Mental Health, novel, Women's Fiction Author

Release to Revive

release-to-revive

Sometimes tradition makes me sick and sometimes I adore it. I like to think creatively and new, but also like to have routine and stability. Am I confusing you? What can I say, I’m a complex woman! But I have a dislike of not wanting to go along with trends of the moment. If you say, “Everyone is doing [insert behavior],” I’ll say, “Cool for them” and do something else to be innovative for myself. I just don’t like to follow the crowd most times because it’s boring to me. So, when new year’s resolutions are spoken of, I support you all the way if making one is your interest, but they aren’t for me. I switch up what I do each year—if I do anything at all (oh yes, it’s not a given)—and this year I am choosing to release some of the mind clutter I accidentally gathered last year. Want to come along for my freedom ride? I’ll help you get rid of your yuck too. Here we go with releasing to revive in 2022.

As a newly published author, I didn’t expect some pieces of a foreign puzzle to jam their way in between the right-fitting pieces of the puzzle I’m working on right now. I don’t know how those remnants got in there, but it’s time to say arrivederci. For example, when I became friends with so many wonderful authors, I was lucky enough that they wanted to help me, and I wanted to return the favor of course. Part of the help entailed them reading The Difference and reviewing it so that my reviews online can start building (this matters, people, so if you give me the honor of reading my novel, please write even a few words on your favorite website (Amazon, Barnes and Noble…)—thank you!). I also want to read all of their works of love, but there simply isn’t time due to having two careers. I’m making my way through my never-ending TBR list, but it’s a thousand times slower than I’d like. Now, I know (hope) that nobody is keeping track of whether I return the favor of reviewing their book if they reviewed mine, but I’m really trying, friends! I’ll get there, but the guilt of not having read some of my favorite people’s novels this past year has been hurting my heart and I need to stop carrying it around.

Another writer’s woe is not reading enough in general, since we become better writers through reading. And, I also want to read some books that aren’t my friend’s books. Gasp! It’s been a while since that happened and I intend to be freer in my reading this year. I have to do that for my soul, you know?

One more aspect to release that I’ll share is pretty obvious…I need to write more. Ah, the eternal writer’s dilemma. I took a much longer than expected break from actual writing since my debut novel published in July and I’ve been on the marketing wagon, then I needed to edit my next book, The Visitor, to get it on track for publication this year. Before I knew it, January arrived! So, as soon as the current edits for it are complete and I send it to the next editor, I’ll finally be starting my third book, The Decision.

Now, how can I truly release these guilts, yucks, and wrong puzzle pieces? I’ll turn to my therapy background and use imagery, maybe some action, and a dash of self-talk. Effective and simple, yet challenging to continuously put into practice.

What I mean by using imagery is that we all have the power to imagine releasing/relieving scenes. Think of such visions as writing your thought of release on a piece of paper, then sticking it in a balloon and watching the balloon float away high into the sky, along with your worry. Or, maybe you prefer screaming the thought into a passing train. As the train zooms by, the thought that bothered you is also moving further away from you. I also like the image of “writing” the distress on a leaf, then imagining it floating down a peaceful river. All of these methods are freeing, as well as able to be practiced by anyone anytime.

Guess what. You can also physically carry out these actions. Maybe you want to actually write on pieces of paper and rip them up, then throw them out. Send your trash out the door by placing it in the dumpster or at the curb. There, the distress is symbolically gone from your special place/home, and therefore your body. See what I mean?

Now let’s add the self-talk. You can say anything to yourself, and this is strong stuff, my friends. What we tell ourselves, we believe. So, I can say for example, “I release the guilt I carry for not yet reading my friends’ books.” I also can remind myself, “I embrace my individual timeline and life commitments.” Letting that ending positive thought wash over soothes me. I can physically feel my shoulders loosen. Now you try.

Fill in your own needed words with these statements:

I release…

I let go of…

I get rid of…

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I attract to me…

I embrace…

I welcome…

I will…

You can also pair certain tactics from above, such as envisioning scenes (imagery) then saying these powerful statements (self-talk). Or, you can say a statement as you do an action. Anything is possible and you have a whole year to get in this groove. Isn’t that exhilarating?

I know I can do most anything I set my mind to and I believe you can also. The future is yours to revive. Take hold of it and make it how you want. Choose these new choices and feel the freedom that is 2022.

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Bonus: Did you know I’m part of a premier group of authors called the Author Talk Network? Creativity, collaboration, and an urge to communicate has resulted in a unique alliance of nineteen authors, most of whom have never met.  We’ve created a network where readers and authors come together to discuss books and so much more.  The authors are available individually, or as a panel, for library programs, book clubs, school groups, or clubs and as guests on your show or blog. Just click on the picture below for more information. Contact us because we can’t wait to meet you!

author-talk-network

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Copyright © 2022 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.

Mental Health, short stories, Women's Fiction

Interview with Author Mackenzie Littledale

Interview-with-Mackenzie-Littledale

December’s blog post is another author interview because you need to know about this fabulous person and writer, Mackenzie Littledale, right now! She’s a Women’s Fiction writer with TWO short story collection books out, including Explorations of Freedom and Testing the Ties that Bind. I had the honor of reading the short story The Names that Survived, where she touches on family history and pride, the search for identity, racial privileges, and the beauty that comes from closure. I enjoyed every culturally rich bit of her main character’s journey and found it inspiring. I know you would too!

Not only is Ms. Littledale an author, but she hosts a blog promoting Women’s Fiction writers and mental health advocates (she was kind enough to feature me on her July post). With her upcoming novel, The Darkness is Mine, and her outstanding accomplishments (see her answers!), she’s sure to keep reaching the stars. Read about her writing world thoughts and exciting plans below.

How do you cope with disappointment or setbacks?

I acknowledge that disappointment is a natural and inevitable fact of life, so I don’t circle around the rim for too long in disappointment or any counterproductive emotion. It helps if I have another idea or project to act on, so I can dust my shoulders off and move on to the next thing. It’s like traveling cross-country in a way. If I start off on the east coast, there are mountains and deserts between here and California, as a metaphor for a long-term project. The weather may not be perfect the whole journey. My vehicle may malfunction and need fixing somewhere along the way. By this, I mean, prepare mentally, emotionally, and physically for whatever it is I want to achieve. Even with the best preparation, something may go wrong or stand in the way. As a real example, a friend referred me to a literary journal editor. Their publication wanted 1400 words of creative nonfiction and other categories. I read a couple stories to get a feel for what they like, wrote something, and submitted it. About two months prior, I had also pitched an idea to Psychology Today to host my series of BIPOC mental health advocate interviews. The idea behind that was to build a reading audience and name recognition for when This Darkness is Mine launches. One fine morning, I got an email from Psychology Today saying they loved my idea and wanted to host my interviews. Literally two minutes later, the literary journal emailed to reject my submission. Having something much bigger and closer to my heart in the hopper made the other rejection sting less. I had another route to keep going forward.

What works best for you with time management?

I hope you don’t laugh too hard at my answer. On days I work, I just go to work. On my days off, I have a notebook and write down whatever I need to do. As I do them, I check them off. Sometimes, I have to write down to eat breakfast, because in my mind, that counts as something done. It’s not prioritized or anything formal. If I write a blog post, there are steps, so I write down each step. If I interview a women’s fiction author, there are several steps, so I write those steps down and check them off as I go. I completed a writing class through the Center for Fiction in New York via Zoom on November 2nd, and every assignment went into my notebook. If I feel sleepy, I’ll take a nap for however long my body needs to recuperate. Some things in my week are key so they’re in my electronic calendar with reminders and I never miss them unless something urgent comes up.

What gives you energy and joy?

I feel pure joy and pleasure from checking things off my to do list because every single step I take in the direction of my choosing puts me closer to realizing my dream. It also paces me to accept any level of name recognition that may be part of the author’s life. I can’t guarantee success, but doing nothing is doom. I don’t plan to fail because I don’t fail to plan. Energy and joy combined come with eating great food. Now that I’ve identified that a lot of my body pains come from inflammation, I add ginger and turmeric tea to my routine, as well as ibuprofen. Minimizing or eliminating chronic pain is a game changer. I can feel as young as I look and press on.

How do you quiet your inner critic? (the voice of internal negativity)

The inner critic is hardwired into the human brain, so the only strategies available are to listen and give in and quit; ask the critic to clarify why an idea might fail and then plan to avoid those scenarios and press on; thank the critic for continually looking out for my safety and assure that voice that I’ve got this and press on; ignore the critic and press on; tell the critic to STFU and press on. I think of Jon Acuff’s book START!: Punch Fear in the Face and remember that the inner critic has a script and can’t depart from saying the exact same thing no matter the circumstance. Once I recognize that truth, I can uncover, reveal, explore, and create my own preferred truth. That I can do something I set out to do. We also have a built in coach and cheerleading squad. We get to choose which internal dialogue we want to listen to. If the voice we’d prefer to hear in our head is too soft or is silent or isn’t convincing, then we can turn to motivational speakers on YouTube. Before I sat down to start writing This Darkness is Mine, I woke up early every morning and watched motivational speeches on YouTube until I felt more confident. Confidence is NOT a personality trait. It’s a skill that we can learn and develop.

What is your next project or goal? If it is a book, tell us about it and when you hope to publish it.

Rhodes to Hell is my NaNoWriMo 2021 project. It’s a domestic suspense novel, so it’s a bit of a genre departure for me. But I love reading suspense, so I feel like it’s possible. That will swallow up a decent portion of November. I’m still reworking This Darkness is Mine for my agent at Serendipity, who’s totally working at my pace on the project. I love them! I’m seeking mental health advocates to interview for From Margin to Mainstream, which is my blog on Psychology Today’s website, and that’s exciting. The first interview is live, I’m working on the second, and seeking people doing interesting things going forward. Also, I’m writing new material for a paperback collection of short stories. I’m self-publishing that and hope to have it ready for Christmas shopping time.

This has been delightful, C. Thank you so much for asking these probing questions. Be well.

Thank YOU! I am grateful for our friendship that started on Twitter and has grown over the years. Yay Women’s Fiction writers!

Testing-the-Ties-that-Bind-short-stories
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Explorations-of-Freedom-short-stories
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More ways to connect with Ms. Littledale:

Website – https://www.mackenzielittledaleauthor.com

Psychology Today Blogger – https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/margin-mainstream

Twitter: @mackenzielitt13

Facebook: @mackenzielittledalewriter

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Feel free to follow and share my blog. Also, join my VIP Newsletter for announcements, giveaways, and more!    

Copyright © 2021 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.