Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

Never stop dreaming, 'cause the day you stop dreaming, is the day you stop living.


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How do you get back in the groove?

It’s happened to everyone before. Whether you like to write, draw, study, or do something entirely different – eventually you hit a slump and want nothing to do with whatever it is you like doing. The inspiration isn’t there and even if you want to do what it is you do, you can’t push yourself to actually do it.

“I guess I’ll work on it later,” you might say. Or, “Maybe I need this break.”

Or maybe, just maybe, what we all need is to give ourselves a swift kick in the rear and get back to work!

For me, my passion is writing. Fantasy in particular, with darker undertones to it that make it so much more intriguing to me. Sure, I love writing, but every once in a while, life decides to throw stuff at me and then I hit the inevitable, “I really don’t feel up to this.” stage.

You would think that while sitting at home awaiting surgery for a good month that I would’ve gotten a lot of writing done. Believe it or not, I didn’t. Why? Because the accumulation of everything else going on made the idea of actually writing utterly unappealing. In hindsight, that doesn’t make sense, seeing as writing never fails to make me feel better. No matter how awful the day, I feel better if I write.

Writing draws me into the story, into another world, into the lives of different people. It is the best way for me to wind down, relax, and feel better.

But no. I waited and waited for surgery and got very little writing done. So, this week, I decided to kick myself back into gear.

See this? It's convenient located right underneath my television. It's the ultimate guilt trip whenever I want to watch something or play video games.

See this? It’s conveniently located right underneath my television. It’s the ultimate guilt trip whenever I want to watch something or play video games.

The best part about that little guilt-trip-inducing message? I’ve written at least double what that white board suggests every day since writing it.

This small gesture, this guilt trip, helped me get back to work. What I’ve realized also helps me is the location. At home, there are distractions – books, movies, those darned video games I just mentioned – so I have to go elsewhere. My safe haven is the library. Nobody bothers me there and when I’m there, I’m completely and utterly focused.

Yesterday, I wrote 4,760 words in just under four hours at the library. Today? 2,168 words in under two hours. The best part? These words have pushed me past the 50% mark for this book which has ignited a new spark of inspiration in me.

So for me, taking the time to go to the library to write, and having this visual guilt trip, is a great help in getting me to write. It might not work for everyone, but I’m hoping this post will inspire some of you to take a look and see what helps you write, draw, study, or whatever else it is that you do!

In fact, share what helps you in the comments! What helps you might help someone else. :)


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Rhythm

I’m slowly getting back into things now that I’m feeling better. Most of the pain after my surgery is gone now; all that’s left is a bit of tenderness and some pain if I move in a way that does not favor my abdomen. But, that makes sense.

I’ve started studying Japanese again, so that’s good. Slow progress, but I’m getting back into it.

Work begins tomorrow again, which I’m excited for. I’m so tired of sitting around, so it’ll be good to get out of the house and go make some money and hang out with awesome colleagues!

Today, I wandered to the library and managed to start writing chapter 12 of my yet-untitled book, so my writing is finally progressing again, too. My short-term plan is to finish this chapter tomorrow. Let’s see if I can do that. ;)

Speaking of my writing, here’s a short teaser as an apology for being so in-and-out lately!

Disclaimed: This teaser is from the first draft, so it hasn’t undergone editing yet.

“Who says I won’t take advantage and betray you?”

My lips curved upwards in amusement. Cute. He thought he could intimidate me. I’d have to set him straight about that. “You can’t betray someone who doesn’t trust you, because that someone expects to be betrayed.” I caught my foot behind his ankle and yanked hard towards me just as I thrust my weight forward at him. The motion threw him off guard just enough for me to yank my wrists free and shove him away from me. The entire thing took less than two seconds.

Kaine stumbled back two steps, quickly regaining his balance. Even now, after I shoved him off of me, his smirk never faded.

“I’m not afraid of you.”

Let me know what you think in a comment! I love hearing from you guys.

How’ve you all been?


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Short Update!

I swear, I don’t abandon my blog on purpose. Really.

Long story short, I ended up in the ER on Easter – well, more like at 1:30 in the morning after Easter – and one thing led to another and I just had surgery last Friday to have my gallbladder removed. Let me tell you something. Gallstones? Not pleasant. Not at all.

I’m starting to feel better now. Still dealing with a bit of pain after the surgery, but it’s a lot better than it was last week and I’m picking things up where I left off.

Pain aside, I managed to get some writing done during the past month, as you can see in that nifty word count widget in the sidebar on the right. Not as much as I’d like, but progress is progress. So, my goal for that still-untitled book?

Finish it by July 15th.

Why then? Because I leave for a week of vacation on the 16th and I know I can finish it by then. I have 7,5 weeks worth of writing and an estimated 50,000 words to go. That means a lovely 6,666 words a week until then.

Very doable.

So, that’s my goal. And I will get it done and I will blog at least once a week until then. That’s a promise.

Now, tell me, what have I missed?


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Let’s try this again.

It seems the powers that be are working against me to prevent my writing. I’ve dealt with some personal issues this past week and am now stuck sitting at home for a few more weeks because of it. Yesterday, though, I kicked myself into gear. If I’m going to be home, I should be somewhat productive, at the very least.

1,019 words written yesterday and my goal is to finish chapter six today!

Speaking of which, I interrupted my writing to give you all an update here, so I’d better get back to work. But, since I’m getting back in the swing of things, I’ll share a snippet from chapter six with you before I go!

Disclaimer: This snippet is from the first draft and therefore hasn’t undergone much editing yet.

Something shattered outside this forsaken room where Kaine kept me locked away. My temporary guard stopped pacing and clenched his hands into fists, glowering at the door. It went oddly still on the other side of the door, save the distant shouts somewhere else in the hideout.

“Who are these people?”

I heard the guard’s soft murmur and suppressed my smirk. “The bringers of your death,” I told him, offering a polite smile.

The thief threw a quick glance over his shoulder. “What’re you talking about?”

With a crash, the locked door flew open, slamming against the wall beside it and cutting off any response I may have given. Georg barreled into the room and aimed a punch at the guard. The man sidestepped, threw his own fist, and rammed his balled hand into Georg’s left side.

Barely flinching from the contact, Georg moved in rather than back. He stepped forward, grabbed the guard by his throat, and tossed him to the left like a doll. Kaine’s follower gasped when he collided with the wall, falling to the floor, then barely had time to roll onto his back before Georg’s foot slammed into the side of his head.

When Georg stepped away from his opponent, the man wasn’t moving.

Well, I thought he’d last longer than that, at least. I shook my head.

Georg turned, finally facing me, and raised an eyebrow as he took in my current situation. Wrists shackled to the wall above my head, ankles shackled in turn, making it impossible for me to move. His lips curled in mild amusement.

I showed him my fiercest glare. “Don’t say anything.”

The moral of this story? Messing with Georg is definitely not recommended. :P

How have you all been lately?


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Enough talk. Let’s do this!

There once was a blog that got covered in dust over the course of a month… It was a very sad blog and the blog remained that way until one day its author decided to return and wipe away the dust and start anew!

That day is today.

All joking aside, please forgive the lack of updates in the past month. The past few weeks have been rather horrible for writing in general. I’ve had a bit of a harder time adjusting to working full-time and not part-time than I’d like and that, along with some others things, made me neglect not just my writing, but this blog as well.

But now it’s time for change!

Blog updates will happen at least once weekly if not twice a week and that is a promise. Even if it’s just a single paragraph, there will be some sort of update. Unless something major prevents me from posting.

Moving on from that, it’s about time I get to writing. Those word counts in the sidebar have sat at the same number for much too long now. In fact, I’m going to write as soon as I press ‘Publish’ and get this post out to all of you.

Yeah, that sounds like a plan.

In fact, I’ll go to that now. Expect more updates from me in the near future!

Fun fact: The power actually went out while I was writing this blog post. I fear the powers that be may oppose my return! But that won’t stop me. ;)


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Writing? Yes, please!

I found my new writing spot!

For the first time in over a decade, I’m now in possession of a library card! The local library isn’t even a five-minute walk away from where I live, so I can grab my laptop, head over there, and enjoy the peace while writing.

I got my card yesterday and tested out the environment. Verdict? 2,003 words written in 1,5 hours. Today, I went back to the library since I don’t work until tonight. One hour of writing netted me a whopping 1,643 words. That’s faster than my average writing speed when at home!

Plus, walking to and from the library gets me a little exercise. ;)

Of course, I won’t do all of my writing at the library. It depends on my work schedule and all that fun stuff, but when I have the time and chance to go, I’ll definitely make use of it.

This leads me into something else: Multitasking.

I’ve got two stories and their characters have had a tug-o-war in my mind these past two weeks. “Write about us!” “No, us!”

Well, I finally told both parties to shut it and am going to attempt multitasking. I finished the first chapters for both stories in the past two days. One of the books, tentatively titled Solitary Spirit, is the sequel to Silent Spirit. The other book’s the first in a separate series. My plan is to write both at the same time. How? With a specific schedule.

Monday: Solitary Spirit (Book #2)

Tuesday: Untitled (Book #1)

Wednesday: Solitary Spirit (Book #2)

Thursday: Untitled (Book #1)

Friday: Solitary Spirit (Book #2)

That leaves me the weekend to either just relax or, if I want to, work on whichever story I feel like at the time. As you can see, Solitary Spirit is my priority and hence has been given three days of my attention. My goal is to write one chapter every day, making a total of five chapters a week – minimum.

Now, I’ll be testing this schedule in the next week to see how it suits my schedule. By Friday I should know if this is a schedule I can work with. I feel good about it so far, so here’s hoping I still feel that way after trying it out!

What are your plans for the upcoming week? Let me know in the comments!

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