Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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

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Music: An Inspiration

This week, I took the time to listen to some music I haven’t heard in a while. Some of the bands, singers, and artists I’ve neglected recently. From Within Temptation to Tokio Hotel to The Gazette – English, German, Japanese. I returned to it all. There are two reasons for this, but one of them is a specific cause.

Panic! At the Disco’s new album, Death of A Bachelor, releases on Friday. My favorite band since I was twelve and the music I can always turn to and be entertained by; how could this upcoming release not excite me?PATD_Cover_FINAL_Death of a Bachelor

I’ve stayed in the loop as they released singles. I’ve listened to them all.

Now, I’m ready to hear the final product.

You might wonder why this led me to listen to other music. It’s really quite simple. Music is inspiration. Singers are artists. Writers. Storytellers. Music is one of my greatest inspirations. The right song of album can guide me through scenes I need to write. Finding the right song can create that burst of inspiration, that EUREKA moment that gets me unstuck if I’m struggling.

Music is a large part of my writing.

With the release of their new album, a new burst of inspiration is sure to come. I need to be ready for it.

How does music inspire you?

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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?


Which songs inspire you?

We all like specific types of music and different music inspires different things.

I’ll be frank, I mostly listen to video game soundtracks while writing – but that doesn’t mean music with lyrics can’t inspire stories or ideas. While I write with (mostly) lyric-less music, I do enjoy a lot of music with lyrics and by listening to songs, ideas tend to spark in my mind. My current side-project, for example, was in part inspired by the song Haunted by the band Disturbed.

However, while writing Tales of The Forbidden, I tend to listen to the Persona 3 soundtrack. Here’s one of the songs from that soundtrack that manages to inspire various things. I could put it on repeat for hours. But don’t get me wrong: I love the entire soundtrack.

Which song inspires you the most? Do you work best with or without music? Let me know in the comments!


Don’t Miss Your Life

Today’s post will be short and to the point.

Take a step back and observe your life. Do you do things that are fun? Do you spend time with family and friends? Or are your days filled with work and responsibilities and not an ounce of fun and relaxation?

If that’s the case, and even if it’s not, take four minutes to listen to this song and watch the video. Phil Vassar shows just how important it is to keep in mind what really matters in life.

This song brings me to tears every time I listen to it, because the truth is harsh and shown so spectacularly well in this song. Remember that sometimes it’s OK to mess up and to be a bit lax with your responsibilities, to say no and go do something not related to work. And most importantly, please remember:

Don’t miss your life.


Are there different ways to get the same results?

Of course. Now, before I start blatantly describing why I think that and asking you what your opinion is, let me offer some background information. Mull it over and think about what’s coming.

See that cereal box? There are multiple ways to got about saving, or not saving, this situation.

Something I’ve noticed, particularly in the educational system, is that teachers want their students to study the way they find best. Copy the text five times to memorize it, sit and read the same passage a gazillion times and so on and so forth. It’s frustrating, because you sit there and think, But that method doesn’t work for me! Even if you say it out loud, it falls upon deaf ears.

Very few teachers understand the concept of the existence of various ways to get the same result. Sure, some students can copy the text and learn that way, while others can read it and absorb its contents. That does not mean that, that method works for everyone.

The same occurs in other things – work, writing, creating, life, everything. There are always multiple manners in which one can solve problems, or varying ways to meet one’s goals.

Some people write at night, with music. Others write during the day, in utter silence. Some prefer music with lyrics, while others want instrumentals. There are so many small details that come into play, that it’s impossible to find a common way that works for everyone. People have preferences and as long as it shows in their work that they found those, who are teachers, or employers, to judge?

I work better when I have a busy schedule. Others want peace. Does that mean either way is right or wrong?


Find your own path.


Concert: Within Temptation – A Way to Relax

First, let me apologize for the lacking post this past Friday. I went to a Within Temptation concert that evening and by the time I got home, I did very little other than check my email before getting some sleep.

Within Temptation

Image by computerartsde via Flickr

The concert was amazing and a welcome change between college, changing up my social media websites, and finishing the last details of my upcoming collection. This gave me the chance to just take a step back and let all the stress that bothered me lately go – even if just for a few hours.

This was the fourth concert I’ve gone to, but the first with a female singer. It was a pleasant change and Sharon sung those songs amazingly. Even the opening act fit the general style of the main act, which tends not to happen often. I don’t have pictures this time, due to the fact that I simply stood in the far back and enjoyed the music, instead of trying to make it as far to the front as I could.

Overall, I enjoyed the night; it was an amazing concert and I don’t regret going at all. I loved having the chance to sing along and just relax; it promised a nice weekend. I spent Saturday redesigning my Twitter background and Facebook page with a friend, and today was just sheer relaxing.

For writers, artists, and everyone else, it’s important to know what to do to relax – whether with music, movies, friends, or something entirely different. Figure out what works best for you and life becomes a lot easier.

Just make it to that point and don’t let stress get to you.


Panic! At the Disco: Live in Concert

I promise to go back to writing-based blogs soon, but I need to write about this, so I have it on black and white. I mentioned in my earlier post Just For The Record: Music, that I was heading to a concert that night – Panic! At the Disco, to be precise.

Live Concert

The concert seemed too short. There’s no other way to describe it. Being there was an amazing experience and I had a wonderful time. The opening act turned out better than I expected and Panic! blew even my wildest ideas of seeing them in concert out of my mind.

They are amazing live, had great, entertaining conversations between songs and all in all, drew the crowd into the performance. We weren’t just viewers, we were a part of the experience. In my opinion, that’s what sets a good live band apart from a bad live one- how much they interact with the crowd; the people who came to see them.

They dedicated their song, Always, to us. They thanked us for spending our Friday night with them, and not at home watching cartoons and eating ice cream (as Brendon put it). They showed their gratitude and how much it truly meant to them.

They dedicated another song to the victims and families of the dead, or injured, from the Pukkelpop Fiasco, which happened only a night before. You can read Spencer’s recollections of the night here.

The rundown is that a horrible storm hit a music festival in Belgium just as Panic! wanted to go on stage. Over 60,000 people outside or in tents when it hit. Last I heard, there were five deaths, a dozen severely injured and even more with minor injuries. My heart goes out to everyone involved.

As Spencer says in that article,

We were about 30 seconds from going on stage to start our set when the light rain turned into a downpour….and then the wind hit. The steel beams holding up the tent started swaying, as did the full lighting/sound rig. In fear of it all collapsing everyone started running out. Then the wind got stronger and it turned into chaos.

They recovered, and the rest of the weekend festival got cancelled. How Panic! managed to go on stage only twenty-four hours after that is beyond me, but I commend them for having the courage to do so. They are an inspiration to me and always have been.

I will never forget that amazing night and the pictures I took will serve as wonderful memories.

Live Concert

What is your best concert memory?

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