writing

Minimalism and Buried Treasure

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“It’s never too late – never too late to start over, never too late to be happy.”
– Jane Fonda

As I sift and dig through the past, I find that I’ve collected a lot of things I don’t need – physically and mentally. Junk. Weighing me down. Slowing me down. Since my last big epiphany regarding minimalism and mental clutter, I’ve learned to enjoy the process a little more. For the first time ever, I’m living an intentional life. I’m less afraid of what I’ll find because I know that on the other side is freedom.

Recently, I found two bits of treasure in my digging. Little things to a stranger’s eye. But worth so much in my heart. After years of setting them aside, they just got buried beneath my busy life. I don’t know what to do with them yet. I’ve moved on so far that they are dusty and old. I’m older. But I believe that it’s not too late to live your dreams.

Both are from a distant past. But both remind me that my simplicity quest is not about getting rid of everything. That’s actually pretty easy. The hard part is deciding what to keep. Sifting through junk and dreams to find out what matters most to me. Belly dance matters. Love of writing poetry matters. I found the hip scarves in an old, unlabeled box in a cabinet this morning. The love of poetry I found in a coffee shop last week. Unfinished dreams worth keeping…

(Because of this post I decided to go ahead and post the poem I wrote. Lauren’s is the only blog I follow that is about writing. She is sincere, encouraging, and seems to know what she’s talking about. She inspires me to be a better writer. So Lauren, if you read this, thank you…)

Open Mic Night

I’m mesmerized
by this woman’s voice.
Whatever it is that real singers
with real talent have,
she’s got it.

Everyone knows it
in this tiny coffee shop –
a room full of broken souls.

So clear, so rich
her art reaches out.
It’s so pure…

I will never sing like this woman.

After twelve years
of public school choir
and many more years
singing Chain of Fools in the shower
I still don’t have what she has.
Even if I hired a tutor,
reserved an auditorium,
and sang with all my heart,
I could not come close
to what she brings.

Something inside me is angry.

Envious.

Not because she can sing.
But because she doesn’t have to look
to find her magic special something.
She just opens her soul
and there it is.

And me?
I’m still searching.
While I write.
While I run.
While I see the perfect beauty
in the faces of the people around me.

And someday,
when I find it…

I won’t hold back.
I’ll sit on a stool
on life’s little stage
in some remote corner of the world;
room full of strangers.

I will open my soul.
Whatever I’ve found
will shine out
and light up the night.
A reminder to all
to keep searching…

It’s never too late
to find your voice.

How to Make Money Online (psst…it’s not about the money)

20130703-094715.jpgA few weeks ago, I ran a Google search for “how to make money online”. I love writing. LOVE it. I wanted to see if I could find a simple way to make some extra pocket change using my love and my ever-growing skills. I wasn’t searching for way to get rich quick or even get rich by pursuing a career online. Just a project or an idea that would give me some boundaries and help me grow as a writer – and put a little extra in my bank account at the same time. I didn’t find much. But I did find this bit of treasure and I thought I would share it. It’s from Seth Godin’s blog.

How to make money online

  1. The first step is to stop Googling things like, “how to make money online.” Not because you shouldn’t want to make money online, but because the stuff you’re going to find by doing that is going to help you lose money online. Sort of like asking a casino owner how to make money in Vegas…

  2. Don’t pay anyone for simple and proven instructions on how to achieve this goal. In particular, don’t pay anyone to teach you how to write or sell manuals or ebooks about how to make money online.

  3. Get rich slow.

  4. Focus on the scarce resource online: attention. If you try to invent a way to take cheap attention and turn it into cash, you will fail. The attention you want isn’t cheap, it’s difficult to get via SEO and it rarely scales. Instead, figure out how to earn expensive attention.

  5. In addition to attention, focus on trust. Trust is even more scarce than attention.

  6. Don’t worry so much about the ‘online’ part. Instead, figure out how to create value. The online part will take care of itself.

  7. Don’t quit your day job. Start evenings and weekends and figure it out with small failures.

  8. Build a public reputation. A good one, and be sure that you deserve it, and that it will hold up to scrutiny.

  9. Obsessively specialize. No niche is too small if it’s yours.

  10. Connect the disconnected.

  11. Lead.

  12. Build an online legacy that increases in value daily.

  13. Make money offline. If you can figure out how to create value face to face, it’s a lot easier to figure out how to do the same digitally. The web isn’t magic, it’s merely efficient.

  14. Become the best in the world at something that people value. Easier said than done, worth more than you might think.

  15. Hang out with people who aren’t looking for shortcuts. Learn from them.

  16. Fail. Fail often and fail cheaply. This is the very best gift the web has given to people who want to bootstrap their way into a new business.

  17. Make money in the small and then relentlessly scale.

  18. Don’t chase yesterday’s online fad.

  19. Think big, act with intention and don’t get bogged down in personalities. If it’s not on your agenda, why are you wasting time on it?

  20. Learn. Ceaselessly. Learn to code, to write persuasively, to understand new technologies, to bring out the best in your team, to find underused resources and to spot patterns.

  21. This is not a zero sum game. The more you add to your community, the bigger your piece gets.

To read the full article, go here.

It reminded me that I don’t need the extra pocket change as much as I desire to add beauty and light to the world. It’s not about the money. It’s about the big picture and how I can share the strange sunshine I carry with me wherever I go. It’s about who I’ve always wanted to be and deciding that it’s not too late to be that person…and maybe make a living while I do it.

It’s not too late to “make it” as a writer (whatever that may look like). It’s not too late so I must keep writing. Keep searching. Keep my eyes open and my soul free to find just what I want to share with the world. It’s the reason I’m on my quest for simplicity. It’s the reason I get rid of my stuff and focus on minimalism. Simplify. Minimize. For what? To find the beauty that waits inside me.

That’s what I offer you today, dear reader. Don’t give up. Whatever your dream. Whatever your “calling”. Don’t give up on it. And stop Googling “how to make money online”. 😉

Cheers to you and your dreams!