What’s Love Got to do with Me?

In the words of Prince, We are gathered here today to get through this thing called “life”. I hope you’re doing well and flourishing. I hope you find that spark that gets you back in your groove. As I look out at some of my wilting roses, I realize the heat is not the only thing that is beating me down.

Do you ever wonder how some people can be so critical to others or say the rudest things? I often wonder about this and make a conscious effort to hold my tongue. Believe me, everyone can be nasty and mean, but we always have a choice on whether to act on that notion. But then I think about how mean I am to myself, and I suddenly want to crawl into a hole. There are probably about 3-5 times a day where I know I think I’m the worst person in the world and that nobody cares about me. I am either unworthy of this said love or incapable of having good things happen in my life. Maybe, I don’t word it that way, but it sure does imply the former.

Why do I feel this need to bully myself? I would start swinging if someone else said these things to me. Also, it bothers me when people belittle others unprovoked. I’m swift to give helpful advice to others about being positive and praying to God when they tell me they’re not feeling hopeful. But why don’t I feel I deserve just as much hope? I’ve started to think about myself as being in a relationship with, well, me. I’m now conscious of being in a relationship with myself. So, what does this mean? Well, I don’t like her, and she’s really starting to tick me off!

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So, let me build a visual for you. Let’s say I’m T and this woman; we’ll call her T2. So, T is paving a path for herself through trials and tribulations. T2 is constantly badgering her with self-doubt and ridicule. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. Just tell T2 to go to hell and back off. Except, T2 tells a lot of truths, sprinkled with a lot of lies. Sometimes the truth is clouded by the lies. How can I stop believing T2 when there’s some truth there?

Managing my Self Doubt

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I’m not going to preach or get on a high horse because I’m still learning that sometimes your thoughts can be your worst enemy. Yeah, revolutionary, I know. I’m not saying that therapy is not an option for those suffering from various mental health abilities. I’m only going to discuss how I’m coping with sometimes crippling self-doubt. So, how am I coping with self-doubt now? Well, realizing what my inner voice speaks to me is the first step.

Every time I tell myself something awfully negative, I immediately counteract it with something positive. Sometimes there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel, at least in your own mind. That’s where intuition, education, and creativity come into play. I’ve learned that if I’m anything, I’m resourceful and creative. That’s why It’s not good to use words that reaffirm being a victim, such as can’t, won’t, never. It’s so simple, yet so hard for me to accept, especially when there are some truths to back up my negative thoughts.

Sometimes when beginning a new project or goal, you think, well, history says it’s never happened before. In this case, you have to rewrite history by changing your internal narrative. Maybe you don’t have a strong support system. It could be because what you thought was a support system was really a tether keeping you in a place that you’re outgrowing.

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Now that I’ve officially called out my inner shadow side, I see it for what it is, a contradiction, hindrance, or catalyst even. Maybe the Ying/Yang theory is hitting closer to home more than I thought it could! Yin signifies the dark aspect of life, while Yang represents light. One can’t exist without the other. Being positive all the time is impossible, and it’s actually not realistic. What does this signify? Your inner thoughts need to be balanced just like in the Yin Yang theory.

At a particular stage, Yin can transform into Yang and vice versa. For example, night eventually turns into the daytime. Your thoughts will also change as life transforms your thoughts. In the end, we use our experiences to learn and grow, mutating them into something useful. I’m going to use this discovery to change the course of my happiness and start being okay with me.

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It takes introspection to see yourself in more than one dimension. The first dimension of you is the outer being, your physical self, and the physical things surrounding you. The second is your conscious mind and the things that have shaped there from all your life experiences. The third being the soul, and that’s a topic for another discussion! Everyone’s life experience is different. You can’t compare your life experiences and how they shaped you to that of others. Empathy comes to mind when I think of understanding why other people operate the way they do. So, if I can have empathy for others, don’t I deserve it as well?

Thanks for reading! I would love to hear your feedback.

Picking up the Pieces

Aside from working on my new WIP (work in progress), I’ve had some time to really think about the events that have shaped our nation over the past two years. The pandemic being my main focus and how it derailed so many goals, hopes, and dreams. Yes, it was that serious for many people, but I can only speak for myself. I was among those who didn’t suffer tragedy due to the coronavirus. I thank God every day, and my heart goes out to those who have. This blog post is just my fluff piece or takes on my pandemic experience and how it affected some huge goals.

How many of you said that 2020 would be your year? After 2019’s declarations of the worst year ever, 2020 was supposed to be the year of redemption for so many. I had plans to start social networking, something I hadn’t done in forever. As an introvert, this pandemic has been a turning point for me. I realized that I also need times of social gathering activities to balance me out. Especially with the thought of doing business. I’m not one of those tech-savvy personalities that shines through the camera. I need social interaction. As an empath, this is my way of connecting with people. I had plans to start a social business that involved interacting with people in person, and this was to be my coming out of my shell year. For the first time in a long time, I would start to make new friends as an adult.

Hearing news of the pandemic and what that would mean for social interaction, and ultimately business, I was devastated. I figured it would only last maybe a month or so. Surely, the government would do something to prevent a prolonged event or at least take extreme measures to prevent a spread. What I wasn’t expecting was mutations, government denial, or shutdowns and mandates. It was like a mini Twilight zone for so many. Social distancing and wearing masks became the norm. And I began to shrink right back into my shell. It’s a daunting task for someone who may lack adequate social connections to join in the popularity of Zoom parties with close friends or even family. It’s even harder for people without dedicated access to computers or the internet. Some of the elderly were just straight up neglected and abandoned in nursing homes.

The toll of social distancing during the pandemic set a lot of people’s goals behind or even destroyed them before they began. Some people couldn’t visit loved ones, travel to their favorite destination to escape their extraordinarily stressful everyday lives. We were all at one point, just stuck. Seeing a silver lining was almost impossible with the CDC not being able to provide a clear timeline as to when we’d get back to normal. I don’t know about you, but I hated the slogan, “New Normal.” I believe people rebelled because they didn’t want to come to terms with this idea. Neither did I, but I did my part in preventing the spread by wearing my mask, washing my hands frequently, social distancing, and eventually getting the vaccine when it was my turn.

I think back to the end of 2020 and when 2021 started, and we still didn’t see the end of Covid. Still, there are mutated outbreaks and crises all over the world as a result. I decided to regain my focus on writing in between getting back to just the regular “normal.” because it is the sanest response I could make due to my introverted nature. It’s a way to explore my talent while I wait for the day I’m brave enough to once again get out of my shell.

Thanks for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts or experiences in the comment section below.

Not Editing Saved My Life!

Have you ever wondered how some writers can publish books every few months? I never gave it much thought as a reader. I was just happy my favorite book series was up and ready for me to purchase or borrow. I dive into the book, and I’m also elated to find that the author has tons more books in other series. So, imagine my surprise when I started writing my own book and couldn’t seem to type a paragraph without going back and re-editing and thinking that this was almost as bad as college writing term papers!

I couldn’t figure out the secret to knocking out pages in one sitting or how to just let my ideas flow and not have to come back to it and re-check everything to make sure it made sense or sounded good. If you’re secretly a perfectionist like me, you know how hard it is to move forward without constantly re-analyzing your previous tracks. I get obsessed with the details and lose focus on the mission.

I decided to research how editing kills creativity, and I realized editing was killing my creativity! If editing wasn’t a factor, I could write pages for days and become a one-woman book factory. I remember when I was younger, I would write storybooks and be at it all day just as happy and naïve but inspired and glowing with the stories that appeared in my loosely folded construction paper. I would even write series, draw pictures, and everything. When I was done, I didn’t think about if the commas were right or if a phrase was used in the wrong tense, or if the tone was relevant or not.

I decided to do my research on editing, and I found three main ways to edit. You can edit before you finish writing your work, after you finish writing, or combine both methods. The first method is extremely safe for someone like me, but it takes a lot of time. I would probably only complete one book a year this way. The second method, I’m not even going to lie, is very scary to me. Not being able to edit while I write would worry me being that I’m trying to be a best seller and all. I might even be able to crank out a couple of books a year, reminding myself that I am doing this writing thing, and my inner child will be very happy.

The third method seems to be the best of both worlds. I can write and just go crazy, but after about 20 pages of sweat beads and anxiety, I could go back and make sure I didn’t write myself off a cliff! So, what do you say? What method do you use to edit? Please, let me know what you think!

A Whole New World: Becoming a Novelist.

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I couldn’t be happier about publishing my first book. I love poetry and all that comes with the freedom of writing in my own, personal unique style without the fear of breaking tedious writing rules. I’m a person who doesn’t prefer rules when it comes to being creative. However, I don’t disagree with hiring editors for writing books. Personally, I just want to be free, but I digress. With that being said, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel. Let’s just say I’m hooked already.
Whenever I would write as a teenager, I would always write storybooks. I actually took a huge chance at writing poetry. I always admired the way poets could tell a story in words that sometimes would be in disarray or scattered along a page. As an adult, I started back writing during my time in grad school, which I did not finish, but that’s information for another type of blog post. In between classes, I would write on my cell phone, notebook, or laptop, all these poems that just sort of took me on this journey towards a full poetry book. I learned that writing poetry is one of the writing skills I never knew I had. I also enjoy it. I feel that if you don’t have confidence in yourself, no one else will, right?
Now back to the present time. It didn’t take much to make up my mind and take a shot in the dark and begin to write a novel. Initially, my brain said Why are we doing this? We haven’t even finished the next poetry book yet! And I told my brain to be quiet. I’m every woman, and I got this! With my next poetry book already mapped out, I actually had to take a mental break. Self-doubt started to creep in. I started looking at my prior book sales and reviews and started doubting my ability as a writer. Questions ran through my head daily like Why write another book if I’m not making tons of sales with the one I have? Or, How can I be a better marketer if I’m not that good with social media? My teenage self is looking at my adult self, saying, This is a whole new world we didn’t anticipate. I started thinking about what it takes to be a writer in this computer age. These thoughts crippled my ability to develop ideas: this and a busy lifestyle outside of being a writer. I decided to support other writers and continue to read books and watch movies hoping to gain inspiration. I told myself that I would wait for that golden moment when my brain decided to flow with new ideas. And, I knew it would.
Guess what? Something happened mentally that made me re-assess my method of writing. I simply stopped stressing and started enjoying the time I wasn’t stressing about writing. Suddenly ideas started flowing. Taking a break made my mind overflow with new ideas that I had never dreamed or considered. I was seemingly being led down a rabbit hole where science is concerned, and I was DELIGHTED. Why haven’t I started on this years ago? I ask myself. Well, sometimes you have to wait for inspiration. You can’t force ideas to come. So, once I realized what my next book, I feel, is destined to be, I continually immerse myself in information. I’ve mostly been watching videos and researching cities and locations where my characters live. I’ve settled on my main character, and I’m satisfied so far with where I am in this journey. Sometimes I wonder if writers tap into some sort of unconscious bank of knowledge. Maybe this is where we find these ideas to create stories of people or places that we’ve yet to discover or even comprehend.
We have all of this conscious and unconscious information hovering around in our minds that we are, in turn, able to weave into stories. We essentially can see the stories in our mind’s eye. Ok, I did not mean to go in this direction, but while I’m here… I started studying information about unconscious thoughts. After some research, I stumbled upon an article called “A Journey into Chaos: Creativity and the Unconscious.” It’s an older article but relevant. I learned that on a neural level, at rest, our mind is like a sponge absorbing knowledge from various sources such as sound, images, and concepts, whether abstract or concrete. Our unconscious brain is making connections between verbal and visual associations. Our creative processes and decisions depend on unconscious activities. The brain is working in an “episodic memory” state where various sections of the brain are making connections out of information. An example would be your brain connecting things from the past, present, or future.
I didn’t mean to bore you, but I knew I discovered something; I just didn’t understand how this process worked. So, yeah, basically, science tells me that all is not lost or that there is no wasted effort. My brain just hasn’t figured out a solution to my writer’s block! To conclude, I’m going to give myself grace and begin this journey with an open mind. I’m having so much fun these days reading about other writer’s quirky writing obstacles or their tales of character development from hell. And, I’m so excited to meet my characters and begin creating the worlds I see forming in my head. I’ll say “create again” because my younger self is very happy with my decision, and I’m going to make her proud.

If you’ve got some funny stories of self-discovery, please share. Subscribe below! Share your blog, or if you’ve written a novel, book, or story, please feel free to comment with advice or encouragement. I’d love to hear about your writing journey. Thanks! 😉     

Available on Amazon!

Writer’s Block Savior: An Homage to Overcoming the Stigma of Procrastination

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I struggled with procrastination for a long time, as it relates to my writing. This doesn’t include the papers I had to write for college. That was just brutal torture. I was literally drudging through the mud to the finish line to earn an advanced degree. Long story short, I decided to follow a long overdue dream to just do what I love instead of what I thought was prestigious. No pun intended!

I learned that writing a book is not just meant for those who have massive time blocks to spare or slow-paced lifestyles. No. Writing is for the truly determined who want to have their say. So what can save you from writer’s block? How do you just get it done? It’s as simple as just writing.

The old tried and true just get straight to the point theory. I started writing on a pad of paper, and yes, it was a pretty notepad. It wasn’t expensive-pretty, but it was motivation enough. Don’t think about anything else, nothing. Don’t even think about who you are, your background, how you speak, or anything else that distracts you from writing the content you feel in your heart. Once you get a rhythm to your writing, you will soon see a pattern. This is your writing style and what will eventually make you stand out as an author.

I’m not a writing expert. I’ve just been writing for so many years. I realized that, yes, I have something to say, and it’s valid! Most writers feel intuitive about their work. Once you take the first step to start writing, you’ll be surprised at how many ideas will begin to flow. The key is to keep notes of any ideas you have; that way, you can pull from those ideas when you go back to writing.

For me, there were more days of self-doubt than productivity. It wasn’t until I realized that being a writer meant having ideas and writing them down until you create a body of work. I took breaks to research writing, editing, and publishing. I treated my writing as birthing a baby or creating a piece of art. I wanted to make sure it would be whole once it arrived in the hands of its reader. Along my writing journey, I stopped and remembered to love myself. So, in the end, procrastination became my saving grace.

Comment what you think below!

Book Released and Networking. How Does This Work?

So, I’m just going to speak on my behalf and say that I am not good at social media. This is not at all a “how-to” article, nor will I be providing any knowledgeable information on how to network. This is just for fun and giggles to hide the fact that I’m actually freaking out about my new journey as a published author. Although writing comes easy for me because I have a big imagination and spent most of my life living in made-up scenarios in my head. It’s how I want to believe most writers deal, you know. I’m socially awkward, and I sometimes suffer from resting bitch face, so writing is a much-needed skill for the things I just can’t say if I tried. So herein lies the issue.

I don’t know about any of you other writers, but I’ve been struggling to find my actual voice outside of writing to promote my work and network. I had to write papers and think pieces for college, which was only bearable if I could be creative, but it taught me a lot about my writing style. But I noticed if I had to present information in person, I would generally clam up, stutter, and just fall short at effective presentations. I’m struggling to write this blog because I’m overthinking how informal I might sound if I said it out loud.

Most people don’t even know why people want to be writers, to begin with. That’s one selling point I try to not think about. Do people think it’s even a job outside of, say the person who writes box office movies or hit tv shows? Probably not, I mean, who cares, right? That would be the perfect thing to say, but I’m not perfect, and I wonder if this is why I fear networking as a writer. But just me writing about the love I feel for jazz may get the side-eye.

I genuinely don’t know how to sell writing honestly. I want people to know my love for sunsets and feel how I convey the color of the sky. Readers gone read, for sure. So, I’m banking on people who love to read. Side note, do you like to read the same type of stuff you write? I personally read a lot of romance. It’s probably not even healthy the kind of addiction I have with my kindle. But, I don’t necessarily gravitate towards romantic literature to write. Is this weird? Somebody. Anybody? Don’t leave me hanging.

Strategy or Not

One common strategy to social media is a “writer’s lift” or, as I call it, “chain gang.” Don’t get me wrong, I love it because that’s the only thing I know how to do on Twitter to actually promote my book. Then I’m met with maybe 30 other authors who are promoting to each other but aren’t we all just tryna make $10 on Amazon kindle?

I’ve also found it hard to connect with writers or publishers without feeling like I’m freaking someone out, thinking I’m weird. Like “Hey girl, I just saw your photo and author status. I don’t know you, but can we be friends?” And I’m always too happy and excited for my own good, but maybe that’s a good trait unless it’s someone shady trying to sell me a pre-paid publishing deal. Lastly, there’s the battle of finding a great author’s photo. I don’t have one yet. Hey, I still look like my “professional” photo, minus the filter, and 10 lbs I gained. But, I digress.

I really don’t take myself seriously despite my facial expressions most times. I love to laugh and connect with people to support them and learn from others who have already mastered the writing game. So, if this moved you in any way or you just want to add your funny perspectives, stories, or advice, please leave a comment.

Introducing My New Book “Lunch Break Poetry: A Book of Abstract Poems”

Hello, and thank you for visiting my website! I coined the phrase “Lunch Break Poetry” to describe quick, abstract poetry on-the-go. This book of poems are snapshots of small facets of life. Imagine capturing a memory for an audience. Remember the feeling you experienced and how you wish you could put it into words. I hope you enjoy all that I’ve captured in these poems and are inspired to do the same.

Let’s share a vibe! Leave a comment below and tell me what you think about my book. Don’t forget to subscribe and follow me on all my social media to stay updated. Thanks for joining me on this journey!

“Lunch Break Poetry: A Book of Abstract Poems” written by T. Annette is now available on Amazon!