Sunday, September 28, 2014

Recess is over…time to come back inside

The change in seasons is here and it’s a time of year that I enjoy – the weather is changing, it’s time to put away the garden and summer items and there will be more cozy days inside as we prepare for the upcoming holidays.  It’s the same feeling I get when I’m nearing the end of a long project and getting ready to start something new.  I get to clean up my desk and my notes and start working on new character and story ideas on brand new blank binders and paper. 

During the past two months while I worked to complete my latest projects, my break from social media took a longer stretch than I anticipated but sometimes, a break is what we need to re-energize and focus on the tasks at hand.  During my break, I continued to work on my books, took part in a class to learn something new about marketing and I even went on a much-needed vacation with the family. 

Disney California Adventure Park
First, the much-needed vacation – did we go someplace to relax by the beach while we read our most favorite books?  No, we went on a road trip down through California.  Yes, I did say “road trip”…it’s just something we like to do as a family.  This particular trip we’ve taken before but it was quite awhile ago so we were all excited to do it again.  We visited places such as Crescent City, The Redwoods, San Francisco and Alcatraz, Monterey Bay, Carmel-by-the-Sea and Marina del Rey before moving over to Anaheim where we hit Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal Studios.  The coastal cities were beautiful, as was the weather, for the most part.  The lines at the parks weren’t too outrageous but the weather sure took a turn and gave us 100-degree weather three days in a row while we roamed the parks and zeroed in on rides that took us inside an air-conditioned building or man-made mountain.  From there we drove down to San Diego and visited the zoo.  Even with the warm day we had (although much cooler than to the north), the animals surprised us and were all pretty active and available for terrific photo opts.  The Koalas were another matter…they were all asleep, as they are pretty much most of the day, but they’re so cute even as they nap that I can’t be upset with them.

I also took part in a training course before I left for vacation and while the class focused on many sorts of business models, it was a great resource for writers.  The focus of the class was on how to be passionate, purposeful and prosperous, with tips on building a better foundation for your business, cultivating relationships, launching explosively and selling a product others will appreciate.  I haven’t had much time to review  or use what I’ve learned from that class, since I only returned from vacation last week and I’ve been pretty busy since then, but I look forward to using some of the tips I’ve learned as I move further along with my writing career.

And finally, I’ve been working on my books to complete them for publishing. 

So, where am I with the writing projects? 

The third book in the Jorja Matthews’ mystery series, Ties That Bind, has been shipped off to the editor for review.  This book took a bit longer to complete and with a new editor who is very busy, I also had to wait until she was available to review my book, so the publishing date will be later in the year than I had originally planned.  But I’ve also completed a second short story and the expectation is to have that story published by the end of October.  I will be sending out a notice soon when that book is finally available.    

A season has ended and a new one is about to begin, both outside and at my writing desk.  The creative-side of things is pretty much complete with both the novel and the short story and from here we’re going to be deep into the technical side of editing, formatting, publishing and marketing.  So what will I do now that these projects are close to completion?  I’ll be looking forward to a new season of writing…not only with the fourth book in the series, but also a whole new project, to include a new book, a new idea, new characters and even a stab at a completely different genre. 

It’s a new season, so it’s the perfect time to try something new!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Silence…both deafening and golden

It’s been awhile, I know…over a month since I last blogged.  I’ve been very quiet and you may have wondered why or maybe you’ve been too busy yourself to notice.  The reason for my silence has been for various reasons, including:  the beautiful summer weather our region was treated to this year, gardens to tend to, family outings and events, the celebration of our wedding anniversary and time spent working on the completion of two books. 

But why would those reasons prevent me from blogging? 

I’ve been busy before; heck, I’m always busy but I usually find the time to blog so that I keep up with my weekly schedule.  But this past month was a different one for me.  Even though it’s been a busy month, I also used this time to sit back and think…and that time spent was very productive for me.

That’s what silence will do to you sometimes.  It can be deafening, to the point that you have no choice but to listen, and then it becomes golden, so that you finally learn what has been hidden from you behind the noise.

This past month I’ve learned a few things about what I want and what I don’t want, what steps I need to take to make things happen, what sort of message I’m trying to share, when to compromise and when to be selfish and finally, how important it is to continue on the path I’ve chosen because it truly is what makes me happy. 

Am I going through some kind of mid-life crises?  No. 

Not yet, anyway.

I think the reason for my break was to really take stock in something that had been bothering me.  It wasn’t whether I was doing the right thing, or whether I should continue working towards what I truly want to do with my life.  It was how I could do what I truly want to do when so much else seemed to always get in the way. 

I had forgotten my motto when I first started this blog…don’t let life rule your passion.

And that’s what has been happening lately – life has been ruling my passion and I’ve been letting it happen.  I shudder at the thought of getting to the point where the mechanics are there but the passion has faded or died off.  And that could happen should I forget that someday the tide will turn and all this work won’t be for nothing.  This journey I decided to venture on is not a sprint but a marathon, and I have to remember that.  Getting where I want to be will take hard work, dedication and patience (guess I’m still learning) and the potholes in life should only add flavor to my writing, not take away from it.

So I’m going back to my motto of not letting life rule my passion and I’m moving forward with a better understanding of what I need to do to make that happen.  Thanks for the patience you’ve offered as I took a much needed break and I hope you’ll continue to stick with me as I move forward on this journey towards my dream.