Category Archives: Goal Setting

Goals: Increase Writing Productivity

Moonday Mania

a blog where I set the bar high—and then try to clamber over it

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

Publishing Update:

I’ve finished my rough draft of THE WINTER QUEEN’S DRAGON. Yay! It won’t be ready for publication for a while, but it’s finally finished and I’m happy dancing. Meanwhile, I have a few other projects sitting on the back burner that I’ll move to the front.

If you’re a member of my mailing list and have read your free book, ROGUE ENFORCER, I’m writing more wolf shifter romances that have that paranormal suspense feel. And at the end of September, I’ll be attending a Romance Reader Convention—Rom Con—in Denver, Colorado. Other than that I’m going to be editing, editing, editing, so that THE WINTER QUEEN’S DRAGON is ready for publishing in January 2017.

Now on to the blog…

Well, it’s that time again. I’ve finished a rough draft and it needs to sit for a little while before I dive into editing it. So, it’s time to start writing another one. And this time I’m trying something different. I’ve been using something called, The Chunky Writing Method originated by Allie Pleiter, to keep track of how many words I write in a sitting, and how long my optimal sitting is.

It turns out, I’m a large chunk writer. In other words, I like to write for a very long time (with short breaks) and write a lot of words. Now, I’ve known this about myself for a while, but I hadn’t really thought about how it affected my writing organization until I read Allie’s series of articles in the Romance Writer’s Report this year. My life doesn’t have very many large chunk moments in it, but I need those large chunks to write effectively.

I like sitting down for three hours in the morning and writing a total of 3,000 words. So, I’m goaling a new rough draft at 50k. That means I need seventeen large chunks of time. If I want to write this book in about a month, and I do, I need to organize my life so I have seventeen large chunks. Allie recommends that as a large chunk writer I try to write in some small chunks too, and I understand why, but I won’t be able to finish this draft by the end of the month if I plan to do smaller chunks, so for this one, I’m aiming for the big chunks.

And, if I’m able to squeeze in a few smaller chunks of say…1k per hour, than that’s great!

So…how does this thing play out?

Step One: Figure 17 3-hour days, if everything goes well. And we’ll add in a couple of extra to give me some wiggle room.

Step Two: Plan the days.

Oh, this is the tough part! but I’ve gone to my calendar (Click here to see the calendar) and put my writing days down for the month of September. And I have a progress meter there too, so I’ll be tracking my word count as well.

I’ve got myself writing every day with this plan, except for the weekends. And Labor Day. Oh, and the long weekend at the end of September when I’ll be partying it up with the romance readers at Rom Con.

Step Three:

The thing that will really make this work is having a fabulous outline with detailed scenes and chapters. So I’ll be working on that for the end of August and then, watch out September, words are going to be flying onto the page! 🙂

Check back and see how this goes.

I’ll update how this went at the end of September. Or actually, more likely the beginning of October since I’ll be at Rom Con the last weekend in September. If I stay on track, I’ll have a brand spanking new book at the end of the process. If I get derailed, I’ll still have a great plot outlined and lots of words done. And then I’ll start planning October.

How do you plan? Do you figure out how long it takes you to do a job, and then how many days you need to schedule to do it? Or do you do what I used to: schedule the days and then see what kind of work you get done in those days? What method works best for you?

***

Check out the five top things I’ve learned writing romance on these blog 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.

***

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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Lessons from the Writing Path

Moonday Mania

a blog about writing, writers, and um, well, not writing

Whether it’s the big American novel or writing paranormal romance or blogging, writing is a journey of self discovery.

I’ve been a writer for, what seems like, all of my life. But I only got serious about it in 2008. That’s when I buckled down and said I was finishing a book. Any book. And that book turned out to be THE DARK HUNTSMAN. I had no idea that it would lead me to continue writing twisted fairy tale romance for the next few years, or that it would lead to a five book series. But here I am, writing book number four in the TALES OF THE BLACK COURT, and knowing book number five is not that far away.

So, what have I learned on this writing journey? 

  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.

Turns out it’s so much, I need to divide it into multiple blogs, so today I’m addressing the first of five things I’ve learned on my writing path:

  1. As soon as I think I’m on a writing roll, life will intervene. 

I can decide to write. I can have the time and get started and the words are flowing out from my frantically typing fingers at a terrific rate, daily. But, if I decide that this means I can hit multiple deadlines…I get screwed. Life shows up and steals my time and suddenly that deadline is looming and my writing squeals to a STOP!!!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/84388958@N03/7729300102/in/photolist-cM1FCS-dVCQB9-fekqPf-fnCBmJ-dm9hSQ-dc7cwR-fe67oX-dTVms3-fekr2d-fnor2P
Clover Autrey, Creative Commons, MyWana Flickr

So, what to do?

I still need deadlines. They motivate me in a way that nothing else does. Call it fear motivation. Fear of disappointing my readers, my editor, myself. So I still set them. And I still beat myself up when I miss them, even if it’s due to someone else’s life falling apart and me riding to the rescue. Or vacation needing three weeks to catch up at the day job, instead of the one week I planned. Or whatever.

Deadlines work. What doesn’t work is panicking and sitting on the couch eating ice cream when I miss one. So, back to the keyboard we go. Every time life rears up it’s head to say, sorry—no hitting your deadline for you! I fight back. I keep trying. I move the deadline, or move projects, or call up whomever it is that I made that deadline-promise to and apologize profusely while begging for a few more weeks.

Is it ideal? No. Of course not. ‘snort’ Ideal would be for everyone else’s life to leave my deadlines alone. For me to never get sick. For my day job to never have it’s ups and downs. Ideal would be if I could predict when those things are going to happen and adjust the deadlines before they come due. Preferably, before even setting the deadlines.

But life happens.

So…

I keep setting deadlines. Because if I don’t, nothing happens. No writing gets done, no books get published. And I want all of that to happen.

How about you? What do you do when you set deadlines and life rears it’s ugly head and attacks? Do you give in and wallow in your failures? Or do you regroup, set new deadlines, and get to work?

Want to see what else I’ve learned on this romance writing journey? I’ll be writing about the rest of the things I’ve learned on my writing path over the next few blogs, so check back next week and find out how I wrangle plotting vs characters.

***

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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When the Writing Gets Fun, the Writing Gets Easier!

Moonday Mania

a blog about writing romance

In the news:

Silver : A Sexy Shifter Fairytale Romance, released on all channels on April 15th. WOOT! Otherwise all I’m doing right now is writing!

Now here’s the blog:

I always cringe when I see the question: What’s your favorite part of writing . Or the reverse: What do you dislike about writing? The reason I cringe is because I struggle with all the pieces of writing, whether it’s fantasy romance, shifter romance, or paranormal suspense. And yet, I still love all the pieces of writing every single one of those sub-genres. Go figure!

Romance Writing and I have a love/hate relationship.

I’m the same way about getting into the pool. I don’t want to get wet! And yet, when I get into the water, I don’t want to get out. When I’m writing I don’t want to sit down and dive into my romances. I’ll find any excuse not to do it. And I have lots of legitimate excuses. But once I get started, I realize, it’s not so bad. In fact, it’s fun!

I’m really enjoying writing book 4 of the TALES OF THE BLACK COURT.

tales of the black court a fantasy romance collection books 1-3I’ve been away from this series, and writing fantasy romance in particular, for far too long. I hadn’t planned on taking so long to get the SEXY SHIFTER FAIRYTALE ROMANCES out, but life happened and it took six months longer than I’d planned. Ooops! I thought I’d be writing this book, Siobhan’s story, in November. Sigh. (You can read about my big epiphany that I’m not a super hero HERE.)

So, by the time I got to the point where I had to sit at my computer and type real words, I was feeling very anxious about getting into the water again. It had been a long time. What if I couldn’t swim?

Surprise!

Writing this book is amazing. 🙂

I’m truly having fun diving back into my world of elves and witches and magical romances. Yes, I still have that moment of “I don’t wanna!” But once I start writing it’s going super smoothly and I love the story. I think what’s making this fantasy romance more fun than the last is that I’ve had a lot of time to think about what’s going to happen, so the words pour out. I don’t know everything, but I have a good plot. I knew the beginning and the ending and I’ve had some nice surprises from my characters along the way.

Score!

I’m so excited about it that I’m ready to order a cover and get the book out on pre-order, so be looking for that announcement, if not here then definitely in the newsletter.

So, what makes writing fun? Having a roadmap, knowing where you’re going, and deviating when you see a nice place to picnic.

Hope you are all having fun this spring, getting outside into the lovely weather (when you have it), taking spring breaks, and reading lots and lots of fun fantasy romance! WOOT!

***

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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January Goals 2016

Moonday Mania

a blog for the determined goal setter

It’s that time again! Goal setting time!

I’ve fallen off of the posting wagon, but rest assured I’ve still been setting and checking off goals. Even when fighting the killer virus I looked at my goals and moaned in despair, but I still looked! So here’s what I posted last January and what I accomplished.

Here are my goals for 2015:

  1. Publish book 2.5, Cassie’s backstory from just before Broken Mirror. done
  2. Publish Broken Mirror, book three in the Tales of the Black Court. done
  3. Re-brand and publish the three novellas in the Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods series done (published 1/2/2016 but all the work was done in 2015)
  4. Write three more novellas for Twisted Tales Series and publish. written and they will be published 2016
  5. Write fourth book in the Tales of the Black Court. (Would love to have this out and published by end of 2015, but realistically it’s looking like 2016. But I’m going to try!) Definitely 2016-not done
  6. Put all 6 Twisted Tales into an anthology. (This is also a bonus goal, but I think it’s doable!) I pushed this one into 2016

Overall it was a good year.

Of course I had a few bumps in the fall that made me fall behind, but I got nearly everything done on the list and I learned a lot. One of the things I learned is how I like to arrange my writing schedule, so I’m looking forward to putting that into place in the new year.

And in addition to these goals I actually completed my very first Nanowrimo goal during the July camp. WOOT! Someday I’ll actually write the 50k and hit the November goal, but in the meantime I’m celebrating my Camp Nano success.

Now on to 2016!

  1. Publish CINDER, SCARLETT & SILVER, the next three books in Sexy Shifter Fairytale Romance
  2. Write 2 books in the Tales of the Black Court
  3. Publish 2 books in the Tales of the Black Court
  4. Write an additional novella TBD
  5. blog a little more consistently
  6. keep up with my newsletter and new street team
  7. Put the Sexy Shifter Fairytale Romances into boxed sets
  8. Write more!

I like my KISS philosophy of last year for the blog post. I have a super detailed goals list for myself where I chart and put things on the calendar, but this is the basics. If I get all of this done I will consider my year a success!

How are your goals for 2015? Did you get any of them done? A few? All of them? Leave a comment in the box below and let me know how you did. And let me know what you’re looking forward to accomplishing in the New Year!

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 with wolves, elves and magic. 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/

 

 

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What’s In A Badge?

Moonday Mania

a blog for the goal setter in all of us

Do you hit your goals?

As you all know I’m a super goal setter. I don’t always hit all of my goals, but I feel that without setting them, I wouldn’t get nearly as much done. And, another thing you likely know about me, I’m a big fan of National Novel Writing Month, or Nanowrimo, as it’s affectionately called. So I really like when my goals and Nanowrimo coincide. And this year, I’ve been planning writing my next fantasy romance around Nano, so they dovetail nicely.

I try to do this every year, but some years fate intervenes. Like October 2013, when my parents were flooded out of their home in Boulder, Colorado. My November got entirely derailed because my October got derailed. But I reset and that year I skipped Nano altogether. Oh, I think I tried, but I didn’t even sign up on the page. Life was just too upside down.

And that’s okay.

But I think I should get a badge for thinking about it. 🙂

“Badges, we don’t need no stinking badges!”

Badges are a Nano perk. They are silly computer images that keep you going from goal to goal. I love when I hit a goal and a badge pops up! It’s like being a Girl Scout all over again. Every time you hit a goal, you can get a badge. They even start you off with a few, just for fun!

Pantser Badge Planner Badge Tell the world!

Participent Pep Next Generation

I’m a planner now, so I’ve earned the planner badge. Not that I’ve started outlining yet, but I will!

And I’ve told the world that I’m participating in Nanowrimo and writing another fast paced fantasy romance in the TALES OF THE BLACK COURT.

Donate to NaNoWriMo and earn a Badge!

You also can earn a badge when you donate to Nanowrimo and I’m planning this year to donate 10% of my gross income from books I sell in November. Nanowrimo is a fabulous free place to start writing, and they have an amazing out-reach program to get kids writing in the classroom. My kids had fun writing at night in the library at their school write-ins. Literacy for all!

Do you love badges? What about stickers and other non-intrinsic rewards?

Leave a comment below and let me know if you love to reward yourself with stickers, smiley faces, or Nano badges. I love that kind of thing. Do you?

I’m donating 10% of my gross book sales from the month of November to Nanowrimo! WOOT!

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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Camp NaNo 2015 Winner!

Moonday Mania

a blog to celebrate the little things

camp nanowrimo 2015 winner badgeI did it!

For the very first time every I’ve hit an official NaNoWriMo goal. Now I’ve hit personal Nano goals in November. I wrote GOLDI, A Sexy Shifter Fairytale Romance (formally GOLDI AND THE BEAR) during NaNoWiMo and hit 30k in one month. But in November you’re supposed to hit the 50k mark to win. And I’ve never done that. Ever. But this year I set my July Camp NaNoWriMo goal at 20k, and I hit it!

My Camp Nano 2015 Compass shirt is on it’s way!

You have no idea how exciting this is for me. I’m able to post the WINNER badge. WOOT! And for years I’ve been saying when I won NaNo I’d buy a t-shirt. I’ve watched cool t-shirt design after cool t-shirt design go by and not purchased any of them. Even when they go on clearance and my cheap little heart says, “Look! It’s on sale!”

WOOT!

Maybe this year’s the year because I’m really on a roll with my writing speed and focus. My health is finally at a spot where I know what makes me feel good, and what doesn’t. And I’m driven to get these books done. It felt so good to write the last chapter of SCARLET, knowing that it will be part of my release efforts this fall and part of the SEXY SHIFTER FAIRYTALE ROMANCE series. I can safely order the cover and start promoting it. Of course, it still needs major editing, but that’s manageable.

Having two series is a lot of pressure.

I know the fans of my Sexy Shifter Fairytale Romances want to see the next books. I’ve heard from them over the last few years and they want more. So I’m thrilled that I’m writing faster and able to give them more. But I know the TALES OF THE BLACK COURT are dying to know what happens next. So writing faster is a win win for both series. And then there’s my mom, who wants more Haunted Holidays. And that’s coming too, because I love those books and have ideas like crazy for more Pierce men and ghosts.

So, that’s why I’m so thrilled to be back at my old writing speed of 20k in a month.

Since I’ve hit 30k before, I’m expecting to do that again soon. And who knows. Maybe this November I’ll do the 50k. I really want to, since my Nano project this November is the next TALES OF THE BLACK COURT, and I’d love to have a rough draft done by the first of the year.

So…if I’m not blogging as much as I used to. Or you don’t see me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll know why. I’m working hard at doing what you all really want me to be doing. Writing!

Have you ever had a slump and fought your way back? Tell me your story. I do check my comments. At least that’s one thing I haven’t given up on. 🙂

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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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

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

Working Up to Working Out

Moonday Mania

a blog for the new year and the new me

Happy New Year!

Yes, we’re into week two? or is it three? But who cares? It’s the New Year until we give up on it being the New Year. Sometime in week four or the first week in February when those New Year resolutions are really sinking in.

For me, that’s today, Thursday. I know you are reading this on Monday, or Tuesday, or maybe even next year, but right now it’s Thursday morning and I’m struggling to wake up because my body wants to stay in bed after working out Tuesday. And Sunday. My stomach muscles are so sore it hurts to sneeze.

Is that confusing? Okay, here’s the story.

I work out. I walk or sprint five days a week and go to the gym two to three times per week.

Sure I do. And if you believe that, then I have a werewolf in my closet I’ll be happy to show you. That schedule is in an ideal world. When I work my way up to it and I’ve been doing all of this on a daily basis, then I really do do all of that, but in reality I get sick and I slack off. Or the weather is bad, so sprinting is out of the question, unless I want to slip on the ice and end up in the hospital. So the real work out schedule tends to be:

Try to walk five days per week—maybe make it four because of work or it being too dark outside. Try to get to the gym two to three days per week—maybe make it once or twice, due to the schedule. Or, (even more likely in winter and fall) get sick and don’t go at all.

So here I sit today, the second week of January with aching stomach muscles because…I haven’t been getting to the gym since the beginning of November. 

Does this sound like you? Do you set goals, but then something happens and you let yourself have a day off? And then another? I’m terrible about that when I don’t feel good or there is a holiday or I’m on vacation. All of which happened in November. And then it was December and I hadn’t been to the gym for a month and I got sick AGAIN! Any normal person would do what I did, put it off until January. December was nearly over, right? Right!

Writing is exactly like this. When I write, and I write on a daily basis, my writing  muscles are in good shape. I can sit down and knock out 2k in no time. Easy peasy. But…when I haven’t been writing my writing muscles are soft and getting them going again is tough. I sit and stare at the computer and struggle for what to write? Even though I love writing it becomes difficult, way more difficult than it needs to be.

And it’s not like I haven’t done all of this before. 

I know you won’t believe it, but I have failed at going to the gym before. Really. I have had to re-start those muscles time and time again. And I keep doing it. The same with the writing. I may need a jumpstart in January. I may complain about my aching muscles and have a tough time getting going in the mornings, wishing I had never slacked off in the first place, but I still end up in this same spot.

And it’s okay. Because I am determined to get those muscles back again.

I may never have that sixpack, (I’m naturally a curvy girl) I may never be that author who can churn out a book a month, but I am determined to get back into shape, both physically and as a writer. How about you?

How are your New Year’s resolutions going? Are you writing? Swimming? Working out? How about eating more kale? Leave me a comment and let me know what you resolved to change this year and how it’s going. Are your muscles sore?

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, Goal Setting, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey