Friday, April 18, 2014

The Writer's Life - Taking Time To Revitalize

Another book completed.

Another sign that writing is my career, my calling, a serious pursuit.

What comes with the accomplishment is a major feeling of release. There are lingering effects of physical and emotional stress, understandably. And already there is one foot in the rollercoaster car as I look up at the steep climb of a blank screen with blinking cursor for the first line of the next book. And all of these elements of writer life don't necessarily jive with each other. What becomes more than necessary, but life-saving and sanity-preserving is inserting the space and time to chill.

Regroup. Revitalize. Restart.

Enter writer friend to the rescue with her lake home setting. The sanctuary is important. I'm not in need of seclusion from the world. I don't need a schedule of activities. And I also didn't need to spend hundreds of dollars to find my quiet place. A reasonable driving distance and time behind the wheel were enough incentive to pack my things into the car and head out for several days. There was need to Regroup.

First day, we chatted. Caught up on life and writing news. We worked on prioritizing my schedule for the next six months and massaging a marketing plan. A great discussion with lots of laughter and cool conversation. And then I stared at the lake. Total relaxation. Literally, stared at the constant ripples of its dark surface. Admired the geese and their constant loud calls.

Still not ready to write, and with no need to rush the process, I read Rebecca Walker's Ade: A Love Story. Memoir-style with fictionalized additions. Beautiful and deceptively simplistic. But it was the perfect launch for my writer soul. By the evening, we had our communal sharing of our writing experiences and sometimes, irreverent musings that are perfect over chips and salsa and wine.

As the days progress, we are entering the serious phase. Focus is tuned in as we ascend into our individual writing worlds. Maybe our paths will cross on the way in or out of the kitchen for coffee or tea. The half-eaten bag of chips may be opened for a quick crunchy snack. The mood shifts into work mode according to individual schedules and deadlines.

I'm cutting myself some slack. Didn't plan to. I aimed to have started working by now. But I'm not ready. I want to read a few more books for leisure, but also for the voice and style necessary for an upcoming project. And I'm still not done with staring at the lake. Letting my thoughts now bounce around unfettered by deadline stress or fear of evil distraction. The Revitalization is underway.

A couple days are left before reinserting myself back into my everyday life. I feel the spark, the initial desire and need to tell the next story. I'm going to re-read Anne Rice's Interview With A Vampire. A book that I read in April, 1990 on a Caribbean cruise and that launched my love for the paranormal. A book that matched the dark passionate romances that I'd written. It's the voice that's re-emerging.

Like a glowing ember, my creative spark will stay lit for that magical moment when I carry it to ignite the fire of creativity. I'll take the power of these days, the restorative spirit of the lake and Restart the engine.

This morning as I began my day with reading emails, I came across a note from a reader, Paulette H, "Love your books. Keep writing."

A beautiful incentive to continue with the course ahead.

Michelle Monkou
One Of A Kind (The Meadows Family)
Into The Pride (Nuuba Pride Shifters)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Get RADICAL Conference Experience -- Part 3, The Finale

All good things must come to an end. And the Get RADICAL Conference not only wrapped up today, but it also was the last time that this conference would be offered after six years.

And I was ready to go home. Had nothing to do with the fatigue or tiredness of the conference, which I didn't experience. Instead, it was the urge to get to work. I didn't want to talk about it. I didn't want to meditate over it. I knew what needed to be done. Some of my motivation was advice taken from the various workshop facilitators. Some of it was my own analysis because I had the chance to have a "retreat" of my own this weekend.

As things wound down, a farewell treat was listening to the women who were nominated for awards. Of course, to be nominated you had to do great things as a business owner and for the community. As each person rose to speak on what they'd accomplished, one couldn't help but be impressed.

They spoke about their businesses with passion, confidence, and focus. In some cases, they took blind risks, but with the utmost faith that they were doing the right thing. No one was an overnight success: hard work, sacrifices, and being unafraid to fail set them on their path.

It was the perfect send off to return to my life, get out of my way, and open the door to my success.

It's time to Roar!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Get RADICAL Conference Experience -- Part 2

So we're onto day two of the Get RADICAL Conference. And I've learned that I'm not shitty. Any small business owner knows that it's hard as heck working that business 24/7. Add being a writer as the career and the crazy, unpredictable life could take you to the mental/physical edge. I'm not perfect, but I'm not all bad either.

One of things that I don't do anymore with conferences is to fill up my schedule every hour for the entire day. From my days of attending romance writing conferences, I would be at a workshop from the start time for the day until the last hour. By the time I got home, I had a notebook filled with information. Sometimes that information conflicted because two presenters had varying opinions on approach. Altogether, I'd be one confused and overwhelmed mess.

For this conference, I knew what would be my focus--business development. I stuck to that priority and selectively opted for workshops that could give me immediate assistance. Not something to develop or try over the next six months. But what could I put to use at this very minute.

There were two breakout sessions and an end of day wrap up that interested me. There will be an evening Q&A session that I will also pop into, but for the most part, what I needed was already offered today. Unfortunately I missed one of those sessions because I double booked. And although I didn't make it, what I got from the webinar meeting on self-publishing that I attended was massively helpful and went in tandem with what I was getting at the conference. So, I'm not that sad.

From today, I can boldly state:

I know what I want to do.

I have expertise in the area.

I have done the research.

I am doing the marketing.

I am enjoying the sales.

Now each statement is true with various levels of success, per my definition. Today, from the advice that I received, it reaffirmed that I am on the right track. That tweaks in my process are necessary. I'm sure those tweaks might come with real headbanging mindset changes, but still, they are tweaks. I don't foresee having to toss out the baby with the bathwater. I do look forward to putting some serious focus and game changing moves to my business.

And with the self-publish webinar that I attended and had caused the double-booking, that was sheer wow. I could see simple things that I had done wrong, but can easily fix. Almost two hours of information sharing helped set my mind at ease that this career, this life, can be successful, per my definition.

So with confidence, I say that...I'm not shitty.