Leslie Knope is My Life Coach

Leslie Knope is My Life Coach

I have a huge project that needs to get done in a short amount of time. When I thought about who I'd ask for advice, my mind went to Leslie Knope, Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation Department in Pawnee, Indiana.

This is my attempt at embracing the awesomeness of Leslie to make me get my shit together.

(Also, AP=Amy Poehler's and my initials. We could totes be in a gang together. I already have the gang sign.)

Leslie: I stayed up all night last night making these!
Tom: You stayed up all night, the night before an all night telethon?

I have been doing so many things between the final stages of book writing/editing and the first stages of publicity, in addition to my actual, fulltime job which has been incredibly busy and stressful with a whole bunch of new shows that need their own publicity. I’m tired, burnt out, and, what seems to be the running theme in my life, so so very behind on everything. 

A few lovely people have sent me questions/message and I was so excited by them! I will definitely respond to them here this week :)

It’s still surprising to me that other people read this blog, as I literally started it to keep myself motivated when everything felt so overwhelming and too impossible to ever get done. I hope Leslie and I have helped remind some of you that we can all get our own Lot 48s made into a park… eventually.

I posted this before, but it’s very pertinent right now. I’m reviewing and making final edits and then the book goes off to do what books do once the manuscript is set.
I did quite a bit yesterday, but I’ve been powering through since midnight. I wish I knew what it was in my brain that makes the hours between 11:30p-4a so productive. It’s like a switch is flipped and I can focus with such pinpoint precision and I immediately know exactly what is right, what is wrong and what needs to be added. 
And now, back to ALL NIGHT WORK! I wish my hair was long enough to put in pigtails (but only to reenact this Leslie gif — I look terrible with long hair), so I’ll just bounce my imaginary ones as I finish before my hard morning deadline. Wish me monsters!

I posted this before, but it’s very pertinent right now. I’m reviewing and making final edits and then the book goes off to do what books do once the manuscript is set.

I did quite a bit yesterday, but I’ve been powering through since midnight. I wish I knew what it was in my brain that makes the hours between 11:30p-4a so productive. It’s like a switch is flipped and I can focus with such pinpoint precision and I immediately know exactly what is right, what is wrong and what needs to be added. 

And now, back to ALL NIGHT WORK! I wish my hair was long enough to put in pigtails (but only to reenact this Leslie gif — I look terrible with long hair), so I’ll just bounce my imaginary ones as I finish before my hard morning deadline. Wish me monsters!

I feel like I keep saying the same thing over and over again lately: i have so much to do, i just need to get organized and do it. But i’m not. I make plans to — I make lists, I decide that I’ll get home and eat something and then start doing everything i’ve been pushing off. Or just one thing I’ve been pushing off. Because it’s really just that first thing that NEEDS to be done. Once I get that done, I can keep running on that momentum.

But I can’t seem to get that first thing done. My head is swimming — drowning, really — with everything I need to do for the book, for my proper job, and general real life things like doctor appointments, answering overdue emails, paying bills and mailing out packages. 

I’m in various states of being paralyzed — sometimes a complete mental paralyzation, sometimes I can’t focus, and sometimes my chest hurts so badly and my vision is blurry because i’m so overwhelmed. I’ve been having a lot of anxiety attacks over the past few weeks and I know it’s all due to my inability to accomplish the things I need to do. 

I’m trying to just do it. I’m trying.

Happy Galentines Day! 
When I think about all the people who have helped me with the book, most of them are ladies. Which is probably not all that surprising as most of us were drawn to the Joss’s original source material — a girl trying to get through high school, suddenly bestowed with a destiny to protect the world. She didn’t want it, she tried to run from it, but she accepted it and kicked ass while doing it. She didn’t win every fight, and she had her heart broken a lot, but she got up each day and kept going — and most importantly, she had more success than the Slayers that came before her because of the friends that became her family.
My friends are my family, and I have such wonderful friends who have kept me propped up both literally and metaphorically. Who have been there for me for three straight years, or who have come in and did one small thing, said one kind word at the time i needed it and all of them have truly helped me beyond any proper thanks I could express.
I need to write my acknowledgements for the book — I’ll do that tomorrow on my flight. They’ve been in my head for a long time, i’ve just been stalling since I have some more consideration to do about a few people. But I just need to make a decision and get it done. And then I move on to the next overdue thing that’s been overwhelming my brain.

My lovely followers! Is there anything I can do for you this Galentines Day? 

Happy Galentines Day! 

When I think about all the people who have helped me with the book, most of them are ladies. Which is probably not all that surprising as most of us were drawn to the Joss’s original source material — a girl trying to get through high school, suddenly bestowed with a destiny to protect the world. She didn’t want it, she tried to run from it, but she accepted it and kicked ass while doing it. She didn’t win every fight, and she had her heart broken a lot, but she got up each day and kept going — and most importantly, she had more success than the Slayers that came before her because of the friends that became her family.

My friends are my family, and I have such wonderful friends who have kept me propped up both literally and metaphorically. Who have been there for me for three straight years, or who have come in and did one small thing, said one kind word at the time i needed it and all of them have truly helped me beyond any proper thanks I could express.

I need to write my acknowledgements for the book — I’ll do that tomorrow on my flight. They’ve been in my head for a long time, i’ve just been stalling since I have some more consideration to do about a few people. But I just need to make a decision and get it done. And then I move on to the next overdue thing that’s been overwhelming my brain.

My lovely followers! Is there anything I can do for you this Galentines Day? 

How does taking risks make me feel? Amazing. Tingling sensation throughout my whole body. I feel flushed. My muscles are relaxed yet I feel awake. Just waves of pleasure. I wish there was something physical that could make me feel this way.

— Leslie Knope, “Kaboom”

Last weekend, I took a storytelling workshop with this guy who’s an amazing storyteller. I’d always hoped that he’d teach a class outside of the programs he does with The Moth, so when he announced it, I jumped on it quick.

We all had about 8 minutes to tell our stories and I told the one that would always be my “Moth Story” — it’s evolved from the tale of the night a guy broke into my house to the moment years later when i realized i had run said guy who i hadn’t seen since that night. It’s a good story, but I’m haven’t been able to condense it down to something shorter than 12 minutes. I had a minor epiphany with it a couple of weeks ago and found a new way to structure it to both shorten the story and yet still deliver the backstory to make the moments impactful.

It went really well — I mean, I stumbled in the beginning and lost my way for about 15 seconds, but the moments that i wanted to hit got the reactions I was hoping for, and there were other parts that I hadn’t thought much of going into it that resonated with people. I got fantastic feedback and great constructive criticism, and it makes me excited to work on it more and actually get up in front of people who don’t know me and tell this story. And then tell more stories. 

I so very much enjoyed the experience and it was the first class (in ANY subject) in a long time where I felt like I was good at the subject matter, and my feedback to others was worthwhile and helpful. I left smiling and just really reengergized. like, I realized i was grinning the whole walk back to my car. I think I’ve been in a state of numb-to-sad for so many months that it’s almost jarring to feel good about something.

That inspiration has kept me buoyant this whole week. New fictional stories are popping in my head — stories that I want to dive into and write. And as much as I’ve been saying that I’m going to get myself organized and clean up loose ends, I finally feel clear-headed and full of the right kind of energy to do it. 

I need a Jennifer Barkley. 
I need someone who is smart, straightforward and just caring enough to give me a good assessment of what I’m like and what I’m truly capable of. Not a rah-rah because they care about me, bur someone who truly doesn’t care enough about me to lie. 
Last night, I went to an alumni/student function for my university. The idea was that students could talk to people in the fields that they wanted to pursue or had a path that interested them. (My majors/minor have NOTHING to do with my job now.) A lot of people wanted to talk to me, although that had more to do with *where* I work, and then because I was one of two people that work in entertainment in a field of financial advisors, lawyers and such.
I’ve always wanted a mentor and have never found anyone who wanted to take me under their wing, so to speak. So I try to give people the kind of advice that I think would have been helpful for me. And last night, I tried to ask each student what they were interested in, and if it was a stock answer, I questioned them on what were they passionate about. I cut through the bullshit with two who kept giving me jargony, bland answers — I wasn’t mean, but I pushed them to tell me what they were excited by in life (tv show, band, sports team) and made them start from there. 
One kept telling me that he wanted to work in “broadcast media,” although he didn’t seem to have any idea of what it entailed. (I’m not talking about how much work it would entail, but just what the field was in general.) So I told him that he’s in New York, where he can find a class in just about anything, so he needed to learn as much as he could about every aspect of media and production — take classes and workshops, volunteer on student film shoots and film festivals. I have taken countless classes on the most random of things that interested me and while I haven’t pursued most of those fields, even as a hobby, I’ve definitely learned something each time.
I was very big sisterly with all the students, but honest. Because I don’t think that everyone should get a trophy for showing up, especially because it can encourage people to keep putting all their energy into something that isn’t right for them. And it keeps them from learning how important it is to know what you DON’T want to do. 

Now I just need a Jennifer Barkley to give me an honest assessment and a plan to make something good out of my life. 

I need a Jennifer Barkley. 

I need someone who is smart, straightforward and just caring enough to give me a good assessment of what I’m like and what I’m truly capable of. Not a rah-rah because they care about me, bur someone who truly doesn’t care enough about me to lie. 

Last night, I went to an alumni/student function for my university. The idea was that students could talk to people in the fields that they wanted to pursue or had a path that interested them. (My majors/minor have NOTHING to do with my job now.) A lot of people wanted to talk to me, although that had more to do with *where* I work, and then because I was one of two people that work in entertainment in a field of financial advisors, lawyers and such.

I’ve always wanted a mentor and have never found anyone who wanted to take me under their wing, so to speak. So I try to give people the kind of advice that I think would have been helpful for me. And last night, I tried to ask each student what they were interested in, and if it was a stock answer, I questioned them on what were they passionate about. I cut through the bullshit with two who kept giving me jargony, bland answers — I wasn’t mean, but I pushed them to tell me what they were excited by in life (tv show, band, sports team) and made them start from there. 

One kept telling me that he wanted to work in “broadcast media,” although he didn’t seem to have any idea of what it entailed. (I’m not talking about how much work it would entail, but just what the field was in general.) So I told him that he’s in New York, where he can find a class in just about anything, so he needed to learn as much as he could about every aspect of media and production — take classes and workshops, volunteer on student film shoots and film festivals. I have taken countless classes on the most random of things that interested me and while I haven’t pursued most of those fields, even as a hobby, I’ve definitely learned something each time.

I was very big sisterly with all the students, but honest. Because I don’t think that everyone should get a trophy for showing up, especially because it can encourage people to keep putting all their energy into something that isn’t right for them. And it keeps them from learning how important it is to know what you DON’T want to do. 

Now I just need a Jennifer Barkley to give me an honest assessment and a plan to make something good out of my life. 

4 x 11 Comeback Kid
6 x 9   Second Chunce

Not only do I love the symmetry of this, I so very much love the idea that these two are working through some dark times by crafting.

Since this summer, I’ve been doing a lot of fabric crafts — mostly painting, but lately a lot of dyeing. It’s been so mentally relaxing and healing for me — painting a onesie is not writing the book which has to be perfect in tone and in fact, it’s not work, which has its own set of perfection that I need to achieve, and it’s not relationships, many of which have fallen apart in the past year. Painting a onesie means picking a stencil, putting some colors together and hopefully making something cute for a little one. A little one who will most likely make a mess, and the onesie will be stained but that’s okay. I’ve made a lot of supercute things and I’ve made some superawkward, messy things and it’s all okay. 

I’m going to spend my weekend working on crafts that I’d hoped to have finished by the new year. I’ve dyed a lot of scarves, and I want to do more embellishing. I need to go out and get a hot glue gun as I thought I had one but, alas, no. And that’s it — I have SO MUCH STUFF that I could probably craft things for the entire year and never have to buy another piece of material. 

Sitting down to paint or dye has been my zen. I’m attached to the outcome in the way that I’d like it to look nice, but I’m always excited to see how it turns out and how it’ll surprise me each time. And having that sense of completion, with a very physical achievement at the end — not words in a word doc or a promo on a screen — is incredibly satisfying. Ron Swanson would be proud.

(Source: macfrenzie)

Last week, I got a fortune cookie that said something like “A schedule keeps chaos and failure at bay.” Then yesterday, I had one that told me that I need to get organized. Okay, universe — or at least, The Fortune Cookie Mafia — I got it. I need to get my shit together, I know I do. 
So, I need to get me some idea binders. And by idea binders, I mean organizational tools of any kind. I need to put together a schedule for edit revisions and follow up on photo requests and permissions. 
Next up, I need to take on the proper Leslie Knope mindset and both remind myself and believe that I am successful lady who has written a great book. 
Both of these should be SUPER easy, right? ;)

Last week, I got a fortune cookie that said something like “A schedule keeps chaos and failure at bay.” Then yesterday, I had one that told me that I need to get organized. Okay, universe — or at least, The Fortune Cookie Mafia — I got it. I need to get my shit together, I know I do. 

So, I need to get me some idea binders. And by idea binders, I mean organizational tools of any kind. I need to put together a schedule for edit revisions and follow up on photo requests and permissions. 

Next up, I need to take on the proper Leslie Knope mindset and both remind myself and believe that I am successful lady who has written a great book. 

Both of these should be SUPER easy, right? ;)

2014 is less than two hours away. At least, from those of us on the US east coast. This past year, hell, the past couple of years have been rough, and I want to have high hopes for this new one to come but I’m cautious. 
At some point this year, my book on Joss will come out. I will finally get to share some of the wonderful stories that people have told me and I hope that readers will find them as enlightening and inspirational as i have. I hope it will make people see how important community is to both creators and consumers, and that art — in any and every form — can be magnificent and inspiring. 
I keep using the word inspire and I wish i had another one that came to mind. While writing this, I have found strength in several of Joss’s characters — quite often after a long struggle of muddling through the pits of despair. The latest was Cordelia — specifically, Cordy of “Rm w/a Vu,” who had been so broken down by how her expectations did not match up to her achievements, how her life was so lonely and how difficult it was getting to put on a “normal” face every day. She was so broken down that she had almost completely lost herself — making her so weak so as she was very susceptible to an evil, outside force determined to demean and undermine her at every turn. And when that ghost called her a “bitch” with the intention of breaking her further, Cordy reclaimed that title: “I’m a bitch. I’m not a whiny little cry-Buffy. I’m the nastiest girl in Sunnydale history. I take crap from no-one, so back off, Polygrip! You think you’re bad? All mean and haunty, picking on poor pathetic Cordy. Well get ready to haul your wrinkly, translucent ass out of this place. ‘Cause lady — The Bitch is back!”
I reclaimed my own bitch-ness, my own self and my own strength. I took my Queen C and added her to my inner, weaponless Buffy that didn’t give up. 

Angelus: “No weapons … no friends … no hope. Take all that away and what’s left?”
Buffy: “Me.”
In 2014, I wish for you all to find inspiration and strength in characters of all kinds, and to remember how powerful you truly are.

2014 is less than two hours away. At least, from those of us on the US east coast. This past year, hell, the past couple of years have been rough, and I want to have high hopes for this new one to come but I’m cautious. 

At some point this year, my book on Joss will come out. I will finally get to share some of the wonderful stories that people have told me and I hope that readers will find them as enlightening and inspirational as i have. I hope it will make people see how important community is to both creators and consumers, and that art — in any and every form — can be magnificent and inspiring. 

I keep using the word inspire and I wish i had another one that came to mind. While writing this, I have found strength in several of Joss’s characters — quite often after a long struggle of muddling through the pits of despair. The latest was Cordelia — specifically, Cordy of “Rm w/a Vu,” who had been so broken down by how her expectations did not match up to her achievements, how her life was so lonely and how difficult it was getting to put on a “normal” face every day. She was so broken down that she had almost completely lost herself — making her so weak so as she was very susceptible to an evil, outside force determined to demean and undermine her at every turn. And when that ghost called her a “bitch” with the intention of breaking her further, Cordy reclaimed that title: I’m a bitch. I’m not a whiny little cry-Buffy. I’m the nastiest girl in Sunnydale history. I take crap from no-one, so back off, Polygrip! You think you’re bad? All mean and haunty, picking on poor pathetic Cordy. Well get ready to haul your wrinkly, translucent ass out of this place. ‘Cause lady — The Bitch is back!”

I reclaimed my own bitch-ness, my own self and my own strength. I took my Queen C and added her to my inner, weaponless Buffy that didn’t give up. 

Angelus: “No weapons … no friends … no hope. Take all that away and what’s left?”

Buffy: “Me.”

In 2014, I wish for you all to find inspiration and strength in characters of all kinds, and to remember how powerful you truly are.