Another Year, Same Hurdle


Admiring buildings on Main Street.
Except this time I'm jumping over it.

I have to say, this year is starting off great. On the first of January, I rewrote my query letter from scratch and actually liked it. It's short and sweet. After I show it to a few writer friends, I'll find out if it's interesting and as clear as I think it is.

As for my manuscript, the scenes I've written so far are few, but they've each contributed to either a plot arc, character trait, or moral in the story. Needless to say, these are scenes that I'm keeping.

I also received an unexpected spark of motivation. My dear friend (I still have to get used to saying "boyfriend") bought me a ticket to go to Disneyland with him. We went on the third, and it was a lovely day. No extreme heat. Carefully planned layers so we weren't the least bit cold. Honestly, I thought spending twenty-one hours with one person would make me restless, but no. That man is a real treat to be around. Very attentive and focused, then hyper and fidgety. He shifts. Isn't that interesting?

For today's progress, I wrote a scene, brushed up my bio and uploaded some photos starting the new year. You know how it is with social media. If your cover photo's the same for too long, life begins to feel a little dull. I like my pictures changing at a reasonable pace. If the pictures are moving, then I'm moving, and 2018 really shouldn't feel like 2017. No, please and thank you.

I'll talk to you later, reader. Thanks for stopping by!

Much love,
Louisa

Back at the Road's Entrance


In many ways I'm starting over: as a person, a writer, and a human being in search of a purpose. I like to think that I found that purpose a long time ago, but life's funny. Right when we think we know what we're doing, it throws a curve ball and turns everything we thought we knew upside down.

Now I'm here, searching for that purpose again.

The title of this entry is "Back at the Road's Entrance," with the road being a representation of life and its several winding paths. Knowing that the paths wind, starting over isn't such a bad thing. I can only make the right or wrong choice from here on out. They'll no doubt lead me to safe or unsafe side roads, but no matter how difficult that road becomes, I should always strive for the ending I want.

Right now I want to get things rolling, starting by sharing this track I recently discovered, "Uncontainable" by Set It Off. It reminds me a lot of Fall Out Boy (who I love). Given that my discovery of Fall Out Boy is what sparked my original series, I'm going to take the discovery of Set It Off to be an extremely good sign for my current WIP.

Anyway, it's time for me to get back to work. I realize this post is in no way fulfilling or insightful but it's best I get back to work instead of write my way into another roadblock. Have a good week, reader!

Much love,
Louisa

Saturday


Hey,
We hope you're all having a very happy weekend.

Much love,
Louisa and Winnie the Pooh

Fight Your Fears

Some things are so good you wonder whether you should stay or drop everything and run to save yourself from the hurt that's bound to happen. Good things don't last forever right?

Well, dear reader, don't run away. I can't tell you why yet because I'm still figuring it out, but here. Listen to this cover of "Something Just Like This" by Romy Wave (original by The Chainsmokers & Coldplay). I stumbled on it by accident and felt safe all of a sudden. Isn't it amazing when music does that?

See you next time,
Louisa

Rethinking and Rebuilding

I am starting my first entry of 2017 with a soundtrack from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This film somewhat sparked my old fire for achieving great things. I feel the road it's taken to need that spark was represented well with this soundtrack. It has three key tones, you'll hear, and they all happen to match the things I've taken away from 2016. I'm keeping them general to let you apply your own experiences. Here, have a listen:

  • 0:00 - The entrance into something new and wonderful while holding on to the greatness before it. Go on. Feel it. Cherish it. Relish dead Hedwig's theme (Sorry. Yes, I went there)
    • It's never too late to start anew. Days become night and the dawn of the next day. Remember the things that make you proud of yourself and carry it with you to tomorrow
  • 0:39 - A noticeable drop in tone takes us out of wonder and into a foreboding and dangerous road. Whether we're remembering a particular dangerous road we've crossed before or are looking at one in the distance that we'll have to face, the music does remind us that dangerous roads are ahead. Who knows? You may not be able to see them yet. Just know they're there
    • Like Rafiki (from The Lion King said), "Oh yes, the past can hurt, but you can either run from it, or learn from it." So learn from it. Be ready for the next thing that may hurt, but because you prepped yourself, it'll be something you can step over instead of letting it trip you and roll over the edge
  • 1:39 - Now let's not dwell on the ominous and foreboding. We've grown stronger now, haven't we? We've lost motivation and love and found them again, better than they were before. It's time to step back into the new and wonderful. There'll be plenty of time to face danger later
    • Cherish the friends and family bonds you've made. You earned them and their love. They know who you are and will guide you when you're not. Hold them close. Keep in touch. Knowing what's behind and ahead, there's no reason you can't tackle tomorrow with a smile and a skip in your step

How was that? Did you like it? I figured since music plays such a huge role in my life, I might as well pull my mind's curtains back and show you what I see. If you didn't like it...well. I don't know what to tell you. I'm going to keep doing it ha! Besides, what better way to start this year than with the franchise responsible for instilling me with an appreciation for books and music? (Thank you, Harry Potter.)

If you haven't noticed or been around long enough to see, my blog's look has changed. It's dark and candle-themed instead of dark and love-themed (snicker). No matter what theme this blog has, I don't think I'll ever stray away from the dark. Darkness keep me on my toes and very close to the things that have the potential to break me. As strange as it sounds, I've learned it's important to welcome dark things. They present us with challenges that can make us fall or grow, and I don't plan on falling anymore.

So darkness? I can't say you don't scare me, but I do know I won't let you scare me for long. If you can, you should do the same, reader. If you can't, at least know that darkness is there and possible to overcome.

On another note, I'm sorting through the entries in this blog, that's why this is the only entry visible. Some entries I'll keep, some I'll toss. I wanted to "clear my head" for the new year and make sure that from here on out I focus on writing about the things I'm learning, not just recording my ramblings for you to read. That's why I started writing in here, isn't it? To help you?

That's that for 2017's first entry. With everything that's happened so far, I believe it's time to stop pondering and harness the magic of personal growth into something great. What do you think? Care to join me?

Much love as always,
Louisa

I Feel You, Lin. I Feel You.

What an inspiration. Lin-Manuel Miranda started working on Hamilton in 2008. Eight years later, his musical is nominated for 16 Tony Awards and wins 11 of them.


I've been working on my own big idea since 2011. It's a long and bumpy road but:

There's a million things I haven't done,
But just you wait,
Just you wait.

Much love,
Louisa

In The Heart Of The Road

I listened to this song while writing. If you don't get distracted from music while reading, go click haha!



Once in a blue moon, I'll stumble on a story that really hits home. Much like strangers who give off the presence of long lost friends, stories that hit home are unexpected and magical. They stay in our thoughts and hearts long after we've heard or seen them, and whatever we do with that lingering impression is up to us. That lingering impression is what I'd like to write about in this entry.

First of all, watching In The Heart Of The Sea refueled my passion for achieving great things. It doesn't matter how many times I've told you I "refueled my fire" before. I've been lying to you, reader. My passion for achieving great things hasn't been the same since July. Its fluctuation has been frustrating and really quite horrible. I didn't write about it in previous posts because I didn't want to be negative and bring you down by writing over and over about it. Naturally, all I unintentionally ended up doing by pretending to feel better was postpone the emotions I did feel. I bottled them up (they didn't explode) and they became acid that melted my glass-bottle-mind, leaving me exhausted and lost.

Don't do what I did, reader. If a wise friend didn't call me out on it recently, I would never have known. So I'm telling you now. Don't postpone emotions in an attempt to numb them.

My wise friend expressed it to me like this: "Feelings demand to be felt whether we like it or not. Instead of suppressing it and trying to move on, how about you acknowledge that this affects you? ...you can embrace that in a healthy way...so instead of fighting your feelings, let them take over and let yourself feel the hurt."

Now, in this particular situation, the hurt is gone. What I was missing was the drive and passion to keep going and believing in the stories I'm trying to write. Perfectly enough, that's what In The Heart Of The Sea gave back to me. On top of other positive things that have helped me with my personal growth, the closing of this film made me nod, take a deep breath, and get back on my feet.

"Kick ass," said the voice in my head. "Don't listen to anyone else but me, and I say kick ass," to which I replied, "Thank you, creepy voice in my head. Can you please leave now while I process this?"

Someday I want to write about acknowledging the tough times on this long road to dream-chasing, but right now, I'm ready to move forward again. Doubt is just a step away from fear, and if there's any goal I have besides publishing the insanely long list of stories in my head, it's to be fearless (or as close to fearless as I can be). After all, as one of my inspirations once said, "I never get afraid of things. I only get excited."


I'll see you next time, okay? We're in the heart of the road, reader. There's no point in turning back.

- Louisa

Here We Go, 2016!

Funny. My last entry talks about how I forgot to consider something in my writing...when I did consider it in the entry preceding it. And in the entry before that. Haha . . . why?

Anyway, hello, reader of 2016! Boy, does it feel amazing to start over. I'm glad to say that I started the year with my loved ones and the open document of my third manuscript. Honest. It was 12:02, I hugged my sleepy family, and then sat down to work on my new book.

If you've been following my past posts, you'll see that, yes, I had to say goodbye to my epistolary novel. Simply put, it wasn't catching the interest of agents I wanted to be represented by. But you know what? That second manuscript was great practice to come up with something better. I'm three chapters into my new novel and I'm very proud of how it's coming along. I still have to find that special, emotional spark to make it feel as impactful as the books in my series, but I know I'll find it soon enough. Surprisingly, it falls under a genre I never thought I'd want to write.


Yes. That genre is none other than romance.

Of course, I'm more in love with otherworldly, magical elements, so I decided to make it a dark fantasy romance novel. It's. So. Exciting! Starting something new and completely unplanned! Coincidentally, I found some real life inspiration to use as a sort of guide to help me write from my beloved female protagonist's point of view. Emotion is important in writing, reader. After all, if you don't feel your own characters' emotions, how are you going to write about it and convince the reader to feel the same?

I'll come right out and say that romance is tricky business, especially because I'm very comfortable with being alone. That's why it's funny to me that out of all the times for me to develop a crush, it's now. Maybe I should take that as a sign that this third novel's the charm into getting my foot through the publishing door?

All that's really left to report is that I'm reconnecting with old friends that truly make my heart happy. (There's amazing comfort in being able to let go of people that bring us down). I also passed my test to apply for a substitute teaching permit, so I'm starting my "training" as my old teacher's aid as soon as the semester starts. I may be subbing, but I still want to be able to do more than pop movies in the TV for the kids to watch. I want to teach too.

You know, I'm not entirely sure what else to write for this entry. Here. Have a little read that jumpstarted this very entry: If You're a Writer, Here's Why You Can't Distrust Your Emotions.

Happy first week of the year!

- Louisa

The Holidays Are Just Around the Corner!

Okay, I know I technically said that the next time I write in here will be after Christmas when I've finished my novel, but I'm really excited to document this moment: the moment a childhood dream was fulfilled. Without further ado, this is what I'm talking about:

Winter, our family puppy, is getting tired of Mommy's pictures, but look at this!

Writing Essentials:
My trusty music for mood-setting, journal containing story notes, and laptop.
My gosh, it's the perfect reading and writing environment. I don't understand why I never tried this before! People make such a big deal about trying different types of drinks when you turn twenty-one, but no...this is what adulthood is for. This is why the sun sets every day. It's so you can turn on your Christmas lights!


How am I ever going to top this blog entry? All these pretty lights and cuddly puppies are tough competition against future writings, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to write a little something that can be of benefit to you since you took the time to read my excited rambling. Here it goes.

Life is absolutely filled with tiresome and frustrating things. Who knows? The holidays may be more stressful for you than for others. There are, after all, presents to buy for relatives or friends that may not necessarily fit into our wallets. There are decorations to put up that take time from our ever-busy days, but we don't want to let the excited kids down. There are even finals coming up for those of us still in school. My point is, the holiday experience is different for everyone.

But what we can take from each of these stressors is that there's always a work-around.

You don't have to buy gifts; most of us are going through tough financial times. The people who are understanding and accepting of you even when you can't give them anything but yourself are the ones worth staying with anyway. You don't have to put the decorations up by yourself. Kids are more than excited about these types of things. They're young and energetic, and although it may seem like extra work for parents, children will remember these parent-child activities for the rest of their lives. Lastly, you don't have to worry about finals for very long. Going back home from the dorms to visit family is just around the corner. What better way is there to go back home to your parents than to tell them you persevered through your finals and did the best you could do? If you didn't, then perhaps it could be a New Years Resolution?

Do you see the direction this post took? "Life is absolutely filled with tiresome and frustrating things," but who makes it all worth it? Our loved ones. Whoever your loved ones are, it always helps to remember that they're there for you whenever you need them. Isn't it nice knowing that you'll have the opportunity to see them in just a few days? Whether it's in-person or over the Skpe-y thing, it's always nice to hear or give a simple hello.

Happy holidays, everyone! Enjoy the eggnog and the feasts, but most of all, enjoy the loved ones. I'll be back with another entry soon enough. I'm glad to say that my long-lost camera has been found, and I can start posting more pictures from now on.

- Louisa

Wrapping Up a Novel

I didn't paint this. I thought it would set a more appropriate mood, though.
It's so sunny here in southern California. 
It's been a while since I last wrote or posted anything on here, so I'll just say this: entries will be posted more regularly after Christmas. I've been completely engrossed on finishing the manuscript for my first fantasy-horror novel by the twenty-fifth, so the story is definitely wrapping up and getting ready to be fully edited before being sent out. I'm excited to start sharing it with the world. (That means you!) I can't believe how far it's come along. It's made me cry like a little kid, I'm afraid. These characters truly know how to pull on my heartstrings. If I wrote it properly, I hope it makes you cry too. (What a horrible thing to wish on beloved readers haha).

Well, that's really all for now. When I get back, I'll be sure to write a proper, inspirational entry for you. There's also a Christmas song cover coming your way, so please keep an eye out for it. It's a clever song. I think you'll like it.

Have a good day, present and future reader! :)

- Louisa

The Tortoise and the Hare: Life Edition

Time has really flown. It's been nearly three months since the last entry! If we could see time, it would probably take the form of a hare.

But some of us would end up looking like tortoises (I know I would.) The hare hops along, energetically, while you're behind, dragging farther and farther behind until you can't even see where the hare's gone.

Well, you know what? There's nothing wrong with that. As I am graduating in about four months, I've done nothing but worry about where my time is going. Every day, I get around three to ten hours of sleep (which is pretty fantastic), go to my four hour classes, take the trolley (two hours there, two hours back) and then go back to sleep. Of course, there's homework, social, and family time in between, but it all always goes by so fast!

I don't know where they go, but the funny thing about life is that it always finds the best times and ways for us to figure things out.

Just this last week, I visited my favorite teacher and mentor from high school. It was a fairly short visit, but an eye-opening one at that. Mr. Johnston was my marching and concert band director for four years. so he's a bit of a father figure to me. By a bit, I mean a lot, because my dad was deployed a lot. Any guidance I received from a male figure in high school came from my high school band director. Like Albus Dumbledore, he has twinkling blue eyes that know whenever I have something important to say (or when I've caused trouble and am trying to hide it).

I told him about the path I found in writing. I told him about my excitement for it and how I hoped it would get me somewhere. I'm always worrying about my future, because let's face it, both of the paths I've considered are risky. They may get me somewhere, or they may get me nowhere. Either way, I'm terrified. But the great thing about mentors, is that they always know what to say.

He said (paraphrased): "Life always works out the way it should. If our goals happen, then great. If they don't, we learn from them and move on. The important thing is that you tried. Besides, life is more about the journey rather than the destination, because what's the destination? You're dead, right? So don't worry about if something happens. Just let it happen. Everything works out the way it's supposed to in the end."

If that's not some Dumbledore-Gandalf wisdom, I don't know what is.

So yes. Time is a hare sometimes, and we're a tortoise sometimes. We don't know where the hare goes half the time, but you know what? There's nothing wrong with taking things at your own pace and at your own direction, as long as you're always taking those forward steps, because no matter what we're all striving for, we'll all end up at the same finish line.

I hope I wrapped all of that up properly. I'm barely learning these life lessons as I write them. Anyway, see you next time!

- Louisa


"The Maker" by Zealous Creative

I unfortunately don't have time to write today, so here's a lovely stop-motion animation for you to view! I really am a sucker for work like this. Let me know what you think!
(DISCLAIMER: I didn't make it.)

- Louisa

The Reality of Following Our Dreams


Photo taken by Louisa Aricheta
There's something really amazing about days like this. I'm writing at our round breakfast table with a view of the neighborhood and my old high school. I can't help but think that years from now, I'll hopefully still be doing the same thing. Granted, I'll have my own place and there'll be bills constantly calling me from the other room, but still. I'll be right here at a table by a window doing what I love.

I wish with all my heart that everything works out. I spend so much time dreaming and working towards the future I see in my mind that I'm not sure if I'm preparing myself properly. What if reality really does decide to come in and say, "Nice try building these stairs, but it's no use. It's made of Lego. Lego that I can easily kick down if I feel like it." Well let me tell you all, there's only one way you should react to this.

Reality, you can kiss my A-double-S.

It's important we remember that our goals and aspirations are dreams. They're not a part of reality, they're the things that challenge it. I remember how excited my peers were for prom, some years back. They had good reason to be. It was the night we could dress our best with friends and significant others. It put us in a different environment filled with twinkling lights and a taste of independence. It was exciting, new, reckless even. But me? No. The entire night, I was needlessly shoving myself back to reality.

Situation: We visit a friend's house to take pictures.
Thoughts: This house is beautiful! It must have taken so much work to get here. Will I ever be able to support myself like this? I can't even afford a metal box right now.

Situation: Friends around me are talking and dancing.
Thought: Is it safe to relax? Isn't it smarter to be planning what I should be doing after college?

Situation: Couples are holding hands (or more), waiting in line to take pictures.
Thoughts: Feelings? What is this concept? Don't these kids think about the insane level of commitment it takes to keep relationships going after high school? What about cost of living and the energy it takes to raise a child? Do they know that?

Right. I'll stop there. High school me was just ridiculously stiff (I guess that's what happens when you're told for so long how in-debt your country is and how much harder it will be to be an adult than the previous generation). But do you see my point? You're either in your dream or stuck in reality. There's no in-between.

It's not just prom either. It could be at work, whether you love or hate it, or in your relationships, whether you love or hate them. Are you putting all your attention on what you love or letting life pass you by because you hate it? Not to say that reality is a bad thing. Reality is what brings you back to earth, it's that thing that tells you what to expect. It can be a gentle reminder or a hard kick in the face. It's up to you whether you want to weep on the floor afterwards or disinfect and bandage the wound for the next adventure.

Life is difficult, readers. If it isn't, it will be (unless you're some sort of extremely lucky person born into wealth). That's no reason to be give up though. As long as you're ready for what's to come, you should be alright. More than alright, actually.

Before I go, I'd like to leave you with a few examples. Remember that before they found their success, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, and Tom Hiddleston had their fair shares of struggle. More than fair, I would say, but the most amazing thing is that they never stopped doing what they loved. J.K. Rowling felt plenty of pressure for being a single mother with no job, but she wrote her ideas on napkins in her free time anyway. Stephen King received plenty of rejection slips from publishers, but tacked them on the wall to remind himself not to give up. Tom Hiddleston was recommended to reconsider his career path, his love for theater and acting because it wasn't kicking off, but he kept going.

None of them cared about reality. They followed their dreams because they loved it. There were plenty of opportunities they could have given up but they didn't. They wrote and acted because it was what their hearts wanted, not because it would bring fame and money. They were and remain true to their craft, and I honestly think that's one of the most admirable things in this world.

I should end this entry soon. I'm side-stepping into a different lesson.

In summary, here's what I've learned today:
  1. Never give up. Reality has a way of creeping up on you when you're on a roll. Prove it wrong.
  2. Do your best not to overthink things. Life is complicated, but it will never be as complicated as the most contemplative minds make it out to be.
  3. Stay positive. It's easy to be pessimistic, but it takes real effort to break through the dark to grab the spark and make a fire.
  4. When you do make it to your dream, never forget what it was like to be your old self. Never forget the struggle, or the luck, it took to be where you are. Don't only remember it either, act like you remember it. Nothing is more disappointing than someone whose actions contradict their words. We have enough of those kinds of people, please.

Well, that's it for today! I'm going to take a shower and continue writing. I really am very excited. One day, my friends, we will find a spot next to our inspirations and role models. Good day and good luck!

- Louisa

Priorities: Mindset of a Writer, Training for Animation

This is pretty bad. I'm supposed to be drawing right now. I'm supposed to be planning shots for an animated short.

But here's the problem: My mind is stuck on my novel. I want to brainstorm, I want to explore, I need to write! My mind is going, "What's that? You need to draw and plan some shots? Well, guess what? Here's an internal conflict for your novel's main character to think about for the rest of class." Why did J.K. Rowling and Stephen King never warn us aspiring writers that this craft is an addiction? Why? You don't see caution labels on writing books, but there should be. This is what happens when you realize two-thirds into your degree that you found something completely different to love. Maybe not completely different. Animation and literature are both addicting forms of storytelling.

If you take a look at my art blog, you'll see that it has a whooping one entry. Isn't that just great? (*slow claps sarcastically*) I am a terrible artist. Okay, I have to get my head on straight. I need to make a goal. I promise that I will post a compilation of the animations, illustrations, and sketches I've been working on these past two months. I swear!

Huh. You never really notice how odd the word 'swear' looks until it's blown up to this font size. Would you look at that. Oh, I definitely can't end this entry like this.

Here's what I learned this morning: Do your work. Our hearts may yearn for something else, but priorities must come first. Don't give up halfway, just because you want to do something else. That's why I'm still following through with animation. I want to at least finish getting my degree.

I believe there's a quote for situations like this. It was from a lovely little book that focused on the transition from high school to college. I can't find it at the moment, but it went along the lines of this: "There is a time and place for everything. Before we can do what we want, we have to do what we need to do."

I'll be sure to double check that quote for you later. Good luck with your need-to-dos!

- Louisa


Another Year, Same Hurdle

Admiring buildings on Main Street. Except this time I'm jumping over it. I have to say, this year is starting off great. On the...