The Case for the Personal Sabbatical

personal sabbatical

When I was 20 years old I traveled with my then-boyfriend to the U.S. Virgin Islands, where we planned to get jobs and settle for a while. In St. John, we found jobs within a week, and then promptly left those jobs within another week. That’s how long it took to figure out island life was not for us.

Satisfied that we had come, conquered, and rejected the tropical lifestyle, we decided to check out a remote campsite we’d heard was the least touristy spot on the islands. We traveled by ferry and Jeep to a strip of beach with basic campsites and a communal outdoor shower.

There we met a scraggly haired lawyer from Vancouver who had been camping with his family for two months.

“It takes a month just to relax.”

This guy, who’s been sleeping on the ground and showering in a tree for 60 days, was the image of relaxed, to be sure. But my boyfriend said to me later, “How stressed out do you have to be that it takes a month to relax? I never want to be that stressed out.”

Ah, youth.

Our sweet baby 20-year-old minds could not comprehend what adult life truly held. Never mind that this man was from Vancouver. As if Canada is stressful. And this was pre-Facebook, cell phones and email. What was there to unplug from?

I never forgot that guy.

My life is not very stressful. But I get it now. I’ve come to appreciate the value of a personal sabbatical.

For the past three weeks I’ve broken my routines, sometimes spending an entire day (never more than one, let’s not be ridiculous) with no plan or list. Unlike a traditional sabbatical, where one might accomplish something out of the ordinary like write a book or travel extensively, mine was an attempt to resist the urge to be productive at all.

Type A, meet Time Off. Deal with it.

Tomorrow I start a new job, with dozens of new people to know, a foreign vocabulary, and all the other challenges navigating something new. Somehow I managed a three-week break in between jobs. On the front end, the expanse of days seemed luxurious and decadent, but also a little frightening. What would I do without the tyranny of a Very Important To-Do List? Who would I be without the incessant influx of urgent emails? How did one spend “free time” anyway?

I saw my new boss last week. She asked if I had written much during the break.

OH MY GOD, I FORGOT TO WRITE.

No, actually, I didn’t write much. Because I didn’t feel like it.

Scandalous.

I didn’t travel, because I like to be at home.

I didn’t finish much of anything.

I piddled, I shopped, I snacked. I saw my friends, but didn’t over-schedule. I cleaned closets, planned, schemed, dreamed, listened to the birds, made a little progress on a couple of projects, read, walked, practiced yoga, weeded my garden. I ran so many errands. I did every bit of my son’s laundry and moved him into college. I painted my nails with my daughter. I made chicken soup for my husband while he limped around on fresh knee surgery.

I relaxed.

I swear it took a solid two and a half weeks to relax.

So not quite a month, and I’m not willing to live in the beachy wilderness anytime soon, but I get it now.

Apparently, traditional academic sabbaticals are taken every seven years. I’ve decided to make it an every-seven-year thing, too. So if I’ve got a solid 50 years left in me, and I do, then that’s 7 more sabbaticals to look forward to.

I’m starting a new adventure tomorrow, relaxed, refreshed, ready for anything. And I’m hoping I remember the state I’m in now, and I hope I can recreate the feeling during shorter blocks of time, like a long weekend, or a long evening. I hope I’ll remember to leave blank spaces on my calendar, time to do absolutely nothing at all.

Cheers to resting up and launching big.


Lela DavidsonNeed practice making space in your life? Writing can help. Second Story Writer’s Workshop offers structured individual and group writing experiences for anyone who wants to write. You don’t need to be published or serious or talented. All you need is a notebook and a pen. You could use a pencil, but it’ll smudge.
second story writers workshop

Photo Credit: FullofTravel via Compfight cc

Finding Your Voice, Really?

Second Story

I recently spent some time talking with a woman who wants to find her voice. She has stories. She has something to say. She’s not quite sure what those stories are or what she really wants to say.

I know exactly what she means, and I know how creative writing can help her. I know that she will feel fed and encouraged and challenged by a group writing experience. I know she will emerge more confident, more whole, changed for good.

I told this woman that my workshop would help her find her voice.

But that’s a little bullshit.

Fifteen years into this game, three books, hundreds of magazine clips, and I still can’t define voice.

I have very little understanding of whether or not something I’ve written is “in my voice” or not. I mean, I wrote it. So it’s my voice, right?

All I know is when I’m not too self-conscious, my writing elicits more of a response. When I’m less polished, I seem to connect better with people. When I don’t have an agenda, the point usually emerges better than when I know what I want to say.

Whatever my “voice” is, it’s not something I’m always in control of. The Voice comes through me. And lest you think I’m hearing some kind of divine call or suffering delusions of grandeur– it’s not like that.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

My voice is a mess of what I’m thinking, feeling, processing, filtered through the particular circumstances of a given day.

How could I possibly do that on purpose?

I’m not sure voice is something we can make happen. Finding your voice is really about letting go of everything that’s in the way.

Finding your voice is about letting yourself shine through all the filters you’ve built up for the purpose of being socially acceptable.

For the purpose of being a good girl.

For the purpose of being lovable.

Finding your voice is possibly the most radical act of modern, privileged, always-on, perpetually plugged-in society.

It’s a never-ending process, and it takes practice.

Lots and lots of practice. Plus feedback.

I don’t know if the woman I spoke with will feel like she’s found her voice after spending six weeks in a workshop. What I do know is that she will get to practice using her voice, trusting her voice, and learning how others respond to her voice.

That’s a very good start.


If you’d like to spend some time finding your voice, Startup Circle might be a good fit. If you prefer to practice using your voice, GSD: 6 Weeks to Submission could work for you. Let me know if you’d like more information about either one.
Lela Davidson

Second Story Writer’s Workshop offers structured individual and group writing experiences for anyone who wants to write. You don’t need to be published or serious or talented. All you need is a notebook and a pen. You could use a pencil, but it’ll smudge.

second story writers workshop

Photo Credit: theilr via Compfight cc

Personal Brand: What’s In a Name?

Faking Balance by Lela Davidson

A few years ago I attended a large social media conference. As is my habit at these things, I crammed in as many sessions as possible on any topic that might make me better/faster/stronger. I wanted to learn everything I could about SEO, affiliate monetization, and MOST IMPORTANT: personal branding.

Because who are you, really, in this millennium, without a personal brand?

At the time of the conference, the most successful lifestyle bloggers had brand names that related directly to their respective subject areas. You had Decor Diva to help you make your space beautiful, Sexy Suppers for meal plans to maintain your girlish pre-motherhood figure, and of course the Martini Midwife. Because childbirth without hard liquor is nothing short of barbaric.

Kidding.

I think. I mean I think I made these up, but they could be actual blogger brands because that’s how cutesy these brand names got during the peak of micro-publishing. (Do NOT call it mommy blogging, I beg you.)

Cartoon header, cute brand name? Not into it.

Plus, who wants to be the Decor Diva forever? FOREVER.

For the same reason I have no tattoos, I couldn’t settle on a brand name. I had tried with After the Bubbly, which I liked, but why build equity in a content brand if no one knew my name? Girl needs attention, after all. (Never trust a writer who denies this fundamental truth.)

The only brand I knew I’d have forever was the brand of Lela Davidson. And because at the time my primary business was writing, it made perfect sense to me that my NAME would be my brand. However, at that event in particular, and in social media circles in general, I was very much in the minority, and I wanted to know why.

The session on branding seemed like the ideal context to get some feedback on this pressing concern. So I asked for advice, in front of the whole class.

The speaker’s brand name was something along the lines of Mocha Meditation (intentional coffee drinking) or Carpool Crafter (express DIY projects). She crinkled up her face and worked in 42 references to her own annoyingly catchy brand name, while letting me know that using my own name was a disastrous idea.

She closed her little speech with: I already forgot your name.

Her tone so condescending. As if Sequins & Sippy Cups was destined for greatness.

I already forgot your name.

Fair enough, but I wanted to point out that I never had the opportunity to forget hers. Because she didn’t put it out there. Okay, that’s a lie. I thought of that later. In the moment I was just dumbstruck and a little hurt because:

I ALREADY FORGOT YOUR NAME.

But, then also… duh, that’s why I needed to use my name. Over and over and over again. I decided that day to keep using my name and never look back.

My name is my brand. It’s me. And it’s better than any made up cuteness. Sure, what you see is the publicly curated version, which I’ll argue all day is what you get from everyone you meet, not just those of us in the public attention game. Still me.

My brand will evolve and change, but what my name stands for sticks.

If you’re trying to figure out, like I was, whether to use your name or a constructed brand name, ask yourself these three questions:

  • What do you offer?
  • What stands out about what you offer?
  • What’s the compelling story behind your offering?

Take some time with those before deciding.

And never let anyone make you feel forgotten when you’ve barely just begun.

 

Would you like to write your way toward a stronger personal brand? Second Story Writer’s Workshop is guaranteed to get you writing. When your voice hits the page, your brand emerges with it.


Lela Davidson

Second Story Writer’s Workshop offers structured individual and group writing experiences for anyone who wants to write. You don’t need to be published or serious or talented. All you need is a notebook and a pen. You could use a pencil, but it’ll smudge.

second story writers workshop
Image Source: portrait by Jeremy Scottr.nial.bradshaw viaCompfight cc

Olympic Glory, Again?

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[I wrote this four years ago. Next week, my son moves into a dorm. Time. Flies.]

The five-circled emblem in the lower left corner of my television screen reminds me. The Olympics are coming. Again.

Seriously?

The Summer ones?

Again?

I’m not really into the Olympics. Never been good at sports. Never understood the appeal of watching people who are. The Olympic competition doesn’t excite me, but the camaraderie does. I like to sit next to my husband while he critiques the a high diver’s form. And I am captivated by the bookmarking effect of the Olympics, its ability to place time—which is relative—in context. When you’re young, the Olympics are few and far between. As you age, they seem to occur once or twice a year.

When you are a parent, it gets complicated.

Parental time is split. There is the small part that passes in our own lives, and then there is the significant part that passes in our children’s lives. This occurs simultaneously, the same period of time that is collapsed in our own lives is expanded in our children’s.

Although it feels like yesterday to me, four years have passed since we celebrated hot weather athletics, determination, and seriously cut abs. When I was a child and the interval between Olympics seemed a lifetime. Four years. That was the difference between eating paste and writing book reports. It was the difference between changing gears on a ten-speed and changing gears in my first stick shift. I can only imagine my own children are experiencing four years the way I did—as an eternity. And now, as we watch together, I see these past four years as the difference between their childhood and their coming young adulthood.

The last time we watched the summer Olympics, my children were eight and ten. Every sport was new and exciting, or at least an excuse to stay up late. This summer is one of our last chances to see the high divers, the gymnasts, and the incessant news coverage, with our children, while they are still children. It’s an excuse to come together. This year we will watch with purpose.

Track: because my son runs.

Soccer: because my daughter plays.

My husband and children will get caught up in the competition and glory of it all, while I will notice how Ocean Spray and Metamucil work the Olympics into their seasonal marketing.

With a hormone-fueled enthusiasm, my son will join my husband watching beach volleyball. And then in August I will explain to my daughter why she can’t wear short-shorts to school. We will watch stories about the oldest and youngest Olympians, and take in the sights of London, captured beautifully in HD at all the right angles.

Who knows, I may even catch a renewed enthusiasm to “pick up running” again.

When we come together to watch the Olympics this year, I hope time passes slowly. In another blink it will be time for the summer Olympics again. And next time my son will packing for college.

 

 


Lela DavidsonI’d love to visit your group!

Need a fun program for the coming year? Invite me to speak! I love to speak to groups of women and will leave your members feeling appreciated and inspired. I have several programs available or I can tailor one to fit your specific needs

Image Sources: portrait by Jeremy ScottWikipedia

What I Know For Sure About Writing

second story writer's workshop

I didn’t start to practice the craft of writing until I was thirty years old. But I’ve always been a writer.

Before I could call myself a writer, I wrote. Mostly lists, long letters, and plans. Some stories. I made up a cast of pretend friends, and I talked to myself. Still do. Thank you, bold new world in which I can believe that others believe I’m on some unseen device and not actually engaging with the imaginary characters in my head.

I’ve always been a writer, but I haven’t always known it because I didn’t know what it meant to be a writer. I didn’t know that being a writer had nothing to do with publishing, or getting paid to write. Being a writer means I’ve always figured things out by writing.

Writing doesn’t have to be for money and attention. Though, we are never sad when people send us cash and praise.

Even after I kind of thought I might maybe be a writer, it took me a while to claim it. I tell the story in Faking Balance about the day I confessed my big secret, in a Chuck E. Cheese in Wichita Falls, Texas. A mom in my circle was a writer and she told me it was okay to want to write, and to have no idea what that even meant. I have forever after referred to her as my writing angel.

That was 14 years ago. Since then I’ve logged many more than 10,000 hours. Here’s what I know for sure:

Writing clears mental clutter. 

I like the way Joan Didion said it: “I don’t know what I think until I write it down.”

It’s amazing how ridiculous some of our thoughts are, left to roam around freely inside our heads, they make themselves out to be quite important. And sometimes they are, but you may never discern the meaty from the mediocre until you get them out of your head and onto the page where they can be organized into something useful.

Writing frees your mind to work on things far more significant than your own random thoughts. Maybe your beautiful mind will figure out how to make Sauvignon Blanc calorie-free. If that happens, please call me.

Writing is the one place you can be the Realest Real. 

Let’s face it, we cannot always tell the whole honest, unsprinkled-with-kindness, truthy truth to all the people we know. But if you’re lucky, and you practice a lot, YOU can handle the truth of yourself.

There’s no better place to practice the art of getting real than by putting pen to paper. Or pencil to paper. In Second Story Writer’s Workshop we treat all writing as fiction, and we never make anyone share anything they don’t want to. Because we want writers to get comfortable being really real. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Writing helps you figure out your next move. 

Life is moving fast, isn’t it? Just when you think it can’t get any weirder, it’s time to pick a President.

My husband and I took our son and daughter on an Epic East Coast Adventure this summer. At the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, we watched the world population counter tick up, and up, and up. Four, five, six humans at a time.

There are more than 7.2 billion people on Earth. That’s more than double the number of people living on our little rock just 50 years ago.

7.2 billion people. I had a hard time sharing a hotel room with three of them for ten days.

7.2 billion people today. More tomorrow. The world is going to keep getting weirder.

Where do you fit? What should you do? Should you make more humans? And with whom?

Writing helps you figure out all these things.

Writing helps you get shit done. 

Everybody’s selling something. Do you want to impress your boss? Woo your clients? Convince your community to pony up for the abandoned pony sanctuary?

Writing is the only way I know to transform your ideas into action by putting the right words into the right order that results in things happening outside your own brain. That’s where ALL the good stuff happens.

No matter how deep you think you think, thoughts stuck inside your mind are no good to anyone. Let them roam free!

Like the ponies.

Writing feels good. 

If you’re a scribbler, a talker to yourself-er, an obsessive list maker– I’m sorry (not sorry) to be the bearer of the news, but you’re a writer. You may as well accept it and put the sickness to good use.

If you’re a writer by nature, and I’m not suggesting we’re all J.K. Rowling in training, but if you’ve got the urge to write, nothing will make that go away. Nothing but writing.

If you’ve read this far, you’re already stricken.

The good news is, when you write you will feel better. Your mind will be clearer, you’ll have a place to let your loved ones know what the Really Real You REALLY thinks without having to sleep in the guest room. You’ll fill page after page with amazing ideas that you may or may not ever act on, but it doesn’t matter because writing them down is fun all by itself.

You’ll become your very own soul mate, know what to do next, make your plans, and take action.

Writing. It’s that good. I promise.

Would you like to write and you don’t know where to start? Do you think the accountability and camaraderie of a writing group sounds like fun? Check out Second Story Writer’s Workshop. Guaranteed to get you writing.  


Lela Davidson

Second Story Writer’s Workshop offers structured individual and group writing experiences for anyone who wants to write. You don’t need to be published or serious or talented. All you need is a notebook and a pen. You could use a pencil, but it’ll smudge.

We absolutely guarantee you that writers — new, old, lapsed, and those currently only dreaming of writing — will leave workshop sessions with ideas and drafts that are seeds for stories, poems, essays, articles, or entire books. Writers will also leave with concrete skills and tools they can use over and over again to keep the words moving onto the page.
second story writers workshop
Image Source: portrait by Jeremy Scottr.nial.bradshaw via Compfight cc

Are You a Writer or an Artist?

I got my first paid writing gig in 2007. For $5 a piece and a modest revenue share, I wrote about breast feeding, not breast feeding, diapers, binkies, playdates, teething, crib bumpers, carseats, carriers, and anything else that might attract ads in the crowded but coveted parenting space.

That writing wasn’t art, but the discipline of doing it taught me a lot about structuring online content, and SEO, and affiliate marketing, and HTML.

Along the way, I also learned about real writing. The arty stuff.

About a year in, a member of my writing group commented on a new new essay I’d submitted for critique– probably something about abject guilt over missing a piano recital.

He said, “All this Internet writing has made you a better [real] writer.”

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I tell the story to remind you, to remind myself: All writing counts.

Email, grocery lists, strongly worded notes to your children who don’t seem to know how the garbage disposal works.

Wordy and cliched journal entries.

Bulleted lists and doodles you make while you’re waiting for the conference call to just please end already I beg of you all.

All that is writing. Even when it’s not art.

It all counts.

But when you really want to communicate, whether an email to your boss or the first chapter in your personal act of literature, you need to practice getting your words and doodles and misbehaving thoughts pulled together.

That takes practice.

Elizabeth Ayers says that The Writer is the one who observes, records, scribbles snippets in a cheap spiral notebook (the only kind that’s worth a damn for writing by hand).

The Writer lives in right brain territory. No filters, just write.

But for material to become something that other people want or need to consume, The Artist has to get involved– to shape, translate, and transform.

The Artist imposes order. Hello, left brain.

This concept of The Writer and The Artist trashed my idea of right and left brain activity, of creative and logical work, of what is art and what is merely self-indulgence. (Not that there’s anything wrong with gazing at thy navel.)

When I learned the difference between The Writer and The Artist, writing finally made sense.

Some people get frustrated with writing because they expect The Artist to write their first drafts.

When these misguided writers’ thoughts hit the page, all out of sorts and messy as life, they tell The Writer she is stupid and she really should have saved her spiral notebook money for something more practical, like matches she can use to burn all those other stupid notebooks sitting in the drawer, holding all those other tangled ideas of hers.

That’s unfortunate.

Let The Writer write. And then let The Artist make art. Or silly stories, or well-crafted Facebook posts, or really badass emails.

The Writer gets to play.

The Artist needs to work.

But to get anything done, you’ve got to give both space, respect, and hold them accountable to DO something.

I’m not always an Artist. But I’m always a Writer.

 

Would you like to write and you don’t know where to start? Do you think the accountability and camaraderie of a writing group sounds like fun? Check out Second Story Writer’s Workshop. Guaranteed to get you writing.  


Lela Davidson

Second Story Writer’s Workshop offers structured individual and group writing experiences for anyone who wants to write. You don’t need to be published or serious or talented. All you need is a notebook and a pen. You could use a pencil, but it’ll smudge.

We absolutely guarantee you that writers — new, old, lapsed, and those currently only dreaming of writing — will leave workshop sessions with ideas and drafts that are seeds for stories, poems, essays, articles, or entire books. Writers will also leave with concrete skills and tools they can use over and over again to keep the words moving onto the page.
second story writers workshop
Image Source: portrait by Jeremy Scott

Photo Credit: dgrosso23 via Compfight cc

Lead a Charmed Life

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My daughter finds four leaf clovers. Anywhere she goes, she can walk up to a patch of clover and find a four leafed one. Sometimes she’ll find a fiver or a sixer, as she calls them.

It’s rare, this gift for finding the exceptional clover, but to my daughter, this is an ordinary act. She is baffled that other people cannot see the special specimens.

“It’s easy,” she tells me. “All the other clovers only have three leaves, so you just look for the ones with four leaves.”

Gaby found her first four leaf clover on the playground in elementary school.

She found her first four leaf clover before the world told her not to get her hopes up.

She expects to find four leaf clovers, and so she does.

I was reading an old interview with Ariana Huffington the other day, where she introduced me to this Rumi quote:

“Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor.”

My daughter’s four leaf clovers remind me that our fortunes are out there, just waiting for us to see them and pluck them up.

I hope they do the same for her.

 


Lela DavidsonI’d love to visit your group!

Need a fun program for the coming year? Invite me to speak! I love to speak to groups of women and will leave your members feeling appreciated and inspired. I have several programs available or I can tailor one to fit your specific needs

Image Sources: portrait by Jeremy Scottkaibara87 via Compfight cc

Who Gets to Be a Writer?

When I was a kid, I liked the idea of writing. I didn’t understand that most of writing is re-writing, so when my stories were plain and terrible, I stopped writing.

Somehow I always came back.

I was talking to a writer yesterday who said this thing she has said to me many times:

“All I’ve ever wanted is for other people to read my words.”

That definitely makes me feel like NOT a writer.

Because having others read my words is not all I’ve ever wanted.

I’ve wanted to create something and point at the finished product.

I’ve wanted to entertain and educate.

I’ve wanted the attention that comes from tapping into what others are thinking and showing it back to them, shined up and delivered with a laugh.

I’ve wanted to make sense of my own confusing thoughts.

I’ve wanted to vent on the page and come out the other side calmer.

I’ve wanted to master a craft that seems impossible, and at the same time I’ve appreciated that I’ll never be as good as I want to be, so I get to keep practicing forever.

Writing has been a lot of things to me. It’s the one thing that never gets boring. But having others read my words has never been my sole driving desire. There are so many other things to want, after all.

But a writer is someone who writes. Period.

You don’t have to write every day, or make money from writing, or even get published. Although all those things are nice, and I want them all the time.

My writing is not as consistent as it was when it was my JOB, but it still follows a similar pattern.

Every year, throughout the late fall and holidays, I get more creative. I spend more time writing, planning writing, playing with writing. Probably because I have more time to spend.

The rest of the year I’m pretty good at getting things done, at results, hitting deadlines and making logical connections in my writing. But in the fall I am more creative. I go deeper and bring more out of myself. I can accept, and also get past, the place where I write things like “bring more out of myself” which I would never say with my actual mouth but that somehow comes out in the shittiest of first drafts.

I get closer to my own voice. I get out of my own way. Plus all that other crap writers say.

And then January happens.

Every year it’s the same. I vow to be more creative, to write more in the coming year.

In March I open my journal to see it’s been months since I’ve written anything. Cue the the self-berating.

Why don’t I commit to writing? Do I even really want to write? Who am I trying to kid?

I’m no writer.

When I moved to Northwest Arkansas in 2004, the first thing I did was sign up for a class and join a critique group. I also sneaked out of work early every other Tuesday for an informal gathering of ladies who wrote together at Barnes & Noble.

While the more official writer’s group taught me the mechanics of writing and editing, the Tuesday group was focused on actual writing. We wrote together, on demand, and then shared that writing with each other, all of us responding to the same prompts. Those ladies got me because they were facing the same blank page I was.

Who knew what might come out?

I wanted that group experience again, so I started Second Story Writer’s Workshop.

That was the only way to get what I wanted the way I wanted it. I’m bossy like that.

The first class sold out, and the people who showed up were all kinds of writers: Newbies, old pros, those who wrote for pay and those who wrote to understand their feelings about an ex. Or a teenager. Or a best friend who no longer was.

Together we wrote about printer jams and mangrove trees, traveling preachers and homeless fantasies. We wrote about things we wanted and things we wanted no part of. We wrote poems and stories and plays. We were smart and sweet and vulgar. We wrote hundreds of pages between us.

When I look at my notebook now, it gets spotty in April, after the first Second Story session ended. But I’ve been writing more this year than in a long time.

I know others will continue to read and hear my words, even while I’m over here wanting all these other things. I never really know what’s next for me.

But I know I’ll figure it out on the pages of a cheap spiral notebook.

Would you like to write and you don’t know where to start? Do you think the accountability and camaraderie of a writing group sounds like fun? Check out Second Story Writer’s Workshop. Guaranteed to get you writing.  


Lela DavidsonSecond Story Writer’s Workshop offers structured individual and group writing experiences for anyone who wants to write. You don’t need to be published or serious or talented. All you need is a notebook and a pen. You could use a pencil, but it’ll smudge.

I can absolutely promise you that writers — new, old, lapsed, and those currently only dreaming of writing — will leave workshop sessions with ideas and drafts that are seeds for stories, poems, essays, articles, or entire books. Writers will also leave with concrete skills and tools they can use over and over again to keep the words moving onto the page.
second story writers workshop
Image Source: portrait by Jeremy Scott

 

 

Have You Used Your Selfie Face Today?

This is part of the series “How to Have the Life Your Facebook Friends Think You Have” because why shouldn’t real life be as good as what we post to social media? This is also the basis of a talk that can be delivered as a keynote at your conference, or an interactive session. Guaranteed to get your group laughing and learning about work, life, and Faking Balance.

My closest friends and I get together once a year or so to conduct a Life Audit, which, if you have the chance, is a wonderful exercise, either with a group or on your own. You spend a few hours assessing and organizing all those things spinning around in your head, all those things you’d like to accomplish if you could only find the time, money, or grit to just get it done already. You look at long and short terms goals, as well habits you’d like to create. A Life Audit a great way to get focused and intentional. Playing with Sharpies and Post-It Notes is just a bonus.

The first time we got together, one friend identified smiling as a habit she wanted to practice. Awww, I thought. Poor thing. She’s unhappy. So she’s not smiling.

I didn’t get it.

Not until I ran across this quote (yes, I’m a sucker for quotes) attributed to Mother Theresa.

Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing. ~Mother Theresa

Well, duh. My friend wasn’t concerned about her personal happiness level at a given moment. She wanted to smile more, for other people. So simple. Such a noble pursuit.

And we do it every day for social media. Right?

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We are living in a selfie culture. Each smile flashed onto your Facebook profile meant to show the world how great a time you’re having. Posed, poised, taken, re-taken, and edited to reflect your momentary bliss and overall celebratory nature.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

We owe huge gratitude to social social media for teaching us which angles and expressions make for the most attractive and engaging images. Now, what if we used this new expertise for a slightly different purpose?

What adventures can a smile spark?

What would happen right now if you walked up to your spouse, your mother, your teenager, your boss– and flashed them your very best selfie smile? Your smile on steroids, infused with all your charm just for them in that real world feed of your actual day?

Sure, they might freak out the first time, but after that I guarantee you good things will happen.

Do try it, and report back! I’m dying to know what adventures your smile can spark.

Want a fun speaker that encourages your group to use their selfie faces with the people in the room? I have limited dates to speak to women’s groups in 2016. Contact me today to schedule this program!


I’d love to visit your group!

Lela Davidson

Need a fun program for the coming year? Invite me to speak! I love to speak to groups of women and will leave your members feeling appreciated and inspired. I have several programs available or I can tailor one to fit your specific needs

Image Sources: portrait by Jeremy Scott

Frame the Shot

This is part of the series “How to Have the Life Your Facebook Friends Think You Have” because why shouldn’t real life be as good as what we post to social media? This is also the basis of a talk that can be delivered as a keynote at your conference, or an interactive session. Guaranteed to get your group laughing and learning about work, life, and Faking Balance.

 

My two favorite quotes about perfectionism are delightfully contradictory.

“Perfect is the enemy of the good.”

This one is attributed to Voltaire, but the idea was around long before he took credit for it. Too many of us are so paralyzed with the fear of creating or doing something imperfect, that we procrastinate doing anything at all. Too bad really, because so many things are good and so few things are perfect. And in my experience those perfect things are rarely made by puny humans. (Except, of course, whomever invented chocolate with salt in it.)

The other one that all of us virtuous Type A personalities know is from Jim Collins:

“Good is the enemy of great.”

Damn it, this one’s true too.

We can be so lazy.

So how to we balance our striving for great and also accept when something really is good enough?

It’s all a matter of perspective. Not only do we need to practice selective memory, we’d also be happier if we learned to frame up the shots of our own lives.

One girl’s spring picnic with the most adorable dogs in the world…

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Is another’s fast food on the side of the highway…

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Maybe, you hold out for the city park instead of a median, but in a pinch, any patch of grass will do.

You can absolutely find the fun and the “fine living” in just about any situation. It just depends on how you frame the situation.

Want a fun speaker that encourages your group to frame the shots in their memories as well as they frame the shots in their Facebook feeds? I have limited dates to speak to women’s groups in 2016. Contact me today to schedule this program. 


I’d love to visit your group!

Lela Davidson

Need a fun program for the coming year? Invite me to speak! I love to speak to groups of women and will leave your members feeling appreciated and inspired. I have several programs available or I can tailor one to fit your specific needs

Image Sources: portrait by Jeremy Scott, I found those side-of-the-highway images here and would love to track down their rightful owner (possibly the Jon Henshaw referenced in the post?