An Introverted Writer Goes YouTubing

I post one blogpost and I feel like I’m yelling from a platform–with a bullhorn–at a microphone.

What? You can’t hear me? Oh. That’s fine. I tried. Bye.

I want to say that. After short efforts to put content into the cyberworld, I want to hole up back in my cocoon and be content with collecting and digesting ideas and information, occasionally creating something new, whispering it to the worldwide web, and calling it good.

But it’s not good.

I’ve learned too much about the projects I’ve tackled to keep the valuable information to myself, for just our little family, or for the teams and families I coach.

I am a writer, so I will write, but there is this other part of me that simply hasn’t been given space enough to grow as it should and I need to pay attention to the gnawing feeling I have to attend to it.

I need to teach.

I HAVE to try to share what I’ve learned in whatever media I can. So, I will try harder.

I will write more. I will step into those places I ventured once and build back up the teaching/presenting/consulting muscles I’ve let atrophy.

I heard a baseball coach interviewed this week and he spoke about the mantra they have for their team: “Work while you’re waiting.”

I am waiting to get feedback on my proposal, on queries, on the next steps for The Team Adult Playbook I need to finish, and I have chosen to work while I wait.

So, I’m working on defining and fine-tuning my Choosing to Grow brand. I wear a lot of hats for the various projects I pursue and I want to share the observations, research, and writing in all the ways I can.

I have been Choosing to Grow:Through Marriage for fifteen years now. I just completed the research for Choosing to Grow: For the Sport of It and The Team Adult Playbook is blossoming because of it. I am chronicling the ways I am Choosing to Grow: GREENER and writing ties it all together.

I wear different hats, and I am now standing firmly beneath my Choosing to Grow umbrella choosing to grow in the ways I offer up the fruits of my labor.

If you are a YouTuber, I’d love to have you as a subscriber on my Choosing to Grow channel.

If you are on Instagram, I Instablog on my account regularly @meaganfrank.

I have an author Facebook Page as well as pages devoted entirely to Team Adult and Choosing to Grow: Through Marriage. Oh yeah, and I’m on Twitter too @meaganfrank_ctg.

Thank you for reading the words I write, listening to the stories I tell, and sharing anything you think will be valuable to people you love.

Copyright Choosing to Grow 2019                                     www.meaganfrank.com    

Books Make a Difference…Absolutely!!

 Today is a big day.

For months I have used my writing time to piddle with story ideas, read new books, research stories,  interview some fascinating people, work through drafts of articles, edit the writing of others, and bounce ideas around with my friend, who happens to be the incredibly talented publisher of this new adventure.

This feels like a big deal…and, well, frankly, we think it is a pretty big deal.

The brain-child of my fantastically talented friend, Karen Pavlicin-Fragnito , Books Make a Difference has been on her mind for years. She has spent her life helping to use books to make a positive difference in people’s lives, and this online magazine is the culmination of her passion, our positive working relationship, good timing, and simply put… a really great idea.

Last week, when I was sitting down to electronically invite people I know to our Books Make a Difference magazine launch, I realized something. It was the first time, in my super-uncomfortable-get-the-word-out-promotional-style-because-I-am-a-writer-and-that-is-what-I-have-to-do life, when I didn’t hesitate to select people via the FB engine used to invite friends.

As I hovered over names, there was hardly a hesitation with anyone. “Oh, she totally loves books!” “That guy? Sure! He’s a writer for goodness sake.” “What about them…absolutely… I’m sure they read books.”

Before I knew it I was clicking EVERYBODY! I invited librarians, teachers, parents, obligated family members, ardent supporters of my writing habit, kids who were in my English class, kids for whom I taught English, classmates from college, artists, business folks who I have heard reference a book or two, …there wasn’t anyone, I didn’t think, who wouldn’t be interested in this project.

“Why is that?” I wondered. “What is it about books that makes them such an important part of all of our lives?”

Writing, words, and stories have always been such an enormous part of the human experience. As soon as humans found a way to do it, we wanted to share experiences with as many people as we could. That instinct for creativity hasn’t wavered much. With the advances of technology, we have just made it easier to do what we feel compelled to do. We create books… to share them, to be changed by them, and I am continually amazed by the advantages of this time we live in. We can do books better than they’ve been done before!

More than ever…books are making a positive difference in people’s lives. I cannot tell you how blessed I feel to be a part of uncovering the behind-the-scenes stories I’ll get to share. I invite all of you to become a part of this journey, and if books have ever made a difference in your life, I’d love to hear your story.

You can find the magazine here:  www.booksmakeadifference.com

You can like our FB page here: ReadtheDifference

You can tweet with us here:  @booksmake

Per the obligatory writer-plea:  Make sure to share this information with as many people as you can!

 

2012  Meagan Frank                       Choosing to Grow

                                                         

 

 

Writing Blocks are NOT about Writing

Since my book-writing is not coming as quickly as I know it should, I’ve determined I must be blocked. I know myself well enough to know that my writing blocks very rarely have anything to do with writing.

I’ve written just fine on so many other projects I have going. It’s not the words that are stuck…it’s me.

It reminds me of a scene that just recently unfolded in our house. Big Sprout’s first writing assignment for his seventh grade history class was a story about his life. He stared blankly at the computer screen frustrated because the words just wouldn’t come.

“I don’t have anything to say,” he complained, “I have to have a paragraph about my life from when I was born up until I turned five, a paragraph from kindergarten through 6th grade, and a paragraph about my most recent summer. I don’t have anything to write!”

“Hmm. Sure, I can see why you don’t have anything to say,” I sarcastically remarked. “There wasn’t much interesting about the 6 moves you made living in three different states by the time you started kindergarten. It’s not really that cool of a story that you spent your elementary school years back and forth between the cabin in Wisconsin and our house in Minnesota/ And you’re right, there’s not much to say about last summer that was like all the other summers of your life spent with friends and family in Colorado.  I’m sorry you’ve had such a boring life so far,” I quipped.

He angrily tapped out a few letters, and then slouched defeated in his chair.

He had been moody since coming home from school, and I guessed that it wasn’t the assignment that was hanging him up at all.

“Is there something bothering you?” I asked. “Do you think there might be another reason you can’t write right now?”

After pushing him hard enough, the emotions began to release. He was frustrated with how football was going. He had gotten past the initial learning curve, and now he was frustrated with the feeling he had of being stalled.  He felt like no one was throwing him passes…and he felt as though he had hit a learning plateau. He was unsure how to bust through. In addition to that, there were other swirling emotions that he had not addressed about kids at school, how he felt about himself, and all the other incredibly important seventh-grade issues. His identity was in flux, and writing a concrete story about his life was more daunting than it normally would have been.

He talked. He cried, (not much, but enough), and I watched as his “block” slowly melted.

So as I stare (too often) at the blinking cursor that waits below a chapter title or a section description, I start to wonder what my block might be. Bear with me as I write it out…

There are too many things floating in my head: ugly thoughts, judgments, frustrations, stories about unloving people, and each time I consider writing it out, giving it a public voice, I am held back by one thing…FEAR.

For those of you who read my first book, and bless you for that, you know that I seemingly shared everything about my life. I had this candor that I maybe should have considered longer, but I felt safe to reveal.

I knew that my husband loved me unconditionally…my parents and siblings would eventually get through any pain my words caused and get back to loving me unconditionally too.  I trusted that…and I was confident saying what I felt needed to be said.

I don’t feel safe with this one.

I don’t trust that writing my book about youth sports is nearly as safe. The emotions of sports are more heightened than the intimate emotions of a marriage. People, and millions and millions of people, align with a philosophy and the division is deep and wide about a lot of topics. There are parenting, financial, coaching, and lifestyle philosophies that people will defend with every fiber of their being.

I’ve recently lost some of the confidence I had as I was sketching out the chapters. What happened in our house this past week has convinced me that the beast of youth sports is capable of so much more harm than I ever considered possible.

So, I have a decision to make. What I have FEARED… has happened, and I’ve gotten an up-close look at it. I have to decide whether I can handle continuing to lose the political battles to fight the principled ones. I have to decide that I have courage enough to tackle these emotional issues on behalf of all kids and I have to be willing to watch our own children potentially suffer because of it.

I know that if I write about those “unwritten” rules of youth sports, if I live according to what I believe to be the right way to develop children, there are real consequences for those decisions.

Maybe this book will be something that I write…and guard…under lock and key in order to give time for our kids to get through the machine before it turns on me.

There are a lot of “blocks” in my way right now, and only I can do the emotional work necessary to move past them.

What do you think? Do you think it is worth fighting for the greater good, potentially sacrificing our children in the process?

This one’s a bit bigger than me…and if you’re the praying type, I can’t imagine it wouldn’t help.

 

Choosing to Grow  copyright 2012                             Meagan Frank

 

www.meaganfrank.com                                                      

Great Writers: Recovering Word Addicts

Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. (Plato)

This confirms it….I’m a fool.

Actually…I’m a foolish word addict.

Hello, my name is Meagan and I am a pathological writer.

I sometimes write because I have something to say, but very often I write because I HAVE to say something.

I can tell when the words have made a pile in my head. My mind slows, I can hardly get it to stop running the same phrase over and over, and until I write it down, it becomes a roadblock to functional living.

My husband asked me once, “How many words do you think you write in a day?”

I honestly have no idea. I write comments on articles, blogposts, drafts of ideas for my next book, facebook posts, presentation material, emails, ghostwriting projects, notes. (I just decided…right now… I am going to start to use a wordometer to track my daily word-count.)

I am starting to think I might be addicted…I exhibit most of the signs (according to about.com):

Extreme mood changes – happy, sad, excited, anxious, etc 

Ask my family about how my mood follows a writing day…

Sleeping a lot more or less than usual, or at different times of day or night

Inspiration strikes when it wants to…and I’ll be up at wee hours and napping in late afternoon

Changes in energy – unexpectedly and extremely tired or energetic

Wordless= Tired         Got the flow on= Full of Energy

Seeming unwell at certain times, and better at other times

I am unwell when writing is blocked and better when words come easily.

Pupils of the eyes seeming smaller or larger than usual

Apparently the hours spent at a computer screen are not conducive to normal pupils.

Secretiveness

Kids ask, “Mom, why are you in the closet with the door locked?” The answer that I rarely verbalize is, “So these words and I can hang out all by ourselves!”

Lying

Husband asks, “what are you doing in there?” “nothing…just checking some emails.”

Stealing

I shamefully admit I steal words and ideas from people all the time.

Financially unpredictable, perhaps having large amounts of cash at times but no money at all at other times.

Yikes! Now I’m really worried…this perfectly describes my finances since taking on writing as a full-time gig.

Changes in social groups, new and unusual friends, odd cell-phone conversations.

Have you ever heard a group of writers talk about things?

Repeated unexplained outings, often with a sense of urgency

There are times I simply run out of my house with my laptop in hand. I cannot think past the noise of our children, my husband, and our dog, and I don’t take time to explain to them that if I don’t find the space to write the words out…I’ll tragically lose them altogether.

So, the first step to recovery is acceptance, right? I’m pleased to be moving out of denial, but I am unsure whether I will ever be able to abandon this addiction entirely. I think at this point I want to become a much more sophisticated addict.

I want to harness the compulsion and wisely consume, dispense, and manipulate those words so that I am no longer just saying things to say them, but rather controlling myself so that I use words only to say something that needs to be said.

It might be possible to adopt the identity of a “social writer” but in case I can’t…please make sure when you commmit me…they let me take my laptop too!

Copyright 2012     Meagan Frank              www.meaganfrank.com                            Choosing to Grow

 

Where’d You Grow Wednesday? 1/11

Location for my first business meeting...ever

A friend of mine, who works for a great direct-sales company, invited me to pretend to be her.  Thank God, for both of our sakes, she didn’t ask me to sell anything. Instead, she wanted me to present a 45-second commercial on her behalf. After presenting for her, I was then encouraged to introduce myself at her weekly business networking meeting.

“Sweet! Thanks for the offer,” I said, as I hung up the phone.

Wait, what?  What did I just agree to do? Business networking is as far from my comfort zone as climbing into a chair for Botox treatments. At least one look of shock is temporary.

So, I prepped.  I got myself dressed in work clothes at 6:30 in the morning. I have not been professionally dressed so early since I was teaching high school English in 2000. (Stay-at-home moms and college soccer coaches have a slightly different attire)

So off I went. For some reason I thought this was a business women’s networking meeting. My friend sells awesome skincare products and part of me was sure I would be in the gentle comfort of a group of women.

Then the men came.  Lots of them. I realized I was heading into a REAL business meeting with more men than women.

Deep calming breath. Confident. Eye-contact. Shake hands with strength. All the things I try to do when I am in “networking” mode. I can do this. I can totally fake it.

No problem. They welcomed me warmly and seemed genuinely interested in what I do…why I was there.  I have to hand it to them, they were generally very good salespeople.

We got food and coffee, sat at big round tables and the microphone started to make its rounds. It was passed from person to person and the 45-second commercials started to air.  A second wave of panic hit me when I realized that, as a writer, I have a distinct disadvantage in a room full of business lingo. I sell one book product, I don’t really offer services (quite yet) and I don’t have a catchy slogan. They all had catchy slogans! Crap, I thought…I need to come up with something quick.

“Meagan Frank, frankly writing.”

“Meagan Frank with choosing to grow. It’s a way of life.”

“Meagan Frank choosing to write, choosing to grow and choosing to be okay making no money doing it.”

The last one seemed a bit wordy.

So, I ad-libbed the commercial my friend had written, forgot to ask for the referrals she had requested and barely introduced myself as a business entity, sans catchy slogan.

I could have sat and let the microphone pass me by the second time, but I decided to correct my mistakes. I thanked them for letting me come, got in the plug for referrals for my friend and passed the baton.

Before leaving, I passed out some business cards (I suppose I’ve never called them writing cards), made some interesting connections and was requested to come back next week as another sub. They either really enjoyed the entertainment of a flopping fish out of water, or there is value in connecting with a writer.

Last week’s Where’d You Grow, I threatened to go into an ice house. With 50-degree weather, that would have been a risky venture. This adventure felt similarly risky, but breaking this ice was not traumatic, cold or devastating. It was really fun.

Where’d you grow this week?

Mamawolfe, a fellow blogger, submitted her Wednesday growing link.  I love that she spontaneously went on a trip! No planning, plenty of growing.

I hope even more people join in this conversation… this conversion toward growth.  Please comment about one place you went this past week…physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually that was new for you.  How did you grow? Do you have a picture?  If so, email it to:  choosingtogrow@meaganfrank.com.  If something happens to you this upcoming week, and you write a blog post about it, send the link to that email or find me on Facebook.

Happy Growing!

To learn more about Meagan Frank, you can visit her at her website:  www.meaganfrank.com

Where’d You Grow Wednesday?

Powers Lake Woodbury, MN

Back in August, I had a brilliant idea. I wanted to start a weekly blog conversation about the ways people purposefully put themselves into new places. I had a bad title (Walkin’ on Sunshine Wednesdays)…. and….. I forgot to write any other posts. Even more inconsistent was the fact that I didn’t even walk!

So here I go again. The first Wednesday of the year, and my intention remains. I want Wednesdays to be the days I challenge myself to “go and grow” somewhere. It doesn’t have to be somewhere entirely new, but I want to take a photo,  and then write a quick blurb about how I’ve been inspired.

Today I went to the frozen version of Powers Lake. It’s the lake I walk all the time, but to watch its subtle changes through the seasons…I’m reminded how small I am, how little control I have over everything, and how I am meant to appreciate beautiful changes…both big and small. Plus, I just had to venture there today. It is 35 degrees and I saw four ice-fishing people.

(Note to self: explore most what you don’t understand)

Maybe next week I’ll venture INTO one of the ice fishing tents. If not, I will still make the point of going to and documenting how I grow next Wednesday.

I invite any and all people who would like to come along with me. Email me at: choosingtogrow@meaganfrank.com

If you send me photos, or a link to a blogpost, or  a tweet with the #choosetogrow hashtag (see…even I can speak twitterese!) or a Facebook link.  I will start to include other people’s Wednesday growth here too.

Happy Growing!!

Learn more about Meagan Frank at her website: www.meaganfrank.com

S. B. Niccum Interview and Book Giveaway

S. B. Niccum is visiting the blog room today.

I couldn’t be more thrilled to have an opportunity to share some space with this up and coming author. You may find that I’ll be doing this from time to time.

Hi Silvina,
Welcome to Choosing to Grow. I am looking forward to introducing you to some of my blog readers and to give people plenty of reason to get their hands on Veiled.

I think you have an amazing personal story, can you tell us a little about that.

Let’s start with where you are from?

I was born in Rosario, Argentina; the second largest city in the country, so not what most people think when they think South America.

Neither do I look Latina or Hispanic, though I am.  Argentines are mostly of Spanish and Italian ancestry and that’s precisely what I am; third generation,both.  My mom grew up speaking Spanish and Italian.  I only spoke Spanish until my family moved to the U.S. when I was fourteen years old.  Then I had to learn English or be an outcast.  Being as white as I am, I even got discriminated by the Latinos in school!

Where do you live now?

Now we live in Dallas, Texas.  It’s growing on me.  In my 12 yrs. of marriage we moved 10 times!  (Remind you of someone? This was one of the reasons why your book hit home with me!)

We do have a lot in common! How long have you been writing?

I have loved to write since I was little.  In fourth grade, I wrote my first set of books.  That was a very prolific year for me!  I wish I still had some of them.  After that I always found solace in writing.  As a teenager, moving to the U.S. was a traumatic experience and those first two years were very prolific as well.  I should find those journals and see what I can do with them.

That would be an interesting read, I’m sure!

In college I loved my writing classes, and I think I got by in school by being able to write well.  In fact I’m pretty sure I passed World Economics mostly because I can
write a pretty good paper.

I would bet you are right… you sure can write!

Most of my fiction has been in Spanish, Veiled was my first attempt to write in English and my first attempt at a full length novel.

I have to tell you, I’m not sure what I expected from a novel that was a first attempt at writing in English, but people reading it who don’t know, would never guess that English is not your first language.

What are some of the other “jobs” that occupy your time?

My time is very well occupied.  In fact, I have every half hour scheduled.  Besides writing every day, and working out, I homechool my three children, then I drive them to sports and then take care of my hubby.  …Well I cook for him.  I also read A LOT! ( my favorite pastime)  On weekends we like to Kayak and ride bikes.

I like to tell people that I am busy, but I think your list of daily responsibilities makes me sound a little lazy 🙂

Tell us a little more about the people who share a home with you?

My husband and best friend (my sunshine and my storm, as someone once said), then my oldest son 11, my 6 year old son and my baby girl, 4 years old.  We also have three tortoises, a dog and a pac-man frog named Java (he eats small mice).

That is a lot of life in one space. Again…you have shamed me!

The characters in your book are all gifted in some way…if you were to pick one gift of yours that might be most dominant in your personality, what would you say it is, and why?

I picked Discernment for my main character because I’m familiar with it.  I get vibes about people; always have.  I have had the good sense to know when to stay away from certain characters I’ve encountered over my lifetime and I have lived to be thankful for this later.

I still remember getting really bad vibes about this dude, and low and behold, a year later it came out what a creepy, nasty fellow he was.  Likewise, I have had good hunches about people that would not look like your traditional person and they have turned out to be some of my most trusted friends. I can’t read minds or anything, but sometimes I just know….

Thank goodness you do.

Let me ask you a couple questions about you as an author. How
many books have you written?

I just finished the sequel to Veiled, named Living Soul, so now I’ve written two!

Congratulations!  What an accomplishment.

 Where is your favorite place to write?

Kitchen table, with some toast and my Yerba Mate tea.

What has been your most memorable experience as an author?

When someone I don’t know leaves me a message, telling me how much they’ve enjoyed my book and how it’s opened up a whole new way of seeing things for them.  One lady in particular made me cry (in a good way) by how much the story touched her.  Like any author, my books are part of me and my heart has gone into the making of it.  So hearing that others liked it, is the best feeling in the world!

Agreed.

What is one thing that you never expected when you decided to pursue a career in writing?

I never expected it to happen!  I hoped, I dreamed, I worked toward it; but I
must say that it was unexpected that it actually happened!  Something else unexpected has happened, and that is the onslaught of ideas that pour into my head daily.  Before I wrote Veiled, I struggled to get a whole story in my head to work out.  Now I see them from beginning to end and they come at me in an almost magical way.  This has been a great blessing, because I have found that I enjoy writing more than almost anything.

We’re all blessed by that, you know. You need to keep sharing your stories, most definitely!

Let’s tell people a little about Veiled. shall we? I loved it, by the way! It was, without a doubt, unlike any story I have ever read. It offers such an interesting way to look at life…the before-life and ultimately the present life. You really did a good job opening up those new thoughts. 

When did the story of Veiled start to take shape in your mind?

The plight and the ending to Veiled came to me one day as I was reading the Scriptures.  One thing led to another and pretty soon I found myself daydreaming about the two main characters.  I started writing immediately because I didn’t want to lose them.  They were so real!  After that I wrote every day for a whole year until Veiled was done.

You are incredibly disciplined. I could learn from you!

What scene gave you the most trouble?

The beginning for sure! There was so much to explain and I had a word limit restriction for YA’s.  I had two or three different beginnings and in the end I went for the one I thought best explained the situation. The premise is so different from anything else out there that I’m afraid people have had to hang in there with me until the story takes shape.

That’s true, but I contend it is worth hanging with you!              

The concept of your book is about the idea of eternity prior to existence here on earth. People think about life, and the after-life, but very rarely the before-life. 

What is it about the before-life that called you to this story?

Oooh, I can talk for hours about this…and I did!  My fascination with this, are the seemingly odd things that we experience now.  For example: Déjà vu, but with people.  Have you ever experienced this?  I have.  With friends…my husband…my children.  I still remember seeing one of my sons smile for the first time and my immediate thought was “that is so Porter!” like I knew him!  As if he had been cracking jokes for years and I knew this about him, but he was only a new born.

How about those feelings we have that we need to get to know ourselves, like we know who we are deep inside, but we have forgotten… and we need to live in order to remember.

Also, why is it that people always say that newborns have just left heaven?  Where does that come from? It’s so universal too.  I know people from all over the world that have similar beliefs.

 People read books for the experience of it…what will readers experience when they read Veiled?

Readers will experience a YA unlike any other.  Veiled does not follow the typical norm when it comes to romantic YA literature.  It is a fantasy and a journey into a world unlike any other.  I firmly believe that you can have fun and be uplifted at the same time, and that is what Veiled is.

I could not have said it better myself!

Can you tell us a little about the sequel, Living Soul?

Living Soul takes place on Earth and it chronicles Tess’ life.

“Birth is but a sleep and a forgetting…” William Wordsworth

After a traumatic childhood experience Tess ends up in foster care and with no recollection of the first five years of her life.  As she struggles with all the typical high school dramas, she also has to put up with her evil foster sister, help her
Autistic foster brother and ignore some funky paranormal phenomena that she
would rather not have in her life.

Let’s not even mention the fact that the most popular kid in school and
her biggest crush, Alex Preston, has a gorgeous girlfriend that likes to torture her on the side.

Sounds fantastic!

What are some other things you hope to do with your writing?

My main goal with my writing is to entertain and inspire or uplift.  I’m not into depressing lit.

Well, you’ve achieved your goal with your first shot out, I can only imagine where you will go from here.

Is there anything else you really want the readers to know?

No thanks, I’m good J

Thanks for having me!!! I really appreciate it.

Anytime!  This has been really fun.

To learn more about S. B. Niccum, you can find her at the following connecting points. You won’t be sorry you’ve started following her.

http://sbniccum.com

http://spiritualsupernaturalparanomal.blogspot.com

http://facebook.com/silvina.niccum

http://chicksinlit.blogspot.com
I have it on good authority that there is a copy of Veiled up for grabs. I would bet I can get S.B. Niccum to sign it too.  All you have to do is leave a comment on this blogpost, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of the book.  The giveaway will run until 9/23/11. Good Luck!!!