Monday, December 30, 2019

Welcome 2020! New Year, New Mission


This week marks the beginning of a new year and a new decade. It's time to reflect on what has been and plan for what's coming next.

This past year has been one of huge growth for me as I started my company, Balancing Tree Press. I am learning how to I want to manage my business and how I can make it grow. I have used this holiday transitional time to decide what I want my focus to be. I've created a mission statement and look forward to a bright future.

Balancing Tree Press's mission is to encourage writers, artists, and entrepreneurs by offering tools and opportunities for them to share their story. 

We all have something in us worth sharing. We are all creators and express what is in our hearts through our own choice of mediums. Writers use words, artists use visuals and entrepreneurs use charisma, organization and business to share what matters most to them.

I personally exhibit all three of these characteristics: a writer who recently published my first novel, an artist striving to find perspective through visual means and an entrepreneur learning how to express myself through my small business.

As a publishing company, my vision is to be an amplifier for the creator's work and journey. Balancing Tree Press will become a network for writers, artists and entrepreneurs to find other creators to collaborate with, be inspired by and get to know.

I can see the direction I want to go, but figuring out the path is more difficult than I originally expected.

I know as a whole being, I want to be balanced and powerful. This means I want an equal distribution of my time, energy and resources and to maintain emotional stability. I also want my opinions, wants and needs to be heard and feel capable of doing the next thing.

Now I am aligning my desires as a business owner within the greater scheme of how I want to feel for the year.

I will concentrate on three areas:

1. Creating and maintaining a consistent flow 

This is important for the balancing part of my new year plan. By creating and maintaining a consistent flow, it will allow me to cover the many aspects of my business without causing myself stress.

I do not work well when I get overwhelmed. My way to combat this is to have plan for things to be taken care of in their own time. I want this process to be sustainable so that I can do it for a long time. I want some flexibility as life ebbs and flows, but having a steady foundation will allow for adjustments.

2. Defining my brand

I want to embrace what I am good at and what sets me apart. For me this comes in two distinct facets.

I want to coach others who want to write their story, but may not know where to start. I hear "I'd love to write a book, but I don't know how." I aim to help break down the seemingly daunting task into small achievable steps. I also want to help you believe you can do it and encourage you with tangible ways to fold writing into your busy life and keep you motivated and focused along the way.

I want to be an amplifier for other's stories and showcase their journey, hard work and accomplishments. This comes from my days as a journalist and is an aspect of writing that I have always loved.

3.  Collaboration

Although I am a writer, art plays a huge part in my personal creative process. I want to collaborate with writers and artists to create something bigger than myself. I want to combine writing and art to reach more people and share a more powerful story.

2020 looks bright and full of possibility. 

I am excited for how much I have accomplished in 2019 and look forward to seeing how far I can go. My business will grow slowly. I hope to build a meaningful organization and positively affect the people around me. I am proud of my work and I love what I do. Balancing Tree Press is still young, but it is growing with intention and passion.

Happy New Year! Welcome 2020.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Coffee Chats: Happy Holidays!!!



Happy Monday Beautiful Readers!

Okay, bear with me. I'm changing the name of this series again!!!

I have to admit that consistency is not my best skill. I am all over the place with my mind of ten things all at once. My life is a run on sentence. This makes me a good writer, but not always the best organized.

Thankfully, I'm in luck. Stream of Consciousness is a writing style that suits me well. Basically, this means that the thoughts actions of the speaker are in a continuous flow. I thought this would work perfectly for a weekly series where I can talk to you like you are sitting across the table from me.

One of my favorite activities is to get coffee with a friend. I want to do that with you, especially this time of year, but you may live very far away from me. This series is my way to reach across the distance and connect with you the reader.

Happy Holidays!

I'm not sure if it is better or worse that all this change is happening around the holiday. I don't know what it is about this season that makes us think we need to have things more put together. We want the tree to be perfect, the dinner to look like it's out of a magazine and ourselves to be calm and cheerful just like the commercials.

My life is far from the latest issue of Better Homes and I like it that way. Life is a mess. Instead of stressing over that, I'm embracing it. Life is a beautiful mess.

I like that all this change is happening at this time of year because I turn very introspective. I want to be able create a balance to my workflow and my life. I'm able to setup my schedule and priorities for several aspects of my life at once, including my business.

Now I can celebrate!!! This week is a series of celestial events. No matter what you believe, this is a time to rejoice!

I love all of the lights strung up this time of year. Here in the Pacific Northwest, the sun is setting earlier and earlier. On the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, Seattle will see the sun set at 4:17 pm. That means darkness before most are even out of work. The lights celebrating good tidings, make me feel happy and a little less gloomy.

I look forward to spending time with my family this week.


Monday, December 16, 2019

Monday Coffee: 3 Ways to Simplify the Holiday Madness


Happy Monday Creators!

It's the week before Christmas! Are you celebrating or stressing this week?

The Holidays bring about a season of joy and cheer. Then why are we always at our wits end? This year I challenge you to slow down and enjoy the moment you are in. Keep things simple.

Instead of trying to go to every event or be the best elf. Relax. Don't be so hard on yourself. Enjoy time with your family and let all of the "shoulds" go.

This is easy to say, but how do you put simplifying your holiday into practice?

Here's 3 Ways to Simplify the Holiday Madness

1 - It's okay to say "no"

I know how it goes. It's the season of giving. Your kids have school parties, you have a work party, maybe a recital, your community center needs volunteers, you are expected to travel to see family maybe even make a pie before you go. You are left exhausted and you still have to wrap presents and stuff stockings.

Breathe. You do not have to do it all. Look at your plans objectively and find what you can take off your plate. Ask for help. Choose a couple parties and decline the rest. Accept the invitation, but ask if it is okay if you don't bring anything or something you can pick up from the store.

2 - Give experiences instead of gifts

My friend told me how she and her husband are taking their son to the mountains to ski instead of putting a bunch of gifts under the tree. I thought this was a great idea! After a busy season with rambunctious kids, a chance to get out of the house seems like a perfect idea. This also takes the pressure off finding the "perfect" gift or a lot of time wrapping.

Spend the season with some quality family time.

3 - Do something special for you

This is the time of giving. However, you cannot give from an empty cup. Take some time for yourself. Ask for help. Especially if you have small kids, you need to give yourself a break to breathe.

Read a book or take a bubble bath (or both). Wake up early and enjoy your coffee before the house wakes up. Take a walk and get some fresh air. Make an appointment to pamper yourself. I find a hair cut is a perfect pick me up. Whatever you do to make yourself feel great, make time to do that this week.

What's going on with Balancing Tree Press this week?

I'm taking the next three weeks to set goals and build a foundation for smooth workflow for the new year. I aim to be intentional with my priorities so I can accomplish more without becoming overwhelmed.

I am also taking some time during our Holiday break to declutter my physical and mental space. I'm not sure what it is about this season. Maybe it is because we are in the house more or because I am in a mental state to let go, but this is when I get my cleaning done. I am going to begin going through each room to deep clean including letting go of items that no longer serve us. I also do this during my meditation to let go of habits and stories that are holding me back.

This idea of letting go leads right into my final priority for the week. I want to spend some time reflecting over the last year and decade and set intentions for the upcoming ones. I ask myself: What have I learned? How have I grown? What do I want to move forward on and make a priority in the new year?

What's going on with you this week?

My goal with this "Monday Coffee" series is to begin a conversation. I want to share, but I also want to hear from you! What's going on with you this week? How are you handling the holiday madness this year? What do you enjoy doing to fulfill yourself?

This week's mantra:


I am strong. I am capable. I am enough. I am loved. 
I will decide. I create my future. I lay down the foundation for the upcoming year.
I walk forward in confidence. I trust myself.

Peace and Love,

Thursday, December 12, 2019

What Does It Take To Finish?



This week I am running on a huge victory! I published my debut novel "Leap of Faith." Now I am a published author and my publishing company release its first novel. (Don't mind me, I'm doing a little dance over here.)

Now that I am at the end of this journey, I am looking back to the beginning and realizing how far I came during this project. I remember asking myself three years ago - What does it take to finish? Now I am prepared to answer that question.

When you are at the beginning of any big project, it feels daunting. It can feel impossible and too big to take on.

It's not!!!

The most important thing is to remember why you are doing this project to begin with. The how will work itself out. I was still doing publishing research up until the moment I hit submit. Then I went and researched one more thing, just to be sure.

Find your vision. Figure out exactly what you want to do. Define it. Write it down. Sketch it out. Get that clear visual out into the world so you know what you are working with. This is also the step to gather your materials. I'm an author so all I need is my mind and a laptop (or pencil and paper). For an artist you would need your canvas, brushes, paint, etc. You get the idea. You know your craft.

My first piece of advice is to break it down. A big project feels overwhelming because there are a lot of parts to it. If you are building a house, you will do it in stages. You wouldn't decorate the walls before you put the roof on. Just like you wouldn't put the roof on before you build the walls. Big projects work with the same methodology.

Once you have a solid vision, start with the foundation. For my story this is putting a lot of words to page. Though this novel did go through a Nanowrimo iteration, the majority of my writing happened in a notebook during the spring. I wrote while riding the bus, late at night by the light of a small lamp and all over the place in between.

I had about sixty thousand words before I moved on the "walls" of my project. For an artist, it may be only the base layer of paint.

Keep building on your foundation. My next step in creating my novel was to arrange it and start to fill in the plot holes. This took a long time. This is where two years of my project went. This would be building the walls in this metaphor. I began to separate my scenes into chapters and give the characters depth. This is also where I expanded on the secondary characters in the story.

This is the part of any big project where it is easy to get lost and forget why you are putting so much energy into something so laborious. It will feel like you will never finish and it is all for nothing. This is not true!

Keep going!

You can do it. You can find a way. If you are feeling lackluster, find a coach or a confidant to help keep you going. Remember your why! The reason you began this project will be a huge motivator in finishing it.

It's okay if it is hard. It is okay to take a break. It is okay to change your mind. Keep going and it will all be worth it.

Add the finishing touches. This part can be the most exciting because your project is finally coming together. However, I have also realized this is also where the most resistance comes in. When you are so close to finishing is when it feels the hardest to follow through.

When I was doing the final revisions of my novel, I felt the least motivated of the entire project. It was so close but I still wondered if it would ever get finished. This is where a realistic deadline can be a lot of help. I will say this though, give yourself more time than you need. Tasks tend to take longer than you think they will. Plan accordingly.

Once you get those final touches done, breath easy and celebrate. Watch your work come alive. Any creative endeavor, something out of nothing, is a beautiful accomplishment and deserves praise.

But you aren't finished yet.

Put your work out there. Challenges occur at every step. This one is one of the toughest because it is letting go of something you have put so time and effort into. This is also the most rewarding part. Good or bad, your work affects people. That is a true expression that cannot be denied.

What you have created is worth everything you have put into it. All the time, dreaming, research and work all come together in one moment where you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Enjoy it. Celebrate. Then go on to the next project.

What does it take to finish? Persistence.

Never give up. Remember why you started. Work step by step. Find constant encouragement. 

Believe in yourself.

Have you finished a big project? Share it! Let's celebrate together.

Peace and Love, 

I love to encourage all creators. My specialty is in writing. Are you interested in writing a book? No matter where you are in the process - from idea to ready to publish - we can help! Balancing Tree Press offers writing coaching to help you break down a big project into smaller steps that is personalized to your work and schedule. Find Out More!


 

Monday, December 9, 2019

Happy Monday! {December 9, 2019}


Good Morning Creators!

I've begun to do a ritual on Sunday night to lead into Monday morning. I want to begin sharing that with you in a weekly series called Monday Mornings with Amanda.

By setting myself up for the week, I am more prepared for what is to come. I know what the schedule for the week looks like so I can manage all I want to accomplish around what is already happening that week.

As a small business and a creator, my weekly schedule is always changing. There are a few constants. Yet, I am always amazed at home many meetings, appointments and engagements show up for myself, my business and my family.

We are also a homeschooling family, so we are always doing field trips and projects that need to be accounted for as well.

This practice is a way I combine all the aspects of my life together so I can see the bigger picture. I run a small business, but I am also a mom, wife and an individual. This means on top of any business goals, I also must maintain the house, make sure my kid has what she needs, spend time with my husband, run errands and also make sure that I take time for myself. When you feel good and fulfilled everything else is a little bit easier.

My basic structure for this weekly ritual goes like this:

  1. Victories!!! - It's important to take a moment and look over the past week and find a few things that went right. Write down something that you accomplished or that you felt really good about.
  2. Events - Lay out everything on my schedule that has a specific time or needs a large block of time to accomplish. 
  3. Priorities - Set aside the top 3 items you want to focus on. I know our to-do lists are a million miles long and never ending. By prioritizing the top 3 major items, you can focus on what is most important for this week. You will be surprised by how much can wait a week or get done during those in-between moments.
  4. What is coming up? - This is the section I set aside to process whatever is on my mind that week. One week I had surgery on my gums and it was all about how I was preparing for that and a recovery plan. One week it was some leftover inspiration from a conference I went to that I wanted to remember. This week it is about how I want to move forward after my novel "Leap of Faith" is released. It is whatever is on you mind that needs a little extra processing. When you write it down, it will get it off of your mind and help you see it from a different (usually more manageable) perspective.
  5. Spirit Guide - This last one section is completely optional or customizable. My personal beliefs my be very different from yours and that's okay!!! I like to use an oracle deck to draw an animal that guides me through the week. This helps to align my energy with what is going on during the week and helps me overcome those hard moments. You could also use a quote or a Bible verse in this section. The point is to have something inspiring that you can look back on a gain strength. 
This is the basic structure of how this series will flow. I want to share some of what I am going through and hope that it helps you in your own journey. The creative life is hard and often messy, but with check ins like this, we can keep going strong no matter what is flung our way.

Monday Mornings with Amanda will give me a chance to help you jump start your week. I want to send some positive energy your way. 

It will also allow me the opportunity to share what is going on in my life and my business. If I ever have any questions or want to know more about how I manage my crazy schedule feel free to email me or message me on Social Media - all the information is below or on my Website.

I like to put my notes into a visual journal. This gives me something to look at throughout the week and helps me visualize the week ahead. Here is my visual journal for this week...


Victories

This week I had a lot of victories. I am recovering smoothly from my gum surgery last week. My "Leap of Faith" ebook is available for pre-order. I set up orders for autographed copies of "Leap of Faith." I submitted my paperback version of "Leap of Faith" and it is awaiting approval. We also had family time and set up our Christmas Tree. I am most proud that I was able to stay strong and emotionally stable through my healing and publishing stress this week.

Every week is not this jam packed - trust me. Some weeks I am good to simply make it to the end with out breakdowns. What are your victories for last week? Let's celebrate together - the big and the small!

Events

My Events this week are somewhere in the middle of busy. My daughter, Zo, has two commitments each week that I take her to - Viola on Mondays and Girl Scouts on Thursdays.

My book release on Tuesday is a big deal, but I don't have to be anywhere for it. That is acknowledged for the emotional factor and extra marketing tasks.

I'm looking forward to a day downtown on Wednesday. They always inspire me in my work and also give me a sense of inner strength and independence.

Zo has a viola recital this weekend that she is super nervous about, but I know she's going to do great because I've heard her practicing. This is the part where business and family collide. One thing different as creators is that we often don't punch a time clock. It can be hard to step away from business mode and be a supporter. Same as it can be hard to get in business mode because the laundry pile is staring you in the face.

The other big thing we are preparing for this week is my husband is going to be out of town for work next week. (The week before Christmas, right!?!) He's not very happy about the timing, but it must be done. It will be just Zo and I for an entire week. (There are going to be so many Christmas movie marathons!)

Do you have any plans that are out of the ordinary this week? With the holidays quickly approaching I know it is the season to try to be everywhere at once. You can share these, but don't feel any pressure. Think about you week and acknowledge where you will need some extra time for rest or motivation to keep going. Put a plan in place beforehand and then it will pick you up at just the right time.

Do not feel guilt for resting or saying no to that extra commitment. This is the time of year meant for rest, turning inward and feeling cozy.

Priorities

Some weeks I make this very specific things. This week I divided my priorities into categories: Work, Self-care and Family. I am coming off a power week, so this week I will be taking things a little easier.

For work I'm focusing on details surrounding my book release. This is a huge deal and has a lot of emotions coming up. I am taking this one step at a time to make sure no problems arise and create a marketing campaign around my book. Part of that is maintaining social media. My other task is to create a mission statement for my business so I can move forward confidently with purpose.

Self-care is very important to me. I was forced to rest a lot last week. I surprised myself with how much I could accomplish in small spurts. I'm going to try and continue that in an effort to balance work and life. This week I am still in recovery. I want to be back at it, but I still get tired very easily and I am on a very restricted diet. I need to make sure I am listening to my body so I can recover fully.

Family time will be very important this week since my partner will be gone next week. We want to take advantage of the holiday atmosphere and watch lots of Christmas movies. We also love doing crafts and painting. This will be a special week to enjoy each other and get into the Christmas spirit of love and joy.

Take time to figure out what your priorities are. By doing this, you can decide what needs your time and what is simply distraction. The things you act on are the ones that will move forward. Make sure you are using your time on things you want to manifest.

What is coming up?

This week what is coming up for me is what do I focus on after my book release. I have a lot of ideas for my business and myself as an author and encourager.

I want to define my mission statement so I can add it to a newsletter I'm creating. I want to share what I'm working on, creative ideas and showcase other creators. I'm hoping to get the first one out before the end of the year and then send them out monthly.

One of my big points is this right here. I've been thinking about this for a while and I want to make it happen. I would love to start a podcast or YouTube channel with this on it as well. I love the idea of a weekly check in. My style is stream of consciousness where I talk about things as they come up. I love planning, but I'm usually more passionate about what is happening right now. My goal is to set up two weekly releases: Monday Mornings with Amanda and Thoughtful Thursdays with Amanda. Mondays will follow this format and Thursdays will highlight a particular tool set, emotion or practice that I am encountering that week. I hope to create a backlog of all sorts of topics over time.

I'm always working on my social media platforms. (Who understands Facebook's interface? Please help!) I'm also trying to update my website to be full of content and easily accessible. It's currently still a work in progress.

What is coming up for you? Again, you can share or just think about it. When you acknowledge that thing that your mind is working on and write it down, you can usually see it from a different perspective. If you ever want to brainstorm write in the comments or message me on social media!

Spirit Guide

This part really helps me because I need something to think about that isn't only the work to be done. I use this The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Deck and Guidebook to focus on the traits of an animal to help me focus throughout the week.

This week I drew a crocodile. (This is the second week I've drawn this card!) It's perfect though. It is all about waiting, recharging, gaining energy and strength. I need this right now as I recover from my surgery. I need remember this and not put guilt on myself for resting. I must be patient, healing takes time. This is not wasted time though, it is time to observe and build energy so my next move comes from power and wisdom.

In this section you can use any sort of motivation that inspires you. If you have a Bible verse or quote that speaks to your week, that is perfect! Artwork or comics that are meaningful are perfect! This is  all about making the process work for you.

Share your motivation! Maybe it will motivate someone else. You can add it in the comments or tag #balancingtreepresslive in social media.

This is my preparation for the week. I've been doing a visual journal practice for several weeks now and notice a huge difference in my mentality throughout the week. Anytime I wonder what I need to focus on, I can look back and know what I can do next.

I hope that this practice in some way helps you. I would love to hear about your victories and motivations. Have a wonderful week!

Peace and Love,


Friday, December 6, 2019

Are You Interested In An Autographed Copy of "Leap of Faith?"



Here's how you can get one!!!


Step 1: Fill out this Order Form so I know to whom and where it goes!

Order Form: https://forms.gle/APowmRWxCT47rEzW9



Step 2: Pay $20 to Balancing Tree Press via PayPal

PayPal Link: https://paypal.me/balancingtreepress?locale.x=en_US



The $20 covers the cost of the book ($16) and shipping ($4).


Please note, the autographed copy will not be available on the release date of December 10. An email with your tracking number will be sent when I ship your personalized copy.

"Leap of Faith" ebooks are available for pre-order now! Paperback copies will be available December 10 on Amazon.com.


Send any questions or comments to amanda@balancingtreepress.com.

Receive updates from Balancing Tree Press!

* indicates required

Check Out These Popular Posts