Category Archives: Success

Fighting the Good Fight

Published / by Annie / 10 Comments on Fighting the Good Fight

Life, no matter how you arrange it, is far from perfect. We all have things that we need to deal with. In my personal journey, I am dealing with a brain disease as a result of an injury I suffered some time ago.

I have a choice: I can sit on my ass, whining and crying, or I can plow forward and keep fighting. On the days that I glitch, when I transpose numbers at work , my hand refuses to work, I stumble over thin air, or the words that come out of my mouth sound like gibberish and the pain makes it hard to think it is easy to sit down and give up. I am terrified that my boss will figure out that something is wrong with me and fire me as a result.

But you know what I do? I keep trying. Every day I use the tricks that I’ve invented to keep moving forward. I get friends and family help me to remember things. I use notes and Outlook to keep track of stuff I’ve done and stuff I need to do. When my hand doesn’t work right, I switch to doing things one-handed until the glitch irons out. When my words turn into gibberish I play it off as I’m just dingy.

And when I hurt, I take whatever is available to dull the worst of the pain and I keep moving forward.

It would be so easy to give up and to say that “I can’t.” But you know what? Can’t never could do anything. Can’t never managed to get a damn thing accomplished. The only true failure is to stop trying and it will be a cold day in hell before I do that. I am going to fight, and keep fighting until I either beat this shit or I am dead in my grave.

And I want you to learn from that.

I want you to understand that, no matter how bad things are, no matter how bad things get, that the only way out of them is to keep fighting. You may make a lot of mistakes. You may hit a lot of brick walls, but if you allow these things to defeat you then you will never be able to achieve your dreams.

So please, whatever you do, keep fighting. Don’t let the darkness win.

What challenges are you facing that make you want to give up? Please share your stories in the comments below.

The Art of Teaching Yourself

Published / by Annie / 4 Comments on The Art of Teaching Yourself

Not everyone can manage to get a formal education. In some instances, the subject of study desired isn’t even offered in a class. I learned a long time ago that if I wanted to learn about something I would have to figure out a way to study it outside of formal methods.

This determination has served me well.

When I wanted to learn more about computers, I started reading books on the subject. I scavenged computer parts from discarded machines and used them to practice what I learned until such time that I managed to take an online course in computer repair.

When I desperately needed to make repairs on my home, I located a couple of books on the subject, read them, and applied what I learned to tear out walls, reinforce the studding, repair electrical wiring, insulate, and install drywall in the place of the ancient paneling that had originally covered the walls. I even learned how to take a rotting porch apart and rebuild it to make it safe.

I’ve done this with many subjects over the years. When I needed to learn something, I would either locate some books or find someone who was experienced in the subject to pepper with questions until I figured out what I needed to do.

In recent years I used this method of self-education to learn how to start writing online, then I expanded my research to learn how to self-publish books and create my own website. I built my writing business by simply teaching myself what I needed to know.

Since the markets have changed I have decided to learn how to write in a completely new genre. I’ve been studying the art of writing fiction for several years. Since romance authors are the most successful in the field of publishing (both traditional and self-published) I’m focusing on that narrow spectrum in order to build my business.

As with everything I learn, my first projects will doubtless stink. They generally do, in my personal opinion, and that’s okay. I need those first attempts in order to learn from my mistakes and to grow closer to my goal. I know that each project will be a bit better until I am finally satisfied with the results.

I have been collecting the most ubiquitous romance novels I know of to start: Harlequin novels. I am collecting every single book I can get my hands on to analyze construction, plot, and other features. I figure that once I master that format I can teach myself how to write longer works.

I intend to use the money I earn from writing these books to support my passion. I want to continue teaching people how to live on less while keeping this website as non-commercialized as possible since I cannot in good conscience encourage people to buy more than they need.

This project is not only how I plan to support myself with my current limitations; it is also a way that I can continue to afford to write about my passion. Barbara Ehrenriech discussed this dilemma in her article In America, only the rich can afford to write about poverty. It isn’t perfect, but it is the only solution I can come up with. I am not going to give up this website without a fight, any more than I’m going to just lie down and die because of an injury that severely limits what I can do to earn money.

So wish me luck, folks. I’m gonna need it.

Dealing with Challenges

Published / by Annie / 9 Comments on Dealing with Challenges

One of the things I haven’t written about lately is the fact that I’m laboring under a distinct challenge: due to the head injury I suffered a while back (2015?), I ended up with demyelinating disease. To sum it up, my memory stinks and is only going to get worse. I also ended up with some physical limitations aside from memory (speech, movement, etc.) but I’m working on those.

From what I understand, if I keep my mind active I can delay the deterioration of my gray matter. Fortunately, that is always something I’ve excelled at – if I can remember to do it.

Once I stopped feeling sorry for myself I resolved to figure out how to function despite the crappy hand Life dealt me. I tried a whole slew of methods to remind myself to do things as well as having to figure out a way to continue writing and publishing books. I have problems seeing, so I dug a spare monitor I had out of mothballs and connected it to my laptop. I can still remember how to format my books using Microsoft Word so I switched back to that program. I even dug out my ancient 11-year old laptop because it could not only connect to the larger monitor I needed to use, it ran Word.

During my desperate thrashing for a method to remember the stuff I need to do I stumbled upon Outlook. It was bundled with the ancient copy of Word that I now use to compose blog posts and write my books. I have figured out that if I put every single task in it as I think about it (or the kid points it out), then I can better keep track of what needs to be done. It even has a journaling section where I can write down the things I’ve accomplished so that I can remember that I’ve done them.

I’m still learning how to use the program but it is helping. I use it to remind me to write every day as well as to tell me when to write and schedule new posts for this website. That is how I’ve managed to start publishing once a week on a regular basis again.

I turn on that ancient laptop first thing every morning, look at the stuff I need to do, and slowly tinker on it throughout the day. I scan in any papers I need to save, logging them in that old program for when I need to retrieve them. That way I just need to run a search instead of trying to remember where I’ve (mis)placed the originals.

I’m telling you this not so that you will feel sorry for me, but so you understand that I don’t feel sorry for myself. Instead of focusing on the stuff I can’t do, I work on ways to get things done. I figure out ways to achieve my goals.

Like my father before me, who invented ingenious ways to solve the problems presented by his amputated leg, I am working out ways to take care of business and support myself despite my challenges.

I want you to remember that. I want you to know that, no matter what, that as long as you keep trying, as long as you keep working, that you can achieve anything. I also want you to understand that you won’t accomplish a damn thing if you sit on your ass and feel sorry for yourself.

If one thing fails, try another. And another. And yet another until you find something that works. Then once you figure out something that works, you use that to keep marching towards your goals.

What goals do you want to accomplish? What methods are you currently trying to achieve them? Please share your stories in the comments below.

The Stupidity of Self Talk

Published / by Annie / 1 Comment on The Stupidity of Self Talk

The past few days I’ve had a sick kid at home. I’ve been chowing down on jalapeño peppers as I hacked my way through writing this novel in hopes of not catching what she has.

Brilliant woman that I am, I stayed up past five in the morning on Wednesday knowing that I had to get up at 8 to take her back to the doctor. I told myself “I’ll just take a nap once we get home and start work.”

Right. Cue Johnny Depp and the strangest dream ever to keep me from getting any sleep at all. The whole dream was nothing more than dear old gorgeous Johnny waking me up every single time I tried to visit La La Land.

So I gave up trying to sleep and made a cup of coffee. I NEEDED to work on my book despite the fact that I felt like crap. I felt so bad that I was ready to just call it a loss for the night and accept a big ugly goose egg on my word count log.

But what did I do? I fired up my ancient writing rig and started talking to myself.

“Okay, Annie, here’s the deal,” I told myself. “You wanna get this book written, right?”

“Right.” (Yup, I even answered myself.)

“Well, you ain’t gonna get it done if you don’t start writing, so sit your happy butt down and knock out a single word.”

So I did.

“Now write another one, you idiot.”

Word by word I ordered myself to write. When one sentence was done I would bully myself until I managed another. By the time I finished I had 1,200 words written for the day.

I met my daily goal and then some.

The thing about having a goal is that you won’t ever achieve it if you don’t do the work; some days you won’t feel like even bothering, just like I didn’t today. When those days come you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to force yourself to get busy. It won’t be fun, but by the time you are finished you will be that much closer to wherever you want to be.

What can you do today?

The Secret to Accomplishing Goals

Published / by Annie / 1 Comment on The Secret to Accomplishing Goals

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and he told me that he’s always wanted to write a novel.

“I’ve got lots of ideas,” he said, “I just don’t have XX and YY and ZZ.”

I must confess that I went on a bit of a rant. I’ve started out and over more times than I can count so excuses tend to rub me the wrong way.

You want to start a business but don’t have the equipment? Look around your house to see what you do have and start from there.

For instance, let’s say you want to start a handyman business but all you have are some cleaning supplies. Offer to start cleaning houses, then use the money you make to start buying your equipment. As you get the equipment, start doing handyman work using the tools that you have, then add more tools and supplies until you get things set up the way that you like.

You want to write a book but all you have is a phone? Download a free text editor and start tapping that sucker out in plain text if you have to. Visit a friend and use their computer to format it and submit it to distributors. When you get enough money from sales, invest in a computer or whatever you feel will help you get the job done easier.

When I started working on computers all I really knew how to do was to speed them up and clean them out. I started doing that for friends to make extra cash. I took that money and invested it into education and tools, gradually expanding my business to cover doing other computer-related repairs.

When I got two registered cocker spaniels, I didn’t know a darn thing about breeding dogs. I just knew that I needed to make some money to escape an impossible situation. If I had told myself “I would love to be able to breed animals but I don’t know how,” I wouldn’t have even gotten the dogs in the first place.

But what did I do? I took them home, went to the library, and read up on the subject. I made a lot of mistakes but by the end of it I made enough to achieve my goals.

I wanted to write books my whole life. I tried and I failed for years. Eventually I came into contact with someone who was writing articles online and I started there. In time I came into contact with others and learned how to write and publish books.

If I had told myself “articles are nice but I want to write books,” I would have passed up on a valuable stepping stone that lead me to where I am today.

Since my head injury I’ve been unable to work a public job. I’ve been told that time and again from family, friends, and medical professionals. BUT, thanks to a friend, I was able to get to the point where I could start writing again, so what did I do?

I started writing.

Yes, I made mistakes. Yes, I had a horrible time trying to get my book formatted. I was using software that I wasn’t extremely familiar with in the days before I got hurt so I kept slamming my head against a wall but you know what? I kept trying. I fiddled and I tinkered until I got a free trial of an ancient copy of Microsoft Word going so that I could get the book published.

What do you think would have happened if I had not kept trying? That book would have never gotten written, much less published. Some days I couldn’t work at all due to my current limitations. On those days I did what I could, and you know what? I’ve got a new book published as the result of my efforts.

You don’t need to have all of the tools when you begin something. You don’t need to have all of the answers to every single problem that comes up. You just need to get started and make yourself do the work.

Every single day, do something towards your goal. If it’s writing, make yourself sit down for ten minutes and knock out a sentence or two. If its computer repair, spend your down time reading and fixing the computers of family and friends. Take dead computers and piece them together to make a good one, then sell that to buy whatever tools or educational manuals you need.

You won’t ever manage to accomplish a single thing if you never get started. You won’t achieve anything if you don’t make the time to do the work. If you are waiting for the perfect time or that windfall in order to do whatever it is you want to do, well, I hate to tell you this Sunshine, but the perfect time or circumstances are never gonna come. You have to start where you are.

What do you want to achieve? What steps a can you take every single day to achieve your goal? Please share your stories in the comments below.