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Jill Reid
Author of “Real Life” & “Discover Your Personal Truth” | Writing on life, relationships, happiness, health, & personal success — http://RealLifeBookSeries.com

WRITING

It’s more personal than I thought

girl with long blonde hair and red lipstick wearing long sleeve black top and black pants sitting with hands crossed in front
girl with long blonde hair and red lipstick wearing long sleeve black top and black pants sitting with hands crossed in front

“If I waited for perfection… I would never write a word.” — Margaret Atwood

Admit it: If you’re like me, you click on every post related to improving the art of writing. Personally, I’m instinctively drawn to stories offering tips, strategies, and suggestions exploring the nuances of the craft.

I can’t stop myself. And I’m not sorry.

Sometimes I just have to know what I don’t know. I can’t take the chance of missing out on any nugget of wisdom, experience, or truth others have stumbled upon and mastered — especially if they’re willing to share with those of us still trying to find our way.

In an…


RESPONSIBILITY

It’s time to grow up, step up, and start pitching in

girl with long brown hair wearing wreath of flower on her head waling through grassy field with hands upraised
girl with long brown hair wearing wreath of flower on her head waling through grassy field with hands upraised

“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”- Sigmund Freud

Several years ago, my nephew bought a house. He’d been saving for years, and was determined to break away and become independent. I was supportive, especially since my sister was on board with her son finally finding his legs and moving out on his own.

After several months — and dismissing a dozen frustrated real estate agents — he finally found a property that checked off most of the boxes on his lengthy wish-list, including the necessity to buy a…


Self-Improvement

There are lots of reasons why you don’t want to fix yourself

sullen girl with long dark hair wearing black short sleeve top leaning against wall of windows white brick wall
sullen girl with long dark hair wearing black short sleeve top leaning against wall of windows white brick wall

Those two 4-letter words seem to have saturated the internet.

Self-Help.

Appearing in titles, subtitles, stories, posts, quotes, and articles, the author hopes the phrase will motivate a reader to click, follow, and ultimately, purchase a book, course, or virtual seminar that promises to fix whatever ails them. But like most everything else we’re exposed to over and over again, the questions begin to bubble up to the surface.

Why is everyone pushing self-help down our throats?

In an article by Mark Manson, he writes:

The self-help industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. It fills bookstores and conference rooms. It’s made…


Writing

Maybe eventually you’ll get a good night’s sleep

woman wearing long sleeve white sweater and glasses with head turned to profile and fingers touching glasses
woman wearing long sleeve white sweater and glasses with head turned to profile and fingers touching glasses

I know what you’re thinking …

“I’m already mature, very mature. I’ve been writing for years and know my way around a story. Besides, writing is in my blood — I live and breathe by the words I write. In fact, I can eat, type, answer text messages, and edit my work all at the same time. I’ve got skills!”

Kudos on the multi-tasking abilities and high level of confidence

While admirable in their own right, that’s not exactly what I’m talking about. Because it takes more than a positive self-image and finely-honed juggling act to be a mature person. …


Whether a burning desire or flight of fancy, writing takes courage

smiling girl with long brown hair wearing black leather jacket standing on sidewalk and looking up to sky
smiling girl with long brown hair wearing black leather jacket standing on sidewalk and looking up to sky

It’s usually on the list of most people’s dream occupation — being a writer. There seems to be something mystical, even esoteric about the profession.

Why?

Maybe it’s the fantasized notion of creating unique masterpieces, or being able to write on an independent schedule — without a boss or supervisor — and having the freedom to take a day off whenever the mood strikes.

And while writing is a noble and rewarding endeavor, the truth is many may not have a true calling. Or patience.

It takes more than a naive interest to sit down and express your thoughts to…


FITNESS/EXERCISE

How to create a fitness plan that’s just right for you

girl with blonde hair in ponytail wearing sleeveless orange top working out at gym with stretch bands
girl with blonde hair in ponytail wearing sleeveless orange top working out at gym with stretch bands

I ran into a friend of mine at the store last week. We chatted for a while about her change of hairstyle (spectacular!), an upcoming vacation she was planning, and her new grandson.

Then she told me about a local gym that had just opened.

She’d joined a couple weeks ago and signed up for an exercise program she thought would be perfect for her — group classes under the guidance of an instructor who, in her words, “told them exactly what to do.”

At first it seemed like she’d found a good solution to get started with her fitness goals — which is why I was surprised by what she said…


MINDSET/POSITIVITY

When does the game stop and reality take over?

thoughtful girl with brown hair holding hand to her face sitting in field of wheat
thoughtful girl with brown hair holding hand to her face sitting in field of wheat

A friend of mine is a master of the fake-happy syndrome.

Always smiling, shaking her head in agreement, and displaying positive body language when interacting with others, she gives the impression of a centered, balanced, optimistic person. By all visual measures, she appears to be genuinely happy. Until she’s home alone and the mask comes off.

Her behavior isn’t all that unusual.

Because at some point in our lives, many of us have been guilty of playing out this same charade — projecting a cheerful guise to shield our lack of enthusiasm or interest.

So how do we recognize the difference between what appears to be an authentic joyful persona and fake-happy syndrome? …


Keep your options open to produce fresh, attractive writing

happy girl with long brown hair wearing long sleeve light top and baseball cap
happy girl with long brown hair wearing long sleeve light top and baseball cap

Still looking for the magic formula for attracting — and keeping — readers?

Join the growing crowd. Here’s my thought on the secret to luring curious eyes to your work: Unless there’s a way to attach a long, sticky strip of fly paper laced with honey to each story, there’s no guarantee anyone will stay engaged past the first paragraph.

This reality should come as no surprise. Attention spans are short, and the clicky, glittery, WTF headlines that initially draw curiosity only deliver so much satisfaction. …


WRITING FROM THE COUCH

You may also have to quit streaming Netflix for awhile

picture of girl from neck down sitting on white fluffy rug wearing blue jeans and eating a bowl of popcorn
picture of girl from neck down sitting on white fluffy rug wearing blue jeans and eating a bowl of popcorn

Want to be a writer?

Who said “No?”

That’s right — none of you.

But I know what some were thinking. For a split second, you let doubt and worry weasel it’s way into your brain in that whining, skeevy voice — the one attempting to convince you to give up on your dreams, and that you’ll never be good enough or prolific enough to finish a single article you start, much less do it again.

Yeah, I have the same unwelcome, disrespectful visitor in my head, too. And she needs to find a new home. Because I’d started to believe her seductive taunts. After…


PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT/HEALTH

The importance of being ready when opportunity appears

girl wearing bandana and short sleeve green shirt sharing cookie with a llama
girl wearing bandana and short sleeve green shirt sharing cookie with a llama

A few years ago, my younger sister visited Peru with friends to make the trek to Machu Picchu. Located in the Andes Mountains, Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

I learned about my sister’s adventure only a few days before she left, which is typical of the way she likes to roll. When she called to let me know her upcoming travel plans, she told me it was a last-minute opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

As I listened to her talk about the trip, her excitement was contagious.

She described their detailed excursion itinerary, a list of clothing she’d be taking…

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