Declutter

I’m not crazy, it’s my characters talking to me in my head

-Ksenia Anske

Photo credit: Leah Johnston

Photo credit: Leah Johnston

Life has been crazier than normal this October. I blame the ravens that have been cluttering up my mind. As well as the unnecessary tumbleweeds taking up valuable brainpower and focus.

I spent this morning releasing the contents of my brain into a journal and it felt great to channel the fullness I have been carrying around somewhere. Strangely enough, I have so much more energy and time to catch up on everything I haven’t been able to get a handle on such as:

Blogging.

Writing.

Revising.

Beta reading.

AND cleaning the house believe it or not –  and it’s only lunchtime!

There is less than three months until the year is over and I believe we can all still make some serious headway and accomplish goals we have been working towards by taking the time to reassess and remember what they are.

Top 3 goals I want to achieve by 2013 are:

  1. Complete Dancing Peregrine Revisions
  2. Complete first draft of New_NaNo_Project
  3. Consistently workout 3 times a week.

How about you? What top three goals do you have your eyes set on?

Love and light,

Anushka xx

 

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Do Something That Makes You Feel Pretty Everyday

Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements

– Napoleon Hill

The world of writing is beautiful one.

Exquisite.

Delicious.

Exasperating.

There are days when the words flow and revision comes easy. There are also plenty of ‘those days.’ You know, the ones where housework looks like lots of fun.

Then of course, there are the days writers forget to, you know, shower.

I recently met up with a friend I haven’t seen in years. We have a habit of travelling and relocating to different countries, and it wasn’t until she had a baby we were finally able to meet. (Not that it’s stopped her from going overseas since). When I walked into the café to meet with my long-lost friend, I could not believe how amazing she looked. She didn’t have a face full of makeup or anything like that, but there was something.

We got talking and she told me the best advice she was ever given by a mother was to do something little everyday to make yourself look pretty. Feel human. That little something could be simple as wearing lipstick or changing out of your pyjamas in the morning.

This revelation immediately got me thinking about my own lifestyle. I may not be a mother, but a lot of my life is based at home. The advantage (and peril) of being your own boss AND a writer. So naturally, it is quite easy for me to look like someone who was born in a bin, fell out of a bin, or simply…is a bin. Okay, the last one didn’t make any sense but you get my drift.

Since meeting my beautiful friend I have since adjusted a few things in my life. I make it a priority to shower and get ready for the day as soon as I wake up. I never wear my pjs when I write, preferring to save that for cosy Sundays watching my favourite movies or being huddled under a blanket reading a book. The difference it has made to my mental state is incredible!

I no longer look like a hobo, or feel like one.

Now, if only I brushed my hair every now and again.

What do you do everyday to make yourself feel pretty or even the tiniest bit human?

Love and light,

Anushka xx

Calling All Creative Creatures

Hello Beautiful Creatures!

I know it’s been quiet the past week. Life has been incredibly busy and hectic – in a good way! I haven’t felt more inspired or motivated as I do now and the past week has made me realise a few things to help me keep on top of things.

  1. I need to reschedule my posts for every Wednesday and Saturday because it works better with my lifestyle and commitments
  2. I LOVE hosting creative creatures on the blog
  3. I am yet to find the perfect work/writing/life balance
  4. I am so excited by National Novel Writing Month

I didn’t want this post to take up one of the regular spots on Wednesday or Saturday so I thought I would break the rules and post early!

Finding My Creature is looking for creative creatures to GUEST POST over here to celebrate all things spring and NaNoWriMo.

EXCITING!

If you are interested in contributing, send me a pitch of your idea HERE along with a link to your blog/website.

Look forward to hearing from you!

Love and light,

Anushka xx

5 Tips for getting over Blogger’s Block

In order to write about life, first you must live it

– Ernest Hemingway

5 Tips for getting over Bloggers Block

  1. Eat chocolate Go outside and DO something that isn’t writing related
  2. Visit the top 5 blogs you absolutely love and write down what aspects about those blogs draw them to you.
  3. Free write a list of blog topics without inhibition
  4. Dedicate a block of time to organise your blog posts for the week, it really does make a difference
  5. Above all else, be true to your writer voice and embrace the wonderment that is the journey of writing

Where do your blog ideas come from?

Love and light,

Anushka xx

PS – I’m really excited to share the blog topics I have come up with, stay tuned.

Spring Reflections & Writing Goals


The best time to set up a new discipline is when the idea is strong

– Jim Rohn

In Australia, the first glimmer of spring has arrived.  The warm breeze, the feeble rays of sunshine and the appearance of flowers waiting to bloom are signs winter is leaving us behind. It feels like only yesterday I was reminiscing about what I love about the cold, and I can’t help but feel a tiny bit sad about this change.

I’m not going to lie, I am a little bit jealous of the pumpkin spice happiness most of you will be experiencing to celebrate all things fall. Okay, very jealous. It wasn’t until I lived in Vancouver did I understand this phenomenon. When Starbucks was going pumpkin spice crazy, I was a complete snob and utterly bewildered by this craze. Who on earth would want such a horrifying combination? But during a moment of homesickness and missing my mother, I purchased my first one and fell in love. I knew if she was in Vancouver with me she’d be ordering them like crazy, because pumpkin and all things spice, are probably her two most favourite things right there – her children a close third, fourth and fifth.  Reading in the rain amongst the hustle and bustle of Starbucks with a pumpkin spiced latte in hand helped me feel closer to home and those I love.

With the change of seasons I tend to reflect on the past and remember beautiful memories I didn’t realise I missed. I  also evaluate my goals and I thought it would be fun to share them here.

1.    Complete my 2nd revision and edits for Dancing Peregrine by the end of October 2014. This will mark one year since I finished my first rewrite. I can’t believe I left a big gap between revisiting it, but life had other plans and countries to explore and I wouldn’t change any of it. It has been an amazing journey of growth and dramatic changes and I have finally learned to respect the journey instead of fighting it.

2.    Write query letter and begin researching suitable agents. I have been putting this off for too long.  I’m sure I am not alone in this.

3.    Submit Dancing Peregrine by the end of the year. That said, it needs to feel ready and not rushed. I’m also going to constantly remind myself to enjoy the process.

4.    Enter NaNoWriMo! Words cannot begin to explain how badly I want to do this. The thrill of experiencing first draft mania has not been experienced in a long time (2.5 years?). Regardless of whether Dancing Peregrine is completed or not, I will be doing this. I need a new story and a new world. Another creative spark needs to be ignited.

Even though I don’t get to experience pumpkin spiced lattes, maybe I’m feeling a little bit excited by what the rest of the year has in store for me creatively.

What are your goals for the changing of the season?

Love and light,

Anushka xx

GUEST POST: What About All That Platform Stuff?

What about all that platform stuff?

By Devin Berglund

One of the big questions authors ask about expanding their platform… is… how do you expand your platform? Haha… crazy, right? Have you ever asked yourself this question before? If so, I have some helpful tips for you.

Blog House Keeping

In order to have people spend time on your blog you have to make sure people would enjoy spending time on your blog. Check out some blogs that you really like and see what they are doing right.

I’m sure you know of the blogs out there that are made up of few pictures, unreadable font, and colors that scream cheap. Well, that is something we don’t want. Oh, I forgot to mention the blogs that start playing cheesy music as soon as you enter them – that’s one thing that drives me crazy!

House Keeping Homework:

1.) Make sure it’s easy to maneuver around your blog. If it’s hard for you, it will be hard for your readers.

2.) Set a subscription box up for your readers so you can collect emails. (feedburner)

3.) Free vs Self Hosted – I recently switched from the free WordPress to a self-hosted WordPress account (.coms are important.)

4.) When people comment on your blog, be sure to respond.

5.) Publish posts consistently. (And if you are a fiction writer be sure to share your stories. Start writing some short stories to share with your blog readers.)

Stretch Your Blogging Wings

Yep, I just said that.

Haha… but for real. You need to take a little trip out from your blog to find other bloggers who write about things you enjoy as well. How are other bloggers going to find you, if you don’t? And make sure to comment. Form a relationship with them (The blogger will most definitely comment back and will probably check your blog out too.) That’s what platforms are all about. Relationships.

Stretch Your Blogging Wings Homework:

1.) Be sure to post on your social networks. (When on twitter be sure to use the hash tags.)

2.) Take part in writer’s/blogger’s workshops. The more you learn the better.

3.) Share your readers – guest post on people’s blogs. (Make sure you know how to do it professionally. I once had a writer contact me saying they were a freelance writer and were wondering if I accepted guest posts or features. I was thinking “Sure” until I read that she charged so much. That was a huge turnoff to me as a blogger. I am sure many bloggers are put off from that.)

4.) Have a call for submissions – Send a line out that you are looking for submissions (guest bloggers). When I went on vacation, I wasn’t going to be near the computer much so I had a call for submissions and set most of the posts up to publish before I went on vacation. It keeps your blog from going dry, while also introducing other writers to your readers. This goes back to relationships. You can also ask a blogging friend you respect, to guest post. Ask them. I am sure they’d love to.

How about you? What are some things you’ve found helpful for platform building?

Devin BerglundI am a writer, dreamer, wanderer & all-time enjoyer of life. I love crafting stories that change lives. I recently finished my first book The Mason of Hearts. It is the first in a Fantasy Adventure trilogy. I am also working toward agent representation. 

www.devinberglund.com

Writing to silence

“Silence is more musical than any song.”

— Christina Georgina Rossetti

Somewhere along the way on my writing journey, the music disappeared.

Did it get stolen?

No.

It simply ceased to be.

Writing to silence is a beautiful thing. I hear everything, yet nothing at the same time.

Every story has a different process and this one is silence. I respect that now, after all this time. For so long I wanted to be the writer with the cool playlists, filled with inspirational songs and artists. But I realise now, it wasn’t to be.

This story is silence, like snow.

The world I explore is abandoned and cursed. The heroine, alone and lost.

There are secrets and blood.

A forgotten past.

Music disappeared from the story, because there is so much within the silence that can be heard.

Screams, tears and the missing links.

…I believe my muse has been trying to tell me this all along.

I am beginning to fall in love with my WIP once again. The second round of revision feels different, more precise and closer to almost there. I am ruthless with my cutting and rewrites – and feel empowered – because I am a different writer. One who will sacrifice anything to make sure the characters can be heard.

It isn’t easy to delete chapters or a beautiful character…but in the silence, I heard the final whispers of the story.

Have there been moments when the misty pieces began to reveal itself to you?

Love and light,

Anushka xx

When you don’t believe in fairies…

“…there’s a little fairy somewhere that falls down dead.”

– Peter Pan

I love turning pages, both electronic and real. Devouring words and being captured by a story is essential to my mind like breathing is to the body. So you can imagine the impact it had when one of my friends happened to utter the following words upon seeing me hold an actual, real-life  book in my hands.

“You still buy them? I just download books now.”

…I’m pretty sure a writer just died.

The resulting conversation got me thinking about people’s perception on ebooks.

A) Do they realise how affordable an ebook is?

B) Do they understand the detrimental impact lack of purchase has on an author’s career?

C) Do they simply not care?

I personally, will never ever illegally download a book. There are so many options available, ranging from libraries and book stores to online book sellers like Book Depository and hello…Amazon, just to name a few. Did I mention how affordable ebooks are? Knowing all this leaves me quite baffled that there are people out there who torrent books without giving the creator of the work a second thought.

You may now all picture poor writers living in a shoe.

This got me thinking more deeply about my own relationship with ebooks. When E-readers first came out, never in my wildest imagination did I imagine myself owning such a horrific creation…let alone two. Well, three if you count my phone. It wasn’t until I moved to Vancouver to go to acting school did I finally embrace the concept of a e-reader. I was happy to buy all the books to my hearts content, but they were expensive and the thought of leaving them behind when I moved back home to Australia broke my heart. (Remember, we are talking about a poor acting student here, and yes, the library became my friend). Naturally, owning a kindle became the next logical step for me. Not only were there free classics to download from Amazon, I was also able to lose myself in endless stories while not becoming destitute in the process.

Those are the positives. Unfortunately, I also happen to have a few major pet peeves when it comes to ebooks.

These are:

1) Purchasing an ebook that is more expensive than buying the paperback/hardback

The first time I encountered this phenomenon, I was dying to get my hands on the next book of a series. To my disgust, it was grossly overpriced – around the 12 dollars mark if I recall correctly*. I’m ashamed to say I did grit my teeth and buy it, but only because I was living in a small country town and the chances of my local bookshop having it in stock was slim. Plus, I wanted it right this second. I understand that some authors can command this kind of price or above, but when Game of Thrones is going for less than ten dollars it puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

* I am more than happy to pay $12 and above for a book, my problems with pricing is solely with ebooks. I don’t want to feel like I am being taken advantaged of by a money hungry conglomerate.

2) Purchasing an ebook that is one dollar less than the hardback

Please, no explanation needed.

3)When an unknown published/self-published author charges a crazy amount for an ebook

I have purchased ebooks by unfamiliar authors no matter the price, because I am Team Writer all the way. But when I read a badly edited novel, deep down I can’t help but think that my time, or money, is not being respected. I believe the quality of the story is important, as well as creating a positive relationship with your reader. The reality of the current ebook market is that it’s saturated by novels that barely pass first draft quality. Don’t be that person, and don’t charge an exorbitant amount if you are that person.

4) When ebooks aren’t available. 

I have lost count of the times I have wanted to purchase an ebook only to discover it’s not available anywhere. This wouldn’t be a problem if actual bookstores weren’t going extinct left, right and centre and if one is patient enough to actually wait for a book to arrive in the mail. I’m not that person.

So the question remains, what can we as writers do?

Yes, we can bemoan the lack of respect toward our art and voodoo all those who dare illegally download a book, but there is serious misinformation and ignorance here. The reason my friend downloads books (another writer just died) is because he has ‘no money.’ Which I respect completely, but not everyone knows an ebook can be the price of a coffee. We can’t force others to love books the way we do and to support the author behind the work just because we understand the next contract depends on numbers.

No blog post can solve the dilemma of ebook piracy and the topic itself is quite complex and multifaceted. However, I believe there is something, we as writers can do. We need to be better prepared to survive in this industry by making ourselves accessible.  The writers I love the most are the ones who blog regularly, tweet, Facebook and even Instagram. I follow indie authors who are giving their ebooks away for FREE on their site while sharing their writing process with followers. I think it’s beautiful and reminds us again why we all write stories in the first place.

…To connect with readers.

When people feel connected to the writer behind the words, more often than not, we genuinely want to support them.

A writer is saved by buying a book.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, so please feel free to share.

Love and light,

Anushka xx

Imaginary Bookshelves

“The truth.” Dumbledore sighed.“It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.” 

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone

Hello lovely creatures, just letting you know I have ventured into the world of Goodreads. It’s such a wonderful way to keep track of all the books I want to read and an even better way to keep track of the books I have read and forgotten about. Would love to connect with those who have it, because there is nothing I like more than peeking into bookshelves, even virtual ones.

The downside to Goodreads is that it may, or may not double up, as a procrastination outlet. Of course one discovers these gems when submerged in the depths of revision and deadlines. Timed sessions it is.

To give you a bit of an update about what is happening around here, I will be posting regularly every Monday and Thursday. Blogging has been a great outlet to help connect me with many wonderful people and also doubles up as a fun side-project away from the WIP. So expect to see more creature presence around here as well as guest posts and interviews with inspiring creative artists.

Feel free to share your Goodreads username/link in the comments. If you are reading anything that is taking your breath away let me know, because I am always searching for those stories with the power to haunt a soul well after the last page has been turned.

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