Wow! I haven’t posted a Create Diary entry for awhile, but I’m getting back into it as I adjust to an ongoing flood of additional tasks.

Has that ever happened to you—you have something going steady, then everything shifts and suddenly, there is a New Normal without you realizing it?

For me, that is a flurry of summer activity—plans every weekend, reconnecting with friends in the city during the week (whenever we can squeeze in the time) and lots and lots of traveling.

It hit me out of nowhere and it’s been tough to keep up with work in the midst of all of that, so I haven’t had much time for these entries and haven’t had much to say in them, because I wasn’t doing as much work!

The interesting thing about New Normals is that even though they can take you by surprise, you can adjust to them within a week or two and still fit everything in, even if you’re overloaded. I feel myself “catching up” and finding ways to squeeze in my work around an active social calendar.

Also, in this case at least, the New Normal will shift back to my usual state within a few months (October-ish). Social engagements have a season—and living in Chicago, it is a long winter of months cuddled at home with nothing to do but write and work and cook and sleep. Yes, I’m looking forward to those days… the busy season will pass!

I’m enjoying everything I’m doing right now and it is fun to have plans all weekend, every weekend. Good food, good company, hours away from the computer… all of it is amazing and so inspiring!

I’m still getting work done (though not as much fiction as I’d like) and today I’ll be talking about:

  • finishing up Socialpunk (so close!)
  • killing the Naked Noveling ecourse to make room for something bigger

Let’s get started!

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Progress, Wins, and Misses

Socialpunk covers are up! I still have some tweaking I might do to these, but overall I’m pleased with the direction of the covers. They highlight the “punk” quite a bit more and look sci-fi still, but also manage to skirt the “young adult” side of the equation. I’ve struggled greatly with how to market these books in the past, given that it is very young adult while also being a dystopian/sci-fi. The covers need to appeal to older men (a lot of the people who have read and loved this book are men in their 50’s and up) AND women of the Twilight persuasion. And especially with Divergent being a huge success, this series (which is also set in Chicago, which is also dystopian, which also has a world within a world) really needs to speak to that crowd and get their attention.

I’ve also got new words hot off the proofing press, and beats for the three additional scenes that will appear in the third serialized book… coming really soon. They are in my mind, just not completed.

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Strategy and Shifts

The last couple weeks have taken me on an odd journey as I was preparing to ramp up for a Naked Noveling ecourse launch. I ultimately decided to kill the project as a result.

I’ll get to why in a minute, but the thing that’s taking it’s place is bigger, better, and yes—more daunting. Because of that, I’ve spent the two weeks sitting on it, making sure it felt like the right thing to do, making sure I can still deliver some of the original Naked Noveling content in  this course, and coming up with a way to make things work for me—something I’ve often neglected in the past.

It all started with a book I read called, Get Rich, Lucky Bitch! Hilarious title and not at all what you’d expect. In the book, the author Denise talks about tons of money blocks that women (and men) have and how in order to have a good relationship with money, you must uncover all of these blocks and find ways to heal them.

She gives hundreds of examples and several exercises to sleuth these out—they can be anything from deals gone bad in the past, guilt over an experiment gone wrong, limiting beliefs held since childhood, or traumatic incidents during your lifetime—Denise covers it all. I did several of the exercises and uncovered nearly 10 moleskine pages of content.

Line by line, I went through and healed them, had a nice ugly cry over some of them, and set a  weekly reminder on my phone to run through the list each week and see which ones had healed and which ones needed more healing. I’ll also eventually use that time to go through the exercises again and uncover more money blocks, but for now I’m just going to work on the list I’ve already made.

I am happy to report that this morning I went through my money blocks list and many of the items on it no longer held an emotional charge for me. I had genuinely released them or forgiven the person for them or forgotten about them altogether. The whole process of emotional purging on money-related pains has been awesome, and I was holding onto tons of stuff (especially from my divorce) that shocked me!

The second thing I truly learned from this book is that money is 100% a symbol of some other pattern in your life. As I was looking through my list today, I noticed a number of themes, but the biggest one is that I use money as a symbol for acceptance. This came up in a number of ways:

  • When I was young other girls teased me about not having the right shoes ($120 Doc Martins) or the right clothes (name brand stuff). I had to beg my parents for these things, and while they eventually gave me some of it (outfitting your 12-year old daughter with $50 shirts and $150 jeans is apparently not a good investment strategy :)), the girls I went to school with always teased me and made me feel bad about being “poor” (even though we weren’t). I thought they weren’t friends with me because I couldn’t buy expensive clothes, when really as an adult I know that we weren’t friends because they were jerks and battling their own self-esteem issues.
  • Later in my marriage my ex-husband scrutinized every personal purchase I made regarding clothes, shoes, etc. I had a high-end 6 figure job but I bought clothes at Forever 21 still (and oh, I was so not 21 anymore). That again made me feel worthless because he didn’t think I was “worth” spending money on the next tier up, which in my opinion was more appropriate for my age and profession. (Whether he really didn’t think I was worth it is not clear, this is just the mental story that played in my mind.)
  • Those issues came up again in my current relationship—I had it in my mind that my current boyfriend won’t want to be with me because I don’t make a lot of money anymore and he still does. When we met we made around the same amount. I talked to him about it shortly after reading this book and basically realized how crazy that was—of course he loves me and he isn’t concerned about the amount of money I make, as long as I’m contributing to our relationship. I don’t have to match his salary in order to be worthy of his love. I was being crazy.

So, a lot of this is really personal and specific, but the reason I’m sharing it is because I do think our thoughts have the tendency to spin out of control in this fashion. The problem is, we never name our deepest and darkest fears, which means we can’t get resolution on them.

When I talked to Patrick about this openly and honestly, he was quickly able to assuage my fears and set me straight about the role money plays in our relationship. And I have a feeling if I were to talk to my ex-husband, he could probably explain his side of things too. The girls probably have no idea how they made me feel as it was so long ago, and it’s just in my best interest to forgive them (and also to forgive myself for making others feel this way, as I was equally susceptible to playing the role of bully when I was a kid).

That’s what I’ve been working on—being hyper-aware of when I’m worrying about acceptance and taking a chance on people by being vulnerable to them.

My guess is that a lot of people use money as a symbol for acceptance, because acceptance is all about worth and value (if people accept you, you must be valuable to them) and money is also all about worth and value (a literal symbol of it).

The third thing I learned from this book is about manifesting money as you clear money blocks. I thought this was ridiculous at one point in time, but the odd occurrences over the last week were a sign to me that all this money healing has been time well spent. Here’s what happened:

In the book, Denise talks about how The Universe is happy to take care of us and leave us money in random places. The first place I found random money was on my window sill as I was cleaning it last week—a dime, nestled in one of the corners. It had been sitting there for years, but I had never noticed it before. I knew it was there, but I had never truly looked at it or seen it for what it truly was. Instead of leaving it there, I picked it up and carried it to my desk, where it sat by its lonesome for a few days.

Then, I noticed this bag of pennies sitting on my dresser and realized it was mine. I never carry cash, but this little bag of pennies has been with me since at least my last apartment. I don’t know where it came from, but assume my ex-husband forgot it or left it when he moved out. I picked it up and added it to the dime on my desk.

Then, I was walking Mia outside and found a penny on the street. I wasn’t going to pick it up, because, well, eww, who picks up money off the street, but Denise has shared her own story of finding money on the street and how she picked it up and kissed it and thanked The Universe for it. So whatever, I picked it up, did not kiss it, but did thank The Universe, and added it to my collection on my desk.

I didn’t think much of it because it was a penny and also because I literally never find change in the streets like that while walking Mia. I live in a heavily populated area and there just isn’t change strewn around that isn’t found by homeless wanderers 10 minutes later. (Or so I thought!)

But then, later that day, I looked down in the grass where Mia was playing and found another two quarters, just staring back at me, practically blinking at me like two eyes saying “we see you!” They were a bit gross but I picked them up anyway, and I added them to my collection.

Twice in one day had me paying attention, finally. I started keeping my eyes open for more coins, and it’s been working like crazy! Over the last week I’ve been manifesting coins and have found tons of them—on the street, at the bottom of my purses, in my clothes, and more. I haven’t counted any of it up yet, but I’ve noticed that I’ve progressed from finding pennies to finding lots of quarters—often in groups, like 5 or 6 quarters at a time.

It doesn’t seem like much, but you have to understand that I never use cash for anything and haven’t for at least five years. If you looked in my wallet you would not find any bills or change, just my credit cards. I just don’t use it, period. The idea that I have a bag full of coins sitting on my desk right now would have been preposterous to me only two weeks ago. Now, it’s a reality.

Just for fun, I’m going to try to start manifesting paper money in the coming weeks. Wouldn’t that be cool, to find a $5 bill outside? I mean, why not? I’m already finding handfuls of quarters, which are the equivalent. How interesting to stretch the possibilities!

(By the way, if you think this is all coincidental, I’m not the first person who has experienced this. Check out Steve Pavlina’s blog post on the topic—powerful stuff.)

Okay, so what does all of this Law of Attraction stuff have to do with the Naked Noveling ecourse? Read on. I will explain!

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The Final Word

As a result of so much of this transformation I’ve been going through, I’ve also decided to make The Create Diary Pay What You Will. I talked to people who have paid and they were fine with it and happy to support me with their original contributions, so we’re good to go.

I’m not promising it will always be this way and I did have to remove the book options from the subscription for the people going forward (people who have signed up at this point are good to go) but other than that, it was easy to convert the offer. If you’re reading this and haven’t signed up yet, I’m looking forward to seeing you on the other side!

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