The Ericksons

Author Archives: heatherericksonauthor


Goal Post Measure Up

This week, as we continue the Goal Posts series, we are going to look at how your goals can measure up to be achievable in 2019. For a general overview of what SMART GOALS are, check out this post that I wrote a year ago.SMART goals are written based on criteria using the pneumonic acronym SMART which stands for the following:S=SpecificM=MeasurableA=AchievableR=RelevantT=TimeHow does your goal measure up? How will you know that you’ve reached your goal? Your goal can measure up several different ways. Find a way in which to track your progress that is relevant to you.Baby StepsIf your goal is big enough to involve several steps, break it down.Visual RemindersSome people like graphs that they can pin in a prominent place, such as above their desk, on their laptop screen, or on their bathroom mirror.You can also use some effective low-tech ways to encourage you to keep going. I know a woman who has a weight loss goal. She got a large vase and filled it with 5o small stones, each representing a pound she needed to lose. Each week, she weighed herself and removed a stone for each pound she had shed. When the vase is empty, she’ll fill Read more…


book review

The Stranger Inside, by Laura Benedict, was a treat to read. This suspense novel gripped me from the beginning. Early on, I was reminded of the film, Pacific Heights. As the story continued, I discovered that the mystery behind the stranger inside of Kimber’s home goes much deeper than a squatter who has taken over.What stood out the most about this book was the complexity of the characters, particularly the main character, Kimber. She isn’t the innocent protagonist who has been deeply wronged. There is much more to her than that. This is precisely why it’s so difficult for her to figure out who could have it out for her—so many possibilities.It is easy to see through her story how guilt and shame can keep you prisoner. Deception truly tangles a complex web that can be difficult to escape.  I loved the development of her character and the transformation of who she was as a person. The dialogue was realistic. I felt like each character had his or her, own voice.The pacing of the book was perfect.Things got moving right away. Just when you think one problem is about to be resolved, another shoe drops. Even though the plot was Read more…


It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I encourage you to check out their website and even sign up for the IWSG Newsletter. This month, I won’t be answering the optional #IWSG question of the month. But I encourage you to check out some of the answers the other fabulous insecure writers have written. Instead, I will be continuing my Goal Post series. Each week we will be one step closer to having a clear plan for achieving your goals in 2019. This week, that step is for you to get specific.For a general overview of what SMART GOALS are, check out this post that I wrote a year ago. SMART goals are written based on criteria using the pneumonic acronym SMART which stands for the following:S=SpecificM=MeasurableA=AchievableR=RelevantT=TimeIn order to get specific, ask yourself:Exactly what do you want to accomplish?Why is it important?What’s it going to take to get it done?Let’s look at an example of a career goalExactly what do you want to accomplish?I need to put together my 2019 content plan for both heatherericksonauthor.com and facingcancerwithgrace.com.  I want to have a detailed content plan for January-June and Read more…


Goal Posts Planning Your Year

As we approach the end of 2018, you may be asking where the year went. Did you set goals for 2018? If you didn’t, why not? If you did set goals, did you reach them? In this series of “Goal Posts,” I will be breaking down the process of setting SMART Goals. For a general overview of what SMART GOALS are, check out this post that I wrote a year ago. We are going to dive deep into the process of planning your year as we close out 2018 and begin 2019. We will make it more manageable by tackling one step each week. Today, we’re going to brainstorm the “what” and the “why” of your goals.Last week’s “Goal Post…”…looked at what’s working in your life, specifically in the areas of relationships, career & finance, as well as your personal goals. As you looked for the blessings you have in these areas of your life, you probably saw some things you would like to improve, as well. That will be your starting point for planning your year. World-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, Ray Edwards, asks the question.“What do I most want to be thankful for a year from now?”[1]Take a Read more…


Blessings

Now that we are well into November and Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I want to focus on gratitude and goals. We are going to start by looking at the things we already have that make our lives better. Sometimes we earn the things we are grateful for. Other times, we don’t seem to deserve them at all. Either way, it’s important that we recognize them and take stock of the blessings in your life. This exercise will lay the foundation for goal setting. We are going to focus on 3 areas of your life: relationships, career/finances, and who you are, as a personBlessings in Your RelationshipsBlessings of FamilyPerhaps the thing most people value most is their family members. Families come in all shapes and sizes. Who you choose to include in your family circle goes far beyond blood relatives. Family fluctuates throughout your life. Marriages, adoptions, foster children, and births add to the number of people in your life. Friends can become as close as any blood relative. Death and divorce pull families apart, but memories remain. Even through the veil of painful separations such as these, we often have grown. Who in your life are you thankful Read more…


Unplug from technology

How would you like to have more time, less stress and feel more at ease every day? Today I am going to look at one way to approach technology that could revolutionize your life. We are going to look at what it would mean to unplug from the constant connection that today’s ever-present technology represents. Don’t worry. You won’t have to hide in a cabin in the woods (although that can be fun). I will give you some simple tips to help you unplug in moderation—just enough to change your life.Email“On average, office workers receive at least 200 messages a day and spend about two-and-a-half hours reading and replying to emails.”[1]As someone who has battled her inbox and found some success, I have a couple of tips for this time-sucker. Schedule 2 times each day to check your email and limit those times to 15 minutes. You can do it! Here’s how:Don’t answer emails that don’t require a response. It’s not rude. It saves both you and the other person time.Don’t send emails unless they are necessary. The fewer emails you send, the fewer you will get.By limiting your “inbox appointments” to 15 minutes, you will feel a sense of Read more…


It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I encourage you to check out their website and even sign up for the IWSG Newsletter. Today, for the first time, I won’t be answering the optional #IWSG question of the month (How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?). I just couldn’t come up with an answer. And, after all, it is “optional.” But I encourage you to check out some of the answers the other fabulous insecure writers have written. I will be writing about empathy.One of the best things you can do to help your reader feel invested in your writing is to elicit feelings of empathy in them. How do you do this? And, what is empathy, anyway?A recent surge of empathyAs our Minnesota summer began drawing to a close, our family filled as many open calendar squares as possible before the kids returned to school. Due to uncertainties about my husband’s health, we chose to stay home this summer rather than take our annual family road trip. I had some regrets about this. The summer felt a little less like it usually does. Read more…


Social Anxiety Introvert

There are thousands of phobias and fears in the world. Most of us only have one or two, and they are as individual as we are. I once knew a woman who was petrified of cotton balls. I’m not joking. I witnessed one of her employees trap her in her office by simply putting a cotton ball on the office doorknob. All it took to free the woman was to remove the offending fluff ball. What’s the scariest thing of all for me? Social interaction. As I conclude this month’s frightening series on authenticity. I’m going to talk about my biggest fear and how social anxiety is different from being introverted or shy.What exactly does it mean to be an introvert?If you’ve read a few of my posts, or follow me on social media, you probably know that I’m an introvert. “Introverts are drained by social encounters and energized by solitary, often creative pursuits. Their disposition is frequently misconstrued as shyness, social phobia, or even avoidant personality disorder, but many introverts socialize easily; they just strongly prefer not to. In fact, the self-styled introvert can be more empathic and interpersonally connected than his or her outgoing counterparts.”[1]I don’t view my Read more…


Some writers you may have the ability to let ‘er rip and say whatever you darn well please. Or maybe you question your conscience about whether certain things are appropriate to include in your fiction writing, or not. Things that might be sensitive include:Violencecontent of a sexual naturevulgar languagebiographical information which could harm the reputation or sensibilities of another living (or dead) personanything else that the particular writer is afraid to share authenticallyGenreSometimes it all comes down to the genre. There are certain genres where taboo topics and anything graphic is a strict no-no. For example, the first 3 items on this list of questionable content are off limits in children’s books and cozy mysteries (among other genres). When genre dictates what can and can’t be included in the content, it has nothing to do with being authentic. These are guidelines, rules which must be followed. Readers have certain expectations when it comes to the genre they read. For example, you would never put a sex scene in a Christian romance. In the Christian romance genre, kissing is fine. However, sex and swearing will completely turn a Christian romance audience off.Knowing what’s appropriate to include in your fiction writing isn’t Read more…


Judgments we Make

This month I’ve been looking at authenticity and what makes being authentic so scary for most people. Last week we talked about why the fear of rejection can make authenticity so elusive. This week we will focus on the judgments we make and those that are made about us. Once we have a deeper understanding of the judgments we make, every day, we can take control over that part of our psyche and overcome it, leading to a more authentic life and more authentic writing.We all do itEven though it’s not politically correct to make snap judgments about people based on very little information, we do it every day—in fact, multiple times a day. In many ways, it is a survival instinct of sorts. We have to be able to quickly sort through people and situations that are “safe” and those that aren’t.Imagine you get into an elevator at 10 PM after a long day of (shopping, work, hanging out with friends, you name it). There is a guy who has a really angry look on his face, like he’s on his way to confront the guy who knocked over his Harley. There’s also a 5-foot tall woman in a Read more…

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