Teri Brown Books
Teri Brown Books

T.J. BROWN BLOG

Summer of Reset

The last school year was tough on me, but at the same time it was a period of explosive personal growth. At the beginning of the year, I took a part time job, partly to help out an old friend, partly because I wanted to be able to help out my children financially and partly because I love to teach young children and I missed it. So every morning I would head to the full time job at 6:00 AM, work my eight hours and then head to the afternoon job for 2.5 hours and then come home. I was gone from the house for 12.5 hours. I got through the first few months on pure adrenaline and organization skills. By February, I was burned out. I gave my boss notice that I wouldn’t be able to do it another year and hung on for dear life until June 14 th. read more…

Self-Doubt: Surefire Creativity Killer

How many synonyms are there for roller-coaster? Ups and downs, highs and lows, mixed bag, ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys—all of those describe the week I just had.

Something really good happened at the day job… but it was preceded by something worrisome.  I started taking Wednesdays off at the afternoon job…but it was marred by a thoughtless phone call. My get up and go was slaughtered by too many sleepless nights and I made some poor decisions regarding diet and exercise, (hello candy and fast food drive-throughs!).  I got editor requests for two different manuscripts by two different editors, had a great new YA idea with editor enthusiasm and all that good writing news was suddenly pummeled by waves of creativity killing self-doubt. read more…

Morning Routines that Infuse Your Writing and Your Life with Creativity

I’ve had people ask me about my morning routine, (okay, one person, hi Gill!), so I thought I’d blog about it. Like most blogs about anything, you have to wade through the story before you can get to the stuff you really want to read. If we didn’t tell story, blogs would just be bullet point lists of the good stuff and what fun would that be? So… read more…

Do Something Amazing

Every Friday evening, I tell my students to go out and do something AMAZING over the weekend. Actually, I say the same thing to my co-workers much to their annoyance, because then I judge what they think is amazing by saying things like, “No, binge watching such and such on Netflix isn’t amazing,” or “No, playing video games isn’t amazing,” to which they hem and haw and argue. Then I tell them that they don’t know what amazing is. read more…

This Year’s Harvest

I’m not a pagan, nor do I play one on TV, but I find myself drawn to their holidays. Why? Because celebrating the changing seasons in whatever fashion makes much more sense to me than celebrating holidays fabricated to keep the pagans/wiccans from observing festivals like the Autumn Equinox. Celebrating the final harvest and the changing of the seasons feels so organic to me and, in my quest to find celebration without deity, I am making merry on the first day of fall.

Last night’s bonfire was the beginning. I had a friend who I hadn’t seen in a long time over and I listened as she and my husband strummed their guitars by the light of the fire in the crisp cool air. read more…

I’m Feeling Fine

The publishing business is fully of dizzying highs and stomach plunging lows and my writing career is no exception. From a nasty publisher to a six figure deal to getting dumped by my agent to dumping my agent, from international sales to film agents, to famous producers being interested in my book to books tanking, from scoring articles in national magazines to having an editor completely rework your copy because she hated everything you gave her… I’ve pretty much seen it all. I could teach a master class on publishing—and if there was any money in it and I had the time, I probably would, ha)! If you aren’t crazy when you start writing, the business can make you crazy. read more…

Confession and Reflection

I graduated last night. Now before you ask me which university I graduated from and what I majored in, I have a couple things to share with you… it wasn’t a university, it was a community college and my major was an Oregon Associate of Arts Transfer Degree and I’m not going to transfer.

Saying both of those things is hard for me. Really hard. And yet the power of those words and the meaning behind them is worth exploring, both for me personally and within the wider context of what it means to not to hold a BA in a country that both worships and hates education. read more…

Common Pitfalls to Avoid when Saving the World.

When you have a save the world complex, it’s important to watch for the following pitfalls:

  1. Being angry at people who seem to be obtuse about the suffering of others. Everyone has a protective layer that keeps them from being heartbroken over the myriad of injustices and suffering surrounding them. In some folks; the layer is several feet thick. Sometimes it’s almost as if they blame the sufferer for hurting. Try not to get angry, dear ones. They may be battling their own demons—like assholery and callousness. Remember that anger impedes the work.
  2. Mistaking the save the world complex for the savior complex. You’re not here to help the professional sufferer—they’re actually quite attached to wallowing in their pain and unless you’re a professional therapist, run when you see yourself trying to make someone happy to no avail. It‘s their job to find their own happy, not yours. Being entangled with the chronically unhappy and dissatisfied takes away time from your work for social justice, intersectionality, economic equality, environmental action and education, and world peace. They suck up valuable time from the work. (And please, don’t think I’m talking about the clinically depressed—I’m talking about toxically unhappy people. Learn the difference. The clinically depressed needs help. The professional sufferer needs to be eased out of your life. Protect yourself and the work.)
  3. Looking at the work with too broad of a lens. It’s difficult when there’s so much work to be done to narrow your focus to the issues that feed your soul, but it’s important that you do so. You’ll feel better, like you’re making more progress when you focus. Because I’m in school and work full time, my focus is all over the place. I don’t really have time to set get my teeth into one or two issues, so I use what little time I have to calling my electeds over a ton of topics, writing thank you cards to people showing courage, trying to get the vote out by sending reminder postcards and giving money to various non-profits in need. Saying focused also helps you from getting burnt out by the sheer magnitude of the work to be done. I’ll be figuring out a process on how to narrow my focus and choosing which issues feed my soul this summer when school is over. (One more term!)
  4. Forgetting to take care of you. It’s imperative that you know that real self-care isn’t actually bubble baths, scented candles, massages and pedicures. Self-care is creating and maintaining healthy boundaries. Self-care is educating yourself, being mindful of your time, saying no and working on yourself and your own issues. Saving the world is taxing—mentally, physically and emotionally. The work demands that you keep yourself healthy in all those areas. Our community and the world desperately need more emotionally and mentally healthy people. It’s not selfish, it’s necessary.

read more…

Saturday Mornings

I love Saturday mornings. It’s when I look back on the week to see which goals I reached and where I fell short. It’s when I ask myself honestly if my goals are attainable or if I’m holding the bar too high. How did I self-sabotage myself? Are these little goals creating the life I want to live now and the life I want in the future? In the midst of the busy, did I include down time to relax? Did I nurture my important relationships? What did I learn?

Last week I did some ciphering and learned that everything I want to do in a day takes up 22 hours give or take. That includes 7 hours of sleep, working out, food prep and eating, work, commuting, meditation, journaling, homework time, etc. There IS enough time to do what I need to get done, so why am I constantly falling short? I’m thinking social media. Not socializing, really–I realized that I’m reading five or six news articles or essays from various news outlets a day. Something interesting goes by on my feed and CLICK, I’m there. While being informed is important, I think I need to cut back. So that goes down in my goals for next week. read more…

2018 Themes and Staying Open to New Things

It’s hard to believe that I will have my AA degree in June. Seriously, Four. More. Classes. This three year journey has been exasperating, stimulating and transformative. I spent a lot of time going back and forth as to whether I should continue my formal education or not. Oregon State University has a wonderful online Human Development and Family Sciences degree that I’d love to have. Education, while taking time from some of the things I love to do, also helped me do other things with more clarity and understanding. I believe more education would take my ability to create social change to the next level. However, not only is it cost prohibitive, (especially since my husband is seven years from retirement), but working full time means I could only go part time and it would take me another three years to finish. So that’s probably not in the cards. Most of the time, I’m at peace with that decision. read more…

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