Posted in General, blogging

Oops

While getting organized and setting things up for this week, I realized I’d somehow manage to completely skip last Friday’s post. I didn’t realize it at all on Friday, which I’ll account for as being busier than I’d thought I would be. I think there’s something to be said in there for biting off more than I can chew.

What exactly am I chewing on at the moment?

On the blog end of things, I’m working on some behind the scenes updates, starting with a minor revamp of my short stories page. That revamp will hopefully make it easier to navigate than one long list of stories. It also includes going back through and relinking all the parts of Seventh.

The other part of the updates for the blog is reworking my logo. Although I love my little fox, she’s starting to show her age a bit. This is also leading me into playing a little bit with my wordpress theme to see if there’s one I like better.

Getting off the blog and onto other platforms, I’m expanding! Sort of. I’m re-releasing Seventh onto Wattpad. You can find parts one and two there already and I’m looking to continue updating on Fridays.

I’m also still working out the best pattern for my Patreon. At the moment most of what I have for it includes short stories and notes, but I’m getting ready to release a special sneak-peak for my patreon supporters of what’s coming up later in the year.

On writing, I’m starting the second draft/partial rewrite of what’s rapidly turning into a novella series. I thought working on this would trim at least one or two things off my insane project list, but that’s not looking like the case.

To sum it all up: Sorry for missing Friday! I’m taking a couple of days to get myself reorganized and sorted out, so normal posting should resume as of today.

Posted in General

The Project List

In my ongoing quest to manage my ever-growing mountain of unfinished projects, I made a project list a couple years back. It’s a simple spreadsheet and I initially designed it just to keep track of what status various projects were in.

After going through it this morning, it’s also been a large reminder that I have far too many projects going on at one time. The total of in-progress items comes up to thirty-five.

Thirty-five projects in various stages of edits. It feels a little insane, especially since some of these have been in that mountain for quite literally years.

A look at some of the titles on my list and their current status

Although I’ve had my project spreadsheet for a while, I’ve added monthly and daily word counts to it. This is largely to keep it front and center of my attention whenever I do finish one project and am ready to move onto the next.

How do you manage your project list? What are some of the things you want to work on?

Posted in General

The Importance of Rest

Normally I like to have my posts written at least a couple of days before actually posting them. This way if there’s any extra research I need to do or if I know I’m going to have a busy week, I don’t have to stress about a post last minute.

The exception to that however, is today’s post, and the reason behind it is painfully obvious: I overloaded myself. Between holiday celebrations, my day-job, editing, and trying to prep myself for next year, I forgot to give myself time to rest.

Ultimately it resulted in me sitting down on Sunday with a list of things I wanted to get done and absolutely no energy to do any of it.

Often when we’re working on multiple projects or obligations, we forget that we ourselves are one such obligation. Eating, bathing and sleeping are our most basic needs but as people we have another basic need: rest. As a general rule, humans are anxious creatures but we’re not meant to stay in a constant state of energy consumption. We need to take time to rest and recover. Just like you need to put your phone or laptop on the charger, you need to recharge your own batteries.

And just like that electronic you need to charge, while you can ignore the draining battery for a while, at some point you need to recharge it. Screens dim their brightness to conserve battery, background processes and apps get limited. Your creative abilities are limited when you need rest and your willingness to complete a task is similarly hamstrung.

If, like me, you’re staring at your to-do list and getting none of it done, the easy fix is to take some rest. Take the day and enjoy the hobbies you enjoy just for yourself. Take a walk or a hike, indulge yourself in a long bubble bath, a glass of wine or some other treat. Let yourself rest.

We’re almost through 2020. It’s been an incredibly stressful year trying to manage so much bad news. Take a day or two before the year ends and let yourself recharge.

Posted in General

Why Writing Resolutions Fail

It’s that time of year where we all start looking towards what comes up next. Especially now that 2020 has finally gotten a little bit of good news. While Covid-19 is far from being under control, it’s nice to have some hope that we’re getting there now that a vaccine has been found. 2021 may not bring much in the way of change right away, but it is bringing with it hope. It’s also bringing what is perhaps the only thing that looks the same this year as it has in the past: New Years’ Resolutions.

For those of you who got bitten by the writing bug this year, you might be wondering what sort of resolution to make to keep that writing spirit going. Resolutions themselves are great, and they’re meant to improve your life. Keeping them however, isn’t easy. There’s a few reasons they may fall apart.

Vagueness. If your first instinct when trying to think of a writing related resolution is to shout ‘write a book’ this is your primary problem. A book covers a lot of ground—is it a memoir? Children’s book? Anthology? Epic fantasy saga? To avoid this trap, get specific. Include details like what kind of book and how long. Consider adding a deadline, such as having thirty-thousand words written by the end of March, or something similar.

Unmeasurable. Getting from point a to point b is a lot easier if you can see how close you are. That means using some form of measure makes it easier to achieve your goal. Try putting your goal into a measurable form, such as writing 200 words a day, or finishing one short story a week. This way you can track your progress. Making your goal measurable also makes it more manageable, which makes it easier to stay on track if you have a bad day, week or month.

Unrealistic. Often the goals we want to accomplish aren’t in line with where we are now. In some ways that’s a good thing. A goal should give you something to strive towards and work for. In other ways however, where we want to be can be a little farther than we can reasonably reach in a day, a week, a month or even a year. You’re not likely to go from rarely writing to writing a novella a week every week. Take stock of your skills and set a goal you can realistically reach.

Accountability. Having a goal is good—but having someone to cheer you on through your accomplishments and give you a pep talk when things get rough makes you much likelier to complete your goals. In fact, you’re 65% more likely to succeed if you have someone to help hold you accountable. So make sure when you’re setting your resolutions, you tell someone and buddy up if you need to.

What are some of your writing resolutions? How will you accomplish them in 2021? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in General

Self-Motivation

Ghost writers notwithstanding, there’s very little chance that someone is going to come along to write and edit your story for you. If you want to tell a story, you’ll have to motivate yourself to both get it written and edited.  The question is then how do you motivate yourself?

Want. The most basic part of motivation to do something is a desire—and if you’re reading this trying to figure out how to turn that desire into actual motivation, you’ve got a good start already. If it helps, take a moment to write a sentence about that desire. What do you want? Tack it up somewhere you can see it when you need a reminder.

Schedule time. It’s so, so easy to overload your schedule with other responsibilities and things you want to do. Instead of letting those things encroach on your time, put it down in your calendar to give yourself time for working on your story. At a minimum, try for an hour three times a week.

Limit distractions. I know, I’m guilty of it too. I think I’ll just check my email real quick and then then next thing I know it’s been three hours and I’m eight videos deep on YouTube. Distractions are the worst time leeches. Whatever you find necessary to do, limit your distractions. That might be leaving your phone in another room, or even turning your internet off temporarily.

Set goals. You already know what you want, so turn it into a goal. Remember that goals should be clear. Specificity makes it easier to see yourself progressing towards that end goal. Try ‘writing fifty-thousand words by the end of the next year’ versus ‘write a book.’ One of those is clear and well-defined, giving you a way to measure it and a deadline to get it done by.

Start small. This is a partial caveat to the above. You’re not going to sit down in an day and write the New York Times Bestseller. The insane typing speed you’d need to make that plausible would break your computer. Instead of breaking that, break your big goal down into smaller ones. Pick the smallest possible goal and start with that one. It gets easier to build larger habits out of smaller ones. Once you’ve gotten into a habit, the motivation to get it done comes naturally.

Track progress. Tracking your progress does two things. One, it lets you see when and where you do the best. Because you can see how your progress fluctuates over time, you’ll be able to adjust your schedule once you know that you work better in the mornings over the evenings. Second, being able to see your progress grow over time also feeds your motivation by giving you something to represent the effort you’re putting in.

Reward yourself.  The large disclaimer to this one is that it won’t work for everyone. You might however, find it useful to give yourself a small reward (such as a small treat or something else) for completing your smaller goals. This way you begin associating completing each task or goal with enjoyment, which in turn makes it easier to get started on the next one.

What are your favorite motivational tactics? Let me know in the comments!