10 Things I Have Learned About CONNECTion


Connect is my one word for 2019

The question I asked myself was: How do I plan to intentional connect in January? I could just log activities randomly if they happen to fit the criteria, but I wanted to make this years’ word more of a goal. I did not want it to be an afterthought.

I want to live the word, partially because I NEED to.

Initially, the list held:

  1. Go to one Write on Hoosiers meeting – This is my in real life group that meets twice a month at a local library.
  2. Participate in my online writing group at least once a week – This is usually once a day honestly. We have a slack channel which makes it really easy.
  3. Participate in my editing class (amazing experience – I will sign up again.)
  4. Email another writer I connected with on Twitter – we talk about writing and check-ins.
  5. Blog once a week and make 10 comments/week to other writers
  6. Submit at least two pieces of writing
  7. Order business cards.

10 Things I Learned

  1. Being open to connections means I hear differently. At the Write On Hoosiers meeting, one of the other writers talked about a retreat she attended at a local Buddhist temple. I signed up the next day for the one in Feb. I have committed to work on the novel revision.
  2. I connect with writers on the Two Writing Teachers blog and the Five Minute Friday site link up and WordPress reader. Making an effort for new blogs works for Twitter too, but there are some games on there that I try not to take personally.
  3. Once I was in submission mode I sent quite a few pieces in. I also contributed to several blog based writing contests which was fun and got my writing out there. It helped make a connection with another writer as well who reached out and sent an email. That was AWESOME.
  4. With the idea of reflection already a part of the process, I felt tied into the concept of connecting with people more. I sent specific tweets to authors I admire and wanted to make sure I told them.
  5. I am more visual than I thought. Using my graphic I created for my #oneword is fun to use in blog posts and social media.

6. I participated on a TEACHWRITE Zoom call and was able to talk and see Jennifer and Amanda.

7. I supported a writer friend through Ko-Fi.

8. I was the book fairy at school and gifted stacks so teachers can get them into kids’ hands.

9. I reached out to another teacher writer about IF – Intermittent Fasting.

10. Be persistent- I got into Kathy Fish’s Fast Fiction Class. I am so excited for it – in July.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Moving Forward to Feb:

+I need to connect to more books next month and then reach out to more authors of the books I love.

+Connect with my body more. Yoga, intermittent fasting, running outside, and walking with the incline is how I am doing this.

+Write real letters and participate in a letter writing challenge.

+ Interact with the new “10 things to tell you” podcast recommended by Emily Freeman

+ Continue to marinate on creating a magical gathering. My thoughts are hovering around my Workshop Wednesday concept. A reading literary society?

+ Every day Writing – of course!

How is your #oneword process going?

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Every Tuesday teachers gather at TWO WRITING TEACHERS to share slices of life. They link their blogs in the comments and then comment on at least 3 other sites. Come join us today!

Today’s Slice:

The text came through at 8:50 pm yesterday. Before that hour, there had been hours of speculation. We were not the first corporation in the area to call it. To my surprise there was no two-hour delay game, it was straight to cancellation. It was not just cancellation for today…IT IS FOR 3 days! I do not go back to work until Friday.

The weather reports keep saying the Midwest is colder than Antarctica with this winter storm. I woke up this morning thinking about updating my eLearning page and heard the wind. The new house doesn’t have a fireplace and we miss it. We have found how drafty the windows are.

Image result for antarctica weather

Earlier the actual temperature was 6 degrees with a – 13 windchill. Tomorrow the high is supposed to be -12 and a low of -22 (without the windchill). I cannot remember when it was that cold before now. I am sure it has been.

Last week I went to school two days. This week it will be only one.

We don’t celebrate winter here so most people will be hunkered down inside their house. To be fair, the weather is not consistent which makes it difficult to adjust. Yesterday afternoon it was 47 degrees before the temperature started to drop several degrees an hour again.

We kept warm in my house. We ate veggie soup with warm bread fresh from the oven.

I am thankful the snow makes everything bright.

I am thankful I do not have to commute many miles this week.

I am thankful for time to finish Slade House by David Mitchell.

I am thankful I will have time to go to the gym every day.

I am thankful I am able to work from home.

I am thankful my furnace works.

I am thankful I am with people I love.

What are your thoughts on winter? What are you thankful for today?

Fill the Well #DIYMFA #3

I am participating in the #DIYMFA book club. You can read the first post in this series here. Number 2 here. I participated last year as well, so if you would like to read my original post on this topic you can read that here.

Gabriela Pereira is the author and instigator of the DIYMFA empire.

Prompt: What tools do you use to feed your creativity?

  1. My IRL writing group
  2. My online Storyaday writers group
  3. Sprints with other people online
  4. Lists of words
  5. Other blogs
  6. Tarot cards pulled for writing
  7. Podcasts I listen to
  8. Exercise
  9. Freewrites that start with a phrase or word
  10. Pulled lines from poems or books
  11. My notes in my journal and KEEP notes

If you would like to know more about any of these tools let me know.

How do you fuel your creativity?

Weekend Coffee Share

Hello! Let’s sit and catch up a little. I will have my normal dark brew but dark black coffee for me today, nothing fancy.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I only went to work two days last week! We had MLK Monday off. We went to school on Tuesday and Thursday only. Wednesday and Friday had such low temps and windchills it wasn’t safe. Today (Monday) it is snowing and blowing and we are out again. The future forecast is below zero temps for Wednesday for sure so I am uncertain when I will be returning. Luckily, we have e-learning days set up so there are no summer makeup days.

If we were having coffee I would tell you Intermittent fasting (IF) is going well. I am playing with a 4hour eating window. I read Delay, Don’t Deny which was informative. Food tastes better and in general, I sleep better and have more energy. I am noticing tightness in my body and excess squishiness gone! It is a win!

Do you need a refill? I can fill your cup if you like!

Photo by David Bares on Pexels.com

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am really enjoying intentionally working with my #oneword: Connect. At the end of the month, I will do a whole post with some specifics and reflections. The monthly reflection and tracking is a new addition to this process for me this year. If you want some resources to pick your own word for this year – it is not too late! Go to this website and you will not be disappointed. Susannah Conway is amazing.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I was super excited to be featured in the TEACHWRITE Writing Round-Up this week. It is a great curated list for teachers, writers, and teacher-writers! You can click here and see it. It is a worthwhile subscribe.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am getting a new desk! It is in the mail and will be arriving soon. I realized I have been missing my desk at home. Since I was little, I have always had my own writing space. Due to circumstances of the last couple years that has not been the case. My hubby and I already have a plan of where to put it. I also moved the bookcase into the bedroom so the physical pieces now match the mental pieces of my process.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I have been enjoying my posts that I am created for my DIYMFA series. Reflection is a good thing and it is fun to connect and learn about other writer’s processes as well.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I always enjoy our visits! I cannot wait for us to do it again.

Please leave questions or comments below! Let’s connect!

Happy reading and writing and stay WARM!

What is Your SuperPower? #DIYMFA Book Club #2

On the DIYMFA website there is a cool quiz. I love quizzes and used to do them in Seventeen magazine. (Remember that publication? The August issue was always HUGE and sometimes didn’t fit in the mailbox)

I always feel I get a little insight into myself no matter how silly the quiz is. I have used the 16personalities.com quiz as a teacher coach. I like these types of quizzes as springboards for conversation, communication and, reflection.

This SUPERPOWER quiz is supposed to lead me to how I approach writing. My initial results indicate the Disruptor. You can read the description below.

You Can Take the Quiz Here

Result: The Disruptor

You’re drawn to larger-than-life characters who rebel against the status quo. Your stories champion people who will do whatever it takes to change their societies, overcome all odds, and defeat tyranny. Whether your character makes a small but significant personal choice or starts an all-out revolution, at the core your stories are about sharing your ideals with the world.

Then I took the quiz again with mostly the same answers and got:

Result: The Underdog

You are the quintessential underdog storyteller and your superpower is creating relate-able characters who have a deep desire to change something in themselves or in the world around them. From rags-to-riches narratives to epic David-and-Goliath-style battles you craft stories with high stakes and compelling characters your readers can’t help but love.

My Reflection:

As I said, this is not a scientific study nor a psychological test. As a writer of short stories I am constantly creating new worlds and characters. I love a great story that has a character that changes throughout the course of the story and who has a shift of mindset.

I am a rebel – even for rules I impose on myself. I don’t like being told what to do in most cases, even if I tell myself. HA! I have had critiques where the reader felt there are too many unanswered questions or a character did something completely surprising. I don’t always follow story rules. I am usually ok with that though.

I do have deep fundamental beliefs that come through some of my stories. I am not sure as a writer that I would want to stop that. Not all the characters I write share my same beliefs. For one, that would be terribly boring.

Depending on the type of piece I am writing depends on how I approach it. It makes me multifaceted and I like it!

What is your superpower!? I would love to know what you are.

If you would like to read the first post in this series you can click here.

#FMF: Convenient

If you’re new to Five Minute Friday, here’s how it works:

Each week Kate shares a one word writing prompt that goes live at 10 pm EST on Thursday. Writers and bloggers are invited to freewrite for five minutes flat on the writing prompt of the week and then you can choose to share on her site.

This week’s Five Minute Friday writing prompt is: CONVENIENT



  1. fitting in well with a person’s needs, activities, and plans.

Today there is another canceled school day replaced with an e-learning day. Right now the wind chill is -19 degrees F. This cancellation fits very well for my personal needs this week. I have been struggling this week at work for various reasons and working from home is helpful for my mental wellness.

I would love to work from home a couple days a month in my current job and this wish came true twice this week! I am thankful we do not have to make up the days in June now. That idea is NOT convenient.

Last night I was reading and came across a new blog to me: https://teachlivingpoets.com/. As I was reading several posts , one referred to a concept I am partially familiar with:mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors.

In reading instruction, there are times we find text that is a mirror – the words reflect back the person who is reading it. It is about someone like you, or a situation you are familiar with.

Windows allow you to see into some else’s experience to better understand them or the situation.

Sliding glass doors is the idea of movement. This is a concept that opens up the conversation. It opens up the connection between you as a reader and thinker and someone else. Sliding doors allow for dialogue and new perspectives.

The sliding glass door metaphor was new to me, but I like it.

It is always convenient for me to find new things to learn about, but it is a word I struggle to spell!

A random thing that popped into my mind about Convenient is my KEEP app. I have figured out if I come across a website I can share it with myself on my phone and it works every time. I have a lot of short stories on there I can read this weekend! It is one of my many productivity hacks!

My word for 2019 is CONNECT and I am crafting a post for the end of the month that highlight how I have connected throughout the month of January. Part of my process for this year’s word is to reflect if the word is really working for me. It fulfills a need for me and also deepens the practice.

If you would like to read more of my Five Minute Friday posts click the category to the left of this post. Feel free to comment below about your thoughts about the word as well. I would love to hear what you feel is convenient.

If you would like a new challenge for Feb. check out #write28days at https://anitaojeda.com/welcome-to-the-write-28-days-blogging-challenge/

#DIYMFA Series – Reality

I am participating in the #DIYMFA book club. You can read the first post in this series here. I participated last year as well, so if you would like to read my original post on this topic you can read that HERE.

Gabriela Pereira is the author and instigator of the DIYMFA empire. Her prompt for honoring reality is:

Has there ever been a moment when writing felt completely incompatible with your real life–when it felt like there was just no way you could make the two exist together?

The largest component that pops out for me from this prompt me is the idea of BALANCE. I wrote about balance for the Five Minute Friday challenge and you can read that post here. 

Writing is part of my daily reality, but balance is a myth. There are priorities in life and you have to decide what goes first everyday. Every day can be a different set of decisions about what is essential.

When I read this prompt this morning this is the story that came to mind to share.

During NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) this past November the goal is to write about 1700 words a day to reach the goal of 50,000 words for the month. I had an important workshop I needed to attend for 2 days at the end of the month including travel and overnight stays. There were days that I wrote more than 1700 words during the challenge. There were even several 3000 word days! I had no way of knowing if I would have time during the training to write, so I made sure I reached my 50,000 word goal BEFORE I left for that trip. There were several mornings I woke super early (3am early) and wrote 1000 words before I went to work. I wrote in pockets of time to get the goal accomplished. Plus I really love this story! I formed the goal and then the plan to make the word count happen. I was committed and it became reality.

For me, writing doesn’t always look like words on the screen. Sometimes it is notes in the notebook or on the KEEP app. Sometimes it is only a blog post. Sometimes it is a full short story.

WORDS happen every day because that is the reality I create. Words help me connect to myself and other people. I believe you make time for what is important to you – writing is that thing for me. It isn’t the only thing – but it is near the top of the list!

What do you make time for in your life?

Wicket Wednesday

Image result for wicket door


  1. 1.a small door or gate, especially one beside or in a larger one.

Today I am giving you a little doorway through a wicket into the larger doorway of my life! A little peek…

Earlier this week, I expressed how I was hoping to win a spot in the lottery for one of Kathy Fish’s Fast Fiction classes she is offering this year. I received the congratulations email this morning at 430 am! I am in for July! I cannot express how exciting this is for me.

The ice rained down from the sky yesterday and everything is covered in ice so I have a two hour delay work canceled for today! We have our first e-learning day. It is a welcome change of pace. Yesterday was a frustrating day at work. This is an occurrence that happens to everyone of course. I was able to work some energy out at the gym before the roads became treacherous. I came home feeling much better. Then we watched a delightful movie called The Bookshop based on the book by
Penelope Fitzgerald. It is a sweet movie and the characters are strong. Check it out if you need something “FEEL GOOD.”

I miss my writing desk and have bid on one. I hope I win! It converts and is old and PERFECT! Fingers crossed!

What is beyond your wicket today??

Winter Outing #SOL19

Two Writing Teachers run the Slice of Life tag ever Tuesday, where readers and writers are encouraged to write and share something about their life or day. You can check out the tag here.

On this past snowy, windy, winter Saturday my hubby and I went to a local used bookstore and a Harry Potter inspired cafe in the little downtown where we live. Because of the impending winter storm all the books were $1 unless they were new. (It really was just winter but $1 books are hard to pass up no matter what the reason!)

Green Door used books a cozy place that has local art and self-published zines. Floor to ceiling bookshelves and wood plank floors. I felt right at home with books everywhere including stacked on the floor.

The owner was friendly. He asked if I needed to get to the shelves of self-help and spirituality since he was sitting in front of it. I smiled and said I was good. A salty old man who seems to spend the bulk of his time there laughed at my answer. They were both friendly, welcoming, and informative but not overbearing. I will go back for sure. We purchased 4 books while we were there 2 for me and 2 for my hubby. One of which was the Paris review with the poetry of Billy Collins – well worth a buck.

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Then we took a little walk a couple doors down to the corner cafe encased in brick. It is Harry Potter inspired with games and large tables for gaming and sitting. It doesn’t open til 11 so it more for a place to come and stay rather than just run in for your morning coffee. The place was packed and all the tables taken when we got there but the comfy couch in front of the fake fireplace was perfect for us to consume our drinks. I had the pleasure of having butter beer at universal studios when I visited Diagon alley years ago. Here the specialty drink is a butter brew. Caramel, butterscotch, and toffee with a shot of espresso and butterscotch whipped cream. Definitely had to start with the signature drink. It did not disappoint. I had read they often run out of it before the end of the day. My hubby ended up with a hot chocolate. He wanted white chocolate but they were out that day.

It was cozy and full of life. Another place i will return to. It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon after going to the gym in the morning.

The first weekend of February we are going to venture to Chicago to visit the American Writer Museum and a bookstore downtown TBD. I am already looking forward to it!

How Did I Become A Serious Writer?

Reading and writing are best friends. I am participating in the DIYMFA Book Club again and this post is inspired by the DIYMFA site and book club. The last time I wrote about my origin story was from the POV of my first run in with writing. It infected me them and you can read about it here.

The question I am reflecting on is: ” How did I become a serious writer?” In October of 2016 I found Gabriela’s podcast. Through that podcast I found Julie Duffy and her STORYADAY challenge and website. I had missed Julie’s September storyaday challenge so I challenged myself to a self imposed month of writing a story a day. That process led me to sign up for NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) and the habit stuck. This was also when I found short stories were my niche. It is hard to quit writing when you have written everyday for 2 months. That first NANO I wrote short stories everyday and didn’t look back.

I also seriously began posting on my blog and started calling myself a writer after the first of the year 2017.

May rolled around and I participated in the May storyaday and wrote a whole folder of stories inspired by Julie’s prompts. I also gained a writing group. I took the plunge and took advantage of the Superstars group Julie offered. For support, she offered more materials and a special forum for us to talk about writing and the challenge.

What else do I do? I make time to write everyday. I started reading more about craft. I learned more about blogging and how to get more traffic and how to write better content. I read A LOT – short stories and craft books. I interacted with other writers online and found a local in real life writing group.

I recently took a class from a well respected flash fiction writer and learned more from the feedback and a critique in three weeks than most of the reading I have done about editing over the last year and a half. I hope to be able to take another class with her soon.

The next step? I am submitting. I ordered business cards this morning that list writer FIRST. I am in the lottery (fingers crossed) to get into Kathy Fish’s flash writing class. If not now, I will keep trying.

I have committed to the writing. Everyday, THAT is what makes me a serious writer…getting the words on the page (or screen).