Project Thankful: Reason #196: What Drives You?

What drives you?

That’s the question I’ve been asking myself lately.  What makes me want to work harder?  What makes me keep at at this writing thing, blogging and building drafts?  What makes me envision lofty dreams one day becoming realities?

I look at my mom and dad, and I know my answer.  What drives me?  My family.  Everything I do is not just for myself, but for my family.  I can remember sitting in the car with my mom as she drove us home one day when I was a teenager.  I remember saying to her, “I’m going to take care of you.”  I meant what I said.  I want to give my parents the life they deserve, one where they will be taken care of and provided for.

As my mom and I were driving today, my mom looked at the sign outside of a convenience store that states the jackpot amounts for Mega Millions and Powerball.  She sighed, noting that someone must have won both this week because of the dip in the jackpot numbers.

I want my life to be a jackpot in itself, one that I can share with my parents.  So I guess what also drives me is hope.  Hope that hard work will pay off and dreams will become realities. 

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Project Thankful: Reason #181: On Career Mistakes

I’m thankful to have made mistakes in my career.

I’m preparing to publish again at the end of this summer.  Two years ago, I published my novels The Hunted and Darkness Calls.  It was the first time I ever published, and since then I have looked back and noticed several points at which I could have stopped and rethought decisions.  I could have re-written some parts of the books, done more research on e-book covers, and better formatted the books and book covers.  I could have waited to publish them.  I could have not published them at all or waited until they were more refined narratives.  

I look back on all of these, and I’m grateful to have made mistakes in my career.  Mistakes aren’t just how you learn; they’re how you grow.  If you never made a mistake, imagine how boring your life would be; it would be static.  Some of my decisions might not yield optimum results, but the results are always interesting and surprise me.

Take this blog, for example.  I started this blog to draw attention to my writing.  When I first began blogging, I didn’t blog very often.  When I did blog, I would just kind of write about whatever, not really clear about the direction this nascent blog would have.  Underneath the title of this blog is “Spotlight: Writing.”  Back then, I didn’t know myself, as a writer, well enough to build a strong base for that spotlight.  I was too caught up with proving myself, desperate to have a large number of followers as well as to have people buy my books, to understand that what attracts someone to writing is writing, not selling.

So here’s to mistakes, to failures, to missteps, and to moving forward.

Project Thankful: Reason #151

I feel like I’m leading multiple lives.  There is Ms. Rocha, the me that wears the school staff ID badge and works at the school.  Then there is L. N. Rocha, the author and blogger.  Lastly, there is Ms. Lauren Rocha, grad student starting in the fall and scholar.

Trying to blend all three of these roles is difficult, and at times the task is seemingly impossible.  The Ms. Rocha who works at the school is the one who brings home the paychecks, but at the same time is so drained most days that if I do have energy, I have to choose between the other two.  To be an author/blogger or not to be, that is the daily question.  

The thing is, when I occupy the author/blogger role, I will spend hours on it, and usually not have time to work on my research.  Similarly, when I’m working on my research, I typically don’t have time to devote to my author/blogger duties.  

I don’t want to have to choose between roles.  I just want to be able to Me, to be author/blogger/scholar/grad student.

I tell myself that it will get easier once the school year has ended because then I can focus on those roles.  Truth is though, it will never get easier.  There will always be something re-directing my focus.  But what can appear to be detour, can actually be an unexpected journey. 

The journey of working at the school just seems to be taking a very long time.

Project Thankful: Reason #145

I’m only human.

Every day, there are things that I just don’t get to.  Reading that book I started last month, responding to those emails, updating this blog, continuing working on my drafts…the list goes on.  And when I think about what I should do in a day, I feel guilty.

Then I remind myself that I’m only human.  That yeah, I should read more, and I should respond to emails sooner, and I should update this blog more, and that I should write more.  But what I should do above all is to bring balance to the day, and that means not getting to some things.  Because at the end of the day, I need sleep.  I get up at 5 AM to start my day.

Project Thankful: Reason #96

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being a writer.  I currently have two books, The Hunted and Darkness Calls, published on the Amazon Kindle store.  I am also currently in the process of writing the sequels to both of the books.  As I’m going through this process, I reflect back on the books and a list of things comes to my mind stating all the edits, changes, and just what I would have done differently back when I first wrote/edited/published them.

There will always be things I should have done differently.  That’s just life.  In regards to being a writer, I don’t associate the things I should have done differently with regrets.  I don’t have any regrets when it comes to being a writer.  No matter how scathing that part of me that looks at the books and says “Yeah, it would have been better…” is, if I had a time machine and could go back and re-do anything, I would still leave the books as they are.

Mistakes, failures, errors, misjudgments…they happen for a reason.  When it comes to being a writer, all of mine have made me a better writer.  I’d rather start weak and become strong instead of starting strong and turning weak. 

What They Don’t Tell You in College

I have been out of college for three years this month.  That’s right, in January 2011 I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Art History.   Three years, and I wonder how different my perceptions of post-college life were when I was still in college.

When I was in college, I thought after I graduated I would find a full-time job, and I would be paid a somewhat decent amount in exchange.  This job would be one where I could put my English degree to use somehow in day-to-day job functions or, dare I hoped, would involve writing for a newspaper or for a magazine, what I considered my ideal job back then.

Yeah, none of that happened.

I reflect back on my college years, and I always think about what they did not tell me in college.  All the times I went to Career Services, all the advice and encouragement I received from different people…all of that, and they left out key pieces of the realities of post-college life.  Like how as wonderful and as impressive as your scholastic and creative accomplishments are, they do not necessarily translate into skills employers are looking for in job candidates.  That you will most likely (chances being in the mid to high 90% range) have to work at a job where you barely, if not ever, use that degree of yours (and if you think you are one of the few who do not fall into that category, I caution you to not be so confident).  But I’m getting ahead of myself with that last sentence.  Because what they do not tell you is about the waiting.  The waiting to hear back about job applications, the waiting to hear back about your interviews, the waiting for jobs to open up whose descriptions sound like ones you could not only do, but whose employers might actually look at your resume and contact you for an interview.

What they also do not tell you is that in your group of friends you might be the one who feels like they do not have a steady anchor in their life.  That you reach a point in your life where you look at your friends and realize your friends have reached points in their lives where they have solidity, a general sense of having lives they want to keep and maintain in their present states for the most part.  Meanwhile, you are still striving to reach that place where you can say you have the life you want, or you might still be figuring out what the life you want entails.

What they don’t tell you in college is this: post-college life is something you need to experience for yourself to truly find out about.

 

Project Thankful: Reason #45

I watched the Golden Globes last night, and I saw all these actors and actresses, producers and writers, costume designers and singers, and a whole bunch of other people without who these wonderful films and television series would not be here, or at least not be as wonderful as they are.  As I watched the awards ceremony I couldn’t help but be struck by the wondering if any of my work will ever be considered so significant.  If my writing, my literary contributions will ever be perceived as ground breaking or pioneering or deserving of critical acclaim.  And as I pondered these questions I realized it’s not that I want my writing to be considered popular or to propel me into fame such as that I could be termed a bestselling author.  I want my writing to touch people, to penetrate through the masses to reach the individual.  It’s the individual I am concerned with which is why I am in awe of these shows and movies that were nominated and won because they possess that quality in some way.

I sit here a simple blogger typing away at the computer, thinking of the potential power my words might have.