Hello my readers! I hope that you’re all fairing well in this wintery weather. Here in Texas it was a crazy day. As I was leaving the office the temperature was 52° F and as I got home 30-45 minutes later it was 38° F. I took my umbrella and my coat and gloves this morning when it was about 64° F. It is no wonder that everyone I come in contact with is sick. GermX is my friend lately.
I have a couple of things I wanted to put out there tonight. It is no secret that I have a YouTube channel that I’ve been preparing for. I’m happy to tell you that my first video will be posted on Monday January 15th, 2018. In fact, there will be two! One is a static invitation and about the channel type of post and the other will be actual content post. So, I’m going to backtrack on Monday to post links to those videos for you to easily access them. Why? Because I’m a total Newb at this and have no idea how this is all going to work out until I actually finish editing and uploading. So, please, be patient with me in this process.
I have been blogging off and on for years. I am a writer. It is what I do well. So, you may be asking “why have I decided to jump into the video realm? It’s a fair question. So I’m going to address it here, for now.
This is me. I’m a heavy woman who has always had a big heart. There’s no need to go into the details of why or how I ended up the size I am now. It is just a fact.
Every year, I make a list of resolutions. Like many others out there they include losing weight, eating healthy, drinking more water, and the usual things. But 2017 was a hard year in many ways. The latter half of the year left me doing a great deal of soul searching and dealing with the reality of my own mortality. I started to question myself on a much deeper level. I prayed for clarity and direction. To my surprise, I actually got what I asked for.
I’ve spent most of my life being concerned with what others thought about me. I hid from view in group photos and avoided full body shots. It is something a lot of bigger women (and I assume men) do. We want to look, act, and feel just like everyone else. But, we stand out no matter how much we try to hide away. Then we become painfully aware of any situation that even hints at embarassment for those we love. Subconsciously we read far more into things that are said, many times, than is really there. The result is even further seclusion from the world. For me, something has finally clicked. And I realize that there is something much bigger at play here than just me.
Getting in front of this camera is terrifying. I know that there are going to be people out there who will attack me solely because of the way I look. I deal with that every day. And I’ve often used writing as a way to cope with the emotions that go along with that. This has to get beyond the fear. It will get easier for me. There are going to be posts about writing, creative living, plus size living, and I want to allow all of you a bit of a window into my world. I think it is going to be an exciting thing once I move through the initial jitters. I hope that you will too.
Why now? Because I am tired of living my life on the sidelines waiting to be the perfect size, have the perfect smile, hair, or make up. Life is imperfect. We are all flawed. And I think it is so important for other bigger people to see someone being real, honest, living life, and reaching for a big dream. I’ve been inspired by other writer and youtubers out there who have shared their own journeys. And I feel like I have a unique perspective to offer that could help others find their voice and encourage them to start living their fullest lives as well.
So much in my life is changing. I’ve realized that writing a book isn’t enough. I want this to be a career for me. I want to entertain people with great stories and characters. I want to travel and meet readers, give readings, help and inspire others to reach for their own creative dreams. To do that, I have to get out of my shell. I have to undo years of conditioning. I have to be healthier than I have ever been before and strong enough to say, “You know what world, HERE I AM!” And I am finally there.
Conquering the fear isn’t easy but, I’m just going to go on blind faith that the right people will connect through these means. Blogging, Vlogging, and other social media are tools that will allow me to reach far and wide. This year, is about learning about them and then using them to live my dreams.
So, will you join me?
Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’d be delighted if you would join me in subscribing to my new channel as well. Info will be live on Monday as soon as there is a video to share over there.
See ya soon!
The first full week of 2018 was hectic for me. The day job was crazy busy. That wasn’t so surprising though. First of the month and after a holiday, I had to expect it. But, I don’t think it is every something I am really prepared for. By the time I was able to call it quits on Saturday I was burned out and ready to come home and relax. Hence no Saturday post because, I didn’t prep it in advance.
A lot of my posts are on the fly and fairly raw for you. This is my way of really giving you my first impressions and the best window into my little slice of the world.
My weekend was nice and relaxing. After the week I had, I really needed to decompress a bit. Being a crafter, I have a couple of projects lying around that I am working on in my spare time. There is a particular one that I ordered to do as a gift for my mother for Christmas. Unfortunately, it didn’t arrive in time for me to complete it. In fact, it didn’t arrive until the 30th of December despite ordering it in November. But let me show and tell you a bit about it.
My mother is very into peacocks at the moment. It is a decorating theme in her living room and kitchen. So, I try to find unique things from time to time for her. This ad showed up on my Facebook feed for something called “Painting With Diamonds“. They had a sale going on and I decided to buy a kit when I saw this Azure Peacock. I thought it would be a lovely gift for my mother.
Now, I will say that I was disappointed in how long it took to arrive. And, yes, I contacted their customer service and was very happy with the result. So I will definitely order again because this was absolutely meditative and almost addictive once I got started on it.
The whole process is simple really. It is akin to a paint by number or counted cross stitch project but I think the results are a bit more stunning really. Now, I’ll have to post an update once I am able to frame it for hanging but, here are a couple of the process.
Now, I think that it is a great start for someone who is looking for an inexpensive way to start something creative. Why? Well, several reasons.
- The images are beautiful and inspiring. They have many to choose from.
- They are affordable. This small one was $19.99 and they have a discount code available for additional savings. (HINT it is DIAMONDS so use it when you check out.)
- Small or large is your decisions. They all come in various sizes. This was a relatively small project and all said, I’ve likely spent about 48-50 hours to complete it. Which is great for me to think about other things going on and get mental plans going.
- It is easy to start and stop and doesn’t requite a lot of space. I placed everything into a gallon ziplock bag when I was done at the kitchen table.
- They provide most everything you’ll need. The only additional supplies that I used were scissors and some Ziploc bags, and a Sharpie to mark what number was in the bag. BTW I recommend snack size instead of sandwhich like I had.
- You have something gorgeous to frame and say ” I did it!” when you’re done. And that, my friends can motivate you to do other things.
Number 6 is probably the most important of those. Why? Because that momentum is what you really look for. You start with something small and then you branch out from there. This time it might be the diamonds. Next time you may buy a canvas and some paint and brushes. The idea is starting where you are and finding something to kindle that fire for passionate creativity.
I am working on an article that I want to offer my email subscribers that is a list of ways that you can start being more creative on a daily basis. As soon as I figure out all the back end things for putting it all up, I’ll let you know. It’s on my list this week to get those details worked out.
As I get ready to head back to the office I hope that you all have a great week and find some time of your own to decompress.
In the meantime, you know where to find me!
Welcome back my dear readers!
I have to say, being back to the day job after the holidays is crazy and hectic. I feel all out of sorts trying to learn how to balance it all. But, I will find the right method and learn to do so. It is all a part of making some huge changes in how I’m approaching my life now. It is past time for me to really pour myself into the things I am passionate about. I’m so happy that you’re taking up the mantel with me or at least following my new adventure in life.
So, as the title suggests I am going to be talking about my goals for the first quarter of the year. I have to say that while I set a few last quarter as a trial there were a number of things that got in my way when it came to completing them. Although, I did manage to finish the first drafting of my WIP which was the big goal for me so, I’m super proud of that fact. Now it is time to go beyond that and really flesh out the story and add those details I think it lacks in places so that it can be ready for feedback before publication. Exciting stuff!
Oh and just wait until you see what happens next in Elora’s story! I’m so stoked for you to have it in your hands.
I digress though. So, back on track with goals for First Quarter of 2018
- Finish that revision phase for the WIP (Yep, that’s the second, as yet untitled, Slauson Cove novel.)
- Post twice a week here on the blog. After this week, you’ll see posts coming up on Tuesdays and Saturdays here. So make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss them.
- Launch my Youtube channel and post two videos a week once that starts. – This one will be a learning curve and I’m not entirely expecting to reach it as it is written. But, I’m going to push to post some sort of creative living or writing advice video along with more of a vlog or day in the life video. More on the schedule as I see how it pans out. Trust me there will be links when it is ready.
- Grow my audience by a minimum of 250 new followers between my platform elements. That includes this blog, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and yes, I’m finally getting on the instagram band wagon. So, I’ll post links to all of those. Be a doll and share those links with people who may want to connect or learn more about some great reads.
- Answer all relevant comments on my blog and videos within 24 hours of them being posted. Yes that means interacting more with social media. This is definitely a new thing for me so, be patient with me.
- Build that email list for my bimonthly newsletter with the first 100 subscribers. Yes this is exclusive access to announcements before they are on the blog or on YouTube about the book, events, and giveaways etc. Keep an eye open for that. I’ll make a special post about it soon.
- Get that PO Box set up so I can post that for people to send mail to.
That’s it for this quarter. Of course there are plenty of other things behind the scenes like creating a launch plan for the new book, booking additional events, and making some other things happen. Cover art needs to be worked on, the book still needs a final title, and there is also formatting etc. So the work is never done. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So what goals are you setting for yourself in the first few months of the new year?
Want ahead of the rush? Here are all the links to my social media for you to share and connect with me.
Anne Belle on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/AnneBelleAuthor/
Anne on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnneBelleAuthor
Anne on Goodreads : https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8063125.Anne_Belle
Anne on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/passionforwords/
And as always, you can find other contact details in the contact tab here on the blog.
Happy New Year Folks. May it be happy and successful for you!
Happy New Year!
Watched the drop from home this year with a bottle of champagne and my parents. Nothing too fancy really. We had finger foods and watched a movie after midnight. It was good company and a nice relaxing way to go out with the old. For all of you I hope that it was a safe and happy celebration if you were out with friends and that the new year brings you everything you hope it will.
Now it is time to get on with the business of getting things moving and shaking for 2018. As I think about all that I want to accomplish in the coming year I realize how much work I have ahead of me. I have to say it can be exciting and daunting at the same time. But, for me, it is time to kick the fear factor out of my headspace and go on with creating the life I wanted for myself.
This week will be a little different. I’ll be posting about quarterly goals and I’ll recap last year in a post. And I’ll be making some announcements and starting some exciting new things. But, you have a lot coming your way from me in 2018.
There’s a new book! Yes, I’ll be doing some official posts about the details. However, fans of The Secret of the Storm will be happy to know that they’ll get to return to Slauson Cove with Elora Castain. There will be some promotion events where you can meet me in person and I’ll be signing books. I’m working out details on a few of those for 2018.
If you haven’t read it then what are you waiting for? You can pick up a copy via my Amazon Author Page. Just go here or search for Anne Belle.
I’m also going to be brave and step outside my comfort zone this year with a new YouTube Channel. This is going to be a combination of advice, Q & A, and a look into my world. It should appeal to anyone who wants that look into the process of creating a fictional world, who wants to be more creative in their ow life, or who just wants to get to know me.
And, finally, I’m going to be producing a newsletter along with some freebies that will be exclusive for subscribers that will keep with my theme of creative lifestyle/living. This could be exclusive videos, printables, maybe even a short teaser or story for you. You’ll just have to subscribe to see.
So here’s to everyone having the best year ever! May the success, friends, fun, and happiness be plentiful for you throughout 2018. I hope you’ll join me on this crazy ride. Follow me here to get updates and sign up for all the fun coming your way.
Woke up to a rather dreary day today. The overcast skies and rain didn’t help cure the urge to tell Alexa to snooze for a while. I still had to get up and make the trek to the office. Like any self-respecting writer, I long for days when all I have to do is drink my coffee and put down my ideas on the page. Like everyone else in the real world though, I get up six days a week and do my duty at the day job.
The first part of the month is the hardest on me. Just a lot of people and only me to service the accounts in question. This is the only time of the month I feel that I need an assistant in my office. But, that won’t happen because I simply don’t have the volume to warrant it over all. This month is really no different. But, I will say that I am glad to have the first over with for the last time this year.
My days are typically pretty lax with this job. I answer phones, make calls, handle store reports, take payments and process loans. But it is generally spread out over the day and I can manage to take a bit of time to draft or plan at the very least. And there is a busy intersection just outside the window to keep me entertained when I am thinking.
Just a few weeks ago, I watched the very violent end of a high-speed chase from a neighboring city. I have no idea what the details of the circumstances are. However, I watched as a car was clipped and a pickup truck was launched into the air turning over twice before it hit the ground and rolled three more times. I was amazed that the driver and the passenger came out of it alive.
There are also several regular jay walkers who, I’m fairly certain, will meet an untimely end eventually. One elderly man in particular comes to mind. I have a tendency to hold my breath whenever I watch him crossing. I also am very happy on the Saturdays that the barbecue people are in the parking lot because their chef will go and walk him across to make sure he gets over okay.
It is a small town where people are friendly and yes, I know most of my customers by first and last name. I can also tell you how many kids some of them have, how many grand kids for others. I take pride in my customer service level. It has been a career for nearly 20 years as I have worked for various companies. And yet, I long for days when I don’t have to see people and deal with a million questions about payments, interest rates, and how people can’t make this or that payment.
Tonight, I’m putting some words into the WIP. I’m typing this blog about essentially nothing more than my day and I will sleep soundly for another night. I’ll get up and do it all over again tomorrow and hopefully avoid the numbers game with the boss. I’ll go through an early Christmas gift and start making a submission plan for 2018.
December is always a month of reflection and planning for me. So, I hope to share a bit of that with all of you in the next few weeks as we get ready for Christmas.
I hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving filled with family, friends, food, and eventually a nap. I certainly had a wonderful day. I filled mine with all of the above, plenty of puppy kisses, and snuggles. Add in a lot of words and we have a good picture of my day. We’re still eating leftovers though and enjoying them. And I’m sure that they will last through the weekend. I am delighted by that to be perfectly honest.
With Thanksgiving over, there are a number of things on my mind. We have five days left of NanoWrimo and I’m still playing catch up. I’m not sure if I will be able to complete the challenge or not this year. Regardless, readers of my fiction will be happy to know that there is much progress on the sequel to The Secret of the Storm which is still available over on Amazon. I’m pretty stoked about what is going on in the new book as well. So, I’m very excited to complete the project so that I can let you all in on the secrets that are unfolding in that little seaside town.
It is time to get in a more festive mood as well. Christmas is right around the corner. I am already starting the gifting list for family and friends. And I’ve chosen my Christmas Cards so those need to be put together and out into the post. There is always a lot of hustle and bustle to the month of December for nearly everyone I know. Lots of shopping, parties, family expectations, and even surprises for some.
In the middle of all the merry making, I would also remind you to think about yourself a bit in a time when we think of everyone else. Answer the question of what you want for the holidays. This is a great time to tell friends and family about a new interest. If you have been inspired to try something new and creative that seemed too expensive, use this season as an opportunity to get supplies you need.
Think about it. Let’s say you want to learn how to paint. So, you get with friends and family. You talk about it. Let them see your enthusiasm for it. One friend gets you a brush set. Another an inexpensive easel. Maybe someone picks up a starter set of paints for you or some canvas panels. The next thing you know, it is 2018 and you’re standing or sitting in front of your own art set up ready to create your first masterpiece.
Creative living also means that we use our creativity in times when we need to. Not everyone has a big budget for holiday gifting. So, can you make some of your gifts this year? If you’re planning on that what are you planning to make? I have a few that I’ll be making.
What’s the John Lennon Quote?
Yep, that would be the one.
Living creatively is as much about stopping and experiencing life as it is about creating things that will enhance it for yourself and possibly others. It is impossible to create constantly. If we do we deplete the well of experience and inspiration that we draw from. Once in a while, it is necessary to stop and smell the roses. Whether that is literal or proverbial is entirely dependent on the artist.
NanoWrimo is a huge undertaking even for published authors. 50,000 words in a 30 day span is a huge commitement. It takes planning and foresight. Not to mention everyone in your life being on the same page as you and willing to pick up the slack if you are working full time. Planning is a must if you expect your story to have any sort of flow or cohesion at the end of November. And sometimes, life happens and you know you aren’t going to make that goal.
For me, when it happens, as in previous years, I don’t just stop. Whether I finish a self-imposed ludicrous deadline, or not, isn’t the end of the world. We can’t plan for all the interruptions that can happen in a month.
For example: You get sick. Your attention is pulled away on a project at the office, requiring you to work late most nights. A dog that is persistent in his need for extra snuggles or play time. (Don’t laugh. Have you ever tried to write something with a chiweenie yapping at you from the end of the bed? Impossible! I really need some noise cancelling headphones.) Kids needing attention or homework help. Not to mention extra acitivities with them being off from school or prepping for plays etc. Spouses that want attention or need something from you when you’re in the middle of a huge plot twist. (Suddenly I’m very thankful for my single status.) Toss in a major family holiday to the mix.
The point is. Life happens. No matter how much you plan your schedule or think you have all the distractions in check, life will eventually find a way to pull you away from the projects in your head. And that’s okay.
When you find yourself completely flustered with all these things; sometimes all you can do is embrace them. Enjoy the moment. Be present with the people you care about and who care about you. Whether they be big, small, or furry. They won’t be there forever. They will eventually leave you to your thoughts and projects. And you may find something in those moments that adds just what you needed to your projects.
For me, it is all about embracing this journey we call Life.
So, I admit that 2017 has been a lack-luster year in terms of productivity. I’ve been dealing with ongoing health issues that left me with little to no energy beyond doing the bare minimum required of me. My motivation went out the window too often in favor of just vegging out with Pip and watching t.v. while working on an embroidery project. To my credit, however, I did spend a tremendous amount of time working on cakes and cookies with mom. I suppose I can’t call it a total waste. Can I?
The final two months of the year, I’m trying to make up for lost time. As much as I love decorating cakes and cookies and working with my mom. My writing has always been my “thing”. And I’ve just let it sit for too long.
Happy to say that I’m at the halfway point of my 50K for NanoWrimo. Which means that I am ever closer to the finish of the first draft of the next Slauson Cove book.
Seriously loving the plot for this one. In fact, I think I may like it better than I did The Secret of the Storm. Which is saying something really. You always love your first “book baby”. But you also grow as a writer and I think your tastes grow with you. So, I think this is turning into a good one for you. I hope that you’ll enjoy it as much as I’m enjoying writing it.
I digressed there didn’t I? We can just chalk that right up to being scatterbrained with NanoWrimo going on.
I know I need to create better habits with my time management. I don’t really have a lot of free time to work with when it comes to writing and working on my various creative endeavors. So I need to really focus on planning and structuring my day to make the most of what I do have.
Now, I’m a bit of a planning addict anyway. I’ve used Bullet Journaling. I’ve had the Erin Condren Life planner. I bought two of those actually. And I’ve tried various systems in the past. I suppose I need to work out which one is the best for me to use. Maybe some of my readers will have suggestions for what planners have worked well for them trying to create new habits. If you do I welcome the comments and suggestions. I know that the key is to do it and repeat but, getting used to that process is often a big challenge.
For me I want to create a more balanced and successful life. That means working hard and playing hard. It also includes making an effort to be more health conscious. So, I need something that will help me combine all of those things in one place.
What are your tips and tricks?
I usually don’t post controversial political things relevant to current events. I’m not a very publicly political person. I don’t enjoy the debate or the hate that it seems to initiate. There are all sorts of opinions and I really do think that the beauty of true freedom is that you can have them and still be civil to one another. We can, I hope, simply agree to disagree.
That being said, I feel very strongly about posting this viewpoint on recent events that happened here in Texas. Sutherland Springs has suffered an enormous tragedy at the hands of a mentally unstable man. I’ve read numerous reports from a number of news agencies that pointed out several things of note.
- The man was discharged from active military duty due to bad conduct involving a criminal offense of domestic violence in which he fractured his own child’s skull and faced rape allegations.
- The Air Force failed to report this conduct-related discharge as was policy. This allowed him to slip through the cracks of legislation already in place to control gun possession.
- The suggested motive in this was related to a domestic dispute. His mother-in-law attended the church regularly but was not there on Sunday.
Now, I’m a survivor of domestic abuse. Of course, I have pretty strong emotional reactions to things like this. Because, as I see it, this has all happened over a manipulative narcissistic need to control. This is a man with a history of violent behavior toward the women in his life. And, from experience, I can tell you that when a man like this feels he is losing control he often lashes out and he will make threats against anyone his target loves or cares for just to keep her in line. Isolation is control and that control makes them feel strong and powerful.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand this sort of psychology/psychosis. Why? Because it seems that I attract it in spades. That fact alone makes me want to remain single. Once you go through a relationship like that you’re never quite the same. It is harder to let your guard down and trust because, let’s be real, all relationships are bliss in the beginning. The true colors come out once they think they have you hooked.
I’m not afraid of guns. I am, however, fearful of the people who have a blatant disregard for the law and human life.
What happened in Sutherland Springs is another tragic example of repercussions for not recognizing the psychosis and danger associated with domestic violence offenders. It really should open doors for communicating about mental healthcare in this country. The sad thing is that it won’t. Because these behaviors are largely normalized in our society. The women who become victims aren’t weak. They are strong in their desire to love another human being beyond the flaws. And when it does become clear that it isn’t safe anymore, these women often stay in an effort to protect the ones they love outside of that relationship.
So, yes, I’m praying for the wife of the shooter tonight. I can only imagine the horror she is living through right now. I am praying that she and the families of the victims get the help they need to grieve their loss and pick up the pieces. I pray that those, who can physically do so, will return to the church in solidarity to prove that their faith is in tact and evil will not prevail.
We live in an odd time. It is both scary and exciting. There are times I want to go out and do all the things but, at the same time there is a fear of even walking out the front door to do the most mundane of things. Some days the fear wins. Other days, I feel bold and determined to conquer that fear. Right now, I feel like crying for the senseless loss of life that happened in a place that should have been safe for all of those in attendance.
It is likely that I will cry. Aside from this tragedy it was a difficult day for me. For my part, I hope the rest of the week is smooth sailing. There are things to write and preparations to be made. And yes, dear readers, I promise a less heavy topic on my next posting. Something fun and creative is in the works. So please stick around.