This month, I set aside weeks to focus on three books and edit my completed novel, Our Father. I challenged the writer in me to work on a scene each day and write 500-1,000 words every day! In my mind, I thought it would be difficult to come up with that many words, but I surprised myself. Some days I wrote 700 words, 900, even 1,000! The words were coming to me and I didn’t stop them. Because of the outlining I did over summer, my books had a little meat on it to begin with. The process was exciting as I saw my books grow closer to completion. By this time next year, I am planning on having two more books done.
It wasn’t all peaches and cream though. There were nights I didn’t want to write because I was exhausted. Staying in bed or watching YouTube videos sounded like better alternatives at that point. Researching subway routes, uber rides, what ports in Dar es Salaam looks like, and boat rides to Madagascar were some of the setbacks I didn’t have beforehand. These things took time because I need to envision the scene properly. When someone reads it, they should see the image clear in their mind. It’s a crucial part of writing, to create the scene. Everything needs to feel real. They need to be able to smell the coffee and hear traffic in the background while their eyes experience Bethany demonstrate her special abilities. Fortunately, the author in me pushed through with motivation. My creative mind cranked out those words in less than three hours -something new for me- and now I have 6,713 words added to Being a Model, 6,382 words to The Other Side of the Mirror, and 5,228 words to Her War.
I also finished editing Our Father which means it’s *almost* ready to get sent out to publishing agents. Editing was only step 2 of… I don’t even know how many. Next up are beta readers (people who read your books and give feedback) and sending in queries to agents. Maybe it will be ready by the end of this year? Cross your fingers for me!
Next Saturday’s topic is on losing motivation and hope.
Many students went back to school about a month ago. I start this upcoming Thursday. This is my junior year in college, which means the end is almost here! I have so many goals to accomplish this year, so many unnecessary things/people to let go of this year, and I’m excited to start. Everyone has the giddy feeling at the beginning of school. We’re ready for any challenge that comes their way, but by the third (or first!) week of school, our brains have melted. They say think big so we do, but then we realize how complex it is to create a reality out of our big thoughts. It’s a tad bit impractical. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying a person can’t do that. If you read my post last week about prioritizing your time, you know I don’t think that. The problem arises when the road to creating something real becomes more difficult than we expected. We almost expect it to materialize before us. Society gives the perception that this is straightforward and simple when it’s not. It’s easy to say, “I’m going to get straight A’s this year!” It’s a lot more difficult to achieve that. It takes hours of dedication and preparation and you still might not get all A’s. Tailor your goals to your life and your own experiences. Take your ideas as far as you want, but remember to take the right road on the journey to achieving your goals.
Never allow someone to tell you that you can’t get something done. Have confidence in your abilities. There are so many brilliant minds suppressed by people who don’t believe in them or are plain jealous. I experienced this before in middle school. My friend and I wanted to set-up a dance event for students and teachers. I don’t remember what is was for. We confided in a friend and told her our idea. You know what she told us? She said it wasn’t a good idea and we shouldn’t do it. My friend and I glanced at each other shocked. This girl didn’t give us an alternative or try to help. She simply shut us down. I then said, “Well, we’re still going to try and do it.” Unfortunately, the plan failed and we couldn’t do our program. Oh well, the effort was what mattered. How could we know if we never tried?
Don’t stop something because someone says you can’t do it (unless they give you detailed reasons). Work hard for what you want. Sometimes you still fail. Maybe it wasn’t the niche for you, but that okay because it means there is something else. They try to make your ideas or aspirations seem unreachable or dumb. Even if you don't have that skill, practice to do better. Remember the purpose of your actions. Remember your abilities and skills. You are capable. It hurts when your “support system” doesn’t support your vision, but those people will end up asking for your advice when the success pours in. Once you check off your goals, those things won’t matter because you will see how capable you are. Your competency is evident. We have the capacity to fail and succeed. The encouragement of others is nice, but it’s easy to depend on it. Don’t rely on them to push you forward. Row your own boat. Fly your own plane. Cook your own food. Confirm the person in the mirror. If you want it, go for it. The journey is yours.
Time management is important in life. You may have several different activities going on at once, and you must organize them accordingly. This post is about time management in a more specific sense. We need to talk about prioritizing your time with the things you want do in your life besides the obvious (school, work, family/friends). We pack our day with so amny things and some of them are more important than others. People say they don’t have time to do what they love, but I think the problem is, they don’t see it as significant so they clear it out from their schedule completely. If you like to sew clothes or play a sport, set aside time to do that! I prioritize writing because it is something I love and take seriously. I don’t make money from it and I’m not getting a degree for it either. I write for me. ME. There’s nothing wrong with that.
We all have what we need to get done (academics or work) and then there are side projects as I like to call them. They are equally as crucial in life if you allow them to be. It shows a lot of discipline too. If you like to go hiking set aside weekends for that. If you like to sing, go to karaoke nights. If you like to dance, create choreography. These activities can teach you skills you wouldn't learn in other fields. It makes you a more well-rounded person when you are involved in different fields, especially if they're different from each other. A person like that brings a new insight to the table. Writing makes me more of a creative person and I bring that aspect to anything I am involved in. Whether it's the way I create a presentation, or the way I solve a problem. These side projects can become something real if you allow them to be. Make it a challenge. You must prioritize your time. We spend too much of it listening to others telling us how to live our lives. Do what makes you happy too!
“Why can’t I be like that person?”
Everyone has a talent or a passion within them. You may not be aware of it, but it’s there. Some people may even see their “talents” as inferior to others or something not worthwhile. We can accomplish something great if we allow ourselves to. Just because you can’t do any of the famous talents like sing, dance, or draw, or take pictures, doesn’t mean you don’t have something to share with the world. Maybe you like to organize and plan events, that’s a talent. Maybe you love editing and proofreading essays, that's a talent. Maybe you like collect rocks and create a booklet talking about rocks in different countries, that a talent (interest?). God has given everyone a special quirk, no one is left out. It’s within you, sometimes you must find it. You are on a specific path so you cannot compare your life or success to another person. They are going through certain things that will benefit them and so are you. It doesn’t have to be the same.
Look in the mirror what do you see? Potential? A lack of motivation? Take out a piece of paper and jot down things you enjoy doing and/or things you are good at. Maybe write a sentence for each of those things are make bullet points underneath each thing explaining why you’re good at it/enjoy it. Then, ask yourself which of these things on the list can you improve on or turn into a new project or even an actual career. No matter how far-fetched it seems at the beginning you never know where it might take you. Even if it’s a hobby, that doesn’t mean you can’t challenge yourself to do better. For example, I love to write poetry and create stories. Since I was six, I would make story lines for my dolls. At this early age, I knew my books were going to get published. Whether by me, or a publishing company. It wasn’t the idea of going on a book tour or making loads of money that kept me going though. It was the realization that if I put my mind to something and work hard for it, the outcome will be success. And it has. I can’t draw. I can’t skateboard. I can’t take pictures. I can't play an instrument. But I can write. Of course, there is nothing stopping me from learning how to do those other things, but my point it, I have something to work on and so do you.
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