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inspiration blog

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Dreams Don’t Take Weekends Off

This past Saturday, at a desk in the back corner of the Nashville Public Library, I opened my computer and pulled up a chair. I put my phone on silent and tucked it away in my computer bag to hide any distractions and for three hours I wrote more of Celia’s story. I then came home and wrote for seven hours more.

For those of you who haven’t read my newest novel Behind the Strings, it’s all about a love triangle in the midst of the country music world. It ends with a cliffhanger to the main character, Celia’s story and I’ve been stuck on the sequel for about two years now with no idea how I wanted it to end.

In that library though on Saturday afternoon, I felt as if the gates had opened for me and the words came flooding out. 5,500 words later Celia’s path was clearer. The ending is near and the two final words of draft one are on the horizon – THE END.

It’s been a long journey and it’s far from over. After draft one comes draft two. After draft two comes the beta readers and then draft three. Then comes the editor and the edits and so so much more. It’s exhausting. My eyes hurt and sometimes I cry from frustration because I want to get it just right. When it’s done though, when the very first proof is delivered to my door and I get to hold all that hard work in my hands, that makes it all worth it.

Nobody said that dreaming was easy. Fulfilling your passion or finding your path in life, it takes works and dedication. It takes drive and sacrifice. You can’t keep saying, “I want this” and expect it to be handed to you. You have to get up and put in the work and if you do, I promise it will pay off.

The hardest part isn’t getting to the finish line, it’s whether or not you have the courage to step up to the starting block.

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About Behind the Strings

As oBehind the Strings Official Coverjpgne of Nashville’s hottest music bloggers, Celia Westbrooke spends her days chasing stories and her nights mingling with country music’s rising stars. Her life is a whirlwind, but it keeps her mind from remembering a past she left behind. That is, until a new assignment forces her to face the one person she thought was gone forever.

Logan Kent is on the fast track to country music stardom. It was the dream he had worked his entire life for. A dream that cost him the one person he ever truly loved. The same dream, that five years later, will be the reason she returns.

In the heart of Music City, Celia and Logan will be forced to relive the remnants of a relationship they thought would never be. And just when they think they have what it takes to put all the pieces back together, one night could tear it all apart. Secrets will be revealed, loyalties will be tested and both will be left to decide if what they really want, is worth what they’ll lose in the process. More

 

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Looking Back as the Snow Falls

I can’t help but think of home every time it snows here in the south. It’s so much different than it was in New York. When the streets were covered in snow along Lake Ontario, life went on. We would just bundle up, scrape off our cars and go.

I barely had any snow days when I was in school. The plows would be out all night long so the roads were clear enough in the morning for the buses to get us there. 

It’s not like that in the south. When the snow falls, it’s as if life stops. You get to hit pause on the craziness of your every day responsibilities and for just a minute you get to breathe. 

I sat outside on my balcony as the snowflakes were falling. This was my first real snowfall in Nashville. Holding on to my sweet matcha latte in my new Starbucks mug as the snow covered the railing of my corner apartment balcony, I couldn’t help but smile as I thought about the first time I saw snow in the south.

It was in North Carolina. The entire city of Charlotte was pretty much shut down for about two days and I had nowhere to go. Lucky for me though, I had 3 of my favorite people living in my complex. We stayed up until well after the sun went down playing board games and laughing. We had no responsibilities and no place to be. We were just a group of people enjoying each other’s company.

I smile at how amazing those years were. I mean who gets to live in the same apartment complex as some of your favorite people? Friends had nothing on us. When I was bored I would just walk down 2 flights of stairs and knock on a door, knowing that at least one of them would open. There aren’t words to describe how much I miss those people or those memories.

I moved to Nashville to pursue a dream. I’m grateful that I was brave enough to do it because over the past year and a half I’ve found out so much more about myself that I didn’t know before, but I’m not yet ready to call Nashville home. My heart is still in North Carolina. 

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This year’s snow day I sat in my room with a cup of hot chocolate binge watching Young & Hungry. It’s a far cry from my all night board game adventures. I have tears rolling down my face as I write this, knowing they’re in the past. At the same time though, I love the fact that I have those memories to hold on to.

I’ve spent a lot of time while living in Nashville looking behind me. Wondering if I made the right choice. I think it’s really easy for people to look backwards. That when they start getting scared of the unknown they wish that they could relive the good times. When life isn’t going the way they’d hoped they wish they could go back and change something because maybe they’d end up somewhere different. I’m right there with all of them. I’m guilty of that too.

As I sat out on the balcony this weekend smiling about a life that used to be, the writer in me remembered something. We cannot live in a chapter forever. In order to continue our story we have to turn the page. Every now and then we can glance back at a chapter in order to remind ourselves of how we got here, but we cannot stay there. So much more of our story is yet to bet written.

I can never get Charlotte back, but what I can do is stop punishing Nashville for not being the city I left and start embracing it for what it has to offer and be thankful what it has given me so far. 

We can’t be sad for the things we no longer have. We can’t be angry for the things we cannot change. All we can do is focus on today and hope for tomorrow. We have to hold on to what we have right now and let go of what we cannot control.

Funny how all of this came to me while sipping a latte and watching the snow fall. 

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Being Selfish

In today’s Quotes and Coffee Newsletter I talked a bit about being selfish and why it’s so important.

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Lately I’ve been focusing a lot on myself and I honestly I feel amazing because of it. I think the “me” time I’ve been giving myself reflects in all areas of my life including how I react to things, how I interact with others and so much more.

I find that it’s been so helpful when I feel worn out to take a time out. It’s really hard to be selfish, but sometimes putting yourself first helps everyone in the long run. Here’s my “me” list that I’ve drawn up over the past few weeks. Just a few things I’ve found really help to rejuvenate my mind and body and refocus my crazy life so I can remember what’s important.

  • Getting up an hour earlier every day so I can sit outside with my coffee
  • Walking every morning with my podcast on and NO social media checking
  • Sitting at the table to eat instead of while on the computer
  • Reading a book instead of looking at my phone 30 minutes before bed

What would you put on your “me” list? Do you currently carve out time in your day or even week for yourself? What hinders you in doing so if you don’t?

You can read this week’s whole Quotes and Coffee Newsletter here!

Subscribe now so you don’t miss next week’s. I hope to see you Monday for another weekly dose of Quotes and Coffee!

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Poetry: Your 2am Phone Call

It’s been awhile now

But I knew this day would come

You’d call me again

Telling me that I’m the only one

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But I know better

I see it in your eyes

You’re just lonely ’cause she walked away again

I’m getting used to all your lies

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You’ll be here awhile

Give me everything I need

Then one day I’ll wake up and you’ll be gone

She’ll come back

And you’ll move on

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And here I am left picking up the pieces from the guy who left me behind

The one who made me promises I should’ve known he’d never keep

Because I never was his one and only

Just a girl to bide his time

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Well these tears they stopped falling after I saw the light

I see right through you boy

There’s no more I wish I may, I wish I might

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I’m not your 2am phone call

When you’re trying to kill the lonely somehow

I’m not your sometime, part-time, baby you’ll do for now

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I would’ve given you the world, while she left you all alone

So the next time she says goodbye

I’d think twice before you go and pick up that phone

It’s too late now baby, someone had to draw the line

I won’t be there to pick up the broken pieces from the girl who left you behind

 

Other poems from Courtney Giardina:

When you let go

The next boy I give my heart to

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Inspiration Poem: I Got Out

I Got Out

I was bruised and I was broken
Beat down by words sharper than a knife
But I got out

I cried alone and in silence for everything he said I could never do right
Now on most days I smile
Because I got out

I was scared. I was lost
Staring back in the mirror were eyes that were cold, empty and hopeless
But I got out

I am no longer chained to fear, to anger
I know longer hide behind an imitation of happiness
Because I got out

My eyes can never unsee that anger
My heart will never unfeel that hurt
But I got out

My dog is no longer huddled up in a corner shaking in fear
Because I got out

I still shutter at loud voices and quick hands. I will never be the same
But I got out

I hid my darkness in fear of judgement and imperfection
But now I know that love is not supposed to hurt
Because I got out

I still fight demons every day. I still push people away
But I got out

I am stronger for what happened to me
I’ve learned to love myself. That I am enough
Because I got out

 

 

 

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Dream Big Don’t Give Up

Dream big

Don’t give up

Keep going

When you want to stop

 

Stand back up

Each time you fall

For even through the bad

It’s worth it all

 

Push through

When you are defeated

For it’s then you will find find

The strength that is needed

 

Forget the “what if’s”

And the “could have been’s”

Today is the day

To start again

 

Believe you can

Believe it’s in you

To live the life

That truly fulfills you

 

Dream big

Don’t give up

Keep going

When you want to stop

 

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New Relationships: 5 Things to Remember Going in

Trust Them

If you’ve been hurt before, it’ll be hard, but until they give you a reason not to, have a little faith in them. Believe in your instincts. If you fell for them in the first place, they must have good in them. Give them a chance to show it.

Let Them In

All the way. Let down your walls. Put down the weapons and surrender. Be vulnerable. Let them love you. Let them make you believe in what you have. True love sees the beauty in your perfections and your flaws, but they won’t be able to see them if you keep them at arms length.

Be Yourself

Not who you think they want you to be. You should never have to be anything other than who you are for anyone. If they don’t accept you, all of you, then you need to let them go.

Don’t Compare Them To Others

Your other relationships ended for a reason. You just weren’t compatible. Sure, there are things you might miss, but in the end, who they were wasn’t right for you. So if your new guy/girl doesn’t do things quite like the last, it’s okay.

There’s probably lots of other things they will do that the others didn’t. Things that will make you smile. Things that will make you happy. So let them be the person you fell for. There was a reason for it.

Don’t Bring Up Past Mistakes

 It’s inevitable that somewhere along the line they’re going to make mistakes. So are you. If you forgive each other and move past it, let it go. It’s not to be used as ammo for later down the road.

They don’t need to keep paying for it over and over again. They served their time. They gave their apology and you accepted it. By doing that, that means it should stay where it belongs: in the past.

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Advice to the Girl With Her Heart on Her Sleeve

Don’t ever stop…

It hurts. You always see the good in people. The potential. And sometimes they let you down. Believe in them anyway. Leave a space for them in your heart even when it’s time to move on because your belief in them is sometimes all the light they have.

It’s impossible to save the world, but don’t ever stop trying. Every day that you smile, you give and you love, you are making a difference. Believe that. Keep doing what you’re doing. Show people there are still good hearts left in this world.

It’s scary to fall after you’ve been broken. Don’t be afraid. Let your heart guide you. Take Chances. Even when you’re scared of how it might all turn out. Even though there is a possibility they may hurt you, love them anyway. Because that in between, those moments of happiness, the memories you will make, they will be worth it.

When somebody takes advantage of your kindness, forgive them. They don’t need to know you’ve forgiven them. You don’t have to tell them. It’s not for their benefit, but for yours. You don’t need that weight upon your shoulders. You don’t need to hold on to the past or let disappointment dim the beauty you have inside. Set yourself free.

And most of all… to the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve, forgive yourself. You are gentle. You are loyal. You believe. You love. You hope. Sometimes it will pay off and sometimes it won’t. In those moments when it doesn’t, do not punish yourself. You are who you are for a reason. You are not weak, you are strong. Strong enough to see through the broken, through the damaged and the lost. Don’t ever change.

Just a little advice from one girl to another :)

xoxo, Courtney