Trying to Get Back Into the Swing of Things

I find it very difficult to write when I’m happy. I can’t write anything. Journals, blog posts, fiction. It’s terrible. I need to find a way around it. Probably just discipline I need to develop.

Usually, I use writing as an outlet. I don’t vent to people too much. Years of my family and boyfriends with severe narcissism has made sure that, when I reach a certain level of frustrated, I shut down because I know that no one wants to hear me bitch. And even those who will listen, I find, often then drift off or stop listening or just can’t find it in them to care if it isn’t effecting them. I suppose that’s human nature.

I’m sure that’s not always true but it is so ingrained in my personality that what I do is stop talking, grab a notebook or the stylus on my Note 5 or my laptop and I write and write and write all the things that I can’t say out loud.

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My sweet baby Lily

But things have been going very well for me the past two months.

After a year of stress, health problems, not being able to pay bills, hating every single day of my life, things are better. I got a job as a Veterinary Assistant. I get to hang out with animals all day and I’m working in a high income area so it’s rare I have people complaining about the price of care. Most of the time they hand me their card and they don’t even care what it cost as long as we helped their animal. And we do. I spend my day getting to help animals. I love it. I would never find helping humans this fulfilling because humans are terrible. Animals are sweet. I’m learning a ton. I get to do lab work, x-rays, fill prescriptions and I am going to be trained to assist in surgery.

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I’ve started collecting POP vinyl figures. I was super stoked to find this 1966 Batman and Batmobile on sale Amazon for $11.00 when it usually runs $30.00+

On top of having a tremendously fulfilling job filled with people I enjoy, I make enough to pay my bills again and even have quite a bit of extra money left.  Steve and I are going to sushi this week. 3 weeks in a row after nearly a year of not being able to afford to go at all. I feel like I can exhale for the first time in a long time. Like maybe my hope at the beginning of January that 2016 would be better may actually come true.

This weekend Steve and I are going to go look for a house to rent because with his new job and my new job we can afford a bigger place and I need more animals.  We are going to get a house and then I am going to get a husky from a local rescue and he is going to get a chihuahua.  I may also get another cat.

Because Animals.

I work very early mornings to early-mid afternoon every day so I have a few hours at home alone. I’m not mentally and spiritually exhausted after work anymore so I think I have to dedicate time to sitting down and writing for a few hours every day. Develop the habit again.

 

-M-

Family
Part of a set of family photos we took for my mom for Mother’s day last year. Photo by KUCreative
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How Cleaning My Room Helped Ease My Depression

IMG_6805 I have been deep deep in the throws of depression lately. Barely able to move or breathe, wondering if there was any point to moving or breathing. I haven’t gotten out of bed much in the last week. Even with Christmas around-usually my favorite time of year-there just hasn’t been much to celebrate. I didn’t even bother decorating this year. Every Christmasy thing I did this year basically felt like I was going through the motions because I knew that I should.

I haven’t even been reading much. I feel bad that I haven’t been reading much but I haven’t.  Even doing that effortless thing that makes me happy has just felt like too much lately.

Yesterday I didn’t go to work. I should have. I need the money with all of my medical expenses climbing through the roof and me unable to pay my rent this month. But I couldn’t drag myself out of bed.

I stayed in bed most of the day. I played games on my phone and slept. Tried to not think about how much I really should have gone to work while also relieved that I didn’t. Yesterday would have been Hell at work because of the holidays.

Late in the afternoon, my boyfriend-who recently lost his job-left the apartment to go apply for a job he found that he wanted to apply for in person. He asked me to vacuum while he was gone.

 

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I haven’t cleaned much lately. I love having a clean apartment. I feel really stressed when the apartment is dirty but, just like everything else, I just haven’t been able to make myself do it lately. But he had shaved his head and there was hair all over the floor. So I vacuumed. But I wanted to put down carpet powder first and that takes a few minutes to saturate. So, while I waited for it to permeate the carpet I started cleaning my room which I had not cleaned in a year.

It started out doing little things. I was only going to clean the side of my bed because there hasn’t been a walkway there in months so I was always tripping over trash and clothes and whatnot. Then it grew and grew and soon-with a small break to vacuum the rest of the apartment-my room was spotless. I cleaned out my bedside drawers. Took out about eight Walmart bags full of trash, dusted, cleaned out under my bed, vacuumed, found clothes that I had been wondering where they had gone, unpacked a box that has been sitting in my room since moving here which gave me room to put my clothes hamper so its not in the middle of the floor, hung up my Oblivion map, hung up my calendar, made my bed and when all was said and done I felt better.

I need to do the rest of my apartment. I’m going to do it in stages over the next couple of days. Probably my bathroom sink today, my living room tomorrow and my library the day after that.

I still feel heavy. I have a knot in my chest and stomach that won’t go away and a huge part of me just feels like everything I do is just going through the motions because I don’t have a choice.  But waking up this morning and not having to hopscotch across my floor made me inexplicably happy.

Sometimes all you have is the little things, I guess. And sometimes that’s enough.

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#Project Semi Colon

 

 

2016 Here I Come

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2015 has been a rough year. 2014 ended with my long time, love of my life boyfriend leaving me for someone else. 2015 didn’t start any better. Within a couple of months I developed health problems which kept me (and continue to keep me, though to a lesser extent) from working. Which means that I have been living paycheck to paycheck and not always able to pay all my bills. I was put on a medication that, when not destroying internal organs, made me gain a ton of weight I haven’t been able to lose yet and I’ve always been self conscious about how I look but I’ve never hated how I look quite so much as I do now.

Seriously. I sit in front of my full length mirror and cry because I know I used to pretty-ish and I used to be skinny. Objectively I know that I am more than my weight and more than what I look like but that’s not much comfort when I look in the mirror.

So I am not sad to see 2015 go. I will celebrate it’s end. I know that nobody wakes up on January  1st different than they were the night before, but new beginnings matter. Yes, you can have a new beginning on a Tuesday in the middle of the month-it’s just a mindset. But, for a lot of people, January 1st triggers that mindset. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

That being said I have some small goals for 2016. Nothing extreme. Things I am already working towards that I just want to renew my passion for. Some things I hope that saying out loud and sharing them with people will help me with.

 

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1. Find something that fulfills me.

This is both an easy and a difficult task. I find that it’s hard for me to make time for things I really like an am passionate about if they require a lot of work. It’s a lazy, destructive mindset and it’s one I am working on changing. I don’t know what that extra hobby that is going to fulfill me will be yet. I want to be creative of some sort but I lack skill in most areas. Maybe I will find a class to take that will teach me something I want to learn or sign up for an online course. I find that my depression is somewhat abated when I am learning new things but typing “learn something new” into Google isn’t all that effective. I downloaded an app that was recommended on a Reddit thread that is pretty effective at teaching you a language (more reading than speaking)  so that’s a start. I just need to find a crafts hobby that can fulfill the creative side of me that I might be able to be good at.

Maybe I’ll start making candles or something…

2. Find a job that I don’t hate going to.

I know that unless you have your dream career very few people like getting up in the morning for their jobs. I’m not looking-at this point-for a job of my dreams. I just want a job that I don’t feel is taking my soul to go to. One that I don’t find it so hard to get up for. I haven’t liked a lot of my previous jobs but I have never been so stressed it made me sick or felt so okay about not going in to a job before. Before my current job I never called in sick. Ever. But I was never as sick as I have been since starting here. I need a change. Badly.

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3. Read more.

I’ve been in a bad reading slump for this year. Like I said, it’s been rough and, as much as I love reading, with how depressed I’ve been it’s been hard for me to focus on a book for very long.It’s much easier to lay on the couch and stare at the T.V. than to read.  This is the first time in years I have read as few books as I have this year. It’s actually embarrassing for me. I have a plan, though. For 2016 I am participating in Pop Sugar’s Reading Challenge (you can find it here) I am doing the 2015 one because I liked it better than their new 2016 one.  I printed out a copy and stapled it to pages I printed out where I can write down all of the books I’ve read for the year. They’re set up like this:

January

_______________ by____________ finished on __________

I can write down the details of the book after checking them off on my list. One thing I learned from NaNoWriMo is the satisfaction of doing updates like that. Of working towards a goal and knowing how long it would take me to get there if I wrote such and such words per day. I’m trying to adopt that into other facets of my life where I want improvement like reading, writing the rest of the year and exercise.

 

Most of my goals-which can be broken down beyond the above categories-just go to feeling better about myself and my life. I want to stop feeling useless and stupid and lazy.

My depression and anxiety will not be abated by  these small changes I know but, I’ve noticed, when I am doing things like the above-things that make me a better person in my own eyes, my depression has a harder time getting a debilitating hold on me for very long.

So those are some of the things I will be working on as we end this awful year and start on a new one.

Here’s to new beginnings.

-M-

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NaNoWriMo 2015 Update 2

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Screenshot of my progress for today, November 13

Week 2 of NaNoWriMo has now ended. It certainly went by much faster than the first week did. If you are pacing, your word count should be sitting at 21,666 words by the end of today.

Some people have already hit that 50,000 word mark. For those people: Congratulations!

For the rest of us, here are some things I have learned from week 2:

1) When you can, keep writing. Way past your word count if you can manage it at all. Because there are going to be days-and they are going to get more frequent as the month goes on-where you won’t be able to pull out 1667 words. You just won’t. Some days 1600 words is a lot more than other days.

Yesterday I struggled to hit 1600 words. I may not have even hit 1600 words, I don’t remember. What I do know is that I am really glad for the days that I wrote two or three thousand words because it meant that, right now, I don’t have to worry about how many words I write as long as I hit the goal for the day (or the next day. i’m trying to stay 1-2 days ahead of my word count)

Another advantage of being ahead on your word count for us “pantsers” is that it gives us time to do research. A few times i have had to look up myths or the genealogy of gods or weapons and it has been nice to have the time to do my research because I wasn’t wasting time that I should be using to write.

2) Don’t worry if you don’t know what happens next. It will come. I know, for me at least, if I don’t know the next event that is going to happen I struggle to write the current scene even if I know how at least that scene will go. But I’ve learned something as I have been writing.  I may not know what is going to happen in the next scene or even what the next scene is, but as long as I start it everything falls into place. Will it need tweaking after this month? Of course it will. But so will even the most planned out novels. You are going to have to edit. Accept that and just write.

3)Using the word counter update on the NaNo site is addictive. If I come to a break in a paragraph or if I don’t know how to start the next sentence yet I will go to the website-which is a separate tab up in my browser-and I will update it. Sometimes it’s only been two or three hundred words. But something about updating it and seeing the bar for that day and for the month climb is incredibly satisfying.

Finding something that makes writing immediately rewarding for you-other than the knowledge you are working towards  finished novel which I know is not always enough-can help you write that next few scenes. So find something that can give you an immediate payoff.

Good luck. See you at the end of week 3!

-M-

For daily updates, NaNo progress, inspiration, help etc…don’t forget to “Like” my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EKUauthor

NaNoWriMo 2015: Update Number 1

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It is November 2nd and here is my first NaNoWriMo update:

I am at a little over 5300 words. I ended up with today off and had a great deal of inspiration hit me when I was worried I would be blocked. (I am still worried that after I get through this part i won’t know what comes next but we will deal with that when it comes)

Currently I am completely “pantsing” it as they say. I had an outline all ready and everything. Chapter synopsis, character profiles(i have a hard time remembering what color I make people’s eyes and hair if it isn’t plot significant) And then I woke up on November 1st and decided to write a COMPLETELY different novel. The same novel, in fact, that I had decided not to do for NaNoWriMo because of the amount of research that I have to do to complete it.

But, we write the stories that speak to us and this is a story I have wanted to tell for a long time. It’s a hard story to tell because it is dark and just gets darker and darker as the story progresses with only slight breaks of humor from a different character. But Medusa(the main character) wants her story told. And so I am telling it.

I am glad to be ahead of the goal right now. I have some busy days coming up and I am worried about hitting my word count on those days. I will still try, naturally, but it will be less stressful if I am unable. Less discouraging because I won’t be falling behind.

That is my first piece of advice for those of you who are new to NaNoWriMo. Make your word count goals. Exceed them if possible but if not keep writing until you have hit the 1667 for the day. Because 1667 is not overwhelming to try and write in a day. But if you fall behind it’s really easy to give up because it’s very difficult to catch up once you are a day or two behind. So keep writing. Don’t worry about if the words are “good” or not. If you are passionate about what you are writing and you are enjoying the process than that is enough. December is for editing. Make your words pretty next month. This month just get them down.

How are you all progressing on your daily word counts? Any novel excerpts you are particularly proud of that you want to share?

Remember that if you want to keep in contact with me daily “Like” my page at www.facebook.com/EKUauthor. I would love to hear how your novels are coming along and I will be updating my own word counts daily on that page and posting inspiration I find.

Outlining Makes Me Sad

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I hate outlining. I hate it so very much. i’m not good at it. I’ve never been able to wrap my head around it. When I had to write papers in high school I never used an outline and I always did really well. Especially on Fiction. When an outline was required I would make one up and turn it in.

Now, as an adult, the way I do outlines would make my High School teachers cry. It’s not consistent throughout the outline and it’s not always the

I.

        A.

                1.

format. I don’t even know how you write clear ideas like that. My brain just doesn’t work in a logical line I guess.

My outlines look more like:

Chapter One-Important Points:

                 -introduce town

                  -introduce main char.

                 -sees meteor/meets oracle

                           *oracle description:

Kind of just basic references.

Outlining just about bores me to tears. If I have a clear vision of what i want to write then I want to *write* it. I don’t want to write about writing it.

BUT-I know that I have to for NaNoWriMo. If I want to write 2000-5000 words a day I need to have a vision of each plot point ahead of time if I’m going to avoid getting stuck. I will, in all likely hood, not follow my outline. When NaNoWriMo starts I will probably not even look at it. Because the characters take me where they want.

But I have (begrudgingly) found that at least writing the outline-whether or not it gets used-puts enough ideas into my subconscious to roll around and work on while i’m doing other things or working on other parts of the story.

The first year I did NaNo i had an outline. I didn’t look at it but I had it and I won. Last year I did not have an outline and I stopped about 70 pages in.

So that’s what I’m going to be doing today. I’m going to hate it. A lot. But I guess you do what you have to.

Do you outline? What do your outlines look like? What do you do to prep for November?

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(My cat is a goofball)

For motivation you won’t find on my blogs don’t forget to like my Facebook page

10 days in to NaNoPrepMo

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It is October tenth and that November first deadline is coming closer and closer. I know in the next couple of weeks I will be stocking up on bottled water, chocolate (yay after Halloween sales) and energy drinks because I will be getting up an hour early to get writing done before work every day. I have a binder with notes in it, pieces of dialogue I may want to use and major plot points that have to happen to set up the entire series. What are you doing to prep?

I know that as the deadline comes closer, if you haven’t written a novel before or you’ve never attempted to write 50,000 words in 30 days (i will be aiming for 75,000-100,000) that deadline can suddenly seem imposing. But fear not! That’s where i come in:

Here are a few websites to help you get prepared for NaNoWriMo.

www.nanowrimo.org

First thing you should do is make sure you register your novel. You can earn badges, join member boards,  get prep talks from some amazing authors. Seeing that chart go up every day saying you are on goal is a great way to keep yourself going. And you can enter to win a professional cover designed of your book.

http://nanowrimo.org/nano-prep

Right from the main website itself. Here is a list of things you can do to prepare for writing your novel this November.

http://triplecrit.com/2015/09/30/31-days-of-nanoprepmo/

31 days of NaNo prep prompts. Every day she asks you to imagine things like what your protagonist hates and why. What are going to be the major themes of your story. If you aren’t sure what your story is going to be about or you want to get a clearer vision of your characters and plot using these prompts could be a great way to help.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page or click the tags to get the whole connection.

http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-to-prepare-for-nanowrimo-to-outline-or-not-to-outline

To outline or not to outline. This author believes it’s both and he has some tips on how to do that even if you are, like myself, a “pantser”

http://storyist.com/support/howto/get-ready-for-nanowrimo/

Not sure what to write? Check out this authors ideas on how to get a plot. Ask what if questions, for example!

www.facebook.com/EKUauthor

This is my Facebook author page. I am going to be posting tip prep, stuff I do to prep and writing prompts to get you started throughout October and motivation to keep  you going through November. I’ll also be posting my own daily word count and excerpts from what I’ve written. Go give it a like!

There are tons of ways to prep. Remember that there is no good or bad way to prepare. The only way you can fail is to not try at all.  Even if you don’t make your 50,000 words (it’s not an easy goal especially with work and kids and significant others and days where you have no idea what you are going to do next) you can at least develop a habit of writing every day. Then, after NaNoWriMo is over, you can keep writing and keep writing and keep writing and someday you will have a finished book.

And trust me, that’s pretty cool.

Buying Your First Motorcycle: What You Should Know pt 1

My bike. 2015 Ironhorse 883
My bike. 2015 Ironhorse 883

So you have decided you want to start riding a motorcycle? Excellent! Riding a motorcycle is a fun way to get away for a few hours. Riding a motorcycle is nothing like driving a car. You use a car to get somewhere, you use a motorcycle to go somewhere.

Now that you have decided that you want to ride a motorcycle it’s time to decide what kind of bike you want. There are so many options out in the world. American vs. Japanese bikes. Adventure bikes vs. Cruisers.  Carbureted vs. Fuel Injected.

That’s where I come in.

I recently bought my first bike. Then I bought my second first bike because the first one was terrible. So I am going to share with you what I learned from my first shopping experience in a multi-post series that will go as follows:

Part 2: Height and Weight

Part 3: The importance of shopping around/The difference in motor sizes

Part 4 Carbureted vs Fuel Injected

Part 5 Picking out a bike based on what you want to do with it

Part 6: Gear and Accessories

Part 7: Conclusion

The posts will go up on Friday afternoons.

The first thing I encourage you is to take an M Endorsement class. A lot of local bike shops (Harley Davidson for sure) as well as community colleges often have the M classes. When you have that endorsement on your license dealers will let you test ride the bikes which is a great way to make sure you don’t end up buying a bike that you don’t want.

in addition to taking the class, search Youtube for beginner motorcycle videos. There are a lot and it’s a good way to get an idea of what you need to do before you get the bike under you.

My favorite beginner video is Twist of the Wrist There are also books on Amazon by Twist of the Wrist that are great if you want a continuous guide.

It’s a little bit campy but it has a lot of great information about riding. Specifically it sorts out the many myths you hear about riding from the truth. And it explains the idea of counter steering in one of the most accessible ways I’ve found.

There’s a lot of information and I hope that I can make your bike buying experience a fun one.

Happy riding and see you next Friday

-M-

*—–*——-*——-*

If you want to be sure that you don’t miss any of my posts or if you want some encouragement during the upcoming NaNoWriMo months(I will start posting inspiration and help with planning in October) please make sure to “Like” and “Share” my author page on Facebook

I will be posting a bunch there that won’t be posted anywhere else.

Thanks in advance!

Facebook Page

Hey everyone!

Couple of quick updates for you!

i have set up my official author Facebook page. i’m going to be putting updates there that I won’t be putting anywhere. Especially around NaNoWriMo I will be updating my word count every day as well as excerpts from what I will be working on. (Which will either be my retelling of Medusa or Book  1 of my God Creator series…haven’t decided yet) I will be also posting NaNoWriMo themed inspiration during October and November.

If you want to get official updates from me “Like” this page.

Also keep an eye out this coming Friday for the first post in a multi-post series on buying your first motorcycle. I recently went through it and made a bunch of mistakes so I will be covering everything from buying your gear to the important differences between carburated and fuel injected bikes.

After that I will have a multi-post series on starting out with makeup since I didn’t have anyone to really give me buying advice and it took me way longer than it needed to to get everything together.

Once again if you want to make sure you are getting all of my updates make sure to like my new Facebook page! www.facebook.com/EKUauthor

I want to start doing some “How To” posts likes the ones above so if you have anything you would like me to write a post about let me know!

See you Friday!

-M-

Does this photo make me look deep?
Does this photo make me look deep?

Life Goes On:The End of National Suicide Prevention Week

#Project Semi Colon
#Project Semi Colon

I never used to pay attention to National Suicide Prevention Week. It was-as I guess it is for most people-another week where a group of people somewhere are(semi-unsuccessfully) trying to raise awareness for a specific cause. And, where they are successful, it doesn’t last long.

The week passes and everyone moves on.

C’est La Vie.

So, for me, NSPW is not to raise awareness or start a dialogue or anything of the sort. If people see the drawings i do on my arm every year and want to inquire then I will engage them. But I don’t seek out those conversations.

The drawings(and eventual permanent tattoo) I do on my wrists are for me. To remind me that I’m still here. To remind me that there is hope even in the darkest hours.

I suffer a major depression disorder. It runs in my family along with addiction and the inability to speak in almost anything except sarcasm.  Coupled with my depression is sever anxiety. I’m always worried that people I love-even my best friend and my boyfriend-secretly don’t like me.

i had to drive somewhere I had never been the other day and I couldn’t walk for a few minutes after I got there because my legs were too shaky.

Depression and Anxiety. Two mental disorders that lie to you. That distort your worldview. That make you think your life isn’t worth anything.

I struggle with those thoughts and worse every single day. I struggle with thinking how much better off people would be without me. If my brother hadn’t already killed himself I would have by now.

One of my coping mechanisms used to be to cut my wrists.

I call them my weak point.

This year I heard of “Project Semi Colon” People are getting tattoos of semi colons either as a reminder for themselves that life goes on or in tribute to people they have lost or who are struggling.

A semi colon is a place where the author could have chosen to end the sentence but chose to continue on.

As a writer, someone who struggles with suicidal thoughts and as someone who lost a sibling to suicide the movement spoke to me on many levels. So, this year for NSPW, I had my (fortunately artistic) boyfriend draw a semi colon butterfly (see above) on my left wrist covering some of my scars.

A reminder.

Life Goes On.

I’m going to get this tattooed in a few months but I think we are going to make the wings say HOPE.

For those who are struggling i want you to know:

Someone loves you. it may not seem like it at home or at work or at school. But someone loves you. You may have someone who follows your blog or your Facebook and lives for everything you post and you might not even know it.

Your life is worth living.

You have something to contribute to the world that no one else can.

It’s hard to see the light through the darkness. Sometimes-in all honesty-there isn’t any light for a very long time.

But you will continue. Because you are stronger than your depression. You are stronger than the people who would hold you down. You are strong. You are capable. You are worthy.

If you ever need to talk feel free to send me a private message. Or reach out to other blogs that you follow or even your own followers. The beauty of the internet is that there is always someone there to listen without judging.

I love you.

-M-