Writing & Dreaming in My Favorite Place

I don’t know about you, but it takes one holiday and my entire schedule is thrown off. I had a great Easter with family and friends, but between cooking a holiday meal, cleaning the house, and recuperating from all that, my editing fell a little behind. I try not to worry about those things because although I’m a writer, I’m also a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend…and so many other titles! That means that life happens, which is something to cherish and enjoy.

That said, I’m back on track with my book. I am almost done with the first round of editing and lots of things are happening in the background to bring this book to life. I’m enjoying the process and I can’t wait to share with you all the exiting news coming ahead.

 

Where Inspiration Takes Place.

This week I want to share with you some pictures of my writing area.  

Tucked in a corner of my bedroom is my writing desk. Here’s where my book is written and edited. It’s not a big area or a sophisticated place, but there’s plenty of natural light and personal knick-knacks that serve as inspiration.  This writing corner is cozy and relaxing. There’s nothing better than sitting at my desk with a hot cup of coffee and seeing my dreams coming true.  The white Ikea desk is small enough to keep it cozy but it’s functional and organized.  My file folders have several secrets hidden inside: Art inspiration, Novel Ideas, Character Lists, Workshop Notes, and yes, even Dumbbell Exercises (in case I get the inspiration to work out!)

Surround Yourself With Love.

There’s my “I Love Mom” mug that serves as a pen holder. It’s precious to me because my daughter painted it when she was 5.  Having this on my desk reminds me that I have people to inspire.  I want my kids to see that following your dreams takes hard work and dedication, but it is doable.  I like having inexpensive things surrounding me, even if in reality they’re priceless.  Nothing inspires you to work harder when you have things reminding you how loved and cherished you are.

We’re All Mad Here.

The Alice In Wonderland mug suits my writing personality and journey. It reminds me “We’re all Mad Here.”  You need to be a little mad to follow your dreams.  If you worry about being “normal”, “walking the straight line”, or simply blending in because it’s the safest thing to do, you won’t achieve your dreams.  It’s the quirky and whimsical attitude that pushes you to break the mold and think outside the box.

Dreams & Schemes.

 

On the bookshelf I have my Dreams & Schemes book where all my writing goals are housed. I scan through these pages when I need a reminder of why I do what I do.  Why is it important to have a Dreams & Schemes book?  Because it gives your dreams a voice.  Seeing your inner desires written on paper not only helps you identify them in more detail, but it allows you to put together a plan to achieve those goals.  Writing down your dreams validates them and makes their presence a reality.

 

Your First (Creative) Love.

The little Sailor Moon figurine reminds me what first fueled my imagination as a child. I fell in love with Anime at the age of five and to this day I cherish the rich imagination it created inside me.  Sailor Moon opened a brand new world to me.  One filled with magic, romance, self love, friendship, but most importantly it showed me there are no boundaries to imagination.  You can become who you want and create stories that don’t have to fit the mold.  This little cutie symbolizes my childhood, when everything was possible and the world was wide open to me.  I love thinking back to the little girl I was.  It’s like rediscovering a part of me that will never let me down and that will always inspire me to make my dreams come true.

What about you?  Where do you write, work, or dream?  Is there a special place that inspires you?  I’d love to read about it.  Share it with me!

 

The Journey of Writing a Book

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It’s been a while since I’ve updated on my book process.  There is a reason for that.  I really didn’t want to.  Call it superstition, or downright silliness, but I thought that blogging about my book before publishing it would bring it bad luck.   When you write a book, you become attached to it.  Your book becomes your baby, and in a way it is.  You nurtured it inside of you for many months (or years), then you painfully gave birth to it. And there it is.  A shiny, brand new story, full of innocence and timid beginnings.  Inside there are thousands of words that are still rough, naive, uneducated.  Your task to is to raise your book, giving it the substance and love needed to grow it into a well rounded, acceptable manuscript.  You expect it to become part of society, to bring some value to it, or to simply brighten someone’s day.  What you don’t want is to put it out there prematurely. It’s a big scary world, right? Your mama (or papa) bear instincts kick in, urging you to keep it hidden and safe until you know it’s ready to be viewed by the world.

But here’s the thing: this book is not my baby, really.  I did pour my heart and soul into it.  I do cherish it and wish to protect it, but it goes beyond that.  It is only a small part of who I am, and what I am is a writer.  That means that my responsibility isn’t just to my book.  It is to share my journey with others, those who are also writing and need inspiration and support. Or to share it with people who want to become writers and are deathly afraid of the process.  Like me, they may be navigating uncertain waters, trying to find their style, create decent characters, and fall in love with the process.

This is why I decided it’s time to share my first novel update.  It is vulnerable, raw, but also beautifully real.

My novel is untitled, although I do have a few ideas in mind.  Last month I finished my first draft, from start to end.  For the first time in my life,  I was able to complete a book. Mainly this is because I forced myself to outline.  I HATE outlining.  I’m more of a “fly by the seat of your pants” type of writer, but guess what?  That never helped me finish writing any book.  Outlining was tedious but it kept me structured enough to follow an idea from start to end.

Now the real fun begins.  I’m currently in the first round of the editing process.  It’s where I’m catching mistakes, plot holes, character deficiencies, and even changing some of my story.  I was afraid of this process, especially after completing the stubborn phase of writing the first draft.  But I realize it really isn’t that bad.  In fact, editing is when the real shaping takes place.  I’m no longer pressured to “finish” the book.  My job is to mold it and fix it, not create it a new.  What a relief!

Here are some tips I can share with you if you’re in the early stages of writing your own book.  This is where I’m at in my own writing journey.

  • OUTLINE.  Yeah, it’s tedious and annoying, but do it.  It will give you a structured way to write your story, even if that outline is a bit clumsy.
  • JUST WRITE THE FIRST DRAFT.  Don’t overthink it.  Expect it to be complete trash.  Yes, poke fun at it and even dislike it.    Who cares if your grammar is horrid right now.  And maybe Aunt Brunilda falling in love with the mail man is a stupid idea.  Just write it anyway.  Finishing the first draft of my book took several years.  In fairness I did change my story quite a bit, but really it took so much time because I wanted to get it just right.  Big mistake.  A first draft is laying down the foundation of a story.  It isn’t meant to be perfect, or even coherent.
  • TAKE A WEEK OFF.  Once your first draft is done…celebrate! Yes, it’s still crap and no, you haven’t published it yet.  Still, you did it! You wrote a book.  You ARE an author.   Take a week off before moving on to the next process.  This will give you time to relish the pure joy of completing a book.  Tell all of your friends, share it on social media, bake yourself a cake…anything that celebrates this accomplishment.  You’ve earned it!
  • PRINT YOUR FIRST DRAFT.  You’re finally ready to begin the editing process–the first round of it.  There will be several of them, trust me.  Printing your novel instead of reading it on the computer offers a new prospective.  It actually feels more like a book and it’s like looking at a new story instead of the one sitting on your screen for the past months.
  • SET UP AN EDITING GOAL. Do you want to start with plot holes, grammatical mistakes, or both?  I suggest picking the most important thing.  For me is to read the story and analyze it carefully.  Does it make sense?  Do my characters fall flat or are they interesting?  Am I describing too much or too little?  Are my chapters dragging on?  Does each chapter move the story forward?  I will deal with the grammar last because to me that will be the easiest fix.

And finally, I will take the overwhelming step to share my book’s synopsys.

An anxiety disorder and a dysfunctional family are more than Hera can handle.  But when she’s abducted from her home one night and taken to a secret forest house, she has bigger problems to face.

Hera is weak, uncomfortable in her own skin, and constantly living in fear.   When Aethen enters her life with the shocking revelation of psychic vampires and a prophecy claiming she’s a High Priestess, she believes she’s lost her mind. 

Trapped in the middle of a war between psychic and blood vampires, where finding her true self is far more frightening than the battle raging ahead, she must find strength and love in the most unlikely place.

A story that intertwines psychic and blood vampires, magic, and the search for strength amid the ashes of loss and self-doubt.

—Have you been writing a book?  Share your progress!  Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to receive more updates on my book writing journey!

NaNoWriMo 2016: Day 2-The Dreaded Outline

 

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Those who have followed my writing journey for a while know my extreme LOATHING for story outlines. Yes, they’re incredibly helpful, but my brain just isn’t wired to write following an outline. That’s good because it lets me write what inspires me in the moment without restraints. It can be liberating, inspiring, and less rigid.

But it’s also bad. Very, very bad.

There’s nothing worse than aimlessly writing half of your novel just to stop and think “okay, now what? I haven’t planned anything past this point.” Now, it doesn’t mean you’ve wasted a year writing a novel that just won’t go anywhere. A writer will always find a way to push through and continue with his story. Still, this process will waste a lot of time and energy. And let’s be real…wasted time just isn’t ideal when participating in NaNoWriMo.

Some of you may be thinking, “I didn’t outline! Will I suck at NaNoWriMo 2016? It’s already Day 2!”

 You’ll be happy to know that even if you didn’t outline you can still remain on track this year. Many writers think that outlining is an important step taken prior to writing a novel. Sure, that would be best, but as we all know life isn’t always ideal, and neither is the writing process. I will reveal something about outlining that not only makes the whole process of generating one less tedious, but actually worked in creating my very first outline—ever!

The truth about outlines is that [read more here…]

Kicking Off NaNoWriMo Prep Season

 

CNW_ParticipantSeptember is upon us and I’d like to take a moment to reach out to my fellow writers. Like me, you may be anxiously waiting for November, so that you can begin another NaNoWriMo (National November Writing Month) challenge. But you may not be aware that September kicks off the NaNoWriMo Prep Season, a time when writers prepare for the upcoming word marathon.

The first few years I participated in NaNoWriMo, I did not plan very much at all. In fact, I simply waited for November 1st and then put everything together in my head—and on paper. I had to sort out through ideas, research, character building, scene breakdowns, and more. It was exhausting and definitely not productive. The entire goal of NaNoWriMo is to dedicate thirty days to writing—just writing! For this reason, preparing for November is imperative.

In his Writer’s Digest guest post, author Kevin Kaiser reminds us that NaNoWriMo isn’t about writing the next great American Novel, but simply to complete the challenge.

Kevin says, “Once you have a skeleton framework, start. Act. Write. Don’t get preparation paralysis. The only way to write a novel is one word at a time. The only way to write each of those words, however unsatisfactory they might be, is to write them. Books don’t write themselves.”

I need a great amount of resources to feel inspired to write. I find it hard to relax and let the words roll, as the impulse to outline, brainstorm ideas, and research are an instrumental part of my writing. For this reason, the couple of months before November should be reserved for those who like me need a little groundwork before the big …[Continue reading here]

Author Update

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I’ve meant to write an update blog for a while now. My absence from blogging has developed a nagging voice telling me ‘This is not good. You’re a writer. How can you call yourself a serious writer if you’re not slamming out a blog a week?’

Usually this type of guilt stricken thought would turn me frantic, my gears rearing up again in hopes to make up for lost time. That’s what it comes down to, after all. Whether you’re a writer or anyone trying to find their path in life, time is the one thing that will steal your joy. It tells you that in order to succeed you have to work harder, utilize every minute, and maximize your exposure at any given moment of the day. I agreed with this theory for a long time but for me things are different now. Maybe it’s the way life has been throwing me curve balls, or how certain dreams are coming to an end, but my perspective has changed.

My writing journey has mutated into a life journey. I used to think that finding my way as a writer meant fulfilling my life. Now I realize that finding my way in life means fulfilling my writing journey. 

 Although writing has been and always will be an essential part of who I am, I’m still growing. This process shapes and molds my writing into what it needs to be, and not the other way around. I’ve taken the past year to find myself, to heal parts of my life that need desperate attention. I’ve decided to take head on those pesky thieves that steal my joy, that determine what type of woman I am, that build up walls around me so that I can be contained. To find yourself starts with healing first. I am in the process and although hard and heartbreaking, and sometimes an overwhelmingly slow progression, I am thankful for the trial and tribulations. They thicken my skin, grant me experience, and finally begin to break down those walls.  [Read More Here…]

The Writing Cup Is Always Full

 

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So much to write, so little time…

Lately I find myself stuck in a wonderful, crazy, amazingly time consuming writing fit.  I love it.

I always welcome collaboration with other writers and now I have the opportunity to do with so many projects.

For all my NaNoWriMo’s (where you at?!), we can connect and inspire each other easily.  Just follow my regular NaNoWriMo blog updates.  And get this…you’ll get to feature in my blogs as the amazing, beautiful writers you are.  Click here to connect with me for NaNoWrimo 2015.

For those beautiful minds out there that love Science Fiction, I went a little crazy with a simple writing prompts.  From my insane imagination, I’ve created The Inceptor, followed by Hiding in the Mountains.  But my Science Fiction creativity is limited.  That’s where you come in.  Want to collaborate with me and continue this short story?  Contact me at TamaraRAuthor@gmail.com

Lastly, because my mind is always running wild to the next project and inspiration, I’m presenting the first themed blog “The Age of Bold” Women Gathering Courage, Wisdom and Strength.” This is for all of the women who’ve struggled to find their place in the world and have finally learned to follow their instincts, learn about their worth, and share their strength with others.  Three guest bloggers will feature their journey this week, the first one being Amy Oestreicher, whose life journey is the most inspirational I’ve ever heard.

So what are you waiting for?  Connect now!

NaNoWriMo 2015 Kick Off

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It’s happening, guys. NaNoWriMo 2015 officially begins today. No more excuses, no more planning…just participate!

If you followed my blog for a while you already know how I feel about NaNoWriMo. It’s a deliciously frantic race to cram as much writing in one month as possible. It reminds me to stop caring about grammar, stop worrying about plot logistics, and stop listening to that nasty inner critic who keeps demolishing my confidence.   Novels are written (and sometimes published) because of NaNoWriMo! Don’t believe me? Check out my guest blogger post on Marissa Meyer, author of The Lunar Chronicles. She participated. She wrote. And she published. Not only did she just publish Cinder but went ahead and published several other books in the series.

But you’ll never publish if you start out thinking that this writing gig is just a way to get noticed and earn a living. At least, that’s not the reason why I write. It would be nice to be a published author, sure, but I do it because more than the aspiration of money or fame, I need this in order to survive. Writing has been the air I breathe, the creativity that saves me from reality, a spiritual and emotional experience that helps me cope.

I’m not alone. You’re on the same journey. Here’s what you can expect moving forward…[READ MORE]