Abandon Fears

steinbeckOn The Playlist: I LIVED by One Republic

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I had to make many tough decisions in my life, but one of the toughest ones happened recently. It’s funny how everything you thought you’ve wanted can change, your priorities shift, and you find out that the things that make you happy is really pretty simple.

Writing has been a struggle. Months go by and I can barely squeeze out a page or two. Yet I continue to sit at my desk to will myself to type. Anything. Some days I stare at a blank page and other days I’m fortunate enough to get words down, no matter how crappy they seem in my head. I know if I stop trying to write…I fear I may simply not write. Ever. Again.

This is an ongoing battle writers fight. Life can be stressful and it impacts every part of us. The fear is definitely always there in the back of my mind. The fear of not producing something amazing. I used to write simply because my stories wanted to come out. I wrote for myself, then I wrote for my readers. The more books I put out, the more I noticed that I’m one of those authors that reaches a limited audience and then flatlines. That’s when I started to question myself. That’s when I wondered if my writing simply sucks. Trust me, I’ve read some horribly written books and I always thought I was a better writer than that. Heck, when my head is already filled with insecurities, it’s easy to believe that maybe I am a sucky writer after all. Sucky writer = lack of audience. So what’s the use of putting out more books?

That’s when I realized I needed to step away from deadlines and start from scratch. Start writing for myself again. Back then, I was fearless. When I didn’t give a shit. If someone read my story, great. If no one read them, it was fine with me. Finishing a book was an accomplishment. It made me a better person. It made to see that I wasn’t a quitter. That I persevered. That I achieved something for ME. Wow, I miss that feeling. The adrenaline, the excitement one gets when reaching the very last word―the end of a novel. Pop the cork on the champagne bottle and hand me a box of Ferraro Rocher!

Yep. Writing was therapeutic for me. It was the only thing I felt that I did well. Believe me, I’m one of those type of people who wants to do everything, but never excelled at anything. I get easily distracted, and when I’m frustrated, I move onto something else. Some arts and craft project which would lead me back to the keyboard… SO. Here I am, back at the beginning as I mentioned. I’m working on a story that’s sort of painful to write. It’s dark and it’s beautiful in the sense that the heroine is broken but she’s not going to give up. She’s going to do whatever she can to survive. I’ve decided after this book I’m going to write more upbeat stories but there’s something about this one that I look forward to finishing. I want to delve into the darkness, to draw out all the emotions of my characters and hopefully prove to myself that I can tell a good story.

Whether or not I find and audience, I’m okay with that. I want to challenge myself. I want to write for the pure love of it. I want to feel that rush of finally reaching THE END.

Redirection

happiness_lifeOn The Playlist: SHAKE IT OUT by Florence + The Machine

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I struggle every day with words.

At one time, I had the ability to crank out up to 50 pages or more in a day! It’s the truth. I could also finish a project in a weekend and work simultaneously on two or three books at the same time. Then life happened. Thus, began the slow decline of my writing schedule. The fire slowly smothered by all the stress and responsibilities, the weight of the world on my shoulders. I’ve tried so hard to get that flame back, just so I can build it up again, turn it into an inferno… Easier said than done.

Some days I can barely spit out a page. Some days I sit all day and stare at a blank screen. The words are locked in the recesses of my mind. I know there’s thousands of ideas and stories in there, but they’re trapped in mental limbo. I’m not really a crier. I hold things in, I don’t break easily, and I try to stay strong through all adversity—but frankly, there were nights when I cried myself to sleep wondering if I would ever get back to that place again.

Will I ever complete a novel again?

No, I’m not ready for the answer to that question. Even though I’d entertained the thought of retiring my writing career. Deep down, I knew I couldn’t walk away from a dream I’ve had since childhood. I finally made a decision…I’m going to pull up my big girl panties and own writing again. I just needed to remind myself that I love storytelling. I love my readers. I love creating something that I’m proud of—even if reviewers aren’t too fond of my voice. I know I need to let go of those demons—the insecurities, self-doubt and so on—but it’s something all writers deal with frequently. It’s something I needed to accept and move on from. Even when I thought I’d conquered those pesky obstacles…they have a way of sprouting back up…Although it’s been a few years since I’ve produced a new book, I have a lot of catch up to do in 2015. I have readers who are waiting on me and I can’t let them wait any longer. The past isn’t going to get me down and I’m making choices that will redirect me, set me on the right path.

I’ll be honest, 2014 wasn’t all bad. This is a doozy…I finally caught Prince Charming. After years of being single, I managed to find a man who is exactly how I imagined my hero to be. I know no one’s perfect, but he embodies all the qualities I wanted in a partner. Supportive, kind, caring, funny, generous, loving, and so much more. He’s chivalrous more often than not, and he truly loves me regardless of my quirks and OCD-ness. He respects me and my career. Most importantly, his love saved me. I didn’t think I’d be able to get through the hardships if I didn’t have him to lean on. His strength became my strength. I’m so thankful and grateful the Universe sent him to me. I guess I’d resigned to being single forever but if I hadn’t taken that chance, we would’ve never met. I knew he was the one when he told me he wasn’t much of a reader, but read my entire book (and a few others) and really loved them. He found me talented and inspiring. It made me blush. The cherry on top was knowing that I’d turned a non-reader into a reader…that was the greatest reward.

Yes, I’m gushing. How can I not? No words can describe the happiness he’s given me. He taught me something valuable. He taught me to believe in myself. He is my biggest fan, my best friend. What more can I ask for in a relationship? So, there you have it…there is a happily-ever-after after all. There’s still so much more for us to experience on the horizon but I can happily say that 2015 is starting out to be a kick-ass year!

Readers, if you’re reading this…I’m back! The wait is over. Hope you stay for the ride. :)

The Unexpected

happinessOn The Playlist: TEE SHIRT by Birdy

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I would like to think I’m a pretty resilient person. I’ve lived life struggling more than reaping rewards. Every obstacle I overcome, every mountain I climb… I can only expel a temporary sigh of relief, because I know there’s always something dark lurking just around the corner. Terrible to think this way but if you walked a mile in my shoes you’d understand.

These past few years have taught me a lot about myself. This year especially.

I’m a positive personality type but I can honestly say earlier this year I was not in a good place. I’d been seriously thinking of quitting my writing career altogether. It was a few years coming, actually. Things just weren’t happening for me. My creativity was stifled, my life was upside down and I had faced a series of health scares that made me want to embrace living even more. I’ve always said life is short—I still believe it. I’m still going through health stuff but I’m taking it a day at a time.

You know that pivotal moment in your life when everything that can go wrong, does? Well, THAT.

So in the midst of all the crap-ton piles of stress surrounding me like a fort, something clicked in my head. I decided that I wasn’t going to live another day without making some sort of changes in my life. I know it will require dedication and sacrifices but I wasn’t going to crumble that easily. That’s when I started focusing on getting back in shape, eating better, and making myself a priority. I’ve let myself go long enough and physical health is just as important as mental health. I’m not saying it’ll happen overnight but I’m prepared for the challenge. I welcome it!

I guess what resonated with me was something someone once told me… “You can’t open yourself to love when you don’t love yourself.” That’s stuck with me. I suppose no one wants to admit that this is true…it’s something many people struggle with on a daily basis. Heck, I struggle with it myself for as long as I can remember. Just as I struggle with my depression and body image disorder…although all my friends believe I’m an eternal optimist, the truth is, I need to be optimistic in order to get through each day.

Fast forward to now… after all the hellacious muck I’ve endured, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. A series of wonderful and unexpected things happened. I was invited to be in the HOT SUMMER LOVE box set with some amazing authors: Cali MacKay, Evelyn Adams, Jean Oram, and Julie Farrell. Then more amazing things started to surround me, have kept building, and keeping me busy. In fact, all the self-doubt and fear started to fade. I found myself writing again…slowly…but it was better than not writing at all. Not long after, I received emails from readers and it definitely was a reminder that I was meant to write. Of course, there’s no running from bad reviews but I learned to accept them because my stories aren’t going to appeal to everyone…but when it does capture a reader’s heart, then that’s enough for me.

BUT…getting my writing mojo back wasn’t the only positive thing.

It turns out that, while I’d given up on the idea of ever dating again after disappointing results, HE walked into my life.

Like the romances I’ve written about, I was drawn to this flame. He brought back the laughter in my heart. He simply ‘gets’ me and embraces all my eccentricities. Being in a relationship with him is straight-forward, no games or mistrust. It’s the first time I’ve felt protected and safe. It’s the first time in a relationship where I felt like a priority. There’s an inexplicable connection that frightens me a little, but I’m just going to take it a day at a time. I’m not going to think too far ahead because I want to make memories that counts. Regardless of where things lead, these are good memories and I want to capture them like fireflies in a jar to light up my creativity—and my heart…