How many times have you found yourself questioning why you continue to stick to an industry that seems impossible? Why continue to put forth the effort when it seems the payoff is never going to happen? As a writer who has been in the industry for six years, let me share why I continue to stick with it. Because it’s my dream.
Yes, it’s frustrating.
Yes, I have my moments where I’m on the verge of walking away but I know I won’t. I won’t because when I do, the only person I’m giving up on is myself.
It all boils down to remembering why you started. You started because it was your passion. It was your dream.
We are writers. It’s what we do. However, it’s easy to lose sight of the writing when we get sucked into everyone else’s success. We compare ourselves. We read our work and think it’s not good enough. But look back throughout history and the writers who were told they would never amount to anything and now we consider them legends.
They may have thought about quitting – I can almost guarantee they did – but then remembered why they couldn’t.
Recently, I reached out to a few authors who I admire. They all have multiple titles published and been in the indie business for quite some time. Here’s what they wanted to share with writers who feel like they’re in a slump.
Don’t get stuck in a rut.
“The very same week I won the Utopia Author of the Year award, I was told that a book I was pitching to various publishers wasn’t of “mainstream” quality. So, yes, I absolutely know what a fickled and frustrating industry this can be. Why then do we keep on? Where do we find the motivation? We find it in the beauty of pursuing our passion and doing what we love. That is a path few get to follow. My advice? Don’t allow yourself to get stuck in a rut. This is an industry that demands change and evolution. Be vigilant in trying new things, exploring fresh ideas in both your writing and marketing efforts. Seek out writing retreats, or author signings as well. Connecting with our community is a fantastic way to reignite your enthusiasm to write.”
~ Stacey Rourke, Author of the Unfortunate Soul Chronicles
Stay the course!
“If a person gets the opportunity to chase their dream, that’s an amazing and epic thing. That dream for me is being an author. As writers, we get to create worlds and characters, to bring our imaginations to life. As most of us aren’t independently wealthy, we want our dream to be profitable or at the very least not break the bank.
The market is always changing. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up and easy to be discouraged. But being an author and writing books is a marathon, not a sprint. If you were fortunate enough to find early and huge success, that is awesome. But for the rest of us, it’s our habits that will make or break us. The best advice I’ve ever heard in this industry came from Katy Regnery. I listened to her speak on a podcast called The Connective Collective a few years ago. The podcast isn’t around anymore, but her words stuck with me. “Keep your head down and write,” she said.
And it is that simple. Make good habits. Write some every day if you can. Set hours if that’s possible. Join a writing spring group or get a buddy to write with you. Find friends and authors who can uplift you. Avoid negativity and drama at all costs. Keep your head down. Write the book you want to read. Keep querying if you want to go the traditional route. Keep learning. Get better at what you do. Learn how to market. Learn how to make successful ads. Listen to podcasts. Go to conferences if you can. But most of all, enjoy what you do. Because if you love what you’re doing, it’ll show in your work. And it’ll pay off in the end.
Stay the course.”
~Casey L. Bond
“Hi, all! I want to thank Brandy for asking me to contribute here, and quickly introduce myself. I’m Tish Thawer, bestselling and award-winning paranormal romance author, best known for my Witches of BlackBrook series. When Brandy asked me to share advice for authors who’ve been at it for a while, but may feel like throwing in the towel, my first thought was… “How would my advice differ for authors at others stages of their career?” And the answer was… it wouldn’t.
My advice is for all writers, whether you’re just starting out, been at it for years and feeling as though you’re still “in the slump” or break-through authors who’ve finally had their big “I’ve made it” moment and that advise is… just keep writing! I know it sounds cliché, and you’ve probably heard it a million times. And while it is true, my reasons may be a bit different than you think.
Yes, we’ve all heard the adage, “Your best marketing tool is your next book” and while I absolutely believe that, for me, the suggestion to ‘just keep writing’ has more to do with your state of mind than your numbers. Let’s pause here…
I was once on a panel at RT where I proclaimed that my idea of success was probably very different from others on the panel, mainly because I didn’t write for the money. Well, as you can imagine, that got a lot of varied reactions. Some of the panelists agreed, while others graciously did not. Saying, that if they couldn’t make money at it, then they wouldn’t be doing it. I’m here to tell you, either is OKAY… and that’s the point. Write because you love it, even if you haven’t honed your craft yet. It will come. Write because you have a character in your head that just won’t go away. The story will come. Write because you are looking for financial gain. The money will come.
Success may not happen fast and may require extra steps like reading a “How To” book to perfect your sentence structure or listening to an online marketing course to gain the understanding of how to reach those readers, etc. But if you invest in yourself and just keep writing… it will come.
Now, that’s not to say you have to force it. I’m definitely not about that! In fact, I once wrote an article regarding the exact opposite that you can read HERE! What I’m saying is… find things that continue to inspire you and just keep going no matter the reason. You cannot become a prolific writer if you stop writing halfway through your journey.”
~ Tish Thawer, author of the Witches of BlackBrook series.
It’s no secret that authors adore their fans. We would be nothing without you guys. We grow off your reviews. Swell with pride at your praise of our characters. Your reviews help our books shine like nothing else can.
Oh, but honey, you are worth so much more than a review.
There are days, more than you would probably imagine, where a writer sits down, looks at their computer, and asks themselves, “Why am I doing this? I’m no good.” They’ll then sit there for the next 10 minutes, 30 minutes, heck maybe even hours thinking about the pros and cons. That is until they hear that little ding. It could be an incoming message on one of the many social media platforms they try and keep up with on a daily basis. It could be an email. It could be a number of things.
The writer is distracted from their destructive thoughts, where they're tearing themselves down into a pit they may not escape that day. Then they see your message, the one you sent on a whim because you couldn’t get the story the writer wrote out of your head. It could have been a simple I love your books to a full description of how they could relate to the characters. There could have been an attachment with a beautiful hand-drawn portrait of a girl and the moment the writer saw her, she knew it was of the heroine in her book.
Slowly, your letter starts to lift the spirit of the writer. The hole they had dug for themselves starts to fill and they can now crawl out instead of staying stuck in the pit. All because you took five minutes of your life and sent them a small message, showed your true love through art, or commented on a picture they posted. It’s a simple act that lasts for years.
Oh, you thought we read those messages or glance at those pictures and then never give them a second glance or thought? Wrong! We keep it for future reference.
“Every time I receive a heartfelt message from a reader who says they loved my books, I get a little teary. Some have even made fan art. Every time I feel a little down or overwhelmed, I’ll read a message and am reassured that it’s all been worthwhile.” -C.J. Archer
This very thing happened to me last week. A reader sent me a simple message stating my character Brynn had ended the feud between her twin daughters. They are always in competition. One’s name was featured in Star Trek, but the other girl had never found her name spelled correctly in a book. Not until she read The Shadow World Trilogy. But wait, that’s not all. Brynn’s middle name so happened to be Nacole, spelled just like mine. #Winning. Her mom sent the appreciation and wanted to let me know I had made her daughter so happy. What really happened there; they had made me happy by sharing their story. There was no review. There was just appreciation from both sides. Plus, this message couldn't have come at a better time for me. See, perfect timing even when you don't know it.
You are more than a reviewer, more than a gain to another sale. You bring the characters to life. You bring joy to a writer’s life and give them a purpose to keep going. You mean so much more than you think.
I was once one of those who convinced themselves I didn’t need a schedule. I had it all under control in the ole noggin. I felt I had nothing to fear. I was a dang fool! For years, I wasted too much time thinking I had everything under control. It had even got so bad that moms around me would say, “Oh, that’s just Brandy. She’s always late.” Not the best feeling in the world, let me tell you.
And the only person I had to blame was myself.
The problem was I didn’t know where to start or how to keep my commitment strong. I tried, over and over again by keeping a planner, but then I’d forget the planner or wouldn’t write something down because ‘I would remember.’ Like any bad habit cycle, it was one I had trouble breaking.
To say my life was a mess was an understatement.
Still desperate to find a solution, I watched an online video on Marketing and Sticking With It. The video gave me several ideas. They also recommended several apps to help keep you organized. Taking the leap of faith with myself, yet again, I bought a notebook and purchased the app Any.do. Needless to say, it changed my life!
I’m happy to report, I’ve been organized and keeping to a schedule for six months now, with no setbacks I might add. This may not seem like much to some, but trust me, it’s a HUGE improvement in my life and my families. And let me tell you, it was so gratifying to be able to surprise others by being on time to events with all the necessary items that were asked to be brought. Yes! Rewards.
The two things you need to get organized.
1. A To-Do List
This list will help you identify what needs to be done and help you define and organize. For me, when I’m planning a book release, I no longer freak out and try cramming so much into a short period. For instance, I’ve planned out the release of Whisper on the Lake, the third novel of the Chindi Series, and am already way ahead of schedule compared to past releases. This can happen with any business or personal plan you want to achieve. The longer out you can plan, the better. Think of you local Calander of Events. I received a copy of the Downtown Russellville Organization jus the other day and was amazed at the details. Inside, they had a year full of events from the college to the local businesses to city events. It was well planned out, and people could plan for these events well in advance.
2. A Calendar
This is where you identify when you’re going to do those things. For me, I use Any.do and implement my to-do list on specific days. Any.do allows me to assign tasks or events throughout the year, and then helps me plan my day every morning for the tasks I assigned that day. Throughout the day, it reminds me of the tasks that are not complete. Amazing! And it’s so gratifying getting to click on those tasks and watching them disappear.
An important rule when planning, always leave time for breaks and free time. You’ll quickly burn yourself out if you don’t live a little and watch that show you recorded on the DVR or read that book you bought two weeks ago. Goals are great to be reached, but not at the cost of forgetting yourself and those you love.
Scheduling and planning is such a confidence booster.
Tell me, what are your planning hacks and tips?
Eight months ago, I started on my journey with audiobooks to produce Deep in the Hollow. It was terrifying and exciting all at the same time. Where did I start? How long would the process take? Could I even afford to make an audiobook?
All these questions swirled through my mind like a wind storm while I contemplated whether I was ready to take this step or not. Most would think, yeah, let’s do this. It will take me to the next step in publishing. That’s true. It will take you a step farther in this tech-savvy world. However, there is an appropriate time to make this decision.
Did I? No!
You’ll notice after reading over previous blog posts; I tend to make a lot of on the fly decisions. Sometimes it’s worked out for me, but more times than not, it doesn’t. This works out good for writing articles about what not to do, such as this one. Hey, you got to look at those plus sides.
When I decided to leap audiobooks, I didn’t leap, oh no, I flung myself off the cliff. I got pumped and went straight to audible and signed up. From there, I posted my book and started taking auditions―all within ten minutes. I didn’t read any of the warning blogs. I didn’t bother to read the policy. After all, how hard could this be? My book was finished, and I wanted that audiobook.
Here’s where things started getting complicated. The auditions started coming. This should be a great thing, and it is until you have to fit listening to them into your busy schedule because you didn’t plan on having to listen to twenty different girls try to nail the voice you have imagined for your character. While I have major respect for all audio actors/actresses, they’re not all going to cut it when it comes to your character.
After stressing over cramming more into my schedule and going through the auditions to weed out the ones who weren’t a fit, next came going through the ones who I liked. For me, I hate making decisions. If I could, I’d have an assistant who did nothing but make decisions for me.
Once I thought I had the perfect actress to fit Jo’s personality, I sent an offer. This is where I wish I had negotiation skills. My first pick wanted too much out of my budget range per hour and demanded to be paid per edits afterward. What does per edits mean? It means after the first draft is created if there was an area in the book I didn’t like and I wanted her to fix it I had to pay for it. Needless to say, I had to move on to my second choice. Now, if I’d looked at each profile before narrowing them down to favorites, I would have seen my first picks demands in her profile and could have saved myself several hours and mad faces.
After weeding through more choices who didn’t fit my budget, I found Jo’s voice actress. Yay! The recording began. From there, it’s pretty simple. They record. You listen, note what might need to be fixed, send it back. They fix it. You listen again. This process is repeated until the book is where you think it should be.
Now, Deep in the Hollow is available in audiobook and I couldn’t be happier.
However, here are some tips I should have considered first.
1. Be prepared for the journey.
Once you’ve decided to jump into an audiobook production, read all the recent material available on the site. I chose audible. Look for a change in policy, warnings, and other tips to help make the process smoothe for you and the audio actor/actress.
2. Set a budget and make it clear.
Some voice actors/actresses charge by the hour, others might charge by the project. Be sure you know your budget and an estimation of how many hours it may take to produce your project. Most audio sites will have a chart of estimations.
3. It’s not a race.
Listening to your auditions are going to take time, make sure you have it. You can’t listen to ten seconds of a recording and go, “Yep, that’s it.” Take your time and be sure.
4. Check the audio actor/actresses profile.
Know their expectations, so when you reach out to them, you can tell them yours and the discussion will not be a blindsided conversation.
5. Don’t rush through the finals.
When receiving your first draft don’t rush through listening to it. Be sure to follow along with the book on hand to be sure there are no missing sentences or words. We are all human, and accidents happen, but it’s best to catch them before approving the final copy.
If you're thinking about creating an audiobook, it truly is a great feeling to hear your story being told, but be sure you are in the know and ready for a long process.
Best of luck!
Wow! What a year it has been, filled with its fair shares of ups and downs. That’s life, right? Things I hadn’t considered or prepared myself for in life was hearing of all the trouble my son was having and having to learn how to cope so he could cope. What an eye changer that was for me, a good one in my opinion. There’s so much I’ve learned because of my son. Funny how the parent thinks they are the one to teach the child, and then we don’t even consider what the child teaches the parent. There were the downs of having to see him struggle, but the ups of working through them together.
This insight helped open my eyes to my writing and how I run my life. I spent a lot of time stacking wood onto the pile, but I wasn’t stroking the fire. I wasn’t allowing myself to grow because I was blind to how I was also hindering myself. The revelation didn’t strike until a month ago, but what a difference this last month has been. Now, I have a solid plan, a schedule, ideas mapped out so they compliment one another. It’s not a jumbled mess like they’ve been in the past. Now that I understand, I can focus. This had been one of my son’s problems. He didn’t know how to focus because of his issues. Now, after stepping back and accessing it, he knows how to approach it.
Even through the jumbled mess, however, there were plenty of perks.
In order to have a breakthrough year, you will need to take giant leaps and big risks. Bounce on the devil and put the pedal to the floor. You have to smash through that goal.
Where did such fine advice come from? One of the top resources I’ve been researching, studying, and implying to my life the past few months. Lisa Jacob’s Your Best Year 2018. Lisa Jacob’s is one of the best gems I have discovered this year. I have learned a lot from Lisa about doing for doing’s sake versus doing to further your goals. I highly recommend her book if you feel like you’re in a rut and need some direction. Whether your goals are personal or business, her advice is solid. I am so thankful for the relief I now feel with some direction, versus the zig-zag path I’ve had the past six years.
What’s to come in 2018 book-wise? Lots!
Happy New Year to you all. May 2018 be your best year yet!
It’s NanoWriMo! Yay! I know many people are excited for this time of year, not only because of the holidays but also because of the drive this time of year gives us. We are inspired to write, write, write, whether it be a novel, blog post, poems, or something on a scrap piece of paper that you throw away later. Writing is in the air.
With writing, however, comes uncertainty. Am I telling a good story? Am I showing or telling? I don’t want to fail.
Here’s the thing about failing. Even if you run with what you think is best only to find out later it wasn’t, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It means you’re still learning. I’ve been writing since I was little and in the publishing business for five years and still make mistakes. It happens to the best of us.
My biggest lesson was when I first published The Shadow World Trilogy. I made a mess of the story, of the cover, and my plan for build up until release day. It was horrible. But, I learned. Now, the trilogy is a successful boxed set and I’ve published six other titles since then. As the internet changes and new ideas are born, I continue to learn.
I wish I could break down a simple three step program as to how to publish with success and no mistakes, but unfortunately, I’m not sure that’s possible. So, for now, I will focus on the writing of it. It’s the biggest key factor after all.
I’ll address this question: How do you know if you are telling a good story?
Make readers feel emotions by expressing emotion!
Each one of us feels passionate about something, anger towards someone, and love toward something else. Use it. Let your emotions go and don’t hold back. Funnel them into your characters and make the readers feel that emotion too.
1. Write in scenes, showing rather than telling.
Remember that time you were home alone and something scared you? Remember the adrenaline rush and the trembling you felt afterwards? How about the racing of your heart, the sweat that built on your brow and even in the pits of your arms? The tremble in your stomach. Think back to those emotions you felt and push them into your characters.
2. Show the reactions and responses of characters to the actions of another character. Have you ever had a coworker tell you something that made you angry and you could no longer hold your tongue? Maybe it was a friend who had abused your relationship too much. Funnel the anger you felt in that moment and push it into your characters. The same can happen with anger, regret, bitterness, etc.
3. Don’t hold back.
Death. Accidents. Betrayals. Misunderstandings. Forced choices. They are things we go through in life and can funnel our emotions into our writing. It’s our chance to let go of the anxiety and depression we feel over situations. The joy and elation. If it crushes your characters emotions, make the reader feel it. If it lifts them up and takes their breath away, take the readers breath with them.
4. Know the power of word choice.
Getting caught up in our emotions is great, it pushes our writings and is cheap therapy in the end. We are killing two birds with one stone. Whoop! However, poor word choice can ruin even the best of scenes. Be strong and clear with your word choices.
Example: Don’t mix light and fluffy words into a dark scene (unless for effect or if it’s your writing style of course).
Don’t drown yourself with worry on your story development. That’s why a second draft is recommended. For the first draft, let it go.
If you’re still learning the ropes of the writing business, here are my Top 5 Books on Writing. There are several good books on writing and the publishing industry, but these are the five I have referred to throughout the last few years.
Keep on writing on.
November 21st Blog Topic: My experience with Audible.
What do baseball players do to get better? They practice. They listen to advice. They watch others they admire play.
What do guitar players do to become the best? They practice. They learn from the best. They breathe the chords in their sleep.
What do actors do?
I think you can see where I'm going with this. As writers, we have to do these same things. We write, even if it's nothing but a journal entry. We think of fabulous stories. We attend seminars. Most important, we read. Without reading, we cannot write.
If you don' have to time read, you don't have the time to write. ~Stephen King
I used to be the world's worst on reading about writing. If I wasn't writing my own stories, I wanted to read what I wanted to read. Then an author friend asked me, "How do you plan to learn if you don't study?" Good question. So, I began to read books on writing. And boy, did I learn a lot.
Reading about writing is a powerful tool. It enhances your mind and gives you the knowledge you crave to be a better writer. Here are my top 5 recommended books on writing.
1. On Writing by Stephen King
Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, this special edition of Stephen King’s critically lauded, million-copy bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work.
“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.
Day by day, little bird.
2. Bird by bird by Anne Lamott
Think you've got a book inside of you? Anne Lamott isn't afraid to help you let it out. She'll help you find your passion and your voice, beginning from the first really crummy draft to the peculiar letdown of publication. Readers will be reminded of the energizing books of writer Natalie Goldberg and will be seduced by Lamott's witty take on the reality of a writer's life, which has little to do with literary parties and a lot to do with jealousy, writer's block and going for broke with each paragraph. Marvelously wise and best of all, great reading.
You are only an underdog if you let yourself think you are. ~Amy Miles
3. Nailed It by Amy Miles
Today’s writers deal with pressures from all sides: to publish quickly, to stay seen in an over flooded market, to keep their readers happy and to find a way to earn enough money to keep following their dreams.
Writing is not easy. It can be lonely, disheartening and it is easy to feel buried by the very thing you were once passionate about. NAILED IT is 150 inspirations, mantras, mottos or quirky sayings that I have used in my personal bouts with burnout. I hope that they will encourage you, inspire you and remind you that although writing is many times a solo endeavor, writers all around the world understand the pressure you feel to succeed.
You are not alone.
Even the most well-regarded pros struggle sometimes. ~Annie Dillard
4. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
The author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek shares her words of wisdom in this handy book where she discusses the difficulties of writing. She writes about how hard it is to write and how sometimes it is necessary to destroy and paragraphs, phrases, and words to re-form them as something even better.
She doesn’t pull punches about how difficult writing can be, which is valuable for any writer to hear: Even the most well-regarded pros struggle sometimes. Her book shares this wisdom in enjoyable prose.
5. Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
How does plot influence story structure? What's the difference between plotting for commercial and literary fiction? How do you revise a plot or structure that's gone off course?
With Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure, you'll discover the answers to these questions and more. Award-winning author James Scott Bell offers clear, concise information that will help you create a believable and memorable plot, including:
How many authors or business enterpeneues have been told it's best to blog? I have read many articles and watched several webinars that scream, "To be a successful writer, you need to blog your little heart out. Share your experiences, give advice, make some how-to columns."
Unless you're needing advice on how to not go in a caffeine coma or how to survive one in the event it happens, I'm of no use. And a how-to guide? Yeah, unless you're needing a how-to guide on how not to strangle your kids while trying to finish a deadline between work, sport practices, and taking a moment to do this thing people call sleeping, again I'm no help. A how to successfully write a novel article, perhaps? Let me sum that up for you here and now; sit down and write. That simple.
Am I bashing bloggers? No! I love bloggers of all kinds. I love being able to google a topic and find what I need by reading several different articles on the subject. It's great!
What I am saying is, we are all not cut out to be bloggers. I've tried. Honestly, I have. I'm one of those get pumped up and I'm going to do this, yes I am, kind of people only to lose my drive for so many reasons. Not all of us have fantastic how-to articles to write, or advice on how to stay on top of a growing trend. The few times I've written articles, I was coming from a conference and was really inspired by the events that transpired while there. Unfortunately for my wallet, I can't go to every writing/book conference across the nation, or lord-what-a-dream overseas. Trust me, I'd be swiping plastic in a heart beat if I could.
However, sometimes it's bashed into our heads to blog blog blog. And yes, there have been times it's made me feel like I'm not doing enough. Perhaps these people are right. But the truth is, I write to escape. I write to tell the story that haunts my thoughts. I write for me. It's what I love to do. I believe it's why most writers write. It's in their blood.
The whole point of this is to officially declare 'I am not a blogger.' And that's okay. I share books I love, write stories that won't leave me, and spread word as I can as I go. And to you authors/aspiring writers out there who can't seem to find the time to keep up with a blog and feel guilty for it because someone wrote an outstanding article that made you feel you should be doing these things, it's okay. I promise! You're not failing in any kind of way! Small steps can equal big results.
To those of you who can accomplish this; many, many thanks and congratulations!
All walks in life are different. Know that! Own it! Own what you're good at and know it's enough.
It's a new year. A chance at a new start. Who doesn't like getting a chance to start over? I know I do. But before Sunday, I thought, "Hey, each day is a new beginning so why make a resolution or plan a yearly goal? I try and do that every single day."
Then I had a huge eye opener on Sunday.
But before I tell of my revelation, I'd like to add a disclaimer. If you don't hold the same spiritual beliefs as I do, that's completley okay. This has nothing to do with God, although on a personal note I do thank him every day. I did, however, realize this truth in church and realized it could be applied to my daily life.
Now, back to my eye opening experience Sunday. Looking back on a year ago, I thought the same thing as I thought this year. I don't need a resolution. I have my goals. And while I still believe that, I also realized I was robbed of my life goal. So now, I've set a life resolution to make sure I never rob myself again.
What about you? Did you rob yourself? Look back to the beginning of last year. Okay, now look back to the year before. Now, look to the end of 2016. Did life get in the way of your goals? Maybe the election got you riled up. Maybe a medical illness got the best of you or someone you love. Maybe the year slipped by, while each day you said 'tomorrow'. I'll be the first to admit I did. My depression and anxiety kept getting the best of me. My grandfather passed away. More hours at work. Family. I kept putting off the goals I wanted for myself.
Now is the time to reclaim and engage.
If you still want to reach those goals and get back to where you were a year ago, or where you planned to be by now, it's time. Reclaim it. Set aside time each and every day for you. You may be thinking, "Yeah, right. My schedule." I thought the same thing, but if we can make time for football or shopping or social media, we can make time for ourselves.
Here are 3 steps I'm taking to ensure this for myself:
1. Take away something.
What I mean by this, take away something you enjoy or that is a "time suck" until you reach your goal for the day. For me, I do not get on social media until I have reached my hour of writing time a day. If I can get more, of course I give myself that time. But if it's the end of the day and I haven't wrote a single word, no social media for me until I at least try and give it my best effort for an hour. No word count. I don't do that. Sometimes the words flow, sometimes they don't.
2. Ask myself every day "How are you doing?"
It's okay to check on yourself. You are the one who knows what you want, no one else. So stop and take a minute to ask yourself, "Is this what I want?" "How's my progress?" "Don't worry, we've got this." May sound a little crazy to some, but we are our own best cheerleaders.
3. If you can, keep what you need handy.
I keep my writing journal with me at all times. Writing is my goal and the best thing I can do for myself is keep the journal handy so I can write when given the chance. I'm always on the go during the day, like most, but I also have waiting time during the day here or there. Maybe while waiting for a meeting, or in the school line, etc. Keep what you need accessible if possible.
Now that you've seen what you need to reclaim, never forget to engage your time in the goal. Engage with those in the writing community, readers, reading, writing, social media. Engage with your goals and keep it alive. Don't let another year rob you of your dreams. Set a resolution to check on yourself and your goals. We are the ones who allow life to rob us, but we are also the ones who can put our foot down and reclaim, then engage to keep it alive.
Wishes for the best in 2017!
So, it's the end of nanowrimo and you didn't meet your word count goal. Good news, you're not alone! Know what else? You're still a winner!
That's right, a winner! How?
Let me rewind to the beginning of November. Like so many others, I felt the buzz of nano. I signed up, got prepped and ready for day 1. It was all great. The words were flowing and I was meeting my daily word count, plus more. Then came the dreaded missed writing day. But it was okay, it was only one day and I could catch up. No worries, right? Wrong. There came another missed day, and another, and... well, you get the picture. Before I knew it I was six days behind and the pep of nano no longer excited me. I had lost my nano spirit.
As is accustomed to today's society, I posted about my horrible nano days on my social platforms. My post circulated and it took the reminder of friends and complete strangers for me to see the bigger picture. And I'm here to tell you the same thing.
You're further today than you were yesterday.
Sure, I wasn't staying on schedule and my chances of getting a winner certificate was slim and none, but I was still winning on my own terms. My current work in progress was further than it was at the beginning of November. That's a win!
So, if you participated in Nano but didn't finish with 50,000 words, it's okay. It doesn't matter if finished with 2,000 or 45,000. The point is that you made it further than you did a month ago. Your writing will come along and if you keep at it, pretending that every month is nanowrimo, then you'll have that novel finished in no time.