Category Archives: Advice

Communication Confession

So, not much news today, but soon, I swear.

However, I’m going to ramble a bit, as certain things have appeared into my view that I need to talk about. It’ll be short, simple, and to the point, with no pictures to distract.

Ever had a moment when you question something you felt firm and secure? It could be anything: relationships/friendships, day job, career path, self-publishing details. If you’ve ever felt that about ANYTHING, then welcome to my current boat. Because I’ve got a LOAD of those doubts, or, at least I had.

Those curveballs life throws at you can hurt and debilitate, right? Make you question every decision you’ve ever made?

Well, that’s been me within the last month or so. Every choice I second guess, and the ones I don’t second guess come out wrong. I’m going to admit a mental problem I have, because I need to get it off my chest.

Communicating has always been a struggle for me, since I was a child. If I spoke without thinking, the wrong words would come out. I’m still like that, and it’s frustrating. Poor word choice, joking around too soon, and describing something I really know a lot about is a daily struggle. It’s not a condition or disability, but rather a disconnect in my vocabulary and common sense departments. Someone could be talking with me about a topic I know really well, and I still struggle to use terms and logic and phrasing that normal people could understand. I’ve learned over the years that, even if something I say aloud makes sense to me, 9 times out of ten, it’s confusing as $h!t to the general public.

This has impacted friendships and relationships, and God bless my parents and family for getting me to a debatable level of communication, and my poor boyfriend for having to deal with it full-time in the present day.

The written world is fine. I can spin a yarn and tell fantastic stories with the written/typed word until kingdom come. It’s more so expressing my opinions and instructions in the verbal word that I struggle with. For example, I could do mental math, and if you asked me to explain how I got it, you’re better off having me write it out, because all you’ll hear will be the “womp womp” of Charlie Brown adults.

I know most of y’all don’t have this kind of issue, so you can’t relate, but I’ve had to train myself to think over anything before I say it. As such, either I wait too long to contribute, speak too quickly and cause problems, or remain in silence until the person I’m communicating with thinks I’m doubting things or feeling conflicted.

I just kinda wanted to rant on this Wednesday’s blog post, as it has a BIG factor in my day-to-day life, and one I fear might mess me up someday.

My advice? If you doubt something, TALK TO SOMEONE. Even though I have communication problems, I have a good amount of people that know of this problem and can nudge me in the right direction to communicating better with others. Find a small group like that, a group that you can talk to about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. Trust me, getting doubts and fears off your chest makes the burden easier to carry.

Until next week, Vikans:

KEEP FAITH.

Catching Up // Before Ravencon 2016

Howdy do there!

Yeah, I know, I know, I’ve been quiet for a while. Life grabbed me and shook me and threw my world into dizzying, spinning spirals. This post will outline everything that’s happened, and update you for my plans in the future.

For starters, I’ve been on an exercise/eating regimen. It started with me dropping my soda habit at the end of Feburary, and, within 7 weeks, dropped 18.5 pounds and gone down almost two pants sizes. Talk about an image change, huh?

About those Affirmations… Working on supplying those in an alternative way. That’s all I can say now. But, you will be getting a lot of them. A VERY BIG lot of them.

At the end of March, I returned for the annual Smoky Mountain Writer’s retreat, a small, week-long getaway with about 20 author friends filled with intensive writing sessions every day, reading segments afterward, and alcohol. Lots and lots of it. No worries though, no alcohol for me. Or, at least other than a small milliliter of pineapple moonshine in a mouthwash cup. Which, for alcohol, was really good.

I pushed myself so hard I was almost in a deep breathing fetal position by the end. But, I ended up writing 36,000 words on a brand new WIP within six days. The view was gorgeous as well, overlooking a chasm deep in the Smoky Mountains of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I also went for a 3 mile hike up and down steep inclines on my free day (so hot and out of breath by the end).  My mentors (yes, Tee and Pip were there also. They were the ones that forced me to go last year. I regret nothing at this point) went with two other Smokies (Katie Bryski and Hugh O’Donnell) to the Titanic museum, which apparently was a blast!

We all had an amazing time, and the first day we were all home and back to reality and day jobs, Alex White (amazing cover photographer/designer, check him out if you want a personally photographed cover), who is the organizer, coordinator, and resident leading bad@ss, had already picked tentative dates for next year’s retreat. At the same cabin. That had a hot tub AND a giant Jacuzzi. Yeah, it’s that cool.

Anyway, got to hang with tons of old friends and make lasting new ones. And, to me, they’re not just friends anymore. They’re family.

I’ve booked plane tickets for me and my boyfriend to go to Las Vegas and Arizona next month to see his mother, who he hasn’t seen in over two years. I’ve got a surprise in store for him, which he’s knows I have one in store, but doesn’t know all of it. I’m excited to do this, and he won’t know until we get on our plane in Chicago. Can’t wait for his reaction.

In other news, I know I’ve mentioned this briefly in other posts, but I am going to be an author guest at this year’s Ravencon, a fantasy, sci-fi, and horror convention. This year is the first year being located in Williamsburg, Virginia, at the newer Doubletree. I’ve got my panel listings, though I looked it up on my own at the con’s website, which is www.ravencon.com, in case you want to explore the other stuff happening::

Friday, April 29th

10:00 PM – How to Self-Publish on a Budget // Moderator: Alex Matsuo

 

Saturday, April 30th

10:00 AM – Self-Publishing Doesn’t Mean Solo Publishing // Moderator: ME; Other panelists: Doc Coleman, GB MacRae, Alex Matsuo

3:00 PM – Writing a Strong Teen Protagonist // Moderator: Bill Blume; Other panelists: Charity Ayres, Darin Kennedy

6:00 PM – “Kill Your Darlings” // Moderator: ME; Other panelists: Bill Blume, Will McIntosh, D. Alexander Ward

 

Yes, you’re seeing correctly. The first-time author guest and fairly-new-to-publishing-world author with social anxiety has to moderate TWO panels.

 

*Deep breaths*

Just have to keep telling myself I can do this.

 

I can do this.

… I can do this, right?

I sure hope so.

Anyway, I hope to be updating this blog with posts about each of the panels I’m on, as well as some of the panels I will be sitting in the audience at. If you’d rather see it live or recorded as video, like my author page on Facebook (link). I am planning to Facebook Live parts of the convention, so you guys can keep up with the action.

Did I forget anything? No, don’t think so. Wait… Right, right. There will be big news hitting the blog soon, hopefully by the beginning of June. Stay tuned, and, if you want to have advanced preparation, go to the “My Works” tab here on Terrara Vikos, and download/purchase the stories and/or prequel. For future reference, the stories go in time order (#1-4), ending (so far) with The Protektor’s Reality prequel novel.

Wish me luck, guys! I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Keep Faith, everybody!

Affirmation #2: The Internal Conflict

(#2 in an 11 part series of posts about change, perseverance, and being a better you. Though personal to help myself, I’m posting these here in hopes I can help others who are struggling and wanting to make a change)

**     *********

YOU! YOU THERE!

YOU are AWESOME!

Here’s your button! 🙂

 

That awesomeness also spreads to your companions all over the world. “Wait, what do you mean? I don’t know anyone across the ocean/continent.” That could very well be true. However, I wasn’t talking of personal relationships that you have cultivated as you’ve been alive. I meant like-minded companions; the people out there go through the same type of life that you do, with the same problems and stressors you have. Stage fright? Anxiety? Eating disorder? Self-harm? Depression? Broken families?

The list could go on and on.

It’s so much fun to write about internal turmoil in fiction, but when it creeps into your personal reality, it becomes extremely hard to bear.

Most people have at least one thing that makes them want to hide in a dark corner and shrink away from people who might help. They look around and think, “How can everyone else be smiling? They must never have this problem.” Or, “No one understands!”

Both of those statements are completely INCORRECT. I will admit to have thought like this on numerous occasions, and I’m definitely not proud. The truth is, nothing you’re going through is the only instance in the history of the world. I’m not saying that to belittle it; trust me, I know some upsetting things can be really difficult and unbearable, and are by no means easy fixes or minor issues.

Feeling upset is universal, one which has touched every being on this planet (Yes, animals included; you should see my Sammy boy when I try to take him to the V-E-T). Understandably, we can easily agree that upsetting instances make us want to cry or curl into a fetal position. THIS IS NORMAL! We all have fight or flight instincts in us, and when we can’t comprehend which one to pick, we feel conflicted, and panic.

As of right now, I’m personally in this conflicted mode, from an email this week. I’ve talked various times before about how to handle this particular instance, but won’t bother you with the details. My struggle right now is taking my own advice when all I want to do is quit.

I’ve come up with a quick little regimen to combat this feeling of isolated fear:

Close your eyes.

Take a deep breath.

Stretch your muscles.

GO DO SOMETHING!

That’s right, you heard right. Do something. Anything. Go for a walk. Ice-skate. Hang with friends, family, pets. Sing. Draw. Write. Take your mind off your problems for a little while. Any time you feel yourself getting upset again, repeat. Do this until you feel you are stable enough to tackle the problem head on. This could take hours, days, weeks, maybe even months, depending on the problem. Before delving in to confronting the problem, tell yourself this, in-between deep breaths:

I am not alone.

Others have fought and won.

This is normal.

I can do this. I can definitely do this.

I am a strong, intelligent, amazing individual… who’s about to kick some serious @$$!

Then, stretch your muscles again, take a few more deep breaths, and open your eyes.

 

And say:

“Bring it on.”

That’s all it takes.

 

Leaving you with this cover by the always-amazing Evynne Hollens. She and her husband Peter have impacted my life in more ways than anyone knows. Whenever I’m down, or doubting myself or my dreams, I listen to their music, and remember they are just like us. They have struggles of their own, and yet are able to get past it to live their dreams. Click on their names above to check them out on Youtube; they are amazing singers and awesome, caring, wonderful people.

Re-editing the Past

Lookie here! Posting after only a week! Woo!

I made a few commitments this new year, instead of resolutions, as inspired by my amazing mentor, Tee Morris (link). The idea is that we always believe that it’s okay for resolutions to fail, so,  when ours do, we shrug it off. Tee suggests instead making commitments, ones which we feel obligated to see through. One of mine is to blog more frequently.

Another is to get my next book published.

Yes, this is my earliest alert. It’s not certain yet (There will certainly be a blog post once I know definitely when it’s happening), but it’s my commitment to myself, so I will see this through to the best of my abilities.

One of the things I’ve always struggled with was editing my manuscripts. Writing the stories themselves comes easy. Tweaking it (or, in the case of wanting to be published, cutting out its heart with a spoon), is a much more daunting task. My novels are my babies, as many writers and authors out there can attest to. We put our heart and soul into creating these universes and characters and plots that always take a huge amount of love and care to create and maintain. But, then, in order to be the most competitive, we need to rip it to shreds, because, apparently, it’s not good enough as is.

At first, this was a hard thing for me to accept. When I started my journey into becoming an author almost twelve years ago, every bit of poetry/story I wrote was praised. Most couldn’t believe a middle school/high school student could write that well or that maturely. It built up my confidence in my writing abilities, one of the only things in my life I have confidence in.

The upsetting fact is that we are biased. When we write our first draft, we are blinded by this amazing world and in-depth, painfully-realistic characters we created all by ourselves. We have to come to the realization that, yes, this is a wonderful story, but is it the best for us, or the best for the story itself? It’s hard to come to terms with, because we can only see things from our own perspective, the one which created the story we fell in love bringing to life in text.

That’s when three things come in handy:

  1. Beta Readers

Beta readers are one of the best resources you could have. You can get help from people who you can trust will give you an unbiased review, with advice and tweaks in plot and flaws. The best part about these guys is the fact that they can look at it with fresh eyes. They have never met these characters before (or, in the case of a second or third book, never seen the situations they are about to), and can give a perspective of your prospective readers. You want your prospective readers to like it, right? take their advice then. Now, you don’t have to accept all their advice, but give their ideas and views a serious think-over before deciding on the edit.

2. Editors

They can be your best friend, or your mortal enemy. But, they have the best skills necessary to pound your precious baby into a strong, believable novel that will appeal to many (hopefully). That’s right, I’m talking about the cursed EDITOR.

Now, don’t get me wrong, some of my nicest friends are editors. But… They scare me! I’m terrified of editors, because you hear about the fatal pen all the time as a starting out writer. With all the marks of the Red Pen of Death, destroying everything you’ve poured a bit of yourself into. However, an editor just wants to make your work better. Their goal, believe it or not, is not to tear you, or your story, down. It’s just to help it be the best it can be. And, sadly, the best story it can be is not your first draft. Also, just like betas, you don’t have to accept every change they make. And, most will not be offended. In the end, you know what’s best for the story as a whole, but sometimes, it takes a skilled, outside opinion to gain a new perspective on the greatness your manuscript can become.

3. STEPPING AWAY!

This is the best advice I can give. When you are so blinded where you can read your story over and over again and see nothing wrong but a few missed commas or an capitalized T, you need to stand up and walk away for a while. My current project I’m editing, I haven’t touched since May of 2015. Back then, it had been five months since the last edit, and I apparently went to town on it. I didn’t even remember making immense edits on it until I opened the document this week to do more. In fact, the first chapter, the very FIRST paragraph, had things added that I hadn’t remembered even thinking of adding. The best part?

IT MADE IT BETTER!

And, if the prologue was made better after a five month break between December 2014 and May 2015, imagine how much I can make my story better after an eight month hiatus. In fact, just this week, my word count has been fluctuating, and I’ve been tweaking and editing, because, while I still love my characters and the universe I’ve created, I am not blinded by the stadium lights of a deviously tricky first draft.

My goal is to publish the best story my novel can be. In order to achieve that, I need to edit. We ALL need to edit. In the end, our opinions don’t really matter. Our readers do.

And, no matter how many edits we make…

The story will still speak for itself.

New Years – A Reflection on Life

New Year, new start, right? At the start of every year, all of us look forward to another year where nothing is impossible. Lose that twenty pounds, get that promotion, write that book you’ve been putting off for years, or go on that cross-country trip you’ve always dreamed of. There are a bunch of people I know (me included) that had a big change in their life in 2015. Babies entered some friends’ lives. Some people married their soulmates. Others started new jobs (example, me), big moves, new houses, new cars (example, me [again]), etc, etc.

No matter what did or didn’t happen in 2015, the biggest thing you can say is: I survived 2015. Lots of people can’t say that. Death got personal for me last year, with one of my grandfathers passing away from cancer (as I’ve heard my mentor say a bunch of times, “F–k Cancer”).  He was an amazing guy, and he went out the way he would have wanted, and that’s all that matters to me.

I guarantee lots of you lost loved ones this past year. My heart goes out to all of you, as I have felt that pang a few times in my life, and each time brought me to tears for months to years. It’s hard, looking to the new year without those wonderful people in our lives. Every passing moment stabs our hearts, and it literally hurts.

Here’s a little secret though. Come closer.

Closer…

*whispers* It gets better.

Yep, it does. Does that mean it will get to a point where you will feel nothing? No, unfortunately, the human race has not developed the technology to put your memory into an unfeeling, superhuman automaton with wifi in the head and a feeling suppressor where your heart should be. Sorry, I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. Or, ever, if we’re lucky.

Feeling sadness or depression can be seen as a bad thing, and, to be honest, it is. As someone who’s suffered depression in the past, it’s hard. You shrink away from people, trying to hide the sadness and anxiety in your heart. Wanting someone to listen but not willing to talk about it. Biting back tears when looking at your bank account, your sick sibling/parent, or even just a simple picture.

But, the fact of the matter is, YOU’RE FEELING. Being able to feel is an amazing gift. It allows you to express what you like/don’t like about a situation, and to let others know what you think about something. Feeling is just feeling; there’s no other way to describe it, really. But, it’s amazing when you think about it. It’s something we take for granted.

For instance, I’m worried about an upcoming project of mine (more news in the distant future). That alerts me to plan things out, and have a backup plan should things not turn out right. It also tells me to keep going, so I can prove to myself that I was worried about nothing.

I’m scared of change. This informs me that when change happens, I need to fight back against the fear and take every hit, because, usually, it’ll be worth it in the end.

I’m happy I have a loving family, and a caring, awesome group of close friends. Without them, I wouldn’t have gotten this far in my work career, my writing career, or life in general. Feeling that happiness makes me feel warm and fuzzy and lets me know that not everything sucks.

And I’m upset about death. However, it’s a fact of life. We all will die in the end. If you need advice on how to handle death and your impending demise, consult the Adam Ruins Everything finale. Just a warning, the end is depressing (if you couldn’t guess that already by the topic).

But that doesn’t mean that everything about death is horrible. You have to look at it a different way. Sure, the physical body of the person you love is buried in the ground, but now you have a guardian angel looking out for you. Sure, they can’t affect anything on this plane of being anymore, but the things they did do in our existence left a mark on the lives of so many other people on this Earth. They can’t verbally speak to you anymore, but they live on inside you, in your memories, in your words, in your actions. We choose to focus on their death, because it’s seems easiest to do. But, that hurts you in the end. Don’t focus on their death; focus on their LIFE. The bonds they created that even death cannot break. The changes they made in their own life that affected others in a positive way. The lives they altered, simply by existing and interacting with the world. Their childhood, their schooling, their careers, their family, their friends. At some point in our lives, we made a mark on someone else’s existence, and that’s what we should focus on.

To tell the truth, I would not be on this blog, writing this post right now, if someone in my life hadn’t died. In fact, I wouldn’t be a writer at all. My uncle, while only an active part of my childhood for a year of my elementary school journey, passed away. I was eleven. He was forty.

He was supposed to die at eighteen.197952_1002567381076_3062_n

He was blind, but a genius. He worked as an engineer as an adult, even without being able to see. He had a loving family, who he chose to spend the last year of his life with. He didn’t let his illness or incapacities stop him from achieving his dreams. When he died, I took on that mantra. The night of his death, I wrote my first poem that wasn’t a school assignment. My mother read it – all three pages – and told me I should be a writer.

Almost twelve years later, I have published a novel – dedicated to him, as you’ll see if you picked it up on Amazon -, finished almost ten manuscripts, graduated college a semester early, got an amazing job three months after graduating, and have big plans for the next several years in the career that his death inspired me to take on. I learned to look at the life he had on this earth, not the fact he was gone. Because, I guess, he’s living on inside of me, pushing me to keep going when things get tough.

So, to 2016, I am going to keep pushing forward. No matter what you might throw at me, I will look at my book, my manuscripts, or that poem I wrote twelve years ago – which my mother has made hundreds of copies of throughout the years – and remember why I’m doing this.

Twenty-sixteen:

Bring.

It.

On.

WB vs. L.O.I.: Post-Writeathon Blues

So, for once, two blog postings in a week. This should make up for forgetting February, right?

Anyway, this post is one that is rough for me to admit, but I feel that people could relate to it, so why the heck not, huh? I mean, if that retreat taught me anything, it’s that finding other writers who have faced similar situations is an eye-opener, and they can give advice for the troubles you might be having, because they might have gone through them themselves.

This week, my struggle is my inspiration. It’s gone on vacation. For who knows how long. I spent a straight 7 days writing about 8 hours a day, with breaks for lunch and just because I need to step away. So, about 6 hours a day, I was either brainstorming or writing. And now I have 28,000 words for my third book in my most recent series.

The problem with that?

When I got home, my inspiration said, “Adios. Sayonara. Goodbye. I’ll be back whenever.”

I had lost all inspiration to work on finishing it. Maybe it was the draining from writing that much in that short amount of time. Maybe I missed my new friends and the snippets we would share before dinner. Maybe I’d laughed too much over the course of that retreat, and it gave me brain damage. In any case, I have not been able to get a coherent chapter out of my head for days. And it’s frustrating! Because, only about a month or two ago did I know how my series would end. And the ending is AMAZING! (Well, in my mind anyway. The rest of you will be sobbing and sending threatening letters for me to write another book to make things better).

The point is, losing your inspiration can be a scary, frustrating thing. I’ve had plenty of times when I had writer’s block, but what I’ve come to realize is that Writer’s Block and Loss of Inspiration are two separate conditions.

Writer’s Block, despite the usage some people use, is when you can’t generate any ideas for projects you’re working on, which causes frustration because you had hoped it would amount to something. Loss of Inspiration takes from the (wrong) public usage and capitalizes on it. I see it as you know EXACTLY what you want to write, EXACTLY which characters it involves, and EXACTLY how it ends, but can’t, for your life, get the words down on paper/computer. Some symptoms of both of these would be:

– frustration;

– not being able to sit still for extended lengths of time;

– spending TOO much time on Netflix, browsing episodes of Friends, Supernatural, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., or various, addictive anime shows;

– Talking/Rambling a lot, much to the annoyance of your family and friends.

However, a MAJOR effect of L.O.I. is one that isn’t that prominent in WB:

– Dreaming.

Being a writer is all about being an imaginative dreamer, right? Our stories are a part of us, every character has a piece of us in their looks, personality, attitude, quirks, or flaws. Each setting, plot bunny, character, world system – each and every word we have written since we wanted to be a writer – came from us. When you have WB, it restricts that dreaming ability, because we can’t seem to figure out what to write next. However, the opposite is just a frustrating to those with L.O.I.

They dream more than usual. You’d think this was a good thing, but think about it for a second. Being able to dream up every chapter, every plot point, every character development moment, but not being able to utilize it in story format? For me, that’s torture. It’s the most frustrating condition ever to have, and believe me, I know, because I’m going through it right now.

The downside? Every writer can get both of these issues at any time in their writing career. It will happen without notice, warning, or time to prepare, and when you least expect it. There’s a good thing to remember though.

There’s always a light at the end of a tunnel. You will get through it, and one day soon, you’ll be scribbling/typing at the speed of light. Just remind yourself of what you want, and remember that it will be worth it.

Yeah, having your own book in your hands, whether digital or print?

Yes, it’s ALWAYS worth the trouble.

Guess I gotta remember that myself, huh? 😉

IT’S HERE!!!!

So, if you can’t tell by the title, I’m EXTREMELY hyper!! My paperback book was officially released on November 25th, with the eBook versions out five days later. This dream was ten years in the making, and when that book was in my hands, I started tearing up. I may not be as far as my final goal, but this is the first step toward it.

This book was one of my favorites writing. It is a prequel to a trilogy I had completed TheProtektorsReality_400x640_115dpibefore starting to write this one. My goal is to get that trilogy traditionally published, hopefully sometime in the near future. This whole saga – which includes 4 short stories, 1 novella, the prequel, and the trilogy – is a project I started about four years ago. In fact, two of the four total books in this saga were NaNoWriMo wins, one in the traditional November NaNo, and the other during Camp NaNoWriMo.

Those of you that have a dream, don’t stop reaching for it! Though you may lose faith along the way, if you continue to pursue your dreams, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed!

Check out the tab for my works to find the synopsis and links for The Protektor’s Reality. I’d really appreciate any support I can get, including buying or reviewing! It is available as a print book on Amazon, Kindle eBook, and also on Smashwords in all eBook formats, online reading, and also PDF file.

And don’t think this means I’m done. My journey is just beginning.

Confidence for the dieters

So, recently, I’ve decided to lose some weight. About half a month ago, I went out dress shopping with family for my grandma’s wedding dress. My sister and I tried on a few dresses ourselves, but when I looked at my body in the mirror and didn’t take pictures of the ones that made me look like a pot-bellied pig, I realized I wasn’t happy with my size. That afternoon, I went to the gym to weigh myself, and, to my dismay, discovered that I was 10 pounds heavier than I thought I was.

That’s a lot of weight, folks.

See, I was WAY overweight in middle school, a whopping 192 lbs at the peak. That was in eighth grade. I got teased, taunted, and even ridiculed in front of a bus full of students. Some people were worse than others. However, I had friends that were either in the same position as me, or didn’t care about weight as much as heart and mind. So, I didn’t really bother with dieting or exercising that much.

Come the middle of ninth grade, I started losing weight like crazy. Puberty is a crazy thing, you know? By the time sophomore year ended, I was 165 and down 4 pants sizes. I stayed pretty much at that weight ever since.

So, when I learned a few weeks ago that I was ten pounds heavier than my old standard, I knew I had to do something. Dieting, for me, wasn’t really an option, and I have difficulty committing to anything that isn’t my writing or schoolwork. So, I just decided to try dialing back the snackage and start hitting the exercise bike.

In the three weeks since that weigh-in, I worked one week at my internship the week of the 4th. The base throws a big 4th at the Fort celebration every year, and this time, I got to help the main guy in charge of it (as he’s kinda my main boss). It was hours in the heat everyday, and running around like crazy the whole time. When I weighed in two days ago, I was both shocked and happy.

I’d lost about 7 pounds.

So, my advice to those of you struggling with dieting: There are other options. Eat enough, but don’t gorge yourself. Try healthier options, or dial down the snacks. Exercise on a regular basis, whether it’s at a gym, walking trails in your neighborhood, or using your Wii games, like Just Dance or Wii Fit. Also, try to find organizations and events to volunteer with. Not only will the rushing help your weight burn off, but it will make you feel happy inside too.

Stay tuned, and hopefully I’ll reach my goal weight soon. After all, I need to look pretty in a dress.

The Waiting Game

So, I think all of us have gone through this situation before. When you have something you’ve created that you’re incredibly proud of. And you really want to share it. With one person. Two people. The world. But, that accomplishment is your little baby. You want praise and happy words. Not the harsh criticism and vicious stabs that end up with you depressed and swimming in a pool of tears because they said that about your baby.

…. Please tell me I’m not the only one that happens to?

Of course not!

This what you’re thinking?

Authors go through this often. When they’ve completed a WIP, whether it’s a short story, poem, novel, etc. When they have to hand the fragile ‘child’ over to an agent, publisher, friend for critique, it’s a free-for-all. From the second you send it off, you sit there, nervous, edgy, probably antsy and fidgety. While you wait impatiently, your mind is concocting what they may say in their responses. In reality, this does more harm than good, but something needs to occupy your mind, right?

Here’s some tips on how to handle the duration of your long-waiting critiques:

1) Get out of the house- whether it’s going out on a coffee date with friends or working out at a local gym, getting off your butt for a length of time can really help ease the worrisome anticipation.

2) Occupy your brain space- Sometimes, thinking about something else can distract you from those cursed guesstimates of the beta edits. Some ways to do this include watching TV, cleaning, talking with people on the phone/Skyping, and playing games (virtual or physical- doesn’t really matter).

3) Lastly, MORE WRITING!- It always helps me to focus on a new project (or self-edit an old one), because then I allow myself to get sucked into my character’s world rather than the stresses of my own.

If any of you have any other ways that help you get through the waiting game, leave them in the comments below. I’m sure they’ll help out more of our fellow authors out!

Guess Who’s Back?

Yep, that would be me. Things have been so crazy that I haven’t been able to gather myself and blog. A lot’s happened since my last post. I finished my last Spring semester at my college. I got an internship at a military base. My grandmother got engaged. My sister got to go to DC and Kings Dominion within a week’s time (and that’s also with going to school, homework, summer assignment prep, etc). And my father is going to get command of his own troop this weekend! He doesn’t think it’s a big deal, but it really is. 🙂

Anyway, I felt I should center today’s post around something that has very recently popped up in my life: writer’s groups.

If you’re not in one, LOOK FOR ONE! I usually only relied on a select group of friends or the internet for writing advice and critique. However, I just recently started going to James River Writer‘s Writers Farmhouse events. It happens every Wednesday at a small, organic cafe about 20 minutes from my house. I’d decided three weeks ago to try it on a whim. I’m not much of the type to put myself out there and socialize, but I’m SOOOOO glad I did for this! JRW is a group of caring, supportive, talented individuals who love the same thing I do: WRITING! However, the fun is, that’s not all we talk about. During my first visit, we talked about everything from Marvel vs. DC to Turkish potatoes. And we all got along! No one was judge-y or cared if we acted like idiots. We were all there because we all shared the same passion for writing and wanted some likeminded people to share that passion and excitement with.

Writers Farmhouse, 28-May-2014

If you’re a Richmond-area writer, consider joining JRW, or even coming to their conference in October (because that’s an even bigger blast of fun to be had). If you don’t happen to be in this area, research, research, RESEARCH! There’s bound to be one in your city or group of towns, and even if there isn’t, there’s online writer’s groups, such as Figment, which I am also a part of, though more sparsely.

Bottom line: Find other writers and get to know them. They are the BEST support system you’ll ever find!