Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


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Back to blogging! Why I’ve been gone.

My last post was on April 19th. Yikes!

Let’s dust off these cobwebs, shall we?

It has been a long couple of months for me. Ever since that last blog post in April, I’ve been going, going, and going, and haven’t had much time to stop. On May 1st, I moved out of my parents’ house, and from Germany back to the United States, where I was born. I’m now sitting happily in Washington state, back home, surrounded by family I hadn’t seen in almost eight years.

The moment I got here, I had to get a job and get all my affairs sorted, which luckily didn’t take too long. Between that and catching up with family, I haven’t had much time to do anything.

On June 3rd, my grandmother passed away. She was seventy-six years old and in the best health she had been in for years. Her death was unexpected and a hard blow for my family. We spent weeks dealing with the service and everything else that we needed to do, and I couldn’t focus much on anything else during that time.

I got to pet, and play with, Mimi, a 9-week-old baby tiger! That was an amazing experience.

Things calmed down for about a week once July came around, but then I flew to Dallas with two aunts and two cousins on the 11th, and we spent twelve days in Texas and Oklahoma on vacation. We just got back from that yesterday afternoon.

Now, it’s time to get my stuff back in order. I want to slowly ease myself back into my usual routine. I need to start writing again, and my plan is to write three chapters per week to begin with. For now, I can’t guarantee three blog posts every week, but I will do my best to post at least once every week (Wednesdays), and if I have more time, on Sundays as well. Depending on my schedule each week, there may be Friday posts.

I’ll write more detailed blog posts about things I did on vacation and my move back to the US in the near future. For now, I just wanted to get this summary post written, and kick-start my blogging schedule.

Thank you to everyone who has been patiently waiting for me to return. More posts coming soon!

How’ve you all been?

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Change of Pace: Summer Holidays

Very little feels better than getting that piece of paper that signifies your grades at the end of the semester and coming to realize that you passed with flying colors. Top of the class and on to the next year.

One of the things that surpasses that sensation is time off; six weeks, exactly. As of yesterday, June 22nd, my holiday has begun and I will have freedom until the 9th of August. A month and a half that I will use to work on my novel, catch up on my reading and just general relaxing. My novel is at a solid 36,000 words now. By the end of my holiday, I intend to have at least 50,000; it is very likely I will overcome that obstacle and venture even closer to my last word count.

To give a more precise plan: It is my goal to write a minimum of 5,000 words per week. With that schedule, I shall reach 50,000 by the midway point of my vacation. By extent, it means I could easily hit 65,000 words by August. Let’s make that my secondary goal, shall we?

The nifty little progress bar on the side of my page will change when I complete a chapter. After the holidays, it’ll reach at least 50%. Making my secondary task will have it at 75%. That’s progress, if I ever saw any.

I plan to get so much writing done, because I have a busy year ahead of me. As it is my exam year, I’m unsure how much time I’ll have to spend on my novel – and writing in general. It is a journey into the unknown. When the time comes, we will know how matters turn out. I will make it work. Nothing, even impending exams, will keep me from finishing this book by my nineteenth birthday.

As for unknown and uncharted territories; I will find my way into one from the 24th of September until the 21st of October. For four weeks, I will live with a yet-unnamed family in France, for an obligatory abroad work experience, organized by my college. For almost a month, I shall live and work in France; I will learn the culture, improve my language skills and find inspiration in ways that I never would have otherwise. Even if I cannot write while there; when I return, I will have inspiration aplenty.

Nothing will stand in my way of completing this novel, nor commencing the editing process and its sequel.

What are your plans when it comes to writing this summer? Do you have specific plans for your blog, reading or writing? Or do you have different plans altogether?


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Breaking Out The Big Guns

Education is both a gift and a sin.

For these past two weeks, college has piled on so much work that I have been unable to find time to write – both this blog and my fiction writing. To prevent this from keeping up, my Easter Holidays have decided to arrive at a convenient time. In two days, Friday the 15th of April, my vacation will start and I will be free from class until May 2nd. This means the days will be long, time will be there, and specific Word documents will get dusted off.

My deadline for the first draft of my novel is approaching.

With all this free time on my hands (because, honestly; the holidays are pretty much here already), it’s time to up my game.

7,500. One week. Three weeks of vacation.

Minimum.

What this means is that I intend to write at least 7,500 words a week throughout this blessed freedom. It breaks down to 1,500 words in five days – nine to five, excluding weekends. Writing is a job; a profession to focus on like any other career, or else it will smack me in the face and send me rolling downhill until I hit the brick wall at the bottom called Writer’s Block.

I don’t want that to happen.

With the amount of 7,500 words a week and nearly three weeks of holiday, that totals to 22,500 words. I’m at 19,070 words now – I would essentially write at least double what I’ve done thus far, if not more. That progress sounds like the gentle tone of Angel’s singing Hallelujah in my ears. Or maybe more like Eureka.

Either way, progress is good. I won’t fight it, but I’ll sure as heck fight for it.

The work I have during my vacation is minimal – a couple of hours here and there, so there’s no reason for me not to write. I will hit 22,500 and I’ll try my best to soar through that and end up further than I expected. 50,000 total, anyone? I’m only 30,930 words away from that. A little over 10,000 words a week for these three weeks and I’ll reach it.

If I manage that, I’ll be ecstatic and you’ll definitely know it. For now, it’s time to get started on the 7,500 words between now and next Wednesday. I’m living this very second, so why not get it started, right?

What is the most you’ve ever written in a week, or a day? How did you do it?