Finding the frame for your vision.

Over the weekend I finished the second draft of my WIP (for nomenclature purposes I'll refer to it as ATLWTO--which is shorthand for my working title). Though it only took me three weeks to crank out, I felt like it was emotionally draining so I didn't really celebrate.

Draft one, which I will deem my exploratory draft, was just all over the place. I couldn't decide on the tense, I fiddled constantly with timelines--it was basically a mess of me trying to figure out what was the best way to tell the story. My outline did not help whatsoever. Sometimes unfortunately, you don't know what works until you're knee deep in 30K words, and then you reread some bits and think, this would be better if I wrote it this way instead. Then there were the scenes that I thought was important to show but it did not serve the plot. Oh and then one character who I didn't really like, kept convincing me that he did not fit in the character box I was trying to fit him in, so that threw a wrench in things.

So you can imagine when I started my second draft how daunting all of this was when draft one became a mish mash of broken pieces. For draft two I simplified things by focusing on one thing, and one thing only: plot. I needed to nail the frame down for my vision, which meant I had to decide on the tense and stick to it. I had to decide if I wanted to do multiple timelines and why. In the end I decided I needed one thing solid to build off, because I was not going to go through a revision nightmare. Thus in three weeks, I revised the chapters I would keep, and then rewrote half of the MS fitting in the stepping stones to connect the plot for me to flesh out in draft three.

Case in point: Figure out the frame for your vision before you begin. It's like when you have a very dear photograph you want to frame. Do you just put it in any one you find? Or do you actually spend time looking for the perfect one that will compliment your photo? Note to self: take frame shopping seriously.

This week I'm going to take a much needed break from the MS by outlining the next idea. Then during Thanksgiving break I'll do my read through and make a heavy lifting revision plan for draft three--which I will give myself 6 weeks instead of three to complete. If all goes according to plan I'll have a working draft going into the new year!

On the other hand, since I've been obsessed with getting this MS done, done, done, I've been more introverted as usual and off of social media. The introverted thing can't be helped sometimes. It's SO DAMN DARK in the PNW so all I want to do is hibernate, but I will say being off social media has been a great 'breather' which increased my productivity.

 I'll end this post by dropping some reading recs that were my favorites this month and jotting down a few life updates:

An Enchantment of Ravens - I adored the love story, the adventure, the world building (so lush), and the pretty but to the point writing :D This will probably be a book I revisit. I read the whole thing through during a weekend.

Body Love - I always love reading up on diet and nutrition in the hopes of optimizing my lifestyle and I really loved the science-y explanations on blood sugar and hormones. Not to mention the simple approach to balanced eating.

I traded in my natural hair color for a balayage. Still getting used to this lighter version of me. Hopefully I'll have a better picture of it up on the blog later.

A dusting of snow came early to my neck of the woods. It made for pretty writing weather but terrible conditions for my already dry skin.

Lastly, I tried out Bounty Kitchen in Seattle with some TIU girls. Definitely a cool spot to catch some healthy eats in Queen Anne.

TONE IT UP TOUR - SEATTLE

Ahhhhh! The TIU Tour came to Seattle last week, and I am so happy that I got to attend! As my #tiuhubby knows, I'm kind of obsessed with all things Tone It Up, so it was no surprise that when tickets came out, I bought them ASAP and splurged for the VIP. Luckily, I have a husband who supports my TIU addiction :P

So lo and behold the day finally came for the first ever tour! I got to meet up with some badass babes, flowed with Corepower yoga, got my ass kicked by Jillian Michaels, and sweated it out with Katrina & Karena. The day was filled with awesome empowering vibes, rose, and newfound friendships. And of course, a huge dose of inspiration and motivation. I always leave the TIU events on a high. It's obvious I'll be forever in love with this community <3

It's been almost a year since I joined Tone It Up and lately I've been thinking about how it's affected me:

  • I have been consistent in working out this past year (and bright and early in the mornings no less)!
  • I've learned to bake with protein powder. Not a big feat, but it's a pretty cool to healthify some baked treats once in a while.
  • I've fallen in love with smoothies and salads! I've always been a green smoothie lover, but now I've incorporated protein and super food powders to the mix, so I feel like I'm become a smoothie wizard! Before Tone It UP, I was a salad twice a week kind of girl, but now I seem to want them 5-7 days a week.
  • Even though physically I haven't changed much, I feel less soft and my fitness has improved.
  • I find that I can be brave and show up at an event without knowing anyone. I used to be super self-conscious meeting new people, probably because I always had some kind of network or friends to do things with, but when you move to a new place, you're forced to start over. For my first year in Seattle, I was afraid to do just that, but I found that TIU has helped me embrace being open with others.
  • It's brought my sister and I closer. My TIU membership was a pre-wedding gift from my sister to help me get in shape for my wedding. She ended up joining too after seeing how much I enjoyed it that we recently made our LA trip TIU themed!
  • I am kinder and more accepting of myself. I used to be really negative about myself and my body. I would never ever body shame another woman because I think of all woman as beautiful in their own right, but when it came to myself I had no problem dissing and dismantling my self-esteem. In a way, I've found some inner peace with myself (though of I'm not immune to having those difficult days; I'll just counteract them with positive vibes).

As I go into me second year of TIU, I know that what's finally blossoming within me, will slowly, but surely be reflected on the outside.

As always, thank you K&K.

 

TIU LA Trip: Day 3

Like all things, the trip came to an end, but we made it an eventful one to celebrate my sister's birthday. We woke up and started at Two Guns Espresso which was absolutely delicious. Best coffee during my trip was had here, and they make a killer garlic toast, so try it if you ever go.

After fueling up, we went for a 4-5 mile hike to check out the coastal views. It was so peaceful and tranquil that I had to strike a yoga pose or two. It has been a while since I delved into my practice though, so I'm gonna make it a point to get back into it.

After the hike, we walked along the Santa Monica Pier then headed to Venice to replenish at Café Gratitude. I loved this café so much, I really hope they come to Seattle. I loved the vibe and the positive affirmations. Not to mention the delicious and good-for-you food.

We rested at the beach for a bit before getting ready for the birthday dinner at The Strand House then celebrated the night at Elevate Lounge to ring in the birthday at midnight. The next day was a travel day, and though I had an amazing trip, it also feels good to be back home with the hubby and kitty.

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TIU LA Trip: Day 1

As I write this, I am so filled with thanks and gratitude. The past week has been amazing! My sister and I traveled to LA for a TIU/Birthday trip, and when I returned to Seattle, I had the pleasure of attending the TIU tour! I'm still coming off from the high of this week, so be warned, the next 4 posts will basically be me fangirling about Tone It Up ;)!

On Thursday, my sister and I met up at LAX to begin our trip! After grabbing the car and checking into our hotel, we headed out to lunch at The Source Café. For all our foodie needs, we basically followed the LA TIU City Guide for suggestions on where to go and eat for some delicious, healthy, and instagram worthy places and they did not disappoint! We ended up splitting a green smoothie and paleo salmon toasts.

Afterward we ended up in Venice to go mural hunting to find the 'Look For Love' hearts that K&K used for the challenge and basically had a blast snapping photos and walking around. For dinner we went to The Butcher's Daughter to split a pizza (which was sooooo good--and that's saying something since I'm not a big pan of pizza).

Slightly tired from the travels, we headed back to the beach right outside our room to enjoy the sunset, then had some snacks and sparkling rose on our balcony to end the night.

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Meeting K&K and the concept behind 'Michelle Manifesting'.

EEEPPPPPP! I met K&K. *pinches self* Tuesday night still feels like a d r e a m. No joke. I'm still coming down from my high from meeting them, but I'm so stoked I get to relive it by writing this blog post.

As I mentioned in my recap post here, my sister and I joined Tone It Up, an amazing health, wellness, and fitness community created by Karena and Katrina (hence the K&K) for women. I've pretty much fallen head over heels for the #tiuteam, #tiucommunity, and the #tiulifestyle. I love their message of women empowerment. It's so refreshing to have women supporting and inspiring one another, not only in health, fitness, or wellness, but in every aspect of our daily lives, which made the experience of meeting them in person mean so much to me.

So before I begin, I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to Karena and Katrina for giving the #tiuseattle squad the opportunity, and a big thank you to Katrina and Deanna, our fearless Seattle leaders, who helped make it happen (and also these beautiful photos)! In less than a 24 hour notice, more than 100 girls showed up to represent to show their love and  gratitude to K&K for all that they do and giving us this amazing community where we can all connect and come together!

Who knew you could get high off #positivevibes! Am I right?

Anyway, it's kind of hard now to believe that I almost didn't go. I was wholly unprepared and not feeling my best (I blame it on the cloudy skies) and considered going home after work instead of heading into Seattle. I've also become a huge introvert lately so it takes a bit of mental energy to get me into a social setting where I don't know anyone on a personal level. Still, I was torn. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Who knew when I would get the chance to meet K&K? Once I checked the Facebook group and saw other TIU girls posting their insecurities and the overwhelming support that resulted from it, I knew I had to go. TIU girls are so positive and uplifting, there was nothing I should be anxious about.

So I went, and I'm so glad I did. Yeah, I looked a mess post work and had zero makeup on still dressed in slacks, but when I arrived and felt the buzz of energy, I felt at peace knowing I'd made the right decision. I read somewhere that the only regrets you should have are about the things you didn't do, and at that moment that saying completely resonated with me.

And what do you know, by stepping out of my comfort zone I made new friends, had a really great time, and got to thank K&K personally (though I think I was a tad bit incoherent from fangirling so hard). Getting a hug from them was probably the highlight of my year (well, second after my wedding of course;)).

Afterward, I came home to my husband basically floating on a cloud. The experience definitely filled my inspiration well and left me feeling motivated, not just with health and fitness, but with my own personal goals.

Seeing what K&K have achieved has definitely lit my desire to do more and be more by living a more purpose-filled life. If you follow my TIU insta (michellemanifesting_tiu) you'll finally get the concept behind the name I chose. With the one life I'm given, I want to manifest the best life I can possibly live by being my best self. So that means taking care of myself--body, mind, and soul--and chipping away at the dream.