A Week in the Life of a Writer

I want to try something different. A sort of stream-of-consciousness thing. Mental notes from a writer in the process of the first draft of a novel.

This might be a huge mess. But I’ve had a couple of new followers lately, so I thought I should do something to let you guys into my world.

It’s Friday, January 25th. I’m at the end of a stressful week.

I’m a freelance writer by day, so I’m pretty much writing every minute I’m awake. This week, I worked harder and made less money than I have in a while, which is always fun. That’s the way it goes, sometimes. Freelancing is a hunt, and on a hunt, you don’t always end up with a meal.

The novel is going well. It doesn’t have a name yet. I keep getting an instinct to hold off. This book is a rewrite of a story I started years ago, but many of the scenes are new. Piecing it all together has been hard. I’ve been working on it since I got back from Bali. It’s almost twice the length of BEYOND MY DYING MIND, which I guess gives it full “novel” status as of now. I prefer to write novellas, so we’ll see how much this one changes as it develops.

It’s Saturday now. January 26th. I was determined for this to be a mental-health day. I’ve been struggling with the negative mindset lately. I think it’s work stress. But today was a good day. I meditated, exercised, and went for a long drive. It was nice, despite that my car is old, lacking a radio, and always causing me a low level of terror that it might break down at any time. The grass was bright green in the fields after all the rain we’ve had. California is so beautiful.

The lock is broken on the driver’s side door of my car, so I maneuver in through the passenger seat. I like the challenge.

More meditation tomorrow. More writing tonight.

It’s 1:51 a.m. on and Sunday, January 27th, and I’ve completed my first draft!

I’m so relieved I can move ahead with my normal rewriting process now. The first draft is the hardest part, and none of the magic even begins to happen until somewhere in rewrite four, usually. I’m getting there.

I’ve been staying away from social media lately. I needed a detox. Although, I’m still looking at Instagram, but my feed there is mostly yoga routines and pictures of the Alps. Maybe I should stop scrolling there, too.

The thing about stepping away from this stuff is you create silence in your life, and then you realize how loud everything was before. You get used to this new level of peace, and it becomes harder to reintegrate. But maybe reintegration isn’t what I want. Maybe I need to walk through a silent world until I find something new.

I meditated today.

I get into the headspace faster now. Some days are easier than others, but no matter how “well it goes”, it always does me good. I sometimes convince myself I’m too busy, which is stupid. I stopped meditating for a few weeks due to work stress and feeling overwhelmed, and it was such a mistake. I felt myself begin to revert to the negative, depressed person I used to be as the days went by.

I commit to meditation. Exercise is so important too. I did two workouts today.

And now for another thing that keeps me sane: writing. Second draft. Here goes nothing.

It’s Monday, January 28th, and I’m hard at work on rewrite two. I’m putting heart into this story, weaving memories with fiction. I’ve never wanted to share too many of my real-life paranormal stories with the world. It feels too personal. Being able to explain aspects of my experiences through fiction is a pretty amazing gift.

I have a dream of becoming multilingual and being able to write books in different languages. I’m trying to learn Spanish right now, which I’ve failed a few times in the past. The way teachers showed us in school just didn’t stick in my brain for some reason. I’ve been using a language app to study and it seems a bit better of a method. We’ll see. If this goes well, I’d like to also learn Chinese and German one day.

Well, I’m off to clean, light some black sage, cook dinner, and relax for sleep.

It’s Tuesday, January 29th, and I just finished watching episode one of the new True Detective. So very into it.

Work is going okay. I’m all caught up as of now. This job is such a crazy cycle of trying to catch up and then immediately being desperate to find work again.

I’m back to working on rewrite two. I’m 32 pages in, and it’s mostly small changes so far.

It’s Wednesday, January 30th. It was a depressing day. Low energy. I took time off work. I wanted to get my taxes done, but I gave up halfway through because it was too overwhelming. I’m going to set that aside for a while, I think.

I’m feeling low today, so I won’t write too much. There’s a lot I could say, but I’m not a big fan of “venting”. I’ve never gone on a rant and then felt better afterwards.

I get to write about immunity within the federal court system tomorrow. Woo!

It’s Thursday, January 31st, and it’s a better day than yesterday. It’s been a rollercoaster lately.

It’s Friday, February 1st, and I’m back down again. See what I mean?

I’ve completed one week of this journaling experiment. It’s a tough day. I couldn’t work due to fatigue and not feeling well. It happens. The thing about using your creative power to make money is it’s not always there. If I become too drained and out of balance, I get writer’s block and can’t work. I’m working on this whole, embrace imperfection, go-with-the-flow thing. It’s the hardest thing to post this (or any) blog because I have so many worries over perfection. But I guess I’ll do it anyway.

So, that’s it for my week of daily blogs. I plan on continuing to rewrite the book throughout February and March, and maybe by April or May, it can be with beta readers while I focus on getting out into nature and enjoying the springtime. I want balance in my life this year. I don’t want to miss out on so much because I’m always working. Going to Bali was a good start, but I need more.

Be sure to check out BEYOND MY DYING MIND on Amazon, and stay tuned for more news about my next book!

I Went to Bali, and Things Got Weird

It feels like five years have passed since I sat down and filmed my “Happy 2018” video on Youtube, which has now been deleted along with most of my other content. I can’t believe it was this year I published BEYOND MY DYING MIND. Time is a strange thing.

Changing Course

I never could get comfortable creating Youtube content, so when Youtube rejected me from the Partner Program a few months ago, it was the final sign I needed to change direction. Although I enjoy being on camera and editing videos, I don’t like talking about myself. At least, not enough to maintain regularly scheduled programming about my life. I like doing other types of content that aren’t focused on me, but having to come up with ideas for my books, two Youtube channels, and all the articles I write for my day job was stretching me too thin. Something had to give. 

If you’re subscribed to me, hopefully you’ll stay subscribed. The Youtube dream might be dead, but I still enjoy making the occasional video, like the recent film I made using clips from my trip to Bali (and a layover in China). 

For now, my main focus is back on writing books. I’m 35k words into a draft at the moment. It’s another afterlife fantasy, this one with lots of supernatural elements. I’ve been tinkering with it since 2012, and I’m not sure how it’s going to end up, but that’s part of the fun.

Going Far

This year, I was determined to get out and do more. I spent a month in Bali, and it was one of the weirdest experiences of my life. What a strange and magical place with many powerful energies at play. I faced a new, difficult challenge daily, something I hadn’t been expecting from such a blissful-looking location. I didn’t get a relaxing holiday, but I did get one perspective-shifting moment after another. Through the conscious abandonment every crutch, I had set myself up to suffer, but it was the best kind of suffering. The kind that takes you deep within and helps make you a better you. 

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I was going through all this alone, which made it harder. I’ve traveled enough to know that some trips, you make a bunch of friends, and some, you end up mostly solo. Bali was the latter sort of trip. Despite being surrounded by fellow yoga enthusiasts and healthy eaters, I didn’t really click with anyone I met. I did have some nice conversations, however. A few times, due to various challenging circumstances, I was forced to surrender control and be vulnerable in front of strangers, and I was grateful for the kindness I received. Along with most travelers who come to Bali, the Balinese people are chill and nice to be around. I’m thankful for how everyone treated me while I was there.

There were also the times I can always count on, plentiful or sparse as they may be. The moments you’ll always remember. Every trip has them, and Bali was no exception. Like the night I shared my fish dinner with that hungry cat, or the evening of the rainstorm, when that beautiful release of pressure normalized my inflamed system, and I sat there watching a waterfall pouring over my balcony. All those mornings when I’d wake with the rising sun to watch monkeys scampering over the rooftops and collecting fruit from the trees in the garden. The day I arrived in Amed, found that ancient tree on the beach, and sat on its thick roots, surrounded by a graveyard of washed-up coral. From there, I watched the wild dogs play near the crashing waves, red flower petals fluttering down from the branches above. I remembered: This is why I travel. 

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Going Further

In 2019, I’m entering new territory. A lot changed this year, and I have higher standards for myself now. It’s going to take work to live up to them, but I’m no longer limited by the idea that my wildest dreams are unrealistic. Not when so many of them are already coming true. 

A tall mountain is high, and there’s no shortcut to the peak. In 2019, I plan to keep climbing. I want a thriving career. I want to be strong, flexible, and amazing at yoga. I want financial freedom. I want to create a comfortable home where I can offer warmth and safety to others. I want love. More than anything, I want my stories to touch someone out there. I already have accomplished some of these things, but I take nothing for granted. Success is not final, and failure is never the end. It’s like plank poses in yoga. You hold ground with every trembling, burning part of you. You accept the work.

I wish everyone reading this a happy holiday season! What are your plans for 2019? Will you be traveling anywhere? Are you in the process of climbing your own tall mountain? I hope amazing things are coming for you. 

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BEYOND MY DYING MIND just 99 cents on Kindle and FREE on Kindle Unlimited! Check it out and please leave a review to help a new author! 

Blog Revival: Changing too Fast to Keep Up

Hello everyone. First of all, major thanks to the lovely Devon J. Hall, who designed my beautiful and mysterious-looking new banner, which I could stare at forever! 🌺

The Usual Catch-up Stuff

This past year has been transformative. So many changes, too personal and massive to get into but worthy of mention. I took a break from this blog due to being too burned out on writing and having no idea what sort of content I wanted to do. I switched my focus onto Youtube, which led me to a similar conclusion. I’ve been struggling to connect to my true vision for so long now.

The difficulties of needing income can lead you down the wrong path, but intuition always helps me readjust and go in a better direction. After chasing various dreams the last few years, I now see how unhappy I’ve been, and why it’s been so hard to manifest what I want.

I’ve spread myself too thin, pushed myself too hard, and hated myself way too much for not being successful. I’m now moving into a chapter of my life where I’m learning to accept myself easier. I just want to enjoy the ride, manifest what I can, and write as many great books as possible along the way.

Book News and the Plan for the Blog

I have a new book that’s going to beta readers in August. It remains top-secret until more of the details are figured out, but it’s a low/portal fantasy love story about an afterlife for suicides and a couple trying to right the wrongs they did on Earth. I’m nervous! This will be the first time my writing has been seen by outside eyes since I was still published.

I’d like to start using this blog for flash fiction and short series that interlock with my books. The process of writing books involves going through the story over and over, seeing it differently and learning things about what happened each time. I’m trying to streamline this best I can, but I also want my books to be perfect for you guys. While I’m working on that, it will be fun to experiment with shorter fiction and share whatever I come up with.

My Author Rebranding: Navigating the Jungles of Change

Happy 2017! I haven’t posted here in ages, but now that a new year and new wave of energy has arrived, it’s time to get this blog active again.

I’ve been going through the process of rebranding my author name for some time now. I mentioned this on my author Facebook page, Twitter, and Youtube channel (you can check out the video here), but I haven’t yet done a blog post to officially make the change, so here it is: After much thought, I’ve decided to switch genres.

Knowing Myself as an Author

In case you can’t tell, I’ve had a bit of an identity crisis as an author. All you have to do is look at this blog. Do I write fiction? Am I a self-help author? A lifestyle blogger? I have a huge spectrum of interests that I’m passionate about, and it’s taken a few years to start making sense of my vision for my career and life.

When I first started writing, I didn’t have any ideas about what sort of writer I’d be. I wasn’t even aware of genre. I knew that some stories were about murder or monsters and others were about high-school romance, but I knew nothing about author branding. I therefore had no plan for my career. I was just writing my book because I loved the story, and when it was revealed to me that I’d written a contemporary romance, I thought, great! Romance is a top-selling genre.

What I didn’t realize was that I’d be expected to continue writing contemporary romance, and if I wanted to write my other stories, I’d have to start over with a new pen name. I didn’t like that. Trying to build a following on social media is hard. As I went through the process of learning about the industry, I began to realize I might have made a mistake.

My main goal had always been to focus on subjects that were closest to my heart: the spirit world, the afterlife, aliens, alternate dimensions, space travel, time travel, monsters, and so on. I like the big stuff. The crazy stuff. Stories that keep you thinking after they end. So when I lost my book deal, I thought it could be a good time to change direction.

My New Genre: What the Hell is It?

I haven’t faced the daunting task of trying to write a blurb about the series I’m working on now, which follows a group of survivors through the apocalypse and beyond. I’m calling it a fantasy with elements of science fiction and romance. It has some typical apocalyptic juiciness you would expect from such a story. At its core, it’s really about an intense connection between a group of people who experience the unimaginable together. They slowly put together a shocking bigger picture that continues to grow from there.

I talk a little bit more about it here.

The Law of Attraction and Happiness with Writing

I’m starting to accept that I’m a slow writer. I took seven years working on my first book. Did I end up with something I’m proud of? Yes. But at that rate, I’m only going to complete a few more books before death. I’m working on speeding up, but I also need to make this the priority in my life if I want to live the dream.

Then again, I’m already living the dream in some way. I love my characters. I love the adventures they experience and how those experiences make them grow and change as people. I love watching them learn. I enjoy witnessing them go through joy, grief, falling in love, or sometimes, even dying. Not every writer is blessed enough to enjoy the experience at the level I do. So while I haven’t found the full dream in life yet, I still feel grateful.

What the Future Holds

I hope to get a solid draft of book one within a few months. I’m not quite ready to reveal the title yet, but I’m getting there. I’m going to be giving it my full effort. Then, maybe some beta readers. I’m glad to be getting involved with the writer community again. I’m navigating the jungles of change, and I’m becoming the person I was meant to be.

To my future readers: I love you. Please exist. Please find me. Please let me provide you with stories you’ll enjoy. Thank you.

Happy 2017 everyone!

Andi

The Loss of a Friend: Saying Goodbye to Frogger

Fifteen years ago, I walked into a friend’s house and spotted the tiniest, most beautiful gray-and-white kitten I had ever seen. He was a stray that had been abandoned on a local freeway. My friend’s mom stopped and rescued him—an act of kindness that ended up connecting me to one of the great loves of my life.
20150724_171915Frogger (full name: Frogger Friend) was always meant for me. It was obvious as soon as we met. He crawled up on my chest, purred, and looked right into my eyes. It was love at first sight. My friend told me he was a girl, and I never bothered to check myself, so for the first few months of his life, I went around calling him my “beautiful princess.” I even gave him a pink collar. Imagine my surprise when it was time to get him spayed, and I found out I actually had a little prince.

Once his gender-identity crisis was figured out, he became my boy. We moved through various homes and apartments together, and he was by my side through so much. I have struggled with depression and other serious health problems, and he provided support for me. Always in tune with my emotions, he would come to me when I was upset. Sometimes, something as simple as his paw on my leg would be enough to keep me going another day.

He did so many cute things that brought everyone who knew him joy. Running across the room and leaping into the piles of newspapers on the floor. Going crazy playing with his toys until he became “overwhelmed” and had to hide behind the living room curtains for a few minutes (he did this every time!). Sucking on his paw and making sweet

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Frogger had a way of looking into your soul.

little noises as he was falling asleep. Sitting and staring at me, sometimes for hours, as I worked at the computer. I never had another cat that would make unwavering eye contact like that. He loved being near me. I wouldn’t even have to be petting him. I could just turn and look at him, and he would begin purring.

There were gaps in our time together. In my late twenties, I had a difficult decision to make. I felt the intense desire to travel, which meant I would have to leave Frogger behind with my family. I spent five years away from home, experiencing many adventures and learning many lessons. Whenever I came home to visit, his eyes would light up, and he would purr. He never forgot me, even when I was away for over a year.

This last year, I decided to come home to California for good. When I arrived, Frogger was much thinner and weaker than he had been the last time I saw him. I promised him that for the rest of his life, I would be here. I wouldn’t be leaving him again.

We shared many beautiful moments during these last few months. He wasn’t the playful kitten he 20150807_131926once was, but he was still my kitten. After the vet told us there wasn’t any hope, all we could do was take him home and try to make the most of our time with him. As the end grew closer, he didn’t want to leave my side. Days were spent with him curled up beside me as I worked at my computer. Sometimes, he liked to rest his head on my mouse pad. Just to make sure I would remember to pet him. Of course I did.

Today, on February 13th at 2:10 PM, Frogger Friend took his final breath and then crossed over into God’s loving arms. I know he will be waiting for me when it’s my time to pass. Our souls have shared many existences, and we will be together again. I feel blessed to have known him and to continue to know and remember him throughout the rest of my days.

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RIP Frogger Friend 2000-2016

Goodbye 2015!

I’m happy 2015 is coming to an end. A lot of unpleasant stuff happened this year, but a lot of good too! I made the long drive home to California after living in Denver for a while, published my first novel, and got to spend time with friends and family I hadn’t seen in ages.

I made a lot of hard choices this year, and I have zero regrets on any of them. It has taken a great deal of effort, but I’m very happy with the person I am, the direction I’m headed, my awesome friendships, and most importantly, the relationship I have with God. I am so blessed to have God’s love in my life.

I also wanted to quickly take the time to thank everyone who has supported EDGE OF SOMETHING MORE this year. Your kind words and positive reviews mean everything to me. You are truly the #PeopleWhoMadeMy2015 and I can’t thank you enough.

Looking forward to starting 2016 off single, centered, and ready to work toward some exciting goals.

Have a safe and happy new year, everyone!

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Happy Holidays!

Another Christmas is upon us, and this year, I’m very glad to say it will NOT be white. Now that I’m finally back in California, my winter isn’t full of worries about crashing off an icy road or making sure I’m stocked up on food in case I get stuck in my apartment for a week straight. As I learned in my years living in both North Carolina and Colorado, California girls are not designed for cold weather. I have no idea what to do when it’s under 70 degrees, let alone when it snows, but luckily, the winters here are mild, and the summers are long and hot.

Not only do I get to enjoy better weather this year, but I also get to be with my family. I spent many Christmases by myself in an apartment far from home, so it’s so nice to be back. I don’t have children, but I have a niece and nephew, and they make Christmas fun again.

Since it’s the holiday season, and a lot of you are hopefully in the giving mood, I just want to remind everyone that authors need reviews. If you want to do something nice for me, please consider leaving a review for my book EDGE OF SOMETHING MORE. If you want to do something nice for any author, a review on Amazon or any other sales site would be the best gift you could ever give. A lot of people don’t realize this, but reviews help people discover books. The more reviews, the more likely it is that a book will pop up in search results. Please don’t hesitate to leave one just because you’re not big on writing. Even a simple rating would be appreciated.

Just throwing that out there. Other than that, I just want to say how grateful I am for everyone who reads my blogs and everyone who has bought my book. It’s a struggle for a new author to get noticed so the support from every single one of you has made a huge difference. I hope all of you are blessed with delicious food and heartwarming times with your families or friends this holiday season.

My WWOOF Experience Part Three: Why I Left Early

Before reading this, you might want to check out the first two parts:

Now, the juicy stuff.

Confusion: What Exactly is My Job Again?

The first major issue on the homestead was communication. There was no clear work time and free time, which everyone found stressful. It wasn’t like we were given a list of assignments each morning and could just work on them on our own—that would have been fine.

There were times when we had a clear assignment. But in between, when I had assumed I was free to do as I wish, I would get the vibe like the owner thought I was being lazy. There was some passive-aggressive weirdness I didn’t understand, and at bird-village-animal-countrysidetimes, I almost felt like an imposition. No good.

Even More Confusion: What Exactly Are the Rules, Again?

There were other confusing issues as well. At one point, when my host was in a good mood, she welcomed me to use the shower at the main house. Seems reasonable, right? I would have understood if she didn’t want us doing that, but I’m a clean person, and if someone tells me I can take a hot shower, I’m going to. The only other option was bathing in the pond.

Everything went fine for a couple of days, but then my host suddenly seemed annoyed that I was showering at the house. She said I was doing it “too often,” but she wouldn’t tell me how often was acceptable. I am happy to follow any rules, but when the rules aren’t made clear, it’s pretty much impossible to stick to them. Especially when you get told different things at different times.

There were similar issues with the food situation. I’ll explain that part using an excerpt from a private journal post from that time. If you ignore all the horrific grammar and rambling speech, I think it sums it up nicely:

“at first it was like.. so confusing about wtf we could and couldn’t eat.. and I’d be hungry a lot and not know wtf to do and there were no clear answers.. I think I wrote about it before.. but for example I took some eggs and she was like “You ate THREE eggs?” and clearly it was like I took too much. And then I took an apple and it was like this big huge deal about how they couldnt afford for us to be eating apples.. I don’t know.”

It wasn’t like we were starved or anything. There was usually food, but it was never clear what we could have. Once in a while, they made food special for us, it was never enough to sustain me. I’m 110 pounds and have the world’s fastest metabolism. I need to eat a LOT more than some people, otherwise I get sickly, depressed, and start having blood sugar issues. I appreciated the food I was given, including a whole organic chicken that my host bought just for me. But overall, the way the situation was set up just wasn’t working for me, and when I coupled that with my desire to be back in Asheville, I decided I’d had enough.

I confessed my feelings of discomfort to my fellow woofers, and they were kind and understanding. It turned out that everyone felt like I did about the unclear boundaries and confusion over food. They told me that many other woofers had come and gone quickly for similar reasons. Two girls had apparently even made up a story about how they needed to go to town to get tampons just so they could make an exit without it being awkward.

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Me looking happy in front of a waterfall in the Asheville area.

Longing for Asheville, NC: Heading Off to Start a New Life

I’m socially awkward. So when it came to leaving my WWOOF homestead, I had two choices: make a run for it or say goodbye. There was a road out by the barn that provided another way off the property, so I could have packed my car and gone without notifying anyone. Instead, I decided to do the right thing and let my host know that I didn’t feel like the situation was right for me. I’m glad I did, because she gave me a hug and was very understanding. It’s always nice to end things on a positive note.

Overall, I am very appreciative of the generosity of my WWOOF host. It wasn’t what I had daydreamed it could be, but it was a special experience I’ll never forget.