Comparisons? Stop Comparing!

IMG_9010[1]Comparisons. We all do it. We compare ourselves to others. And we find that we’re not as good as some, and we are better than others. Or so it seems.

However, this is misleading at best, and dangerous at worst. What we perceive is not always what is really there. And what we compare ourselves to might be an incorrect image built up in our minds, supported by fear and self-doubt.

First, it’s important to understand that each of us is on a different path, our own unique journey. Someone else is on a different path than youwith different things to learn, different things to experience, different goals, and a different way of being. So a comparison is not helpful at all.

Daisy_in_spring_day[1]If you are running late to the dentist, and person B is leisurely on the way to the grocery store, and person C is coming home from a concertwhat are you comparing? They are totally different. Separate journeys.

None of them is better than any of the others. This is how it is in lifewe are on our own unique journey, which cannot be compared to anyone else’s, and no one else can understand yours except you.

Second, what we usually end up comparing is our inner insecure selvesour fears and self-doubtswith the perceived outer performance of someone else. However, what we see is the mask they show the worldthe accomplishments that they share. That is not a fair comparison. We do not see their inner fears and doubts, which we all have. And we do not often acknowledge or appreciate our own accomplishments, which others may look up to. It’s not an equal comparison, and it never can be. You can’t compare the hidden inner world of one with the visible outer world of another. It just doesn’t work.

aaAnd even if someone else is more accomplished than we are, remember that you don’t see how they started. We all start at the beginningand they most likely started exactly where you are now, and it took many years, struggles, difficulties, and hardships for them to get where they are. So it’s not an equal comparison there, either. You can’t compare a beginner to an experienced personwe all start as beginners. And we all can work our way up to being experienced and successful.

Third, the only person we should compare ourselves to is who we used to be. We are not here to be better than anyone else, but to better than who we were before. We should strive to improveand to take pride in that when we do.

So as for comparisonsthey are either inaccurate, inappropriate, or unhelpful. Or all three. My best advice is to let all comparisons go, and simply work on being the best that you can be. And support everyone else in being the best that they can be. There is room for all of us to succeed and do well.

And the best way to get there is to learn as IMG_8989_[1]much as you can, keep improving, and take pride in where you are. Enjoy the entire path, every step along the way, and appreciate where you are. You deserve to be happy, no matter where you are on the journey.

You have unique abilities and a unique perspective. You fill a niche no one else can. So let go of comparisons. Believe in yourself. Because you truly are amazing.

Comparisons? They can bring you down. Forget them.

Know that you are awesome!

Copyright © 2018 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Choose Joy Over Fear

DSCN0758[1]You are more than your fears.

The more I talk with others, the more I realizewe all have fears, doubts, and insecurities. It is a universal, human condition.

But those areas are not meant to stop us or hold us backthose are areas that simply need to be addressed. Understood, honored, valued, and loved.

Why? Because those give us something to work through and work for. It makes achieving something worthwhile and fulfilling. And that brings greater joy.

And because those are the qualities that keep us humble, grounded, and compassionate. How can we be there for someone else if don’t understand the same fears and doubts ourselves?

SONY DSCBut know that your fears and doubts are not meant to be roadblocks. Use them as stepping stones to propel you forward. To find the inner strength and resources to rise above them and achieve your goals. Do not let them stop you or slow you down.

You are so much more than your fears, doubts, and insecurities. Those are no match for your gifts, talents, abilities, and inner strength. Your inner self is much more powerful than fearsand that is where your strength lies.

We are meant to rise above our difficulties, not be held back by them. And you know what? The choice is yours. It is up to you how you handle them. Do you keep yourself stuck? Or do you move forward and work at being the best you can?

DSC_6868[1]Do you truly want to get the most out of life and share the best of yourself with the world?

We are all here for a reasonwe each have unique gifts, talents, and abilities to share with the world. Find that spark of brilliance, inspiration, and creativity within yourself and feed it, nurture it, love it, and help it grow.

We are meant to be successful and happy. Choose that for yourself. It is always within your grasp. Go for it with everything you have.

IMG_1087[1]Know deep within you that you are much more than your fears. Fears and doubts don’t stand a chance against your inner strength.

Your natural state of being is light and joy. Allow that to shine and light up your path.

Allow life to explode with radiant brilliance and joy. It is right at your fingertips. Don’t let anything get in your way. Work toward it. Reach for it. Make it happen.

You deserve to be happy. Choose it.

Wishing each of you infinite moments of incredible fulfillment and joy.

Copyright © 2018 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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Push Yourself!

file3021341154406[1]Push Yourself!

We’ve all heard itin school, at work, and at home. Push yourself. But it means a lot more than just doing more work or completing more tasks.

Pushing yourself gets you out of your comfort zone, which enables you to stretch and grow in new ways. It can help you open up new vistas, explore new worlds, and discover abilities, talents, and strengths within yourself.

You won’t achieve anything by sitting back and waitingall you do is lose time. But there are infinite possibilities when you push yourself.

Often when we hear “push,” we think of a mother giving birth to new life. “Push yourself” is giving new life to you.

Take lessons in somethingswimming, sign language, dance, sculpture, computer programs, a musical instrument, astronomy, meditation, yoga.

IMG_1791Do something you’ve always wanted to do or try. If you are a writer, try writing in a new genre. If you love dancing, try a different dance. If you are an artist, try a new style or medium. If you’ve never done any of those, try writing a small poem or short story. Take dance lessons. Draw something.

Go for a hike, breathe fresh air. Feel, hear, touch, and smell nature all around you.

Don’t just sit on the couch or take care of bills and laundry. There are numerous special moments of brilliance, creativity, and joy that are just waiting for you. Give life a chance to open up and sparkle with dazzling brilliance.

file791307641638[1]Not only does life have so much to offer, but you have so much to offer. There is much more to you than you think.

When I was fired from my last job almost five years ago, I had no idea what I would do with my time. But something tugged at me, and I took classes and pushed myself to explore writing.

If anyone had told me back then that I would have 16 books published within five years, I would have said they were crazy. But that is what happened. And more books are on the way.

I’m not trying to toot my own hornthat is just to show that all of us can accomplish more than we think. We are much more than we think we are. Don’t give in to fears or doubts, and never hold yourself back.

Daisy_in_spring_day[1]Explore. Discover. Give your inner creativity and talents a voice. Let your inner self be seen, felt, and heard. Fully live and savor each moment of life. Allow your life to explode with creativity, brilliance, and joy.

Have you been waiting for a sign or for the right time? This is your sign. And the right time is always now.

You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do or try? Do them. Try them. There’s a whole world waiting to be discovered and explored, both outside you and within you. Push yourself. A huge life and infinite possibilities await.

Copyright © 2018 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Challenge Your Characters

file1801281015946[2]Challenge Your Characters

Some writers love having horrible and hazardous things happen to their characters, while others prefer to keep their characters safe and happy. It can be difficult to cause our characters to hurt or suffer, because we care about them. Our characters become part of us.

However, just as we grow through our own challenges, so do your characters. Without difficulties through which to learn and grow, characters tend to be one-dimensional and fall flat.

One of the best things you can do in your stories is to confront the individuals with various hardships. Present them with adversity which brings out their frustrations, hurts, fears, and insecurities. Because those hard times are what show the growth and strength in your characters and help them evolve. So hit them with whatever helps develop them – don’t be too easy on them.

Challenging the people you write about helps your story in three important ways.

1.  It brings out your character’s inner qualities

file6401280970192[1]Your character grows, evolves, and becomes more relatable to the reader through challenges. Facing fears, struggles, or danger helps show what they are made of. It gives them more depth and they become more real and tangible. It helps the reader understand them better, as they see the character’s courage and inner strength. Characters that face adversity are much more interesting than shallow, superficial characters who are never challenged.

This is true for children’s books as well. I have published ten children’s books, all animal stories – and even in those, the main characters face struggles. No matter what your target audience, it is important for your character to face and grow through challenges, even if it’s facing bullies, searching for a lost dog, or helping someone in danger.

2.  It keeps the story interesting

DSC_0261ap[1]Characters who are challenged keep the story engaging for the reader. A story about only happy experiences would be a boring book. It would not be compelling to read about John walking down the street in the sunshine. However, it is a lot more gripping to read about John walking down the street holding divorce papers, while a car is hurtling at him at full speed as John’s knee gives out and he slips in a puddle. Not only do obstacles keep your characters intriguing, but they keep your entire story engaging as well.

It’s also a good idea to let the challenges build in intensity throughout the book. Let the predicaments be smaller at first, and then, through the progression of the story, the difficulties increase until he faces his biggest fear or dilemma. That is what is gripping about books – the build-up of intensity, fear, danger, and adversity. Will they overcome it? Will they succeed? How will they get out of this terrifying scenario? Those are often the most memorable books.

3.  It inspires your readers

file7181334521100[1]Seeing how a character faces and overcomes adversity can be inspirational for a reader. We all face challenges in life, and seeing how a character deals with fear, danger, insecurities, setbacks, illness, or whatever it is, can inspire us to deal with similar challenges in our own lives. If your character found the strength to face that disaster, then so can I. It teaches us and helps us find the inner strength to face whatever comes our way.

So don’t be afraid to challenge your characters – you create better and more memorable characters, a more fascinating and gripping story, and you can inspire your readers to face the difficulties in their own lives. Don’t hold back – a challenged character is a captivating character that will make your story more powerful and memorable.

And as you create your stories, remember to embrace the challenges in your own writing as well – they help you become a better writer.

And for those who are not writers – challenges help us grow in many ways, even if we are not aware of it at the time. Don’t be afraid of difficulties  they help us evolve, and that is always good.

Copyright © 2018 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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Success as an Author

file000953835377Many new writers and authors often wonder what it takes to be considered a successful author. How many books do they need to sell before they are considered successful? How much money do they need to make in royalties before they can say they’ve really made it? How is success measured?

In our society, and for many of us, success is often defined as money, fame, and power. But I think we do ourselves a big disservice when we define it that way, or base it on specific numbers reached, whether it’s book sales or income.

What about an author who has only published a few books, but they are well-written, filled with heart, humor, and gut-wrenching honesty? What about a new author’s book that opens up unique and fascinating worlds to explore? Or an author’s story that shares the overcoming of a huge difficulty in life that can inspire and help others? Or a new author’s book that touches the lives of others in powerful and profound ways? Would you say they are not successful?

file000739253401I used to think of success in terms of a huge number of books sold, a steady income from royalties, and being on the best-seller list. However, those goals may be fleeting, arbitrary, unrealistic, and self-defeating – using those as criteria for success can discourage or undermine talented writers, stop them from doing their best, or cause them to give up too soon. You can be successful without reaching those typically out-of-reach goals for most writers – so don’t sell yourself short. And don’t give up. 

To me, success is measured in the fulfillment of publishing the ideas and stories within me. It is in producing well-written and memorable books, stories, and articles that I can be proud of. It is in touching the lives of others through my words. It is putting my creative thoughts and imagination into a cohesive and powerful story, and getting that on paper in a way that is touching, heart-felt, and powerful.

Success is not a destination – success is a living, breathing, shifting journey of discovery and creativity that you can choose to be part of.

IMG_3143If you have done your best with as much integrity as possible, are proud of your work, and are happy with who you are and where you are, then you are successful. That is the success we should strive for.  And that is in your hands, within your grasp.

Success is the expression of and explosion of creativity, heart, and imagination, all coming together in powerful and moving stories. It is exciting and fulfilling and continues to unfold in spectacular new ways and in glorious wonder.

Number of books sold? That doesn’t even come close.

Go for real success – the fulfillment of a dream. And that is something all of us can do.

Copyright © 2018 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Advice for New and Aspiring Authors

Advice for New and Aspiring Authors

file000739253401[1]I can easily remember what it was like before I published my first book. It was not that long ago, and I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t think I was capable of writing or publishing a book. If someone had told me back then that I would have twelve books published by this time, I would have told them they were crazy.

And now, looking back over the past few years, after writing and publishing twelve books, I realize that I have learned quite a lot along the way. Of course, I am still learning, and I hope that I will always learn more and improve. But now feels like the right time to reach out and help other new and aspiring authors.

When we are beginning our journey as writers, we tend to have so many of the same questions, confusion, fears, and doubts. I would like to help make things a little easier and share with you some of what I have learned.

So here are seven of the best ideas I have found to help new and aspiring authors.

1. Read a lot

Reading is important. Reading helps develop your writing skills as you learn what you like and don’t like about how things are written. Reading helps you learn how to phrase things, present situations, and describe action or settings. It helps you learn how to introduce characters and how to write realistic dialogue. It helps you improve your writing in so many ways – I learn every time I read. The more you read, the better you learn to write.

file000224555511[1]2. Write a lot

Write as much as you can. As you write, you improve your skills. Each book, blog, article, or journal entry you write helps and improves your writing. I look back at my earlier writing, and I can see how far I’ve come – my writing is now more clear, concise, and powerful. So keep writing – the more you write, the better you get.

3. Be you, find your own voice

Don’t compare yourself to others or try to imitate someone else’s style. Find your own voice, your own passion, and your own style. Discover the things you want to write about. Don’t try to be anyone else – it doesn’t work anyway, and it comes across as forced. Be you. There will never be another person just like you, so be proud of who you are and develop your own unique style.

4. GetDSCN0101[1] rid of self-doubts and self-criticism

Know that everyone has self-doubts and is self-critical. It is human nature. It is especially prevalent in creative types – writers, authors, artists, and musicians. We put our heart and soul into what we do. We feel vulnerable and exposed. We worry about whether or not we’re good enough or if people will like what we do. But those thoughts can undermine you and your creativity. Don’t allow any of that to get in your way or stop you. Write despite your insecurities – if we let insecurities stop us, nothing would ever get written. Write for you, not for anyone else, and trust that you will keep getting better as you go. If you love to write and feel passionate about writing, then do it. Set aside all judgment, worry, and criticism. Write as much as you can – and allow yourself to grow and blossom.

5. The first draft is always crap

As Ernest Hemingway said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” Everyone’s first draft is always crap, and that’s okay. Expect it, it’s part of the territory, and don’t worry about it. Write your story down as it is, as though no one will ever see it. Write your heart out, and get it all down on paper. You can always edit it later and improve what you’ve written. So don’t worry about the first draft – it’s simply the first step and puts you on your way to creating an amazing finished manuscript.

file0001415572707[1]6. Always back up your work

Too many people have learned this the hard way – always back up your work. Use a backup drive, an internet storage site such as drop-box, another file, a second computer, the cloud, etc. It doesn’t matter what you use, just make sure you back up your work somewhere. It is too easy to accidentally delete something, lose a file, have your computer crash, have a file become corrupted, etc. Don’t risk losing what you’ve spent so many hours creating. And don’t wait until it’s too late – be smart and always back up your work.

7. Get professional editing

After you have finished your manuscript, read it through multiple times to make it as clean and error-free as possible. Then always use the services of a professional editor so that your work will be professional quality and the best it can possibly be. A professional editor helps with more than simply finding typos. They help with grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, word usage, consistency, repetitions, proper and consistent tense, plot development, subplots that don’t belong or that slow down the story, characters, appropriate POV (point of view), tension build-up, anything that doesn’t move the story forward, story structure, plot holes, pacing, plus many other things.

I was a professional proofreader for many years, and I studied editing. When I look over my own work, I carefully and slowly read word-for-word, and I still miss things. It is difficult to catch your own errors, as you tend to skim your own story since you know it so well. Your mind automatically fills in and corrects any errors or missing words. So it really helps to have another pair of eyes on your work. You don’t want to turn off readers with errors throughout your story, or have prospective readers not buy your book because of errors in the sample they see. A professional editor helps your work be the best it can be, and that is important. If you want a well-written, professional story that will have readers wanting to read more of your work, always have your work professionally edited.

Congratulations – I applaud you for being a writer!

white-pen[1]Writing is a creative process where our hearts and imagination merge and pour out onto paper, and it is a thrilling and rewarding journey.

It gives me great pleasure to share these seven tips with you, and I hope these help you on your way to becoming an outstanding and successful author.

The path is not always easy, but always do your best, and never stop learning and improving. One day I hope to see your books on the best-seller list.

And no matter how far you go as a writer, enjoy the entire journey and be proud of who you are and what you accomplish.

Lynn

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Please check out my website here.

 

Books by Lynn Miclea:

Non-Fiction

Ruthie: A Family’s Struggle with ALS

Mending a Heart: A Journey Through Open-Heart Surgery

 

Children’s Books

Penny Gains Confidence

Sammy and the Fire

Sammy Visits a Hospital

Sammy Meets Grandma

Sammy Goes to the Dog Park

Sammy Falls in Love

Sammy and the Earthquake

Sammy Goes On Vacation

Wish Fish: Book 1 – Discovering the Secret

Wish Fish: Book 2 – Endless Possibilities

 

Copyright © 2018 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

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You Are Important!

If you have been waiting for a sign – this is it. You are important. Each of us is important and each of us makes a difference in this world.

So many of us struggle with low self-esteem, with not feeling good enough, w1016ith feeling unworthy. We compare ourselves to others and think that we fall short.

Whether it’s a talent, skill, job, income level, our body, or anything else, we tend to judge ourselves harshly.

What we need to do is stop judging. Stop comparing. We are not supposed to be another Einstein, or another Mozart, or another Rembrandt, or another famous super-star. We are not supposed to be anyone else.

We are supposed to be ourselves.  And we need to be ourselves.

You are here for an important function, a purpose. You are here for a reason – and it is something that suits you, that fits you. You are a puzzle piece for something special in this world.

IMG_1087[1]There is a special niche that only you can fill.

And you fulfill that by fully being who you are and sharing that with the world. Know who you are your strengths, skills, talents, sensitivities, and special abilities.

It doesn’t have to be grandiose or world renown or earth-shaking. But it is still vital and important. You are vital and important.

Live and speak your truth. No one else has your experience, knowledge, and perspective. Honor your inner being. Be true to who you are. Don’t try to be anyone else. Be you. There is no one else exactly like you, and that’s how it is supposed to be. Being you brings something to this world that wasn’t here before.

DSCN9606[1]Whether it’s music, art, writing, research, science, healing, kindness, humor, helping others, being a parent – whatever it is, do that, and love that about yourself.

It is not about being the best anything except the best you.

I will never be the greatest pianist, but I play the piano to the best of my ability and bring music to various senior and memory-care facilities. I give as much as I can where I am.

I am not the greatest writer, but I still put my heart and soul into what I write and what I publish. I do the best I can with what I have and where I am.

Make a difference right where you are with exactly who you are. It matters. You are so very special and important.

If you are here, you are needed in this world. Don’t compare yourself to others or put DSCN0758[1]yourself down. Just be you. Fully. Embrace who you are and love yourself.

Everything you do affects everything around you. And what you do is important. You are important.

Celebrate who you are. Don’t hold back or let fears or doubts or anything stop you.

The best thing you can do is to be yourself. Know yourself, and do your best. Be fully who you are.

And remember that there is no one else like you you are very special and very important.

So find that niche that only you can fill. Be who you are. Celebrate you. Because you are needed here. You are important.

 

Copyright © 2018 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.

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