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The Waiting Game…

We spend so much of our time waiting.

Seriously think about it for moment. We wait to grow up. We wait to have an education. We wait for appointments. We wait for payday, the weekend, our favorite shows to premiere a new season, movie releases, and other trivial things. I am currently waiting on that lovely refund from the IRS as a further example. Aren’t we all? There are things that are worth the wait, of course, like finding the love of your life before you settle down. You’ll just have to take my word on that one. I should know. But what truly baffles me is how we wait to take the steps to live our best lives.

We’ve all found ourselves stuck in the rat race. There are all sorts of ruts and traps to fall into. We settle into many roles in life without even realizing that we’re doing it. I know I did. And in some ways I still do. But, let me just say that a shift is happening for me. It is as much spiritual as it is mental.

In 2017 I spent a lot of time thinking about what sort of life I want to lead. And through my journaling and letters I discovered that I have been my own biggest obstacle in living that dream life. I’d almost be willing to wager a bet that, if you were to really think about this, you would find that you’re in a similar position.

I’m a plus size woman. That fact alone presents a whole list of obstacles in life. Society honestly treats plus size people differently regardless of the circumstances. I think that this, combined with conditioning by various life experiences, leads me to a place where I imposed many restrictions on myself as to what I could do in life. That eventually led to a bevy of excuses to procrastinate.

  • I’ll wait until I lose 50 pounds before I take new headshots.
  • I don’t want to do a book launch until I can wear that dress in the back of my closet.
  • I don’t want to film videos because I look awful.
  • I don’t want to spend money on my hair, makeup, etc until I am able to go out more.
  •  I’m not going to put myself out there because all people will see is fat
  • No one will take me seriously as an author, blogger, vlogger, speaker until I look like x, y, z….

Yes, I’ve said all of these to myself at some point. Some of them more recently than others. And they are all completely ridiculous reasons for not chasing my dreams.

I sit here tonight thinking about where I would be if only I had listened to myself and trusted my gut when I was young and full of confidence. At least, I could fake it when I needed to because I was angsty and rebellious in my own way. And yes, I could be a lot further along in this writing and promotion career. I’m not the spring chicken I was but it is never too late to start doing what you love.

So tell me what is holding you back from pursuing your own dreams? For me it is more than the weight or size issue. But, I’m telling you, I’m tired of excuses. I’m reading more, writing more, trying new things, and just going for it.

I want to cultivate some content for my Youtube Channel based on this issue: Overcoming Your Obstacles To Living Your Best Life. So your feedback will help me to really delve deep into how to deal with those issues and find ways to move beyond them so that you can do what will honestly make you thrive in life.

Don’t want to comment publicly? That’s okay! Email your feedback to me at annebellewrites@gmail.com and I’ll do my best to respond. I’m thinking I may even do a few interviews on the topic as well. So, let me know if you’d like to be included if you care to send me your story.

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Creative Projects 2018

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.

  1. The images are beautiful and inspiring. They have many to choose from.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.
  6. 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!

Overcoming Discouragement & Rejection

Being a writer isn’t an easy path. It takes years to perfect your style and voice. You spend most of your time sending out material to be rejected over and over again. So it is a necessity to develop a thick skin early on if you hope to survive the process of being successfully published. This is something that every writer struggles with to some degree. We wouldn’t write stories if we didn’t want people to read them and actually like them. But readers are often fickle and you can’t please everyone.

Some of us are blessed with people who believe in us. Family members encourage us to pursue a passion. They want to see us happy and fulfilled. When we finally show them what we’ve been working on for months or years, they tell us how wonderful it is. They know how much time we’ve put into it. They don’t want to burst our bubble or discourage us, so instead of being completely honest, they sugar coat and tell us to keep going. This isn’t a bad thing. We need those people in our lives. We need that cheering squad. But if that’s all we surround ourselves with dealing with rejections and discouragement can be a death sentence to the dream.

When I was a kid, I was most often surrounded by the side of my family that was full of people who constantly made me feel like nothing I did was good enough. They didn’t see my artistic side as an asset or something to be celebrated. In fact, it landed me in a good heap of trouble with them on more than one occasion. I’ve been a black sheep in the family for years because of it. Believe me, I wear that badge proudly now. Their influence helped me to develop that thick skin and temperment needed to continue despite the rejection and criticism.

I was listening to some vlogs and podcasts about social media and how to gain following etc. And something clicked about what Lisa with Lachri Fine Art said about target audience. Now, granted she is talking about art as opposed to writing. However, the concept is the same. You can choose to go to a general art festival because your work is “for everyone”. But, you draw dogs and do dog portraits. So maybe setting up at a dog show is a better idea. You really can’t expect everyone out there to like your work. And, the internet is full of trolls and people waiting to pounce and kill the dream over technicalities. So try to silence the critics.

You see, for me, I tend to keep things pretty close to the vest. I don’t talk about the rejection often because I process the hurt with my journal and morning pages. I put it on the page and I try to just let it go. I remind myself after the venting process of why I write. I sum it up with a list of reasons to keep going.

  • There are people who like my work.
  • I am always growing as a writer.
  • Each piece I produce is better than the last and that usually brings a new reader along with it.
  • The positive feedback is always a boost and it does happen even when it isn’t family or friends giving it out. The first time I had an Amazon review that wasn’t a family member or friend, I was on cloud nine for weeks and wrote more than I had in months.
  • This is who I am and what I do. It is the one thing that I cannot imagine my life without.
  • And somewhere out there is someone who needs to read the story I produce. I don’t know the reasons. I don’t know how they will come to find it. My job is to be brave enough to put it out there so that they can find it.

Part of that bravery is knowing that the critics are a dime a dozen. And it will often seem like their sole purpose is to pull you down and make you quit. Well, for me, I dealt with enough of that growing up. I was fiesty enough to do it anyway then, and I’m still just as fiesty today. So I keep following my dream, writing my stories, and being brave.

So should you if you’re pursuing an artistic career. Whether you sing, write, create art, or something else entirely; don’t let the world take your passion away. If it brings you joy then it is worth it. Even when it isn’t easy.

I am still finding my feet in the marketing department. But I’m confident that, with time, things will continue to grow and I’ll meet more readers and writers. I know I won’t be everyone’s favorite. That’s okay. At least I’ll find that some people out there do like what I do and they are the ones I want to write for anyway.

If you’re curious about what I write you can hop on over to my Amazon Author Page for a list of my current releases.  And you can always join me over on social media. The buttons at the top will direct you how to connect.

Also if you enjoy learning different art techniques I highly reccommend Lisa over at Lachri Fine Art on YouTube. She’s extremely talented and teaches her techniques through videos there. She’s been awesome for my own art skill progression. So please go check her out.

Indiegogo Is A Go For Launch

TSOTS COVER ADIn May of 2013 I published my debut novel The Secret of the Storm. As a new author, I am excited at the response from my readers and that it has been so positive. I will admit that I was very surprised when I kept hearing the same feedback from readers; when is the sequel coming out?

Truth is, I hadn’t planned to make a return trip to Slauson Cove. When I finished The Secret of the Storm, I didn’t exactly think that people would want to hear more about Elora and the Walsingham family. I even moved on to new projects including a major series. How wrong I was though. Nearly everyone who has read the book has been calling me out for another book about Elora and the Walsingham family. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I wouldn’t mind going back to the sleepy little seaside town and telling more about what happens after the prophecy seems to be fulfilled.

People want to hear more about Elora and her family and friends. This is great for me. It means that I did something right in crafting that story. Producing another book is definitely on the to do list but, as I said previously, I did move on to other large scale projects that are eating a great deal of my time. One of those is nearly ready to hit the press. Taking the time to write another impromptu book is going to take resources that I don’t have.

old file case Family Secrets#2I’ve started an Indiegogo project to fund what I need to get another Slauson Cove book in the works. There are so many things that go into producing a book. I want to do this right and I want to be able to pay other indie-artists and freelancers to help me make it the best it can be. That means I need funds to work with. Not only will I need those to pay the people helping but, I’ll need money to help me promote it once it does come out.

I’m trying to raise $4,000.00 through Indiegogo. The campaign will last 60 days starting August 1st. I’ve chosen to go with the flexible funding option so that if we don’t reach the total goal I can still keep working on a more limited budget for those who do want to see the book come out.

Donating is simple and can be done via the campaign site using your Paypal account or a major credit card. Simply choose your level of support. Many of the levels include a tangible copy of the book sent to you when it is completed. The details of each level are there for you to see. Donors will be featured in a post here on the blog and will also have a special place on the main header as soon as the campaign ends and I receive the list of donors. This will likely be in early to mid October.

Work will be starting on the book in September. But books won’t be mailed until all is finished sometime in April or May of 2014. Writing a book takes time and I’m wearing a lot of hats. I’m a mom, a teacher, a writer, a publicist, a homemaker, and I am trying to market with social media and promotion tours here in East Texas.

For the next few weeks, you’ll see posts here about the upcoming release and the perks that I’m offering and why I’ve chosen them at various levels. If you can support the cause, please know that you’re not just helping me take some luxury vacation or buy some sort of trinket. You’re helping me get my career and life on track. You’re helping put a little girl in dance classes, paying for education costs, and helping enable me to stay home so I can focus on the two things I love most my family and my stories.

So please, at least read the campaign here. I know that times are tough and everyone else is struggling just as we are here. But there are other ways that you can help. Boost the signal and send it out to your social media. Tell people why you’d support it if you could. You never know, it may inspire someone else to contribute where you couldn’t. I will also be posting a flyer for you print off. You can post it wherever businesses will allow you to do so. Public bulletin boards are great places for this. You can also ask your local librarian, post it in your dorm, pass it around your reading and writing circles. There are any number of ways to get people to notice the project. The more people do, the more likely I am to reach my goal. And I can’t do that without all your support.

Thanks in advance for all the support you’re showing me. As a special celebration to get things kicked off, I’ve been able to lower the price on my Kindle Edition of The Secret of the Storm to $2.99. That will last through August 10th. So, it is a chance to get the original story at nearly half price. If you haven’t already read it. I suggest picking it up and getting to know Elora Castain and the Walsinghams.