Are YOU in control of YOUR life?

I recently discovered a little gem, delivered in the form of a book, which was recommended by Jeff Goins – an inspirational guy who blogs about writing and marketing, creative business ideas and making a difference.

I’ve not yet finished this book, but it has reawakened in me something that I have long believed (and recently forgotten), and that is the knowledge that we are in charge of our own destinies. In fact, it’s not even that I had forgotten this, more the fact that I have succumbed to what the book’s author comes to describe as Resistance. If this sounds familiar, you might indeed have already read this book – aptly titled The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.

Because there is a little war going inside all of us. Resistance – as the beginning of this book talks about – is that little voice in our heads that prevents us from being productive, or making those all-important changes in our lives. That health-kick you keep promising yourself. That change of job you really want to go for. It’s the voice of procrastination, the nagging doubt that we won’t be good enough, that we will fail. By listening to these thoughts, we’ve already set ourselves up to fail. If you’ve ever read Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, by Susan Jeffers, you’ll be conscious of that familiar feeling that stops you doing something you know will benefit you in the long run. Instead, you subconsciously (or, even consciously), make all the excuses you can come up with, not to pursue an opportunity. Often, one excuse is all you need to talk yourself right out of it. You then convince yourself that you made the right decision, and feel better for it. Because it’s so much easier to stay locked inside that comfort zone of those familiar slippers, that warm blanket; to stick with what you know, and not attempt to stretch yourself. Take that path of least resistance (excuse the irony here). Because any opportunity that can make you grow as a person, isn’t going to offer that instant gratification we crave as human beings. It’s going to be hard work, you’re going to have to stretch yourself, and what if the end result is failure, after all that effort you’ve put in?

This book has triggered a whirlwind of thoughts and I’m not even a third of the way through it yet. It’s actually got me sitting up in bed at 5am, drafting this blog post with a cup of chamomile because I can’t sleep, and overcoming Resistance. It has got me laughing Resistance in the face, ignoring the voice of ‘But I can’t drink tea and read! I have to go back to sleep so that I’m not tired in the morning,’ followed by, ‘I will still have I don't have enough timeto get the kids up and do the school run and all the other chores that await me!’ This book has enabled me to go one step further, and actually write 500 words in the middle of the night (it might be morning to some of you, but it’s still the middle of the night to me). And that is the first step to me resuming my life’s journey – on my calling to writing, on improving my health, and the next step towards the rest of my life.

As Steven Pressfield says in his opening paragraph of the chapter ‘What I do’; it doesn’t matter if the words I wrote weren’t that great. The only thing that matters, is that I reached my daily goal. I ignored that nagging voice that prevented me from achieving my work or desire. I overcame Resistance. You see, that one word, that has so much control over us, is the only thing stopping you from fulfilling your dreams and aspirations.

Click here for more information: The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.

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The best decision I made

For each day that goes by, I don’t regret my decision to leave my 9-5 office job to look after my daughter full-time and focus on writing in my spare time. I don’t even know where I found the time to do anything else after being at work all day and still had a family to look after and a house to run. It’s a non-stop day even now, from 7:30 in the morning until around 10pm at night (on the nights I write – I make a point of stopping at 10pm at the latest otherwise I’m just permanently knackered). Things aren’t so bad now that the little one is getting older, she sleeps through the night most of the time – unless she has a very bad case of teething (molars, I hate you). Many of you will know that I’m a fan of cooking from scratch and creating meals with thrift and care. They’re always tasty (so I am told, and even if I do say so myself) and always nutritious, but they do take some time. Especially my home-made pasties where the pastry is made in advance and then a roux has to be made for the sauce (I recently made some “highly recommended” chicken, bacon and mushroom pasties from the New Year leftovers, which was generously donated to one of my husband’s work colleagues). Then there’s the soups, the breads, the soaking and boiling of beans, the quiches; the list goes on. In between that I adopt several roles including Playmate, Teacher and all-round activity creator, as well as trips out to a few toddler groups throughout the week. Then there’s the running through the house pretending to be a monster before turning around and being chased by a little monster in a bit of role reversal. Occasionally I’ll sit down for five minutes with a cup of tea and catch up on Twitter, Facebook, Emails etc, read a few posts before looking at the clock and getting up again because the schedule around a small person needs to be tight. When she sleeps, I write. I write blog posts or I write articles or I research markets for article submissions.

So I’m getting there slowly but surely. First there was the launch of my mini-ebook: 7 Simple Ways to Survive on a Budget in October. Then of course in November there was NaNoWriMo where I wrote a 50,000 word novel in less than 30 days. It was hard graft, and it needs lots and lots of editing, but it was such an achievement and a buzz to know that I have a full manuscript to work on. I started another novel for NaNoWriMo 2010 which I didn’t complete so I’m throwing myself into that at the moment.

I now also have a Facebook page and have just uploaded a short story on to Wattpad, which you can read here for free.

I’m delighted to announce that I’ve sold a few copies of 7 Simple Ways to Survive on a Budget, which is fantastic news and really encouraging. A lovely review has been put up on Amazon for it, too.

So there you have it, my achievements so far in the three months of 2012 since I left my office job.

In 2013 I intend to complete my second novel, finish my course with the Writers Bureau and finish editing both novels for publication. It’s ambitious, but I believe I can do it.

As Henry Ford said: ‘The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what is one’s destiny to do, and then do it.’

What are your plans for 2013?