Funny For Today

This is exactly how I feel when I stumble on a strong story line and get into that writing flow. Can you relate? Comment below!

Kermit The Frog Reaction GIF by Muppet Wiki

5 Distractions and How to Handle Them

I get distracted easily.

Sometimes too easily.

I can be talking about one thing and get thrown off by the smallest thing- even now I feel myself falling toward a rabbit hole of distraction.

Anyway…

I’ve discovered there are certain triggers that distract me more than others and I bet if you get distracted, we share some of these triggers.

Here are 5 Distractors and How to Deal with Them

  1. Social Media

When TikTok started I swore I was not going to start using it. I knew once I did, I would be hooked. And boy was I right. I started off just watching it on Saturday mornings before I started my day. Then I started watching it the entire weekend. Now, I’m using any excuse to get it on it. I wish I had never started watching it and I’m working to break the habit. But it’s so hard!! 

Social media in general is a distractor to anyone and everyone, but it can be a horrible roadblock for writers. As a writer it’s good to look for inspiration everywhere but staring at screen all day and mindlessly scrolling through funny and annoying videos aren’t the best inspiration for our WIPs (works in progress).

            How to Deal with it:

            Instead of just going off social media cold turkey, start off slowly getting rid of it. I’ve started by taking breaks from Instagram, picking different things to look at or picking up my book instead. Try just getting on one social app a day. You could also try avoiding it during certain hours- no matter how tempting.

2. Any and ALL Streaming Services

I love being able to stream basically any movie or show whenever I want HOWEVER- it has also become a HUGE roadblock in my writing. It’s even changed how much I read. It’s fun to just binge watch shows or find a great movie and just sit back and relax- especially when my brain needs a break. But I’m working on making it less of what I do in my spare time.

How to deal with it:

Try writing in a journal or try a story idea that’s been brewing- something that doesn’t have to do with videos and/or media. Use the settings on your phone to kick you off certain apps after a specific amount of time.

3. Work from Home

We all have work and/or a house to take care of, and we do have to make that a priority. However, during my first year of teaching I realized as much as I liked working on ideas of class and lessons after work, I had to learn to turn work mode. I noticed I was becoming burnt out and I didn’t want that to happen my first year working a job I absolutely loved. There’s a time for work but there’s also a need for us to unplug from chores and work and give time to reading, writing, drawing, crafting, etc.

How to deal with it:

            Take a walk or do some yoga. Do anything that doesn’t have to do with work or chores. This will hopefully help your creativity and prevent you from becoming burnt out.

4. Writing Projects and Writing for Fun

Now, if you’re not a writer don’t skip this point because it can apply to any art you do. For those of us who have made an art medium part of our daily lives we most likely have project(s) in the works, for a client or future clients. I’ve learned that I can forget what I loved about creating when I’m doing it solely for profit or I’ve been focusing on one singular project.

How to deal with it:

Create something random. Create something fun. Use writing/photograph/drawing prompts if you can’t think of anything off the top of your head. Take a walk and get away from the current project you’re working on, and maybe, just maybe you’ll be inspired to make it even better.

5. Ourselves

Many times, our biggest distractor is ourselves. We let doubt, fear, and anxiety from perfectionism keep us from even trying.

How to deal with it:

            Look back at your favorite projects, the ones you worked hard on and feel proud of. Remind yourself why you love them, why they did well, etc. Every time a speck of doubt comes knocking, ignore it and instead let positive, uplifting thoughts in instead.

Creating a Fictional World

My biggest hurdle in creating A Royal Mind was creating an entire world. I felt like I had magic as I was creating Veridi and the entire kingdom of Ignis. I of course turned to Pinterest for tips, and I found a couple great websites to help me in my quest.

To create a world, you need a map- and I found the best software is Inkarnate. I don’t know if I do it exactly like it’s supposed to be, but I had fun with it, and I did my best to learn how to create maps by looking at maps already created. Even just a simple U.S map helped me figure out how best to shape my own world’s map.

By making random weird shapes.

Now, I did make mine resemble certain shapes, if you look very carefully, but I did that for to add to the story and the meaning of each land.

It was hard for me to focus on one simple land at a time, and not go over the top when I just needed a basic outline for the first part. Honestly though it helped me with the overall story because I came to know the land and people better, and I had a good idea on how to lead them through their journey.

I also used maps from my own favorite stories and looked at how they led their characters through the land as the story progressed. But I think my biggest reference was all the times I read Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. She created a world called Frell and not just Ella’s story but more books with characters living in the same realm. It stayed cohesive and it kept the reader in the world she created. That’s how I wanted it for my readers and as they travel through Ignis not just in A Royal Mind but the books to follow as well.

Here’s an example of the workflow space in Inkarnate. I really like how similar it is to software like Photoshop and Indesign. It makes it easy to learn how to use it- though learning how to make an accurate fictional map is another thing. Especially for someone who is geographically challenged like me. I’ve had to do a lot of research on map making to help me in this process.

When you’re creating a world keep these tips in mind:

  1. Keep it real
  2. Keep it creative
  3. Know your geography (or at least look up how things are supposed to be)
  4. Think about your characters
  5. Think about the overall story

Books on Writing

Over the past year I’ve begun purchasing writing help books. Ones with writing prompts and others that help me learn better techniques to refine my craft.

Here are the two I purchased last year and that I would highly recommend.

The Writer’s Idea Thesaurus by Fred White

https://shopstyle.it/l/bCSEZ

I love this book because it provides a lot of ideas! It caught my eye with the word thesaurus because I love Thesaurus’! This book is divided into topics for characters, which in this case are labeled ‘X’ and in each chapter there are 10 specific story prompts. For example chapter 1 is titled, Adventures of X and is followed by 10 more specific adventure writing prompts.

I think this is a great source for not just the writer but the teacher. Especially homeschool parents who are looking for ways to make ELA fun for their kids. Or maybe you’re just a parent who is trying to help their older child cultivate their love for writing.

The 3 A.M. Epiphany by Brian Kiteley

https://shopstyle.it/l/bCSEN

This one is more for the mature writer, I’d say high school senior and up. But again, I also think a teacher could utilize the exercises in this book to help their students enjoy writing.

I love the exercises in this book but the introduction itself is a great little TED talk on writing and I found it very informative and inspiring.

Write Like This Kelly Gallagher

https://shopstyle.it/l/bCSE5

Okay- this is a textbook one of my professors assigned us last semester but I’d still recommend it for any writer or ELA teacher. Kelly Gallagher books in general are great tools and this one is provides various types of writing exercises and projects that are great for personal or classroom practice.

These are just the ones I purchased in 2021, I have others I find extremely useful and if you found this interesting leave a like or a comment and I’ll do a future post with more of my favorite writing books!

Do you have a book on writing that you would recommend? Comment below!

What Inspires You?

What inspires you? I’ve found the simplest things can spark inspiration for my writing.

A walk outside, a good song, a good book even. All these things have inspired my writing. But I want to share specifically the works I’ve been inspired and that helped me write A Royal Mind. Maybe they too can inspire you and your writing- or whatever medium of art is your area.

Books

            The Chronicles of Prydain. This may sound like a book series you’ve never heard but I bet you have. The Black Cauldron is the second book in this series. Yes, THE same Black Cauldron that led to the animated Disney movie by the same name with the same characters. However, the book and entire series is 10X BETTER than the single mistake of a movie.

            Characters like Taran made me feel like I didn’t have to be someone ‘important’ to fight the bad guy and win the day. Princess Eilonwy made me want to fight the battles and not rely on others to do it for me, but also accept help from friends. And Prince Gwydion- he was my favorite! I don’t know why but he’s always reminded me of Lupin’s character from Harry Potter.

            Lloyd Alexander’s writing transported me to a world unlike any other and kept me on the edge of seat with quite intense scenes. His world building is almost as powerful as Gail Carson Levine’s in Ella Enchanted and her other works. This series has stuck with me almost as much as C.S Lewis’ wardrobe.

            The Chronicles of Narnia is a classic inspiration, and the lessons it teaches are ones I wanted to show through The Legend of Ignis. Though I admit his writing isn’t my favorite it tells the story and is full of depth that it makes up for the quick endings and lack of in-depth character backgrounds. His magic system is a mysterious one that isn’t overly magical, just enough to make it fantastical.

Fresh Air

            Sometimes all you need is a good walk to jog your creativity. I heard on a podcast once that the littlest things that seem like you aren’t doing anything are steps in the larger picture. A walk can help eliminate writers block, can spur productivity, and can help you come up with that one idea for your story that you couldn’t seem to grasp before.

            Put a podcast on, listen to music, or just listen to the sounds of nature around you.

The entire point here is to look for inspiration everywhere. Think back to the day when you used play with dolls or make a fort with pillows. If you’re reading this then you likely lived when kids weren’t given iPads or the world at their fingertips through the internet. We made our own alternate realities with whatever we could find, and sometimes we just used our imaginations and they appeared before our eyes, even if grownups couldn’t see them. As grownups ourselves we can use that same magic to write amazing stories. Or create fantastic pieces of arts across all types of mediums. We can still find inspiration all around us- without even using Pinterest or Google (though I do love a good Pinterest mood board).

What inspires you?

Don’t forget there’s one day left to enter the contest to win a signed copy of my book and a Barnes and Noble gift card. All you have to do is like and comment on this post to be entered. For extra entries follow my Instagram account and comment on the latest post. This contest will last till January 13th. Winner will be announced the next day.

Happy reading.

Writing Process Insight

I’m still in a state of shock over my book being published. I’m so glad I found the courage to finally write this story I’ve been mulling over forever and now sharing it with everyone.

I thought it would be fun to share the process of how I wrote my story.

The Idea

            This story idea of Aster and the Legend of Ignis stemmed from all the times I read The Chronicles of Narnia and The Chronicles of Prydain. But it definitely didn’t start out the way it has ended up. It started out just one girl being found by her fairy godmother who takes her to the Kingdom to learn how to save the world.

Yeah, kind of vague.

When I wrote this first book I pantsed it- which is writer speak for writing by the seat of my pants, no outline. This is not however, how I am working on second book. Writing without an outline is okay, but when creating a series, I’ve found it’s really essential to have one.

I ran with the idea, then I trained it.

The Writing

            I’ve always loved to write, but I have not done well at keeping up my writing habit. I stopped writing in my journal as often, and I stopped writing stories. When I wrote Adelyn’s Amazing Adventures, it didn’t take me long, but it sparked the stories sitting in my imagination waiting to be told. It woke up my love for writing.

            Last summer I started making it a priority to write every day. I typed 1,000 words almost every day, sometimes more words than that if the inspiration was strong enough. I laid in the floor, I sat on the porch when the weather felt good, and I sat at my desk with my big window looking out onto the open field below.

            I felt good, I felt my writing improve every day. And I had this weird peace because I knew I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. Writing. It’s always been my favorite thing to do and somehow, I lost sight of that.

Publishing

            When I self-published my children’s book, Adelyn’s Amazing Adventures, I did a lot of it on my own. My mom lent me her editing skills and my sister helped with some of the drawings, but I did the publishing part alone. That was a big mistake. Because I’ve come to realize something important- it truly does take a village- in this case to publish a book.

            For this book I knew if I wanted to give my best in publishing it, I’d have to have help. I listened to podcasts, YouTube videos and read a lot of blogs. I decided to use Fiver to hire an editor and help in marketing my book once it’s published. I did choose to save my money and create the book cover myself, but that’s a blog post for another day.

            My editor was amazing! I used C.K Korfo and he was thorough in his work editing my novel and helping me see the pieces that needed eliminated and the ones that needed refining. He gave me great feedback and I felt like he was giving me the unvarnished truth.

            I’m excited to see how the marketing goes, but I know either way at least I gave my best with this book.

            There’s a lot more to do in the self-publishing part but I think I’m going to make separate blogs about how to use Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

            Don’t forget to enter the contest to win a signed copy of my book and a Barnes and Noble gift card. All you have to do is like and comment on this post to be entered. For extra entries follow my Instagram account and comment on the latest post. This contest will last till January 13th. Winner will be announced the next day.

IT’S BOOK LAUNCH DAY!

Today is the BIG DAY.

I’m so excited to announce you can now buy my novel A Royal Mind through Barnes and Noble and Amazon. I’ve been so ready to share this book with everyone for a while now, but I waited till this day for a special reason.

Today would have been my grandfather’s birthday. He passed away the day before Thanksgiving, and we miss him every day. When deciding when I’d publish my book I couldn’t decide, but when he passed away, I knew I wanted to do something to honor him. I decided that his birthday would be the day I published my novel. I wanted something good for the day.

The Legend of Ignis was inspired by works like The Chronicles of Narnia and The Chronicles of Prydain. C.S Lewis and Lloyd Alexander created magical worlds that not only provide adventure but teach life lessons that have stayed with me throughout the years. I don’t measure my work to theirs, but I do hope it inspires readers and future/current writers.

It’s been a few hours now since my book went live and I’ve been nervous ever since. Maybe nervous isn’t the right word- more like just my anxiety with added spice. I think I realized is that it’s the lack of control I have right now over my work. It’s just out there for people to read. And not just read but review. I don’t like not having control of my own things. But I also know letting go of control is an important lesson for all of us to learn. I never thought I was someone who needed to have the feeling of control but I’ve learned from this situation and others that I most definitely am one of those people. I just keep reminding myself that this is what I’m supposed to do- write. I know my gift and love of writing comes from God and I trust him to use it for my good and his glory. I’m trusting. I’m letting go of the need to feel in control.

Make sure to grab your own copy of A Royal Mind, on sale NOW!

BUY THE BOOK

Don’t forget to enter the contest to win a signed copy of my book and a gift card to Barnes and Noble.

Happy reading.

Spotify Playlist for Writing

When I write I find that music helps me concentrate, and I always try to find music that goes with the theme of what I’m writing at the time. In the case of A Royal Mind, I felt it had a Celtic feeling to it and I found a playlist on Spotify that served as my background music. I also found playlists that were created just for writing fantasy, sci-fi, non-fiction, etc.

I’m going to include the links to these playlists below and I hope they help you on your writing journey as well!

Happy reading!

I need Some Celtic

Disney Writing Playlist

Wild and Free

Epcot Center

Epic Writing

BLOG GIVEAWAY

My goal with becoming an author is to help people find adventure through the pages of a book. I wrote A Royal Mind with the vision of creating a world readers could escape to and enjoy. I hope when you read my novel or even my children’s book series Adelyn’s Amazing Adventures, that you feel transported into an adventure.

Starting today you can enter a giveaway t to win a signed copy of my book A Royal Mind along with a gift card to Barnes and Noble. All you have to do is like and comment on this post to be entered. For extra entries follow my Instagram account and comment on the latest post. This contest will last till January 13th. Winner will be announced the next day.

Happy reading.

*This contest is not affiliated with Barnes and Noble

A Cast of Characters

As the big day of my novel’s publication approaches, I thought I’d share some of the background of the main characters from my book. I hope these make you excited to read A Royal Mind, on sale now for Pre-order on Barnes and Noble, on sale for purchase beginning January 10th.

Aster

            Aster is the protagonist of the story. She has two brothers, Michael and Matthew, and a younger sister, Amity. Aster is known for her curiosity and her tendency to daydream daily. However, her daydreaming often gets her into trouble and has made her quite unpopular at school. When she’s not doing chores or at school, she spends most of her time the library in her house or outside under sitting under the cover of trees reading.

Josiah

            Josiah is a guard in the town of Verd. He’s quiet and reserved, but he and Aster become friends in a very unlikely way. He’s lived in Veridi his whole life and lost his parents at a young age. However, he’s not lost his way thanks to a group of people who have become his family.

Roark

            Roark works as the principal of Aster’s school in the town of Verd. He is strict but kind to his students and faculty who work with him. He’s tall, a little rugged looking, and has a faint scar from his left eye. His students respect him but don’t find him approachable. Rumors say he has a mysterious past and that he’s possibly a spy for the Vulpes. Only time will show the truth.

Andromeda

            Andromeda, Andi to her friends, is a teacher at Aster’s school. She teaches Geography and Astrology, along with being a counselor for students like Aster who feel like outcasts. With her long black hair and dark skin, she stands out among the rest of Veridians. Her home is the island of Vela, but only she and her friends know why she left.