Jumping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Those of you who follow my blog, know I am at a crossroad, presently being unemployed.    During this time I have been  doing some contract work, and friends have called telling me about jobs out there they feel I would be a good fit for. I am so blessed for their support during this time.   Yet I feel that this situation would be wasted if I did not take time to really reflect on what should be next, instead of immediately  jumping back into what has been a sure thing and comfortable for the last 30 years.  It may be that one moment in time to really start something new or explore things I have always wanted to try, but fear held me back. The fear of the unknown.   The fear of failure.   Fear of how I’d feel not making a regular financial contribution to the household.

RangerSir and I have had many discussions about the idea of a temporary job during this time.   We have weighed the pros and cons.   The pros won.   Since that decision, I have spent time looking at the temporary and seasonal jobs out there.   I have been researching the positions, companies and interviewing.  The good news is I have secured a temporary seasonal job.   It means that this job will have a beginning and an end.   So there is no lock-in for this job if I hate it; I just have to last the season.   If I like it I have just added something to my resume.  It will use many of my skills I already have, but just as importantly it will require skills I don’t have.   This will feed my need for life long learning.  It is an entry-level, worker-bee job.   It means I have a job to do, and I will be responsible for me and my performance, that is it.   I can’t remember the last time this was true.  It feels very good. It is a four-tens, so I will still have three days a week to enjoy summer.    I will be on the road most of the time, again something I have not done for years, but exploring the back roads of Montana sounds fine for the summer.   Finally it will supply me with a regular paycheck, that I discover I need.

I admit the whole prospect of this summer job is almost frightening because it is so far out of my comfort zone.  It could be a colossal failure, in so many different ways.    Yet I find I am really excited to do something different and not to just wonder but actually know what something completely different will feel like. It will provide me with the time and space to really think about what next, while making a financial contribution to household.

Not everyone gets this chance.   Not everyone sees this chance when it happens to them.   I was lucky in that I got the chance and recognized it it.   Thanks to my friends, family and blog followers who have been there with words of encouragement during this time of great unrest.     Now on to the next great adventure.

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Photo Challenge Day 2 – Creative December

This challenge is only in its second day and it is much more of a challenge than I had expected.   The list of what I am to photograph still doesn’t look daunting, but somehow it feels like a big challenge every night when I leave work.   Here is today’s photo.   I am working on making my Christmas cards from a single purchased collection of paper.   It is making me reach deep inside because each card is different due to the limited materials and the colors are not traditional.

 

I am trying to make my cards all from a single bundle purchase.   This is a creative challenge because there is not enough of anything to make it more than once.

I am trying to make my cards all from a single bundle purchase. This is a creative challenge because there is not enough of anything to make it more than once.

December’s Challenge

If November was not challenge enough, I am taking on another one in December.   This month I am going to challenge myself to take a photo a day.   I follow a Worqshop, woman’s blog who’s creative work I admire.   On the last day of the November she told of this challenge she was doing for December.    I thought it sounded interesting enough to try it for myself.    I have tried photo challenges before, but failed often because I limit myself to scenic photography.  In my mind that requires you to get out and drive some place to find that shot.    This is further hindered by the fact that I work virtually for my employer from home, so many a  day I never leave home.   There is not even the drive to work  for me.      This challenge is definitely not scenic.  It will not only challenge me each day to take a photo but also will challenge my composition skills in ways I haven’t be challenged in in a long time if ever.      Here is my list of what I am to photograph this month.  Notice the third from last item; how could I not participate in this challenge?

I will be posting those to my Pinterest account at DianaAtLooking and possibly do quick posts here as well.

National Novel Writing Month – Winner

I have just been declared a winner because I just finished certifying my novel for having written at least 50,000 words in November.   I wonder about being a winner because it clearly is not a complete story yet.    On the other hand it has enough words that it could easily turn into a novel if I stick with it.   I have always thought that there is a novel in me and for a host of reasons I have never gotten this far before.   It was a great experience and I plan to stick with this one and finish it up.

At the end of 30 days there is lots I have learned.

  • My writing style is pantser.   I am too analytical and if I plan my book I never get beyond planning the perfect novel.
  • I am more flexible that I thought, because the critical conflict was not anything that was on my radar when I started writing.
  • I can accomplish an ambitious goal without it taking over my life to the exclusion of other things I enjoy.  I managed to make cards, teach a creative class, watch movies, read books, visit friends, x-c ski and other things important to me in the midst of this.
  • Work will always impact your home life.   I was on the road for work and did not write for several days, but it did not prevent me from accomplishing a personal goal.   Don’t let work be an excuse for not accomplishing your personal goals.
  • I like creative writing.   It provides a place for all those voices in my head to find a outlet.
  • Longer stories are much harder than short stories, blogs and other writing I have done.
  • Being a writer made me a much more attentive reader.
  • I like writing dialogue.
  • My business writing skills, as good as they may be, are not sufficient alone to support creative writing.
  • I will be looking to take some creative writing classes.
  • I will be looking for a writer’s group to support and question me as I work through the editing process.

Thanks for those who were along for the ride.  It is only the first time around the track and I can see that there is at least another lap or two to be made before I finish this race.

I love this poster and may have to just get one for myself. It captures so much of what goes on in a writer’s mind, or at least my mind this last month.

Never Give Up

This is just past the half-way mark for National Novel Writing Month. I should have passed the 25,000 word mark this week.   I must say this week has been less than stellar for making progress and I am not where I should be.   I was on the road this week with work.   It was a week fraught with other things pulling at me in all directions none of them giving a rip roar about  this little adventure I was on.   Now it seems that I am coming down with something nasty and my head is not doing a lot of clear thinking.   It sounds like I am going to throw in the towel.

I thought about quitting.    I even stayed in bed late this morning hoping a little more sleep time would make me feel better.   It did not and I considered giving up for this year.  Then I thought about a friend who in just a few minutes will be starting her first half-marathon tonight in LasVegas.   She is doing it with friends, one of whom had this on her life list.   The other five are just there for moral support.   She is busy, with as many things as I have, pulling at her as well.   In the midst of this training she has come down with knee and foot problems.   It would have been easier for her to quit, but she made a commitment not only to her friends but herself to be there for her friends.

I made this commitment to myself, and I plan to keep it.  If you are thinking of quitting, don’t just yet.   Hang in there for yourself, it was important enough for you to start it, don’t let yourself not finish it. If you are not working on some goal right this minute, be there to encourage your family and friends who are.   I curse the lost of anonymity on the internet all the time, but for once I am having fun watching and cheering on my friend who I can’t be  there for virtually.   I  plan to be one of the first to text my friend when the live race reporting shows her bib number has crossed the finish line.   I am proud to be in the company of those who never give up.

 

Appreciate – My Word for 2014

appreciate

My word for this year is appreciate.   Rather that pick a few random resolutions in January, I picked a word to reflect a new sense of consciousness I wanted to find.

If you look appreciate up in the dictionary here is what you will find.

  • to be grateful or thankful for:
  • to value or regard highly; place a high estimate on:
  • to be fully conscious of; be aware of; detect: to appreciate the dangers of a situation.

I  picked this word because there are so many facets to the word.

The first definition is the easy one for me or at least I think so.    I remind myself over and over that my life could be so  much more difficult in so many ways when I want to feel bad, deprived or wish for some more.    I try to be a half full kind of girl.

The second definition is something I think I clearly can improve on.   I want to place more value on others, my blessings and my environment.    Those who I disagree with; those who reach out when I feel I don’t have time for them;  my husband who is there everyday, day in and day out; my family; my home with a full larder; volunteers who give of their time; the natural beauty outside my door; my job; a working car; my healthy low blood pressure and my pets who love me, just to name  a few.      There is so much that I possibly don’t value, it is there and I don’t think about it.    I want to improve that aspect of my life this year.

The third definition will help with the second.    So often we are not aware and when we are not aware we don’t place the appropriate value on things.     We are in too big of a hurry moving from one place to the next or multi-tasking to be fully conscious and in the moment.   Maybe the stranger  who takes time to smile just lost  a friend or family member, saying hi could make a difference.   The sales clerk’s last customer may have been a prick, so being friendly to you is their attempt to put a positive spin on their situation, am I helping her or I too busy in my pocketbook.      Being conscious of my surrounds will take time.    Something I don’t feel I have an over abundance of, time.   But unless I take the time I will never be able to fully appreciate my life.

I am thinking that to appreciate this year, I will have to slow down, be more aware and look at my life with another pair of glasses at time from time to time.  This is my wish for this year to appreciate it all.

By Diana who is Looking Out The Window Posted in Goals

Childhood Goals-To be a Writer

One of my earliest dreams was to be a writer.   My first memory of wanting to be a writer harks back to the second grade shortly after I learned to read.   Learning to read opened my eyes and minds to amazing things.   I wanted to create that same perfect experience for some one else that a book created for me.

It is easy to want to be something, but to follow through and actually do it is hard.

I was raised during a time when wanting something for yourself always seemed a bit selfish.

First there is the follow through to the end.  So often our dreams seem lofty and out of our reach.   We tend to start toward them, but we don’t have the confidence or refuse to make the time to achieve our dreams.

One of my earliest dreams of what adulthood looked like, I would be a primary school teacher teaching children to read, and in the summer I would spend my days on the beach writing books and painting.

Yep. I can string words together to make a sentence, and then string a few sentences together into a paragraph.   That makes me a writer.  A writer of books well that I am still working on that.