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My name is Sandy. I am Catholic. Besides religious topics, I am interested in politics. This profile is really to showcase my ideas. In the words of St. Bernadette, "My job is to inform, not convince."

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Lack of Confidence: The Undoing of an Aspiring Author

The topic I wanted to discuss is something that most new writers deal with: CONFIDENCE!  Confidence isn't something that just comes automatically as a person continues to write.  Really, confidence, or lack thereof, is a result of an individual's interior health.  If one is insecure about themselves, even on a physical or material level, he or she will be more prone to doubt their abilities.  This can manifest a number of ways.  For some, who have never shared their work publicly, it can prevent them from showing others how uniquely talented they are.  For others, it prohibits them from reaching higher goals because of public opinion or creates limiting beliefs of what they're capable of.  Through this blog post, I want to discuss my understanding of how insecurities can block a writer from creating the breakout novel that is trapped in their mind.

People that write as a hobby or a profession tend to be introverted by nature.  It makes sense, since writing, at least in the initial stages, is a solitary task.  Writers can have periods of appearing as extroverts, especially when they meet fans at a book signing or are pictured on a red carpet, but really, it is a mask, a smile pasted on one's face until he or she can go back into their dark den and create.  These types of people live in an internal world that few can really appreciate because this inner world is rarely revealed.  It's a place where everything is felt deeply but little is vocalized.  Life is observed, rather than merely lived.  It is a place where everything is scribbled down in an almost meticulous way so that this can be expressed later through artistic outlets.  It is the creation of a whole universe, if only in one's mind.  This is the life of an author.

The mind is a powerful tool.  Each thought triggers a feeling that can bring happiness and, in contrast, depression and every emotion in between.  The mind is a place where introverts live, and if one is not careful, a place that they can become trapped in.  A mind that is in a negative space will create blockages that prevent a person from taking chances to improve their situation.  Something as simple as chasing a childhood dream can be analyzed, over and over, until it seems impossible.  Giving up is easy in this mind frame.  It is almost second nature.  A positive mind will nurture and foster growth, allowing an individual to chase success without fear, but a negative one will talk a person out of, even, the most brilliant ideas.  The mind can be a person's best friend or worse enemy, but it all depends on lived experiences and what it is fed.

Feeding the mind isn't an easy task when one is faced with many disappointments.  Insecurity stems from life experiences, whether someone said something harmful or a traumatizing life event triggered these feelings.  When someone has lived through some dark days, these instances can foster deep-rooted fear, creating feelings that one cannot surpass challenges in order to achieve a goal.  This is the birth of insecurity, this is the conception of a mentality of lack.  These thoughts can stifle a writer, especially when the creative process is sparked by the mind.

Fear, insecurity, depression, doubt, etc. are all the same.  The words are relatively interchangeable, all apart of the same mental cycle that keeps a person stuck.  Lack of confidence stems from a fear of being ridiculed.  That fear grows until one feels they can't complete their goal, and that is when the depression sets in.  When the mind is blocked or situations we face are unclear, inspiration can be blocked, not from a lack of ideas, but from an inability to think.  If there is no visible way to come out of the mind and face one's fears, surpassing challenges head-on, the passion will, eventually, be drained.  These manifestations of insecurity, these irrational fears, will hold a person back, not just from creating, but also, from moving towards one's happiness on a broader level.  If this "fear monster" grows without being combated, it will create depression, distance in relationships, lack of purpose, indecision, etc. in every aspect of one's being.  Fear is the dream killer, and the seed of fear, from which all else stems, is a lack of confidence.

So, how do you feed your mind the proper food?  I am still learning what it is to nourish the mind, but I look at the children in my life, and one thing I have observed is... they have no fear, especially the younger children.  We learn fear as we get older, but young children haven't been programmed to the extent that an adult has.  They haven't internalized disappointments, reliving them and creating inner demons.  Their memory isn't that long.  We can learn by seeing through the eyes of children.

Writing is supposed to be fun, it's an art form, but real-world problems and toxic thoughts can block expression.  One way to free the mind is to let go of the past, let go of disappointments, and instead, see them as opportunities for learning and growth.  You can't go back, the past doesn't exist anymore, so you can't live there, constantly trying to change it.  When a baby is learning to walk, they don't give up after they fall.  They know no fear.  They harbor no feelings of disappointment.  They try again without dwelling on what happened.  If you don't dwell on what went wrong, you will focus on what to do next; therefore, no blockages will be created.

However, if these feelings already exist, there are ways around them and through them.  One such way to overcome lack of confidence is to choose to be happy.  It sounds odd.  How does one choose to be happy?  Is happiness an option?  Yes.  Happiness is a feeling, that feeling can be evoked at any point in your day.  Scientific studies show that a simple smile releases happy endorphins that will give you a natural feeling of euphoria, preventing depressive thoughts.  The more you smile, even when you don't feel like it, the happier you will be.  The easier it will be for you to draw others to you, and who doesn't like to be the center of attention?  In this state, you are much more likely to feel better about yourself, this contentment within your being will extend to all aspects, including self-expression.

In order to truly arrive at the root of the problem, one has to understand the cause of the feelings in the first place.  What do you fear?  What are you unhappy with?  For example, if someone is overweight, they can experience depression that may make them find comfort in food, beginning a cycle which ends in more weight gain and depression.  This sense creates blockages.  If you are insecure, that feeling will grow tentacles and create further feelings of lack in other aspects of your life.  However, there's a way out.  If that same person changes the very thing that made them develop fear in the first place, like starting a workout plan and eating healthier, they will remove this thought pattern as the pounds melt away.  Insecurity must be identified to be dealt with, if at all.  No one can cure it for you.  If a man lacks confidence in his own manhood and worth, possibly because he was made fun of by friends in his childhood, he may look for the most beautiful woman that he can find, because in his mind, having that woman on his arm will give him that sense of his own value.  But men that do this are rarely happy.  Why?  Because no one can heal what is wrong inside of you.  You have to do that all by yourself, and no one wants to do the work.  At least, not at first.  Most prefer the idea of the quick fix, but if you can do one thing a day to change something you don't like, you can eradicate that gnawing feeling of being worth less than what you truly are.

Writing is my personal outlet.  I prefer to write than to speak.  It is easier for me as I am naturally shy.  When I was younger, this shyness was quite painful.  I had no problem making friends once I was approached, but I was always shaking on the inside.  I felt blocked from speaking my mind, at times, scared to fully express myself for fear of ridicule.  I wore a mask, a sometimes expressionless or serious exterior.  There was the mask I showed my friends and work colleagues.  I took off this mask when I arrived at home.  As an adult, speaking about how I felt because increasingly difficult, but to carry on with life, I buried those feelings deep down, tried not to shake, and did the tasks that I needed to do.  Then I could go home and be myself.  When I started writing, this shyness created blocks.  As a young girl, I never finished a story!  Finishing it would mean people would read it, judge it.  There is nothing more confidence-killing than a bad review for a writer.  I wrote so many great pieces of poetry that were unseen because the idea of showing others what I had written caused me anxiety.  By the time self-publishing became popular, I wrote the Weeping Willow stories.  I didn't suddenly develop the confidence to post them.  I honestly loaded them, closed my eyes, and while I was panicking on the inside, pressed the publish button.  It wasn't that the fear had vanished, it was that the passion I had for writing outweighed the fear I had at that moment.

How much do you want to write?  Even today, after publishing a few stories and novels, my insecurities remain.  I have doubts about my ability to create something really good, fears about my ability to expand, tremors over approaching people within the industry, anxiety over being too public, etc.  These feelings have held me back, but through acknowledging those fears, I can step towards eliminating them altogether.  That is what it will take to overcome these emotional barriers and write the next great bestseller.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

New Covers and Stories

Hello, everyone!

As most of you can already tell, I updated the covers of my free works; these are my short stories, novelas, and novelettes.  I want to give a shout out and special thanks to the wonderful artists at Deviant Art for their stock images.  I used these images in combination with my own artwork and clip art in some cases.  These stocks are for personal use and not for commercial.  Since my ebooks aren't in physical form, and they are free to download, there shouldn't be any infringement of these policies. (If any of the artists would prefer I not use their stock, please leave me a message so that I could rework the cover art).

Also, I have written two new shorts.  Each one will be posted on Smashwords very soon.  Please check my Smashwords author page for updates as I plan to release one within the next few days.  Smashwords will then distribute the short to other online vendors like Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc. where you will be able to download the content.

Thank you, readers and artists!



SPECIAL THANKS


Feeling - Cut Out by lardacil-stock - http://lardacil.deviantart.com/art/Feeling-cut-out-stock-77616834
PNG Castle 2 by MoonWaterLilly - http://moonwaterlilly.deviantart.com/art/Png-Castle-2-351978281


Girl PNG by Dea-Avi - http://dea-avi.deviantart.com/art/girl-png-680753819
Madd ShabbyChic Stock Texture by RavenMaddArtwork - http://ravenmaddartwork.deviantart.com/art/Madd-ShabbyChic-Stock-Texture-212668297


Premade BG 31 - Stock by InADesign Stock - http://inadesign.deviantart.com/art/Premade-BG-31-Stock-211040363
Wandering - Cut Out Stock by lardacil-stock - http://lardacil.deviantart.com/art/Wandering-cut-out-stock-72617349


Ghost Behind the Glass PNG by KarahRobinson-Art - http://karahrobinson-art.deviantart.com/art/Ghost-Behind-The-Glass-PNG-399833529
Haunted House 01 PNG Stock by Roy3D - http://roy3d.deviantart.com/art/Haunted-House-01-PNG-Stock-419733782

Friday, August 26, 2016

My thoughts on The Conjuring II

Hello, everyone!

I wanted to get back into writing blog posts, so I decided to write a bit of a movie review.  Well, of sorts....  This blog is really for my journey from project to publishing, but I thought I would change it up, especially since my projects have been slow going.

I grew up on a steady diet of horror movies.  While my mother was working, my older brothers watched us girls in the house.  We often played card games, heard music, and watched movies together.  We had more freedoms than most kids, but we handled it responsibly.  The worst thing we did was watch rated R movies.  At five, I remember watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre with my brother who is ten years older.  I wasn't frightened by any of the movies I saw.  I was intrigued, and I began to really love the genre.

As a teen and young adult, there was a big boom in shows concerning paranormal themes and I ate them up, watching all of them I could; Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State, Scariest Places on Earth, Most Haunted, etc.  Having my own supernatural experiences as a child and teen, these shows cemented my own experiences in my mind and gave me a type of validation of sorts.  None of these shows were ever as scary as the real thing for me, and so I was not effected negatively by them, just intrigued.

The reason I mention these things is because some people cannot tolerate something even the slightest bit scary.  If you cannot, then the Conjuring II is not a movie for you.  It can be traumatic for people who are fearful to watch these types of movies.  I wasn't even born when The Exocist was released, but I remember hearing stories that watching the movie made people sick.  Many had to run out of the movie theaters before it was over.  If one has such a raw reaction to this kind of content, it is better to miss it, than to watch it and be tormented by the mental replay of its scenes in your mind.

However, if you are like me, this movie, which is based on reality, this movie can reaffirm one's beliefs in an afterlife.  I have been a fan of the Warrens since watching Paranormal State where Lorraine Warren was a regular consultant.  Although I wasn't fully in the Catholic Church back then, the show depicted how Catholics deal with the paranormal.  I found it so interesting, because again, these people who were tormented by spiritual warfare in their homes were reflections of my own experience, and there was a bit of a kinship as if those who have experienced these things are apart of a community.  I will add that some movies are even too much for me.  I still haven't seen The Exocist.  I refuse to see it.

The Conjuring II was excellent in my humble opinion.  It was a great sequel that stands alone in and of itself.  Beside the usual jump scares, the plot was well developed and the characters really leave a lasting impression long after the film is over.  Most of us can relate to the overwhelmed single mom, the bullied child, the abandonment issues associated with a absentee father, etc.  The Catholic values of the Warrens' relationship was really depicted throughout and quite endearing.

While the first Conjuring surrounded the family being tormented, this one gave Ed and Lorraine a larger role in the plot.  From my viewpoint, it really depicted the struggle to follow God's will.  The Warrens' found a mission in helping families tormented by demons.  They were two of the chosen few who were trusted to investigate cases for the Catholic Church which isn't a small feat.  The Church doesn't just trust anyone really to investigate such things.  The subplot aside from the haunting really featured the struggle in following the will of God and the toll it takes on the family.  Remember, demons don't respect personal boundaries or are limited to one household.

Anyone can watch this film and be fully entertained.  However, there is more to this film than a scary movie.  It is based on real life events.  For a Catholic, this movie really affirms the power of the faith and puts spiritual warfare into perspective.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Personal Update

Hello, everyone.

I want to thank everyone who has been checking in on my blog and website, waiting for updates and new releases.  Special thanks to those who enjoyed my writing and felt the need to contact me.  I'm always surprised to hear from readers.  I haven't updated my blog or website or written a newsletter in months but faithful readers have continued to visit, and I think it's amazing!

First, I wanted to say that there have been significant delays in the writing of Wicked Voices, so much so that I had to make a blog post.  Many personal circumstances have taken up my time since I started writing, and those personal concerns take precedence over any writing projects.  Sometimes life takes turns, and those abrupt changes create blockages.  Any plans I have made to pick up the pace have failed.  I'm hoping that the near future is a bit more conducive to the creative process.  I expected to finish Wicked Voices by Winter 2016/17, but it is looking like it will be delayed until Spring 2017.

Second, it has been brought to my attention that those who purchased Wicked Love within the first few months of release may have not received Chapter 24.  This problem exists only on Nook downloads.  Kindle, Apple iBooks, and Smashwords have no issues with this.  No one has emailed me, requesting the chapter, but I looked into it.  If the chapter is missing, it is as easily as archiving the book and re-downloading it after a few days.  The missing chapter will appear.

Thank you all so much for your patience and support for my writings.  I hope to release better works in the future, so we can continue our literary adventures.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Wicked Love: Chapter 24

Hi, everyone.

It has been a long while since I posted on my blog.  It is not from lack of wanting to.  I have been focusing my energy in my manuscripts and other writing projects.  But anyway, back to the topic of the post at hand...

It has been brought to my attention that a glitch may have taken place on Nook Press, and those that have purchased the ebook of WICKED LOVE may not have received Chapter 24.  I addressed this in the comments/reviews section on Wicked Love's Barnes and Noble page in response to a reader, but it needs a mention here.  There are two fixes for this problem.
     1) Archive the book on your nook or Barnes and Noble account.  Download it again after a few days, and the missing chapter will appear.  It must download again, not just reload, so this takes a wait of a few days for the book to be out of your device to download again.  *Note - DO NOT DELETE THE BOOK, because then B&N will make you buy it again.
     2) Email me through my website.  I will email you a .pdf version of Chapter 24.

This will not be an issue with anyone who will download this book in the future.  I hope the problem has been fixed since this came to my attention.  If there is ever any issue with any of my works, feel free to email me.  There is an email button on my website.  It is never a bother to correct issues or email readers to make my product better.  Thank you!!!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Update

Hey, guys.

I just wanted to write a bit of an update for my readers who are waiting for new material.  I have been more relaxed in terms of my contact on social media.  While still posting on Google and Facebook, I haven't really been blogging or writing my monthly newsletter.  I have been focused solely on my writing projects which have been more time consuming and draining that previous ventures.  I have been working on two novels and a short story, so my free time has been split between all three which is not uncommon for authors.  Still, I haven't been writing as much as I should as I should push myself more and that is why I needed the break from social media and the other side stuff that I do.  The break, in general, was a good time for me to relax and take a step back, even from my projects.

Wicked Voices is about 1/3 of the way done, and I am projecting a summer 2016 release.  There are always delays with these things, so don't quote me.  As fast as the ideas flow, that is as fast as I write.  When ideas are not flowing as much, it is hard to find inspiration.

My other manuscript will not be released and neither will the short until a future time, because these are works I want to submit to writing contest and other institutions.  I will be releasing Scattered on Smashwords and, eventually, on other online bookstores.  I may rework the cover, because I wasn't happy with it in the first place.

Thank you all for continuing to read my older posts and visiting my blog, despite the fact that I haven't posted in over three months.  I will be posting on here again, so you shouldn't have to wait that long to hear from me again.  Thanks!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Taking a Long Breath

I have found my attention being pulled in several directions and it was time for me to pull back from social media.  While I never stopped working on my manuscripts or completely stopped communication online, I decided that it was time for a much needed break.  For me, that meant not posting as much.  When I did that, I found that I had more time to just relax and recharge and write.  I am slowly drifting back to social media and posting, but I loved the quiet time I experienced when I shut off the internet that I may just spend more days in solitude, trying to get as much work as possible done.

I've been working hard on my manuscripts, one being Wicked Voices.  My editor already finished editing the first third and had no complaints about the plot, so I am moving forward on that.  The other manuscript that I am working on needed a few changes and I am almost done with those changes.  Overall, this time has been spent productively, despite the rest periods in between.

I have joined Blab Reads and will be posting on there.  I really want to see what the YA audience likes and would be interested in reading, testing out new material perhaps.  Join me on there if you can.

I am going to post Scattered onto Smashwords to make it available to a wider audience.  Amazon didn't thrill me with advertising/promotion it as it is meant to when one is exclusively selling on there.  I am also thinking of writing a story exclusively for Channillo.com in the future, but that may be a few months away since I am working on two manuscripts right now.

Thank you for hanging in there with me.  More quality work is on its way.