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

 

 

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!

Happy New Year!

Here we are, January 5th. 5 days into our new year, new me plans, am I right?? I haven’t been super steadfast in this. I never am. I LOVE New Years though. I love the possibilities of starting fresh and having new accomplishments. I also love having a starting point and a finish line. However, I have a severe form of self-diagnosed ADD, however, and it’s hard for me to stay the course on just one resolution at a time. I want to read more, but I also want to write more, but OH! I need to organize my closet. Then I need to donate my clothes to goodwill. Oh, I better go through my kid’s toys. Now another day has gone by without writing a word! Another resolution of mine is to be more organized and plan ahead more. My favorite resolution, because it’s sort of an oxymoron, I want to be more spontaneous! Yes, I laugh at myself for that one. I want to be more organized and plan each day according to what I need to be doing to achieve my goals, but if something fun presents itself to me, I want to jump on it! I want to dive in head first and come back up with more experience and an overall sense of excitement! My life feels a bit boring from time to time, and I need something to shake me up! What are your resolutions?? How are you planning to accomplish them?

life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

It’s all yours.

Inspiration hits when you least expect it. Sometimes, it happens when you’re happy. When you’re in the midst of the greatest day of your life and it seems like nothing could ever be better. Sometimes, it hits when you’re sad. When you’re feeling helpless and hopeless and like the light at the end of the tunnel has been shut off. It can hit when you’re all alone, nostalgic and melancholy. Or, it can hit in a crowd of people in the middle of complete chaos. Sometimes, inspiration doesn’t come at all. You’re left wondering how long it will be until you can write your next words, sing your next note, draw your next picture. Artists of all kinds struggle with these unpredictable thoughts, unpredictable behaviors. You just never know where it will hit, when it will hit. But when it does, the only thing you should do is run with it. You take that little bit of inspiration where it sprouts and with no holds barred, you make a masterpiece of it. Your own little masterpiece to share or withhold until you’re ready. Either way, it’s all yours.

Sometimes the words don’t come.

Why did I start this blog?

I myself, am not quite sure of the answer to that question. I think I started it as a way to practice writing. Perhaps to reviews some books. Today I feel like just releasing some emotions. It is my blog after all.

I think a lot. My mind wanders from here to there and then, “SQUIRREL!”, back again. This trait could have the potential to make me a great writer, I think. That, of course, is my dream. But this trait also has the ability to squash my dreams by the amount of self doubt that harbors inside my brain, body, and soul. You see, I constantly think of ideas. “OOH that’s a great idea!” I usually write it down or run it by my friend Jennifer, and then I move on. Sometimes, I sit down to really elaborate on these ideas and I go completely blank. It’s so discouraging. I want to be able to put words to my thoughts and feelings. I have such great ideas and story lines in my head, why don’t the words come to me? I read on Colleen Hoover’s blog or Facebook page or something one time that one of the reasons she writes is because when she was younger, her older sister ALWAYS got the last word because she just couldn’t think of a come back as quick but she can write them down late and it’s awesome! I can definitely relate to that. My middle sister is very quick to the draw. She’s witty and wild and I always envied her ability to come back at me or anyone so readily. Currently, I am in the middle of some very trying times in my life. Not near as trying as many around me, but there are some difficult things happening. Writing is an excellent escape. Drama makes good fiction. But I. Can’t. Find. The. Words. Perhaps if I just keep writing away it will happen. SO yeah, that’s how I’m feeling now. & then some. But words, they aren’t there. It’s all fuzzied up in there. That’s a word, now. 🙂 Until next time.

xoxo
Ashley