This category contains 1534 posts

Joy today: Not getting what we want is what we need

Sometimes not getting what you want is exactly what you need. This has been a huge learning for me over the past week. I’m feeling so grateful that life often doesn’t work out according to my plans. Here’s a recent example of this:

This summer, I wanted to talk more than one class for my graduate program in biomimicry. Unfortunately, no other classes are being offered this term for which I meet the pre-requisites. (I’m still working my way through the core classes that are pre-reqs for all the other classes that follow.) I was quite frustrated by this because I took two classes last term and found it to be more-than-manageable. (And I got A’s in both classes.) Disappointed, I resigned myself to the idea that I would just take one class this summer.

And then something really amazing and unexpected happened…

Within the hour, I had been offered a new consulting opportunity for an education / communications project that I’m extremely excited about. (More details on that in a few weeks.)

Within a day, I had solved a major plot challenge in my second novel and could proceed writing at a much quicker speed than I thought possible. (To be honest, I thought I was going to have to chuck the entire first draft. Thankfully, I don’t need to now. Whew!)

Within three days, I confirmed that I had the latitude in my job to work on a few passion projects that I thought were out-of-play at the moment. Turns out, they’re in play if I want them to be.

So here’s the lesson: the universe knows how to make room in our lives for opportunities that have yet to step into the light. You can bet that when you’re down to nothing (or at least less than you thought you’d have), the universe is up to something. Sometimes, it’s up to a lot of somethings. When things don’t work out, despite my meticulous plotting and planning, I’m learning to take a deep breath, look around, and see what’s next because there’s ALWAYS a next. And many times, next is much better than what we (thought we) had lined up. Make room, and accept when room is made for you. It’ll be filled in soon enough.

Joy today: Use your anger

“Stay angry, little Meg. You will need your anger now.”

These words written by Madeleine L’Engle & spoken in Ava DuVernay ‘s beautiful movie, A Wrinkle in Time, are maddeningly appropriate now, especially this week. Stay angry, friends, and use your anger to make this world better for all beings.

Joy today: Science visually shows how bullying impacts life

New York fifth grader, Samantha Petraglia, demonstrates the impact of bullying in her science project by using an unlikely subject—a plant. The results? In 6 days, the bullied plant began to die. The one that was encouraged thrived. They had the same water, the same sunlight, and the same space on the shelf. Kindness matters; kindness makes all the difference.

Link to the full news story here:


Joy today: How I keep writing with a 2-inch picture frame

Screen Shot 2019-05-14 at 1.13.25 AM

My 2-inch picture frame by Christa Avampato

Whenever I’m overwhelmed by my writing, I tell myself a story I learned from Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird. Right now, in this one small moment, I don’t need to write the whole novel. I just need to write enough words to fill a 2-inch picture frame. That’s it. And then when I finish that, I’ll write another 2-inch picture frame. And that is enough. That’s how every book gets written: one word at a time. This little frame to the left has seen me through every case of writer’s block, every creative panic attack, every lack of inspiration. And I’m so grateful for its wisdom (and Anne’s!)

Joy today: Biomimicry Global Design Challenge

Today I’m very excited to begin as a judge for the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge by the Biomimicry Institute. This year, the theme of the challenge is Climate Change with a special focus on:

  1. Food waste: reduce food waste in lower-income countries by improving infrastructure for storage, processing, and transportation.
  2. Plastic pollution in oceans: decrease the amount of plastic entering the oceans by intervening at the source in highly polluted rivers ~or~ begin to remove the 250,000 tons of plastics already circulating in the oceans.

Each team that enters the Challenge will create a nature-inspired innovation (a product, service, or system) that combats climate change by either:

  1. Helping communities adapt to or mitigate climate change impacts.
  2. Reversing or slowing climate change itself.

I’m really excited to participate as a judge this year and to be inspired by the submissions that have poured in from around the globe. I’ll update you on the progress of the competition as we move along. The winners will be announced in late June.

For more information on the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, visit


Joy today: Masterclass with writer Neil Gaiman and many more inspiring classes

As a gift to myself to spur inspiration, I signed up for Masterclass’s All-Access Pass. I’m obsessed. Masterclass is basically Netflix for online learning. Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite authors, teaches a class on storytelling class and it’s wonderful. I’m about half-way through and I’ve already learned so much that is immediately helping me as a writer and author.

Given my new job for a film production company, I’m so excited to take the film and TV classes with:

  • Jodie Foster
  • Mira Nair
  • Ken Burns
  • Spike Lee
  • Judd Apatow
  • Werner Herzog
  • Ron Howard
  • Martin Scorsese
  • Shonda Rhimes
  • Aaron Sorkin
  • Samuel L. Jackson
  • Helen Mirren
  • Natalie Portman
  • David Lynch

Other classes on my “I need to take this” list:

  • Comedy with Steve Martin
  • Writing classes with Judy Blume, Margaret Atwood, and Dan Brown
  • Cooking with Alice Waters and Thomas Keller
  • Adventure photography with Jimmy Chin
  • Conservation with Jane Goodall
  • Space exploration with Chris Hadfield
  • Tennis with Serena Williams (I don’t even play tennis, but if Serena’s going to teach it, I’m going to take it!)
  • Jazz with Herbie Hancock
  • Fashion with Diane Von Furstenberg

What I can’t believe is that for just $180, I get all of these incredible classes and more for a year. Each class also comes with a downloadable PDF workbook and there is a mini-forum and office hours where you can post your comments and ask questions. Plus there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee so there’s no risk to try it out.

And I’ve got some good news for you! When I bought my 1-year All-Access Pass, they offered me a link to share with others to give you $30 off an All-Access Pass. So you can get all of this for $150 for a year. Just follow this link, and check it out for yourself:

Joy today: How film editing is like writing

Got started today in film editing with Adobe Premiere Pro and I love it! As writers and storytellers, we often hear that writing is editing. It’s also true for filmmaking – editing is the key to removing the unnecessary so the necessary can literally speak.

Joy today: Learning to edit film with Adobe Premiere

Today I’m rolling up my sleeves and starting to learn how to edit film footage with the Premiere software package by Adobe. Please send me any of your tips, tutorials, and resources that you think would be helpful! I’m so excited to dive in and learning this new skill.

Joy today: How to end writers block

When I have writers block (or any artistic block really), I have a #realtalk session with myself because to be honest,  I built every wall that’s ever blocked me. The wall is the symptom, not the cause. Am I afraid? Do I not want to do the project? Do I need to be more inspired? Those are the real problems to solve so I roll up my sleeves and solve them. Also, I remind myself what little time we have. Our lives are so short. What will I really regret if I don’t do it now? That ticking clock usually lights the fire that I need. Time is the most precious resource we have. Let’s use it wisely.



Joy today: How to beat imposter syndrome

For all those dealing with imposter syndrome, know this: it’s a tool of the patriarchy. You’re capable, motivated, and talented. You can do what you set your mind, heart, and hands to. With time and effort, you’ll learn and make it happen. Stop sabotaging yourself. The world needs you.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow Me On Twitter

My Goodreads

Translate this blog to another language

%d bloggers like this: