Journey, the author asks: “If you had to teach something, what would you teach?” I’ve considered this question often, first upon graduating from ASU as a non-traditional (aka middle-aged) student, followed by earning extra cash as a substitute teacher, while interning and job hunting. And, lately, as I’ve considered ways to expand my reach as a writer. One topic that I struggle with on a regular basis—imposter syndrome, or self-doubt and insecurity—informs my answer to the question. I would teach others how to break through a mindset of limiting beliefs. My limiting beliefs revolve around #allthings writing. Maybe you wonder if you’re cut out to homeschool your children, manage a team of employees or return to school in your 50s. If so, I encourage you to 1) acknowledge your thoughts, 2) put them into perspective and 3) reframe them by focusing on your accomplishments, reflecting on your growth and realizing that your. Dreams. Matter.

How does imposter syndrome show up for you?

What are you reading? Top 5 from 2020

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Assuming you agree 2020 proved to be a year like no other—at least in our lifetime—you might find yourself in one of two camps: during the past 12 months, you read more than ever (whether to escape reality or to preserve your mental health or all of the above); or, you remained unable to read anything other than your pervading news feeds (understandable). Regardless of which camp you reside, if one of your New Year’s goals includes reading [more], check out my Top 5 from 2020:

  1. Greg Olsen’s “Lying Next to Me“—for fans of suspense
  2. Gay Hendricks’ “The Big Leap”—addresses limiting beliefs & finding your “zone of genius”
  3. Scott Allan’s “Do it Scared”—shares techniques to charge forward with confidence
  4. Alice Feeney’s “Sometimes I Lie”—takes readers on a psychological thrill ride (eked into 2021)
  5. Tina Radcliffe’s “Finding the Road Home“—for lovers of stories with heart, humor & faith

What book did you read last year and recommend?

Image courtesy of zole4 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Happiness is… losing track of time

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In my post “…starting over in 2021,” I mention embarking on a Bucket List Journey by Annette as a way to embrace possibility for the new year. If you’ve yet to check it out, give it a whirl. Each day provides thought-provoking questions that force you—in a good way—to reflect on what inspires you, what challenges you to pinpoint areas in your life that need to change and what activities you desire to incorporate more of on a regular basis. Try this prompt on for size: Which activities cause me to lose track of time? For me, this includes hiking, writing, reading and playing games. The list can be as short or as long as you like—but consider those instances when an hour or more flies by unnoticed because you were consumed with whatever captured your attention. And then take it a step further: How can I add more of those moments into my daily life?

Which activities cause you to lose track of time?

Love is in the air: a sweet romance

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Honest truth? I’m still learning I have a lot more to learn about author brand and identity, content marketing, web development and self-promotion; in other words: #allthethings. Consequently, when—not if—I miss the mark [just last week I pulled “Starting out strong…” and revised after posting], means I get to practice what I preach here: that it’s #alwaysthewritetime to learn something new. With that said, happy inaugural self-promo day. While my novel remains in all its rough-draft glory, I’d like to share news that my first published fiction piece—a 5-minute sweet romance—will run in the Valentine’s Day issue of Woman’s World magazine. To read this story, you can order the digital issue here, or pick up your copy on sale at grocery and retail stores and booksellers Feb. 4-10. I hope readers enjoy “A special sign on Valentine’s Day” and how a botched order from the florist delivers a promising invitation to the lonely widow’s heart.

Let me know your thoughts about this “budding” romance.

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