A Whole New Year

Obligatory New Year’s Post is Obligatory

I’m not making any drastic changes heading into 2022. I think there’s far too much pressure on resolution and sweeping realignments that set people up for failure, especially someone like me that needs an external structure to succeed, but is neglectful in seeking one out. I could use a writing buddy or two heading into the new year. I remember how fast I made friends in online forums at the beginning of the ’00s and now, social media makes it so much harder, at least for me.

No! This is not the lonely writer post!

What I have done is reorganize my goal and tasks around three (four) simple BIG ideas. I have three major goals (three is a magical number – four goals if you count my “Personal” category) and I call those major goals – “BOSS”. Yes, these are my Gohma, Dodongo, and Barinade of my life quests. Every task I put into my calendar has to fit under one of these BOSSes or it’s not really worth my time.

Screenshot of my partial Notion database

I break things down even further, having separate MINIBOSSes for each BOSS. This gives me a way to see what areas within each BOSS I’m putting my time into and if there needs to be adjustments. I do all this in Notion using databases. Originally, I tried to limit my MINIBOSSes to just three per BOSS, but I found that, at least in my “Active Writer” boss, I needed a few more areas, such as “Working on Craft” and “Marketing.” The most important MINIBOSS here is “Finish Current Projects” because that’s where I have the most trouble. I have a separate database for Writing Projects and I try not to add anything to it unless the concept is completely clear to me. Everything else goes in a “idea” file.

This year I want to really lean into the idea of changing my “environment” instead of myself. Instead of acting as if my process, or my thinking, or my existence is a “problem,” I’m focusing on how I can create the space (physical and mental) where I will thrive. Coming up with this organization system has been key in this. I don’t feel the pressure to get everything done every day (my daily list is just things due “today” and “before” – and I’m purposefully not setting tasks with “priorities” because, in my mind, they’re all important.)

As for the writing, here is the plan:

  • I’ll be continuing all of my Vella series (one of them ending in late winter.)
  • Finishing up my first thriller novella, Chatterbox, to give away as a thank you for signing up for my newsletter (so look forward to that!)
  • I need to find a copy editor that I can work with on a regular basis. I’ll start searching in a few weeks. (I’m open to suggestions if you know of a good one.)
  • I’m planning on publishing some flash fiction on here and then compiling them as I go into anthologies
  • I’ve outlined the first two novels in a psychological thriller series to be published by the summer. More info coming soon!
  • The Shape of Us Mysteries first novel, Pedigree, is moving along and I hope to have that ready to go by March, April at the latest.
  • My Woodlawn College romance will get a sequel (Secret Title) to be released in Kindle Unlimited with the novella form of the series, Art History. No timeline on that yet.
  • Hopefully other opportunities that I can’t even see yet.

So that’s where things stand. I have the organization down and some of the systems in place and very optimistic goals. But I feel that now I have a better understanding of who I am and how I work and with that, can better give myself the grace to make adjustments.

May we all find some comfort in the new year and pinpoints of hope to help light the way.

Hey! Listen!

Navi

Trying to do too much?

I’m the queen of great ideas and bad follow through.

I’ve been watching/listening to a lot of videos about writing, craft and business, and I’ve come to realize that I’m not only putting the cart before the horse, but I don’t even have a horse, or a cart, or a road, or a place to go. Outside of my three Kindle Vella series, I’m a bit scattered, even though I’ve talked about various projects here before.

I’m the queen of great ideas and bad follow through.

I think that’s why the Kindle Vella series appeal to me now. I’d had a hard time finding a following on other serial sites and, while, the market seems dominated by steamy romance and LitRPG (neither of which I write) I decided to take a gamble.

Then I quickly became overwhelmed. And started having new ideas. Then over-overwhelmed.

The natural step after over-overwhelm is paralysis and then I get into a funk and don’t do anything at all. You can give me plenty of planners, systems, motivation, even people to sit with me while I work, but I won’t know where to go. And the one thing I’m bad at is the one thing I need to be good at: finishing my shit.

I even started a NaNoWriMo group focused on Finishing Our Shit Stuff and then abandoned it after a week or two. (Sorry, y’all. It’s not you. It’s always me.)

I’ve been thinking about all the half-finished, partially-started pieces I have saved and wondered if I could dedicate myself to finishing these pieces and putting them out there, whether indie publishing them under this pen name or submitting them to publications under another. Who knows? But it’s a challenge that I have only failed in the past.

Nowhere to go but up, as they say.

What I am doing now is reassessing each week what tasks actually get me moving forward. Writing is always a Definitely. Other things, not so much. So, more writing. (Yeah, I’ve been here before and this time may not be different, but there’s only one starting place and that’s where the starting starts.)

Good luck to me. Good luck to you.

Tapping out of NaNo, but still writing

I started strong, really strong. While I got behind early in Pedigree, I maintained par in my second story and eventually got caught up here. Alas, life had different plans.

I say life, but I was unable to balance my attention between family business and writing. I don’t talk about my writing with family. I don’t want them involved. But my attention and energy went elsewhere and without having good boundaries established, I fell behind.

Basically, every free moment I found, I filled with nothing. They call that “self-care” now. And while my brain probably needed that break, I would have liked to have kept pace with my writing.

I’ve never won NaNo, for various reasons, so I’m not really disappointed. I’m going to write at least 1K a day in each project (it’s now four with my two Vella stories – Wound, and another starting soon (I think I see my problem)) and I will be publishing early next year once book 3 in Pedigree’s series is written.

Thanks for reading this far, and if you’d like to sample my writing, you can read the first three episodes of Wound for free on Kindle Vella. I’d love your feedback.

Another Year, Another…year

I could start talking about how goals were lost, intentions were well-intended, things were missed, and shit was not finished. But unless you want me to populate this entire post with more passive verbs and self-flagellation, I’m going to stop now and starting looking forward.

I could start talking about how goals were lost, intentions were well-intended, things were missed, and shit was not finished. But unless you want me to populate this entire post with more passive verbs and self-flagellation, I’m going to stop now and starting looking forward.

Typically I’m a self-reflective person. I have found much of my personal growth from this process and while my “Five Ways to Self-Reflect” blog post lurks somewhere in the distant future, I won’t be lying if I said that this knowledge-building practice was inspired by endless sessions of reading manga.

Yes Sensei!

Perhaps this year fewer manga will be read and more words will be written. Perhaps this year new challenges will be faced and new paths will be trodden. Perhaps it’s not worth fretting over an arbitrary date just because we consider this the beginning of one thing and the end of something else. Why can’t March 8th be the symbolic beginning of a new year? August 21st?

It doesn’t matter. I’m just trying to slink into the New Year Zeitgeist, seven days late, and firmly declare my 2019 goals in the hopes of riding that momentum train into a less disappointing December. I still have that damn anthology to finish – the one listed in the sidebar and the first two books of my series to start. The first one is outlined, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, because it’s been sitting and fermenting at the bottom of  stack of notebooks. Will this be the year? This will be the year. There is no next year. There is always only this year.

Before falling into some pseudo-philosophical ramble, I would just like to say “hello, how are you? I hope you had a nice holiday season.” Time to get to work.

Nine Ways to Kill Your Writing Mojo

There are plenty of ways to motivate you to keep working, keep creating, and if you’re like me, you’ve consumed a bunch of them.

Listicles are still popular, right? Is this 2008? I am not always up on contemporary society, struggling as I am to attain the title of Eccentric Recluse without the infamy or, for that matter, the noticeable accomplishment. Yet since I’m here and since I have some experience in these matters, scoot closer to your favorite Gothic neighbor-lady and she’ll tell you a thing or two.

But don’t you think about coming up onto my porch. You just keep your butt on those steps, you hear me?

  1. Giving Yourself Unrealistic Goals: This one needs little explanation because we’ve all been there. We’ve all sat thinking about the someday when we’ll have enough time to write 5,000 words a day and have the energy to work on multiple projects at once and how we’ll be able to produce multiple titles per year. We could have written about 1,000 words during our daydreaming session. We didn’t. Someday, tho.
  2. Excusing Excessive Daydreaming as “Writing”: Sometimes it is, when you’re thinking about plot, or setting, or characters, etc. Sometimes daydreaming is just letting the story soup stew in your head, allowing the flavors to melt into one another. Those moments should count as writing. Daydreaming about that perfect traveler’s notebook that will really get your novel organized is not, however, writing.
  3. Judging the Writing Processes of Others: See what I’ve done here? Scolding myself in order to excuse my previous comment. It’s a typical rhetorical trick that is supposed to convince you that since I am self-aware, I am not a judgmental asshole, because, well, I do it too! See how that works? I zig, but I also zag. Don’t do this. Be honest and kind. But don’t spend too much time on your journal. That may not be the writing you want to share with the world.
  4. Losing Interest Halfway Through a Project: This happens to everyone. It’s happening to me right now and I’m using it to show you that it is okay to abandon something that is not working. A project that you dread coming to should be shelved. You may have fresh eyes for it in the future, or you may not. Write the project you want to write. CAVEAT: Finish your work as much as possible. If you find yourself abandoning nearly every project, perhaps you should create in a different medium for a while. Paint, sew, carve, sing, any number of ways to express yourself. Don’t let staleness stop your art.

You can figure out the rest, and the joke, from here. There are plenty of ways to motivate you to keep working, keep creating, and if you’re like me, you’ve consumed a bunch of them. But I’ll give you one more for free:

Keep creating.

What are you doing next?

I love your work.