secrets to my success

The lovely Emma at How to Italy has tagged me to share five things I do nearly every day to be successful. I love this idea. For me, it’s inspiring to read about others’ good, productive habits especially since we so often hear the harmful, destructive ones (which we all have as well).

But first a word on success–a slippery word that can and should be defined by each of us individually. I consider myself successful if I can end the day with a smile and the feeling that I did what I could as well as I could’ve. Does it happen everyday? Hardly. But I like to think the following habits make it more likely:

1. After I wake up, I spend fifteen minutes sitting on the balcony with Luna and my beverage of choice, usually coffee but sometimes fresh-squeezed orange juice (season-permitting). When I say “sitting on the balcony,” I mean literally. I plop my bum down on Luna level, and we have our own pettie and snuggle time in the sunshine if the weather cooperates, and if the weather doesn’t cooperate, we share our moments inside in the kitchen. These quiet, relaxed moments before the day kicks up are important for me.

Here are some photos from a recent pettie and snuggle session:

2. While we’re on the subject of Luna, we take at least 3 walks per day (usually more). I probably wouldn’t do this on my own without a canine companion, so thank goodness she’s with us. Being in touch with nature gives me inspiration, thinking time, and an overall calm feeling that everything around me is exactly as it should be for one reason or another. It also gives me an excuse to take even more photos despite the fact that the locals think I’m a tad wacky getting so close to trees and whatnot.

3. I tell someone I love them. Always P, but if I’ve spoken to my mom or dad that day, I’ve told them too. For as long as I can remember, my mom has always told me she loves me at the end of every phone call–and this was when we lived just a town apart. It’s something I’ve continued with my family members over the phone and with P in person, daily. I don’t think you can ever say “I love you” too much.

4. I go on the Internet (when Telecom cooperates). This may sound odd, but since I’ve had the Internet installed in the house about a year ago, I’ve felt so much more in touch with the world and comfortable with my life here. Whether it’s the news, celebrity gossip, other blogs, or personal emails, I need and crave this contact with civilization outside of southern Italy. It makes me feel more alive and part of something larger, and that’s a good feeling.

5. I write. Could just be a blog entry (no offense readers!) or an email or thirty, but every day I write something, which they say is good for a writer. In fact, blogging has increased my “other” writing productivity as ideas spring up at every turn–finding the time and discipline to follow all of them through is the more difficult part. Back to number 4, though, and reading other writers’ blogs inspires me to continue.

So there are my five things. I won’t tag anyone, but I do hope you’ll make such a list even if it’s just for your own eyes. A lot of times we focus on what we’re doing wrong because finding flaws is so easy (many of us even have people to help us if we can’t find them!), but it’s also useful to see what we’re doing right.

If you do post a list, please leave the link in the comments for others to find you.

Buon weekend!


[tags]secrets of success, dogs, sunrises, trees[/tags]

26 Beans of Wisdom to “secrets to my success”
  1. BecsLifeOnline

    That’s so sweet that you spend time on the balcony with Luna each morning! And what a view you have from it! I think if I lived there I would constantly be on the balcony ha ha. I’d plan my whole day around “being able to stay outside”. Only in the nice weather of course πŸ™‚

  2. Jay Innes

    Lovely post! And equally Luna seems like a joy to embrace each and every day with a steaming bleeding espresso!

    Those four legged friends can often know you better than people do! I had the same relationshp with my cat! I used to call her a human in a fur suit!

    Agree, on the balcony vista from the previous post, I just sighed and wished I was there too!

    Also agree on the writing, you need to write every day to keep those creative juices flowing and become inspired by others too.

    Ciao Jay

  3. Anonymous

    Love the photo of sap!!!!
    Yes, can just imagine the villagers faces when you took that one. Vanessa

  4. cheeky

    Always happy to see a photo of Luna. Pets are amazing.
    I can really relate with getting outside and feeling inspiration. It allows you to clear your head, even if it is for a brief time. It’s like having a recharge.
    The internet is an amazing way to stay connected (and be inspired), I couldn’t agree more.

  5. Erin

    Great list! I wish I had a balcony to sit on, we do have a front porch that I try and spend as much time on as possible (in summer). I agree with the saying “I Love You” as often as possible. I’m trying to do that more with my friends and family! Have a happy, successful day!

  6. sognatrice

    Bec, I have to admit that as the weather gets nicer, it’s harder to stay inside. And unfortunately outside, I can’t see my laptop screen too well….

    Jay, human in a fur suit? How cute! Yes, Luna definitely knows me well.

    Vanessa, luckily I was out and about around 1 p.m. (you know, when I’m supposed to be home cooking/cleaning up?) so only a few stares for me!

    Cheeky, exactly! The fresh air just seems to clear things out and spark new ideas–just like what the Internet does sometimes (in small doses, of course).

    Erin, a porch works too! I used to always be on my porch (in the summer) back in my hometown and really missed it when I lived in the city.

  7. Femminista

    Have you done any work with Julia Cameron’s stuff (The Artist Way, Teh Vein gof GOld)? Because you are doing exactly what Cameron advises to nuture and enhance the Artist You! I blogged about you ion the Vein of Gold blog… πŸ™‚

  8. Monkling

    I especially liked your #5 & #6. Being a temporarily stalled freelance writer, I’m finding that having a blog is extremely helpful in getting me to finally write again on a daily basis – even if it’s only a blog entry.

  9. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    How nice to feel inspired by the things around you. My trip to NYC def. got my juices flowing again.

    I just posted the other day about writing every single day. Glad to see that blogging counts. If you get a chance, check out Walter Mosley’s new book, “This Year You Write Your Novel”. Short book but great.

  10. Carole D.

    I’ll add one more to your list: Have one of the most popular blog with a catchy title & the highest comments (I’ve seen up to 40, maybe more).

    I agree about the internet. I couldn’t do with it after having discovered it. It’s part of my morning routine and connection to the rest of the world.

    I can just picture those looks from the locals.

  11. sognatrice

    Femminista, thanks for the plug πŸ™‚ I’ve commented on your other blog–since I’m not a member of Vein of Gold, I couldn’t comment there. Anyway, glad to see I’m on the path even if I didn’t know it.

    Monkling, just having the outlet, the possibility that someone will read my ramblings inspires me. Thank goodness for the blogosphere.

    NYC, I’ve already been looking at that book from your recommendation over at your place πŸ˜‰ And with a name like yours, NYC/Caribbean ragazza, it’s not surprising you found some inspiration in the Big Apple πŸ˜‰

    Carole, thanks for your kind words. It sure is wonderful to see comments because I feel even more connected with people–I love knowing when something I’ve written sparked a memory in someone, made them smile, think, stop and appreciate, etc. Couldn’t get warm and fuzzier for this blogger πŸ˜‰

  12. IRENE

    A beautiful way to greet the day. And walking in nature makes us share in her glory, makind us see our lives with more clarity, peace and optimism.
    The Artist’s Way is one of the most important books I have read in my way to discovering myself. I highly recommend it, if I may.
    As for the net, it’s a gateway to the world.
    I have been tagged for a meme and I have tagged you.
    Please stop by if you can.
    Enjoy life.

  13. it's me, Val

    Amazing post, Sognatrice! πŸ™‚

    Btw, I’m *tagging you! πŸ™‚

  14. Frances

    Thanks for visiting – it’s great to be back.
    I enjoyed your post. Walking and blogging are very important to me too!
    Luna is a sweetie.
    New York misses you too.

  15. sognatrice

    Irene and Val, when I saw I had been tagged not once but twice, I got a little nervous…but now I see that you’ve tagged me with the *same* meme! Phew πŸ˜‰

    Irene, thanks for the recommendation; as I wrote on Femminista’s blog, I wanted to join in the fun, but getting a book delivered to Italy can take months (if it ever arrives, right Vanessa?). I will eventually get The Artist’s Way, though, definitely.

    Frances, nice to see you around here again; we’ve missed you πŸ™‚

  16. bella

    I think you live a wonderful life – in Italy or not, if you do 5 within your day that make you smile and feel happy at the end of the day.

  17. Helm & Melacini Architects

    I do a bit of what you do, but wish I could get my wife to do the same. She generally gets up in a rush getting the kids ready for school and then stays tense all day. Ok, I guess I’d better start doing some of what she does. That would ease the tension some. I do make the coffee and if she is still in bed bring it to her. Now I just have to give her the feeling that she has time to drink it. Thanks for making me think. Ciao, John

  18. Jessica

    I’ve just found you at Frances’s place..stopping by to say hello!
    Luna is so sweet…what a wonderful way to start the day!

    I walk every morning with my gorgeous dog; if I’ve done that,I come back feeling I can deal with anything!

    I also have to say how much I agree with the importance of writing every day. I’m starting a writing course tomorrow and I’m hoping it will get me doing just that. Having a blog has definietly helped me even though I haven’t managed to write every day so far…if I’ve had writers block, a few minutes of blogging has always got me going.

    Apart from which, there are some really inspiring people to read around here!:) Glad to have found you here.

  19. sognatrice

    Bella, thanks. Although I don’t feel calm and at peace at the end of every day, at least I try, right?

    John, thanks for sharing what you were thinking after reading this; P is a morning rusher (albeit without kids in the mix), and I really think if he’d slow down he’d be calmer and more relaxed. But what do I know? Everyone’s different.

    Jessica, I’m glad you found me too! A morning walk with the dog is so wonderful on so many levels, it’s hard to put it into words. Best of luck with your writing course!

  20. Laura

    Sognatrice- I love your secrets to success. I agree with all of them, but most of all telling people you love them. That and enjoying nature. When I was in Sardegna with Emma, our best ideas came when we were at the beach looking out into the ocean, not sitting inside in front of a computer. Here’s to daily success!

  21. Kristen

    You are very well rounded. I love your five things and can see why you are so successful!

  22. sognatrice

    Laura, I’m really enjoying following your and Emma’s progress; thanks for stopping by!

    Kristen, why thank you! Did you notice the new Foodie Blogroll on my sidebar? I’m going to mention it in a a post soon, but if you’d like to join, just click on the link πŸ™‚

  23. Sara

    Luna belly!!! Hee!

    My neighbors think I’m weird, too. They often catch me talking to birds and squirrels and blowing bubbles in my front yard. Lately they’ve been seeing me on my belly in the street trying to photograph the face of each of the 100 daffodils I planted last fall, now in bloom.

    That’s okay. Yarn Harlot has said her neighbors think she’s weird because she’s always putting knitting on shrubs and photographing it.

    Whatever. Let them all get all squinty-faced and move away quickly. We know how to have fun.

  24. sognatrice

    Sara, your proclamation of “Luna belly” made me smile–that’s just what I say πŸ™‚ And yes, let them stare…although, really, knitting on shrubs? Yeah, I’d probably stare too. And then want to see the photos, of course!

  25. Maryam in Marrakesh

    I really like your successful things. And while I don’t like memes, this one is an exception!

  26. sognatrice

    Maryam, thanks for stopping by and commenting; glad you enjoyed it πŸ™‚

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

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