Stop Trying to Pour from an Empty Cup: Feed Your Soul

Trust me, I keep learning this lesson the hard way.

It’s so tempting to keep jumping around from task to task.

You can very likely get a lot of different things done this way, but it doesn’t mean it’ll be all that fulfilling. You’ll just burn yourself out and then you’ll be miserable. I go through this cycle all the time, but I’m finally ready to try and break it.

So I said last time too. And in previous blog posts, you might’ve noticed me talk about self-care, taking breaks, etcetera. But you know what I realized recently?

There’s actually a third option besides just being a workaholic and being a couch potato.

Yes, seriously – and it’s called feeding your soul.

It’s not a question of working or taking a break – it’s actually more about doing things that make your heart happy. For me, as a content writer, my work is extremely draining on the creative front, so I recognize that I need to take time for my art as well.

Sure, it might not pay as lucratively as my articles about pest control or personal care items, but there’s something incredibly important about writing things that let your light shine. I have a story that’s been begging to get out for a while. And most importantly, big plans for it once I do.

All that being said, if you’re curious about my other stories that have already been published, you can grab copies of those HERE. They’re a mix of coming-of-age, science fiction, and YA/NA romance.

So now the question is, how do I actually get this done?

Right, of course – because it’s rarely that simple. Without any clear plan, it just won’t. That’s why I’m trying to institute Feed My Soul Fridays. Basically, I won’t do any creative work for clients on Fridays (unless there’s a legitimate urgent need). Otherwise, Fridays are my day to plan, daydream, and work on my story. That’s something that will help balance out my work-life. I also want to keep working on music and studying guitar so I can teach students soon – because that will also feed my soul.

One of my soul-feeding hobbies: amigurumi crochet! Check out my art page for more about these funky characters.

Some easy tips I would suggest to help you start a similar habit would be the following:

  • Spend a day observing your habits – what do you naturally gravitate towards? Even if you can’t drop everything to do that thing in the moment, make a mental note of what you want to do later.
  • Think about your schedule – are there some parts of your typical day or week that are busier, or more open? Try to fit in a bit of these soul-nourishing habits when you find breaks in your schedule.
  • Commit yourself to honoring your body and mind consistently. Maybe it means taking time to read for a while before going to bed no matter how late it is. Following through on the promise you made to yourself is a crucial part of self-care. So don’t disappoint yourself!

If you do all these things, I am convinced your work-life balance will get better.

I wish I could say that I’ve mastered this skill, but full disclosure: I definitely haven’t yet. My hope is that by blogging about it and sharing it with you, maybe these habits will get easier to instill in my own life. So feel free to be an accountability partner for yourself, or anyone else around you that’s clearly pushing themselves too hard. I’m the worst about this, but I’m feeling the effects of not doing that, and it’s definitely not going to pay off in the longterm.

So here’s to a productive, yet fun, soul-nourishing summer. Sink your toes into the sand and live it up, because you’ll never be this young again 😉

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Pop Punk Goes Omniscient Narrator

As you probably know from reading my blog or following my Instagram @angelinasingerauthor – music and writing are my bread and butter. I write posts for Inkitt, as well as music and concert reviews for Boston Sports Desk and Motif Magazine.

But something I noticed lately, is that there’s actually an interesting cross-section between some of my favorite pop punk songs, and the stories they tell. More specifically, the narration is omniscient (that is, the story is told from the view of someone watching the story happen, almost like an eye-witness). This is usually signaled by third-person pronouns used in the song (ie. he, she, they, etc.).

Not only is this something I enjoy in the literary world, but it’s also really fun to hear in some of my favorite pop songs. Below, I’ll share some of my favorite examples:

#1: Nobody’s Home (Avril Lavigne)

Although early eras of Avril often have a tendency to be a bit too angsty for her own good, she really nails this story. “Her feelings she hides / her dreams she can’t find / she’s losing her mind / she’s falling behind / she can’t find her place” etc. show this extremely well. There’s a very poignant story here, and I really love this approach she took.

Sonically, there’s also some great string-section accompaniment, bouncing fluidly off of the electric guitars. Listen to it HERE to see what I mean.

I took this picture during her more recent Head Above Water Tour. She puts on a phenomenal show!

#2: Remembering Sunday (All Time Low)

This song is so emotional in the best way. Telling the story of love and loss, the present tense brings about some very deep feelings. Told by the words of expert songwriter Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low, it really resonates with their fans. It’s not a new song, but somehow it’s stood the test of time. With just the acoustic guitar, it really feels extra raw and authentic. Listen to it HERE.

There’s something interesting that happens about midway through the song, as the narration moves from omniscient narration, back to first-person. The effect it has is haunting.

For example, verse 1 is omniscient: “He woke up from dreaming and put on his shoes / Started making his way past two in the morning / He hasn’t been sober for days / Leaning now into the breeze / Remembering Sunday, he falls to his knees / They had breakfast together / But two eggs don’t last / Like the feeling of what he needs.”

Then the chorus moves to POV one: “Forgive me, I’m trying to find / My calling, I’m calling at night / I don’t mean to be a bother / But have you seen this girl? / She’s been running through my dreams / And it’s driving me crazy, it seems / I’m going to ask her to marry me.”

It’s extremely powerful, and the tense changes layered against the POV changes are so surreal.

Fun Fact: The love interest of my latest book, Forgetting What I Couldn’t Remember is based visually off of Alex Gaskarth. You can find that book HERE.

#3: Brick By Boring Brick (Paramore)

By now you’re probably seeing what I mean, so I’ll cut to the chase with this one. In this strikingly-beautiful fantasy land that I was so affected by that I designed my college graduation cap after it (pictured below), Hayley tells the story of a young girl trying to escape a bad situation. Like a slightly-darker Alice in Wonderland situation, it’s edgy and creative. Watch it HERE.

Similarly to “Remembering Sunday” as seen above, it does change tenses:

Verse 1 omniscient: “She lives in a fairy tale / Somewhere too far for us to find / Forgotten the taste and smell / Of the world that she’s left behind / It’s all about the exposure the lens I told her / The angles were all wrong now / She’s ripping wings off of butterflies”

Chorus, POV 2: “Keep your feet on the ground / When your head’s in the clouds / Well go get your shovel / And we’ll dig a deep hole / To bury the castle, bury the castle / Go get your shovel / And we’ll dig a deep hole / To bury the castle, bury the castle.”

And yes, I really did graduate from college with magenta hair. The way I see it, you only live once!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little deep-dive into the cross-section between the music and literary worlds. I could’ve thought up more examples probably, but I won’t ramble on about it any further LOL. Thank you for reading if you have this far ❤

Coping With Anxiety – 3 Tips That Keep Me Somewhat Calm

Yours truly, one of my recent selfies because I was feeling cute the other day 😉

Life happens – there’s just no getting around it. And lately, I’ve been so off-beat that I haven’t been able to work on my latest book (the time-travel coming-of-age sequel to this bad boy right HERE). And in my case, there have been some specific things that just threw me off my game in the past few weeks. Coping is key, and so I thought I’d share below some things I’m learning in my writerly journey that have really helped me as I cope with the curveballs that life has been throwing at me:

#1: Find your faith

For me, my faith in Jesus has really grounded me substantially while I’m trying to cope with the uncertainty of life (i.e., relationships, looking for writing jobs, finding a good work/life balance, etc.). Just knowing that God already has everything all mapped out for me, and that there’s nothing I can possibly do to derail that, is really comforting. I was literally crying out to Jesus last week and I opened up to Psalm 46: 5 in my Bible which says “God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved…” and it was basically the most amazing thing ever because I just got through asking God for a sign that I’m really going to be okay – if not today, then someday very soon.

Anyway, all I’m saying is, if you have any questions about what I’m talking about here, I would be more than happy to share my faith with you. Just drop a comment below or reach out to me via my author Instagram HERE.

I’ve also been chatting with trusted friends that I know will lead me on the right path closer to Jesus, even when life feels stormy and scary around me. Leaning on others when you feel weak is a massive help, because if you’re anything like me, you just want to feel heard and validated. People you trust can do that for you from a very holistic point of view – and I bet they’ll appreciate you even wanting their help in the first place. See? Everyone wins.

#2: Find creative outlets that make you feel good

In my case, I channeled my conflicted feelings and frustrations into a song (and no, I’m not sharing it anytime soon, if at all. It exists, and that’s enough for me right now). This was especially impactful to me because I’ve been studying music and playing guitar for twelve years now, but I’ve never been able to write a coherent piece of music until the other night, when I was literally just getting ready for bed, and this incessant melody just started repeating in my head. SO I did the only rational thing and saved it into a super embarrassing voice memo in my phone so I could play around with it more the next day.

Oh, and I wrote out a bunch of lyrics too. It was a wild feeling – having my thoughts presented so emotionally on paper and in a sonic medium made me feel so much physically lighter. Just overall, really surreal and it felt so healthy. So I might keep writing songs, now that I’ve gotten the hang of it (and it also really helps to have sort of a stylized role model. For me, musically, that’s Taylor Swift, because her music has resonated with me deeply since I was a kid).

But if you’re not musically inclined like me, why not take up something totally new and different? Paint a picture. Try out origami. Or maybe even crochet or knit (I’m a big fan of amigurumi crochet myself, with even a digital shop on Instagram HERE).

#3: Amp up your self-care habits

If you’re feeling overworked and exhausted, this is CRUCIAL. Do some yoga, take a long walk, eat less sugary carbs and more fruits, veggies, and healthy fats. I know a lot of that is common sense, but when you’re feeling bogged down and unable to function as usual, this is such an easy fix to get you back on track to being your very best self.

In my case, I’m anxious to get my mojo back because I really want to make serious headway on my next novel before the end of the year, so that I can maybe swing a mid-2021 release (and hopefully, in-person events will be back by then too). Overall, an author is only as good as their health habits and body allows them to be, so fuel your creativity with the right foods and habits, and you’ll be feeling better before you know it!

If any of these tips helped you, feel free to sound off in the comments below! I’d love to compare notes and hear about how you’re doing, and if there’s something you’ve discovered that helps you, I’d probably be game to try it too!

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