Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world where all our hard work always paid off? As in ALWAYS. I’d be a millionaire by now and so would a lot of my friends.
But working hard doesn’t always equal success. In fact, in most cases, it doesn’t.
First off, let’s give a base of what I consider hard work, or at least, give an account of how much work I personally do.
I probably work over sixty hours a week on writing and sewing (more so writing than sewing but sewing is a big part of my life as well, so I’m adding it into my creation process). This obviously varied when I had full-time jobs in the past, but it’s still pretty close. And when I worked full-time jobs, I’d focus mainly on writing. Sewing would definitely take a backseat at that point, though I still managed to find time to do a ton of it. After work, I’d come home and write, on weekends I’d write, even in the tiny pockets of break-time at work I’d write. And I’ve been doing it for almost thirty years. I have written over fifty screenplays, twenty teleplays and published seventeen novels (and that’s not counting the books I’ve written that will never see the light of day lol). As for sewing, hundreds of bags, tons of cosplay (for both me and my friends), pattern making, inventions, designs, re-creations, too many to count.
To be fair, I write and sew because I love it, there’s really no other explanation. I can’t say I’m doing it for the money, because, even with all that hard work and “product,” I still don’t make enough to live from it. I don’t even make enough to pay all my bills, hence why I’ve had many-o-jobs over the years that usually have nothing to do with writing or sewing.
So, what does this mean? Why do I work so hard with little to no pay-off? Is it because I secretly hope that one day the domino effect will happen and suddenly the money will start rolling in? Maybe. But thirty years (and for some people even longer) that’s a long time to be holding onto that hope. I’m an eternal optimist though, so I can’t deny that there is a part of me that believes that one day I will make a solid living with my writing and/or sewing. Am I delusional? Maybe. But this constant message we hear from creators and successful people that if you just work hard enough, you will succeed, is utter bull. I know extremely talented people in their seventies, that work harder than any successful creator out there, and they haven’t “made” it yet. But it doesn’t stop them from creating. It doesn’t stop them from trying.
I hope to never lose that drive, that hope, that optimism that all my dreams will come true someday. But in the meantime, I’m just enjoying the ride. Enjoying the stories and characters I create. Enjoying the insane bags I make for me and my friends.
I regret none of it.
Every single day, hour, minute, and second I dedicated to creating was worth it. Is worth it.
Does working hard equal monetary success? Sometimes. And that’s reality. Sometimes. And usually when you dig a little deeper, you’ll realize that the sometimes people had a lucky moment that propelled them into their success. It wasn’t only because they worked hard.
So, here’s to lucky breaks and future successes! And just remember that the road to get there may be a lot of hard work, but enjoy it, revel in it, because having the ability to create is a gift. Truly a gift.
And I for one, will always be eternally grateful for it.
One of the most magical words in the universe.
It’s definition is to exist in possibility.
From a blank canvas,
To uncut fabric,
To the moment before a chord has been struck,
To the beginning of a story.
Unlimited ideas and creations just waiting to be born.
Potential inspires imagination, wonderment and excitement.
Potential is the hope of what’s to come.
It’s the state of endless optimism.
No failure. No guilt. No self-doubt. No disappointment.
A simple word.
I haven't written a blog post in a while and that's mainly due to the fact that I've been focusing more on my YouTube channel. (Although to be honest, I've kind of slacked on that too lol)
As you fellow writers out there know: writing can be all-encompassing and take up your entire existence at times, which leaves little room for anything else.
I've been finishing up Atlas Rising, which is a mash-up of my two series and the final book for both! Now that it's off to my editor, I feel both excited and sad. Excited, because I'm very proud of this book and I can't wait for everyone who has followed Chelsan and Kala to see the final conclusion. But sad, because it's most likely the last time I will write these characters. I'm going to miss them.
Although, knowing me, I'll probably end up finding a way to continue both series lol! But for now, this is it. The epic season finale, if you will :-)
I hope to publish in November. That's the plan anyway. Barring any unforeseen obstacles, Atlas Rising will be in reader's hands in less than three months!
Gack! I can't believe it! I'll keep you posted!
Be creative or make money? Can you do both? Of course. But is life and our society built to make that a viable option for most people? No. Most artists I know work full time jobs that are anything but creative. And it’s sad. Like really sad. I know how talented they are. I know what amazing creations they’d contribute to the world and life, but as the years roll on by, I see their motivation, drive and frankly, faith, die, and they may never finish their passion projects. And that’s wrong on so many levels.
Sometimes I think what a different place this world would be if there was no such thing as money.
If people were just able to do what they want or be who they want without fear of losing their home or wonder where their next meal was coming from.
Imagine the kind of art that would exist.
Imagine the kind of inventions, or scientific discoveries, or technology that people would have the freedom to create.
No boundaries. No wars. No territorial bull shit.
Just a world where human beings were allowed to do what they were born to do:
A world where we build things up, not tear things down.
Think about how money holds you back. How you daydream what you want to do after work. How so much of your life is sucked up on doing something that you don’t love simply because you have to survive.
When I think of the possibilities it blows my mind!
So maybe the solution isn’t getting rid of money since we all know that’s never going to happen.
But to make so much money that we have essentially bought our freedom.
It’s why people religiously buy lotto tickets. It’s the hope that they can win enough money to live the life they always wanted to live without the chains of a 9-5 job.
The only way to be unchained is to embrace our imagination. To truly live in the moments of our freedom. If we’re stuck in this world of capitalism, then we can at least delve into our originality and make the world a better place.
And the only way to do that is to… create.
Camp NaNoWriMo is tomorrow and I’m freaking out, but in a good way lol!
This is the first Camp where I’m going to be in an active cabin and I’m so excited I could bust! The last two Camps/cabins I was in were a dead zone of activity, so to be in a cabin that is actually communicating and supporting each other before Camp has even started? Priceless!
It’s a cabin full of AuthorTubers, so not only will we be writing our hearts out this month, but we’ll be seeing a ton of great videos as well!
I plan on filming daily vlogs, which will be quite a challenge. I did this in November for NaNoWriMo and it was exhausting, but very rewarding as well. Doing daily vlogs, keeps me focused, or more accurately, keeps me in line. I find I tend to wander and let the days pass by if I don’t have rigid structure. Filming daily vlogs gives me that structure. It can be stressful at times, but ultimately, it’s another form of creating for me, so it makes me feel accomplished. And when you’re participating in a NaNoWriMo motivation is the key to everything. Without motivation and discipline, you can give up in the first couple of days!
So, I’ve got my projects ready, I’ve got my cameras ready and (hopefully) I’ve got my brain ready!
Let’s do this!
What is it about second drafts that can feel so much harder than first drafts?
For me, first drafts are “easier” because they are the puke or vomit draft of a book so you have a lot more freedom to write utter crap. I always feel like I can get away with a really bad sentence because I know I’m going to edit it later.
But the second draft, I actually have to re-write those crappy sentences into something I want to publish. And that’s not even the third, fourth or fifth draft where editing becomes even more precise.
My current work in progress is my Riser/Atlas mash-up book called Atlas Rising (I know, on the nose, but I swear the title matches up with the theme, it wasn’t me just trying to be clever lol!) I finished the first draft in September and I was thrilled.
Until I read it.
Then I was depressed.
Something was just… wrong. And I had no idea what. It felt like half the book was missing, yet the plot and character arcs were all there in perfect working order. So what was missing?
I brainstormed. I pulled out a few hairs. I had a lot of sleepless nights. What? What was wrong with this darn book?
I managed to hone it down to one of the two main characters. I felt like all the Chelsan chapters were solid, but Kala… she’s a character we haven’t seen in three hundred years, so shouldn’t it feel like it had been three hundred years?
Yes, yes it should. And yet… it didn’t.
So I wrote a bunch of short stories about some of the pivotal moments that had happened to her in the last three hundred years. And the strangest thing happened:
I liked the short stories more than I liked the book!
I wanted to put the short stories in the novel, but I was afraid it would feel out of place, especially if the other character, Chelsan, didn’t have any stories to pull on.
And that’s when it clicked.
Each chapter would have a flashback that would give a history to the upcoming chapter. I kept remembering my college screenwriting classes: show don’t tell. And so far since Kala was in the present, the only way I could let the reader know what had happened to her was to tell them about it. But if I could write a flashback before the chapter even started, the reader would be able to experience those events first hand. And the same went for Chelsan. Some of the things that had happened to her growing up are important to the story, so instead of her talking about it, I could actually show it.
So that’s what I’m doing now in my second draft: writing all the chapter openers. The book is twenty chapters long, so I still have a ways to go.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very excited by the new direction the book is going, it’s just that…
I was finished!!
I had written THE END and now I have to write 30K to 50K more words. It’s like going on a road trip and the sign says 10 miles to Vegas and you’re all excited because you’re almost there, but the next time you look up and see a sign it says 110 miles to Vegas!
But I’m back on track now. I wrote another chapter opening today and I plan on writing one every day until I’m finished. Then draft number two will be all done!
And then comes draft three!
My first passion is writing, hands down! I've been writing since I was a kid and have never stopped. I've had thirteen books published and four more to be published this year and I never see myself stopping.
When I'm writing, I feel like everything is right with the world. I write because it's what makes me happiest in life. It's pure joy wrapped in a journal or laptop!
That being said, coming in second for my life passions is sewing. I've also been doing this since I was a kid. I love it almost as much as I love writing! Almost :-)
Like my writing, my sewing has evolved over the years. I used to sew only clothes: for myself, for my friends, for my dolls lol!
But I started making bags a little over twenty years ago. I transformed my artwork into the bags themselves. I used to only paint North West Indian artwork. So, I took some of my artwork, printed it on fabric, then sewed it on a simple tote I made.
From there, I moved on to actually cutting out each piece of the artwork in vinyl then sewing that on more sophisticated bags (sophisticated meaning it had lots of compartments and pockets lol!)
Once I got the hang of making solid bags, I let my imagination go wild and that began my years long journey of making bags for friends, family and myself that captured every movie, TV show or book that I ever loved! Here are just a handful of examples:
I kept going, coming up with more and more elaborate ideas. I wasn't sure if I could make them, but I kept trying and surprised myself when most of my patterns actually worked! I knew all that math would finally come into play in my life!
And that's what brought me to today. I still make clothes (I even make some really fun cosplay!), and I still make bags, but the bags have taken on lives of their own.
It all started with an idea of making the Serenity (the spaceship from the TV show Firefly) into a bag. My friend Faith and I were going to cosplay Captain Mal for Comic Con and I thought we needed some cute bags to carry all our stuff in. So what better item to put all our things in, but the Serenity herself!
A lot of trial and error (and a few cuss words) later, I had created two Serenity bags.
Then seeing the shape of the Serenity I realized that they almost resembled dragons. I couldn't get the thought out of my head. What if I just altered the pattern, just a little... And voila! The first dragon bag was born and I've been obsessively making them ever since.
After that, making magical creature bags has been a wonderful way for me to create and get my imagination going. Sometimes, I need to work out what's happening in my stories and sewing gives my mind the space and ability to think things through.
I already have plans for a new bag that I'm really excited about. For those of you that have read or watched the new show based on the comic books, The Runaways, you can probably figure it out :-) I'm working on the pattern now and I'm crossing my fingers it works!
Bottom line is: I'll always write and I'll always sew. The act of creating something new is just about the most amazing thing there is and I'm just grateful I'm able to do it!
They’re not the ones pulling paintings off walls of a museum, they’re screen grabbing artist’s creations off the Internet and selling them to the public in the form of t-shirts and hoodies.
I wasn’t even aware of this massive scam until it happened to one of my artist friends. She came up with this amazing mash-up idea, combining the Stranger Things demogorgon with the Adidas logo. You may have seen it popping up on the Internet in your FaceBook or Instagram feeds…
This is Sarah Cave’s design. It came from her imagination. It came from her illustration skills. It’s hers. Her property.
But the modern day thief doesn’t care about where it came from, they just see a great idea that they can make money off of. So, they pull her artwork off her site, upload it to theirs and sell thousands of t-shirts.
I’ve seen several of these ads and they have up to 200,000 likes, which equates to god knows how many sales.
And the artist that created it receives nothing.
Even this morning, as I woke up to write this blog, I went on FB and saw yet another FB ad trying to sell Sarah’s design. I scrolled down to the next post and it’s Sarah, posting about how she has to spend more of her time dealing with these thieves than she does designing. Right next to each other! Unbelievable!
It feels like we live in a day and age where people don’t seem to care if it’s stolen, they just like something and want it, and they’ll take it anyway they can get it, even if it’s wrong. Even if the person that created what they loved gets absolutely no credit and no profit.
I just want to spread the word for my friend, who deserves the credit, who deserves the reward for coming up with such a brilliant design!
This is a list of some of the illegal sites: teechip, strangerthingsuk, geekworld, gearlauch, kamuistore. (and by the way: it's actually cheaper to buy the shirt on Sarah's approved sites than these rip-off sites! So, not only are they ripping off Sarah, but they're ripping off their customer!)
And here are the sites where Sarah Cave’s art is sold legally and she actually receives what she’s owed:
So all I ask of you is simple: if you truly love someone's artwork and you want to purchase it, just make sure the site you're buying from is legit and not created from one of these con artists.
Support the artist, not the thieves!
I have to say, this has been the best NaNoWriMo so far. I technically ‘won,’ but I didn’t finish the book. I plan on doing that later maybe for Camp NaNoWriMo (keep it in the family :-))
The reason this was the best NaNoWriMo, wasn’t because of word count (I’ve actually written more words in previous NaNos), it was because of the amazing people that I met this year through YouTube.
I started a YouTube channel a week or so before NaNoWriMo that focused completely on all things writing. I was nervous, definitely out of my comfort zone, especially talking about writing. I didn’t want to be judged or trolled or any other nightmare we’ve all read about on the Internet.
But I’ve been trying to push myself in the last year to do things that scare me because what else is life about if you don’t do the things you want because you’re afraid to do them?
So I did it and it was one of the best decisions I ever made! I met so many amazing writers. They were all so encouraging and supportive. I never dreamed it would be such a wonderful experience!
The writing itself was difficult this year. I have to admit there were times where I wanted to quit. I even switched projects for a day, but luckily, by just switching projects, it gave me a revelation of what I needed to do for the original novel I had been working on. I ended up re-writing my outline five days before NaNo was over! I knew I wasn’t going to finish the book, but at least I have a clear map to finish now.
Hitting that 50K felt really good! And I love that I have the entire journey documented on YouTube, with all the ups and downs!
I plan on continuing my writing journey both here and on YouTube. I love that I have a whole new community of writers that I can bounce ideas off of, turn to on my off days, and can mutually encourage each other to move forward and get our work out there!
NaNoWriMo may be over for this year, but the journey has just begun!
Okay, I’m in serious panic mode! Not really, but kind of lol! I’ve done my outline and as detailed as it is, I’m still not sure if it’s enough. We’ll see, I guess!
One of my best friends is coming over tomorrow and we’re going to write all day! I’m so excited! I’m really hoping I can get a good chunk done for the first day and start it off right!
I’m trying not to add any extra pressure on myself. I’m going to go with the flow and just have a blast!
So here’s to a crazy-insane month of writing!
Ready… set… GO!
I'm a writer of YA fiction, fiction, comics, television and movies. I try to make all my stories full of jumbly goodness :-)