Juggling On A New Level

I am functioning on less and less sleep these days, which screws with my day-to-day life, but seems to do wonders for my productivity. Yeah, I don’t understand it either.

My current WIP (work-in-progress) is at eight-four thousand words. I achieved those numbers in slightly over a full month. I put in a lot of hard work, and long hours, which I am proud of. Every day, it gets better.

Obviously, I’ve taken time to sleep so I come back refreshed, but I am looking at this material every single day. Even on days when I say I’ll take a break, I still put a few hours into it, or I do a quick read-through before bed to make sure I like how it flows. I allow myself to cut what doesn’t work.

I’ve written an insane amount of words this year for various manuscripts. People keep telling me how impressive this is, but honestly, it’s a job, like any other job. It’s important to me for anything with my name on it to feel like it’s work readers are familiar with, regardless of the topic at hand. This one in particular is not something I’d considered doing before, so as I write and catch myself enjoying it, I feel that translates to how a reader will catch my sense of humor or my snark within. Both of which would be incredibly hard to miss.

The majority of writers, if they are truly lucky, have a distinctive voice. I am constantly told it’s crystal clear when I’ve written or contributed to something. That is positive reinforcement to keep writing and making contributions. To keep creating. I’m not sure I know how to stop. I don’t like ignoring solid ideas. I don’t like putting things aside to work on what is selling and/or more relevant, but I’m only one person. There are only so many hours in a day, and I’ve been putting in an extraordinary amount of time on every detail. I’ve researched, studied my ass off, and I still do that several hours a day to make sure I’m in the right mind-set. We all need to source inspiration from something, someone, or somewhere. On occasion, all of the above.

What I’m writing is something I have actually lived. That is why I had not written it, until now. I have changed names and switched things around for obvious reasons (To protect the innocent, not the guilty.), but there’s extensive truth on every page.

There are genres I love to pieces, and there are genres which will always sell. That’s something all writers have to factor in. I’ve paid my dues. I’ve been at square one. I’m not starting over. I’m too experienced and too smart to try and diminish myself, and box myself into one aspect of what it means to be a writer. I refuse to go in the opposite direction.

I re-set everything this time around. Brand new playlist. New pre-writing routine. A whole different set of rituals. I want what’s on the page to feel fresh, because it is a story being told in real time. I dated it back a year, but everything else is current, and I like the way it flows from one chapter to the next. When I don’t like something, I go back into earlier portions and write a new chapter, or I build upon something I started, but needed to take a break from. We all have days when the material is never-ending, and days when it lags. I am trying to stay on schedule with the current portions, because some of that material is easier to write. The schedule is my own. I am looking at what I have for October and November, and this should be ready for submission in early to mid-2023, providing I remain on pace. The timetable includes several rounds of editing and rewrites. Right now, the manuscript is pretty clean. Most of mine are.

A genuine benefit of having an editing background is that I see errors in everything. Not only in my own work, but in a brand new novel that just came out, a restaurant menu, a street sign, or a glaring continuity issue in something written for television, etc. I am constantly correcting something, or someone. I am also highly aware I have a terrible habit of correcting people as they’re speaking. Sometimes I do it mentally, but other times, it slips out. It’s an occupational hazard, not an intentional dissection of others. That’s a whole other ball game.

It’s a damn good idea to write what you know, but it’s also important to be realistic about what you don’t, in case you do decide to break out of your comfort zone. The work I have done for the past few years has been, one hundred percent, me coming out of my comfort zone and making myself uncomfortable as hell. I needed a challenge, so I gave myself several. I found a weak spot and I lunged for it like a tiger. There’s nothing wrong with feeling strong enough in your body of work to say, “I can do this.”, and then follow through.

Coming off of a holiday weekend here in the United States, I have been diligent at keeping myself writing. I thought this week, I might miss a few days, so I was tripling my word count for days. For now, I’m okay-ish.

My migraines have reached a critical point where the nausea, dizziness, and vertigo are out of control. A few weeks ago, I called to make an appointment with a specialist who is focused on migraine-related vertigo. I didn’t have to wait very long to get in, which was quite shocking. The first appointment was hearing and vision tests. No hearing issues; I can pretty much hear every pitch imaginable. The vision tests were nauseating, and I have not been the same since hot air was forced into my ears. Initially, there was some dizziness, but I’m less than forty-eight hours out of the tests and have fallen multiple times, injuring myself. The doctor was amazing and very kind and empathetic. We talked about how, if it’s not my ears, then it could be my nose, throat, or a deeper inner ear issue closer to the brain. Clearly, it’s something and not a simple connection. I’ve already been told I will likely be sent an order for a brain MRI. I’ve been begging my headache specialist to order one for far too long, so to have someone run tests and not waste my time is so crucial. I meet the actual specialist at the end of the month, and as long as he has all the tests in front of him, I will potentially start a treatment plan at the end of September, and that’s more than reasonable. I do expect to be sent to a regular ENT specialist, as well, but I am grateful that when I called, there was no real wait time to get started. That’s extremely rare, and coming across someone who specializes in this is equally as rare. I just have to see how it plays out these next few weeks/months, and hope there’s help around the corner. Basically, getting an accurate diagnosis so I don’t end up with broken bones would help tremendously.

What else is going on that I can share? Oh, that’s right; it’s private AF and I might never talk about it. I know some of my friends have caught on, but for the most part; I’m writing. I juggle it differently these days, but I get it done EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. In case no one has mentioned it before, that’s the job.

Let’s roll into Fall, everyone. September 23rd will be here before you know it! Special thanks to all the new readers; I see you. 😉

copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino-Molchanova & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark.

The Art of Storytelling

Nonfiction is where I shine. When you’re obscenely direct as an human-being, to the point where your honesty has been called, “intimidating” by others, you should stick with what you know and what you are solid at. Over a decade ago, I decided to test myself and began writing fiction. I think my migraines got worse as a result.

Fiction is a whole other beast for a person whose primary focus is honesty. It’s the curveball you’re not expecting when you step up to the plate. It is challenging. Perhaps that’s part of the allure. I’m the type o personality which will tell you to throw the fucking ball right at me. I’ll catch it or I won’t, but more often than not, I’m catching.

I had written a solid starter novel which I ended up shelving because I felt like it had already been done so many times before. No one wants to write a cliche, even though they sell. I now know the timing of my work coincides with some current life events. Despite my ability to tell a story differently and my OCD attention to detail, I realize now it did nothing to boost my confidence as a writer, because fiction is not my safe space. I live in my head enough that fiction should be incredibly easy, but it isn’t. I have no shame in admitting that.

Slowly, over the past six months or so, I started parceling out parts of that starter novel to other projects. I had written so many fantastic scenes, and another writer had told me to save everything. “Write more than you know you will need, because those scenes can always be used up the road.” She was right, and it was something I’d been doing my entire career. I always save partially written scenes and see them come alive months, or years, later. I draft so many ideas which are brilliant in the moment, as many writers do, but when something nudges me and tells me the story needs to be written, and I have to tell it, that’s when I make a concerted effort to listen to that message. When I need a break, I take a break. I come back to the material in a fresh way, and it always feels better when I do. I like coming back to several hundred pages and being so involved in the story, I completely forget I wrote it. For me, that is what a gifted storyteller does.

I’m working on something new right now. It’s one of those things I began writing out of nowhere about a week and a half ago. I found myself inspired by very specific honesty, integrity, and energy, and decided to put ink to paper. Essentially, I wanted it to be larger than life.

The art of storytelling is to tell the story your way; leaving the opinions of others where they belong. It’s a different way for me to use my voice, and still share and discuss issues I deem important. I pulled myself out of a box and opened up on a level I am proud to put on a page.

I’ve written twenty-three thousand words, thus far. None of which I’d cut (I’ve already done some of that.). These characters are so unlike those I’ve written before. I wanted to be more inclusive, and so far, so good. It requires going into a different head space, but that’s part of what I like about it. I want the cultures and flavors to be present from cover to cover.

I’ve learned so much about myself while exploring fiction as an alternative avenue. One of the most important things is to make sure you’re telling a story for the right reasons. I looked at my typical lead characters and decided to switch shit up in a big way; which is deeply important to me. It adds depth to the storytelling. I want those first few pages to grab you, and this is something I’ve always been able to do. Grab someone’s attention for the full ride.

I find all of this works best when you have someone to refer back to as inspiration. I lucked out there, and had been a bit blind without realizing it, which is mentally and emotionally embarrassing. I’m grateful for the enlightenment, though. I can only describe it as a soulmate moment. I have nothing else to compare it to, other than the automatic knowledge that you’ve met someone who is part of your journey, whether it’s permanent, from a past life, or a soul acknowledgement. You feel it from head to toe. You automatically know things you shouldn’t know. You can read them as though you’re looking in a mirror. This has happened to me a handful of times, but this feels so much deeper, and it’s impossible to ignore.

Being able to see something so serious through someone else’s eyes is an important aspect of both personal and professional development. I want to say the absolute lack of aggression and hostility is what hit me the most. The approach had zero malice. The kindness, compassion, emotional intelligence, and deep empathy reached my soul, and I know I am a better person for paying attention and listening. I am still listening, and will continue to do so, because the lens is clear for me now, where before, I couldn’t connect. The inability to connect was completely on me, but again, the approach had a lot to do with my receptiveness. I rarely connect with a person on such a level, but when I do, it is deeply meaningful. I always ask for guidance, and the Universe heard me loud and clear.

Writing multicultural characters helps me connect with my own cultures, as well as those which are currently foreign to me. It broadens the horizons. I have always connected through my love of languages, art, architecture, and individuals who are great guideposts. I feel good, and proud, of the work on the page. I put a lot of truth into fiction, and I’ve addressed issues which I’ve remained quiet about because I never felt it was my place to speak on behalf of things which were not in my wheelhouse. I was not indifferent, I simply felt the need to take a small step back and observe. I don’t jump on bandwagons. I educate myself fully before I mention anything, and if I have questions, I would much prefer to do the research or talk to someone who is more knowledgeable on a matter than I am. I don’t ever want to come from a place of ignorance or say something hurtful to someone. It’s not who I am as a person, and it isn’t the kind of writer I am, either.

In a lot of ways, this year did not go as planned, and there’s still five months to go. I have been stalled, like many other people, regarding major business decisions and steps I intended to take long before Covid hit. However, other things have shown me how far I’ve come from 2021 to 2022. My priorities, relationships, and business acumen have all shifted greatly. I allow myself to set larger goals, even when they make me a little nervous.

I received an e-mail last week to let me know I’d been nominated for an award, and I am humbled by this. My presence on Instagram has exploded. I dialed it back on Twitter. I update less often, so I know the award is based on different aspects of my content. I try to create things that matter, inspire, and bring people together. I try to inspire the way I’d like to be inspired. Inevitably, I’ll make mistakes. No one is perfect, but I am highly aware of my faults.

During a conversation last week, I was informed how good I am at being hard on myself. This was during a video chat and I responded by saying, “I can’t believe you just said that to me!”, because it came out of left field. The response I got was, “Oh shit, did I say that out loud?” The person I was talking to actually ducked in the middle of that exchange, as if he thought I was going to throw something at him. That moment of humanizing me and letting me know that yes, I’m a perfectionist and it’s both a blessing and a curse, but it does make me more self-aware, was actually helpful, even though we were both laughing, which sort of defeated the purpose of the point he was trying to make. It was deeply acknowledging, though, and I do appreciate a person who has truly taken the time to get to know me, being able to have lighthearted moments with me, and no, I wouldn’t have thrown anything at him. The playfulness of the exchange really makes me laugh even now. It’s so similar to a sibling dynamic, but this is someone I have great respect for, and I have seen from day one, how much he respects me and my insight. Knowing what a positive, healthy relationship it is gives me that push to be fiercer each day.

When a person acknowledges how prolific I am in my writing, and how I will always have great ideas and opportunities… It’s so complimentary and supportive. It’s even more supportive when the same person says, “You have grown so much since the day I met you. You are worlds away from who I was first introduced to, and you have every right to be proud of that because you show up and you do the work.” That’s special. I don’t see myself the way others do, so I’ve received a lot of feedback of late that was so loving and supportive, and maybe it was a small confidence boost professionally, but more so on a personal level.

Like anyone else who is going through a lot, but who is also taking time out of a day to write for 12+ hours, I feel closer to a few of my larger goals.

Here’s to better days, brighter tomorrows, and all the inspiration a person can hold in their head and heart. Have a good weekend, my people. 😊

copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino-Molchanova & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark.

When Red Sox Fans Have Too Much Free Time

Here’s how Peppermint Petty Boston Red Sox fans are.

In my travels, and even living in this area, I see Yankees hats, shirts, and jerseys on a fairly regular basis. Way more than I used to. Even when I’m leaving the hospital where I get medical treatment, one which is branded as the official hospital for the Red Sox (Don’t buy into this. When their players are injured, they are treated at Mass General. It’s always in the papers. But sure, let’s pretend this is where you send your players. I haven’t seen one there EVER, and yes, I’ve been to the sports medicine department.), I see Yankee fans consistently on my way in or on my way out of the building, and I’ve complimented many people on the hats that MLB keeps putting out. They’re cute and I don’t really wear hats, but you get the gist.

Men, women, children are seen wearing the easily identifiable interlocked NY all over the world. I feel like it’s a symbol for so many. I have known people who’ve traveled to this country solely to go home and say, “We went to Yankee Stadium and it wad AMAZING.” For them, it was an absolute bucket list moment they’ll never forget.

So, when I was in a store last week and one of the employees tried shaming me about my Yankees shirt, I had to check myself for a moment. From the back, all you could see was a retired player’s name and number. From the front, the NY was on the left side of my chest. I was already stressed and annoyed, so I said, “Sorry. It’s where I’m from.” Then I truly had enough of his shit and said, “Actually, I’m not going to apologize for representing my home team.” That’s when he saw the error of his ways and tried to say, “It’s a great rivalry. It makes for great games.” I rolled my eyes like a true New Yorker and kept it moving.

Call me when you’ve got twenty-seven World Series championships under your belt. In the meantime, I’ll continue bleeding Yankee blue.