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

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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

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

 

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

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

Progress Update Scene 18 – 23

Fiction is a lie, and good fiction is the truth inside the lie.

― Stephen King

dew soaked dandelion

Inspiration 

I introduce to you a whole bunch of mini updates. Enjoy 🙂

Scene 18

This scene was a completely surprise. Nothing at all like I imagined it and wasn’t in the outline I had drafted when I started this block revision. It marked a point when a friendship between two characters blossomed and I ended this scene with a happy sigh and feeling far less deranged. The last comment may seem odd, but Scene #17 really did test me.

I already see myself going back and changing a few things but the solid foundation is there, which is rare since a majority of this second revision is a complete rewrite sprinkled with first draft gold. Or should I say…lightly dusted?

1741 unexpected and delightful words.

Scene 19

I got my revision mojo back in this scene after taking a few days break. I stopped just where things got really, really  good so I would be excited to jump straight into things the next day!

1779 words

Scene 20: I learned something completely unexpected about an important character in this scene and I was so grateful to know that the muse was back on board. You know those exciting little sparks? I decided to follow what I did the previous day and just stop. I was ready to power through the next scene but I just wanted to prolong and generate that moment of excitement just a tad bit more.

1522 words.

Scene 21, 22, 23

Three scenes in one day! All in short bursts. How was this even achieved? I actually hauled my sorry butt to the gym at 7am and my mind and body connected in this amazing way and I felt I found the missing piece. I have been putting my gym routine aside and all the benefits it had on my muse slowly unraveled and disappeared. Note to self: Be active, be healthy – preferably in the early morning! I recently re-read all these scenes just to double and triple check I did not just regurgitate complete and utter rubbish and found myself wanting to read more. I feel like I got a handle on the pacing and my WIP once again after hitting a bit of muddled chaos.

2118,  400 and 1045 respectively.

This week’s goal is 7 scenes. It’s also a big week for me because I am returning to work after taking a glorious few months off between relocating countries (again) to get this revision back on track. On top of that I have a long-lost cousin staying with us for a few weeks and will be showing her around but the fire to revise is back once again and I know that I will make the time to get things firing on the revision front of this roller coaster journey.

Where on the roller coaster are you currently on?

Love and light,

Anushka xx

Writing and Olympics!

First of all, the opening ceremony – how good was that? Acknowledging great literary talent! I feel that sometimes people forget about the writer/s behind the world and behind the magic. Think of all those Oscar winners who fail to mention the actual author of the book the film was based on. Makes me fume every time. Like hello, there will be NO AWARD and you would not be where you are professionally if there wasn’t a writer who chose to live in the cave for a couple of years years give or take.

On a different not, what an incredible year for women too. Every country this year had female representatives! Incredible. It does not solve the whole gender divide ‘thing’ which bothers me (I won’t go into great detail right now) but it is still nonetheless a great achievement and it made my little heart smile. It also made me question how much I do in my own life to grow as a woman and take advantage about the freedoms available to me.

Which brings me to writing. To achieve what I want to achieve as a writer I need to have the razor sharp focus I saw gleaming in the eyes of the athletes representing their country. Therefore I vow to have seven scenes revised/rewritten by the end of this week which will officially bring me to the half way point of this WIP. From now on I promise to bounce back from setbacks and trips to writer hell faster and most of I want to get back to blogging regularly once again. After I catch up on my progress update I will go back to my mini updates because they were much more manageable and motivated me to get the grueling scenes done.

What are your Olympic writing goals/ training schedule ?

Love and Light,

Anushka xx

Related Links

Kristen’s eye-opening Schedule – Wednesday is Spaghetti Night  

 

 

1 Year Blog Anniversary

The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.
– Oprah Winfrey

balloons balloons balloons

Image

I was living in Vancouver when Finding My Creature was created. I had just moved to Canada and was losing track of the reason I had moved there in the first place –  to discover myself creatively and grow as an artist. Fast forward a year and different country later  that desire has not changed, in fact the urge to enrich my life creatively has grown stronger.

During the past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about this blog. It still feels right. I was worried that I had chosen the wrong name and I was not branding myself correctly as a writer but the journey of finding my creature continues. I have been lucky and so blessed to have connected with many amazing writers and share your writing journey with you. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one living in a writing/revision cave.

Speaking of that cave I took a mini vacation from it. Not a long one, just a few days. It was nice to be less connected to technology and I think that was one of the contributing factors to why my mind was feeling sluggish and irritable. It made realize that a healthy and happy muse is dependent on a healthy and happy you! So from now on I’m prioritizing the outdoors for my own sanity!

I have my revision mojo-back so my scene updates are coming in case anyone was wondering what had happened to them. I think I’ll post them at the end of each week so I can share other content on this blog to.

Until then, HAPPY MONDAY everyone (Well to those who live in the future)

Love and light,

Anushka xx

My trip to Writer Hell – Scene #17

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer

– Albert Einstein

Monster jars

Scene #17 Inspiration

So. I’m alive. It’s been a while since my last scene update and I was truly beginning to wonder if I would actually live long enough to fix this scene.  I’m sure as writers  we can all relate to that scene. You know the one that makes you contemplate banging your head against a brick wall so you did not have to be stuck working on that scene. In fact, cleaning also seems strangely enticing when faced with that scene. If you look through the twitter hash tag #writerhell you can find lots of related references to that scene.

Deep breath.

Despite being stranded in my own version of writer hell I managed to refrain from viciously barking at anyone who dared approach my lair. Apparently writers get temperamental and at times downright scary towards loved ones and stray children when something is not going according to plan? Clearly I would never…okay, maybe. Lets not go there.

What I’m trying to say is…I tried everything short of selling my firstborn to the devil to get this scene right. I drew maps, word graphs, I changed writing locations, wrote longhand, typed frantically with a timer, deleted everything and started over (times 8), meditated, napped, pulled out the big guns (instant coffee), searched for visual prompts, wrote to music, wrote in silence, procrastinated, seriously contemplated selling my first born to the devil and may have even cried a little bit. It’s all part of the journey right?

3370 word.

How do you cope in writer hell?

Love and light,

Anushka xx

Scene #16 Done

The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it

– James Bryce

Animal in disguise?

World & Character Inspiration

Just a quick post!

UPDATE: I just re-read the whole post and it’s more along the lines of a quick-ish post

1436 Words.

I was happy with how the scene turned out, but I need to revisit my outline and see how solid the next few scenes are and if they are right for the story I have in mind. I have that voice in the back of my head that is telling me something is not quite right. I have learnt from experience – do not ignore that voice! Know of the one? It tortured me only last month.

Also, I read a great book today by Kristen Lamb called Are you There Blog? It’s Me, Writer.  It was definitely a mind opener to me for three main reasons.

  1. It reminded me how much I LOVE to read. I struggle reading works in my own genre when deep into my own writing process (YA, paranormal fantasy) – but others? Absolutely! Why did I not think of this sooner? In moderation Anushka, in moderation…you have to finish your WIP don’t you?
  2. Platforms. The social media kind, not the kind you jump off when you see an oncoming train kind.Have I been using them to my full potential or have I been hiding behind them? As I glance through my website I do not see my name anywhere visible. I guess I should just publish my works under Finding My Creature then?
  3. Being a writer and social media go hand in hand, you are you brand. I always knew this…I just thought I could put it off until later, like the gym – or think ‘seriously’ about it once I reach a milestone.

I’m curious to know your thoughts are on social media. Have you been using it to connect with others under a pen name, your own name…no name? Have you been putting it off until you land an agent/book deal? Do you actively think about the brand you are portraying?

Food for thought. But now I need sleep.

Love and light,

Anushka xx