Sunday, May 31, 2015

Making a list and checking it twice

I know…it’s not the holidays but lists to me are a part of life and lately, I need them more than ever to try to stay on track.  Even more than that, I need a running list so that on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis, I don’t forget what it is I need to do as I continue to release new books.  There are so many little details that can easily be forgotten and even though I’ve released four books so far, all those little details can still be difficult to remember. 

I realized this a few weeks ago when I was checking on my stats on Amazon and discovered that my paperback and eBook for Ties That Bind had not been linked so that a reader would immediately see both options are available.  Instead, they would have to actually look the formats up separately to find them!  That’s not supposed to happen, they should always be linked together but what I forgot is that I have to actually request that they be linked together.  It doesn’t just automatically happen. 

And I know I have that little tidbit on a list somewhere…problem is, over the years I’ve made a number of lists and if I’m not looking at the right one, well then, I can make a mistake by forgetting important details like that.

So last weekend and the weekend before, I went through all the many folders I’ve compiled over the past three years relating to writing, marketing and promotion, publication, motivation and time management. 

I can’t believe all material I’ve compiled over the years!

I still have some organizing to do with my lists but eventually I will have a final detailed list of what I could or should be doing from beginning to end as I move on with each new project.  Eventually, I’d like to share all the lists I’ve made so that hopefully others can use them if it will benefit them with their own work.

I’ve been working on three different projects lately and some days it’s good to have the variety but other days, my head can feel like it’s swimming with too many characters and details.  If this were a regular season for me, that wouldn’t be a bad thing, but this is not a regular season due to the grief I’ve been trying to manage so I finally had to come to a decision to pick one project and stick with it.  I had already started the fourth book in the Jorja Matthews mystery series before I began the new young adult novel during Camp NaNo in April and before that, I had already completed a short story last year that just needs to be edited, revised with edits and gifted with a nice cover. 

Obviously, it makes sense to finish and publish the book that’s already complete so I’m going to manage my time around the short story first.  My short ghost story, 1313 Psycho Path, was around 13,000 words.  My latest short story, which at this time is simply titled 1111 (as in, eleven-eleven), is actually twice as long and not a ghost story, but about a woman trying to deal with a difficult marriage while also grieving the loss of her young son.  Or maybe 1313 is a novelette and my newest short is actually a novella… depends on who you ask, I suppose.  But as with all my stories, there is a twist in 1111 and the characters surprised me with an ending I hadn’t expected.  That’s always the fun part for me and it makes publishing my work for others to read even more fun.

So I will focus on finishing up the book that’s just itching to get out there.  Tomorrow is a new day and the beginning of a new month so for now, June will be focused on finishing up 1111, getting it published and then moving forward with the other novels.  That’s not to say I won’t cheat and add to my novels if inspiration (or characters) speaks to me, but that’s what’s so great about being an author…you don’t have to limit yourself if you really don’t want to. 

After all, “The only limits you have are the limits you believe.”  ~Wayne Dyer~ 

Have a great week! 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Why’s it so dark? Because my head is back in the sand!

It’s amazing to me how impossible even the smallest tasks can be when you’re fighting thoughts and emotions you can’t quite explain or even want to deal with.  It’s a battle that’s both exhausting and mentally time-consuming.  Blogging is usually more of a medium-sized task, but the past few months it has become a large chore only because I have such a hard time expressing what I’m dealing with as I continue to remain on task with my writing.  Lately, when I am able to make the time to blog, I feel I’m writing more about why I’m not writing than what I’m writing about.

Last month finally proved productive and even though I had a slump due to the criminal trial involving my dad’s death, I did very well in accomplishing the major feat of reaching my writing goal of 30,000 words during Camp NaNo.  Considering my time spent writing for Camp NaNo, rolled in with the emotions I was dealing with during the trial, as well as a writing conference, a busy birthday weekend and a month-long journaling and photo challenge, I’m quite amazed with myself for what I was able to accomplish during the month of April.

And then…the month of May rolled around and my writing routine, my blogging and even my regular time journaling took another hit.  Today, I feel like I finally woke up…or rather, I finally pulled my head out of the sand, and now, I’m glaring at the calendar after realizing half the month is already gone. 

What the heck happened?  What have I been doing for the past 16 days? 

That’s the problem with grief, heartbreak, stress, depression, illness, or whatever might be ailing someone during a difficult time in their life…sometimes it’s so much easier to hide in the safety of darkness, in an attempt to ward off all the terrible thoughts, complex emotions, ugly details and awful truths.  So much easier.

But there’s a real problem with hiding in the safety of that darkness; instead of working through the grief, heartbreak, stress, depression or illness, you’re left swimming in all the negativity involved with the circumstance.  And the deeper you dig yourself into the darkness, the harder it can be to find your way out. 

Oh, this is getting heavy.  I know.  But for anyone who has dealt with an extremely difficult time in their lives, I’m sure you understand just what it takes to dig yourself out in order to finally get back to living life to the fullest extent possible.

So what caused me to finally focus on the date today?  What made me realize I’d buried my head right back in the sand again? 

Honestly, it was from taking part in a women’s conference last night.  Not an on line course…that would be so much easier when I would just rather not socialize right now.  No, I finally agreed to make my unsociable self available to actually attend a live event.  The theme of the event is what finally woke me up because it was about being brave and to remind us how unique and unstoppable women can be (and should be!). 

Why did this theme affect me so much? 

Because I was reminded that I am brave, I am unique and no matter what life throws at me, I should remain unstoppable.  I was very brave when I finally decided to put the stories in my head down on paper and actually publish them.  I was even more courageous when I finally shared my dreams with family, friends and anyone who might care on the World Wide Web.  I am unique because the stories and characters born from my imagination are my own creation and, based on the wonderful feedback over the past few years, my books are enjoyed by many readers.  I am unstoppable because I have continued to resist the urge to quit even though writing and publishing will always be an uphill climb.  Why?  Because I absolutely love to write and I take pleasure in sharing my stories with others.

Now that my head is out of the sand, I see I’m at another fork in the road and I’m going to choose the direction that will move me forward again.  I will likely hit another bump in the road, or another fork that forces me to re-evaluate things, but I as long as I remember to remain brave and continue to believe in myself, I will hold on to my title as unique and unstoppable. 

Is anyone else going through a difficult time?  Dumb question, as many are, I’m sure.  Whether my experiences and what I share help others or not, I truly do appreciate the fact that I can continue to express myself as I continue to work through things.  And if anything I say gives someone a little push to work their way out of their own difficulties, I’ll call it a very good day. 

Take care and stay courageous.