June Adventures

Hi all!

It’s been a while again, that’s what to expect from me it seems. June was both eventful and uneventful. I made fairly major headway in my debut novel, but I still haven’t typed, “the end”. I just don’t feel like I am there yet. I feel like I have a complete story, but it’s missing something. I started this story about this time last year in my head. I began taking notes here and there but didn’t really put “pen to paper” so to speak, until November. During NaNoWriMo, I got my 50,000 words and made a HUGE dent in what I feel like is going to be a great novel. I decided in December to take a little break and then in January, it seemed as if I was still on that break. I didn’t completely abandon it, but I definitely didn’t nurture it the way I should have. Fast-forward to March and I picked it back up again and strong. I went through what I had written in November and the pieces from December and January, deleted quite a bit and wrote some more. I decided that I hated a lot of it, changed some things around, and gave myself a deadline of June 30th. Here we are, today is July 6th, but I can’t call it quits. I’ve moved said deadline indefinitely, but I can’t help by feel like one side of my brain says, “Ashley, you’re finished. Polish it up and get moving!” and the other side is saying, “Ashley, this is crap. You are crap. Delete it all and forget you ever tried.” Now, I know that we all have this kind of feeling, especially when we are creating something so near and dear to our hearts so I am pushing away the devil and continuing on! July will be a great month! It’s one of my favorites, my birthday month, and I plan to be positive and productive and get this dadgum book finished! June was a sludgy, sloggy, muddy month and I just want to forget all those doubts that keep creeping in and finish this book once and for all!!

Thanks for joining me in my journey!

xo – Ashley

selfdoubt

 

 

Checking in?

I’m checking in for no reason other than I am checking up on myself. My new years resolutions are going slowly. I feel like I’ve lost my “voice” for my book and haven’t finished it yet. I have made progress, so that is good. I’m not sure how to regain my focus though so that is something I am definitely working on.

Saving money was going better for me, but generally that only lasts until something comes up and…. yeah, I’ll get there.

Self-love?? What is such?? Another continual work in progress. 🙂 I feel like we all struggle with this. Week to week we might feel different, this week I might not think much of myself, but next week I might feel better and be in a good place. I’m working toward being in a good place more often than not.

Joy?? I feel like I will know when I find it. Not there yet…

Showing up is a tough one to judge. I am planning a trip to climb a local mountain with my sister this weekend, very very early in the morning. So that counts as showing up right?? We will see 😉

How is everyone else doing on their new years resolutions??

 

I’ll be back in a few months when I remember to post again 😉 Kidding, I hope. But seeing as my last post was January 4th, it is very possible.

xoxo – Ashley

My New Year’s “Resolutions” for 2016

Let me just start by saying I realize how “cliche” resolutions are and how stupid some people make them out to be. This is all a matter of opinion. Any day of the week, month, or year, I’m liable to start a new “resolution” and that’s okay. If I want to start every single day out saying, “I’m going to start losing weight, today!” good for me! Every successful person started out by trying. You can start 1 day and finish in 365, or you can start over everyday. There is no formula, it’s just whatever makes you feel good about yourself.  Okay? Here we go.

Last week, I did a recap of 2015. It was a fairly exciting year. This year I’m hoping to have even more excitement, just hopefully heavy on the happy variety.

Last year (last month), I basically finished the first draft of my first novel. Then, I decided I wanted to make it alternating POV. Now I’m writing the other half. Which leads to my first resolution – finish my novel and publish it! Since the first half is done, I feel like this is a very reasonable goal.

Otherwise, I would like to be more financially responsible (wouldn’t we all?), embrace some self-love, find my joy, and I would like be a better wife, step mother, sister, friend, co-worker, etc. by showing up. I’m a HUGE Rachel Hollis fan. If you’re not familiar, she’s the owner of The Chic Site. She’s an entrepreneur, a writer, a mother, and a friend. Not necessarily my friend (I wish) but she does exude a friendliness that is worth admiring. She’s had a big campaign lately about showing up in her own life and it has really opened my eyes to the fact that I’m not showing up in the areas of my life that I should. I need to put aside my lists of things to do and my script for like (that no one follows anyway) and be there for those around me. You never know what sort of amazing thing could come from just showing up. 🙂

So there you have it, those are my “resolutions” or goals for the new year.

  • Finish my book
  • Save some money
  • Embrace self-love
  • Find joy
  • Show up

What are your goals or resolutions for the new year?

-xoxo-

Ashley

2015 Wrap-Up

 

I wrote this post last week and I had intended to add in some pictures that are on a memory card and here we are a week later and 3 days after I wanted to post this and I haven’t gotten them yet. Scheduling blog posts should definitely be a new year’s resolution of mine. 😉 Here’s my wrap up sans pictures. If I have a chance tonight, I’ll add those pictures in! Happy New Year’s Eve, ya’ll! This is a magical time of year to me, full of hope for happiness and new experiences.

Some things I learned in 2015… I can’t be afraid to be myself. I’ve lived much of my life worrying about pleasing other people and it simply cannot be done. Too bad it took me 27 years to figure out! Also, some people will never change. No matter what we try to do, we cannot change people. Perhaps if they want to, but that is their prerogative. We will be forever disappointed if we keep trying to do it ourselves.

“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.”

I haven’t fully embraced this yet, but how perfect are those words? This year I have truly realized that happiness is something you create. If you aren’t happy, do something about it. Perhaps that contradicts the aforementioned quote, but what I mean to say is….if you aren’t happy with something in your life, change it. If you aren’t happy with yourself, change. If you can’t see a reason to be happy with your life, look around. There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy. Another true quote.

It’s just really been a rollercoaster, 2015. I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone in a lot of ways. I fought with my family. I warred within myself. I stood my ground. I changed jobs in a big way. I took two steps forward towards my dream of writing a book and I wrote the first draft.

 

There was a lot of forward movement and a lot of doubting. I am still not where I want to be at this point in my life, will I ever be? The best thing I can do is keep moving forward.

 

Some of the highlights of my year…

 

I went floating/canoeing for the first time.

 

I changed career fields completely.

 

I went on my first cruise.

 

I got a kitty. 😉

 

I won NaNoWriMo.

&&

I finished the first draft of my book!! (Mostly anyway. I’ve now decided to add in an alternating POV, but I digress.)

 

 

I can’t wait to see what 2016 will hold. I have a lot of goals and a lot of hope. That’s why I love the new year so much. 🙂 More on all that later. For now, be safe and be happy!

 

xoxo

Ashley

What Kept Me Motivated During NaNoWriMo

Keeping up with my review of NaNoWriMo this month, I got to thinking about what kept me going day after day. These tips can help many of us any month of the year, so I felt it relevant to post.

Throughout the month of November, many of us buckled down and attempted to hit that 50,000 word goal. Some of us succeeded, others didn’t, but the biggest thing was that we tried, right? I feel like everyone’s a winner if they just show up. Today’s post is about the things that kept me going throughout the month. I know I’m not the only one who jumped in on November 1st feeling hopeful and supremely motivated, and nearly fell out by November 7th (or 2nd) feeling deflated and hopeless. I had a lot of ups and downs throughout the month. A lot of things got in my way despite my best attempts to keep a schedule and push everyone out of my way, I am still a step-mother and actually basically a single parent Monday-Friday. I still have a full-time job that I work 40+ hours a week at. I commute almost an hour each way. I didn’t have a gang of people behind me in my “real life”. I’m actually not sure how many of my friends and family (that knew what I was doing) really thought I would stick with it. I depended a bit on the forums and a small group of ladies that I met on facebook to keep me going. There are a lot of obstacles. I have a lot of excuses that I could pull out, but I also have a lot of willpower that pushed me to just keep writing and I chose day after day to believe in myself. Here are some quotes I came across throughout the month that helped keep me going.

 

Maybe the hardest part of life is just having the courage to try.” – Rachel Hollis. Rachel gave these quote cards out at the Austin Book Fest this year and I have it displayed on my desk. From time to time throughout this year, especially during November, I would look at it and think, “Yes! I just have to have the courage to try.”

 

If you want to be a writer, the sole requirement is that you write.”

 

“Dreams don’t work unless you do.” How much truth is there here? We can dream of doing a lot of things, but until we do the work, our dreams are not going to come true.

 

For what it’s worth, it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of and if you find that you are not, I hope you find the strength to start over.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

What keeps you motivated? I am a huge fan of quotes and “words of affirmation” is my love language. If you have any suggestions, let me know!

Life Post-NaNoWriMo

Well, it’s been a few weeks since my last post, as usual. Almost a month. I’m terrible at keeping up scheduled posts but I will forever work on it. In my last post, I was freaked out in anticipation of NaNoWriMo. I feel like this is a common feeling. Throughout Nano, I wanted to post but I just kept writing. I guess that was ok, because I won! I buckled down and wrote everyday in November and I hit the goal of 50,000 and then a little bit by November 29th. I was unbelievably proud of myself! Since then, however, I have only written about 3000 words. I feel slightly ashamed of this. I did 30 days worth of writing every day. I did need the break come December 1st but I only intended to take a week off. But that lead to another week and here we are. Two weeks later and I’m not much closer to finishing my book. The 50,000 word mark is just past halfway in my story but i have so much more to tell. I took the first week off and I was going to catch up on some of my ARCs for my other blog, That Book Life, and then I was going to come back to writing my book. The first book I picked up was terrible. I just couldn’t connect with the story. I hate to put a book down without finishing it, so I tried to push through but I just couldn’t do it. I found myself rolling my eyes at the dialogue and the characters were just unrealistic to me. Maybe they were too cliche. There were too many scenes that didn’t flow well. Either way, I put that book down at 30%. Maybe I will pick it back up, maybe not. I wrote all that to say that it freaked me out all over again. What if MY book is that terrible? What if I’ve messed up my dialogue where people can’t tell who’s talking or whose POV it is? I know I can’t let fear get to me, but I am just being honest in saying that I’ve let it hold me back thus far and that is my own fault. So starting today, after I finish this blog post, I’m going to pull up my WIP (work in progress), and I’m going to write. I’m going to set a timer for thirty minutes and just write. I’ve also dubbed Friday to be a writing day. I’m off work and my step son will be at school and my husband at work. My personal goal for December, coming off the high of winning NaNoWriMo and getting further in one story than I ever have before, was to finish my first draft and name my novel (I never knew how hard that would be!!) At this point, I just really want to finish the first draft if it is the last thing I do! So now I’m off to attempt to do just that.

Until next time,

xoxo – Ashley

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To write or not to write?

That should not even be a question. I dream about writing. I talk about writing. I think about writing. But do I actually write? Sometimes yes, mostly no. Not like I should. Yesterday, I had the whole house to myself for hours! What did I do?? I cleaned like a mad woman! Now, in defending myself, I should say that it’s difficult to focus when there are piles of laundry or mail or dishes to be sorted and put away, so I did myself a favor for the upcoming week, but the truth is that I was just making excuses! All excuses aside, I have to admit something to myself. I got all pumped up last week looking up the information and reading the forums for NaNoWriMo and I freaked myself out. I’m so excited to commit to this on one hand, but on the other hand I’m terrified. Can I do this? But what if it sucks?? Will I be good enough? Will I stay committed? All of the doubts come into play until I eventually just give up. I can’t do that this time! I won’t do that. I have to keep myself motivated and remind myself that I’m not doing this for anyone but me. I am writing a book because I’ve dreamed of doing so for as long as I can remember and I don’t need to worry about whether anyone else likes it or not. I can and I will do it!