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Thursday, January 17, 2019

How "Writer" Turns Into "Author"

Hello lovely readers,

I have really enjoyed writing and publishing on this blog during my winter break. It turns out, when I have time, writing is what I want to do - I love it. However, now that we're back to reality, so to speak, my novel is at the top of my priority list.

I am using all of my writing time working on editing my first novel. I have never published anything of this length before, and I have to admit it is harder than I thought it would be. I am trying to be patient with myself and trust the process, but this is taking all of my energy right now.

I look at this point in writing my novel with a sculptor's process in mind. By this I mean that I have an entire draft and I am going through and chiseling off chunks to make the shape right. Now I am beginning to go through and sand down the edges making it smooth and refined. At this point I am working a lot on visual detail descriptions and transitional scenes.

It's amazing how much there is to decide when it comes to writing a novel. Everything from where the characters live to what kind of watch they wear. These details, the atmosphere of their house and their choice of clothes and accessories, do not seem big, but they make the difference when you are trying to get lost in a story.

I believe in this story I am telling and I am learning to believe in myself as a writer.

I have been a writer pretty much all of my life, but I am looking forward to the time when I can call myself an author. My hope is to publish this novel, "Leap of Faith" by the end of 2019.

With that, I present to you my first (hopefully of many) plugs for my upcoming novel:


Leap of Faith 
by Amanda McCusker 

*Cover art not finalized*

Aria Dalton could not wait to get as far away from her Carolina home as she possibly could. She made it as far as the loud and bright Sin City. As a writer, she could go anywhere, but the dream was the glamorous life in Las Vegas, Nevada. However, after several years in the thick of it, the reality is not as exciting as the ideal. The trouble is now she's not sure where to go from here. 
Roman Wagner spent the last six years of his life with his nose stuck in a book trying to make sense of the world through the languages of computer science. Though the world still didn't make any sense, at least he had the education and drive to land a dream job right back where he started in Charleston, South Carolina. He loved his work, yet still felt there was something missing. He never thought he would find it on a company trip for a convention in Las Vegas.  
On a chance encounter, Aria and Roman make an unexpected connection while dancing on the streets of "downtown" Las Vegas. The Fremont Experience will have whole new meaning as the sparks fly and Aria and Roman have to decide for themselves whether they are reading and willing to take that leap of faith.  

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Announcing my novel makes it real. I am so excited to make this dream a reality.

Thank you beautiful community for all of your support and love. I will be back with lots of things to write about in time. I would like to explore more topics about the process of writing as well as the necessary self-care when working on a big project. It has been a series of learning opportunities for me during this experience, ones I will be excited to share with you.

What dreams are you working towards this year? Whatever it is, stay focused on your goal and make those small changes in your life to get there. You are worthy of your dreams, now go after them. Enjoy this beautiful life - every little crazy moment of it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

How Do You Manifest Time?

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

I'm asking. I wish I had an answer, some sort of inspirational idea of how to solve the problem of not having enough time. I have all of these projects I want to work on, a novel to finish and this pretty awesome family that I like to spend time with. Add that to the daily or weekly errands and chores to keep the house from becoming completely filthy and I'm trying my best to do it all.

It's not going so well.

Time management is such a tricky subject. I see these people who can get so much work done and I'm envious. Though at the same time, I know I need time for rest and self-care. I am focusing on how to eliminate distractions, but sometimes those distractions are worthy of attention. Playing a game with my daughter is a distraction very much worth pursuing. Also, some of the random idea rabbit holes produce great ideas to develop or progress my work.

I've been trying to boil my day down to the baseline priorities. I look at the calendar and start there. Then I add my novel and one household chore. I try not to overbook myself so I can still get some meditation or a yoga in as well as have some time with my family. 

I am trying so hard to make it all work - to be more productive and really get some big things accomplished this year. All I can do is work with that intention everyday and do the best I can with the time I have.

I am trying to figure out how blogging works into all of this. Over winter break, I had time to really focus on my blog and develop the thoughts in my head to share. Now that we are back to school with a full, structured week it is harder to set aside this extra time. I am doing my best and I ask for patience for those of you reading my work. I thank you so much for your support.

How do you manifest time? How do you get it all done? How do you set your priorities?

I wish you all the best in whatever you are setting out to do this year.

Blessings,


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Friday, January 11, 2019

Finding a Way to Do It All

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Hello Dear Readers,

We're two weeks into the new year now and I have to say so far, it's been a good year. I know it's only been 11 days, but t's got to start somewhere, right?

I've been trying to make some changes to my habits this year. For me that means being proactively productive and writing - a lot.

At first anything seemed possible. Of course, we were also still on break for the first week of the year. This week we are back to reality and busy days trying to fit more into a day than is possible. I'm already feeling worn out.

It is hard to set priorities when I want to do it all. It is hard to commit to a daily (or even weekly) task that takes time and energy away from all the other daily (or weekly) tasks that I want to complete.

Choosing what you spend your time and energy on is an important undertaking. There is a finite pool of which to draw from and I understand first hand the anxiety that can build up when you can't get everything accomplished.

There's a quote I found a while ago, though I don't know where it originated from, that says: When things don't add up, start subtracting. I've been contemplating this as I find myself frustrated by not being able to do it all.

I just have to keep doing something and do my best when it comes to managing my time and flowing with my energy levels. This sounds easy, but it is proving a bit more difficult than expected - especially when my inner monologue becomes insistent on what I "should" be doing.

"Should" is a word that I am slowly trying to erase from my vocabulary. I have lots of things I can and need to do, but saying I "should" do this particular thing right now often ends in my staring at a computer screen (or whatever the activity is) and not getting anything done because it is not something I can focus on right now. Of course, eventually you have to get a goal accomplished, but with planning, not force of will.

I am trying to plan better and take care of myself so that I can keep going with maximum amount of energy. For me that means, getting lots of sleep, practicing yoga and keeping a daily journal with lots of thoughts, observations and opinions. All of these practices help me stay inspired, motivated and able to keep writing.

How is your year going so far? Are you able to find the time and energy to accomplish all the things you hope to? Are you giving yourself the self-care you need to make it all happen?




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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Inspiration Comes From Everywhere

Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash

The other day I was in the grocery store and witnessed a moment that was not really mine.

Two guys were in front of me in line to check out. They seemed excited about something and were very animated as they put their items on the conveyor belt. One of the guys bounced over to the cart to pick something off the bottom shelf and slammed his shoulder into the handle on his way up. It looked like it hurt, causing him to pitch forward a little bit. As he went to stand up again, he hit his head on the same handle.

I had to suppress my laughter. I don't know what it is about other's pain that causes us to find it comical. It didn't hurt that he was still smiling when he stood back up, though a little dazed. He brushed it right off, even though his buddy did seem a little concerned for his friend.

It was one of those everyday moments, the ones that happen while you are doing something else. It isn't always a pleasant experience, I don't think anyone would care to hit themselves in the head, but it is a good story.

In fact that was my reaction after witnessing the moment -- I could use this is a story somewhere. It's one of those real life moments where nothing goes quite like you expect it to and it gives characters depth. That is the beauty of life as a writer, inspiration comes from anywhere -- even after a long day waiting in line in the grocery store.

I challenge you to really pay attention to the world and people around you -- notice those little moments on interaction and kindness.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

New Moon Manifestations

Photo by Benjamin Voros on Unsplash

As the new moon has cycled by the last few days, I have been trying to harness its energy. When the new moon is in the sky is a powerful time to call new dreams, hopes and desires in your life. It is still the beginning of a new year and I don't know about you, but I can use all of the natural, beneficial energy I can get.

I am trying to completely change the way I see the world and striving to be productive on a new level this year. Writing is my personal focus with my goal to complete the final revisions my novel and actively share my art with the world.

Though it is never easy to change, it seems like a simple enough shift. However, that is not including the family that I strive to give my undivided attention so I am fully present for those little moments, or the house that I have also had a renewed commitment to keep up and proactively maintain, or the time it takes for me to prep and manage our homeschool work, or the time set aside for self-care and sleep. It's a lot and I'm trying so very hard to not get overwhelmed so close to the beginning of the year and my promise to myself.

All I can do is my best - that is all we can ask of anyone really, including ourselves. Part of that for me is to try and stay healthy during these cold, wet January months. Living in the Pacific Northwest during winter has given me a whole new perspective on the color gray. There are many shades of it and sometimes it feels like there is a blanket in the sky, though not one that keeps you warm.

To combat all of these elements and expectations on myself, I am calling to the new moon for strength, focus, vitality and perseverance.

I looked up the other night and saw the new moon, just a sliver in the darkness. It seems hard to fathom how something we can't really see can be so powerful. Like many things in life, the power lies in the unseen. Those daily habits we try so hard to build has the same unseen power. Though we can't always see the immediate impact of journaling, cleaning or positive thinking, it makes everything else flow more smoothly, allowing your entire life to change.

What are you calling into your life today?


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Clemson Tigers, College National Champions...Again!


Clemson beats Alabama in a 44-16 domination at the College National Championship. I am proud to be a Clemson alumni and a part of this wonderful culture of people. I am in awe of not only the Tiger's tremendous talent and teamwork to create success on the football field, but also for the character they exhibit off the field. Clemson was a great place to go to college and I celebrate in the success they are having now throughout the university.

Go Tigers!

Monday, January 7, 2019

An Inversion Breakthrough

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Hello Dear Readers,

How are your new years resolutions going? Have you hit the gym, watched a sunrise, started that habit, made time to practice your craft, drank more water...whatever it is that you desired to do this year? Every day is an new day and an opportunity to make a good choice with how you spend your time and energy. We're a week into the new year and I believe this is going to be a wonderful year.

I am trying to be more patient with myself this year. I get very frustrated with myself when I forget what I'm doing or when I feel like I am moving really slow. I make mistakes and I don't always know the best way to go. I am trying to live a life of full expression, to not be afraid to put myself out there and make a way for myself.

I was thinking of this in my yoga practice this morning. The instructor was very kind and assisted me with my headstand in class today. I was very glad for her help because I am one who has a hard time putting my feet over my head. I've have a theory that whatever fear that keeps my feet planted on the ground is the same fear that keeps me from reaching out and fulfilling my dreams.

I don't want to hold myself back anymore, so I have been breaking down the art of inversions. Instead of swinging my feet over my head, which causes me uncontrollable anxiety, I am building my core and arm muscles to be able to hold my weight. I have been practicing balancing my weight on my hands while my feet are still on the ground, slowly adding weight to them as I practice. It has been a slow increment of improvement as I practice both at home and the studio.

This assisted inversion was a breakthrough. Being stable upside down with the help of my instructor made me feel like I could accomplish anything. I believe it has been the dedication to break down this pose and take the time to build up each part that is making it happen. I still have a lot of practice to do before I can do it on my own, but life is about the journey I am on my way there.

We are all balancing many priorities. Don't forget to make your own mental and physical health a priority this year. Whatever you are working on, I wish you the best. Just keep moving forward and you will find your way.