No Excuse

Little wins

Little wins create big victories! ~ Kathy Chaffin Gerstorff

I really have no excuse for not stringing words together much beyond my Morning Pages lately. No one cares if I do or don’t. No one but the soul that is currently taking up residence in my fleshy abode and patiently waiting for me to do what I was born to do which, from all the flashing arrows and neon lights in my mind, is… WRITE!

My response to this other worldly prodding is typically some form of resistance from blissing out on Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey or other vegan confections to procrastinating with another personal development/business building program, to the infinite social media scroll.

But today, the Universe wins. I showed up and let my muse dance across the keyboard, despite the steady stream of interruptions that started the moment I sat down. I forgot what an endorphin rush it is to push through the obstacles and finish something as simple as a blog post.  It’s little wins that create big victories!

Write On!

Kathy G

 

 

Happy NaNoWriMo!

Copy of I'm in the write mood!

It’s that time of year again! Time to put your writing chops to work. Every year I think I’m going to skip it, but then when November 1st gets here, it feels like a holiday and I get as excited as a child waiting to open Christmas presents!

50,000 words in 30 days, what could I possibly have to say that would take that many words? I originally thought I would do a series of personal development blog posts I’m working on to fill the space, but that historical fiction/time travel book started knocking inside my head asking when the heck I was going to set the characters free that have been taking up space in my cerebral cortex for nearly 20 years!

My goodness, 20 years seems like a lifetime. It is beyond time to tackle this project once and for all. I have attempted it at least a dozen times. I keep getting stuck then abandoning the project, but for the story to keep resurfacing the way it does, I’m thinking it wants to be born and become part of my legacy. We will see! It sure has been incubating long enough. The characters almost seem real to me, like family, and friends from high school waiting patiently for the next reunion!

I think the real reason the story hasn’t been completed yet is simply fear of not being able to tell the story the way I see it in my mind. Not doing the story justice terrifies me. I have even thought of contacting a “real writer” like  James Alexander Thom to share my idea with him in hopes he would write the story or at least help me. He and his lovely wife Dark Rain would bring a rich authenticity to it that I’m not sure I can do.

But, today, I feel strong enough to face my fears and do the warrior word dance. Thank you NaNoWriMo for pushing me out of my comfort zone once again!

Kathy Chaffin Gerstorff,
WriterKat

P.S. If I fall a little short of 50k words by the end of the month, I’m counting this blog post

Discipline

discipline

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. ~ Jim Rohn

It took me years to understand that discipline can be a good thing. As a child that was “disciplined” to the extreme on many occasions I grew up hating the word and wanting to distance myself as far away from it as I could. The mere mention of the word made me defensive. Discipline represented a negative, master-slave, controlling, manipulative, walk-on-eggshells obedient existence and I wanted no part of it once I escaped that kind of dominance. That distorted definition of discipline has cost me many opportunities of health, wealth and happiness over the years.

Fortunately, after extensive personal development study, I learned to look at the other side of the discipline coin and change my association of the word from harsh to helpful. I now know that discipline is the key to success.

Peek into the routine of any successful person and you will see that self discipline plays a major role in their success. The runner who gets up at 5 a.m. to train – rain or shine, the musician who passes up partying with friends to practice for hours on end, the entrepreneur who works 12+ hours a day growing their business, the author who writes daily whether they feel like it or not…

It’s not rocket science or luck that creates olympic athletes, award-winning musicians, multi-millionaires, best-selling authors, or any success – it’s discipline!

Write on.

WriterKat

Breaking The Cycle

April

Break The Cycle Volume III – RECOVERY

Writing gave me an outlet that released me from the prison of my past and enabled me to make the journey from victim to victor. ~ Kathy Chaffin Gerstorff

Before I published the first Break the Cycle book I just wanted to write my “secrets” down to get them out of my head because keeping it inside ate away at my psyche like Pacman. Writing turned out to be very cathartic for me. It was like a dam of pent up emotions broke free as the words poured onto the page. I cursed and cried, but kept writing as I processed my feelings. Writing paved the way for me to forgive and move on from the past which up to that point was easily triggered in my memory and led to a tidal wave of emotion which often included irritability, uncontrollable crying, withdrawal or binge eating – sometimes all at once. It felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster that would last for a few hours to a couple weeks. Writing in my journal released the pressure valve and let off steam which gave me a way to control my emotions instead of my emotions controlling me.

After a few years of writing, I had enough poems and stories to fill a book. At first I didn’t dare think of publishing what I wrote. The last thing I wanted to do was to hurt my mother who was a victim of abuse too. But, somewhere along the way writing became bigger than me. I felt called and compelled to my core to share my poems and short stories with the world even though I knew only a few people would read them. If it helped even one person break free from mental torment and enabled them to get control of their life instead of continuing to be a victim, then that would mean my suffering was not in vain, a greater good could come of it. From that thought and hope, Break The Cycle Books was born.

I invited other child abuse survivors to share their stories too because I wanted them to feel the same freedom that writing gave me. I also wanted to give back to the people who helped me but I didn’t know how to do that. How do you repay the people who saved your life? No amount of money or thank yous can cover that. And they didn’t expected anything in return for helping me. The best way I could think to repay them was to pay it forward. So I decided to donate the books proceeds to organizations that help abused, neglected and at-risk kids.

Books sales have been slow, but sales are not the most important thing. It would be wonderful to help more organizations, but my main goal with publishing Break The Cycle books is to help child abuse survivors know they are not alone and that writing may help provide a release valve on the pain of their past so they too can make the journey from victim to victor.

Write on.

Kathy G

Honorable Mention

certificate1

“There is no dishonor in honorable mention.” ~ Mike Rothman

There was a time when honorable mention felt like losing to me…

“If she can’t win, she doesn’t want to play.” My cousin said those words about me when I was ten years old or so and a group of us kids were playing red rover or some similar game that I decided I didn’t want to play for reasons I don’t even remember. My cousin continued his berating, “It has to be her way or not at all.” He was talking to them about me right in front of me. I was furious, stomped back into the house and slammed the screen door to make the point that I was mad which probably just confirmed his point to the group. My cousin’s biting words stayed with me all these years. I think about it from time to time. Am I really that rigid that I don’t want to play if I can’t win? There have been many times in my life when I felt like that was true. I have never been into sports perhaps because I know I can’t win without training and I have no desire to train for any athletic event, not even hippity-hop when I was in the fourth grade. I was always last to get picked for the team and I really didn’t care. I would rather be sitting by myself somewhere coloring or reading a book.

Writing is a different story, sort of. I want to the be the best, do my best, but often feel like I fall short which used to prevent me from entering writing contests or attending big writer conventions where MFAs and bestselling authors abound. I remember the first time I attended the Midwest Writers Conference. I felt so inferior after coming home from that event. It took me months to get beyond my self-imposed limitations of thinking what makes me believe I have a chance of getting published when there are so many great writers who are struggling. Thank goodness self-publishing became popular and easily accessible or I would have probably never pursued publishing my writing.

Once I self-published, it was like breaking through an invisible barrier. Suddenly, I could say I was a published author. I began to see myself as a writer. I continued to study, read and write, becoming a little more confident with each poem and story I wrote. I began to enter writing contests, only a few that meant something to me. I remember the first time I won a writing contest, it felt like I won an Olympic gold metal. All I won was some random poster from the 70’s that became ashes along with all my journals, poems, stories and books when my house burned down a couple years ago.

After the fire, I got a new perspective about what is really important in life. I no longer wish to accumulate things. I would rather accumulate memories. I no longer write to “win” a contest or get published. I write to say what I feel I have to release into the world. If it resonates with someone, that is wonderful. I love when that happens both as a writer and a reader. But, I’m no longer in competition for the coveted “best-seller” title or winning any awards. I write because it is who I am and what I have to do to quiet the voices in my head. I write because I love the written word. Passionately.

When I got an honorable mention at the recent Mounds State Park Poetry contest, I felt that twinge of “first place” memory and smiled inside because I am in the game now, playing, having fun, right along with all the other writers who submit their art for something that is important to them.

Being willing to step outside your comfort zone and writing from your heart, that’s what makes you a winner!

Write on.

Kathy G

 

Shiny Object Syndrome

objectsFOCUS – Follow One Course Until Successful

If I had to name one thing that has contributed to my lack of success with the hundreds of ideas I have had over the years, I would have to say it is shiny object sydrome! I get an idea, whether it is for a book or a business, then I get super excited about it, spend hours, sometimes days finding the perfect domain name, then create a website on WordPress or Wix, make few blog posts, then cue the wantwawa music… get distracted and move on to the next bright idea. I have done this so many times that it’s pretty much an inside joke among my family. I don’t get offended anymore. I just bury myself in the minutiae of my day and wonder why I am not making the progress I feel I should be making or living up to my full potential. But, a few things have happened lately that has made me take a hard look at what I am doing and what I need to do to have the success I seek.

First, I have listened to a couple podcasts about people who were as down on their luck as they could get and managed to turn their life around to astounding success. This has inspired me, motivated me and made me ask myself if these ex-cons and former junkies can turn their life around and make millions when they have only been at it a couple years and I have been doing this since the 80’s, what is going on? What is holding you back? Will your legacy be you accomplished none of your dreams because you couldn’t stay focused on one thing or stick with it long enough to experience success? That’s some tough love I’m gifting myself.

I read a blog yesterday from a fellow John Maxwell Team member who has started an online business called New Inceptions. I love an anology he used about burners on a stove. I only use the two front burners on my stove. I rarely use the back burners. Reading JC’s article in addition to listening to the podcasts about the guys who turned their life around plus watching Brendon Burchard videos and being on Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income forum has got me fired up and focused to the point that I am ready to turn on those front burners and cook up some success!

On my two front burners will be my infused water project and writing. That is it for this year! I think I can. I think I can. As my mentor, Mike Dooley says, “Thoughts become things.” I have learned from the best, now it’s time to put it into action. Consistently!

Kathy G