Doubt And The Perfect Pitch

Letters

So much has changed lately, that I’ve debated when and how much of it to share. As I’ve told you before, I intend to take you on every step of my journey, with the hope that it will help you navigate through yours. Still, timing is a funny thing, and I’m not quite ready to spill all of the beans.

Nevertheless, there is some stuff I must share with you right this instance.

Remember how I mentioned that doubt is common for writers, as well as all other artists? It is more prevalent now than ever. It is in various aspects of my life, but I won’t mention everything that’s going on. If I do, your brain might explode. Let’s just say things are currently shifting for me, and I’m under the impression that this roller coaster is heading upwards! Still, doubt has been ever present as I commence the querying process for my first novel.

I spent a great deal of time editing my novel and can’t seem to look at it the way I once did, which I knew would be the case, but it’s still tough to accept. This is the part where I must trust the creative process, the result of my hard work, and God. Because to say that I’ve accomplished this on my own would be silly.

I’ve started drafting query letters. I’ll share more details next week. In the meantime, please drop some comments on how you cope with doubt. Does it diminish with time? Or will I always, as a creative, face this ordeal? If so, I’m more than willing to accept it. After all, I’m happy to accept anything that’s a side effect of doing what I love most!

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What Happens When You Don’t Feel Like Writing?

Writer's Block

To say that writing a novel has been a roller coaster is an understatement. After all, regardless how intense a roller coaster is, you usually get off within minutes. I’ve been on this ride for quite some time. I began working on my novel in January, imagining I’d finish it in record time. Ha! Joke’s on me! And that’s not even when this ride began, because before an author starts to pen a novel, the concept has to be there, and for me, it was, sort of, but not entirely. I just figured it would come only if I started writing – and holy moly! It did.

As I approach the grand finale – which is really just the start of this process called getting published – I’ve contemplated the bumps in the road, including a laptop that decided to malfunction, only to return to normal after I frustratingly opened it up to figure out what in the world was wrong. (Note: I was unable to remove the battery as I originally planned, and I was too afraid to try anything else, so all I did was blow into the fan because it looked pretty dusty. If you need tech assistance, I’m your woman!)

Lately, I’ve been comparing the process of writing a novel to the process of getting in shape. If I went to the gym only when I felt like it, well, let’s just say the progress I’ve noticed would be nonexistent. The same is true for novel writing – had I waited for the magical feeling, I wouldn’t be about to put the finishing touches on my greatest dream. So, when I don’t feel like writing, I write anyways. Then, because this is my passion, the feeling always finds me, just like it does at the gym every time I begin cardio.

What happens when you don’t feel like writing? What do you do?

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The Ticking Clock

One of my closest [female] friends is about to turn 30, and she’s been stressed about her dream to become a mother.

There are days I’m a bit annoyed when having to explain why I don’t want children. Women who want them seldom get asked that question, but I understand it’s a majority thing, and it’s mind-boggling to some to meet a woman who contradicts the norm. Yet, as difficult as it sometimes is to “stick out,” there is one wonderful thing about my decision and my choice to embrace it – I don’t hear the sound of a ticking clock. I’m not thinking to myself, I have this many years to conceive, or it may never happen. Sadly, though, it’s a concern many women – and not just my friend – face. It’s a concern I wish women didn’t have to face. And maybe, just maybe, they don’t.

While I may not hear a ticking clock when it comes to childbearing, I have heard it in other aspects of my life: When will my career finally take off? How long before I land the book deal of my dreams? Just months ago, I envisioned myself visiting Italy this year (I’ve always wanted to visit in the summer), yet it’s not happening. Sometimes, it feels like the things I want are never going to happen, not because I don’t think they can or because I doubt that I am capable of making them come true, but because they seem to be taking forever. That and I cannot control what happens.

And yet, there is one thing I can control, and that’s how I choose to perceive what happens (or doesn’t happen). I can either dwell on the past and what hasn’t occurred, or I can trust that everything will happen in due time, when the time is right. Of course this is much easier said than done, but isn’t that the case with many things in life?

Do you feel like your clock is ticking? If so, how do you cope with those concerns?

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My Novel And A Tough Decision

The Write WomanWhether you’re following me on social media and on this blog, or doing one more than the other, you’re probably wondering: When will Geraldine finally finish that novel of hers? I’ve been wondering the same, mostly because it has taken way longer than I envisioned. Thankfully, some of you have shared your enthusiasm for its release, and that makes me even more excited.

Truth is, I’ve been working on my novel for a couple of months now. At times, there’s a rhythm to writing that follows me for days; everything just flows. I’ve written over 70,000 words! Lately, though, I’ve been struggling with the remainder of my novel: How do I finish it? Do I want this character to do that, or would it be best for her to do something else? What message am I conveying with each prospect?

Then, when I’m not analyzing what to do with my characters, I’m concerned about pitching: How long will it take long for someone to see, understand and believe in my vision? Doubt settles in for a few seconds, only to be dismissed by that inner voice of mine that tells me over and over again that I want this too much for it not to come true. They say the power of the Law of Attraction lies mostly in feeling, and let me tell you something, I am not a crier, and yet the visualization of my published novel is enough to make my eyes water – that’s how bad I want this. I’ve wanted to be an author since I was a little girl. Through trials and tribulations, ups and downs, worries and doubts, writing has remained the constant in my life, the love of my life, the one thing I’ve always wanted to do. In a strange way, I believe everything I’ve been through (and my, has it been tough!) has been leading up to a specific moment, the moment when I finally get to hold my greatest dream.

Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion – a conclusion I’ve come to several times this past year – that in order to accomplish my goals, I have to prioritize. Hence, the seemingly sporadic posts on this blog. I can’t continuously blog and work on my novel. Still, my goal is to share my journey, in the hopes of inspiring you – especially if your dream is to be an author, too. For this reason, I assure you that I will eventually return to this blog and share each step: from pitching to choosing the cover – and everything else I am lawfully allowed to share. But for now, I have to take a break from The Write Woman to be The Write Woman. 

In the meantime, I encourage you to look through this blog. There are many posts I believe will inspire you, like this one and this one. Also, feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram where I’ll soon be revealing details, such as my novel’s title and synopsis.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for accompanying me on this journey! Xoxo.

Where I’m From

Geraldine Estevez

Last night, I asked my mother: Do you like living here? When I have enough money to move you out, will you do what Romeo Santos’ mother and Jennifer Lopez’s mother did and choose to stay in the Bronx?

My mother quickly replied, “No, I don’t like living here. This isn’t really living,” Then, she went on to explain that life, for her, is a monotonous cycle of “Where am I going to get the money to pay the bills?” As a hair dresser, each month she scrapes to put the money together, only to have to do the same within weeks. “I walk by a store and see something I like, and I don’t go in to get it,” she revealed, sharing that doing so would only result in vast mortification when the time to pay the bills comes. (Note: My mother said all these things in Spanish. Also, my mother is my biggest support system, the reason I am able to focus on my greatest dream.)

When she shared this, I told her that the feeling has always been there for me but now it’s accentuated by the desire to prosper, as opposed to the deep resentment that once lingered. I used to hate the Bronx, feeling I was above it, better than it. Slowly, I’ve realized that where I’m from does not define me. I am not limited by my surroundings. On the contrary, I am stronger and more determined because of it.

Yesterday, I stepped out to get some recaito for my mother and I got the same feeling I got when I was younger, only now it’s even stronger. I feel like I do not belong here. People here are unaware that there’s an entirely different world out there, one with opportunities to prosper well beyond their imaginations. So, while they find pleasure in loitering and think a nice apartment and steady (but misery-inducing) job is making it, my dreams surpass that.

I found myself saying last night what I couldn’t put into words just months ago. I told my mother: I want to be a best-selling author, the Dominican version of the typical favorite women’s fiction writer. I want to make it big and I want to remind people that I’m from the Bronx. I want other people to look at me and say, “Well, if she can make it big, so can I.” I want to inspire others to dream big.

It is for this reason that I wanted to pay tribute to my upbringing not just through words, but through images. So, when Clifton (@Underground_NYC) reached out, I didn’t hesitate. His vision consists of placing something beautiful amidst something grimy, and my, if that doesn’t capture what growing up in the Bronx is like, I don’t know what does! Growing up in the Bronx is finding the beauty of dreams amidst ugliness. It’s remaining true to oneself and one’s vision, even when others can’t and won’t understand. It’s having the courage and will to look and see beyond what abounds.

Geraldine Estevez

If nothing else, I hope my journey inspires you to chase your dreams like your breath depends on it. Don’t allow your surroundings to pass as limitations, because the only limitations that exist are the ones you set yourself, the ones you are willing to accept.

I am a Dominican author from the Bronx, but this is not all I am, nor all I will be. Where are you from?

Geraldine Estevez

Interested in collaborating with Clifton? Follow him on IG and Twitter: @Underground_NYC and visit KillTheUnderground.com.

Why You Must Create A Vision Board

As you probably know by now, I believe in the law of attraction, among other things. As I’ve mentioned before, I believe in God but not in the way people typically do. With that said, after spending some time with my friend Ada – an amazing blogger and networker who’s also into spirituality – I finally got around to creating an extended, more specific version of my vision board.

I’ve been practicing the law of attraction by remaining attentive to my thoughts. When my mind drifts off to the past or to anything negative, I make it a point to get back to my happy place. To do this, I listen to a song I love, write to God or do whatever it takes, but I do not allow myself to dwell on what didn’t work, what could have been or anything else that will detract from my happiness.

Lately, I’ve been having a hard time getting back to that place, not because my intensions to do so aren’t there, but because visualization has been challenging. I shared this with Ada, telling her that I was aiming to improve my mindset. If the key to success is continuously improving my mentality, then what have I got to lose? If anything, I’ll be happier, I thought.

So, when Ada said, “Make a vision board!” and she shared that she already had to make another one because everything on the one she recently created came true within six months, I knew it was time. We met up on Wednesday, and I started my vision board that night. I finished it last night, and I felt so incredible while making it and after completing it (and now when I look at it), that I URGE you to make yours.

For my vision board, I decided to focus on the following six months to a year. According to the law of attraction, the universe doesn’t measure your goals and say “This will take much longer than six months.” You simply put out the intension, and the universe makes it happen. So, don’t worry about the how. Just focus on the what – what you want and what you will feel once it comes true. Visualization is made powerful by the emotions you attach to it. Keep that in mind while you select your images. Be mindful of how they make you feel.

Here’s my completed vision board (with my world map wall sticker peeking on the right):

Vision Board

While designing it, I divided my vision board into six sections.

1) Love and passion: What I’d like to find in a lover and how I’d like to feel. I couldn’t incorporate all of my thoughts through images, but I’m jolted back to those thoughts and emotions when I glance at the images pictured. In short, I want romance, but I want wild passion, too! I want a man who’s open to adventures and travel. I want a worldly, intelligent man. And I want lots and lots of love – the real, genuine, profound kind – the kind that’s rare. Sweet!

Love and Passion

2) Travel and adventures: I’m obsessed with Italy, so that’s the biggest image in that section. I didn’t plan it that way, but I did find the image. Coincidence? I think not. I want to travel [primarily] to Italy, Greece and France. I also want to return to California and the Dominican Republic. I want fun, love-filled adventures with family and friends.

Travel

3) Self: I want to be in even better shape, and I want to be healthier. With health, I can accomplish anything and everything. I want happiness and inner balance. I also want to get back to one of my passions, photography – in front of the camera.

Self

4) Journalism: I want a career in journalism – whether it’s working for a magazine or a major network. I want to attend events and parties, walk the red carpet, interview celebrities on and off the red carpet. I’m ready to live the life of my dreams!

Journalism

5) Published novel and magazine articles: This has been my greatest dream since I was a little girl. I want to publish a best-selling novel (and many more novels after that). I want to see images of YOU reading my book all over social media. I want to hear how I’ve inspired YOU in person and via social media. I also want to have articles published in major magazines, such as Cosmopolitan. I want to inspire people all over the world through my writing.

Dream

6) Life is beautiful: The words around my picture are reminders and reinforcements of what I want my life to be full of: Love, happiness and prosperity. I want to be an even more amazing woman and lead an even more beautiful life! The hearts across the board symbolize my desire for love to abound in all aspects of my life.

Life Is Beautiful

I hope I’ve inspired you. Are you ready to start your vision board? Do you have any questions? I want to help! Comment below, send me a tweet @TheWriteWoman, or email me: Gera@TheWriteWoman.

One last thing, one imperative reminder: Don’t forget to dream big.

When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Meditating by the sea

One of the greatest challenges, I find, is holding on to hope when things go awry. Moreover, it’s difficult to be patient and understand that while things don’t always make sense as they’re happening, they tend to make sense when we look back.

Last week, I interviewed for my dream job. In short, the position consisted of writing about celebrities, interviewing sources and attending a total of three events per week. While I won’t deny that the description of a hectic schedule briefly took me back to my position at the advertising agency, I felt different this time around, a good kind of different. I’m nearly finalizing my novel, so the timing seemed right. Plus, I saw unlimited possibilities. It could mark the beginning of a journalism career and possibly lead to broadcast journalism. Needless to say, this interview helped me verify what kind of career I want to have.

I walked into that interview determined to give it my all, and I walked out convinced that I had indeed given it my all. I showcased my writing portfolio, an elegant black book containing the pieces I’ve written for LatinTRENDS magazine. I updated my “5 Reasons You Should Hire Me” brochure (utilizing my new brand name) to match the brand’s mission, “5 Reasons I’m The Right Woman For The [Job].” And, lastly, to top it all off, I created two sample posts in the voice of the online publication I was interviewed for. I added images, sources and hyperlinks the same color as the ones used by said publication. When I say I went hardI mean it.

Last night, I received the email, an email I’d expected after the dreams I had the night before.

In my dreams, I almost drowned. Both times the water was pristine. I woke up and googled the meaning of drowning in a dream and discovered that drowning represents obstacles, challenges and tests. If you’re drowning in pristine water, then that’s symbolic of God, faith and spirituality as a whole. I interpreted my dream to mean that I wasn’t going to get the position, that more challenges lie ahead, but that I shouldn’t lose faith. It was a clear reminder that while this is one tough journey, I’m not alone.

I won’t deny that my heart sank when I read the rejection email, because I was, after all, interviewed for my dream job. Still, I trust that what seems right for me now may not be the right thing for me after all. (It’s happened to me before with personal matters.) I trust that there is something better out there for me. I trust that this will help make me an even better, stronger writer. I trust that each step, each bump in the road and in each low in this [career] roller coaster, is God’s steering. I will end up where I’m supposed to be. And so will you. So, if things aren’t going your way, trust that it’s because what lies ahead is even greater than what you’ve envisioned.

Don’t lose hope. Trust the journey. And whatever you do, keep dreaming!

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Women Need To Stop Blaming Other Women

Women

In high school, I had a friend who showed up to her boyfriend’s school on a biweekly basis to confront the women “provoking” her boyfriend. I’m still not sure exactly what she said to those women. All I know is that a few years later, I would come to find out what it feels like to be one of “those” women.

After going through an extremely difficult breakup, I turned to a friend who had recently broken up with his girlfriend. Sometimes he texted me for advice. (It was mind-boggling how little he understood women.) Other times, I texted him for advice. One day, unaware that he was back with his ex-girlfriend, I shot him a text.

His girlfriend, whom I’d met and was fond of, texted me back calling me every name in the book. Little did she know that at one point, her boyfriend was the one who came on to me, and I talked some sense into him.

I wonder if she understands that I wasn’t the problem, but that her boyfriend’s behavior was. It was, after all, a mixture of her boyfriend’s behavior and her own insecurities that led to her making the inaccurate assumption that I was after her man. I wonder if she’s aware that I was just one woman, and that the issue will likely resurface, only with a different woman. Will she confront that woman as well? And the one after that?

A similar concept comes to mind when I hear people (predominantly women) say that a woman doesn’t respect herself solely because said woman chooses to wear revealing clothes. Moreover, I’m perplexed when women say it’s expected for a woman to be disrespected based on her attire, as though one person should be held accountable for the actions of others.

Is it so puzzling to consider that the aforementioned woman actually loves her body (a rarity amongst women) and wears what she wears because it’s what she loves to wear? Is it so insane to consider that just as there are women who like to dress conservatively, there are those who don’t? Are we so accustomed to the cliché depiction of the insecure woman that we no longer recognize confidence? To this point, are we so narrow in our views of what it means to be confident that we’ve lost the ability to view women as individuals, assuming all should fit a particular mold in order to be considered confident?

Isn’t it time we start holding men accountable for their own actions? Isn’t this part of the reason feminism exists today? Men walk around shirtless all the time, and comparatively speaking, women seldom make inappropriate comments. If we do, we are reproached for “not valuing ourselves.” Yet, when a man does the same, the woman is to blame? Really? If we are to cover up the parts of our bodies we are most fond of so as to not “provoke” men, should we also cover up our feet so as to not “provoke” those with foot fetishes? What other parts of our bodies will we then go on to cover?

Truth is, the perception men have of women is skewed, but the perception women have of each other, I dare say, is even worse. What would happen if each time a man called a woman a slut, another woman stepped in and said, “You don’t know her story. Don’t judge her.”? Clearly, this is not what happens on a regular basis, because most of the time women belittle each other in order to feel better about themselves.

There is no greater critic of women than women, and this needs to change.

When I see Katy Perry showing off cleavage in a music video, Beyoncé shaking her bootylicious bottom, Shakira gyrating her hips, Jennifer Lopez showing off her toned abs and female fitness trainers drawing attention to their thick thighs, I am aware that these women are sexy, yet I don’t feel threatened by them, or any other women who flaunt what they have. On the contrary, I applaud them for doing what isn’t easy to do, and that is remaining true to themselves. After all, sexiness and intelligence need not be exclusive.

Women need to stop blaming other women for their own securities. Women need to stop making assumptions about other women, judging other women and attacking other women. Have we not enough odds stacked against us as is? Imagine how much we could accomplish if we opened up our minds and our hearts, and supported one another.

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If You’re Thinking About Writing A Novel

Writing A Novel

If you’re thinking about writing a novel, there are a few things you should know…

Writing a novel is emotionally taxing. Your senses are heightened, and your perspective changes. Every exchange – from meeting new people to engaging in a disagreement – becomes potential writing material. As you write, you’ll end up connecting with the characters you create (since we tend to write about what we’ve experienced). You may go back in time and dwell on unpleasant experiences, but don’t worry. It’ll pass. What better way to bring characters to life than to feel what they feel? The best writing is writing with emotion.

No amount of time is enough time. Rushing the process serves no purpose. You’ll just end up regretting and deleting the chapter you wrote on a whim (or you’ll end up writing an incredible chapter). Sometimes you’ll have to step back for a day or two in order to gain a clear sense of where you’d like to take the story. Oh, and there will be days you fully dedicate to your novel, only to feel like: Wow! Twelve hours and this is all I completed?

Completing the first draft marks the beginning of the journey. You know this when you start writing, but it’s easy to overlook this point when your manuscript is almost done. There’s still a lot of work left before you hold your book. While you write, do some research, too. Start considering agents. The 2014 Writer’s Market is a great tool for this.

Writing a novel is an emotional roller coaster sprinkled with lapses of doubt. There will be days when you don’t feel like writing, probably because you doubt your work. Ignore the voice that likes to linger disguised as common sense and write on!

What do you perceive as the most challenging aspect of writing a novel?

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Dear Men

Dear Men

Dear men,

There are a few misconceptions I’d like to clear up. They are misconceptions I’ve heard growing up (and the other day inside a cab). They are misconceptions that make my stomach churn because they are full of ignorance. They are misconceptions many, if not all, women identify with. They are misconceptions that need to be addressed.

1. Not every woman who sleeps with a guy shortly after meeting him has lost her self-respect. Just as you have the “right” to explore your sexuality, we do, too. Don’t judge the woman who’s giving the guy she just met a chance. She may have followed every “rule” in the past (get to know him, wait this long to have sex, meet the family), only to have her heart broken. Following a specific path doesn’t guarantee anything. Therefore, the best thing a woman can do is be true to herself.

2. We don’t fight because we’re moody. Stop blaming the hormones. One: PMS is not a month-long event. Two: You tend to be moody, too – except without a valid reason. Three: If we’re upset, there’s a reason.

3. If we’re mad at you, it’s for a reason. If you lack sympathy, reconsider getting into a relationship. How would you feel if you were to book reservations for an anniversary dinner and she were to forget? Wouldn’t you be upset if she constantly forgot the same thing (demonstrating inattentiveness and possibly how little she cares about you)? How would you feel if she hid something from you?

4. Telling her she looks beautiful will not make her cocky. Every women wants to feel wanted. Sure she’ll get plenty of compliments when she walks out the door, but I assure you, it’s your compliment she treasures most. Don’t be too proud to let your lady know she still turns you on…even after so many years! Don’t get so comfortable you forget to show her how much she means to you.

5. Women don’t always need to be right. In fact, it’s not about being right or wrong. It’s about understanding each other and learning from previous mistakes. After all, we’re not perfect…and neither are you.

What’s one misconception men have about women that you’d like to clear up?

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