Category Archives: Get Inspired

The Best Thing That Happened to Me as a Writer


After I finished writing my latest novel, I went through a dry spell. The novel I worked on was an emotionally and physically draining project that I have worked on relentlessly for most of 2015. Unfortunately, however, through that entire year, I wasn’t able to finish anything else—except for a screenplay that I co-wrote which is turning out to be a total waste of time but more on that later.

Things were changing. My living situation turned 180 degrees, my savings were running low, bills were piling up and I was unemployed. It’s safe to say, I had a lot to figure out and my writing had a setback.

For months, I looked for ways to make money. I modeled for the most part and I thought I could sustain that lifestyle of working a few days a month in a convention or something, making enough to get by, and writing the rest of the month. It was easier said than done, especially since I wasn’t signed up with an agency and had to look for gigs all on my own. So between searching, applying, going on castings and calls backs, and daily trips to the gym to make it all possible, I had the equivalent of a full-time job without even knowing it. So I decided to sign up with an agency, get employed and try to fit writing into my schedule somehow.

  

Finding the perfect job was a challenge on its own. Living in Vegas, the natural choice would’ve been for me to work as a cocktail waitress in one of the casinos or bars and since a good job in that industry would earn me a lot of money from tips. But that kind of job would demand a lot of time and physical effort, I doubted I would’ve been able to find the energy to make myself dinner by the time I got home let alone write—and I’m big on making my own dinners, by the way. 

It just so happened that my landlady had a friend who worked in the real estate business and they wanted an assistant. I applied and got the job. So now, for four hours a day, five days a week, I process mortgage loans. It’s a boring desk job that requires minimal thinking and offers an annoying boss that goes with it. And it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me as a writer and entrepreneur. 

  

Here’s why. First of all, being that I get off work around 2:00 p.m., I arrive back home at a reasonable hour. It’s crucial to remember that I don’t have a car and a trip that takes 10 minutes in Vegas, takes me at least an hour with the bus. Being home early gives me time to cook, unwind and work out. Since the winter timing, I don’t go to the gym anymore, but I do have time to do at least an hour of exercise daily at home. After that, I have the evening to edit, read and work on an entrepreneurial project which I’ll share with you in due time. Also, since my job isn’t very demanding to begin with, I sneak a little note-taking time during work when my boss is gone or not looking.

  
 

“So when do you write?” you ask. Well, in the morning, of course. My work starts at 10:00 a.m., so I wake up at 6, sometimes at 5, write till 8:30, grab a bite and leave my house by 9:15. It’s all planned to the minute. I recently finished a screenplay. By writing two and a half hours in the morning I averaged around 5 pages. Not bad, right? Also, I get weekends off. So if I’m not shooting a movie or commercial or working at some convention, I get a lot of writing done as well. 

  

Oh, and did I mention that I’m now a writing intern for Cliché Magazine? That’s right, I’m their new beauty writer. Add that to my list of tasks. Within a few month, I went from an unemployed girl who had all the time in the world and didn’t know what to do with it, to a girl with three careers, two jobs and a nascent business who is able to take care of all her responsibilities with a little organization and the sacrifice of a few hours of sleep. 

It was important for me, being newly-employed and all, not to get discouraged by the relatively slow progress I was making as a writer. Usually, I’m much more prolific. But I had to lower my expectations and put less pressure on myself given the little time I had to accomplish what I wanted.

Another reason why this job has made me a better writer and entrepreneur is because I hate that job so much. God, I hope my boss doesn’t see this; she’s already on the verge of firing me for being “unmotivated”. Yes me. But anyway, that job is boring, monotonous, mentally limiting and I can’t wait to quit. And this dire urge to quit has made me work harder on my writing and other dreams. 

  

So if you have a job that you hate, a passion that you’re hoping to turn into a career, and the will to put the effort to make it happen, all you have to do is find that small time slot every day, however short it is, and get yourself one step closer to where you want to be. How are you guys balancing writing with a job?

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Word of the Day: Balter


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Car-less Whisper


A few months ago, I wrote a post about the struggles of living in Las Vegas without a car. The bad news is, I still don’t have a car. But the good news is, you get to hear more about my silly struggles. Yay!

First of all, let me explain, because I’m sure many of you are wondering why a young, intelligent person couldn’t get herself a car within 6 months. Well, the answer is simple, I spent the money I saved and went to New York City. Twice.

I know, I know, I’m sorry okay? I just couldn’t help it! I mean look at this place.

It had been my dream to visit New York City since I was a five year old, especially in the fall season. Actually, I also wanted to visit it during Christmas but I was able to control myself and not go. Well, my account did all the controlling for me… So anyway, I chose to fuel my soul and cross something off my bucket list instead of comfort and crossing something else off my bucket kist. And believe me, I don’t regret it one bit.

I didn’t regret it when an old man pissed his pants while sitting next to me on the bench of the bus stop then got on the bus and took a seat. I didn’t regret it when I spent over a $200 in Uber rides last month because we have that in Las Vegas now and it’s making me lazy. I didn’t regret it when I waited for thirty minutes for the bus to arrive in the dead cold and got sick for two weeks. And I’m not going to regret it now that I feel like a burden to all my friends because they have to pick me up and drop me off whenever we need to go out.


Does it vex me that I have to leave my house at least at hour ahead of time to get anywhere where it would take me 10 minutes to get there with a car? Does it drive me insane that whenever I’m on time the bus arrives early and I miss and then the next bus is late? Does it trouble me that I have to walk home many times because I can get there quicker than if I take a bus? Yes. Yes. And not so much now, but Vegas summer is right around the corner… But the point is, I have a plan. Of course, I had a plan six months ago, so don’t mind me, I may just be back in a few months to tell you how it all went wrong again.

Until then, keep me in your thoughts and prayers whenever you get into your car in the morning and turn your heaters on. Let me be your gentle reminder not to take anything for granted.

So You Wrote a Book, Now What?


Congratulations of finishing your first draft, I know it probably took you a long time and a humongous effort to get here. And if this is your first time, you’re probably asking yourself, what’s next? What do I do now that the first draft is complete? The brief answer of course is edit. But it’s a little more complicated than it sounds.

First, it’s important to note that if you have just finished writing your book, the best thing to do is not to edit at all. Set it aside for a few weeks, let it out of your head completely. It will give you a fresh set of eyes when you get back to it later. The second thing you need to remember is that hard work only just begins now and that editing is a painstaking and redundant process, but, hey, it’s worth it, trust me.

I used to hate editing. In fact, the only novel of mine that I actually got around to editing thoroughly was my last one. I have edited that book over 15 times already, and once with the help of a professional editor. Here’s how I did it—and this is a compilation of advice I read or heard as well as thing I learned along the way.

Before you correct anything, and I mean anything at all, first read your book all the way through. Read it in one sitting if you could—I think I read that one in Stephen King’s On Writing. That way you can pay more attention to the holes in your plot. Make notes of these and correct them on the first round of edits.


On the second round of edits, I like to pay attention to characterization. Do any of my characters speak or act differently than they are supposed to? Did I mention that one character’s eyes are green then changed it to blue?

Look out for discrepancies like that. Keep a journal of your character’s descriptions and refer to it whenever that characters shows on the page.

On the third round, you can start paying closer attention to sentence structure and the flow of words. It’s a good idea to pay attention to the tone as well. Often times, our tone of writing reflects our mood on certain days. So if you were writing a murder mystery on a joyous day, you may detect—and the reader sure will—a change in tonality. The third round of edits is a good time to fix that.

It’s a good idea to have a trusted friend to read your work and share their opinions with you. Having someone who would critique your story, its structure, flow, characterization, plot, and spot those evasive typos will be very helpful to make your book much more presentable and professional when time comes for you to submit it.

The next round of edits can be mainly concerned with grammar and typos. Although, many writers suggest to do a full grammar and typo edits after every edit. So, for example, after the first edit where you only fixed plot holes, do a round of edits for typos.

It’s a good idea to let the book sit for a few days between every round of edits. I know it seems like the editing process is going to take too long that way, but that will only make it so much better. I actually found out that the editing process takes much longer than the writing process. With my latest novel it took me only thirty days to finish the first draft, but I have been editing this book for almost a year now. I have edited that book over a dozen times and I still feel that I have more things to fix.

To help me feel more confident about my writing, I hired a friend and a professional editor, Esther Newton, to give me an honest and professional critique. I recommend her, and the idea of hiring a professional editor to any writer. Don’t worry about the cost. It’s an investment in your career.

Final pieces of advice. Be ruthless and objective. Don’t think of the book as your own. Think that it belongs to a complete stranger. Don’t be afraid of the words “Cut” and “Delete”, in editing, they could be your best friends. Also, now that you actually finished your book, you can worry about what people would think of it. Read it out loud and imagine the reaction of your most judgmental family member as you utter every sentence. This could be bad, depending on how dysfunctional your family is. But generally, it would help you cut a ton of clichés you weren’t even aware of before.
 

Reading out loud is a good idea anyway, especially when it comes to dialogue. It will helps you hear the character’s voice clearer, and therefore adjust any discrepancies. Also, it will help make your characters sound more authentic.

There will be a time, however, when you’ll need to stop editing and trust that this is your finished project. Well, until an agent picks it up and suggests a few changes, then an editor picks it up and suggests a few of their own. But until then, enjoy the process and all that you will learn from it. Personally, I felt that editing my book helped me learn more about becoming a better writer than writing the book did.

What are some pieces of advice you can share about editing a novel?

Photos aren’t mine unless otherwise stated.

Late Christmas Post


Happy belated Christmas to all my friends. How was everybody’s holiday? 🎄✨

Mine was pretty cozy. I spent some time with my friends and their family, had a quick business meeting and, of course, done some writing because, let’s face it, dreamers don’t take days off.


You know what they say, home is where the heart is. Well to me, home is where the wifi connects automatically. It’s also where you can show up unannounced, open the fridge and eat all the guacamole because you can’t wait for dinner anymore.


Stay tuned for some cool posts and exciting news soon! How was your holiday?