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Everyone has a story.  Life is a journey, and each new day begins a new chapter for each of us. How are you telling your story?  Keeping a journal allows us to write down our experiences, our thoughts, our feelings, and our dreams for the future.

 I have been journaling for over the last fifty-plus years, and I still have every one of those journals.  I recently took the time to look back at the journals I kept as a teenager.  I must be honest here and admit I am in my mid-sixties today.  Looking back on my teen years, I would have to say in all honesty; I am lucky to be alive.  I was a wild child, though it was a different time in the late sixties and early seventies. 

Those journals are jam-packed full of poems, drawings, trials, and tribulations, all of which have brought me into what is I believe is called the golden years of my life.  Looking back, I understand how those years have shaped the woman I have become today.

One of the things I found in reviewing those journals of my life is that I could carry on a complete conversation with myself.  I would ask myself a boatload of questions or complain about my parents, fights with girlfriends, and that description of my first kiss left me holding my stomach. I was laughing so hard.  The point is, I was spending a lot of time self-dialoguing with myself.  Did I answer the boatload of questions?  Not always at that particular time, but looking ahead in years, I found they pretty much answered themselves.  Oh, and by the way, I got over the traumatic experience of French kissing. 

What I did find interesting is when I would come across a problem I needed to solve, I always asked the same four questions.  To this day, I still use those, but the wordage is a bit different.  Any life problem I have had, I asked my self the following questions for many years:

  • What is the purpose of my having experienced this the last (timeline)?
  • What am I trying to do here?
  • What lesson am I supposed to learn from this experience?
  • What’s the real issue of personal growth for me in this experience?

It is important to note that these questions are not easy to answer in the throws of chaos.  The last time I used them, it took almost a year to work through the issues.  However, it will help you work through the experience and come out on top of it, with a clear understanding of why this what meant to happen.  As I said, the last time I answered these, I came to understand one of the many valuable lessons.  If you don’t listen to your guides, they will pick you up and throw you on the floor.

Another factor I recognized was that I was establishing future goals, whether it be New Year’s resolutions, or a daily, weekly, or monthly goal.  By writing out my goals, I was able to write out a plan on how to achieve them and identify any obstacles that stood in my way.

Another realization I had, with goal setting, is that I found the way I dealt with the goals when they didn’t look like I was going to reach them was to write out the problem and readjust the aim to bring it to reality.  Similar to a Plan B strategy, though sometimes I made it to Plan W.  We all take different paths in life.  Often those paths reached a crossroads, and it’s then I would have to choose to go left or right.  When I was making those choices, it was interesting to see I eventually reached my goals, though the journey could sometimes be challenging, sometimes risky, but fun.

Through the twists and turns in my life journey through the years, came personal growth.  That’s the thing with journaling; you can go back and reflect on where you have been and how much you have grown. I worked through so many issues along that journey in my notebooks that it was interesting to read on how my analytical skills evolved in handling life challenges, how I wrote out each twist and came up with a way to move past the turns. 

The other surprising aspect was how my creativity opened.  I would use colored pens, draw, glued or taped in pictures of my friends and I going to concerts, or hanging out at Cherokee Park, pictures from magazines, right down to my favorite cookie recipes. News flash, I still do that today.  I have a giant bucket of gel pens and even to this day tape in exciting things I find. I also have been known to dry flower petals I have grown and glue them in as well. 

If you’re not journaling today, you should consider doing so.  Your life is extraordinary, and your journey is meaningful.  Every experience brings a lesson, joy, and success in your life.  It will bring you to your authentic self, open your consciousness and bring transformation to your life.  So, start recording your life today, I promise when you look back in your journal five years from now, you will be amazed how far you have come.

I have designed a journal that you can use to start recording your journey.  Yes, I had that creative idea of making my own journal’s.  You can find “The Journey to Enlightenment” on Amazon.

The Challenge of Being an Indie Author

I am a 63-year-old woman who strives to live holistically, is a new Indie Author and has a few control issues.  As an Indie Author, I can embrace my sense of creative freedom while feeding those lingering control issues through self-publishing rather than traditional publishing. I can control the entire process, including design, price, distribution, marketing, and public relations.

Being an Indie Author and Publisher comes with many challenges. I am finding with my new retirement idea of, “I am going to now be an author!” life change, I am both now an Indie Author together with the title, Indie Publisher.

With these new titles comes a whole new challenge of education in life.  I have to take the time to learn how to optimize royalties, compare service options, and to do the research necessary to ensure the book has the best chances out there in a competitive marketplace.  After that, I have to set an arbitrary budget which in itself could total a year’s worth of retirement benefits.

Through this process I have suddenly become CEO of my own indie publishing company, a self-trained researcher, diving into the book market world, exploring the world of different genres, figuring out the tangibles of my target market, and diving headfirst into the world of social media as an introvert.

Throughout my career as a Non-Profit Executive, I have always prided myself on my ability to multitask.  Let me tell you; this publishing aspect takes it to whole new level. Self-publishing is the epitome of multitasking. Because not only do you write an entire manuscript you also have to look for a multitude of different ways to publish your book. Not to mention the minor aspects of publishing a book. This situation can get stressful swiftly.  The importance of staying positive is vital in this situation though I have found times my fur babies have gone into hiding mode when they see me cussing out my laptop.   

In conclusion, sure, being both an Indie Author and Publisher is a slow process, but eventually, it will pay off. My general solution to the challenge includes; keep writing, keep reading, keep trying, keep learning, keep believing, keep promoting myself, keep listening to others, keep my head up, keep myself in the game.