Celebrate the Little Things

"Let me encourage you to get up every day and focus on what you have in life. Be thankful for the blessings of the little things, even when you don't get what you expect."
- Victoria Osteen

I have been reading through a series of blog posts by writer Kristine Kathryn Rusch called The Freelancer's Survival Guide. She wrote it with an eye to help more than just writers, but rather small business owners and freelancers in all industries—though she does have a fair number of examples for writers in there.

(Note: For writers who want to read it, she wrote it in 2009. Because of changes in the industry since then, not all of her advice is relevant to today. Even still, I am over halfway through and have gleaned lots of great stuff.)

One topic she addresses in the guide is the need to stay positive as a freelancer. I think this applies to way more than freelance business owners.
The "Good Things" list - Celebrate the Small Stuff
Freelancers often work alone, with little social interaction throughout the day (or, in the case of therapists and such, perhaps very draining interactions), and this can sometimes make it difficult to stay positive about our jobs. "It takes focus to remain optimistic," she says.

Boy, is she right.

This doesn't mean "stay positive" like "being-super-sunny-all-the-time," though attitude is part of it. Freelancers need to stay positive on a variety of levels—believing in yourself and your product, staying motivated to keep producing it and to keep "putting yourself out there." All of it can require a tremendous amount of energy.

Kris points out that we can get fifty positive comments about something, and only one negative, and a week, month, or year later, all we will remember is the negative one.

Or, in an environment where your days start to blend together, how easy it is to forget about the positive things that happened, even if they were only last week. That's going to feel like a LONG time ago if you can't remember if it's Tuesday or Wednesday. (Guilty. It's Wednesday, right?)

I don't think this only applies to freelancers. Work-from-home people are susceptible to this, but I'm also remembering my days as a young mother. Back then, I was so sleep deprived, I not only forgot what day it was, sometimes I forgot the year!

Anyone whose daily routine is very much the same and who must motivate themselves on their own impetus alone (no boss telling you what to do with your day) will probably be able to relate. It takes a lot of energy to stay motivated and positive about your goals on a daily basis, and sometimes, the energy just isn't there.

And that's when we forget that we are making progress, that we are not just stuck in a long black hole of effort. This is something we love to do and there are rewards for doing it.

Kristine offered a very practical solution, which I started implementing this week: a "good things" list (title mine).

Basically, start a list (she used an actual calendar, 'cause she was rocking it like it was 2009—and I know some of you do, too :-D) where you record every positive thing that happened in your day.

Because I use a digital calendar and don't tend to look backwards in it, ever, I made mine a digital list in OneNote (one of my all-time favourite organizational tools).

Why digital? So that I can  access it from my phone and write things down as soon as they happen. (Otherwise, I'll likely forget, which defeats the purpose.) And if my house goes up in flames, I'll still have my Good Things list—and that might be a key time to refer to it. Haha.

So far this week, I've written down the articles I've completed, the fact that I got the blurb for The Mermaid's Tear finished, had my cover designer start on the cover, and even that yesterday, I got through my entire list of daily tasks. (A major accomplishment for me, since I chronically over-book myself.)

My only regret is that I didn't start doing this when my kids were small. It would have been a big help on a teething-baby day to be able to look back at the cute thing my other kid said last week that made me laugh until my stomach hurt.

Not everyone is as in love with lists as I am, I get that. But most freelancers have probably developed a healthy appreciation for them. No matter what your daily occupation, find something that works for you to remind yourself of these daily "good things."

The key point I'm trying to make here is that it's important to record the positive moments of your life in some way, shape or form—not for Instagram, but for yourself. The moments you can look back on and be thankful for or proud of.

That way, you'll always have something to celebrate.

"The more you celebrate your life,
the more there is in life to celebrate."
- Oprah Winfrey

"Marina" by Susan Schroder
This lovely digital painting by Susan Schroder is available as a print here: Susan kindly gifted me a digital wallpaper of this print years ago, and it has been a tremendous inspiration to me while I've developed my story of The Mermaid's Tear. (Psst. This is what Calandra looks like.)

The Mermaid's Tear (Book 1 of The Mermaid's Tear trilogy)

Coming early 2019.

For as long as Calandra can remember, she has been running from the Madness . . .

Calandra is the most powerful mermaid Healer to be born on Sirenia for three millennia. She has been raised to be the saviour of her people, the only one with a hope of healing the Heartstone that hides their civilization. However, she has questions. Why must her kind capture human males to survive? Why do all the powerful Healers go mad? And why does her aunt, Queen Adonia, seem determined to hide the truth about her people's history?

Across the sea in England, Zale is unaware of his merman identity until a series of accidents leaves his father dead and his friend blinded. Fearing his own elemental powers, he flees from his home and becomes a spectacle on display for money.

When the beautiful and mysterious Abela frees him and tells him that he is the last male of his kind, he finds himself on a quest to save his mother and the sister he's never met from the same dark forces that pursue him. But if he can't control his powers, he may destroy everything he's trying to save.

Meanwhile, the Heartstone is failing, and along with it, the protective barrier it powers. To save the stone and her people, Calandra must choose between enslaving the man she loves, or trusting a cryptic message left behind by the mother who abandoned her as a baby. And the Madness is calling . . .

* * * * *

In this young adult historical fantasy, join merfolk, sphinxes, dragons, and humans as their lives become entwined on the search for the true meaning of redemption. But when they find it, will it be all that they had hoped for?

I will be doing three book signing events this summer, one in Grande Prairie, Alberta, on July 28, and two in Red Deer, Alberta, on August 4 and 5. See my "Events" page for details. If you're in the neighbourhood, I'd love to see you!
See Events
Winters' Day In blog - Adventures in Authoring

Adventures in Authoring

Being an author, I have discovered, is nothing like anyone ever expects it to be. The story behind why I decided to publish The Mermaid's Tear independently—and why I couldn't be more thrilled about it.

Read the Post

Winters' Day In blog - What About Christian Fantasy?

From the Archives: What About Christian Fantasy?

In this post, I talk about my inspirations behind The Mermaid's Tear and questions I asked myself as I was developing my real-world-based fantasy.

Read the Post

What I'm Reading

Just a quick list, nothing fancy, to let you know what I've read within the last month or am actively reading. If I like it, you might, too. Links go to Goodreads.

To Kill a Mockinbird - Harper Lee (ongoing, but already 5 stars)

The Freelancer's Survival Guide - Kristine Kathryn Rusch (except I'm reading it on her blog)
Talena Winters' books on

Be an author's hero!

As much as I love it when someone tells me that they loved my book, I would much rather they told other people!

That's because your simple review can make an enormous difference to the success of my books. It doesn't have to be long—just a rating and a sentence or two will help. However, if you want to put a little more thought into it, check out my 2-Minute Review Writing Boot Camp.

So if you haven't already left a review for a book of mine that you've read, please go do it now—even if there were things you didn't like. It still helps, honest.

And if you haven't read my books yet? Please go leave a review for another book you've read. You'll make the author's day. :-)

Finding Heaven Quick Links
The Friday Night Date Dress Quick Links
Hopefully, in my next letter, I'll be able to share my new book cover. For now, I hope you are enjoying your summer and stopping to smell the roses by making note of the good things.

Seek beauty, spread sunshine!

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