Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


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First 1 1/2 Weeks In Germany!

Anyone who has ever traveled somewhere with a time difference of more than just a couple of hours will agree with this statement:

Jet lag is evil.

I landed in Germany on the morning of September 14th and have dealt with the daily struggle of fighting to stay awake halfway through each day. Slowly, it’s gotten better and if all goes well, I should be fully adjusted in a day or two. I hope.

Things have been normal while visiting my parents so far. Sleep, naps, catching up on some shows (Lucifer and Master Chef), trying out new shows (Lethal Weapon), and playing games (currently Ni No Kuni and Xenoblade Chronicles). Now that my mind isn’t as frazzled from jet lag, it’s time to get back into writing as well.

Starting Monday, I’m planning for daily writing with a hope of 10,000 words per week. If I manage 2,000 words each day during the week, that gives me either free weekends or time to get extra words written!

With National Novel Writing Month just around the corner, I need to finish the first draft of this book so I can start something new during that event!

That aside, I’ve successfully stolen the dog’s affections and have been walking her on occasion as well. Now, time to relax this weekend before writing kicks into gear on Monday!

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A New Year – 2016

Happy New Year!

I hope that everyone transitioned from 2015 into 2016 safely with their friends and family. Me? I was in bed at 10 PM since I had to be up by 5 AM and at work by 6 AM. The transition for me, therefore, was spent in bed.

Not a bad thing, if I dare say so.

For the next few weeks, everyone’s bound to discuss their New Year’s Resolutions. Personally, I’ve decided not to go with any clear-cut resolutions.

My goal for 2016 is to be happy.

While 2015 was in no means a bad year and there were several highlights (I joined a writer’s group, spent a weekend at the ocean, went to San Japan, went to Pax Prime for the first time), parts of the year dragged on and came with some challenges. I don’t regret 2015 and by no means will I disregard it, but my goal for the coming year is to make it better.

Happiness.

Naturally, I hope each and every one of you has a fantastic 2016.

Let’s make this the greatest year yet!


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First Draft – Done!

I’m not going to beat around the bush. The first draft of Kaine & Vera’s book… is done.

The book ended with a total of 66,723 words, which is on the short side, but in editing I’ll be adding two brand new chapters and will be fleshing some things out. I expect to get it close to 80,000 after editing.

For now, though, after staying up until 3 AM last night to finish the final chapter (which involved writing 4,313 words last night), then writing the epilogue today… I am done. It’s time to crash and rest.

Wednesday begins the adventure of my next book.


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Final stages…

Things have been overwhelming lately.

So much has been going on and now I’m approaching the end of the first draft of Kaine and Vera’s book. All that’s left is the final scene plus an epilogue. The end is nigh and if all goes well, it could be done by the end of the week.

And after that, I’ll be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo during which I’ll be starting a new book. While I write the next book, I’ll let Kaine and Vera’s book rest so I can tackle editing with a fresh perspective on it later.

Just a few more days and this book should be done!

I’ll definitely advise you when I reach the end. 😉


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Steady Revival

Slow and steady wins the race, many people say. That’s the strategy I’ll be applying in bringing my blog back from the dead. I’ll breathe life back into this page and wipe off the dust, one blog post at a time.

My starting schedule will be one day per week, on Wednesdays. Halfway through the work week (did I mention I’ve switched jobs since my last post in September?).

I suppose I should summarize what all has happened in the past few months, since my last post at the start of September. Brace yourselves for this quick, bare-minimum summary that’s being written close to 1 AM! I really should sleep, shouldn’t I?

A new, happier me!

A new, happier me!

  • Lost some weight.
  • Practiced driving with two friends and got my driver’s license!
  • Got a method of transportation.
  • Job hunting!
  • Left the fast food industry.
  • Started a new job in customer service at the end of October.
  • Met my absolute favorite author Ilona Andrews!

Five weeks of training later, I officially started work on December 1st. What I have not been doing much of during this busy, busy time is writing. I know. That’s the one thing I should be doing, but never fear! As I now am bringing my blog back from the dead, I also vow to start writing once again.

Daily. I don’t care how many words, as long as I write every day (although 1,000 words sounds like a nice daily goal).

There’s the summary of my past few months. Now that that’s out of the way, I’m excited to get back in the swing of things!

So, what have I missed?


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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. 🙂