Inspiration Friday: The Blogosphere (With Bonus: What I'd Change)

A week or so ago, awesome blogger and novelist Christi Corbett gave me an award:

Cherryontopaward
Thanks, Christi!

The idea of the award is twofold:

1.  You are supposed to pass it on to several other bloggers, and,

2.  You are supposed to write an answer to the question, if you could go back and change one thing in your life, what would it be?

I have an answer to that question, oh do I have an answer.  But before that, I want to deal with the first part of the award.  Although the idea is to choose your favorite bloggers to give the award to and thus pass the love along, I can't.  I've been thinking about this ever since I heard about the award, mulling things over in my mind and I just can't.

Why? Because there is such an abundance of them.  There are many, many wonderful blogs that I read and comment on.  And I love that.  I love that the internet has made writing a far more important task and skill that it was, say, ten years ago.  Now, if you are in business or have a need to promote yourself, you must have a blog, or find someone to write one for you.  Writing, and expressing oneself, is a must.  Even if you don't write a blog, odds are good you're regularly posting your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.  All this blogging and Social Media-ing adds up to a lot of words being written every day.

And I think it's inspiring.  I think it is inspiring that the internet gives us all an opportunity to be creators of content, and that so many people have bravely taken the leap to express their thoughts on life online.  Yes, some of it is crap, but then, that is true of the traditional media and publishing industries as well.  And so my award goes to the blogosphere in general and all the millions (billions?) of bloggers who madly write away in it on a regular basis.

And now, the answer to the question: if I could change one thing in life, what would it be?

I would have more confidence in myself and my work.

There's a balance between ego and humility.  I once heard a wise author say that it's not egotistical to love your work and want the best for it and thus be willing to promote it in the world.  Too many of us writers, myself included, shy away from putting our work out (another reason why blogs are so great), perhaps because we think its egotistical, but more likely because we're not sure its good enough.

Of course, you have to work at it for quite some time to be good enough.  But that's not generally the problem I see or the problem I've had.  Instead, I see myself and others being hesitant to send our novels to agents because, well, who knows why.  I see myself and others not committing to the steps that would take our work from unknown to known. Why?  I think it all boils down to a lack of confidence.  This manifests in other ways, too, like not taking time to write when we have it, deciding to watch TV instead.  Sometimes we need a break, and sometimes it is just laziness, but often it is because we don't have confidence in our work.

So that's what I'd change.  I'd make it so I had mad confidence in my skills from the very beginning, so that, in a humble way, I was willing to put myself out there at every chance I got.  Hmmmm, come to think of it, there's no reason I can't start doing that now, is there?

How about you?  What would you change?


Inspiration Friday: Oregon Ducks

Even though I got my undergrad at the University of Oregon and I'm a proud alumni, we don't have season tickets to football.  Luckily, I know people who do, and since this week's game fell on a Thursday and most people aren't self-employed like me, many of those people who have tickets couldn't make the game.  So, thanks to my son-in-law, I got to go.

Autzen
Just in case you haven't heard, the Ducks are doing rather well this season.  Last night when the announcer introduced the team, he said, "These are the words I've been waiting to say for 43 years: ladies and gentlemen, the #1 team in the nation, the University of Oregon Ducks!"

I haven't been waiting quite that long, but almost.

YellO
We've had a lot of false starts on the way to becoming a top-ranked team, and some heartbreaks along the way.  Like a couple years ago, when we were doing great until Dennis Dixon got injured and there went the season.  Or last year, when we made it all the way to the Rose Bowl, only to lose to Ohio State (whose #1 position we took over last week when they finally lost a game).

But the point is, the team just kept on going.  Paid no attention to the naysayers and focused on the game, meanwhile getting better and better as they went. 

And that, my friends, is inspiring.

What inspired you this week?


Inspiration Friday: Rocket Photo Works

For this week's inspiration, I feature...my daughter, the talented photographer Ariane Hopman.

She's in the middle of about a million life transitions, including a new marriage, a new home that will soon be a mini-urban farm, and a fabulous new job.  But in her spare time, she's starting a photo business.  Annie graduated from the U of O (Go Ducks!) in photojournalism, and consequently got a post baccalaureate degree in photography from OCAC, where she also worked until recently (ie, last week).

She's inspired me since she was a little girl, and did just as much work raising me as I did raising her, so it seems fitting to feature her this week.  Go check out her site and if you're in the Portland area and need portraits done, give her a call.

Oh, and a tip of the Wordstrumpet hat to anyone who can figure out the relationship between her given name--Ariane (which, by the way, I discovered in a Marge Piercy novel and fell in love with) and the name of her business.

Who inspires you?

 


Inspiration Friday: The Idea of Frenchglen

Next week I'm going to a place in southeastern Oregon called Frenchglen.  It is little more than a wide spot in the road, with a hotel, general store, school, and a few houses, as I understand it.  I wouldn't know for sure, because I've never been there.

But I'm greatly enamored of the idea of the place, and I've been thinking of it with anticipation all week.  Which is why Frenchglen is my Friday inspiration, because the idea of this series of posts is to write about what has most been on my mind during the week.

800px-FrenchglenHotel

And yet, since I've never actually been there, I can't be sure that my idea of the place will jibe with reality.  But here's why the idea of the place inspires me:

--Because it is remote.  Sometimes I think about just chucking it all and going to live someplace in the middle of nowhere.  As long as I have my writing and my books I'd be happy, right?  In truth, I'm way too much of a city girl for this to ever happen, but I love that the idea exists in the world.

--Because it is near the mountains.  I love, love, love being in the mountains.

--Because it is someplace new.  Nothing better than visiting new places to get inspired.

--Because I get to write while I'm there.  Nuff said.

--Because there is no internet access.  Awk!  After I get over the panic, I'm sure this will be very inspiring.  Well, I'm sort of sure.

--Because the scenery is supposedly beautiful.

So, there you have it, my Friday inspiration.  What inspired you this week?  A person, place or thing?  A news event?  Something related to writing?  A book? 

 

*Photo by Cacophony.  I found it on Wikipedia.


Inspiration Friday

I'm starting a new feature today.  It is "Inspiration Friday," and because I am a right-brained creature through and through and I will get bored if I allow myself only one thing to post about, it is going to be a mish-mash.  A mish-mash with a common theme--something that has inspired me the previous week.  This might be a photo, a quote, a link to another blog post, or a round-up of all of these.  Or it might be something completely different.*

Cover-3d

This week it is a book called 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, by Laura Vanderkam.  I saw this book at the Hudson Booksellers in the Nashville airport last week, didn't buy it, then got to the gate and sat there thinking about it and wished I had.  So I walked all the way back up the concourse to grab it and I'm glad I did.

Vanderkam looks at time management in a new way.  This book is not just nuts-and-bolts strategies to gain more time and be more efficient, it goes further than that to look at a bigger picture.  For instance, she examines the common assumption that we're all stressed for time and realizes that part of this is an illusion.  People who self-report on how many hours they work a week often skew the numbers up, for example.  So though it is commonplace to hear that successful people work 60 hours a week, in truth, the numbers are actually lower.

The author urges us to look at our "core competencies" and find ways to spend most of our working day performing them.  For me, my core competency is writing.  And yet there are days when I spend the bulk of my time emailing or calling or doing other jobs related to writing but not actually writing.  

I'm only halfway through the book and it has already had a big impact on me.  I'm currently reading a section called "Anatomy of a Breakthrough," about what it takes to achieve those fabled "overnight" successes.  Good stuff.  This is a book that I think is going to continue to influence me, and I recommend you check it out. 

And stayed tuned to find out what inspired me next week.  In the meantime, what inspired you this week?  Please tell.

*I promise, though, no clown pictures.  Like the one here, in case you need a reminder.  Or here.  Honest, that's it.  Except for this one.  Or this one.  Okay, really, I'm done now.   This blog is now a clown-free zone.

I snitched the photo of the book cover from Laura Vanderkam's website, but since I am promoting her book, I hope she doesn't mind too much.