Can You Write 2 Books at Once?

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Hello All! I hope everyone is surviving. This past month has been one of the hardest for a lot of people. I’m barely keeping my head above water. We all must keep fighting and striving. There’s nothing else we can do.

This piece is going to be short because I’ve put my poor brain into overdrive. I’m filled with creative energy, but I’m also draining all the energy daily. I’ve heard that being mentally drained can be just as bad as being physically drained. I agree with that sentiment.

I’ve been writing my thriller and discovering a lot about myself in my main character. I’m not going to mention her name because I may change it before publication. I’ve been sticking to a weekend writing schedule for the past month. I’ve been busy writing, fixing, and structuring – then WHAM! I got hit with a flood of emotions and memories from my past, and the stories just kept coming.

I had no choice, but to succumb to all these ideas swimming in my brain. I had to release them, so a new book was born. I didn’t get shiny idea syndrome where you consistently start and stop new projects. I’m still writing the thriller, but this new project is so interesting. In this project, I’m really delving into things that I know about: love, divorce, loss, and betrayal.

A new project seemed like an overwhelming task to take on. My plate is already quite full. I work full time and looking into going back to school this year. I’m also working on designs for a merch store that should be up on my website this spring. I’m what the young people call: booked and busy.

Can a person really devote all their time and energy to 2 books at once? I thought of Tyler Perry and Shonda Rhimes. They’re constantly writing scripts in addition to running shows. I realize I have a long way to go before I reach their level. It’s even harder when you don’t have a team of people working for you. I’ve come up with some tips if you find yourself being flooded with other ideas while you’ve got a project going already.

Protect your energy.

It is draining enough to work on one project let alone two, so you must be mindful of your energy level. Don’t work until you’re so exhausted you can’t think straight. You need to stop working if you experience glossy or twitching eyes and headaches. I normally wake up filled with ideas when I allow my body to rest and recuperate.

Make sure your projects don’t fall flat.

If you decide to take on more than one project, make sure you’re putting in the effort. Your readers will know you didn’t put your best ideas into your work. The story may start off as a page turner, but then the story may lose its spice midway through.

Let it go.

Some ideas may seem great in theory when you first write them. You might’ve gotten off to a great start, but now you are starting, stopping, and constantly restructuring the story. The new project may be moving along more smoothly, and you may be more excited to write it. You may need to let the old project sit for a while and focus on the new project. You can always revisit the old project later.

That’s all I have folks. May you continue to push forward with your goals despite adversity.

Have a great week!

Kenesha

 

Life Update: I’m Writing A Thriller!

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Hello World!

I know I’m super late, but I wanted to say HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope everyone is off to an amazing start to the new year. I got a dry erase board calendar in December and had the entire month of January planned well before January 1st. Boy am I glad I did! It is already almost the end of the month. Time is already flying!

I just want to stop for a second, and acknowledge that for many, 2020 has brought on immense devastation.  I am so grateful to see American firefighters get a warm welcome as they got off the plane to help the firefighters in Australia. My heart has been breaking seeing all the devastation, but I cried tears of joy when I saw that. May God keep these brave men and women safe as they brave the wildfires and help save lives.

It is very hard to stay creative if you’re tuned in to what’s going on in the world. It is a constant struggle, but I’ve been in beast mode writing my book finally! I’m writing a thriller which is my favorite genre to read and write. I didn’t realize the processes involved in writing thrillers. I’ve been reading thriller books and watching thriller movies to stay in the head space to write. This is by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. I do a word count every five minutes it feels like.

Also, I am an avid pantser when writing. A pantser is a person that writes with no outline or guidance. They just let the ideas flow. This is the best way for me to write even though it can be frustrating not having any direction. Ideas come to me all the time when I’m writing, so sticking to an outline just doesn’t work for me.

The focus of this post is to comment on a great video by one of my favorite AuthorTubers, Alexa Donne. Check out her video: “Plot A Thriller Backwards! How to Plot a Thriller.” YouTube, 17 Jan. 2020, https://youtu.be/b-nkedZnppY.

In the video, she explains how to write the motive first then work your way back to the beginning of the book. I loved her advice. It would speed things up when writing my book. But her advice is not going to work for me for these reasons:

  • I don’t want to know what’s going to happen yet in my thriller.

As a pantser, I’m just letting the characters do what they do. I am not dictating how things are flowing. I have stumbled upon some excellent scenes and plot twists by letting my creative juices flow. Also, I am not sure who to choose from for the “who done it” yet. If I start writing the ending ahead of time, it may take the book down a less gripping road. I want to shock my audience so I’m trying to be as raw and gritty as possible.

  • It would take the fun out of the process if I wrote the motive first.

I’ve learned that if you’re writing an adult fiction book, you should aim for 80,000-100,000 words. That is a lot of words. I am currently taking my time making sure each chapter flows nicely together. I don’t want the book to be one great ending, and then a lot of boring chapters leading up to that. I am devoting extra time into each chapter. I am always keeping my audience and myself in mind as I write. I want to be on the edge of my seat after each page. Writing the motive will be a very welcomed treat after all the work on the other chapters.

  • I am becoming more invested in my characters by writing beginning to end.

In thrillers, there are characters you either don’t like or understand. I’m delving into the psyche of the protagonist. She was the lead character by default. I couldn’t stand her at first. I was going to restructure her in the book. I began to peel back the layers of her personality and experiences to make her more real, and surprisingly more understandable.

As you probably can tell, I’m having a lot of fun writing this book even though I have no life right now. I’m doing exactly what I set out to do this year, and that’s a good feeling. Writing is requiring a lot of brain energy, so I will try to post as much as I can.

 

Until we speak again, I hope you’re tackling your goals for 2020!

 

Blessings:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Queen & Slim Taught Me about the Big Chop

By Kenesha Collins

I saw Queen and Slim this weekend at the movies. I have to say there are so many social topics in that movie, it touched every emotion a person can have. It is a very powerful movie, and I look forward to seeing it again. One of the many highlights of the movie was when Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) cuts her braids exposing her short hair. 

If you’ve followed my journey a little this year, you’ve noticed I’ve changed the pictures on my website. I cut almost all of my hair off. In the African American community, it is called ‘the big chop.’ African American women who want to rid their hair of chemical straighteners (relaxers) or coloring will cut our hair off. When our hair grows back, it is called natural. My situation was different. I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism this year. One of the symptoms is hair thinning. My hair fell out in patches all over my head, and there was nothing I could do with it. Over the last two years, I’ve braided it, dyed it, and relaxed it to no end. It was badly damaged, and I wanted a fresh look. 

One Sunday afternoon, I walked right into the salon I visit every now and then. I said to the stylist quickly before I could change my mind, “I want to cut my hair off.” The stylist hooked me up. She cut my hair with such care and ease. She must have sensed my nervousness as I saw the hair falling to the floor, little by little.

The picture below is the end product. It was taken two days after my haircut in my bathroom. As you can see, I was feeling myself. The pictures I took prior were of a young lady trying to figure the world out. This new me was a grown woman with plenty of life, pain, and wisdom in her eyes. 

 

This haircut was my version of the Queen transformation. For years, I’ve done everything, but cut my hair short. I had listened to the urging of folks (mainly African American men) not to cut my hair. If you look at society today, the more acknowledged form of beauty in the African American community is a woman with lighter skin and long natural hair or weave. I’ve never succumbed to the idea that was the only form of beauty that should be recognized or appreciated. I am considered a dark skinned African American woman, and I’ve always thought my skin was beautiful. I looked the other way when I would hear people say I am pretty for a dark skinned woman, or I should belong to a certain sorority because I am dark skinned. I even married an African American man who actually said he prefers light skinned women with long hair. Of course I’m not with that man any more. I dismissed those comments and people as having limited views of the world, and how we all should look. 

After my haircut, I walked into work proudly parading my new look. I work in a corporate setting, and individuality in style and dress aren’t expressed. I was prepared to get compliments from everyone. No one said a word. It’s been months, and no one has said a word since. I’ve gotten several compliments over the past two months from other people outside of work. Overall, the feedback has been positive. I didn’t know the simple act of cutting your hair could make you question yourself as a person. I’ve gotten some odd stares and negative feedback in addition to the positive. 

I have the normal level of self-confidence, but cutting my hair exposes me more nakedly to the public. If I have a blemish on my face, I don’t have hair to hide behind. My haircut calls for me to do more to increase my femininity like wear makeup and larger earrings. It commands that I walk with an air of confidence I wasn’t really ready to portray. A drastic haircut is intentional, and you have to own it. 

I had been grappling with the notion that perhaps I had made a mistake in cutting my hair because of the mixed reviews I’ve received. I had always knew where I stood beauty wise. I know I’m not Naomi Campbell, and I’ve always been okay with that. I actually always jokingly called myself ‘traditionally attractive.’ I was planning my next hair appointment to get long braids so I could feel ‘normal’ again when I went to see Queen and Slim. When the movie was over, I walked out with tears in my eyes for all different reasons. I was incredibly emotional because the topics in the movie hit so close to home for me. Surprisingly, one of the emotions I felt was pride. I was proud of my hair, and I held my head up higher as I walked out of the theater. 

What I’ve come to realize is that beauty is debatable, and that makes it interesting. It would be a boring world with no flavor if everyone had the same idea of beauty. Our unique features and differences is what makes us all special. I’m going to think differently when I catch someone staring at me. I’m going to relish in the fact that the person may be debating or studying my rare form of beauty. I will never forget that feeling when I left the movie. I felt beautiful and regal. I felt like a Queen. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why You Just Need to Write the Book

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By Kenesha Collins

When you are trying to solidify yourself in the writing industry, there are many things you can do to create a brand. You can podcast, teach courses online, or freelance for businesses. However, the ONE thing you can truly do to put your stamp on the writing world is to write a book. That sentence may create nervousness if you are truly passionate about your work. You may want to write the book but feel you don’t have enough knowledge.

Newsflash: The only way you will gain knowledge is through experience. If you’re waiting until you know EVERYTHING about writing, then you will never write the book. Also, at this moment, you probably know enough to write a book. You are ready, so what are you waiting for? Do you still think you’re ill-equipped? Here are some reasons why you just need to write the book:

You will be respected as an author.

Once you become an author, it catapults you to a level of seniority and respect. After you tell someone you are a published author, people will automatically give you that nod of approval. They will be intrigued you put out a book. The reason is that writing a book is hard. You are sitting down day and night working on a product that can take years to finish. Also, you are working on something that you may not get paid for right away. It may take years to receive royalties, or you may not get paid at all.

You will become a real member of the writing community.

Writing the book provides opportunities you wouldn’t get otherwise. You may be invited to workshops, conferences, or readings. You may be able to go on book tours. Discussing writing on podcasts or writing articles is fine. The actual experience of publishing a book will give you expertise so you can become a real source of information to your audience.

You will improve in your writing.

There are thousands of books that give tips and guidance on how to improve your writing skills, but constant practice is the only way you will improve.  You will also see improvements in your books. Your first will manuscript will not be your best work. It will just give you a stepping stone to get better.

You can make money.

I don’t want to give the illusion you will become rich overnight. It may take a lot of trial and error to get paid for your book, but you can get paid.  

There are two ways to publish your book – Traditional and Independent. Traditional is allowing your work to be published by a publishing house. Independent is publishing solely on your own. Both ways can be lucrative, but they are not without their disadvantages. You can get an advance on your book through traditional publishing, but the amount may be very small. Normally, it’s not enough to live on at all. Promotion, marketing, sales, and exposure are greater with traditional publishing. It could get your books in more hands. The downside is you give up control over those things I just mentioned. You also don’t control when your book is released. You could get bumped because your book is the same genre as another book being released the same year.

If you decide to publish independently, you pay all the costs to publish upfront. It may take many months or even years to get that money back. But the good news is you are in complete control. You determine how much to charge, the promotion, and release date. I will talk about publishing in future posts. The main point is – you’ll have a product you can sell.  

The people that are already on their fifth book are not smarter or more creative than you. They put in the work. They are disciplined to complete their goal. The hardest part is sitting at your computer or in front of a blank piece of paper. Don’t be afraid to write crap at first. Just let the words flow. You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to start.

Happy Writing!

Pushing Forward When You Feel Like Giving Up

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DECEMBER 9TH, 2019 – Kenesha Collins

There are exactly 23 days remaining in 2019. If you’re an avid YouTube viewer like me, you’re probably overwhelmed with tons of end of the year advice on how to be happy, more productive, and successful. Television and YouTube personalities must portray they are living their best lucrative lives, so you will want to tune in.

But what if you are currently not living your best life now? Your may lost your job, your business went bankrupt, or you wrote a book that didn’t sell. Worst of all, you may have lost a loved one this year.

When you’ve suffered a traumatic loss, the last thing you want to hear is how to move forward with determination and motivation. If you’re like me, you’d rather crawl in bed, and watch the days go by. The festive holiday commercials and Hallmark movies are not helping either.

I know how you may feel, and you have every right to feel down if you’ve been hit hard by a loss. As hard as it may seem to pick yourself up and try to push forward, it can be done. The following are some of the things I’ve tried myself when I’ve wanted to throw my hands up and give up.

You have the right to feel down, but you don’t need to stay down.

When you’re suffering, you have the right to tap into those raw emotions and express them. When you need to cry – do that. Let it out. Suppressing your hurt will eventually manifest into anger, and you may end up taking it out on those who don’t deserve it. Keep a journal and write down everything you are thinking or feeling. If it’s been several months, and you are still feeling bad, you may need to seek counseling.

Take things step by step.  

Don’t overwhelm yourself with taking on too many things at once. Make a detailed list of the steps needed to put things back together. If its business related, you may need to seek the help of an accountant, business, or financial advisor. If you didn’t sell your book, you may need to hire an editor or a critique partner.

Lean on your friends for support.

Many of you are the rock of your families and circle of friends. Everyone may come to you for advice and support. It’s perfectly okay to ask for the same thing from them. You are human. You need a hug or hear a kind word every now and then. If you have real friends, they will welcome the opportunity to finally give you the support you give them.

Don’t compare yourself to others.

There are ebbs and flows in everyone’s life. Most of the time, yours don’t align with anyone else’s. If you’re going through a tough time, it’s only temporary. It will get better. If people around you are having unlimited success right now, don’t compare yourself to them. Don’t get jealous. Everyone has successes and failures. You will get your turn to experience your success. You can never learn anything about your own strength without trials. They teach you how to cope, grow and mature. Also, you can’t enjoy how sweet life can be without ingesting the distasteful moments.

If you’re about to crawl out of your skin with holiday happiness overload, you are not alone. Hang in there. Don’t give up on your dreams and goals because you are down right now. Take baby steps. Do menial tasks first. Only do what are you are emotionally and mentally capable of doing.   

5 Ways to Plan a Successful Year

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BY KENESHA COLLINS  December 3rd, 2019

I hope everyone had a very blessed and safe Thanksgiving holiday weekend. We’re now in December – the home stretch. In a few weeks we will be in a new DECADE.

I would like to think I am an organized person. I am pretty good at meeting deadlines and keeping my appointments. The one thing I’d like to become better at is pursuing life with intention. There are plenty of things in life that will knock you down or take away your focus. Effective planning can alleviate the stress the unforeseen can bring. If you’re like me, 2020 marks some milestones and calls for an urgency to complete lifelong passion projects. Time is of the essence, so here are some tips with planning a prosperous upcoming year.

Complete an End of the Year Recap

Do a drain brain of everything that happened this year. Write down all the changes that took place. Did you pay off or accrue debt? Did you purchase a new home, or are you planning to? Compile a list of this year’s highs and lows. It will help you identify how far you’ve come, and any areas that can be improved upon.

Identify your Goals

To tackle the year effectively, you’ve got to know where to start. Write down your short/long term goals and give yourself adequate time to accomplish them.

Assess your Finances

Goals can’t be fulfilled without a good financial foundation. You may need to reassess your finances if you’ve acquired more debt than in previous years. Buying a home or car are things you normally plan for, so this debt should be accounted for already. If you’ve racked up more credit card bills to make ends meet, you may need to increase your income. It might be time to negotiate your salary especially if you’re crushing it at your job. If that’s not possible, you may need to seek out promotional opportunities, or find a new job. During the recession, the industry I worked in crashed. I didn’t want the same thing to happen again, so I decided to expand my opportunities. I created a model of other industries I would excel in. This model can also be used for brainstorming additional streams of income. You can create a podcast, write a book, do some consulting or freelance work.

Pull your credit report and plan for paying outstanding debt even if it’s little by little. If you don’t have a savings or emergency fund account, it’s time to start. When you get paid – pay yourself first. Decide on an amount to deposit directly into your savings from each paycheck.

Compile a Networking List

You meet more people per year than you think. These people may have emailed you for job opportunities, or perhaps rejections. Don’t worry, these people might have rejected you because they weren’t able to hire you or accept your work at that moment. Go through your email and social media networks and collect the contact info for these people. Reach out to those in your existing network that you haven’t spoken to in a while. This may feel like a dead end, but a new year brings fresh opportunities.

Set Realistic Timelines

The best way to set and track your timelines is by using a large calendar you can tack to the wall in your home or office. It gives a better layout of the year. If you’re writing a book, it’s unrealistic to set the completion date for February 2020. The bigger the project, the more time you will need to devote to it. Make sure you’re putting your heart and soul into it.

As I’ve gotten older, the years feel like they’re flying by. Make them count!

 

What goals are you planning to crush in 2020?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Perfectionism Holds You Back

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There are 49 days left this year. I can’t believe this year has flown by so fast. To me, it has literally been a blur. I normally begin to come up with goals in January. It always seems like the right time. A new year brings a fresh perspective. I make this seamless, well drawn out plan to tackle all my lifelong goals.

The problem is – life always gets in the way. My car may break down or I’m hit with a health matter I need to address. Things happen and make life messy. When consecutive things happen at once, I feel out of whack. I find it hard to get back on track, and normally I don’t get back on track.

When life gets out of control, I feel smaller and weaker. I begin to make excuses for not pursuing the things on my list of goals. I start saying these things to myself:

If I made more money, my mind would be freer to write more.

If I developed the perfect idea, I could finally sit down to write it.  

If I learned everything there is to know about screenwriting, I could write my script.

If I had a team behind me, I could do what I see influencers do on the Internet.

If I had more time, I could create my own t-shirts, mugs and other merch for my business.

Do you see a theme here? I allowed my mind to become overwhelmed with so many obstacles that things weren’t getting done. It is now mid-November, and I have a list of missed opportunities. I felt there had to be perfect situations to feel safe enough to pursue my goals.

Yes, I said safe.

I like to feel safe and comfortable. I desire consistency and routine. When I tried to break out of the norm, my mind created reasons why I needed to wait until things are perfect, or not do anything at all. This form of thinking is called perfectionism, and at the heart of it is fear. Fear keeps us in this little world unharmed, but also unfulfilled. Fear can keep you from putting anything down on paper because it might be terrible. I let fear keep me from writing what could be a crappy script. Who knows? It might have been a great script for a first-time screenwriter.

I don’t want the tone of this post to be depressing, and make you feel down. I know many of us are in the same position. I had perfectionism, and I know what’s driving it, so now I can do something about it. I’d like to concentrate on the things I’ve accomplished this year even though I was afraid.

My Website

I created a website this year. It was my first ever website, and I’m proud of it. It is very basic, and my graphic design skills are MINIMUM, but I did it. Check me out at keneshacollinswriting.com

My Blog

I’ve created blogs here and there, but I never put any time or thought into them. I never took the time to learn WordPress. I would look at all the other well-constructed blogs and shut mine down. This year, I took the time to learn the features, and although I didn’t write as many blogs as I hoped, I stuck with it.

I Let My Voice Be Heard

When I started this blog, my focus was going to be all things writing. I was going to hide behind articles about SEO, content writing, and writing the perfect pitch. But I am a whole person. I have fears, struggles, and shortcomings like everyone else. I wanted to share that with an audience. I started writing about very personal topics which made me vulnerable. I created a Twitter page, and even linked this blog to it! My page is public, so the whole world can read this blog!

I did all of this even though my car had major issues, and I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. I also got passed over for a job with a MAJOR tech company. I still pushed forward. These accomplishments feel extremely small, and I still feel like people are miles ahead of me, but I still did it.

If you’ve made it this far down the post, then hopefully you’re semi-inspired.

So, what are YOU going to do now? What is fear holding you back from?

Do you want to create a website, but afraid it’s going to look amateur? Put something up anyway. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and there are a lot of web hosting services that can help you create a site that looks presentable. Just get something on the Internet as soon a possible. People aren’t going to know who you are if they can’t find you.

Do you want to write, but feel you’re not great at it? Here’s a news flash: Most of what you’re going to write is going to suck in the beginning. That’s how you become great. Read the work of authors you love. Take writing classes. WRITE. Write for yourself. Write the stories you want to read but put something on paper.

I am human just like you. I let fear hold me back sometimes too. Putting yourself out there is one of the scariest things to do. Overcoming it isn’t going to happen overnight either. Is it harder to do things you’re afraid of, or reaching the end of your life and accomplishing nothing?

It’s your choice.

Kenesha Collins is a freelance writer, editor, and blogger. She has written and edited for Evansville Parent Magazine, Keep Evansville Beautiful, and WordSmooth. Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kenesha_collins.

My Journey Dealing with Anxiety

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Hello All! I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has liked and/or followed my blog recently. Your support keeps me working at building this blog and creating this dialogue.

I know I’ve been blogging more about personal development (mainly mine) more so than the subjects of blogging and freelance writing. I am in the process of developing a blogging calendar for 2020 that will contain more content about writing and the business of it.

For now, I wanted to talk to you about something I’ve personally struggled with. I’ve always been an anxious person, and it stems from my childhood. I used to get screamed at for the smallest things, and this nervous energy stuck with me. It wasn’t until a few years ago I was diagnosed with anxiety.

Adulting has not eased my anxiety. Now, there are bills, jobs, family, health and wellness, and even retirement to deal with. Everyday I am juggling about 50 balls in the air. A few years ago, I began noticing a physical change when dealing with stress. My palms began shaking, my eyelids twitched, and my heart would race. I was panicky and couldn’t sit still. I couldn’t ignore it any longer.

There are many studies about anxiety, and there are different types. I didn’t know which type I was experiencing. I just knew what I was feeling wasn’t right. It was robbing me of a normal life.

After being diagnosed with anxiety, I didn’t want to accept it at first. Anxiety is a mental illness that can be linked to trauma or can run in families. Society has made great strides when dealing with the stigma placed on mental illness. However, in communities of color, mental illness can still be considered a sign of weakness. As time went on, I couldn’t deny what I was experiencing, and had to face it to gain more control of my life.

I noticed my anxiety would gear up when I was at work and dealing with multiple interruptions or when financial issues occurred. I was very poor at a time in life, so money has always been a very sore subject for me. When faced with an emergency financial situation I wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around.

I decided to seek help because I didn’t want my condition to affect my opportunities for promotion, creativity, or relationships.

When discussing my symptoms with my doctor, she suggested anti-anxiety medication. I am not against medication by any means. It is an effective way in dealing with mental illness, but I opted to take a more holistic route in my treatment. I began taking St. John’s Wort, an herbal mood stimulator. I didn’t want to take too many medications as I had already been diagnosed with fibroids as well as hyperthyroidism. I began taking small amounts of St. John’s Wort, and it began to help. Please be advised if my doctor strongly recommended antidepressants, I would have taken them. I got her permission before taking St. Johns’ Wort. I have a personal experience with antidepressants, and with my doctor’s permission I explored another option. After the birth of my son, I briefly took an antidepressant for postpartum depression. I didn’t like the way it made me feel. I felt disconnected and groggy. While taking St. John’s Wort, I was aware of my situation. I was able to experience human emotion, but my emotions were more in control. My doctor and I made an agreement if the herbal supplements didn’t work, I would began taking antidepressants.

In addition to the herbal supplement, I sought counseling to delve into the possible causes of my anxiety. I also began journaling during that time.

These things have helped, but I still have more work to do within myself. I have no way to research this, but I may struggle with anxiety for the rest of my life. I am also considering meditation. I am in the early stages of research and looking at the best time of the day or night to begin. I am considering beginning in the morning. Right now, when I wake up, I immediately turn on the news from the night before. It doesn’t get my day off to a good start to watch all the chaos going on in the world when I first open my eyes. I’ve also never been a morning person, and I’ve always wanted to change that.

There are different types of mental illness, and every treatment plan is different. I am not a medical or mental health professional. I am only sharing some things that have helped me. If you are suffering with any kind of illness, whether it’s physical or mental, consult with your doctor first. Talk to your doctor honestly about what you are going through.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Our lives seem to be busier than ever, and no one is superhuman. Never be afraid to take the steps to live a happier and well-rounded life.

Have a great week!

Kenesha Collins is a freelance writer, editor, and blogger. She has written and edited for Evansville Parent Magazine, Keep Evansville Beautiful, and WordSmooth. Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kenesha_collins.

Happy Birthday to My Mother

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Today, October 16th, my mother would have celebrated her 60th birthday, and it is with a very heavy heart that I write this post. I know my mother wouldn’t want me feeling sad or lost right now. That’s not the person she was, but I can’t help but think of the times I cried myself to sleep wishing she was here. She would have guided and protected me. She would have taught me the qualities she possessed about true womanhood. To this day, I still feel like I’m not half the woman she was. Not many people can say their parent was a living hero, but my mother was. There was no question how much she loved my sister and me. She actually gave her life so my youngest sister could have hers.

My mother died at the tender age of 27 of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer has affected generations of women in my family including myself. In 2018, I developed cysts on my ovaries, and a benign tumor on my uterus. Unfortunately, in 1986, there weren’t as many lifesaving technologies and treatments available to fight this form of cancer. My mother wasn’t diagnosed until she was pregnant with my sister. In the 80’s, an amniocentesis was performed on pregnant women. The test extracts amniotic fluid surrounding the baby while in the uterus. The fluid is used to test for abnormalities such as Down syndrome and other genetic disorders.

There was a very large tumor floating around in the amniotic fluid in my mother’s uterus. When the needle was inserted, it burst the tumor. I’ve been told by relatives the doctor informed my mother that if she carried the baby to full term, the cancer could spread to other parts of her body.

My mother chose to continue with the pregnancy.

She gave birth to my sister, and doctors immediately began giving her large amounts of chemotherapy because of the months she went without treatment. The chemotherapy was too aggressive, and my mother passed away 6 months later.

I couldn’t imagine having this kind of strength. My biggest test in life has been enduring life without her. Today, I don’t want to focus on all the things that could have been done to save her life, but the love she had for everyone.

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She was the matriarch of her family at a very young age. Everyone loved her. When I was 23 years old, I had a job interview at a company my mother had worked for. It was a panel interview, and one of the interviewers stared at me. She asked me if I was Paula’s daughter. My mother knew a lot of people, so this was a common occurrence. I said yes matter-of-factly.  The woman burst in tears. I can’t tell you how many times people have been reduced to tears when I tell them who my mother was. They begin to reminisce, and they lose it. My mother taught me about how precious life is, and I try to always live in the moment. I was a nervous wreck when I turned 27. I couldn’t imagine losing my life at such a young age. Here I am now, a 39-year-old healthy woman.

As I close out this post, I want you all to please enjoy the time you are here. I know life gets hard. I know there are financial hardships, illnesses, unrest, oppression, and the list goes on and on. But there isn’t anything you can’t overcome if you are able-bodied. My mother wasn’t a celebrity by society’s standards. She didn’t develop an invention we use today or become the first to do anything. But her simple acts of kindness and integrity left a very intimidating legacy that I try everyday to live up to. She touched the lives of everyone she knew.

Join me in wishing my mother, Paula Johnson, a very happy birthday.

I love you Mommy….

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Ways I Tackle Procrastination

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BY KENESHA COLLINS  OCTOBER 10th, 2019

When I was in high school, I took a speech class. My teacher always gave the class plenty of time to write our speeches. I would wait until the last minute to write my speeches, or I wouldn’t write them at all. I would wing some of them. By senior year, I had already established myself as a gifted writer and a natural at speaking on the fly.  I would get B’s and C’s consistently which was satisfactory to me. My teacher grew tired of my antics over time. She wrote a long note on one my papers. She said I was a good writer, but she could tell I rushed through my papers, and if I continued this pattern it would “kill me in college.” Since I got pretty good grades, I never paid her advice any mind. In college, I continued to wait until the night before my papers or speeches were due to write them.

22 years later, my teacher’s words hold a lot more weight than ever. I am approaching middle age, and I have yet to accomplish some of my lifelong goals. It’s disheartening to know several productive years have gone by and I could have utilized them to the fullest. It has been extremely difficult to break a habit I’ve had much of my life. I’ve created a few practices to help with procrastination that seem to be working, and maybe they will work for you.

Do the Hard Stuff First 

One of the main reasons why I procrastinate is I simply just don’t want to do certain things. I don’t want to use the difficult system at work that always crashes. I don’t want to scrub the toilet or mow the lawn. This year, I began programming myself to tackle the hard tasks the first part of my day. When I get to work, I knock out all the tasks that are a pain in the butt first.  I work late, so I do everything I can to make the last 2 hours of the day my own.

I Compartmentalize My Day  

Whether I’m at work or home, I designate specific times for the things I need to do. At work, I must do a lot of reports and research. I work on items that require quiet and concentration towards the end of my day. The calls start to die down, and my chattier co-workers are preparing to leave for the day. At home, I group all similar tasks together. Washing my car in this Tennessee heat is no joke. When I’m finished, and already sweaty and dirty, I clean my toilets and floors.

I Know My Limitations

There are certain days that require more energy than others. Some days are packed from sunrise to sunset. I know how much I can handle on any given day. If I set aside days to write, I normally don’t leave my house. Traffic in Nashville is horrendous, and there are a lot of bad drivers. I get frustrated on the road and will lose creativity. At work, when I have a full calendar, I will step away from my desk several times a day to stretch my legs. The weather is wonderful now that fall is here. I normally go for a short walk to clear my head.

What do you do to tackle procrastination?

Kenesha Collins is a freelance writer, editor, and blogger. She has written and edited for Evansville Parent Magazine, Keep Evansville Beautiful, and WordSmooth. Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kenesha_collins.

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