Saturday, October 31, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015

It's Halloween! The weather is getting colder as the days get shorter. Tomorrow (only hours from now) starts the annual NaNoWriMo challenge. National Novel Writing Month happens every November.

The challenge is to write a first draft of a story. 50,000 words within the month of November! This year my project is the long awaited sequel to my YA Sci-Fi/Paranormal, To Eris - Human (Payton Chronicles 1)

Facts taken from the official NaNoWriMo site:

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) believes stories matter. The event began in 1999, and in 2005, National Novel Writing Month became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
NaNoWriMo’s programs now include National Novel Writing Month in November, Camp NaNoWriMothe Young Writers ProgramCome Write In, and the “Now What?” Months.
In 2014:
  • 325,142 participants, including 81,311 students and educators in the Young Writers Program, started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.
  • 849 libraries, bookstores, and community centers opened their doors to novelists through the Come Write In program.
  • 55,774 Campers tackled a writing project—novel or not—at Camp NaNoWriMo.
Follow my progress by
clicking this shield.

Over 250 NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published. They include Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Hugh Howey’s Wool, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Jason Hough’s The Darwin Elevator, and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder.See a full list of our published authors.
Each year, authors offer mentorship to our participants through pep talksOur 2015 author mentors include Stephanie Perkins, Diana Gabaldon, Charlaine Harris, N. K. Jemisin, and Gene Luen Yang.

Follow my progress and check out my finished works

Monday, October 26, 2015

Spark to Flames

Getting your creative juices flowing after a dry spell. Wow... If this has never happened to you, you haven't been writing long enough. It seems to be a nearly constant struggle for most writers. Once you find your spark, fanning it into a full flame is much easier. However, finding the initial spark that will catch and burn just enough for you to start fanning it... Quite the challenge.

Writer's Block

It can happen for many reasons:
Lack of inspiration
Too many distractions
Lack of focus
Lack of desire...

How badly do you want it?
Are you still having fun? 
Have you lost your focus? 

Life happens, but you control your reactions to it. If you really, really want to be a writer then you must write. If it's no longer fun, you're going to have to do some introspection - soul searching even - to understand why... and change it. If you just can't focus on what you're doing, maybe you're trying to do too much.

These can drain your drive - discourage you enough to sap you of your desire also. 

Keep pushing forward and never take for granted every little aspect that helps you. I have absolutely wonderful friends that push and prod and encourage me and if not for them, I'd be nowhere near where I am today. When I get discouraged and worn down, one of them is always there at the ready to give me that loving nudge that I need. Not all nudges are so gentle, but they are delivered with love and are always exactly what I need at the time. My own support group of SYNCHRONICITY.

You don't have to take giant leaps... Small steps, small sparks will get you there much faster than none at all.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Obstacle Course: Checking Your Baggage

Often times we stumble over our own baggage. We hang on to our past. Things that hurt us, people that have done us wrong... We drag it around and it weighs heavily on us. We stumble and trip and sometimes fall down because of it.

Yes, we've been through a lot in our lives. Some things I've been through may be more than you could handle and some things you've been through are more than I could handle. But we've all made it this far in our lives.

The question is:

Do you really need to carry it with you? 

You've had it. You've lived through it. It has helped form the person you are today because of your choices in how to cope with it. But can't you just file it away and say, "Yup... it happened." Your life today does not need you to drag it all with you every day of your life. Once you realize that you can let go of it - you can acknowledge it and let it stand where it is - then you can move forward without the extra burden it adds.

This doesn't mean it didn't happened, but you don't need to keep it close to you. Focus on the future... not the past. When you stop dragging your baggage, it frees you to grow and experience what is next in life without tripping yourself up, dooming yourself to fail.

Check your baggage. Mark it as seen (acknowlede it) and set it aside. Stop dragging it with you. You don't need it by your side you have so much more ahead of you to experience.

All you need to keep with you is the lesson learned from that experience. This, comparatively, can fit in a pocket.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Wearing Multiple Hats #amwriting

Today's post is about taking on the role of more than one job when it comes to books. These days, with the boom of ebooks and self-publishing, even traditionally published authors need to wear more than one hat.

Promoting our own work is vital and time consuming, but I'm learning that selling the books isn't the important part. Enjoying myself and connecting with my readers is the important part. You can't imagine what a relief this revelation was when it finally sank in. Or perhaps you can.

I'm not a natural salesperson. Selling is NOT in my blood. So, stressing over this aspect of books caused endless trouble for me. However, I do believe I'm a pretty cool, albeit weird/odd/eccentric, person. Yes, I'm quirky, but I'm me... I strive to be myself and not put on a phony image. It's far too exhausting to wear a mask all the time. That doesn't mean I always blurt things out or walk over people. I don't accept anyone doing that to me either.

Recently, I've also joined the ranks more fully of an author-illustrator. I've had children's books published in the past that I did alone, but I used mostly clip art and manipulated them slightly. At this point, I'm actually producing my own characters from scratch!

My writing hats:

  1. Writer
  2. Editor
  3. Illustrator
  4. Formattor
  5. Interior Designer
  6. Cover Artist
  7. Promotor
  8. Marketing Director
  9. Website Designer
  10. Blogger
  11. Teacher
  12. Student

I work on a massive budget... massively small. Necessity, passion, inspiration... these are my driving forces, Life is my teacher. I share my knowledge with others, thus teaching them. Some are even more experienced in this business than I am. But we can all learn and if the information is sound, does it really matter what the source is?

I'm an example of someone bound and determined to make dreams come true and reach my goals, large and small. Have I been successful? In many ways I'm still struggling on my journey, working to reach the goal of what I consider full success. However, I have already passed several goals, thus making me successful. 

I also think that, since I am still moving forward to the larger mountainous goals, that progress makes me successful. I don't think that success should be measured only in the final outcome. Each step forward is a success to me. 

It is so easy to give up - to simply lay by the wayside feelling sorry for myself. This is not what I want. I will no longer give up on my dreams. They are worth reaching and I am worthy of reaching them. I will reach them because in my heart I already have reached them... it's just a matter of taking the steps to get there. 

Sometimes when we are on the right path we have an over-abundance of obstacles jumping out to challenge us. This is the universe checking to see if we have the determination to push forward. We need to push on, not to prove to anyone else, but ourselves. We are on the journey. 

This is MY journey. I'm the one that needs to make it. I'm the one that will be there every moment of every step no matter who else is with me. Others will join me along the way, but whether they stay or leave will not alter my step. That's how it should be. I take my steps. You can walk with me, but it is not up to anyone else to carry me. You have your own steps to take; I have mine.

I've got this... so do you. 

 Check out my books.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Obstacle Course: Self-Doubt

Self-doubt can kill your dreams if you let it. Completely suffocate them. You need to trust yourself. If you can't trust yourself, who can you trust? Well, if you lie to yourself, that could be an issue. When you make a promise to yourself, do you follow it through with as much determination as promising a loved family member or dear friend? No? You should.

Your goals are promises to yourself. Something you want and are working to achieve.

When you doubt yourself, it tears apart your primary support. You can't get away from yourself and pretending things don't exist doesn't make them go away. You can't close your eyes to the obstacles you come across in life, but you can conquer them. Even though not everything will go as you plan.

You can't beat yourself up over things you have no control over. If you've made mistakes in the past, and everyone has at some point, then use them as learning experiences. You have to focus on the positives though. You know where you've been and where you want to be. You have to keep working to get there.

Sometimes we need a team mate or two - maybe more. There is nothing wrong with that. Just realize that they can't do it for you. They can only help here and there. Maybe their role is to teach you a new skill that you can use in your obstacle course.

Whatever happens, if you doubt yourself, you slow down - lose hope and focus - maybe even give up. If that happens then you have broken your promise to yourself. You can pick yourself back up though... even if you need a hand to get you there. It's still your choice to take that offered hand and rise.

If you want something enough, you can find a way.

"Necessity is the mother of invention"
famous quote with conflicting accreditation.

It's right, isn't it? Don't doubt yourself. Have faith in the skills you have. Your path is not the same as everyone else. It won't look the same. Things that work for others may not work for you, but that doesn't mean that you can't find a way to get there just the same.

Keep going. You CAN do this...

You've got this.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

You're Grounded in the Count of Six!

Okay. I know I've been saying that you have to always push forward and keep moving. So, this may seem contradictory, but consider it a rest stop and refueling station.

You're grounded. And if not, you should be. Grounding is connecting with yourself... with the universe. It is releasing the tensions, frustrations, fears, stresses.... everything that pulls your focus away from what you really want... happiness.

People are usually in such a rush these days - always having to go here or there. You need to stop and breathe at some point or you'll burn out and be exhuasted. How many times have you said or even just felt like you were "running on empty"? That's because you are. If you don't take time to refocus and relax your mind and soul, you will not find the calm, peace of mind you want and need in life.

Find a nice quiet place - hopefully outside and where you can get to easily and as often as you need.

If it's under a tree, in the grass, in a garden, on the beach, whereever... just a nice quiet place that feels good to you. Go and stand or sit there as often as you need. If you're stressed and feeling overwhelmed or even sad.

While there, do some visulaizations. Doctors and scientists have long accepted this stuff. So, I don't want to hear anything about new wave BS. If our society didn't pull away from nature so much, we wouldn't have the need to set aside time specifically for this.

Visualization steps:

First, envision yourself wrapped in a bubble. I am a bit of a nerd. So, I describe it as looking like the force field used in Star Wars during the battle on Nabu. You know, where Jar Jar's people are in the field? Anyway, visualize this coming down around you to "protect" your space.

Second, if at all possible you'll be barefoot and can feel the ground beneath you... such a great feeling... imagine roots or some form of connection growing from you and digging deep into the ground. (you can do this with shoes on, but it's much nicer without) Let them dig down as deeply as possible. This is your connection to the earth.

Third, close your eyes and allow your mind to relax your muscles. Go in sections if you have to. When we aren't used to relaxing, our muscles seem to forget how and may take more concentration.

Fourth, allow, don't force, your stress, frustration, anger, any and all negativity, to drain through those roots you have. Let the earth filter and dispurse it.

Fifth, with your eyes still closed, focus on your other senses. The sounds, feels, smells around you. If the wind is blowing at all, feel it. Listen to the bugs, rustling leaves, distant sounds... Try to find as many sounds of nature as you can.

Sixth, BREATHE!!!

I try to do this until it feels "right" to open my eyes again, but I know that we don't always have that luxury. Even if you only have five minutes, it is well worth it. Relaxation and meditation improves your health in many ways. If you do only have five minutes, you may want to do it more often.

We need to recharge to continue our journey. If we burn out, we won't go anywhere. So, feed your soul, nourish it... don't let it reach that point.

You will feel recharged and better able to handle taking on the next obstacle you will face in your journey toward your goal. You will be better able to focus. You will feel a calmness, even if only a short time... and every little bit helps. The more you do this, the easier it will be and the longer it will last. It's an exercise of the mind. One that refreshes instead of tires you out.

Go ground yourself. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Obstacle Course: Honesty

I'm sure everyone, or nearly everyone, has heard that "honesty is the best policy", but how honest are we with ourselves? If we can't be honest with ourselves, how can we consider ourselves honest people? It can be hard. The truth can be painful at times, but lies are so much more destructive.

Lies feed off each other. The devour everything just like fire. Some flames are good: The flames of passion, flames of truth, getting a fire lit under you (motivation)... But the devestation of lies has a life of its own. One that we must smother at the beinging.

Are we REALLY doing our best? 

Are we REALLY making it our priority? 

Do we REALLY believe? 

Are we REALLY showing it or just telling lies to ourself?

When lies flare up within us, we need to get past them and stop feeding them... they will die off without food. We can fight them down by building up around them... look for the positive and SEE it.

YES you:

  • can learn something new
  • can change your stars
  • can be successful
  • can develop new & improved habits
  • can break bad habits
  • can overcome your obstacles
  • are worth it
  • are human
  • are awesome

There is always someone out there that is worse off than you... and happy in their life. How good or bad your life is isn't about what you have or don't have, what you can do or can't, what you've lost or gained... It's about how you CHOOSE to LOOK at it.

It's about your perspective on life. 

So, stop telling lies. Be honest with yourself. If you're not really doing all you can, then why not?
If you're not making your goals a priority - why not? Why do you have these goals if not to reach them? Why do you keep letting things get in the way and tear you down? If you want it, you have to work and go get it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Obstacle Course: Time Keeps Slipping...

I have difficulty with losing track of time. It doesn't pay any attention to me and often I pay no attention to it. So, I turn around and look and I haven't posted in several days when I could have sworn it was only the day before. (sigh)

This is, purhaps, one of my biggest obstacles.

When you're not in the habit of writing every day, it can be quite the challenge. Even when I do write, I don't always write on the same project. As my days become scrambled or blurred together, I find it difficult to recall which project got attention on which day.

I track my progress as I reach each new point in my writing. Thankfully the program I use to write on my computer with, will track the date last saved. I tend to write as I'm inspired to instead of being more structured. This is something I'm working to improve upon since I feel it will assist my regularity. And who wants to be irregualar? Certainly not me.

We need to keep in mind that time isn't going to stop. It may slow or speed up at times, but it won't truly stop. We simply need to make sure that we are taking the steps we need... make sure that WE aren't stopping either. How?

Write something every day!

Sometimes you have to just push through it. Write something - even if you think it's total crap... just as long as you're putting words down. Eventually the words will flow again. You will develop the habit of writing daily and it will become easier over time. We have to believe in ourselves. We have to KNOW that we deserve to reach our goals. We have to love ourselves enough to let ourselves succeed.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Obstacle Course: Under the Wire

There will be times when we're going to find ourselves belly down in the mud - wires and amunition flying over our heads. Yes... sometimes we need to get down and dirty to get through life. It's not all easy or pretty.

We need to keep moving, no matter what. Even if we feel that we're crawling in the muck. By learning how to keep a low profile, we can avoid a lot of trouble shooting past us. Some people will try to get you with low blows, but you don't need to stand there and take it. Move past them and keep going. Even if you need to scrape bottom for a while, you're still getting by.

Besides, if you're down in the mud, you don't have any lower to go and you know that everything is up from there. How wonderful is that? To know that no matter what happens, it's going to get better.

I have experienced this obstacle several times in my life, and I'm sure I'll find it again along my journey. Times when it feels like everything is after you and the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Trust me, this isn't the only obstacle where you feel like that, but you can get through. You have the information you need, the skills, the talent... If you didn't, you wouldn't have made it this far.

And while you're down there in the mud... just think of all the people who pay good money for mud treatments. And as a writer, EVERYTHING is a source of inspiration!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Obstacle Course: The Mine Field

In our obstacle courses, we often come across people who act like mine fields to us. Toxic people want to destroy your happiness and cause as much disruption and devistation as possible. You know the warning signs, but sometimes you miss them and things explode in your face.

How can you possibly avoid this obstacle in life? I don't think you can ever fully avoid coming across this obstacle, but you can minimize the damage. Some of these mine fields come up unexpected and aren't even marked well. There are basically three types of minefields that you'll come accross.

First: Family and friends... people you know. When you know someone is clearly toxic with an explosive personality or someone who loves to stir up extra drama, it can be very difficult. Especially when they're related to you. You may feel preasure to keep them from guilt of family bonds.

Second: There will sometimes be people in your life that you just can't remove completely for some reason. It may be a parent or caregiver or even someone who relies on you for care. While you may be able to eventually work even these negative influences from your life, some situations may be beyond your control.

Third: These are the people who you encounter for short periods of time. They are hard to avoid because you didn't plan on encountering them.

Remove the toxic people from your life. You don't need them. I know this can be hard if they are family, but if they are toxic... they're toxic. You don't need toxic in your life. You need love, support, and encouragement. People will blow up for no reason and create chaos for you to clean up. If someone is dragging you down, don't have anything to do with them. Or at the very least, limit how much you deal with them.

Then... in those times when you simply can't avoid these people, remember that they are responsible for themselves and you can only control your reaction to them. Look for the signs, make your own bomb detector for the people who don't have their minefield marked, and when something explodes, mark it to stay clear next time.

When you minimize the toxic people and learn how to identify them, you will find that your life will be much happier and you will enjoy a freedom you couldn't possibly experience when walking among the mine fields.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Stepping Stones

As I mentioned before, we need to take one step at a time and lay our own path toward our own goals. We can't make the entire journey in one step. Life and goals are all part of a process that we need to experience. Everyone has their own journey.

As such, we can't sit back and expect the stepping stones to simply appear before us and to float along the path. It takes effort. We must lay the stones ourself and at times we need to make an adjustment to our placement.

There will be times when we lay a stone in a place we think will lead us well, but then we discover a new obstacle and need to adjust. Not all adjustments will be easy either. We may even resent it. Esepecially if we need to take a step or two b

ack and reevaluate, losing what we deem as valuable, hard work gone to waste. But, if you hadn't done that hard work, you wouldn't have known that you needed to take a step back. So, as long as you're moving and working toward your goal, even these adjustments are not wasted effort.

I'm taking my steps. I'm moving forward. I'm putting myself out there so everyone can see my work. 

Not all projects work. Some are bound to flop, but I'm learning and growing along the way. What I do with the knowledge is what determines my next step. The information gathered from each step adds to my knowledge. It is a cycle of life and the way we choose to look at it will determine the outcome.

My main obstacle is visibility. My readers enjoy my writing, but with all the unknown number of writers out there, my work is still (relatively) invisible. So, I'm taking steps to get my skills seen. You may or may not always know that it's my work, but the more I write the better I get. The better I get, the more I will be noticed. The more I'm noticed, the more successful I become.

So, I win. 

If you like my articles, please let me know by leaving a comment below. Share it for others to enjoy, follow me so you don't miss any future posts. Let me know what part you enjoy.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Synchronicity Revisited

I've already spoken about synchronicity before, but today I had a new case in my life. On top of many other things, we've been experiencing car problems. Our car continues to die on us and we continue to get it fixed. Where we live, there is no real option.

I think just about everyone knows how this process goes... If you want a job, you need a car. If you have a job, you REALLY need a car. When your car dies, you can't drive to work. When you can't go to work, you have no money. When you have no money you can't get your car (or get it fixed). When you can't get it fixed, you can't go to work.

This is the 2nd time within a month's time that our car has died. Same issue. We got it "fixed" but the new part was faulty and it caused MORE damage too. Anyway, we had to walk from home to the mechanics. We couldn't get a hold of anyone that could give us a ride. We're 15 miles away from the car shop. Yes.. 15+ miles... and we walked.

Hubby went, because he needs the car for work. I went with him so he didn't have to go alone. If he had to suffer, I would be by his side. We walked almost 8 miles together. By that point my husband, who has issues anyway, couldn't walk well. One of us had to get to the car. So, I took a full bottle of water from the bag he'd carried and I continued alone while he struggled to get as far as he could. I managed to walk 9.5 miles (the last one was a constant incline) before I couldn't make it farther. I asked all the powers in the universe to

bring me a ride that I could trust. The universe answered... A neighbor that I have spoken with, but not recently, saw me and stopped.

What in the world does this have to do with writing? This blog is about writing and books, right?

Yes, it is. 

What I'm trying to get at is that I kept going. I pushed myself to my known limit and beyond. I had a determination. It HAD to get done. I couldn't give up on my goal simply because it was difficult or that I was alone. Even the distance I'd walked with my husband was more than I'd ever done before. And to push on without him... I proved to him, but more importantly to myself, that I could do it.

I'd decided to change my previous M.O. (my habit of giving up and not finishing). This was evidence of that promise I'd made to myself. I made the decision. I'm not "trying" anymore... I'm DOING.

I will reach my goals. It will be a struggle, there are times I will have to go it alone, and there's nothing wrong with having some help along the way. If you push yourself and know in your heart that you will reach your goal, things will work out for the best.

Syncronicity will peek into your life more and more often. You can make your dreams a reality. My dreams of being a successful writer. They are already true. I certainly haven't made it rich, but my readers enjoy what I produce. And I know that the word about my writing is spreading. I'm not sitting back and waiting either. I'm taking steps toward my goal and finding more outlets for my gift.

I am not giving up... I am pushing forward past the limits I thought I had. Synchronicity will appear in my future as it already has. I will make it to my goal because I NEED to. My desire, drive, and determination will no longer allow me to sit at the roadside and wallow in pity.