books · career · writing

Writers Wednesday – My May Writing Goals and Accomplishments

Hey friends! I hope you all are doing well and enjoying your week. I haven’t written about my writing goals and practices in a while, but I did a couple of videos about my goals over on my YouTube. Here is the first video, outlining my May goals:

And this is the second video near the end of the month, where I describe how things went with my goals:

Considering that this is about 17 minutes of video content, here is the TLDW (too long, didn’t watch) version of the videos above:

Start working on the template for a workbook (that is a companion to a book that I’m currently editing) – I did begin the process of working on that template and seeing it come together has been great. I still have a lot to do, but I’m very happy that I began the process.

Begin working on the next couple of children books – I have selected the countries that will be profiled in the next couple of children’s books, and I’ll be releasing those over the summer. I originally planned to put the finishing touches on the books over the Memorial Day weekend, but life happened and I had to delay the work until a few weeks from now.

Designing a July to December planner – I found a planner that works for the remainder of the year: no need to design one!

That’s it for my writing goals and what I accomplished in May! I’m looking forward to sharing some great accomplishments in the weeks to come!

business · career · writing

Writers Wednesday – Is a Writing Coach Necessary?

Happy Writers Wednesday! Today’s topic came to me after I spoke to several people that are part of writer support groups, or they have gotten writing coaches to assist with creating their books. Further, I’ve seen numerous advertisements for writing coaches that are appearing on the scene, all claiming that they will help the aspiring authors to finally release their works into the world.

The question on my mind (and possibly your mind) is this: is a writing coach necessary?

Personally, I’ve never used a writing coach, but given how many delays I’ve encountered on my writing journey, perhaps a coach would be a good investment! That being said, I will admit that I don’t think a writing coach is necessary for *most* people. I think that there is only a tiny subset of people that actually need a writing coach. However, I believe there are enough people in the subset to provide an abundance of potential clients for writing coaches.

My recommendation for anyone considering hiring a writing coach is to go through this list of questions and see where you fall on the writer spectrum.

  • Are you having difficulties with determining which direction your writing needs to take?
  • Do you need regular external motivation in order to work on your writing project?
  • Do you struggle with structuring your writing?
  • Do you have questions about writing that can’t be answered through other means?
  • Do you generally respond better to verbal instruction, as opposed to written directions?

Answering “yes” to any of these questions may make you a prime candidate for a writing coach. I’m still of the mindset that the best way to write is to problem solve for yourself, then, after you’ve hit a wall, consider reaching out for help. However, everyone is different, and what works for me may not work for you. I do think there’s some value in the practice of solving your own problems through your own efforts, but I’ll be the first to admit that time is precious and if a coach can save you time and energy, then it may be a worthwhile investment.

I’m curious: have any of you ever hired a writing coach? What was that experience like? Also, if you’re a writing coach, please comment on what that experience is like for you, and how you can help aspiring authors. You can leave your comments below.

That’s it for today! I look forward to talking to you all tomorrow. Take care!

business · career · fitness · goals · health · international · life curation · luxury · reading list · travel · writing

July Goal Updates

It’s that time of the month again: time to review my annual goals and give you all some updates on what’s been happening on my end!

As a quick refresher, here is the 2021 goal list that I set out at the beginning of the year:

  • Publish 5 books
  • Lose 15 lbs
  • Manifest 3 international trips
  • Earn 6 figures in my businesses
  • Read 100+ books
  • Luxury purchases – Hermes, Christian Louboutin, Sophia Webster, Ralph & Russo
  • Cure my fibromyalgia

Next week, on Writer’s Wednesdays, I’ll be providing a publishing update, so I won’t be discussing that in depth today. However, I can say comfortably that I’ll have reached my publishing goal by August 1st, though, at this point, I plan to go far beyond my initial goal and aim for 10 books published by the end of the year.

As far as my weight loss goal, I’ve never progressed nor regressed. However, August 15th will be kicking off a dietary overall for me, which is connected to my last goal (curing my fibro). My next few Fibro Friday posts will cover this in more detail, as well as provide some background for context.

My international travel goal is not inspiring me nearly as much as it did when I first envisioned it. Make no mistake: I will be doing some travel this year. But with the Delta variant of COVID-19 on the rise, even my best plans may be thwarted by a new set of travel restrictions. For this reason, I’m focusing more on local travel this year. If an international trip is still possible in December, then yes, I will do that. But I’m not putting a ton of pressure on myself to “manifest” 3 international trips in 2021. Domestic travel can be just as satisfying, and it will allow me to reconnect with loved ones stateside.

My reading goals are coming along nicely. I’ll have my latest Books Read post coming out next week. At the rate that I’m going, I should be at 100 books by late October (fingers crossed). Audiobooks have really been saving me so much time! However, I’ll also be getting back to my ebooks and paperbacks soon: I miss looking at words in print.

My business goals are … meh. Monday’s post covered this topic already, but I’ll be doing some more strategizing in the upcoming weeks to see how close I can get to reaching the $100K+ mark in my businesses. It’s quite a stretch, but I can see where, with some adjustments, it’s doable.

And finally, about those luxury purchases . . . I’m adjusting this as well, and for good reason. I had a revelation that is far more aligned with the kind of consumer I intend to be (going forward). When you have those sorts of “aha!” moments, doing some course correction is the natural next step. The post all about this revelation will be coming out within a week or two, so look out for it soon.

That’s it for my goal updates! Progress in some areas, stagnation in others, and completely rewriting one or two. I’m pleased overall, and I’m looking forward to seeing how things come together over the next few months.

I hope you all are having a great day, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

career · life curation

Minor Disappointments and Setups for Greatness

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all are enjoying a great day wherever you are, and I hope your weekend was fantastic!

Recently, I applied for a part-time position with an online tutoring company. I liked that the position was flexible (that is crucial, given my current schedule) and I figured that it would help me transition into more freelance work. After completing the second round of the interview process, I was informed that I did not get the position. As you can imagine, I was disappointed. I thought I was the perfect candidate, and I felt like I should have made it to the “short list”. However, the company felt otherwise, and they advised me that they would like to keep my application on file, in case they expand and have more openings.

This experience reminded me of something that my mother told me years ago. She said, “If it’s meant for you, nothing and no one will be able to get in the way of you having it”. This little disappointment was just a clear sign that this position was not meant for me. And, upon further consideration, I realized that I actually didn’t want the position.

Yes, you read that right: I didn’t even want that job, if I’m being perfectly honest. I intended that I earn money in a more passive way this year, and this job was quite the opposite of “passive”. It would require a certain number of hours every week, and I wouldn’t be able to delegate these tasks to someone else. Also, this job would involve me occupying a role that doesn’t enhance my future career prospects. In fact, it’s a bit regressive, in a way: I would have to downplay my knowledge and participate in some mind-numbing tasks in that role.

Yes, the role would have brought in more income, but it goes against the intentions that I set. Any action that goes against your intentions is bound to become uncomfortable and unsustainable at some point. Also, perhaps it’s because I’m older, or maybe because I’ve had enough disappointments that turned out to be blessings in disguise, I’m not taking this rejection personally. I’m not right for the job, but that is no reflection on my value as a person. I’ve experienced disappointment as well as incredible successes, and I have seen enough to know that everything works out in my favor in the end.

So, I’m taking this minor disappointment and counting it as a setup for future success. I believe that this position was denied to me because it is not right for me and what I’m creating for my future. It doesn’t fit in my grand scheme, and that’s okay. Additionally, by not clamoring to find some other position to validate my worth as an employee, I’m leaving space for the opportunities that are worthy of my time and attention.

Those are my Monday musings. I’ll have another Writer’s Wednesday post in a couple of days, as well as some other chat during this week. Talk to you all tomorrow!

business · career · life curation

Women and Money: Problems and Solutions

Some of you may not realize this, but April is National Financial Literacy Month. As a woman, I’m fascinated by how finances factor into the lives of women. I feel that most women “know” about money, but there’s a disconnect between knowledge and application. As a financial professional (enrolled agent), I understand many of the pitfalls that women experience as regards wealth-building and debt reduction. What I intend to do with this post is offer solutions and workarounds for the most common issues that exist when it comes to women and money.

  • In most fields, women tend to earn less that their male counterparts doing the same work.

Yes, the gender pay gap is real. It doesn’t apply 100% of the time (for example, women that work in food preparation services and fast food tend to earn more than males in the same job). For most women, changing their gender just to earn more money isn’t a reasonable solution. Most women aren’t clear about how they can minimize or eliminate the pay gap that they are experiencing.

Women would do well to try to eliminate the pay gap that they experience personally. This can be done by learning what the current wage expectations are in a particular field, then comparing this to the woman’s experience, education, and location. After that, it’s a good idea to research the ways to negotiate for a pay raise, and practice the negotiation conversation with a trusted friend, mentor or advisor. If the gap is too large to be successfully negotiated, then it’s worthwhile to research and apply to different employers. Additionally, gaining additional skills can give women an advantage, making it easier to command higher wages (this can be done easily through free online education providers like ALISON, Coursera, Saylor and CPA Academy)

  • Women save money more but invest less than men.

Saving money is great, but the interest rates for savings accounts (of all sorts) is too low to keep up with the rate of inflation. As long as the money sits in savings, it’s missing an opportunity to work harder and generate a higher return. To that point, women are also less inclined to invest than men. Many women have been conditioned to see investing as “too risky”, and thus they prefer safer ways to store money (such as savings accounts).

The solution for this is to focus on investments that feel safer, and building your confidence until you are comfortable enough to take bigger risks. A good way to start investing is to purchase just one inexpensive stock, and start regularly reading about that stock’s performance. Then, invest in more stocks, adding a little more money to invest at each time. Websites like Acorns, Earnin and even Cash App are making it easier than ever to invest small amounts and to observe how the investments are performing.

  • Women have more student loan debt overall.

Education is necessary to earn a solid living, but it’s hard to move forward in life post-college when you have significant student loan debt. Due to the pandemic, many loan companies have opted to provide forbearance to loan recipients, so these recipients don’t have to pay on the student loans while trying to adjust to possible income and lifestyle changes.

There are two approaches that I recommend for studnet debt. If possible, avoid student debt by taking equivalency tests so that certain credits can be awarded without having to pay costly tuition (I wrote a book all about this, titled Degree Hacking: How to Save Money and Get College Credits in Record Time). However, if the loan debt has already been incurred, then I recommend that women research whether their employers offer student loan repayment. If not, seek an employer that does offer this benefit. Also, if the student loan rates are higher than, say, the cost of a line of credit or a home equity loan, then opt for one of these, and use that money to pay off the student loan. Yes, that does mean trading in one debt for another, but at least utilize these other funding sources can save money in the long run.

  • Women are more likely to live in poverty during their old age.

This is heartbreaking but true. Living to advanced age should automatically mean comfortable golden years, but this is not always how it works out. The best defense against lives of poverty is cultivating authentic friendships and support groups before reaching advanced age. It’s invariably more difficult to create relations when these are “needed”, so it’s best to start creating these connections before health declined occur.

Once a person is retirement age, it can be very challenging to make new friends. But websites that encourage meeting up (like Meetup), neighborhood town hall meetings, special interest groups and charities are a great way to connect with like minds and meet new friends. After creating these connections, it offers a little bit of a buffer against hard time. People are more likely to support their friends during hard time, but the key is to create mutual benefit. No one wants to feel “used”, so it’s crucial to create a relationship where both parties feel appreciated and enjoy one another’s company.

  • On the whole, women are less financially literate than men.

I recommend that all women take time to read books on finance, as well as take advantage of free webinars and workshops offered by financial institutions (such as banks, credit unions, and government and other oversight agencies, such as FINRA). Below, I provide a few links to books and articles that I find to be wonderful for learning about money.

Important Facts About Women and Money

Women & Money: 10 Facts We Should All Know

Money and Women: Myths and Facts

60+ Stats About Women and Money

Commercial Bank Regulation

MyCreditUnion Financial Literacy Resources

National Credit Union Association Financial Literacy Resources

My finance and tax-related blog (new posts starting in May 2021)

Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach

I hope you all find these tips helpful, and if you need clarity on anything else, let me know in the comments!

career · culture · international

Back in School

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all are doing well, and I also hope that you all had a restful and restorative weekend.

I’ve been busy behind the scenes (as I noted in this previous post), but I wanted to make sure that I shared additional details about what I’ve been working on. I recently was accepted into a certificate program, so I’ll be attending Cornell University for the next several months (that was the entrepreneur training I mentioned previously). I don’t anticipate that this will interfere with my posting schedule, but that remains to be seen.

At this point, I’m adjusting my schedule so that I can (fingers crossed) have enough time to do everything that I need to do. I’m getting back to using one of my old favorites: a planner than maps out your day, hour by hour. That way, I can stay on top of all of the things I need to do daily, and if I need to shift things around, at least I’m less likely to skip a task that desperately needs to be done.

Along with these Cornell courses, I’m taking two free courses on FutureLearn. The first course is Unleash Your Potential: Global Citizenship, focusing on the different opportunities that arise from being a global citizen. The second course is What is International Development (the title is self explanatory). These courses aren’t as intense as my Cornell schedule, so I’m fitting them into 30 minute chunks every day.

Between my classes, my job, and my writing, I am BUSY! But honestly, I love it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t bother to do all of these things. I have some big goals which means I have to take some drastic action this year. There’s no time like the present to work on everything I want to do, so that’s what I’m doing.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more musings, because this recent Harry and Meghan interview has my mind churning! Talk to you all soon.

business · career · health · life curation · luxury · reading list · travel · writing

The First Three Steps: 2021 Goals

A few days ago, I mentioned on a blog post that I would list out my first three steps for each of my big goals for 2021. This will help me to stay focused on completing the little things, which eventually will result in me accomplishing the big things that I have planned for myself.

So, here’s my follow-up, because we all know how important accountability is. My first three steps for each of the goals that I have for 2021:

  • Publish 5 books
    • Step 1 – Set a daily timer to remind myself to work on my writing
    • Step 2 – Make a weekly word goal
    • Step 3 – Select the titles for the books I’m working on this year
  • Lose 15 lbs
    • Step 1 – Figure out my starting weight
    • Step 2 – Confirm what kind of weight loss services are available through my doctor’s office
    • Step 3 – Make an updated yoga playlist on my YouTube
  • Manifest 3 international trips
    • Step 1 – Make a list of ideal trip locations
    • Step 2 – Create a “dream trip” piggy jar
    • Step 3 – Start learning a few key phrases in the languages spoken in the countries I’d like to visit
  • Earn 6 figures from my businesses
    • Step 1 – Review the coaching session that I participated in, that had ideas for increasing my revenue
    • Step 2 – Make a playlist of podcast episodes featuring people in the same industry as me
    • Step 3 – Create a list of potential promotional opportunities
  • Read 100+ books
    • Step 1 – Make a list of the first 33 books I want to read
    • Step 2 – Schedule book review posts for the first 6 months of the year
    • Step 3 – Place my first ten books by my bedside, so I can reach them easily
  • Luxury purchases – an item from Hermes, a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, a pair of Sophia Webster shoes, and a pair of Ralph & Russo shoes
    • Step 1 – Select the actual items from each company that I want
    • Step 2 – Confirm whether the items can be purchased from local retailers
    • Step 3 – Designate a “Luxe Items” piggy bank/savings account
  • Cure my fibromyalgia (as I mentioned in my last Fibro Friday post)
    • Step 1 – Research the stories of people that were able to reverse their fibromyalgia diagnosis
    • Step 2 – Relisten to herbalism/naturopath podcasts that have recommendations for treating fibro
    • Step 3 – Make a list of local naturopaths that may be able to help me on my journey

I’m keeping my target simple: I’ll only take one or two steps a day. That sets me up to finish my three steps for each goal within 21 days at most. So, in 21 days, I’ll share whether I did all of the steps above (I’m pretty sure I can do it all LOL), as well as my next three steps for each goal. Of course, at some point, outlining the next three steps of a goal may not be applicable, but I’ll do it as long as it is logical and helpful to accomplishing my goals.

Have you tried writing out the next three steps for any of your goals? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

career · writing

My Company Has Been Featured in Trusty Wellness!

I’m so excited to share this special milestone with you all! I recently was interviewed by Trusty Wellness, a local blog that highlights small businesses in my city. My journal company was one of the featured highlights last week!

Gratuitous photo of moi

I shared in a previous post when my first book was endorsed by one of my favorite authors (and a personal inspiration to me) Ginie Sayles. I love these moments because each endorsement offers another opportunity for my work to reach someone that needs it most. And that’s what really matters: connecting to people that can use the tools that I design.

Writing is my passion, and I love sharing that passion with others, ESPECIALLY when it comes to journaling. So to be featured in this publication is truly an honor. I hope that this connects me to additional members of my “soul tribe”.

That’s my post for today: just a little something that I was proud to share. I hope you all will check out the article and give Trusty Wellness some love! Until tomorrow, take care.

career · life curation

Ready to Change Careers?

Today’s post will be super-quick, because things have been very busy on my end.

A few weeks ago, I came across a link to a website offering various job seeker services, including interview practice, resume rewrites, LinkedIn makeovers, etc.,. I want to share this website with you, just in case you have the qualifications but want to ensure that you present yourself in the best light possible. Career Business Bar is a great resource for anyone that want to break into a new career but just needs a little help with their presentation.

You should check them out, if you’re ready to change careers and want a little help with polishing your skills and application documents (like your resume). I haven’t used this company yet, but I think the services provided are reasonably priced and worth the investment.

That’s all for today: take care, and I’ll talk to you all soon.