Thursday, July 16, 2015

Changing Perspective

While working on finishing the rewrite on Survivor, my book that is dedicated to those like myself that struggled through an abusive relationship and is also the main reason behind the large scale event I am planning in October, I am also engaged in several other activities. A big one is of course the planning of the event itself but I am also pushing through the high intensity Insanity workout program to keep my mind and body focused and in shape as much as possible. I go to my day job three to four days per week and I am trying to complete a fifty book reading challenge by the end of the year.

For the sake of exercising it is going relatively well. I may miss a day or two here and there from illness or being out of town but push myself as hard as I can and make sure if I miss a day I get right back to it. I also incorporate swimming or yoga at the gym in when I am feel particularly stressed out. The ability of cardio and strength training to resolve anxiety while relaxing the body and giving a sense of accomplishment is a welcome change from the emotions that drove me there in the first place. Because Survivor is such an emotional journey and so difficult to write I imagine I will be spending quite a bit of time there for the next few months.

The struggle is that it is difficult. I have to not only share a story that is extremely painful for me but it takes me back to the moments I escaped, to the situations I buried and to the man that caused them all with every word written. Who he was and what he did to me controlled my life for years and I am fighting to make sure that never happens again. I still hear the voice in my head telling me I am not good enough. It swears I never will accomplish the things I set out to do and am not worthy of feeling good about what I have done. It tries to overwhelm my ambition and sabotage and chances I have for success.

My friends and family tell me that because it was half my life ago that I have carried the voice with me for too long and I need to let it go but for those that have never dealt with that level of manipulation and control by another especially at a critical time in their lives like the developmental teenage years, they cannot possibly understand the depth to which it lives inside. It is not a switch that can easily be turned on and off. It is an entity within me that speaks to me as clearly as anyone in the real world. I battle it daily fighting for mastery over my own thoughts.

In my reading challenge I am reading a non-fiction book by trainer Jillian Michaels. In it she mentions people that love to hear things like "no" or "you can't" because it drives them to prove the naysayers wrong. Because I cannot shut out the voice in my head I am doing everything in my power to change the way I approach it and be like those Jillian describes. I want to prove the voice wrong. I need to demonstrate that I can accomplish things that seem too ambitious or unrealistic. As long as I put my everything into it I have nothing to apologize for. I still hear the doubt every time I begin working towards my goals but I am hoping that as I check things off my list I can continue to quiet the voice.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Trying To Make A Plan

With the impending release of my novella Survivor in October I have busy planning a large scale event that will simultaneously launch not only my book but also two others that follow the same theme of domestic violence awareness along with fundraising for a local charity in Las Vegas. As the person that developed the idea, along with some wonderful friends that will be doing an online event to partner with me and of course being the author of Survivor I am the contact person and spearhead of this entire endeavor.

I love planning events but this is by far the largest one I have ever attempted. There is a major difference between doing a book signing where you simply bring some table decorations a several copies of your work and putting on a two to three hour production that is open to the public and benefits a well known and beloved organization. I have so many ideas but I am at the point where I have to be realistic and make choices. One of the largest I am struggling with is where to hold it. I have been in talks with the hotel and casino that I work for at my day job and it is likely they will agree to donate a room for me to put on the event.

That would be a great location for the ability to promote as well as build a working relationship for future events. The pros are numerous. I would have the space to do activities I want like possibly have a local band perform as entertainment or the self defense demonstrations put on by instructors from the gym chain that is located all over town. The foot traffic would be much stronger being located on the world famous Las Vegas Strip as well which would of course draw people in for the event. The only true con I see is that it is purely a blank slate.

That is a blessing and a curse. With the open plan I can do almost anything I can imagine however I am a part time dealer and beginning indie author so my investment is minimal to say the least. Everything that is going into this event is strictly donation and volunteer powered. The more open space to fill the more donations and voluntary action I will need. If a band performs I will need that to not only provide themselves and their instruments but also their equipment. Any refreshments will need to be donated as well as anyone that works a food or beverage station. I see all of this and understand the overwhelming amount of work that this would put on me and the event I want to produce however I also know what a triumph it would be to pull off that kind of affair.

I also have the option to hold it in closer quarters at a local bakery and sweets shop. It is already decorated along with having a built in coffee bar and kitchen that would make refreshments much easier. The intimate nature is great for book signings and the tables inside are present for the informational booths I had envisioned. The problems though are that none of the entertainment I would like can fit plus the amount of attendees would drop significantly because of capacity and location in proximity to the Strip. The choice seems obvious but I am just concerned about my ability to fill all the needs of the larger location.

I never considered myself a control freak but I am seeing how I could be seen that way as I attempt to shoulder the entirety of this event on my own. It is not that I do not trust anyone to help me so much as I am so undecided that until I have a clear plan it would be impossible for me to delegate. Once I have a set location and time I can begin to ask others for their assistance. I am just hoping that everyone that is volunteering right now will still be there when I am actually ready for them to jump in.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Learning To Make Contact

A few days ago I was talking to a friend of mine about being a writer. He is an aspiring writer like myself. Even though I have published a book I still call myself aspiring because I am so new to the process, I am an indie author with one charity book and one novel and because while it is probably outdated as a theory I still think of traditionally published authors differently than self published authors. The only reason I still feel that way is that I look at my first book and while it is fine for a debut novel I can easily see why it was rejected by traditional publishing houses. It wasn't good enough yet I was able to work with an indie publisher and get it published anyway.

Through the process I learned so many things that I wouldn't trade for the world but it simply opened my eyes to the level of work I have yet to achieve. I am not sure I am there yet though I am doing best to keep climbing. It is just a matter of practice and dedication for the most part. Getting to the point that I can sit down and write when I need to also took practice. When I first started I could be distracted by almost anything. I would use the excuse that I had to be in the right mood or that I was lacking inspiration. I struggled so much. I would write a small part of a scene, or the entire one if I was lucky but then I would have no idea where to go from there.

That is what my friend was telling me. He said that he feels like if he could just go off to a cabin in the middle of nowhere for a month with no distractions then he would be able to finish his book. I explained that I remember feeling that way and had tried it once. I wasn't gone for an entire month but I did lock myself away for nearly a week to dedicate myself just to writing. the problem I found was that the lack of distractions became a distraction on its own. It drove me crazy. I still tried but I wrote very little. In the end instead of creating my own work of art I sat back and read a few works by other artists instead.

It wasn't until a number of years ago when I set my mind to doing Nanowrimo that I discovered how to push past all the excuses and take control of my book. I finally had the moment that all new writers should be looking for, the time when the characters start talking and you can finally hear them. They take control telling the story they are meant to share. As the author all we have to do is sit back and let the words flow from their mouths through our fingers and onto the pages. We are a medium not necessarily the creators we all like to think we are. In time I learned to open up to the characters, to recognize the inspiration that was coming through from a character not yet spoken to. It is by allowing them to reach out to me then having an open mind to receive whatever message they have to share that my stories are born.

I tried to explain all of this to him but he has not had that moment. Until it happens it is difficult to imagine. I was talking about how a character had taken hold of me in order to tell me the entire layout of a story one time even using her name in the explanation when my friends looked at me as though I had lost my mind. To them I probably sounded like someone that should have been committed but for those that write it makes sense. We are a little off but in a good way. Writers a form of medium that can communicate with those that yesterday didn't exist and tomorrow could be a household name. We make contact and share what they have to say with the world. It isn't a bad way to spend the day.