Keep the Inspiration Flowing

Guest bloggers visit my website twice a month on Tuesday and Thursday. If you would like to be part of this, feel free to check out the Be A Guest Blogger page.

This week’s guest post is brought to you by my sister Kris. Thanks, Kris!

My cousin and I were talking about reading and writing the other night. She’s a preteen entertaining the idea of writing like Rachel and myself, and we were talking about working even when not motivated.

I quoted Jack London: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

Which is probably something I should do. I tend to find my mind wandering away from my writing when I’m trying to put words on paper. Half the time it’s regarding a different part of the story or a different story altogether.

There are plenty of ways to keep focused while writing. One of my favorite ways is sticking on some music. Instrumental seems to help, but I’m also partial to lyrical music as well, especially if the song shares the same energy as the scene I’m currently writing.

If I’m stuck on a particular scene in a story, I switch it up. I dive into another scene, perhaps one that I’ve been looking forward to writing. Maybe I’ll start over on the scene I was stuck on and take it in an entirely different direction.

Exercise and taking a brief break helps the creative muscles as well. Move away from the computer screen or notebook and take the puppy for a walk. One of the best times to write a story is in your mind when you’re doing other things!

My cousin seemed to get a taste of how much dedication one needed in order to write a book. Here’s hoping that she was determined, rather than daunted, in pursuing that dream!

Kristen Poli is a young woman in her mid-twenties who is obsessed with writing, video games, dogs, and chocolate. She’s always up for meeting others who share her obsessions, so feel free to say hello over at her social media.

If you would like to know more about Kris, visit her on her social media:

Blog | Goodreads | Tumblr | Twitter


Work is Hard

When you work four jobs, plus write and blog on the side trying to make that your solid career, work can get a bit hectic and busy at times.

I love teaching and I love babysitting, but it’s not exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life. Can I see myself ten years from now still teaching? Yes. But ten years from now I hope to have a few publications under my belt.

I can’t picture myself waking up every morning, going to work, then coming home to just sit around and wait for the next day to come. I can’t live in order to make money and pay bills. I want to actually do something with my life, make a difference, be important.

So I write. So I blog.

I want my writing to be my full-time job. Whether that will ever happen enough to pay my bills, I’m not sure. But I’m going to do it anyway.

What’s annoying about this is that you have to work really hard and work a lot in order to make this happen, which I have been doing and I love it.

But, as stated earlier, when you work four other jobs on top of it…

At the moment, writing doesn’t pay the bills. It’s not my career yet. It’s a passion, but it’s more of a hobby at the moment.

That being said, my other jobs have to come first. I can’t call out sick and write all day long. While that would be awesome, that would be one day I wouldn’t get paid and right now that’s not really an option.

Unfortunately, the world revolves around money.

My whole point to this post was that I haven’t made much progress on my writing lately. Drama has been happening at two of my four jobs and working such long hours, I’m too exhausted to do anything when I get home.

So that’s pretty much where I stand at the moment. I have my work cut out for me for the rest of the month and through June.

I’m counting down the days until summer (less than four more weeks!) where I can put more of my time, thought, and effort into writing and blogging. I’ll be working the summer, but it’ll only be four hours a day for four days a week for only four weeks out of the summer. This is a vast improvement to my 8-10 hours a day five days a week, plus another couple hours on the weekend.

This turned into a ranting-woe-is-me type of post and that wasn’t supposed to happen. I had a completely different point, but I guess this is where my mind wandered off to.

Is it sometimes difficult for you to balance writing, work, and anything else life throws at you?

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads

Writing For Free

Why do you want to be a writer? Is it because you love creating stories to tell and sharing them with the world? Is it because you want to be rich and famous after you’re on the best-sellers list?

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

Whatever the reason, being a writer is not an easy job. You don’t write a bunch of words, send it to a publisher, they publish it on the spot, it sells, and you get a ton of money.

I’ve always been torn between being a teacher or being a writer or possibly trying to do both. I can’t express how many times people have said, “Be a writer. They make more money.” Unfortunately, that is not the case. If writing were that easy and made a ton of money, every person in the world would be an author and we’d all drown in books… now wouldn’t that be nice?

Writing does not equal money. It doesn’t matter how many books you sell; unless you’re on the best-selling list or you write the next Harry Potter series, you may have to look for a day job and write on the side.

Writing is not about the money. It’s about sharing stories whether they’re fiction or nonfiction. Writing is a way for people to escape reality, get creative, and exercise their imagination.

You need to love writing. You need have to a passion for it.

You don’t want to write. You need to write.

Further Reading:

11 Frequently Asked Questions About Book Royalties, Advances, and Money
Do You Like Or Love To Write?
Why We Write: Four Reasons

“Working” On Vacation

Every year my family and l go away for the weekend after Thanksgiving. It just happened to become tradition a few years ago and it’s great to get away for a weekend in the middle of work and school. It’s a nice break.

I am not a light packer. Anyone who knows me personally in real life can tell you that. I would pack the entire house if l could. Example: l have three unread books on my Kindle. Before we left l bought a fourth one. Because you know there’s that .5% chance that l would happen to read and finish all three books in two days with time to spare and how tragic would it be if l ran out of something to read? Now, keep in mind that l brought my Kindle in an attempt to save space by not bringing physical novels. So it kind of balances out… l guess.

Anyway, l brought my Detective Florence 2 manuscript along with two notebooks (one blank, one with the outlined notes), the notes and outline for the first novel, blank index cards, blank post-it notes, and about five pens with four highlighters and two sharpies. Again, you need a plethora of pens because there’s that slight chance they will all run out of ink in two days.

Back to the point… l did some editing yesterday and l plan on editing today as well. Now that NaNo is over, l plan to finish editing the second novel, type up the next draft of both the first and second novels, outline the third, and then write the third. I’m in for a fun ride.

So l’m texting my friend yesterday and she asked how l was doing and such. I told her l was editing.

Her response: “Why are you writing while on vacation?”

Now let’s discuss…

I love writing. I am going to do it whenever and where ever l can. It relaxes me. I don’t see it as work. Sure, it would be nice to write full-time for a job, but whether that happens or not it will always be a passionate hobby of mine.

To be honest, l think vacation is the perfect time to write for a few reasons.

1. It’s a new environment. I tend to write at my desk at my house in my office/den l share with Kris. Sometimes, in the same room, l will write on the couch using the ottoman as a desk. Sometimes l go in my bedroom. When home alone, l’ll go in the kitchen or dining room. I even write while taking a bath. If l get a moment alone at work l’ll jot down notes. You can write anywhere you think of.

2. There are barely any distractions. When writing at home l have the Internet. There are many websites l am on that l can get to with a click of a button and before l know it, it’s time for bed. There’s also the cleaning. The dusty room around me just stares me down and it bothers me. There’s mail to get–l love getting the mail. I don’t know why, l never get anything good. If l’m not at work l usually keep an eye out for it. There’s also video games, friends to see, homework to do, etc.

3. There are no other responsibilities. Kind of like the previous point, there is no real cleaning to be done. As long as l clean up after myself before l go home, l’m good. I don’t have to worry about doing homework. I don’t have to worry about anything so my mind is cleared up for everything.

4. It’s relaxing. Why write next to the heating vent at my house when l can write next to the fireplace? There is no fireplace at my house; therefore, l cannot write to the soothing crackling sound. Well… l can, but those sounds are on websites. There’s no pretty flame or heat so it’s not the same effect.

I’m sure there are many more reasons, but this is what l can come up with for now.

My friend loves that l write and she supports me with it. She’s always asking how my novels are going, what they’re about, etc. However, she knows l want to write full-time which would be my career. Career is work. Therefore, she thinks writing is work. Technically yes, as it’s a lot of hard work and it’s a long process and such.

What she doesn’t realize is how much fun it is and how people need a certain passion for writing. Writers don’t see writing as work. Writing is just using the imagination and being creative.

Working Forever


The other day I was complaining about school to my co-workers. Not really “complaining,” but just saying how I would really like to be done soon. I feel as though this current semester has been dragging on since the beginning of time. Then I still have one semester left for my bachelor’s degree. Then I’m still not done and I get to start my Master’s. If everything goes according to plan, I should be officially done with school when I’m 23- or 24-years-old. Not bad, right?

So when I said this, one of the teachers in my classroom laughed and said, “Why, so you can work all the time?”

She was kidding, but she did have a point. Then again, I would rather work full time and save my money rather than work full time and have all my money go down the drain to school… with homework to do to top it off.

When I finish school that means I will have more time to write. I love my job, but just like any other normal person I don’t wish to stay there forever. I love teaching and being with the kids just as much as I love writing, but if I had to choose between the two… I would hands-down pick writing.

I want to write all the time. I want to wake up in the morning, make a cup of coffee, sit at my desk and write. I want to be able to write a couple thousand words or a few good pages, outline and make notes of a new idea, or edit an old one. Then I can go out with friends feeling accomplished and do it all over again the next day. I would certainly be living my definition of a dream.

I don’t want to have to worry about being at work at a certain time. I don’t want to have to worry about getting my homework in on time. The only deadlines I want to worry about are what my agent/publisher tells me. I want my only concern to be “should I kill off this character?”

Of course, when I finish school I’ll still have to work. Writing to pay the bills will not happen overnight, but I hope that it will eventually happen someday. I want to have the ability and the option to write all day, every day.

Whenever this happens, I won’t get the luxury of retiring like everyone else. However, by being able to sit home all day and do what I love it’ll be like I retired at a young age.

Even when I’m old and gray, I’m sure I’ll still be writing.

David Congalton

Everyone remember me discussing the movie Authors Anonymous? Well, welcome to day three of discussing it… even though I technically just mentioned it in yesterday’s post.

Anyway… after posting the first time about my watching the movie, I got a pretty big surprise in my e-mail the following morning. David Congalton had somehow come across my blog. David is the screenwriter to the movie Authors Anonymous. Pretty cool, huh?

If you read my post, you would know that I didn’t “love” the movie and didn’t exactly “rave” about it. So, when I realized who he was I felt a bit anxiety coming on. I felt guilty for not loving the movie and… well, what are the odds of the screenwriter coming across my blog? Then I said to myself, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. What I like, others dislike and what I dislike, others like.” So, the movie wasn’t my cup of tea. You win some, you lose some.

Despite all that, David is really nice and I’m flattered he read my blog let alone taking the time to write to me. He sent me a link to read the actual script for the movie, which is pretty cool.

I’ve always thought about writing scripts. I used to when Script Frenzy (a sister site of NaNoWriMo, for those of you who do not know) was around, but when it got shut down I started focusing more on my novels. I had two scripts completed, but lost both of them when my flash drive died almost two years ago. The ideas are still in my head and I plan on writing them again eventually. They just might be in novel format instead of script. Either way, if I ever do get back into script writing, I have a real life example of how to format it and what it’s supposed to look like.

I e-mailed him back and from there he sent me another reply explaining his inspiration for the movie and the characters as well as some background about the movie and how it came to be. He also sent me a link to an interview he had about the movie which gives a little more insight as well as the hardships of writing and creating a movie. The article was published in the magazine Psychology Today. I encourage you all to read it whether you write scripts, write novels, or are just reading this blog because you might be lost (if that’s the case, thanks for reading this much!).

Apparently the Authors Anonymous idea formed in David’s mind eight years ago originally calling itself Scribble. Even though David is discussing his script, the same rules go for novel writing. Except… we’re not dealing with directors and actors, but close enough.

My point is David spent eight years on this idea and didn’t give up. I have been writing for 11 years now with five unpublished manuscripts… some aren’t even edited yet, I’m ashamed to admit. I think it’s about time I get moving and start seriously thinking about publishing.

I’ve sent a few things to agents and publishers and even submitted to magazines and such, but no dice. I know nothing is going to happen over night, but I tend to take extremely long breaks in between sending stuff out. It’s hard between working full time and school full time among other life happenings, but it’s just something I have to do. I want this as a career, which means I have to actually work for it… just like the characters in the movie. Who knew a movie I wasn’t totally into would end up being so inspirational?

Thanks, David!

Stepping It Up


Hey everyone!

It’s another one of those posts again…yes, we’re going to discuss “the future” today. Aren’t we excited?

My sister Lisa has a friend who is currently saving up money with her sister to move out of the house. Since she, Kris, and I are all planning Lisa’s bridal shower together and such we’ve had a lot of time to hang out more than usual which is nice. She was telling Kris and I her plans and it got Kris and I thinking…again.

We both love to write. And we do write. But we don’t “write.” I realize I’m not making any sense, but it’s Camp NaNoWriMo right now, people. I was doing so well and then I just stopped. Why? I don’t know…bridal shower and bachelorette planning, homework, work, babysitting, preparing my bedroom to be painted, etc. There is so much to do and not enough time. And unfortunately, with my bills from the upcoming wedding and I’m going to Disney again in August in addition to school bills and such, I need to save every scrap of money I can get. Hence why I’ve been working and babysitting so much.

Writing doesn’t fit in right now. It’s not a priority because it doesn’t pay the bills. It makes me angry because I love to write and want to do it all the time for the rest of my life, but I don’t want to become a full-time writer just so I can go to Disney…I want it as a career because I know I will be happy doing that for the rest of my life.

Thus, Kris and I are bummed; especially Kris because she basically works about nine hours a day in which case your entire day is gone by that point. But by coincidence, the Easter Bunny got Kris a subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine and gave her an issue to get her started.

This issue had a list of 101 best websites for writers. We’re talking about websites to get the creative juices flowing, writing advice, agents and publishing, general resources, jobs, online writing communities, genre-specified sites, and writing sites that are just fun. It’s the best thing we’ve ever come across. Kris and I were discussing freelance writing on the side until we were able to publish something and this list of website gives us links to find writing jobs.

Neither one of us have looked at all the websites thoroughly, so we haven’t decided which are too fantastic to not join and such. Plus, there’s a lot to choose from and honestly a bit overwhelming because you just don’t know where to start.

As I go through these websites, I will be sharing my favorites on here for all of you writerly people to enjoy.

Since Kris and I have been behind on NaNo and decided to finally step it up into our writing careers, we’re skipping church tomorrow to go to Barnes & Noble and write all day long. So I’m hoping to write at least 10k tomorrow.

I decided to write all day today as well since I was home and wrote 10,369 words. I have to say that I feel so good right now after doing that. My NaNo count is up to 30,721 now. Still behind, but hopefully if I get a good chunk done tomorrow I will be able to hit 50k by the end of the month.

Before I go, I have to shamelessly advertise: Kris started a new blog. She’s still maintaining her Sugar Wolf blog about writing, but she created a new blog called Wagging Tales. She works with dogs so this blog is dedicated to stories and her experiences with the furry, loveable creatures. So feel free to go check it out!

I hope everyone is having good luck with their writing  and NaNo (if you’re participating). Talk to you soon! 🙂