All In


Gilmore Girls is one of my favorite shows, for a lot of reasons. Mostly it’s because I have a massive woman crush on Lorelai Gilmore… No but really, what I love about the show the fact that it is such an intelligent, honest representation of friendship, relationships, and life itself. One of my favorite moments in the show is when Luke and Lorelai are in his favorite restaurant at the very beginning of their relationship and Luke tells her, “Lorelai, this thing we’re doing here -me, you- I just want you to know I’m in, I’m all in.”

Ohhh the feels. And then, of course, their relationship kept tanking over and over… But they’re still one of the cutest couples to ever get together on TV, though. Anyway, my writing career has been a casual friend for years. I keep saying I’m going to pursue it harder but I always manage to find something else to date for a while: film, business, cosmetology, photography, etc. I haven’t been very committed and therefore have not made much real progress in my dream of being a full-time, paid, published, well-known, established writer. People have always taken one of two sides when I tell them I want to be a writer: “Cool! When you’re famous, I get to tell people I knew you before you were famous!” or “Really? You sure you want to throw your life away on a worthless life path like that?” (perhaps not in so many words, but I get the message).

I used to care about what other people thought of my life choices and that’s one of the main factors that influenced me to “see other people.” Well, a funny thing happens sometimes as you get older. You find out more about what you really want and you stop caring what other people think of you. Flirting with the idea of being a writer is no longer enough… I’ve tried a lot of other things and I just can’t bring myself to pursue something that isn’t a passion. I love music, photography, film, and lots of other things but only one thing brings that spark to my life. That reason for staying up until 2 AM even though my child will be awake in four hours and I know I’m going to feel like a zombie for the rest of the next day. That reason for jumping on my phone or laptop in the middle of whatever I’m doing to write down a scene that I just know my book will not survive without.

So, Future Best-Selling Author Me, this thing we’re doing here -me, you- I just want you to know I’m in. I’m all in. I’m going to get the education, spend the long hours on the computer and reading books, do all the parts I hate and love about writing as often and as well as I can and stop listening to all the cynics who think novel writing is a dying art. After all, hello, think about where the best movies (and some TV shows) come from! Without crazy, neurotic, unrealistically optimistic freaks like me, this world would be a hell of a lot more dull and depressing.

Quick update on my book: I have adopted a technique which I like to refer to as “asynchronous writing.” Basically, I just write down whatever scene I’ve been developing in my head whenever I feel like it, even if it means writing the last scene of the book before even attempting the first scene. I have no idea if this is going to work in the long run, but it sure is better than writing nothing at all, so as a busy mom and soon-to-be college student (again) I have no choice but to continue doing what I can when I can. It also seems to be helping me develop the story for when I do finally sit down and really write the novel from start to finish. Someday… Someday, I will…

Well I would love to stay and talk about myself some more, but the winter storm of the year (which in the South means two inches of pure ice) is starting and I’ve got a front row seat. Happy Monday, readers.

~A.D.

The Battle for Orthir


My blog posts are probably going to be short and sweet now as my infant son sees fit to use my distraction as an opportunity to wreak havoc all over my house. That said, after a great deal of thought, I have a less-than-inspired working title for my novel: “The Battle for Orthir.” If I think of a better one while writing it, I will post an update, but for now that is the official title of my fantasy novel.

In my novel, the Isle of Orthir is a large, mountainous island which is home to the light-elves, or Calatolthë. Its mountains are rich with gold and jewels and the light-elves have been defending the isle for thousands of years. I am keeping the series of events that leads to the battle a secret for now, but I have a feeling the battle itself is going to be legendary. All of the nations in the nearest continent will be involved in the quest for riches and glory, plus one of the Calatolthë’s own. If you like drama, action, fantasy, romance, and strong female (and male) leads, I think you will enjoy this book. I’m hoping to have it completed sometime in the year 2016.

Thanks for following my journey! I wonder who my 155th WordPress follower will be? You might just get a shout-out here and/or on Twitter ;)

~A.D.

The Demon on my Shoulder


So I’m back to (attempting) writing both of my novels at once. I tried to put the other one off, but it just won’t wait, so now I have two totally different worlds living in my head as well as my life as a mom and my weak commitment to living in the “real world” and keeping up with current events. I think I’m about to go clinically insane. I know I say that all the time, but this time I’m actually starting to see things that aren’t there. Nobody throw me in the looney bin please, I have way too much to do…

I have two fully developed storylines now, but the beginning of actually writing the stories is the point where I always start hearing these annoying little voices in my head: “Your stories suck.” “You’re not good at this.” “Do you seriously consider yourself a real writer?” “No one in their right mind is going to read this.”

The sad truth is that those voices are the very reason I have not been able to finish anything so far. Those voices have been dominating and controlling me for nearly ten years. My lack of confidence and determination has all been self-made and I’m starting to realize that I am my own worst critic and I need to step out of my own way sometimes. Those little voices are never going to get me anywhere but depressed and unsuccessful. They’re the demon on my shoulder that convinces me to throw in the towel, over and over and over again.

Well I’ve reached the point in my life where I’m sick and tired of failing. I keep saying “this time is going to be different” and “I really mean it this time” but there has never been enough heart behind it to count. Now I NEED to bring these worlds to life, not just for me, but for women everywhere. We need strong female heroes to step forward and show us how to take what’s ours. Both of my MC’s are strong, independent females and I need you to know who they are. I need to make you love them just as much as I do and I know I can do it if I can just ditch the crazy and the lack of self-confidence. The only person standing in my way is me, and now I’m stepping aside.

So yeah, look out, publishing world. I’m flicking this demon off my shoulder and I’m coming after you.

~A.D.

Why Perfectionists Should Write Books


This is sort of the antithesis to my previous post. The half-full version of the cup. The positive spin. The sunny side of the egg.

I wrote before about how perfectionists such as myself struggle to write because we can’t let things go. Imperfections drive us crazy and make it impossible to make any progress because we’re too busy trying to correct the first paragraph of the novel to write anything else. Well lately I have found that writing is transforming something deep within me that I never thought I could change. I’m learning to let go of the need to make things perfect the first time.

*GASP!* Revolutionary, right? I’m so proud of me. Right now I’m on my fifth, sixth, or hundred and sixth (I lost track) attempt at a rough draft for this novel idea and I have finally said to myself, “Screw it. It doesn’t have to be perfect right now.” No one who is not a perfectionist will understand how huge a breakthrough that was for me. Letting go of control is such a massive hurdle for me but I am finding that once I do that, progress finally begins to be made. The storyline is finally coming together and my characters are making sense. As long as those two things are present, I don’t mind writing something that is less than perfection. Corrections can be made later. Also, even the scenes I write that don’t end up working for me tend to help me figure out what I do want to write and I’m able to move forward from there. It’s all a process, and processes can get very messy at times.

By the way, I’m also kinda proud of myself for correctly using the word “antithesis.” I love big words; in fact, I used to read books with a dictionary in my other hand as a kid so I could learn the words I didn’t know. See? I was destined for this crazy madcap writer’s life. Everything is going to be okay, even if it’s less than perfect.

Have a perfectly imperfect weekend, my lovely readers :)

~A.D.

The Fall Down the Mountain


Yeah… I knew this was going to happen. I get super super excited about all the great things I’m going to do and then I have a setback and I get discouraged again. Depressed. Defeated.

I ran into several plot holes with my novel outline that I can’t seem to work through and I had a rough week with my weight loss as well. Right now I am trying so hard not to throw in the towel on both of those things. I like eating. I like watching TV instead of reading books or writing. I like being stagnant instead of making progress because it’s easier than trying and failing. Handling failure well has never been something I’ve excelled at, which may be why I’m not excelling at anything.

Achieving goals has always been like climbing an extremely steep mountain for me, and I’ve never had the courage and determination it takes to reach the top. The only thing I ever finished well was pregnancy and I didn’t really have a choice on that one. Whenever I slip and fall I go back down to my pretty little valley of denial and pretend the mountain doesn’t exist. I start eating junk again. I delete my rough draft. I close the book and turn on the TV, wasting away in an illusion of happiness that is never going to fully satisfy me.

I guess the reason I’m writing all of this is to fight off the denial and remind myself that the mountain isn’t going to conquer itself. It is going to require blood, sweat, and tears and if I’m not willing to put in the effort, I will be unsatisfied forever. Being significantly overweight and not following my passion in life will not make my son proud of me. By the time he’s old enough I want him to see his mom as a role model. Right now, as I am, I wouldn’t want him to want to be like me, so something’s gotta give.

Novel plots do not stay unsolved forever. I don’t need that snack or soda. I don’t have to live in the valley of denial when the mountain is standing right in front of me. Time to work this shizz out and get serious.

Enjoy your weekend folks :)

~A.D.

OMG OMG OMG!!!!


Okay… so I’m 5,711 words into my rough draft, and I cannot stop saying, “OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS BOOK!” Seriously, it is the best feeling, especially with everything I’m currently dealing with. Amidst viruses being passed from person to person in this house, a teething baby, a house that never seems to be able to stay clean, and trying to lose weight, I managed to still carve out time to get a good running start on my goal for next year: self-publishing my first novel. (And I’m writing a blog post! While the sun is up! Take that, sun!) Pardon the brag, but I’m feeling a bit like Wonder Woman right now.

I wish I could give you all a taste of what I’m feeling right now, but this time I would really like to keep my novel under wraps until the grand reveal. I can’t risk jinxing it! Thank you to everyone who helped me get over my crazy perfectionism last week and encouraged me. The writing community is seriously one of the best communities I have ever had the privilege of being a part of. Everyone is so supportive and wonderful and I just cannot stop gushing right now! YAY! Big virtual bear hug for all!

All I will confirm about this book is that 1), it is a fantasy novel, 2) it involves forbidden love between a man and an elf, and 3) it involves a princess with a dangerous secret. There will be action, drama, sorrow, joy, love, fear, laughter, and more. I have officially fallen in love with my characters again and I cannot wait to introduce them to you all in one year (or before if I’m lucky). I have full faith that I will actually be able to finish the novel this time, especially if I am able to pick up a writing class along the way. I would really love to sometime, so if anyone has suggestions on a good, CHEAP (or free) writing course, or even good books on writing, that would be so very very appreciated.

Have a great week! AHH I’m so excited!

~A.D.

Unsolicited Advice from a Married Girl


…who also writes love stories.

Let me preface this by saying I know there are about a million other articles and blog posts that are similar to the one I’m about to write. In spite of that, I am taking the time to write my two cents on romance just because it seems like people can never get enough of that particular subject. I want to write this because I’ve been the lonely single girl, the un-lonely single girl, the girl with a boyfriend, the girl with a fiancée, and the girl with a husband. The only things I haven’t been are divorced or a lesbian, but I think what I have to say can apply to those situations, too.

Please do not take this as being preachy or pitying, it’s not. It’s just a few things I’ve picked up on the way, so feel free to take them or leave them.

Tip #1: Stop making lists.

I made lists too; many many lists. I admit it can be fun to dream about what your future partner will be like. However, setting too many standards or being too picky can cause you to pass up the right person really, really easily. He doesn’t have to have the exact eye color on your list or play the guitar (although I got lucky, my hubby plays the guitar and also has my favorite guy name of all time… Which is HUGE to me as a writer. Plus his eye color is super cool and nothing I would have thought of on my own… But I digress). The most important thing is love, regardless if he or she matches all of your ideal qualifications. Look for something that feels right and the rest isn’t even going to matter.

Tip #2: Be honest.

When going on a date, the best thing to do is to always be yourself. Let your prospective lover see you for who you really are. If you present yourself as anything else, it’s not really you they’re falling in love with. One thing I have found is that guys do not like gallons of perfume and makeup. A little bit goes a long way and does not interfere with your natural beauty. Oh, and guys? Making up stories to impress girls does not work. When they find out you lied, you’re likely to have a PO’d woman on your hands. You’ve been warned.

Tip #3: Love on yourself.

If you cannot say out loud that you’re worthy of love, you’re not ready to be in a relationship. Chances are that if you don’t value yourself that much you won’t be able to value anyone else that much either. You don’t have to have an inflated ego or become self-obsessed (that won’t help you either) but try showing yourself a little love before you start looking somewhere else for it. It probably won’t work out too well if you don’t.

Tip #4: Don’t sweat it.

If you’re single and feel like you’re forever alone, you are not truly alone. There are millions of other people who feel just like you do. If you haven’t met the one, you haven’t met the one. It doesn’t mean you never will and it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. The best thing to do is take this precious alone time and use it to better yourself so that whether or not you ever find him/her, you will be your best self and be able to live life to its fullest potential. Do not devalue yourself or loathe yourself, that will not get you anywhere. Also, little known fact, a lot of the best people end up single for a very long time just because nobody else they meet is worthy of them. Truth!

***These last few are for those who are already in a committed relationship, but IMHO they’re good for anybody to keep in mind.

Tip #5: Don’t be afraid to have a few fights.

My husband and I were so impressed with ourselves during the first year of our relationship because we never fought. Like, ever. But the truth of the matter was that I was unconsciously burying a lot of anger and resentment under the rug. Getting your feelings out and flushing conflict is healthy and normal. Fighting all the time is not healthy, but if you have the occasional “heated discussion,” it’s okay. Stuff happens, people get their panties in a twist, life goes on.

Tip #6: Do the date night thing.

I believe in date nights more than I believe in gravity. As a committed/married couple, fun alone time is going to be your salvation, otherwise life just becomes too hard and depressing. Take time to gush over how handsome your babe is in the romantic lighting of your favorite restaurant. Enjoy how his or her hand feels holding yours while seeing a movie together. Rock out to your favorite songs together in the car on your way to and from. Basically, just have fun with each other alone. Doesn’t matter where or when.

Tip #7: Blow things off sometimes.

Let the dishes sit in the sink while you cuddle with your SO. Let the laundry stay unfolded in the basket. Let a phone call go unanswered. I’m not saying be lazy or shirk responsibilities, but don’t be so obsessed with keeping things perfect that you forget quality time. When you’re on your deathbed you’re not going to care that you didn’t make all your meals in advance or always keep the floors pristinely clean. You’re going to remember the good times you had with the people you love.

Tip #8: Pursue goals together.

Example: my husband and I are currently following a plan we came up with between ourselves to help us lose weight. It’s something we’re both invested in and we’re doing basically the same things in order to achieve the same goal. Not only does it give us each built-in accountability but it fosters a sense of unity in our house, which is just incredibly crucial to our survival as a couple. Someday, when we each reach our goal weights, we will cry and hug each other knowing that WE did it and our journey was a team effort. It’s those things that will help us trust that the other one has our best interests in mind for the duration of the relationship. (Sorry… Awkwardly worded sentence alert)

I’m sure there’s more I could add, but my little munchkin just let me know that my blogging time is up for the night. I hope this was at least a little bit helpful or reassuring for someone. Have a great weekend!

~A.D.

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