Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


New Writing Schedule: Let’s do this!

A big part of my issue with getting words onto paper regularly is that I don’t have a schedule – a schedule that works. I keep trying various schedules, but in the end, I stray from them. This time, I’ve finally found one that I intend to make work.

Technically I started it Friday, but this will be my first full week of trying out this schedule. My schedule is as follows:

Let's cheer each other on!Courtesy of Nakaya de Jong.

Let’s cheer each other on!
Courtesy of Nakaya de Jong.

  • Monday: Write one chapter.
  • Tuesday: Write one chapter.
  • Wednesday: Off.
  • Thursday: Write one chapter.
  • Friday: Write one chapter.
  • Saturday: Off.
  • Sunday: Off.

Four chapters a week. I gave myself Wednesdays off so that I have a short break between chapter-writing, that way, I won’t feel overwhelmed. With this schedule, I expect to have the first draft of my current, untitled project done in two months – by the end of April.

Let’s see if I can do this, shall we?

What am I saying? I can do this! Of course I can!

We can all do whatever we set our minds to. The thing that matters is perseverance. We just need to keep going. Never give up, never stop. Keep fighting, keep working. No matter what it is you want to do, just keep working towards it and you’ll reach your goal.

Let’s do this together!

What goals do you have at the moment? School-related? Work-related? Something else? Share in the comments! 🙂


The End of A Decade

The final night of my second decade is here. Tomorrow, I will turn twenty and thus begin my third decade. This is the decade where I hope to begin my career, to truly focus on my writing, and to keep in touch with my friends and even gain new ones. I have various goals and will do my best to achieve as many of them as I can.

I hope all of you will do the same. 🙂

Tuesday will mark the proper beginning of my new writing schedule. For the rest of tonight and tomorrow, I will relax and will spend time with my friends and family.

Goodbye nineteen, and in just a few hours, hello twenty!


Writing, working, and goals – oh my!

Hi everyone and welcome to the year 2013!Writing, Books, Text, List

2012 has come and gone, and since we survived the end, I figured I might as well make some goals for the coming year and share them with you. Sounds like a plan, huh? Without further ado, here are my goals, and boy will I be busy this year!

  • Writing Goals: Write roughly 500,000 words. I know, it sounds like a lot. This equates to about five 90,000 word novels and two novellas.
    My main project is to finish all four books in The Forbidden Series, one book per quarter, and then work on a side-project throughout the entirety of the year. Here’s a breakdown for anyone who’s curious about my schedule:

    1. Tales of The Forbidden – March 31st
    2. Mercy of The Forbidden – June 30th
    3. Prophecy of The Forbidden – September 30th
    4. Absolution of The Forbidden – December 31st
    5. Novella #2 (in a trilogy) – March 31st
    6. Novella #3 (in a trilogy) – June 30th
    7. Survival (Book #1 in a trilogy) – December 31st

    It’s a bit of a strict schedule, all things considered, but I think I can pull it off. All it will take is dedication. And the best thing about this schedule? It leaves my Sundays free for relaxing and even has two weeks of vacation planned into it. And to be fair, even if I don’t quite finish everything I intend to, it still isn’t a bad haul and is definitely better than last year.

  • Publishing Goals: These goals are fairly loose and I’m not sure how well they’ll go. However, here is a tentative plan:
    1. Query Literary Agents (after finishing/revising Tales of The Forbidden)
    2. Publish Novella #1 (in a trilogy) by the end of May
    3. Publish Novella #2 (in a trilogy) by the end of September
    4. Publish Novella #3 (in a trilogy) by the end of 2013 (or January 2014?)

    These publishing goals in particular are subject to change. I don’t know how everything will go, but I’ll keep you updated throughout the process.

  • Weight Loss: I think this one speaks for itself. I’m not really going to dwell on it too much here, but dropping a few pounds is definitely one of my goals.
  • Job: This one is really a priority. I need a job. I’ve been looking for months without any form of success and it’s really starting to grate on me. Hopefully I can enter the work force in the very near future.
  • Social Media: One of my issues this past year has been that my presence on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, etc.) has been extremely erratic. I intend to fix that issue. This means you’ll be able to talk to me more on Twitter and the like, and that you can expect me to post my standard three blog posts per week. And don’t forget, until January 7th, I’ll be posting daily!

So, these are my goals for the year. The major ones, at least. There are some other, smaller ones (like going to gamescom this year, in August), but I won’t bore you with all of those. This post is long enough as it is!

I hope you all had a safe, wonderful start of the year. Here’s to a brilliant year for all of us!

What are your 2013 goals? Let me know in the comments!


Summer Goals: What are yours?

I’ve written about goals before and how setting goals is an excellent way to push yourself to your limits. To fight to accomplish them. To work hard and in the end, celebrate when you realize your efforts were not in vain.

Guess what?

My relaxation for this summer. It will be mine by mid-June

Summer is a perfect time to reevaluate your goals!

Summer. A double-edged sword to the extreme. For many, it’s the time of year when they have more time to do things other than work and college and high school or just general classes and other things you may take throughout the year. Summer is a time for relaxation, to spend hours loafing around every day!

But what if you could use that time for productivity instead?

I mentioned that summer is a double-edged sword and I will stand by that. Why do I say it? Because of the heat.

Some people bask in the blistering heat that shines down on it for these three months – we just hit 30 °C (the high 80s fahrenheit) today! – and absorb the energy to go full speed into projects old and new. Others, myself included, hate the heat and struggle just to move from the couch to the kitchen to get a drink. Writing, reading, drawing, exercising? Ha! We’ll save that for another season.

And then find some other apparently random reason about why we can’t make our goals. It’s a vicious cycle. So, what can we do to actually get stuff done?

The answer is easy.

Set goals!

Don’t let the heat get to you. Figure out in advance what you want to get done during the summer. Do the planning before the heat gets to you and fogs your brain. If you can get the planning done, it’s easier to say, “Hey, it might be way too hot and I hate it, but I have things to do!”

If you haven’t done the planning yet, that’s something you’ll have to force yourself to do before you get to actually work on what you need to. That extra step is all it takes to wipe out any and all traces of willpower you had for your goals.

I’ve made my goals. Writing, reading, and exercise. Want more details?

  • Finish Werewolf’s Lair by August 31st. That means at least 1,000 words per day.
  • Read one book per week. Biweekly, if absolutely necessary.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes per day. What else did we get our shiny new cross trainer for?

And the best part? If I schedule my time well, I’ll still have plenty of time for relaxation. So, my question to you is: What are your goals for this summer?

Let me know if you have any; I’d love to hear from you! If you don’t have any goals, why not and do you intend to still make some? I recommend it! Don’t let the heat hold you back!

We can work together to accomplish our goals. Together, we will leave others in the dust when we speed off towards victory!

As Hannibal from the A-Team always says:

“I love it when a plan comes together.”


Goals: Reward yourself!

That’s right, everyone. You spend hours laboring over projects, days or weeks forcing yourself to keep going and never stop, to not quit and to finish what you’ve started.

But did you ever think to reward yourself for accomplishing your goals?

That’s right. I’m telling you to take a step away from that project your slaving over. Set it aside for a few hours, or even a day, and take some time to reward yourself for how much you’ve gotten done.

My latest reward; I even got it for half-price.

I’m not telling you to spend dozens of dollars on a treat for yourself. By all means, do so if you feel like it, but keep those rewards for major achievements; it’s bad for your wallet, otherwise. Make it something simple:

Play a game with some friends, watch a movie with your loved ones, go for a nice, refreshing walk – there are so many, cheap, options. Giving yourself a breather is one of the best ways to ignite your inspiration and your will to work again.

Here are a few things I do when taking a break:

  • Watch a movie/show.
  • Play a video game.
  • Read a book/manga.
  • Browse the internet.
  • Work on my social media (ironic, but true).
  • Write something completely different.
  • Just relax.

Just relax. Sometimes, I just take an hour or two and do absolutely nothing. Is that productive? No, but you don’t actually believe that I do nothing when doing nothing, right? Now that I’ve properly confused you, let me explain:

If I do nothing, that means that I’m not actively reading, writing, working, or anything else. It does not, however, mean that I am not thinking or plotting. In those times when I just relax, my mind is working – processing information for my stories. It’s one of the best ways for me to figure out how to progress in a specific story; I use the time to think about the characters, their relationships together, their pasts, and everything about them. The details come to me in those times. Not written, but etched into my thoughts.

When I take a break from continuing a specific project, I sometimes just pick up another project. Why? Because it breaks the flow of ideas for the other story and when I go back to it, I can look at it with unbiased eyes – refreshed.

Sometimes, all you need is something to completely flip your concentration around.

What matters is that you take some time to yourself to just be you. Take that hour to relax or focus on something else. Figure out what the best way to reward yourself is; you’ll find that a few hours here and there will make you that much more excited to work on your projects.

Do you already reward yourself? If so, what do you do, or how do you reward yourself?


Accomplishments: How do they make you feel?

I’m not talking about just writing. This blog focuses on a general topic that everyone knows and can take part in the discussion.


I may not look very impressed, but this was the night of my High School graduation and I'll remember it.


What kind are there?

Maybe you finished that book you’ve worked hard on for years, or got that degree you’ve spent so much time studying for? Perhaps you did something simple; put that school work behind you for good, got over things and did more than you expected you could?

Accomplishments come in various shapes and sizes. Not only huge things to make you feel good about yourself. Every little thing counts. You got your groceries for the week done – why not count that as an accomplishment?

Every now and then, take a step back and look at the things you’ve done. Did you carry out goals you set, even if they were subconscious ones? If you did, give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it.

Does it matter what others think? Be proud of what you choose to do. Be proud of who you are.

Reaching out and finishing things you’ve wanted to get done is wonderful. Keep up what you do and really see everything you do in your day-to-day life. Even the little things. Especially the little things.

Because, really. The smallest things add up to a humongous whole.

What do you do when you reach goals you set? How does it make it feel? Let me know!


Word Count: The Race to 50k

Anyone who has been around long enough to see my post Change of Pace: Summer Holidays will know that I set up a minimum word count goal to reach before college starts again.

50,000 words.

With college approaching rapidly and set to begin on Tuesday, the final stretch to the goal has begun. Because of this, I’m rushing to the finish line. Yesterday, I racked up a word count of 2,445, successfully finishing off Chapter Fifteen of Tales of The Forbidden and getting well into Chapter Sixteen. Today, by noon, I racked up a word count of 1,470, thereby completing Chapter Sixteen.

If I keep this up, my goal is not far off.

As you’ll see in the progress bar in my sidebar, I’m only a little under 3,000 words short to 50,000. Three full days to go, as well as the rest of today, should I decide to get some more writing done. If I write 1,000 words per day, I’ll hit my target right on time.

In the past, I’ve been extremely lax when it came to deadlines. This is my first step in the right direction – to change that. Making this deadline will mean that I finally got one done on time. It will boost my confidence for the deadline I set for myself for the novel in its entirety.

I want to reach this goal. I need to reach this goal.

Keep a wary eye on that progress bar. Before you know it, it’ll say “50,000”.

What’s the first goal you ever accomplished? How did it make you feel? Let me know!