Saturday, May 21, 2016

Can't Do It Alone

I have written before about the importance of surrounding yourself with a strong team. I wanted to take some time and share the people that stand behind me and help make me who I am. There are a number of people and while I will name them in a certain order it is important to mention that I couldn't do anything without the support of each and every one.

The first person I want to focus on is my manager. She brainstorms ideas for books and promotions, beta reads everything I have ever written and is my biggest moral support of all. She is also my mom. There is a piece of advice that when you are going to submit your work or really anytime you want someone to take you seriously you want to have someone unbiased review your work and not just your mother. In my case though she is more honest with me than anyone else has ever been. She reviews what I have written and is not afraid to tell me everything she does and doesn't like. I count on her now and have been listening to her encouragement and advice my entire life.

The next person I could not succeed without is my partner. In promotions and in life my boyfriend stands by me and is always coming up with new ways for me to get my name out to a greater audience. Unlike my mom he does not read my work though he will brainstorm ideas with me or listen as I talk through a plot whole or character development issue. He is however very creative and technologically savvy. He helps me make flyers and comes up with promotional ideas that I can incorporate for shows and online events. He is my photographer, my cheerleader and perhaps an even bigger help, he is there to give me a hug when things fall apart.

There are three other individuals and a group that I want to show some love for because I am eternally grateful for them. Chelo Felice Biggerstaff, she is an inspiration and most of all an honest friend. She tells me how it is and keeps me from falling to far into a depression or letting my ambitions get too high without a realistic plan to achieve my goals. Kate Marie Robbins, she is a friend and inspiration as well. She created a charity series that gave me the idea to share my own and has been my partner with my Rescue Me series. She is also the one that has created all of my covers so far and makes the promos to share online for my books and submissions helping me achieve my dreams. Jeffrey Cook is out there living as a full time author and making me believe it can happen. He is another charity author as well as a Steampunk Indie author. I find his tenacity and knowledge amazing. I even bought a book he cowrote to try and learn some tricks to help me emulate even a small amount of his success.

The group I want to bring attention to is the number one group any author could ask for, my readers and reviewers. I can write everyday, polish the words into something resembling quality and send it off to my editor. I can come up with a cover I am proud of and finish off the edits then hit publish on Amazon or whatever platform I am using but without someone to read and review my work it wouldn't mean much. Of course I would still be a published author but I create for the sake of sharing and I will always be eternally grateful to those that, buy, read, review and recommend my books. You are the ones that help me reach my goals, thank you!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Motivation vs. Habit

I have struggled this month with finding the motivation to get back on track with anything. I started the year taking classes at the gym at least four days per week, sometimes everyday that week. I felt great and it was definitely showing my progress. Because of the feeling I got from exercising I was eating better overall. Yes I still had my sweets, I will always have my desserts, but I was incorporating a lot more fruit and lean protein as well as not overindulging. This led to sleeping better and having more energy to focus on tasks such as re-landscaping my backyard, a project over a year in the works. It also made me more determined than ever to get my name out there and push forward with my writing career.

Sometime around the beginning of April something changed for me mentally and I fell of the wagon. I had printed out three books that needed to be edited yet I hadn't touched a single one. I stopped writing other than blog posts and even those felt like they took far more effort than they should have. I even had put all the books I was reading away. I quit my research and fell into a funk. This depression created a feeling of being lost and killed all my ambitions. I have since struggled to sleep enough that I wake in time for work let alone get a workout in beforehand. My eating is the same for the most part but I am just not able to break through the mental fog.

I posted about a week ago asking people in different writing groups if they ever struggle with motivation and was greeted with many dealing with the same battle. Then there was one comment that said motivation was not the issue, I need to develop a habit. It is significantly easier said than done. My obligations and schedule change weekly making a habit of a certain amount of time for anything nearly impossible. I operate more on a fit things in like a Tetris puzzle system than a schedule time and make appointments style. For me it isn't that I can't find the time though, fitting things in has become a specialty. It is more that I need the motivation I was speaking about to pull me from my rut and help get me back on track.

A dear friend and fellow author has created a challenge I am going to try calling it the 5-2K challenge. For one year every day you must run / walk 2K steps, edit 2K words, read 2K words, write 2K words and eat 2K or less calories. I am joining her hoping that the challenge will pull me out of this block I have and get me working again. The best news is that is you fall short on something you can make it up another day. I will be trying to monitor it monthly as well as for the year to keep my goals on track and will post here periodically as to how it is going. What types of things do you do to pull yourself out of a funk?

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ideas For Interacting

I apologize to those that read my blog that I have fallen short on the consistency so far this month. I have once again taken on so much that there are items on the to do list that get pushed back and in my absent minded times there are things left off the list entirely. Social media and promotions seem to fall into those places more often than anything else. I will, however, be doing my best to at least post a few times each week to keep people updated and will happily respond to any questions or comments I may receive.

Interacting with my readers is paramount to becoming a better writer so I do hope to create blog posts, Facebook statuses and tweets that will inspire feedback as well as entertain. I do great at live events because I can look people in the eye and shake their hand when they attend a signing or show. My biggest struggle is the online aspect. I do not know what to write. I overthink things causing them to come out more serious and heavy than I intend and I get frustrated when others seem to be able to connect so much easier.

I have noticed that pictures get a far larger number of shares, likes and comments than a simple text post. I would love to use that information but so far I have struck out because I do not take many pictures, I have no idea how to create memes and I am not a fan of only sharing other's posts and memes. I share plenty of them. I just want to incorporate my own original thinking alongside them and the combination can be a difficult balance to achieve.

I am hoping to come up with ideas for pictures that I can go out and take so I can share them with my friends and fans but I draw a blank every time. So far I have a small list of suggestions friends have made such as settings that inspire me or create costumes of some of my characters and do photoshoots in them. I am working on both but I need so many more. What types of pictures catch your attention on social media? What causes you to stop scrolling and click a link, like a post or comment on what the author has put out?

I need suggestions to help me improve, not just for the sake of my craft but also to grow my ability to interact with the most important aspect of my writing job, the readers. I appreciate any suggestions or comments that will help me grow!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Working Under Pressure

I like having time constraints when I am working on any sort of project. I may complain about it when I am venting, and yes I realize that more often than not I do it to myself. I take on an extraordinary amount of things, putting them all on my to do list and giving myself what feels like a near impossible timetable in which to work. It is probably not the healthiest way to operate but it has worked in the past so I continue to use it.

In school I used to hate getting projects that would have a month long deadline. Yes they involved research, some sort of construction of a diorama usually and preparing a presentation so the time was a good idea but I hated having so much time. While many in my class would go home and get to work right away I would procrastinate until approximately three days before it was due then hide in the library and get everything done in a massive rush. Even with the marathon of researching, writing and creating I would end up with one of the highest graded projects in the class.

I had the same problem when I began writing. I have all the time in the world and so with no sense of urgency, I do not feel the compelling urge to sit down in my office and be productive. Instead my mind is free to wander. I come up with numerous ideas, characters start getting chatty but then go silent again, it is a vicious cycle that I rarely seem to concentrate through. Only when I have something pressing am I able to sit down and do what I am supposed to do as a writer, I write.

When I was getting ready for a book launch last year I had not finished the first draft but knowing I had the event coming gave me the urgency I crave and I was able to produce a book I am immensely proud of. The same thing happens with Nanowrimo. If it weren't for me pushing to prove I can create the fifty thousand words in just thirty days I am not sure I would have ever finished my debut novel let alone the three I am editing. All of them were created during Nano. I am working hard to create self imposed deadlines, not only for writing but also for editing, submitting and taking part in events. If I can get to the point where I am able to train myself to do these things I will feel much better about my chances to be a professional writer.

For me the most difficult thing is sticking with my own deadlines. I want this but I fight the insecurities, doubt and overwhelming lack of ability to perform at my best without outside pressure. If anyone has any suggestions on how to improve the focus I would be greatly in your debt!