Tag Archives: writing

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Authenticity Project By Clare Pooley Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Authenticity Project By Clare Pooley Edition

Hello and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, without giving any spoilers away, we will be discussing a charming feel good book by Clare Pooley called The Authenticity Project. Typically, I tend to shy away from “feel good” books because I like the sense of adventure that comes with a thriller and I enjoy being shocked as well as trying to guess the grand reveal. However, after reading my last book club choice of The Wrong Family, I definitely needed a palette cleanser!

I really did love the last feel good book that I read called Miss Benson’s Beetle and wanted another story about ordinary people. From the pile of books that my mom got me from the library (Angel!), The Authenticity Project caught my eye. Just the title alone intrigued me and I wanted to know more. In its brief synopsis on the jacket, I learned that The Authenticity Project is a notebook that encourages people to share their truth honestly in its pages if they happen to find it.

This nice, light story line based around a simple but exciting concept sounded like just what I needed and I decided to give it a try. I am glad I did! The Authenticity Project was a delightful read so let’s get to it:

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Julian is a former famed artist who was very prominent in the social scene. Now, as a seventy-nine year old widower, he lives the life of a recluse and is incredibly lonely. Starved for connection, he decides to start The Authenticity Project in which he shares his story and shortcomings and encourages everyone who comes across it to do the same, pass it on, and live a more honest life. Julian thinks that the stories that each page holds has the potential to help someone but, little does he know, his project is about to turn his own world upside down.

The Authenticity Project ends up being found by Monica, an uptight cafe owner who yearns for the picture perfect life of marriage and a baby. After reading Julian’s story, she feels inclined to help him break free from his lonely life and begins advertising for someone to teach a weekly art class at her cafe with Julian in mind. To her own surprise, Monica wrote frankly about herself in the book too and passed it on to be found by the next person.

The next person? Hazard. The person after? Riley. Then Alice. And so on and so forth until The Authenticity Project’s “magic” creates a group of complete strangers who come together thanks to the stories on the pages with Julian right in the middle. The book worked in favor for Julian but how are the lives of the other characters in this interweaving tale benefiting from it? Read The Authenticity Project and find out!

As you all know, I love a book with multiple narrators and The Authenticity Project has six so, obviously, I was in heaven. I was excited to see how each character developed once they found the notebook and how they would show up among the existing characters. Despite having six narrators, The Authenticity Project balanced all of them beautifully and I felt a connection in some way to each of them. I also never felt like I was lacking in information about any of them because their highly personal notebook entry is shared when the character is introduced.

The idea of six lives melding together because of something as simple as writing in a notebook is such a lovely one and it was hard to read The Authenticity Project without smiling. I am also sure that many of you will be just as obsessed with the sassy high fashion senior citizen, Julian, as I was. He was fabulous and I aspire to be just as fierce as him when I’m almost eighty. 🙂

ANYWHO, my only qualm with this book is that it was a bit too obvious for my taste. It, honestly, felt like a more modern and grown up Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants. Sorry lol, I’ve been waiting this entire post to say that!! But there is some truth to that. Not only could you see each new development happen from a mile away but some of the character choices were a bit tired. See: Influencer whose life isn’t as perfect as she posts online as your starring example!

This seems like harsh criticism for a book that I just said was a delight but it really was and I enjoyed reading it a lot. It just had some of the classic feel good flaws and I wish that there was a little more depth to it. Overall, I am going to rate The Authenticity Project with a 6.25 out of ten stars. It was the perfect palette cleanser after just finishing a really intense book and if you are in that situation too, then I highly recommend it. However, if you’re looking for a more groundbreaking feel good read, then you could definitely take or leave this one.

What was the last book you read? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

So You Want To Be A Blogger?

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So You Want To Be A Blogger?

Hi!! If you would have told my twenty year old self that the blog I had just started would still be going strong for over six years, I would have been in stitches laughing. But, here I am now, over six years later with a following in over one hundred and ninety countries, islands, and provinces. Sometimes I still feel like I need to be pinched and woken up from this dream!

Whether you want to be an influencer or just have a page where you can share your thoughts, there is a lot of hard work that comes with the territory of blogging and that was just pre-coronavirus pandemic! I have the utmost respect for those who want to start a blog right now because COVID-19 has done my content creating no favors and I consider myself a seasoned blogger at this point.

If you want to be a blogger, it’s important to bear the following in mind. And, believe you me, I am constantly reminding myself of these tips:

Posting Often Is Important:

I have a lot of pride for my page because, within the first few months of my humble beginnings, I made the choice to dedicate myself to creating content to be posted daily. Fear not if writing a post every day seems like a daunting task, as every other day to every three days will suffice as you begin! Daily content gives your readers the chance to really get to know you and this is a beautiful thing because all of my followers feel like my dearest friends. Posting often gives your readers the opportunity to keep coming back and this will really help you build a strong base.

You Get As Much As You Give:

Writing gives me such great joy and it always has. This is why creating daily content has been a natural thing for me because I feel so happy every time I sit down at my laptop! Blogging is an amazing opportunity to share your truth, make new friends, and grow as a person and I was determined to have all of that when I started my page. I put my all into lifewithlilred every day and in return I feel appreciated, I have made best friends, and have grown exponentially. If you put your best effort into your page, good things will start coming your way even if it takes a while.

Don’t Be Afraid To Try Something New:

This may sound weird, but my blog keeps me motivated to try new things. Why? Because even if I don’t like it, I can still write about it! I would never say that I am a person who is opposed to change or new experiences but I am not the most spontaneous gal on the planet. My blog has helped spark a “Why not?” attitude that I used to have but got lost somewhere along the way. From cutting a rug with an elderly stranger on the dance floor during a family vacation to enrolling in community college despite not going right out of high school, my blog encourages me to take chances. Like I said, new experiences mean new content even if you end up hating it so it’s a total win/win. But, I have a feeling you’re going to love a lot of what you do dare to try! 🙂

One final thought when it comes to blogging is that it’s important to be kind to yourself. My page is dedicated to making people smile as they lose themselves in my own little world for a spell. Bad vibes are definitely not conducive to my goal of having a “feel good” page and this helps me get myself in check when I start to feel down. Writing is a labor of love and when you feel your best, it will come across in each post. ❤

Please don’t forget that if you ever want to guest blog on lifewithlilred, you can always email me at: sarah.mush6794@gmail.com . You can also friend me on Facebook at: Sarah Mushenheim to keep up with more of the latest and greatest from Lil Red!

How has your blog helped you? What motivates you to keep writing? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

4 Stress-Busting Means Of Engaging Your Creativity

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4 Stress-Busting Means Of Engaging Your Creativity

To open this post, we need not speak about the difficulties of the last year, and just how life has changed. It’s a well-worn topic. However, it’s very true that the importance of self-care and the willingness to keep ourselves in check (and to check up on others) has never been so important. As such, figuring out a few methods for achieving exactly that is certainly worth our time. One method that is rarely spoken of when it comes to self care is that of practicing creativity.

Why is this? Well, sometimes, creativity can feel like work or practice. It’s not as if playing a piano is something we can all sit down and just learn by ear, it takes hard work and practice to get good before you can begin really flexing your creativity. The last thing you want to assign to someone having a stressful time is more work.

Or is that the case? Does creativity have to feel like work or could it feel like play? Perhaps it could be both. After all, most runners are all too familiar with the feeling we get when starting a run (feeling groggy, tired, irritable) and then how fun it gets once the endorphins are flowing and we feel like we could keep going for hours. Creativity can function in that way. It can also help us feel confident, relaxed, energized, inspired, productive, useful, and able to express ourselves. That has to be worth something quite important, to the point where we would totally recommend keeping on top of those considerations from now into the long term.

Let’s see what creative ambitions can fit within this worthwhile category:

Journaling:

People rarely feel that journaling is a creative hobby, but it truly is. Putting your thoughts, ideas, impressions, beliefs, or experiences down into written form can be very cathartic. Journaling can not only help you expel your ideas more readily, but it helps you understand exactly what you were thinking and why. This is doubled when you return to that which you’ve written and see just where you were at the time, and how you’ve grown. Giving yourself this kind of insight is not only a great practice for your mental health, but it can help you learn a new skill. Writing isn’t easy and it takes plenty of practice to get good at. A journal is a fantastic place to become more literate. It can also serve our next task:

Creative Writing:

People often think that creative writing needs to be strictly within a category. Either you’re writing poetry, a short story, a novel, or a travel log. That’s not true, of course. Writing is whatever you’d like it to be. Some of the best writing we have is when authors have the courage to break the rules, like the novel Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce, filled with difficult-to-decipher language that is both strange and very curated, almost poetic.

Creative writing helps us focus on our thoughts and what impressions we may wish to grant an audience, but it also helps us present a story line, write our thoughts for people to read, or perhaps veil our artistic insights in poetry or songwriting. Creative writing, like journaling, can be quite cathartic except the rules are much more open and freeing, giving you a sense of potential in every word you jot down. Why not try and write a page long stream of consciousness this week? It might inspire you to further expand your creativity.

Arts & Crafts:

Of course, many people prefer feeling like they have something tangible to offer, and arts and crafts can help us focus on actually making something rather than endlessly reflecting. That can be great to keep us focused and somewhat distracted, rather than ruminating on the tough times we’re going through.

For instance, you might find that putting together a wonderful mandala kit helps you create a beautiful decoration that you take pride in every time you see it. Arts and crafts can also serve a real purpose. You might use your seamstress skills to fix up some of your old clothes or reupholster your furniture by giving it a lick of paint and a varnish. Maybe you’ll just reclaim some wood and use a chisel and hammer to try your hand at amateur sculpture in your garage. Having a project like this on the go can feel very rewarding, as over time it takes form and you see your plans come to actual life.

Painting:

If you’re looking for some inspiration, there’s a special Twitch channel playing Bob Ross episodes 24/7, showcasing how even amateurs can enjoy painting and get something from it if they try. Why not gather some paints and give it a shot? You could mess around with watercolors and have fun with your teenage child. You might decide to do a self-portrait, something fun and whimsical or perhaps as realistic as you can try to make it. You can also experiment with the surfaces you paint on if you like, such as painting a beautiful family mural in your kitchen or corridor wall with images of your loved ones.

Don’t discount painting just because you may not have had time to enjoy it before. The process can be highly rewarding if you give it time, piece by piece, with a little verve and care.

With this advice, we hope you can more easily see the benefit in trying a new creative passion, even if you’ve never touched that process before. These suggested activities are cheap, fun, and can sustain you during difficult times. Best of luck!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Have Some Writing Prompts!

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Have Some Writing Prompts!

Hello everyone and happy February! Can you believe that we are already one month into 2021? I, personally, am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that we are quickly approaching the one year mark of when the bars, restaurants, and salons first shut down in Ohio on March 19th, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Time really seems to be flying and dragging on at the exact same time.

This pandemic has done us writers literally no favors and I understand how hard it is to come up with daily content better than anyone. And, as we approach the one year anniversary (worst anniversary ever) of the coronavirus, writing can seem even more daunting as this limbo we are all stuck in feels never ending. If you are struggling to come up with content on your page, fear not! Lil Red is here to help with some writing prompts and I can’t wait to see what all of you come up with:

  • How have you adjusted to life during a pandemic?
  • What has been your favorite memory during the past year?
  • Valentine’s Day is almost here! Do you have any ideas for at home dates and gifts?
  • The pandemic has put many big events on hold. Did you miss out on any concerts or plays?
  • It’s never too early to start your spring cleaning! Any tips on the best ways to deep clean your place?
  • How has your personal style changed since the pandemic?
  • Working from home? What are the pros and cons, in your opinion?
  • Do any of your friends run a small business? Now is the time to support them by giving a shout out on your page!
  • What is the most binge worthy series you watched during the pandemic?
  • What is the most unputdownable book you’ve read this past year?
  • Where do you turn for inspiration when you are writing?
  • Describe a typical day in your pandemic life.

Believe it or not, this post is as much for me as it is for all of you because I will be using some of these prompts, myself! If you plan on using any of the above, let me know so I can check your post out. 🙂 Happy writing!

What do you do when you have writer’s block? What are you most looking forward to post pandemic? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Wanted: New Year’s Guest Bloggers

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Wanted: New Year’s Guest Bloggers

Hello! If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to write more, then how about spending an afternoon guest blogging for lifewithlilred? I want everything from your 2021 goals, all of the “new year new me” posts, and things that you are looking forward to in the upcoming months. One of the goals of my page has always been to spread the joy of writing, which is why guest bloggers will forever be welcome in Lil Red’s world.

If you are interested in being a featured writer for the day on my page, then please email me your ideas to: sarah.mush6794@gmail.com . Don’t forget to let me know which blog you’re coming from, too! Those who have continued to write through all of this madness should be proud of themselves and I would sure be proud to have you on my page, too! ❤

Happy New Year!

Want To Improve Your Blog? Try The Following!

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Want To Improve Your Blog? Try The Following!

No one ever said that blogging was easy and writing throughout a pandemic is even more difficult when there is a huge lack of activities to write about. If you find that the stats for your blog are steadily declining as the days go by, the following tips might help to put you back on track. Let’s discuss:

Communication is key:

Like social media, the blogosphere is amazing because it puts you in touch with friends old and new. Your faithful readers want to communicate with you and it is important to be prompt when replying back to comments and getting a dialogue started on your page. Showing support to your fellow bloggers by liking and commenting on their blogs is also a great way to get yourself out there.

If you are still finding that views on your page are lacking, it might be worth checking out SEO Toronto to help improve your page’s position on search engines for better results.

Writing more frequently:

Writing during a pandemic is insanely hard and can sometimes feel impossible. But, as a writer, it is still essential to come up with content as often as you can. Your readers want to hear what you have to say, even if it is just a short and sweet post. It lets your viewers know that you are dedicated to your craft and entertaining them and it will make them even more eager to return to your page knowing that there is fresh content available.

Remember the joy of writing:

People blog because they love to write and, even though it’s hard, you have to remember the joy of writing every time you sit down at your keyboard. Writing is something that you found fun enough to dedicate an entire web page to and you can’t forget that! Blogging shouldn’t stress you out, so take a deep breath and get to work. Putting a lot of pressure on yourself can lead to even more writer’s block and that’s the last thing you need!

Take notes:

I am constantly writing down notes of potential blog posts throughout the day and I recommend to anyone to do the same. No matter how many times I tell myself I will remember what I want to write about, I rarely ever do (lol) which is why my notes are so handy. Inspiration can come from anything and as soon as you have an “aha!” idea, take note of it. You will find that you have a lot more to write about than you think. 🙂

Keeping up with your blog during the pandemic is a sure fire way to not only keep your mental health in check but keep your page running smoothly. Happy writing!

3 Things That Keep Me Sane

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3 Things That Keep Me Sane

Hello! Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnny and I have essentially just been in our apartment other than work and groceries. No one is saying that it is not monotonous AF but it is for the best and we will continue doing our part in keeping ourselves and loved ones safe. With continuous days at home, it can be hard to work up the motivation to do much of anything. But, setting goals has always helped me move forward with what I want to accomplish and completing these three tasks every day has kept me from going totally stir crazy:

Writing Every Morning:

Whether it be on a work day or the weekend, as soon as I take my morning shower and ready myself for the day, I sit at the computer and prepare a scheduled post to publish. I never thought that I would be able to keep daily content coming when there is literally nothing to do. I have surprised myself and think that I am even better at my craft now because I have learned to draw inspiration from all of the little things that now make up my day.

I feel a great sense of accomplishment every time I complete a post during this pandemic because it really can be difficult. However, lifewithlilred has been dedicated to creating daily content for the past several years and not even COVID-19 can stop that! Starting my morning off with a goal already checked off of my to do list makes me feel ready to take on the rest of the day and keeps me motivated to do it again tomorrow.

Practice Languages:

One of my favorite hobbies is learning new languages and every day I practice French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Czech on Duolingo. In fact, I am on an over eighty day streak of daily practicing and I have never even come close to that before. This Christmas, Johnny got me Duolingo Plus to help me continue practicing my languages in a more efficient way and it has been awesome. No adds and unlimited hearts, baby!

I like to set aside at least an hour every day to work on learning new languages and I feel proud of the huge steps that I have taken in each one that I practice. I definitely feel like I have gotten better in all of them – particularly German and Czech and I never thought that would happen! I feel excited to learn more each day and I can’t wait to get to a one hundred day streak!

Read:

The last thing that I like to do every day is read. I have always been an avid reader and I enjoy it even more now because I feel like I can escape my apartment and join the characters from the book in their world. I try to read at least thirty to forty pages plus in whatever book I am working on each day. I love the feeling of excitement I get every time I crack a book open because I know I am going to be transported on an adventure. However, I love the sense of accomplishment I feel after finishing a book and starting a new one even more. 😀

I am currently reading a delightful book called Miss Benson’s Beetle by one of my favorite authors, Rachel Joyce. It has been a nice palette cleanser from the psychological thrillers that I have been reading so definitely be on the lookout for a Lil Red’s Book Club review of it soon!

Once I complete these three tasks every day, I give myself permission to play all of the video games or watch all of the Netflix that I want. Hey, everyone deserves a treat after accomplishing their daily goals, right? 🙂

Do you set daily goals for yourself? Have you improved on one of your hobbies during the pandemic? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Rita Rites

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Rita Rites

Hello!! I like to think that I got my knack for writing from my grandma. Not only was she a gifted musician but she loved to write too and had a monthly newsletter called “Rita Rites” that was distributed in her church and mailed to her friends. In fact, when I was younger, we would both sit by the computer and she would read her handwritten draft of Rita Rites out loud to me while I typed it. I would always look forward to receiving the end results of our handiwork in the mail! In a way, it was kind of like her own blog, filled with jokes, fun facts, stories, and charming insights.

I was proud to be able to help my grandma with her newsletter and even prouder when my mom accidentally called my blog my “Rita Rites” the other day. I considered it a high compliment! From a young age, I was exposed to all of the joys of writing and I definitely have my grandma to thank for that. Her creativity, dedication, and the fact that I can never recall her using the same blurb twice continues to inspire me to this day.

I loved being able to help my grandma with Rita Rites and I miss her terribly. But, thanks to my mom misnaming my blog, I have felt so close to my grandma every time I’ve sat down to write since. Fond memories of an afternoon with my grandma working on the newsletter and then sitting down to a delicious dinner with my whole family have flooded my thoughts and it makes me happy. I think my grandma would be extremely proud of my blog and that makes me happy too. 🙂

Even though everything pretty much sucks right now, writing has helped keep me sane. And, whenever I struggle to come up with a post for the day, I think of my grandma’s dedication to her craft and everything just kind of flows. Whether you just started writing or have been doing it for years, keep going! Great friends and some of the best memories will be around to greet you at every corner. I am so thankful to the support of the blogosphere and my loved ones when it comes to my blog and Lil Red will always be here to help support all of you too!

What inspired you to start blogging? How long have you been writing for? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Season Writing Prompts

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Holiday Season Writing Prompts

Howdy! In case you haven’t noticed, I am most sympathetic to bloggers that are struggling to create content during the COVID-19 pandemic. Writing is an amazing outlet and I think that I would go crazy if I didn’t keep with my routine of daily blogging. It saddens me that there are people in the blogosphere who feel like they have nothing to say right now and I want to help. I have posted several dozen writing prompts throughout this year and I don’t plan on stopping now!

If you need some inspiration to get a post going, try writing about the following:

  • Holiday gift guides (Best gifts for him, her, parents, children, etc.)
  • Safety tips for celebrating this holiday season
  • Stories behind any of your favorite holiday decor
  • Special holiday memories
  • Favorite recipes for cold weather
  • A favorite gift you have received or given
  • What your holiday will look like this year in comparison to last
  • Sweet treats! Cookie decorating, chocolate making, etc.
  • What winter weather is like in your neck of the woods
  • A holiday themed OOTD or MOTD
  • Holiday traditions in your family
  • Pro tips for perfectly wrapped presents
  • Favorite cold weather activities
  • What the holiday season means to you

The list could go on and on…

If you’re still having a rough go of creating content and find these posts helpful, let me know because I can always make more. Questions or concerns? Write a comment or email me at: sarah.mush6794@gmail.com ❤

Has blogging in 2020 been hard for you? What are you excited to do when it’s safer to do so? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

2020 Writing Tips

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2020 Writing Tips

Hello! lifewithlilred is known for having fresh new content every day and, other than a few rare occasions, I can say that I have posted something daily for the past six plus years of my blog’s existence. Mind you, this is no easy task and even I suffer from writer’s block – especially in 2020.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard to come up with content when there really isn’t anything to do safely, compliments of COVID. That hasn’t stopped me, though, and it shouldn’t prevent you from creating, either. If you’re struggling to post new content, take a look at some of the tricks that I use daily for a little inspiration:

Your posts do not have to be “groundbreaking”:

Just because it feels like you have nothing to write about doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to write about. Your posts don’t always have to be deep or profound. They can be goofy, short, and simple and people will still like it just the same. I find that my readers are happy to hear from me daily even if some of my posts are just a couple of paragraphs long.

Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to come up with content that could go viral or spark a huge discussion. All this will do is make you second guess the ideas that you have that aren’t as grand. We are all struggling through 2020 together and your readers aren’t going to like you any less if your content isn’t up to your usual standards. I promise, we all get it. ❤

Find inspiration in small things:

Johnny and I have been pretty much confined to our small apartment since March. Of course, it’s difficult to come up with posts when we are no longer going here, there, and everywhere. However, this has taught me to find inspiration in all of the little things to write about.

Did you watch a great new series on Netflix? How was your Zoom game night with your friends? Did you wrap any holiday presents recently? I promise that your small victories, struggles, or hilarious mishaps are all post-worthy. Big or small, your readers want to know what you’re up to. Don’t be so hard on yourself!

Have FUN:

I know this sounds lame but writing should be fun so have a ball with it! I love writing to music and once I’m jamming and getting into a good groove, I feel like I can’t stop writing even if I want to. Being a blogger is as fun as you make it and that should be encouraged on your page.

Host a question and answer session. Try a holiday giveaway. Do a top ten countdown of your favorite posts. There are plenty of ways to get feel good vibes on your blog but it starts with you. Don’t get discouraged – just put on your favorite songs and see what you can come up with. 🙂

I have been asked countless times throughout the COVID pandemic how I am still writing every day and I tend to answer with a combination of the tips above. I can’t wait to see what all of you come up with on the blogosphere!

How do you find inspiration for your posts? What do you do when you have writer’s block? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah