My Prewriting Ritual – Mi rito antes de escribir

My Prewriting Ritual 

I recently found out of the prewriting rituals of one great writer: Isabel Allende. She lights a candle before she begins to write to write (if she starts to write a new book, she’ll  start it on January 8) and when the candle turns off, she stops writing. 

This got me thinking about my own prewriting technique. My prewriting routine is simple, and I think it’s a great way to start the day!

  1. First, I meditate for 20 minutes.I find that I am more grounded and peaceful throughout my day.
  2. Then, I light a candle. I pray for  5 or ten minutes. Part of my prayer time, includes praying to Archangel Gabriel.

This is the prayer-

Archangel Gabriel, I ask for your presence as I write my book. Please open my creative channels so that I may be truly inspired. Help me open my mind so that U may give birth to unique ideas. And please, help me sustain the energy and motivation to follow through on this inspiration.

Do you have a ritual before you write? What is it? 



















Mi rito antes de escribir

Hace poco me enteré de los ritos que se hacen antes de escribir de la gran escritora: Isabel Allende. Enciende una vela antes de comenzar a escribir (si empieza a escribir un nuevo libro, lo hace el 8 de enero) y cuando la vela se apaga, para de escribir la escritura.

Esto me hizo pensar de mi rito antes de describir. Es simple y creo que es una gran manera de empezar el día. 

  1. Primero, medito 20 minutes. 
  2. Después, como Isabel Allende, también enciendo  una vela y rezo.  Una parte de mi tiempo de oración, incluye orar al Arcángel Gabriel.

Esta es la oración:

Arcángel Gabriel, te pido por tu presencia mientras escribo mi libro. Por favor, abre canales creativos para que  pueda estar inspirada . Ayúdame a abrir mi mente para que  pueda dar a luz a mis ideas. Y por favor, ayúdame a sostener la energía y la motivación para seguir adelante con esta inspiración.

¿Tienes un rito antes de escribir? ¿Qué es? 



The Sweetest Thing: Letters From My Students – La Cosa Más Dulce: Cartas de Mis Alumnos

The Sweetest Thing: Letters from My Students

As a teacher, you always think if you’re getting through to your students.


Day in and day out, I make the intention to help them, and, just recently, to inspire them. These intentions were manifested last Monday. We had a school assembly where some seniors honored their favorite teachers by reading a letter they wrote to them in front of the entire school. I was the only teacher to be picked twice. As a first year high school teacher, it was a very humbling experience.

The first one was one to go up was my very smart and kind student: Chance.

When he got to the podium, he said “Ms. Cárdenas.” I nearly fell back! I was so surprised! But, I gained my composure and made my way to stand next to him. He began reading his letter and words couldn’t express the emotion I felt at that moment. I was beyond moved.

This was part of what he read: “I truly wish I could have had more classes with you and spent more time with you seeing how it is your first year here, you have done an amazing job, better than anyone could of expected, but that’s who you are. Your personality and attitude towards life is one that goes above and beyond.”

When he finished reading his letter, I told him “Thank you. That was very sweet and congratulations.”

My equally smart and creative student, Esgar, immediately followed Chance.

I remember looking at him as he made his way to the podium.  Before he began, he told the students and teachers, “Ms. Cardenas is a popular teacher today. I have to tell you that I had the opportunity to get out of Ms. Cardenas’ class, but I didn’t.”  I was speechless once again. He began to read his letter and this is part of what he read, “Mrs. Cardenas to some people you were a teacher, to some you were like a friend, but to me you are an inspiration. You helped me spark my imagination to a point where my ideas turned into a vision and a goal.” He goes on to say, “I’m thankful for being your student.”

I got teary eyed as I stood next to them while they read their letters. For me, it’s all I could ever ask for as a teacher.

I really thought that day, “Everything that I ever wanted to do in teaching happened today.”

Thank you Esgar and Chance; this means the world to me.  

Has anyone ever told you that you inspire them? 

La Cosa Más Dulce: Carta de mis Alumnos

Como maestra, uno siempre está pensando si los alumnos están asimilando el aprendizaje. 


*Es el verdadero arte del maestro, despertar la alegría por el trabajo y el conocimiento.

Todos los días, hago la intención de ayudarlos y, hace muy poco, de inspirarlos. Estas intenciones se manifestaron el lunes de la semana pasada. Tuvimos una asamblea escolar en honor de los maestros donde algunos de los estudiantes que se graduarán  escribieron cartas a sus profesores favoritos y se las leyeron en frente de todos los alumnos y profesores. Fui la única profesora en ser escogida dos veces. Fue una experiencia muy humilde.

El primero en leer fue Chance, un alumno inteligente y amable.

Cuando llegó al podio, dijo, “Ms. Cardenas.” ¡Casi me caía! ¡Estaba tan sorprendida! Pero,  recuperé la compustora y fui a pararme al lado de él. Él empezó a leer la carta y no había palabras para expresar la emoción que sentí en ese momento. Me conmovió mucho.

Una parte de la carta decía, “Me hubiera gustado haber tomada más clases y haber pasado más tiempo con usted, pero ya que es su primer año aquí, ha hecho un trabajo espectacular, mucho más de lo que esperabamos, pero , así es Ud. Su personalidad y actitud hacia la vida va mucho más alla.

Cuando terminó de leer su carta, le dije, “Gracias. Me pareció un gesto muy cariñoso y felicidades.”

Inmediatemente después de Chance, siguió Esgar, otro alumno inteligente y creativo.

Me acuerdo mirándolo mientras caminaba hacia el podio. Antes de empezar a leer, les dijo a todos, “La maestra Cárdenas es una maestra muy popular hoy.” Tuve la oportunidad de cambiarme de clases, pero no lo hice.” Otra vez, me quedé sin palabras. Empezó a leer su carta, “Profesora Cardenas para algunos fue una maestra, para otros una amiga, pero para mi es una inspiracíon. Me ayudó a despertar mi imaginación hasta que mis ideas se convirtieron en una visión y una meta. Estoy agradecido de ser su alumno.

Se llenaron mis ojos de lágrimas mientras leían sus cartas. Para mi, es lo mejor que mis alumnos me podrían haber dado.

Esa día pense, “Todo lo que he querido hacer como profesora, lo he logrado hoy.”

Gracias Esgar y Chance; esto significa mucho para mi.  

 ¿Alguna vez te han dicho que los has inspirado? 

Keepin’ It Real

In one week, I came upon these two different quotes:

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”~ Oscar Wilde

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

And then came a post, Yourself, by John Saddington on this topic.

As if this wasn’t enough, I was watching my favorite comedian, Dave Chappelle, on Inside The Actor’s Studio His brutal honesty inspired me as he talked about walking away from a 50 million dollar contract for another season of the Dave Chappelle Show because he wasn’t being his true self anymore.

The Universe was telling ME something and I HEARD it and LOUD and CLEAR!!

For a week I thought and thought about this. Have I been my true self lately? When I write, am I my true self? If I’d sit with you or anyone, then I’d have to say yes. But when I blog, I wasn’t being true to myself.

Come to find out, I wasn’t “keepin’ it real” in my blog and this is why-

1. FEAR.

Why did this not surprise me? The world of blogging is still fairly new to me as I began just 4 months ago. I certainly have feared what readers would say about it all – my writing, my dream- to the degree that I took no action for a very long time.


In an ideal world, everyone would love your writing.

But this is not always the case. As writers and bloggers, we open ourselves up to the criticism and praise, and this makes us vulnerable. However, I keep in mind and return to my initial intentions of helping others through my writing and pursuing my dream of becoming a published author and speaker.

2. Show and Presentation

Again, as a new blogger, I focused a little too much on the actual presentation of the blog. By doing this, my writing suffered as I was no longer writing from my heart. In his post, Yourself, John Saddington says, “To live freely and to give freely of oneself through such a medium as one’s blog is deeply personal – I believe we do ourselves and our audience a disservice by holding back because it, ergo, becomes no longer personal – it becomes simply presentation, and on a bad day just bullshit peacocking.” From True, right? Will this blog’s content change? No. The only thing that will change is that I’ll be writing from my heart.

Why “Keepin’ It Real?”

When I initially came up with this title, I literally laughed out loud. The truth is that it has to do with my background and where I am from. I am Mexican-American and I grew up in Lynwood, California. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this city or it’s location, it’s in Southern California, and its neighbouring city is Compton – a city I lived in for the first six years of my life. You may call this the ghetto, but I called it home and I love it! We kept it real there.

For the most part, I think I am a simple girl.

My students would disagree. They joke with me and they’ll say that Ms. C (as they affectionately call me) is “gangsta” and “a thug.” I laugh of course because I’m so far from this. Being from where I am is a part of me though. I am who I am. Do I go around snapping my fingers in a Z formation? No, but I’ll do it on occasions. And yes, I’m down with rap and hip hop. I jokingly tell others that it would be a sin for me to not like this music given where I am from. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And now, for an exciting announcement…

Never have I been more enthusiastic or have had more energy to create than at this time. Being that I am bilingual (Spanish and English) and that this is a big part of culture and who I am, I have decided to keep it even more real by doing my blog posts in Spanish and English- a bilingual blog. More work? Yes. But I can only see the advantages from where I stand.

Thank you for reading my posts.

How are you keepin’ it real? Are you writing from your heart?