When Destiny Takes A U-Turn [Guest Post]

Today’s guest post is a short story brought to you by Saba. Thanks, Saba!

Guest Post by Saba | Short Story | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

          Light sunny morning during the winter days, the greenery around me was smiling, but a little reluctantly. The chill in the air was bothering them, as it was bothering us all! I was all sweaty running along the lines of the corner of the park losing away my calories. Gosh! I am still some pounds over the regular weight. I’ll have to cut out the size of those coffee cups too. But, the stress level that’s always up, doesn’t let me decrease them. The vacation plans I had, have gone down the drain yet again. The huge piling up of bills making it impossible for me to get some money aside for traveling. Sigh! It’s all work again this year. And living all alone adds up to the misery more. The thought of having someone care for me engulfed me deeply. The longing I have for that motherly figure increased. Mum, it would have been great if you would have been here with me. I wish I could fly backward, to the years of carelessness, the years of glory. Strange, but destiny played a great joke with humans with the greatest tragedy, it never allows them to relieve their memories again, never allows them to sneak into their past ever.

These thoughts were making me tired, I thought I should rest for a while. I rested my head on the hard seat of the park and didn’t know when dozed off!

“Hey, you!” Somebody shook me fiercely, “How can you sleep in a busy park? You ain’t a child anymore!” The stranger with a long beard and grey hair, thin as a stick with wide fierce eyes stared me back.

“I wish I could be!” I murmured and started tracing my steps towards home.

“Hey listen! what did you just say? you want to be a child once again?”

I stared at him intently, “I want to be, but you know what, destiny never takes a U-turn!” I sighed.

“For sure it doesn’t but blessings are counted and wishes do come true!” he said. I smiled sadly and turn to go.

The stranger shouted back, “Remember girl, wishes do come true and blessings bear fruits.” I nodded and went back home, as it is I was late to office. Now I will have to rush fast and finish out my freshening up and breakfast soon.

“Sarah! Come, dear, your breakfast is ready!” came the voice from downstairs.

Mom? I was shocked! How can mom come back, she was dead since two years. This is unbelievable. I rushed downstairs, oh yes! Oh my God! I clasped the stairs so that I couldn’t fall down.

“Mom?” I called up slowly.

“Yes dear, come down and finish your breakfast. Or are you still longing to quarrel with me for any other issues?”

I blinked, went back upwards in a total panic state.

Date, let’s check today’s date, I went towards the calendar, it was 31st March 2012! Means I have actually traveled back to a time, 6 years back, time actually crawled behind, or rather fled behind? Unbelievable! I went to the mirror and automatically my hand went to my wide opened mouth. There stared a 15-year-old Sarah at me, the one with some pimples on her face and wide curious eyes. Was that stranger some kind of a magician who made time travel back for me? Hunh!

Whatever, now I am a 15-year-old teenager with an IQ of 21 and experience of all the tough times. Great! Could life have been weirder?

“Sarah, if you don’t want to have anything, you can say that plainly. You don’t need to behave like a strange human running from one place to another. It’s OK, I’ll clear the table away.” Mom looked sad when she said this.

I ran towards her and gave her a long hug. I missed her, God, I missed her like mad.

“It’s strange you know, yesterday you were angry at me because I came to your high school results dressed like an old-fashioned aunt and talked in broken English and today, you are hugging me as if I am just out of my grave!” She asked with watery eyes and oh, so near she was to the reality.

I then recalled all the times when I had always spoken to her with arrogance, made her felt so downtrodden. Insulted her in front of my friends and gave them a chance to laugh at her on her face. Just because my father was now a successful businessman and used to send me loads of pocket money and mum was just a rejected divorced wife of his. He couldn’t care more for her anyways. She was just kept as a nanny to look after his beloved daughter. All those money on my account and the ATM card to make use of that income as I liked on this small age went to my head and made me an arrogant brat.

Tears of shame went down on my cheeks. “I am sorry mum. Would you believe me if I could tell you I am sorry and I have learned my lesson of life? Would you accept the fact that overnight I have turned in to an adult who knows what hurting her mother is and how painful and lonely staying away from you would be?” She looked at me puzzled, surely thinking what went into my head now. But, Oh, she was a mother and loved me so much.

She said, “It’s OK dear! I believe you. It’s never too late to say sorry and never too early to learn your lesson from life. Come, let’s have your breakfast.” We went down and the breakfast on the table made me count all those calories automatically.

“Oh! I couldn’t have all that without my Fitbit.” I squeaked.

“Fit what? What’s that now?” And then I remembered, six years down the lane, these calorie counting bands never existed. I went ahead gaining those extra calories. I have six years to burn those calories after all.

The landline phone was screaming on its top voice. I pressed the pillow more fiercely on my ears. God! When are those days coming when these will rarely exist? Gosh! I was already wishing to be an adult again. No, I have got a chance to relive my teen days, I am not going to waste it just like I before did. I will relive them fully, at their best.

“Sarah, it’s your friend asking for another weekend out with them. What do you want to do?”

I jumped on my bed and went down to answer and accept the offer. After all, I wanted to relive my life the best way.

“Wait, don’t accept it now,” Mum said. I took the phone from her and declined the offer sadly and faced my mum asking why she didn’t let me go. “It’s good to enjoy Sarah, but you should start saving too. It’s going to be soon when all these money that you get are going to stop coming and you are going to be on your own. Do you want to go bankrupt then? Do you want your bills piled up high and you barely surviving with bread and butter? Start saving, this isn’t going to snatch you your happiness of life, rather it would divide the same for you. So that you may get your share of happiness timely.” those words were said before.

I remembered very well. In the same manner, the same situation. Then, I had scolded her, packed up and fled with my ATM card. Now, I know it’s a chance for me to improve my life. A message from my sweet mother in the grave to me to make me know her advice were and are a gem, to be treasured. Hence, I started saving and started rectifying my previous mistakes.

Days of carelessness followed, but my studies were now a matter of first priority for me. I wanted to become a better candidate for my post. I enjoyed hanging around with friends, playing that loud music while I did the laundry and helped mum. Even she was shocked at the change, but I knew what dealing with laundry alone is. Spent lots of time talking to her, listening to her tales of my toddlerhood and laughed along with her.

She was ill, so much I thought instead of four years later, she may be leaving me now. The thought started clutching my heart. No! I couldn’t let her go so fast. I will force her to stay with me more. I don’t want her to go ever. Thus, I was beside her each moment. Every minute, every second. I never left her side. Once, she was so much burning with fever, she passed out her pee on her clothes and was quite embarrassed about it. My thoughts raged back and brought back the same scene of years back to life, the arrogant girl as I was, still, that day seeing her so much in misery, I cleaned her, washed and changed her and told her it’s OK, but all that was done so dryly.

But still, she clasped my hand and put her another hand on my head, “My baby, I am so sorry for being such a nuisance. But today what you have done for me, no child does for her parent without making them feel embarrassed. Thank you so much and may God give you whatever you wish for. May the angels be with you when you are stuck in a serious situation in life, my child.” She was saying those words with tears on her cheeks and face.

I was standing there recollecting that moment again and cleaned up her again, the same way I did before and she slept peacefully. I stood staring at her with my thoughts jumbled. Some going back to six years before and staring at her tear filled face and some at present taking in her loving personality inside me, knowing soon after some time I’ll be alone again, with all my problems to face, I’ll be again mature.

“Hey, you! Didn’t I tell you not to fall in sleep at a park?” I blinked the same stranger stared back at me with the same freaky large eyes. And I was still in my morning tracksuit with a Fitbit on my wrist. I gazed at him like a fool, open-mouthed and with a kaleidoscope of thoughts on my mind. Oh, maybe I slept hard and dreamt. Dreamt of all those moments I could have spent lovingly with mum, of all those advice I could have followed that would have left my life easier than it was today, of all those things I could have done so that my life would have guilt-free today. Sigh! Destiny never takes a U-turn Sarah, come let’s go back in the living real world. I stood and started walking back.

“You going again?” The stranger asked from behind.

“Did I go before too?” I was so puzzled.

“You thought you were dreaming. Isn’t it?”

This puzzled me even more. “Wasn’t I?” I inquired.

“Maybe, but your destiny took u-turn you see! You wished to go back to time again and you were given that chance. It’s good to know you changed your destiny for better. Not all get that chance, and even if they do, not all take it seriously.”

“You mean I actually went back in time and rectified my mistakes?” I asked with amazement.

“For a month, yes! You went back in time and relieved your moments.” He answered.

“But it’s impossible. I was just dreaming.  It’s impractical. Life doesn’t go back in time!”

“Yes, life doesn’t reverse back in time and destiny never takes a U-turn. But, remember I told you, wishes do come true and blessings get answered.”

“But who blessed me such hugely that the blessing changed the rule of the universe? What kind of blessing that was that changed the course of destiny, of time?” I was so curious.

He smiled calmly. “A mother! The most loving person on earth. When she wishes something for her child deeply, it’s accepted. Her words of bringing your wish come true forced the destiny to change its course, it forced the time to retaliate back and give you the second chance in life.”

And then I remembered my mum saying, “Thank you so much and may God give you whatever you wish for.”

He looked at me and started walking in the opposite direction knowing very well that now I knew the answers to my questions.

“Hey, but who are you? I have never seen you before here.” I screamed towards him.

He turned, smiled and pointed his finger towards the sky. Then came the answer to my this question too, “May the angels be with you when you are stuck in a serious situation in life, my child”.

I stood there perplexed, watching him go. I somehow felt relieved now, I wasn’t alone anymore. The blessings of my mum were with me, I know the rectification of my mistakes will play as a life saver for me now. I am among those lucky ones who get a chance to rewrite their destiny twice, for whom destiny took a U-turn!

About Saba

Guest Post by Saba | Short Story | Blogging | RachelPoli.comI am Saba Irfan Ladha, an Indian food, fashion, travel and lifestyle blogger. I am also an active Instagrammer and a connoisseur on Zomato. I love to explore everything around me and replay the same in the most creative manner in my blogs.

Connect With Saba

Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook ProfileFacebook Page | Zomato | Email

Did you enjoy Saba’s story? Let her know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Advertisements

Why You Need To Read Good Books To Write Good Books [Guest Post]

Today’s guest post is brought to you by James Bee. Thanks, James!

 Why you need to read good book to write good books by James Bee | Guest Post | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

            You have to read to write. Everyone has heard this, over and over again. It’s usually one of the first pieces of advice that is thrown at rookie writers. Read more! We’re told to read more than we write, read everything we can get our hands on, but why? How can this help?

There’s a whole bunch of ways that reading can help improve your writing but I’m going fo focus on three main ones.

  1. Reading can help you get unstuck. Getting stuck is one of most painful experiences you can have when writing. Writers learn to dread the feeling, sitting down at your keyboard and having nothing to put down. Day after day goes by and you fall farther and farther behind your goals. It sucks, plain and simple. Reading can help save you from this pit. When you read, you get out of your own head and into someone else’s. You never know what inspiration you’ll find in there, what methods or tools that you can use to get yourself unstuck.
  2. Helping strengthen your weaknesses. If you are reading authors who write better than you (and you should) then there is a lot you can learn. Tips, tricks, strategies, they’ll filter into your brain whether you pay attention or you don’t. Writing is a learning experience, one that never ends. Like any discipline, you must study in order to get better. Focus and work hard enough and your weaknesses might just become your strengths!
  3. Keeps your passion strong. If you guys are anything like me, you can get bogged down in the day to day focus of your own work. Writing is a lot of work and like anything can start to feel like a chore after weeks and months of plugging away on a manuscript. The passion can start to leak away. Reading can help fight that off, recharge your inspiration batteries. Can help you remember why you started writing in the first place.

Here’s some specific examples of what I’ve learnt from a few of my favourite authors.

J.K. Rowling: Camaraderie and creating engaging interpersonal relationships. I grew up on Harry Potter. Without it I doubt I would be doing what I am doing today. There are a whole list of elements that make the Harry Potter books special. Yet the one that’s helped me most in my writing is Rowling’s ability to create dynamic and meaningful relationships between characters. Harry Potter is a character defined by his past and by his friendships and feuds. Yet all of these relationships feel real, organic. Creating these is no easy task, and if done wrong can make your whole novel feel awkward. Just the friendship trio of Harry, Ron and Herminone alone is a roadmap on how to craft compelling friendships. They grow with each book and so does their relationships with each other.

Pratchett: The power of dialogue and how to use it. As a rookie writer its hard not to overthink everything, to over explain, over write. You are scared of doing too little so you end up doing too much. Certainly this was an issue I struggled with in my early writing, and certainly still do. However, reading Terry Pratchett’s wonderful novels has helped me gain perspective, to be more minimalistic in my work. Pratchett trusts his audience to be able to keep up and decipher the clues he leaves, mainly in his dialogue. He implies and infers, knowing that a alert reader will be able to pick up on it. The conversations between characters does everything, sets up the plot, describes the action, and is the driving force behind the whole narrative.

Joe Abercrombie: Made me remember why I wanted to write in the first place. Passion is nothing besides discipline. Build a good routine and stick to it and you’ll pump out novels. Yet, passion cannot be completely dismissed. Passion breathes life into your writing, makes it vibrant. Yet passion can fade and must be nurtured and rekindled like a fire in a windy place. Abercrombie made we want to start writing and whenever I re-read one of his novels I’m reminded of this. It gives me a push, forces me to strive to be better, to work harder. To see the passion hiding behind the work.

These are just a few ways and examples of how good books can help you become a better writer! Now get out there and start reading!

About James Bee

James Bee is a novelist and blogger working out of Vancouver, Canada. He’s the author of two fantasy novels with more on the way! You can follow him on twitter @jameslikesbooks or follow him on his blog!

Let James know what you thought of his post in the comments below! We’d love to chat. If you enjoyed this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.com

Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Short Story: The Mysterious Consequence [Guest Post]

Today’s guest post is a short story brought to you by Hanna. Thanks, Hanna!

Autumn was sitting all alone on a small, peculiar pebble. She had no idea how she got this small. What did she do? Where did she go? Somehow, Autumn became as small as a bug and was in the strangest of places. Autumn looked around. She was by the bank of a stream, that is, what looked to her like a ginormous river. She looked up. The sky was a very weird purple color and she saw a gap in the clouds. Autumn wondered if she had fallen into some dream world, just like “Alice in Wonderland”. Autumn stood up, and just a split second later, before she could even step off the pebble, she heard a faint screaming coming from above her head. Right then, before her eyes, her best friend Lily fell right onto the same pebble on which Autumn was standing. They both stared at each other in the oddest way, and then the peculiar, purple sky turned blue, and the gap in the clouds disappeared.

“Lily! Are you all right?” Autumn said, approaching Lily.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Lily said, as she stood up and brushed off her clothes. Lily took one glance around and realized what was happening. “Why are we so small and why…?”

Autumn cut Lily off. “Shhhh, I know. I have no idea what in the world just happened, but we have to find out.” Both girls started walking, but could only go as fast as their miniature legs could carry them. “The first thing I want to find out is why in the world we are so small,” Autumn said.

“Yes please,” Lily responded. As they continued walking, they heard a rustling in the bush that was beside them. “Ummm, Autumn??” Lily said as she started backing away. All of a sudden, a bunny, one that looked as huge as a bear to the girls, hopped out of the bush. Not only did the girls jump out of fright, but also from the strange look this bunny had.

“Don’t be scared, I am here to answer all your questions,” the bunny said. This bunny was the strangest looking creature the girls had ever seen. He had extra-long ears and an extra-large nose. He was purple, just like the color the sky was. He also had overalls on and carried a tiny backpack.

“Who are you?” Lily and Autumn said, simultaneously, looking at this creature with concern.

“My name is Desman, and my job is to help people like you learn why you’re here. Jump on, let’s go!” Seeing as how everything else around was just as weird as Desman, the girls agreed and jumped on Desman’s back.

As they traveled through the woods, they saw many interesting, strange, and mystical things. It almost seemed as if they were dreaming, but yet they were awake. They wondered where Desman was taking them. In just a couple short minutes, they ended up in front of a cute little cottage.

“Is this where you live Desman?” asked Lily, as she and Autumn jumped off his back.

“Yes, yes it is. Please come in.” Desman and the girls went inside and sat down. “Now, I must tell you why you are here, I’m sure you are wondering,” said Desman, as he plopped on a little cushion.

“We most certainly are,” Autumn said, as Desman motioned for them both to sit down.

“First answer this question, what were you both doing before you fell down here?” asked Desman.

Autumn answered, “Well, Lily and I were just sitting on our couch playing a game when our parents walked into the room.”

“Yeah, but they didn’t know that we were in there and they started talking about very important things,” continued Lily.

“Okay, do you think you were supposed to be listening to that conversation?” asked Desman. Autumn had a blank expression on her face and she turned red.

“Well, no…but we couldn’t help it! We wanted to hear what they were saying!” Autumn said as she and Lily frowned, realizing what they did.

Desman replied, “Well, this is why you came here. After you listened to your parent’s conversation, that’s when you fell into the hole that opened up under you into this world and became small. You are in ‘Land of Consequences’.” Both of the girls looked at Desman with a sort of despaired look on their faces.

“We made a mistake…I’m sorry,” Lily said, and Autumn agreed.

“But why did we become small?” asked Autumn, with a puzzled look.

“Becoming small was to teach you guys a lesson that if you mind your own business, the world would go round a deal faster than it does, come with me.” Desman replied, as he got up and motioned to the girls to follow him outside.

As they went outside, they looked around. The girls realized that Desman’s house changed to be right in the middle of a busy town. There they were, small as bugs, watching other bunnies and forest animals minding their own business and going about their life throughout the streets.

Desman watched the girls as they looked on with wonder, “Now if you two were to walk out there and try to get someone’s attention or try to have someone hear you, they wouldn’t be able to. You are too small and they are too busy to notice you, too busy with their own business and not causing trouble.”

“I think we both understand now…” said Lily, with a regretting tone. Autumn agreed, “Yeah if we would have minded our own business, our parent’s would have been able to go about what they were doing without having to worry about us.”

Desman smiled, “I’m glad you both were able to learn a lesson from this. I think it’s time to get you girls home.”

Both of the girls jumped onto Desman’s back once again. At that moment, the little town disappeared and there were just woods in front of them. Desman started running back down the path into the woods, as both of the girls glanced at each other.

In just a few minutes, they were back at the side of the stream where Desman first found the girls. “Now, you must wonder why I carry this tiny little backpack with me,” Desman said, taking the backpack off of him and putting it on the floor, “It holds what you need to get back home.” Both the girls looked at Desman, and then at the backpack, with the most puzzled looks on their faces. Desman pulled out two tiny crystals out of the backpack. “Both of you need to hold one of these in the water until it melts, and then go stand on the same pebble you fell onto. It has a purple mark on it. Then, the hole in the cloud will open up again, and you both will be pulled back home and return to normal size. However, when you get home, remember to not tell anyone about what you have seen or heard.”

Both the girls responded, “We understand.” In that moment, Desman hopped away back into the bush in which he appeared out of earlier, and he was gone. The girls ran down to the stream. They both waited for their crystals to melt, and then they ran to the pebble. They watched the hole open up, and they were zapped back home so fast they couldn’t even see it happen.

Autumn’s and Lily’s vision cleared and there they were sitting in the house behind the couch. The first word the girls heard the parents say was the exact last word the girls heard before falling through the hole.

“Wow…no time must have passed at all!” Lily said, with an excited look on her face. “Yay! We need to do the right thing now and stand up and let the parents know we are behind here, and tell them we are sorry for eavesdropping on their conversation.” They both agreed and stood up. The parents had a startled look on their face when they saw the girls. The girls explained how they were behind there the whole time and how they were sorry for listening to the conversation. The parents forgave them, and everything was alright. Then the girls gave their parents a hug, and they both looked at each other and smiled. They never told their parents about what happened, just like Desman said, and the lesson they learned was one they would remember for the rest of their lives.

About Hanna

Hanna is a Christian and the oldest of 5 and enjoys writing about lifestyle and personal and short fictional stories. She enjoys sharing what she has learned about hardships and hopes to encourage others. She hopes to begin a career in freelance writing.
Connect with Hanna

Healing From Trauma [Guest Post]

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Emily Stroia! Thanks, Emily!

Emily Stroia Guest Post

Healing from trauma isn’t a straight line. For me it has and still is an ongoing journey.

We all have our scars, stories and experiences that have shaped our view of the world and of ourselves.

I have explored healing through the mystical, spiritual, self-help, therapy and emotional intelligence. You name it and I have most likely done it.

I have been in therapy since I was 5 years old when I shared with my teacher a fight my parents had. This conversation sparked my healing journey and every week I would meet with the school therapist. These sessions were my saving grace as a child.

Home life was very confusing, dark and traumatic.

My mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and my father was abusive; mentally, physically and sexually.

One day around the age of 13,  I went out on my balcony and had a serious talk with the universe. I remember asking what the purpose was for me.

I asked the big question many of us ask when bad things happen,  “WHY?, WHY ME?”.

At first I heard silence.

And then I heard this intuitive voice whisper, “This isn’t happening to you. This is happening for you.” I had the faint realization that I would share my healing journey and my story with the world.

Nearly 20 years have passed since that realization. Slowly in the healing process I have been able to release the need for my story to be different. I have learned that there are gifts in the scars.

The healing journey has also inspired me to write my story in a form of raw poetry.

My new book, Into the Light explores healing from trauma and abuse through the creative art form of poetry.

This book is memoir-inspired and also has notes to the reader on healing from brokenness, finding light in the darkness and coming to peace with the past.

There is a favorite quote that still resonates with me, “Forgiveness is letting go of the past being any different”.

We may not be able to change what happened to us but we can make magic, art and beauty from the broken parts.

Healing is a personal journey of finding freedom, liberation and transcending from what once was. We are not what happens to us.

A storm may leave damage but it is up to us to repair it. I am not a victim to the circumstances I was born in.

It may not make sense and it may never make sense why people hurt us in the ways they do. We may not know how to forgive the unforgivable. But we are born with the capability to love and heal each other through the power of story-telling and sharing.

A poem from my new book, Into the Light:

 When you are at the end of
your rope,
tie a knot and hold on.
When you think you are at the
end of your journey,
reach out your hand
and someone will meet you
there.

About Emily Stroia

Emily Stroia Author PicEmily is an intuitive teacher, spiritual leader, author, and artist. Emily first discovered her gifts of intuition and creativity as a child and was placed in a highly gifted program for children. She often explored her gifts through writing, art, and experienced frequent visions and dreams that would turn out to be accurate. Not understanding fully why or how she was able to do this, she decided to study.

She has always felt a strong attraction to the metaphysical and spiritual aspects of life and continues to delve deeper into each. Believing strongly in her intuitive gifts, as well as wanting to express her deep desire to help people, Emily
decided to utilize her abilities to turn her passion into a profession.

Her mission is to inspire people to find the gifts in their stories and live powerful transformed lives with ease and peace. Her life is a breathing expression of intuition, passion, spirituality, and creativity. Most days you can find her coaching clients, writing, practicing yoga and playing with her dog in Los Angeles.

About Into The Light

Into The Light by Emily StroiaInto the Light is a memoir-inspired poetry collection in seven parts. The book shares the author’s life from a transformative perspective of experiencing trauma & darkness to finding hope, miracles, and light.

In the final part, there are notes to the reader and finding one’s inner peace after adversity and healing through brokenness. This book explores trauma, abuse, sexual abuse, mental illness, loss, healing, spirituality, meditation, inspiration, and empowerment. This book is for anyone who has ever experienced loss, grief, brokenness, depression, abuse, trauma and heartbreak.

Want more? Check out this INTERVIEW with Emily Stroia!

7 Solid Ways To Become More Confident In Your Fiction Writing When You First Start [Guest Post]

Today’s guest post is brought to you by author J.D. Oldenburg!

Guest post by author JD Oldenburg

1. Understand that overwhelm happens.

Overwhelm is part of beginning any process, and that’s ok.

We get overwhelmed when we don’t know exactly where to start, because we put our focus on dreams and end goals, instead of the blank page in front of us.

Vast amounts of people quit before they start because they don’t know where to begin.

You will gain confidence from thinking more about daily steps and a little less about the bigger picture.

Realize that nothing comes instantaneously. Don’t loose excitement because of this.

If you’ve never written before, don’t fret so much on that first novel or googling your chances of success. Start instead with short stories, and allow yourself to fall in love with the process.

Do this and you will beat any odds you can find on google.

2. Forget about “perfect” end results.

A big problem I had when I started writing was my craft didn’t live up to my expectations. I thought I was ready for a big worldwide novel, but I had never written anything in my life. The discrepancy between my aspirations and my craft created a lot of stress.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t dream, I still do. I’m saying focus on the now, and write stories without falling in love with them so hard you can’t edit anything out of them. Learn to go through them objectively, and become a better writer.

It’s not a baby, it’s a story! So don’t be afraid to amputate it, flip it, morph it or even kill it.

It’s about falling in love with the process.

Remember this: An accomplished goal is nothing but a reminder of the energy you had to put in to achieve it. In other words, if writing it feels shitty and stressful, the result will smell of shit and stress.

3. Free-write first thing out of bed.

I learned this from Louder Than Words, a fantastic book on finding your voice by Todd Henry.

This will be an amazing exercise in helping you figure out what you really want to write about. It will massively improve confidence in the work process.

Wake up, grab pen and notepad and scrabble away. This is for you, so don’t worry about grammar or punctuation. Just write!

I like to do between two and three pages each morning, that’s probably little over six hundred words a day. You can do more or less, it’s up to you.

Give it a try for at least three days, see how your ideas start flowing. If they don’t, guess what, it means you need to keep going!

Solid ideas come to you from deep in the subconscious mind, often when you are fresh out of bed. These same ideas will be long gone a few hours later when you’ll find yourself thinking, “What was that brilliant thing I wanted to write about?”

Treat your ideas with respect, write them down when they hit you. If you wait till later they may still be there, but they are likely to move on to someone else.

Spew your thoughts freely, put the notepad down, and come read it a few days later. You’ll be surprised by how interesting the things your sleepy-self wrote turn out to be.

Release the stress of wanting a “good” idea. There is no need for such pressure right now, and it makes your ideas shy. STOP THAT!

4. Read more widely.

I am blown away by how many people tell me they want to be writers, but haven’t found the confidence to do it, and when I ask them, “well, what do you like to read?” they frown and go, “meh, I don’t read much.” Or “not much of a reader myself.”

Not something you want to be advertising too loudly if you ask me, mind you…

If you are serious about bettering your craft, you HAVE to read. Read what you like, read what you don’t like, read what you despise, read what you absolutely adore, read what others read, and read what falls randomly on your lap.

There is no better way to find out what to do and what not to do than reading. Also, I find psychology books to be of incredible insight for creating three-dimensional characters. Of the top of my head, I can recommend A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle.

If you are new to reading a lot, try audio books, and add twenty minutes of reading before bed to your day. Audiobooks are amazing, and yes you’ll absorb them like reading. It’s not cheating.

You want to build yourself up to reading a novel or two a month if you can. Find your pace.

Remember you love this, so don’t freak out, get on it!

Reading Is an acquired taste, and once it’s there, it won’t go away. It will give you confidence not only in your writing but in your life as well.

Remember that knowledge increases self-confidence.

5. Listen to your gut.

Here is one thing one must always keep in mind: Everyone has an opinion!

The first few steps of this list are about learning to become more objective, detached from results, and able to accept your own shortcomings so you can improve upon them.

This one is about trusting that you can develop an optimal sense of self-assessment so you can see when your work is good or needs to be better.

Asking for too many opinions can massively impair your judgment.

People have different intentions, sometimes good, sometimes not so much. It wasn’t until I started to listen to myself that my work began to get completed.

Not everyone is worth asking an opinion, so choose carefully.

And when you do…

6. Grow thicker skin.

Simple, please don’t be the pal or gal who wants to know what I think, but disses me out when my opinion is honest and not what she expected.

If this happens to you, refer to number two in the list. If you are too attached to the result, to the idea that anyone project alone will change your life forever, you are still green.

The reality is, that one project that will change your life will come after many, many hours spent writing crap that will never see the light of day.

THIS IS OK!! I have so much crap no one will ever read, I could fill my car if I printed it.

This goes from films to novels and scripts. It’s always painful to accept a project doesn’t work, but once you do, it is actually quite liberating, and you can study why it didn’t work, and do better.

I will never regret writing crap. It teaches me to tell better stories and speaking of stories, don’t forget to check out my latest one, Horatio and The Fear of Dying.

About J.D. Oldenburg

Author J.D. OldenburgJ.D. Oldenburg (Jose Diaz-Oldenburg) grew up with an unusually intense fear of death. He didn’t suffer trauma or family member’s death in his early youth, yet as a little kid he often sat with his parents to ask concerned questions about the subject. Conversations about death took place almost every evening. Some nights he understood, some nights he feared.

At the early age of nine, he confronted his anxiety by penning a short tale titled “La Muerte de la Muerte” or, Death of Death. A short story inspired by Jim Henson’s 1997 adaptation of an old Russian Folktale called The Soldier and Death.

In early 2015, La Muerte de la Muerte showed up hidden between old books in the family library and a new idea was born. Horatio and The Fear of Dying would come to life.

Armed with a bachelor’s degree in film, a couple of highly encouraging rejection letters, and seven years of experience in film production and advertising, J.D. felt compelled to bypass traditional publishing and retain full control of the final product. He built his creative team through persistence, trial and error, and craigslist ads. After locking the right artists, they embarked on an almost three-year process to the final creation released now.

J.D. hopes the book will help kids all over the world ease this universal fear and gain a strengthened sense of adventure about life.

Horatio and The Fear of Dying comes to Kickstarter October 3rd, 2017 – It will be available for shipping worldwide.

J.D. Oldenburg lives in Los Angeles, California.

Connect with J.D. Oldenburg

Website | Booksite | Facebook | Book Facebook | Twitter | Book Twitter | Instagram | Bookstagram

Horatio and the Fear of Dying by J.D. Oldenburg

Online Productivity Tools For Bloggers [Guest Post]

Today’s guest post is brought to you by James Porter. Thanks, James!

Online Productivity Tools for Bloggers by James Porter | Guest Post

As a blogger or writer, you are responsible for the articles you create, their quality and how you manage your time to increase productivity. In order to attract visitors to your blog, you have to constantly offer them blog posts that are not only interesting but also flawless. Being a blogger means you do not have the security that an office job offers, so it’s up to you what devices and tools you use to make your job easier. The pressure of being on your own requires a lot of organization and time management skills.

Thanks to the smart devices and advancements in technology you can type a paper or an article faster, easier and focusing less on the spelling and grammar mistakes and more on your creative flow. With the right smart tools, apps and devices bloggers can benefit from a treasure trove of online tools that can help them organize their projects and workload, communicate with clients and readers, manage their time and have the necessary space to store their work.

There is nothing wrong in making your job and life easier if you can. In fact, this is why these tools were created in the first place.

1. FocusWriter

Sometimes, focusing on writing can prove a struggle, especially if you choose to work from home or a public place such as a café. It is very easy to get distracted and lose your focus, whether it is a mail that you get, a notification on Facebook that you cannot refrain from checking or a message on Skype that you want to read. FocusWriter gives you a distraction-free environment. You will have on your screen only a gray text area to work on. No other tabs or applications to distract you.

2. Paper Rater

Paper Rater is a top contextual spell checker which relies on Artificial Intelligence to help you write accurate articles. It is a proofreading tool with an in-built plagiarism detector and grammar checker. It will highlight in green the grammar mistakes and in red the spelling mistakes, also giving you tips on how to create a good article and a list of the most confused phrases and words and their explanation. You do not need to download the tool to use it.

3. 123writings.com

Being a blogger means constantly writing on various topics and always being up to date with the news and latest information. 123writings.com is an online writing company which offers custom paper writing services to a variety of clients. Whenever you feel that you need writing paper help or just to see some of the blogs they are writing, you can contact the company via live chat, email or phone number. It’s perfectly normal to be sometimes stuck and simply have no idea what to write about, so a little help would be exactly what you need to get back on the track.

4. Evernote

As a blogger, you will write hundreds, if not thousands of blog posts, go through numerous articles, resources, books, magazines and much more. With Evernote you can have all this information in one place, storing emails, documents, photos, websites and articles in folders that you can access from any device. You simply create an account and sync your folders across all your gadgets to access them remotely.

5. Grammarly

Why not focus on your ideas and messages you want to put in your articles and let Grammarly focus on grammar, spelling, and plagiarism? Yes, it’s that easy. The app not only checks mistakes but also provides useful explanations for each one of them. Thanks to the embed plagiarism checker you will make sure that your articles do not have duplicate content. Grammarly supports various document types, and you can choose between a blog post, an article, a business document and so on. You can even choose the US or British English. Although Grammarly is free, you might want to consider upgrading to the premium version to benefit from more advanced grammatical and phrasing errors.

A great number of bloggers and paper writers are not native English speakers so using such tools can make their work easier and help them deliver top quality content. With flawless articles, they are able to attract an audience and bring traffic from search engines. Once you start using these tools, you will wonder why you did not do this earlier. They will be your personal assistant, who proofreads your work, organizes your documents, and finds the documents and resources you need.

Writer’s block is a dreadful taught of any blogger. Nobody wants to just stare at the white screen with no idea of what to write about. These productivity tools are just some of the much more that you can access for free on the internet or install them on your computer. Having the right tools and apps can ensure you will never forget ideas and that your blog posts are optimized. Try these tools and see which your favorite ones are.

Let’s chat in the comments below!

Write The Book! [Guest Post]

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Annette Rochelle Aben. Thanks, Annette!

If I could do one thing today, it would be to inspire someone, out there, to write the book. I believe that there is a book inside nearly everyone, a book seeking the chance to have a coming out party! You may be one of those people or you may know one of those people.

Everyone has a story to tell. It could be the story of family heritage, shared through recipes handed down from generation to generation. Possibly, it’s the tale of overcoming addiction to find a wonderful life you never believed possible. You may want to share your adventures of traveling across the country or visiting foreign lands.

Perhaps your imagination simply screams for the outlet to set free the worlds you envision and to breathe life into the characters who speak to you all the time. Maybe you’ve written poetry forever or have a collection of short stories seeking a home away from home. Ah, you may be the person whose doodles would make a terrific adult coloring book!

There is a quote from the late, great, Dr. Wayne Dyer, best-selling author and eternal champion of people being healthy and happy! “Don’t die with your music still inside you.” The depth of this statement speaks to the premise that each of us has something valuable to share. The value is more in the sharing than necessarily how far the reach. The feeling of being able to free that with which you have been blessed is remarkable. Dr. Dyer’s plea reminds us to consider this as important, if not more important than striving for recognition or riches.

Of course, you could receive recognition and riches for a book you pen. There is a teenage boy in the State of Minnesota who wrote a book about how he rescued a cat. He is giving 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the book to a local animal charity that helps cats! A blog, originating in England, picked up the story and shared it with tens of thousands of followers. This young man has begun receiving recognition which may well lead to the riches he wishes to gift to cats in need.

Here is the Facebook page for Saving Stripes: A Kitty’s Story by Justin M. Anderson.

Whatever your story, set it free! Put it on paper so you can hold it in your hands. Marvel at the sheer audacity of your brain to conceive and honor the calling of your heart to believe in your ability to achieve! Give voice to your music! WRITE the BOOK!

About Annette

Michigan author, Annette Rochelle Aben, is ruled by the world of words. Five of her nine self-published books feature haiku poetry. She has also written and published in the self-help and inspirational genres. When she isn’t writing, she is ruled by the world of 3 cats with whom she lives.

Connect with Annette

Blog | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook