Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


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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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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? ūüôā


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Life’s Distractions

This is just a short post to let all of you know that, yes, I am still here. As much as I hate having missed three blog posts, I needed to get through the week so that things can return to normal.

This week, I officially finished college, and also finished my time at my part-time job. Now, all my time will be going into writing, relaxing, and planning for my move to the States.

For anyone who’s curious, it should be somewhere around September.

Anyways! Stick around; regular posts will return on Friday, and Sunday, some real major writing will begin!


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Life in France: Day 1 + 2

Yeah, you heard me. I went there.

That aside, I figured that since it turned out I could get internet on my laptop, that I’d start something a little special. An abroad blog as it were. This is an entirely spontaneous idea and I decided to roll with it.

This means that for the between now and October 21st, I’ll be blogging every day. Some blogs will be shorter than others, evidently depending on the day’s events, if I can wrap it in a nice package, and how tired I am. This first post, as shown in the title, will consist of days 1 and 2, yesterday and today. So, here goes:

Day 1, September 24th

This was a long day; there’s no other way to put it. I rolled out of bed at 6:45, was out the door by 7:45 and on the first train by 9:00. Between getting on that train and arriving at the station in Paris, we had a delay, got kicked off the train and moved to another one, before we could continue our journey. We being myself, a classmate and my French teacher.

After arriving there, we had to take the subway to a different train station – God, the subways in Paris are crammed – and then take a train there at 15:00, putting us at our destination shortly after five. There, the people we’re staying with came to pick us up and Kujtesa, my teacher and I said our goodbyes.

By then, I needed sleep. Badly. Despite that, I agreed to go to a barbecue with the woman I’m staying with – Melanie. Joining ten people speaking rapid French after a long day like that? Not my best idea. Needless to say, by 21:15 I said I was tired, she brought me back to the house and I was out by 22:00.

Day 2, September 25th

After a rough night (I kept waking up), I got up at 8:30 to get ready for the planned meet-up with my teacher and classmate. Got to the meeting place at 11:00, only to find out Kujtesa’s guest family (the girl in my class), lives outside of town in the weekends and because of that, she couldn’t attend.

So, I spent the day alone with my teacher. It was amazing how oddly difficult speaking French to, well, French people was. Asking for something as simple as a map of the city took a minute of stuttering. The second time I asked for information, it went better. Yay for that.

We toured the city, saw where I’ll work this month and had lunch. In between, she made me translate stuff and whatnot. It was a busy day. Around 16:00, I had to make my way back to the apartment alone with the tram. Much to my surprise, I got out at the right stop and found the right apartment on my first try.

That was two hours ago.

Currently, Dr. House is speaking French on this talking picture box. I am greatly disturbed.

Time to kick back and relax; maybe get some words written if my dear muse cooperates. At the very least, I’m just taking the night off, watching some television and chatting.

Tomorrow’s my first day at work.

Won’t that be a tale to tell about?

Let me know what you think of these journal-like posts for this month, and the post-a-day concept. I’d love to hear what you think!


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New Place; Alive and Still Kicking

In the very least, this past week has been hectic.

Between working overtime at my part-time job, having my last busy week in college and getting ready to move to a new apartment; life wanted to make sure every shred of my time went to those three things. Needless to say, I have done little to no writing this past week, but change is coming!

College is nearing its close, I expect work will be less severe and as of today, we moved in.

This means I won’t need to spend as much time on those matters and will free up time for my writing. A very good thing, I do believe. I intend to do a lot of writing throughout the summer holidays. I have a word count to catch up on and I want one novel finished, at the very latest, by the end of 2011.¬†My last chance to get a fair amount of writing done¬†might be¬†summer, as after the holidays I will enter my college exam year. As if it couldn’t get any worse, I will also be abroad for four weeks. While the prospect is intriguing and I am very much looking forward to working in France for a month, as part of my education; it will cut into my time. Depending on how things go while I’m abroad, though, I will attempt to get writing done every day, even if it’s only a paragraph.

But for now, I’m going to spend the rest of the day relaxing and hopefully getting some writing done. It’s been a long day, so I’m looking forward to kicking back and letting the rest of the day pass by; uneventfully, preferably.

My next blog will focus more on my writing, promise.

How do you deal with writing while life is throwing obstacles at you? Have you ever worked or studied in a foreign country and if so, how did you deal with it?


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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 Рboth 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?