Posted in Bipolar Disorder - I have it, Journal

INERTIA AND MOMENTUM

We have all been there. We have found the initiative and motivation to begin something. We are excited; we have energy. Then we lose that momentum. What then?

I once heard Rick Hall, father of Muscle Shoals music, talk about a time when his professional life as a producer and studio owner had come to halt. I wish I remembered the details of this story, but I do not. As I remember it, he said he was off the wave of his first successes as a producer. He was in a slump. Phones weren’t ringing. He had no production deals. One day he picked up a rubber ball which was on his desk. He threw it against the wall; it bounced back. That was a light bulb moment for him. He knew to get moving he had to do something. He picked up the phone and called people he had worked with in the past and reached out to others. His phones started ringing again. He was back in the game. He quit waiting for other people’s actions, he acted. (I think I have read other accounts by other people of throwing a red ball against the wall as an example of momentum, but I heard it first from Rick Hall.)

I have momentum developing this blog and writing a book. I guess the ball is bouncing back to me. I am in the middle of two Jeff Goins online classes: Intentional Blog and Write a Bestseller. I was motivated to take the classes because of desire; I want to develop this blog and I want to write a book. The classes are giving me confidence and thus more motivation and momentum.

In reading in facebook groups for people in the classes, I see I am not the only one who begins, stops, begins, stops. The trick is to keep beginning again. Each stop makes it harder to begin again because your resistance to what you want to do builds. You begin to think and say, “What’s the use. I have tried this before but never followed through. Why will this time be any different?” Once you come to a standstill, to a state of inertia, only action can get you moving again.

In both groups, the question is being asked. People are asking how they can keep the momentum or even get moving again. Jeff Goins’s advice is somewhat similiar to Rick Hall’s. Do something. In answer to the question, he suggested as soon as the Q&A call was over for each of us to do something to move us toward the goal. The smart part was he limited the time to ten minutes. Do one small thing. Momentum builds, but you have to throw the ball. I suggest you go to goinswriter.com/ . He is a great writer with a lot of success.

I went from wanting to sleep most of the day to being ready to get up in the morning, go to my laptop, and begin writing. With me beginning something new, obsessing with it, and then losing interest is an old pattern. Some people call beginnings that stop, false starts. For me they are true starts put on hold. I have learned enough to know promising myself I will spend a short amount of time each day gets me going again. I may have to promise myself more than once before I do it. The important thing is not to give up.

We probably all have something we have given up on. If it is something you really want, revisit it. Do one small thing. Throw the ball.I would love feedback. Blogs are wonderful, but they are vacuums until the writer and the readers get conversations going. I think my settings allow anyone to comment. Please, do, or email me.

Posted in Journal, Stephanie C Brown - Songwriter and Catalyst

Now

All things in good time is one of my mottos. Now is the good time for me to write a book. I am in self-isolation so have never had more time or focus.

I have been writing ever since I can remember. In the first grade I wrote a story about a goat driving a car and smoking cigarettes. In the seventh grade, I sent a handwritten short story to a major magazine that I am pretty sure did not recieve many handwritten manuscripts not following guidelines. Someone took the time to send a polite rejection letter. I wish I had saved that. Writers seldom throw anything away unless in a state of frustration or temper because the writing is not as good as they want it to be. I still have the story in some box somewhere.

For the last forty-five years, I have been either a teacher or a songwriter. I never could balance the two so bounced back and forth. I am now and have been a songwriter more years than a teacher. I have written hundreds of songs, many journal pages, and a book in that time. The book I did not throw away but have been tempted. I still think the story is good and may write it someday, but the writing itself is not good to the point of bad. Friends who read it had a hard time finding anything to say. I sent it to three publishers, got rejection letters, reread it, and put my copy in a closet.

I retired from teaching and transitioned into songwriting. At seventy-five I am in transition again. I am proud of my age and my life, but there’s something more yet to come. I always know it when I am in transition but seldom know to what. Still writing songs is part of it. Sharing my life with this blog and interviews is part of it. Those I have been doing. The new part is writing books. I no longer feel I am in transiton.

I am still floundering a bit on my book, so I asked my Facebook friends to tell me what they think I should write about. Their suggestions helped me; now I know what I do not want the book to be. The suggestions were to write about my experiences. My kneejerk response to each was no! I do not what to spend months on a book about me. What they want to know will be in this blog. There’s a whole world out there with many conversations. As a writer, I do not want to be wrapped up in me. I want to be more than the sum of my past.

One of the facebook responses, sealed the deal for me. I am a writer. A friend questioned why I would spend that much time (three months) writing a book – what would it accomplish in the end? My response was because I am a writer.

This is my declaration of independence though I did not know it when I sat down to write.

Thank you for being part of my journey.

 

Posted in Journal

Wednesdays and Saturdays

Thank you, my eight followers for being with me from the beginnning. I am fourty-four posts in and getting a sense of what I want this blog to be and a plan for getting there.

What can you expect for now? Here’s the plan for now.

  • New post on Wednesday and Saturday
  • A photograph on Wednesday
  • A newsletter once a week – if you subscribe to my e-mail list. I think now subscribers are getting updates everytime I add a new post, but I am working on changing that to no updates and just one newsletter a week.

I post about my life, past and present. I post about having bipolar disorder. I post about Muscle Shoals music, especially about my cowriters and friends. I live in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, actually in Florence, Alabama, but several adjoining small cities (towns?) are referred to as the Muscle Shoals area. Muscle Shoals music is recognized worldwide. I am part of the Muscle Shoals music community so have bragging rights.

Some featured content such as webinars, Zoom rooms, interviews, virtual music shows, a series of You Ask – I Answer videos, digital album downloads, and my cowriters’ albums and merch to order will come later. All in good time – that’s the time table.

I am often asked about my part in Garth Brooks’ success, how I got into Muscle Shoals music in the late seventies, my Nashville days, and my songwriting. The You Ask – I Answer video series is the most concise ways to answer questions. I am often asked about my songs – what do I write? Go to Featured Songs under Stephanie C Brown Songwriter and Catalyst for ten songs and decide for yourself. “Betty Jean” is like a signature song for me, so it is always on the sidebar.

You could help by going to my contact page and using the form to communicate with me. What questions do you?

Posted in Journal, Stephanie C Brown - Songwriter and Catalyst

Songs And A Blog, What’s Next?

Have you ever been at a stage in your life when you knew you needed to take action. You did not want to stay stuck. You wanted to find something that would propel you. I have been there and found what works for me.

I have immersed myself in writing. First, I enrolled in Jeff Goins’ Intentional Blog course which is not free. That’s an important point for me. If I have paid for something, I am motivated. Then I attended the virtual WordPress Summit 2020, again, not free. In addition, I have taken advantage of several other free Jeff Goins webinars and e-books as well as other WordPress webinars.

My answer came from a friend who told me I should take the Intentional Blog course. I took her at her word. Only after I enrolled and another friend was so impressed, did I research and realize what a good decision I made by trusting her and taking her advise. I am impressed. Jeff who is the writer of five bestselling books shares his journey and helps others on theirs. You can take my word about Jeff or go to https://goinswriter.com/.

I now have the nuts and bolts to build this blog and to write a book, but as of now they are rattling around in my mind bumping into each other. It is time for me to sort through, organize, and structure not only my writing but also my life. The first leads to the second.

I am a seventy-five year-old woman still journeying through life, a catalyst for others, an avid flower grower and birdwatcher, a quilter, a Muscle Shoals songwriter, a retired educator, and more. Sharing that in words and songs does not come easy. I write songs; I blog. What’s next? A book. I am putting in the hours to do all three well.

You can help me commenting on my posts and emailing me. I am in physical isolation, but I need interaction.Please, go to the Contact page and follow me and/or subscribe to my email for a weekly email.

Thank you, Stephanie C Brown

Posted in Journal

Seventy-five?

When someone tells me I do not look my age or act my age, I know they mean it as a compliment, but the statement frustrates me because I do look and act MY age. I may not fit their preconceived concept, stereotype, of a seventy-five year-old woman. Therein is the crux of the problem. Anyone who thinks they are complimenting me, perhaps, has a negative view of aging? They think looking younger is to be desired? If they are basing their concept of age on ads, commercials, televsion shows, and movies, they may view age as a negative.

I encourage you to check yourself. Do you have preconceived negative concepts of certain age groups, particularly the “elderly”. That word in itself is nebulous. When does one become elderly? Does it vary from culture to culture? For the sake of this discusion, if someone asked you to describe a seventy-five year-old woman, what would you say? If you were an artist, how would you paint her? If a writer, how would you describe a typical day for her?

If your answer is that it depends, you passed the test.

Posted in Bipolar Disorder - I have it, Journal

Life’s Complexity

I often tell people my life after retirement has been a Zen life, but that’s not true. If it were, focusing this blog would be easier. As is, my life is complex with a wide spectrum of interests, passions, obsessions, speculations, philosophy, and experiences. Although I refuse to let it define me, I think my having bipolar disorder with all the extreme highs and lows has influenced all of my life. The excessive creativity is worth the lows although I do envy others who have the creativity without the extreme lows.

Seventy-five has been a transition year for me although I am not sure what I am transitioning to. I feel the need to capture my life in words so others will know me. At first, I considered this blog as a way to share my legacy, but now I realize no one can know what their legacy will be, only what they hope it will be. In creating and organizing content, I have had to look closely at what I have done, what I am doing, and my ulterioral motives. I find myself making choices of what I do based on that introspection. Everyday I am contributing to my legacy.

Stephanie C Brown, the blog, and Stephanie C Brown, the person, are evolving. For ulterioral motives and shameless self-promotion, the blog falls in the category of self-branding. Self-branding feels so egotistical, but so be it for the long term goals.

Full circle, winding roads, side roads, and dead ends, the journey continues.

Posted in Bipolar Disorder - I have it, Journal

Bipolar or Just the Way People Are?

“At loose ends” – “Out of sorts ” – “Twixt and between” – “All at sea”

All the above describe me for the last few days. . Do “normal” people at times wake up feeling the uneasiness, the free-floating anxiety, the sense of dread, the scared feeling in the pit of the stomach? Of course, there is no normal as far as people go, but when you have any mental disorder you tend to think of others as normal. ( I fight against the classification of bipolar as a mental disorder, but that is the clinical classification.)

The thing that puzzles me is the when and why. The drift is gradual, the cause uncertain. I know others struggle as I do. The difference in me and some others is I know this too will pass. That certainty makes all the difference in my life. I remember when I did not know that. A few days or maybe weeks of feeling uncomfortable in my own skin and out-of-step with the rest of the world are not so bad as long as I know sooner or later I will feel as right as rain again.

I have what I call my strategies to make it sooner instead of later. I think they would work for anyone, normal or not, but I am sure they will help anyone who struggles with bipolar disorder.

  • Eat
  • Sleep –
  • Take Meds – if you truly have bipolar disorder and think meds are not a good thing…that’s another conversation

These three are non- negotiable for me every day and night. What I eat and how I sleep are important, but I need the short mantra. A fourth one, exercise, should be non-negotiable, but I do not always accomplish it. These are so simple and basic, one would think no thought or effort would be required. For me, they are. To move through and get back to a better place, I have other strategies. None of them work all the time, but there is always at least one that does.

These bipolar posts are hard to write. Bipolar disorder does not define me, but the more I share the more some people see me through that filter. Because I have been told so often how my sharing has helped someone to cope or better understand, I accept the discomfort. I put myself out there as the bipolar disorder poster child. I qualify because at seventy-five I have a full, happy, productive life.

So I write. I breathe. I eat. I sleep. Maybe tomorrow I will exercise. If I shut down, still I trust. Tomorrow is a new day. My strategies will work. Perhaps not quickly, but this too will pass.

Posted in Interviews and Videos, Journal, Stephanie C Brown - Songwriter and Catalyst

You Ask – I Answer video

Thank you for being one of a few. You are already my beta readers. Now would you be one of my beta viewers? Let me know what you think about this first video You Ask – I Answer video series. I am making these with Zoom while recording myself. I challenge you. Do something outside of your comfort zone. This certainly is for me. Another challenge: Do something you would have depended on someone else to do before Covid19.

Please leave a comment with feedback and any questions you would like for me to answer.

Later this series will be available to subscribers only.

WHY I BLOG
Posted in Journal, Stephanie C Brown - Songwriter and Catalyst

Zoom Anyone?

Yesterday’s bed dismantled made this Zoom and sewing dedicated space possible. Before the room was like a closet room, a messy one at that. The photo is one corner. I am not ready to show you the whole room or the area behind my living couch where I moved boxes, baskets, storage bins, and bags. It seems my life is a never ending process of sorting, deciding what to keep, what to throw away, and where to put what I keep. I think spiritual life is like that. You can make good choices on what to keep and what to get rid of, but still you have to find where everything goes. Sometimes nothing seems to fit in an empty space. Sometimes a place cries for something beautiful.

In sorting through, I found my sewing machine, a lot of fabric and batting, and some UFOs (UnFinished Objects). Yes, quilting is calling me.