Start to Finish

getitdone

On The Playlist: DRUNK IN LOVE by Beyoncé - Drunk in Love ft. JAY Z

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I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things. Prioritizing, organizing, productivity, completion… I used to never have a problem with getting things done but the past two years it’s proven to be more difficult than I’d remembered. I currently have several projects that I’m working on simultaneously, so needless to say, they’re all unfinished. There are days I just stare at a blank Word document, and even getting a few paragraphs down is torturous. Writing shouldn’t feel that way…writing has always come easily for me, flowed freely.

I’ve always said I don’t believe in writer’s block…I suppose after much analyzing, I discovered the source of my problems. Focus and Fear. Let me explain…

FOCUS: My biggest crutch is being a little scattered. I want to do everything that inspires me at the moment so I have too many options and no specific goal. I have a tendency to be an overachiever, but when it’s not garnering results, I need to stop and re-evaluate. So that’s what I’m doing…figuring out what is a priority and just tackle it. That’s when I mapped out a plan and I’m holding myself accountable for it. My goal is to increase my output and really get back into the writing rhythm that I once had. I’ve worked too damn hard to fall to pieces.

FEAR: My writing sucks. Not long ago I re-released a book I’d written in 2009 and it was a real eye-opener. The  current reviews were brutal. When the original version was released back then, I’d gotten 4 and 5 star reviews across the board from very reputable review sites including RT Book Reviews…I’d been so proud of myself since it was my debut…but at that time readers loved and understood my voice. These days, writing has simply changed. What do I mean by that? My voice is sort of a hybrid between women’s fiction and straight up contemporary. It’s lyrical, yet angsty and humorous. Hmm, I guess it’s who I am so I can’t really change that… I also blame it on my screenwriting background and my love of “dramadies” (drama-comedies). However, I’ve noticed that today’s voice is much different. It’s more in your face writing with less descriptive passages (which is what I tend to do), more dialogue driven and plenty of action. Again, after mulling over why my book was getting such negative reviews, I discovered something interesting..with the explosion of the New Adult genre, my book happened to fall into that realm because of my character’s age group. Totally by accident, but reviewers who picked up my book was looking for that particular style or voice, and I wasn’t delivering what they usually expected. Hence all the horrific reviews and DNF responses. Ouch. Sure it hurt like hell but at least I figured it out and there was no going back from it. I could either cry my eyes out, accept it, and/or learn from it…but what I promised I wouldn’t do is give into the pressures of changing my voice just to sell a product. I don’t want to feel like a sellout and disappoint myself in the process. I stand firm because of my love of writing so I’m not going to change my writing voice because it represents who I am as a writer. I guess you can say the fear of sucking made me look deep inside myself and see that I’m a good writer. We all have our insecurities but I’m not a beginner. I’ve finished books and I continue to get new readers who buy my backlist. I know I still have a lot of growth ahead of me but I have fans who email me and remind me of why I should keep writing. I also discovered that I don’t want to compromise my vision and storytelling to satisfy a trend. With everything, I know it’s cyclical so those who may hate my voice and my novels now may someday appreciate what I’ve written…may better understand that everything I write has a secret meaning that’s not blatantly on the surface. This is the profession I’ve chosen and no matter what obstacles I face in this journey…I will stick it out. I will conquer these fears (ones every writer has) and prove to myself that I made the right decision.

During my self-evaluation process, I’ve been voraciously reading and watching videos that inspire me. I recently discovered Matthew Hussey who is an awesome (and sexy as all get out Brit) life/relationship coach… Total hero material for one of my future books…Ahem, he’s brilliant and I’d love to be able to go to one of his retreats someday…but for now, I thought I’d share this snippet. It came at the perfect time and I hope you’ll agree that all things are worth finishing.

When You Least Expect

serendipityOn The Playlist: NOT A BAD THING by Justin Timberlake

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2013 was a doozy. Fast forward…many things have changed in my life…and some things still remain the same.

I’m in a good place now. I have an amazing group of friends who drag me out of my dark cave for some fresh air and fun. I found my muse and I came to terms with my father’s death. It’s been quite a ride and I’ve finally found the peace I’ve been missing. This year is truly about new beginnings and opportunities. I took some time off of writing so I could heal my head and my heart. Along the way, I’ve met interesting people who made me think…made me see things I hadn’t tried to see before.

I also discovered that it’s okay to fall apart because being strong all the time can become a crutch. You start to put up walls and you start believing that you can never not be strong for everyone’s sake…except your own. I’ve also felt heartbreak and learned that letting go can be healthy. I’ve always believed that love never dies, it transforms. Well, at least the precious kind of love. One that deserves to remain in your heart and life.

The best part of learning is growing. Maturing. Funny how the world looks differently when you shift your perspective. You’re opening yourself to new possibilities and a chance at happiness. I can honestly say that when I started to focus on myself, I was able to attract positive things… people… opportunities.

I’ve even stumbled across something totally unexpected and it’s inspired me a great deal—and it feels damn good! So, this year I’m going to continue to challenge myself and work harder to create even better stories for YOU, my awesome readers.

I promise there will be a new release and I want to THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for your continued love and support! You’re the reason I write…

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Dad 001“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
—Walt Disney

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This year taught me a lot about myself. I learned to trust my decisions, step back from things that consumed me negatively, embrace true friends who have supported, loved, and comforted me…and I have allowed myself  to grieve my father’s passing…

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has faced adversity and obstacles these past few years, but I can only say one thing, all those elements that tore at my self-confidence and spirit…did not break me.

My outlook has changed, my goals have transformed, and I’ve begun to value those things I’ve inadvertently taken for granted. I’ve tried to carve out more time for myself and I’ve cut back on a lot of my workload in order to heal. I know it will take a bit longer but everyday I’m in a better mental space. I’m learning to embrace my flaws and work at making myself an even better person.

There are certainly days that are more trying than others, yet I’ve made it a mission to make 2014 the beginning of something beautiful. There’s so much I want to do, places to visit, things to accomplish and I’m going to put all my passion and focus into these desires. Life is too short to simply dream, it should be about taking risks and making them happen.

Although my father passed a little over six months ago…today, Christmas Eve..my family and I will still celebrate and honor him on his birthday. I hope I’ve made him proud…and I hope that he’ll continue to look down from the heavens and see me accomplish all those goals I’ve set out to conquer…

I love you, daddy. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!