vision board

Succeed with a Vision Board

A vision board is a visual representation

It’s a visual representation of things and circumstances we want to attract. I look at vision boards as a playground for my dreams. I have one hanging in my dining room so I can’t miss it. Mine consists of a white dry erase board filled with inspiring quotes, messages of gratitude, as well as the all important goals laid out on colorful paper. I pass by my vision board often, and I make a point to stop and reflect on it at least once a day. If I see my dreams and all that I have to be grateful for so far, then I am more apt to take action.

A vision board acts as a system

I’m all about systems. Although, I’d classify myself as a creative person, I’m tactical in my approach. Without a system, I’d be spinning in circles with an out-of-control mind racing from one thing to another. A vision board helps me to achieve my dreams in a logical, practical fun way.

A vision board is a road map

I would not be able to succeed at running a publishing company, maintaining an active blog, writing lesbian romance novels, holding down a full-time marketing job, and enjoying quiet moments with my family if I didn’t have some sort of road map to help me sort out the steps. When laid out in front of me, the necessary action steps become apparent. I  know that to get from point A to point B on my road map, I need to do XYZ.

vision boardI’m a visual person. I need to see things clearly to understand them, to absorb them, to act on them. Many things are tossed into my path on a daily basis. Without the help of my vision board, these things could easily swallow me up whole and block me from enjoying a fine balance while achieving my dreams.

I’d love to hear from you… Do you use a vision board?

Wishing you the best,

Suzie Carr, novelist

 


opportunity

Opportunity Is Everywhere

Opportunity exists all around us.

To see opportunity, we must open our eyes and trust our instincts.

I once had an opportunity handed to me on a silver platter. I lived in Rhode Island and worked as a hair stylist at an elite salon and spa. Then one day, a good friend walked in and told me her daughter’s stylist suddenly passed away at the age of forty and left a hair salon behind. Her spouse wanted to offer it to someone worthy in the hopes of honoring his wife’s hard work. That salon was offered to me. I passed it up. You know why? I was afraid I’d fail and never live up to the success of my current job. Well, guess what happened? Not more than six months later, I lost my great job because the elite salon and spa was sold. If I had taken the gift, I wouldn’t have been left vulnerable and jobless. I let fear rule and it won.

opportunityA missed opportunity can lead to regret.

I regretted not taking advantage of that gift. It would have offered me a great investment opportunity as I pursued my writing career. I let fear get in my way. I think many of us do that. Ten years wiser, if someone offered to hand me a fully-functioning salon, I’d certainly stomp on any fears in a heartbeat;)

Luck has little to do with gained success from an opportunity.

When opportunity knocks, we must be prepared for it. Many people refer to those who seem to have it all as lucky. Those who seem to have it all are not lucky. They are prepared. They’ve chosen to prep for those moments when opportunities filter into their lives. I’ve had several people say to me, “You are so lucky to have your lesbian novels out there and being read my so many.” I disagree completely. My lesbian romance novels are out there and being read not because I’m lucky, but because I’ve worked hard to prepare myself and my novels for this opportunity.

I challenge you to look beyond the idea of luck as the reason for success. Rely on your natural gifts and do the work to refine them, and you’ll surely experience all the success you’ve ever dreamed possible.

Here’s my question to you: What actions do you consistently take to prepare yourself for opportunity?

Wishing you all the best,
Suzie Carr, novelist

overcome procrastination

3 Steps to Overcome Procrastination

How do you overcome procrastination?

I get asked this question often. All of us have stared down the road of procrastination. Usually we procrastinate because we either don’t want to do an unpleasant task or we fear it. Whatever the reason, procrastination never ends with us feeling great. So, how can we overcome it?

overcome procrastinationOvercome Procrastination With Baby Steps

Sometimes that mountain just seems way too tall to climb, doesn’t it? How great would it feel to just shift to something else for a while and let the climb wait until you’re ‘feeling it’ more?

Yep, been there, done that avoidance plan and it’s never turned out great for me.

Here’s a better solution to overcome procrastination: Work in small doses. Set a timer for ten minutes and do as much as you can in those ten minutes. Guaranteed, you’ll run over the ten minutes and not even realize it. Soon, you’ll be standing on top of that mountain looking down with pride whispering ‘that’s how you overcome procrastination!’

Overcome Procrastination by Starting Something Today

Let’s face it – who really enjoys cleaning toilets, scrubbing floors, and folding clothes more than enjoying a game on TV, reading a book, or hanging with a friend? We all have these annoying things that must be done. The more we procrastinate doing them, the more they pile up and create more work.

A trick to get through it: Set up a schedule for such necessary, mundane tasks and just do the work that needs to be done. The famous phrase that answers how to overcome procrastination comes to mind, ‘Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.’

Overcome Procrastination by Pacing Yourself

I’ve been that silly runner who has entered into 5K and 10K road races at a pace much too fast for my own good only to end up at the first mile marker defeated in a heap of cramps and panting like a buffoon. Proper planning prevents poor performance. This is the case in road races and in most all facets of life. Pacing sets us up for success.

Here’s how to pace to overcome procrastination:

When faced with a large looming project, instead of suffering needless anxiety and retreating from it, set up goals that are paced realistically. Be consistent with pacing and follow through. Before long, the task is complete and you’re free to enjoy the next challenge.

Wishing you the best,

Suzie Carr, novelist

P.S. Here’s a question… please chime in with your comments and answers: In what ways have you been able to overcome procrastination?

freedom and love

The Magic Formula: Freedom and Love

Freedom and Love go hand in hand.

When we allow those we love to take up flight without limits, we are setting the backdrop for peace, for fulfillment, for our happiest days. To love someone is to become a part of the success, a part of the joy, a part of the magic. When two people are in love and offer freedom to grow, to soar, to live honestly, that love knows no boundaries and will harness the power to outshine anything that threatens to dampen it.

freedom and loveFreedom and Love Offers the Space to Soar

For a bird to fly, we can’t clip her wings or limit her takeoff, or decrease her flight space. The same is true in our relationships. We can’t expect our partner to stay grounded or fly only in our air space if we want him/her to truly live the best life and be fulfilled in our love. We all crave to feel the wind beneath our proverbial wings. None of us would be happy if that wind disappeared and was replaced by someone’s stale, confining presence. Love is not being afraid to let go and enjoy the spectacular rush of watching your partner soar to new heights. By offering freedom and love, partners will always tend to circle back for more of each other’s breath.

Freedom and Love Focuses on Inclusion

To love someone is to crave to be a part of his/her life. Through the journey of love’s stages, we discover parts of this person we adore and parts that scare us – scare us perhaps because we see growth and interests that threaten our future together. Instead of fearing our partner’s goals, dreams and desires and directing away from them, direct towards them. Become a part of the dream, the accomplishments by offering freedom and love and support instead of trying to change the very thing that makes our partner so special.

Freedom and Love Operates on the Goal of Being Happy

In love, partners should feel safe, happy, and fulfilled. For this to occur, we need to understand what makes our partners who they are. We all have needs that, when fulfilled, keep us smiling and at our best. For some, they enjoy time with friends, time exercising, time painting, time writing, or time walking alone in nature. When we know what makes our partner’s heart beat at just the right pace, keep it going. A happy partner is more apt to love with even more passion, more understanding, and more breadth.

Wishing you the best,

Suzie Carr, Novelist

P.S. Let’s keep the conversation going on this topic… Do you feel freedom and love is a realistic concept or not?

setting priorities

How to Set Priorities

To set priorities is crucial, especially if you want to move forward.

Without a plan, it’s easy to get wrapped up in things that don’t really matter or things that aren’t helping you to grow. For me, health is my number one priority. Setting priorities around health helps to keep me focused on it. I align goals to help me achieve optimal health such as exercise, nutrition and trying my best to maintain a well-balanced life.

Setting Priorities Keeps Me in Check.

setting priorities

Health is my #1 Priority

For instance – to keep in line with this priority, I set a goal to exercise five times a week at a minimum. Today was one of my workout days and I didn’t want to work out. I almost gave in to the temptation of not working out, which is an easy thing to do when I’m tired, cranky, and it’s not quite four in the morning (yup – I’m crazy, I know!) Anyway, I thought of my priority and decided right then and there that I would not give up on it. In setting priorities around health, I made a pact with myself to stick to exercise.

So, I did my workout. I was lazy at first, but then, I triumphed! My energy level raised considerably and I not only got through the workout, but I blasted through it. Now, as I set out to start my day, I am energized and feeling accomplished.

Biggest benefit to setting priorities…

When you feel like giving in… a priority can set you back on the right path. I SO easily could’ve caved and tossed myself in front of the television this morning. I came VERY close to doing that. I need reminders. They keep me going. Without them, it’s so easy to wander around aimlessly. I don’t want to waste my time walking with no sense of direction. I LOVE having a plan. I LOVE accomplishing goals towards that plan. I hope you do, too.

Wishing you the very best,
Suzie Carr, novelist

P.S. Your turn to share! I want to hear from you. Is setting priorities something you do, and does it keep you on track?

bullies

My Experience with Bullies

I’ve had an experience with bullies. It changed me. Thankfully, it didn’t destroy me. It actually turned me into a stronger person. I was a lucky one.

Bullies affect far too many children still, and as a community, we need to change this.

When I wrote The Muse, a lesbian romance novel that deals with the subject of bullying and how it affects us throughout our lifetime, I did so with the goal of bringing awareness to the issues that affect so many and to hopefully save people from having to deal with its hurtful consequences.

The best chance we have as a community to help stop bullies is by standing up to them as leaders, as change agents, as role models.

bulliesBullies Can Destroy Lives

I was bullied as a young girl, bullied right into a two year silence, literally. One girl controlled my power to speak by slapping me repeatedly every time I spoke. That bully of a girl never let me sit apart from her. Her glare, her firm slap if I moved the wrong way had to be obvious to my teacher who sat before me, right? I never felt so alone as I did in that year. Weakened by a bully, I sat victim for two long years too afraid to speak on my own behalf.

Then a hero came to my rescue. Although he didn’t attend my school, he befriended me in my neighborhood and taught me how to stand up for myself through example. No bullies messed with me when I couldn’t speak. They respected me because he respected me. He was a change agent at the age of seven. To this day, I doubt he knows the positive level of impact he had on my life.

He stood up against bullies for me.

That was the key. He communicated to me and to others that I was someone worthy.

As a community, how do we nurture such individuals to rise to the occasion and become these much needed change agents? How do we convince kids to be leaders against bullies? I don’t think we can expect to just sit idle and hope some of them take up flight and stand up for those weakened and battered down by bullies. I think it starts with communicating clearly and precisely with the youth that we need them to willingly stand up for those being pushed down. Their simple presence most often is all that is needed.

Students can help stop bullies if we, as a community, teach them 3 important things:

  • Encourage them to become agents of change by becoming mentors, advocates and leaders for their peers.
  • Encourage high school students to lead by example. High school students have a credibility that rings more true and strong to younger students.
  • Encourage them to become a safe place, to become a friend, to become that person who really cares about the feelings of another human being.

Wishing you all the best,

Suzie Carr, Novelist

P.S. I want to turn it over to you. This is such a critical topic and I’d love to hear your take on it. Please feel free to share an experience you or someone you care about has had with bullies.

 

puppy-mills

7 Actions to Stop Puppy Mills

If we could stop puppy mills, we would put an end to one of the worst of the worst places you could ever imagine a lovable dog should ever have to spend his/her life. Too melodramatic? Well, it’s true.

As an avid animal advocate and lover, I feel it’s critical for human beings to protect the welfare of animals. They rely on us, trust us, and remain by our sides with loyal, unconditional love. When I wrote my lesbian romance novel, A New Leash on Life, I did so to not only entertain, but also to educate about animal welfare and the importance of supporting no-kill animal shelters through adoption, fostering and donations.

puppy mills

Thank you for not supporting puppy mills!

The Truth About Puppy Mills

According to The Humane Society (www.stoppuppymills.org), puppy mills house dogs in shockingly poor conditions. After their fertility wanes, breeding animals are often killed, abandoned or sold cheaply to another mill to try and get “one more litter” out of the dog. The annual result of all this breeding is millions of puppies, many with behavior and/or health problems.

Why would anyone choose to support puppy mills?

The short answer to that is most supporters don’t even realize they are supporting them.

So what can we do to stop puppy mills?

  1. Never shop at pet stores that sell animals. Never. Even buying a bag of kibble from such a place supports them and will continue the harsh, cruel cycle of commercial breeding.
  2. Never buy a puppy from a pet store. According to the Oprah show, 99% of all puppies from a pet store come from a puppy mill. Whatever you do, NEVER buy from a pet store. You will only fuel the business of puppy mills. Instead, seek out pet stores who support homeless pet adoptions.
  3. Adopt a dog from an animal shelter.
  4. Support and volunteer at your local animal shelter.
  5. Exercise your right to vote and work with your state legislature on the passage of local laws in your own community that will improve the lives of dogs in puppy mills.
  6. Download and print these flyers (courtesy of The Humane Society) and bring them to your veterinarian or groomer’s office: “Getting a Puppy?” and “How to Find a Good Dog Breeder” are designed to help potential pet owners avoid puppy mills.
  7. Spread the word. Most people have no idea what a puppy mill even is, let alone that the cute puppy they purchased from the local pet store was born in the worst of conditions to a mother who has lived her entire life in a wire crate under despicable circumstances.

The longer we support pet stores who support puppy mills, the more dogs will have to continue to suffer at the hands of careless human beings. Let’s end this thing.

If you are considering welcoming a pet into your life, please consider adopting a shelter pet.

As with all of my books, I enjoy giving a portion of proceeds back to the #lgbt community as well as to the Hearts United for Animals: www.hua.org, a no-kill animal sanctuary.

Wishing you the best,

Suzie Carr, Novelist

P.S. Please chime in… Before I volunteered at an animal shelter, I had no idea what puppy mills really were. If you could pick one action (from the above list or one I didn’t include) to help stop puppy mills, what would it be?

Benefits of a Book Club

Joining a book club is one of the most effective ways to understand what readers really desire and expect from a novelist. Though, as writers, we often feel guilty for taking time away from our writing. Easiest way to solve this is to make yourself accountable by joining a book club and committing to being an active participant.


I’m a novelist who writes lesbian romance novels. I noticed a major improvement in my own writing when I joined my book club.

 

You’ll gain much as a book club member.

You’ll gain a three dimensional perspective on what is most important in a book. Some of the greatest benefits and writing lessons I’ve learned have come directly from my book club meetings.

book clubJoin a Book Club to Read More

To be a better writer, read more. Writers have doled out this advice to aspiring novelists forever. A well-read writer is someone who is better equipped to churn out words that matter to a story. The more a writer reads, the more he/she will understand the subtle nuances that get readers turning pages.

Join a Book Club to Read Stuff You Never Would’ve Read

You’ll read the good and the bad. Everyone has a different opinion on what creates that urge to flip to the next page when their eyes are tired but their curiosity says full steam ahead. You’ll be exposed to books that will take you on journeys you never imagined traveling on. You’ll read outside your comfort zone, reach higher into the nebulous world of fantasy perhaps, the intoxicating rush of a heated romance, and turn onto the fast lane of action. This will widen your perspective and grant you a front row seat to a whole new world of literature.

Join a Book Club to Gain Insight into the Minds of Readers

We’ve all said at one point, “gosh I’d love to be a fly on the wall right about now.” Well, as a writer, there is no greater gift to insight than that of gaining access to the inner workings of the reader’s mind as she pours over words crafted by a fellow novelist. To understand what readers think about characters, motives, themes, plots, is to understand what makes a great book a great book. What better clarity can a writer possess?

A book club sits you on center stage in front of your readers. The view is spectacular and eye-opening.

Wishing you all the best,

Suzie Carr, novelist

P.S. Let’s keep the conversation flowing… has joining a book club helped you become a better writer?

Improve-Your_life

3 Ways to Improve Your Life

Improve your life…sounds intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re like most people, you want to be at your best because deep down you know you can’t bring out the best in others if you’re not on that same wavelength.

A great way to get on track is to ask yourself the pointed question of whether something is adding value to your life. An even more helpful question often spawns from this and that is – if it’s not adding value, why are you still breathing power into it by allowing it to stay in your life?

The frankness in this question can be jarring and eye-opening. It is perhaps one of the most important questions a person can ask, though. Life is so short and too precious to waste energy, time, resources on those things and those people who aren’t bringing out the very best in you.

I would even stretch to look at it this way: you’re doing the world a great disservice by not surrounding yourself with those things and those people who help you to put your best efforts forward.

Improve your life, and you also help to improve the lives of those around you.

So what do you do if you discover you are surrounded by things, activities, and people who are compromising your ability to rise to your highest level?

Improve Your Life

Improve Your Life by Eliminating Bad Habits

Bad habits can drag you down. Period. If your actions are not lifting you to higher ground, then they’re burying the very best in you. This sounds harsh. Often the things people want to hold onto the most, are the ones they want to protect the most. But, in protecting, they’re inadvertently hurting themselves and possibly others.

Improve Your Life by Learning to Say No

Are you stretched to full capacity, leaving no room for new opportunities? Do you have a hard time saying no to requests that aren’t exactly in alignment with your greatest assets, dreams, and desires? If yes, then you’re compromising those very ideals that make you so unique and valuable. It’s okay to say no.

Improve Your Life by Letting Go

Are you holding on to a relationship out of fear, comfort, or guilt? Are the people you surround yourself with helping you to grow? Or are they stunting your growth by holding you back from enriching your life through new pursuits? Letting go of relationships that aren’t healthy any longer can be hard because of feelings of guilt, loneliness, and fear. Sometimes letting go is the only way to take that leap forward and fulfill your full potential.

A Final Note on How to Improve Your Life

Taking an honest look at your value system is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and others. Learning to love yourself and take the best action is never an easy lesson. But to really improve your life, it’s necessary to ensure you’re nurturing that part of yourself that helps you to positively impact the world.

Wishing you the best,
Suzie Carr, Novelist

P.S. Let’s open this up to an honest discussion… Do you agree or disagree with any of these points? What are some steps you’ve taken to improve your life?

freewrite

How to get Creative through Freewriting

Freewriting is a great way to spark your creativity. The benefits are numerous.  When I write my lesbian romance novels, I freewrite every time. I do this to clear my mind of clutter and to purposely break the rules. By doing so, my characters come alive and let their voices be heard, my narrative voice comes out of hiding, and the ideas flow. This sets me up for a productive writing session. I set a goal, achieve said goal, and get busy doing what I love, writing my lesbian romance books.

Here are 3 reasons you should freewrite:

 

1. Freewrite to express yourself without rules

Rules and restrictions limit our creativity. When we fret over whether a verb agrees with its subject or whether a sentence is too passive versus active, we unplug the power of imagination. Writing is all about unleashing what’s deep in our minds. When we bind to rules, those powerful emotions that bring a string of words to life suffocate. Set yourself free by eliminating all judgment until you’ve gotten the words out where they belong. The only rule to follow when you freewrite is to set a goal of either time (10 minutes is highly recommended) or space (1-2 pages).

2. Freewrite to remove anxiety and pressure

When I first started writing books, I ran into major writer’s block. I would sit and stare at the white space and panic. I’d try to type a sentence and couldn’t even think of a single word. The pressure of filling white space with a saleable story can kill an idea before it even has time to live. To avoid this, temporarily rethink the purpose of this white space as a safe place where you can jot down any thought that pops into mind. The goal is to remove all pressure by clearing the mind of clutter and ultimately getting the words to flow.

freewrite

3. Freewrite to find your voice

Every writer has a style, but many struggle to discover it. When we freewrite we learn to find our unique style. By freeing our thoughts to spill out onto the screen, we are in essence allowing our opinions and true voice to come through. As writers, when we find our voices, we bring our writing to a whole new level. We uncover feelings we didn’t even know existed.

Whenever I sit down to write my novels, I always freewrite.

Freewriting puts me in a magical place where I set myself free to explore fantasy, reality, and everything in between. Give it a try. You’ll be amazed how freeing it can be.

Wishing you all the best,
Suzie Carr, Novelist

P.S. Let’s keep the ball rolling here… chime in if you will… Do you freewrite, and if so, how has it helped in your writing?