Brain matter and other fun facts

 

get things done

First, some housekeeping – figuratively I mean: in response to my coming out column there’ve been some interesting comments and questions, I totally plan to follow up on those I promise – pinky swear even.

But also it’s been kinda crickets from some corners of my life so to answer the conversation I’m having in my head with some of you, I should probably just throw out there that I haven’t been, like, on the bathroom floor doing smack or anything. This whole 12-step thing for me is mental/sanity recovery dealing with habits and patterns formed a long time ago which no longer serve me but I kinda thought I was stuck with them. Turns out? Nope. So, it’s actually good-ish news minus the awkward, uncomfy parts.

All that is just, you know, fyi to whom it may concern, remotely interest or disappoint in a high stakes schadenfreude* situation.

But more on that another time because today I’m writing about what might be the manual to help me conquer the world do some actual housekeeping, write my book and stop being all angsty all the time.

A friend loaned me her copy of David Allen’s Getting Things Done after I asked about her lists. Because I am a noticer, of lists and other things.

Also, I’m an asker. There are all these questions I’m supposed to ask for my job, and then there are the ones I ask just because I want to know. Anyway, this friend is one of those people who makes “it” look easy but I knew there had to be a method to her keeping the madness at bay. She was all:

Nathalie, meet David Allen.

Hello David, if you happen to be a self-Googler. It’s okay if you are. Really, it is. We all do it. Don’t we?

Dear David Allen … totally stoked to read your book. Let me know if you need a blogger to document their journey from pre-David Allen to post David-Allen introduction. Love, Nathalie

Anyway, just flipping through the book I felt compelled to highlight and star pages but that’s not cool so I ordered my own copy.

This book jumped ahead of so many other books in my “to read” pile … because this book is going to create more time for me to read those other books, I think. Maybe. I will keep you posted.

On page xiv (two little kids people, I’m sloooow reading anymore) it says: “I’ll give you new ways to leverage those basic skills into new plateaus of effectiveness. I want to inspire you to put all this into a new behavior set that will blow your mind.”

For real, David Allen?

I want new plateaus of effectiveness. I don’t know exactly what that means for me, but I want that.

It. Is. On.

Let’s blow my mind, one paragraph at a time.

I’m kind of afraid this is going to be one of those things though where you buy the new running shoes and nothing happens because you’re supposed to, like, wear them … while you run.

So I told Matt about this great discovery and how “you have to read this! It will change. your. life. It even says so right here.” And I followed him around the driveway reading out loud from page xiv.

It will blow your mind, I say.

“I think I’ll watch it blow yours first, okay?” He’s skeptical, it seems.

Fine, be left in my dust or the bitty bits of my blown brain, whatever.

But if any of you friends want to blow your minds alongside mine, I get a few pennies here and there for anything you guys buy on Amazon through my link above Getting Things Done. 

Nathalie’s Notes:

*Do you know this word? You should know this word. It’s awesome. Knowing other languages rules because sometimes whichever one you start with lacks the capacity to say all of the things there is to say… luckily the Germans have these cool compound words that say just the right thing and they can become our adopted words, but it helps if more of us know them.

“Some German words are so long that they have a perspective.”

 – Mark Twain

Nathalie’s Notes fun fact: English is my second language, but you probably already knew that? Now I’m learning Spanish. Like, this week– Rosetta Stone lesson numero uno.

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T is for Transition

Screenshot_2014-04-12-07-18-49

While the screen capture shows I am no longer a reporter at the News-Register, it turns out I am a very slow leaver.

Let me preface this by saying I did this to myself because I have boundary issues and also letting go issues, as evidenced by the fact that I am donating four stories to the paper’s campaign coverage because I wanted to help and because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

At what time? Well at the time I had an office, and childcare of course.

Now I have the contents of my former cubicle spread throughout my dining room and bedroom as I attempt to carve out a space of my own while we attempt to figure out what this new life of ours looks like.

This is what transition looks like. It can be messy, confusing and a little unsettling.

Also, it is freeing, exciting and an opportunity to create more of what we want as we weed out what no longer serves us – things like rushing.

2014-04-07 07.09.34 - Copy

One of my favorite quotes from this week is Sam saying his favorite thing about my being home with him is “not rushing all the time.” Agreed.

As per usual, last week did not match the image in my head of what coming back home would be like.

In addition to not being all the way done at work, there was some unexpected drama on both a personal and professional front immediately following my handing over my keys at work.

The two were totally unrelated, one stemmed from some misunderstanding about a column I wrote which turned into hours of discussion and sleepless nights as I wrestled with my role in the problem, which in the end I determined did not belong to me. I do however regret that I wrote something that caused any angst, and I learned from the experience so there’s that.

The personal one is trickier to summarize because I strive to walk the messy line between my personal information and that of others in my life, (past/present/future) without crossing it.

That said, here’s what I am ready to say: I’ve been 12-steppin’ it* for some time now to deal with some long, long standing unhealthy thinking and behaving on my part and after finally losing track of my days in recovery, I derailed myself over the weekend by leaning in to some drama that did not belong to me.

A series of bad decisions lead to ugly consequences and I am still kind of bewildered by and recovering from that trip to Crazy Town.

Note to self: Until I just wrote the above summaries I didn’t see the connection between the two energy-sucking situations … at the outset of eachdrama I didn’t ask myself: is this my problem? 

**I know the specifics are important to some of you, and we can talk about that if you ask but really, it doesn’t actually matter. It's an al-anon program to work through old, messy stuff ... I’m working on it and growing into the best and healthiest version of myself as I do.

There really is a lot to that one day at a time business and I thankful to have the opportunity to embrace this one.

With my people.

Thank you for checking in, for caring and for being my people Smile 

Speaking of which, my pint-sized peeps are paging me … something about needing to eat. Again.


When living the dream is no longer reality

By Nathalie Hardy | March 14, 2014 | News-Register

It’s with mixed feelings I write this column, announcing another life change for the Hardy family. I’m throwing in the towel on this whole reporter-mama business.

Don’t get me wrong. Being a fulltime reporter on the county beat, while raising two youngsters, can be done. Just not by me.

My husband and I worked over our budget. Bottom line, it’s just not penciling out for me to keep working, whether I want to or not.

It’s no secret: Journalism is a field you enter because you love the work more than the money.

Plus, if you haven’t priced daycare lately, for two full-day kids, it rivals a mortgage payment.

Who can argue with that, though? If I can’t be with them during the day, I want the best in the business keeping my boys’ minds busy and hearts happy. We were lucky to have that with our providers, Creative Kidz.

Then there are associated costs that can’t be measured. For me, one of those was being out of alignment with my core values.

In addition to dreaming about being a reporter, I always pictured myself as the kind of mom who was home after school. I imagined being able to walk my kids home, stopping to point things out along the way as we debriefed about the day.

With my job, my boss is as flexible as possible. But that flexibility is a two-way street.

I am often up way too late, or way too early, juggling calls and interviews while packing sandwiches and throwing the boys treats’ down the stairs or over the backseat in the car to keep them quiet. And all for just one, more, minute!

After nearly two years of doing my best at both, it turns out I’m not doing either one well enough to meet my own standards. So it came time to make a choice.

Going over the budget made it an easier call. Still, it’s hard to realize what you thought you wanted maybe wasn’t the best fit in the end.

A friend recently expressed disappointment in my decision. Not everyone gets what they want, she pointed out. And feminists fought for us so we didn’t have to choose between career and family.

To her first point, I say: Life doesn’t always turn out the way you pictured it, but that doesn’t mean you stop trying to create the life you want. To the second, I say: Feminists fought for a woman’s right to chose, despite the consequences of disappointing someone.

And that’s what I am doing. I am choosing to come back home to be with my boys. I plan to meet my goal of being home with them as long as I can while meeting my goal of publishing a book or two.

I recognize the first will delay the latter, but recently I realized neither will happen as long as I keep trying to maintain balance at the expense of my health and sanity.

I found an exception to George Eliot’s saying, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

My boys are only going to be this age once. If I want to be a stay-at-home mom, writing in the margins, the time for that is now.

Life requires hard choices, and my decision to leave this post to be home with my boys was not made lightly.

Not quite two years ago, I embraced an opportunity to return to the newsroom, a place I loved, to work with people I adore in a job I’d dreamed of having since I was 10 years old.

Then came that awkward moment when my dream job morphed into more of a nightmare, as I tried to balance it with my new reality with two kids, no family nearby and a husband with an equally demanding but significantly higher paying job.

I reached my breaking point on a recent snow day, one of approximately five my kids figure to have in their lifetime. Some friends stopped by as I was trying to work on a breaking story with two cagey kids in the house.

Stories will always break on snow days. It’s the nature of the job.

As much as I wanted to be able to celebrate surprise snow days with my kids, I knew my boss also needed stories done well and on time.

I realized in that moment that I too often felt my biggest blessings were a burden. I had lost the little bit of balance I had left.

“But I always wanted to be a reporter,” I whined. I was crying, the kind where there’s snot and tears.

“So, you were literally living the dream, huh?” my friend said.

Well, when you put it like that, I guess I was. And it it was as clear as the ice on the eaves that my dreams had changed with the reality.

While I’ve loved most of my time back in the newsroom, I’m at peace with my decision.

I make no guarantees, though, that the aforementioned towels are going to be fluffed and folded once I resume my stay-at-home mom status. After all, I will have to leave some margins open for writing this column, which will continue running, in addition to keeping up on my long-neglected blog at www.nathaliesnotes.com and embarking on a book project.

Contact Nathalie Hardy at nathalie@nathaliesnotes.com.


Reporter’s Notebook: forget fresh starts

journal spotlight

I’ve been considering making this a regular feature as enough of you have asked for a peek at what my journal entries really look and sound like.

So, we’ll see how it goes, it feels sort of awkward to share but if I could convert even one of you into a person who journals as a form of self-preservation it will be worth the trepidation I feel before sharing this post and with it my intention to make a habit of posting a randomly opened journal page.

As I flipped open this recent journal and landed on this page I thought perhaps it was a sign that this was the right direction to go.

You can click on the picture above to see what it says or, read below:

Sam and I say “I love you to Pluto and back” but last night he was mad at me and said “I love you to the planet before Pluto.”

10/19

am coming face to face with how much of the novel – my novel -  I lost in the computer crash. Not to mention {pictures of}the first four months of Jakey’s life.

am also feeling resolved to move forward anyway.

maybe it’s not about fresh starts, but just starting again.

and again.

until you’re done.


Overheard by Reporter Mama

Reporter Mama Observation: This work thing is time consuming!

But, I’ve been writing draft posts … not to mention the collection in my head so hopefully one of these days I’ll get caught up on them.

In the meantime, here are a few overheards from last week and a link to my most recent column “Meaningful action starts with silence” chronicling my reaction to the rash of tragic shootings.

Ironically, this column with the word “silence” in the title brought a lot of emails in response, and I’m thankful for all of them because it’s always nice to know when your words resonate with others.

Overheard in the newsroom:

Context: Reporter on the phone.

Quote:

“So, you’re saying I misquoted you but you haven’t read the story?”

- Name withheld to protect the innocent

Overheard on the beat:

Context: I’m paraphrasing but this was said during a meeting addressing a man who appears to one of Yamhill County’s own hoarders. In reference to all the junk on his property the man said:

Quote:

 “It might look like junk but really it’s camouflage.”

- Name withheld because I kind of felt bad for the guy.

But, I can’t wait to tell Matt all the crap on our front porch is … camouflage. That’s totally going in the book.

Overheard in the minivan:

“I wish we could take a boom truck to heaven and make sure Lucy is still alive there. And pet her. I still love her.”

- Sam

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Intersection

Meeting Baby Alex … too late.

Note: This is not my son, but it could’ve been.

Monday was one of those perfect fall days.

I'd stopped on my way home to catch a candid picture of one of the candidate's I'm covering putting up campaign signs. I was close to home when my husband called. There was an accident ... he started to tell me a baby got hit in front of our house ... it's pretty bad. But at the same time just before I rounded the corner to my house I saw the flash of a police car.

I heard the drum that beats inside to say something’s not right. I came onto my street and saw my house surrounded by police cars, caution tape and chaos. My husband was in the front yard – distraught.

He'd just told me a baby. Not Sam, not Jake. A baby. But time lapsed and all the information didn't click in my mind as I hurried into the madness. Could it be my boys?

I couldn’t get my car any farther down the street.

“You can’t go down there.” One of the world’s hall monitors informed me.

“I have to.” I shouted, trying to remember how to park my car.

what is happening? I ran.

I heard wailing coming from the left. I ran faster.

A toddler. Hit by a car.

Simultaneously I saw for sure that it wasn’t one of my kids because the toy-car wagon in the grilll of a Ford sedan didn’t belong to my boys.

It was Alex’s, next door.

Alex, a little boy who just barely got to the world before getting taken out on a random October afternoon. He just celebrated his 1st birthday September 22.

I never met him. But will keep a candle lit for him in my heart for the rest of my days. Because to me, the moment of relief I felt that my boys were okay, meant that someone else’s baby wasn’t.

I’ve done crisis counseling. I know what that’s called, I know it’s not rational: survivor’s guilt.

None of that helps when I can’t sleep in the middle of the night thinking of the baby, his sister, his brother, his father … his mother a few houses down. His grandmother, his grandfather, his babysitter … all people I only knew in passing … but now I hear them cry in my sleep. And I wake up with my own pillow wet from my own tears.

They each have their own stories … the stories that don’t get into the news because they’re happening at the same time as the news is developing and they’re happening in hearts and heads … not headlines.

There’s the story of his sister. I can’t tell you her story, because I don’t know it. But I can tell you where my life intersected with hers, on the corner of X Street and Y Avenue.

A beautiful young girl, 14, sitting in the street, wearing one black Ked and hitting the pavement over and over and over again. Screaming for her brother to wake up. Screaming at the man who hit him. Screaming for time to come back. Screaming. Her grandmother never let go of her … shaking and bearing witness to the grief around her, holding her own inside.

The next day I came over to the house I saw her, in a dark room sitting by his crib, she was still saying his name, clinging to the crib, Wake up, Alex. Wake up.

Then there is his brother. A handsome 17-year old who said he waited his whole life to have a brother. They were just about to share a room together – he planned to paint the Lighting McQueen lightening bolt in their room. Maybe he still will, he says, but he can’t think about that now.

I met him at the same intersection as his sister, but hours later. The scene was silent now. The only evidence of the afternoon’s tragedy and chaos was the little red toy car still in the car’s grill … the street still taped off, the wailing echoing in the minds of neighbors but save the sound of detectives talking in low voices it was quiet now. 

No one came to pick him up from practice. He learned something was wrong, but not what exactly. He ran all the way home. He was nearly there when he saw the tape, like I did. Saw the wagon, like I did.

But there was no relief for him because it was his baby brother. I told him what I knew. I held him, this boy I’d never met, this boy who just learned his brother was in a horrible accident and fighting for his life in a city an hour away. A boy who was alone to process all of that.

So I hovered around his house, in case he came out. He did. We talked a bit, I introduced him to another neighbor, the one who’d given his little brother CPR, somehow information was helping, at least it gave him something to process, perhaps.

If he needed anything I told him to come over. At 8 p.m. he came to the door. My heart lifting, I thought he was coming to tell me good news. Instead, he just wanted to let me know his brother didn’t make it. But he was braver than me and used all of the words: my little brother … died.

And he had to go talk to his little sister, who’d come from a friend’s house. I came home with him, not because there was anything I could do to help but because I could be there, to hold them, to let him grieve without having to be the adult in the room for his sister … and that’s all I did. Held them until he was ready for me to go. I haven’t seen him since but I think about him every day.

I do see the grandfather every day as he comes out to check on the flowers, tidy up the memorial site, bring fresh water, straighten what the wind has bent.

I talk to him a little bit as I come to tie the balloons back up in the battle against gravity, the rain has come to put the candles out, the chalk messages are wiped away, the markings in the street are fading … but the memories, the sounds, the moments of that Monday afternoon no one can take back.

Those stay. Those stay forever. The impact permanent. And that’s just for me. So I literally can’t draw a full breath when I put myself in any one of their shoes. The best I can do is what I told the little boy’s mama: though I never knew him, I will never forget your son.

Alex’s story hit home for most everyone in my home. Matt has his own story, one he’ll most likely keep to himself. But he’s not sleeping well either. He heard the impact. He called 9-1-1 knowing what happened before he saw what happened.

Sam, well, how do you tell a five-year-old this story? We’re working through it. Sometimes he understands, sometimes he doesn’t Same as me. He says he dreams of Baby Alex. And in his dreams, they are playing Legos, and running, lots of running Sam says.

But I did not cover this story. I was a part of this story. Their stories are now a part of me.

I share them with you as a reminder to always, but always, remember this moment matters.

 

IMG_0018

p.s. some of you are asking for more information about the accident itself as well as what possessed me to tell my son about it. This photo is taken in front of my house, does that help answer that?

And the other questions are really good ones too and I’ll come back with the answers I have as soon as I can.

And some have also wondered - yes we have a collection envelope for them and you can message me for more information if you would like to contribute something to this family ... I understand things are tight and there are a lot of things vying for our attention and resources, if you feel moved to share a few dollars, let me know.

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More Reporter Mama Observations

It felt so good to write here yesterday, I thought I’d squeeze in another post, in lieu of a shower though so maybe that’s not such good news for the people who interact with me in person.

But, for those of you who have written asking if I finally succumbed to the temptation of sticking my head in the oven during my long cyber-silence, this ought to be a good sign.

And, by the way, that whole oven thing? Mostly a joke because I use inappropriate humor as a coping tool, hey, it beats drugs, right? See, I can’t help myself .

Also, mine’s an electric oven, so the joke would ultimately  be on me.

Yesterday I was amazed at the way technology plays such a critical role in how I do my job in ways that I never dreamed of last time I had this gig.

A decade ago, I had a cell phone but it was at the coast and rarely charged – so between those two factors – totally pointless.

Yesterday I was on a field trip with a group of fifth-graders touring the local landfill. I was on the school bus when my editor texted me that we needed a story in the paper, due later that afternoon.

The story was about a young man named Cody Myers who was murdered a year ago by two sick-twist psychopath white supremacists monsters.

Actually, the story was about the foundation that’s been formed since his death by his family in order to continue his vision of providing children who couldn’t afford them musical instruments, and lessons.

I followed the Myers’ story very closely last year, it was when I was still a stay at home mom writing my monthly column. It struck a chord deep within me that these worries of mine with little ones are a blessing compared to those I will face when they are old enough to, like, leave my field of vision.

One night, on deadline this column came to me, truly channeled from beyond myself.

A little gratitude goes a long way.

(click title to read, if you’d like).

Anyway, in that column I mentioned Cody’s mom as she was in my heart so much as I followed the story. I’ve often thought of her and Cody’s story as a way of bringing myself back to a place of grace despite the madness around me.

For the story on a tight deadline, it was tempting to just stick to the basic facts of the benefit concert: October 21, noon to midnight, Trails End in Oregon City … but it means so much more in context doesn’t it?

So I used our archives and Facebook posts to put as much of it together as I could while praying for the chance to talk with the right person for the story.

An hour before the story was due, I got the opportunity to talk with Cody’s mom who was gracious with her time and in sharing such a painful story, but also she said it is good to have her son remembered.

I know I am only one of many who never even met him, and yet will never forget him, or his story.

Here's a link to the story and more information on the Cody Myers Music Outreach Foundation.


Reporter Mama, observations

IMG_0847

It’s unreal to realize I am in my fourth week at my new job already. Let me preface this by saying I love my job. But … I may have underestimated the impact of this transition on myself and the boys.

It all happened in such a whirlwind (have I even told you the story yet?!) so I didn’t  have much time to acclimate mentally, or emotionally to what I’m calling my New Life. Because it feels exactly like that. Sam and I, at times, would like our old life back. The one where there seemed to be more time, yet still never enough. The one where we didn’t have to be somewhere at a certain time every day. Dressed.

During our separation, I knew I was going to have to go back to work sooner than later. I just didn’t know how soon it would happen!

The picture above is after my interview day, which ended up being one of the longest times I was away from the boys and as you can see … we did alright.

I really miss writing this blog so I know I’ll be working on a way to work that in to my days. I just don’t quite know how that’ll look. Shorter, more frequent posts perhaps?

I’m writing tonight to ask that you don’t let my longish lag in posting be cause to unsubscribe me. I’m just checking in to let you know I haven’t stuck my head in the oven or anything, far from it! I’m just adjusting to this whole business of being a reporter mama.

(FYI: to those of you who care about this kind of thing, I loved the Reporter Mama idea as soon as I had it, then quickly realized it was probably because I liked Christina Katz’ Writer Mama … so I got her blessing to adapt it to my life now. ‘Cause she’s cool like that.)

 

6 

And, some days are tougher than others. This is from the Friday of my first week. I’d been meaning to have a meltdown since Tuesday but just couldn’t fit it in.

More observations to follow, as well as one of my new favorite funny stories from the newsroom.

Best,

blog signature

 

Clips – okay, these really are mostly for my parents who adore me enough to read scan the less juicy stuff I write, and also as a working list of clips for my own reference …

Urban a legend of our own

If you fund it, they will come

Times a changing for transit system

Commissioners Spurn Pay Raise


Triggered by my recent clip

You’ve heard of the dad who popped a couple bullets into his daughter’s laptop, right? I’ve been so frustrated by the coverage, and public reaction to that story I had to address it in my most recent “Raising the Hardy Boys” column.

Here’s the link if you’re interested: Public tries to substitute opinion for information.

It was impossible to sum up my frustration eloquently in 600 words. There is so much that we’re missing in this story. Whether we agree with what he did or not, this event has triggered (yeah, pun intended) a massive, emotional response – that is part of the big story – why?

And then there’s the story of the fact that we don’t seem to have each other’s backs as parents at all. Sure, if we know each other we make allowances for off days or errors in judgment but if we don’t know you personally and you do something that raises our eyebrows, ire, or even the hair on our arms we’re quick to call in Child Protective Services (who have real kids in real danger to protect by the way) and then sit back and watch the circus from our couch, safely removed from it all while another family get’s theirs turned upside down.

Except but for the grace of God are the tables not turned. We all have moments we’d just as soon not have broadcast to the nation and beyond. Moments, say, when we reacted to something our kids did with our hearts and egos instead of a more grounded television-worthy place. Because we’re people first,  parents second. 

I don’t know a single parent who doesn’t want to be as good a parent as they possibly can. Let’s try to remember that when we see someone fall short of what that means to us and hope that same grace has our back when it’s our turn on Dr. Phil, or whatever.

p.s. Want a sneak peak for next week’s post?

PL Hack

My Project Life Hack (aka Tickler file) … wish I could think of a better name for “tickler file.” Anyone?

(The point of the thing is to serve as a home for all those papers that clutter up counters, desktops and purses, fridges and bulletin boards.) Details, instructions and Q&A to follow next week, if you’ve got questions post them in the comments or email me.


Just write. Be you. (And when in doubt,ask the 8-ball.)

I found an unexpected use for my new favorite writing-related book: “The Writer’s Workout” by Christina Katz. It’s my Magic Eight Ball. Or, more honestly, it’s one way my intuition talks back to me.

My most recent example of how this works happened Monday. I was starting back to work on a novel I’ve been writing for years in starts and spurts. My husband and I finally think we’ve found a way to arrange our schedules to accommodate a few regular windows of time for me to get it done.

Our plan was nearly perfect except one small roadblock. Me.

I wasn’t caught up on all the other stuff I do around here. I didn’t have all my notes for this novel gathered in one place like I’d been meaning to. I didn’t know where my outline was, which is more important since I lost so much in the first computer crash last year. I realized, though, that to finish it what I had to do first was to simply just begin. So I did.

It.Was.Awesome.

And just before I started writing I flipped “The Writer’s Workout” open to page 145 and found this:

If organizing is cutting into your writing time stick with finding your writing rhythm instead.

… Don’t schedule writing time. Just write. Don’t decide too far ahead what you will do, just do what you need to do now. … Keep writing until you meet each goal.

Another example that happened literally as I was working on this post: I was thinking about another post I’m working on about Bill Johnson’s presentation at the last Northwest Author Series. I wrote a note to myself to encourage readers to be themselves in their writing, to use the voice and style that comes most naturally to them. And then I opened my Magic Eight Ball randomly to page 146 and found:

I was born to be Christina. Marc was born to be Marc. And you were born to be you. what kind of unique trail are you going to blaze?

See?!? It works. Every. Time.

(If you try it, I’d love to hear what comes up!)

If you want to buy a copy of your own, call your local book store and ask them to order it for you. Let me know if you do because I’d love to check in with each other as we make our way through the year. While it’s obviously helpful any time, any day,  “The Writer’s Workout” is designed to start in the spring, which will be here soon!

Let’s flex our brains, stretch our fingers and get writing! 

I'll be back tomorrow evening with a guest post from the coach herself. 

Until then, here’s my Amazon review:

In the spirit of full disclosure, I know Christina. I like Christina. So of course I'm going to read her newest book. And I'm a fan so naturally I'll buy it. And I'm a polite person so I'll say some polite things about it. What I won't do, though, is encourage you to buy it unless it's a bookshelf-must.
It is.
If you're smart, you're more conscious than ever about how you spend your money regardless of how much you have. And if you're like most writers the last thing you need is another un-read book on your nightstand.
But The Writer's Workout isn't meant to be read in one sitting. Instead, it's intended to serve as a constant guide and companion; a virtual coach clarifying your writing goals and guiding you ahead in your career with practical advice, thoughtful quotes and engaging exercises.
I've read enough reviews on Amazon to know there are some who think knowing the author precludes a person from writing an objective review. Perhaps that's true. But, since I do happen to know Christina Katz, I can tell you something about her the book jacket can't. She's a writer who walks her talk. Her advice is relevant, current, solid and based on personal experience.
Just like her first book Writer Mama wasn't helpful exclusively for mothers, The Writer's Workout isn't inspiring exclusively for writers; it's also motivating for anyone with a long-term personal or professional goal.