Let’s Finish What We Started

You can do it.

 

finish what started motivate
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The feel of the soft yarn as it slides through my fingers. The rhythmic clicking of the metal needles against each other. The almost magical formation of an article fit for wearing from a piece of string.

I paused and examined the hat I was knitting, satisfied with the way it was turning out. I placed my project in my bag for the next time.

But the next time never materialized.

finish what started motivate

I’ve been knitting on and off for about 10 years. I recently took somewhat of a hiatus to focus on some writing, but recently decided to get back into my wool stash.

It got me thinking that knitting is a lot like writing. 

Well, in some ways that is.

They both frustrate the hell out of me sometimes. 

Writing, because the words get all jumbled up in my head and when they do decide to form themselves into beautiful prose, they come out all jumbled up on the computer screen anyway. 

Knitting, especially designing (I’m too flaky to follow most patterns), lends itself to all sorts of jumble-ness too. I can easily create a beautiful design in my head that I can’t seem to translate into the finished piece.

finish what started motivate
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But most of the time, I do love them both. 

Writing and knitting both have provided me comfort and a purpose. 

Like many folks, I turn to my art in times of distress or grief. Sometimes, the best creations are born out of the toughest times.

Our art also provides us a sense of identity. I am a writer. I am a knitter. 

A painter, a furniture-maker, a bonsai enthusiast.

On the one hand, focusing on getting the right words down or counting stitch after stitch provides a concentration and a focus for the mind. It’s like brain exercise for me. Coming up with just the right word and phrasing. Figuring out if I need a left-leaning or a right-leaning decrease.

On the other hand, both activities can have a tremendously relaxing and meditative effect. Letting the mind wander as words flow effortlessly onto the page. Words that are not destined to be read by anyone but myself. There is no pressure, no deadline, no criticism. 

The same can happen with knitting. Certain stitch types (endless garter, for you knowing knitters out there) can provide a kind of solace as your hands, using muscle memory, allow the wool to flow through them creating a soft and squishy fabric that will eventually become an item fit for your head, hands or neck.

finish what started motivate
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Sometimes, as I’m writing something, I pause and look at it as I read it. My head nods ever so slightly as I decide that this could work.

The same happens in knitting. I’ll just begin knitting without a project really in mind, and pause and look at it and think the same thing.

I will continue to write. Writing is a lot newer to me than knitting, and I’ve enjoyed it so much. 

I’m also excited to get back to knitting. I can and will do both.

They will both continue to frustrate me at times, and both will continue to be a part of me and encourage and comfort and define me.


What have you placed away “just for now” or “until the next time” and that next time never came?

Is there a book you started writing, but never got around to finishing? Maybe, like me, you began a craft project that has been waiting patiently for you to pick it back up and finish it.

I’d like to encourage you today, right now even, to go and find that book or project. Look at it and let it speak to you. Allow your mind to remember what it was about it that excited you or motivated you. What did you enjoy about it? 

Perhaps the frustration you were feeling with it was too much, so you needed time away. Hey, it happens to all of us. But now that time has passed, you can look at it with a new eye. You can get excited about it, and begin again.

I feel it’s so important to finish what we’ve begun. This hasn’t been my strong suit recently. But that’s changing. 

I’m finishing my hat.

Lessons I’ve Learned from Reading Personal Growth Books

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Several months ago, a friend recommended a book called E-Squared by Pam Grout. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Or even read it?

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I was seeking suggestions for reading material as I had been in a reading funk. (And I really wasn’t in the mood for the Harry Potter series…again. I mean, it’s one of my favorites, but you can only read it so many times in a lifetime, right?)

My friend explained E-Squared was basically about manifesting the reality you desire and the Law of Attraction, the theory that our thoughts are made of energy and we attract what we focus on.

I’d heard of the LOA before, but never gave it much thought.

So I checked E-Squared out from the library and read it. I was going through a difficult time and figured it might shine some hope my way.

I admit it, I loved it. So I followed it with E-Cubed (by the same author). And then, I may have become slightly addicted to the “self-improvement” genre.

personal growth books

I devoured several other books after the “E” ones: Thank and Grow Rich(again, by Ms. Grout), You are a BadassThe Game of Life and How to Play It,The Four AgreementsHelp Thanks Wow, and You Can Heal Your Life, among others.

As I read each book, I began noticing something. While from differing perspectives, the message always seemed remarkably similar. This isn’t a criticism. I was intrigued that these authors were able to describe basically the same concepts, but in their own unique — and entertaining — voices.

The following are the main concepts that I extracted from my reading, and my understanding of each one.

Self-love and self-worth are paramount.

They are the foundation on which we build all of our relationships. In general,we don’t allow others to treat us any worse than we treat ourselves. If we have a very low self-worth, that sets the bar low for conduct from others. Loving ourselves creates a high standard of what kind of treatment we will allow from other people.

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This is not the same as conceit or ego or selfishness, which is usually based on fear that others might see us as less than worthy. Developing and maintaining positive self-worth on the other hand is realizing and understanding that we have as much right as anyone else to exist and that we are loved unconditionally by the Universe that created us.

Self-worth can be created and grown. But it takes practice. Most people are so used to diminishing their own worth by telling themselves they’re worthless, not good enough, too fat, to quiet, to this-or that.

A simple — but difficult at first — method to self-love is to tell yourself affirmations every day as often as possible, all the time. Look in the mirror and tell yourself how much you are loved, how beautiful you are. Some of my affirmations are sweet and nice; other times, I give myself the proverbial tough love when I need it. It all works for me.

Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love. — Brené Brown

It will seem silly at first, but with practice, it will become second nature. Even if you don’t believe the affirmations at first, keep at it, and eventually you will become to know they are true. If you were willing to believe the destructive lies that you told yourself, you can certainly learn to believe the truths that you are in fact priceless and loved beyond measure.

Adopt an attitude of gratitude.

At first, this can be difficult in practice. Society constantly tells us what we need, and we always need more or we can’t be happy. The news and media consistently remind us that we have very little to be grateful for.

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But when we are thankful for what we already have, we don’t feel like we need more, more, more.

Practicing gratitude provides us with a sense of contentment and peace (and an uncluttered living space as a bonus). But it goes further than that. When we are grateful for what we have, it compels us to want to provide for and be of service to others.

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. — Gilbert K. Chesterton

We create our own realities and everyone’s is different.

This concept basically states that we all view things from different perspectives. Folks view situations based on their preconceived ideas and the judgments that have been ingrained in their minds during their lifetimes.

So whose perspective is “right?”

Take the old woman/young woman optical illusion. One person will see the young woman. Someone else will see the old lady. Both folks are looking at the exact same picture, yet both see completely different subjects, and both are correct. This proves we all see things differently and we can all be right.

An extension of this concept is that we can actually control and change our thoughts and preconceived ideas. We control our thoughts, not the other way around.

This too takes practice, but once it’s mastered, it opens doors to the insights of others as well as ourselves. Furthermore, we can create or change our realities simply by changing or controlling our thoughts about our situations.

We are not disturbed by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens to us. — Epictetus

And our thoughts are energy. According to the Law of Attraction, we can attract love, compassion, wealth and a multitude of other positive experiences by expressing these things ourselves.


I’ve implemented these concepts into my life and have experience positive changes. Perhaps they can help you as well. ❤

How to Overcome Writing Obstacles as an Introvert

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Hello, fellow introvert.

So, you want to write and share it with the world, right? You’ve set up your blog or your account at Medium.com. Now what?

I mean, after all, sharing your writing with an unfamiliar audience is kinda like stepping up on that stage while trying not to trip over the hem of your dress and giving the all-important speech while your confidence slowly ebbs away. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all…

No worries. I’ve been there. Heck, I am there. Every time I write something and hover that little arrow over the publish button, my introversion rears it’s feathery, azure-eyed head, and I tremble into a wobbly ball of anxiety.

But there are some methods introverts can use to overcome the obstacles of sharing your writing. You just need to find a few things first.

overcome writing obstacles introvert

So let’s go on a scavenger hunt. As introverts, we’ll look for, and find, three things that will help us write our very best.

Find Your Voice

As a beginning writer, you will find it difficult to find your voice at first. You may try out different voices as you struggle to find the words and style that reflect YOU. Maybe you’ll try imitate your favorite author or blogger. You might get so worked up on finding just the right words or phrasing, that you’ll be in editing mode forever.

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That’s OK. At first. That’s why you practice. And practice some more. And even more. As you continue your practice, you and your voice will get to know and become more familiar with each other.

It’ll be like a first date, where you’re not sure you want to spend more time with the person, but hey, it was pretty good, so maybe we’ll try it out again. The next time, you become a little more comfortable with each other, more relaxed. Then the time after that, it will become yet a little easier; you continue to become more comfortable, and eventually the words and phrases flow easily.

Your writing voice is the deepest possible reflection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul. -Meg Rosoff

I find it helpful to ignore most of the advice from the “experts.” Yes, grammar, vocabulary and syntax is important, but sometimes rules are made to be broken. For the most part, I find the best practice is to write how you speak. Let your personality shine through. Don’t try to sound like someone else, even your favorite author.

Are you a bubbly type? Or a more serious personality? Writing like you speak will make you more genuine in your readers’ eyes.

On a related note, do you publicly share your initial attempts at writing? I think it’s a good idea to do so, and even encourage it. The reason: you may never start otherwise. If your goal is to share your writing with others, if you think your writing isn’t good enough, not quite yet, you’ll procrastinate until not quite yet becomes never. As long as you’re publishing online, the Edit button will always be there for you.

Find Ideas

You may think that everything’s been done and said before, that there are no new ideas.

That’s true.

The good news is no one’s heard your version yet.

As an introvert, where can you collect your ideas? Many suggestions stem from being out and about in the world, surrounded by other people, folks you pass on the street, overhear in the coffee shops, etc.

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As an introvert myself, I usually actively try to avoid those places. Situations like those can cause mental drainage at the best, and anxiety at the worst. As an introvert, you probably spend much of your time in your own home, alone or surrounded by your family.

Additionally, you’re not likely to be able to focus on obtaining writing ideas and collecting notes if you keep checking your watch for the time you get to go home and recharge.

So, where can you find great writing ideas? There are plenty of sources, but I suggest ignoring the advice to write what you know.

Writers don’t write from experience, although many are hesitant to admit that they don’t. …If you wrote from experience, you’d get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy. -Nikki Giovanni

The most important source of writing ideas for introverts is the imagination. As a general rule, we’re a creative bunch. So, sit back, relax, and pull from the center of your mind secrets, desires and motivations with which you can use to create a character or construct a blog post.

Other sources of inspiration include your family and your close (small) circle of friends. Perhaps your neighborhood will provide ideas. Look out the window. What do you see? Your neighbors? Write a soap opera (changing the names to protect the innocent of course). Woods, deer and birds (in my case)? Let some poetry materialize. Is your view of a bustling busy skyline? Try to creatively describe the shapes, colors, angles and other things you see. These ideas may or may not turn into masterpieces, but they will be useful as some helpful practice.

Find Courage

Fear. This may be the single most debilitating obstacle for an introvert who wants to share his or her writing.

Fear keeps us stuck in a quagmire, right where we’re at, right now. It keep us from moving forward.

And guess what? Most folks stay in this very spot.

What if you fail? Ray Bradbury once said you fail only if you stop writing. And he’s right, you know. As long as you persevere and keep on practicing your craft, you’re not failing. Seems pretty easy right? All you need to do is KEEP WRITING.

But, but, but…what if I offend someone?

I’m going to tell you right now: It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.

I promise if you publicly share your writing, you WILL offend someone, somewhere, sometime.

But, who cares? I understand though, because I still struggle with this. Others will have differing opinions and views, but it doesn’t mean you (or they) are wrong. It’s OK, and even desirable, to sometimes be forced to look at things in a different way.

And about hateful comments from strangers? They don’t mean a thing. The support and love you receive from your longtime and loyal readers, friends and family: that’s the important stuff. Learn to ignore the haters. They’re not worth your time.

Then there’s that pesky fear of not being good enough.

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Whoa, stop right there. This comes from comparing yourself to others. Quit it right now. Every single writer in the history of the world started at the beginning. Some folks are far along in their writing journey, while you may be just beginning. In a year, or five, you’ll be farther along in your journey than someone will be just starting out.

Think about it; when you’re writer extraordinaire in a few years or after a lifetime, you may be encouraging the next newbie.

Maybe you’re afraid of actually succeeding?

Why? Because it’s comfortable here. Change, even positive change, is scary.

It’s hard to let go of the grip on comfort, on familiarity. But if you want to move forward, to grow, to become inspired, you’re gonna have to let go. Don’t be afraid.


As in introvert, once you find your voice, ideas, and courage, the rest is a piece of cake. You’ll encounter plenty of stumbling blocks along the way, but you’ll have no problem navigating them. You’ll be well on your way to becoming the best writer you can be.

It’s a lifelong journey, but one that is well worth it.

How New Day’s Resolutions Can Help You Accomplish and Organize Your Goals

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Well, the first month of the year is already gone. How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions? Not so great? Me neither. In fact, I didn’t even make any. But I never make New Year’s resolutions.

I prefer New Day’s resolutions.

New Day’s resolutions consist of tasks, actions, activities and goals that I expect to achieve just for today. If I can make it through this new day succeeding at the goals that I have planned for myself, I consider it a win.

Then I’ll do it again tomorrow.

Some of my New Day’s resolutions are the same every day: Drinking a glass of water before having my coffee. Taking a walk. Reading for at least an hour. Feeding the sourdough starter. Making the bed.

These are arguably minor daily goals, and I’ll admit, sometimes I don’t manage them. But that’s the beauty of New Day’s resolutions. You have another chance tomorrow.

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New Day’s resolutions can and should also include more important or bigger goals as well. They may not look exactly like the previous ones, but they are those activities that move you toward a larger goal: Doing something for your new business. Writing a page of your book. Plan these ahead of time.

For example, each night before bed, Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary writes three tasks on a sticky-note that he says he must accomplish the next morning before anyone else wakes up. This seemingly insignificant action of writing his plans down can greatly increase productivity.


Author and psychologist Angela Duckworth, in her book Grit, describes a hierarchy of goals. The top-level goal is achieved by accomplishing mid- and low-level goals; they’re a means to an end so to speak.

Perhaps your top-level goal is to start a small business. Your mid-level goals would include writing a business plan, registering your business with the government and IRS, purchasing insurance, setting up financial accounts and creating a website. Minor goals and tasks can then be planned to accomplish those mid-level goals. Seemingly trivial tasks like making the bed each day can contribute to your top level goal because it increases your productivity and motivation.

So, each night before bed, write down three assignments that you will accomplish the following day that will move you toward that top level goal of starting the business.

If low- and mid-level goals aren’t aiming you toward your top-level goal, it may be time to re-evaluate them.

I find it helpful to use a diagram of a hierarchy of goals to see which goals are supporting other goals. It also makes it easier to see those goals that may not be contributing to your top-level one.

Goal hierarchy
Angela Duckworth’s Hierarchy of Goals

Maybe your top-level goal is to start a successful blog. Your mid-level goals could include writing 1000 words on one day, and editing and publishing those words the following day. Rinse and repeat.

Low-level goals to support those mid-level ones could include the ones I previously mentioned in addition to perhaps waking at an earlier hour or consuming a healthier diet.

Can you have more than one top-level goal? Yes, but don’t spread yourself too thin. A top-level goal in your professional life and one for your personal/family life are usually sufficient.

Can your top-level goal change? Of course. Finding one’s passion can take a lifetime and passions and interests change over time. But many folks give up too easily, too soon. The most successful people, as described in Grit, are those that can sustain their passion over a long period of time.


I find it much easier to stick with New Day’s resolutions than New Year’s resolutions. Many people give up after breaking the New Year’s ones. They feel guilty and feel like it’s not worth it to start again.

But by creating goals for each day, you can create a new sense of accomplishment each day. Will you screw up? Of course, we all do. But each day is a new opportunity to get back on the wagon. 

I highly recommend Kevin O’Leary’s productivity trick and Angela Duckworth’s goal hierarchy chart. Try them out and watch your productivity skyrocket.

What are your favorite productivity tips?