Category Archives: channeling success

The Slow Burn

Moonday Mania

a blog for struggling romance writers everywhere

Launched book 12 today (book 4 in my fantasy series, The Winter Queen’s Dragon). Romance, and in particular fantasy romance, is competitive so this time I tried to do all the launch strategies I could. I so want this one to jump on day one! To be number one on that fantasy romance list. Wouldn’t that be amazing? But, I’ve designed a slow burn launch by sending my announcement to my newsletter list in three batches, and doing social media on another day. So that day one jump is not likely to happen.

The idea is to show Amazon I have consistent sales, instead of a huge bump on day one. But as I look at my  trickle of sales this morning and my finger-grapping hold on the fantasy romance AZ list, I have to keep reminding myself—this is a long tail business. So it’s back to the grindstone. The good news is my early readers seem to love it. And maybe, that’s the one thing to focus on instead of sales: pleasing the readers. If I focus on that, instead of sales and launch days, then everything is a success.

I’m reading Derek Sivers book ANYTHING YOU WANT: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur . It’s this tiny book filled with lessons he learned launching CD Baby, a small business he started just to sell his own CD’s and ended up selling for millions. One of the things I love about this book is that he’s so not focused on making his business a million dollar business. Instead he’s focused on how to serve his customers, who, when he started, were mostly his friends.

What is your measure of success? Are you in control of it? Is it in control of you?

Okay, that’s not a direct quote from the book, but it could have been. What it is is my take on his book. If I look at my sales and try to go for the money, I’m a total failure. It’s true. I love my books, but they barely break even. It leaves me feeling like I’m clawing and scratching just to make a living writing romance. And it feels desperate.

But, if I focus on some of the things I’ve actually achieved, I’m a success.

My readers love my books. They really do! I get letters asking me when the next fantasy romance in the Tales of the Black Court is coming out. They don’t want to wait! And my free shifter book for my newsletter subscribers, Rogue Enforcer? That inspires letters too. People want more from me. More romance. More shifters. More fantasy.

I’m getting better as a writer. This is super important. It took me two years of edits and massaging to get my first fantasy romance, The Dark Huntsman, to where it is today, but The Winter Queen’s Dragon only took months. And my editor said it was the best one yet! That’s amazing. My reviews for all my romances are at least averaging 4 stars, and usually average higher. Romance readers love my books! WOOT!

I love my life. I am making money doing something I love. Not many people can say that. Am I still struggling to get up that cliff? Yes. Do I want my job to make enough money to say it’s a living? Yes. And I’m getting there. I’ve doubled my income every year. That sounds amazing, right?

(Typically I follow that statement up with some disclaimer about what my income was the first year, but I think I need to just stick with the amazing part. I’ve only been publishing for a few years and while some others are rocking their way up the charts, most small businesses take five years to really get going. My small business is no different.)

Okay, so I’m no CD Baby. I can’t say I’m one of those romance authors who seem to appear out of nowhere and jump to the top. But I can say:

My readers love my books.

I’m getting better as a writer.

I love my life.

All of those are fabulous measures of success. And so what if the money is slow? That’s okay. I’m doubling my income every year, right? 😉

So I’ll get there. One book at a time.

*****

the winter queen's dragon a fantasy romance by jessica aspen

 What’s a heroine to do when her dragon captor is not only her enemy’s best defense, but is also the man of her dreams?

 

Frozen for a hundred years the only thing on Siobhan’s mind is finding out what happened to her brother and vengeance on the queen who has punished them both. Upon gaining her freedom from the ice she finds herself the prisoner of the Winter Queen’s Dragon, Atavantador. But nothing is as it seems and when the dragon’s manservant, Doyle, turns out to be the dragon himself, Siobhan discovers that ending the queen’s reign may mean sacrificing her true love for the quest for revenge.

Doyle is hiding more than one secret from the queen, and all of them are worth his life. To keep the queen on his side he must play the game of dragon so well that no one guesses his secret—that beneath the Winter Palace lies the key to all of dragon kind’s survival, one of only seven queen dragon eggs left in the universe. And time is running out.

When the dragon egg’s hiding place is threatened Doyle finds himself caught between his heart and his loyalty to all of dragon kind. Can he trust Siobhan enough to tell her his secrets, save the egg, and still serve her lust for vengeance? Or will the attack on the palace destroy not only the egg’s chance of survival, but Siobhan and Doyle’s chance at love.

Love magic, romance and dragons? You’ll love THE WINTER QUEEN’S DRAGON.

 

 Buy now for 99cents (limited time offer)

Ibooks       Kobo       Barnes & Noble      Amazon

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s newsletter and get your link to download your exclusive FREE book, please click HERE.

Rogue Enforcer by jessica aspen

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Writing is a Muscle—Use it, or Lose it

Moonday Mania

a blog for the readers and writers

It’s the end of the summer. Out here in Colorado, kids are heading back to school, the nights are getting cooler, and we’re on to the last of my summer blogs on The Top Five Things I’ve Learned Writing Romance. Today’s topic may be the most important of all: Writing is a muscle—use it, or lose it.

Here is the list of the other top five things I’ve learned writing romance, and the links to the posts:

  1. As soon as I think I’m on a writing roll, life will intervene.
  2. The plot can be thought out in advance, but the characters are bound to have issues with whatever you’ve decided. So be flexible and roll with it.
  3. There is no such thing as the muse.
  4. There is such a thing as resistance.
  5. Writing is a muscle. Use it, or lose it.

Now on with today’s blog:

Writing is hard!

I have had a lot of ups and downs in my effort to write on a regular basis. Sometimes it seems like I get on a writing roll (writing three days a week and getting 10k done) and then it happens: life laughs at me and says “Sorry! Time for a family emergency. No writing for you!”

GRR!

Why is this so upsetting? Because, just like running, lifting weights, or even walking more than ten minutes, it when you don’t use your writing muscles, they degrade.

I know I can write. I know I can get a good sized rough draft done in about 2 months, but my health, my family’s health, and various other interruptions mean that the last book took four months to write, instead of 2. And that just frustrates me.

In fact, I think I can even do better!

I wrote for 11 days in April, 8 days in July, and four in August for a total of 66,556 words. An average of just under 3,ooo words per day. Now that sounds pretty impressive, but let’s take a better look at that. Some of those days I wrote less than 1,000 words, and some days I wrote nearly 5,000 words. Why were they different?

  • Amount of time is a piece of that: some days I only had an hour to write, some days I had four.
  • Organization is also a piece: sometimes the synopsis and beat sheet were spot on and I could really sit down and just write. Some days I had to throw out the synopsis and figure out what I needed to do.

Getting back to writing is slow writing.

But mostly, it had to do with if I’d written that week at all, or if I was sitting down to a cold and chilly keyboard. The first few days of July, when I hadn’t touched this manuscript since the end of April, my pace was super slow. The first two days: 331 and 433 respectively.

The more I sit down and write, the faster the words roll out. If I want to write a book in two months, they need to be consecutive months, they need to be consecutive weeks, and the best possible scenario? They really need to be consecutive days.

Imagine if on the days when I wrote a few hundred words, I actually wrote my average of 3,000 words. (And this really is my average. If I’m writing 2-3 days per week for 3 hours at a time, I write 3k per sitting.) My word count on those days would be 3 times what I actually wrote. And that would mean I could have written the entire rough draft in less than a month, instead of two months stretched over four months.

Wow! I’d be a superhero writer!

muscle

Photo by Denis Yang, creative commons

 

 How do you get to be your own writing superhero?

Write as much as you can as often as you can. It’s that simple. Okay, it’s not that simple. Writing is just like working out. It takes discipline and focus. And it takes getting to the job day after day, even when you don’t want to.

Notice, I can tell you what you should do, but I struggle with it myself. But when I crunch these numbers, I can see superherodom in my future. And I want it.

How can I write like this?

I won’t lie, it’s hard. But like all good things it comes with it’s own reward. Just like working out, when you write on a consistent schedule, you’ll see your muscles getting stronger.

I’m going to test out my theory. I’m goaling writing my next book in a month. It has a 50k rough draft goal. At 3k per day, that’s 16 writing days. And if I can get my writing speed up because I’m writing faster? I think it’s still 16 3 hour days because the days I wrote 5k I sat at the keyboard for an extra hour per day to make up the time from the days I couldn’t get to the writing.

So that’s the goal for the next project:

16 days writing. Want to see my plans? I’ll be detailing my calendar in my next writing post. Want to see how I do? Check in at the end of September and we’ll see how we’re doing. Thousands of people achieve this very goal in the month of November. The most I’ve ever written in 30 days is 30,000 words.

Life? Challenge accepted. Superhero, here I come!

***

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s newsletter and get your link to download your exclusive FREE book, please click HERE.

Rogue Enforcer by jessica aspen

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Filed under channeling success, Goal Setting, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey, writing organization

Resistance is Futile: And other writing myths

Moonday Mania

a blog for the readers and writers

I’ts hot! And to keep my mind off of the heat this summer, I’ve been blogging on the five top things I’ve learned writing romance. Today we’re on number four: There is such thing as resistance.

  1. As soon as I think I’m on a writing roll, life will intervene.
  2. The plot can be thought out in advance, but the characters are bound to have issues with whatever you’ve decided. So be flexible and roll with it.
  3. There is no such thing as the muse.
  4. There is such a thing as resistance.
  5. Writing is a muscle. Use it, or lose it.

Now on with today’s blog:

Resistance Exists

A few years ago someone gave me the fabulous book on resistance The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Stephen Pressfield. It introduced me to the concept of resistance: the idea that once you decide to do something creative you immediately create roadblocks for yourself.

Now, I’m not going to go into all of that here, you should read the book. It’s truly a classic for any creative trying to achieve anything. Basically, we all throw up roadblocks when we want to succeed at any endeavor and Stephen Pressfield labels this “resistance”.

I can see this all the time, especially in my teenagers. The classic line at our house from our kids is: “The problem is…” and then they’ll list the reasons why whatever solution we’ve come up with is not going to work. Or just plain wrong.

But it’s not just the kids, it’s me too!

Whenever I face something difficult, it happens to me too. When I try to make time to get back to writing my book I find myself saying, “I’d get that done, but the problem is…” And what’s bad is that the problems are legitimate. I do have too many important things to do. Cleaning the house, cooking quality food, exercising—all of that is important. And taking care of family emergencies is super important and with two aging parents and two maturing new adults there are a lot of family emergencies.

Or, maybe it’s legitimate work that is book related, but not actually writing. Because you see, there are always tons of things to do that are not writing paranormal romance, but are very important. Like blogging!

The fact is: I’m not lying to myself, or to my spouse, or even to the world in general, there are reasons why I should not be doing any creative work. And they are all legitimate. But without the writing, there are no books.

Woah! Then how does anything get done?

If you let life intervene, nothing else gets done. That’s the simple truth. If I let all my excuses, valid or not, keep me from writing. And I want to write books, don’t I?

The real question behind resistance is not: are your excuses are valid? It’s: how badly do you want to create, or succeed, or take risks?

And the real answer is: How willing are you to face your fears?

Because that’s what it really comes down to. Legitimate or not, all those excuses are just excuses—reasons why we are not doing what we set out to do because, for whatever reason, we’re afraid. How do I know that my family issues, cooking, cleaning, whatever… are only roadblocks and not reasons I can’t write? Because I’ve seen other people do it. People with full time jobs, five kids (one of whom has a disability), and just as dirty houses write books. And some of them write way more than I do.

Excuses are resistance. They are my way of avoiding what I’m afraid of. Now, what exactly is that? Well, that’s another blog topic all together. Or therapy session. LOL!

How do I overcome resistance?

Back to Stephen Pressfield’s book, THE WAR OF ART. You have to do it every day. So that’s my challenge. I struggle with writing new fiction words on a daily, sometimes even weekly basis. Because real life interferes, and I let it. Stephen says you have to face resistance every day, and that’s the real war of art.

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

I’m always saying, I’ll try to do this. But I need to apply my inner Yoda and just do.

What are you not doing? What are you avoiding in your life, creative or otherwise, that is a form of resistance? Have you read THE WAR OF ART? Have you tried, ahem, done the work? How did it work out?

Tune in next week for topic number five: Writing is a muscle, use it or lose it

***

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s newsletter and get your link to download your exclusive FREE book, please click HERE.

Rogue Enforcer by jessica aspen

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The Writing Muse, and other deadly myths.

Moonday Mania

a blog for the readers and writers

This summer, I’ve been blogging on the five top things I’ve learned writing romance and today we’re on number three: There is no such thing as the muse.

  1. As soon as I think I’m on a writing roll, life will intervene.
  2. The plot can be thought out in advance, but the characters are bound to have issues with whatever you’ve decided. So be flexible and roll with it.
  3. There is no such thing as the muse.
  4. There is such a thing as resistance.
  5. Writing is a muscle. Use it, or lose it.

Now on with today’s blog:

There is no debate among professional writers: the muse is a myth.

I first read about this total disbelief in the writing muse in Stephen King’s On Writing. A fabulous book that almost scared me so much, I nearly stopped writing altogether. Luckily, I persevered.

Why?

Because of that mythical muse.

Huh? If the muse doesn’t exist, then how could it have motivated me to write?

Well, I’ll tell you. Productive, professional writers are correct, from horror to romance to thrillers they all say the same thing: If you want to actually publish and be successful, you cannot wait around for inspiration to strike. I let too many things interrupt my writing schedule, but I know that in order to be successful you have to sit down in the chair and write. No matter if you don’t have the time, or the energy, or the muse hasn’t shown up. You just write.

This is what a synopsis is for.

When I don’t know what to write, when my characters don’t want to cooperate, it doesn’t matter—because I have a synopsis to guide me. I don’t have to have inspiration to get myself kick-started. And, if that piece isn’t the most inspiring, that’s okay. That’s what editing is for. And believe me, I edit. A lot.

So, wait a minute. Didn’t you just say that the muse kept you in the game when your fear of Stephen King almost made you stop?

Yeah, I did say that. That’s because this is where I believe in the myth. The muse may not have to show up every day to get you to write. Writing is a job and muse or not, you need to do it. But, the muse does have to show up sometime. And when she does, wow! That’s when your fingers fly over the pages. Or it happens when you’re out walking and a fabulous idea for a tricky scene pops into your head. Or, she visits you in your sleep and whispers into your dreams.

That’s what the muse is for. Kick-starting. Not for everyday working the job.

So…here’s the skinny:

Get to work without the muse, but be grateful when she does flit into your writer cave; because, those are the moments that make it wonderful to be a writer.

Tune in next week for topic number four: There is such thing as resistance.

 

***

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s newsletter and get your link to download your exclusive FREE book, please click HERE.

Rogue Enforcer by jessica aspen

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Increasing Writing Speed…Five Minutes At A Time

Moonday Mania

a blog for the writer in all of us

It’s the end of July and I’m nearing the end of my Camp NaNoWrimo challenge. This time around I set my goal at 20,000 words for the month. And as of this writing I need less than 3k. For the first time ever, I will hit a Nano goal. WOOT! I may have to buy a tee-shirt!

Boosting production

Over the last two years I’ve spent more time editing my works than writing them. At least I think so. It seems like the writing takes a certain amount of time and the editing takes two to three times as long. So how can I increase my productivity? I have so many amazing plots swimming around my head. Just the other day I came up with a concept for a fantastic contemporary series. But I have three series already in progress. Wait, I actually have four because I have one I’ve never published. When am I supposed to write a new one?

The solution? Write faster.

I’ve already looked at this before with RACHEL AARON’S 5K TO 10K, and that really did help me at the time. With Rachel Aaron’s system you look at when you are most productive and where you are most productive and start there. And I did that. I love writing in the morning, after I’ve woken up, had my coffee, taken the dog for a walk, and had my shower. So, nine am. But…what’s happened since I figured that out is that my schedule changed. Time that I am most productive is now the time I have to be at my job. That’s a bummer. So my writing speed has dropped. I’m struggling to hit 1,500k per hour. And I’m struggling to find a consistent time to write.

Enter 5,000 WORDS PER HOUR: WRITE FASTER, WRITE SMARTER, by Chris Fox.

That’s right. You heard me. 5,000 words per hour.

Now right off the bat I know I’m not going to hit that. And I don’t want to sound self-depreciating when I say it. Chris says in order to hit the 5k mark you have to use dictation. And I’m not ready for that. Yet. Give me some time. No, what I want to do is hit 3k. Consistently. If I hit 3k per hour on a daily basis that would mean I could put out a novel in a month and still have time for that pesky editing in the other 23 hours of the day.

I could still have time to cook my healthy meals, exercise, take care of my kids, parents, dog, cat, and my husband. WOW! Doesn’t that sound amazing?

Sprint! Sprint! Sprint!

Chris starts you off with sprinting. Now I regularly set my timer for 45 minutes and write, but he suggests five minute sprints and to time yourself. He even has a free ap (only for the ipad or iphone) that will help you do this and keep track of your sprints. Chris has you write for five minutes than multiply by 12 to get your Words Per Hour. So I decided this weekend to commit to five minutes every morning. After the first cup of coffee. Or maybe the second.

What’s the benefit of five minute sprints?

  • Well, for one thing, they are very doable. At first I griped about doing even five minutes first thing in the morning. I’m not awake. I don’t have time. I need my coffee. (Okay, that last one is just pathetic. You can drink coffee while sprinting, although it does slow your time).
  • I was surprised to find that my speed was pretty consistent the first three times I did it. Right around (or below) 1500 WPH. I seriously thought I’d at least hit 2k, even though I’ve been writing at 1.5 k for my longer sprints, I always do 45 minutes. So 2k should be my speed. But it’s not.
  • You can really do a nice comparison with consistently using five minutes. I hadn’t thought about it before, but by cutting down the time I’m measuring and only focusing on writing for five minutes, I can really focus on the speed. And why I’m not writing faster.
  • Chris says that by using the sprints you can increase your overall time. And I can see that. When I do the sprints I’m really aware that I’m still going back and fixing my spelling, or plot, or whatever. You can’t do that and write fast.

So it’s off to my Monday morning sprint!

I’m committed to trying five minute sprints for a month and seeing how they work. If nothing else I’ll get an extra 138 words in per morning. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll increase that speed and hit that 2k mark by the end of the month. I only need an extra 29 words, or so. And if I quit fiddling, I know I can do that. And look at the difference that would make.

138 wpm x 31 days= 4,278 words per month

166wpm X 31 days =5,146  words per month

That’s an extra 868 words per month, in five minutes per day. Imagine what that would do if I applied this to all my writing?

How fast do you write in five minutes? Want to find out more?

Time yourself and see how fast you write. It’s eye opening what five minutes can do.

You can listen to a fantastic podcast with Chris on the Rocking Self Publishing Podcast HERE. And you can find his book on Amazon HERE. It’s super short, packed full of good information, and only $2.99

Stay tuned to see what happens next! I’ll be letting you know how its going and if Chris’s other steps help me gain extra words.

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

 

Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759763.Jessica_Aspen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaAspen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

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Early Bird Gets the Worm, But Not Before My Coffee!

Moonday Mania

a blog about writing

Updates:

I’m working hard on my new Sexy Shifter Fairytale Romance for Camp NaNoWriMo as well as working on finishing up polishing RED, the first book in the series (formerly titled LITTLE RED RIDING WOLF). I’m also working on cover sheets to send to my cover artist for the first four books in the series and I’m looking forward to reissuing the first three books in this romance novella series in the fall. Followed fast by the next three novellas.

I’m also working on getting my first three fantasy romances in the TALES OF THE BLACK COURT into a boxed set. I have the cover and it’s fantastic! (Cover reveal to come soon) But the formatting is driving me crazy, I may have to farm that out, but my budget says “Noooo!”

Now onto the blog:

I used to think I was a morning person, and then I read about all the authors who rise and shine at five in the morning and start creating their books. Crazy! These people actually get up an hour early to cram in writing BEFORE they do things like: go to the day job. Can I say CRAZY again?

So, am I a morning person?

Me at five am

Not a pretty sight at 5am

I rise and shine somewhere between 5am and 6am, without an alarm. Unless I’m super tired, then I’ve been known to sleep in until 7. Most people would define that as a morning person. But I’ll give you a hint. I have serious bed-head when I roll out of bed and I desperately need my coffee. In other words, no one wants me writing sexy shifter romance when all I can think about is coffee. You can picture the dialogue.

“Oh baby, I can’t stop thinking about you.”

“That’s nice. Is that coffee I smell?”

“Forget the coffee, let’s make mad passionate love.”

“Um, sure. After the coffee. And breakfast. I’m too hungry to think about anything but bacon. And coffee. Is the coffee ready yet?”

I can do emails, and once I wake up I can edit, but actual creative work, where I think about plot and motivation and backstory? It just doesn’t happen that early.

If it’s not 5am then what is my most productive time?

I think my most productive time is after I’ve been up, had my coffee, taken the dog for a walk, showered and dressed. And that puts me at 9am. Right when I’m supposed to be at the day job. When I do get to work at 9, I’m great. Words flow, things get done. I’m a powerhouse until noon and my lunch break. But that doesn’t really work with my day job who expects me to be at work from 9 until noon. Sometimes even 1pm, or 2.

I get home after work wanting lunch and a break. I have time then, it’s just not my natural work time. It’s the afternoons when my body wants to catch up for that five am wake up call. And sometimes…I fall asleep in front of the tv when I should be writing. Then the kids come home and I’m distracted by life, errands, and cooking dinner. So when am I supposed to squeeze those quality words in?

Find your time.

It doesn’t matter about all the excuses. I want to write, so I need to find some other productive time. I’m lucky in that I’m working part time now. The idea behind that was supposed to be that the other hours in the week I would be writing. But it’s only working out that Fridays are a writing day, because I usually don’t work then and I push everything else to other days of the week. TGIF!

What am I going to do about it?

I honestly don’t know. I have a few ideas though.

First of all I’m going to be working less hours for the rest of the summer, so I think I can devote Wednesdays as well as Fridays to writing.

Second of all, I’m leaving the house to do it. Summer is when my kids are home a lot, so if the house is full, I’m outa here!

And third, I’m going to try writing at least a hundred words in the afternoons that I am able. Thursdays and Mondays tend to be packed, but there is a possibility that Tuesdays will work out. And if I get into that habit, maybe I can also squeeze in another hundred on the tougher days.

When are your most productive hours? Have you ever tried to chart them? What did you find out?

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

 

Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759763.Jessica_Aspen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaAspen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

 

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Filed under About the Author, channeling success, Nanowrimo, Sexy Shifter Fairytale Romance

Camp NaNoWrimo 2015, in July!

Moonday Mania

a blog for writing

It’s Nano time again!

Camp-Participant-2015-Twitter-ProfileHello all you writers and readers out there. It’s NaNoWrimo time again, and this time we’re heading to camp! I tried to do this in April at the last Camp Nano, but I had a vacation at the end, so I missed my goal. The good news is I did write 8k+ on my latest Sexy Shifter Fairytale Romance, SCARLETT, so I’m thrilled with that.

The bad news is I only hit 8k+ on my latest Sexy Shifter Fairytale Romance, so I’m a little bummed.

I will be finishing SCARLETT in July for the second round of camp. I’ve worked a tiny bit on it in the last month or so, but mostly I’ve been busy getting my fantasy romance series in line for my release of BROKEN MIRROR. I’ve also been working on the edits for RED, the first Sexy Shifter Fairytale Romance.

So what makes Nano work for you?

Okay, I had to think about this. The time I was most successful at Nano I wrote GOLDI, then titled GOLDI AND THE BEAR. It wasn’t the 50k that Nano usually goals, but I hit close to 30k, and that’s my biggest writing month ever! So what worked then? And how can I put those lessons into use this time?

I left the house.

I’ve found that working at home works for me, but only if everyone is out of the house. When I wrote Goldi I was most successful at the coffee shop, because no one bothered me there. A key component of that is that I went to the coffee shop solo. I didn’t go to a Nano write in. I didn’t arrange to meet friends. I also work well at the library, but it’s a little further away.

I had an outline

I had a very solid outline for GOLDI. That meant that I knew what I was going to write that day, and even if I skipped a scene that was causing me issues, I knew where my next step was.

I stayed on track

I have a big issue. I let everyone and everything else in my life derail me from writing. That month I stayed focused and wrote. Saying no is one of the hardest things for me, especially to my family. But I need to get this story finished. Not just because I have two more to write in this series, but also because I want to move on to the next TALES OF THE BLACK COURT, and HAUNTED HOLIDAYS.

Yes, I have too many projects that I want to do. But they are all doable, if I focus, focus, focus.

Can I do it? Yes I can!

Staying positive is a key piece of being successful at NaNoWrimo. I have a very doable goal this time. I want to write 20k to add to the 8k I already have written for SCARLETT. 30 days, 20k. And I usually only am able to write about five days a week. That works out to 22 writing days for me. (I only write on the weekdays because the family obligations take up the weekends). That’s about 909 words per day.

When I’m on a roll, 1k per hour is an easy thing to do. So that’s only one hour per day. Can I find an hour per weekday to write? Yes I can!

Okay, let’s face it. I don’t usually make Nano. What can I do differently?

Well, I don’t ever make it to 50k. So I believe by setting my Camp Nano goal to 20k, that’s a doable number for me. Sure it’s still a challenge. I have a day job, kids, a husband. And Molly the Labrador needs to be walked every day. I also need to keep up with my exercise routine and to cook healthy food. Oh, and shop for the healthy food. But I’ve set myself up for as much success as possible and I think I can do it this time! I’ve definitely written 20k in a month before.

RED was written in three weeks. GOLDI in four. I wrote SNOW  in about a month too. All of those are 30k books, so I know I can do it. I just have to…stay focused!

What are your goals for July?

Are you doing anything special for the month of July? Are you setting goals? Nanoing? Let me know if you have a particular goal for July, or just for the summer.

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

 

Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759763.Jessica_Aspen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaAspen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

 

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Filed under channeling success, Moonday mania, Nanowrimo, Sexy Shifter Fairytale Romance, Writer's Journey

Spring Into Writing

Moonday Mania

a blog about writing

It’s spring and romance is in the air. Well, maybe not when it’s snowing, which it does in April in Colorado. Wet, heavy, spring snow. We love it and hate it. It’s cold and icy and weighs a ton. But it also provides moisture to sustain us through a dry year. March is Colorado’s snowiest month and April our wettest. And just like I have to deal with slogging through the heavy snow to find the spring flowers, when I write I have to slog through the heavy writing to get to the finished manuscript.

Romance should be easy.

It should just flow from my fingers, and sometimes it does. Sometimes it’s like shoveling spring snow and I sit at my desk looking outside thinking, that’s what I should be doing. But I don’t. Instead of doing the heavy lifting of writing romance, I scoot over to Facebook and see what my friends are up to. Or I write a blog. Blogs are easier for me than plotting fantasy and suspense twists.

Why is that? Why is it that, even though I love writing romance. Even though I love twisting the fairy tales and bogging down my heroines in complex plots, why is it I find every excuse in the book not to write?

Good question. And when you find the answer, let me know. I do answer my comments. (As long as their not spam about shoes, or where I can find the latest political information and male enhancement devices.) I really have no idea. I do know that I love what I do.

How do I know that I love what I do?

Because even though it can be torture to sit at that black computer screen. Even though I have to sometimes put aside the joys of social media and treat myself like a teenager who only wants to play games and surf the internet. Even though sometimes I struggle with putting those hot sexy scenes down on the page…

I don’t want to do anything else.

So, I’ll sign off now. And if you don’t see many blog posts from me. Or you think I’m not on social media enough, don’t tempt me! I’m sitting down and writing what you and I both want. The next book. And the next. And maybe, just maybe, the one after that.

Author Bio:

jessica aspen, authorJessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your FREE book, please click HERE.

 

Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759763.Jessica_Aspen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaAspen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

 

 

 

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Filed under channeling success, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey

Toggl, My Brand New Tool

Moonday Mania

a time stretching blog

I’m now treasurer of my local RWA chapter, Colorado Romance Writers. It’s a crazy thing to do with all the other things I want to do, but someone needs to do it and I’ve avoided board membership for five years now. I’ll put in my time and then be back to normal. Right?

Sure, if you believe that then we have lots of things to sell you!

So, the treasurers job turned out to be much bigger than I thought. I think, like everything, it’s been made much bigger than it has to be by the addition of email. With email, people think you should be able to work non-stop, all the time, for them. They email you and think you should respond. RIGHT AWAY! Because they know you are online and just waiting for them to call. And there is a lot to learn and set up. Accounting programs, Paypal, paying bills. And board duties. It’s not just keeping track of the money, I ended up helping with our retreat too.

timer and laptopI found myself spending way too much time on this and I felt overwhelmed. I need to be taking care of my family, my treasurer’s duties, my health. I need to be writing new words and editing old ones and getting covers ready. And I have a job too. Oh, yeah, I have to work.

The first part of January I estimated I spent 20 hours a week on getting the hang of all this new treasurer stuff. That’s crazy!

But did I really spend that much time doing that? And what else did I spend my time doing? How much time am I devoting to my writing? And will I continue to spend this much time on this job, or will it get better as I settle in and learn all the ins and outs.

I really had no idea. So I’ve adopted a new tool: Toggl.

Toggl is a time keeper. You put in all your projects and clients and it keeps track of your time for you. Now I can divide everything into clients, like CRW, Abracadabra Pubilishing, and ME! I can see where I spend my time and exactly what I was doing. Was I wasting time searching for new YouTube videos? Or was I working non-stop on my latest romance project?

Without knowing exactly where I was putting my time I didn’t know. But now I do! I’ll be able to see how my time is allocated. And once I do, then I can fix the issues. I can start saying no to projects that I just don’t have time for, and make sure I have time for those that really need me. Like getting Broken Mirror edits done. Or making sure I have a great cover.

I plan to keep track of my time for the next month, and then look at it and see where I need to tweak things. By the end of the year I should have a very good idea of whether or not I should continue to be treasurer. I’ll be able to see my exercise time, my personal time, and how much time I spend on social media, blogging, and exactly how much time it takes me to really write a book.

I hope to report back and let you know if this is effective. So far I love it! But then again, I love clear plastic boxes and organizing my books too. Not sure if either of those things is a good way to spend my time. But I’ll find out!

How do you keep track of your time? Do you know how much time each book took you to write? Or how much time you spend cooking healthy food? Is it important to you? Do you exaggerate how you spend your time, or do you underestimate how long everything really took?

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE. 

Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759763.Jessica_Aspen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaAspen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

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Filed under channeling success, Goal Setting, Moonday mania, writing organization

Overcoming Resistance

Moonday Mania

a blog for the procrastinator in all of us

“Resistance is futile.” That’s what the Borg say. It’s one of Star Trek’s most famous lines. And usually we’re on the side of the resistors, the rebels, the fighters, the good guys. But when we talk about resistance in ourselves we need to become the Borg—we need to target resistance and root it out.

Resistance for a writer comes in many forms, but mostly it’s how and why we procrastinate doing something we love to do, write. Everyone has resistance. I see it in my kids when they have something they aren’t confident of doing. I have it myself every time I have to make a doctor’s appointment. I don’t know why, but I don’t like making doctor’s appointments.

So I wait…

I put it off…

That’s resistance.

But how do we overcome it? How do we stop procrastinating?

boulder flatirons chataqua park

Climb those mountains of resistance.

In June I attended my Colorado Romance Writer’s chapter meeting and our workshop was put on by author Sandra Kerns. Sandra is my guest this week on Whimsical Wednesdays, so be sure to hop back over here and check out her blog telling you all about the cool research she had to do for her latest romantic suspense, Her Master Diver.

This is the description we had for the meeting. Now I grew up in Boulder, Colorado. If you needed motivation, affirmations, or your karma hijacked, that was the place to find out information. But I checked out the blurb:

“All the World is a Story – Tell Yours with Confidence.”

This is not your average talk about the advantages of critique groups/writing organizations/contests, etc. Here Sandra will share, and ask you share in return, issues that stop writers dead in their tracks and pull them away from their writing.

Writer’s need creative and affirming ways to stay motivated, in their seats, and doing what they love – aka writing! Sandra will offer ways she’s found that work for her – and others – to overcome issues we writers face every day.

I didn’t know if I’d get something out of it, but boy was it timely for me. If you’ve been reading my blogs lately, you’ll know I’m mired deeply into resistance. (You can read about it HERE and HERE.) Sandra had a terrific workshop based on using affirmations to get out of our writing issues.

Now, like I said, I grew up in Boulder and I knew all about affirmations, but I never thought to apply it this tightly to my writing. See, fellow touchy-feeley people, sometimes the universe sends you what you need when you need it. And this was it for me.

So I’ve started using affirmations to get me back on track. Here’s an example. Using Sandra’s technique I chose one issue I have been struggling with: that I don’t think I have time to write. Then I phrased it in a positive manner. “I have plenty of time to write every day.” Now I post this in a prominent place in my house (Sandra suggested the bathroom mirror) and repeat it three times every day.

That’s it. That’s how affirmations work.

And it is working.

I’ve revisited what’s slowing me down in my writing. For me, I know it’s managing my time (see last weeks post on Fall Resolutions) but it’s also doing the right things with the extra time I have. For instance, I’m writing this blog at 4am. I couldn’t sleep. I could be reading a book, or searching the internet for the latest gizmo to buy, but here I am working on my blog. If I’m not sleeping, I might as well be putting the time to good use.

Should I be writing on my latest fantasy romance? Maybe. But I don’t want a project that won’t let me get back to sleep once I’m tired. So I’m writing the blog now and this will give me more time later in the week to work on what I really need to be writing…the book.

How do you overcome resistance? Have you tried affirmations? They work for so many amazing things, not just writing, that I’ve used them to overcome many things in my life. What would you like to tackle in your life?

If you want to read about my issues with my writing goals lately you can click HERE and read the first post in this series.

If you want to read more about resistance and what it is then click HERE and read the second post in this series.

To find out about what I’m doing about my goals click HERE and read all about my Fall Resolutions.

If you want to know when my next book, Broken Mirror, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court, comes out and be eligible for special offers then sign up for my New Release Mailing List HERE

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at https://jessicaaspen.com/what-hot-new-story-is-jessica-working-on/

 Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759763.Jessica_Aspen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaAspen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! http://eepurl.com/zs4Sj

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Filed under channeling success, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey