How To Find Your Footing After a Life Changing Trip

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Something happened to me after Paris. After having been set loose in a new place, free to dream and wonder, organically absorbing every inch of space, every square of sky, eager to create a whole new Parisian version of myself…I got back to the same-old life (I loved), same-old me (of whom I’ve been so proud of)…same-old reality hit me in the face, looking pretty colorless.

After a life-changing trip is over, you are here but there. You want to get your life going again, but cannot close your eyes without seeing the places you feel in love stuck underneath your eyelids. So, yes, I’ve been feeling pretty soulless lately. I’ve had no time for inspiration, when I’m hoping I might find a ticket back to that feeling of new and excitement waiting for me just around the next corner…

Lost

Somewhere along the way back from Paris, in between the first departure and the last arrival, I lost a bit of soul. I lost  a bit of interest. I lost track. The truth is, the City of Light left me in an existential trance. How could any of the usual spots, the routines,  the conversations, could ever compare to what it had been?

We are rushed out of a plane. We expect to flip a switch. We are told welcome home, and we are happy to be back, but somehow, we get the eerie feeling we left something behind. The longer the trip, the more time we need to adjust to the jet-light of our normal, everyday life. It’s OK to feel a little lost.

What we have lost is what we wanted to lose in the first place, our old frame of reference, our minds and our world has been completely altered, they expanded, away from us. Now we have this knowledge, we’ve been there, and we have to make it all fit in the same old suitcase.

Found

I’m back. I found my way back after a month of being back. And these are a couple of insights for you. Because I believe, whether we are experienced travelers or about to take off to our first adventure, the nostalgia quick-sand that follows a life changing trip has the power to take us all down. I hope these ideas ease your way back.

  1. Unload down on paper. Memories fluttering around in your head, images that haunt you in your sleep (or keep you from sleeping) write them down, pin them on a board, plaster them on a canvas, use those emotions as creative fuel.
  2. Find new magic in an old place. The city where you currently live has its own quite charm. Get out and revisit your local region with new eyes. There’s inspiration to be found there.
  3. Reconnect with home. Learn something new about the history and culture of your neck of the woods, your corner of the world. Embrace its traditions, food and music, experience them as if for the first time. How does it feel?
  4. Meet and greet the new you. Yes, this trip has changed you, in more ways than one. Go get a coffee with this new self, ask her/him about her perspective on life.
  5. Plan that next adventure. Maybe the best place to set our mind to is on that next dream, maybe the best place to put our foot down is on that next city, trail, ship, plane, mountain range 🙂 Give your soul a new limit to overcome a new goal to set its sight toward.

A life changing trip pulls you apart, but there comes a moment when you realize that your soul is like a spring, it comes back again, with force.

 

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How are those goals and dreams?

How are those goals and dreams?

Standing smack in the middle of 2017, it’s time to assess. How are your goals and dreams for this year coming along? Have you been focusing on progress? Have you been gathering small personal and professional victories?

It’s important for us creatives to constantly check on our goals and be inspired by our dreams. We might get overwhelmed by all we wish to accomplish, or simply lose track of our many projects and ideas, while feeling frustrated or stuck.

Goals and dreams should be looked over everyday. However, just like the creative entrepreneurs that we are, implementing a “mid-term performance assessment” will give us a measure of control, a boost to our self-confidence and another opportunity to generate self-accountability.

This year, unintentionally at first, I decided to commit to (at least) one milestone per month. It’s been rewarding to fill my year with a variety of experiences, finding ways to connect them with my overarching goal of living a creative life and pursuing my journey as a writer.

Actively looking for these experiences/opportunities has generated a lot of positive emotions. Sometimes, progress needs to be scratched under the surface. Sometimes, the things we do need a new perspective to find the connection we were missing. Sometimes, the smallest accomplishments make us remember we are indeed, moving forward.

Jan: Publication of one of my poems in Hound Magazine Winter-Spring Edition.

Feb: Interview with Hound Mag for Spring-Summer Edition.

Mar: Photoshoot for interview.

Expo Mujer: Entrevista con Ella.

Apr: Publication of Interview Hound Mag: El Camino y La Ventana.

Feria del Libro/Dia de la Lectura: Promoting bilingual reading with Simona.

May: Publication of Forever Maybe.

Jun: Donation of books to Equestrian School (Sebastian, bilingual edition)

Upcoming: The dream of a lifetime!

Tell me about your creative year so far. What are some of your small victories?

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The Forever Maybe Playlist (Part I)

The Forever Maybe Playlist (Part I)

When I sat to write Forever Maybe, there was a playlist that inspired me along the way. These songs echoed the emotional core of the novel. They unstuck the flow of emotions and words within me. They became the backdrop behind certain moments; the songs my characters were singing in their heads, the words they could not say.

As I needed reassurance and motivation, the songs listed below popped on the radio, by the force of serendipity. Then, I began to actively look for them, keeping them close, not letting their magic flutter away.

I created a personal playlist. It became the soundtrack of the movie that was playing in my mind, as characters came into their own, and the story was no longer mine, but yours, and free.

It all began, innocently enough, on an…

1. Ordinary Day

2. Perfect Strangers

3. Call Me Maybe

4. I’ll Never Forget You

5. Who Knew

To be continued…

Hope you enjoy reading with this playlist in the background, as I enjoyed writing!

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Click to read the book for FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

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Another Self-Publishing Milestone

Another Self-Publishing Milestone

Forever Maybe, my second self-published novel, is finally up on the virtual shelves of Amazon and  the CreateSpace Store.

It took me two years from the publication of my first novel, Sweet Abigail, to complete and publish this one. Retrieving and reliving old memories was the fuel that kept the fire of Forever Maybe glowing, the ideas flowing. But memories can take their toll. By the end, I was exhausted.

No, this novel is not a memoire by any means. 80% of the things that take place within its pages is pure fiction. The remaining 20% happened in a completely different way. Of course, its emotional core was inspired by snippets from my own adolescence, my own bitter-sweet memories of life and love. I juiced every drop of nostalgia out of me; it was worth it if my readers get to glimpse at something that feels real.

In its original form the story was titled “That Boy I knew.” But after my first novel, I knew titles evolve, a story evolves, and can even transform into something totally new. It had already happened to the seed of this story once, in what became Sweet Abigail. As I began writing, again, I sensed a trend in one of its characters; an unwillingness to make a decision, a tendency to drag her feet, to stay inside a comfort zone, a “middle way”, not because of conviction, but because of fear. That developed into its final (fitting) title.

(Keep reading for  little teaser!)

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The story of Jordan Ventura and Elia Young is a collection of things unsaid. It’s a platonic romance, that in the span of a decade, battered by distance and silence, refused to go away. Its internal dialogue takes place within memories and diary pages. It moves its main characters beyond second chances, and asks a simple question:

How long would you wait for a third chance at true love?

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Inspiration from Positive Emotions

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As writers we have an unlimited library, stocked full of emotions to work with. Many of us spent our youth hording a wide array of feelings, the product of years of not letting go of a single memory, a single mistake, a single regret. But also, by not letting go of the good, the great, the wonderful.

Because, even the darkest piece of writing should have a little light.

That light gives it contrast, put things in perspective. That light comes from many of the less thrilling, edgy and sexy emotions; gratitude, serenity, joy, love. The total absence of these emotions is not good for the soul of the story or the writer.

To strengthen the force of characters waist deep in misery, you should be able to create uplifting counter parts. Plots that stretch the limits of human suffering can offer glimpses of humanity underneath. Bleak dystopias could pose challenging questions, asking its characters to redefine their own reality, and challenge ourselves to dig deeper into what we are doing to our world.

Finding inspiration from positive emotions can be, for some writers, a way to step out of their comfort zone. For others, it might mean truly exploring the memories attached to those emotions, their source, and finding new ways to translate into words the relationships and feeling, that are mostly taken for granted in our every day lives.

Are you in touch with your positive emotions? How are they showing in your writing?

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Find Your Toughest Critic

Find Your Toughest Critic

I was feeling pretty great about the first draft of my next novel. I had buckled up, and reviewed the whole thing through. Now came the difficult part of showing the work to someone else. For this task, I recruited, for the second time, the assistance of my sister. She had help me make Sweet Abigail a more cohesive story. She had pointed some obvious flaws and areas where the path led nowhere.

I knew she would be supportive, she would begin by saying I had done a good job of coming up with ideas, taking the time to write and sticking with my dream. I also knew she would be brutally honest, and that’s exactly what she was.

After my sister read it, we had our discussion call. We laugh, I jotted down her questions, the gaps that needed filling. And her feedback was clear: “there’s no way this is finished!”

Wow! What a blow…

My sister is one of the toughest critic I have. She has always been. I know I can reach out to her for the perspective I’m missing. When we were younger, she never shied away from criticizing of myself and my style. Now, as adults, her sense of criticism has matured. Now there’s a clear appreciation for I am and do. Now her criticism is constructive.

With her questions and comments, she laid down in front of me an opportunity. To make the story better. To tell the whole story. The story that is still there.The first draft fulfilled its purpose. It was the bare bones. A step forward. A small dose of risk and vulnerability. Now I have to build the muscle, pump more blood into it, more life. Thanks sis!

Now comes the next fun part 😉

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