Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


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Distractions: Good or Bad?

The closer you get to the light, the greater your shadow becomes.
– Kingdom Hearts 1

It’s inevitable. Every now and then, something shows up that will distract you from your goals. For me, that’s happening right now (although I yanked myself away from it to write this blog post).Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX

Most people say distractions are horrible, but I beg to differ. I believe that every now and then, you need to be distracted from everything else. Allowing yourself to stray from your path for a while can relax you and even inspire you. That’s why my current distraction is one I welcome with open arms.

Today I got the limited edition of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX in the mail. I’ve had that game pre-ordered for at least three months and I’ve eagerly awaited the release for even longer than that.

For me the Kingdom Hearts games are incredibly inspiring. An inspiration boost is just what I need for my writing, so I’m allowing myself to indulge a bit. The next few days will include much video gaming, but in the long run, it’s not a waste of time – because it’s fun, it relaxes me, and most important, it inspires me.

I know that after just a few hours of playing this amazing game, it’ll recharge my inspiration and will increase my desire to write. And that’s exactly what I want.

What are things you do to relax or to find inspiration? Share in the comments!

Have a great week, everyone! 🙂

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Blog Redesign!

This post is taking the place of my usual Wednesday post because I am incredibly impatient have exciting news! Plus, it’s after eleven PM so it’ll be Wednesday soon enough anyways.

Remember that blog overhaul I mentioned a couple of weeks ago? It’s finally here! I switched themes, got a lovely image from the amazing Jenn over at J-Raye Studios to use as a header and I’ve tweaked other minor things. Like, for example, the domain name. I’ve dropped .wordpress from the link and my website is now http://www.natashamcneely.com!

Unfortunately, I was unable to use the entire image for the header due to cropping issues, but I believe I’ve found a suitable solution. 🙂 For those curious, however, and to give Jenn proper credit, here is a small version of the complete image.

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Isn’t it beautiful? I can’t thank her enough for this amazing drawing!

These are the two main characters of my current project, Kieran and Avalyn. I’ve made some pretty good progress in their story so far and I don’t plan on stopping!

Overall, I’m incredibly excited to be taking this blog in a more professional direction. Expect more posts about my writing and other assorted things, as well! If there’s interest, I might even blog about my ongoing study of the Japanese language.

Let me know what you think of the new design!

I hope you have a great week!

If you can, show some support to the amazing artist! Check out her art here:


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Brief Update

Phew. I know it’s not Sunday or Wednesday, which are my normal blogging days, but 7:37 on a Monday morning should count, right?

Right.

Anyways, this is just a short update so I can let you all know what’s going on. I’ve got a blog overhaul planned for something in the upcoming week or two. I’m talking about a new blog header, slightly changed design, and just all kinds of other awesome stuff.

Excited? I know I am!

Now for a writing update. I missed a week’s worth of writing and blogging due to adjusting to a new work schedule with more hours (which I won’t complain about!), but now that I’ve gotten used to it, I ended up writing two chapters this past week.

This means I’ve got five chapters finished and a total of 12,689 words written! I’m getting into the real meat of the novel now, so that’s really exciting. I’ve loving these characters and the story, so I’m going to push myself and make sure to keep at it!

I’ve got today and tomorrow (and Thursday!) off from work, so my plan is to get a lot of writing done. I mean, it’s not even 8 AM yet, so I’ve got plenty of time left in the day!

That’s all for this short update! Look forward to more in the future.

Did you have a good weekend? 🙂


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What will you be doing in the future?

I’m writing this post while listening to the soundtrack of my favorite video game of all time. Odd, to be inspired to write a blog post by a video game, or is it? This post in particular centers around a quote by one of the playable characters in the game.

The main playable characters of Final Fantasy ...

The main playable characters of Final Fantasy IX, from left: Quina, Freya, Eiko, Garnet, Zidane, Steiner, Vivi, and Amarant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The only dependable thing about the future is uncertainty.”
– Amarant, Final Fantasy IX

Blunt, to the point, and true.

Do any of us truly know what’s coming, what will happen? No. The future is a gaping void that looms over our heads and expects us to try to figure out what will happen. Will we be successful? Will we fail? Will we reach our goals?

Only the future knows, but that doesn’t mean we should ever give up. We can’t decide the future, not in the long run. This doesn’t mean it’s pointless.

Can I guarantee that I’ll one day find a literary agent who loves my work, and then get a publishing contract? No, but what I can do is fight for it. I can write, I can improve my craft, and I can keep trying. Whether or not I’ll succeed, I don’t know, but at least I’ll know that I’m trying my hardest to carve out the future I see for myself.

We can plan short-term things. Going out to a movie with a friend next week? Sure. Saving up money for an eventual vacation? Absolutely. Even short-term, though, things can interrupt our plans.

We keep trucking along.

Never give up. That’s the moral of this story. Even though the only dependable thing about the future is uncertainty; keep going. You’ll get there.

Fight for what you believe in, for what you want. If you do that, then your future will be worth it. 🙂

What are your plans for the future?


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Week #1 of Writing: Success!

On Monday I started my new project with a very simple goal in mind. Write three chapters per week. At that pace, I’d have the first draft finished in three months – four if anything happens to interfere. And that’s my goal.

Four months.

In this first week, I wrote chapters 1 through 3 and therefore successfully reached the goal I’d set for myself. Having a good start is really motivating for me; it makes me want to continue and I feel like this project will keep running smoothly.

I know there will be times when I’m less motivated, but I’ll push my way through them. Nothing will stand in the way of me and my four-month deadline.

So far, I’m really pleased with the story’s progress and that has me in a good mood. So, enjoy this short excerpt from chapter three!

“Talking to yourself, hmm?”

Avalyn whirled around, coming face-to-face with the foreign noble.

“You do realize most people would question your sanity… correct?” Kieran stepped out of the doorway, sauntering towards her.

“But you don’t?” Her momentary peace dispersed and her muscles clamped up. He made her uneasy and that discomfort made her drop her polite façade. “Tell me, what does that make you then?”

You know, I don’t know why, but I get the feeling that Avalyn doesn’t like Kieran. Huh. Go figure.The World Ends With You

That’s all for this post! Here’s hoping week #2 goes just as well as week #1!

How was your weekend?

Now I’m going to barricade myself in my room and play more The World Ends With You. Just bought it this week and I’m having fun with it!


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Exercise: Getting healthy!

Between writing, working, studying Japanese, and having time for myself, it’s time for me to start losing weight. Now, weight is something most people are uncomfortable talking about, but I believe that opening up and talking about it can have great benefits.

Why? Because when others know your goals, or know that you’re working on losing weight, they can help. Even simple things like moral support are of great assistance to someone with low self-esteem. Or maybe your family and friends can help you make healthier food choices.

Support, in the end, is a necessity. It makes you feel like you’re not alone and that your battle isn’t fruitless.Just Dance 4I ordered Just Dance 4 from amazon last week and it arrived today. I played the demo of its prequel before it came out and enjoyed it, which led me to buy this one. I played it for 40 minutes tonight and I must say, I could feel it working!

Aside from this, I also have some dumbbells and a weighted jump rope for exercise. My grandparents also have a treadmill; we just need to get it out of the garage.

Between these things, I’ve got a good exercise routine going. Add the fact that I’m eating more fruit and am cutting back on snacks, and I think weight loss is something I’ll be successful in.

I’m down 15 lbs already this year, and that was before all these changes. Now, I’m going to lose even more!

What I’d like to say to everyone is that, if you have a goal, no matter what it is – weight loss, writing, drawing, work-related, anything – just go for it. Get support from the people around you and don’t give up. Remember that a lot of people have achieved their goals and if they can, then so can you.

If you fight for it, you’ll make it.

Have a great week, everyone. 🙂


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Let’s write – a new project!

That’s right. I’m finally going to kick my butt into gear and put my pen to paper. Or, in this case, my fingers to my keyboard. My muse decided to fling a new project at me and I’ve been writing the character bios and the rough outline this weekend.

My goal? Start writing tomorrow, on Monday, and go for at least three chapters every week. Going at that speed, it should only take me roughly three months to write the book! Four if anything interferes. So I’ll go for just shy of four months.

December 1st. That’s when I plan to have this novel finished.

My lovely new board that I bought last week to keep my projects organized! I'm so happy with it. Just wait until I fill it up with all kinds of little notes.

My lovely new board that I bought last week to keep my projects organized! I’m so happy with it. Just wait until I fill it up with all kinds of little notes.

The project will be dark fantasy, set in a world of my own creation, that mixes technology with magic and ancient kingdoms.

Personally, I’m excited to start writing! The characters are calling out to me and I can’t wait to bring life to their story. Tomorrow can’t come soon enough. Maybe I’ll go to bed early so it comes sooner. 😉

I hope you’ve all had a great weekend, and have a fantastic week!