Winter

Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens

– Frank Herbert

My office is icy cold, littered with endless cups of tea – some finished, many forgotten.  There is also a part of me that senses I am never truly alone when locked away in here. My creating space has been neglected for most of the year, gradually accumulating unpacked boxes and forgotten memories. I peak in and my eyes zero straight to my desk and I feel the first tingle of anticipation and excitement.  A weight lifts off my shoulder and for the first time in a long time I feel like I can breathe.  I feel the magic that lures me to this cave year after year ever since I was sixteen. Although the cave has changed throughout the years, my instinct to return is in my blood. The compulsion to write never leaves me for long and for that I am very grateful.

Winter is all about pretty and not-so-pretty creatures fighting to break out of my mind and onto the page. The morning frost, fog and endless rain stir something within me. My muse finally emerges from the shadows and leans against a wall with an eyebrow raised.

He always stands in the empty space to my left – the place I sense unseen eyes constantly watching me. The creative part of myself – my muse – terrifies me.

Always.

This year has been an unpredictable journey and I admit I have been a little shy and hesitant to step into my world. I have ventured forth on many occasions and hastily retreated. The jarring sensation when entering an abandoned world is what I imagine falling into a frozen lake would feel like. My brain hurt. I couldn’t breathe. I was convinced I was going to drown.

A big part of me worried I left my revision dormant for too long and that I could never undo the damage. But looking at my desk from the safety of my doorway, everything is beginning to feel familiar once again.

The feel of the air, the icy room of neglect and lack of warmth feels inviting.

I thrive here.

I am scared here.

My element has arrived.

Love and light,

xx

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Is Writing Seasonal?

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven

– (Ecclesiastes 3:1) 

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The last few weeks have been wonderful. If being stuck in an oven and dying can be described in such a way. Every time I have attempted to sit down and switch the revision brain on – which in my opinion is a super version of your brain fueled by coffee – my muse cries out in agony.

Therefore I have come to the conclusion:

Heatwaves kills muses…and revision super brain powers.

Where does that leave me then? With no super brain powers it seems. What if I was a real author on a real deadline? What would I tell my editor? I’m tanning against my will? As lame as that sounds, that reason isn’t exactly a lie. There is a high probability that my makeup will not match my face on my wedding day…but I digress.

Where was I? That’s right. Dead muse.

I am at my most focused in winter. My focus and motivation is so razor sharp I have been told people are afraid to approach me. I would like that focus back, but how?

I.

Am.

Melting.

As much as I would love to move to the Arctic right now – or even Antarctica because that is logistically closer – I can’t help but feel it will not fix the problem at hand.

If I choose to be honest with myself right now, my current writing predicament has a lot to do with mindset. I am just not at the right level of focus for revision right now and I have decided that is okay because I believe my creativity is being nurtured in other ways. More importantly, I strongly believe all my writing goals are still very possible.

Although I am not actively editing my current WIP, I see it so much more clearly. The world sparkles and scenes that I hated are rewriting themselves like a movie in my mind. Two fresh story ideas have unveiled themselves to me and I am excited for the words that will be written, revised and hopefully submitted this year.

Seasons follow a cycle and to a degree, I believe creativity follows its own seasons too. I needed my own creative heatwave to remember what it’s like to feel excited about the process again and to be reminded revision is only one of the many seasons that creates a story.

How does it work for you? Is writing seasonal?

Love and light,

Anushka xx

You know you ARE a writer when…

Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you
– Oprah Winfrey

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…buying, using, looking and  breathing in stationary puts you on a natural high.

Bliss.

So needless to say I purchased various sized post-it notes today…and pens.

*insert happy sigh*

I have never come close to running out of index cards and post-it notes before but this revision is really devouring everything I own. Which is fine because it gives me an exciting excuse to treat myself to the outdoors! As in Officeworks, not the wilderness.

I actually had quite a lot of social events to be at recently so I haven’t been a complete cave-revising-hermit…but I mustn’t get out enough if buying post-it notes was the highlight of my day!

Revision wise this week was quite delayed due to sleep exhaustion, weddings and dinner cruise munching – but today turned out to be quite productive AND fun.  Today was mainly a research day abut moon phases which sparked a desire to give myself a crash course on Jupiter’s moons, blue moons and even read a paper on what Earth would be like without a moon!

I also discovered that Russians are TEA DRINKERS! I never would have guessed and I was glad to follow up on my scribbled question – do they live off black coffee?’ I’m really glad I took the time to google that because it opened up my world to the tea culture in Russia…and boy do they have one. This makes me even more excited for my rewrite because I will subconsciously be craving tea when I write instead of coffee…which I’m trying to cut back on (again) so I’m NOT ADDICTED TO IT! I think life is too short to give up on it completely, but seriously…I need to function vice free.

I’m almost dying from exhaustion so will be heading off to bed.

Whatever hours I can salvage and make up for lost revision time this week will be tailored towards the final prep of my revision – playlists, maps, photos and happily post-it plastered index cards.

Always interested to know where everyone is in their WIP so feel free to share!

Love and Light

xx

Progress update and what I can control

Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly  — Robert Kennedy

Photo: Thinking + Doing = Reality

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Since my last posting revision has been running smoothly. Well, if you can call brain strain  ‘running smoothly.’ There are moments when I cannot believe how much more difficult revision is for me. I love the WRITING part and just getting lost in the world, but fixing that world uses a lot of brain muscles I’m not used to. This must be because I’m not naturally a plotter and I don’t actively like thinking about certain things in advance. I have no doubt that all the painstaking notes I’m making on conflicts (or lack of), redundant scenes, character arcs, plot arcs, promises and TIME (just to name a few) will help my future first drafts come out slightly more cleaner than this one. I am absolutely DYING to jump into the rewrite RIGHT NOW, but taking the time to identity and fix everything that is wrong on scene cards will definitely help me and prevent me from writing a hundred-billion revised drafts. So far I have logged 86 hours of revision on this WIP….CRAZY!!!! I haven’t even gotten to touching my actual manuscript yet and doing actual changes.  Goes to show that doing a little bit of something consistently adds up! As I’m nearing the moment when I get to cut the manuscript to shreads and do an almost 100% rewrite I am so thankful I stumbled across Holly Lisle’s HTRYN course. I would have easily butchered this first draft by jumping into line edits and not truly fixing the BIG BROKEN BITS…hence all the pre-rewrite notes (86 hours worth and counting worth). 

If everything goes smoothly (smoothly for revision – I’ve learnt now to expect the unexpected) I will be diving into my rewrite and transforming my WIP into the book I want it to be in 2 weeks…TWO WEEKS! Still a very long way to go and anything can happen, but I can almost smell the finished piece ready to be given to beta readers and then eventually submitted to agents. That’s months and months away I know, but just being able to WRITE in the near future is making me very happy.

I  realize I can’t control everything related to this process. I cannot control that I will get what I want at the end of this WIP journey… but there are some things I can control. I CAN control the amount of effort I put into my revision and rewrite, I CAN control how I prioritize my WIP in relation to other things in my life, I CAN choose not to let insecurities and mishaps relating to my WIP get me down, I CAN choose to bring a positive and healthy mindset everyday to my work, I CAN create my ideal writing space (Fresh flowers, endless supply of water and healthy snacks…chocolate when I want), I CAN reward myself for my personal victories and most importantly I CAN dare myself to just…

DO.

IT.

I woke up today feeling insecure and feeling scared about this journey of creating a book. Like HELLO, has no one ever told you this gig is hard, the likely hood of getting published is…. I’m going to stop there. I can choose NOT to let this negativity get to me. 

So to all my fellow readers, writers and friends. BE POSITIVE. Give yourself permission to just do what you LOVE. When things go into negative, insecure land remember you aren’t alone, there are other writer-creatures in their little solitary cave creating a dream. 

When you are doing what you love – you’re having fun. So get out of your head and remember that! 🙂

Love and light,

Anushka xx