A New Chapter

Hello Beautiful Creatures,

Connecting with Nature by Anushka Dhanapala

Connecting with Nature by Anushka Dhanapala

Just a quick post to let you all know that I have moved over to my new website http://www.anushkadhanapala.com I’m looking forward to getting into my blogging grove and seeing where this new space might lead.

I’m still in the process of perfecting it. But lets be honest, there is no such thing as perfection. At least in my world.

Finding my Creature still sings to my soul and you will see a lot of elements of it in my new online time capsule. As for my old space, I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets revamped and reshaped into a something new. You never know where the magic of finding ones creature will lead.

Please come and say hi. I look forward to hearing about your journey and discovering new blogs along the way.

Love and light,

Anushka xx

Advertisements

A Lovely Goodbye

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.
– William Faulkner

Image: She's Like The Wind

Image: She’s Like The Wind

2014.

When I reflect back on the year that has been, I am surprised by how much 2014 has meant to me. Sometimes it takes coming out the other end of a long and endless tunnel to truly understand the value of the lessons that come disguised as life experience.
At times, 2014 was frustrating, busy, creatively stunting and chaotic. At others times, it instilled a burning desire to do more, be more and feel more. It was the year that really tested me and who I wanted to become as a person.

Compared to previous years I found myself blogging less and feeling creatively depleted. I found myself overwhelmed by how much I wanted to accomplish and achieve, and in turn, lost the drive and razor-sharp focus I needed in order to execute everything to the best of my abilities. I was restless, confused and inundated with so many obligations I felt stuck.

Luckily, I was once again introduced to the outer boundary of my comfort zone – where mediocre and magic collide. It was thrilling and terrifying. I connected with the missing piece- my unfailing desire to throw myself headfirst into the unknown and know I could fly. Once I took that step, a spark ignited within.

Sometimes it takes being honest with yourself and where you are in the moment to get the creative juices and zest for life flowing. I played team sport voluntarily for the first time ever, made new friends, ran my first 10k in less than hour, conquered my fear of heights in an obstacle race with friends, read close to 100 books, became the healthiest I’ve ever been, found clarity in my vision for my business and fell back in love with the world of Dancing Peregrine. It’s almost that I needed to lose my passion to truly appreciate the joy and value that comes with it.

I credit Elise Joy’s creative podcast On Focus, and what to do when you have “too many ideas.” It really helped me whittle down all my ideas and rediscover, that not all ideas are equal or give me great joy. Once I realised this and saw it clear as day on pen and paper…the heaviness I had been feeling lifted. I had been prioritising the wrong things.

It feels liberating!

So what did I discover?

  1. I need to write. It’s a compulsion. I must finish my revision for Dancing Peregrine because it matters to me so much words cannot even explain. I will not put my writing on the back burner because this is important.
  2. Blogging. I LOVE it. I want to do more, I want to connect with fellow creative creatures and follow their journeys too. I’m in the process of moving my blog to a new domain. So keep at eye out for that change in the New Year. This transition has already given me a creative lease.
  3. Running. I don’t know how this happened, considering I actually hated it until I discovered the thrill of running outdoors. I want to make this a part of my lifestyle and do a half marathon next year. I need to do this because it will push me in a way I have never dared to physically before. Plus, I’m craving this challenge.

So that’s where I am right now in this moment.

I look forward to seeing you in my new space and sharing the crazy journey that is creating stories.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas,

Love and Light,

Anushka xx

NaNoWriMo

If you work at it hard enough, you can grind an iron rod into a needle

– Chinese Proverb

Image

Day 1: NaNoWriMo

 

It’s DAY TWO of NaNoWriMo in Australia. The sun is shining, the air feels  like spring and I am aware that many of you have easy access to spice pumpkin lattes going into fall – and I don’t.

I will be documenting my writing space in photographs on instagram everyday. At the moment the desk isn’t too cluttered,  but I  already spy accumulating cups of tea from the corner of my eye. Once I pull out my Dancing Peregrine edits, there is no saving this space!  If anyone else would like to join me in documenting the process in pictures, let me know, and I’ll have a sneak peak during the obligatory procrastination session.

So what did I do in preparation for NaNoWriMo?

*insert guilty panster silence here*

That said, I did have a beautiful spark for an idea which has captured my sweet black heart involving cyborgs, assassins and pirates. I am quite curious and excited to see where this NaNo adventure takes me since it is very different from my current WIP which is about all things haunted, ballerinas and dark magic. Love.

I have found Pinterest to be a great inspiration tool in my outlining  ‘pretend plotting’ stage. Before every session I open up the boards, drink in the visual essence and seeds of inspiration  and dive straight in. I know the plotters out there are cringing a little bit, but I know the magic happens in the revision stages for me.

For those of you doing NaNo, my username is findingmycreature. Would love to connect with you there too  – always exciting to see everyone’s progress – especially since it’s easy to forget real people actually exist outside of your head.

What did you do to prepare for NaNo?

Love and light,

Anushka xx

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

Revising on the Road

Leah Johnson Photography

Leah Johnson Photography

 

The exquisite Devin Berglund was kind enough to host my gypsy self on her blog. If you’ve been wondering where this creature has disappeared to…again….check out the link below!

Revising on the Road

Love and light,

Anushka xx

Breaking Routine

When I see beautiful places,the stories start talking…

Taking in the tea trails, Sri Lanka

Taking in the tea trails, Sri Lanka

Routine is a wonderful thing, but breaking routine is absolutely delightful.

I haven’t been working on my WIP last month and it felt surprisingly fantastic. Instead, I went travelling around beautiful and isolated parts of Sri Lanka last month and it got me thinking about the concept of breaking routine and how it related to my own writing process.

Writing if you aren’t careful can drain and leech everything you have. For a while that’s how my writing life felt to me and then I realized something during my month of uninhibited exploring – One MUST fill the creative well. Not just for the sake of your ‘art’ but for you. In my case, the act of simply sitting at my desk and working through my revision edits was just not enough to fuel me to the end.

Was I still excited about my story?

Yes.

Could I work on it?

No.

I felt like I was dying from exhaustion and my muse needed CPR. Something needed to change if I wanted to see this WIP complete.

So I broke routine.

_MG_9568

Such beautiful color ..

I took up photography and saw life through a different lens.

I wrote poetry and stretched my mind to see words differently.

I bonded with beautiful people despite the language barrier.

All in all, I was filling my body and soul with good things.

Falling in love with this sari a little bit

Falling in love with this sari a little bit

Travelling is a great passion of mine and every trip I learn something new about myself and the world. I was born in Sri Lanka, and despite visiting previously, this is the first time I left the country with a strong connection to my own sense of identity. For the first time in my life I saw the way a sari draped around a woman’s body absolutely beautiful! Here I was spending my youth avoiding looking ‘ethERnic’ at all cost. What was wrong with me?

You don’t need to go overseas to break routine to fill the well and nourish yourself – but you do need to be exposed to new things.

It is so easy to get caught up  in a routine that stunts growth – so if you take anything from this post I hope you find a way to break routine a little bit every day. It doesn’t matter if you work or if you study or if you are based at home – there is something you can do to shake things up a bit and experience something new.

Although the world is getting smaller, there is just so many things to see!

Just go outside your front door 🙂

How do you break routine a little bit everyday?

Love and light,

Anushka xx

My Writing Space

image

My creative messy space

It may not be your day, but it can still be your year – Unknown

Just a quick post. There have been a few distraction over the last week which has made me reflect on what is important to me. I vowed to be more selfish with my time so I can achieve the goals I want to achieve and grow into the writer I hope to be.

I want my life to be filled with inspiring people and I want to look back on this year and be proud of the work I have done.

I hope all of you have a wonderful and productive start to the week!

Love and Light,

Anushka xx

image

A writing related art project I’ll post about later in the week

image

I love the smell of fresh flowers in my office ❤

My Writing Space


Paper can cut deeper than a knife, because a story can gut you through and through, until you’re forced to be reborn

– Kesenia Anske

image

 

I have been falling into a revision routine once again which feels great! I have been so absorbed in my work I didn’t even realise today was Monday! I don’t work Monday’s so that’s okay, but it does mean I forgot about my segment Finding My Creature in Images. If I get a chance I’ll post it today or tomorrow, if not…I’ll make sure next week is extra exciting!

I changed my location today because my lounge room is the only room with a heater (got to love little old houses with character). It’s been raining outside – finally – so all I wanted was to be snuggled up somewhere warm while I got lost in the dark, haunting world in my head.

It’s nice feeling like I”m making progress again, no matter how small. also, a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has been so supportive during this journey, it means a lot!

🙂

Love and light,

Anushka xx

 

 

 

Is Writing Seasonal?

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

– (Ecclesiastes 3:1) 

Image

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

2013 Writing Goals: Designing Life With Words

People with goals succeed, because they know where they’re going

-Earl Nightingale

Image

Twenty12  easily was the most productive writing year I have  ever had, with most of that hard earned magic happened during the second half of the year (first half was all about surviving the incredible experience that is acting school). I have a good feeling  Twenty13 will be just as productive, if not more! Imagine what one can accomplish when they use the entire year from the start?

I am a big believer in goal setting, I’m not going to lie…more often that not my goals are really ambitious and don’t take into account the other things I to do in life. When I’m on a roll creatively I also have the tendency to throw the whole healthy concept of Balance out the window. Something I hope to avoid this year.

So this year I’m tweaking the way I set goals for the year. I have separated them into compartments such as writing, travel and health and gone a step further and broken those big goals down into mini goals month-by-month. Some months are flexible and not set in stone ( hello, I’m a panster! I can barely plot the first 5 scenes of a book let alone goal set for 12 months!). It’s refreshing and comforting to see how my year will be made up, especially in regards to my writing pursuits, without feeling the need to cram everything into a month and have everything done now, now, now.

Below, I have shared my overall writing goals and my month target for January.

2013   writing goals

–         Complete edits of current WIP Dancing Peregrine

–         Outline Peregrine Series (Quartet)

–         3 First Drafts

i)      Peregrine_Book2

ii)     Project_Circus

iii)     Untitled – something fresh, new and exciting!

–         2 Revised Novels (not including current WIP)

i)      Peregrine_Book2

ii)    Project_Circus

–         Complete Editing & Proofreading  Course (via correspondence)

–         Read 24 Novels 

JANUARY GOALS

1. Proofreading and Editing Book 1 and assignment

2. Part 1 & Part 2 Edits: Dancing Peregrine

***

Part of me is excited and slightly mortified that I will be putting myself through TWO revisions this year (not including the one I’m currently on). But as my writing improves with every draft, I live in the hopes that editing will become a skill (not a chore) I improve with over time and practice. I’m actually groaning right now, but hey, positive thinking never hurts anyone right?

I love hearing about what motivates everyone so feel free to share what Twenty13 has in store for you. You are also welcome to share a link back to your blog in the comments if you have done so already 🙂

Love and light,

Anushka xx