In the Moment

People are too busy.

We just are. We’re always trying to get ahead of our never ending to-do list, the commitments and promises that we’ve made, and the daily necessities of living. It wasn’t until two days ago that I realized that this weekend is Labor Day Weekend. The idea of a long weekend is both a cherished and hated idea. More time off, but it means that we have to work even harder to get caught back up.

When I realized that I was thinking like that, I had to stop for a minute and ask myself. When did all the things that I HAVE to do become more important than anything else? Yes, I set myself a goal of having an x amount of words written by a certain date. But what good is having met my goal if I’m a frazzled mess trying to reach it? Or if I’m missing out on important moments that will never happen again for something that I could put off until tomorrow?

So this weekend, I’m going to take the opportunity to live in the moment. If I write, fine. If I don’t, well, it will always be there tomorrow. I’m not going to make plans or follow a schedule. I’m going to go where the wind takes me and see what adventures and treasures that I can find 🙂

Breathe deep. Live in the moment. Hang and be weird with your friends and family. Just enjoy life, it’s a gift.

See you Monday!

Where to Start?

I should’ve brought a map

So it’s Monday morning again, new week, new start. Ah, sometimes I am ever the optimist. What the situation truly is? It’s not even seven a.m. yet and I am most decidedly not a morning person. However, I made myself a promise that I was going to get up and get going, that I am going to follow through on all of my plans. I am sitting on my bed and I have a ginger kitty distracting me in my lap, begging for attention and cuddles while I try to concentrate. Forget typing, lol.

But I made myself a promise and I’m going to keep it. So I am up and I can somehow work around the needy feline (practice makes perfect, lol). However, I also promised you guys honesty. When I booted up my computer this morning and started running through my to-do list, I almost had a panic attack. I have so much to do, where do I even start?

Do I start by getting my cover art redone with my real name? But I want to make some changes to the books, some parts that I skimmed over before that I want to expound on, which will change the thickness of the book which in turn will change the dimensions of the art that I need.

So I should start with writing. After all, that’s what’s holding up the cover art and republication. That has it’s own set of difficulties. I really need to get editing my third book (I hate editing. I try to liken it to pruning a plant to make it healthier and more beautiful, but seriously, editing is one of the most painful processes for me). People have been really patient while waiting for me to get the third book out. But am I doing them a disservice by having substandard earlier editions out there? And what about book 4? I don’t want to have people wait forever for book 4 to come out, now that I’m getting my act together. Ok. Deep breath. Let’s put it aside for a minute and come back when I’m a little more awake and have my thoughts in better order.

Let’s start with social media. After all, if no one knows about my books, it doesn’t matter if they are great or not, because no one will be reading them. Oh yeah, I am still in the process of converting them over from Kat Seaholm. That’s all right, this I can do. Oh, I need to know my password? I’m sure I wrote it down…. somewhere. Ok, good. Don’t know what I was thinking when I made that password but I can post now. But what to post? I don’t want to come across as needy or overly aggressive. I want to be funny, but not flippant. And definitely NO politics. The world is crazy enough, I just want to make the world a better place, to give people a break from all the crazy.

And thus the hamster wheel of my crazy brain goes around and around. I will eventually find a way to break it into manageable chunks and find a way to move forward through the fear. Although at times I wish for a clear road map, I find so many unexpected gems on the journey that I could’ve never possible anticipated.

So what is going on in your life this week? What big goals/dreams are you trying to accomplish? And what do you do when you get overwhelmed by your to-do list?

Happy Monday Everyone!

Z is for Zest

Zest

 

No, not that kind of zest. I’m talking about the other types of zest.

 

Definition of zest

*An enjoyably exciting quality

*Keen enjoyment

Source: Merrian-Webster Dictionary

 

Over the past month, I’ve had lots of fun sharing with you Everything that I Love about Writing. I’ve covered a myriad of topics, some I never anticipated and others that turned out totally different than I set out to write. I got to read some phenomenal blogs and make some new blogging friends. But we have reached the end of the A to Z Challenge. So where do I go from here?

Well, right now I’m busy trying to make sure that everything is ready for my May 15th release of the next book in my series: In Search of Healing. It’s the second book in a six part series and I’m excited about its upcoming release. For my blog, I still plan on my Feature Fridays, plus I hope to start a serial story sometime in May.

But most of all, I plan to continue writing with zest. For many years, I hid my writing away as unimportant and not good enough. But my writing brings me joy and I hope that I’ve been able to share a small measure of that joy with you over the past month. So thank you for supporting my A to Z journey and I encourage you to live every day with zest and joy.

Here’s to a great 2018!

Friday Feature – Blogger Lexx Vorpahl

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Before I begin my introduction, I definitely want to thank Kat for reaching out and asking me to participate in her Friday Feature. Thank you for the opportunity to do so…

So where to begin, Hello there everyone, Lexx here. I am an aspiring author who is currently working on two novels simultaneously while blogging about all things related to writing. My writing journey is an interesting one and I have always enjoyed it for many reasons. On writing:

I like being able to communicate through writing for several reasons:  I like the challenge and the peace it brings to me personally, when I sit down to write I try to articulate my words well (the challenge) I read them aloud to see how they flow together, I get time to ponder a bit before having to spit out uselessness( I am not one for small talk or small thoughts).

I definitely enjoy being able to go over my thoughts and refine them for later use and blogging has been a medium I hadn’t considered for that purpose until now. So, I am liking the process of learning and growing as I continue to blog as often as possible with my chosen subject always present. I also don’t mind sharing with others and blogging is one way I get to share and connect with other people (without having to leave my house, I consider this a plus). I like being able to find like-minded individuals and connecting through our similar interests and thought processes through the blogosphere.

Anyway, more on my writing journey but outside of blogging. To be honest, I am just now beginning to kick things off after years of self-doubt and always listening to other peoples’ words on the subject matter. I beg you now if you love writing, never stop, for a moment. Now is writing easy? Yes and no…Is it easy to become an author? Certainly not, but if it is a goal of yours and something you can’t get out of your mind, don’t stop because of outside influences. Add it to the many goals you want to achieve in life.

This totally applies to other things not just writing, so if you don’t write don’t worry my words still apply. Believe in yourself and find where your passion lies. I don’t think anyone should have to give up something they love to do and sometimes we are told just that! What terrible advice if you ask me, and that sort of advice is best left on the side of the road while you continue driving to your destination. Right now, I am doing just that and so far, I like the scenery.

A bit more about me:

I am a stay at home mom and wife, I homeschool, I’m a Beachbody coach too. I’m also a student and can’t wait to begin a new degree course in August. I love gardening, crochet, and woodworking to name a few things. My husband and I love DIY! We do a lot of different projects together. Life is good. Obviously writing is a passion, and blogging is something I enjoy too. I plan to finish my novels, edit and then publish.  In the meantime, I blog at https://lexxvorpahl.wordpress.com/ you can also catch me over at https://vorpahlismco.wordpress.com/ If you like DIY, cooking, crafty things and more.

you can also find me on Instagram @LexxWrites  https://www.instagram.com/lexxwrites/  or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LexxWrites/

Again, a big thank you to Kat and hey TGIF! Have a great weekend everyone.

Lexx Vorpahl

U is for Unexpected

Writing for me is not a thoroughly planned journey. It is often just a rough sketch and I usually end up coloring outside of the lines. For me, creativity happens spontaneously. If I try to plan out every little nuance before I begin to write, I find I have no desire to actually write the story. It takes all the joy out of it for me. So although I may have a general outline, I tend to just let my storyline flow and see what happens.

However, that does not mean that I am never surprised by what happens. This weekend I was working on my novel. The scene was going well, we were working on setting up a game plan for their undercover operation. Then, right in the middle of this, one of my characters decides to have a deep, introspective moment. I’m like, ‘Where is this even coming from and you choose now to have this conversation? We are right in the middle of a battle plan, not a why did you trust me conversation.’ Still, my character was unwilling to progress any farther until this matter was dealt with, so we rolled with it. It may or may not become important later in the plot, I have no idea as I never planned for this conversation.

This is part of why I love writing, the joy of discovering surprising backstories and hidden depths to characters. The twists and turns in plots that I could never anticipate. Sometimes it irritates me and I rant for a while or even walk away from the story for a time. But in the end, the curiosity about what happens next always draws me back.

So what is something unexpected that happened in your life recently?

 

writing-is-a-journey-of-discovery-because-until-you-start-you-never-know-what-will-happen-and-you-quote-1

M is for Money

Due to tiredness, I made a mistake on yesterday’s post, L is for Language. Today is the halfway point, not yesterday. My apologies for the mix-up but congratulations again for everyone that has hung in there. Also, thank you to everyone who has stopped by and read my blog. Without you guys, there wouldn’t be a reason for a blog. Now, onward to the post!

 

money

 

Money is such an ingrained part of our daily lives that we rarely consciously notice it. It is there, after all, we work to pay our bills, we shop for things we need, we save up to go on vacation. In fact, on any given day we probably use and think of money at least twice if not more. We know our currency down to its smallest value. For Americans, it’s the penny. We often have a jar filled with it sitting around our houses somewhere.

 

So how does money translate into writing? We have to consciously bring it to the forefront of our minds as we write. Is our character poor or rich? Do they budget everything or are they a free spirit that struggles paycheck to paycheck? When they travel, are they familiar with the local currency or do they struggle to pay and make change. Because of this, are they easy prey for con men and tricksters? What if they are robbed in a foreign country? What are their options?

 

fantasy money

 

As a fantasy writer, I often do world building for my stories. Part of that includes currency. This includes types of currency, is it made from precious metals, cheap metals, wood, paper? Value of currency, is it based on a very regulated system like each coin increases value by 10 or is it a more random system where each item is valued independently of each other? This is always a very fun part of writing for me.

 

Finally, there is one more type of currency: Barter

:to trade by exchanging one commodity for another

: to trade goods or services in exchange for other goods or services

  • farmers bartering for supplies with their crops
  • bartered with the store’s owner

Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

 

Your character has a specific skill set, how can they barter it to obtain what they need? How do you set values for such diverse things? This is always a challenge to decide, but it allows you a lot of flexibility in your storyline.

 

We have now reached the end of the second week of the A to Z Challenge. Only two more to go! So tell me about a time when you bartered for something. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

J is for Journey

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Now, I know that I’ve been using a lot of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit references. But honestly, they are epic books and movies (except for The Hobbit trilogy, I cannot condone those) and they have withstood the test of time. Some books are poorly written but become immensely popular for short time. Others are very well written but are a dense read, so they remain of limited popularity. Tolkien combines both ease of reading and excellent writing, as is shown by its continued popularity years after it was written. Anyway, I digress.

 

Journey is one of my all time favorite words. It implies travel, new experiences, personal growth. But as Bilbo Baggins so aptly tells Frodo

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

 

I find that this to be true of writing as well. When you embark on the path of a story, if you don’t keep your feet under you, you will be swept off to who knows where instead of the intended destination of your story. Also there is the fact that in a story, as in real life, a journey does not have to be a physical journey, but it can be an emotional journey instead. All that matters is that the character is not in the same place that we found them and that we know how they got there.

 

What is a journey that you or your character have taken lately?

 

come-on-sam-remember-what-bilbo-used-to-say-its-a-dangerous-business-frodo-gong-out-your-door-lord-quote

I is for Impossible

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I finally concede defeat. Giving in to the characters that have been harassing me for weeks, I quickly finish up my obligations for the day and head for my laptop. Waiting for it to turn on, I gently place the cat off of my lap three times before allowing the ginger to stay and smugly settle in. Once it is finally on and ready to go, my music playing in the background, I open up my writing program and open up a new document. I take a minute and fiddle with the font and font size, making sure that everything is exactly as I like it. Then I turn my attention to the blinking cursor on the blank page and something unwelcome happens. I freeze.

 

This is where insecurities and fears pounce on me. Who are you to think that you can write? Why would anyone want to read it? The story is cliché, the grammar subpar, and I know that there are spelling mistakes that I miss. Aren’t I just rewriting stories that I’ve read over the years? My characters are too shallow, my male characters way off point because I am just a female writer. I tell, I don’t manage to show my stories. People will hate me because I talk to my characters like they are real people. Am I crazy because of that? My characters are impossible, doing things that could never be really accomplished. They say write what you know, why can’t I do that?

 

These fears roar through me, making my heart race and my hands freeze above the keys. My eyes close, unable to stand the sight of the cursor blinking on the page. I take a deep breath and silence descends on me. And in that silence, a small voice whispers, “Don’t give up, you can do this. You are uniquely you, no one sees the world like you do. And you are not alone. There are people all over the world who have a dream to write. But fear is a big bully and it hates to see people follow their dreams. So he tells you that it’s impossible, that you can never, that you are boring and not good enough. But he lies. You were born to write, you were born to share the stories that only you can see and hear so that other people can enjoy them as well. It is not impossible, this is what you were born to do, this was your calling when you were just an infant who couldn’t even think in words. This. Is. You. And nothing is impossible.”

HOPE copy

As hope falls silent, I open my eyes, a slight grin curving my lips. I put my hands on the keyboard. And then… I start to type.

 

So many times, we are told that things are impossible. What is a fear that would keep you from your writing if it could?

 

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H is for Hidden Heroes

Welcome to week two of the A to Z Challenge. I can’t believe how much fun week one was and I was blown away by how many people liked and commented on my posts. You guys are awesome. Also, I got to read some marvelous posts and I can’t wait to see more in the coming weeks.

 

So the post for today is about Heroes. Face it, every story has a hero, no matter if it’s fiction or non-fiction. In fiction, it’s usually a person or an animal. In non-fiction, it’s an object or subject. For example, in a non-fiction book about agriculture, farming is the hero of the book. Why is it the hero? Without it, the book cannot exist. Take a look at any book. What person or subject if you remove it, makes the book impossible? That is the hero of the story.

 

However, that is not to say that there is only one hero in any given story. Stories are complex, intricate things, much like humans are. Which isn’t really a surprise, because what are stories but the result of human’s dreams and imagination? So while there is usually an instantly visible hero, there are also hidden heroes. Yes, you heard me right. Hidden heroes. ‘But’, you say, ‘You just told us that without the Hero, the story wouldn’t exist’. That’s true, I did indeed just say that. But at the end of the day, heroes aren’t infallible. In the course of a story, there are often many times that a hero would’ve fallen or given up if there wasn’t someone there to support him or give him something to fight for. These characters are the ones that I like to refer to as hidden heroes.

 

samfrodo_twotowers

 

One of my favorite hidden heroes is Samwise from Lord of the Rings. Although he thinks of himself as a simple hobbit, he is the reason in the end that the ring is destroyed. There are so many times that Frodo would’ve never made it to Mordor without Sam’s help. His perseverance and loyalty are truly awe inspiring and sometimes having just one friend at our side can make all the difference. Not to mention that he risked giant spiders to save his friend with only a vial of light and Sting. Shudder, those were some big spiders. I’m not afraid of spiders but I sure would have arachnophobia after encountering those things. No matter how tired he got, or stressed, or even betrayed by his friends, Sam never gave up, never faltered in his quest to help Mr. Frodo. Can you imagine what you could achieve with a friend like that at your back?

 

However, there is one point, in the second book “The Two Towers” where Sam and Frodo have hit one of the lowest places in their journey. The have been captured and taken from their trek to Mordor and while captured, they have been attacked. Frodo has reached his breaking point and tells Sam that he can’t do this, he can’t go on. I believe that this is the truly pivotal point in the journey and that there is a real chance of Frodo giving up and going home right then and there. And Sam doesn’t argue with him, doesn’t tell him all the reasons why they have to get the ring to Mordor. Instead, he simply shares his heart, giving Frodo the strength to keep going. This scene makes me tear up almost every time.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6C8SX0mWP0

 

Here is beautiful kinetic typology of his speech. Kinetic typology is a fascinating thing.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pErpW0vFtPE

 

So who is your favorite Hidden Hero? I can’t wait to see 😊

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