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37. Organized Plant Chaos

Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi; Quote paraphrased from Mel Odom

My husband loves plants. He loves plants so much, that while I was at work one evening, he went and bought a ridiculous number of fruit trees that we ended up planting over the weekend.

Then it was more fruit trees.

Then it was more roses.

Then it was blueberries and other fruit bushes.

Then it was a huge garden.

Don’t get me wrong—the fruit and veggies taste excellent, and we enjoy our fruits of labor (pun intended), I just would like to be kept in the loop as to what is going on so I can plan around it.

Ask me how many blueberry bushes my husband got. Almost the same number as the fruit trees.

Planning can be an important aspect in life and in business. Knowing what’s coming helps you prepare and allows you to think about what could go wrong, or change, and prepare for that too. For me, I like having lists to keep track of everything, and I love the feeling of crossing stuff off: it’s the little victories that let you know you are moving forward.

So what did I do about all the plants? I pretended to be bringing home kittens (like a whole litter) to my husband a day shortly after the plants arrived. I sent text messages, I meowed into the phone (I can mimic a cat pretty darn well), and he was a little worried by the time I got home. Serves him right for bringing a forest onto our property.

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36. It’s getting closer to Halloween–time to announce an upcoming sale!

Some writers write off on an outline. Some just think up an idea and go for it. Others like to write stuff on paper until an idea emerges.

There is no wrong way to get started in writing.

I like to do a combination of the above—if I have an idea I am having trouble fleshing out, I will do an outline and see where the pieces fall. Mostly though I like to muse on an idea, and see what comes out when I write.

There are a million people out there who want to sell you their course on how to start writing. Sometimes they are helpful, but really, just like anything else, it comes down to practice.

Honing those writing skills. Developing your voice.

Some people start out better than others; some have further to go.

I read a lot when I was younger (not as much these days—just too busy), and in my writing I played with the different writing styles that I read. This helped shape my own unique writing style, and eventually my voice emerged. I have my favorite authors that I emulate and have gleaned techniques from them and others along my writing journey.

For Black Cat Scribbles, I tried to lean my writing style more towards Edgar Allen Poe, the great gothic writer. I grew up on his stories, and the writing, while sometimes tedious, has many great attributes. Another one that left its mark on me was Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. I have the complete series still on my bookshelf, and to this day I remember that scared feeling I got from reading those stories and looking at the pictures. Over the years I have read other horror stories, and some taught me other techniques to include in my writing, while others showed me stuff not to do.

In any project, find an awesome example of what it could be, and take cues from there. Your own style will eventually emerge, and you will end up with a unique finished product. The greats are great for a reason, and there is nothing wrong to take lessons from them. 

Speaking of great writing, I am getting ready for a Halloween sale of my book, Black Cat Scribbles Vol. 1. Even if you aren’t sure about the whole collection, I just recently uploaded all of the stories for individual sale as well—they are cheaper and can give you a taste of the whole collection–check them out here. The sale on the book won’t last long though, so get it while you can. I will give more updates through email (this would be a good time to subscribe) and on future posts.

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35. Failure is not the end

Photo by Dylan Nolte; Quote found on Pinterest

I think failure haunts everyone. It defines us; it shapes our lives; it makes us better. Some people look at failure as a roadblock, a stop sign to not go down that path anymore.

I like to think of failure as an obstacle on an obstacle course. If you get through one, there are more to follow, a path of falling and rising in between. But at the end, if you keep going, is success.

Maybe not like a million dollars success, but something you have achieved and is worthwhile, and could possibly lead to million dollar success in the future.

Don’t ever listen to people who tell you that you are a failure. You are not a failure. You will succeed eventually. Just because someone says you are stupid to pursue that idea or that goal doesn’t mean it is true.

Get up. Fight back. Succeed. Show those people that you will accomplish something worthwhile, and you will win in the end. Just like with running, you could be the slowest person in the world, but you are still lapping everyone on the couch.

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34. Pumpkin Rap

Photo by Anthony Rossbach; Quote found on Pinterest

I like pumpkin everything I can not lie

You other brothers can’t deny

When someone walks in with a pumpkin flavor anything

A round cookie in your face

You get sprung

Wanna pull up tough

Cuz you notice that cookie is awesome

Dripped in icing that cookie is wearing

I’m hooked and I can’t stop staring

Oh, baby I wanna get with ya

And stuff my face

My homeboys warned me of October

But that pumpkin cookie you got

Make me sooo enticed

Ooh, that pumpkin flavoring

You say you wanna get in my benz

Give me that cookie and you won’t be the average groupie

I see them in the packaging

To hell with romancing

It’s pumpkin, give me somethin’, so I can get my pumpkin crush on…

Gotta loooove October.

By the way, I might have picked up these awesome pumpkin cookies with cinnamon icing at the grocery store, and I may or may not be munching on one as I type.

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33. Afternoon person

Photo by Silviannnm; Quote found on Pinterest

I am not a morning person. Not in the least. I tried to get up at 4am once to get some work done for my business, and I about died the rest of the day, and the next day.

Sometimes if I am realllly lucky, I can get up at 5am and run on my treadmill or get up a little later and take a shower before work, but usually those days I am dragging.

The average hours of sleep a person needs is about 8 hours. Some people need more; some people need less. I happen to need like 10 hours of sleep to feel fully rested. The problem is after I get off my day job, and my evening job, I still need to work on my business and projects. Usually I suffer through the week and sleep in majorly on the weekend to catch up on lost sleep.

I am an afternoon person. Around 11am or so, I ramp up, get my energy on, and usually it will last me until about 6pm—then I need a caffeine pick-me-up if I happen to be working that night.

I can rock the afternoon like nobody’s business. But if I could change things, I wouldn’t mind being a morning person—to not be sluggish in the mornings, drag myself into the car, and drive to work.

What would the world be like if everybody was a morning person? Would there be no late-night television? No evening shifts? What are your thoughts, dear readers?

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32. Building Habits

Photo by Tamar Waskey; Quote by Michael Clifford

They say it takes 28 days to make a habit.

I’ve tried that with running, and I’ve run consistently for several months straight, but then I loose interest or feel my time should be spent on something else I feel is more important, and I stop running for a while.

I think instead of just hashing out 28 days, a better approach is engagement and motivation. You do see this in runners—all the memes are true: some of us sleep with our running clothes on so we don’t have to get dressed in the morning; some of us listen to upbeat music to keep going. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to fitness, and whenever I am trying to get in the mood to go running, I look at that board to get motivated. Usually that is enough for me to get on the treadmill or hit the road after work (Yes I tried running in the mornings, but I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination).

In my businesses it helps that I have a set schedule to post on this blog and my social media outlets (check out #mgspear_ for this blog and #teazzed for my tea business), and whenever I post I can check that task off and feel more motivated that all this stuff might just actually work. I have to take it one day at a time to stay motivated.

What motivates you? What keeps you engaged?

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31. Venting

Photo by Steve Johnson; Quote found on Pinterest

My vent for the last few months:

I am just so frustrated. I want my experiments to work, but the majority fail. Yes, my Teazzed straw is awesome, but the project I have spent a little more than 4 years on still doesn’t work. I have a notebook filled with ideas and strategies on how to best approach my idea, but always I fail. It’s like I am stuck in a loop that seems never ending.

Of course, as the saying goes, it took Edison over a thousand times to invent the lightbulb. This struggle is nothing new to inventors—it’s just so incredibly frustrating.

I have an experiment lined up this weekend. As much as I hope for it to work, as much as I wish for it to succeed, it might not. For the past year I have been sure that the latest experiment will work, but always I am disappointed. I do learn a lot from the failures, and am still pressing onward with new information each time, so you could call it progress.

I just wonder sometimes if it will ever work. Like the ant that dreams of growing up to be a giant, but will never see fruition. Sometimes I wonder if it will all be worth it someday.

End of venting.

Have you been frustrated with something lately?

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30. Fitness

Photo by Ivan Torres; Quote by Fitxgrind Journals

I’m a little bit into fitness. I run and hike, I try to eat right (mostly), and I track my steps with a fitbit knockoff. For those of you not into the fitbit movement, it’s a bracelet that tracks my steps while I go about my day.

And my husband thinks it is the most hilarious thing in the world to shake my arm while I am wearing my fitbit.

Working with people can be difficult sometimes, but with any relationship, whether marriage, employer-employee, friends, coworkers, etc., you have to roll with the punches.

Maintaining relationships is a great way to foster business—you never know who that person is connected with. Perhaps they went to high school with the person in charge of procurement at Starbucks—you just never know.

Now, if that person tries to steal your business, or do some other shady stuff, definitely take action—don’t get run over in classic passive aggressive resistance.

All I’m saying is it is harder to piece back together a shattered pot, then it is to polish it up a little.

So what do I do about the fitbit, you may ask? Whenever my husband is working on a project and wants me to get him something or hand him a tool, I think it is hilarious to make him compliment me or say something awesome about me before I give him what he wants.

Stay tuned, dear readers.

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29. Mountain Wedding

Photo by MGSpear; Quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald

My husband and I recently got back from a mountain wedding. We stayed at a ski resort and rode the gondola up to the ceremony and reception.

It was a beautiful wedding, and an awesome trip. While we didn’t get to sightsee as much, the mountains were incredible, especially the peaks that were dusted in snow.

And while sitting out on the balcony porch looking at those mountains, I got my hustle on and worked a little on my businesses and projects. I now have fodder for the beginnings of my next project (the one with the headphones, but I might not use headphones this time), and also new tea related idea.

It was so relaxing, doing a little work and being in awe of the mountains at the same time. And the wedding went well too—there was a small hiccup where one of the immediate family members was having issues dealing with the high altitude, but he was able to procure a small oxygen machine and made it up the mountain just fine.

I did not take any tea on this trip however, and was dying for tea on the last day, so I made my husband stop at a coffee and tea store so I could get a fix to hold me over. Currently as I write this I am nursing a large cup of tea. Ahhh tea.

It was nice to get away—but alas, reality and jobs kick in soon, and it will be back to the grind.

But it was a nice hiatus. When was the last time you took a vacation?

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28. Not always perfect

Photo by Annie Spratt; Quote found on Pinterest

Did you know that when you look at something, what your eyes really capture is equivalent to the jerky, unstable images of a handheld camera?

So why is it that we see so clearly? Because our brain compiles those jerky images from our eyes moving around and stitches them all together to make one cohesive picture, like movie frames.

Even what your eyes capture isn’t the full view—there are gaps in the images—like pictures with smudges or holes. You brain fixes this too—it takes in information from the surrounding images and fills in those gaps.

All of this happens so fast, that the majority of people are not aware of it, and the brain spits out a visual interpretation of what the eyes see so we can understand and respond to our environment accordingly.

But sometimes, the brain is too smart for its own good. It will fill in those gaps with what is supposed to be there, not what is necessarily there in reality. The educated guess only goes so far, especially if the brain is under stress.

A great example: Last week I made some changes to my website and posted about it with a butterfly picture. I made the picture late at night, on a day where I had worked some long hours, and I was very tired.

Now, usually, I work on my posts and pictures over the weekend, when I am refreshed and relaxed. But since I had spent the majority of my early and late hours after work last week on my website, I decided to go for an impromptu post, #26.

Everything was going smoothly, except this happened:

I was typing, “Change is in the air.” That’s what I thought I had typed, and what I had thought I read when I proofread it. But my brain, my awesome tired brain, interpreted what my eyes saw, in all their jerky, holey glory, that one of those “in’s” was in fact an “is”. Picture goes up, gets posted on social media, and I happen to look at it several hours later, and notice my mistake.

Moral of the story: your brain is awesome and makes you unique, but sometimes it needs to be rested in order to perform better. I might have caught the mistake had I been more refreshed, but alas, that is the nature of working all the time.

Until next time, dear readers.