Tag Archives: success

Better Writing through Pressure

This past weekend I was so fortunate to get to attend the Pikes Peak Writer’s Conference.  Let me first say the conference is listed as one of the best by Writer’s Digest for a reason.  Informative presentations, friendly people and surprising opportunities made this conference an amazing experience.

Early on in the conference, I had an a-ha moment.  One of those moments that make me say “A-ha! Now I get it!”  Surprisingly, it wasn’t about writing, story structure, or character development (although I had lots of those, too.)  No, it was about pressure.

Eyjafjallajokull volcano plume

Pressure is a word that is misused in our vocabulary.When you start thinking of pressure, it’s because you’ve started to think of failure.  Tommy Lasorda

I signed up for a read and critique session and happened to draw Leis Pederson, who is an Associate Editor at Berkley books.  On Friday, I was so tense about reading my first page to an editor who could make a difference in my life the muscles in my shoulders felt like rocks.  All of a sudden, I realized that most of the pressure I was feeling originated from myself.  My expectations, my plans, my goals.

I wish I could say what exactly triggered my a-ha moment, but I can’t.  It just became so clear that, until I have externally imposed writer-ly deadlines, it’s all coming from me.

There is no such thing as talent.  There is pressure.  Alfred Adler

Pressure is good to have.  I am a firm believer in goal setting because of the pressure inherent in writing down a goal, and creating a plan to attain it.

Pushing yourself to meet that goal, no matter the cost, is not good.

There were people crying at the conference because their pitch sessions didn’t go as they hoped.  I was a nervous wreck because I was placing so much importance on the possibilities that might occur at the conference.  There has to be a balance.  As much as I want to be a success at writing, and would love to have a big enough of a writing career to be able to write books for a living, it is not life and death.

No pressure, no diamonds. Thomas Carlyle

Mr. Lightman/freedigitalphotos

Pressure is a necessary component to success.  If we wait around for things to happen for us, they most likely never will.  One of the speakers I went to, Linda Rohrbough, said “Prepare for success.  You can fail without any effort at all.”  Pressure to succeed is what moves us forward.

Pressure is there to inspire us and make us do our best and achieve our dreams.  Pressure can also stress us out, and create anxiety about the future.  Whether pressure is a positive force or a negative force in our life depends upon our perspective.  The decision is ours.

What Has My Life List Taught Me? by Jenny Hansen

Photo from GreenManolo.com

Baby steps count. A lot.

There have been times over my last ten months with the Life List Club where those tiny little steps to “somewhere” were ALL I could take.

And they’ve made all the difference in the world.

Baby steps have kept me from having panic attacks when I think of my dreams and do you know why?

I stopped thinking about the entire huge, impossible, far-int0-the-future ‘here’s what I want to be when I grow up’ kind of dreams. Thinking about big dreams makes me run backwards, hands wheeling in the air, panic in my chest.

I discovered this the hard way, when I wasn’t getting anything done.

I joined ROW80 and started doing tiny, manageable things:

  • “x” number of blog posts per week
  • “x” number of writing minutes per day
  • “This many” miles walked each week
  • Diet changes like giving up gluten and nothing else

Then I joined the Life List Club and added some work/life balance items to my list of goals. (Click here for my Life List.)

And you know what? It’s working! I’m crossing things off my Life List every single quarter. There’s still more to do, but part of why this is my last LLC post is that many career doors are opening for me as a result of all these baby steps.

I saw a graphic with a quote the other day that resonated with me:

Follow your dreams to reach your goals
& Follow your goals to reach your dreams.

That’s powerful, heady stuff. All we have to do is chase GOALS and the rest will come.

Whoa.

Like, if I make a Life List and just go for crossing things off it, the Universe will put opportunity in my way? It sure seems that way to me.

Chasing dreams will take you to places you’ve never been. I’m betting you’re going to like those places. 🙂

Thank you, to every single member of the Life List Club, including those who are no longer with us, for supporting me on my journey and sharing your own journey with me. I will miss posting with you, but I’ll remain an avid reader and fan!

Do you make lists of your life goals? Why or why not? Can you think of just one step you can take that will start you on the road to that dream you want more than anything else? Will you share it?

About Jenny Hansen

Jenny fills her nights with humor: writing memoir, women’s fiction, chick lit, short stories (and chasing after her toddler Baby Girl). By day, she provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s digging this sit down and write thing.

When she’s not at her blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at jhansenwrites and at her group blog, Writers In The Storm. Every Saturday, she writes the Risky Baby Business posts at More Cowbell, a series that focuses on babies, new parents and high-risk pregnancy.

Life Really is Too Short (Even When it’s Long)

LilyRecently, my grandmother passed away. And, as is so often the case with the death of a family member, the regrets came along with the sadness. Why didn’t I write and visit anywhere near as often as I should have? Why didn’t I know her better? Why? Why? Why?

I realized that life is really too short not to make sure our friends and family know we love them. It’s too short to put off that visit, call, letter or email. It’s too short not to tell them we love them as much as we can.

Life is too short to create regrets.

It’s too short to put off our dreams. Whatever it is we wish for, no matter howClimbing Silhouette seemingly unreachable, we must strive for it even if it’s only a bit at a time. Whether we succeed or fail or change our minds, we must persevere because life is too short to do otherwise.

And, if life is too short to miss the smallest opportunity to show our loved ones we love them and too short not to seek our dreams, then it is also too short to kick ourselves endlessly in the behind for what we did or didn’t do, should have done, messed up or put off. Each moment is an opportunity to change, to stop taking for granted that there will be time tomorrow. We can seize the here and now.

Life is too short for a lot of things. It’s up to us to decide what and start living it.

I invite you to finish the sentence: Life is too short to…

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Come visit me on my blog or find me on Facebook or Twitter.

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In honor of my grandmother. Daughter, sister, friend, artist, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.  April 15, 1935 – March 28, 2012.