Stop Trying to Pour from an Empty Cup: Feed Your Soul

Trust me, I keep learning this lesson the hard way.

It’s so tempting to keep jumping around from task to task.

You can very likely get a lot of different things done this way, but it doesn’t mean it’ll be all that fulfilling. You’ll just burn yourself out and then you’ll be miserable. I go through this cycle all the time, but I’m finally ready to try and break it.

So I said last time too. And in previous blog posts, you might’ve noticed me talk about self-care, taking breaks, etcetera. But you know what I realized recently?

There’s actually a third option besides just being a workaholic and being a couch potato.

Yes, seriously – and it’s called feeding your soul.

It’s not a question of working or taking a break – it’s actually more about doing things that make your heart happy. For me, as a content writer, my work is extremely draining on the creative front, so I recognize that I need to take time for my art as well.

Sure, it might not pay as lucratively as my articles about pest control or personal care items, but there’s something incredibly important about writing things that let your light shine. I have a story that’s been begging to get out for a while. And most importantly, big plans for it once I do.

All that being said, if you’re curious about my other stories that have already been published, you can grab copies of those HERE. They’re a mix of coming-of-age, science fiction, and YA/NA romance.

So now the question is, how do I actually get this done?

Right, of course – because it’s rarely that simple. Without any clear plan, it just won’t. That’s why I’m trying to institute Feed My Soul Fridays. Basically, I won’t do any creative work for clients on Fridays (unless there’s a legitimate urgent need). Otherwise, Fridays are my day to plan, daydream, and work on my story. That’s something that will help balance out my work-life. I also want to keep working on music and studying guitar so I can teach students soon – because that will also feed my soul.

One of my soul-feeding hobbies: amigurumi crochet! Check out my art page for more about these funky characters.

Some easy tips I would suggest to help you start a similar habit would be the following:

  • Spend a day observing your habits – what do you naturally gravitate towards? Even if you can’t drop everything to do that thing in the moment, make a mental note of what you want to do later.
  • Think about your schedule – are there some parts of your typical day or week that are busier, or more open? Try to fit in a bit of these soul-nourishing habits when you find breaks in your schedule.
  • Commit yourself to honoring your body and mind consistently. Maybe it means taking time to read for a while before going to bed no matter how late it is. Following through on the promise you made to yourself is a crucial part of self-care. So don’t disappoint yourself!

If you do all these things, I am convinced your work-life balance will get better.

I wish I could say that I’ve mastered this skill, but full disclosure: I definitely haven’t yet. My hope is that by blogging about it and sharing it with you, maybe these habits will get easier to instill in my own life. So feel free to be an accountability partner for yourself, or anyone else around you that’s clearly pushing themselves too hard. I’m the worst about this, but I’m feeling the effects of not doing that, and it’s definitely not going to pay off in the longterm.

So here’s to a productive, yet fun, soul-nourishing summer. Sink your toes into the sand and live it up, because you’ll never be this young again 😉

Advertisement

Hello Summer, Goodbye Free Time.

As we approach the official-unofficial start to summer, I was just thinking the other day how I used to look forward to this time of year more than any other. I’d be out of school (no more homework – yay), away from the bullies (duh), and could wear whatever I wanted (no dumb private school dress codes at home). Given how amazing this time of year typically is for me, I’m actually going into it this year feeling a bit stressed.

Wait no – that sounds depressing.

I don’t mean this to sound like a total downer, but there are so many different things happening this summer that I didn’t have to juggle back in my school days.

Things like…

  • Freelance blogging
  • Editing
  • Crocheting art for my vendor shows
  • Training to teach guitar
  • And somehow still carving out time with my boyfriend (yep, that’s new – read this post for more on that)

They’re all good things of course – but I’ve learned that not all stress is something negative. In fact, sometimes the best things in life freak us out for totally normal, human reasons. And that’s totally okay! But these particular things are requiring a fair amount of adjusting, so I better step it up and reorganize if I ever want to make any headway on my next book.

It’s not what you do with your time so much as the habits you form.

If you’re like me and plan on nixing your habit of laying in bed until noon, that’s naturally going to free up a lot of your time. So sometimes the little changes you apply to your life make all the difference. Don’t be afraid to celebrate those! I’m learning to listen to my body. When I’m tired, I sleep. When I feel motivated to work, I work. Simple as that! Of course, sometimes there are hard deadlines that I have to hit, either for clients, or for a scheduled art show. But aside from those caveats, I let me body and mind lead the process.

Productive rest is also something I want to get a lot better about.

You know, doing something restful besides mindlessly scrolling through Instagram for the umpteenth time that day. Watch your favorite movie, cook something yummy, go out with friends. There’s so much more to life than what you can do. Instead, think about what you can be.

“Be a human being, not a human doing.”

My Quantum Energy Healer, Dr. Mark Mincolla

This particular mantra has always been the toughest for me to master. But I’d wager that’s largely due to societal pressures that make us feel worthless unless we’re actively producing something. But you’ve gotta remember that there are so many wonderful things you bring to the world just by being yourself. Don’t forget that.

Hopefully you’ll be able to have a restful and productive summer. If you have any tips for striking that perfect balance, feel free to reach out to me in the comments. I’d love to hear what you’ve managed to accomplish despite feeling burnt out like I often do!

Happy summer, everybody. Let’s roll.

P.S. – Add my books on Goodreads if you’d like. That would be pretty cool 😉

I Turned 24 Yesterday (and I’m Happier than I’ve Ever Been)

I know, not the most scintillating headline ever. Similarly to the way people say Taylor Swift’s newer music isn’t as great as her older stuff because her whole marketing scheme is built on heartache, this newest era of my life is looking really promising even if it’s lacking in the tabloid department.

Drama is so overrated, and I’m so thrilled that I’ve finally started to manage the complications in my life in stride. For my birthday yesterday, I got to spend the day at my cousins’ house, and amidst a lot of yummy food, bakery cookies, and a delicious homemade strawberry mascarpone cake – I felt so loved.

Life is what you make it.

Aside from the cheesy Hannah Montana reference, this sentiment is still really true. For my 24th year, I’m dedicating myself to trusting God over anything else. So much of my life (scratch that – most of my life is pretty unknown at this point, but that’s okay because I know He has a plan for me). And in the meantime, I’m gonna take it easy. Let life happen as it comes, stop overthinking, and let energy in any kind of relationship expand and develop as it should. Anxiety no longer has a hold on me, because I’ve become very mindful of my bad patterns and I do my best to re-route whenever I feel myself slipping again. Not that it’s easy – but it’s an important skill to develop. I literally can’t say enough about how mindfulness is such a game changer.

No – that’s not my motorcycle. I just took a picture on my uncle’s just for fun!

Family is the most important thing.

Not necessarily people you share genetics with (although it often can be). Family refers to anyone who unconditionally cares about you and supports you no matter what. As for me, I have both actual family and “found family” that add so much to my life.

Me and my cousins who made my day so special yesterday 🙂

But on the flip side of my life, I’ve also given myself permission to cut ties with people that don’t contribute to my life or my peace any more. No bad blood here though – but in my 24th year and beyond, I’ve decided that I simply no longer can afford to expel energy where it’s not returned. Something else I’ve learned with this, is that sometimes you miss that person even after making the right decision – but that doesn’t mean you were wrong. Your gut is king here, and honing that skill will only serve you as well as you let it.

Self-Care Matters.

This isn’t a revelation by any means, but I’m including it here anyway. If you’re anything like me – a chronic workaholic – then you know this is something that’s all-too-easy to avoid. But this is me starting my 24th year better. I’m committed to listening to my body and mind, letting my energy and mindset dictate how hard I push myself in my freelance work, as well as my author work.

Yes, the cake was exactly as good as it looks!

And yes, I know you’re probably wondering when you can expect to read the sequel to Forgetting What I Couldn’t Remember (Forgiving What I Couldn’t Change) – but I swear it’s coming! I’ve hit the 90k mark, and I fully intend to have it ready for a summer release. If you’ve read the first book, you’ll probably get why that’s a hilarious marketing opportunity. Or, if you haven’t yet, you can take a peek at it on Amazon HERE. This book, and its sequel, are a major part of the reason I’ve been able to kick my more unhealthy mindsets and set my past to rest.

As you may know, I was bullied and ignored by my peers a lot as a kid, and that’s something I had to come to terms with the only way I knew how: through my writing. So that’s why I wrote a whole time-travel concept about my current self going back in time to revisit old bullies (while navigating the pitfalls of twenty-something romance). It’s been a tricky challenge but the more I publish about it, I feel lighter and clearer. There’s no better therapy then writing how you feel and launching it out into the world (or maybe I’m just weird that way, LOL).

Anyway, thank you so much for following my author blog! There’s so much I’m looking forward to sharing with you soon. Up next is Forgiving What I Couldn’t Change, and after that… will be a rockstar romance I have brewing. And I can promise you, it’s nothing like you might expect.

At 22, I dyed my hair pink. At 23, I got my nose pierced. So there’s no telling what 24 will bring. But I’m so ready – bring it on.

“My Life is What I Make It. I Choose to Rise and Take It.”

For me, writing and music have always been inextricably linked. Heck, I started writing books in the first place because of someone I met in band camp. But I also listen to music while I write my stories, and think about where it needs to go.

As I’ve been starting 2021 with a renewed vigor for life (read my 2020 reflections HERE), I’ve also been thinking about how I want to continue the sequel to my time-travel coming-of-age book, Forgetting What I Couldn’t Remember.

All of my books pictured here, with Forgetting What I Couldn’t Remember front and center!

This book is a challenge, because while the first book was about claiming justice for bullying and other struggles, the second book is about forgiveness. And that’s something I’m still working on in real-time too. Granted, writing these books have made it a lot easier to forgive, having finally laid it all bare for the world to see. But I’ve decided that I’m finally ready to let go. Holding on to this stuff isn’t doing me any good – and I’m finally expressing it (and myself) the way I’ve always wanted to.

As I continue to plug away at my draft of the second and final installment of The Rewind Duology (Forgiving What I Couldn’t Change), I’ve been putting myself in Vera’s shoes. She’s angry, frustrated, and about a hundred other things that like me, she struggles to articulate. That’s why I love this song by Tonight Alive (my favorite line of which, is the title of this blog post).

It’s all about knowing yourself, where you want to go in life, and being brave enough to take the reins and get yourself there. That’s where real success begins, and wanting it isn’t enough – you have to be willing to use setbacks as strengths too.

If you like friends-to-lovers romance, coming of age, and getting even with middle school bullies, I think you’ll love this book as much as I loved writing it.

“I know I will survive this, I’ll be the strongest person I know.”

– Tonight Alive

As for my character Vera Bartlet, she’s got to forgive others and forgive herself for falling prey to her own struggles as ling as she did. It’s a tough journey, but I have a feeling she’s going to break through very soon. If you want to “meet” Vera for yourself, you can find Forgetting What I Couldn’t Remember on Amazon HERE.

Listen to “World Away” by Tonight Alive HERE.

Follow my Instagram and Facebook for updates about my life, music reviews, and books! I’d love to interact with you more there 🙂