The Alpha’s Dream (10 Months After Publishing) & What’s Coming Next

The Alpha’s Dream

(10 Months After Publishing) & What’s Coming Next

On the tails of The Alpha’s Dream’s success I have high hopes for 2018.  Here’s a taste of the goodness to come…

The Alpha’s Dream was a lifesaver in so many ways. In part, because it renewed my hope in creating a career out of writing beyond freelancing. That isn’t to say that I haven’t made any mistakes. You can read all about the rookie errors I made to get a taste of what I would do differently. I’ll be re-releasing The Alpha’s Dream with edits later this year. I’ll update you with the final date once, I have a few more technicalities sorted out. All in all, I can still say that  Euphoria and Nathaniel’s story was a great debut. I’m still so very fond of them. I’m also very biased. #AuthorRights

My plan for 2017 was to immediately follow-up The Alpha’s Dream with others from the series. Some of you have  already picked up on the fact that their friends seem to be itching to tell their own stories. (Some of them more ready than others. I am bursting with ideas!) So for those of you who have been asking, yes there will be sequels with Nathaniel’s close friends/pack brothers and Euphoria’s friends. But, not yet.

Well, The Alpha’s Dream was my only release last year. It was the worst thing ever!!! (Kind of.) I was so disappointed in myself for not keeping the deadlines that I’d wanted. Knowing I would give birth, I worked hard to keep a sensible writing schedule, and timeline for publishing. I didn’t account for how exhausted I would feel running behind three littles ages three and under. It was chaos around here for months.

When I finally came up to breathe, I had no idea how to talk about anything except the diapers I was changing and the immense parent joy/stress my husband and I were feeling. Writing was a task I wasn’t up too. Not the greatest thing for my career, but I didn’t know how to change it at the time.

We’re eight months into our new normal now. Working around our beloveds has not gotten easier, but we’ve gotten better at it. I’ve figured out how to squeeze a hair more out of our day. The wobble is still real, there is just less of it. 2017 wasn’t what I expected it to be, but it made room for what I want now. While I was sulking about what I didn’t get done last year, I came up with a plan to keep myself writing and sticking to the deadlines in this one. No matter what, I’m determined to make 2018 an engaging and fulfilling publishing year for me.

To begin…2018 will see 6 releases from me.

Lofty goals should really be my middle name. I say that because the six releases aren’t a bad idea on their own. The additional things, the day to day of life, projects requiring my attention etc. make 6 releases ambitious. Very ambitious. I believe I made a similar claim last year. Only this time, I’ve planned better. I plan everything now. From snack times to reading breaks, I have to account for my time in order to get anything done.

I’ll be writing around the clock. Working hard to bring you great shifter romances,  and a few surprises. I made a ripple last year. This year, I’m making a splash. That isn’t just the New Year high talking. I’ve gotten a taste of publishing as myself and I never want to let it go. I’ll bring you all the stories my characters want to share with you.

I’m also updating my blog, again. You’ll still get all the fun details of my upcoming releases but, there will be even more. I’ve learned a lot as a freelancer. I’m learning even more as an Author. I’m going to share it with you. My blog will be an amalgamation of writing details, and writing tools. The plan is to give you the confidence to write your own masterpiece through the lessons I’ve learned. The information I share with you will be specific and contain  actionable tasks to help you along your writing journey. What book would you write if you had the tools? Let me know in the comments.

The Alpha's Dream Pinterest

And Then… A Writing Course you can sink your teeth into.

They say that I’m a dreamer. I’m not the only one. Comment below on the song title for a little fun.

I’m putting this out there. I’m creating a course on writing this year.  I keep repeating myself. I have a lot of information in me and I want to share all of it. I WANT TO READ YOUR BOOKS. I can’t do that if you don’t write them. So, I am going to help you.

All through the year, as I am filling my blog with useful, actionable information  I’ll also be creating a full course for your use. Everything at your fingertips and on your own time to create your great work. I’ve built the skeleton and now I’m filling in the details. I’ll keep you posted along the way.

To be clear, I am doing this because of how difficult it was for me to learn some of the things I know now. I ran into all sorts of obstacles. One of them being, peers who didn’t want to share the information they’d gain even when it was mutually beneficial. It does not benefits us as writers to hoard the lessons we learn as #authorprenuers.

Knowledge is power. Shared knowledge is shared power. I lose nothing by sharing information with you.  You’ve gone on this journey with me, and I will go on this journey with you.

By this time next year, I will have a complete course to jumpstart your writing career. This is exciting!!! Are completely insane of me to attempt, but I am going to do it none the less.

Right now… My first release of the year is in four weeks.

Woot, Woot! I’m currently wrapping up my first release of the year. I’m tingling as I think of all the fun facts I’ll  give to you as we get closer and closer to the release date. My newest characters are not part of The Alpha’s Dream series. It’s still a curvy woman romance and a sexy werewolf shifter. My heroine is at a cross roads with a life changing decision to make. Aren’t they all?

Over the next  few weeks, I’ll give you even more information about them. So what would you like first? A character interview? A synopsis of the story to come? Drop me a line in the comments section and let me know what you think.

The Alpha’s Dream continues to be an amazing experience for me. More and more lessons pour from it and I’m anxious to build on its legacy. I’m working very hard to prove to those who loved it, that it wasn’t a fluke. Hold on tight dears, we’re in this for the long haul.

Joy.

 

 

 

5 Lessons I Will Not Repeat Going Forward

5 Lessons I Will Not Repeat Going Forward

Every day I learn a little more about what it takes to balance my life. Balance is a very fragile thing, and as I have sought to create more of it for myself there are several hard lessons I’ve had to learn. Some of them harder than other. The ones I believe I have mastered I mention here…

What good is a lesson if you don’t learn anything? That questions come to mind more than I would like to admit. Honestly, I’ve repeated more lessons than I would have liked because I didn’t get it the first time. The following mistakes come from lessons learned. With a little faith, my incredible support system, and a whole lot of determination I won’t repeat them.

5 Lessons I Will Not Repeat Going Forward pinterest image
5 Lessons I will not repeat going forward

Ignoring my body.

Here’s the thing, when I’m on a roll writing everything fades to black. Music becomes white noise, the television seems to only play commercials, and everything from the sound of my growling stomach to a throbbing headache go unnoticed. The rhythm of the work draws me in. My veins flush with adrenaline, and my thoughts stream until the only thing I’m aware of is the steady drumming of my fingers against the keys and the letters flying faster than I can read them.

I get lost in the work. It’s a good thing. Too much of a good thing can kill you.

I know this because after months of working hard on my follow-up release I hit a wall. A series of illnesses plagued me. Unexplainable stomach pain, unrelenting headaches, and endless nausea deterred and eventually delayed completely my follow-up work.

It wasn’t until a forced three-day vacation from all things writing/work related unceremoniously turned into a two-week complete shutdown. I was exhausted. The warning signs were back to back, but I didn’t make the connection. My body told me I was doing too much and I ignored it. I flat-out refused to listen.

The result was a complete delay in my follow-up to The Alpha’s Dream. Initial plans were to have it released the last week of October 2017. I didn’t do that, because I needed to take care of myself. Self-care is priority in a creative business. The hours are long, the gratification often delayed, and the amount of time I spend praying that something good  comes of this is a full-time job in itself. All of that means a lot of mental and physical stress on the body, and I do not take for granted what can happen if I ignore it again.

Ignoring my systems.

Sometimes, when I’m excited about a project I jump ahead of myself. I tend to get excited about the ending, and skim through the middle. I don’t like to wait. My patience is a huge problem that my little darlings are teaching me to work on. I’m very good at planning. I know what must be done at each phase of my writing and when it should be executed to maximize the work to be done. I know how to create a fluid plan to smoothly create any project. What I struggle with is following my plan.

The system to create is imperative for my time management needs. When I ignore my system, I ignore my timeline for publication, my self-care needs, and my obligations to my family. The added crunch to complete the work adds stress and fatigue atop normal pressure.

I don’t want to burnout on what I love simply because I’m excitable.

It is my responsibility to myself and my art that I follow the systems I’ve created because I know they are built to work for me. I have crafted them with the express desire of optimizing my productivity and minimizing my stress. So I have to work within the plan I have created.

Harboring Doubt.

I struggle to believe in my work. Not because I genuinely feel like it isn’t good, but because I am hardwired to second-guess my ability. It is my nature, and its effects on my day-to-day life are sometimes palpable. My doubt hides in my spine. It lingers in the crack of my knuckles. It slides down my throat like cold coffee. It is always there.

I have learned to do well by ignoring it, but there it remained. I have decided that In 2018 I am not ignoring anything that harms me. Instead, I will acknowledge and address. I don’t know that I will ever live a doubt free life. I do know however, that the power doubt has over my life can be edited. How I live depends on my ability to soften the effects of doubt. The damage of never trusting oneself can end careers before they really start. I have enough staked against me. The best I can do for myself is not added to the pile.

Overthinking each phase of my process.

Planning is critical, but over planning is the death of all good ideas. I know this because I am staring a  binder filled with at least twenty character sketches and over forty premises from last year alone. They were from brainstorming sessions while trying to decide what my next release should be.  In the end, none of them made the cut. Instead, I went with my first thought and decided to follow what felt like the natural progression.

I wasted approximately  two months worth of writing time trying to decide what to write next. That may not seem like a long time to some, but to me it’s the difference between publishing one novel last year and several novels/novellas this year.

I want to be right. I want to make the perfect follow-up choice and so I analyze every trivial detail. If you aren’t a person who obsesses over details, then you live a good life.  Overthinking will melt your ice cream sundae. It will drown your puppy and it most certainly will kill a first draft.

Not this year.

Hermiting away from my support system.

When I am stressed, I hide. When I am frustrated or uncertain or otherwise tormented, I hide. Before kids, I would lay in bed underneath my covers and sleep entire days away. Post children, I can’t really do that. Instead, I simply won’t answer any phone calls. I don’t text back. I don’t answer the door when people come over.

My oldest friends know the deal. For the most part, they leave me be knowing I will unexpectedly snap out of it one day. Sometimes, they simply come in any way. They find a way into my hermit crab shell and drag me out of it. Usually it’s for my own good and very much appreciated.

It is highly unhealthy to disappear from your own life. If this is something you do, seek help from a professional. At the very least, clue your closest allies into the fact that this is happening. Say it out loud. When other’s know it, when you have said you disappear because the thoughts in your head are unforgiving, they can be present with you. They can help you process.

I know enough to know that the life I want for my darlings is one  where they face any struggles head on. When I hermit, I am unable to be accountable for the things that have forced me inside my shell. Refusing to hermit means that I must take stock of the things tripping me up.

One of my dearest friends called me on this a few days ago. I told her my goals. I asked her to help me be accountable and the first thing she said was “You can’t pull that crab shit and disappear. No, for real Jocelyn.”

It’s a real problem and a mistake to continue allowing it power over my life. I’ve learned my lesson. When I give myself permission to hermit, I give myself permission to disregard every other aspect of my life that requires my presence.

 

There is still a lot I have to learn, but with these lessons off my plate I open myself up to more beneficial experiences. If I am going to be the wife, mother, author that I am striving for then I must also be the woman who learns from her mistakes and moves forward.

What lessons are you finally ready to close the chapter on? comment below.

 

Joy.

 

 

 

 

8 Goals for 2018 (And How I Will Accomplish Them)

8 Goals for 2018 and How I will Accomplish Them

New year and new challenges. My life as an author is growing. Here are the ways I plan to challenge myself further and ride the new year momentum to have my greatest year as an author to date.

 

Let’s start with a recap. Last year, I took a leap of faith and promised myself I would st at faithful until something spectacular happened. Well, it did. My debut release, The Alpha’s Dream was well received. The feedback was amazing, and the good reviews far outweighed the bad. Even more so, my readers reached in. They sent me emails, left reviews, and found me to ask that I keep it up.

I’ve never been so excited about a project in my life.

Still, it wasn’t without it’s flaws. I made a ton of newbie mistakes, and I lost faith a time or two. The piling on came after my youngest was born. Little darlings mean very little time to write. Yet, I managed. With the time I spent away from the keyboard, I tuned into every webinar, eCourse, and masterclass that I could that I believed would enhance my writing, and my other entrepreneurial feats in 2018. Now, I’m ready to put all of that in action.

I say all that to say, the goals I put here are lofty for me. They require tons of planning, lots of manipulation of my time, and unwavering determination. I have the ability to complete them all, and until I don’t, know that I will complete them all.

To begin…

I will publish six (6) bodies of work this year.

This year is all about planning and time management. I have quite a few projects on deck  and in order for me to execute them I am going to have work really smart. I can’t risk burn out or days off because of exhaustion.  So I’ve looked at my schedule and figured out how I can maximize my time to include two full releases, and four novellas. As long as my word counts are reasonable, I will be able to execute great products timely.

Here’s the thing, most of the authors in my genre publish 8-12 ebooks a year. This cycle of work keeps their readers engaged, and their coins jingling. It also keeps them glued to their laptop/desks/notebooks. Since I am a full time mom, all day every day, and a full time writer at night I have to be honest with myself about my writing and time. Six bodies of work has me publishing every eight (8) weeks. I have two bodies of work due for completion as I type this. Soon enough, I will start to drop the information on release dates, but know this. I’m asking a lot of myself to complete this, and I will not fail.

I will press submit on 60 blog posts.

I love blogging. I cannot begin to explain how much joy I get from working on these weekly snippets into my life. They are fun, and invite me to socialize in a way that would normally make me feel awkward. I plan to exploit this little slice of peace for as long as I possibly can. I’ve even decided to create a second blog. There will be more time to discuss that later,

What I can say for JocelynYoung.com is that it’s original purpose as a simple author blog has been superseded. What comes now is more resources for current, and would-be authors. I have a lot to share, and I know you can use it. So, come here for insights on my books and information on how to become your very own publisher.

Between this blog and the one I have in the works, I will undoubtedly hit my goal.

I will develop forty (40) new products for my Redbubble shop presence.

I fell in love with Redbubble when I was looking for stickers for decoration purpose. I love the shopkins stickers my darlings so willingly shared, but I only put them on things because they give them to me. Once I was hooked on Redbubble’s stickers, I started looking at even more things. Redbubble with its endless supply of snarky tee shirts, crazy designs on mugs, and its super cute totes was fun to walk through. I decided to create a shop of my own.

I’ve been compiling a list of ideas and products styles I’d like to see. Most everything is geared toward writers, and readers. Through Photoshop, Canva, and quite a few free for commercial use sites I will be spending my Sundays crafting and uploading new images for use.

At the end of last year, I decided to take my fun little side project seriously. I’ve been working to create a more cohesive look and more products that speak to my overall brand. I know you will love them. All you have to do is check out my Redbubble store and find your next favorite tote, journal, mug, and/or floor pillow.

 

I will develop 2 evergreen writing resources for current and would-be authors.

I’ve learned a lot over the last three years of my career. The road to publishing my own work first started with my being a co-writer on what turned out to be a popular series. I worked hard, and scrambled to learn everything I could, but found there were still gaps in what I knew. When I reached out, I was left empty handed. So, I decided to share everything I’ve learned about being an author. One of the ways I’ve decided to do that is through accessible resources. I want you to know what I know. I want you to learn from my mistakes, and I cannot do that if I don’t have a way to share it with you.

So, I’m currently fleshing out two resources that will surely help you in your writing process. I’ve largely used my needs as a writer to determine what resources come first. I’ll get into detail about what resources I’ll roll out first, but notAs I get closer to their development, I’ll share more details. You don’t have to worry it won’t be long.

8 Author Goalsfor 2018

I will grow my Facebook and Instagram presence by 20%.

It’s important to me to connect with my readers. Without you guys supporting The Alpha’s Dream, there is no way I would be able to continue writing as my only income. It’s my aim to be more accessible. My author Facebook page is up and active, and I’ve been creating new images for my Instagram and I have high hopes of reconnecting with some of the readers I started meeting there.

My Facebook and Instagram growth is all about consistency, and being able to show you guys who I am. Drop me a line when you get there. Let me know what it is you’d like to know about me. I’ll share a lot of myself, but there are still some things I’ll keep private. What I do share won’t be filler.

I will streamline my creation of characters, and outline process.

As I said in the beginning, I have a lot of goals and limited time to complete them. In order to do all that I have planned, I have to rework my process. The smoother I can make every piece of my process, the more fluidly the rest of my plans will go.

I’m developing the key points to each task so I can create a better system to address my process. By examining each aspect of my process and then determining the most critical components, I will then be able to create a system that will skip any filler portions.  Smarter, not harder work. I have hard work without making an effort.

I will complete four courses/webinars that will enhance my craft and/or entrepreneurial goals.

Information is powerful. In order to stay on top of my craft it is critical for me to signup for and participate in the courses that will help me take my authorprenuership to the next level. There are still many things I have to learn about publishing, and writing. High on my lists are courses that concern marketing, and time management techniques.

Being and author is my career. This means I have to be effective in my ability to promote myself and execute quality work in a timely manner. There area a few bloggers who I love, and follow almost to the point of obsessing. This year, while I am expanding my backlist, I will be working on other things that will ensure my longevity within my authoring career and in other avenues I love.

I will forgive myself swiftly and unconditionally whenever I fail.

The thing about lofty goals is that there is a lot of room for error. I’ve created a great plan for this year, but that isn’t to say it isn’t lofty. One thing having children has taught me is that the best laid plans can go to hell with one bad hour. I have a tendency to come down on myself really hard when what I have planned doesn’t bring about the results I need or want.

Not this year.

This year, I will roll with the punches. I am still only human, and I have to stop ignoring that fact when I am too exhausted or sick, or otherwise just unable to complete the tasks I set for myself. I will always put my best foot forward. I strive to hit everyone of my goals for this year, but I am not going to sulk when things don’t come together the way I want them too.

Instead, I am going to take a deep breath, and reassess what I have to conquer. I won’t let failure hold me back any longer. Not under any circumstances. I’m a best foot forward kind of woman. I will always be, but I don’t have to continue to be my own worst critic.

 

There you have it. My eight priority goals for 2018. What about you? What are you working on and how do you plan to get there? Drop me a comment and let me know.

 

Joy.

 

 

5 Essential Lessons I Learned as an Author in 2017

5 Essential Lessons I Learned as an Author in 2017

 

There were no shortage of lessons to be learned in 2017. I did my best to gleam all I needed from every blessing, every heartache, and every single dream I postponed. From those critical experiences came some very important lessons. Here are a few that I carry with me into 2018

 

Self-care must come First.

I’m an author to my core. What I love above most other experiences is sitting down to write. Even when my fingers don’t dance over the keys in the ways that I want them too, I feel a sense of amazement at being able to do what I love and make a living.  However, some times I go to far.

My work is important, but so is the family that I’ve been blessed to come to have. There is hardly if ever a dull day in my house, and not one day is completely empty. In my attempts to meet all the demands of my life, I sometimes take things to far.

On one such occasion what started as a three day break from all things writing and business related turned into a two week rest and recoup. From headaches to extreme exhaustion my body was on the verge of breakdown. My husband; had been asking that I take a few days off. When I took my weekend, he took a few days of his week and he made me sit down.

There are no words to explain how grateful I am for his insistence. Had he not, I likely would have pushed myself further and ended up needed more than just a little rest.  My career is a driving force in my life, but that it is not the only force. If I am going to continue to be the mother that I’ve always wanted to be and have the life that I wanted to have, then I have to take care of my body. I have to eat well, sleep adequately, and work within reason. It means I will have to be more realistic with my deadlines, but I will be here and I will be healthy.

Get Organized, and then Get On With It.

I’m multi-passionate. That is to say that writing is my first love, but not my only love. I’m never working on just one thing.

Working on several passions at a time isn’t always a bad thing. It is always a balancing act. Deciding what is priority and what can be pushed aside is a daily battle. For years, I was the woman who would just wing it. There was always a running list of things I needed to do, but no plan as to how they would be addressed.

It only took my third child to realize I couldn’t live that way any longer.

Now, I plan everything. My to-do list is still nearly endless, but it is not as fluid as before. By organizing my needs, and planning I’ve taken the guess work out of what needs to be done and when. It fills me with pride to get through my daily list and removes some of the anxiety I have about not getting things “the right” things done.

It is a simple task to write to-do list or otherwise plan my week, but it is not a trivial one. The organization helps me to keep my life in order and ensures that I am making time for my needs.

Stay Diligent.

One thing I regret from 2017 is that in the hustle of my life I lost the rhythm of keeping up with my blog and my Instagram posts.  Several times I went back to the beginning and tried to pick up where I left off. After all, I knew I was taking time off for my darlings birth, but I had no idea how difficult it would be for me to get back to my norm. Life is fuller with three littles. It’s busier too. It’s more exhausting and definitely more expensive. I had to shift, but when it was time to come back I didn’t have the energy.

I needed to build a following, but found it even more difficult to connect. The introvert in me didn’t know where to start the conversation. The author in me obsessed over who was reading my books and how to reach out to them. I wanted to express my gratitude, but I didn’t know how to say thank you to people I couldn’t speak too.

Ultimately, I lost a few readers. I lost a lot of momentum, but I gained a new understanding of what it takes to get the job done. I’m learning to simplify. I’m narrowing down what platforms I use and how. I’ll be updating all of my social media accordingly and working harder to regain those connections.

With a new plan in place, It is already easier for me to reset. My littles are all a bit older now. They don’t like it that I steal away to work, but they tolerate it. I tolerate it too. If there was some way I could work with a little on each knee and the other strapped to me I would go for it. However, they’d never sit that long. 🙂

I remind myself I am a professional. Writing is not simply a hobby for me anymore. I have to stay diligent. I have to continue to work when I am tired and frustrated and emotionally spent. I work my balance, I schedule as much as I can, and I remain on task. I won’t let fluctuation in my day to day deter my plans for my career or my beloved family.

5 Essential Lessons pinterest v1

Do not wallow in mistakes made.

If you’ve been following along in my blog, you know that I have some major mistakes made in my publishing of The Alpha’s Dream. My biggest was with editing.

I have to admit, It’s a problem I still haven’t fixed.

The thing is, my nature is to become really influenced by problems I can’t resolve quickly. I hate that everyday more readers are exposed to the failings my debut work. I love the book. I hate that I didn’t do it justice with a great edit. I owe the characters at least that much.

That being said, I can’t continue to dwell on it. I will fix it. When I can, I will devote every minute it deserves to polishing it up perfectly. There are some things I know I need to tweak and now that I’ve found an editor I trust with the work I look forward to improving on it further. I can’t let every thought about it suffocate under the heaviness of what I should have done to begin with. There is a difference between taking ownership of my mistakes and being owned by my mistakes.

I do the best I can with what I have. The mistakes I make have to be addressed in a manner that doesn’t truncate the work that still has to be done. I in order to protect the balance, I have to remind myself to do what I can when I can.

Own your joy.

I am happy. I am not ignorance is bliss happy, but I am happy. I work hard. My darlings are thriving. My husband and I are still making it. Our needs are met. There are things I want to enrich our lives. Their are still moments I wish had gone differently, but what is true above all else is that I am happy.

I love this little life I live.

I love that no matter how rough the patches we get through it. We are thriving. It is sometimes hard to see that. There are days that I can’t see past the heartache in front of me. It is easiest to own the regret. The joy however takes a little work.

I’m vowing to do whatever it takes to keep the joy in the forefront of my mind. I have much to be thankful for and my gratitude is boundless. This is my happiness. I am living a life that I only dreamed possible. It is imperfect, but it is mine. I have to own that. The same way I own my failures, I have to won my joy.

What about you? What lessons did 2017 teach? comment below.

Joy.

On (not) Losing Faith

On not losing faith in my dream.

I’ve wanted to be an author most of my life. This shit is hard.

I love writing. I love writing so much that I did it for free for a long time, and then nearly free after that. The list goes on and on. I had a glimpse of what to expect from this career when I first decided to stop hiding behind ghostwriting. At the time, I was still maintaining my ghostwriting career. Then, a series of unforeseen circumstances pushed me back to square one.

I wasn’t prepared for this to be my only source of income. I wasn’t prepared for the possibility of not having any income.

The harsh reality of writing for a living is that thousands of books die daily because no one ever sees them. I’m happy to say that isn’t the case for me, but not everyone is so lucky.

Writing for a living takes so much more than just writing.

Writing takes so much more- on not giving up

I’ve been behind the curtain so long that I have to figure out everything else. From building an author platform to which marketing techniques are best for my work, all of it takes a skill set that I am still acquiring. Some days, I am extremely bitter about this.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve done some co-writing as wells as ghostwriting. My co-writer handled all of the marketing, and editing. I handled most of the writing. In the end, she had all the skills to create another great partnership with someone else. I’ve become a better writer because of the work we did together, but I’m less of a business woman because of it.

Design

I don’t have thousands of dollars to throw at my craft, but I do have faith. Which in my case is saying a lot. I’m not generally the type to believe in what has yet to manifest in my life.

This time is different. The same way it was with my darlings. Just when I was ready to pretend I never needed them, they arrived.

That is to say, writing is beautiful. Writing for a living is hard. Difficult dreams are worth the difficulty.

So work hard. Work tirelessly for what you want. Not because the rewards are timely, but because you want it. You’ve spent endless hours dreaming it could be real. So, spend endless hours making it real. You can do it. I can do it.

It is okay if no one but you can see it. It is okay if nothing is right about it. If things aren’t falling easily into place, or every turn you take creates another bend in the road. It is okay.

It is your dream, no one has to believe in, work for it, or push past their insecurities about it but you. But me.

I’m working on understanding perfect timing. I’m working on the realization that things are not going to happen when I want them too and this is no reason for me to quit. My vision for my life is valid, because I say so and because I am willing to keep after it.

Having faith does not mean seeing the whole picture or knowing how things will come together. Having faith doesn’t mean a perfect path or a open highway toward your dream. Having your faith tested, doesn’t at all mean you should give up on your dream.

Work from the place you are, and you will eventually level up.

Just. Keep. Swimming.

I know I’m not the only one with dreams I have to remind myself to believe in. So, what are yours?

Joy.

 

 

#GutCheck July Goals Updated

Woot! Woot! It was a good month, but not in the ways I originally thought it would be. For starters, I totally edited my list mid-month. that doesn’t mean I didn’t get a ton accomplished. it just means that after working, and re-working my goal list I found other ways to do what I originally plan. So, let’s check in with my monthly goals for July.

July Goals:

-Edit The Alpha’s Dream

-Format The Alpha’s Dream for Barnes and Noble and Smashwords

-New Premise/Outline

-Begin work on Second Release…again

 

So, the nitty gritty. I accomplished most of this exactly as stated here. The Alpha’s Dream has been edited, by me again. However. I need a real editor. I love my book, but I also know my book. I’m just not sure that I’ve polished it as well as it could be.  The formatting for Smashwords is nearly complete. Anyone whose gone through this process knows how particular Smashwords is about their formatting. I don’t want any vetting errors once I get it done. So, I’m taking my time. The Barnes and Noble edit, is not even in the works.

Here is why.

Originally, I was going to remove The Alpha’s Dream from KDP Select. It was my plan to then release it on other platforms, starting first with B&N and Smashwords. After some consideration, I decided not to remove it. For three more months, The Alpha’s Dream will be an Amazon exclusive. I plan to release it on other platforms eventually, but I think I’m going to wait a bit. Amazon has been good to me. I love watching those page reads climb.

Back to the list. New premise and outline is created. I actually have two great premises that I am really proud of in the fleshed. I’m excited to start working on them, but I went back to my original premise for my second release.

I thought about it. I wrote those great new premises. I was so thrilled to sit down and write on them. And then, my original second release started to call me. I knew it should come next. I wanted it to come next and I didn’t want to abandon it. A stubborn hero was not going to get the best of me. So, I buckled down. Decided to be a professional and get back to work on my originally premise. I even wrote a blog post about it here.

Overall, I would say it has been a great month for my work. In addition to doing what I planned, I also added a few things. Namely, taking my brand more seriously, narrowing my blog focus (again), and re committing myself to  a weekly work count goal.

I am swimming against the current, but I’m still swimming.

How’d you do on your July goals? Why don’t you let me know below.

Joy

 

Time to be a professional.

We’ve already established that my work in progress hasn’t been kind. Turns out, it doesn’t matter.

I’ve never been a fan of forcing a story. Ever. Ultimately what happens for me is that my characters become resentful and clam up. They don’t talk. They don’t want to answer any of my questions and refuse to cooperate in any progressive form.

That is exactly what is happening with my current work in progress.

A while ago, I established that I was looking to start over on a new project in order to let my preferred work in progress rest. It didn’t want to be written as illustrated by the numerous false starts. In theory, pulling back would free up my head for other great stories, In reality, no.

I have about three finished and outlined premises so it isn’t a matter of determining what to write. Instead, it is a battle of what wants to be written. This is a common problem for authors, artist. All day, I swim in ideas and narrowing one down is a war between ease and timing.

My current work in progress naturally comes next. Therefore, nothing else I think to work on will do. I tried to convince myself to be fine with the change, and nothing is working. So, its time to be a professional.

I’m going back to my original story.

I don’t know if this is a good idea yet. I’m stuck in neutral about whether or not I will have a product I love at the end of this. One thing stands out in my mind. I am not writing simply for the pleasure of it anymore. This is my career.

In order for me to accomplish the dreams I have sat for myself, I have to push against my stubborn hero and find a way to bribe him into talking. My heroine deserves that. She is ready and willing to take the journey and I won’t give up on her just yet.

So, it is back to the drawing board. So help me God, even if its only five hundred words a day I am going to get this man to discuss his life with me. Eventually, he will see that I am right or fall in love. I’m down for whichever happens first.

Any great ideas you’ve been struggling to bring to light? Tell me about it below.

Joy.

 

5 Roles Friends Have Taken On in Support of My Dreams

Whenever I am developing characters for my book, I always look to my myriad of friends. They are a constant source of inspiration. Doing so brings me face to face to the specific positions my friends hold in my life.
I love my tribe. They are as varied as they are loving. Our complicated histories intertwine in all the best ways and surely without them I would be less of the woman I am today. To be clear, most of them hold more than one role in my life. Even here they take on more than one trait, but for the purposes of this blog I’ll assign them only one.

This post is an homage to the grace they’ve brought to my life. It is by no means an exhaustive accounting of the roles they have played, just he roles they’ve played most often. In some ways, all of these roles overlap. They’ve all been different things to me at different points in my life. It is only now, as I sit with thoughts of growth and continuous change that I dwell on those who remained steadfast and present in my life. The twisting turns of my path have always brought me back to them and their unending love. I honor that today.

Here are the five roles and the friends who most often hold them in my life. Here is how they’ve made me great.

 

The Motivator, Latasha Weatherspoon

All great dreams need some action to make them real. Since I’m prone to introspection and often succumb to the spiraling of negative thoughts, Latasha has been an intricate part in encouraging me to pull myself out. Despite being almost complete opposites we’ve shared similar backgrounds. Our lives have  paralleled in curious ways during our fourteen year friendship.

She is a source of inspiration, and often sends me Youtube clips, scriptures, and other insightful works to help keep me motivated. No matter the time of day, I know she’s available to talk me through my funk and get me back on course toward my vision. She is truly a person living her purpose. Having founded The Lifted Lifestyle, an empowerment movement, Latasha continues to expand her own visions. She pushes any who comes to her events, workshops to look past their perceived shortcomings and instead focus on their goals.

Every Dream builder needs someone in their circle like Latasha. The path of entrepreneurship is long and sometimes arduous. Having someone close whom you trust and who believes in your vision for your life is critical.  Be selective in assembling your tribe, and keep a motivator around.

The Fellow Dreamer, Stephanie Harper

Full of silliness, this one. If there is a joke to be told, a story needing dramatic affects, or an outrageous plan to be hatched Steph is there somewhere. Another lengthy friendship that has proven priceless to my life. We’ve grown  would be women to actual women together and one thing remains the same. We are the dreamers

Stephanie is another one of my friends who is constantly expanding the reaches of her ideal life. She is always available to throw ideas back and forward. Discussing the logistics of my plans with her has become one of the calling cards of our friendship. She is the voice that forces me to answer how I am going to execute my dreams. The fluff won’t do here. She wants my plans, and challenges me to be more than just optimistic. if I am not proactively pursuing those things I say I want, she calls me on it every time while still encouraging me to take time for myself when I need it.

The dreamer is the perfect compliment to the motivator as they are the ones who push encourage limitless creation. The greater the vision, the more difficult it can be to narrow down the tiny details that will make it work. A fellow dreamer knows that the bigger picture needs to be broken down into smaller pieces and built back up. All creators should surround themselves with others who create and are aware of the risks being taken to live out a dream.

The Critical Eye, Sondi Warner

My sister. We’ve been together all our lives. She is a writer herself and has carved out her place as an exceptional ghostwriter. Though she is my younger sister, her love affair with writing began well before mine. Her ability to weave a compelling story is awe inspiring. Because of this, I trust her implicitly with my work. She sees the holes I don’t see. Has a quick and driving writing style. I trust her voice. Often, I take my work to her for the feedback she gives.

I think what makes her presence so important to me (besides us being siblings) is because I admire her work. We share a love of writing and think critically about how  our work will be received. Her attention to detail, analysis of plot, and foresight for problematic areas in my work is something people pay thousands for. When I don’t go to her for an assessment, it shows in my work. Little details that she would have questioned me on glare back in the reviews of my work.

Whatever your dream, there should be someone you trust who’s critical eye can make your work stronger. This may be a sibling as in my case, but it almost doesn’t matter how they’ve come to your life. What matters is that they are invested in your dream because you are and when asked  they are willing to say the hard things to help you polish your work.

The Diversion, James Welch

Sculpter. Poet. Stencil Artist. James’ skills as an artist are only overshadowed by his open heart and the humble spirit. He is busy living his most authentic life and still makes time for me and my tomfoolery. His heart is pure and welcoming. He loves that I write, but he doesn’t always want to talk about my work. Perfect. Yes, please! I don’t always want to talk about my work.

We find common ground in knowing we are both making sacrifices to live out our dreams. We follow each others work, offer encouragement, and seek to see each other succeed. However, when we have the time to chat it up, work is only a side note in our lengthy conversations. I love him for being a normalizing spirit in my life. I love that he believes in my work and doesn’t feel the need to make me define it every time we speak. Instead, he wants to talk about my darlings, our lovers, and life in general.

On a day when everything has been hectic while trying to give bones to my vision, it feels great to have someone to decompress with. It is important. Having some separation from work is a form of self-care. James makes sure that I am doing just that. I know he supports me being writer, but mostly he supports me as his friend. Surround yourself with people who not only believe in the value of your dream, but also your value. They will be there whether things fly and/or fail.

The Silent Partner, Clifford B. Young

Eleven years and counting. We’ve seen the best and worst of each other. We’ve weathered false starts, failed attempts, and unforgiving consequences with each other. We’ve built a life with each other that in a lot of ways is not enviable. Yet, we thrive.

For those wo know eyes, silent hardly seems to fit  my husband. By nature, he is gregarious and a storyteller in his own right. He is full of wild tales, most true. When it comes to me and my work, he is the quiet reassurance that I have what I need to get it right.

There isn’t a person in this world who has more faith in me then him. I love him for that, and so many other reasons. My darling rarely ever gives me advice on my work. He’s the one who hears all of my crazy premises before they can become anything. He is the one who advocates for me, pushes my work, and stands back to give me room to blossom. He wants for me what I want for myself and does what he can to smooth the way for me.

His presence as someone who is committed to build my brand with me and still gives me room to pick the direction has proven time and again to be just what I needed. He trusts that I know what I want and walks with me through the processes of my development. I have a lifetime to thank him for all he does.

I am eternally grateful for the presence of these people in my life. All of them are creates, writers, and other mediums. They know me well, they love me hard, and I know they want what is best for me and my dreams. I don’t know that I would have accomplished as much as I have, or even dreamed as big as I have without them. I hope you’ve found these people in your life as well and I hope they make their way into your writing.

What are some of the roles friends have played in your dream building. Comment below.

Joy.

 

5 Hero Types I Fall For Everytime

My current book bae is Demitrius of Elisabeth Naughton ‘s Eternal Guardian Series. If you haven’t heard of the series you can get your copy here. Without any spoilers, I’ll tell you that Demitrious is tormented, smolderingly sexy, and completely impossible. Not my real life type ( except for the smolderingly sexy part. 😉 ), but definitely book bae material.

After repeatedly swooning of the striking Argonaut, it got me thinking about popular hero tropes. With hero’s (and heroines too for that matter) coming in so many forms,  would I ever have a true favorite? The answer is no. After trying to nail one down I decided I didn’t have to choose. I could love them all in their intricate forms. However, I did narrow down my favorite hero types. These boys/ men have never failed to get my heart thumping mad in my chest, and my cheeks in a heated blush. I’m sharing my favorite types here.

  1. The Unforgettable Ex :

You know the type. He was pulled from our heroine’s life by some tragic event or menial fight and suddenly resurfaces. The moment he does, our heroine is stumbling over herself to determine if they should attempt Happily Ever After again. Bless.  He is always determined to prove they should be together. He’s had time to consider life without our heroine and found  no one else whets his palate quite like her. The satisfaction of watching them work through their issues and find a steady rhythm into love is swoon worthy romance. If only they could all end that way.

2. The Protector:

He’s the one called in when no one else can do the job. It starts off completely professional, then turns lust filled and finally he’s head over heels for the very woman he’s supposed to  protect. He is all business, but she melts his heart with her vulnerability and even when she would rather not, her need for him. The moment she decides she trusts him with her  life is his shinning moment. It is so damsel in distress, but when done well it empowers them both. He does his job, and our heroine realizes that her vulnerability is not the same as being weak. they live happily ever after.  His strength, strengthens our heroine. She is even more of her self because he refuses to let anything hurt her. It is a beautiful  thing to have someone who take the blows for you. I love him.

3. The “Mistake”:

They were never supposed to be anything, but there was something about this one night stand, passing fling or whatever he was that turns everything on its head.  Suddenly, the bad boy she never should have been with is all our heroine can think of. When she finally allows herself to see him as potentially more, their lives open up. His resistance to the idea is the first to openly crumble. She’s unforgettable in the best ways and he doesn’t want to walk away. Maybe it isn’t forever (except it always is), but he doesn’t want things to end like they are.  I love how he walks the line and plays his roles until our heroine is ready for him to be more. Then, it is full steam ahead as he pursues her. She just can’t resist.

4. The Tormented Redeemer:

He has a torrid past and he doesn’t want to talk about it. Women are a nuisance for him as  he resets his life. He doesn’t want to fall in love, let alone fall in love with her. But, he does. At which time he does everything he can to turn his back on what he knows is growing in him . He is protecting her from himself, but she doesn’t want to be protected from him. She wants his good, bad, and his ugly. He can’t fathom that she will actually be able to handle all that he is. Suddenly, there is nothing to hold back. She knows the truth. He is shocked by our heroines ability to stomach what he has hated most about himself. Now, he wants nothing more than to keep her close and he will do whatever she needs to prove it.  I like a flawed character who learns to forgive themselves for the sake of love, and the tormented redeemer is definitely that.

5. The Consummate Bachelor:

He is a professional. Loves his comfortable life and has his pick of women when he wants someone to bed. He isn’t looking for love. He isn’t interested in long-term. It is casual and sexy relationships or none at all. Until her. First, she is someone to be conquered. He wants to prove to himself that he can have her like all the others, but she has heard about him. Our heroine refuses to be another notch in his belt even if he does occupy all of her thoughts. The longer it takes to gain her attention, and trust, the more hopelessly in love he falls. She isn’t like the others, and her differentness is everything he needs. His instincts say resist. Get in and get out, but he can’t. After their first night together, his mind is blown and no one else would do.

Then, the life he’s enjoyed is lackluster. His taste has changed and only she can supply what he needs. In order for her to take him seriously, he has to change his bachelor ways and there is no better reason than her eternal love.

Swoon. I love them. I love them all. It watching them transform into the men their lovers need is so heavenly. Maybe it is the power of love and how it reveals us to ourselves. Whatever it is, these five hero types always get me going. Their transformations serve as proof that everyone can become their best selves with the right motivations.

Maybe it’s just the hopeless romantic in me that wants this to be true. I wouldn’t know, I’ve been married to my forever bae for nearly eleven years now. But I have hope for you beauties out there still looking. What’s your favorite hero type? Have you met him yet? Let me know in the comments.

Joy.

5 Ways Failure Has Motivated (and heightened) My Goals

Let’s get the ugly truth out-of-the-way. Not only is failure not fun, it can be completely life-altering and no one escapes unscathed.

I have a tendency to measure my life in failed attempts, which as an entrepreneur can be –whew. Let’s say disheartening. There isn’t a part of me that doesn’t reel in anxiety and/or shame when thinking about some of the great ideas that have died under my fumbling. After years of sleepless nights replaying past leaps at greatness I decided I’d had enough. I had to do things differently. The how/ why is another post for another time. Today, I want to talk about what it was about my shortcomings that made immune to the fear of failing again. So, here are the five ways that my past failure have motivated me to work harder, and strive for even greater goals.

1.The worse that could happen…did.

I’m not gonna spill all my tea here. I will however make it simple. There was a specific year where my world as I knew it collapsed around me. Not the pretty little,  made for tv movie where everything falls apart and by some fluke of honey coated writing it’s put back together again. Hell no. This was catastrophic. Everything I’d struggled to build and hold on to came to a complete and utter public free fall. When the smoke cleared and I was able to survey what survived, the remains were barely noticeable.

There is nothing more eye-opening (and heartbreaking) than  sifting through the rubble of your life.

Not everything could be saved. The things that were saved barely resembled themselves or were never the same. Everything was broken…including me. In the face of my most private fears being exposed, I had nowhere to hide. Those closest to me tried to help, but some lessons don’t allow room for those who have never been through it.

There was nothing I could do to prevent the fallout or prepare for it. Unexpectedly life forced me to sink or swim. For a long time, I simply waited to drown. One morning, I realized this wasn’t the way I was going to die. So, I didn’t. I started to tread water, then doggy paddle, and finally in the deepest water I’ve ever been thrown in, I swam. It was new life and I had no idea what was going to come from it.

When (one of) the worst things that could have happened to me did, I realized that fear didn’t stop it. Suddenly, everything else was less frightening. The monster under my bed had revealed itself so the skeletons in my closest couldn’t terrify me any longer.

2. Fear of openly failing became the least of my concern.

I am naturally cautious. Actually, that is probably the understatement of my life. In the past I was crippled by caution, by fear that at the moment I was closest to what I wanted, I would fall. Often I did. We can talk about self-fulfilling prophecies and such. It wouldn’t have mattered then. The death grip fear had on my life did not allow much room for leaps of faith.  If I couldn’t predict the outcome, it wasn’t worth the risk. My heart heavy, I walked away from several experiences that would have enriched my life. I held on to things/relationship/habits that worked against my goals because they were familiar. (Devil you know and such.) I didn’t have the tools to access the danger ahead and proceed anyway.

After the worst happened, my fears of being empty-handed came to a head. Being cautious, living at the mercy of fear had not protected me. It had not kept me safe or left me unbothered. Keeping my head down, attempting to not ruffle any feathers, and going unnoticed had not saved me. Of course it didn’t. Living in fear is not about being safe, it is about being  controlled. Restrained. When I learned that fear was not my protector, but my prison, I began to understand what harm I was doing to me life.

I had to choose whether I would stay in my prison or escape. I choose to escape.

It was a fumbling mess in the beginning. It still is some days, but now I just don’t care. Okay, I’m lying. I do care. I still struggle to keep thoughts of failure from preventing me from going after my goals. The difference is  I know now that being afraid is not the same as being safe. I have dreams to go after. I have things I want to accomplish that take me far out of my comfort zone. Things  that shake me up, could uproot my life, and permanently change everything I know to be true about myself. I’ve already had that happen. I know how heartbreaking and uncomfortable it is, but growth is not comforting.

3. Growing from my failures made me expand my vision for my life.

When everything changes, everything changes. I have always been a dreamer. I have created entire worlds in my head that I would slip into whenever reality was too harsh to bear. It is my defense mechanism still. I taught myself how to hide in plain sight, and then I realized I couldn’t live in my refuge. I had to grow up. I had to let go of somethings that fed my fear if I was going to survive my personal tragedy. It wasn’t going to be easy.

I didn’t even recognize some of the baggage I’d picked up over the years. So I had no reference point for who to return it too. However, it was uninvited from my party. I was leaving my old life behind and if I couldn’t carry on, I wasn’t checking no bags. Yes, that is grammatically incorrect and a double negative. Bear with me. The positive to come from this was that I had to pack light and only hold on to what I could carry. Loneliness, fear, doubt, low self-esteem, all of these things (and many more) were too heavy to take with me. What was left was hope, faith, love, grace and mercy.  With those things, I began to put my life back together.

I had to be honest with myself about what I wanted to make of my life.

I couldn’t short sell myself anymore. I couldn’t secretly believe it wouldn’t happen. Instead of wishing for a better life, I had to establish what that better life would look like. How I intended to get there, who I wanted there with me, and what I would do to maintain it all begged to be defined. I want to write for a living became and constant search and conversations with people who did write for a living.  I couldn’t be my introverted self. I had to find people who were living parts of the life I wanted and ask them how they did it. Then, I had to do it too.

I’ve tried a lot of things while pulling together my method for the life I wanted. It isn’t perfect, and it isn’t quite there yet. It is coming along though. With every emboldened layer, I filled the voids in my life. I found my voice, became my best advocate and went in search of all the things I wanted.

4. Failing big made me invincible and limitless.

I want to own minimum one hundred acres of land. I want my primary home to be at least 2,500 square feet. I want to be a NYT and USA Today bestselling author. I want a minimum of two of my original works optioned for the small screen and at least one optioned for a big screen film. I want a backlist of over thirty novels and an undecided number of short works.

I will have all my hearts dream, because I work hard and have faith.

Annnnnddddd, because even if I fail again I won’t be intimidated. The best thing that came for the worst thing is that I am now either too stubborn or too foolish to give up on what I want. That list above…is the short list. The running list is between me and God. I know who I am when things fall apart. I know where my faith lies. I know that where I fall short, God provides. I know that if I work hard and fail everyday there will be something I can use in the rubble. I know how to put the pieces back together. I know that if all I have is what I can carry I can turn that into a new life.

Failing is not the death it was for me. Failing is the beginning of the life I want for myself.

Once that happened, I knew fear of falling on my face would never cripple me again. I am not too scarred to take the risk. I can own the bad decisions, the ill-advised choices, and the deep twist and turns life takes me on. It was more frightening to not try than if someone saw me attempt it and fail.

It is amazing what one can do when she has nothing to lose.

5. I realized that what I had to gain was worth the risk I would have to take.

The life that I want to share with my husband, with our children is one that demands I take some bold steps. Risks are  a natural part of  transitioning from being a dreamer into a doer.  Knowing what I know now is the strength I bring to my life. All I have to do is go after it. Yes. I could fail again. Now, I have broadened the audience who would see me fail. If it happens on the scale it has before, it will be a shattering experience. Yet, I persist.

I am worth the numerous false starts because it leads to a great finish. My family is worth the struggle now because it means we with thrive later. When my little darlings grow up, they will have spent their lives seeing their father and I  work hard for them. They will have seen the struggle of going after ones dreams and the value of it. They will know what it means to go for something that doesn’t have an immediate pay out and stick with it until it does.

My failings now have become fuel for the bigger picture of my life. They are part of my story, of my testimony. They make me brave. I have failed, but I am not a failure. It does not define me.

Going forward, I am sure I will have to remind myself of some of this on bleak days. I’m willing to do that. I know how to knuckle down and tread water until i can swim in it. I know how to keep my eyes on salvation and the shore.

So I push and I believe that no matter how things fall apart, they will fall into place again.

None of us are exempt from failure. How are you defeating your fear of failing to expand your life? Comment below with your baby steps and grand plans.

 

Joy.

 

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My Work In Progress isn’t Working.

I’ve started my second release. It doesn’t want to cooperate.

After taking some postpartum time away, I started a realistic pace back to writing. I had the perfect premise. The outline created a seemingly effortless rhythm. I thought I would be able to slip into the swing of things without much more than normal effort.

I was dead wrong.

Not only has it been like trying to herd ants to create a consistent writing schedule again, it has been like trying to thread cotton candy through a rice strainer to get the words to flow.

This is a problem. Of course, you know that.

I’ve been struggling to get to the bottom of  my difficulty. I believed for a long time it was just because I’m distracted with motherhood. My little  darlings are wonderful, but they are also little and motherhood is not a job I want to slack at. (Though sometimes I still do.) What I noticed, is that even with my darlings pre-occupied with their father, my computer in cooperative mode, and my focus on the story things still weren’t coming.

To be clear, this doesn’t feel like writers block. Instead, it feels like a timing problem. The story I want to write isn’t ready to be written. This totally sucks vinegar Popsicles. I have several premises and outlines created. I have in my head, a particular order. My second work in progress was intentionally chosen.  For it to choose this moment to be disruptive is just completely and utterly disrespectful. But it’s difficult to punish a manuscript. So, instead of a sharp reprimand, my focus must turn to redeeming the lost writing time.

So, what do I do about it?

The easy answer is move on to one of my other premises. Surely, there is something that is ready to be written. So far, I have four beautiful premises in various stages of not being written. Again, vinegar popsicle.

 

I take a deep breath. It’s time to be a professional. I could force the writing of one of the other manuscripts. Inspiration is a luxury. In order for me to hit the timelines I’ve set as my goal I have to get to work on my second release despite it not being what I want.

I start again. From scratch. I’ve decided to shelf my initial plan and make room for the stories that do want to come. It will take a little time and I hate the anxiety it builds in me, but ultimately it will be a better story.

I love all of the characters I have currently fleshed. When I get to them, I want to tell their stories right. I want to do their lives justice by being open to their voices, letting them choose their behaviors, and allowing their lives to truly take form. I won’t force them to come to me until they are ready.

When I start again, I’ll drop you guys a line to let you know how perfect it feels. Until then, cross your fingers and eat a piece of chocolate  in solidarity for me. I might not make it out of this unscathed.

Do you have any plans that have ben temporarily postpone? How does that alter your goals? Fill me in through the comment section.

Joy.

Writers Read (or at least they should)

I’ve barely touched my summer reading list and I have to do better.

I love reading as much as I love writing. Lately, it seems that I have to pick between the two. Between my little darlings, my forever lover, and writing I don’t have much time to dive into a great book. It hasn’t mattered how interested I am in what I am reading. Time is expensive and I have to be careful how I spend it.

The thing is, part of how I became so enamored with writing is by being charmed from the pages of great writers. The two go hand in hand. One needs the other to thrive and so on. So, this summer, as I began settling into the latest twist in motherhood I decided I’d bit the bullet. I would make a summer reading list and stick to it. One by one, I would work my way through my favorite authors and some new ones until I hit my goal. So far, I’ve only finished one of the twelve books I plan to get to this summer.

It’s an ambitious undertaking for me. I’m reading during naps, during bathroom breaks, while my lover is driving us to and fro. It feels chaotic, but still enjoyable. The books remaining on my list promise to be the same way. I’m hopeful, because as I said before time is expensive. I’m sure I would have a little resentment if I wasted any on a bad book. I want to enjoy them all. I want to reach my summer goal. It is going to be tough.

While reading, I find myself dancing between both worlds. I’m a fan enjoying a book and an author learning from it. It is such an odd thing to feel. Authors I’ve read for years have taken on new forms for me. Every author is distinctive. Word choice, ideas, and methods at approaching old tropes all take twisting forms. I love it.

Reading as an author makes me feel like Lois Lane must have felt learning Clark Kent was superman. I see their magnificent author super powers and I am in awe and familiar. I’ve known them forever and now this trick is unveiled and twist makes so much more sense. When I return to my own writing, my stories take on more depth, become more fluid, and it’s easier to determine what details are truly critical.

It is my belief that all writers should read. I find that with each book I crack open, it pushes me from my comfort zone. I’m not the one driving. I’m a passenger onboard to an unknown destination. There is so much more to see.

I’m committed to twelve books this summer as a fan of great books and an author. I’m committed to the lessons I will learn about character development, fluidity, plot twists, and the enjoyment I get from a delicious finish. I’m committed to the influence those I admire will have on my work.

When I am meet my goals for the summer, I will let you know. In the meantime, if you have a good recommendation drop it in the comments.

 

Joy