Monday, December 28, 2015

Monday Mishmash 12/28/15



My first Monday Mishmash! I recently found out via Medeia Sharif's blog that this fun theme is hosted by Kelly Hashway. I'd been seeing the topic floating around the blogosphere this past year and thought I'd join in on the fun. What a great way to kick off the week! Coincidentally, it's the last Monday of the year...crazy. Just plain crazy how time flies.

So here's what I'm up to:


  1. Crimson Earth released this month and I'm continuously working on promo materials and editorial reviews. As you've heard across all industries, marketing is tough and can be costly in both time and money. The old adage, "Build it (or in my case, write it) and they will come" is simply not true--at least in the self-publishing realm. Thus I'm looking for more cost-effective ways to promote without having to throw a money in the wind where it might land nowhere. 
  2. Winter Cleaning: Every year, I like to do a big cleaning sprint and declutter. I go through my closet and every nook and cranny of the apartment to find things that I don't need anymore and and can donate. 
  3. Reading: I haven't been reading as much as I'd like to, but I hope to finish at least one book before my holiday break ends. Right now I'm engrossed in #GIRLBOSS by entrepreneur, Sophia Amoruso. 
  4. Fresh Air: Yes, I literally wrote that in my to-do list for this week. LOL. I don't get out enough. And when I do, it's always to run errands or to accomplish a task. I want to enjoy the outdoors and commit time on my calendar to do so. I'm on the second week of my two-week break and I'm only just beginning to unwind. :) 
  5. Editing: And of course, what writer isn't writing/editing? I'm going back to another of my finished novels to do a major scrub. One huge task is changing the POV. This 100,000+ word novel is going to be a monster to edit but if there's anything I learned during this break, it's that time is my friend. I don't have a deadline, so I'm going to pace myself so that I get this novel done right. Then it's off to hunt for an agent. Earlier this year, I queried 30+ agents; 6 asked to see the full, and 5 asked to see a partial. I got some tough but important feedback, and my gut tells me that I'm on to something with this story--it simply needs more work. Wish me luck! 
Hope you guys had a wonderful Christmas/Holiday celebration!

Happy reading, 
Anna 



For a limited time, Violet Storm, Book One of the Modi Series is 99 cents! Check it out!



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Storyboard Your Novel

Hello Friends!

I've been meaning to write this post for some time. I originally tried to write my latest novel, Crimson Earth, on the fly. I wanted the process to be filled with as much discovery as I had endured--uh, I mean, enjoyed--when I first wrote Violet Storm. Unfortunately, the anxiety of a looming deadline (a seriously ambitious deadline) stunted my ability to be as fully creative as I had been in the past. The fun factor didn't exist now that it felt more like work rather than a pastime. I did everything I could to get out of the creative rut. One idea that made the whole experience and process fun again, was Storyboarding.

How does creating a storyboard help? 

If creating a storyboard is too much like outlining for you (and that's not what you're interested in), then try creating a mood board (this is simply art, objects, scene-cards that you want to display). 

  1. Visual: I'm a very visual learner. If you're like me, storyboarding will help you see the landscapes, environments, and cultural nuances that you might be having a hard time visualizing clearly, which will come across in the writing. If you're struggling, it's likely your readers will struggle as well. 
  2. Pacing: Storyboarding can help you see each scene a little more clearly. What will happen and when it will happen. If there's not much happening, there won't be much to put in its place on the board, and it might mean removing altogether if that scene doesn't contribute much to the overall story. 
  3. Plotting: You can see your major plot, your subplots, and yes...your plot holes. 
  4. Immersive: Storyboarding is a great way to fully immerse yourself in the world and in your work. One glance and you're back there again, ready to dive into the adventure. 
  5. Creative: Writing is a great creative outlet for me, but sometimes I need to stretch that fun-factor a little more. Creating a mood board or a storyboard is a great way to do that. I try to plug in prints/photos that help inspire the unique aspects of the culture, the people, the architecture. 
You can create so much depth to your work with the help of a storyboard (or mood board). You can spend as much or as little time on this, but regardless, I highly recommend trying it out!

Happy creating, 
Anna

Here is a sample of my story-board. I tack and untack the note-cards when I sit down to write my scenes (chapters). Next time, I plan on using multi-colored notecards to denote the beginning, middle, and end of the story.


BTW - Violet Storm, Book One of the Modi Series is on sale for $0.99 cents for the month of December! 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Crimson Earth - Release Day!

Yay! It's finally here! 

Okay, I won't take up too much of your time. I'm sure you're tired of seeing every single one of my blog posts talking mostly about my book. (But I mean, wow, it's my second book! Who would have though I'd be able to write a sequel??) So here's something a little different--a video! (I included details on how I created the video at the end of this post.)






Thank you so much for all your support.  It truly means a lot to me. :)




Book Description:

Aeva Storm finally has the answers she’s been looking for since the night she was struck by lightning. She knows who she is—and more importantly, what she is. But her secret isn’t hers alone to keep, and some of those who know the truth will do anything to control her.

In the sequel to the acclaimed Violet Storm, Aeva must decide how far she’ll go to protect her identity and to find her missing sister in a world she hardly recognizes. She must embrace her new life—and her strange new body—if she hopes to save the only place she and her family have left to call home.

Filled with action, mystery, and heartbreak, Crimson Earth finds Aeva, Ruven, and Karth on opposing sides as the war between The False Alliance and the Monarchy draws near.

Can they band together to fight against the evil threatening the City? Or will they destroy each other before the war has even begun? 


Order your copies today!!


Kindle | Kobo | iBook | Nook | Paperback Signed Paperback


*Extras: 

  • If you're curious about how I made the video (including the other teaser trailer), I did all the editing myself, using iMovie (which came free on my iMac, you can also download it from the App store if you don't have it). After watching a few YouTube how-to videos, I was able to do a decent enough job editing. For the setup: it was literally just me, my DSLR camera, tripod, lamp (removed the shade for brighter lighting), and a small poster I had printed on VistaPrint (size: 11x16) to add some color in the background. 


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Crimson Earth Book Blitz!



Woohoo! We are getting closer and closer to the release date of CRIMSON EARTH. How exciting!

Today, I'll stick to the fun stuff: 


  • VS Discount: To get more readers interested, I'm setting the price of the digital copies of VIOLET STORM (Book 1 in the Modi Series) at $0.99 for the entire month of December. Yep. I want you guys to have the chance to fall in love with the story as much as I--and many other readers--have. Check it out and let us know what you think by writing a review on Goodreads and Amazon!


CRIMSON EARTH Excerpt: 


Ruven’s lips twitch into the distant echo of a smile—a rare sight these days. He moves to the other side of the wide corridor. He’s hard to ignore. As a whole, Ruven is jarringly present in the space he occupies. Mostly because of his unique modifications, making him incomparable to any other human on this earth. And when those crimson eyes lock onto you… it’s like being ensnared in a dream you’re not sure will turn into a nightmare.
Since I woke up from my near-death experience, there never seems to be enough distance between us, and yet, for some reason he’s always around. Some people are gluttons for punishment.
Don’t pretend you don’t care about him, Aeva.
How the heckfire am I supposed to do anything else? These days, my entire life revolves around pretending. Before the Monarch died, Ruven had been my friend—my closest ally. And then things got a little too intense. He told me how much he cared about me, and that he wanted more than just friendship. But I struggled with the idea of us, because there were more pressing issues occupying my mind—and my heart. I couldn’t give him what he wanted and now things have changed between us.
I hate it.
I hate it for so many reasons that just thinking about it makes me want to hurt someone.



Releasing Thursday | December 10, 2015


Pre-order your copies today!!





Crimson Earth (Modi, #2)


FUN: Enter the raffle for a chance to win some awesome prizes! 

(Limited to U.S. entries only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Check out this cool video I did for Crimson Earth. It started out as a simple quote, and then I got ambitious...








Wednesday, November 25, 2015

All Things Fall...And Pumpkin

This past weekend, Kyle and I made a point to get some fresh air and walk around the neighborhood. We've been sick the past couple of days. Low energy, cold weather, headaches, and stuffy noses do not allow for many fun adventures.

Anyway, I had this terrible aching feeling that I was missing out on experiencing the change in season. Fall is my favorite time of the year. The colors, the food, the family bonding. Thanksgiving kicks off a slew of back-to-back celebrations. Sadly, this means we're nearing the end of November. I'm worried that it will be winter all too soon. So I grabbed my camera, bundled up, and we went for a sunset stroll.


Lots of turning leaves in our neighborhood.

Lots! 

Not sure if this is a birch tree, but look at the cool bark on these trees.

And November skies...just breathtaking.

Can't. Stop. Staring.


How beautiful is that sky? By the way, I think I've settled on a title for the third and final book in the Modi Series. How does Indigo Sky sound? That or Indigo Fire.

I can't stop craving pumpkin. Pumpkin pastries all day every day.
What do you crave the most during the holidays?

Hugs,
Anna

And because Happy wanted to let you know how he was doing. Grand. He's always grand.


Anna Soliveres is the author of the Modi Series. Crimson Earth, Book Two releases Dec. 10th.
Pre-Order you copy today!



KINDLE

BOOK DESCRIPTION:
Aeva Storm finally has the answers she’s been looking for since the night she was struck by lightning. She knows who she is—and more importantly, what she is. But her secret isn’t hers alone to keep, and some of those who know the truth will do anything to control her.

In the sequel to the acclaimed Violet Storm, Aeva must decide how far she’ll go to protect her identity and to find her missing sister in a world she hardly recognizes. She must embrace her new life—and her strange new body—if she hopes to save the only place she and her family have left to call home.

Filled with action, mystery, and heartbreak, Crimson Earth finds Aeva, Ruven, and Karth on opposing sides as the war between The False Alliance and the Monarchy draws near.

Can they band together to fight against the evil threatening the City? Or will they destroy each other before the war has even begun?

Friday, November 20, 2015

5 Creative Podcasts Worth Following

I have a thirty to forty minute commute in the mornings and evenings. I can't listen to the radio anymore without feeling peeved for one reason or another. I tried audio-books but my mind wanders a little more than I like. So for the past year, I've been listening to Podcasts, looking for inspirational gems, educational and entrepreneurial discussions, most of which revolve around creative endeavors. I learn something new every day!


Here are my top five: 


  • Creative Warriors - by Jeff Shaw
    • Creative Warriors is a twice weekly series of inspiring, motivating, and informative podcasts with today's greatest thought-leaders. Geared specifically for creative entrepreneurs, Creative Warriors is aptly named as Jeff believes that being in business doing what you feel you are meant to do in life is an true act of bravery. Putting yourself out in the world, sharing your talents, your creative thinking, and making the world a better place. It takes a warrior spirit of balance and inner strength.

  • The Accidental Creative - by Todd Henry
    • Where do great ideas come from? For creative pros, the pressure continues to mount to produce better work, faster. We live in a create-on-demand world. The Accidental Creative podcast shares how to build practical, everyday practices that help you stay prolific, brilliant and healthy in life and work. Host Todd Henry (author of the books The Accidental Creative, Die Empty, and Louder Than Words) interviews artists, authors and business leaders such as Seth Godin, David Allen, and Steven Pressfield, and offers tips for how to thrive in life and work. 


  • 99% Invisible
    • 99% Invisible is a tiny radio show about design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world.  Each episode is a sound-rich deep dive into a single topic. With more than 3 million downloads per month, we routinely rank in the top 10 arts podcasts and top 20 podcasts overall in iTunes.


  • The Introvert Entrepreneur - by Beth Buelow
    • Launched in 2010 and hosted by Beth Buelow, ACC, the podcast is a lively space for conversation, learning, and sharing. Through interviews and discussions, we’ll talk about business and life from an introvert perspective, providing resources, advice, and inspiration.




  • The School of Greatness - by Lewis Howes
    • Lewis Howes is an author, Lifestyle Entrepreneur, former pro athlete and world record holder in football. The goal of the School of Greatness is to share inspiring stories from the most brilliant business minds, world class athletes and influential celebrities on the planet; to help you find out what makes great people great.



There are a few others I listen to: Criminal and Serial as well. Just because I love juicy mysteries. 

Check them out and let me know what you think! Are there any other podcasts that you would recommend? 


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Crimson Earth Cover Reveal!

Yay! It's here! It's really, really here! This is the result of six months of the hardest work of my life--definitely puts a new meaning to "labor of love." Not complaining or anything... but definitely ready to pop a bottle of champagne, or ten.

Please allow me the pleasure of introducing you to CRIMSON EARTH, book two of the Modi Series. 

I am so grateful for all the help of my friends, family, and fellow bloggers. You guys kept me super motivated. Thank you for the support and for helping me get the word out on the Modi Series!

Book Description: 


Aeva Storm finally has the answers she’s been looking for since the night she was struck by lightning. She knows who she is—and more importantly, what she is. But her secret isn’t hers alone to keep, and some of those who know the truth will do anything to control her.

In the sequel to the acclaimed Violet Storm, Aeva must decide how far she’ll go to protect her identity and to find her missing sister in a world she hardly recognizes. She must embrace her new life—and her strange new body—if she hopes to save the only place she and her family have left to call home.

Filled with action, mystery, and heartbreak, Crimson Earth finds Aeva, Ruven, and Karth on opposing sides as the war between The False Alliance and the Monarchy draws near.

Can they band together to fight against the evil threatening the City? Or will they destroy each other before the war has even begun? 



Audience: Older Teens & Adults
Fast-paced. Action-packed. Interesting plot twists. Memorable characters. 


Releasing Thursday | December 10, 2015

Pre-order your copies today!!






Crimson Earth (Modi, #2)


New to the Modi Series? Read starred reviews of the first book: VIOLET STORM

Enter the raffle for a chance to win some awesome prizes! 

I'm giving away a Jawbone Move, Promo Card, and a $10 Amazon Card. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Huge shout out to the blogs hosting the cover release today! You guys rock!


Leandra Wallacewww.leandrajwallace.blogspot.com
Meradeth Houstonmeradethhouston.blogspot.com
Stephanie Farishttp://stephie5741.blogspot.com
Sandra Coxhttp://sandracox.blogspot.com
Ali - The Dragon Slayerhttp://cancersuckscouk.ipage.com/
Diane’s Book Bloghttp://dianes-book.blogspot.com
Book-o-Crazehttp://book-o-craze.blogspot.gr/
Cover2Coverhttps://chocomeiske.wordpress.com
Books and Authorshttp://bookreviewsandauthors.blogspot.com/
Please Pass The Bookshttps://pleasepassthebooks.wordpress.com/
Cat's Guilty Pleasurehttp://www.facebook.com/catherinewrightbooks
Share My Destinyhttp://sharemydestiny.blogspot.com
CBY Book Clubhttp://cbybookclub.blogspot.co.uk/
The Voluptuous Book Divahttp://facebook.com/voluptuousbookdiva
JeanzBookReadNReviewhttp://jeanzbookreadnreview.blogspot.co.uk/
Driftlesshttp://ayokongaeh.com
The Hoarding Readers Cornerhttp://thehoardingreaderscorner.blogspot.com/
Buried Under Bookshttps://cncbooksblog.wordpress.com/
Nocturnal Predators Reviewswww.nocturnalpredatorsreviews.blogspot.com
Live Laugh & Love Bookshttps://livelaughandlovebooks.wordpress.com/
A Book Addict's Bookshelveshttp://jesswatkinsauthor.blogspot.co.uk/
Escape Into A Bookhttp://escapeintoabookblog.blogspot.com/
A British Bookworm's Bloghttp://britishbookwormblog.com
Reading Addicthttp://readingadd.blogspot.com/
The Book Loungehttp://gbshortcake.com/
Just Us Book Bloghttp://justusbookblog.blogspot.com/
The Reading Diaries http://www.thereadingdiaries.com/
Indy Book Fairyhttp://paranormalbookfairy.blogspot.com/
Read, Write, Ripleyhttp://www.readwriteripley.com
Evermore Bookshttp://evermorebooks.weebly.com/
JuviaBooksjuviabooks.tumblr.com
VAMPYRELADYS FAVE BOOKS, REVIEWS & OTHER LOVEShttps://vampyreladylaura.wordpress.com/
Cover Reveals, Blog Tours, New Releases & All Things Bookishhttps://www.blogger.com/email-post.g?blogID=1232450301138482613
The Page Unboundhttp://thepageunbound.com
Mythical Bookshttp://www.mythicalbooks.blogspot.ro/
Red's Midnight Readershttp://redsmidnightreaders.blogspot.com
Country Gals Sexy Readshttp://www.countrygalssexyreads.wordpress.com
The Book Addict http://jbthebookadict.blogspot.ae
anastacia readsanastaciareads.blogspot.com
Extreme Bookaholics Bloghttp://extremebookaholicsblog.blogspot.com/
Those Crazy Book Chickshttps://www.facebook.com/Thosecrazybookchicks

Monday, November 9, 2015

3 Lessons I learned Writing My Sequel



Oh my goodness, I haven't written a post since August. I am a terrible blogger. But the good news is that I had a fantastic excuse for my MIA status--I finished Book 2 of the Modi Series! Hip-hip-hooray!


Crimson Earth is coming out Thurs. Dec. 10th!! Watch out for links to pre-order your copy. The cover release is set for next week, Tues. Nov. 17th, so definitely keep an eye out. Add it to your Goodreads--and if you want the first two chapters before anyone else, just sign up to the Newsletter on my site


Would you be interested in blogging about the cover release? Please let me know!! I'd be ever so grateful for your help in spreading the word. Here is a link to the blurb on Goodreads.

And because I'm all about sharing experiences and knowledge, I also wanted to share my top three lessons writing this novel


1. Setting Realistic Deadlines 

Listen, I'm probably crazy about deadlines. I am an over-achiever and my excuses are... that I have none. I have no children, I have pets that require the least amount of responsibility (cats), and my only other hobbies are hiking, gym, Netflix, and reading--all of which, I'd hold off doing in order to finish a novel. My friends know my routine and understand that when I crawl out of the novel-writing rock, that I'm ready to socialize and create more fun memories together. 

That said, I realized that creative endeavors are not like other straightforward projects. My fiancee, who is an artist by trade, let me know that the best way to map out your deadlines is to consider the achievable timeline, divide it in half, and then add that other half to the total. For example: if you think you can finish a book in three months, probably best to say your deadline should be closer to 4.5 months. Because I didn't really have any prior experience, I set my goals a bit too high. Overall, the best thing to do is give yourself a little cushion and wiggle room. Though, I didn't make my original goal (I wanted to have 1.5 months to market between finishing the book and marketing it), I'm glad I had that extra time and got around 3.5 weeks to market the book before it released.
There are definitely things I could have done to help meet my goal, and the next bullet is one of them. 



2. Outline - Do you need one? 

I have a full-time job. One that requires a lot of travel between Sept - Oct every year. I decided to be in the thick of finishing my novel during that time. Probably too ambitious, of course. If you're a writer trying to juggle two careers, the best tool in your writer's kit is outlining. You don't have to adhere to every aspect of what you outline, but the exercise alone makes you consider your entire plot, your subplots, your ending, and if there are any holes. It makes you consider every scene, chapter by chapter, and know where some scenes lag, and which ones are going no where. When I finally began to outline, I was already halfway through writing my novel. And what a creative release it was! Really, it was incredibly freeing for me. Writer's block was simply non-existent because of it. I knew what I wanted to achieve with a scene, and then I sat down to flesh it out. 

So is outlining for you? Listen, at the end of the day, do what works for you--do what makes writing fun for you. I'm someone who doesn't like to wade through uncertainty. So outlining became my greatest tool. I know that it will help keep me on track to meeting my deadlines, and I knew where I was in the story at all times. When you're busy, the less ambiguity there is, the easier it is to be creative. I didn't believe this before, but now I do. 



3. Last Stretch - Dig deep

The editing... In my personal experience, that's the hardest part about writing. Lets say the first draft is done. For me, that means I'm only a third of the way finished. Polishing, cutting, trimming, re-organizing scenes, and tightening the writing is a whole other level of skill. It tests your patience and your sanity. I worked with an editor to give me the low-down on my story, only to find that my writing was killing what was otherwise a very interesting story. Ouch. Right... so I tried not to be discouraged, because it was a prime opportunity to take my writing to a whole new level; to learn and to grow, so that I may write better and faster in the future. 

I tried not to waste too much time crying over how hard it was (but boy, there were some serious tears shed over this book), or how down to the wire it was--and how impossible it would be to finish in time with all the edits that needed to be done. That's when I had to dig deep and remember why I was doing this in the first place. 


I was doing it for me. At the end of the day, I couldn't forget that this endeavor gave me personal joy and that no matter what, I wouldn't give up. So when you're at the home stretch of whatever passion-project you're working on, remember that. This is all for you... 


And don't forget to celebrate each milestone! 


--


Well, that's all for now guys. I'll be back next week for the cover release! Again, please let me know if you're interested in sharing on your blog. I'd be ever so grateful! :)


Love,
Anna

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

No One But You

I've been doing a lot of writing lately in the hopes to finish my next novel in time. Which means I'm neck deep in stress. Writing a story is both exhilarating and mind-numbingly painful at the same time. My brain no longer knows how to turn itself off. To be quiet. To go to sleep. It just doesn't stop. If I'm not worried about my next writing goal, I'm worried about the scene I've just created, or the last character, or the last five chapters, and does everything work, and how can I MAKE THIS WORK! It's cool. It's fun. Really. I cry a lot. Tears of joy and wine. I mean, fine. It's fine!

Breathe. Smile. 

I've been trying to get out more, see my friends, and remind myself that there's more to me than work. It feels great to see everyone. I hug them like I haven't seen them in forever because yay me, I'm alive. And I remember that what I'm 
doing [what I'm writing] is magical. I'm doing what I love. I'm experiencing so many emotions with my work that it's ridiculous and I'm on cloud infinity.

But no amount of positivity makes the fear go away. It's still there. There's so much work left to do. 

Last night, I read an old post written by Jim Butcher (author of The Dresdon Files, and the Codex Alera series), one of my favorite authors. The post was advice to aspiring authors. Butcher says that because of how difficult becoming a full-time novelist is, that the vast majority of aspiring authors self-terminate their dream. They simply quit. 

"Think about this for a minute, because it's important," he says, "THEY KILL THEIR OWN DREAM. But here's a secret: You are the only one in the world who can kill your dream. No one can make you quit. No one can take your dream away. No one but you."

Did you get the feels reading that? I sure did. This message transcends various interests, from business, to health, fitness, art, and music. We all aspire or dream for something. This message applies to you just as it applies to me. Whether you're striving to meet a fitness goal, build a business, or launch your next career. 

At the end of the day, you are the only one who can kill your dreams. So yes, it will be hard. It might make you a little crazy. It might make you question yourself, your life, your entire being. You might lose your hair, or several nights of sleep. Even after all your hard work, you might still not find success in the next year, let alone the next decade. But either way, only you can end that dream. If you don't quit, you will eventually reach your goal. You may have to make adjustments along the way, and perhaps change your idea of success, but when that day comes, you'll look back at these times and forget just how bad the drama had been. The grueling, endless work will be but a memory. 


I tell myself that it's all worth it. Because it is. Nothing worth doing is ever easy, and nothing worth having is without some measure of pain. 

So keep working. Keep striving. Everything is going to be wine. Fine! I mean, fine!


Photo cred: Anthony Lew

Friday, July 17, 2015

To Be Successful You Have to Try New Things





"To be successful, you have to try new things," Ron Friedman, author of The Best Place to Work
I was driving to work, listening to one of my favorite podcasts, The Accidental Creative, when Ron Friedman said these words, and I couldn't help but repeat them over and over again. I found it to be so profoundly true. 

What does it mean to be successful? 

It means something different to everyone. Most likely, the goal is to find a measure of success in all areas of our lives. From our jobs to our relationships, to family, and even our hobbies. 

I experienced the most growth in the later years of my 20's. More than when I was in college and in the brief years following. Maybe because I didn't move away and live on my own, maybe it was because I didn't have kids or had to stress out about personal finances. There were few deaths in the family (which I am so grateful for), and few drastic, world-turned-upside-down events that really challenged how I perceived myself and the world as a whole. I saw things from a smaller bubble than how I see them now.  

(Waves hand dismissively) But that's a deeper conversation than I intended to go for on this post. 

What Ron Friedman had begun to discuss on the podcast was the value of failure. 

We experience phenomenal growth in times of failure and hardship. We should not be afraid of failing. But sometimes our circumstances, our jobs, our family, and our finances don't allow much room for grand experimentation. Life is short, and with each failure, it can quickly feel like it just got a whole lot shorter. 

My dream to become traditionally published is a couple years shy of reaching a decade. A near decade of writing, writing, and more writing. Lots of tears, lots of dizzying dreaming, the need for thicker skin, and learning exactly what the word grit means. I kept hitting a wall and every time I thought I reached the top of that mountainous blockade, there was yet another ridge to climb over

I've tried a lot of things. Some of them made me feel like I failed. (However, most have felt like successes.) But beyond that, failure is where I discovered the value of being resourceful

I'm reading more non-fiction than fiction these days. Listening to podcasts, watching more documentaries, and in 1:1 conversations, I'm doing a lot more listening than talking. Why is that important? 

I want to know what resources people used to get to where they are. Where have they gone to find information and inspiration, and did it help? Not everything I'm reading/watching/observing is directly related. From books on writing, to talks on architecture, memoir, motivational, and business books, Ted Talks, and even podcasts like the Gilmore Guys (no, that is not a misspelling). I am hungry for a wider array of knowledge than ever before. 

Knowledge is invigorating. It is an opening of doors to secret things and places in the world. 

And that's why the quote, "To be successful, you have to try new things," really struck a chord with me. You learn of new things by opening yourself up to knowledge of said new things. 

*Shrugs* Anyway, that's my spiel for the day. :)  

Happy Friday and go hug something cute and cuddly! Happy (the cat in the photo) would like you to know that he's available for bookings. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

3 Tips to Work "With" Your Muse


Ask and you shall receive...more help.

That's right. In my last post, I talked about how hard it was for me to write in the summer. That hasn't changed. But hey, a girl can hope. Beg. Pray. Cry. To no avail.

I didn't have work this week (thanks to my really awesome day job, where we were given a holiday shut down--YASS!), so of course, I committed the time off to writing. There's been a decent amount of progress but not the I'm-kicking-mad-ass (what? you've never said that?) amount that I had prayed for. I realized that it was my own desperation that was hurting me.

I took stock of what I was doing in each aspect of my writing process and realized one key point: I had stopped listening to what my muse wanted to do. And instead, I was sort of bullying her...

I was rushing her...it...me.

So for anyone looking to find ways to coerce--I mean--encourage your muse to get sh*t done, hopefully one of these (or all) might inspire you.


1. Create a Story Board


I'm sure I've talked about this before, but I was probably laughing it off as some interesting idea that you should do if you had the time. Well, considering the lack of writing I had been doing...I apparently, had the time. So I created one using a large cork board, post cards, push-pins, and photos. (Picture to come)

I personally don't like to outline stories to the point where I know every minute twist and sub-plot. What I do know is the main plot, the main characters, and over-arching goal (you know...the basics). When you're a writer with a lot of time, this is a very fun process. But...when you're split in three, four, five different directions because life is life...this is more time-consuming and can prove to be a lot more work. Especially if you have a complex Sci-fi/Fantasy world where there are rules to abide by, coupled with a deadline. 

The solution? 

Know as much of your story as possible before writing. OR Take hard stock between beginning, middle, and end so you're certain of where you're heading and like/approve the course. The story board does this. It forced me to see where I had gaps between scenes, or lacking in scenes altogether. 


2. Your Distinct Creative Process


I read a tip from one of those Writer Digest Magazines, which said that a writer needed to learn to write in any situation: loud, quiet, spacious, closet-like, open, closed, tired, alert and awake, what have you. The goal was to train your muse to write anywhere and at anytime. Writing is all about showing up. It's a job. And like any job you have to show up, sit down, and get to work. It's linear and logical. But creative endeavors are far from linear let alone predictable. 

In my mind, I wasn't training my muse well because my life was filled with too many surprises. It wasn't until this break where I conceded that it was more than that. My muse simply worked best when I wasn't writing on a computer. I was my most productive when I was writing in a notebook. 

Seems like more work right? I thought so too. But there was no denying the fact that I was clearly writing more in my notebook, than when I tried to write on my computer. I think it's because there are no distractions. I'm completely absorbed in the scene and writing it all down as it unfolds. So that's my current process. Until my muse gets sick of it, or I injure my wrist from all the furious scribbling. 

Listen and do what works best for you, not how you think it should be for the sake of efficiency, or logic for that matter. 


3. Simple Goals


I won't spend too much time on this one, but one thing that's helped me is to go to bed with the goal of knowing what I want to write the next day. What are the aspects of the next (or current) scene? Who's in it? What are the stakes? I imagine as much of it as I can and then go to bed with it replaying in my mind. 

Make yourself accountable. I saw advertisements for Camp NaNoWriMo the day before it started (which was yesterday). I knew it was a sign. I hope to get a minimum of 50K words written in 31 days via my accountability to the virtual summer camp. Sounds simple right? :) 


With that, good luck my fellow creatives. And thanks for reading! 

P.s. I'm going camping this weekend. Woohoo! Not the virtual kind, the real kind...well sort of...it's more like glamping because there are showers, and a house. Don't judge me! I hate bugs and dirt. >_<





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