Just Keep Swimming: Finding Passion and Motivation

Along with the release of Smoke and Ashes my life has been humming along in the background, busier than ever. In the many events, signings, travels, and interviews I’ve been involved with lately, I had loads of wonderful questions, but one really great one… a question about my that has stuck with me over the weeks and helped me to objectively evaluate all life’s exquisite motion.

The question was simple: What motivates you to keep pushing forward?

At the time it was just a question about writing and in that case the answer was simple. I write because I’m drawn to it. It is my passion. It is just as Life Lesson Passionmuch a part of me as the air I breathe. There are days in which I don’t write, in which life steps into the way and blocks me from my passion. Those are the days I feel lost, adrift in a world that is moving fast, changing, and evolving under my fingertips. In a way, writing is the way to experience the changes, the evolution of life and feelings, and the way to process all the information that barrages my thoughts and actions.

I’ve been writing forever. Since I was a child. I didn’t know I was destined to be a writer. I had MANY moments in time in which people pushed me away from writing, even though I had a strength for it (ask me about being falsely accused of plagiarism in high school, but be ready for an earful). So when it came time to decide where I wanted to focus my attention in adulthood, writing wasn’t an option. In my very sheltered and rural world I felt I had only two viable options: 1) Teaching (which would have been great, but I have the patience of a lion trying to peel a banana—a HUGE thank you to all of you out there who have become teachers. NO seriously. Thank you.) or 2) Going into the health care field (this I tried, turns out I also have terrible patience for undeserved whining—yes, please tell me how bad that sliver feels while I’m sitting with a sick child or an elderly woman with two broken hips who is so tough that she refuses her pain meds… please, I dare you).

Eventually I became a mom, focusing on the family and the needs that went along with being an island. I was a safe haven. I supported others around me as they followed their passions and found their callings in life. And I looked at my own, I reflected, I thought of the toughest moments of my short-ish life and analyzed my soul.

I’m adventurous by nature, one of those people who will try anything once—even when fear tries to hold me hostage. Writing was like that. I knew I liked it. It made me feel something beyond being an island. It made me dig at those sore spots, the ones that everyone has—those moments in time that you make the wrong choice, or embarrassed yourself, or made yourself act in a way that was for the sake of others rather than for yourself… there are a thousand of them. And I drew off them. I drew off my fears. I drew off my past failures. And I set pen to paper. Literally. The first novel I tried to write was five pages on a yellow legal pad. I gave up. I was afraid. I was afraid I didn’t have talent. Heck, I hadn’t taken a creative writing course since high school. I was too old and too young to have such frivolous ideas of writing a book. I mean do you know the odds of being published? (That was before I knew anything about the world of Amazon.) No one I knew had the freedom to be a writer—except journalists. And well, frankly I didn’t know any of them either.passion2

All I knew was that I needed to keep pushing. So I started out small. Writing little, unpaid pieces for a small, local startup magazine (which is now not a small magazine, rather a magazine with world-wide circulation and one heck of an editor).

These little things empowered me to finally start and finish my first real novel. It was terrible. (I looked at it the other day and saw some redeemable qualities… a few random gems in a dump of words.)  I sent it in to publishers and received the almost obligatory rejections that all first-time writers get.  After a few months. I saw it for the massive sinkhole it was. I cried. I picked myself up. I joined a writers group. I finally recognized that I had an obsession a passion for the creative process, and I was going to dive in head first.

Fast forward a few years… There has been ample struggle. There is always the fear of rejection. There is always the fear of being judged for your passion (someone refused to come to an event I was hosting recently because as a ‘romance’ author I wasn’t a good example for their child).  Needless to say, there continues to be struggles. The battles change from where they started at the beginning, but day-to-day you must fight. You must dig deep and often sacrifice for your calling. When people try to strip you of your passion, or marginalize it, you must have the strength to carry your head high and let their acidic words drip from you without letting them leave you with too much of a scar (I’d love to tell you to simply let them roll off, but the truth is that we’re human. No matter how old you are, male or female, rich or poor, words will always carry the vitriolic power to leave a mark.)

When you look back and are asked what motivates you the answer must always be simple: it must be the power inside you. It must be the passionate fire that burns away the negative and even in the darkest moments lights your path.

Wherever your passion lies, hold on to it with both hands. Passion is power. And power will always lead to success (often not the kind that you were seeking, but the kind of success that rests in the heart).

Top Ten Truths About Being an Author

I am often asked what is like to write a novel. On this journey of the mind and soul, I have learned a variety of often painful and sometimes pleasant lessons.  So I decided to share a few of my gems in case you are tempted to think about writing a book or if you are just an author looking for a little laughter!

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  1. If you are stuck and can’t decide what to write, drink anything highly caffeinated—don’t worry about the pain in your chest after your fifth espresso, that’s just ideas being born.
  2. Ergonomics is for wimps. If your neck, back, wrists, and eyes don’t hurt after a long day of writing, you are doing it wrong.
  3. Coffee shops are your mecca. Once you accept that you are the stereotype of a writer, you can make great use of any place that has quirky people and uppers floating in the air.
  4. Not talking about your story until it is complete is impossible. It’s like talking about your children, sometimes you just have to share. Your friends are just going to have to accept that your life revolves around little souls and souls that exist nowhere else but in your mind (don’t worry when they call you a border-line schizophrenic, take it like a compliment).
  5. In your marriage, killing a character is an acceptable rule for being in a bad mood; unless it is an antagonist, which is reason for jumping around the house like a mad woman/man.
  6. Sickness will come to the household whenever you are nearing the end of a book deadline. Make sure to get your work done early because nothing promotes a peaceful and harmonious writing environment like the soft scents of Lysol and a child’s feverish face.
  7. Putting your kids to bed early because you have a revelation about your current WIP is not only acceptable but almost required as there is nothing worse than forgetting/not utilizing the muse.
  8. Ideas only come after all of your pens are lined North to South and your chair is tilted in an exact 10 degree angle from your computer screen (or when you are trying to go to sleep and have somewhere to be early the next morning).
  9. It’s normal when you are having a conversation with one of the few friends you have left (after months of being in your writing cave) that everything they say relates to something that you have written. In fact, if this is a true friend, they will love you more for it (even if they are rolling their eyes).
  10. Every character in your book is based on someone you know. We are creatures of habit, why create a character when you have a well-known acquaintance that (not so secretly) loves to dress in drag and only eats yellow food on Wednesdays? HELLO, character quirks!

What about you? What gems have you learned along your journey?

 

*Danica’s next novel, The Curse of Zeus, Book 5 of the Nymph Series will be out Fall 2015!

Secrets of Savannah Sacrifice (Secret #5)

All right… It’s post #5!!!

For those of you who haven’t followed: For the last four weeks, I have been giving readers a song and a secret about the book!

Savannah Sacrifice carries many, many secrets. Some of the secrets are fun, some are deliciously wicked, but guaranteed you will love them all! So, grab a seat, remember to follow (and put in for the giveaways) and get ready to learn more about Savannah Sacrifice!

Please feel free to leave me a comment. And if you’ve read the book and it has made you think of a song (or something equally amazing), leave me a comment! I will be stopping by each stop, and I will post each participating entry on my Facebook/Twitter page!

(You can learn other secrets about Savannah Sacrifice by checking out last week’s post!)

So have fun!

Today’s Secret: There is a Latin prayer that takes place: Spiritus, convenientibus terra viventium. Restitue animam et corpus. Benedictus in sæcula. Gratia. Misericordia. Amor.

Roughly translated it means: Spirit, join the land of the living. Restore the body and the soul. Blessed forever. Love. Grace. Compassion.

(I don’t want to spoil anything for you following along!)

forsyth park

Today’s Song: If there is one song that would be “Starling’s Song” My Immortal would fit the bill. Starling was an incredible character to create. In trying to empathize with her struggles I would listen to this song while writing.

 

Thank you for all the love and support. I hope you enjoyed learning about some of the secrets of Savannah Sacrifice!

Danica Winters

Secrets of Savannah Sacrifice (Secret #4)

All right… It’s post #4!!!

For those of you who haven’t followed: For the next four weeks, I will be giving readers a song and a secret about the book!

Savannah Sacrifice carries many, many secrets. Some of the secrets are fun, some are deliciously wicked, but guaranteed you will love them all! So, grab a seat, remember to follow (and put in for the giveaways) and get ready to learn more about Savannah Sacrifice!

Please feel free to leave me a comment. And if you’ve read the book and it has made you think of a song (or something equally amazing), leave me a comment! I will be stopping by each stop, and I will post each participating entry on my Facebook/Twitter page!

(You can learn other secrets about Savannah Sacrifice by checking out last week’s post!)

So have fun!

Today’s Secret: Asclepius’s confession about his history, in which Zeus kills him for the resurrection of Hippolytus, is true. Artemis paid Asclepius to raise her lover. You can learn more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asclepius

Epione and Asclepius were married in Greek mythology. They had nine children together: six daughters and three sons.

Figure 1-3: The Character reference for Epione and images of Asclepius

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Figure 4: Asclepius’s Temple (Cos, Greece)

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Today’s Song: You are going to love this song! I don’t think it needs much in the way of introduction, but it certainly epitomizes Asclepius and his wife.

(I Got a Woman, Ray Charles)

I am looking forward to seeing you at the next stop!

Thank you for all the love and support,

Danica Winters