Life

personal-update

I am so, so sorry for my ridiculously long absence! I’d intended to keep blogging as usual last month, but then I was transferring my site over to a new host and it was a little bit more time-consuming than I expected. I’ve also been working like a busy bee on a couple of other projects and my brain has shoved everything else to the back-burner, as usual. Multitasking is not one of my talents – let’s just leave it at that 😉

This year flew by so quickly, didn’t it?! I feel like it was just January and now we’re halfway through October. Seriously, how?!

The idea of time going by so quickly panics me just a bit. When I look back over this year, it saddens me to think that I didn’t accomplish all that I’d intended to. I believe in making every day count, and when I fail on that frontier, it’s easy to feel like everything else was a waste.

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However, if I look at this year through God’s eyes, it takes on a different colored hue. I might not understand or even know why things played out the way that they did, but I do know that He was in control all throughout and He was carrying out His works and purposes, even if it seems like I have little to show for it. 2016 was His year, after all, and my family asked God to do what He would in it.

Anyway, before getting back to posting in my Telling My Story series, I thought I’d do a bit of a life update and talk about some changes related to the blog!

personal + life

A couple of weeks ago Puerto Rico experienced a mass power outage – there was a huge explosion at our main power plant and millions of us lost electricity. CNN even covered the story! It felt like some kind of apocalyptic event, going out to purchase candles. It was stormy weather and the lights in the streets were off – there were police officers at every intersection, manning traffic. But, praise God, my family was only without lights for about thirty-odd hours; within a few days, everything was back to working order. Phew!

Another thing I’m so very grateful for is the fact that Hurricane Matthew completely bypassed Puerto Rico. Considering that it hit almost every other island in the Caribbean, this is remarkable. But my heart does go out to all those who were hit and who are being affected even now… my mother keeps me abreast of all the latest happenings on that frontier, and it breaks my heart to hear how Haiti and Jamaica have been affected. I pray that God would provide the help they need, and also that God would use this catastrophe to usher in more missionaries and preachers of His Word to those desperate people.

On a personal basis, I’ve been keeping myself busy. I’m working on a bunch of creative pieces and I’m also constantly brainstorming ideas for this blog. Starting this week, I’m embarking on yet another project, but I’ll share about that some other time 😉

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It’s so important to keep ourselves from getting bored and unproductive, don’t you think? Laziness breeds inactivity which breeds slothfulness, and having struggled with all three in the past, I try to stay on top of things and not let myself fall into old habits. It’s an uphill battle at times. It’s easy to get bored and unmotivated, especially at this stage of my life, and I definitely struggle BIG TIME with being a procrastinator. But I like meeting goals and I like having something to show for my labor. It’s like being your own boss. And while there are pros and cons to that concept, over-all I think it’s a really positive thing.

blog + theme

Blog-wise, I continue to have epiphanies. Like wanting to talk more about my walk with the Lord and provide encouraging messages for other girls my age, who may be struggling similarly with their current season. As always, my biggest challenge is simply narrowing down what it is I’m here for. A part of me wants to tell stories; another part wants to do life posts; another part wants to write about writing; and yet another part wants to scrap it all and revert to silence! Being indecisive doesn’t help matters. (And yeah, I’m horrendously indecisive. But I’m sure you’ve been able to figure that out by this point!)

If this is the first time you’re seeing the new blog since I changed hosts then welcome! It’s still subject to change (because when is it not?) but I like the way it’s looking right now. Switching over to wordpress.org has been great. Plug-ins are so addictive and so much fun, haha.

hope + holidays

On other fronts, I’m feeling hopeful and looking forward to the holidays. We’re praying we have a nice Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Last year’s was just very sad. Most of my siblings have been taking music lessons this year and a couple of them are taking choir, so I’m looking forward to Christmas concerts!

I’ll be back later this week with another post.

See you then, and God bless!

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Self-Publishing

 

I just stumbled upon this website called Curiouser Editing. (A curious title that I have no idea how to pronounce, curiously.) They’re a team that help with book development, editing, consulting, and self-publishing services.

On their blog, they’re offering a FREE Pre-Publishing Checklist PDF for authors. (Score! If you’re an aspiring author, I highly recommend checking it out.) I immediately subscribed and downloaded the ebook, and BOY, am I in for a ride.

This is going to be one of the hardest things I ever do, I can already tell. 

Just check out the table of contents for the ebook:

  1. Pre-Pre-Publishing Checklist
  2. Prepare a Promo Kit
  3. Copyright & Such
  4. Choose an Editor
  5. Find Your Target Audience
  6. Set Up Social Media
  7. Set Up an Email List
  8. Pre-Marketing Part One
  9. Research Self-Publishing Platforms
  10. Rock Your Book Cover
  11. Choose Your Publishing Platform
  12. Format Your Book
  13. Pre-Marketing Part Two
  14. Publish on Amazon
  15. Set Up Amazon Author Central Page
  16. Publish on Createspace
  17. Throw a Launch Party
  18. Promote Your Book
  19. Market Your Book
  20. One Last Thing
  21. Curiouser Editing’s Favorite Publishing Resources
  22. Notes

Ahhhhhhh.

There’s so much that goes into this process. It’s somewhat bewildering and quite overwhelming but I plan on blogging the heck out of it along the way, so… there is that 🙂

Join me for the ride, will ya?

In my next post, I’ll blog about the first things I’m going to tackle on the list and how I’m going to go about doing them. See you then! 

Memoir, Writing

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Now that the outlines are out of the way, I have turned to working on the final chapter of my book. It seems a little ridiculous, even to me, that it has taken so long. I’ve already had a few people read my manuscript and I’ve had to embarrassingly inform them all that the last chapter is still in the works. Today I sat down to work on it and I was surprised, yet again, by the total lack of inspiration that I found myself confronted with.

I think it’s a combination of the fact that somewhere in between announcing to my family that I had finished my book and present time, my brain has switched off writing. Not writing in general, but writing, specifically, related to producing new content for this book. I feel like my inner writing genius is kicking back somewhere in the figurative Bahamas, sipping on a piña colada, while I roam empty beaches, shouting desperately for help.

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and it’s that hard.”

Neil Gaiman

Now that I know what my direction is in terms of publishing, I’m more keen than ever to make sure that my book says what I want it to say, in the way that I want to say it. And that pressure only intensifies when I think about the ending and having it hit all those marks that I want it to.

But the inspiration just isn’t flowing.

It’s sitting like a stagnant pond instead of gushing like a river.

I have several pages worth of unfinished sentences, broken statements, and randomly placed paragraphs, and it all seems so unrelated. I know what I’m trying to say… I think. But it’s not meshing. It’s not coming together. I’m a little perplexed even as I write this.

I want to find that niche of inspiration, that little burning fire within that puts the wind in the fingers, the words on the paper, but I’m stuck.

I’m reading this article on overcoming writer’s block and it’s super helpful, but anyone else have any tips for me? I feel like I just need to get in the right mindset and it will just come together perfectly, but that mindset is being annoyingly elusive.

Abjgkrnlgbrfehgbvlkh perfectly sums up my current mood. I think it’s fitting that this isn’t a word.

Any tips on finding inspiration? What works for you, fellow friend?

 

Life

Today, I came to the conclusion that life is about to get very, very, very busy.

I’ve (practically) finished my book, which is the memoir that I have been writing since the age of thirteen. At first, I thought I would be stuffing the events of my entire life (but focusing on the years wherein life was flipped over and inside out) into one single, long book. At fifteen, my mom gave me a suggestion: “How about you split the story into two parts, and from now on, work exclusively on the first half without worrying about the second?” I thought it was a good idea, and immediately a weight was lifted. Trying to cram in the details of our story into one single book didn’t seem legitimately possible.

After all, when you think about a life, a body, a family, you are thinking about the three-dimensional aspects that constitute one. The hundreds of conversations. The hundreds of facial expressions. Tones, sounds, scents, inflections, movements, phrases, ideas, thoughts, feelings. How do you capture the essence of a person, of a memory, of an event, and put it into words? How do you do the same for more than one person? For a life-changing event?

And on that topic, how you do even begin to explore the realm of grief and death and loss, when at the time that these occurred, you were only ten years old, and thus too young to even grasp the depth of it?

As you can probably tell, I’ve had a lot of time to think about this stuff.

Mashing all those different elements into one thick book was the original plan. Like I said, that changed. However, by the time I was seventeen, and had a firmer grasp on the objectives of my endeavor, I had changed my mind again: I didn’t think anybody would pay hard-earned money on two books that described the same themes, the same family, the same gruesome, dragged out tale. It’s a sad story, there’s no doubt about that. And I don’t know about you, but I like to pace my sad-story-intake. Better lump it all in the same volume, I surmised.

Well, plans changed. Again.

Here I am, at twenty, with the nearly finished first half of my story. I still feel the same way, about how I don’t think people will want to purchase two books, but my family has repeatedly told me the same: it would be better to split it into two parts. There’s too much to say, and I wouldn’t want to risk cutting out or skimping on certain details in order to make it more package-able. So. Two books it is.

This year, I have fully immersed myself into understanding the publishing universe (oh, and its a doozy). At this point, I get what a literary agent is, a book proposal, a query letter, a publicist, a publisher, an editor, a platform, etc.

I’m still a little foggy on these topics:

  • a book launch (who organizes it? who helps with that?)
  • translation (whose job is that? mine or the publishers? and is it possible to publish both an English version and a Spanish version simultaneously?)
  • marketing and promotion (when does that officially start, and is it all on me, the author, or can I pass it off to a professional?)
  • and endorsements (apparently, these are different from reviews – just learned that – and I’m not sure when it is that I’m supposed to start seeking them. I’ve started recently, but I don’t even have a publisher yet, so I don’t know if I’m jumping the gun or what).

What I’ve definitely learned beyond a shadow of a doubt is that networking is a must, and forming connections with people who care about your project is so important. 

Aside from learning all this stuff this past year…

  • I started blogging (thrice… but three times the charm, eh?)
  • rewrote small sections of my manuscript
  • began a book proposal (but haven’t worked on it, because I still don’t know what route to take in terms of publishing)
  • started bookmarking literary agents and Houses I would like submit to if I knew for sure that I was going straight to traditional publishing (I’ll do a post on this later, explaining my dilemma)
  • and at this point, halfway through the year (whaaaat?), all that remains is for me to finish up the final chapter of my memoir before beginning the second book (which I have a lot of written already, and wow, I use parentheses a lot).

So what does all this tell you?

I’m about to get really, really good at multitasking.

Blogging, writing, social media-ing, and publishing a book, all within the next six months. Talk about an adventure in the art of not losing my mind whilst accomplishing huge life goals… Despite the fact that blogging is on my Will Accomplish list, it’s also the means to chronicle this whole experience. (The only small problem being my perfectionism demands that I spend exorbitant amounts of time on piddly-diddly things so everything gets slowed down in the process… and that, my friends, is why I’ll never be a daily blogger.)

If somebody reading this has any tips for me on any of these topics, then leave me a comment below! How do you juggle blogging and day-to-day life? Do you carve out chunks of time to work on it, or is it more like whenever the inspiration hits you?

GIVE ME YOUR SECRETS.