Timers Give You Wings

Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living

-Soren Kierkegaard

Somewhere over the last few months I started doing 90 minute ‘Power Jams.’

During November, I discovered the thrill of the 10 minute sprint.

Timers create magic.

Magic create words.

It’s unbelievable how much you get done.

Try it.

 

Love and light,

Anushka xx

 

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NaNoWriMo

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

– Chinese Proverb

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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

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

 

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

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

NaNoCreature #6!

Finding My Creature proudly presents the wonderful Kirsten from A Scenic Route, the final NaNoCreature for 2012! So grab a coffee (or steal hers) and take a little NaNoBreak for a little inspiration.

>CREATURE PROFILE

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Name: Kirsten Bolda

Species/Sex: Winged creature of the night

Occupation: Microscopist.

Location: Wheaton, Illinois, USA        

Plotter/Pantser: Pantser! But I always know my ending, and I always have a point.

NaNo Username: Larkk (there was a two for one sale on the letter ‘k’ and I couldn’t resist!)

Genre: Fantasy mixed with Sci-Fi

Muse status: Pacing in the corner, his hands behind his back, muttering unintelligible questions in a foreign language, shaking his head about why I decided to write another story in the midst of a revision

>CREATURE INTERVIEW

1. Welcome NaNoCreature where is it that you lurk?

I can be found at ‘A Scenic Route’ where I chronicle my novel writing adventures. I also lurk in Holly Lisle’s forums, where you can find me under my handle, Larkk. Otherwise, I’m pretty quiet on the social media front. A hundred and forty characters isn’t nearly enough for my verbose Muse!

2. Is this your first time doing NaNoWriMo? 

This is my fourth NaNo. I can’t believe it myself! I won each time I played. With a word count way over 50k.

3. How did you prepare for NaNo?

I’m cheating a bit this year, because I’m writing a story I started in June but didn’t have time to give my full attention. I have forty scene cards, a nine sentence story summary, and a playlist for each day in November. I also stocked up on frozen dinners, coffee, and hot chocolate.

4. What is your NaNoNovel about in 30 words or less? 

When a disillusioned dragon-builder discovers forbidden love with one of ravaged Earth’s inhabitants, he finds that the only way to save her life is to embrace the technology he scorned. (30 words) And thank you for forcing me to do that. I had neglected it for a while.

5. What inspired you to write this story? 

I wanted to write about how love, mercy, and technology can co-exist, and how technology can make us great but also magnify evil. I wanted to explore what it means to have a soul, and the differences between our experiences of the world versus the experiences of the machines we create.

6. Do you write with music or in silence?

Music. I find it very difficult to write without it—and very easy to write with it.

7. What is your writing ritual?

I try to mix up my writing times and places because I don’t ever want to think there’s a time that I can’t write. But my favorite times to write are either early in the morning before work with a cup of coffee by my side, or late at night in bed under my electric blanket. For Nano, I might have to do both!

8. What is the most memorable piece of writing advice you have received?

“Write the book you want to read.” Toni Morrison

> CREATURE CAVE

Tell us about your writer cave in 5 words

Music, coffee, words, window … happiness.

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***

Thank you Kirsten for dropping by again* and giving me an excuse to go get another coffee every time I see your picture. I should really stop pretending to detox from coffee and just admit that the blood in my veins just won’t be complete without it.

I look forward to sharing the writing journey with you and hope to see you hanging around here in the future!

Love and light,

Anushka xx

* For those of you who missed it, you can read Kirsten’s guest post about where she get’s her stories right here.

NaNoCreature Interview #5!

Finding My Creature presents to you the lovely Jane from the United Kingdom!

>CREATURE PROFILE

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Name: Jane Ayres

Species/Sex: Female

Occupation: Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for University 3 days a week; freelance writer and fundraiser

Location: Kent, UK

Plotter/Panster: I wasn’t sure what this meant but think it’s “fly by the seat of your pants” – if so, that’s me!

NaNo username: futureme50

Genre: Thriller/suspense I think

Muse status:  Panic and tail (tale) chasing. Ha, unexpected wit on my part. 

> CREATURE INTERVIEW

1. Welcome NaNoCreature where is it that you lurk?

http://www.janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/

2. Is this your first time doing NaNoWriMo? 

Yes.  I just did my first write-in and thoroughly enjoyed it.

3. How did you prepare for NaNo? 

I didn’t.  A bit of a last minute decision.  Foolish really.

4. What is your NaNoNovel about in 30 words or less? 

A stolen horse, a lonely woman with a troubled past, her orphaned niece and the ghosts that haunt us – both real and imagined.

5. What inspired you to write this story? 

The stories of Charles Dickens

6. Do you write with music or in silence?

I find music more distracting than the TV, maybe because I am also a musician.  Silence is probably best for me.

7. What is your writing ritual?

Squeezing writing in whenever I can, ideally in 3 hour blocks.  However, I must not switch the internet on before I start otherwise I can easily distract myself for hours. 

8. What is the most memorable piece of writing advice you have received?

Write about things you feel passionate about and be passionate in your writing.  Sounds a lot easier than it is in reality. 

>CREATURE CAVE

Tell us about your writer cave in 5 words

On sofa with laptop on knee. 

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***
Thanks Jane for stopping by and letting me know about your exciting little offer! Her ebook Matty and the Racehorse Rescue will be FREE until 27 November 2012. 
 
All the royalties from the trilogy is donated to the Redwings Horse Sanctuary 🙂


Love and light,
 
Anushka xx

NaNoCreature Interview #4!

Finding My Creature proudly presents its first NaNo-Dude-Creature!

Enjoy!

>CREATURE PROFILE:

 

Name: Joe Hinojosa      

Species/Sex: Human/Male

Occupation: Searching

Location: In the desolation of Texas

Plotter/Panster: Pantser.

NaNo username: Joe Hinojosa

Genre: Literary Fiction/Religious Geared up and ready to go, although by the time November shows up it will undoubtedly falter, leaving me curled up in a fetal position crying days on end.

>CREATURE INTERVIEW

1. Welcome NaNoCreature where is it that you lurk?

I can be found in various places, on Facebook.com/joehinojosa76, on Twitter @joehino76, and on Joehinojosa.wordpress.com.

2. Is this your first time doing NaNoWriMo?

Thank you for asking. No, this is not my first NaNo, but my second. Last year, 2011, was my first and I actually won. Woot woot!

3. How did you prepare for NaNo?

Marital breakdown and divorce, getting together with a friend with whom we shared an attraction only to have it fall apart as soon as she got me to move in…the bitch. My emotions actually fuel my desire to escape which I directed towards my 2011 NaNo. This year’s preparations came from a short story I wrote that inspired me expand on the idea.
4. What is your NaNoNovel about in 30 words or less?

Eli’s infidelity causes him to lose his wife, Jasmine. When Jasmine finally moves on, Eli becomes concerned with her choice and tries to intervene  thinking to save her.
5. What inspired you to write this story?

A short story, the main difference being the Jasmine was the unfaithful person and Eli seemed to be more of a stalker. Most of the plot will remain the same, just the motivation behind Eli’s actions will change. I think the main ideas behind a lot of what write arises from the feelings of betrayal regarding my exes. I tend to write about unfaithful women, but it was becoming a bit snarky so I changed it up for the novel. I’m fascinated, almost obsessed with why someone will cheat on a decent person.
I also wanted to write about how the betrayal affected not only the spurned, but the cheater and even family and friends.. I wanted him to face the fact that he ruined the best thing he ever had with another person, and I wanted him to try to try and repair some of the damage as an act of contrition, hoping for forgiveness from her, but also hoping to forgive himself.
The bulk of the story motivation before, and trying to reconcile himself to the aftermath.
6. Do you write with music or in silence?

Silence, although sometimes I use the TV as white noise. Occasionally I will play some music to pump myself up. I also will play around mindlessly with my guitar when I’m stuck. Sometimes the act of playing music and getting my mind off of the story will allow me to invent a new complication, or how to resolve an unintended complication.
7. What is your writing ritual?

I don’t really have a ritual, per se, but I find that I do most of my writing when I should be sleeping. It also helps when I go out to a coffee shop to write. Getting together with a group of writing friends also helps get me into the writing mood.
8. What is the most memorable piece of writing advice you have received?

I’m not sure if this is good or bad, but I really haven’t received any writing advice. The only thing of significance that had aided me is discovering NaNo in the first place. I had tried several times in the past to write, but I always quit after maybe 500 words due to my insecurity. NaNo allowed me to give myself permission to try and fail. Although now that I think about it, I have been told to stop trying to edit as I write. I do that a lot.

>CREATURE CAVE

Tell us about your writer cave in 5 words

I’m kinda floating between homes.

***

Thank you Joe for stopping by and filling this out when you were under the weather! Best of luck with the remainder of NaNo,  judging by your updates you are on a role!

Love and light,

Anushka xx

Always Writing

Amanda Martin, NaNoCreature and woman behind Writer/Mummy has been kind enough to Guest Post about what it is like to write as a mother with young kids.  Thank you Amanda for taking the time to do this, I  always love reading about other people’s creative processes and challenges because it inspires me to continue on with my journey.

Enjoy. 

***

One of the challenges I face as a mostly-stay-at-home mother is that I simply cannot write everyImageday. Despite that rightly being the first piece of advice you ever get as a writer.

Write every day, even if it’s only ten minutes.

I know my writing would be better if I did, but I can’t.

I’m not going to make excuses. Yes I could find the time, between the kids going to bed and me crawling up an hour later after cooking and eating my dinner. I could write all the times I check Facebook just for adult interaction or when I sneak off to read for half an hour when the kids are decorating the decking with chalk. I could write instead of watching mind-numbing TV or vacuuming the lounge, but it doesn’t work for me.

Two reasons.

Firstly I write rubbish. As I’m not disciplined enough to do writer exercises or pen short stories, I Imageending up writing rubbish in the middle of my current work in progress. Which would be fine except I’m terrible at editing. When I come across the dead bits, where the flow stops and it reads badly, I can tell it’s awful but I don’t know how to fix it. Once I’ve written a scene down it’s hard to write it any other way. So I have to try and flow first time round.

Secondly if I take ten minutes in my day to write I find it very hard to stop. Then my children get a very grumpy mummy for the rest of the day, or they hear “in a minute!” twenty times before they give up and go scribble on the kitchen table.

So I write for two days a week, Wednesday and Thursday, when the little darlings are at nursery. I drop them off, head for the coffee shop, open my laptop, and start writing. When I’m drafting I can average 5-10,000 words a day for those two days. Provided I have the ideas ready in my head and I know where to start. And that’s when I realise that I do write every day. Because I write in my head.

ImageWhen I’m in the depths of a first draft, the story lives in my mind all the time. The characters follow me round and I worry about their problems the way I might a friend who has just told me she’s in trouble. I tap out dialogue scenes into my phone when I’m walking the dog. Something about the rhythm of walking generates a nice ebb and flow of dialogue without the distraction of punctuation or page layout. I can tap out a thousand words of predictive text on a forty-five minute walk.

I write short scenes in text messages when I’m sat up with the kids at night. I make notes when I’m lying in bed in the morning waiting for my daughter to thunder down the corridor and launch herself at me. I used to scribble on scraps of paper but I have found it safer to type text messages and load them onto my PC. Saves time and drama when I find the kids have used my scraps for their latest art project.

I’m not a planner, so when I’ve finished a scene or chapter I don’t often know what happens next. I spend my non-writing time challenging the text, working through possible solutions. Closing out loopholes, making sure everything that happens is plausible.

How could she be pregnant, she’s on the pill.

Oh but she had antibiotics.

What for?

An ear infection.

As a result of all my non-writing when I sit down to draft the words seem to flow from my subconscious directly onto the page. I have found it harder to write since I put my nursery days together so that it is less disruptive for the children, because I don’t have enough thinking time in between. Thinking, for me, is more important than doing. I read a quote somewhere that a writer is working when he is staring out the window. Absolutely.

Sometimes I find there are too many questions, some that I haven’t had enough sleep to find answers for. With the paranormal Young Adult romance, Dragon Wraiths, that I am currently working on, there were a considerable amount of sci-fi and history questions to solve during the first draft (some of which I still haven’t got straight in my head.) I spent a lot of time walking the dog asking myself questions like:

What actually constitutes Dragon Sight? How does it work? How does Leah learn how to use it? What former skills have helped her learn, to allow her character to grow.

The final thing I have discovered recently, probably to the detriment of my parenting, is that Imagereading helps. I used to see reading as the ultimate luxury, taking me away from the things I should be doing, like writing my blog, drafting or editing. This week I have re-read the entire Keys to the Kingdom series (including spending most of my birthday reading the final two books. Luxury indeed.) I am meant to be editing and the Garth Nix series is more Middle Grade than Young Adult so it isn’t even helping me focus on my WIP.

Except it is.

The main character in the Garth Nix series grows and develops. He faces some extreme challenges and copes. We go on that journey with him, willing him to succeed. I have come to appreciate that my protagonist in Dragon Wraiths doesn’t grow enough. Her journey is too short.

So even while I’m curled up on my daughter’s sofa, basking in sunlight with a steaming cup of tea by my side, buried in Lord Sunday (after waiting four years to read the last book in the Garth Nix series) I am still writing.

 

NaNoCreature Interview #3!

Finding My Creature proudly presents NaNoCreature #3 – an indie-author -Canadian-kind-of-creature!

>CREATURE PROFILE

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Name: Sara Flower

Species/Sex: Princess/Female

Occupation: Freelance writer, novelist, and full time day dreamer.

Location: Ontario, Canada

Plotter/Panster: Pantser to the core.

NaNo username: Princess Sara

Genre: Thrillers, horrors & fantasy

Muse status:  M.I.A. until dark, which is when I go for a run.

>CREATURE INTERVIEW

1. Welcome NaNoCreature, where is it that you lurk?

@Sara_flower on Twitter. My blog is here: http://saraflower.wordpress.com/

2. Is this your first time doing NaNoWriMo?

Yes.

3. How did you prepare for NaNo?

I would rather let my inspiration do the leading.

4. What is your NaNoNovel about in 30 words or less?

Mandy and Kevin are transported into a violent realm. Mandy becomes a soldier of the sadistic empire – and she wants vengeance on everyone that made high school hell for her – including Kevin.

5. What inspired you to write this story?

I’ve always had a thing for Steampunk. Combine that with reading a couple of young adult thrillers and listening to metal, this story started to form.

6. Do you write with music or in silence?

I listen to music before I write, and then write in silence.

7. What is your writing ritual?

In the early morning or evening, I listen to an inspiring song and then write until I feel drained. I go for a run or a shower and then write some more.

8. What is the most memorable piece of writing advice you have received?

“Write what you love.”

> CREATURE CAVE

Large windows symbolize limitless adventures.

***

Thank you Sara for dropping by and giving this blog a little touch of Canada, flowers and all round stylishness. I look forward to following the your writing and publishing updates!

Love and light,

Anushka xx