Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


Juggling Projects: How do you do it?

Most of you know that I finished the first draft of my novel, Tales of The Forbidden and am now in the first stage of editing. Alongside that, I am also writing its sequel, Mercy of The Forbidden.

This is proving to be more difficult than I expected.

He demands that I edit and write.

It sounds simple enough: Two projects, one editing, one writing. If I’m not in the mood to write, edit, and vice versa. Mix that with college, a part-time job, some household things, and just time to relax, and it becomes a lot more complicated.

It’s a struggle to figure out exactly how to spend my time, especially as my schedule is different every week due to varying work hours. It’s essentially impossible to have the same schedule every day.

I’ve considered trying to write a certain amount of time every day, but again, my schedule causes issues when it comes to that. Even something as simple as “Edit one chapter per week.” becomes more difficult than it needs to be.

I want to write and I want to edit, but I can’t justify staying up until 2 every day to do so, and then have to get up at 7 to start the next day. I need to find a balance, but at this point in time, I’m finding that difficult. I try and it works out well for a brief amount of time, and then something throws a wrench in my schedule.

I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this, so let me ask you:

How do you juggle different things, yet make sure you have time for yourself?


Back in the groove!

After weeks of difficulties when it came to writing, things are improving. As you can see in the progress bar on the right side of my page, I added a couple hundred words to the draft of Mercy of The Forbidden.

It’s not much, but a start, and this start is helping me find my way back into a pattern and schedule.

Slow and steady wins the race, right?

It’s still a bit of a struggle, considering I also have college and a part-time job to deal with, and want to have time for reading and just other things, but I’m much closer to finally finding the method that just works for me.

I read a lot these past two days – manga, sure, but it’s a step back towards reading more regularly. Even manga can become a great source of inspiration.

I have tomorrow off from both college and work, so I intend to get some major words on paper. See that word count? I want to write at least double that; see about finishing chapter one.

You’ll find out how it went on Wednesday.

Until then, have a great week everyone, and enjoy the last of your weekend!


Here, there, and everywhere!

That’s where my mind has been this week. Except “everywhere” doesn’t include Tales of The Forbidden or Mercy of The Forbidden.

I really need to work on that.

You all are my witnesses; I will write tomorrow. Yes? Good. Tomorrow, after class, I will write. No excuses. None whatsoever. No getting distracted by other things, nor suddenly having the urge to clean and completely reorganize my bedroom.

If that’s not procrastination, I don’t know what is.

Part of my problem is that between class and work, I don’t do anything. I can’t seem to push myself to write that hour, or two, or three that I have between those two separate things. I need to work on that and it is a work in progress; I just need to remember to try – to push myself.

I will try.

These drafts, whether written or unwritten, cannot escape from me.

They won’t escape from me.

Ignore the fact that this blog is technically about fifteen minutes late. Namely, it’s Thursday already, for me.


Writing: What preparations do you make?

As I’ve stated in earlier posts, everyone has their own technique when it comes to writing. Whether someone writes on the fly, creates detailed outlines, or has some style stuck between the two – every way is the right way. No matter what you do when you write, if it feels right, then it is right.

English: Book and apparatus for writing. Engra...

Image via Wikipedia

I tend to create very basic chapter outlines, when it comes to my novels. However, that isn’t a fool-proof method.

For Tales of The Forbidden, I had basic outlines for the first twenty chapters, but wrote everything without a guideline after that.

For Mercy of The Forbidden, I’m hoping to finish the basic chapter outlines – even if I do not follow them exactly, as I didn’t with the first book.

The outlines I make leave much to be desired. For an example:


Josephus seeks out Damien and asks for protection for his daughter. After his wife began sensing the presence of her former allies in their area, they have begun to fear for their daughter’s safety and wish for her to be safe, even if they are not.

An agreement is made between them.

Despite being very basic, it gives me the main idea and from there, I write the prologue or chapter accordingly. Sometimes, other things come up and I move things to later, or include something entirely different, so chapter content may vary from the outlines by the time I finish the book.

Even so, the basic idea is there and the outlines help me to have a rough idea of where I need to go with my writing.

Primarily, the outlines are a dull afterthought in my mind when I write; small details that keep me on the bare path that gets expanded on as the book goes on.

What works for me might not work for you. Feel free to share your experience when it comes to your writing process and the preparation that goes into it before you begin the real novel-writing. Or short stories and poetry, for that matter!

Share your technique and let’s exchange!

Don’t forget about my current giveaway! It ends Sunday! Click here to learn more.