The Measure of Everything

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Two of the most powerful attributes that humans possess are:

1)  the ability to LOVE

2) the ability to CREATE

Having spent my formative years under the thumb of a restrictive parental figure: I was not allowed to say “I want”, I never heard the phrase “I love you” (certainly was never inspired to speak the words either) and my creative endeavors were always overlooked and dissuaded – the idea of living a creative life was laughed at and labeled a “pipe dream” – I’ve spent my adult years learning both how to express love and how to express myself – including allowing myself to express both my needs AND my wants.

 

In the process, I’ve discovered a deep, rich and untapped well of passions lying dormant inside of me. 

 

It’s taken many, many years of learning, growing, stretching myself beyond my comfort zone and oftentimes just plain scaring myself, but the faster my heart beats and more anxious I feel, the more that well gets churned, and the deeper and deeper I am able to dip into it – loving, creating (particularly, writing) and allowing myself, finally and freely, to express myself.

It hasn’t always made me the most popular girl around – especially within my own family!! – but I refuse to censor myself, to keep my emotions or my wants or needs repressed any longer.

It was no way to live. 

With a heart full of love and a head full of stories, neither of which were wanted or allowed to be expressed, my memories of childhood and adolescence boil down to being simply a very unhappy time for a very unhappy kid.

But now, I am the parent and as so, I have always encouraged my children to express themselves in every positive and negative way they see fit – and they are growing up to be the most loving and creative people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing!

 

My measure of everything in life now lies in how much that well of passion gets churned by the thought of a new project, new adventure or new endeavor:

If it’s not a ‘hell yeah!’   Then it’s a ‘no’.

                      (the unhappy kid inside of me smiles whenever she hears that)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visibility Lessons

alexander-krivitskiy-8Z8JijlydJs-unsplash (cue the tiny violins)….I wrote my last poem today.  Things just weren’t working out.  The amount of energy I was expending on them, losing sleep to get those lines out of my head, onto paper (initially – usually scrawled at 4 am by dimmed light with blurry eyes and a tired hand) and then getting them into just the right poetic order, searching for just the right stock photo, getting it onto Instagram at just the right time suggested by Insights………..only to get maybe 20 likes and generally zero comments.  It just wasn’t working.  It wasn’t what I wanted for my poems, those tiny pieces of huge emotions that I felt just secure enough to release to the world.  It just wasn’t working.

They were all falling flat. The message was being lost.  The words were unraveling.  Over and over again.

And it was making me feel…..broken.

So, I wrote my last one today.  It’s not my best one, but it took just as much time and care and attention as all the rest, so it’s just as important – and once I decide to publish it, I know it will suffer the same fate as all the rest.  “I’m sorry little poem,” I’d often say just before posting them, “you’re going to go die a slow death on Insta now.  I’m so sorry.”

But, in a way, I’m not.

I’m not sorry because I have written hundreds of those poems over the years and now I have hundreds to submit to literary magazines in a quest to get traditionally published for the first time in too many years.  My poetry audience wasn’t on Instagram, but maybe there are eager eyes looking somewhere else for my work, so I’m going hunting for them now, putting my energies into finding just the right magazines, submitting at just the right times for their deadlines.

Being invisible to some eyes doesn’t necessarily mean being invisible to all the eyes out there.  I know someone, somewhere will see my work – and now I can concentrate my own eyes on writing the three novels I currently have in the works.

I did start this year with a publication. A literary magazine in Indiana accepted one  of my dance photos – not one of my poems – but something of mine found an audience! It’s getting published!

I’ve found my first set of eyes.

 

My second novel is released!

Screenshot_2019-12-17 Hope Quest Book 2 The Lightning (Hope Quest trilogy) - Kindle edition by Melanie Ever Moore, Jared Ka[...](2)My second novel (and fourth book of 2019!) is officially released today!

Hope Quest book 2: The Lightning!  It is the second part of my Hope Quest trilogy and today thru Friday, the e-book is FREE!!

Link to book here: Hope Quest book 2: The Lightning

Also, for today (Wednesday, Dec. 18th) only, Hope Quest book 1: Blackbird is also FREE!

Link here: Hope Quest book 1: Blackbird

This is a story that was in my head for twenty plus years and that got me through some dark times in my life.  It is the story of 14 year old Hope Quest, an unusual girl with a face full of scars, who talks in a whisper due to a damaged heart from a lightning strike as a toddler and has some very strange coping mechanisms to deal with an abusive life as she searches for her true origins, which are not entirely human.

I would love for you to check it out!  And if you like it, please consider leaving me a review on Amazon and /or Goodreads!

 

 

Creating my quiet

 

45fb764d3b23d95e67eeac11f34dc4f1Two years ago, I traded scrolling for writing.  I decided to leave social media in order to concentrate on my writing. It was not a popular decision.  It wasn’t met with any fan-fare or encouragement, but I knew I had to do it if I was going to finally write that book that had been in my head for most of my life.

The story was taking up too much space.

Scrolling was taking up too much time.

A change was needed.

At least, temporarily.

 

Friends and family were not impressed with my announcement that I would be leaving their social media feeds – deciding to no longer keep up with their memes and vacation photos in order to concentrate on ME – my writing, my book.  Some even scoffed at my idea and tried to shut it down with claims of “writing a book is the hardest thing anyone can do – that’s why most fail.”

I felt guilty for a moment or two about shutting the social media door, but I’ve never been one to suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) and more importantly, I remembered life – particularly writing life – before social media.

Before status updates, tweets, memes and selfies existed, life was quieter.

I didn’t know what everyone was doing all the time.  And I was perfectly content with that ignorance.  I got more done.  I had more time to concentrate on what was going on in my life – and in my head. 

My time away from social media was both refreshing and productive.

I got my book done!

Hope Quest book 1: Blackbird was released in May of this year.

I’ve since gotten back onto Facebook and joined Instagram in the last year ( I have always been a late bloomer).

Joining Instagram, in particular, has been a real boon for my writing and in meeting some fabulous writer friends, but lately, I’ve noticed that I’ve been spending too much time scrolling, invested in other writer’s postings and in how many likes my pieces get (or don’t).

 

Things have been getting noisy again.

I’ve been missing out on my writing time again.

So I’m shutting that social media door again.

 

Creating the quiet I need to write and finish my next book.

Hope Quest book 2: The Lightning will be released in September.

 

I’ll be scrolling again by October.

 

 

 

Photography, indie books and sloths, oh my!

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When most people see a sloth – those languid, smiling creatures moving through life at a slower than slow pace – they laugh.  They laugh because they seem so ridiculous and strange. They just don’t fit in with the rest of the animal world with their human-like  expressions and their care-less attitude towards their lack of speed.

Years ago, when I told people that I was going to transform my photography hobby into a business -quit my day job and create my dream job of taking photos of babies and children – most of them laughed, too.

“You can’t make money doing that.” 

“No one will pay you to take pictures when anyone can do it.” 

“Stop dreaming and live in the real world with the rest of us.”

It was a hard, lonely struggle, but I was determined to make it work.  I did whatever I could to make it happen: I worked for free, I took jobs I didn’t want, worked for people I didn’t like.

I shed buckets of tears as I drowned in self-doubt. 

I saw dozens and dozens of other women (photography is a heavily female dominated occupation) try to do the same as me –   and fail  (85% of photography businesses fold within 2 years). 

 

What made me and my business different?

4 things were in my favour:

  1.  I had gone to college to study photography and film before I decided to leap into business.  I had the technical know-how that set me above the rest who were learning as they went.
  2. I was a business owner, not a hobbyist.  I got my business licensed, got some professional accreditation, continued to study and train, kept business hours, offered professional products and services.
  3. I grew up with 2 generations of entrepreneurs.  My grandparents operated a funeral home for forty years.  My parents ran a business venture out of our living room when I was young.  I was exposed to the realities of self-employment for my whole life
  4. I am resilient.  A difficult upbringing with very little family support taught me to rely heavily (if not, solely) on myself.

 

It’s been 8 years since I decided to pursue my photography dream.  Eight long, hard years.  I’ve endured the struggle and lasted four times longer than the average photographer in this industry.  My business is strong and stable.  I have a strong following (2300 followers on Facebook) and a large group of loyal and repeat clients who often refer their friends.  I say no to jobs I don’t want, (and to people I don’t want to work with!), I work around my family’s schedules and have grown a healthy college fund for my kids in the process.

It has taken 8 years (!!), but I am now where I wanted to be when I first made my decision to go into business – and, damn, I’m proud of it.  All the hard work, all the struggle. It has all been worth it to see the sucess that has resulted.

 

This past spring, I decided to do it again.

After finally writing that novel that had been in my head for the last twenty-seven years, spending a year querying to agents and publishers and getting nothing but rejection, I decided to turn my hobby of writing into a business.

In the last few months, I have grown my writer’s platform – creating this website, creating content, growing a social media following.  I learned about self-publishing through KDP and Youtube videos.

My previous years of writing starting in my childhood and stretching into adulthood;  being a member of the Canadian Author’s Association, being traditionally published, studying English in university, will all be in my favour for this venture.

Like photography, the process of becoming an indie (independent) author, has been a mostly lonely, hard struggle and yes, many have laughed, but in my first three months of being an indie author, I have:

– released 2 titles (Elegant Execution and Hope Quest book 1: Blackbird)

– sold 94 books (both e-book and paperback).

– have gained close to 800 followers on Instagram.

– have accumulated 7 five star reviews of Elegant Execution and 4 five star reviews of Hope Quest on Amazon

And that’s nothing to scoff at.

 

Like my spirit animal, the sloth, I am slowly but surely working towards making my dream of being a successful indie author into a reality.  It will be a long hard, mostly lonely struggle. It will likely take years to get there, but I’m determined and I am willing to do whatever it takes.

The sloths and I will continue to be laughed at.

But we will continue to keep a smile on our faces as we keep moving at our own, slow pace.

Eventually, we always get to where we want to be.