A day in my life....in GIFs

Wake up…and long for the days in college where I could do this:

Proceed to shower doing this:

Get dressed, take the Boxer puppy out who’s doing this:

Come back in, try to feed cats who can be like this:

Go to work and juggle being an EA, where I feel like doing this:

But more than likely end up doing this:

And writing on my lunch break:

Finally leave work and proceed to deal with evening rush hour traffic where I waffle between:


Where I come home to gamer husband, who should be like this:

But instead is like this:

Then it’s time for snuggles with the animals:

Dinner, and finally, back to bed:

On Being Unproductive

Today I realized that if I had a television in my bedroom I'd never get out of bed on the weekend.

I'm the Queen of Unproductive Weekends!

I'm busy y'all. I commute almost two hours every day to my full time day job, I run The Brainy Bookshelf, I'm finishing up book one while writing book two of my Turgor series, I'm the adoptive mother of a 5-month old puppy and two cats and we can't forget about being the wife of my lovely husband.

Don't get me wrong, I love what I do so I'm not complaining. But I've been noticing that my weekends are full of me doing everything but checking off things on my to-do list. I found myself wondering what was up with that??

I've come to the conclusion that my mind is rebelling against weekend productivity as a fail safe to being burnt out. I sleep A LOT on the weekends. I do a few chores (maybe) and then proceed to spend time with friends, my husband or my pets. In short, I give myself a rest from the crazy pace of the week. 

So why am I telling you all this?

I know as indie authors it's hard. You see authors like Amanda Hocking and think to yourself "What am I doing wrong? Maybe I'm not working hard enough!" That's not the case, folks. The indie road to success is long, hard and full of realizing that hindsight is a five letter word. Realize that it’s *ok* to be unproductive and give yourself some downtime. It’s actually good for you!

The next time you sit at your desk/on your couch/in your favorite coffee shop staring at a blank piece of paper and you begin to feel as though you may spontaneously combust at any moment, remember that unplugging, living your life and setting aside your writing for a brief time may just be what the doctor ordered.

“Pray thee, spare, thyself at times: for it becomes a wise man sometimes to relax the high pressure of his attention to work.” –Thomas Aquinas

“Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream.” –John Lennon 

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Pen?

I am. *raises hand*

I've been writing stories since I was eight years old. I still have diaries full of fantastic tales of mystery and adventure. When I was a teenager, I would spend nights writing short stories of characters that each held a piece of me some way. I would write them, and then reread them for pleasure over and over again. As much as I enjoy others getting entertainment from my work, I ultimately write because I'm looking for a good story to read.

Why am I afraid? 

Because I'm now bound by rules and expectations (or so I feel). I now have to worry about beta readers and editors and marketing. I now need to understand story acts and arches. I now outline instead of just letting the words flow from my fingertips. The process has turned technical in the name of being a better writer. It feels like 10% imagination and 90% everything else. But is it working?

I've always been in the camp that the only way to be a great writer is to keep writing. All the technical books in the world can not help if you do not practice. This goes for writing, painting or playing an instrument. Like Nike reminds us, you have to just do it.

I think what my fear is telling me is that I'm allowing myself to get caught up in the wrong thing. Instead of focusing solely on the final, polished result, I should be enjoying the process of telling a story and introducing characters. I should be finding pleasure in the act of writing.

What about you? Do you have moments of fear while writing? What is your fear telling you? 

What Should an Author Blog About?

I've been absent since my last post because I've been struggling. Struggling with what to write about on this blog. You know, I've been blogging on and off since 2006. I originally started a blog because I was being tormented by my college roommates and wanted an outlet. It turned into a gossip blog and I had a great time logging in every day to update my fellow bloggy friends. It was also very therapeutic. I found my voice and a 'niche' before I even knew what that meant without realizing it.

When I first decided that I was going to take my writing seriously, I began to research. Everyone said that authors (especially indie/self-published authors) should have a blog. But no one could really answer the question of what to blog about. "Find your niche," they said. "Be unique." But what did that mean?
For the last week, I've been looking at my 'to-do' list, my eyes skittering past the Add a post on blog in shame. My mind was blank. Because I'm new, I don't have a ton of stuff to say about the world of self-publishing. And I definitely don't have a lot to say about the mechanics of writing. I'm not formally educated enough to explain to you the structure of a sentence.

I write because I love to tell a story that the common person can understand and enjoy.

While still researching on what to blog about, I came across a guest post on Jane Friedman's blog entitled 'It’s Time for (Many) Experienced Writers to Stop Blogging'.  The post was engaging, but the comments were even more captivating.  I encourage you guys to check it out.

As I read, I realized that I didn't want to blog solely about how to be a better writer from a mechanical standpoint or how to get a book published. Are these things important to me? Yep. Are they all that I have to offer? Nope.

I have a new puppy. And a new husband. And coincidentally a new car. I work a job in the entertainment industry full of wonderful yet quirky people. What I'm trying to say is I have a LIFE. A life that I constantly drawn upon for my writing. So why can't I do the same for blogging?

From this point forward, I give myself permission to write about anything I want on my 'author's blog'.

And I encourage all you newbie writers out there to do the same.

Coming Back to the Writing World

These months since my wedding have flown by! We are now settled in and have adopted a puppy since then. We now have two cats and a dog, so my life has been very interesting! I can never say that I don't have any inspiration. ;)

I've started working on my new paranormal romance book and I'm very excited. I've also pulled The Two Worlds and have decided that I am going to have a professional editor look at the ms, revise and then republish. I'll also have a professional graphic designer work on the cover for me. I love my readers and want only the very best versions of my work out there for their enjoyment.

I hope to be done with the romance book by the end of this year. I'm rejoining my year round NaNoWriMo writing group that meets on Sundays in hopes of blocking off chunks of time to crank it out. I've updated the bar on the right so you guys can track my progress.

 That's all for now! I can't tell you how happy I am to have a fresh story to write!

Procrastination and the Fear of Failure

I'm a huge procrastinator. As in, I'll sit down dutifully to write and then become distracted by a minuscule piece of dust....on the ceiling...that must be cleaned at that very moment! Heck, I'm struggling right now to write this post and I keep stopping to fix spelling errors instead of just getting the words out!

Over the past years, I've come to realize that my procrastination is directly tied to fear. And I have a lot of it. I'm a perfectionist and a researcher which is a deadly combination. If you give me a task without a very specific set of instructions, I'll research every way possible to get that task completed. For something like writing a book (the topic has tons of advice out there on how to do it), this research can take years. Because of that, it took me seven years to write 35,000 words and be ok with the outcome.

Atychiphobia (or fear of failure) is common among most newbie writers. You don't know what to expect and you feel as though the whole world is watching you with a smirk on its face as if to say, 'See? I told you you'd fail.' Everyone but yourself becomes an expert and you must follow all of their advice. When those little voices of doubt pop up in my head, everything comes to a screeching halt and I suddenly find myself tackling those household chores I'd been ignoring or surfing Facebook and getting wrapped up in kitty memes. 

So how do you get over it? 

I wish I could tell you a 100% guaranteed method. The final push for The Two Worlds was knowing that I was holding myself up from other projects and knowing that it didn't have to be perfect. My family was still proud of me when I self-published it, I still felt a sense of accomplishment and the world didn't stop spinning when I didn't make any sales. The work was out there, it was completed and I had learned a heck of a lot along the way. What more could I ask for? 

As I start my second book, I feel that fear gripping me again ('You don't know what you're doing!', 'You'll have all this work to do and you won't have a life!', 'It'll be a horrible experience just like the last!') and procrastination rearing its ugly head despite my first accomplishment. But this time I'm a bit wiser. I know how long it should take me to write a book. I know how fast I can type. I know how to edit my work and how to create a book cover. I know how to begin marketing myself. And I have a new way of thinking.  

What's the worst that could happen? 

In the book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie tells us that when fear grips our consciousness and we start to worry, ask ourselves a simple question: What's the worst that could happen?
One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon—instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today. Why are we such fools—such tragic fools?

“How strange it is, our little procession of life!” wrote Stephen Leacock. “The child says, ‘When I am a big boy.’ But what is that? The big boy says, ‘When I grow up.’ And then, grown up, he says, ‘When I get married.’ But to be married, what is that after all? The thought changes to ‘When I’m able to retire.’ And then, when retirement comes, he looks back over the landscape traversed; a cold wind seems to sweep over it; somehow he has missed it all, and it is gone. Life, we learn too late, is in the living, in the tissue of every day and hour.” 

When I ask myself that question, the only thing that comes to mind is that people will not like my work and not take me seriously as a writer. If that happens, my feelings would be hurt, but my income is not tied to writing fiction so I wouldn't go homeless and perhaps that criticism would force me to be a better writer. If folks aren't receptive of my work, that's ok

Keeping that in mind has helped me tremendously. Even though I still procrastinate, the instances where I let it derail me are becoming less frequent. 

After all, this post has been written hasn't it? :)

Your turn: Do you find yourself procrastinating on big projects, even if it's your dream work? How do you overcome it? 

Checking In!

Phew! It's been almost a month since my pre-holiday post and life has not slowed down. I've given in to the fact that I will probably not be working on any manuscript until after my wedding.

I've been reading lots, though and still writing for UrbanGirlReader.com (fabulous site if you haven't checked it out yet).  You can't be a successful writer if you're not an avid reader, so I still consider this part of my 'craft'. Hopefully post wedding I can put some new skills that I've learned from other authors to use.

In the meanwhile, here's some of the books that I've been reading or that are queued on my 'To Be Read' list (in no particular order):

Jeaniene Frost Halfway to the Grave
Jeaniene Frost One Foot in the Grave
Jeaniene Frost At Grave's End
Mindy Klasky Magic and the Modern Girl
Roxanne Rhoads Hex and the Single Witch
Mindy Klasky How Not to Make a Wish
Sofie Kelly Copycat Killing: A Magical Cats Mystery
Heather Blake It Takes a Witch: A Wishcraft Mystery
Heather Blake A Witch Before Dying
Melissa Bourbon A Fitting End: A Magical Dressmaking Mystery
Melissa Bourbon Pleating for Mercy
Juliet Blackwell  Dead Bolt
Rose Pressey No Shoes, No Shirt, No Spells
Juliet Blackwell Hexes and Hemlines
Juliet Blackwell A Cast-Off Coven

....to name a few. ;)

What about you? What on your 2013 reading list?