Lessons Learned in 2018

Once again, the end of the year is near and there is so much I’ve learned this year in my life, my business, and my home.

You may not think it would benefit you to read about things I’ve learned throughout the year, but doing just that may bring something similar to light that you may have learned and forgotten during the year or perhaps there’s something I learned that may enlighten you to something new.

If you would like to see my list from last year you can find it HERE!

Now on to this year… I’ve had a tough year writing this year. I had everything planned out, ready to go, my motivation high, a go-getter attitude until the end of March when I traveled a lot and lost the momentum I gain at the beginning. Although I was able to continue, I wasn’t able to regain the same passion and go-getter attitude I had at the beginning of the year. Because of that, things didn’t get done. I let some things go and I had not energy to keep going with my series.

I took a break to try to re-energize myself, but even after that, I felt I put too much weight onto my shoulders to continue with much, which caused me to redo things and see things in a different light than I would have during any other time.

Below are some things I learned to add to the list from last year. I’m only focusing on a few points this year as the holidays are near and I’m feeling drained as it is. Time to refocus and speaking of that…

Focus

With things going on during different times of the year, it’s hard to lose focus on what you really wanted to accomplish during that time. I had so many plans, but my problem was that although I had goals and ‘plans’, I didn’t really plan out the steps to keep myself accountable or moving forward as I continue my journey through life.

You can bet I’ve revamped my planner to allow me to create action steps, deadlines, reminders and anything else I need to keep myself on track for the coming year.

Communication/connections

I’ve read and read about connecting with other writers, but I never really took the time to actually do that until this year. Even though I wasn’t getting too much published with my own books, I took on some beta and ARC reading to help other authors with their stories.

This has been a fantastic experience and every one of them has been awesome. I’ve asked questions, had one look at my covers, etc and they gave me their honest opinions and advice on everything I questioned, without hesitation on their part. I could not have asked for a better experience than I’ve had with the ladies I’ve connected with this year.

Here’s to you:

Raven Kennedy

Ivy Asher

Blake Blessing

LM Wilson

Lidia Russell

Not only are they very talented, they’ve taken time out of their busy schedules to allow me to ask them questions, gain advice and learn from them as they continue their own journey. Check out their books and pages! These ladies are freakin’ awesome!!

New Programs

4thewords.com

I’m sure if you’ve signed up for my newsletter, you’ve seen me talk about a site called 4thewords.com. Listen, I know I’ve probably overstepped my welcome with this, but I honestly LOVE this site.

During a writing slump near the middle of the year, I watched the girls of WordNerds (who I watch regularly) as they raved about this site. I had to check it out and it’s freakin’ crazy.

Who knew you could go on your own adventure, fight your own monsters, collect rare items and more all while writing. Use your words to fight monsters and go on an epic adventure while doing it? Sign me up!!

Photoshop

I finally invested in Photoshop and really like the program. Though I wish it weren’t so expensive, it’s definitely worth the money you pay for the program and all  that comes with it.

I’ve been creating my own book covers and I admit that my first few attempts were terrible, I’ve redone book 1 of my Conquer the Darkness Series three times now and I feel that my skills are improving.

Light X

Light X is another photo editor that was recommended by one of the lovely ladies from above. I’ve downloaded it and tried it out, but there is a bit of a learning curve as I am still trying to work though layers and being able to edit previous layers I’ve added.

Since it came highly recommended, I’ll give it further attention and see where it takes me.

Breaks

Man, did I learn my lesson on this one. When I scheduled my time last year, I didn’t really schedule in breaks. I thought I would just take off on holidays and such, but my mind didn’t want to and trying to get back into motion after taking a week long break was so hard.

You can bet my planner has breaks and that I’ll be creating a guide of where I left off so I can get back into rhythm after those breaks.

Writing Processes

So, I have to admit something. When I first started writing, I did everything myself. I wrote, edited, revised, published, created my own covers, EVERYTHING!

Now, I knew that this was wrong when I started, but like many writers, I’m broke and can’t afford  many of the services required to create such an amazing story.

So, to start off on the right foot, I’ve decided to re-launch my series in January and my first step is to find Beta readers who are willing to read my stories and give me feedback on characters, settings, arcs, and anything else they may find within my writings.

If you are interested in becoming a beta reader for my story, below is the description (which will be getting a revamp to, so bear with me) and the newest cover. If you’re interested, please sign up HERE! I promise you won’t regret it!

Ray of light

A nurse at the local hospital, Raylynn Bormarlian provides comfort and love to the patients she treats. But something inside keeps her from accepting the same love and comfort from others. As memories of the nightmare she experienced long ago return, Raylynn is forced to confront a man that created so much misery, pain and anguish to her younger self in order to find what is hidden deeper in her soul.
Jynx Luminar is a top operative in an elite force determined to protect those with unusual powers and are in need of assistance returning to society after traumatic events. Assigned to protect and train the woman he once caused so much pain, he must find a way to tell her his secret before he loses her forever.
From their first scent, Raylynn and Jynx could not resist the attraction simmering between them. Yet, Raylynn must face what has become her worst nightmare to forge forward with Jynx without fear of the past. Will they overcome their demons once entering the lab of a man who haunted her dreams and caused a terror so great she no longer willed to live? Will he find the courage to tell her of his past?

So, what have you learned this year? Maybe I can learn from you. Go ahead, comment and let me know. Have questions? Ask those too. 

August’s Writing Theme: Writing Process

The writing process of an author/writer differs from person to person. Some will plan, outline, plot, and develop their novels down to the last quirk, research piece, aim, goal, setting detail, motivation, conflicting action, etc. Files, folder, documents, mind maps, aesthetic board, Pinterest board, Social Media polls all in place and filled with information for their novels, while others fly by the seat of their pants. Those are the ones who don’t plan, don’t map; they sit down and start writing. Then there is revising, editing, and publishing to worry about.

This month is all about your writing process and sharing what you do with others who are endeavoring to write, but have no idea where to start. Share yours below.
Writing Process

Example: When I first began writing, I would outline my story and then start writing. After taking a course by Nick Stephenson called Story Engines. I’ve found that fleshing out story details have helped me immensely with my writing and my storylines. He and fellow author Joe Nassise take you through their process on creating phases, answering questions,  scene list, and so much more. 

I’ve tweaked it to suit me and I’ve haven’t looked back. It’s a bit pricey, but well worth it. They also have a program called Your First 10K Readers that takes you through getting your first 10,000 readers. Although, I haven’t implemented all of there methods, it may be very helpful to you. 

Here is the basic categories for my process: 

  • Premise Worksheet
  • Final Premise
  • Initial Scene List
  • Single Sentence Summary
  • Scene Questions
  • Elevator Pitch
  • Rough Story ArcPreparation Phase
    • Mini Goal
    • Reactive Phase
    • Mini Goal
    • Proactive Phase
    • Mini Goal
    • Conclusion Phase
  • Synopsis
  • Product Description

I also have a very detailed worksheet I use to flesh out my characters that is three pages long. 

Now, even though I do this, my characters ~ like small children aways seen to veer from the path I choose for them. So, yes there are some things that aren’t in the finished product that are in my plans, but that’s the way writing it. 

Just for fun, let’s add in what changed throughout your story as you wrote it.

Example: I had one of my characters change occupations a quarter of the way through, not like she quit and changed, but out of the blue, one minute she’s a secretary and another she’s a nurse. I’ve also had new characters join the story when I had no intension for another character to enter the book at all. 

What does your writing process look like? What changed throughout your story that wasn’t intended? I’d love to hear about it. Comment below!