After working hard for almost a year and writing and publishing four books under two pen names, I’m taking a week off. Even as writers, we need mental breaks. I still love writing and I’m not stopping or giving that up, but I do need the rest.
For the next week I’ll be doing whatever I like, within my normal horse care schedule. With the virus going around, I’m not going anywhere, but that’s okay! I had set aside a few hobbies the last month as I focused on getting Healer’s Strength out, and it’s time to restore my work-life balance.
See, I’ve also been training for a new career, and I had been working too hard at that. Throughout this week, I’m only studying when I want to and only for as long as I want to. I’m also still writing personal stories whenever I feel like, as well as getting more active again.
I’m learning a new Tai Chi form. I’ve already learned the Dao (sabre), though I hadn’t done it in a while, so now I’m learning the double Dao form. Yup, two blades spinning around my body. How could this go wrong? It takes care and precision, just like writing, with the added risk of bodily injury. Not really, as I’m using plastic practice swords. My real Dao is sharp, and that would be silly to practice with right now!
I’m on my third day of vacation, and I’m enjoying the rest. Next week I’ll get back at my writing, refreshed and ready to go. Book four is already a quarter through the first draft, and the martial arts book is over halfway through. The fifth book of the Forest Guardians series is forming, based on events happening in the fourth book, too.
Now, back to my vacation!
One thing I’ve noticed is the more I write books, the more I love the stories and the process of writing. As much as my first ever book, Runaway Magic, has a place in my heart, each additional book is more fun to write.
I love the second book, Facing the Fire, because I introduced new characters, and you see Aili interacting with other mages more. She’s still saving the forest, but as always, she has help. She also has fun. My favourite thing about writing is the characters. I love to see them in various situations and see how they react to life.
The third book, tentatively titled Healer’s Strength, is bringing new joys for my writing. I started the final draft only this last week, and already I’m speeding along. Is it perfect? No writing is. Every book has scenes we’re not as excited about or maybe wish we worded differently, but writing should be fun, even as we do our best. I get to bring back some familiar characters and send Aili somewhere new.
The more books I write, the more I can relax and enjoy the process of writing. I still give each book the care and attention it deserves. My goal is to put out the best books I can. I also want to enjoy it. I’m having so much fun with book three that I’m averaging 4000 words a day. I have the advantage that the story is written, I just have to put it in final form, and I do that by re-writing into a new file. That’s how I have a word count to go by.
As I get writing, I have so much fun with a scene that it just flies by. I may pass through transition scenes, too, but even those I like. Still, there are more and more scenes I love. Sometimes I don’t want to stop writing, even though my body wants me out of the chair for a while. I can take breaks and come back, writing more scenes I love.
When watching a webinar by an author, she had something interesting to say that I loved. She has both self-published and traditionally published, and she loves self-publishing best. She reminds us that we can write whatever excites us, whatever story we love, because we are ultimately responsible for the books we put out when we self-publish.
I take Saturdays off writing, but write every other day. I’m having so much fun that I debated whether or not to keep writing, even on my day off. No, days off are good for us, so I chose to take it, but tomorrow I’m excited about getting up and going at the writing.
Write what you love. Write what makes you feel. Write when you can. Most importantly, love writing!
Wow, have I really written three books since May, when I started? Sure, one is under another pen name, but still. Not to mention the three more on the go...
I think that's the most interesting thing about being an author, is how time passes and we don't always notice. I'm over halfway through the first draft of the third Forest Guardians book already. I only started it at the very end of October. I've been so immersed in it that I forgot to blog! My bad.
There is a bit of fatigue when one book is finished and gets published. I know I've talked about it before. I've been on that incredible journey with my characters and now the journey is over. However, there's a similar point in the middle of the books where I feel tired, too. It's somewhere between 40 000 and 60 000 words of the first draft. It's happened with every book so far.
It's at this point that I've got the main scenes and ideas written already, and now I'm adding in the additional fun scenes, or the scenes that help the story along in some way. It's the Fun and Games, as we can call it, that add depth to the story.
I'm there now with Book 3. My books seldom get titled until near the end of the final draft. The big stuff has happened, so now I get to write whatever scenes I want. It can be a lot of fun. What does Aili want to do next? What magic will she discover? Will she get into trouble? Sometimes I wonder just what the heck I'm going to write. That's easy, I write whatever scenes I want to read.
Since I write almost every single day, the days blend into each other. I know it's time for a day to rest and recharge when I feel that tired feeling creeping up. Over the last week I've had some incredibly productive writing days, and now I feel that fatigue. Tomorrow is my day off anyways, and I'm looking forward to it. I did get some inspiration for writing today's scene. Once that's done, I'm resting. Rest is as important as action. That's why I include rest for Aili and her friends in my books.
So, how do you fit your writing schedule into your life? Are you a daily writer, or grabbing moments between work shifts or child care? What works for you?
It’s something interesting I’ve noticed, as I’m close to finishing the second Forest Guardians book. I go on my own journey along with my main characters. At the start of a new book, both Aili and I are full of energy and ready to go. By the end, as the book gets ready for publishing, we’re both tired.
It’s not always Aili, either. I have a couple of books in the works with other main characters. Now, I don’t write the books in order at all. I plot out and outline my books, and after that I jump around and write what moves me. Maybe I start at the beginning, as it’s an excellent place to start, but I might write the ending next.
My journey isn’t about the plot and the character’s journey. My journey is getting from a blank file to a complete story. Aili may be going from her home to setting out and protecting her forest, and back home again, though her home might change.
The one main difference, other than that I imagine Aili’s journey while she actually goes on the adventure, is that she travels with friends. I do, too, but my friends are Aili and her friends. It’s often been said to me that writing is a solitary pursuit. In reality, physically I am alone, but I have a whole cast of characters in my head that talk to me through the pages.
So far I’ve been writing my books in about 3-4 months each. In that time, Aili goes from wherever I left at the end of my last book to a whole adventure, and back to wherever she gets to rest. I go from a fresh start with a lot of enthusiasm down to being tired. By the end, I feel like I’ve walked through the forests with her. As I get close to the end, I’m ready to lay down and sleep for a week, just like Aili did after the first Forest Guardians book.
I didn’t expect this. Every book I write teaches me something more about the process or writing, or even myself. I think the fact I’ve set aside the other books to finish book 2 has made the fatigue a little worse. With multiple books in progress, all at different stages, I haven’t experienced this tiredness before. That’s okay, I’ll rest when I’m done. I’m almost done!
I’m always looking to learn more about writing and everything that goes along with being an author. One thing I’m seriously looking into is having a newsletter for my readers, each month. It’s actually easy to do and doesn’t take long.
Why would I want to spend more time not writing? It’s a great way to connect with readers when done well. Also, it’s a great place to share things like bonus scenes and materials with my fans. What kind of bonus scenes?
Well, for those who sign up for my newsletter, I’ve written the scene from Aili’s past, where she survives the fire at the University. There will also be scenes from her childhood like her first camping trip, the scene with the bear mentioned in book 2, scenes of her and Ilia together, and more.
There’s so much I can do and share in a newsletter, so I’m putting stuff together for you all. I’m planning on sending them out at the beginning of each month. You can learn more about what’s going on, what I’m working on, see behind the scenes moments for both me and my characters, and more.
What else is going on? The puppy is settling in and learning when it’s playtime and when it’s writing time. Winter is coming, we got our first real snow last night, and we’re preparing for the change of seasons. I guess I need to finish repairing the winter blankets for the horses! I’m learning more about being an author, newsletters, marketing, and more. Oh, and as always, I’m writing more stories for you, my fabulous readers.
Well, I’ve now had two writing days with my new writing buddy. He’s been a good boy for the most part. Puppies come with some challenges, and we’ve made a few changes to accommodate the puppy stage. Our morning routine takes a little longer, and that’s okay.
Since he’s so young, we can’t leave him in the yard unattended yet. We have owls and they’ve been known to take small dogs before, though never one of our dogs. Our older dog is big enough that he’s safe, but the puppy is not. So, any time we want to do anything, one of us stays with the puppy while the other does horse care, and so on. He’ll grow and it won’t be a problem anymore eventually.
This means I now get up a few minutes earlier so I can do dog care while he does horse care first thing. After he’s back, I still take the older dog for a walk. I’m still leash training him, as we’ve only had him a few days. Meditating is a little more challenging, too, with a puppy crawling on me, but hey, I love a challenge.
As long as he gets a good play session before I begin, he lays quietly and sleeps while I write. He’ll lay on the pad beside my chair and keep me company. So far he sleeps well, not fussing overnight, and waking with us in the morning.
I’m working away on my second Forest Guardians book and it’s nearly done. I have a couple more projects underway, including the martial arts book. With a good writing buddy, I’ll keep making steady progress. Our only sticky spot is house training, as I need to make sure he goes out really regularly for now, being a young puppy. We’re sorting things out and getting there.
So, say hi to my new writing buddy!
Another area I pay attention to is my fitness. When I feel good physically, I feel better mentally, too. What you do is not as important as enjoying what you do. If you like your activity, you’ll stay with it longer and look forward to getting active.
I enjoy a wide varieties of physical activities. Right now my fitness has taken a hit with the whole covid difficulty. Since it will be a while before I get back to martial arts classes, I decided it was time to do something about it. I began a new fitness program this last week.
I chose a yoga shred program, a cross between yoga and high intensity interval training. I’ve done both yoga and interval training before, and have enjoyed yoga program videos from this particular teacher before, so I thought I’d try it.
Today was day 6. Some days I feel fabulous and capable. Other days are difficult, but I push through and keep going. Yesterday was a successful day. Today was a real push. Either way, I give it my best effort and go for it. Only 3 days in, I already had more energy and felt better. Today I’m more tired after the workout, but it was a bigger challenge for me than usual. Tomorrow I’ll feel good again.
To go with my exercise routine, I’m paying close attention to my diet again. I already eat well, lots of veggies and home made foods with lower sugar and healthy fats. I’m even more careful with sugar now and I do feel great. By keeping fit and healthy, I really do write better. Fuelling my body and brain will let me achieve my best.
After a couple of days to relax and celebrate, I started back at my normal writing routine today. Things went swimmingly for me. Sometimes a vacation is all we need. I currently have four books on the go, in varying stages of production. The mini vacation did wonders for my focus and desire to write.
The second book in the Forest Guardians series is going into its final draft. I love the characters and getting to send them on adventures in a world of my own creation. Being able to hold a copy of the first book in my hands is inspiring. I’m an actual published author, with actual books out!
The martial arts book is coming along well. I had to refresh my memory, as I set it aside for a few weeks to focus on getting the romance novel out. It was fun going over what I had done and making sure I knew where I was going and how I wanted to get there. The advantage to outlining the major plot points is that I don’t have to worry about forgetting something important. My notes of each major stage of the plot let me pick back up and keep going.
I have a new romance book in the works. It’s roughly outlined, though I still have more work to do. I’m looking forward to turning it into a full story.
Finally, I have a special story on the go. It’s something that speaks strongly to me and a story I need to tell. I can’t say too much about it yet, but I have begun writing now that it’s fully outlined. My beta reader has seen the opening and they want to read the rest.
Anyways, writing is what I love and what I do. Sometimes we all need a quick break. I’m back and ready to go. Here’s to future stories!
I’ve been busy this lat week, getting my next book ready to publish. Well, today I proofread it. I am done! Almost. It’s with my co-proofreader and beta-reader for final comments and editing, but that usually doesn’t mean much change.
Needless to say, today was a day to celebrate. Now it’s time to start getting the file ready to turn into books, and start getting cover design and so on. I’m a happy author.
What else should happen today but my own copies of my first book came back from the printer. That’s right, actual physical proof for myself that this was not all just a dream, I am indeed a published author. I am crazy happy and super excited. I know, surely an author can come up with a prettier way of saying that, but I’m so excited I don’t care. Watch me be enthusiastic.
If I’m a little quiet for the rest of the week, it’s because I’m doing pre-publication work on the novel. Also exciting news, book two of the Forest Guardians series is entering what should be the final draft as well. Within a month or two it’ll be ready to publish. I’m looking forward to that book a lot. Aili is a fun character to write for, even if she keeps taking my plots and going somewhere with them that I never saw coming. Teenagers!
Well, I’ve blogged now during my journey as a writer, from starting my first novel and taking it al the way through to publishing. I have another in the final proofreading stage, and the second Forest Guardians book is nearing the third draft. I started back in May, taking writing courses and learning how to be a professional author.
Wow, things have changed, but they’ve also stayed the same in many ways. I’ve learned what works for me and I’ve tried different things, I’ve changed things and abandoned other things. I’ve personalized what I’ve learned To be the best writer I can be.
What’s still the same? Most of my morning routine has remained the same as when I started in May. I get up early, take the dog for a walk, and get myself moving. I have breakfast and meditate, as well as writing in my gratitude journal. Once that’s done, I write.
I take more breaks now and write longer into the day. Sometimes I also work in the afternoon. Of course, it doesn’t feel like work because I love writing. I like to keep my brain fresh so I’ll work for an hour or so, then take a half hour break and do something else. I’m more sustainably productive that way.
I used to be super strict about no technology or social media until I was done writing. I find I actually welcome the mental break between bouts of writing, and I’m more productive if I allow myself the diversion during my breaks. I have self-discipline and don’t use technology to avoid writing, so for me it works really well to allow myself the change.
I work on two stories at once now. I tried three for a while, and that works when one is in the proofreading stage, where I’m only actively writing two stories. I don’t write three at once now. I can, but I prefer to give more attention to two stories instead. I never have only one going, because I do like the variety of a couple instead.
I still do writing courses and learn what I can. I want to be the best writer I can be, so I never stop learning. Also, as an Indie Author (independent and self-published), I have many skills to learn and keep sharp. I love the challenge and look forward to many more books I will write. Will I change things over the years? Most likely. I do what I find works and adjust as I feel is best.
I’ve been writing stories for myself for years. Now, I’m a published author. No genre is off limits, though I have some favorites.