Tools for Writers

Tools for Writers

In the field of writing, there are so many tools out there for you to choose from. One could get lost in the sea of information, systems, and apps that are available to help those aspiring to write, edit, research and more.

As you journey on this path to becoming a great author, you will try all the things to get down a system for yourself. Writing programs, apps, the dreaded editing (unless you like edits, then contact me because I hate them with a passion) revising, and more. What you find is that some things that work for others, will not work for you.

Each of us has our own mind, our own way of seeing things and processing them. What will help me may or may not help you, but in the chance that it might help you or you find something you might want to try, I’ll list what I use below.

This post may contain affiliate links. This just means that I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you decide to purchase any of the products discussed in this post.

Writing

 

 

Writing

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Word processors used to write your drafts. Really they are the devices we use to create journeys, adventures, horrors, and more to intrigue, create emotional attachments, and provide an escape from the real world.

Scrivener

Like many others, I use Scrivener to write my novels. With a binder setup, it’s easy to keep things organized they way I like whether thats in chapters, scenes, parts or whatever.

I can also use their outline feature and notecards to keep everything organized and easy to find. If you’d like to check it out, you can go HERE to find out more.

4TheWords

This isn’t just another word processor, it’s a journey in itself. Trust me, if you want to go on your own journey as you write this is the site for you.

It has timed writing as you defeat monster, collect objects and join others in global quests where you write with others to defeat the same monsters. It’s great!!

Inspiration/ Creativity

Creativity

Image by Jonny Lindner from Pixabay

The places or things you do to create that spark of thought that will propel you into the next story, the next chapter, or next scene.

Pinterest

The number one place I go when I need inspiration on any aspect of my story, whether it’s characters, setting, or whatever. There is so much talent, images, and inspiration being posted to this site. It’s a wealth of creativity and great place to find inspiration.

Movies

Another place I go to find inspiration is movies. I love watching movies and will unconsciously choose some based on characters or abilities so my mind can see what others have thought of. You never know when that one thing you’ve been looking for will hit you like a ton of bricks, so keep a notebook handy. It’s a great way to get a visual aspect on story, characters, setting and more.

Games

Oh, this is one of my favorites. Our family loves co-op and strategy games so we have a lot of ‘European Games’. Our favorites are PowerGrid, Caylus, Cleopatra, and my personal favorite Shadows Over Camelot.

Games, like movies can provide inspiration for many aspects of your story if you tune into specific aspects. You can get ideas for character, setting, even story, but you can also get a feel for strategy, materials, and the path your pieces travel as well. It’s amazing how you can find creative inspiration from the games we play.

What are you favorite games and movies? What are the ones you come back to again and again?

Prompts

This may not give you as much for specific inspiration, but could give you the spark you’ve been looking for. There are many, many prompts out there for many different voices. You can check out my Pinterest Page for Prompts or just give it a search and see what comes up. These are fantastic for story, dialogue and more!

Brainstorming/Mind-mapping

Mind Mapping

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

We all need a way to get our thoughts out and on paper (or within an app). Those creative ideas aren’t going to stay in our heads forever, right?

Notes

There is nothing more simple than having a spiral or notebook with just that, notes. You pour all your thoughts and ideas into that stack of bound paper (or looseleaf if that’s what you have) and work from there, returning when you need that one piece of vital information. Searching and scavenging for what you need because you didn’t organize them enough to know where the darn thing is.

Unless you are extremely organized and put into sections with tab, then I commend you. It crosses my mind, but I haven’t done it yet.

MindMeister

This is a free app (for 3 maps) that allows you to create visual maps, organizing them in any way you wish to suit your needs. You can do one for characters, another for setting, another for plot and so on. The possibilities are endless with this!

Features:

  • Collaborate anywhere
  • Simple Project Management
  • Choose your Mind map style
  • Share your mind map with others
  • Mind Map Presentation
  • Templates
  • Add Images, Video and more
  • History Mode
  • Import and Export

Scapple

I personally haven’t had much experience with this, but from what I see, it’s similar to MindMeister. It give you what you need to get your ideas out and connect them in a way that suites your needs and the needs of your book. The best thing for those of you that use Scrivener – you can connect your notes to Scrivener! Awesome!

 

Features:

  • Write notes anywhere
  • Connect notes using drag and drop
  • Completely freeform
  • Stack notes in columns of related ideas
  • Create background shapes to group notes
  • Customize the appearance of notes
  • Move and arrange notes easily
  • Full Screen Mode
  • Export or Print your ideas
  • Drag Notes into Scrivener!

Productivity/Focus

Focus

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

Writers and authors are always trying to find more focus while working to get their next story complete. It’s the way it’s been for years, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you can find that focus to get the most out of your productivity, then you would be set, right?

I have a whole post on focus, which you can find Here! How to minimize distractions and regain focus to get things done.

For me, I’ve tried to use productivity apps and other things to stay with my deadlines, but I haven’t found the one for me. What works for me, and I cannot stress this enough, (obviously) is the creativity of 4thewords.com. If you haven’t tried this site, I dare you to try it. I’ll even give you my code for a free month to try it out: OSUBW81786

Another app I’ve heard of are Write or Die, but I can’t see myself using this because I would be devastated if my words started disappearing if I couldn’t meet my goal. It’s terrifying really, but if it works for you, by all means, use it!

More apps are:

There are so many more apps if you put in a search for productivity apps, I can’t tell you what to choose. You’ll have to try them and decided what works best for you.

Organization

These are also Productivity apps, but I’ve placed them here because they are also great tools to keep everything organized and together. A place where everything is there, in that one place for you to find quickly and easily.

Trello

Yep, you knew I was going to say that. Trello is a great tool to keep all your things organized and in one place. With board, cards, and the ability to attach anything to those cards, it’s an easy way to keep things separated that need separated and those that need grouping in their prospective areas.

It’s great for keeping track of multiple aspects of your writing. You could have one board for world building, one for characters, one for settings, images or you could use one board and use separate lists and cards to keep things in one place.

You choose how you want to organize it. That and you can also use it for personal, business, or daily routines or tasks.

Scrivener

As far as organizing your book and only your book, Scrivener is the place I go too. I love that I can keep my scenes, chapters, research and can add any documents and even websites as references right within the program. It’s fantastic!

Storage (Electronic/Harddrive/USB)

Want a way to keep your thoughts and ideas organized in a way that you can take it with you or keep it on your desktop? Try Dropbox, iCloud, or Google Docx/Drive for electronic storage. If you are the kind that likes backups for backups, you could keep files directly on your computer or on a USB drive.

Putting my drafts on a USB is something I’ve thought to do, but haven’t done yet. I’ve lost copies and versions that I know I’ve changed, but can’t find the draft I changed. Any one else have a problem like that?

Reference

References

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Every author/writer has their list of references in their toolbox. There are a few that I turn to that I always head to when I need information.

Searches

When I need information on a specific topic there are two places I head too and I bet you can guess where those places are. Yep, you guessed them, Pinterest and Google. These two places are a wealth of information. Yeah, you chance that what you’re finding isn’t true, but it came from the internet so it must be, right?

Just kidding! Even with all the lies out there, it’s the job of the writer to research multiple avenues and discover the truth. We are like journalist in that fashion.

Dictionary

There is always that one word your brain just can’t seem to remember the definition for and it happens more frequently than you might think or notice. That’s why having a dictionary handy, so you can look up that infernal word and find out if you’re using the darn thing right.

Thesaurus

Like the dictionary writers run into what I like to call their ‘favorite’ word. It’s that one word they use over and over again within their manuscript. You know which word that is and a thesaurus is a great tool to diversify your vocabulary so you’re not repeating or becoming redundant.

Editing/Revising/Proofreading

Editing

Image by Anne Karakash from Pixabay

So, you’ve finished your manuscript and are now ready to move onto the next step, editing your work. I gotta tell ya, this is the part I absolutely hate, but it’s a necessary evil. Here are some tools you can use to make the process easier.

ProWritingAid

This program is great for finding errors in your writing. It will also help with style, errors, finding the right words, and punctuation. For a full list of features, click Here.  It’s been a great help to me (when I don’t lose my current copy of my project) and it could be what you’ve been looking for.

Beta Readers

These are people who will read your story for the soul purpose of giving you feedback on your writing. As much as you may hate to hear what others have to say about it, it’s necessary to take their suggestions into consideration. These are those who represent your readers, and you want your story to resonate with them. You definitely don’t have to take every suggestion, it is your story after all, but just consider it. Don’t ever take their words in a negative way. It’s hard to take criticism and trust me, that is something I need to work on myself.

Editor

Another ‘tool’ that will help is an editor and a good one. You want to do your research for this one. An editor is an invaluable part of your editing process. They catch what your beta readers didn’t and can give you advice on how to improve your manuscript.

Other Apps

Though I haven’t personally worked with any of these apps, they are worth mentioning because I’ve seen and heard others who recommend them highly to others. Take a look and see if any fit your and your writing style.

Publishing

Publishing

Image by MorningbirdPhoto from Pixabay

When you’ve gone through your manuscript, had other eyes on it, revised it and it’s the best it can be. Double check you have the right copy, trust me the last thing you want to do is publish the wrong draft of your story. Been there, done that, it’s not pretty. Here are some places to consider publishing or at least the two that I use.

Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing)

Well, I bet you were going to guess this one, but they are the biggest retail site out there and one of the easiest to publish your book too. They provide everything you need to get your book out to the world including formatting to ebook and paperback and helping with cover design. You can check them out Here.

Draft 2 Digital

With Draft2Digital, you are able to enter all your information once and publish to multiple stores, which now includes Amazon. They’ve also created an easy way to list your books and share them with the world on social media. If you haven’t taken a look, you can Here. You won’t be sorry!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many, many  tools for the writer/author to utilize and there are many more that I haven’t listed. Take what you like from here and use what fits you, leave what doesn’t.

From one aspiring author to you, I wish you the best of luck on your journey. Keep at it, don’t stop, forge ahead and succeed!

 

Focus

Focus

Nothing gets me more irritated then when I can’t focus on what needs to get done. So, what really is focus and how to you keep ahold of it or get it back when you lose it? Let’s get right to it.

Word Focus

Dictionary.com

Wiki

  • A point at which reflected or refracted rays of light converge.
  • A point of a conic at which rays reflected from a curve or surface converge.
  • The fact of the convergence of light on the photographic medium.
  • The quality of the convergence of light on the photographic medium.
  • Concentration of attention.
  • The exact point of where an earthquake occurs, in three dimensions (underneath the epicentre).
  • The indicator of the currently active element in a user interface.
  • Most important word or phrase in a sentence or passage, or the one that imparts information.

What is Focus and Why you need it?

Eyes

We are going to focus on the ‘concentration of attention‘ meaning of the word. This is the act of concentrating your attention on any one thing. In order to focus on that one thing you must put aside the other things vying for your attention and keep trained on that one thing.

There are times when you need to get a project complete, research done, or that nagging chapter you need to finish; this is where focus is going to get you through to that last step (or to the next one). There are always times you want to stop, take a break, or quit all together. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely times where you NEED that break, but don’t let it take hold so much that you forget why you’re trying to focus and continue in the first place. Take that break, but Keep Going, you can do it!

How to find/be focused

Cameras

Although, your mind is capable of focusing on more than one thing at a time; I mean, come on, who doesn’t love multitasking. The only problem with that is your split mind is trying to concentrate on too many things at once and you’re not getting as much as you could be getting done, complete. You need to focus on one task, goal, etc at a time in order for your focus to really work as it should.

So, in order to find focus you should concentrate on one thing at a time. The trick to it, is that you don’t move onto anything else until that one goal or task is achieved. You may want to spread your thoughts and move to more projects, but when your focus is split, it’s hard to get multiple things done.

Ways to Focus

Focus Tunnel

  • Stop Procrastinating – Get to that thing you’ve been putting off.
  • Turn off Notifications – Better yet, put the electronics in the other room so you won’t hear the phone ring or notifications from your favorite game.
  • Create a list – Stick to the most important first. – Commit to one thing at a time
  • Create Deadlines – What motivates better than having a deadline?
  • Make the Choice – You have to make the choice to focus on what, when.
  • Keep Calm and Forge On – Keep going, Forge ahead to the next goal.
  • Minimize the Noise  – As much as you can
  • Create a Plan – Stick to it.
  • Don’t compare Yourself to Others – only you know how you can do better.
  • Create a Reward System – who doesn’t like rewards for doing well?!
  • Work on Full Screen – To minimize distractions
  • Create a Routine
  • Measure Your Progress – See where you’ve come and where you want to go.
  • Enjoy the Process – Love what you do!
  • Embrace Failure – It’s going to happen, learn from it and Forge On!

Final Thoughts

So, now that you have some ways to focus in your toolbox, go and get back into the rhythm and harmony you were once at. And don’t forget to love what you do, because there is no greater feeling than rising every morning to do what you love doing the most.

Featured Organizing

Organizing Your Novel

Everyone has their own processes and systems to keep things organized and together as they write, but what if you’re just starting or are in need of a fresh start with your organizing? Keep reading and you’ll find some ideas I’ve dug up for you because, well, I’m in the same boat.

Let’s take a look at what I’ve found…

Electronic Organization

I’ve found that quite a few have used an electronic system for keeping their stories organized. Let’s dive in and look as what others are doing.

Trello

With Trello you have different boards, cards, lists and more, it’s no wonder many turn to Trello for their organizing needs.

You can create different boards for every aspect of your writing, from settings to characters to world building. You can even have a board for personal, homeschool, work, or whatever you need. It’s quite amazing how you can organize your thoughts, events, projects and more within Trello.

Trello

The best thing is that you can do this in any fashion you wish. If you want each book to be a board, you can. If you want each aspect to have its own board, you can. It’s really up to you how you organize and work the program to benefit you as a writer.

It’s also great for planning and keeping track of blog posts, social media, and any other project you have. As in the image above, you get a glimpse of my week at a glance.

Some Features:

  • Project Boards
  • Tasks Cards
  • Subtasks Checklists
  • Task Assignees—Give tasks a clear owner, so everyone knows who’s responsible.
  • Column Titles
  • Due Dates
  • Due Times
  • Add Attachments
  • Comments
  • Drag and Drop Workflow
  • Collaborate
  • Add Power-Ups 
  • iOS and Android Apps
  • Syncs Between Devices
  • And More

To see more features and pricing, click Here or Here.

Evernote

Here is one I haven’t used in years. I actually hated this program with a passion and I couldn’t tell you now why it was that way, but while researching this topic I found that a lot of people really enjoy using it.

You are able to create different binders with which you can add notes for each aspect of your story from characters, settings, checklists, etc.

Evernote Organization

I tried it, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to add a note without duplicating another. I would have to toy with it longer than a few moments to figure out how to use the newer features since the last time I toyed with it, but I can see how this could be a good program to use for your writing.

Using it as a binder, you can add sub-binders and notes to keep all your notes together. Like Trello, you can add images, clips from the web, sync between devices and more. Check it out to see if it would be something that could help you.

Some Features:

  • Save
  • Organize
  • Sync Text, Images, And Clips From The Web
  • Search Notes
  • Clip Material From The Web
  • Annotate Uploaded Documents and Images
  • Collaborate With Others
  • Chat With Teammates (Requires Business Account)
  • Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and Web Apps 

To see more features and pricing, click Here.

Asana

Asana is similar to Trello in that it is a simpler version. You don’t have as much micro managing as with Trello or Evernote, but you can create different teams which have separate lists for each item, but it could be helpful for separating aspects into To-Do lists or even note lists. You can add attachments to each card and move them around as you please.

Asana

Use them as a checklist for each area of your writing and you are able to have teammates and assign tasks (Like with Trello or Evernote), you just need to decide which is perfect for you.

Some Features:

  • Projects
  • Tasks
  • Subtasks.
  • Task Assignees
  • Sections
  • Due Dates
  • Due Times
  • Start Dates
  • Attachments
  • Likes
  • Tasks in Multiple Projects

To see more features and pricing, click Here.

Scrivener

I use this program the most for my writing and to keep things organized. I love that there are pre-created sections for each thing, along with preloaded templates for your use. You can add your notes, images, etc to each section or note for use later.

Scrivener

To be honest, I never thought of this as a way to plan your novel until I began thinking hard about it. It has everything you need to keep your thoughts, images, notes, etc in one place. You can connect websites to refer back to without even leaving the program. The only it may not contain is a calendar for scheduling, but you can even create a folder for marketing, promotion, blog posts, social media, and anything else you want related to the project. It would be all in one place with your writing and it’s available to sync between devices, which is awesome!

More Features:

  • Binders
  • Subsections
  • Text Editor
  • Styles
  • Import
  • Corkboard
  • Outliner
  • Templates and Icons
  • Screenwriting
  • Tools for Non-Fiction
  • View Documents Side by Side
  • Full Screen Writing
  • Set Targets and Track Progress
  • Metadata
  • Collections
  • Choose Your Tools 
  • Print/Export/Publish
  • Snapshots
  • Autosave and backups
  • Write Anywhere

To see more features and pricing, click Here.

Paper Organization

You always have the option to go back to paper and pen/pencil, but what do you use to organize your ideas, thoughts, and other aspects of your writing? Let’s take a look below to find out.

Binders

Binders are helpful for organizing your thoughts. You would write everything out by hand and organize it in whichever way that suits you. Within the binder you could have tabs and folders to hold anything that reminds you of your story, separating different sections and areas of your writing to create the perfect system for you.

Binder

Each tab could correspond with an aspect of your story with notes on each one for you to refer to as you write. You could use the folders as a way to keep the physical things you collect pertaining to your story. Perhaps you’ve collected shells because your story takes place on a beach or buttons because your character collects them.

Notebooks/Folders

Organizing Folders

As with binders, you can have separate spirals for each aspect of your writing or you can use one for each novel/series. They make some handy tab stickers for your use to separate each section and if you were using folders, you could fill them with whatever you need for each area along with using a filing cabinet to keep them all organized.

Storyboard/Post-its/Marker Board

Post-it organizing

I’ve seen and heard of others who lay out their novels in a storyboard type way. They clear a spot on their wall and start adding post-its for each aspect. They’ll use different colors for characters, plots, subplots, etc. and I can see how this would work as a great visual. You could even take a picture of it to refer to when you are away from your desk.

If you’re the electronic type, I’ve seen some apps that will let you organize post-its in the same way, so you can use both ways if the desire suits you.

Hybrid

The hybrid version is to use a bit of both electronic and paper versions. Perhaps you like the organization of the binder to keep things together, but want a way to take notes on the go. You could use your notes app on your phone to keep notes or the post-it app for ideas that come to you while you’re away from your home and then put the into your system when you return.

You can search your device for the right app for you. Everyone works differently and as one will work well to one person, it may not work for another. Here is where you need to try different things to see what fits you and your style best.

Don’t Forget to Save Your Work

There are times when you need a reminder to save your work in multiple places. The nice thing about scrivener is that it save each draft as a new file. Unfortunately, unless you know where the one you’re searching for is or you rename them each time, there is still a chance you could lose it somewhere. So here are some ways to save your all important story ideas to keep from losing anything in the future.

  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox
  • OneDrive
  • ICloud
  • USB Drive/Other External Memory Device
  • Print
  • Amazon S3

What other ways do you save your work? Inquiring minds want to know!

If you have another way of keeping your stories in line and together, let us know in the comments! 

Update

Progress Update

As I like to do every quarter, I like to tell you how I’ve been progressing with each of the things I had planned to get done this year. It keeps me focused and provide me with accountability when I’ve got others who are seeing what I’m doing and how I’m progressing through each item. How are you doing so far this year? I’d love to hear how you’re progressing on your goals.

Let’s get to it…

Books

Series

I’ve had betas go through my first story and let me tell you, I was not expecting the responses that I got. It’s hard to see, but a necessary evil. I can tell you I felt so deflated by what I saw that I haven’t written a word since. I made it though a few chapters, but knowing that my story had so much that needed fixing created this deep whole in me that I decided to take a break from editing to clear my head. Yes, it’s part of the process and yes, I realize that they are going to see things that, no matter how many times I read through the thing, I will keep skipping over because I know my story. There have actually been a few who stopped reading it because of how much work it needed.

I’ve run it through an editing software and re-read it several times. I feel like there was some sort of mistake and they received an earlier copy of my manuscript, but I can’t seem to find my most recent one. As I read through, I know I changed a few things that are still in the copy I’ve sent out. I know now that this is going to take me longer than I intended since I now have to go though my manuscript once again, but I will not give up. I’m too invested in these characters to see them set aside. You have know idea what they’ve put me through! It may take me longer, and I may be taking a break, but I will get back into it and they will be re-launched.

Books

Stand Alone/Possible Series

With my stand alone and next possible series, you’ve probably guessed they are put on hold until I can get my head on straight and get through the edits for Raylynn’s story. I’ve completed both the stand alone and the possible book 1 of another series, but have put them aside for now to focus on getting my head through edits for my conquer series. Those of you who can write and produce these things within a few months, I commend you! How you do it, I have no idea, but I hope to get my series back up and out relatively soon after coming back into editing.

To Be Read

I guess my down time had caused me to not read either. I’ve recently gotten back into my reading list and I feel good about that. Besides, how are you going to find inspiration without reading and learning from those before you? Right?

Short Stories

As with everything else, this came to a screeching halt as well. Though I have plenty of material in mind to use for this. I just couldn’t get into writing these past few weeks in order to get anything remotely close to a story down. It’s still there, still in the plans and I hope to get back on track as the warmer weather revives my frozen limbs. Yes, I hate the cold and are more productive when the sun is shining and the weather is warm.

Beta Readers/Arc readers

You have no idea how grateful I am for those of the readers that made it all the way or even part of the way through my story. I realize now just how hard it was to get through and I also understand why those of you who didn’t finish. I will be doing some major work on this series and hope I’ll be able to get a few others to read through it once I’ve fixed all the mistakes I’ve made.

Reading

Editor

You guessed it. I haven’t even looked for an editor since receiving my manuscript back from betas. It’s not even remotely close to being ready for an editor to look at. Until it’s ready, I’ll be putting this on hold as well. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and re-evaluate things to be sure you’re producing a valuable product for your readers.

Edit

Communication

Blog

Here is one area I’ve kept up with and I’m moving forward on. Every week I’ve produced a post for your reading pleasure on inspiration and writing. I’ll continue to do so as the weeks go by.

Have a word or writing topic you would like me to write about? Go ahead and leave me a comment and I’ll add it to my list! Tell me what you would like to see here!

Communication

Connections

I am still posting daily to my social media and I’ve gained some momentum here. I still have plans to provide more so if you have any questions, things you’d like to see, or whatever else comes to mind, let me know and maybe I’ll post something. If you would like to see what I’m up to, go ahead and visit my sites! Facebook Twitter Instagram Patreon

I love connecting with others so let me know what you’d like to see and I’ll do what I can get you a peak into my life as a writer!

Business

New Products

As I mentioned in my plans, I’ve been thinking of expanding my business to more than just novels. I would like to provide items that would be fun and helpful for writers and readers alike.

I have some digital products in mind as well as physical products. I’ve got some in mind and a few that are in the works. I’ll be doing an extra blog post on those as they become available. If you want to be notified when all that is happening, you can sign up for my newsletter HERE!

Business Products

Video

Unfortunately, this is still in the works and I’m hoping to get it up and running with regular videos as soon as possible. I plan to have it going by the end of March.

I know some like video better than reading a blog, so I would like to provide more ways to connect with you as readers than just written words. Again, I’ll let you know when that becomes available!

Other Items

Educational

Every year I try to complete a few education classes, courses, books that will help me to improve my writing and skills. I’ve been reading and researching to no end. My ‘Must Reads’ board on Pinterest if full of things to look at.

Guitar

Art/Music

Now that I’ve taken some time to myself my goal is to draw and play my guitars more. I may not be doing these things as much as I wanted, but I’m making some time and that’s progress in itself.

Final Thoughts

Now, I know this post is not very upbeat, but there are always going to be some down points and this is one of those for me. I’ll get back up and flowing, don’t worry. How are you doing with your goals this year? Let me know in the comments. Are you struggling with something as I am or are you plowing along, full steam ahead?

Spring Break

(Spring) BREAK

March and April bring a whole new perspective to the word ‘break’. As the days wear on and things are now becoming mundane and ordinary we feel underwhelmed (or overwhelmed), uninspired, and are in need for the chance to refresh our minds and bodies. To calm the raging monster within that’s telling you it’s time to take a break from life and just relax and rejuvenate your soul.

Why You Need A Break and Why They Matter

  working hard
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Image by rawpixel on Pixabay
There are times when your mind and body are no longer in sync with each other, when you may be just going from day to day, doing the same things. You’re not as excited for the things you used to get pumped about and in order to get that exhilarating feeling back, you need to relax and let go of the things that are attacking you at the moment. You need to let them slide away to leave you with a clear mind. You and your body need rest and relaxation to refresh not only yourself but your mind as well. Running on like the energizer bunny is only going to create a cranky, irritated soul with resentment and overwhelm. As with sleeping, you and your body need time to just do nothing for very little; to do something that doesn’t take a lot of thinking and something you consider fun. Not only do you need to relax, you need to preoccupy your mind with things that don’t relate with work, the house, or anything else you normally stress over.

Signs It’s Time to Take a Break

Other than just feeling like you need a break, there are signs that tell you it’s time to step away and get some much needed R&R. Frustration
                                                                                                                                                                                          Image by punttim on Pixabay

Overwhelmed

One of the first ones, is the feeling of overwhelm. Perhaps you are trusted to do more at work, but you also have to worry about the house, the kids, and anything else that comes along that needs your attention. And although you may have a system down to take care of each item, you feel like you’re falling apart. Trust me, I have had that feeling. One minute you’re rolling along a smooth road, everything is getting done and you’re getting ahead, then something comes along and now your road is bumpy. Everything is starting to pile up and your sense of accomplishment is now a sense of dread.

Tired/Insomnia/Irritable

As with overwhelm, that smooth road brought excitement, accomplishment, and the strength to keep moving forward, but that bump you hit (who knows what that was back there) is now bringing you every other bump you would have not otherwise noticed. With all the bumps and divots, you are now feeling tired all the time. You’re no longer sleeping well and you dread getting up in the morning to even do basic things. Things begin to irritate you, those tiny things that should be brushed off as natural habits or actions are now getting on your nerves to the point you may be snapping at those you care about. That is not the way you want to live your life, right?

No Motivation/Ambition/Unfocused

That speed racer that was forging ahead at full steam, is now searching for any reason to not continue with what has to get done. Your motivation, ambition and focus to complete tasks and get ahead seems so far away that you’ll never catch up with the trailing rope behind the train of tasks. Your mind is wandering to all the things around you, rather than those that are right in front of you, and your attention is taken up by all the little things that could be put off for another day. What once felt like an easy ride has now turned into one of struggle and a fleeting grasp at the rope. One you may not have the strength to pull yourself back up to the train.

Mistakes/Regret

When you’ve run yourself to the point where you are making small mistakes all the time, ones that you regret, but can’t really control. (You could if you weren’t suffering, but when things reach this point, it’s nearly impossible to control.) That’s when you know you need to take a break. Speaking from experience, I’ve been so overwhelmed, tired and unmotivated that I began making small mistakes that just added to the pile that was growing, which caused more mistakes, more regret and a lot of frustration. Continuing as I was, was not an option. I needed a break!

Health Concerns

This could just be eating more of your favorite junk food, or maybe you skip a meal because you’re just not hungry. Perhaps you pick up a bad habit, like smoking or drinking to make yourself feel better or to take the ‘edge’ off. (That is not going to help, trust me and it may cause further health problems) When you start making bad health choices like eating a lot or nothing at all, you refuse to get even a walk in and your body is reacting to the stress in unusual ways; that’s when you know there is something wrong and you NEED a break. If you get this far, I urge you to take a really hard look at what you are doing and fix it. This is not where you want to be, trust me. Yes, I’m speaking from experience. I was so overwhelmed, letting everything get to me that I barely ate anything for weeks and ended up in the hospital because my body was reacting to no nourishment. I knew I needed a break and it resulted in me leaving my job. Now, I don’t suggest you leave your job, but for me it was the right decision. When your health is declining, you need to take a moment and think about whether you just need a break or you need to leave in order to get better.  

Ways to Take a Break

The first thing you need to do is decide if you are in need a shorter or longer break. That is something you need to decide, I can’t tell you which you should choose. You should have in inkling of which you should do. Break
                                                                                                                                                                                           Image by jplenio on Pixabay
Now let me list all the ways…

_____cations

These are all the, you know, vacation types. Vacation. Staycation. Play-cation. Whether you need to get away, you want to stay in the area or at home, or if you want to do something to have fun. Do what you deem best.

Relax

Create a list of all the things you find relaxing and do them all. Take a bath, read a good book, take a nap, walk in nature, listen to soothing music, you get the picture here. Whatever you find relaxing, go for it.

Activity

Though you may not find it relaxing, there are those of us who need to move or do something. Find a way to expend the energy that is still relaxing, like taking a hike, playing a board game, fly a kite or even coloring with crayons! I love to color with my kids! That is something that is relaxing for me.

Motionless

Here is where you will sit still or hardly move, but I promise you’ll still find it relaxing. Try star gazing, watching the clouds, or even meditating or getting a massage. You never know how relaxed you’ll feel after watching the clouds as the roll by.

No Electronics

I know, I know, your whole life is on that device, but we are trying to get you to not stress and to relax. Those notifications can live without you for a short time. If you let those around you know that you’re going to be unavailable for a time, they should get along fine without you. Turn them off and find out just how much quiet and relaxation you can enjoy.

Events

Going to events or attractions can be relaxing as well. Places like the aquarium, the zoo, farmer’s market and museums can bring you peace while learning and seeing something new or what you haven’t seen in a long time.

Final Thoughts

Everyone looks forward to spring break, but have you thought about what you NEED and what kind of break you should take? If you’re like me and need some much needed R&R, try some of the things from this list. May you find peace and relaxation when you need it most. Know of any other ways to relax and rejuvenate your mind and body? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear them! 
Relationships

Real Relationships

In a previous post, we talked about fictional relationships, so I thought we could touch on real relationships as well. Relationships are everywhere within your short life, so much so, that you may not realize you even have some. As you go about your day, you’re creating them, nurturing them, building them up and in some cases breaking them down or losing them. The relationships you have with others are what make us who we are. It’s what connects us to those around us.

Types of Relationships

As you go throughout your day, you connect with people on many levels and in different ways. Each unique in its own way. Let’s take a look at a few.

Romantic

Those of a deeper level than any other; this is where trust, love, and commitment are at their highest (or at least it should be.) Relationships in this category are those that are built on respect, and evolve as each grows within the relationship. They cherish each other and build each other up as they grow beside one another.

Romantic relationships should be nurtured. You as a couple should talk about what you want out of the relationship and what each expects of each other. You both have differences and believe me, those differences are going to clash, but talking things out before or early within the relationship will help you get an understanding of what each other feels is important in your relationship and as an individual.

Family

Family

This relationship is on a level just as deep as the above, but in a different way. There is still trust, love, and commitment to each other within this relationship. Your family is there for you no matter what. The dedication to each other through anything even when angry, upset or holding a stupid grudge. If you need something, they will be the first to respond without question.

This is a bond built on years of parent/sibling dedication, support, and so much more. Nothing should come between you and those within your family.

Friends

Friends

Next in line is the connection we have to those we spend our free time with. We talk with them about things going on and trust their advice. They may be the first we go to for help, and our real friends are like family.

They’ll drop everything to help when the need arrises, support you when you need it and give you the truth, even when it hurts. Thats why we love them so much.

Work

Work/Business

In this category are those that we work with. Now some may be friends and you’ll spend time with them outside of the work arena, but most are those you see only when you work and nothing more.

You get along with some, but not others and this relationship is there to benefit both since neither wants to lose their job because of something ridiculous. You tough out the bad days and enjoy the good ones. (Unless they drive you to leave, then you get to start new work relationships!)

Acquaintances

Those you see occasionally, such as the store clerk that scans your groceries or church members. Of course some of these could also become friends, but you get what I mean.

These are those you see occasionally and don’t usually spend a lot of time with. Once or twice a week you gather and only because you have another reason for being around them.

You’re polite and nice, and when the event is over, everyone goes their separate ways.

Run-ins

Run-Ins

Now here is something you may not realize, but these are those that you have the smallest amount of contact with. Those you walk by on the streets, but may not even talk to.

Yes, your relationship with them may be short lived, but it’s a relationship none-the-less and can impact them or they can impact you in a monumental way. Remember a smile or a helping hand can go a long way!

What Makes a Great Relationship

Great relationships, no matter what type, take time and energy to keep functioning as they should. Below is a list of qualities needed to make a relationship great.

This is in no way all of the items we need, but they are the more important ones (in no particular order).

Commitment

In any relationship, a commitment is made to provide certain attributes of yourself. You dedicate your time, your skills, jokes, or anything else that will create a deeper connection to the ones you are in a relationship with.

This goes both ways, it’s something we expect as humans from those in a relationship with us as well as us with them.

Compromise

Compromise

Though each involved should compromise when ideas aren’t the same. You should also find a way to work out how each of you can do the things you love to do.

You shouldn’t have to give up those activities you love to please someone else. They should be happy you’re doing what you love as you should be happy they are doing what they love.

This goes for things around the house as well or any other aspect that needs to be discussed. Divide those chores to create a well oiled mechanism or project your working on with your friends.

Whatever it is, remember to work together. Relationships are centered around teamwork. It’s a good thing we all learned that at a young age, right?

Forgive

Forgiveness

Learn to forgive. Whether the things your forgiving is a bump against a stranger on the street or something larger by someone closer (insert imagination here).

Learn to forgive others of their mistakes as we all make them. No one is perfect and we shouldn’t expect those we are in a relationship to be something we ourselves cannot be.

Effort

Effort

Yep, you knew I was going to put this in here, because it’s true. If each person within the relationship doesn’t put in the effort to create the best relationship for all, then the relationship will falter and fail.

I know some who are never happy unless everyone else in the group is happy and that is not what I’m talking about. Each must put in the effort to create a relationship where everyone is happy and no one feels they have to outdo the others to create a welcoming and fun atmosphere.

Understand

Understanding

This one is something that a lot of people need to learn. I’ve seen in some relationships where understanding is almost non-existent. (or perhaps those are all the stories I read, oh well, it happens, so let’s continue) While you expect certain things from the other(s) within your relationship, they also expect certain things from you.

One of those things it to be understanding. To be understanding of their feelings, their likes and dislikes, their hobbies and their daily routines. If you can’t understand them on a deeper level, you’re going to have a hard time keeping your relationship where it needs to be.

RespectRespect

One of the most important qualities of a relationship is respect. There is no greater gift than that of respect. Even if it’s with someone you just met, respect can go a long way.

There’s really no more to say than that.

Evolve

Evolves

With all things, you and your relationships will grow and evolve. As it changes you and those within your relationship will need to change with it. If you can’t do that, it will become very hard to keep your relationships as they are.

Everyone changes and grows and your relationships are no exception. Work with the changes and everything will go just fine.

Final Thoughts

Even though it takes a lot to create, keep and grow relationships. It’s one of the most rewarding things you could ever do.

Affection

Affection like love is another word that is associated with this time of month, though I believe the two to be very different. But before we get into the details of that let’s get our definitions in.

Wiki

  • The act of affecting or acting upon
  • The state of being affected
  • An attribution; a quality or property; a condition
  • An emotion; a feeling or natural impulse acting upon & swaying the mind

Dictionary

  • A gentle feeling of fondness or liking
  • The act or process of affecting or being affected

Differences

Affection in all its wonder is sometimes, if not all of the time used interchangeably with love. Though they do have similarities and are closely related, they are not and should not be used in the same way.

Love is a strong feeling toward another with different levels or types of love being expressed at any given time. It’s the feeling you have for your significant other, your children or even your best friend or other acquaintances.

Affection, however, involves the little things. Those little details that tell another how much, or if you care at all. The actions and gestures that go along with those feelings. That is the difference between love and affection.

Benefits

Now, I’ve heard that there are benefits to expressing affection and receiving it as well. I won’t go into major details, but I found this fascinating. You can read more here.

Showing affection toward others has shown benefits, not just in making you feel good, but it can also lower stress hormones, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and provide a stronger immune system.

This can also happen when chemicals release in your body as you express these through actions, not just when you feel them as you receive the affection.

Expressing Affection

Now, let’s talk about how you can express affection. As I mentioned earlier affection is all those tiny details you probably never or hardly ever notice you’re doing, but I encourage you to notice them the next time you are showing someone your affection. Showing your affection to another provides the feeling of intimacy, security, that they’re significant and shows a sign of respect depending on how the affection is being delivered and expressed.

The Small

small touches of affection

Affection can be expressed by the small touches, or even glances you give someone. A hug, a kiss, holding hands, a loving glance, an arm around the waist, a touch on the shoulder, a soft touch or even an occasional gift can show your affection to another.

The Large

What about those larger gestures, like passionate kisses that last, making out or even the friendly high five or shout of encouragement? Theses are also ways you can show affection and support of another person. It’s like showing in a story instead of telling. You show how you feel by what you do and the actions you take.

Platonic Gestures

Even things you wouldn’t think would show affection, do. Carrying things for another, opening a door, even doing things around the house for someone can show affection, like cooking, cleaning or doing laundry. Now I’m not telling you to go to your friends house and start doing their laundry (unless you really are that kind of friend), but think about those things you do for another that wasn’t asked or was just done to show you care.

Speech

Another way you can show affection is by the words you say, and how you say them. Yes, saying ‘I love you’ is affectionate especially if it’s given in a romantic whisper, but have you thought to send a message, even one saying ‘Hey, how are you doing today?’

The smallest note scribbled on a post-it can have the same reaction as an elaborate card with large letters. The person you’re leaving the note for or even receiving a text or email will show your emotional connection to the person receiving the small gesture.

Final Thoughts

So, when you think of affection, what types of things do you do to show your affection for others?

Newly Implemented For 2019

With the start of the new year, and as many do, I’ve decided to implement some new items to my morning and my daily routine. These tools are helping me to keep my life and business organized. So far it’s working great. Maybe not as well when I travel, but it’s working great none-the-less. So, let’s talk about these new tools and daily routine that help me to get things done timely and efficiently. Who knows, they could help you too!

Tools

Everyone has tools they love and those they don’t. I’ve been using some for the last few years and tried others, with little success. This year, I decided to plan ahead and get things ready for working throughout the year. Here is what I’ve found so far. 

Asana

 

Implemented checklist

This is one that I began using a few years ago and I enjoyed using it. I like the checklist aspect of it and the way I could put my lists in categories, but it wasn’t personable. I would enjoy customizing them so I’m encouraged as I look at the lists, having images to look at for motivation. If you enjoy the benefits of multiple lists for organization, then this is the app for you. I may still use it for a running to do for our home, but I’ve decided to try something new this year, which leads me to my next tool… 

Trello

Implemented Schedule

I’ve heard a lot about Trello throughout last year and I did try it out, but actually hated it. I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to organize things or how to use it well enough at the time to fully enjoy this program. So, at the end of last year I went through tutorials and set up the program as I felt it would help with my life and my business. Using it these last few weeks has been fantastic. I know what I’m doing, what needs to be done and where I am with my projects to keep things going smoothly. That and I can add images, documents, or whatever else I feel I need to keep myself motivated and on track!

Planner

Implemented Planner

This is where I struggled the most. There are so many planners out there, it’s hard to find one that would fit me and what I wanted to accomplish throughout the year. If I took it with me, I wanted to have everything I needed with me and in one place. That, I couldn’t find, so I created one. This planner has all the information I feel I need whether I’m at home working or on the road. It’s taken me a year and a half to get it to where it is now and I’m happy with how it’s turned out. It has a section for business, books, personal, daily, blog, newsletters, and more. 

This been a fun project to complete and one that saves me from losing my mind while away from my home or at my desk when I need a piece of information, like brand (hex) colors, font names, character traits or a review of my plot. It’s always near me and I love it! 

Daily Routine

I’ve started a new daily routine that includes getting my mind in the right place for writing and getting things done in a reasonably easy fashion. Of course, I’m still working out the kinks, especially when I’m away from home. That seems to be when things get a bit out of hand, but I’m working on that. 

Creative Writing

Complete the Story Prompts

While out with my sister a few months ago, I purchased a book called “Complete the Story”, which contains a prompt on each page for you to finish. I’ve decided that I would complete one each day as part of my daily routine to get my creative flow moving and to get down new ideas for stories at the same time. What could be better than that? So far, I’ve stuck to that plan and have so many new ideas from these small prompts. Not to mention a book to keep then in. 😉

Posts

I’ve continued to post on social media daily and have a schedule of the categories I post from, but I would love to get down exactly what I would like to post as it relates to writing and inspiration. As of right now, things are going well and I’m really happy with my progress. I’ve also been posting regularly to my Patreon Page, which contains things you won’t find anywhere else! Head Here to check it out!!

Checklist

With Trello now working in my favor, I’ve got everything that I need to work through my business, books and products I plan to have go out this year. I’m ahead of schedule and that is a fantastic feeling. Even though I have a planner, I still have everything with me in Trello incase I don’t have my planner with me. It’s a win-win!

Checklist

Another thing I have that I didn’t before is a “Catch all” or a small notebook to catch all the things that come to mind that would otherwise distract me. I put them in that spiral and when I’m done with all the other things that need attention, that’s when I’ll look at that list to see what else needs to be taken care of. It’s written down and out of mind so I can concentrate on what needs to be done instead of worrying about things that aren’t as important. 

I can still get things done and have a list where I can find the things I wanted to remember for later, it’s great!

Exercise

Exercise

Another area I’m working to do better at. Being a writer, I don’t get up and move as much as I should. So, I’ve scheduled time to exercise and since I like boxing, that is what I’ve been getting into. I was lucky enough to get a Nintendo Switch for Christmas! (Yeah, I know. I’m a gamer.) Anyway, my husband was nice enough to order Fitness Boxing on the Nintendo Switch for me to get back into the rhythm of exercising and so far it’s going well and I’m enjoying it. Who knew you could exercise and play a game at the same time! Well, I did, but it’s fun and I love it!!

School

school

As most of you know, I homeschool my children and although they do some things on their own, there is still quite a bit they need direction in. Even though my day is filled with school and work, but I wouldn’t trade if for the world. So far I’ve been using Homeschool Teacher/Student for their school schedule and grading, but there are things about it that still bother me. I look every so often, but haven’t found anything else I’m willing to put money into to take the place of it. We’ll continue until I do find something better. 

School takes up a good portion of the day, and there are some days where it feels like it’s taking forever to get through one subject, but we are working through it and are doing well. Know of any apps that would help with schedules, grading, etc. I’d love to hear about them!! 

Other

ahead

Here is where I try to get ahead or work on my running list of things that I wrote down to work on. Then I spend time with my kids playing games, or watching movies. I always make some time to spend with my children at night doing something fun after dinner. It’s a way we can connect better and do something we all like to do. What do you do with our family? Do you make time to spend with then each night/day? 

Final Thoughts

There are areas where I still need to work out kinks, but things are looking good so far and I’m happy with my progress. What does your day look like? Have you added or changed from your daily routine this year to make things easier? What apps are you using to organize your life and/or business? Let us know in the comments. 

Plans for 2019

Plans for 2019

As I do every year, I like to tell you what I plan to get done during the next year. You can do the same below. I would love to see what your plans are and we can encourage each other to complete our goals for the year.

Let’s get to it… I’ll be breaking things up into different categories so it’s easier for me to get down.

Books

Series

Since I’ve come to my senses and realize that I need more eyes going through my stories before they are published, I’ve decided to re-launch my series.

They are getting a whole new look, run through with betas and hopefully an editor before they are launched again. All seven books in the series are written and are in need of read throughs, so if you are looking to start a new series and would like free books I’d love to have you on my beta reader team!! Click Here to get started!

Books

Stand Alone/Possible Series

I have two other stories I’ve been working on. One is a stand alone while the other may become a series. I haven’t decided yet. The stand alone is written and a bit longer so it needs to be read through yet.

The second one I’m still writing and should be complete by the end of January.

My main series will be revised and published as I get them done, hopefully one a month until they are complete and published. The other two will hopefully be complete by the end of August, so keep an eye open for those.

To Be Read

I have a list of books I’ve been trying to get through and my plan for 12 throughout the year worked out last year, so I’ll continue that this year. Have any book you would like to recommend? I’d love find new authors to read.

I also have been reading at least three that are non-genre or educational related, so I’ll also continue that for this year as well. With all the things I want to do this year, I don’t want to overdue myself like I did last year.

Short Stories

Here is something I would love to provide. I tried last year to provide some, but things got out of hand and I had to put it on the back burner. My plan for these is to bring one out every other month, so the first one should be out by the end of February! Check out my Patreon Page for more and to support me if you wish. Every little bit helps to provide awesome products to you, the reader!!

Beta Readers/Arc readers

Ok, so I have a few beta readers who have started reading through my stories and I’m getting responses, but I would like a few more. You would become an important part of my publishing journey as you are given my manuscript for free and in return you would give me your suggestions on how to make the story the best it can be.

Reading

If you’re interested in becoming a beta reader, please head Here and I’ll get you started! Thank you in advance to anyone willing to read and provide feedback! You are Awesome!!

I’m not quite ready for ARC readers, but hopefully soon. I’ll put out a call for those as the time comes, so keep a look out for that.

Editor

I’m in search for an editor. I’ll be honest, I haven’t done much here because we just did’t have the funds, but it’s essential so we’ll do what we can. Investments of the trade, right? It’ll pay off and we’ll move forward as we always have.

Edit

Know a good editor who might be interested in paranormal romances? I’d like to get an editor soon so I can provide the best books for you, my readers.

Communication

Blog

If you are on my newsletter, you know that I plan to up my blog posts to weekly instead of by-weekly. My desire is to bring you even more awesome content than I did last year. There will be bi-weekly posts on an inspirational word while the other bi-weeks will relate to a writing topic.

Have a word or writing topic you would like me to write about? Go ahead and leave me a comment and I’ll add it to my list! Tell me what you would like to see here!

Communication

Connections

Social media is a big platform for me and I’ve been posting daily to those I want to keep active on. I plan to become more active and provide you with more inspiration, discussions and the like. You can even leave me a question and I’ll answer them on my FB and Twitter pages. Want to see images of what I do or my five cats? Tell me what you would like to see and I’ll put them on my instagram.

I love connecting with others so let me know what you’d like to see and I’ll do what I can get you a peak into my life as a writer!

Business

New Products

So, I’ve been thinking of expanding my business to more than just novels. I would like to provide items that would be fun and helpful for writers and readers alike.

I have some digital products in mind as well as physical products. I’ll be doing an extra blog post on those as they become available. Expect the first one near the end of January and throughout the year. Right now I have four planned, with more to come as the year goes by. If you want to be notified when all that is happening, you can sign up for my newsletter HERE!

Business Products

Video

Unfortunately, this is still in the works and I’m hoping to get it up and running with regular videos as soon as possible. I plan to have it going by the end of March.

I know some like video better than reading a blog, so I would like to provide more ways to connect with you as readers than just written words. Again, I’ll let you know when that becomes available!

Other Items

Educational

Every year I try to complete a few education classes, courses, books that will help me to improve my writing and skills. This year is no different. So my plans for this year are to complete three as I did last year. If I’m able to fit more, I will.

Guitar

Art/Music

Two of the things I love, but haven’t planned the time to do is draw and play my guitars. These are the two things that get pushed to the back while I’m focused on everything else. This year, I plan to fit them in, even if it’s just an hour on the weekends.

Final Thoughts

So, now that I’ve told you what my plans are, what do you have planned? Do you think I’ve planned too much?

Let me know what you have planned for 2019 and we can keep each other encouraged and motivated as we journey though the year!

Rejuvenate

Rejuvenate

With the new year right around the corner, I thought I would give a word that fits pretty well for the New Year. This is not just an encouraging word, but a reminder to take some time for yourself now and throughout the year to rejuvenate your mind, body, and even your writing/business.

Everyone needs rejuvenating, a fresh start or to refresh something in their lives. I learned that the hard way this year. I tried to work nearly everyday throughout the year with little breaks. It was extremely hard to keep going with my plans and a lot of them fell through. So, putting in some time to rejuvenate myself and my business is now part of my planning for next year.

Now on to our favorite part… definitions!

Wiki

  • To make someone or something look or feel younger, fresher, or more lively

Dictionary

  • To make young again; restore to youthful vigor, appearance, etc
  • To restore to a former state; to make fresher or new again.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the real reason we are here. How do we rejuvenate ourselves? and how do we rejuvenate different areas of our lives?

Well, that’s what I’m here to talk to you about, so let’s get started. You may want your planner for this one. I’m gonna mention it a few times.

How to Rejuvenate Yourself…

So, I don’t expect you to spend a lot of time with your planner and not enjoy the actual rejuvenating suggestions here. Go ahead, read through, get yourself ready and then get that planner out or visa versa, but we will be planning some time throughout the year. You choose!

Your Mind

Don’t overload Yourself

Here is something I tend to do all the time. I schedule way to much in a short period and then never get anything done. Do you ever feel like that? You plan things out and are raring to go, ready to tackle your projects, plans, and/or products and you find that you’re waisted by the time you get into the middle of the project because you’re trying to get everything going RIGHT NOW? That is totally me.

This year is different, I plan to schedule in things I feel I can get done and leave some space if those end up going longer than planed. The mind and body need to work together and scheduling your items with ample time to complete them will keep your mind on task, but without giving you the burnout you’re used too.

Take Breaks

This goes with the above, if you end up overloading yourself, which I’m sure some of us will do. Don’t forget to schedule in some much needed breaks. I honestly thought I could write everyday and work on everything else for my business at the same time without taking a break.

We all know that was a major mistake and I’ll be scheduling in breaks and days off so that my brain can rejuvenate and refresh itself instead of walking around in the fog I have now. Seriously, it’s a terrible feeling. Don’t do it!

Plan Ahead

I know every one plans ahead and if you don’t I highly recommend that you do. (At least make a list with deadlines) When you plan ahead, you have an idea of what is coming up and can keep that in your mind as you move forward. If you have a book coming out at the end of March, you know you have the pre-launch steps, graphics, artwork, posts, and more that need to get done. If you don’t plan ahead, you’ll be flying blind and scrambling to get all that complete before publishing.

Let’s save ourselves some time and frustration and get a plan down. You’ll be happy you did. This may not seem like something you would use to rejuvenate yourself with, but it will help you rejuvenate as you move throughout the coming year.

Me Time

You need to take some time to yourself occasionally in order to get your body and mind back into sync. Whatever you need to get your mind and body back on the same page, whether that’s taking a nap once in a while, meditation, relaxing with a movie, a good book 😉 and your favorite drink, or sitting on your porch watching the sunset/sunrise.

Whatever you feel you need to have some you time to recharge your batteries and realign your thoughts… make sure you put that in your schedule so you can forge ahead with the same vigor you had at the beginning of the year.

Your Body

Exercise

This may not be appealing to some, it’s definitely not for me, but us author and writers rely on exercise to keep us from becoming lazy, grumpy and irritable. Action and moving is necessary for good health and staying sane as a writer.

Yep, you know what I’m going to say now. Schedule that in your planner! No, don’t skip it. Put it in there right now. Ok, so if you’re reading through this first, make sure to put it in there when you go back through!

Water

If you are anything like me, which I bet some of you are… I hate water and only like drinking it when it’s ice cold. I know I don’t get enough water daily and I’m working on getting up where I need to be.

Many planners have a tracker somewhere and I’ve already started using mine. If you’re already drinking enough water, kudos to you, keep that up!

Nutrients

Yep, I’m gonna tell you to eat healthy and yes it’s coming from a chocolate lover (particularly dark chocolate… yum), but getting what your body needs to function on a daily basis instead of all the junk is going to boost your mood quite a bit.

No being sluggy or sleepy; get those nutrients you need so you can keep up with what your plans for the year. I’ll be here if you need motivation and you can throw some my way too. I’m gonna need it!

Sleep/Rest

Yep I’m gonna put breaks in here as well. Your body and mind need adequate sleep and rest in order to rejuvenate properly. If you’re not getting enough sleep and feeling tired all the time, you’re not going to be able to focus on what you’ve put on your schedule or get that big project done by the deadline you set. So make sure you’re getting the sleep you need to tackle all that awesomeness you have planned!

Posture

Ugh, sitting in this darn chair for long periods is killer on the back. It’s got support, but not enough. I guess I should invest in one of those back support pillows. It’s going on my list, right now… and done! 🙂

But seriously, your posture is important. You don’t want to get up one day and start feeling like your too old to even sit in your computer chair. Let’s take care of ourselves so that we can continue the things we love and bring awesome content to our readers!

How to Rejuvenate other areas…

Business

This may not seem like a rejuvenating category, but I guarantee you that if you take a look at these and adjust as needed, you’ll feel like a whole new business and ready to tackle 2019 and anything else that comes your way!

New Look

Sometimes you get used to the colors, fonts, pages of your site so much that you don’t realize that it’s just not working for you or your brand any longer. Here is the chance to evaluate how your site is doing and spruce it up if necessary.

Your readers and connections are going to know you by that site and brand. You want to make sure that it’s going to attract those you want to be fans of your work. So, go through and see if it’s still working as it was intended and make adjustments if needed to get more organic views.

Content

Now this goes for any type of content you’re putting out to the world. Blog, social media, books, anything. You may have been writing about whatever comes to mind or just journaling, writing what you feel may gain new views, but I encourage you to take a look at your past posts and see what got the most attention.

Use those to create new pieces of content to continue gaining new views and new fans.

Office

Again, here you wouldn’t think would be a rejuvenating activity, but that’s the beauty of business and organization. Once you know what your doing and where everything is. Things tend to go smoother.

Organization

Okay, I totally get that some of you are the ‘Organized chaos’ type of people and I completely respect that. You do what’s best for you, but if you’re the type that likes to be organized and have everything in it’s proper place. Here is your time to do that.

I love having an organized office (area), desk. It makes me feel more productive when I know where everything is and I can reach it easily. For me, it’s annoying to have a cluttered desk and to have to search for something when my brain feels it should have been within easy reach and organized.

Office Pic

Declutter

With organization, here is the time to get that clutter out and create the space you’ve always wanted your office to be… a zone of productivity and accomplishment.

Remove anything that shouldn’t or doesn’t have a home within your office, on your desk, or in your drawers. Find another home for it that’s going to create a sense of organized peace within your life.

My kids are notorious for putting random things on my desk. Get all that out and find a place for it or get rid of it if it’s not important for you or anyone in your family.

Rearrange

This one is optional, but helps me when I’m in a rut, visual wise. I like to rearrange my office once in a while to give my brain a new visual perspective.

Seeing things in a different way can get your brain working in creative ways that you never would have thought before with your things in their original position. This may contradict the last few items, but if you rearrange as your organize and declutter, I know you’ll love the outcome.

New Paint/Decorations

Something I’ve been waiting to do is repaint my office (area), unfortunately, it’s not in the plans until we take down the paneling and replace it with drywall. Hopefully that will happen this year! But that doesn’t mean you can’t add a new color that would encourage your imagination, ignite your mind and provide a sense of accomplishment as you walk in the room.

Decorations (not ‘decor’, my husband hates that word, not sure why, but I’ve learned to write it out for his benefit) are the window to encouragement and imagination. If you create them yourself, the more meaning they have. Find quotes and images that will encourage and keep you motivated.

Home

One of the things we really hate is going out or on vacation and returning to a dirty home. It’s not easy to keep a home clean with multiple people and small children running around, but with some planning and periodic pick up it can become a clean and welcoming place.

Deep Clean

Here is something that I’ve done this year, room by room. I definitely wouldn’t do this all at once unless you have an empty house for the weekend and determination to get it done in that time. I pick a room, remove everything from it, clean everything (scrub the floors, baseboards, windows and sills, and anything else that needs cleaning) before returning everything back to the room in an organized manner.

My kids actually liked helping me with this and asked when we were going to do the next room. It’s a nice team working activity, if you want to use it as such. 😉

Home

Organize

Same with your office, if you have your home organized and are able to find everything, creating a space for everything so you can find it when you need it. This is still something we are working on in our home, but it’s getting done so we know where everything is.

Renovate/Remodel

This is definitely optional and only if you were already planning to do this, but remodeling could also give a new perspective on things as well as a new feeling of accomplishment, not just on your home, but within your business as well (if the room was your office).

Use those small accomplishments to fuel your goals and missions for the coming year.

Relationships

Are your relationships needing rejuvenating? Are they getting stale and in need of refreshing?

Well, I’m not going to tell you what you need to do in that area, but I can give you some generic suggestions.

Connections

Are the connections you have with the people you care about falling to the wayside? Think of ways to create deeper connections with those you care for.

Find time to spend with them, got out to lunch, play a game, plan a party or just hang out and get some drinks. See what they like to do and offer to do that.

My kids love to play games and my husband loves movies so we plan game days and movie marathons regularly. Luckily for us our friends like games too, so we’ll plan game days with them as well.

Online connections are just as important if you’ve got a business. Ask them how they’re doing? See if they need any help with anything and be there if they need to rant. Connections are the best way to get fans of your business as well as network with others, not to mention creating a fantastic new group of friends.

Spontinaety

Being spontaneous has been some of the most enjoyable times for us. We’ve actually decided one day to take a trip to Tennessee and left the next day for a week. No planning, nothing. We just packed and went. It was fantastic!

Surprises also work the same way. Do something that will surprise your friends, family, and/or significant other. Don’t expect anything in return, cause that’s not how this works. Enjoy the surprise and joy you bring to others by providing something to their day they weren’t expecting.

Final Thoughts

Yeah, I know some of these are not your usual ‘rejuvenate’ type things, but they will bring a fresh start and a new perspective to your life that you may not have had before. Who wouldn’t want a fresh start sometimes?

What are you doing this year to rejuvenate for next year? Let me know below. I’d love to hear how you are. You never know, something you do could encourage another so go ahead and comment below!