Two Months Down the Road

The Best Laid Plans…

I have a vision for the next stage of my life.

I had a plan. I would keep family a priority, write every morning on whatever book in progress, keep this blog up to date and delve deeper into building it into a blog with thousands (or at least hundreds) of followers which would mean attending more workshops and seminars and then putting my knowledge to use, promote myself as a writer on social media, write songs, grow breath-taking flowers, be a creative catalyst for others, and do whatever I wanted in my spare time.

Did I mention I would do all of this alone? And that there is no “spare” time

Now I am on Plan B which includes paying attention to my physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Keeping this blog updated much less delving into the depths to attract hundreds of follows will have to wait. I will do well to keep readers updated. I do well to post photos and personal updates on Facebook and Instagram. I have accounts in others but most have a learning curve. I have cut back on songwriter but miss it. I work sporadically in the yard. I have seeds left over from last year.

Writing everyday is still in the top three. Becoming an author, that is the vision. Have I told you I finished the first draft of the book with the main character sixty-five? I now realize for readers to love her, I need to write two more books beginning with her at twenty something and the first draft I already have written be the last in a series. I am well into the first draft of the first book in the series.

I did not say Plan B is less ambitious.

Following My Energy: Writing a Novel

50,00 words – 1,667 a day – Stephanie C Brown – Natalie

February
Working our Works in Progress

Have you ever gone through months of knowing your life was shifting. I think Covid isolation was a big factor for reevaluating life for many of us. My life has settled, some what. Here are my thoughts on how that happened.

Follow your passion: I like the sound of that, but sometimes that is not an option. Sometimes you do not have a clue what your passion is or even if you have one.

Follow your energy: I like the sound of that even better, but sometimes we have little. We are lucky if we find something that energizes us or leaves us exhausted in a good way.

Write a novel: that is energizing me. I go to bed thinking about what I will write the next day. I get up earlier than usual for me. (Not every night or day)

Let me tell you about the novel I am writing, how it came to be, and how it is progressing.

I committed to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month. Now during the month of November, people all over the world accept the challenge to write 50,000 words – 1,667 a day. I wrote the first draft of Natalie’s World. As advised I waited a month before reading it and beginning revising and editing. Now I am takiing scenes out and adding new ones.

Worth the times: Natalie is sixty-four or sixty-six. She is contemporary. I know many women like her whose journeys are much alike. Writing a book about an older woman is well-worth my time. Plus,. the story is mine to tell.

A creative tribe or tribes: I joined WFWA (Women Fiction Writers Association) and ProWritingAid. Both have active, supporting Facebook groups. I take part in Zoom writing dates (nothing like dating).

Your Thoughts: Natalie is not a Golden Girl, Miss Marple, or a cougar. Hopefully, you know at least one Natalie – sailing past sixty, living life to the fullest. Intrigued? Interested?

Leave me a comment.

My Alabama Yard in the Rain

How are you handling Delta? By choice, I am back to staying at home after enjoying a little post-vaccine freedom. Just me and Jada who stays close no matter what project I am immersed in. I quilt; I make photos; I work in my big yard. Someone else cuts the grass, but I do the rest. For ten years I have been planting perennials which come back every year, annuals from seeds, bushes, and small trees. My yard is my salvation.

This is year to decide what stays where it is, what gets moved, what new will be added, and what will be taken away. Fall is the time for all of that planning a lot of work. That gets me up and moving in the in the mornings. Today it is raining, but I put on a raincoat and made photos of what’s blooming or fading now. I hope you enjoy them.

I love putting to use some of what I have learned in webinars, online courses, and and videos about blog building. This blog is a container for sharing the quilting, photography, gardening, cooking, and, of course, writing. Come back often to see where my energy is in new posts.

Tell me how you are getting though Delta? Leave me a comment. To do that school down a bit – past Recent Posts. I would love your answer to the question and general feedback!

If you are still on the main blog page, go to only this post by clicking on the title. There you will have a comment option. Please, do.

Zinnia Love (in my yard and photographed by me)

I

have zinnias right in front of my house and in an overgrown patch in back of my shop. The leaves have moldy mildred and spots since I garden with Mother Nature with no help from herbicides or poisons.We are past spring time rains and into hot and humid temperatures.

Zinnias are not fussy so tolerate both. Plant them in the sun in poor to average soil, keep them watered and watch them grow.

I almost missed it

Life is like a river

Ever changing as it flows

A dream is like a butterfly

Ephemeral and fleeting

Skimming the surface

as the river flows


I wrote the above on July 24th, just a few days ago. I also wrote the following: The time of letting go of life as I knew it was hard to know. I gave so much time and energy holding on, thinking if I kept doing the things I did the joy and passion would still be there, but those have already gone and are waiting for me in life as yet unknown. For now, I am in between.


Fast forward to today. I may be in transition from one stage of my life to another, but joy and passion are not waiting for me out there somewhere. They are here in the in between. I felt them today sitting in the audience of W.C. Handy Fest’s Songwriter Series. I almost missed it. I did miss the Monday show.

My two main passions in life have been teaching and songwriting. I have walked away and back again from both more than once. My daughter used to tell me that I always forgot how much I loved teaching until I walked back into a classroom. Today I realized the same is true my music world. Seven years ago after a twelve-year hiatus from music, I walked into a studio and knew I was back. Today I walked into a live performance of songs and realized I had never left.

I think maybe this concept of being in between was in my head. After all, all there is is now.

Updating Yet Again

Building a blog intended for more than a journal is not easy, at least it has not been for me. I am back after a three month break. Before now this blog has been a jumble of posts about too many facets of my life with little organization. Some content is harder to find than before because I am restructuring the menu. However, the category drop down menu on the sidebar is still intact and functional.

The focus of the blog now is my songwriting and my work as a creative catalyst now in Muscle Shoals and in the past in Nashville. I have had enough validation in the last few months to own both and want to share both with you. I will do that through videos, podcasts, meet-ups, shows, webinars, and who knows what else. My vision for this blog has not changed, but it is going to take longer than I realized. The goal is an international blog with content that attracts followers. I am not sure how the book I am writing about my life ties in, but it does.

I will still post about my struggle with bipolar disorder and my other passions. How could I leave out progress in my yard, flowers, birds, quilting, lyrical lines, and art? Eventually the menu and category cloud will held you find everything.

Money – in Exchange for What?

Have you ever started a project and then stalled? Not walked away. Just stalled. That’s where I am with this blog. I did not start it natively. I knew to develop it into more than a journal would take time and effort. I did not realize how much of both. The more I learn the more I realize how much more there is to learn. What I saw as hills in the distance are in fact mountains. I still have the original vision. I see this blog doing online what I do and want to do in my life. I am called a creative catalyst and an inspiration. I want to be that for my blog readers, but I want more. I want to make money for myself and others. Giving away still seems so much nobler than being paid. I want to feel no shame in being paid to help people. See? Even now it is hard for me to unabashedly say I want to make money by sharing.

If you are one of my twenty-three followers, you know I have rambled my way down more than one road. If you know me personally, you know following one straight path is hard for me, but I do want all the side roads and byways to get me to where I want to go. This blog has many side roads and rest stops. I post about having bipolar disorder, being a songwriter, sharing my songs, being a part of the Muscle Shoals Music community, growing flowers, finding four leaf clovers, making photos, quilting, writing a book, writing poetry, sketching, interviewing interesting people, being interviewed. I post randomly about my life and my thoughts, I even blog about blogging. So far it is like a unorganized beginning of a long book with many chapters without a unifying theme. Perhaps it is entertaining and even inspiring, but as of now the plans for making money are just that, plans.

Here I stand at the foot of what I now realize is a mountain, figuratively stomping my foot and saying words I do not want to include in here, asking why this has to be so hard for me. I am not inventing the wheel here. There are tried and true rules and guidelines for building a blog with over a 1,000 followers – which is necessary to make money. Some of them are not so hard singularly. Combining them all is hard, at least for me. I have taken courses and am in groups and see other bloggers doing what I want to do, so I know it can be done.

You may be wondering what I expect to give in exchange for money. Music related webinars, courses, and eBooks and possible eBooks on some of my other interests, my cowriters’ CDs and merch, my own CD if I ever have one, and my book which is part of the plan but not finished. I have music credentials as a publisher, songwriter, and mentor in Nasville and Muscle Shoals. Garth Brooks credits me as being there for him and starting his career. Music is only a part of my life. I have seventy-six years of living to share. Maybe some of it belongs in my life or a tell-all, share-all book instead of this blog.

As a blog reader, what blogs do you love? Who do you follow? What is there about other blogs that you think is worth your time? In all the randomness of my blog, what is most interesting to you? Why do you follow me? If you do not, what would convert you to a follower?

Please, subscribe to my email list. As of now you get posts updates. My plan is a weekly or monthly newsletter. See? More plans and little action.. Be my guide to getting to the other side of the mountain. Journey with me. I have a lot to share and surely something to sell.

Decluttering Life

My life was as cluttered as my house. Thanks to a housecleaner, my house is in good shape. My life? I made progress this week. The method that is working for decluttering my life is a simple one anyone can use. In fact, it is almost too good to be true. I tried copious to do lists, detailed scheduling, Facebook groups, free and paid webinars and courses. All of those have one thing in common; I was trying. The harder I tried the more frustrated I became. With my life so cluttered, I was overwhelmed and felt I did not have enough time to get everything done. The problem was not lack of time. It was lack of a central focus.

Last Monday night, I went to bed asking the Powers That Be for guidance. I got up in the morning with clarity. The solution was so simple. Life needs priorities and a central focus. I chose myself as a writer as my central focus. My priorities were in place. Self-care, my family, and my Zen life of growing flowers, watching and photographing birds, finding four-leaf clover, and all the other soul satisfying things I do will not fall by the wayside. Seventy-six and retired with the luxury of doing what I want, I trust myself. I do not consider those activities or projects. They just are. Maybe someday self-care, family, and my Zen life will be all I want, but now I still want more.

I do not believe we can do anything we want no matter how hard we try, and I am sure we can not do everything, but we can excel at one well-chosen thing. Everything is falling into place with myself as a writer as my central focus for projects, tasks, activities, and most importantly for commitments. Energy follows on focus. I write songs, am writing a book, and building this blog. They dovetail. Anything that does not involve one of my priorities or me as a writer is a prerogative. Before I take on any other project or get pulled into a distraction, I will ask myself how it relates to Stephanie C Brown the writer.

Putting myself as a writer first is long overdue. I went to Nashville in 1985 to become a commercial songwriter. I had some success but soon became a publisher and manager, hosted shows, and was a mentor to many. All took energy away from my writing. I came home to Muscle Shoals and seven years ago I started writing again. At the same time I got back into hosting and promoting events and shows. Much of my time and energy went to other people. I was close to jumping into building Blue Ocean Glass as a management and PR company because I saw young talent that needs guidance. I have backed off of that because I deserve my energy. Blue Ocean Glass will be a publishing company for my own songs and rare other songs that I love so much I want to be involved.

Letting go of or being selective of anything that does not involve my priorities or central focus has freed my mind. I believe in my self as a writer as much as or more than anyone else does. Go to the song page and listen to some of the songs. Follow my blog. One central focus leaves room for priorities and more. A writer is not all that I am. Subscribe to my email list to get notifications of updates.