Nov.01

At the Core of it All

As I shared a few weeks ago, 2015 has not necessarily been the best for me.  I have had ups and downs with trying to keep to task.  I have tried, God only knows how many ways, to get this train of mine back on track.  To say it has been a stuggle is an understatement.

I started on this path of self discovery and reinvention at the tail end of 2012.  I rushed forward with a passion and an excitement that could not be sated as I reconnected to my love of writing and painting.  

This in turn lead me to start seriously pursuing my dreams, my goals with the hope of one day making them my career.  I met people, began networking and the advice started flowing.  As did  the deadlines and time frames started  shortening.  And then it became…
Have you submitted here…
Have you tried writing this…
You need to get this done…connect to this…sign up for that…

And for me the pressure built making it, less about the work itself and more about all the extras.  Suddenly fitting in  all the extras in began to overtake everything else.

The art and writing I reconnected to…that I loved, became swallowed by the burden of taking my self to the next level.  It had stretched me thin and the fun and excitement was gone. 

It was in this mindset, numbed out and fried, that I sat watching TV with my husband.  We began watching a T.D. Jakes sermon, where he spoke about transformation and getting back to the core of who you are meant to be.  Mr. Jakes noted that to get to your core,  “You can either cut to get at it or rot to it.”  Hearing those words was like having a film lifted off my eyes and suddenly being able to see clearly again.

image

I was allowing all the other stuff, the extra noise, to rot around the core of what I was meant to be doing.  It was killing my inspiration, my drive, my passion. 

On this path to making a dream a career I have to continue to refocus and realign to the heart of it all.  I love being a storyteller, whether it is in the form of paint on canvas or words on the page.  That is what comes first and foremost.  It is the core of what and who I am.

I share this for anyone who has had a year like mine.  Remember the reason why you started.  Hold to that and you will find your way.

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes,On Writing,Art,Artist

Oct.01

Choices

Dear Constant Reader,

While catching up with a friend today, she made the comment, “I am not a fan of this second half of 2015.”  And in looking at my year to date, part of me was inclined to agree with her.   It has felt at times as though the universe was…is…testing my resolve to hold the course.

I can almost envision the the universe peering over my shoulder, dubiously surveying my current endeavors as it leans in and whispers in my ear,

How bad do you really want this career that you claim so ardently is your calling?

Have I faltered undered pressure of that question over the past year?  Please see massive gaps between blog posts for that answer.

But more importantly, however is despite the gaps, I  keep finding my way back.  With every missed step there has been a clear and conscious choice to get back to work.  A choice to not give up on my writing…my art…myself.

“You must find the place inside yourself where nothing is impossible.” -Deepak Chopra

The universe may be determined to test my mettle this year, next year or more likely everyday for the rest of my life, but I am equally determined to make every one of my goals a reality.  How long will it take me?  I have no idea.  What I do know is all things will come with time and hustle.

image

So as I sit here writing this, a new month stretched out before me and I am ready.  While I may not be a fan of  how 2015 has rolled out so far, I know I am stronger than whatever it can swing my way.  I may have tripped and stumbled, even found myself on the floor a time or two, but I keep getting up.  Keep going and pushing forward.

Its time to hustle harder.

V-

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes,Constant Reader,On Writing

Jun.29

A Question Posed

Dear Constant Reader,

There are somethings that I believe in with all my heart.  Things that have no tangible proof other than my gut tells me so.  One such truth for me is if you are open and willing…and quite often in dire need…there will be moments when the universe will speak to you.

Ok, now before you think I’ve gone off the deep end, know that I speak of not of an actual conversation but more of a directing of purpose and passion.  In life there are moments…actions…encounters that will help steer the course of your life.  Sometimes we are able to see them later in life with some consideration and retrospect.  But there are also those rare and beautiful moments where you are so open you know the moment as it happens.

Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives.  There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. -Steven Pressfield

It will take the form of a directness so clear and profound that it resonates within you down to your core.  Your very spirit will vibrate like a  struck bell.  And please trust this my dear Constant Reader, you will definately know when it happens.

I had one such moment this past weekend, when I was speaking to my beloved Comadre and she asked the question…

Are you interested or are you committed?

Maybe I have come across this question before, maybe not,  but it is one thing to be asked this question and it is quite another to really and truly hear it…digest the intent of those words and then to be honest with yourself about what the answer is.

Those words have played in a loop in my mind since then.  My dear Constant Reader you know the octopus rears her head with me time and time again.  My tentacles stretch and begin to maneuver to so many projects.  But then comes this question…

It is so very easy to over extend oneself on things that are interests but in actuality we are not really committed to pursuing.  Am I over reaching in interests to the detriment of that which I am truly committed?  Even as I write this the question replays and I am pulled to look into so many aspects of my life and ask it again and again.

In the pursuit of my dreams, am I interested in being the greatest version of myself or am I committed to giving every ounce of my power, my passion and my purpose to become the greatest version of myself?

I stand before this questions, the answer resonating within me, and I am humbled.

Vanessa

 

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes,Constant Reader,On Writing

May.19

The Octopus Rises…

Dear Constant Reader,

Its been almost a month since my last post, but that is not from a lack of want.  The realities of my day to day life seem to outweigh my artistic vision from time to time.  And while I would love to proclaim that I am a die hard member of the Hustler’s Team No Sleep, I can not.  There are some things that must take precedence over others.  It took me a while to stop trying to fit the “I’ll rest when I make it” ideal into my life.  My day job, which is crucial to my being able to help take care of my family, cannot be done bleary-eyed and fuzzy brained.  Some may say if I wanted the dream bad enough I would make it all work.  I say you don’t slight one aspect of your life to shove in another.

I am still far from being what I want to be, but with God’s help I shall succeed. Vincent Van Gogh

My mantra to make it through my day to day is…Patience and Faith

Patience in the belief that all thing will come in their own due time and faith that the fruits of my labors will  come to pass.

I have no doubt that one day I will be able to maintain and support my family with my writing career.  But, as much as I wish it were, that is currently not the case.  Nonetheless, I will keep striving towards making that desire a reality.  In the meantime however, I will not berate myself for those time when taking care of family obligations and work responsibilities dictate that the dream of a writer’s life must take a backseat from time to time.

The Octopus Lives

The octopus needs to rest now and again.  But the break is over.  Steadily I rise from the sea floor.  Even as I write this I feel my tentacles flexing.  Time to get back in the groove.

Besos y Abrasos,

V-

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Constant Reader,On Writing,Artist

Apr.21

Enter the Muse…

“So the Muse whispered in Beethoven’s ear.  Maybe she hummed a few bars into a million other ears.  But no one else heard her.  Only Beethoven got it.”

– Steven Pressfield, “The War of Art”

Dear Constant Reader,

I recently re-discovered the above passage from Steven Pressfield’s “War of Art”.  It was one of the first books of non-fiction which had a dramatic impact on me as a writer and artist.   And while I had read it many times before, this reading seemed to hold a resonance and impact that was different than the first.

I was introduced to this book about 3 years ago at the recommendation of a then recent acquaintance.  She like myself, was just at the beginning of her path towards self discovery.  Since then she has become a beloved friend, who has grown into such an expansive version of the woman I first met.   I now look at her in awe of all that she has accomplished.   And I have no doubt the Muse holds court at her side.  But, I am sure she would say as much about me and my journey as well.

the-dream-of-the-poet-or-the-kiss-of-the-muse-1859-60-oil-on-canvasbal155451When I first read those lines I was still struggling with defining not just who but also what my passion was as well.  The voice of the Muse was lost to me.  But as I write this, I can confidently say that I know I am a writer and an artist.  I know what my passions are.  In finding that part of myself, I have opened the door to so much more.

I remember having moments when I struggled to make a simple sketch or random doodle on a page.  The inspiration was not there.  And writing…well let’s just say if my struggles in painting left me blind of inspiration, then with my writing there was a defining silence.

However, in reading the above quote, I can now see how much has changed for me.  Ideas come to me like waves crashing against the shore.  Paintings bloom behind my eyes and in my dreams.  And at all times I an beset with the voices of the characters in my stories, who clamor to be made whole on the page.

Where I once struggled with even the concept of a Muse giving divine inspiration, I now lean into her sweet voice, ever present in my ear.  At times I wonder about all the years she stood beside me whispering…willing me to reach…to stive…to create, and all that I could have done if I just listened.

My dear Constant Reader… please know even in this moment she sits at your shoulder willing you to greatness.  Will you wait as I did or will you listen?

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes,Constant Reader,On Writing,Artist,Latinas Write Romance

Mar.17

Happy Endings

And they live happily ever after…

While I would love to wax poetic about happy endings as a romance writer, the realist in me just won’t let me do it.  Call me jaded but for me in real life there are few instances where there is the fairytale happily ever after ending.

And in real life endings aren’t always neat, whether they’re happy endings, or whether they’re sad endings.  -Stephen King

With all conflict and resolution, there is always some change which ultimately occur.  Something must shift within the status quo to make room for the next chapter to being.    A relationship, friendship, way of thinking…must cease to be so something new can take its place.  An while we are happy at the new outcome, as human beings we still lament what was.

 

That being said I will always want love to win out in the end.  I want the sweet embrace, the tender caress, and the passionate, toe curling kiss.  I can be realistic about what it will take to get there and still want romance to prevail.  I will always want a happy ending.

tumblr_m65t40Y7gP1qgwqw9o1_500

Writing,Romance,Quotes,On Writing

Feb.26

Latinas Write Romance…Author Maria Ferrer

Dear Constant Reader,

I am pleased to share my blog today with Latina romance author Maria Ferrer.

Writing the Latino Hero

by Maria C. Ferrer

I am writing Latino heroes, and they are different from white heroes or African American heroes.  It’s not just the color of their skin because — believe it or not — Latinos come in all shades.  And, it’s not the dark hair, because some Latinos are blonde…some are even bald.

9ff6637c5069d53caf25e8ea1c85b98e

Being Latino and writing a Latino hero is more about culture and language.

 

I won’t bother to talk about regurgitating the Latino Lover mystique, because I find clichés so passé, unless the author uses them properly.  But that is another article all together.
What it really comes down to, what really shapes the Latino hero is the author.

 

My heroes are usually Puerto Rican, because I’m Puerto Rican. When I am writing a Latino hero or fleshing him out, I already have a blue print in my mind of who he is.  My hero is Catholic; has a close knit family; visits Puerto Rico often to see family and friends; still asks for his Abuelita’s blessing when he sees her; likes to dance salsa and merengue; and prefers rum to vodka.

Michael%20Pena

Of course, if he’s a New York Rican — that’s a Puerto Rican who grows up in New York, whether they were born in Puerto Rico or not — he will have all of the above, plus a New York City attitude and sophistication.

51155d9d6d68d777d89558ce91d68050

The easiest and fastest way to show the hero’s Latinidad is through language.  My hero speaks English, Spanish and Spanglish.  (Yes, Virginia, Spanglish is a language.)  He says, querida and amada / lover and beloved.

 

This is what I start with.  Then the story’s plot line will shape the hero further — where he lives; where he works; his immediate family and friends; the women in his life, past and present; etc. My hero has everything a “regular” non-Latino has/ could have; he just has a little something extra that I will weave here and there into the plot to enhance the story.8603464_gal

 

What is that something extra?  What makes a Latino Hero?  Amor y sabor.♥

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Maria C. Ferrer is proud to be part of the Latinas Write Romance Blog Tour with Mercedes Cruz and Vanessa Peters.  Maria writes contemporary romances under her real name and erotica under the pseudonym of Del Carmen.  Her stories have been published by Cleis Press and Ravenous Romance, and have appeared in such magazines as Cosmopolitan for Latinas, Penthouse and Star.  Visit her at www.marializaferrer.blogspot.com and www.mydelcarmen.com.

Motivation,Writing,Romance,Multicutural,Constant Reader,On Writing,Latinas Write Romance

Feb.11

A Writer’s Desk

Any writer can tell you their desk is truly wherever they have a pen and paper…or smart phone or tablet…in hand.  I personally always have a small notebook and pen with me.  Old school habit I guess.   I generally only use my phone in a pinch.

But, when I am home, I have my desk.  There my laptop always sits, readily waiting.

I live in New York.   Brooklyn to be exact, and as you might guess, my space is shall we say…limited.    There is no separate office space.  No room in which I can close the door and be one with my writing.  That is unless I want to lock myself in the bathroom with my laptop…which I don’t.   So, instead I have a corner in my living room which I have made into my own mini writer’s den.  There I have my desk and it is stocked with all the things I love.

Books are all around me… on my desk …under it…in a bookcase off to my left.  I have pencil cups stocked full of pens.  Though I only write with a select few.  Papers and folders and dictionaries…oh my!

And, just for good measure a painted Day of the Dead skull that I lovingly call La Loca, who keeps me company when I write late into the night.

As as painter, I also always feel more inspired when surrounded by images and things that inspire me.  So, I have paintings, sculptures and posters all around that motivate and drive me.  On my walls I have paintings done by my father which he completed as a young man.  Mixed in with those are my own paintings and drawings done by my son.  As well as a poster of one of my favorite paintings by Frida Kahlo.

This little corner is my haven where I dream up stories of love and romance.  I have taken special care in choosing what is there.  Maybe one day I will have a great library and office.  But for now I am happy to type way in my small corner in Brooklyn.

That was just a bit about my writer’s desk. Please check out these other fabulous writers who are also blogging about their writing spaces today, Wednesday, February 11.

Visit them and find out just how different we are and yet how similar. They are:

Del Carmen writes hot, kinky, satisfying erotica.  Visit her at www.mydelcarmen.com

Also writing as Maria Ferrer at

http://marializaferrer.blogspot.com/2015/02/blog-tour-writers-desk.html

Mercedes Cruz writes fun and kinky erotica based on characters living in New York City. Visit her at www.mercedescruz.

Motivation,Writing,On Writing,Art,Artist,Latinas Write Romance

Dec.15

Getting There In Time

As the New Year approaches a litany of impending deadlines looms before me.

It never fails that by year’s end, I find that I stretched my time beyond repair.  As the months roll by, I am always certain there are still a limitless number of days in which I will be able to catch up on. And then comes December.

Oh dear! Oh dear!  I shall be too late. – The White Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

From 12/1/2014 on, the tick tock of the days and hours rushing forward, even as I will them to slow down, pushes me to check and recheck dates and lists. I’m left continually asking myself whether I have accomplished within this year all that I could have…should have?

So now, with a little over 2 weeks left in 2014, I have taken the loftiest of my unaccomplished goals for the year and have resolved to fulfill it. I have set my completion deadline for no less than 11:59pm on December 31, 2014.
The passing of each second now booms within me. The White Rabbit runs rampant in my mind at all hours of the day and night. Nonetheless, I will not be deterred.

I may have to ring in the New Year bleary eyed, sleep deprived and with a touch more of the Hatter in me than when I began, but so be it.  I will, as dear Mr. Carroll wrote, “begin at the beginning, and go on till the end: then stop.”

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Quotes,On Writing

Jul.17

On Writing…Connections

As writers there are any number of books, articles and blogs that look to give the tips and tricks for cultivating a successful writing career. One tip I have come across numerous times is to join a writer’s group. For some, the mere mention of walking into to a group of other writers and sharing your work has been known to induce a cold sweat and clammy hands; its fear factor second behind pitching your work for the first time.

The first group I joined consisted of 8 women I had either never met or had met, once or twice before. Not exactly the most ideal way to ease into sharing your work, but I figured if I was going to join a group I would go with the first opportunity. So off I went, feet first over the edge.

Now generally, I am able to talk in front of people and convey my opinions with confidence and ease. Then it was my turn to share the piece I was working on and I became a wreck. As I read, I flushed to a shade somewhere between crimson and purple and my voice quivered so badly I sounded like a scared goat. It was definitely not my shining moment.

But as the weeks stretched to months, we built a connection. I began to seek out these women for not just their feedback on my writing but for their support. We were all striving to a common dream of being writers. Family and friends are definitely a support, but it is the person that has lost sleep over a sentence, or has faltered in the face of a deadline and a glaring blank page, that will truly connect with our angst.   When I’d become frustrated and discouraged, they would not tell me, “You’re working too hard, just take a break.” They would rally to push me forward and help me find my way back on track.

Sadly, time and circumstance got in the way and that writers group disbanded. But I recently had dinner with several of the women. In that room the same energy surged and we found our connection was still there. We went around the room and spoke of recent pitfalls and triumphs and it was magical. A great writers group will become more than getting someone to help you with an awkward sentence here or there. Once you find the one that’s right for you (not all groups will suit), it will become a support and connection, that as a writer, you will not want to be without.

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,On Writing