Sunday, January 19, 2020


Many writers I know prefer the free flow of being a writer because they aren't under the crunch of a deadline. There is no boss standing over you barking orders, no projects schedule forcing you to multi-task, and no co-workers constantly asking for updates. They are free to write as the inspiration comes to them and submit (if they are traditionally published) when the book is ready.

If they are traditionally published through one of the big publishers there can be deadlines but most of my friends do not fall into this category at this time. The small press and vanity press published authors will get a deadline for edits after the publisher has accepted the story but rarely do they have a deadline for submitting the initial book. WHen you're self-published there are no deadlines at all unless they are self imposed. This is actually a problem for me.

I have found that the pressure of a deadline is motivating for me and without one I get easily distracted. In my last post I discussed how I am now using exercise to clear the chaos and be able to breakthrough writer's block and keep pushing to accomplish things on my ever present to do list. However I find without that looming pressure I still struggle to get more than a little writing done at a time. Even my chores need something pressing to make me do them. I have to make my to do list and then promise my boyfriend the list will be done before he gets home from work or I will allow myself to get distracted and then the only things that get done are dishes and laundry.

I know I need the deadline to push me but the only one I had was still over a year away so I wasn't feeling the motivation. I have several signings coming up this year that I wanted to have more books available but they aren't complete. I made what some will consider a questionable decision to put cover mockups on my preorder forms for a couple of my later signings so that forces me to have to finish the books. Every time I have pushed myself to write a book there has been a challenge like that pushing me. I can't wait to share excerpts and the covers in the coming weeks and months. What do you do to push yourself toward your dreams?

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Physical Release, Mental Clarity

I am guilty, like many I know, of getting overwhelmed by all the things going on in life and feeling like no matter what I'm doing I should be doing something else. If I am writing (or at least trying to) I can't stop my mind from racing through all the chores I need to finish. If am trying to read and relax a little I feel like I should be writing. If, by chance, I am actually done cleaning and running errands with enough time to sit and work on writing I still find myself struggling to stick to one project. I have so many books I want to write that I find the characters will argue with one another, pushing and shoving for my attention.

Because of my scattered mental situation, more often than not I have noticed I get to the point where I just don't want to do anything. I would rather throw myself into pointless endeavors and ignore all obligations than try to make sense of the craziness in my mind. Because I am aware of this tendency though I do my best to find ways to clear this chaos whenever possible. Tactics I have tried in the past have included to do lists, creating a schedule, going to alternative locations to write so I can focus on nothing else, but I still find my mind wandering. I have tried so many different ways to clear my head and instead I find my brain simply adding things to the list and running faster and faster.

Last week I went to the gym like I try (but often fail) to do. I have taken several classes in the past. Zumba, Water Aerobics, and Body Pump are some of my favorites but while I concentrate on what is happening in the class, things change so often I am unable to tune out completely and get lost in the moment. When I went last week I had planned to take a PiYo class. For those unfamiliar it is a combination of Pilates and Yoga with an increased speed. As I walked into the gym however I saw how many people were already in the room for PiYo and had no desire to contend with a crowd. There was a spin class at the same time so I grabbed the bike seat cover I keep in my bag and made my way to spin class. Three songs in I was sweating, struggling to breathe, and my mind was putting things in order for an upcoming book project I hadn't been able to focus on until that point.

Because I didn't have to pay attention to choreography, changing weights, or stretching positions, I was able to just let my body keep pushing while my mind could drift to a subconscious place and that allowed the book to become clear. When I got out of class I was still in a go get it done kind of mood so I completed all the house cleaning while still thinking about the writing breakthrough I had made. When the chores were done I sat down and was able to write out everything I had come up with during class. The physical release of tension that I didn't have to concentrate on has given me a chance to focus in way actually trying to think hadn't been able to accomplish.

I am still taking my Zumba, Body Pump, Water Aerobics, and even a few yoga type classes but I am incorporating more cycling to allow the creativity to flow. Do you notice anything you do helping your ability to sort out mental issues and solve problems like spin helped me?

Thursday, January 9, 2020

The One That Got Away

I am a major tomboy. Weird information I know, but it plays into something that happened recently and got me thinking. Because of my tomboy tendencies I have always been friends with guys much more than with girls. I love and play sports, am into outdoor activities like camping and hiking, I love getting dirty and have such little makeup I can rarely find any of it. This has led to me spending time with my guys friends most of the time. Understandably, when I am in a relationship it has to be with someone very secure and trusting. I didn't expect to be confronted with my friends telling me they considered me the one that got away however.

In three different conversations over the past week I have had male friends tell me they consider me the one that got away when we were younger. Only one of those guys did I ever date, the other two were simply friends. I know this makes me sound somewhat conceded which is not my intention, they just let me know they had believed there could have been something there when we used to hang out. Those conversations made me think about any guys in my history that I would think of as getting away but honestly I don't feel there are any questions or unfinished business with anyone in my past.

I can't say the same about my writing though. I have never given up on a book I was reading, even when I deeply wanted too, but I was reminded a week ago that there is a story I was writing I somehow put away and forgot about. I am now revisiting the notes I had for that story to add it to my To Be Written list. It is a large list and I am hoping to be able to complete it. I am excited for this new addition however. It is a supernatural suspense / thriller in the vein of Jonathan Maberry. In fact, when I get to the point of writing this particular book I will be reading several of his books and others in the genre to get me in the right frame of mind.

Can a book, or any type of creative project, be "the one that got away"? In some respects I think as life gets in the way and other projects come up we can put those original pursuits on the back burner and eventually forget about them altogether. I don't know if that lives up to the term "got away" but for me it is as close as it gets. I am working to rekindle the relationship with this particular piece while making sure no others fall by the wayside. Do you have a person or project you would consider the one that got away?

Sunday, January 5, 2020

New Year, Same Me

With the recent passing of New Year Eve / Day many people are deep in the new year, new me time. They flock to the gym in droves, buy fitness equipment and food for new diets, they fill our planners and create lists of new projects they will accomplish. It is the never ending cycle of people trying to reinvent themselves and become an improved version of who they were the previous year.

Yes, I went to the gym today. But I also went to the gym last weekend. I am participating in a 5k in Lake Havasu this coming Saturday but I also ran in the Rock N Roll 5k and 10k here last November. I plan on publishing this year just as I did in 2019. I have a different view on the new year revolution. I don't reinvent myself but instead I try to take what I learned and grow, building upon the previous year.

Last year I took part in more than two dozen Coffee House Tour signings as well as a few larger events. This year I am going to do a handful of the CHT signings (I am the marketing director so I want to make sure I participate) and have increased the number of larger events. I have learned which of the coffee shops and book stores I have done the best so I will focus on those for 2020 while using what I found to be the most successful and see if I can do even better at those locations this year. Another thing I know I can do to improve both smaller and bigger signings is to have a broader selection of books.

In 2018 I released Just Deal With It, my humor book about being a casino dealer in Las Vegas. In early 2019 the second book in my Sharing Strength series, Fish, was published. Both books are doing well when I go to shows but I know developing my book availability is important. In 2020 I am planning to release four books. The third and fourth books in my Sharing Strength series, Crash and Combat, are set to be published in the first half of the year. Breathe is a suspense scheduled for release mid-summer and Chocolate Covered Cherries, my only romance, is supposed to be out just before the holidays. All of these will allow me to grow my reader base and hopefully increase my sales as well.

I set goals every years but they are not a new form of myself, simply a way to keep moving forward. I will be using some tools I have learned from friends and will share with you all how these tools and goals are progressing. I would also love to hear some of your goals and how you use each new year to help grow from the year before.