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.
To write my best, I need to be well rested. As I get older, sometimes good sleep, that real quality sleep that lets you feel refreshed, it can be harder to come by. A time came in my life when I needed to pay attention to my sleep.
Life hasn't always been smooth and I haven't always had the healthiest habits. Almost a decade ago now, for instance, someone very close to me died. I didn't handle it well. I stopped sleeping well and for a while I'm not sure I was dreaming. Normally I vividly remember dreams, and from this period, nothing.
I paid more attention to my sleep hygiene and one thing helped more than anything else. It was so successful I've shared the recipe with others, who got similar relief. It's called Gold Milk. It's an ancient recipe from India. It's simple to make and easy. There are many versions, but here's the one I use every night.
Take 1 1/4 cup of milk and add it to a saucepan. I use goat milk because I don't digest cow's milk well, but any animal milk is supposed to work. Add a pinch of turmeric, cardamom, and cinnamon each. Stir and heat until it's just beginning to boil, and remove it from the heat. I use maple syrup, about a teaspoon, but any sweetener will work, stirred into the milk. Stir well and pour it into a cup. I let it cool for a while because it holds heat surprisingly well. Drink when it's at the temperature you like.
Other good tips for a restful night include:
1. Making sure the room is a comfortable temperature and your blankets aren't too warm or cold.
2. Turn off electronics early before bed, and be aware of how bright the lights in your rooms are. We stop all electronics around 9 pm, except e-readers and other devices that don't emit blue light. Lower lights as the evening progresses
3. Set a regular bedtime and wakeup time. Sure, I let myself sleep in on Saturday, my day off formal writing, but I still get up within about 15 minutes of my normal time. Going to bed at a regular time helps your body settle, too.
4. No heavy meals before bed. I'm active and need food spread throughout the day, but I try to have my last snack before 9 pm as well. Some people need to stop earlier. Try things and do what works for you.
5. Some foods can help us sleep. Do a little research and try some, if you need that last snack like I do. Your body will be different, so play and keep notes.
A proper sleep can be the difference between writing well and feeling fuzzy. If I have a less restful night, maybe a thunderstorm or my significant other didn't sleep well, I remember to be kind to myself the next day. Maybe I won't be as productive, and that's okay. Since he started drinking Gold Milk, he's slept more restfully and longer, too.
For the past week I’ve had a head cold. Nothing serious, but it has been distracting, for sure. My typing has been a little off and my focus is shorter than normal.
To accommodate my current situation, I’ve needed to make some minor changes to my routine. I don’t sit and work for a few hours anymore without more breaks in between. I drink more tea to stay hydrated. I also stop regularly, every hour or so, and play some video games between to give my focus a break. By changing up what I’m doing, I feel better when I go back to work.
As my books get closer to done, I’m at a fun stage of writing. I’m filling in the story with fun scenes between the main story components. In the erotica novel, I’m in draft three and over halfway done. Now it’s a case of just getting it done, with time at the desk. I spread that out more right now, since my brain is tired with the cold. It works, and I feel better when I go back to work. When I feel better and have more focus, I’ll put in longer bursts over less time again. Until that time comes, I adapt and adjust, making sure I spend time on each book regularly.
Ginger tea, here I come...
Routines are great. They can help us be better writers, triggering our brain into work mode. However, they can also start to wear us down, too. After the last few weeks, which have been a right proper whirlwind, I felt tired and dragging.
Now is the time to take a break. I could do that by taking a day or more completely off, but I really do love writing. Instead, I’m going to change things up so my brain feels fresh and ready to tackle something different.
I love writing about Aili and her adventures, as well as other characters in other books I’ve got on the go, but today was a good day to focus on editing another book I have close to publishing. The editing is going quickly and easily, a wonderful way to change things up. I still worked a little on Aili’s next adventure, but after that I set my stories aside and pulled out the romance novel. The first half is written and the second half is almost done. It’s more like two related stories, so I can tackle them separately.
I also let myself enjoy a different breakfast, just for pleasure, and didn’t start writing right away today. I’m slowly working throughout the day, giving myself as many breaks as I want. It’s a great way to decompress and relax after everything that went into getting my first book out.
Routine is powerful, but shouldn’t be put ahead of the actual writing. Use it to great benefit, but when you need a break, one way to get it is to let your routine change for a day. Write somewhere new, or at a different time. Enjoy a different drink while you write, or whatever you like.
Now, let your imagination play!
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.