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Sunday Inspiration

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Follow Your Passion

“Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don’t let anyone limit your dreams.”-Donovan Bailey

How true indeed. You know what I’m passionate about? Writing. Who would have guessed?

After a few lackluster years in which my desire to compose stories or even smaller pieces was basically non-existent, I have finally re-discovered my love to write write write.

I remember a few months ago I had texted my dad after a few drinks at the bar, asking him how we needed to talk in the morning. For I took hold of this wild idea, where I could work a simple part-time job and do nothing except chip away at my nutrition novel I planned to put together. But when the buzz ended, realization dawned on me: I had bills to pay, food to buy, and beers to indulge in on the rare occasions I chose to go out with friends.

Lo and behold: I quit my full-time job a few weeks later due to a sexist boss and the fact I was going nowhere in that company. Instead, I ended up joining an after-school program, in which I teach little barbarians how to tie their shoes, despite they being in third grade; show off my old holographic Japanese Pokemon cards to gaping jaws; and learned that I, indeed, can scream if need be…I don’t think I’ve yelled since high school.

So apart from being incredibly poor nowadays due to only putting in about 20 or so hours a week in the office, the last several months have allowed me to reevaluate myself as an author and reinvigorate my writing career.

Below are the highlights of having an abundance of free time:

-Chasing the Beauty: Insert Catchy Tagline About How Undertaking a Mostly Raw, Plant-Based Lifestyle Will Lead to Ultimate Happiness.

…Yep, you read that right. The title above is what my upcoming novel on nutrition will be called. It’s awesome—I know.

Anyways, I am 75% complete with it, only needing to add in recipes and edits. The past two months especially I–HAVE–KICKED–ASS, adding a 100+ pages. Additionally, I would love to create an app to pair with this book–my next step 🙂  Look for my upcoming Author & Nutritionist website in the next couple of months, and if you haven’t already followed me on Instagram, go ahead–you know you want to: @_chasingthebeauty.

You can also read the blurb about it on my LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cassidy-ostergren-83033378

Unfortunately, you have to scroll all the way down to Publications, but go for it!

 

-Apart from Chasing the Beauty, I have decided to simultaneously work on Sculpting Beauty, my serial killer novel which I love more than anything else I’ve ever written, as well as the sequel to my first published novel, The Girl Who Could Change Fate.

As many of you know, I published it about two years ago and am 30% complete with Book 2. It was put on the backburner, after depression and my new found love of nutritious eating consumed my life, but its increase in positive reviews on both Goodreads and Amazon, and even a fan contacting me via the former, inquiring when Book 2 will be complete, has made me attack it with new zeal. I’ve already edited the crap out of the chapters I’ve already written, and can’t wait to continue.

For those interested in Book 1, The Girl Who Could Change Fate, you can find it here: http://mybook.to/changefate

Potential Writing Job:

I am 90% sure I have received a job offer to be a Production/Editor Manager, as well as writer and reporter, for one of the local magazines in this community. Already possessing many years’ worth of writing under my belt, the opportunity to improve my designing, producing, and advertising skills are immensely appealing.

Welp, that’s it. You all now know what I’ve been up to. So, please, do not ask me what I plan on doing with my life anymore. You have the answer: it’s following passion.

 

 

 

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2017–Where Will I Go?

I haven’t posted on this blog in quite a while—life was happening, ya know?

2016 had its pros and cons, but more importantly it revealed to me what I wanted from life. So 2017 will thus be the year where choosing to act will gain those wants.

Below are my 5 Focus Goals of this year. So after reading this please don’t ask me what I want to do with my life 😉

 

Nutrition:

I love eating healthy and more specifically I love preaching it to others (don’t get me started, because I won’t stop). Hence why I wrote a book about it.

My upcoming novel, Chasing the Beauty, is nearly complete. With its publication I plan to start my own nutrition program, as well as design my own website and app for it. Thanks to an online course on user experience design my brother encouraged me to take, I understand the tools how to create both.

Look for it this upcoming year! 😀

 

Writing:

More than all things health-related, I love writing my psychological novel, Sculpting Beauty, even more (Chasing the Beauty, Sculpting Beauty…they ARE unrelated, by the way). But working on top of maintaining my nutritious lifestyle and balancing a social life makes devoting time to this novel even more difficult. So this new year presents me with the opportunity to cut out any unnecessary things (i.e: spending copious amounts of my life on social media, watching reruns of old cartoons, etc) to give more of my attention to my favorite serial killer (move aside, Dexter!).

It’s a pretty thrilling tale and I’m sure you’ll become aware of it, when it reaches that #1 spot on every bestselling book lists out there 😉

 

Working Out:

I’ll be honest . . . I don’t enjoy working out. I love running and I love the feeling of accomplishment after exercise but . . . what can I say? I’m lazy. But the time to get my ass up and moving is now. There is only one life–why not make the most of my physical condition? So far, I’m off to a good start.

 

Livin’ It Up:

 Balancing a social life while saving money has always been incredibly difficult. But I don’t think limiting yourself to staying inside just to put aside a few is worth more than gaining new experiences. 2017 has been fun, eventful, and full of life so far. I’ve made to do go out and be with friends, or catch up over dinner or on ‘Skype’ (aka phone calls)—I’ll try to keep it that way . . . while still maintaining a healthy financial state too.

 

Work on Myself:

 Like I’ve told two different dudes this past month who could simply not take a hint: I’m not interested in dating. Rather, I’d like to have a relationship with myself and invest what I can. It’s important to know who you are without seeing yourself as a reflection in others.

 

2017: Look for Chasing the Beauty and my new website! Sorry this blog was short and sweet, but Law and Order: SVU is on!

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5 Timeline Moments of What You Love

What is one of your hobbies? One of your passions? Something you love?

Mine is the art of writing. I’ve loved it since as long as I can remember, which, considering I don’t know what I had for breakfast this morning, probably doesn’t say much. Anyways, trace a timeline of moments throughout your life believe defined your pursuit.

Here are mine 🙂

The First Story:

In the fourth grade my teacher asked the class to compose a short story about anything we wanted. I wrote about…a man who caught a fish every day at the pond near his house. And after so long, the suddenly ‘magical’ sea creatures in the pond didn’t like that, so they had a meeting one night to discuss what to do…and, in your typical turn of events, reeled the fisherman in the following day and ate him.

I loved this story. I was into this story. And, this story is what introduced me to creating tales through the medium of writing. Then, it became my escape.

The Fifth Grade Story Book:

Once again, this was an example I remember about utterly, helplessly losing myself in a story. My fifth grade class was to detail and draw our own short composition. The project consumed me–I vividly recall putting all my effort, all my love, and all myself into this tale about a monkey charge (what the ‘eff–I know…I don’t think it had a starting point either).

In the end, I was sooooo proud…until several of our classmates read theirs out loud. And my best friend’s sounded well-written and descriptive and beautiful and all I could think was fuck you. Unfortunately, at that moment, the unconscious self-urge to compare my writing to others began (dun dun dunnnn).

My ‘First’ Novel:

The sixth grade…was when I decided I wanted to be an author.

We had a Friday period called Writer’s Workshop, during which the class would have an hour to take a piece through the writing process. Brainstorming, drafting, peer revision, teacher edits, final draft.

I wrote a short story on a pick pocketer…it was pretty lame. My next piece was longer, muuuuuch longer, as in about 20 written pages….My classmates were stopping at five or six! But I was so engrossed, so into my tale about three students disappearing into the world of a robot war…it was perfection for me.

And then…and then it began.

I loved the show Dragonball Z. My childhood, my life. I kind of, sort of copied ideas from it into a novel on my own DBZ figurines. And it was long. Jesus, I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and couldn’t stop because I was having so much fun and not knowing where I was going but ohhhhh myyyy God it was funnnn! And suddenly it was over a hundred pages long, and my classmates wanted to read it, my teacher told me to put her name somewhere in it when I became published, and my sister straight up said, ‘You should name the second Battle for the Universe and the third The Last Hope.’

Okay. I would. I would finish this story and write more. Because everyone expected me to. I was a writer, a novelist, then. End of story…

…But the expectations of others–were they a good thing?

A Walking-and-Talking Thesaurus:

My dad was the first one to read my completed novel–I was so excited! He laughed at times, said he enjoyed it, didn’t finish it–and then I read my friend’s (the fifth grade friend) own short story. My final thoughts: fuckkkkkkkk youuuuuuuuu.

It sounded good. The writing was good. The characters were good. The plot was good. Everything was good. Mine was…all story and no writing.

All throughout middle school and all throughout high school, I used big, big words that came straight from the thesaurus to sound impressive, sophisticated, and smart. Because that was my definition of good writing.

Overall…my passion and excitement was lost–writing became nothing more than a chore. My stories were something I expected myself to complete because other people still called me an author. Everything suffered.

The Girl Who Could Change Fate:

One day after school, the words ‘the girl who messed with fate’ randomly stumbled across my mind. I don’t know how they came about, but they did; and in that moment I spontaneously decided I’d write a novel about it. I had no expectations for it. Others were unaware, therefore they had no expectations. I just…started writing, as they say. And I loved it, loved coming up with its plot and characters and voice to where I was utterly, helplessly consumed once again. Everything about it, for me, was good.

And I ended up ultimately publishing it 🙂

 

So these are five big writing moments for me. My relationship with this hobby has overcome darker moments, these times of struggle, but has also experienced brighter moments. I’ve learned over the years how strong it has become a part of my identity and self-expression. And look forward to where we will go together 🙂

What are your timeline moments?

 

 

 

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Does Adulthood Even Exist?

A week or so ago, I celebrated my 26th birthday. I didn’t notice a difference. Then again…who wants to turn 26?

Adulthood…When I was in middle school, I thought high schoolers were adults. When I was in high school, I thought college students were adults. When I was in college, I thought graduates were adults.

Nope nope nope.

I just turned 26. I’m still living with my parents. I’m spending every paycheck I earn on bills with maybe $12 to blow on a nice beverage at the bar. I’m working a job that should be a career but is really only there so I can spend every paycheck on bills and blow that $12 on a nice beverage at the bar.

Is this adulthood? I thought, with every passing year, one new piece would be added to that ideal life we see in movies and read in books. Added responsibilities for growth. Decorating your own recently-bought house. Expecting them kids to pop out one after the other.

That traditional path of hitting your 20s. College. Marriage. Buying your first home. Having your first baby. Isn’t that adulthood?

Nope nope nope.

26…I’m closer to 30 than I was to 20….That sucks. And I don’t have any of my shit together.

Buuuuut…the good news is none of that matters because I choose instead to have a positive attitude. Your life’s success isn’t an overnight miracle–you’re not rubbing the genie bottle and granted three wishes. What you are doing is moving. At times breezing by, other times limping, even crawling. But no matter what you’re still moving, and more importantly you’re moving forward, because it’s the only direction. Plus, you can always choose how to handle the pace.

So let’s stay positive. Here are the most positive things right now:

-Nutrition: Tonight, I ate a salad for dinner. Then I pounded a couple of Cheetos, some Amos cookies, and will later hit the unopened bag of Oreos sitting innocently in the closet. Why? Because tomorrow is a beginning. I am going all the way with this future of healthy eating. I have never been more interested in nutrition and want it to be the critical part of my life it should be. Splurging has only been an escape of self-destruction. But no more 😉

-Yoga:I will spend that $12 on any yoga class I can get into, because I love it oh so much. Now I just need to be more consistent with my other fitness goals.

-Writing: Sculpting Beauty Chapter 1 is complete for the most part. The edits for Chapters 2-4 are next. With my nutrition novel, Chasing the Beauty, well, it’s easy to write–I just have to do it. Apart from my personal writing, I have opportunities to write for Vegan websites and perhaps even a Wilmington magazine and Content Curator job.

I don’t know what adulthood is–I certainly don’t feel like I’m in that phase of it, but making decisions is definitely adulting.

 

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Step One: Awareness

Small group night #2 was pretty in depth! Here is another excerpt from my book that shows why it is so resounding!

‘It is a classic Hollywood scene: a voice shouts at four frightened souls in possession of a witch’s broomstick. Emerald cauldrons spew flames and smoke into the sky. ‘Come back tomorrow…you ungrateful creatures,’ the Great Wizard yells as his bulbous head floats over a pit of fire.

Then, in the scene’s climatic moment, a mangy little dog pulls back the green drape to reveal a worn-out circus magician cranking levers and pushing buttons.

‘Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain,’ the wizard commands them. But the hocus locus is over, the illusion is gone, and it’s time for a frightened girl from Kansas and even the Great Wizard himself to see way beyond the rainbow.

Our freedom surprisingly starts with becoming more aware of the great cover-up. It begins when we accept that all of us have veiled habits, blind spots, and hidden places in our hearts. And whatever the issues might be, we must instigate our very own Wizard of Oz moment that pulls back the curtain on the mischief maker. If we want to be free, we must be aware of the troublemaking con man behind the scenes.

But many of us will only take action against the great and powerful Oz when we can see what he is doing to us, which is of course the tricky part. We can’t see how loss, pain, and unforgiveness pull levers; send us on meaningless witch hunts; and trap us in haunted forests.

Unresolved pain keeps us in a dead life where we are stripped of anything authentic. We protect ourselves with detached ambivalence to guarantee we never hurt again. Our sadness is masked in seething anger, and our daily lives become grinding, shallow, and less than magical. We gut it out and hope one day it might get better.

Some try to fix their hurts by replacing pain with short-term pleasure. Compulsive behaviors like alcohol addiction, self-injury, online fixations, illicit affairs, unrestrained shopping sprees, and the aptly named ‘comfort food’ all see us numbed up and ‘happy.’ Pain has us completely owned.

And though we might not understand what’s going on, thankfully Jesus does–and he is going to deal with it all. He promises us it doesn’t have to be this way.’

-Freeway excerpt

Mike Foster, Garry Poole