Day One: Writing for Me

I sit here at the kitchen table with no more than 15 minutes available before I have to gather my things and run out the door for work. 

15 minutes. 

I used to be able to write a lot in 15 minutes. Now I've spent three minutes deleting the last few sentences I've written. It's part of why I haven't been around here for a while. I just...I can't find it within me to care. And yet, I love blogging. I found my voice through blogging. I believe there are incredible benefits to blogging. 

I just think I've forgotten how to do it for me.

It's been 10 minutes since I started typing. I stopped and started more times than I care to admit. But I'm here — and it's messy and part of me wants to scrap the whole thing and begin again. But I won't. Because even these words hold weight. I know they do because I feel the way I loosen as they find themselves on the screen. I can breathe easier — freer. I can feel the spaces they took up within my bones begin to stretch with relief. 

There is a story here. It's the story of a woman who is fighting for her creativity and words to stay. That maybe the exhaustion she feels is the way it feels when you've spent the last drop of what's allotted to you creatively. It's the knowledge that she knows that's wrong — that creativity is a birthright she inherited when she took her first breath.

 It's the realization that maybe she doesn't have to fight at all. Maybe this space really can be anything she wants it to be and sometimes that means changing the focus every day and twice on Sundays. Maybe all she needs to do is show up at the screen and wait. This is what I want to write about for the next 31 days. I don't have a banner or a clever hashtag. I just have whatever words happen to fall on the page. 

For the first time in a long time, I'm excited about blogging again. 

15 minutes. I begin to gather my things. I know there will be moments throughout this evening where I think of this post and I think of ways I could have wrapped it up nicer, created a more poetic vibe, told a more vibrant story. But for now, for day one, this is enough. 

 

Posted on October 1, 2016 and filed under The Memoirs, Soul Care.

What to do When Your Rhythm Changes

An excerpt taken from my new book, Indie Confidence: Finding the Gumption to Get Your Story Out of Your Bones and Into the World.

It was not supposed to happen this way.

Earlier this year, I developed a rhythm that felt true to my season. Wake up at 4:44, write for a bit,  go to work. In my mind, I figured that season was only temporary and eventually I would have the mental acuity to jump back into creative challenges like writing a novel and facilitating a writing community. I mean, I’d done something like this before — I wrote my first book while teaching full time, writing curriculum for a completely new class, and commuting to and from the school. Surely I could do it now?

I put on my super hero cape and waited for the moment to happen. It never did. For the next few months, my best thing would be managing to make myself dinner seconds before I collapsed on the couch and binge-watched episodes of Homeland.

But I kept thinking: it'll be over soon. It'll be over soon. It'll be over soon.

The way our training went, we had a five week intensive before getting out on the floor with heavy supervision. During this week, they were watching for signs of folding under pressure. They were also looking for what happens when we exceed expectations. At the beginning of August, right before I was going to be placed on a team, I received an email.

Because of my performance, I was selected for the Business team. Better hours, easier customers, swift potential for growth, and spiff pay. 

I called my dad in shock. "I think I was just promoted?" I questioned, half laughing. From that point on, feedback was consistent: you're here because you're good. You're here because they see you as the best. You're here because you're talented and intellectual and you're going to kick ass. 

But this was at work. At home I was drooling on the couch. There was no productivity happening. It was a miracle when I had the energy to do the dishes. For weeks, I held on to the beginning of August as a green light. THIS would be the moment I would get with the schedule and understand what I can and cannot do. THIS will be the catalyst of really letting the information I learned sink deeper than surface level. I won't merely be surviving at this point — I'll be deep in a rhythm.

And then my rhythm changed. Again. The moment I gained control, it was ripped out of my hands. And man if this isn't a metaphor for blogging or art in general.

You suffer through a few mornings of stumbling into your writing space to pen some words, knowing at any moment, the novel you know is buried somewhere within you will surface. Then, the day after the words finally break free, your schedule significantly changes and you lose that rhythm....

Or maybe you make plans to write three times a week. You have everything down to the letter and have never felt more inspired. But then, you stumble across an author’s website that has the exact same aesthetic as you, thousands of readers, and even makes you feel as if you're reading your words. In any other world, you would feel as if you found a kindred. In this world, crashing into this corner of the internet has left you with every single doubt and not a shred of words you had before....

If this is you, I want to say this: you're not alone and it doesn't have to stay this way.

I'm not sure when the shift happened for me. I was on the business team for about three weeks before things started to have their own flow. I woke up with Russ in the morning and had a cup of coffee while I wrote some words. I remembered the beauty of journaling for ME and no one else. I forced myself to do that which inspires, rather than deadens.

And hello, conviction: Netflix is great for a moment, maybe a few. But it most assuredly deadens that creative flow. 

We all feed the river in different ways, and because of this, there are different ways in which Fear creates a dam, blocking our flow and inspiration.

For me, it was the uncertainty of rhythm. Might as well not create anything if I can't be consistent, was something I heard myself whisper many times during August. 

Don’t be afraid to battle those things holding you back. Brainstorm what it looks like for YOU to write and finish a book — not the entirety of the industry. Cling tight to the truth that there are words still holding on for dear life internally, and eventually, your story will be told because you chose to listen to the voices saying you can push through any resistance that heads your way. 

That's what makes the indie community great: individually, we can do pretty impressive things. Collectively, we're unstoppable.

Thoughts to Consider: 

1. How are you waiting for the future in order to create? How can you harness where you're at now to begin a rhythm?

2. How is Fear creating a dam in your creative flow and inspiration? 

Grab My New Book! 

This book is for the creative who knows you have a story to tell but you have no idea where to start.
Let me help you: you don't have to wait for the gatekeepers anymore. 

The time for your book is now. There is no excuse. You know this — you feel it in your bones. That's what this book is for — that's why I wrote it. 

Ready to begin?

Find it here on Amazon.

Posted on July 18, 2016 and filed under Building Your Craft, Indie Publishing.

101 Blog Post Ideas for Authors

I get it. Not only do you have to think about building discipline within your writing craft, you also need to keep moving forward with your manuscript nd keep an online presence somewhat active. That means writing in your book and writing online. 

Feels impossible most days, yeah?

I'm all about going where your core genius takes you, and I know plenty of authors who aren't blogging anymore. But. If you're like me and just can't say no to this online space, let me help you out. 

How I would use this list: there are over 100 topics here and a lot of them can be broken into multiple posts. Definitely enough for one per week for an entire year. When you're feeling stuck, grab the one that resonates. Or, just move down the list. As always: make it your own. That's where your voice really shines. 

xoxo and happy blogging! 

  1. What parts of the book writing process make you feel alive, joyful, and creative?
  2. The Five People You Admire in Your Industry (and Why)
    >> PRO TIP :: these five people could be interviews in the future which would include FIVE MORE POSTS
  3. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an author? What did you learn through this challenge?
  4. Fill in the blank: Lessons that have changed the way I _____________________.
  5. What questions should people ask themselves before jumping into writing a book?
  6. Write about three ways people talk themselves out of writing.
  7. My Top 10 Favorite Books and Why They Rocked My World
  8. How to Build a Manuscript Playlist
  9. Why is Indie Publishing Important?
  10. Why did YOU choose indie publishing?
  11. A peek into your process (for me, this could be snapshots of notes I’m taking while writing or editing)
  12. Write a Post Filled with Resources for Writers
  13. Fill in the blank: Why __________ Matters to Me.
  14. The Three People Who Support Me the Most in Writing
    >> AGAIN: possible interviews = 3 more blog posts!
  15. Why it’s Okay to ___________________
  16. Top Three Books or eCourses that Have Impacted Your Writing
  17. Answer a Question from a Reader
  18. A Day in the Life of (Your Name)
  19. Look over your last five blog posts and see which one resonated the most. Replicate the post into a new one.
  20. Review a book that fits within your genre.
  21. Take some time to look through magazines. Keep your journal next to you. Write down every single blog post idea that comes to you because of a picture or article. Add those ideas to your folder on your computer. Write about one of them today.
  22. Write about the last book you read.
  23. How do you think indie authors could improve the industry?
  24. Fill in the blank: There is nothing wrong with your ________________.
  25. Write about how you use description or figurative language or syntax within your writing. When did you begin noticing the way words string together? (You know what? There’s two blog posts here….not just one)
  26. Write about the most unique character you’ve ever written. What makes them unique? How did they surprise you?
  27. Write about the most unique character you’ve ever read. What makes them unique? How did they surprise you?
  28. What mistakes have you made in publishing? Write about one of them.
  29. Write about why you love your current manuscript so much
  30. Fill in the blank: Things that are making me feel totally _________________.
  31. A No-Brainer Checklist for _________________.
  32. How to Choose the Right Book to Read
  33. I Met My Hero, ____________ and Here’s What I Learned.
  34. From the Cutting Floor — deleted scenes and ideas and (if you’re particularly brave) moments of severe editing (this could turn into a series)
  35. Write a Letter to Your Readers
  36. Write about something controversial within the industry. Be bold with your opinion.
  37. Make a bucket list for your books + writing.
  38. Blog about something you enjoy that doesn’t immediately relate to your brand. Show your readers a different side of you they haven’t seen.
  39. Fill in the blank: Why I’m No Longer Satisfied With ___________ and what I’m Doing About it.
  40. What about your location inspires your work?
  41. 10 Reasons You Should Hire an Editor
  42. Write a poem
  43. Favorite TV shows? How are they inspiring you in writing?
  44. Pull a comment from your blog to use as a blog post
  45. A Room of One’s Own: Write a post about where you write — your office, your couch, your bed — explain why THIS space is YOUR space.
  46. Blog about something you’re particularly serious about within your niche.
  47. Interview someone else! (These are great for collaboration + reciprocity)
  48. Share sources of inspiration or the story behind the story (for example — Every Shattered Thing began as a way for me to tell the story of a girl we mentored and it turned into something completely different)
  49. What you’ve learned from criticism / poor reviews (WARNING: be careful not to name, vilify or focus on any one specific review. Take this as a general approach and not laser-sharp).
  50. Share something a little more personal. Your childhood, how you grew to love writing, a bit about your family — draw back the curtain a little bit and let your readers see you.
  51. The Five Ways I’ve Learned How to Succeed in the Midst of Failure
  52. What music is currently on your writing soundtrack?
  53. The Top Free Apps I Use for my Writing and Why I Think They’re the Best
  54. Write a post that fits within the current season — like how to keep your word count up during the holidays
  55. What’s Currently Inspiring Me
  56. Nonfiction topics related to your manuscript (ie: sex trafficking numbers during Super Bowl weekend for Every Shattered Thing) This sort of thing works really, really well if a current event parallels with your plot!
  57. How to Create Your Own BookClub
  58. Create questions book clubs can use about your book
  59. How do you stay organized as a writer?
  60. Pull from your list of blog ideas. Write the one that gets you most excited.
  61. Six Ways I’m Creative Outside of Writing
  62. Update an older blog post with new and relevant information. Share it.
  63. Write About Work + Family Balance
  64. What do you hope the industry will look like in ten years? What are your dreams not only for yourself but the publishing world as a whole?
  65. Write micro fiction.
  66. How do you choose titles for your books? Fill us in that process.
  67. Explain the difference between editing and revision.
  68. Create an eBook out of a previous series you’ve done on the blog, and then write about that process
  69. Invest in Soundcloud and read your book / manuscript and create audio files of your book in progress / manuscript.
  70. Share your why — behind reading, writing, blogging, a particular manuscript
  71. How did you choose your editor?
  72. Share your playlist and why certain songs fit within certain scenes
  73. How do you overcome writers’ block?
  74. Highlight your favorite writing websites
  75. Reach out to a local indie bookseller about selling your book and write about your experience
  76. What’s your marketing philosophy? Write about it.
  77. The Five Biggest Distractions I Have in Writing and How I’m Dealing With Them
  78. How Journaling Saves my Writing
  79. The Biggest Myth about Publishing
  80. Write a love letter to other writers and authors
  81. The Three Mistakes Every Writer Makes on the First Manuscript
  82. Tell us how you came up with character names in your novels
  83. If you use Pinterest for book writing, fill us in on that process.
  84. How did you come up with the setting for your book? How do you go about using the setting as an essential character?
  85. Research Amazon and other indie sellers and share your findings
  86. How do you create believable dialogue? Share your tips.
  87. Take us through the process of developing a believable villain
  88. Formatting: do you do it yourself? If so, give us some hints! If not, how did you find your formatter?
  89. Discuss the difference between manuscript POVs — which one do you tend to write from most often and why?
  90. If you work full time, how do you balance working and writing?
  91. If you write full time, how do you balance life and writing? (This is good even if you work full time, really)
  92. How to create a blogging schedule
  93. How do you create content with purpose and intention?
  94. How do you find your writing voice?
  95. Write about the moment you completed your first manuscript. How did it feel?
  96. Write about the moment your first book was published. How did it sell? What did you do to celebrate? What are things you learned?
  97. Why did you decide to write in the genre you’re writing in currently?
  98. A List of your favorite books this year. Be specific on why you like them.
  99. How do you handle rejection and disappointment as an author?
  100. Write about your TBR list and why you’re excited about the books.
  101. The Time I Almost Gave Up….And What Kept Me Going.

Grab My New Book! 

This book is for the creative who knows you have a story to tell but you have no idea where to start.
Let me help you: you don't have to wait for the gatekeepers anymore. 

The time for your book is now. There is no excuse. You know this — you feel it in your bones. That's what this book is for — that's why I wrote it. 
Ready to begin?

 

Find it here on Amazon.

Posted on July 11, 2016 and filed under Indie Publishing.