Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Get and Stay Motivated!

I tend to vacillate between bursts of creativity and periods of sloth. My goal is to lessen the latter and increase the former. In that vein, here are a few tips to help you get going on whatever project is in front of you:

Find a Mantra
"We are what repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
Aristotle said that, and I think he's on to something. My first tip is to find or create a mantra or slogan that spurs you to action. My uncle, a veteran marathon runner well into his 70's had a mantra he used whenever a race got tough, "It's against my religion to walk downhill." The first race (only 12 miles, not a marathon, I confess) he and I did together, he shared that nugget of wisdom with me, and I use it to this day.
What mantra might work for you? Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
  • Time is precious; I use mine wisely.
  • Life is short; I do what I love!
  • If it supports my vision, I do it.
  • I take the next right step.
Focus on the Why
Why is this goal important? What changes do you hope to see in your internal and external worlds because you've achieved it? What about it resonates with you and makes your heart beat a little faster?
Focusing on why we want to do something can help us stay on track

Monday, August 29, 2011

On Scrapping Most of My First Draft

I was talking with a good friend about how I wouldn't be using the majority of what I'd written for the first draft of Book 2 and she reminded me of a story about an artist (who's name escapes me) that would paint an entire tree, even if the final piece would only depict a few limbs. When asked why he would do all of that extra work he said that if he didn't paint the whole tree, how would he know where the branches belonged?

This was comforting, because I know that even if I don't use much of what I've written, it all serves the overall story. I got a better understanding of some new characters, and found ways to increase tension in the plot. Ultimately, I'm changing things because I think it will make for a better novel, which makes the effort worth it.

So, I'm busy with draft 2, even if half of it will really be a first draft. Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Things are Looking Up

I feel better than I have in a while. I'm not gonna lie--it was touch and go for a little while a few weeks back. I had a change in medication and it threw me for a loop that lasted a couple of weeks. It was at the worst possible time, too, (is there ever a good time for extreme nausea and moderate depression?) because I'm working hard to make my deadline of having Book 2 of The Gateway Series out by November. It's the tightest deadline I've ever held myself to, so being sidelined for two weeks was the last thing I needed.

What I want to focus on though, is even with feeling both mentally and physically awful, I did my best to stay centered. I kept my awareness--as best I could--on the fact that this would pass, and sooner or later I would feel ready to be part of the world. (There was a one week period where I didn't leave the house--when I felt up to eating, I ordered in.)

I think that shift in focus--from it will always be this way to this too shall pass--made for an easier re-entry back into the world when I was up for it. Although I was still plagued by the feelings of "I'm a loser" that often accompanies a bout of depression that seems based in nothing, I was able to hold those feelings somewhat at bay. And the truth was, there was a reason. A change in medication always precipitates side-effects of some kind. It's just hard to accept that sometimes when I'm in the throws of an episode.

In keeping with my goal of progress not perfection, I'm taking this as a win. It was a rough couple of weeks, but I'm back, I'm writing 3-4k words a day and am preparing for a trip to Europe with my mother. (During which I will be researching Books 2 and 3 which take place almost exclusively in France and Italy.)

I'm not sure if anyone else is interested in the inner workings of my mind and/or my struggles with depression, but it is no secret that many creative types have suffered similarly, so I thought I would share it on the off chance it would resonate with some of you.

Here's to hoping I continue to feel great, and hoping all of you do, too!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Last Minute Travel

I'm headed back to Europe! Books 2 and 3 of The Gateway Series partially take place in France and Italy and I'm planning to do some research while I'm there. I love my job :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

70% off on Gateway

For two weeks, I'm putting Gateway (normally priced at $2.99) on sale for just $.99! Buy it at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.