writing for yourself

Keep Some of Your Writing to Yourself

I have a confession. I’ve been writing things and not sharing them with you. I’m keeping some of my writing to myself for a change. It feels like a secret, one that means little to anyone else but means everything to me.

I used to keep writing all to myself. I kept a journal from a very young age and I always hid my journal beneath my mattress—as if to protect my words from the prying eyes of the public.

In school, I felt the teacher betrayed us when she gave a writing prompt, encouraged us to spill our secrets onto the page in solitude, then turned on all of us by turning quiet writing time into show and tell. If any student refused to share their writing with the class, then the teacher would do it.

I never shared my writing. I cringed over the years as teachers read my work to the class. Thankfully, most of my teachers kept my work anonymous as they read it aloud—but anyone who bothered to observe me would see the sweat and the blushing, every ounce of fear and anxiety releasing through my skin before I imploded.

Eight years after launching this blog, four novels later, and thousands of pieces of content released into the business wild, I still sweat and blush anytime I share my work. That anxiety never left, that selfish urge to hide my words beneath my mattress.

But, I kept giving my words away, away, away. Away to everyone and forgetting to keep some of them to myself. Until recently when I started taking up my childhood nighttime ritual of journaling in bed. Journaling about nothing in particular, for nobody else, for no objective or reaction.

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marina sofia love your enthusiasm

Love Your Enthusiasm with Marina Sofia

I didn’t quite know what to expect when I launched Zoom to interview Marina Sofia. Would she speak with a Romanian accent? What does a Romanian accent even sound like? As soon as Marina sang out “hello,” I realized those years spent as a translator living in the UK and all over Europe resulted in an unexpectedly legit British accent.

Marina was a longtime writer and reviewer I knew in the blogging community—we always connected over our mutual obsession for words and linguistics. In recent years, I lost touch with Marina. She moved around, I moved around. She changed professional paths, so did I. She started a business, and I started several.

When Marina reached out about being a guest on Love Your Enthusiasm, I said “yes” with zero hesitation. I was excited to learn that she co-founded an indie publishing house this year.

Marina and the other co-founders at Corylus Books are bringing authors from lesser-known regions (think: Romania or Iceland) in front of English-speaking audiences by translating and publishing works of fiction that in most cases would be overlooked by publishers.

Starting Corylus Books was largely made possible by Marina’s failed attempts to launch a career in mainstream publishing. This failure became a bonus, leading Marina down a different path where she had the freedom to support the kind of literature she wanted to see translated and published.

In Marina’s words, “If a door bangs in your face, try another door. Try a side door.” Marina knows how to pivot and reinvent herself, while staying committed to her passions. Hope you enjoy this fantastic episode.

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love your enthusiasm bex shapiro

Love Your Enthusiasm with Bex Shapiro

“Every human has the same vulnerabilities, the same desires. Everyone wants to feel happy. Everyone wants to feel secure. It really comes down to that base realization that humans are more alike than they are different.”

Bex Shapiro is the Senior Editorial Manager at Intrepid Travel…and one of the brightest women I know. At this point in the writing game, I am very picky about the people and brands I write for. Bex is one of the best editors I’ve ever worked with and Intrepid Travel is an incredible brand to be a part of.

Every time I wrote a travel article, whether I was discovering the joys of Costa Rica, writing a love letter to Havana, or revealing the surprises and delights of Mexico City, I felt good about my work. I owe a lot of those good feelings to Bex.

I’ve never met Bex in person, but I always felt a solid connection with her. Or, as she puts it…we are like-minded souls. It was inevitable that we would get together one day outside of travel writing projects—and here we are with the latest episode of Love Your Enthusiasm.

Bex’s perspective on the state of travel in 2020, how we can shift to a more mindful way of traveling AND living, and her message of hopefulness for the road ahead are just some of the takeaways from this episode.

Very excited to have Bex on the show today. I highly recommend taking an hour out of your week to listen to this one.

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love your enthusiasm ashley douglas

Love Your Enthusiasm with Ashley Douglas

Through all of the ups and downs of 2020, many of us have been spending more time at home than ever before. As a result, we’re also spending more time in the kitchen. It seemed like the perfect time to introduce you all to vegetarian chef, Ashley Douglas, who is my guest on Love Your Enthusiasm this week.

I know Ashley from our corporate retail days, back when I used to support our corporate wellness program by teaching yoga in the corner of a gigantic, messy conference room. Whenever Ashley walked into that dark room, she quite literally lit up the room with her energy.

Corporate yoga classes ended when I moved to Portland—and soon after, Ashley also left Milwaukee to live in Dallas (my old stomping grounds where my entire family happens to live). Little did I know, she loves okra just as much as I do.

I kept in touch with Ashley on social media and followed her over the years. Along the way, I noticed she started a vegetarian food blog called Frobulous Veggies. And even though I am not a vegetarian myself, I have truly enjoyed catching her cooking videos—which are refreshingly fun to watch…even if I’m not cooking.

Back in the day, we had the yoga student/teacher relationship and we never really knew each other. Having Ashley on the show was such a heartwarming experience and I am so happy to share her love for cooking with all of you today. In Ashley’s words, “Half the battle with feeling better is eating better.”

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attitude sunset

Strengthen and Adjust Your Attitude

In the photo you’re looking at on this blog, it’s not just a pretty dance pose in front of a lake sunset. In ballet, this is called attitude. Attitude is my favorite ballet move, whether I am balancing, turning, or jumping. It feels like flying and falling all at once.

Attitude is also an incredibly difficult dance move. Done incorrectly, especially derrière (to the back), you can easily tweak your back, your ass, or all of the above. Done incorrectly, your leg hovers off to the side and you look like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant.

You have to think of drawing your foot toward the opposite shoulder while your leg is raised awkwardly behind you. Essentially, attitude is a broken arabesque. To get it right, attitude takes strength and adjustments.

I think we all feel like we’re being tested this year. Who’s failing? Who’s passing? And, who in the hell came up with this test?

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