AnnaleeAutumn


It’s #NaNoWriMo 2016 and I finally feel like a “real” writer…
November 10, 2016, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Writing

I usually start my writing mornings with a cup of tea, a cat on my lap and drawing. I started drawing just over 2 years ago. I found an inexpensive “adult school” in my neighborhood – it was like $150 for 10 weeks and it completely changed my life. I was immediately able to draw realistic portraits in graphite pencil. I was more surprised than anyone. Sure, I drew as a kid – we all did – but somewhere along the line I “realized” (was told?) I wasn’t a great artist. So I pursued the other creative things I was good at, like writing screenplays and shooting, directing and editing short films and music videos.

About 3 years ago I had to stop working due to some health stuff. I’m ok – gonna live – but I have much less energy than the average person. It SUCKS. I couldn’t make videos anymore and for about a year I struggled with not creating anything at all. Made me crazy. That’s why I started looking into drawing. Seemed simple – a notebook and a few pencils. But – oh boy – did my inner critic have something to say about me attempting to draw about a week before the class began. That voice is a doozy.

During the class, I remembered that I used to draw – often. But – and this is key – it was always out of some burst of inspiration, which felt a little like catching lightning in a bottle. Not sure how I’d do it again even if I wanted to.

About this same time, I was digitally scanning all the photos from my entire life. What do you know – there were drawings and paintings of mine on the wall behind people in tons of pictures. I think my subconscious mind was alway working on drawing – which explains why I was immediately able to draw realistic portraits – but my conscious mind had completely discounted the value of that art form.

One day it hit me that being “able” to draw really meant that I had the ability to duplicate a drawing, that I had a process. It was no longer a mad burst of inspiration, I had techniques that would allow me to draw the same portrait twice if I wanted to. Ok – hold that thought…

So, #NaNoWriMo2106 is my 2nd official NaNoWriMo. I “won” last year, and about 10 years ago I wrote during November but didn’t post word counts or join the NaNoWriMo website.

Last year I wrote a post about having a successful NaNoWriMo 2015 which you can read here. This year, on about day 3, I had this deep sense that I’m a “real” writer. Mind you, I spent a year writing articles (and getting paid!) for a B to B magazine and 7 years writing copy for a manufacturing company, being paid the most I’ve ever been paid, so I was already a “real” writer on a certain (pretty great and satisfying) level. By the way, I remember how exotic that seemed – HOW would you ever get a job as a writer?! A friend of mine said “You just write.” For weeks that phrase bounced around my mind and finally I asked my friend Kat Von D to tattoo those words on my fingers. “Just” is on the inside of my left ring finger and “right” is on the inside of my right ring finger – they’re just for me. (I decided that “just right” was a better tattoo to go with, as it had two meanings.) Looking back, I can see that this was the beginning of me trying to overcome the hurdles that kept me from accomplishing things like writing an entire novel.

So, back to the idea that having a process is what made me a “real” artist with graphite pencils… In the same way, being able to sit down and hammer out 2,500 words with no fear, worry or struggle is what makes me a “real” writer. Now when I write, it’s not out of some crazy burst of inspiration – I sit and – just write. By the way, writing isn’t the hard part – wrestling with all those obstacles every time you want to write is what is hard. That post I refer to above was one of the major things that helped me clear out these blocks, but the Artist Way by Julia Cameron was another important one. I mean, really I’ve spent my entire adult life trying to get rid of these blocks, but I only feel my efforts have been fruitful in the last 2 years. Hey ! Since I started drawing. Coincidence? I think probably not, but I have no idea.

On day 7 of NaNoWriMo 2016 my inner critic piped up and said what it always says, some variation of “This is stupid. No one is going to read this…” Julia Cameron says to jot down what your critic is saying in the margins. It allows your critic to feel heard, which shuts it up a bit, and it’s hilarious to read later because it’s all just weird bullshit.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I felt awful, but I needed to write 1,500 words because on Monday I felt even more awful and didn’t write. I recall the pain of getting behind and having to write 5,000 words in a day at the end of November from last year, so I chose the lesser pain and wrote yesterday while I felt shitty. If it weren’t for NaNoWriMo, I wouldn’t have. That also makes me feel like a “real” writer. Because it took 2 hours and 20 minutes and it actually wasn’t hard.

NaNoWriMo works. I’m half done with a 500 page novel I started last year, and this year, NaNo has given me the gift of knowing I’m a writer. What comes with that is a fierce protection of my writing time and the ability to share my writing with real, actual other people.

Finally, I don’t think I’d be accomplishing any of this if I hadn’t discovered Scrivener. I can’t recommend it enough.

What makes you guys feel like “real” writers? 🙂

Stay Spooky!!

 



Spell Bottles!
August 19, 2016, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , ,

This post was from 3 months ago. How time flies! I wish my house looked like the picture on the left. I have about that many spiderwebs, I just don’t have all those bottles. I DO have Halloween stuff up year round, including flying brooms, but one day, mark my words, I’ll have a writing room that is 100% spooky!



From #NaNoWriMo2105 to 70 chapters!

May 3, 2016 I published my first 7 chapters of “The Dagger Witch Chronicles Book One: Delilah Dagger” on Amazon’s Write On. Today is August 19th and I’m thrilled to say that I have posted 70 chapters!

And on August 9, 2016 I was trending on Write On’s front page. 3rd in “All Categories” and 2nd in “Fantasy.” So unexpected and exciting.

Trending on Write On.JPG

It’s the awesome readers making that happen. They tell me they’re loving the story, loving the characters and have found Sorcia Dagger “shockingly wicked,” which I love. Sorcia Dagger does not f%*k around! The reason I started posting chapters on Write On was to gauge how interested the audience was in this story. And I’m so happy they love it. I was going to write it wether they liked it or not, but obviously I’m glad they like it.

The work I did in July 2015 on changing my beliefs around “finishing large projects” has helped a ton. You can read about that here. I highly recommend it if you’re feeling blocked and unable to accomplish the things you want to do.

I kinda hate that writing takes so long… I keep thinking that I’ll set myself up better for subsequent novels. Like I’ll make the story simpler, or I’ll somehow work more of it out in my outline ahead of time.

My well-meaning husband said, “You might be a George RR Martin…” Meaning I might take a long time to write novels. I said, “Ugh, I hope not.” Obviously I’d love to come up with stories that good, but the years… (What am I talking about – I AM George RR Martin – I started the Dagger Chronicles back in 2007!!!!)

Writing novels feels like a marathon. An emotional and spiritual marathon. I can’t look ahead, I have to just look down at my feet. When I scroll through my Scrivener project and see all the chapters ahead that I need to edit I lose hope. So I’ve stopped doing that. I say in my mind, no problem, I’m doing it. Because I am. I’m editing about 7 – 14 chapters a week and publishing 7 chapters at a time. I feel like I can see the zenith. The midpoint is on the horizon.

And more than anything, it feels AMAZING to really be doing it. To really be writing this story I’ve been trying to write my whole life. I actually have more empathy for myself about not finishing long projects – they take a lot of time. It just takes hours and hours. I’ve spent 3 hours on complicated paragraphs (paragraphs!) like this one about Sorcia in her kitchen mixing up spells. You can’t say “bottle” 12 times in the same paragraph.

Sorcia set the book on the kitchen counter, open to the first spell. Her finger skimmed the list of ingredients: Bat’s Wing, Banewort, Wolfberry, Thistle Needle and Toad Slime. Easy enough.

She sifted through the hundreds of shiny glass containers lining her shelves: cobalt blue antique bottles with narrow necks, squat amber jugs with wide, flat corks, embossed emerald green inkwells with tiny spigots, exquisite lavender perfume vials with etched dabbers, crystalline genie decanters with gilt glass stoppers and medicinal flasks in matte seafoam green. Pillbox tins, clay pots and small wood boxes of all shapes and sizes lined the counter tops.

-From “The Dagger Witch Chronicles Book One: Delilah Dagger”

What about you guys? Where are you with your stories? What do you think the process of writing is like? Where are you posting your chapters? Are you posting chapters? What are some of your favorite comments from readers?



Right on, Write On!
May 3, 2016, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , ,
I’ve just posted the first draft of the first 7 chapters of my novel “The Dagger Witch Chronicles Book One: Delilah Dagger” on Amazon’s “Write On.”
You have to join Write On to read my story. The point of Write On is for readers to read your chapters and give you feed back as the book progresses.
If anyone is interested in reading my story on Write On here is the link (again you have to join Write On to see the story.)
Daggers Delilah Book Cover
[This is a temporary book cover, created for Write On]


A successful #NaNoWriMo2015
December 22, 2015, 12:29 am
Filed under: Writing | Tags: , , , ,

I’ve been writing my whole life. I have stories I wrote back when we were just learning to write words and had to write on that wide-lined paper with the dotted line in the middle.

So it’s always boggled my own mind as to why I haven’t finished more large scale projects, like completed novels and final drafts of screenplays… Believe me I’ve started many novels, I’ve done quite a few drafts of screenplays but I always quit before I finish… Or I get distracted and start something new.

New ideas are like shiny objects – they grab my attention and always feel more exciting than the project I’m trudging through.

So, it took like 20 years, but I realized what I was doing wasn’t working. “The Secret” has been around for a while, “The Teachings of Abraham” have been life changing… So one day it hit me: change my beliefs about writing; change my beliefs about being able to finish big projects. i.e. NOVELS.

First I had to examine what my limiting beliefs about writing were. Some subconscious thing was holding me back. What was it…?

It’s obviously very personal, (and not necessarily logical) but I want to share it with you because I think this is really important.

I wrote in a journal for a while to get clear on what the road block was; basically it boiled down to: “my family will be mad” and “I’m hiding.”

Huh? Like I said, it’s not logical – it’s in my subconscious. It’s actually “Little Annalee.” Most of what I’ve discovered in my subconscious (which creates my life) are beliefs that “Little Annalee” came up with as a 6 year old (or something; not sure.) Point is: I created beliefs as a really young girl and many of them were never re-examined.

A belief is nothing more than a thought that you think so often that one day it’s just a belief. Beliefs aren’t necessarily “true.” They can be changed. It takes a few months of thinking something different to replace the old belief, but it can definitely be done. I learned this 8 years ago from “The Teachings of Abraham” books like “Ask and It Is Given” by Esther Hicks.

So that was the belief I had to change: “I don’t want to finish this novel because I don’t want to make my family mad.” When I thought about it more, I tried to define what I meant by “mad.” I really don’t have a clear definition, but I think all kids come to know that they’re not supposed to make their parents “mad.” Ultimately I think what it means is: I don’t want to be abandoned. No one does, especially as a kid, where your family is your entire lifeline. “I’m hiding” also comes from the same fear: If I “show” myself people won’t love me (and I’ll be abandoned.) But, I’m an adult now, so these fears are hindering my creative life.

It took 2 months to complete the process outlined in “How Quantum Physicists Build New Beliefs” by Greg Kuhn. I tried a few other books on how to change beliefs, but this one spoke to me. Probably the best $2.99 investment I’ve ever made in myself. I know everyone says that, but it’s true.

Enter NaNoWriMo 2015. I thought – hey I’ll join in. I’ve been working on an outline for a while, I think I could jump in and do it. Well, guess what, I could do it. And I didn’t stop and start working on one of my other novels. About November 23rd I realized – wait a minute – I’m actually DOING it. I’ve seen a lot of people fall off the NaNoWriMo horse on Instagram this month. What’s different this time…? Oh yeah – I did all that work on changing my beliefs back in July 2015. It’s working!!

The thing I didn’t expect to happen was – once I finished this beliefs work, I felt like drawing. I haven’t drawn in years. My cousin was the amazing artist in the family. But that’s a topic for another blog post.

I did what Kuhn said to do. I wrote down everything I could think of that pertained to the emotion I was working on for that day. I moved up the emotional scale from Anxiety/Fear to Unease/Discontent to Acceptance/Peace to Excitement/Passion and finally to Love/Ecstasy. There are 23 levels of emotion. Each one is a slight vibrational improvement on the previous emotion. See Kuhn’s emotion reference chart here. Kuhn says he got this Emotional Scale idea from “The Teachings of Abraham” books, which I also can’t recommend enough.

I wrote 50,000 words in November 2015 and I’m thrilled! Unfortunately, it looks like my novel wants to be 70K – 80K words. It’s late December and I’ve only written 9K words. NaNoWriMo works. Especially if you delete the limiting beliefs from your subconscious first.

How about you guys? What do you feel trips you up as you get close to the finish line?



Vine!
November 26, 2015, 7:31 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

How come it seems like no one is using #Vine… Well, I just started using mine, so I guess I could answer my own question…

Here are some of my recent vines:

#blackandwhite

Slow motion is the best!!! #slowmotion #slowmo

I think we should make Halloween the last day of EVERY month, don’t you? Then I could dress up like a witch and nobody would stare at me. #halloween #spooky #hauntedmansion #witch

 



a few of my favorite short films

Here are a few of my favorite short films. ALL of these short films I have shot, directed, edited and color corrected myself. Right now I’m writing a feature film (almost done!!) so that I can graduate into making movies on a bigger scale. Very much looking forward to that adventure!




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