Tuesday, May 3, 2016

What is Stress?

"Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind." - Aristotle
We've all said it at one point or another; "I'm stressed out!" But what is stress? We all feel and experience it. Some of us deal with it better than others. There are varying degrees, and it usually builds when not dealt with. Though, when we use this word, that one little word hardly describes how we are actually feeling. "I'm stressed," hardly explains the turmoil and struggle we are going through, or so we think. I feel this way about a lot of words; they just don't explain how I'm really feeling.

Or do they? The definition for stress packs quite a punch. Even though it feels severely inadequate, there is a lot more to these five letters than meets the eye. Stress refers to a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. This definition definitely stresses the word stress, but I don't get quite the same satisfaction from using one word as I do from looking at this definition.  

When people ask what's wrong, I'll start by saying I'm sad or angry or stressed. We all do. Then I plunge into a long explanation of why I'm stressed, trying desperately to stress just how intricate and complex my stress is.

Strain means to force oneself to make a strenuous or unusually great effort, or to make severe or excessive demands, excessive meaning more than is necessary, normal or desirable. Now this sounds far more satisfying. "I have asked my mind and emotions to do more than is normal, or necessary, or even desirable." Now doesn't that sounds much more stressful than saying we are stressed?

Why does the word stress not stress how stressful stress really is?

(The word stress is beginning to not even look like a word.)

The truth is, as I saw when I broke down and explored the definition, it really does! We just don't know the true meaning! We have either lost or never really learned or remembered what the word stress actually means. We do this, all the time. I do this with all sorts of words. I'm never satisfied because I don't know or can't remember what a word actually means. Sure, I can tell you what a word means in my own words, but it's usually very far fetched from the intended, or true meaning.

We can't walk around saying, "I am in a state where my mind and emotions have done more than is normal, necessary and desirable." Stress is a powerful word, if we throw our own definitions out the window and re-learn the real definition. I don't have the answer, or at least not a perfect answer for how we get around this problem. My perfect answer if this was a perfect world would be that we all walk around with dictionaries and take vocabulary classes every day and society never stopped learning.

This is not a perfect world, as we all know. No matter how frustrating it is, it's physically and mentally impossible to know the actual definition of every word.

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

This is my mission; in life, in writing, in blogging. Explore definitions, learn something new every single day! Use words the way they were intended and understand what they were intended to communicate without directly expressing it. Language is a beauty, an art. Every word is intricate and complex, their definition even more so. There definition is meant to be unspoken and intended, not forgotten or overlooked.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this blog posting. If you enjoyed it, share it with your friends, leave a comment below and tweet @TresaWriter. Share your thoughts. Happy reading and writing, friends!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

10 Questions Writers Should Ask Themselves

As a new, fresh, amateur, sometimes even beginning writer, there are a whole host of questions I ask myself, everyday, every single time I write. Mostly, I ask myself these questions during my spirals of self-doubt, when I am feeling discouraged and seriously lacking motivation. It's alright; it happens to the best of us. It's normal, and healthy! A little self-doubt can go a long way, if you embrace it!

Every writer has questions. Every writer likes to think they have all the right answers. I'm here to say that I don't have the answers. You may not, either, and that's okay! As a beginner or an amateur writer, I've come to realize that even if you don't have all the answers, you still need to write! If you want to write, you need to write before you have the answers. You need to figure it out as you go! You won't find the answers just staring at a blank piece of paper or screen.

These terribly daunting questions can discourage even the most sure, dedicated writer, and make them question their entire purpose. Here are 10 questions every writer should ask themselves, almost everyday, (and it's okay if you don't have all the answers).

"It's okay if you don't have all the answers."

1) Who am I? (What kind of writer am I?) 
This question scares me. It's by far the most daunting question out there for writers, but don't get discouraged. My first thought is, 'I have no idea!' Most days, I'm not even sure what kind of writer I want to be.

2) What do I stand for? (What is my mission?)  

Again, don't get discouraged. Most days, my mission is, 'A blog that revolves around words, definitions and their true, intended meanings, which have been lost.' Some days, I lose sight of that. 
3) Where am I going (as a writer)? 

Feeling the burn, yet? This question is just as impossible to know the answer to as, 'Where am I going in life?' While it's a great question to think about, you can't get too hung up on the answer.

4) Are my expectations realistic?
As writers, we need to be realistic. We need to understand that fame isn't going to happen overnight. It takes hard work. It's tedious. Focus on the enjoyable, but also analyze your expectations and realign them with reality.

5) Am I good enough? 

Some days, yes. Others, no. Here's the point; it doesn't matter! You will never be your best if you let this question (or any question) stop you. I have no idea if I am good enough right now. The answer is probably, 'NO!' And that's okay, because it's not up to me! It's up to our readers. They decide if our content is good enough. The good news is, if you keeping writing, every day, you'll get better. And better is good enough.

6) What makes me remarkable?
Again, it's okay! You don't need the answer to be able to write. Embrace it! This is part of being a writer; you won't have all the answers at first, maybe not even after a month, six months, a year. Don't get discouraged! You still need to write, or else you'll never find the answers.

7) Why should people care about what I write? 

Ouch! This one hurts most days, but it is essential in your everyday writing. You have to ask yourself this question, because it'll bring you one step closer to finding your purpose, even though there are a million steps between here and there!

8) Do I believe in myself or my writing?

Most days, not really. Sometimes, I am just unmotivated, uninspired and discouraged beyond help. Sometimes I think I am so full of crap that my readers can see right through my writing and see just how much of a fake I really am! I read an article by creativindie.com, 10 Catastrophic Blogging Mistakes That I'm Still Making, and I've never read anything more true;

"Even if you write 6 months of crap and then start over, you'll be so much further down the road! You can't 'skip over' the brutal learning period by avoiding it or waiting. Just hold your breath and dive in."

Even though the thought of writing absolute garbage for six months is terrifying, you still have to put in the time. You still have to make the effort.

9) How will I deal with failure? 
I'm not saying you need a back-up or contingency plan, but you need a plan, everyday, for how you are going to re-motivate yourself. You will run into tiny failures everyday, and some days, these tiny failures will ruin you! 'I lost 15 followers today! What am I doing wrong?!' Don't give up; head back to the drawing board. Persevere!

10) Am I being too hard on myself? 

This is a very important question to ask yourself, every single day. We are always too hard on ourselves; some days we need it. Others, we are just unnecessarily brutal to ourselves. Give yourself a break. It's okay to walk away from an unfinished project. Plan ahead for these delays in your writing. I plan to write all of my blog posts the day before I plan to post them. So I post my blog for the day and then later that day, I do my homework for tomorrow's blog post. Tomorrow I edit it and then post it, and start all over again. Give yourself some room for error, for those unmotivated times, or even days.

Make a list of questions you feel you should ask yourself every day. Questions that make you think, make you ponder your purpose. You should always be re-evaluating your purpose, revamping to make yourself better, reminding yourself of said purpose.

What questions would be or are on your list? How often do you ask yourself these questions?

As always, thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to leave a comment below and share with your friends. Tweet @TresaWriter and let me know your thoughts! Happy reading and writing friends.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Are Writers Also Artists?

I consider myself a writer; I've written fiction, blogs, books, etc. I also consider myself an artist; I co-own and run an art studio, with a wide range of media. We dabble in clay, paint, glass, wood, and more. I've considered myself both of these professions or titles for a reasonable amount of time. 

While writing a previous blog post, Motivation & Inspiration, I came across a thought; 'Can writers also be considered artists? Do we create art?' Are the terms, titles, professions interchangeable? Can a writer also be artistic? 

At first, I thought no. 

I thought they were two separate schools of thought. Two very different professions that were not meant to co-mingle. The question came to me when I defined the word inspirationwhich is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially something creative. In a different blog post, What Is Creativity, I explored what it meant to be creative. If you haven't read that post, it's definitely worth a read. 

Being creative means relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artist work. This was when I wondered if writers were also artists, in a literal sense. I wondered if it was ever meant to be that way, or if the definition allowed for it to be that way. 

Artistic means to be aesthetically pleasing, which means in a way that gives pleasure through beauty. I thought, 'Well, these definitions make me think of visual art, especially when I hear the word aesthetically.' This was when I was certain the word artistic, in its most literal sense, was meant exclusively for artists. 

Though, after defining the word beauty, I was humming a different tune. 

Beauty means a combination of qualities that pleases the intellect or moral sense. At this point the definition takes a turn towards yes for me, and morphs into something that sounds much more 'writer-like'. Before, aesthetically and beauty sounded very 'artist-like', but the words intellect and moral sense definitely make this worth discussion. 

Our moral sense refers to our ability to distinguish between right and wrong and our intellect is our faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively, especially with regard to abstract or academic matters. I've underlined the word abstract, but we will come back to that. So, beauty is a combination of qualities that appeal to our ability to distinguish between right and wrong, and our physical power of reading and understanding, which is very wordy and intelligent. This part of the definition provides a strong argument for writers also being considered artists. 

Abstract simply means the theoretical consideration of something. At first, I wasn't really sure; when I hear the word abstract, I definitely think of art, such as a painting with weird lines and no real point. But, that was just the word. For me, the actual definition changed the game and made me think that writers could absolutely be considered artists. I myself believe that when I am writing, I am creating something that is aesthetically pleasing, which stimulates and appeals to our mind and is mostly based on theory instead of practical applications. Of the utmost importance, at the very core, I believe that I am being creative every single time I write. 

I'm curious to know what my readers think, whether you're writers, authors, bloggers, artists, etc. My last controversial topic of Authors vs Writers was a huge hit, and I hope you all enjoy this one just as much! 

As always, thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this post, leave a comment below and share your thoughts. Be sure to share with your friends and tweet at me @TresaWriter! Happy reading and writing my friends. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Famous vs Infamous

How many times a day do you think the world infamous is used wrong? Once? Twice? I can't tell you how many times I have heard someone say they want to be infamous, when what they really want is fame. I'll also hear someone talk about how 'infamous that guy over there is', when he's really just a nobody, and they feel sorry for how unknown he is. 

I know the difference between fame and infamy, but it turned out I didn't know enough. I knew infamous wasn't the exact opposite of famous. Famous simply means known by many people. What I didn't know, was that infamous was actually considered a synonym of famous! The antonym for famous is unknown

Infamous actually means to be well known for some bad quality or deed, which I also did not know; though, I knew there was some bad connotation that went along with infamy. I realized, as I do every time I define a word, that I didn't really know. Not in my conscious, ever present mind, at least. There are so many words that I think I know the definition of, but I really don't. We really don't, and I have a theory. 

I think that people are so used to needing to prove that they know everything. It starts off as something as simple as, 'I bet you didn't know that one!' Someone gloats about knowing something that you didn't and all of the sudden you have this big chip on your shoulder because you didn't know. Now you're constantly going around saying, 'I already knew that. Of course I knew that.' 

Don't lie; we are all guilty! 

We don't want anyone thinking we are less educated than they are. It's human nature! We want to prove that we are better than everyone else. Be honest! It makes us feel good when we get to gloat! And it's okay. I'll be honest and admit that I'm guilty of it, too! I'll say, 'Oh yea, sure. I knew that.' Then I'll turn around and ask Google what in the world that person was talking about. It's funny, really, and sad. 

As a writer, I try to be more conscious; I try to do this less and less, because it's bad! It's a terrible habit. I find I'm no longer too proud to ask, 'Well, what does that mean?' When I became serious about writing, my pride went out the window and I became a sponge, wanting to soak up every ounce of knowledge I can. Especially now, when it comes to words. 

Knowledge and intelligence, I think, is situational. We shouldn't be walking around with big chips on our shoulders, worried about who is smarter because of what they know. Someone who knows everything there is to know about mechanics isn't smarter than someone who doesn't. Someone else could know equally as much, quantity wise, about physics. We shouldn't be afraid or ashamed to learn from each other. 

The next time you don't really know something, ask! I'm sure whoever has the knowledge will be more than happy to share it, and you'll walk away knowing something new. 

As always, thank you for taking the time to read. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to leave a comment below and contribute. After that, feel free to share this post with your friends. Tweet at @TresaWriter and let me know your thoughts! Happy reading and writing! 

Friday, April 8, 2016

What Is Creativity?

In a previous post I wrote about motivation and inspiration. While exploring what it meant to become motivated and inspired, I came across the word creativity. If you haven't read my post about Motivation and Inspiration, it's worth a read. Every writer battles with creativity problems, writers block, whichever you prefer. I touch on this and many other ideas. In my post, I also suggested a simple trick to solving these problems. 

While exploring these problems, something in the definition of inspiration spoke to me. Inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially something creative. When I define a word, I underline any other word in that definition that I don't know the true meaning of, or a word that makes me wonder. I made a note to come back to this word, because a question came to me; 'What does it mean to be creative?' 

Sure, as writers we are creative everyday. Well, we try to be creative every single day. Some days it's difficult and others it comes naturally. But how many of us creative minds actually know what it means? As writers, we represent a a very creative group. I always heard when I was younger, 'It's just a book. Just sit down and write it.' Some days it was just a book. It was that easy, but other days it was terribly difficult, for a whole host of reasons. I wondered what it really meant to be creative. What was the process of creativity, what was it meant to mean... I am often in pursuit of the true meaning of a word or words. Whether you're a writer, author, blogger or reader, I hope that you are, too.  

Creative means relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. This brought another question to mind; 'Are writers also artists?' Are they interchangeable? Can a writer also be an artist? But I will touch on that in a later post. Today I want to talk about what it means to be creative. 

Now, when I think of the word imagination, I think of a child. I hear an argument between couples, 'You're imagining it!' This is dismissive of our imagination, of our skill, which I'm not interested in. I also hear, 'That kids got an overactive imagination.' You think of the kid with the imaginary friends who talks to himself. Imagination means the action of forming new ideas, images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses, external meaning coming or derived from a source outside the subject affected. While I still see the kid with the imaginary friends, I also see a far more intricate definition than I was anticipating. And creativity is just that; intricate, complex and fascinating. 

This definition, in a simpler state, means that our imagination is responsible for the process of creating new ideas that do not currently exist where our senses of sight, scent, hearing, taste and touch are concerned. Imagination also means the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful. I actually adore this definition. It brings us back to our original question of creativity, which brings the definition full circle, and I love when that happens. 

Though, the simplest definition of all is the part of the mind that imagines things. I thought two things, 'Well what does imagine mean, and what part of the brain is responsible for this?' In a past life, I would've gone into full detail about the literal sense of which part of the brain handled imagining and imagination. I love psychology and philosophy, but there's only so much time in a life, let alone in a day.  There are a million different avenues I would pursue in life if I had the time; for now, I'll pursue the definition of to imagine, which means to form a mental image or concept of. 

In its very simplest form, creativity means exactly what we all think it means; to imagine. To dream. Day dream, even. But true creativity, complex creativity is so much more than that, and a complex and intricate level of creativity is required to be more than a child with imaginary friends. We prove that everyday as writers, as authors, as artists. We have the ability to connect these mental images and string them along into books and drawings and speeches and analytics. I often read about being your true self, letting yourself shine through in your writing, rather than diminishing your light and watering yourself down in hopes of gaining popularity! Embrace your ability to be creative! Let it shine through your work, no matter what sort of work it is! Be proud that you can do something with your imagination and creativity. 

As always, thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed today's post. If you did, feel free to leave a comment below, amble through other similar posts, and don't forget to tweet @TresaWriter! Happy reading and writing my friends. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

100% Follow Back; Yes Or No?

Since I've come back to blogging, and mostly Twitter, I've seen a lot of commotion about this '100% Follow Back' and '#MReTweet' trend. A fellow follower asked me a question about the whole concept. I said I didn't quite understand the idea, but my understanding was that if you followed someone who was on a 100% Follow Back list, they would follow you back, no matter what. They said it sounded like a great way to boost numbers and gain followers, and it does. Finally, I said that if this retweet, follow back concept was content based, I would be all over it. 

That was when I really started thinking about it. Though it sounded like a great idea at first, the more I thought about it, the more turned off I became. As I'm fairly new to Twitter, I have about 200 followers and I follow just under 150 people, so far. I receive about 10-15 followers a day when I'm really active. As a writer, the 150 people I follow are people whose content I actually enjoy reading, retweeting and promoting to my fellow writers, bloggers, followers, etc. The people that I follow are people that I support and agree with. 

Ive seen the lists for 100% follow back go up to 500; five hundred people who swear that if you follow them, they will follow you. No questions asked. I find this concept dizzying! 

Think about it; if you follow every singlen person on that list, that's an extra 500 people. That could mean 500 very different posts every day, at least! Some people post 5-10 times a day on Twitter! Sometimes even more. Sure, that's a 'so-called' guaranteed 500 followers (if they don't unfollow you in a few days when they think you won't notice one missing follower), but what happens to your content? What happens to your feed when you're a writer liking and retweeting something that's completely irrelevant to your usual content? It becomes messy! Sure, maybe after 500 followers it won't matter; your feed will already be a mess, overflowing with hundreds and hundreds of tweets a day. 

While I get giddy and squeal like a school girl every time I get a new follower, at least I know that these new followers are following me for the right reasons. Each follower has decided to follow me for a reason, and that reason has something to do with the content I post, the content I chose to share with them, the people I chose to retweet and promote. And honestly, it's all relevant. It's reliable! You can guarantee that content like that will be consistent. If I start posting about ponies, people are going to stop following me because that wasn't what they followed me for. They followed me and developed expectations based on what I posted at the time they followed. 

Honestly, I feel the follow back trend cheapens the experience, the purpose of Twitter. Maybe it's just me; as a new writer to Twitter, I want to follow people based on their content, content that I enjoy reading. I also want my followers to follow me because I intrigued them, made them think, and they enjoyed reading what I had to say. I don't want to cheapen the experience by submitting myself and promising to follow back every single person who follows me. At least when I follow you or follow you back, you know that I chose to. I didn't do so out of obligation. I didn't pledge to treat you the same as every other person on Twitter. I saw something I liked, read something I enjoyed and decided I wanted to see more! I can't speak for whoever created Twitter, but I would think that was what they had in mind. 

What do you think? ReTweetTrain, yes or no? Good or bad? Right or wrong? As always, thank you for reading. If you enjoyed it, take a moment to share, have any thoughts, leave a comment below or tweet at me @TresaWriter and let me know what you thought! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What is a Logophile?

I consider myself a logophile, which is very simply a lover of words. There are many other writers and bloggers who consider themselves logophiles, but what does it mean to be a lover of words? It's certainly not simple. A lover is a person having a sexual or romantic relationship with someone, often outside of marriage. Late last night this question came to me and I wondered, 'Hmm, am I having an affair with words?!' 

Is it possible to have an affair with words? 

Besides the initial meaning, being a lover can also be a person who likes or enjoys something specific. Well, very specifically I like and enjoy words, and I hope my reads do, too. This leads me to my next question; 'What is a word?' 

word is a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing used with other words to form a sentence. If I'm being honest, it doesn't sound like I want to have an affair with words. It sounds like I would be changing my relationship status to 'it's complicated'. A word can also be a comment, password or motto, a basic unit of data in a computer, a message or even the smallest amount of something spoken or written

Going back to my question, it is possible (or possibly even necessary) to have a romantic relationship with words? Romantic means conducive to or characterized by the expression of love, which means an intense feeling of deep affectionAffection meaning a gentle feeling of fondness or liking. (As opposed to an aggressive one?) And a relationship is the way in which two or more concepts, objects or people are connected. It sounds like I'm a stalker, forcing words to have a romantic relationship with me. I'll admit, I am a little obsessed when it comes to words. So much so they I am writing a blog post about what it means to love them. (Seems I may have lost a few marbles.) I think a writer needs to be a logophile. I think you have to love words in order to be a good writer, even borderline obsessed. After all, our world revolves around words, right? 

Though, if we are having a romantic relationship with words, it's a one way highway and lonely at times. I love words, but do words love me? 

We do all the work as logophiles. We worship at our partners feet, hoping they will just reward us, treat us the way we want to be treated. We treat words so well; we explore them, cherish them, accept all of their flaws and even their curves. 

After exploring and thoroughly dissecting the definition, a logophile is a person who expresses  an intense, yet gentle feeling of fondness with the building blocks of sentences. I think it's safe to say that logophiles also need to be a little crazy. 

How about it? Would you say as a logophile, you and words are connected by an intense feeling of deep affection? 

As always, thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this blog post, take a moment and share it, tweet at me @TresaWriter, leave a comment below and share your thoughts! Happy ready and writing my friends! 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Motivation & Inspiration

What are these things that constantly elude us writers, or creative people in general? 

It seems that just as we are about to pounce on them and catch them by surprise, they vanish without leaving even a glimmer of the magic they promised just moments before. It turns out the words motivation and inspiration are just as complex and intricate as the act of becoming motivated or inspired. Motivation is the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way, or our general desire or willingness to do something, anythingInspiration on the other hand is the process of being mentally stimulated to do something, especially something creative. 

Which comes first; the chicken or the egg? 

They both work hand in hand, and you can't have one without the other, at least not and be successful. It's my belief that you can't become inspired without being motivated, and I feel it's a lot easier to become motivated than it is to be inspired. I can tell you a million reasons I have for wanting to write. Any writer or artist can tell you why they love what they do, or why they put themselves through the torture of trying to do it (let's be honest, nine times out of ten being creative is torture). I write because I enjoy it, when my creativity and imagination cooperate. I write because I want to spread knowledge, because I want to inspire others. But ask me how many times I have been truly and deeply inspired, and I can probably count on my hands and feet. I can be motivated to write, but I find it difficult to be inspired to write. 

How many people can agree with me? 

I often wonder why this is such a hard thing to become! Upon exploring the definition of inspiration, I realized it's very fitting to always be lacking in the inspiration department. 

Motivation is very simple and straight forward, but there are three words that stand out in the definition of inspiration; process, stimulated and creative. I can tell you what I think these words mean, but we can do that all day. I'm far more interested, (and I hope you are, too) in what they actually mean. 

process is a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular endseries meaning a number of things of a similar kind or related nature coming one after another, usually several. The process of becoming inspired requires several steps. Fair enough. Stimulated means to encourage development or increased activity in a process. Now we are getting somewhere. 

Even the definition of a word can be misleading or unsatisfying if left unexplored. Inspiration has started to take on a new meaning with each word that is defined. Inspiration now means several steps taken in order to increase activity while being creative, which means relating to or involving the imagination. 

We can go on like this for days. I can go on like this for days. I would actually enjoy, and do enjoy, doing this all the time. 

I spend a lot of time, or at least a significant amount of time exploring the definitions of words. I say exploring because defining words, scouring through the dictionary truly is an adventure if you enjoy words as much as I do. After exploring the definition of these words, I actually became inspired, if you'd believe it. I came up from this with three other ideas for my next blog postings. All I had to do was ask myself how I was feeling. 

I was feeling uninspired and unmotivated. I asked myself what it meant to be inspired and motivated and now we are here. Take a second. Explore the definition of a word. Send me an email about it. Comment below. Tweet at @TresaWriter. I guarantee you'll have your own revelation. I guarantee you'll become inspired! 

Happy reading and writing my friends! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Good People = Good Business

Besides being a writer, I've also been a co-owner of a business for a few years. I've also been in the business of retail since I was sixteen. My very first job was selling shoes, and retail has just sort of stuck with me. I think it's safe to say that I am well versed in proper business etiquette. 

Today I decided to try out a new business in town. I own a small business, so I try to support the new, local businesses every chance I get. I was having trouble finding a phone number for the new place. I thought it was a second location for an existing business in town. So I picked up the phone and called the one across town, asking how I could get a hold of their "new" location. I was rudely told that, no, these two businesses were not associated and that they had no idea how to get a hold of them. Then they hung up on me. 

Baffled, I resumed my search on Google and soon found the business on my side of town had a different name, and a phone number of their own, of course. I called and told the owner of the second business that the previous business was claiming to not be associated and that they were being utterly rude and unprofessional. 

Having been in the retail business for many years, I've experienced lots of businesses of similar trade going in and out of business. There's always that phone call asking about the business across town who also sells shoes, or the place in the neighboring city who does what we do, too. Is the business across town still open? Are you associated with that one place? And each time, I'm happy to give out the information a customer is looking for. That's my job, as a sales associate, as a business owner, as a human being! I don't ever want to call somewhere and ask a question, only to be rudely handled and hung up on. Why would I do this to someone else? Does the phrase, 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you' come to mind? 

After this experience, I wondered, as I often do, 'What does it mean to be in business? What does the word business even mean? Was it defined and intended to demand proper business etiquette?' 

Off to the dictionary I went! 

Business means the practice of making one's living by engaging in commerce. Now, you would think if someone was making their living by being in business, they would be far more pleasant than the woman I spoke to. The person who answers the phone decides how a customer will feel about your image! Little does she know, even if I ever end up on that side of town, I won't be taking my business there! In fact, I will go out of my way to take my business to the much more pleasant lady on the other side of town! 

Now, the word commerce stood out to me and I wasn't quite satisfied, so I defined it as well. Commerce means the activity of buying and selling. It also means social dealings between people. Social means relating to or designed for activities in which people meet for pleasure! Aha! Now we are getting somewhere! Social dealings between people is very specific and intricate, and so is doing business. Thus, being in business means to make your living, your paycheck, your annual salary, by involving yourself in the act of buying, selling and activities in which people meet for pleasure! I don't think I need to go as far as to define the word pleasure. 

Several sayings come to mind that I want to shout at this woman; 'The customer is always right, sales is about relationships, don't find customers for your product, find products for your customers.' The comebacks are endless, but they all have something in common; proper business etiquette. This woman obviously isn't in the business of making customers feel happy or satisfied! 

Business isn't about you, the retailer. It doesn't matter if you're having a good day or a bad day. If you're going to make any sort of success, in any sort of business, you need to create relationships, be good to your fellow neighbor, or in this case consumer. Especially your fellow small business owners! My very first boss always told her staff, 'Leave your day outside of work at the door. Don't bring it into the store with you.' Honestly, as a retailer, I live by that. It's my motto! And it should be everyone else's. If my day is too stressful, I don't write because I don't want to bring my stressful mood into my writing. 

I always share my fellow, locally owned business pages. I also apply this to my writing and blogging. I share posts that are interesting and informative. I make sure to tag the authors. Why? Because that is proper etiquette, no matter what business you're in. If your city or your community or your followers are doing well and creating relationships, so will you. Be good to your fellow writers. Be good to your fellow small business owners. 

I once read that activity breeds activity. I'm saying that good people breed good business. Happy reading and writing my friends! Share your fellow writers posts. Share your fellow business owner's posts. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

'The Good Thing' vs 'The Right Thing'

Do you ever wonder why some phrases aren't worded differently? If you're like me and sit around pondering words and their definitions and their intended meaning and how a certain phrase came to be, you do. If not, then you have to be a little bit curious. Why else would you be here? 

Today I wondered about the phrase, 'Doing the right thing.' I like to think of myself as a standup kind of person, and as such, I like to think that I do the right thing or am trying to do the right thing the majority of the time. Today was a particularly difficult day and I found myself saying, 'I'm just trying to do the right thing.' Of course, I was actually yelling it to the ceiling, hoping my day would improve. 

I started wondering, 'Well, am I doing the right thing? How do I know I'm doing the right thing?' I wondered how I had decided I was trying to do the right thing. 

I defined the word decide, which means to make a choice from a number of alternatives. To me this means that individuals decide, in our own way, which thing of many, is the right thing. What may seem like or be decided as the right thing to one may not be to another, which is true. I've often felt something is right when someone else thought it wrong, or vice versa. 

Definitions will never fail. They have never failed me, never will. Dictionaries are like the writer's bible. At least, they should be. At least, I think they should be. 

So I decided to define the word right, which means morally good, justified or acceptable, or correct in one's opinion or judgement. Then I wondered, 'Well why go as far as to say morally good?' Why not stop at good? Why don't we just say, 'Do the good thing.' You don't hear anyone tell you to do the good thing. There's a reason they didn't do that. Not because it doesn't sound right. It just doesn't sound right because we are programmed to know that it is wrong. And when I say they, I mean the little faeries who made the dictionary and decided how we should speak and what right or wrong grammatically speaking, of course.  

Besides the fact that it would be grammatically incorrect, good doesn't actually mean to be good! Good can actually, simply mean to be beneficial or advantageous to someone or something. If we all decided to just be good, rather than right, or morally good, we would all be considered a bunch of inconsiderate cavemen, which is sadly what our language has been reduced to! 

I wish I could go back to the days when my teacher or my mom made me pull out the dictionary every time I didn't know what a word meant. I wish everyone did that. There's a million ways I can go with this, and it's overwhelming. Wouldn't it be different if we somehow had certain data already programmed into our minds and we would never forget it? In my alternant universe, it would be the dictionary. Everyone would come with a fully decked out dictionary and they would never forget the words and definitions they had already learned. 

The world would be so different, and far more intelligent, I think. 

If you're enjoying my blog postings, do me a favor and take a moment to share them! Be good to your fellow writers and bloggers. Happy reading and writing!  

Monday, March 28, 2016

Authors vs Writers

Some of you may say that it's only the articles that preceded the words. Some of you may say they are totally and completely different words with different meanings. As I pondered this, I thought, 'Well, surely an author must be published. A writer only strives to publish.' I count myself as a writer and only dream of having the right to call myself an author. As I defined each word, I found there wasn't very much of a difference, yet it feels like a whole sea separates authors and writers. 

An author is a writer of a book, article or report as a profession, while a writer is a person who writes books, stories or articles as a job or regular occupation. 

I figured there must be a difference between profession and job, with a job being of lesser importance. A job is simply a paid position of regular employment and profession is a paid occupation, with occupation being a job or profession. A profession can also be an occupation that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification, but so few of us writers and published authors have formal training.

For those of you who enjoy definitions, an author is also an originator or creator of a plan or idea, which sounds much more interesting and empowering.  It makes authors seem like they're way out of our unpublished writers league. 

Besides an author having a much more interesting and intricate definition than a writer, there isn't much that separates us. Yet, so many of us have decided, or resigned to believe that being an author must mean that you have published your works. If I've ever used the word author to describe myself, the first thing I hear is, 'Oh, how many books have you published? What're they called?' Then I have to say, 'Well, no. I'm just a writer hoping to publish something amazing, someday.' Though, I sometimes get those questions too when I start with saying I'm a writer, but far less often than if I say I'm an author. I've just resigned to classifying myself as just a writer. 

This is yet another example of how we've lost the true meaning or intended meaning of certain words, if not all words. Definitions are very intricate, even though they've been shortened to single words or short phrases for convenience. I always wonder if it used to be like the movies in the 1800s where people spoke so formally, using the definition of a word to express themselves or their thoughts, rather than just a word. Sometimes I believe I was born in the wrong century, if it really was like that. 

My favorite book is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, mostly because I love the style in which it was written. It's also a perfect example of what language used to be, back in 1813. 

"But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she hardly had a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying. Though he had detected with a critical eye more than one failure of perfect symmetry in her form, he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness." - Jane Austen

We don't talk like that anymore. At least, not without excruciating thought, pre-planning and editing. I would like to think words were meant for so much more than what they have been reduced to. 

Happy reading and writing, friends! Take a moment to share your thoughts, and tweet at @TresaWriter.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Judgment; When Did It Develop Such A Bad Connotation?

Today my mom and I were having a little argument and she asked me, 'Why do you think I'm always judging you?' Of course I said, 'I don't think you're always judging me!' And I thought about it for a minute and realized what a terrible, nasty connotation that word had. Judging; makes my blood run cold just thinking about it. 

No one wants to be judged. Not you, not me, not even the little girl down the street who doesn't even know what the word really means! I think about that word and I hear someone yelling, 'Stop judging me!' It just sounds bad! You can feel the emotion in those words! It just has a bad feeling that goes along with it. We've associated bad feelings with the idea of being judged. 

Honestly, I feel bad for some words! What has that word done to you, to me, to society? Nothing! It's just a word, and by the definition, you wouldn't even think it was meant to be used the way it is! 

Let's start with judgement. If someone passes judgement on you or about you, that just sounds bad, too! It sounds like they're thinking badly of you, but really, all judgement refers to is the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions. 

Wow! When I read that, I couldn't believe my eyes! There is nothing in that definition that would make me think someone was thinking badly about me! 

Now I know what the word sensible means, but for arguments sake, it means that the conclusion is chosen in accordance with wisdom or prudence, which is likely to be of benefit! You know what?! I really do feel bad for the word 'Judgment'! Even the simplest form of judgement, judge, means to form an opinion after careful thought. 

Also for arguments sake, we are going to personify the word judge, judging and judgement! We are going to call him Charlie! 

Poor Charlie! We have misjudged Charlie! 

As a society, we have taken Charlie and turned him into something he definitely is not! Since when was something that was meant for benefit after careful thought meant to be bad?! 

Now, who's at fault here? Is it us, for associating such a bad connotation with Charlie? It's certainly not Charlie's fault! Charlie's definition is pretty clear in my eyes. 

How did this happen? 

I'll tell you how, and this is important. This is the ball I'm trying to hit home, all the time. We have taken the word judge and we have contorted it, twisted it beyond recognition and it now resembles something completely different than what was intended. We have applied our own understanding to this word and now, it's unrecognizable. We don't even know what some words really mean, what they were meant to mean. 

Thanks for reading, friends! If you enjoyed this posting or it really spoke to you or moved you, please tell me about it! Leave a comment below, tweet me at @TresaWriter, email me, share with your friends! Happy reading and writing. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Bring Back The Dictionary!

Last night, after writing my first blog posting in quite some time, I started brainstorming on what to write next. I'm trying to decide what my purpose is going to be with this blog, what I will write everyday. What can I write everyday? What do I know enough about? From there I moved on to, 'Well, what did I write about yesterday?' 

I wrote about why I couldn't write, and answered my own question and decided on my solution. My solution to not being able to write was to define words. I took how I was feeling, which was doubtful and guilty, and I defined those words and really analyzed how I was feeling. Through that process, I felt better, almost instantly, and I was able to write. 

Going back to my dilemma of what to write everyday, I started thinking, 'I solved my  problem. Well, what else can I solve by defining words? Why should we define words?' I decided that I encourage defining words because it's important to know the real definition, or the true meaning of a word. Besides important, it's exciting! You'll hear me say a lot that I feel we don't really know what a word was meant to mean. In our heads, we apply our own understanding and associate that definition with the word, instead of the intended meaning. I'm guilty of it, too! 

I'm terribly guilty of this. I just think I know what a word means. Of course I know what it means! But do I really? Do any of us, really? How many of us can say we know what a word as simple as doubt means? Without cheating, without going and looking it up. I usually just know the feeling that goes along with doubt. I know that I doubt myself; I don't believe in myself. 

How many of us know that doubt, in it's entirety, means a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction? 

This dilemma always leads me to my usage of the dictionary, which I use very often. Everyday, multiple times a day. I have an iPhone, and I take full advantage of the dictionary built right into my phone. All I have to do is highlight a word that I'm not sure if I've used correctly and within a fraction of a second, I have the full definition at my fingertips! 

During my thought process, I decided to move on to, 'Well, what am I hoping for? What am I hoping to achieve by bringing attention to this?' 

Am I hoping for a more intelligent world? Population? To make people more aware? 

I didn't really come up with an answer for that, but I lingered on the word intelligent. Was I hoping to promote intelligence? Can I impact someone's IQ? Is that simple enough, or is it too complex? Can I even accomplish something like that, hoping to raise the average populations IQ? 

We all hear the word IQ a lot. I mean, a lot! Again, when I hear that word, I know what it means. Or, at least I think I do. I know it's referring to how smart someone is. Whenever I come across a word that I think I know, I instantly tell myself I don't. I make myself take the extra ten seconds and look it up, and I am often amazed! Truly amazed. How many people know that IQ actually stands for Intelligence Quotient

I'm sure I knew this at one time, but it didn't stick with me. Intelligence quotient means an assessment of your ability to think and reason. Huh, simple enough, right? I think everyday, I reason everyday, but this definition is seriously lacking! It falls short of what IQ actually means, because it means so much more than that, and I love it!

I'm going to ramble off a few definitions here, which all pertain to the original definition of IQ.On paper this list of definitions acts as a tree, starting with IQ and taking each word that we don't know the true meaning of, and defining that word, finding another word within that definition and defining it, and so on and so on until we have the full meaning of this word laid out. It's so much more satisfying than just, 'an assessment of your ability to think and reason.'

Intelligence Quotient - an assessment of your ability to think and reason 

Think - use one's mind actively to form connected ideas. 

Reason - think, understand and form judgements by a process of logic. 

Intelligence - the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. 

Knowledge - facts, info and skills acquired through experience or education. The theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. Awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation. 

Quotient - a degree or amount of specified quality or characteristic. 

Degree - the amount, level or extent to which something happens of is present. 

So, with all of these definitions, I'm still kind of swimming, but I can pick out what I need from each definition and figure out what intelligence quotient actually means. My curiosity and thirst for knowledge was finally satisfied, and I decided on this; 

Intelligence Quotient refers to how able you are to use your mind to think, understand and form connected ideas and judgements by a process of logic. 

This definition is far more satisfying, and it means so much more! I suppose my purpose or hope is to make people more aware of this, this right here. How much we are missing, how much is truly lacking from what our minds and vocabulary was intended to be. Someone intended so much more than what we think and say! Or, at least I hope they did! 

Use your dictionary! Take the extra ten seconds to look up what a word actually means! Sit there with your nose in the dictionary and just soak up all the knowledge that was intended for us to use! Tell me about it, because I truly love this and want to know that someone else does, too! Tweet me at @TresaWriter! Email me! Comment below! Tell me all about what words you know and don't know and come to know! Happy reading and writing, friends! 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Why Can't I Write?

I often wonder... Well, if I'm honest I wonder about a lot of things, day in and day out. I sit and ponder an overwhelming amount of ideas and thoughts. Though, today I wonder if other writers are like me, which I'm sure many writers wonder. Most importantly, I wonder if writing comes in waves. Writing comes and goes, in and out of my life, again and again. I have spurts where writing is all I do, and then I have days, weeks, months, sometimes even years where I don't do very much writing. 

Though, if you ask me what I do when I'm actively writing everyday, I will tell you that I am a writer. I will swear up and down that I write all the time. I'll say that I've been writing since I could type sixty words per minute on a computer!

The honest truth is that I really only think about writing all the time. 

Don't get me wrong; that's an important part of writing! If not the most important part of writing! 

I think about how much I want to write. I think about what I'd like to write, about how I'd love to have nothing better or more important to do than to sit in front of a computer and write all day! And then, when I have a day when I have absolutely nothing to do, I feel guilty for wanting to spend that time writing! I feel like any other time I have a million things to do, and how could I possibly sit down?! How could I possibly sit down and stare at the computer screen for a few hours? There has to be something I've forgotten to do, right?

So I spend my time I could spend writing obsessing over what must have slipped my mind. Then I finally realize that there was something I forgot to do, so I do that instead. When I'm not doing anything and I could spend my time writing, I figure that there must be something more important to do. Something more pressing. And there usually is, unfortunately. 

I experience this overwhelming guilt over a lot of things, but mostly writing.

The way I try to cope with a lot of my feelings is to understand why I feel this way. I often ask myself, 'Why can't I write?' Though, I'm usually yelling out in frustration because all I desperately want to do it write. Part of how I answer this question, is through the dictionary. 

Some of you are thinking, 'What? How does that help you?' 

Honestly, stay with me now. We use so many words every day. Sure, we know the basics of what they mean, but do we really understand what they mean? Or what they initially meant? We assign our own definitions to words, our own understanding, and sometimes the true meaning can go askew or become distorted. Sometimes maybe even just a little bit lacking, even though we are on the right track. 

When I think of the word guilty, I think about feeling bad. I feel bad for wanting to write. I feel bad for wanting to do something that I want to do rather than something I should be doing. But then I think about it and I wonder, 'Why do I feel bad? Why do I feel guilty?' 

So I turn to the dictionary, and the dictionary tells me that I feel bad because feeling guilty means that I feel like I've done something wrong. This definition is so much more satisfying than, 'I feel bad.' It's also much more powerful and helps me to understand what's really wrong. 

I read something the other day, a quote on Twitter by Sylvia Plath; 'The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.' I thought, 'Oh, well that makes sense. Self-doubt; of course I doubt myself.' Then I realized I didn't really realize why I doubted myself. So, I went to the dictionary and looked up self-doubt. And the dictionary told me that self-doubt is a lack of confidence in oneself and one's abilities. I sat there in my chair and thought, 'Well now that really makes a lot of sense.' 

I am far from an established writer, even farther from being a well-known writer. So of course I am going to doubt myself. Of course I'm going to feel like I've done something wrong! 

And I think that's a problem that a lot of writers face; not just me. Or, at least I hope. I also think it's a combination of self-doubt and self-placed guilt and numerous other feelings. It's overwhelming.  

Though, as I sat in my chair and realized how much sense all of that made, the self-doubt and the guilt, I also realized that I felt better. After looking up the definition of the words that I wanted to use to describe my feelings, it helped me to do a little bit of self-analysis, and after thinking about it, I felt so much better, as I often do. 

I also happened to be looking at the name of my blog when I was going through all of this turmoil. So I looked up cognitive, which really means relating to cognition. Cognition means the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the sense. Well, and then I wondered, as I sat there feeling so much better about my situation, 'Could it really be that simple?' 

Can cognitive understanding help you, or me, or anyone else for that matter, hurdle the mental barrier that we place on ourselves through self-doubt and self-placed guilt? 

I'm curious as to what you think. I'm curious if it helps anyone else! Try it! Think of how you're feeling; mad, sad, even the more complex feelings of frustration or resentful. Let me know. Comment below, send me an email, tweet at @TresaWriter and tell me your thoughts!