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July #writemotivation

At the end of April I came across the hashtag #writemotivation on Twitter and while I’ve been a bit wary (read: uneducated) about hashtags in the past, this one caught my eye. A bit of research into it later, and I was signed up for the May #writemotivation. This meant that I was putting my writing goals out there, published on K.T. Hanna’s blogย – the genius behind this group – and my own. Despite knowing I was getting married and and going on my “minimoon” in May, I made some lofty goals.

If you’re reading this, a writer, and are unfamiliar with #writemotivation, check out K.T. Hanna’s blog. I highly recommend you sign up next time around! The basic premise is keeping others motivated via Twitter and blog commenting and checking on on each other’s monthly goals. Writing can be so solitary, and I feel like this was just the social boost I needed. The people are LOVELY and I’m so glad to have found the group.

So since I’mย not getting married this month (sadly, as it was a total BLAST), I am dedicating myself to getting the majority of the rest of my WIP first draft finished. Here are my July goals:
1. Finish new round of edits to MS #1.
2. MS #1 x5.
3. Finish edits to WIP to Chapter 9.
4. Write 10k in WIP.
5. Balance job hunting with writing, CP/Beta work, and blogging. Be realistic!

The last one might be trickiest. I’ve taken on another CP and another Beta – happy to have found them! But this means I’m still finishing (but delaying finishing, at the same time, as I’m enjoying them WAY too much) the OUTLANDER series, while reading several other WIPs/drafts of other writers. And regardless of my writing goals, I still need to spend time on the job hunt. I’m hoping we can relocate to Scotland so I’m looking for jobs there – but this job hunt-around, I plan to be very picky about what I apply for, spend an entire afternoon if I can on each application, and focus on what would be worth moving for. Also still looking for work in the Bristol area, though I feel like I’ve been beating my head against the wall in that respect for over 2 years now.

So I’ve got to be realistic, but I know I can do this. No big plans; I can’t go away this month because the UK Border Agency has my passport as they process my new visa (don’t get me started on the nerves!!), and part of me knows that even if I get an job interview this month, I don’t know how well it will go without my passport in hand to show them. So I’ve got plenty of time and NO EXCUSES ๐Ÿ™‚

I will be doing the rounds on all my fellow #writemotivation writers’ blogs and Twitter and hope to see yours soon ๐Ÿ™‚

Photo credit to Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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A month later; or I married my Scottish prince in a castle, and now I’m ridiculously behind on blogging. :)

This is why I’ve been away. Proof I’ve not just been lazy ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s been awhile since my last post and I want to thank every person who kindly posted encouragement, support, and well wishes for the wedding and my time away. It was absolutely awesome. We had the best weather imaginable (85 degrees and sunny in Scotland. Unheard of!); my mother and sisters and aunt came, as well as some friends from England, Scotland, and as far away as California, and a lot of us had some time before the wedding day to spend either in London or up north together. The only thing I wish was that I’d had more time to spend with everyone who travelled so far, who I miss, and that was the only hard part about getting on a plane to Corfu at 8:30 in the morning the day after the wedding. ๐Ÿ™‚ The ceremony was short and sweet, the minister lovely, Andy the piper played the songs I requested absolutely beautifully, and marched us back up the aisle to Scotland the Brave at the ceremony’s end.

We had a fantastic week of relaxing in Corfu, which I highly recommend. I’m not very good at relaxing, it turns out, especially after 5 months of wedding planning, so it took me about 4 days to actually realise it was perfectly acceptable –ย expected, even – to do nothing but lie in the sun, read, sleep, eat, and drink cocktails by the pool. I got into the swing of that REALLY well in the last few days. Then we topped off our honeymoon with a few days hiking in the Cairngorms in the Highlands, and a visit to Inverness and Culloden Battlefield. (Not very romantic, that last bit, but in a very strange kind of way, to those of you who’ve read any Diana Gabaldon books…).

So now I’m back, and have finally (more or less) caught up on unpacking, thank-yous, name change stuff and a full inbox. Now it’s time to get back to job hunting, and writing of course. On my to-do list is to migrate to wordpress.org and host my blog somewhere externally – which I’m hoping to do this week. That means a venue and name change! I think it will be cheyennecampbell.com, but I’m still deciding. I hope anyone following my blog will follow me when I move!

And I promise my next post will be less a list of reasons why I’ve been away, and more about writing. Thanks for reading! Hope YOU had a fabulous May/start of June!

xxx

Mrs. Campbell

 

<3
The venue, Broomhall Castle in Menstrie, outside Stirling, Scotland.
Me with the incredible piper, Andy Ward.
The cake topper, made and hand-delivered by my amazing friend Amanda, whom I met and lived with in California, who is from Manchester, England, who now lives in Mississippi Seattle.
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May goal check-in; life goal check-in.

I handmade my bouquet. Definitely put my blood, sweat and tears into this. When the pin went through my thumb, all three happened at once.

So May didn’t go exactly as I planned. My goals and where I stand now, on the eve of my wedding week festivities:

1) Rework few small sections of 1st novel based on recent feedback. Made some revisions to Chapter 1.ย 
2) WIP: finish 2nd draft of first 7 chapters. ย DONE.
3) WIP: finish outline. Not touched.
4) WIP: write 3 more chapters. Nope. But I have written at least 2k words so far in revising first 7 chapters.

I know it’s not the end of the month so I technically DO have time to make more progress, but my sisters arrive from the U.S. tomorrow and we’ll be spending time together for the weekend, before meeting up with my mother and everyone else next week. The rest of May is pretty well planned out, but it is one major life goal that’s being accomplished this month. I always say that by age 30, I had two life-long dreams come true: I moved to the UK, and I met the man I would marry. That’s not too shabby, given how much wandering my path has done to this point. This month we’re getting married and committing to each other for the rest of our lives. That’s pretty huge. So I need to stop beating myself up over these goals and just take a breath and relax. After this month, I’ll be rejuvenated and ready to get my fingers back on the keyboard.

Thanks to all the #writemotivation writers for encouraging me this month, and for understanding! GOOD LUCK with all your writing, and I will be checking in on blogs and Twitter as I have time!

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Acceptable to others.

When you’re up a mountain in the clouds with a gorgeous view, you realise how small you really are, and how dumb comparing yourself really is.

Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day! Even if there’s only one person reading this blog, I still hope you had as fantastic a Valentine’s Day as I did! ๐Ÿ™‚

I had the *best* V-day ever. It’s usually a dud. At least, it was until my fiancรฉ came into my life. This year, not only do we have a wedding to look forward to, but he brought home not one bouquet of flowers but TWO (“because these smelled nicer, but then you have to have roses, too”), and chocolate (orange), and Zelda Skyward Sword for the Wii ๐Ÿ˜‰ And it even came with a 25th Anniversary symphony CD of Zelda music. *swoon*

To top it off, the thing I’ve been eagerly hoping for for so long finally happened: I got my first bite from an agent! One of the top agents I’ve been reading up on replied to a query I sent in October, with a partial request. I know this is only a very small step, and there’s a long, long road to publication. But even if she rejects the manuscript, this was so much huger than that. To me, this meant someone in the industry saw some twinkling of potential in my writing, and that made me jump up off the sofa and run screaming down the hall. It was like someone whispered in my ear, “Keep going. This is right.”

The funniest bit is that I saw her name in my Inbox and immediately turned my phone off, made dinner, drank half a bottle of champagne, and just enjoyed my evening. I was afraid another rejection (as I’m getting used to job-related ones) this month would send me over the edge and keep me from enjoying the night. So when I got the nerve to read it, I was shocked.

No matter what happens, I feel like this gives me a much needed and appreciated push to try even harder and keep at it. So, if anyone out there’s reading this, KEEP AT IT!! Keep believing even when you get a hundred rejections. Keep trying, keep writing, keep submitting. If you believe in your dream and your abilities, don’t listen to any naysayers!

I do hear how much harder actually selling a book is, and that getting an agent is so much less than half the battle, blah blah blah. I know it’s got to be true, but I’m not going to let those bridges rain on my parade (do bridges rain?) because they’re nowhere near being crossed yet. One day at a time.

It went hand-in-hand with three quotes I read a few days later:

The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that life and power comes after we ‘get up and get going’.ย God does not give us overcoming life – He gives us life as we overcome. We have to take the initiative. (Oswald Chambers)

I cannot make myself acceptable to all people, and neither can you, but we can believe God will give us favor with the people He wants us involved with . . . Once we know who we are and accept ourselves, we no longer have anything to prove. (Joyce Meyer)

Secure people who know God loves them and has a plan for them are not threatened by the abilities of others. They enjoy what other people can do, and they enjoy what they can do. Our goal should be to find out what we individually are supposed to be, and then succeed at being that.ย (Joyce Meyer)

The first one is the sort of thing much easier believed once you’ve experienced it. Nothing’s going to happen if I sit and dream about getting published, about making writing my main focus in life. No query-fairy is gonna come down out of the sky and grant me a request. I’ve just got to hope and believe I’ve got a shot, and go for it. I believe that all the other doors in my life had to slam shut for me to take time out to give writing a shot, and if it never works out, then it wasn’t meant to be. But I don’t find out until I take the initiative and step out and do something about it.

The next two are linked. I am a person who struggles with self-esteem and self-confidence, and always have. But when I was little, not nearly as much. Anyhow, I’ve lived a life so far of wasting WAY too much time comparing myself to others. “She’s pretty, she’s a homeowner, she has a proper career, she has a huge savings account, she speaks confidently in social situations, she speaks 6 languages, she looks amazing in a bikini,” etc. Whatever.

I am finally getting to the stage where I am okay with who I am, and that acceptance is very slowly helping me to stop trying so hard to prove myself to others. But the key is the simple fact that I will NEVER please everyone. Ever. I am *such* a people-pleaser and am so guilty of backing down when I think it’ll make the other person happy. But in accepting that I’m never going to make everyone happy or like me no matter how much I back down or try to appease them, forget it!

Bottom line. I will *never* make everyone like me. I’ll never make every person happy. That sets me free! I need to remind myself of it daily.

And the last one – that’s a tough one for me. I’ve wanted to be good at so many things: playing bass guitar, painting, acting, singing, piano, guitar, dance, writing, photography, film editing. I’ve always had way too many interests and struggled to narrow them down into what I could be best at, and happiest with. But the more I practice writing (and I definitely have my film degree to thank for a lot of that practice), the more I learn about the publishing industry, the better I feel about where I’m going. I will always love painting and music and everything else, but I feel like – right now, at least – this is my calling, and if I can be great at one thing, and happy with myself in one thing, then I shouldn’t need to compare myself to the people at volleyball every week who can spike the ball in my face, or the friends who can run a 10k without breaking a sweat. I enjoy those things, but nowhere does it say I have to be amazing at them all. That pressure only comes from within.

And that goes for the querying stage, too: some writers I talk to online might get 4 requests for fulls on their first try; I have my own path, and I might not be the best query writer in the world, but I need to try harder. I believe in my manuscripts, and they deserve my effort, at the same time as being thrilled for others.

Sorry for such a long entry, but this all seemed to tie together ๐Ÿ™‚

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