On Attending TEDxAshburn

on-attending-tedxashburn

Several months ago, as I was skimming our local newspaper, I noticed a story about an upcoming TEDx event right here in my town. The speakers all sounded amazing, but what caught my eye at that moment was the last sentence of the article: Interested volunteers should email TEDxAshburn with a description of their area of expertise which they may offer in exchange for a complimentary ticket to the event.

I immediately emailed the organizer to offer up my writing skills and was thrilled to receive a response a few days later from the event’s Volunteer Coordinator, Adina Popa, accepting me. They even gave me an official title: Storyteller.

So here’s the story of what it was like to attend TEDxAshburn. [Read more…]

In-Between is Right Where I Want To Be

Have you ever thought about how you spend your in-between time?

I wrote about it recently, but since picking up a unique read, I felt the need to write on the topic again. 

A writer who I truly admire, for his way with words as much as his generous drive to teach amateur writers how to hone their craft, is releasing a new book this week called The In-Between: embracing the tension between now and the next big thing. Part memoir, part self-help, Jeff Goins takes the reader on a journey through his life’s most important in-betweens. Jeff describes how he has learned to slow down and appreciate the time spent waiting for the next major event, because sometimes those minutes, hours, days, weeks, and even years can be the most fulfilling aspects of our lives.

I agree completely.

{an excerpt}

“We all want to live meaningful lives full of experiences we can be proud of. We all want a great story to tell our grandchildren. But many of us fail to recognize that the best moments are the ones happening right now.

Maybe the “good stuff” isn’t ahead of or behind us. Maybe it’s somewhere in between. Right in the midst of this moment, here and now. Maybe Annie Dillard is right. Maybe what we call “mundane,” what feels boring and ordinary, is really how we spend our lives. And we have an opportunity to make of it what we will – to resent its lack of adventure or rejoice in its beauty. Perhaps, the abundant life we’ve been seeking has little to do with big events and comes in a subtler form: embracing the pauses in between major beats.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kohp0qCM9Jo&w=560&h=315]

 

I daydream about this concept of “in-between” often. Maybe because I’ve spent most of my life anticipating each subsequent milestone. My parents often joked I was “10 going on 25” because it was as if I could hardly wait to grow up so I could start working to accomplish my dreams. Looking back on my childhood I can totally agree with this playful teasing, since I struggle to recall basic, everyday memories others can drum up so easily. I was too caught up in what was way up ahead that I missed out on the fun happening right in front of me.

The only thing that is certain is the moment we are in right now. {Tweet that.}

I like to believe that I’ve enjoyed the in-betweens in my life thus far, but truth be told there are plenty I could have appreciated more than I did. Jeff’s book is teaching me to value every day of my life as much as the last because the next day is never a guarantee. Time passes so quickly that if we don’t pay attention, it can slip right through our fingertips. I want to live each day full of gratitude for today and for all those dreams I have yet to accomplish.

If you haven’t picked up Jeff’s book yet, go buy it now. I have a feeling you won’t be able to put it down and it will leave a lasting impression, as it did for me.

In-betweenIsRightWhereIWantToBe

View: Five Minute Friday {8}

GoConfidently_BML

As an amateur writer, the view from my desk is one of stacks of memoirs of authors I’m reading, notebooks I’m working to fill with my words, piles of books on the craft of writing, and an endless mug of Jasmine Green tea. Self-imposed deadlines each day force me to keep cranking out work.

I’m living my dream. Keeping my head in the game because sitting on the sidelines wishing I were on the field playing wouldn’t be nearly as exciting.

Writing every day is a dream I’ve always wanted to fulfill. And even though it’s stressful making ends meet – now I know where the term “starving artist” came from – I’m not about to give up. I’m only just getting started.

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”                                                                                                                                             – Ben Franklin

Five Minute Friday

From this day forward

I’ve decided, after attending Day 1 of my first writer’s conference, that I am finally ready to call myself a writer.

It was a long day of travel, of planning for being away. My 4-yr old son was so excited about sleeping over at Grandma and Grandpa’s that he barely even noticed when his sister and I were dropped off at the airport. His Grandma took him home to her house and he was off in his own little world of too many toys from grandparents who love spoiling him.

My little girl was an angel on the 2 hour, 15-minute flight to warmer weather. I thought she might nap on the way but the many distractions on the plane – the mini TV set in the headrest of the seat in front of us, the ipad loaded with several new kiddie apps, and of course the tray table which she was determined not to keep in the upright position during takeoff and landing – not to mention all-you-can-drink apple juice and unlimited animal crackers – made it an adventure of which she did not want to miss a wink. Still, more than one person nodded their approval of her attendance on the flight with a smile and “she’s so cute!” or “what a good little traveler!” which of course made me very proud.

My mom and dad picked us up at the airport and we made the two-hour drive to our hotel on the island, stopping halfway to eat dinner and stretch our legs. Baby girl slept on the ride from the airport to the restaurant and from the restaurant to the hotel, so she wanted to play once we checked in. It was after 10:30pm before we all finally got to sleep and it was a broken sleep at that given the fact that she didn’t want to sleep in the aerobed Grandma had brought for her and instead wanted to snuggle kick me all night long in her restless sleep brought on by an unfamiliar bed.

By 6:30am this morning when the sun spilled through the crack between the curtains pulled tight in our room, she and I were ready to get up and have some breakfast. I was eager to get a shower and pick out an outfit to wear to the conference, and she was craving some milk so we got up, ready to start our day.

My dad dropped me off this morning at the convention center and I easily checked in and found a seat outside where everyone was gathered enjoying the early sunshine before we had to head inside for the remaining morning hours. I met a young man who was there, seemingly as I was, to drink in as much knowledge as humanly possible in three and a half days. We were there to strengthen what core intelligence of the craft of writing we came with, to be able to tell a better story when we left. Our conversation flowed, and I felt relief in how easy it was to talk with a fellow writer.

The day flew by. I found myself wishing at times I could have recorded what the presenters were sharing, because as hard as I tried, I couldn’t always capture the exact words they shared and I knew my notes would never do their intelligence justice. I was out of practice. It’s been fifteen years since I’ve sat in on a collegiate lecture, and this is exactly what it felt like. But luckily, by the last session I saw definite improvement, my pen swiftly dancing across the paper in my notebook, my heart content that I was going to be able to hold onto the nuggets of advice and instruction I was gleaning from these incredible writers.

A writer.

I never really considered myself a writer until this weekend.

Sure, I love to write. But never having studied English or Creative Writing, I’m certainly at a disadvantage, right?

Nevermind that. I’m not going to let that stop me from achieving my dream of sharing my story.

Being here on Sanibel Island, I am surrounded by such remarkable talent. And it’s only day 1. My favorite author has yet to speak. I feel so incredibly blessed to have this opportunity to explore and feed my passion by listening and learning from some of the best writers in the country.

I almost feel like a shell, a shell on Sanibel Island. Of the hundreds and thousands, probably billions, of shells that wash up on this sandy shore, each holds a story of their journey. Some are smooth and soft, others jagged and broken. At sunset tonight, we walked the beach and collected shells in my daughter’s beach pail. Just as we are bringing home a piece of the island in the form of these gorgeous sand-covered treasures, I will also be bringing home tiny gems of discovery from the writers who are sharing their love of storytelling.

I’m so thankful for this opportunity. I cannot wait to practice what I’m going to learn this weekend and I hope you stick around to see me grow and flourish as a writer. A writer who, like a crab, is just now emerging from her shell.