Monday, May 25, 2015

Learning to ask the right questions.

Do you ask yourself questions?
I am not talking about rhetorical ones like "why did I do that?" or "did you see that? Please someone tell me you saw that!"

I have often been told that the questions I ask determine the answers I get, and my Mentor is away for some official duty and he left me without any assignments or insights, just the phrase, "I know you're insightful, you will do just fine." I cannot tell you how much I wanted to start dancing as I saw him drive away. He probably just read that!

So, I have been working on self improvement by ensuring that I keep posting content on the new blog: nilichoandika, and also on the Currents series. I have gone quiet because I want to work on this series, and this is what I tend to do when I am writing. Some of my friends get it, but some have come to the conclusion that I do not care about them anymore, and though it hurts, I have to do what I have to do, and my hope is that some day they will understand.

So, this week I have been working on four things in my life as inspired by Robin Sharma's 20 New Rules of Work.
The four rules according to Robin, that I picked are:
1. If you are not up early, you are sleeping too late.
2. Commit to becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of your craft.
3. Get fit so you can serve more people.
4. Don't wait to get inspired to start your dream,  start your dream to grow inspired.

I went about it this way; sleeping before 9pm and waking up by 6am, writing a chapter of the three stories I am working on everyday, doing thirty squats and forty five seconds of one plank daily, and finally going through my project book.

But instead of that, I find myself waking up sometimes at either 3am or 5am, and writing a few paragraphs every day, and struggling to get past the twenty second mark of one plank. So, I sat down and thought, "what am I doing wrong?"
And that is when it hit me, how about asking myself a growth question, you know the kind that could actually improve my effort in achieving my projects?

I thought about it the whole day.

And instead of asking "how long will this take?" I am asking myself, "how far can I go?"

So, that's as insightful as I can get before I get into bed, and if you ever stop to reflect on what you do and how you do it, asking yourself the right questions could lead to some profound answers.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Coffee, a few books- a decision, and a pinch of fear.

I have registered a new site: www.nilichoandika.co.ke

​I have published half of the Currents series, and after the release of Water on Amazon Kindle, I thought about going into full time writing and the result of that process is the site nilichoandika- for the works I have written and shall write.

It has been a hectic few weeks and I have come to appreciate taking long walks and listening to pop music while climbing hills and crossing streams- or making long jumps.

I talked of getting back to romance and I am hoping to take a few pictures around town especially at Dunga Hill Camp- for that exquisite sunset- and get down to editing and having this book in print.
I have my fears about going into full time writing but, I won't know unless I try and I am certainly giving it my best hoping that all goes great.

So,for updates and more experiences please do follow me at nilichoandika- just click on that link up there and you can get my posts in your email and have your dose of dora's randomness delivered to you without a hassle!​

--
Do not let anyone define you.


Monday, May 4, 2015

The Highlights of my Week

I traveled to Nairobi last Sunday and got to rest before proceeding to Brackenhurst Conference Center in Limuru.

We had an organizational team building event and left the place on Wednesday afternoon and I was looking forward to one thing only: book shopping. Nairobi has got so many streets lined up with books and my favorite go to place is right outside Tuskys Beba Beba.
I spent my Thursday afternoon looking for books and I managed to snag some four titles, but what was on my mind was #romance.

It has been a while since I wrote a romance story and I have playing around with some story lines that I feel would amount to a good story and that in itself means that I would spend more time working on it.
But the greatest highlight has got to be being interviewed by my friend's girlfriend.
Yes, she is called Michelle. She is a second year student at Maseno University, working towards a career in Education. She called me up and asked me if she would write a feature on me for her term paper and I could not help but be humbled and also challenged by her questions. It was also good to hear her views on my writing, and at some point she said, " I loved reading Fire and if I may be honest, you wrote that book better than the other romance stories, it's not like they are not good, it's just that Fire is more mature, like my Professor can read it, do you get?"
I nodded, but a part of me died.
Greg says it's my ego, but it's more than that.
And the realization that people would compare my works and give others precedence, scares me. Michelle scared me right then, but I have to deal with it.
Aside from all that, I decided to upgrade and get a domain name so I could work on something serious, but so far there's nothing to it and it's killing me right now, so until I work on everything, have a great week!
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Free book to read tomorrow.

Please tell me that you love reading free ebooks, do you?

Well, there's a book I wrote three years ago- and I was just learning the ropes on online publishing and making my way along search engines and cover image creation.
It's titled "Take this Message to Rayo," and the cover image looks something like this:

​It's a story about a young girl named Mima who finds herself on the streets after her mother passes away and her father bails out on them- leaving her under the care of her brother. I had such a clear understanding of life on the streets because I was doing my community service at such a time- so, hence the inspiration for the story.

I would like you to read it.
Here's why:
  1. It is free tomorrow and Friday.
  2. You will need kindle or an eReader which you can easily download as an app on your phone or computer- just for the two days :-)
  3. It is a short story, 56 pages only! That's around twelve pages short of a newspaper!
  4. It is a story told from the viewpoint of a twelve year old.
  5. And once you are done, you can leave a much needed review- if you will be too tired to type a few words, then simply click on as many or little stars as you can to rate the book.

The book is available on this link ---> get it, free


Do not let anyone define you.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

3:AM Thoughts

If you ever find yourself awake and unable to return to sleep at 3:am then whatever you do, do not and I repeat, do not get out of bed, or so help you, you will be doomed to wander in a sea of thoughts.
I found myself awake not by default, but simply because my mind had had enough of rest and wanted to indulge me in a journey that I was not so pleased to embark on. I looked outside the window hoping to count the raindrops in the dark. After a while, I walked to the living room and sat down to write.
It has been a great week for me, because I have officially mastered the art of doing 30 squats, and twenty second wall-sits a day.
It has also been the week where everything I planned to do like clean and re-arrange my bedroom has constantly been postponed and I am afraid that today I will have to do it because I cannot find my favorite PVC eraser.
Grace is due anytime soon and we have been on the hunt for the perfect baby name for her beautiful daughter. She says that I cannot call her unborn daughter beautiful because I have not yet seen her, but I have a feeling that she would have her mother's nose and father's eyes. I had to sit down and listen to her argue with Joseph about the name of the baby. She wants something African and he wants to name her, Faith, after his mother. Grace went on a rant for close to twenty minutes and when Joseph turned to me for help, all I could say was "never argue with a pregnant woman, especially if she is your wife."
What's my take on baby names?
I don't have any really, save for the fact that I have always thought of naming my daughter (Lord, if ever I have one)- Aurora.
Yes, I want her to always get back up when she is pushed down or weighed down by life's challenges, just like dawn. There's always a new dawn. Sometimes when I ask people whether they were named after someone, I find myself seeing the other person in them.
I paced up and down the room for a while and made my way back to bed at 5am.
I thought about reading a book on Kindle, but I did not want to be all hot and bothered by a steamy romance novel at 5am.
Unable to sleep, I got out of bed and started asking myself what I would do next- and that's when it hit me that I have the ability to zone out and stay silent and that I could use it to my advantage. Over the years, whenever I have feelings that I cannot explain I always detached myself. And that's why based on my to-do list, I can write a novel titled, "Detached."
--
Do not let anyone define you.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Hold on

Hi, happy Easter holiday wherever you are!
My week has had it's ups and downs, but it was well yesterday as I attended my friend's wedding- and I am glad that she is fine and wish them all the best in their married life.

There has also been times of sorrow as we have seen students killed by a group of people who believe they are fighting a righteous course, for a God who does not advocate for violence- and it is sad even so, that we have forgotten the element of courtesy that has long been drummed in us since early childhood by posting very graphic images of this attack on social media.
I believe that this is the age of information and awareness.
Everyone is a journalist.
Everyone is a reporter.
Everyone is a story-teller.

But, not every one is humane...and it hurts me that in circulating these images- we have broken the spirit of parents, relatives and more so friends of the students who lost their lives in the #GarissaAttack. 

The dead deserve their respect, and those whose lives have been ended wrongfully do deserve their justice, and when I went online and saw mutual friends share these pictures with the statement "Type RIP", it hurt me- and it still does, because it is not about getting likes or comments to something you have posted- whoever is in that picture is someone's child just like you are- and would you want your parents to learn of your death in such a manner?

Would you want to the subject of "Type RIP"?

Would you want your loved ones to see you lying in a pool of blood,or dismembered and with people who barely know you simply sharing your picture and typing "RIP?"

I say it is not right! Do not use someone's grief to increase traffic to your social page! And to be honest, if you are my friend and you are reading this- the easiest way to lose my respect is by disrespecting other people- and posting such threads that find themselves on my wall. I will unblock you and add your posts to the spam folder.

This extends to whatsapp too- enough with the chain messages- I have literate friends who have emotions and can express them- if you cannot speak with your voice, then do not numb my intelligence with someone elses! I am done being understanding.

Freedom comes with responsibility- and you have every right to express your opinion, as I have every right not to take it as gospel truth! You have every right to speak up, but no right to be stupid. You have every right to vent your anger, but no right to burn the bridge that you are on.

And so my request is for a little humanity...think of the golden rule "do unto others as you expect others to do unto you," before you share anything online.
Someday it might be you...and for all that it's worth, I wish you the best, and pray that this weekend, we pray for those who lost their lives, and for their relatives whom we have hurt in the name of being on social media. I pray for humanity- because it is all we are killing in our attempt to be cool, but isn't it sad that the internet never forgets?

--
Do not let anyone define you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

In good time.

I have been told that, "your voice changes with time, and so will your writing." I could have taken this as I always take in everything I discuss with my mentor, but today, I could not talk. See, I find it easy to defend myself. I know that when it comes to words, he can never beat me. I can go round in circles and he can chase me as much as he wants, but he would never catch up. But, when he pauses and says something that I have been running from- then I either defend myself or laugh it off.
In his words, "Your defense is either anger or humor, Dora. I know this much about you. You cannot fool me."
So, today...I did not feel neither a sense of anger or humor- but more of a resolution, or shall we call it acceptance? 
Here's why:
I have published a short story on Smashwords a couple of minutes ago (twelve to be exact) and it's titled Silence and Shadows. I had submitted it for some writing competition and after making some alterations, it found itself on my profile page. 
So, why this talk about writing and a voice?
I did go through my dashboard and I have over 30,000 downloads of my books- and looking at that took the life out of me for a second. I started downloading pdf versions of all the stuff I had written but could not read them. I find it very uncomfortable reading a story I have written because it feels like a memory that I had purged myself of and now I have to take it back. Now, don't get me wrong, it's just too much to take in. So, I started deleting the books that I had downloaded- and it was in this time that I realized that my first and latest stories are totally different. 
There is something about them that makes me feel as though they were written by two different people. When I asked my mentor about this, he told me that it happened to everyone- at least every person in the world. I know that no book is ever the same, because even the story is not the same, isn't that why the book is always different from the movie adaptation? The story is the same, but the scenes and setting is always enough to through an ardent reader off. I know I felt the same when I watched The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie, based off the book by Cassandra Clare.
The same happens to us, we encounter different situations all the time. We are constantly living in a world of forces, where we find ourselves either acting or reacting. So, it's high time I keep on doing what I can, and somehow things will make sense to. I am still the one who is writing the stories, but whatever happens is always different. Change is necessary for plot development. At the moment I am thinking of a pinch of drama, an ounce of sizzling antagonists, a piece of action, a roll of suspense, and a serving of romance...that can either be hot or chilled.
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