You’ll remember that I headed into 2017 hoping for a better experience than what I had going on at the end of 2016 (read the original post HERE if you missed it…) and armed with a plan to make it happen. Either I did a really good job of implementing the plan or I’m getting really good at juggling all the things in my life now. (Jury is still out on that one…) Things do feel better and I’m seeing positive results in my stress levels. I’m here to share some insights if you want all my secrets. Why are you reading my blog if it isn’t to get my secrets, right? *wink*
My powers of saying NO and delegating everything I can are becoming well-honed skills. This is still not always easy for me. I always wish I was doing the things that I am missing out on when I know others are enjoying them without me, thanks to my raging case of “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out). But practice makes everything easier. When I didn’t die after not participating in every author event that was available to me the last six months, I realized I could survive. I also realized that when a person is found with the right skills to hand off something successfully, they are an invaluable find. I have so many people around me who are rocking things that I’ve given them, and making my life easier in the process. If you’re one of these – you know who you are – thank you!
My efforts to break the constant draw of being connected to social media is still a daily struggle. However, limiting the times and ways I get notified of things on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter has been amazing. We all know I’m addicted so it isn’t like I’m not going to check in on social media whenever I have down time (like the end of the day, whenever I’m on public transit, at lunch, etc.) so I’m not missing things. The difference now is that I’m not distracted by notifications that pop up and interrupt whatever else I’m focused on. Seriously, if you are getting these kinds of notifications outside of the social media site itself you may not even realize how disruptive they are until you turn them off.
The best part of all of these efforts is the amount of writing I’m doing again – even while maintaining a 3.9 GPA and consistently hitting the President’s List at SNHU. I’ve written two short stories that I’m extremely proud of, POETRY that I’ve never been inspired to write but now do, and I’m working on my novel consistently. It’s funny how everything I do looks the same to observers – me, sitting in front of a laptop in various places around the house. Is she doing homework? Working on League business? Messing around on social media? I didn’t realize this until I was sharing with my hubby how great it was to be almost to the 70K mark on the novel and getting toward the ending. He was surprised to hear that I was even writing. His assumption that I was always swamped with coursework (or distracted by Facebook) was eye-opening. Nope, I’m doing ALL the things now that I have arranged my life for better effectiveness.
None of these things are new insights, I was already seeing some success by the time I originally blogged about them. What is fabulous to know is that now they are habits rather than merely new and promising. Sustainable behaviors are always more effective for long-term results. What steps are you taking to increase your success?
Leave a comment | tags: habits, lessons learned, writing | posted in Adult College Adventures, Everyday Life, Healthy Lifestyle, Overachiever
As November comes to a close and with it another NaNoWriMo, I look back at the insanity that is always there but always different. Three years I’ve written a full novel in November. Last year I was editing a completed novel – some call that mid-project. This year, I had a half-baked idea that I tried to write by the seat of my pants with basically no preparation – otherwise known as pantsing. Which I hate, for the record. I’m sure you’re wondering whether I “won” or not this year. Did I go the distance. The answer is no – and yes.
In the literal sense, I did not win this year. An official win consists of fifty thousands words – any words – written in the course of the month. In total, I was able to crank out just under thirty thousand words.
In the broader sense – that of being a professional author – I did win and learned new lessons along the way.
I learned that I cannot write productively without having a plan. Pantsing a novel is not for me. Not now. Probably not ever. I also learned that I am far more productive when I write what inspires me rather than trying to force a story that I don’t feel in my gut.
I write and read mostly dark fiction – not always horror but always dark. My oldest daughter has become an avid reader and really wants to read my stories. Every time she has tried to read my work she has to put it down because it scares her too much. She requested a story written for her, not too dark and not too scary. I tried. I really did. But I failed. I was bored so I barely wrote anything each day. All the great ideas I had that excited me would have turned it very dark very fast so I didn’t indulge my inner muse.
This same lesson of productivity being driven by excitement was cemented when about three weeks in I abandoned the flailing idea and instead wrote something I’ve been thinking about for months and just hadn’t had the time to focus on. The words poured out of me – thousands by the day over one weekend – and I made up quite a bit of ground. As a professional author, I know this lesson will do me well in the coming years. Translated into a bigger context, don’t write what you think will sell or what the next big thing is. Write a story that excites you. Either you’ll sell it or you won’t. Guaranteed it will feel less like work regardless.
This marked the eighth year I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo but in truth I write like it is NaNo all year long thanks to the habits formed in November. Consistent writing and putting in the work of learning the craft are the best rewards there are to embarking on this crazy journey year after year. I have multiple publishing credits to my name and I’m well on my way to my goal of publishing novels thanks to National Novel Writing Month and those who organize it every year. There was a badge this year you could earn by updating your word count for thirty days in a row – sort of the booby prize in case you didn’t get the word count for an official win. I wrote every single day in November and am just as proud of that badge as I would have been for a win in the word count.
Until next year, NaNo – thanks for all the memories and all the lessons.
Leave a comment | tags: lessons learned, NaNoWriMo, writing | posted in National Novel Writing Month, Writing