Friday, January 8, 2010

The Small Stuff

Do you have an everyday talent you're proud of? No, I'm not talking about being able to drive a race car or how you ran the Boston Marathon a few years ago. I'm talking about the exceptional things you do every day or week.

Don't think too hard. There has to be something you do exceptionally well on a regular basis. Here's a list to help you brainstorm.

  • You make your bed so beautiful every morning it could be pictured in a magazine.

  • You always make time to talk to your cat.

  • You can shovel your driveway in ten minutes flat.

  • You can create a meal out of food you have in your pantry, even if you haven't shopped in three weeks.

  • You hug or kiss every family member before bed.

  • If your plants could speak, they'd weep with joy when you're near.

  • No one can make pumpkin muffins like you.

  • You pick winning fantasy football teams every season.

  • You always have the right thing to say when a friend is down.

Go ahead and write down the things you're amazing at. Don't be shy. No one has to see them but you, but remember it's okay to feel good about your talents, no matter how trivial they seem.

Also, I've written a new article, Don't Survive the Unpublished Time: Thrive!, and it's available on my website. It offers practical tips for seasoned, not-yet-published writers to get through the "almost there" phase. I've also linked it in the sidebar for future reference.

Have a terrific weekend!


  1. Nice post and beautiful bed! I wish mine looked like that but it's not one of my talents. It snowed this morning and I did clear the driveway so my children could catch the bus. My African violets are blooming again and I make a killer pecan pie! :)
    PS: using hubby's Google accnt

  2. A nice reminder that we all have talents that keep our world going round and round.

  3. Can I have the bed?!

    Thanks Jill for reminding to celebrate all the things that I put my hands to.

    I'm checking out the article, even though I probably don't qualify as seasoned! Happy Friday!

  4. I read blogs and I'm excellent at tweeting ;)

    No I really do fold laundry well and keep my house clean too. For the most part.

  5. Good Morning!

    Maryse (Donald, heh-heh!): It snowed here to, but did we get a snow day out of it? Of course not! I'm in awe of your african violet talent because I've tried to grow them and failed each time!

    CJ: Our talents do keep the world spinning, don't they? :)

    Tamika: I want the bed too. And the bedroom. Doesn't it look cozy??

    Marybeth: I'm convinced being exceptional at Tweeting is a major talent, because I'm not so great at it!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  6. Wonderful article with lots of great suggestions for our writing lives. A thought I had reading your post here is why not take one or more of those tasks we've mastered and work them into our stories, character development, personality traits, that sort of thing. Like they say, write what you know :)

  7. Joanne: What a great idea! Are you a writer or something? :) It's true, though. If we're the master of growing the perfect heirloom tomato, why not make one of our characters have that skill? Genius!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  8. I make a mean Pecan Pie and rich brownies and am always asked to bring them to different functions.

    I'm not only a good baker but a good cook. (tooting my own horn here)

    I ALWAYS kick butt and take names in 500 Gin Rummy.

    I can copy exactly by free hand almost anything.

    What are yours, Jill?

  9. Will have to give the talent thing some thought:) Your list gives me some writing ideas, though. Thanks also for the link to your article. Heading over to look at it now.

  10. What an inspiring and encouraging post, Jill! We often get so caught up in our writing and where we're at, that we forget we have talents in other areas too! And we should be proud of our abilities to yoodle in the shower like Marea from the Sound of Music! (Not saying that's my secret talent or anything!)

  11. Hmm... I'm pretty good at seeing an obscure actor on tv and remembering what movie they were on years ago.

    I also make the world's best chocolate covered cherries. But I only make them once a year. :0)

    Have a great weekend!

  12. Jennifer: I LOVE brownies!! I'm really good at making them from a box :) What are my everyday talents?

    -I have a lot of stamina when polka-dancing. For real.
    -I'm great at pulling meaningless trivia from my brain at any moment. (Can't remember important facts to save my life, though.)
    -I love kids and they love me. Animals too!

    Karen: It's not easy to come up with everyday talents! Give it a whirl!

    Jody: Exactly! Life's pretty fun if we let ourselves enjoy it!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  13. Kristen: That is a great talent! Television and movie trivia comes in handy. Chocolate covered cherries sound yummy!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  14. I'm an expert at whispering encouragement into my children's ears as they sleep.

    I know lyrics to hundreds, maybe thousands of songs.

    I make a mean banana muffin.

    I can be excellent at crabbiness if you wake me too early.

    Happy Weekend.
    ~ Wendy

  15. I make an excellent homemade pizza! We have pizza and game night every Friday, especially during tax season. Oh, goodness, that's tonight. Yay!

    I'm also a master organizer and not a packrat. I believe with all my heart that if I haven't touched an item in over a year, it goes.

    Happy Friday, Jill.

  16. I'm a pretty good story reader. I read books to my kids before they go to bed and they love my voices. I also make pretty good homemade bread and jam.

    Hope you have a great weekend!

  17. Nothing came immediately to mind except, I try to encourage people with their dreams and lives. Hard to overlook the little things when everyone is looking for the big ones. Great reminder! :O)

  18. Aside from my writing...maybe the way I take care of my fiance, my dog, and my fiance's daughter. I think I'm pretty proud of those things!

  19. Wendy: Lucky kids! The lyrics doesn't surprise me, because you are so drawn to music!

    Heather: Pizza and game night--fun! I'm officially inviting myself over. :)

    Natalie: I'll bet your kids will always love books, too. What a nice gift! Oh, and I love homemade bread. Sounds delicious!

    Diane: You're a marvelous encourager!

    Stephanie: You bet! Very nurturing.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  20. What an excellent question! It's a real boost to the self-esteem to acknowledge those "little" things we do. Me, I make awesome buttermilk biscuits, from scratch.

  21. Oh my gosh! This post made me laugh, especially about the fantasy football thing. I don't watch football, but every year before the season starts my hubby asks me which teams are going to make it to the Superbowl. I've been right for the last three years (although last year I only picked one team--but that team won!) Last night he randomly asked me who Mike Shannahan (old Broncos coach) just contracted with and I said Washington Redskins. He laughed and said, "How do you do that?"

  22. Niki: Buttermilk biscuits take some work--I'm impressed!

    Cindy: That's hilarious! I'm sure your husband will be asking you your Superbowl fave soon!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  23. My plants shake with fear when they see me walk into the room.

    I do give the family lots of love, make great homemade bread, rolls, biscuits, basically anything that holds A LOT of calories. Grow a good garden on our farm, love my animals lots, and home-school really well. But the plants?? Poor things! Oh and I love football. Uh and we shall talk about my team next year. Hey Cindy! Pick the Dolphins next year, how 'bout it?

    Love this post my helpful friend. *wink* It's going so much better now. Thanks again. :-)

  24. I love your topic Jill! It's so easy to forget how special the little things are. If you look at it that way, our talents are endless. :)

  25. Tell me that isn't really your bedroom -- otherwise I'd have to be super jealous.

    And, I do a thing or two right from time to time. I'm a great shower singer and can rock a mean plate of rocky road brownies.

    tha's something, at least :D

  26. Let's see... I'm really good at making my house look clean in a matter of minutes. The key is to know what people see when they walk in and not worry about the hidden dirt. I must go check out your article now.

  27. Thanks for the list of talents. I do make a mean bed. And I love to see it when it's all finished. I clear up the messy dishes very well and all looks sparkly. I do very well on literature and art on Jeopardy and I usually run the Bible category. I remember songs from my childdhood and many places in between.

  28. Reminds me of that line from While You Were Sleeping about how the man giving up his seat on the train every day made him a hero to the person who got to sit in it.

    And I'm grinning because I DO talk to my cat every day.

  29. Robyn: Yay! Glad to hear things are working out! And I agree, Dolphins next year--that is if they keep Chad Henne as QB!

    CMOM: You're right. We're amazing!

    Tess: Ha! Ha! That is soooo not my bedroom. Currently, my bed is unmade, the shades have not been drawn, and oh yeah, the cat food resides in there because we have a new puppy. Not exactly an oasis!

    Susan: Good tips on getting the house clean quickly. That's an impressive talent!

    Nancy: Jeopardy! Cool! And cleaning can be rewarding sometimes, huh?

    Erica: I forgot about that. I loved when the neighbor had tickets to the ice-capades! By the way, I talk to my cat ALL the time!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  30. I must say I make a mean banana bread!! Not everyday though, or I'd be in BIG trouble, literally!! I also do a pretty good job of exercising consistently, but if I didn't, I'd be a little hesitant to tell anyone that I have a degree in Corporate Wellness. Have a fantastic weekend, Jill!! God bless!

  31. Jill, I not only talk to my cats. I talk for them--complete with special accents and word choices. I created voices for them when our daughter was young, and now we all put words in their mouths. Since I'm a writer, my hubby and daughter are used to my vivid imagination.

    I keep one of the neatest pantries I've ever seen. My canned goods are in straight rows, right side up, with labels facing front looking like obedient little soldiers in formation.

    I play an intense game of Whack-a-Mole and often have strangers stop to watch me go at it.

  32. The starfish is back!!! LOVE IT!!!!!!

    An extreme talent? Memorizing song lyrics!!! I may forget my kids' names but can still sing every word of Harry Chapin's "Taxi" and hundreds of other songs, ranging from "Puff the Magic Dragon" to "I Need a Hero."

    Don't take me on in Name that Tune.

    Love you and this blog.


  33. Those talents are great!!! I am off to check out your new article!!!

    -Alisa Hope

  34. Hi Jill -

    Congrats for passing that 100 Follower mark!

    I never thought about celebrating the ordinary stuff I do well. Why is it we always think in terms of the major accomplishments?

    Susan :)

  35. Maria: I didn't know you had a degree in Corporate Wellness--it fits you. And you're right, you have to exercise with that degree!

    Keli: Ha! Your cats have accents and they didn't even know it! How funny. I love a neat pantry--impressive!

    Patti: Thanks so much! I hear you on the songs. We played Rock Band and I killed "Eye of the Tiger" several times. :)

    Alisa: Welcome! Thanks for checking it out!

    Susan: I didn't even realize it until I read your comment! Hooray! What a blessing!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  36. Great post! It is nice to celebrate the little things we do well.

    I love to read out loud and if I may say so I think I do a nice job of it. I love giving characters different voices and reading through the 'mood of a scene. My sons love it and I love to read to them. Picture books and children's book are the most fun to read out loud, but my husband enjoys being 'read to' as well sometimes and I have read novels etc out loud as well.

  37. Well... I just had a post recently about how I can stand on a ball. I think that's pretty cool. :)

    Fun topic, Jill!

  38. Great post! I'm trying to think of what my little talents might be... I think I'm a pretty good speller. LOL

  39. I hug and kiss and pray with my kids every night before bed. And when they go somewhere I always utter the words "God be with you."

    Oh yeah, and I can always make a meal out of the contents of my pantry.

  40. Great Topic. I make coffee for my wife Renee to have in bed each morning. She says it the best.

  41. COFFEE!! I definitely know how to make coffee...I may have a small addiction ;) BUT at least I'm good at it:)

  42. I'm a great friend.

    I cook the best apple pie on earth.

    I'm never afraid to be myself.

    I can talk to stargers and within minutes we're great friends.

    ...Thanks for helping look at the positives today! :)

  43. I'm always there if a friend needs me and I bake delicious homemade rolls!

  44. Tabitha: How fun! Your family is blessed because of you!

    Katie: I read that post and I'm in awe! I have an exercise ball, but I've never stood on it!

    Jessica: Being a good speller is something to be proud of!

    Angie: Your pantry skills don't surprise me!

    John: Lucky Renee! Coffee is the highlight of my morning!

    Amber J: Come over and share your coffee addiction!

    J.J.: Apple pie sounds soooo good right now!

    Terri: You ARE always there if a friend needs you--thank you friend!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!


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