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What My Daughter Has Taught Me About Being A Brave Writer

Every writer doubts themselves. But what happens when the doubts, fears, and insecurities muffle their creativity? One day they’re writing up a storm, celebrating goals, then the next…FROZEN.

I’ve most recently experienced the dreaded FROZEN feeling most writers hope to avoid. I went through a swirl of emotions trying to understand the path I was taking and was petrified for one reason or another I was doing all the wrong things. It was quite nerve-wracking going through all of those doubts, fears, and insecurities. But the inspiration to continue came from the most unexpected place, imaginable:   The playground.

I love listening to the weird things my daughter and some of her friends say. One day, after sports practice, my daughter zoomed down the slide, climbed the highest ladder, then made her way down to the swings. There were two girls, about three years older than her, in princess costumes, swinging on their bellies singing “I Knew You Were Trouble,” by Taylor Swift.

“Mommy, I want to go on the swings,” she whispered, so the girls wouldn’t hear.

“Well then, you’ll have to go over there and ask to have a turn,” I said. She looked frightfully doubtful and I felt like a complete ass, but I knew this was good for her. Pressing past her doubts and asking for what she wanted, bravely. I told her to go for it.

“What if they say no? They’re older than me,” she asked. Her little lips were pressed together in a straight line, seriously mulling it over.

“It’s okay if they say no. You go play on the slide, then when they leave, you get a turn. Either ask or wait,” I said. I watched, proudly, a few moments later, as she approached the girls. She is MY daughter, after all – we’re not known for our patience, but we sure as hell have courage.

Just then, the frilly princess/diva girls had began singing “Let it go”…and making loud flatulence noises. It was then I knew everything would be okay. I bit back my laughter because it was disgusting, but … cute. I was unsuccessful at holding in my amusement. Low and uncontrollable laughter bubbled up and escaped my lips. What I thought was expendable joy warmed the soul, from the tips of my toes to the ends of time, the irony washed over me with refreshing humor.  Seeing an uncharacteristic change from the gloominess I’d been reflecting that day, my husband asked what was going on as he sat down beside me on the bench, hauling our daughter’s sports equipment.

“Oh, you know. Girls will be girls,” I gave him a wide smile, snorted in laughter, and nodded my head over to the swings. He grinned. Our daughter had gotten her turn on the swing, and her anxiety and doubt had diminished as she giggled about the song with the girls.

Diamond diadem on a black background with reflexion

In all their innocent fun, my daughter and those girls reminded me of a few things that day, I’d lost sight of in my anxiety:

Fear only has as much control as we give it.

Doubt keeps us from enjoying the journey.

Situations and people aren’t always what or who they seem to be.

Just because a person has more experience, doesn’t mean they’ll instantly reject ideas from someone new to their circle.

It’s wise to seek and ‘hang out’ with those who are genuinely interested in seeing you succeed and don’t mind sharing the spotlight with you. Otherwise, it’s not worth the energy to worry over any type of rejection or resentment from them-openly or in private.

Joy comes from venturing out into the unknown, making yourself a little uncomfortable, even at the cost of being rejected.

Here’s the most important lesson I took from the playground that day:

DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT AND GO FOR IT.

So, that’s what I’m doing.

At this time in my life, I have to consolidate my social media presence to the point of what works for me. I’m not writing this post to give an explanation to anyone about my actions, but I have a feeling many writers juggling several things have been in the same boat as me, if they are completely honest with themselves. I wonder how many writers have several genres and brands they are managing for the sake of compartmentalizing their creativity. I also am curious as to how they don’t drive themselves mad with distractions, spreading out their online presence in so many directions. There are no lack in resources on how to simplify the management online presence. What I’ve had to consider is the elephant in the room: using the information and resources I’ve researched in these areas to find what works best for me. I think I’m doing a fair job by letting this blog be a central point for all writing projects.

I’ve realized, over the past several months and with my writing interactions on a business level, the main person I owe anything to is myself. Being true to who I am. And I refuse to be one-dimensional. I’ve fought the battle of doubt, and thankfully I lost that day, on the playground. Unconventionality is a true joy in life, not many have the opportunity or guts to express.

I haven’t openly announced that I’ve written, published, and received several five star reviews on my newest erotic fiction book until now (thank you to those who left the thoughtful and beautiful reviews. I’m humbled by your support and thrilled you liked my story. – Uhm. Yeah. This is one of those uncomfortable moments when I brag a little. Swear I’m not a constant braggart. But, damn it, it’s encouraging to know people enjoyed my writing.) Despite the positive responses from those around me, doubt has kept me from it.

I thought I had to choose. Be a Mom and write sweet romance or be a saucy minx Mom keeping a double presence (to a certain extent a ‘double presence’ is necessary, being that a children’s book project SHOULD be kept separate from fictional romance because they are two polar opposite concepts. That is why the children’s book project I’m working on has a completely separate pen name.)

I’m the same, no matter what name I write under. The material may be different, but I am me. Period. I have always been the type of person to strive to be transparent, even online. It’s not much work, honestly, just being me. But it’s more efficient to post any writing announcements or news here and also on my author website.

FEAR ONLY HAS AS MUCH CONTROL AS WE GIVE IT.

This is me taking that fear away. I write sweet and steamy romance under the name Laurie Kozlowski.

Most recently, since my daughter has told me she wanted to be an author, I’ve began writing a children’s book with her to help support her dreams. I hope to give some of the proceeds to a children’s charity as the project grows, over time.

I also write erotic fiction under the pen name of Roxie Nash.

I write what I want to write, regardless of who’s on the playground. If someone doesn’t like it, I have a princess crown I put on especially for those occasions and can make the loudest mock-flatulence noises known to humanity, pointed in the direction of the naysayers. Because my daughter loves that crap (the disgusting flatulence noises.) And though she’s not quite tall enough for the monkey bars and I often lift her up, she’ll always be my Shero. ❤

Health and Wellness · Humor · Inspiration · Musings · My Motherhood Memoir · Parenthood · Relationships · Things That Matter · Writing · Writing Life · Writing Tips

Parenting, Forging A Writing Career, And A Birthday Wish For My Daughter

I think most people have wondered if the “grass is greener on the other side.” If they haven’t, well….they may be smoking the very cannabis (for medicinal purposes – of course) near the greener grass and be oblivious of envy.

If everyone (including myself) who is caught up in catching up with others would  just water their own damn grass it probably wouldn’t be so dried up and brittle and they wouldn’t be envious of something that DOESN’T EXIST. I DO have a point here: keeping a balance between work life, family, and health is much the same way.  

When I was dating my husband I made a solemn vow to myself: I would NEVER dedicate my life to house and home – leading a boring life day in and day out of cleaning, cooking, and serving people while losing myself in the process. The thought of leading this kind of life gave me the impression of weakness and incompetence…certainly, I was capable of MORE than just being a stay-at-home MOM and WIFE.

Then I squeezed out a 7 lb, cone-headed, drooling bundle of precious wonder and tucked her inside my post-maternity gown for the very first time – right upon my beating heart. The heat from her tiny, warm body lay snug against my skin, and in that moment my heart swelled with uncertain emotion. I stroked her soft hair and saw her tiny lips – she had a small chin like mine. She was so quiet and calm until she was hungry, much like I am when I get hangry (so hungry, it makes you angry and affects your mood.) I wondered if I had what it took to give her the life she deserved, and deducted at that time, I was just glad to have a healthy and happy baby. If I had done anything right in life, it was having her in my arms just then.

Next, life happened. A few days after she was born I finally took a look at my body in the mirror, touched my stomach, and cried. My navel wasn’t in the same place as it was before my pregnancy – it was like I was looking at a distorted version of my former self and the body wasn’t mine. I looked down as the tears continued falling to the floor to see my ankles were still swollen. In an effort to “pull up my boot straps” and keep going, I was unforgiving of the fact that my body and emotions needed time to recover from the labor, birth, and the shock of transitioning over from life as I knew it to the never-ending duties of being a Mom. I remember my husband holding me and telling me I was beautiful – I’m almost certain he wrapped his arms around me, touching my stomach as I cringed and shook my head in disbelief. We took on the roles of early parenthood together, but our experiences were so different it pushed us away from one another.

I tried to become that woman I vowed I NEVER wanted to be. I only managed to accomplish ONE of those things really well in the first few years of my daughter’s life: taking care of her wants and needs day in and day out. I THOUGHT I WAS A FAILURE THEN, BUT TODAY REALIZE IT IS THE BEST THING I HAVE DONE OR EVER WILL DO WITH MY LIFE. Being here for her whenever she needs me. Being available to her when she wants to spend time with me. Giving up the things I thought were most important in life (like my pre-pregnancy body and consistent peaceful alone time)…for her. If my husband hadn’t consistently shown his commitment to our family so much, I would say the love of my daughter is the deepest love I’ve ever known. There is no contest, really. The love I share with both of them is making my life what it is today.

I never thought I’d say this: I LOVE BEING A MOM. I freaking love the hell out of it. I love it now that she is in school and more independent, but at the same time I’m scared of that independence because she’s needing me less and less each day. So when she asks me to cuddle or read to her when I’m in the middle of a critical plot-boosting scene, I STOP TO HUG HER AND READ WITH HER A FAVORITE STORY. When she’s taking skating lessons, instead of having that time to write or work on a story outline while a trainer takes over, I GO OUT THERE AND SKATE WITH HER. Instead of staying up late at night to catch up on my social media platform and network with colleagues and friends, I’m trying to do something special with her each evening before her bedtime.

*Sigh* I’m not saying that I don’t have what it takes to be a writer – I think I do. I’m just saying that today, on my daughter’s birthday, I’m giving us both a break. I’ve realized that every writer has their own unique family and relationship situations that have to balance out with their career from home. It’s hard to turn off work mode when a person works from home, but it has to be done.

I have a young daughter, and this is a time in her life that I don’t want to be too busy for. It may take me longer than I would like to make it through several rough drafts before jumping into the publishing pool, but it will happen as it happens. I may have to re-evaluate my goals several times as situations arise during this constant learning process in parenting, but I’ll stick with it and keep writing. 

I’d like to thank everyone who is following my blog and has been supportive through various social media channels to help me get this far. I’ve connected with some really great people who have offered guidance and advice as I go along this journey as a writer and have had the joy of interacting with those who visit and comment. I am so truly appreciative of your support.

It’s a tough thing – forging a writing career, taking care of family duties, and remembering if you don’t take care of your health you may not be around long enough to have more memories.

I want to conclude this post in a positive way and let you know I’ll be back here soon blogging my brains out when I’m able to do so. In the meantime, I’ll be writing and sharing time with family, occasionally on Twitter and Facebook when time allows to let you know of my writing progress on Sweet Texas Temptation – the first book in the Lonely Hearts In Texas Series.

*Please note: the former Lonely Hearts In Texas Series has been re-named. It is now the Riverbend Way series as of August 2014. All copyrights still stand. Thanks.*

I also want to wish my daughter (whose head is now mostly round, has lips that won’t stop talking, and still gets cranky when hungry) a very happy birthday. I love you, Skina-Marinky-Do.

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Health and Wellness · Mental Health · Musings · Parenthood · Relationships · What I Do When I'm Not Wrting · Writing · Writing Life

Things I Do When I’m Not Writing: Turning Trash Into Reusable (and useful) Home Treasures

Sometimes a person can get so caught up in working (especially if they work from home and can’t switch it off in their brains) that they forget to take time for the non-work related things they also genuinely enjoy. I thought I’d share a peek into my family life for minute and one of my favorite hobbies that does not involve writing to remind myself and others some of the best times in life are when we step back to enjoy the small things for a while.

It’s good to be a serious writer and spend time taking workshops, writing, and building a platform. But it’s okay to NOT write sometimes and enjoy something non-writer related. It rounds us out as people, I think, and does the mind and body good. Of course, when you’re done, be sure to sit that ass down again and write 😉 Only takes a pen and (hopefully many sheets) of paper. So, here I am being a hypocrite and writing. Lol. But, I took a few weeks off (mostly) from social media and did some things I enjoy. This is ONE of my favorite things. Turning trash to treasure.

There are many people out of jobs, on tight budgets, and barely getting by to provide for themselves and/or their families. A great way to save on a tight budget is to remember everyday items and trash have the potential to be very useful for storage and organizational purposes around the house.

Why would you want to take the time to turn trash to treasure?

Most storage containers, even at a dollar-discount store, will be around $1 for the small containers and more for the larger containers. These containers are usually see-through for convenience and pretty colors for well…color-coding? Lol. Why spend money on containers that will remain hidden most of the time, anyway? Save money by taking a few minutes to transform boxes, holiday tins and baskets, etc… and organize for your daily routine. It saves time, too, when everything has a place!

It’s also fun for kids. I have a 4 year old who loves doing craft things…I don’t. 🙂  The way we do it at home is – I usually do the practical and boring things to put the container together, then she decorates it with markers, stickers, glitter, and whatever else she can find. I love seeing things she and I made “together” when I look into a drawer or open a book. Here are some bookmarks we made, and how we did it:

Homemadebookmarks

My daughter finger-painted with Crayola “invisible” metallic paint using the special paper. I used an empty granola bar box and cut out the side (perfect bookmark size), then wrapped her artwork around the cardboard and laminated it with boxing tape. Cut around the edges for the finishing touch, and voilà! Instant bookmark and useful preservation of a beautiful memory.

After the holidays (Christmas, Easter, and Valentine’s day, etc…), we also use the tins and baskets to stay organized and save time. Here is my daughter’s craft center. We use her Easter baskets for storage. I also re-used a Valentine’s Day tin for writing utensil storage. Because even romance writers have a practical side 😉

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I’ve re-used this old sunglasses case box in addition to my spice rack to have the frequently used spices on hand and stored together beside the stove….

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Then the most recent 5 minute thrifty project I’ve done: make a straw caddy for the every-day flatware drawer out of an empty aluminum foil box.

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Here’s one I invested some time in during pregnancy bed-rest several years ago. Yes, I had some time on my hands and we couldn’t afford the frivolous, pre-made and festive holiday shapes. So, I made this Christmas tree with my crafting pliers, multi-colored lights, and a holiday tin.

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 This is my next project. Oh, yes, I’m now out of control! Lol. Came across this idea on Pinterest. Use an old dresser drawer for a bookshelf! Consignment stores are great places to find such things – then remembering to donate back the gently used (new) items you buy so someone else could use the “treasure.” 🙂

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I’m fortunate to have a spouse who appreciates my thriftiness and creativity. After all, he didn’t take issue with me burning a design into the first piece of furniture we bought for our house after he stained it and was relieved to know I didn’t put clovers on it (I was on an Irish kick then)….

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It truly is a team effort to save money, as a family. My daughter is learning such things as turning the light out when she leaves a room, turning the water off while brushing her teeth, and participates in these fun (and money-saving) activities.

 It may be the fact that I grew up poor, but I still and never will regret or be ashamed of my thrifty-minded nature. It’s one of the advantages of a creative and practical mind to be able to stretch a dollar in today’s consumerism-minded society. I’ve seen both sides of the fence. Thrifty, creative, and family fueled memories and projects are one of the most priceless moments of all.

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Happy New Year, and I hope you’re able to enjoy something that makes YOU happy soon! Take care.

Health and Wellness · Humor · Inspiration · Mental Health · Music · Musings · My Motherhood Memoir · Parenthood · Relationships · Things That Matter · Uncategorized · Writing

A Motherhood Memoir (Pt3): Doggone Mommy Madness

Every parent has their bad days, maybe feeling like they fall short of the holy grail of parenthood and moral goodness. Rules may fly out the window on a whim during a moment of defeat and it’s easy to think we’ve failed. I want to speak to those parents, and anyone who is interested in knowing more about postpartum depression. I found during pregnancy, there were an abundance of articles, books, and resources with answers for new parents and the joys of parenthood.

About a month after my daughter was born I decided I would never trust a self-help book on parenting and threw the damn things away. The reality is, many new parents fight an uphill battle and are struggling to get through it. I’m not an expert and don’t have the answers, but am sharing how it was for me. Motherhood doesn’t come natural for every woman nor does every man embrace the duties of Fatherhood. It helps to try and heal from the past, make the most of the present, and find joy as we work toward a better future for our families.

I hope my memoir of motherhood gives some insight into the challenges of new parenthood and the first and most important years of childhood as well as what life is like during postpartum depression. My intent is to reach out to people who are in similar situations and may be going through a tough time to let them know they are not alone.

Posts on A MOTHERHOOD MEMOIR have been temporarily removed, pending a completion of the full story in its entirety. A release date for this blogging series (and now book memoir), has not been set and is temporarily on hold in order to complete other works in progress. Thank you to readers who have followed this blogging series. I will re-post the entire story to the blog when it is completed.

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Inspiration · Mental Health · Music · Musings · My Motherhood Memoir · Parenthood · Relationships · Things That Matter · Uncategorized · Writing

A Motherhood Memoir (Pt2): Death of A Career-Feed the Children or Feed My Child

Every parent has their bad days, maybe feeling like they fall short of the holy grail of parenthood and moral goodness. Rules may fly out the window on a whim during a moment of defeat and it’s easy to think we’ve failed. I want to speak to those parents, and anyone who is interested in knowing more about postpartum depression. I found during pregnancy, there were an abundance of articles, books, and resources with answers for new parents and the joys of parenthood.

About a month after my daughter was born I decided I would never trust a self-help book on parenting and threw the damn things away. The reality is, many new parents fight an uphill battle and are struggling to get through it. I’m not an expert and don’t have the answers, but am sharing how it was for me. Motherhood doesn’t come natural for every woman nor does every man embrace the duties of Fatherhood. It helps to try and heal from the past, make the most of the present, and find joy as we work toward a better future for our families.

I hope my memoir of motherhood gives some insight into the challenges of new parenthood and the first and most important years of childhood as well as what life is like during postpartum depression. My intent is to reach out to people who are in similar situations and may be going through a tough time to let them know they are not alone.

Posts on A MOTHERHOOD MEMOIR have been temporarily removed, pending a completion of the full story in its entirety. A release date for this blogging series (and now book memoir), has not been set and is temporarily on hold in order to complete other works in progress. Thank you to readers who have followed this blogging series. I will re-post the entire story to the blog when it is completed.

Daughter in Great-Grandmother's jewelry. Clip-on earrings were the bees knees :)
Daughter in Great-Grandmother’s jewelry. Clip-on earrings were the bees knees 🙂

 

Health and Wellness · Inspiration · Mental Health · Music · Musings · My Motherhood Memoir · Parenthood · Things That Matter · Uncategorized

A Memoir Of Motherhood(Pt 1):Tossing Out The Rules For Reality

Every parent has their bad days, maybe feeling like they fall short of the holy grail of parenthood and moral goodness. Rules may fly out the window on a whim during a moment of defeat and it’s easy to think we’ve failed. I want to speak to those parents, and anyone who is interested in knowing more about postpartum depression. I found during pregnancy, there were an abundance of articles, books, and resources with answers for new parents and the joys of parenthood.

About a month after my daughter was born I decided I would never trust a self-help book on parenting and threw the damn things away. The reality is, many new parents fight an uphill battle and are struggling to get through it. I’m not an expert and don’t have the answers, but am sharing how it was for me. Motherhood doesn’t come natural for every woman nor does every man embrace the duties of Fatherhood. It helps to try and heal from the past, make the most of the present, and find joy as we work toward a better future for our families.  

I hope my Memoir of Motherhood gives some insight into the challenges of new parenthood and the first and most important years of childhood as well as what life is like during postpartum depression. My intent is to reach out to people who are in similar situations and may be going through a tough time to let them know they are not alone.

Posts on A MOTHERHOOD MEMOIR have been temporarily removed, pending a completion of the full story in its entirety. A release date for this blogging series (and now book memoir), has not been set and is temporarily on hold in order to complete other works in progress. Thank you to readers who have followed this blogging series. I will re-post the entire story to the blog when it is completed.


Baby&Me