Writer-Momprenuer Struggles

Writer-Momprenuer Struggles

Being a momprenuer is a fun-struggle!

I know most of you are saying “fun-struggle”? What are you talking about Nicole Alicia?

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Let me paint a picture for you…

I didn’t just step into being a writer, I have been writing stories since I was in elementary school. I have loved reading and just prose in general ever since I can remember. I started blogging way back in 2007 over at nicolealiciaonline.com and started freelancing in 2012 I think it was.

So, when I was laid off from my corporate job back in October of 2015, I had already decided months prior to that, that I was really going to kick up my writing career and start freelancing part-time on the side.

I had been working on my debut novel, “Drama University” for about 8 years already. Because, I had started and stopped writing due to life circumstances (miscarriages, deaths, depression) and just plain personal doubt, I had dropped writing and picked it up more times than I care to count within those 8 years!

With this layoff though, instead of looking for other employment immediately. My husband and I sat down and talked. He knew my passion wasn’t really working outside the home anymore.

We came to a mutual agreement that instead of paying almost $300 in childcare a week, me being stressed out and tired all the time, that I could just become a work-at-home mommy. My son was about 18 months at the time and I was very apprehensive at first. I mean I hadn’t been at home with him all day consistently, since he was nearly 3 months old!

My son is almost 4 now and will soon be in Kindergarten (I can’t believe it! Wasn’t he just born?)

At first I took a week to get together my game plan and what our schedule was going to be. Can I tell you this was a major adjustment for me! I was used to just getting up in the morning getting ready, rushing to drop him off at daycare, rushing to grab breakfast and rushing to work.

The first week was rough!

I was trying to figure out what to do business wise and then what to do as a mom. It was a mess!

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My game plan I had put together, somewhat went out the window at first. It has since improved, but is ever changing!

Some nights mommy doesn’t get to bed on time and I wake up late which throws our entire day off. (I hate when this happens!!!)

Some days, my son has a rough day and has several minor breakdowns (lots of crying and whining) because he wants to do something I don’t want him to do or simply because I can’t understand what he’s trying to tell me.

Some days our day flows good. My house is in order, I get up get some work done before my son wakes up and then we go into our daily routine (Potty, wash our face, brush our teeth, eat breakfast, play, do our daily lesson and then watch TV)

My main objective had always been to find balance between working from home and being here with my son.

Someday there is balance and someday there isn’t!

Some say, “Oh my goodness Nicole you do a lot!” I say sometimes, I’m not doing enough…but that’s the perfectionist in me.

Being a mom, running businesses, being a wife…it can be a total struggle sometimes. Often it is, but is the struggle worth it…MOST DEF!

The “fun” part of the struggle is seeing that smiling baby’s face everyday, getting to figure out what works best for YOU and getting to pursue my passions!

Every day ain’t gonna be perfect…don’t tell me that though ’cause I still try!

Until next time…

 

Nicole Alicia sig

 

 

I chose this life, it didn’t choose me! All Struggles lead to better, right? RIGHT!

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Grown-ish Review: College Then vs. Now

Grown-ish Review_ College Then vs. Now

I am an avid watcher of the show Black-ish. When I found out there was going to be a spin-off, I admit I was a bit skeptical at first.

I mean spin-off’s lets face it usually don’t have a positive rep. But, then I remembered my favorite spin-off of all time “A Different World”. A sitcom in the late 80’s that was a spin-off of Cosby Show right? It was a pivotal show…important for the culture then and now!

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Once I saw the preview and the actors I thought, ooh this might be pretty cute!

If you’ve been following the show, Black-ish on ABC you know that Zoey (Yara Shahidi) is the oldest of the 5 children and she is starting college in California. This season they had an episode where she goes on a campus tour and meets a cutie named Aaron (Trevor Jackson) for the first time.

So far, the first three episodes were very, very accurate and comical.

Zoey realizes in the Late Registration-Ep.1  after everyone gives their account of why they are in Professor Doctor Charles class (apparently because they missed registering for the good classes), that is from midnight to 2 a.m. that maybe she made a really crappy decision that later backfires heavily on her when the girl she ditches at a party ends up becoming her roomie.

B*itch Don’t Kill My Vibe- Ep.2 was about Zoey trying to figure out how to balance her social an academic life (so relateable, because every college student struggles with this) so she ends up reluctantly popping Adderal (her new found friend-pill dealer to stay up and finish a 25 page paper that is due that day. The first attempt ended in a online shopping spree where she ends up maxing out her credit card.

If Your Reading This, It’s Too Late- Ep.3 Ms. Zoey finally gets to spend a little time with the Sophomore she’s been feelin’ Aaron. Soon after the party he texts her, “U Up?” She doesn’t know how to respond so she calls in her cavalry of girls to try and help her decide which ends up backfiring in her face when she sees Aaron with another chick. So instead, she goes out with Luca. Another friend, from the midnight class whom we were introduced to the first episode. They go out and have a great time.

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But then…Aaron messages her…and Zoey answers but gets caught up when Luca comes on her computer on facetime while on the phone with Aaron on facetime. BUSTED!

Hint: DO NOT be too aggressive when first meeting a guy! They will RUN! Zoey had planned out they whole entire life and then some in that text thread, and we see what happened….LOL!!!!

Now let’s do a College then and Now comparison…

Zoey is going through typical college stuff.

Then: Now, just like the main character Melody in novel, “Drama University” I started my freshman year of College in August of 2002. Times were so much different than they are now. I mean my cell phone back then had a green back-lit screen and now photo taking capability. I think web cams were a thing but definitely not on your phone could you see someone’s face while talking to them. As I’m writing this I’m making myself feel ancient, so let me stop…

Let’s just say in 2002, it was A LOT easier to get away with things, than it is now! I mean see how Zoey got caught up…didn’t happen like that back then. Good luck to all you playa types out there!

Now: Y’all can look at your boyfriends timeline on Facebook, Instagram, Snap and spy on them…lucky you!

Then: Most of the kids that did stuff either smoked either weed (purp) or popped X.

Now: Vivek had a whole case of pills? He didn’t even know he was a drug dealer ’til the crew told him, LOL! This is a new one for me...when did this come about…someone help me understand this?

Then: The infamous, “U Up?” phone call or text at 2 a.m. meant…

Now: EXACTLY THE SAME as it did back in 2002, when I was in school. My College-aged ladies, guys don’t call or excuse me text that late (my little cousin who is in college told me no one actually talks on the phone now) at night just to know your thoughts on something (I am cracking up as I type this)!!!

PS. I like that Zoey has friends to call on…

This show has my attention so far…

Great job Kenya Barris and the rest of the Grown-ish cast!

Until next time…

Nicole Alicia sig

 

 

 

Top 5 Authors I Follow on Twitter

Top 5 Writers I Follow on Twitter

I love twitter!

More than ever, I enjoy following and interacting on social media. It can be very inspirational and helpful to connect with other writers.

Many different authors that I admire, were very successful last year. Here are just 5 I follow…

1. Nic Stone (@getnicced)-In 2017, she released her debut novel that did very well, “Dear Martin” about a young boy who faces racial injustices and during the course of his storm writes letters to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This book is definitely on my Goodreads list of books to read in 2018. Her Twitter timeline is filled with tweets about herself as well, as well as other writers. I love that she shares her personal side.

2. Angie Thomas (@angiecthomas)-Her book, “The Hate You Give” is actually being turned into movie. It’s on my list to read this year and I hear it’s a real page turner! Angie tweets about current events, authors struggles and has a quite a sense of humor. Her bio states that “She love’s jesus but she cusses 🙂

3. Nicola Yoon (@NicolaYoon)-Her debut book “Everything, Everything” was made into a movie last year. Her timeline is totally about diversity in litterature (yasss) and big ups other great writers.

4. Brit Bennett (@britrbennett)-Her book “The Mother’s” was one of my best reads of 2017! Not to mention, I got to meet her at a discussion and get a signed copy here in Kansas City last spring. She also writes some very interesting essays and Tweets about current events.

5. B. Love (@AuthorBLove)-Like myself she’s a self-published Author who writes fiction, Romance specifically. I find her tweets inspirational because she tweets about her writing process as well!

Curious as to who else I follow on Twitter or what I tweet about? Follow me at NicoleAlicia2

Until next time…

Nicole Alicia sig

What To Do When Starting A New Novel: My Process

 

What To Do When Starting A New Story_ My Process (1)

There’s nothing like starting  a brand new book!

For me, I get excited to dive into a new book. As a writer, I feel that same way!

When I started working on my debut novel, “Drama University” that I released last year, no lie it took me quite awhile to write and publish.

(A warning: for first time novel writers, it could take you awhile. The important part is that you finish and get that story out, so you can share it with the world.)

Thing is for most newbies, they think there is some magical formula that is attached to writing a novel. But, I found that to be a BIG lie. There is no exact formula!

You really do have to find what works for YOU and only you. But, today I’m going to share a little bit of my process with you.

I have written and self-published my first novel and am in the process of writing my second.

First of all, I think the hardest thing is to narrow down what you’ll be writing about. Well at least for me it is, and here’s why… 

With my first novel, I had a very broad idea that I was going to write about College life and center a female character around it. That was it. At the time, I was working a corporate 8 to 5 job and had my own little cubicle.

I kept a notebook with me in my little tote bag and would write at lunch (if I even got to take a lunch away from desk) and often use up a bunch of my offices’ sticky notes and notepads to jot down any notes for my story that popped in my head while working through out the day.

The main thing is narrowing down what you’re going to write about first. This may require some free writing, some charting, some bar graphs (I’m just kidding). If you’re like me, you have the gift and the curse of having too many d*mn ideas.

 The Plots & Outlines.

I’ve found it helpful to just write out a brief synopsis of what story you have in your head. A paragraph or two is alright. Remember, this is for you, so do whatever will help you get a clear idea of your story.

I understand some writers can just go and write and end up with a complete manuscript for a 1st rough draft.

This.is.not.me! I can’t do it.

I’ve tried to write with no outline and my story always come to a hault usually very early in the story because I forget what the heck I was going with this.

I am an outline-r! I love outlines!

They help me stay on track. It doesn’t have to be a text book type outline either with numbers and letters and subscripts either. If all you write is beginning, middle, end and that works for you. Do it!

Mine is a bit more detailed… (Check out the video below to see what one of my outlines looks like)

Once I have a rough outline, if I need to I go do research. Research in my next novel has been very important because it’s going to be a historical fictional.

Really that’s it! Really!

I could go into characters and arc and everything but I’ll save that for another post.

Oh and don’t forget to set yourself some goals! Think about when you would like to realistically finish your first draft. How many words will it take you to finish that thang!

Other than this, that’s all.

The major key to writing a novel is DON’T MAKE IT COMPLICATED! DO NOT CONFUSE YOURSELF!

As one of favorite comedians, Martin Lawrence says, “Nothing to it, but to do it!”

So get to it…

WRITE!

I know you can do it.

Until next time…

Peace, Love and Blessings

Nicole Alicia sig

Writing Inspiration: Music

Writing Inspiration_ Music

First off let me say that I love MUSIC!

I am a fan of many different genres and artists. I can mostly thank my Dad for my musical influence. That is one of the many things we have in common. At a young age I was introduced to soul and funk music of the 70’s, not to mention one of the best bands of the 80’s Zap and a music innovator by the name of Roger Troutman. Some how listening to these funky tunes at an early age stuck with me.

It became a love affair. The same albums my Mom and Dad had in their collection, I now find myself collecting (I could go on about this forever, but I’ll save the rest for another post).

Music sparks my creative juices!

When I write, I have to have it. It’s weird because if I’m reading or when I was in school I could not do homework with TV or music on. However, when I’m writing if I don’t have it, it throws me off entirely. (Does anyone else write in silence? I can’t do it!)

What do I listen to when I write you ask?

“There is no formula, rhyme or reason really.”

I do think it may be tied to my mood at the time though. Also, it’s depending on what I’m writing. But then sometimes it’s not. Sometimes, if I’m writing in a coffee house I just really need the music on for background music because the music there either sucks or their isn’t any.

When I was working on my first novel “Drama University”, I wrote to mainly Hip Hop and R&B of the early 2000’s. It was a mood setter for me. I made a playlist for myself on Spotify even.

“I was born in the 80’s and am a fan of 90’s R&B. I love a good playlist that includes TLC, D’Angelo and Aaliyah.”

I think we all gain inspiration as writers from different places, different people.

Music is just one of my inspirations.

Click [HERE] to follow me on Spotify to see what other songs that kind of motivate me to write and inspire me  to do my thing, which is WRITE!

Until next time….

Nicole Alicia sig

 

 

Hopes & Dreams For 2018

Hopes & Dreams For 2018

This holiday, season was truly a blessed one. It was a bit hectic though. This was the first time in a few years that we bought gifts our immediate family. I think the deciding part, is mainly the most stressful part.

For me the end of the year also consisted of business planning for 2018 as far as my writing projects go and my vintage/handmade business Dear Alice Company.

This year was one of the happiest I’ve had since 2014 when my son was born.( But then 2014 was a challenging year as well! Learning to be a mother and recovering from sitting in the a bed for 3 1/2 months on bed rest was no cake walk).

What made 2017 great? (I shared it in my blog post, “What 2017 Taught Me“) 2018 though, I want to excel and take things to another level. I have been told that this means stepping out of your comfort zone. For me that makes me all antsy. To some it seems super exciting. For me the phrase, “stepping out of your comfort zone” spells fear and makes me say, “Aww, do I have to?”

But, to get to where I’m going, I see it’s going to be a bit of discomfort on the way!

This year, I’m planning to release a novella and start my YouTube channel that will be a supplement to this blog. To me it’s about trying something new. I had been contemplating this for awhile and had been given the idea by my Uncle and I was like yeah no. But like my favorite Basketball player, Russell Westbrook says, “Why Not?”

As a self-published author, entrepreneur, (not to mention mom and wife) I am the publicist, the janitor, the marketing team, the graphic designer and the copywriter all in one I become exhausted after going non-stop. So this year, I plan to exercise more self-care. Like taking at least a day a month to myself (which I found is necessary for your sanity as a woman).

Even though this year was good, I am aiming for it to be awesome in 2018!

No resolutions being made over here, just plans and goals!

What’s your plans for the new year?

Leave a comment below…

Until next time…

Nicole Alicia sig

 

What 2017 Taught Me

Blog post #46

Were nearly done with the this year.

2017 came and went so quickly. But they say time flies when you’re having fun!

This year was one of the best years I have had probably since my son was born in 2014. Last year was one of the worst years ever.

I was so lost.

I had so much difficulty getting pregnant and carrying my son whose 3 years old. It was just one mountain after another. But, in 2016 my husband and I suffered our 4th & 5th loss when we lost twin baby boy’s. I suffered a serious bout of depression and was advised that any other pregnancy was out of the question. On top of that, I was diagnosed with stage 4 Kidney Disease.  Talk about thinking my life was over!

So, 2017 was a breath of fresh air for me!

With a lot of prayer last year, I was able to discover my purpose. I got back to writing, blogging and was able to publish my very first novel. Considering, I had been working on this same body of work for nearly 10 years, it felt good to finally complete it and be able to share it.

Here’s What 2017 Taught Me:

When you plan and set goals things can go a lot better. At the end of 2016, I sat down and said to myself, “What do I want to get done in 2017” then I made a web of what I wanted to accomplish in 2017. It worked! I did end up accomplishing about 80% of what’s on this sheet. I taped it to my office wall and looked at almost everyday. This also helped me to hone in on two things instead of 10 others I had wanted to do (I’m a creative individual and a bit squirrel brain. I want to do it ALL!)

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If you can get out your own way, you’ll  be amazed at what can happen. I started really doubting myself after blogging and working on “Drama University” for so long. I also had this idea for another Etsy store after my first had failed miserably after being online for 5 year. I kept thinking maybe this isn’t for me. Maybe, I’m not a writer. Maybe I should be doing something else and blah, blah, blah. If I would have went ahead believed all those negative thoughts, I wouldn’t have Dear Alice Co. (my online vintage shop where I sell handmade goods I made as well) or have my first published novel.

Fear can be stifling. I admit that I was scared to self-publish my own novel. I kept thinking, what if no one reads it? What if I start selling vintage items and these notebooks I’ve made and no one buys? Self-doubt and fear are dangerous. Sometimes we just need to see what happens. I let go of all the negative thoughts and pushed to finish what I had passion to do. Guess what? It worked. I have had over 15 book sales and sold over 40 items from Dear Alice Co. my vintage/handmade shop on Etsy. Talk about winning!

Running two businesses is hard, but it can be done. Becoming a self-published author, is a business all in itself. Becoming an entrepreneur with my vintage/handmade business is a definitely a business! There have been some very stressful points this year. It hasn’t been all gravy! I AM the marketing team, the shipping department, the writer, the graphic artist and janitor for right now. Some days, I literally fell asleep when my head hit the pillow at 1 am. When you find your passion and purpose, it’s hard. But it’s do able. I have learned so much about being a #girlboss this year. So for 2018, my goal is to pace myself better.

The world is a mess right now! But God has, is and will be the same no. Racists are in office, young black males are being targeted and killed by police at an alarm rate, and gun violence is at an all time high. I don’t know about you, but I know that we are living in some crazy, crazy times! Man can’t fix it, only God can. The murder rate in Kansas City, Missouri has sky rocketed this year. It’s all so scary to me. But, because I have faith and trust in the Lord, I know that I’ll be alright.

What did you learn this year? Was it a good one or did this year suck? Are you ready for 2018?

Share with me below!

Until next time…

-Nicole Alicia

 

Nicole Alicia’s Top 10 List of College Movies

nicolealiciawrites.com

In my debut novel, “Drama University” I take my readers back to the early 2000’s before anyone knew what a Facebook was and before cell phone’s were “smart phones”.  Not only is it a time period where my main character Melody attends College, but it was also when I started College as well.

If you are currently attending College or have graduated…you know we like to reminisce on the “good ‘ol” days (Goodness, I sound old but whatever).

So while many of you are either about to be on winter break or just want some good movies to sit back, reminisce and laugh…

Here’s some a list of my Top 10 list of College movies:

  1. School Daze. I’m a definitely a Spike Lee fan. This movie is my favorite, not only because it has Jasmine Guy from my favorite College TV show a “Different World” but also because it was my first exposure of seeing what black sorority and fraternity’s (although a complete exaggeration) was like.\
  2. Love & Basketball. Although this is more of a coming of age story, I think the College part of the movie is very relevant. Plus, I love Sanaa Lathan!
  3. Drumline. Matter of fact, I saw this at the movie while I was in my first semester of College in 2002. The original I love and have seen more times than I care to count. Plus, who didn’t love Nick Cannon back then?
  4. Dear White People. A great film about the different types of people you may encounter on campus, mixed in with a story line about how racism often plays a part on campus and how students often trying to portray being someone they’re really not.
  5. Higher Learning. The ending always makes me so mad, but it’s so nostalgic to go back to the 90’s.
  6. House Party 2. A classic. I really don’t know what else to say!
  7. Burning Sands. I enjoyed this one and as the former girlfriend of a black fraternity member, I found it to be spot on from what I was told these young men experience while “on line”.
  8. Stomp The Yard. Another film focusing on black fraternities (although fictitious), I love the story line and the story. Columbus Short was a snack, was he not?! LOL
  9. The Great Debaters. Although I’ve only seen this film once, I do remember it has many life lessons and teachable moments in it. You have to really sit down a watch this one.
  10. How High. It’s a really goofy movie that makes me laugh every time, because it’s just so ridiculous. Plus, who doesn’t like comedy!

And that’s my Top 10!

What are some of your favorites?

Until next time…

-Nicole Alicia