Category Archives: Writing & Publishing

COVER REVEAL TIME

As promised, I’m back with an update on the next installment in the Slauson Cove Saga.

Now, I refuse to give away details just yet on the story. Teasers and trailers will come soon. But today you get a peek at the cover design.

Drum roll, please!

So details are as follows: It is set to release in October. Exact date will depend on how quickly I can manage all of these changes with KDP and Createspace. So my original plan for this may alter a bit. My hope is to have it available for you to pre-order or order and have in your hands in time for Halloween. We will have to see how this all goes though. I’m a one woman show after all. I don’t have a team of people working on edits, marketing, formatting, etc. But, I am so near the finish line here that I can absolutely see this one in my hands very soon.

My goal is to be able to have copies of this one available at the East Texas Booktacular event in Henderson, Texas. That is being held on October 27th. And you can get details by visiting the event link on Facebook either through my page and events or theirs. Click HERE for more information. This is a ticketed event due to limited venue space. However, tickets are free and I know there are swag bags happening for this one. Plus, you’ll get to have your picture taken with me in full witchy costume. So, it should be loads of fun. As always I will be happy to sign your book at the event! Or any other time.  (I have yet to experience having someone just come up and recognize me when I’m in public. However, when it does happen, it will be a blog-worthy experience.)

Also, I realized that I’m up to over 600 subscribers. OH MY GOSH!! You guys! That is totally organic growth and I’m super excited to see it. I’m going to have to do something super special when I get to one thousand.  But I am striving to be more present on other social media as well. Let me tell you, that’s a difficult thing to do when facing a deadline. So, if you want more daily, behind the scenes and creative motivation, be sure you’re following me on Facebook or Twitter as well.

I would love to know what you think about the cover! I’ll be updating things with The Secret of the Storm which is the prequel for this upcoming book. So if you aren’t familiar with Elora Castain and Walsingham Manor yet, I highly recommend picking it up so you are up to speed on the predicament she finds herself in at the start of this book. The e-book is still on sale for $4.99 so get it while that price lasts!

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Minor Setbacks..

Well, then! Welcome to another episode of “Change Is The Only Constant” or, if you prefer, “Planning Is For the Weak” (insert sinister, maniacal laughter in the background here).

This blog is primarily a personal one. I strive to make it a window into my world rather than just another “writing blog”. However, being that I am a writer, there will always be an occasional industry related post that goes beyond the scope of “Hey I have a new book coming out.” It is time for one of those posts.

Many independent authors, including myself use Amazon’s Createspace and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP for short). Essentially this is who does our printing and fills orders when you order through Amazon or request it at a bookstore. For as long as I’ve been publishing books, this has been a very accessible way for writers of any genre to get stories into your hands. We all have developed systems for how to get the words on the page, formatted, create covers, upload files, and, of course release books. Then, we also publish to KDP to allow you to read on Kindle. While the format process is different, it has been a relatively short jump from one to the other to allow our readers to have a seemless experience.

In the past 6 months there have been all sorts of rumors floating in the community about Createspace becoming obsolete and KDP taking over the print version option as well. We all know that the kindle, and e-readers in general, have revolutionized the way people read books today. That this change would eventually happen was really not that far of a stretch. Change is a constant in this industry. You have to learn how to roll with the punches and adapt. It isn’t even limited in scope to what a publisher or printing-house is doing. From trends in what people are reading, styles, topics, and delivery methods to how we reach people in terms of marketing; it can be entirely overwhelming.

Two days ago, the official email came from Createspace. They are indeed merging with KDP. Surprise!! (or not…) The question becomes, how does that affect readers or potential readers? And how is that going to affect my current deadline and release?

This is where many authors are frustrated. Some are even in a bit of a panic about it. Which I find isn’t helpful at all. But, I digress.

There are many things happening behind the scenes with books that readers are never honestly aware of. For most readers, if you’re looking to buy a paperback in the next few weeks, then, your best bet is to buy direct from an author. The Amazon listings for print copies are likely to go down and be unavailable through the transition. Many of us will have to reformat or do new covers resulting in a second edition. Signed copies are great gifts or collectibles. Many authors have stock on hand, even if it is limited, to fill those orders. They’re usually very happy to do so. There is something fun for us about inscribing and signing a copy of a book we’ve written. Most of us dream of having a steady stream of readers who want those signed copies. So, by all means, buy direct from your favorite author’s website. That on hand stock may be your last chance to have the original cover on your shelf.

Yes, I have copies on hand to ship out. You can get them on my website at www.annebelleauthor.com where there is a red button that will change to blue when you hover taking you to a Square Shop where those can be purchased. Yes, you’ll pay shipping. But, if you’re ordering gifts for friends and more than one copy, contact me direct and I’ll give you a bulk ship rate as opposed to paying per book for shipping & handling.

Otherwise, there isn’t much else to say on that except that there will likely be some changes in pricing as the migration happens. Yes The Secret of the Storm will have a new cover going forward, but, that won’t happen immediately. I’m still trying to finish its sequel to release in October and right now, my full attention needs to be on that manuscript and formatting etc. So, I’ve mad the decision to ride out the glitch-filled migration for now. I’ll finish and release this new book and then I will fix all of the transition-related necessities.

Now the GOOD NEWS is that we’re only two days away from the cover release for the new book! I am so excited about this one. Elora and crew really have their hands full in this new installment. So, I hope that you’re just as excited about all of the launch-related things as I am.

Cover reveal is happening on the 1st of September. The book will release in mid-October with some pre-order options available. And I’m scheduling events for online and offline launch celebrations. More news on that later! For now, just bear with me through this craziness.

In the long-run, I think this will be a good change and I hope that it will help to streamline the process of putting books out there.

In the meantime, I’m extending my e-book sale to help keep readers happy. Currently all of my e-book novels are available on kindle for $4.99. You can find those by shopping Amazon and my Amazon Author Page.

Thank you all for being so supportive and encouraging as I attempt to make all these things happen. I sincerely hope that you all enjoy Elora’s story and continue to follow along. I have so many things in the works for you. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us.

If you have questions or concerns you can always email me at annebellewrites over on gmail . Just allow me time to respond since I am in the middle of a tight deadline. It might take a me a bit to come out of the cave in order to answer but, I will.

Okay back to work for me.
Have a great day everyone!

And for my fellow indies… just breathe! Don’t panic. Let them sort it out and then make adjustments. This too shall pass and we shall overcome this hurdle just as we have all the others before it.

Turning the page…

The old saying goes something like this : To everything there is a season… I’m finding that to hold true today.

The past week has been surreal for me. I am sitting here taking in all the events that have happened and I think I am still in a little bit of shock. Regardless, it seems appropriate to reflect on all of this with you, my readers.

This blog has always been about creating a window into my creative world. Some entries here are more personal than others. They aren’t all industry news or propoganda. This is going to be one of those personal entries that I hope will convey a fundamental message of inspiration for those of you on a similar path. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be a writer to appreciate the message behind this. I think that this is true of any creative endeavor.

For years, I have known where my passion truly lies. Creating characters, stories, and books that entertain and pull people from the oblivion of a mundane life is part of it. Helping people find a way of keeping the magic going is another part. For the first time in several years, I packed up my books and headed to an local event to sell them. I always love meeting people and enjoy talking about my work. So these events are always a bit of a treat for me. They are also a lot  of work but, well worth the effort.

Tyler Paranormal Conference was a very serendipitous event. I was asked to speak on top of being a vendor. So I went prepared with notes about my books and how my work as a paranormal investigator and researcher helped me to write what I do. I went and set up and learned that several people had come just to hear me speak. Talk about a surreal moment! I’m just a girl trying to do something that she loves. I never quite think of myself as a celebrity of any sort so attending the VIP dinner “with the stars” was awesome. I had the opportunity to talk with a couple of wonderful ladies who had traveled to be there. I was equally as happy to sign books for them the following morning. And when it came time for the presentation. I had the attention of a room full of aspiring writers.

My prepared material went out the window and it turned into a very candid discussion about how to get started in writing and industry specifics for resources. I was excited by this. It made me think of new posts for here, the youtube channel, and other services I can offer when/if, I have the time. The whole experience solidified my determination to make this lifestyle my reality and in doing so, help others make it their reality as well.

So I went back to my planning board with ideas for services and I started to make some plans for what, and how, to offer my experience to others. I was reminded that I apparently am a natural teacher. And my willingness to share my methods and teach skills that I’ve honed over the years is what sets me apart. Being a writer is as much about persistence as it is about skill. And I also realized that many people are looking for a guide to this journey. That got me to thinking about how I could be that sort of mentor and guide.

In my excitement and planning I didn’t realize what Monday morning would hold in store.

The only constant in life is change. I accepted this long ago. I’ve become a bit of an expert at starting over when necessary. And it seems that, once again, it is necessary to make like my heroines and accept the changes happening in my life. When I went to my day job on Monday morning, I was fired.

Now, some people may have been devastated by this news. I wasn’t. For three years or more, I have worked six days a week and struggled to find the time to work on my passion in life. Long hours without breaks, sometimes in a hostile work environment, and it was mostly in isolation that prohibited me from interacting with coworkers or building relationships with others. The constraints of the job made it difficult for me to spend time with family and friends. I’ve not seen my family for the holidays in four years. That’s going to change this year. But most importantly I can work on my books and focus on helping others embrace their own creative passions.

I’m excited about coming up with ways to get my work into new readers hands. I’m super excited about being at Geekend in Kilgore, Texas in a bit over a week. And I am looking to add an additional convention to my mini-tour this year. I am also looking at creative perks and ways to get readers involved in the creative process through Patreon. I’ll be posting more details about that soon. And, of course, I can fast forward production on the next Slauson Cove book now. In fact, I hope to have it in the hands of beta readers by the time I go to Geekend. That’s super exciting.

To add to that, I’m going to be posting some information on an exciting opportunity for five aspiring authors to work directly with me on their project. I’ll be offering affordable developmental editing and tailored workshops via video calls soon. If you’re interested in working with me. Be sure that you sign up for my email newsletter. Subscribers to that will be given a first look at the details of the program I’m offering and how to apply with me.

Honestly, there have been plenty of signals that it was time to take a leap of faith. Synchronicity is a funny thing really. Several doors are opening and I am seeing more and more interaction with all of you on social media. I think this is an upward trend I can enjoy for a bit.

Tomorrow, I’ll be announcing the giveaway winners of my collectors editions of Exorcising The Past. Another incentive to put your name and email address in the subscribe boxes and pop up. There will only be 50 of these printed making them a limited edition. I’ll also be signing and personalizing for the winners.

Ready? Set? …………Go!

We’re finally here! The week where everything starts for me.

It is surreal to me that so many things have begun to fall into place after years of working toward it. Yet, that is exactly what is happening. I could not be more excited about this or the fact that I get to share it with all of you.

So Saturday April 21st I am going to be in Conference Room 2 at 12:15pm CST to do a presentation called “Writing The Paranormal”. 

I am really excited to be attending my first convention. That it is close to home is a plus but, I see many more of these types of appearances in the future.

I have always loved having the opportunity to meet readers and fellow writers. Being able to talk about the books and upcoming releases is a highlight for anyone in the creative industry. We love to hear when you’re excited about something. It will be a fantastic event with a lot of really amazing opportunities. I hope that if you are in the area you’ll get your tickets and come see me at my booth.

So Click Here for all the details on the conference.

By the way…. SamBee’s will be supplying me with free cake pops so, you should come by and have one when you get your copy of The Secret of the Storm.

Don’t for get to go HERE and sign up for my newsletter to get your entry into the giveaway for the Collectible Print Edition of Exorcising The Past . I will also have tickets to fill out at the convention for an extra entry. Our first announcement of winners will be in my first newsletter on April 27th.

I am honestly thrilled and humbled by the opportunities coming up for me. This conference is a launch point for me. And there may just be some news about the next Slauson Cove installment so don’t miss the fun! I’ll be happy to sign a copy and take a picture with you if you come by.

 

Excitement from the #authorlife front…

Where do I begin?

Maybe with Happy Easter!

To those of you who celebrate the holiday, like myself, may you find peace with the season and remember the reason for it. This year is a bit odd for me as it feels like I am personally going through a bit of a period of rebirth and transformation. I couldn’t be happier about this though. There is a real deepening of my sense of purpose, my confidence, and my optimism for what my future holds. I’m writing more, promoting more, and it feels like many things are finally coming together in my pursuit of the “Author’s Life” I’ve always wanted to live. So I’m celebrating all sorts of aspects and themes with this one. And I sincerely hope that all of you are as well.

Last night I was chatting with my best friend Deedra Mosely via Skype while I was checking messages and emails to make sure that all is confirmed for the events I have lined up for April and May. I was expecting the usual confirmation emails of my booth and so forth. That wasn’t to be the case. Instead of the “shout out” about the promo spot on their facebook which I got. I was also asked to do a presentation on “Writing The Paranormal” as part of the convention. The next thing I know, I’m on the schedule and just a teensy bit over-excited. Not good when I really need to sleep and go to the day job the next morning. I must have seen 1:30 or 2:00 AM because I was so wound up and brainstorming what to talk about.

I would love input and suggestions. What are questions that you’d want to ask your favorite paranormal and horror authors?

I get to bring a unique spin to this because I have actually worked with investigations and reseach for years. I’ve made presentations on the subject before. I started out back in the 90s and even founded a local group here before life got in the way of investigating. Not to mention my own priorities changed. I still consult for my former investigators when they need help and reach out but, things have been fairly quiet on that front for years now.  I can’t say that I don’t put experiences into my fiction work. But, you’ll have to read and see if you can pick out those elements for yourself.

Exorcising The Past is firmly planted in the horror genre. In fact, it is sort of a cross genre, if you will. I can’t take it out of the paranormal genre but I am certain that many readers will classify it as horror. I’ll let you judge for yourself though. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it is available right now on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. If you do read it (and I hope you will) do a girl a favor and leave a review. You have no idea how much you can help authors like myself by leaving a review of whether you liked the work or not.

That being said, this presentation is much different. Before I focused on dispelling the myths about the field and actually giving information to train investigators in terminology and understanding phenomena. That’s a much different sort of talk. There will be plenty of presenters from active investigators and groups. I get to focus on how it influences the creative process and what inspirations it conjures up. I have a ton to consider before I take that stage and plenty of notes to make to take along.

If you have suggestions feel free to leave a comment or email me. You can find information in the contacts.

Oh and yes, I got my limited edition print copies in today and they look amazing! I’ll get pictures this weekend for another post. There is nothing quite like holding a book baby for the first time. I don’t think I will ever get used to that feeling.  You can get your hands on one of these numbered and autographed books soon. I’ll be giving away a total of 6 copies in the next 6-8 weeks.

How can you enter the give away? It’s easy. Just sign up for my newsletter. You should have seen a pop up box when you came to this article. If, by chance you already put your name and email in those boxes, you’re already entered. If not, you can sign up via my website as well www.annebelleauthor.com and under the News & Events tab you’ll see a drop down for the newsletter that will take you to a sign up form.

Additionally, if you come and see me at the table. I will have some additional sign up slips that will put you in a drawing as well. Follow me on social media for additional ways to enter. I’ll do two rounds of announcements and will require your email to contact you if you win.

Good Luck!

What else to tell you about?

Lots of content coming up in April both here and on my Vlog/Podcast. I have a whole calendar set up with topics and when to post what. So I’ll be busy this weekend creating content and getting it ready to go.

If you are in the area and coming to Tyler for the conference I would love to meet you. So stop by my booth to pick up a copy of my novels. I’ll be more than happy to sign and take a picture if you like.  Don’t miss my presentation at 12:15PM on April 21st. Comments here are a way to help me choose questions to address in the talk. Q & A time at the event will be limited because there are so many presenters lined up for this one.

Stay tuned for announcements about other events as well. This is keeping me hopping and I absolutely love it!

Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

 

New Fiction & Giveaways!

I have been firmly planted in the writing hot seat this week. I’ve been toiling away with final edits, proofs, and yes, even publication. Can you hear the gasp going on behind the screen here?

Seriously though, I realized that I haven’t released any new fiction in years. For an author who wants to build a fan base that is no good. So, I had this gem of a story laying around and I decided that, while the next novel isn’t ready for outside eyes yet, it could be in a short amount of time. So, I shifted gears and got it done! Now, not only are you able to buy it for your Kindle but I am able to do some special things with it.

So let’s talk about this first and give you all the details.

Cover Design by Anne Belle

Exorcising The Past is a short work of fiction that delves a little darker than my past work. But it also opens up a whole new area of fiction that I haven’t explored before. It introduces a team of paranormal investigators who, if readers want, could make some repeat appearances. We’ll see how the response goes.

It will only be available on Kindle as an ebook. Good news is that if you’ve never read my work before and you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber then you can get it for free. If not, the price point on this one is a fraction of what my novels sell for. So it is a great way for you to try me out before you pick up a novel or two.

From The Cover:

Life was finally coming together for Anna. When Scott asked her to help him with a case involving a four year old child being attacked by unseen forces, she didn’t hesitate. What she didn’t expect was to come face to face with demons direct from her own past. Anna must make the decision to face the past and close doors she didn’t open before she can move on with her life. Will she find a way to be rid of him at last?

Get it HERE!

Extra Bonus Details:

This is only available for purchase in ebook format. Why? Well, I wanted to create something that was more collectable. So, the print edition of this particular work is only available in a limited supply through me personally. Now, I’m reserving these numbered and signed copies for giveaways, contests, and donations. So let me tell you three ways that you can get your hands on a copy of this in honor of the release.

  1. Follow me on social media. Like, share, etc as directed over the next month and I’ll be announcing the winners of two copies on April 27th, 2018.
  2. Two come and see me at events between now and May 15th, 2018 where you can put a ticket into a fishbowl, sign up for my upcoming newsletter, and get a signed copy of both available novels. Each action will give you a chance for one of 4 copies I’ll be announcing on May 21st!
  3. Lastly you can make sure you’re signed up for my newsletter online. Don’t worry, between the blog and noveling, I don’t send out a ton of email. Maybe every six weeks you’ll hear something new from me. Oh, and I won’t be sharing info with anyone. No spam from me! You can sign up here!  http://eepurl.com/bdpeLT
    That about covers it! If you’re a KU subscriber why not check it out for free tonight! It is a page turner and a quick read for you over the weekend! Then you can tell me if you’d like to see more of Anna, Scott, Evie, and Dale in the future. Maybe a collection of their paranormal cases? Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email. You know I’m always available there.Facebook to the right!

    Twitter @AnneBelleAuthor

    Amazon Author Page : https://www.amazon.com/Anne-Belle/e/B00H5IBU9U/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

    Email: annebellewrites at gmail

     

New Fiction

It seems like it has been ages since I’ve published anything new. In fact, I doubt it even just seems that way and actually has been ages. Now, I know that whether I publish or not doesn’t define my status as a writer. I write, thus I am a writer by definition. However, my stories going out to the masses is a part of the process that is long overdue. And without further ado, let me just introduce my latest crazy contribution to the world of horror and supernatural fiction.

Cover Design by Anne Belle

 

 

COMING MARCH 22, 2018

Exorcising The Past

A Novella by Anne Belle

Genre : Horror/ Supernatural Suspense

Kindle e-book exclusive with limited author only available print editions for promotion purposes.

From the back cover:

Life was finally coming together for Anna. When Scott asked her to help him with a case involving a four year old child being attacked by unseen forces, she didn’t hesitate. What she didn’t expect was to come face to face with demons direct from her own past. Anna must make the decision to face the past and close doors she didn’t open before she can move on with her life. Will she find a way to be rid of him at last? Find out in the exclusive Kindle e-book release Exorcising The Past by Anne Belle

 

 

Exciting stuff right?! I’m really excited about this one. It will be a quick read for those who enjoy the genre. But, I’m happy to say that this could be the start of a series of short works that could be compiled into a collection later on. I am certainly open to the idea of the continuing characters and theme of the paranormal investigation cases if you, my dear readers, want more of Scott and Anna.

Just a quick preview this time. More details coming later in the week!

Events & Other Writerly Things

Being a writer has perks.

Yes, it is a pretty solitary existence. We spend most of our time alone with a screen and a keyboard for company. However, there are the rare occasions when we get to step out and really enjoy the spotlight.

For me, I have always enjoyed the process surrounding a book signing event. I meet people who share a similar interest and have a chance to talk with them and sometimes it leads to friendships.  Now I haven’t done an event in, what feels like, forever. It’s been a few years. But, I’m excited to announce that I will be a vendor and attending at the Tyler Paranormal Conference. Click on the link and it will take you to the facebook page with all the information. And if you are in the East Texas area and can pop over to Tyler for one of the three days of the event, I would love to meet you. Maybe even sign a copy or two for you.

In other news, I’m entering the rewrite phase of the work on Slauson Cove Book Two. Second drafts are for working out plot holes and deepening the story. This one needs some TLC. That being said, it is time to really get to work on it. And I’m ready to get this one into the hands of all of you who enjoy my fiction work.

The irony is that I’m also working on the final editing phases of a short novella that I will be formatting soon to put out. It isn’t related to the Slauson Cove story line but is something unique that could be a start to a sort of collection of stories based around a group of characters if the feedback indicates that there is a demand for it.

Sort of a short post today folks. I have a ton on my To-Do List. So keeping it short and sweet is practical for me. But, I’ll be back with more insights from the studio. Maybe even with a cover reveal for the novella later in the week. Guess you’ll have to subscribe to stay tuned and not miss that.

In the meantime, tell me what sort of book-related or fiction-related events you enjoy or would like to attend in the comments. I am curious about how I can make these sorts of appearances more appealing and give you all more than just me sitting at a table signing books. Would you enjoy a reading styled event? Maybe a Q & A would be better. You tell me!

Doing the prep work…

Anything worth doing takes preparation as well as determination. We all know this. That’s why people spend years in school getting a degree, a year planning a wedding, or even years writing a book. So it is no wonder that the release of a book also takes preparation.

I decided to take time to really prepare my space for writing success. I’ve realized that it is far too cluttered and hindering progress. So with my recent refund from the IRS, I decided to invest in my current set up to make my space both inspiring and condusive to progress and productivity. For me, that means installing shelves and various organizational items but also a bit of frivolous spending as well.

I upgraded my phone which was a much needed item. I chose the LG Stylo 3 Plus which suits me quite well. The size isn’t easily lost in my purse or bag. The camera is a much better quality than my last phone. Incidentally that was also an LG. Android has many options for me as far as apps and working on the go as well. The stylus is a wonderful touch for those times I want to write a note or even do a bit of photo editing on the go. Overall, I find that I love it. It seems to be a perfect fit for my life without breaking the bank the way an iPhone or Samsung would have on my budget.

I also went to Amazon to get new a new external hard drive. I opted for a 2 TB by SeaGate. Which I hope will serve my back up needs for video, photo, and manuscript projects. I made a trip to Target and got some new pens and various stationary items. All good things for a writer when they are facing a battle with writers block.

But my real prize in all of this is something most people will find perfectly silly.  I bought myself a mechanical keyboard with “clicky keys”! Yes, that means that I get the feel of the typewriter that is so nostalgic.

You have to understand that this makes me so giddy happy that I’m all smiles and laughs upon getting it out of the box and realizing that it really does have the sound and feel of the old electric typewriters I started out on. Yes, I’m extremely nostalgic at times. And I can’t really explain why this makes me so stinkin’ happy but it does.

I have a laptop stand and a dust cover for my laptop keyboard on its way too.  And I got those noise-cancelling headphones I have been talking about for quite some time now. Perfect for the gym and for when I need to eliminate the distractions of a noisy pup. I am just too excited about the overhaul on my space. I have big plans for this year and I think that all of these changes prepare me for a very productive year and all the wonderful things that come with spending your time doing something you love to do.

Now, to get all of the organization part done and find the time to take a writer’s retreat to focus on what I really want to be doing.

So what are you changing in your life to inspire you and help you be more productive? I would love to know.  Share in the comments below! And do let me know if you would be interested in seeing the completed workspace after I do some spring cleaning and set up.

How to find your passion in life…

It is no secret that I’ve gone through a big process of reinventing myself over the past few years. The reality is that we’re always evolving into someone new. There is no stopping it. We’re shaped by our interactions with others, experiences that we have, and even what information we choose to feed our minds. Every decision we make is a catalyst for some sort of change in our lives. So, it is perpetual with time.

Living in the modern world is simultaneously easy and difficult. There are all sorts of expectations for how we are supposed to live, be, and even act. For most of us, we do our best to  simply fit in and go with the flow. We get a job after schooling. We work the set schedule with some overtime. We then draw a paycheck, pay our bills, have a little bit of fun with friends and/or family, and then we repeat the process. But for some of us that isn’t enough. Instead, we need to be doing something that truly allows us to be ourselves and to be involved in life.

So, how do you find what really sets your soul on fire? How do you discover that thing that you truly love to do?

This is where a journal becomes a necessity. You start in the past with what you loved to do as a child or a teen. No, I’m not talking about what all your friends were doing. That’s how you ended up where you are. I mean what did you truly love to do when no one was looking? I find that those are the best places to start.

You excavate what you once loved. Dig deep and then you try those things again. Did you spend a lot of time coloring as a kid? Pick up a coloring book and some crayons or colored pencils (if you choose the adult versions). See if it still gives you the same joy it once did.

Did you like to sing or put on puppet shows? Why not go try a karaoke or deliver a monologue at an open mic night somewhere? Pick out a new monologue to learn and practice in the mirror. Why not opt to take a drama or acting class?

Were you a poet or writer? Why not dust off old ideas and see what you can do with them now? There is a thriving writing community out there who would love to have you join whatever your level is.

From there you can explore new ideas that come up. Maybe that love of the dramatic has turned into a love of directing the stage or a film. Maybe a love of coloring turned into a love of feeling the paint slide over a canvas instead. Maybe you are interested in picking up a camera now. There could be any number of things that can help you find that passion in life. The key is exploration.

So pull out your pen, open a google doc, create a video log to talk to yourself so you can hash it out and figure it out. Try new things and explore the world around you through different eyes for a while. You may find that you learn more about yourself than you realize.