Tag Archives: goals

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

Goals Check in, Nearing the end of 2014

Moonday Mania

a goal oriented blog

Whew! It’s the end of 2014 (well almost the end) and I’ve been reviewing my goals for the year. Who knew writing romance would be this tough? When I very first started in 2007 I only had one goal: finish a romance novel. Well, I did that. Then, it was publish the romance novel and write another. Well, I did that too. Now here I am at the end of my seventh year of taking writing seriously and looking at my goals for the year I realize I had no idea that I’d be here when I started.

So where am I?

Here’s the link to my goals post for 2014 and here are the goals and how I did. Red is DONE, Blue is NOT THERE YET!

Overall Goals for 2014

  1. Publish two books in Tales of the Black Court Series (Prince by Blood and Bone-end of Jan, Mirror-summer 2014) Published Prince by Blood and Bone April 2014, Wrote Broken Mirror rough draft, completed Dec. 2014-not published
  2. Publish Christmas story (First of Haunted Holiday Novellas)  (goal is Christmas in July) Published Ghosts of Christmas Past in August, 2014
  3. Publish on more formats Added in Ibooks, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and All E Romance
  4. Be making enough money by the end of 2014 to cover my writing expenses Okay, I’m not here yet. But I think with the publication of Broken Mirror in 2015 I will achieve this. Go 2015!
  5. Continue to hone marketing techniques. This is a continual work in progress, but I’m getting there!
  6. Remember balance Had to write this one in blue, as this year was a study in imbalance. But it’s December and I feel like I’m finally on my feet and maybe learning some balance. Or at least how to fake it!
  7. Work on writing on a schedule Another result of not having balance is my writing schedule got turned upside down when I changed my job schedule. But I think I’m finally getting this. If there aren’t holidays, sick days, and kids underfoot! 
  8. Come up with a plan for other books/series: What is my next step? Either start writing Tales of the Winter Court, focus on Haunted Holiday novellas, or write other Shifter books I’ve gone up and down on this, but I finally have a plan…You’ll see it next Moonday in my 2015 goals.
  9. Work on writing/spending time more efficiently I really think this is almost a reflection of #s 6 and 7. So once again, it’s in progress and getting better every day.

How are your goals for the year?

Did you do everything that you said you would? Did you do any of it? Did you hit a few bumps in the road and have to re-balance your alignment? Leave me a comment and tell me what’s up with your 2014, and then it’s on to 2015!

 

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

Nano Update and 8 Author Book Sale!

Moonday Madness

a blog just before turkey day

Hi all! I’m Nanoing away, more about that in a minute.

The big news: Black Friday is coming up and you get to shop for romance from your easy chair!

your next favorite book sale

Eight fabulous romance authors have gotten together to bring you a 99cent sale that lasts all weekend.

Everything from spicy Gothic romance (hmm, wonder who’s book that is?) to romantic suspense to romance for women who love men who love curves and everything in between! It officially starts Black Friday and runs through Cyber Monday, so get your clicking finger ready and shop! shop! shop!

Book links, blurbs, and covers will be coming soon!

Back to the Nano front!

I’m still slogging away at Nano. Someday I WILL hit 50 thousand words in a month, but it won’t be this month. The killer cold hit last week and it’s slowed me down. I’m not sure (okay, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t happening this month) if I would have been able to hit 50k, but the good news is I’ve hit a decent word count stride, and here’s how I’m doing it.

I’m hitting the road!

Yes, I’ve had to leave my cozy writing nest with my ever flowing coffee pot and fireplace and head to the library. When I’m there I don’t even ask for the WiFi code, I just head to the quiet room and see if there is a table available and write! If I’m lucky, I can get a whole room to myself, but last week it was crazy there, I couldn’t even find a study carol that was unoccupied and I had to use a sofa and perch my laptop on my lap. (Um, they may be named laptops for that reason, but that was not the best way to write.)

And of course, last week I was hampered by coughing. There’s nothing like being in the quiet room in the library and hacking out a lung. Not only do you feel the shame of being the one to break the silence (unlike that dude who had a whole conversation on his cell-phone, despite the big sign that says NO CELL PHONE USE) but, I also knew that everyone was wondering if I carried some killer disease.

Cough, cough.

Back to the word count!

And now you see why I haven’t hit the 50k, despite the 2k per day I worked in the library. I let too much life intervene. But the good news is I’m almost at 15k, and that is a fabulous word count for a regular month. Also, I’ve figured out what is working for me to get me through this period of my life where I’m the sandwich generation and working part time. That’s huge! Because ever since last year I’ve been struggling to get new words on the page, and that’s not like me. Thank goodness for the library!

So how is the book coming?

Okay, so I’m cheating. I’m not really working on a new book for Nano. I started November with the goal of finishing up Broken Mirror, the third book in the Tales of the Black Court and the book that I’ve been struggling with for months, and then moving on to a new book in the Haunted Holidays series. But, since I’m behind, I’m just working on Broken Mirror. And that’s fine with me. It’s not like I’ll be winning Nano anyway. And I’m only counting new words for my Nano page.

So my grand total, so far is: 16,099 words written in November.

And the total for the book, so far is: 53, 415

In other words, Nano helped me hit 50k and I’m almost finished with the rough draft, which should come in close to 60k and be done this week. WOOT! I’m taking that as a personal win, even if it’s not a Nano win.

Did you try Nano? How did it go. It’s not quite over yet, you might still buckle down and make it! Only if you skip Thanksgiving. Oh, to be Canadian and have Thanksgiving in October so it wouldn’t interrupt Nano! LOL

Next goal? Check out next Moonday Mania’s post next week to see what I’m doing next and how my new habit is going to continue into the New Year.

Also in December: read all about my fabulous road trip to Glenwood Springs with my girlfriends. WOOT!  We laughed the whole time and I wish I could tell you everything, but “What happens in Glenwood, stays in Glenwood.” At least some of it’s okay for sharing!

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 book sale, facing failure, Moonday mania, Nanowrimo

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

Reorganizing the Romance Writer

Moonday Mania

a blog for the writer in all of us

Pug

As many of you know I am a killer goal setter. I set up those pins and knock ’em down in record order. Or I don’t. Because life hops in between my goal-smashing bowling ball and my goals. Recently, my life got in the way again when I changed the way I work at my mundane job. For the last several years I’ve worked a temporary job in the spring and fall. It’s forty hours a week, but it would be for a week, then I’d have a few days off. Then it would go for three weeks, with another week off. Etc.

This would last from March through July and I would be free from July until November (Woot! Romance writing time!) when I would work for an additional six weeks and be free until the following March. It was like taking a part-time job and squishing it all into a few months a year. It gave me the freedom to only focus on writing during the off months. It also was very stressful and had a decent commute. When I was working, I couldn’t do any writing because my free time was spent catching up on the rest of life. Taking care of the house, kids, dog, and my aging parents. Trying to squeeze in exercise and pay some attention to my poor husband.

It was also a very tiring job. I sat at a computer all day and by the time I got home I was so tired of sitting and staring at a screen that writing was a chore. Hence the joy of the months when I wasn’t working and was able to write, write, write.

But I’ve switched gears now. I now am working a part-time job that has regular hours. Mostly. I work in the mornings 3-4 days a week. It’s stocking greeting cards, so there is no sitting and no staring at the computer. Yay!

Overall I enjoy it very much, but the downside is I’m working nearly every weekday. And I thought, oh, that’s easy. I’ll work in the morning and write in the afternoons. Right?

Wrong.

It turns out I’m tired in the afternoons. I come home, have lunch, and fall asleep. Then it’s 2pm and the day has flown by. Oh, and my kids are home for summer vacation. Which means that I have constant distractions at home. They’re older, so they can get by without me. But it is way more difficult than it should be.

Regardless of all my excuses I’ve realized I need to re-order my thinking. This week I’ll be focusing on changing my attitude (and getting more sleep at night!). I’ll be detailing next Moonday how I do this, so stay tuned for a new Jessica, a new schedule, and a new attitude!

What throws you for a loop in your life? Do schedule or life changes take a month or two to figure out? Or are you super flexible and able to adjust?

Photo courtesy of Jenny Kaczorowski via Flickr Wana Commons, Creative Commons License

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Filed under channeling success, Goal Setting, Moonday mania

Three Reasons Why I Love Monday

Moonday Mania

a blog about monday

 

I think we’re seeing in working mothers a change from “Thank God it’s Friday” to “Thank God it’s Monday.” If any working mother has not experienced that feeling, her children are not adolescent.” Ann Diel

greenwoman on jessica aspen writesI love Mondays. Why? Because everyone leaves the house and I get to work writing my paranormal romances! Or edit my fantasy romances. Or work on the multitude of other tasks that go along with being a writer.

I’m very lucky because I get to work my day job part time, and that means the rest of the time I get to write romance, but that also means that I’m squeezing my writing into the small hours between the job and when everyone else gets home. That means I need to be efficient. Here are my working day rules and the reasons why I love Mondays.

1. Have a schedule and stay on it

If I don’t have a rigid schedule for what I’m doing then other things eat up my writing time. I can fix dinner, mop the floor, or run errands when the kids are home from school. Or I can do that stuff on the weekends. But I’ve found that writing is best done when I’m by myself with no one else around. Do I write when the kids are home on spring break, or sick? Sure. But I get much less done on those days. And I have to say, when writing a sexy love scene, those kids should not be home! So on the days when I’m by myself, writing is king.

2. Take breaks

I set my timer for forty-five minutes and write. No stopping. Then I set my timer for fifteen minutes and take a break. I get up from the computer and move. Sometimes I do some exercises, most of the time I get housecleaning done. This means that I am not sitting for too much at a stretch and it means that those forty-five minutes are very productive. Plus, if there is something that is not romance oriented that I really find is nagging at me and distracting me from said hot, love scene, say…cleaning the bathroom, I can get that done in my fifteen minute break and it’s off my list. Then I’m back to focusing on my sizzling romance.

3. Keep the writing days sacred

This is something I’ve struggled with. I now have one day a week (currently it’s Thursdays) where I don’t write and I don’t have kids or a husband at home. That’s the day I go for coffee with friends, run errands, make phone calls, go to the grocery. You name it, if it has to be done during the week it’s on Thursday. Making that simple change has upped my productivity by an amazing amount. No longer are my writing days broken up by appointments or driving somewhere. They are all for writing. And this way I have taken care of my guilt. The guilt of not writing. The guilt of not seeing my friends. The guilt of there being no food in the house. All because of Thursdays!

Do you love Mondays? Why or why not? What do you do that helps you with your writing time, or whatever it is that you do that isn’t about taking care of the house or family or pets? Do you make time for your pleasures?

I had such a tough time picking a quote for today, and there were so many good ones. Check out http://www.pinterest.com/explore/funny-monday-quotes/ and find some great pins about Mondays!

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Filed under About the Author, channeling success, Goal Setting, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey

Goals, Goals, Goals

Moonday Mania

a blog for picking yourself up and starting over

It’s been awhile since I addressed goals. I used to have a huge list of goals, take classes, market, improve the blog, but then Fall of 2013 was so stressful my body just gave in. Now I’m recovering from that and as a result, I’m honed in on the most important goal, getting Prince by Blood and Bone, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court out the door.

Because the fall was so difficult, and then I didn’t feel well, everything became delayed. I was supposed to get my Christmas novella edited in the fall, that got pushed back. I was supposed to outline Broken Mirror, and that’s been pushed back. At first I was devastated.

These were my goals. I’d given myself plenty of time. I should be able to get them done. Or at least get one of them done. But as sub-contractors didn’t get things to me on time, and then the day job blew up, and other events took precedence, I began to realize: the universe was sending me a message.

And I had better listen.

So I am refocused. My goals have slimmed down for the year.

Number one, Prince by Blood and Bone.

Number two, write Broken Mirror.

And number three, get the Ghosts of Christmas Past out the door.

That’s it. From a huge page long list of goals I’ve winnowed it down to the basics. And I truly believe I can get all three of these done. Prince by Blood and Bone will be off to the proofreader this week. Cover is finished! YAY! And once I do the corrections I can get it published.

I’ve got a cover artist lined up for Ghosts of Christmas Past, all I need to do is polish up the blurb and send it to her, and I will have a cover. The book itself is in the last stages of re-writing, from there it needs to go to line- edits, then the proofreader, and then it too will be ready for publishing.

So that leaves Broken Mirror. My poor neglected book that should have been in edits by now and has instead been waiting impatiently to be written. Plan is to outline it this month, and then get started writing. Of course I have the day job coming up, and a few other things, but I believe that by the end of the summer it should be written, and ready for some edits. So that puts it on track for publishing in early 2015. If I get it done sooner, so much the better, but I’m not setting myself up for failure this time.

Who knows what the coming year has to bring? Who knows if I’ll get the book back on time from others when I send it out, or if the cover will be as difficult as the last two covers for The Black Court series? Who knows if my life will stay on track?

What I do know is no matter what happens I will do my best to stay the course, even if it means re-working my goals on a daily basis. Because they are my goals. I get to tweak them, I get to decide what works for me. And that’s one of the benefits of being a writer. And one of the pitfalls.

How have your goals been this year? Are you on track? Have you ever had to scrap everything and start over? Was it difficult?

I’m guest blogging today on When Paleo Met Sally about my Journey to Paleo. Check it out HERE.

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Filed under channeling success, facing failure, Goal Setting, Writer's Journey

Jessica Aspen’s 2014 Goals

Moonday Mania

a blog for the future!

It’s January, and usually I start talking about my goals for my romance books in December, but December 2013 was all about getting The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court, out to readers. During December I had blog tours, sales, even a Facebook Round Robin, all in the name of promoting fantasy romance to the masses. Such is the job of a romance author during the holidays. 🙂

Now it’s January and I’m posting my goals.

First of all, I should check in with last year’s goals. They were massive, my goal was to dream big. I knew even when I set them that I wasn’t likely to achieve them all, but I did pretty well. Here they are!

Jessica Aspen Goals for 2013

Overall Organizational Goals: 

  1. Continue to set and review monthly goals, set daily goals based on monthly goals DONE
  2. Write five days per week, 3 hours per day DONE to my satisfaction for the first part of the year(when I wasn’t working the day job and when I was focused on writing)
  3. Goal is 3k/day didn’t always hit this one
  4. and edit 15-20 pages per day fell off at the end of the year due to floods, jury duty, and misc OPPs!
  5. Keep up with personal site, blog 2 days a week DONE
  6. Self-publishing class in January (taking a fabulous class on Author EMS with  Amy Atwell and Kelli Finger!) DONE
  7. Tax class in February from Colorado Romance WritersDONE
  8. Market 1-2 hours per day DONE
  9. Attend CRW Writing Retreat in September Changed my mind and attended Hot Mojave Knights instead!

goldi and the bear by jessica aspenWriting Goals

  1. Finish editing Goldi and the Bear by January 18th DONE
  2. Polish Goldi and the Bear  by January 30th DONE, A few days later, but done!
  3. Write rough draft of B&B (second book in TQH series) DONE
  4. Edit rough draft of B&B DONE
  5. Start thinking about 3rd book in  TQH series started, but really pushed off until 2014
  6. Outline 3rd book in TQH series NOT DONE
  7. Superhero goals: Edit BW and outline first book in that series pushed off until 2014 or 2015

Marketing Goals 

  1. Submit Goldi and the Bear to PIP by January 30 DONE
  2. Decide what to do with HH Novellas Oh, this is so sad, but I did write one and it is so close to publishing it almost hurts! It will get out in 2014!
  3. Continue to submit TQH DONE This one is very interesting. It was nearly under contract, but I decided to publish it myself instead and it is now The Dark Huntsman and is doing great!the dark huntsman by jessica aspen
  4. Market all books (Little Red. S&S. GoldiDONE
  5. Enter Little Red in  contests DONE And Red finaled in the Golden Quill and received an Honorable Mention in the Holt Medallion contest. WOOT!
  6. Enter TQH into contests ENTERED IN 2014 SEVERAL CONTESTS.
  7. Increase presence on Goodreads Didn’t do much for this. Did have a Goodreads Giveaway!
  8. Work on All Romance Exposure nope
  9. Figure out how to increase presence on reader sites/loops ???

Now on to this year!

I’ve decided to simplify my goals. Write down some big goals and then every month see how I can achieve them by splitting them into steps. So here goes!

Overall Goals for 2014

  1. Publish two books in Tales of the Black Court Series (Prince by Blood and Bone-end of Jan, Mirror-summer 2014)
  2. Publish Christmas story (First of Haunted Holiday Novellas)  (goal is Christmas in July)
  3. Publish on more formats
  4. Be making enough money by the end of 2014 to cover my writing expenses
  5. Continue to hone marketing techniques.
  6. Remember balance
  7. Work on writing on a schedule
  8. Come up with a plan for other books/series: What is my next step? Either start writing Tales of the Winter Court, focus on Haunted Holiday novellas, or write other Shifter books
  9. Work on writing/spending time more efficiently

That’s it! Last year was all about DREAM BIG! I set a lot of goals and worked hard to achieve them. I knew when I set them that I wouldn’t hit them all, but I actually did quite a bit. Last year I had two novellas from Passion in Print published Snow and the Seventh Wolf and Goldi and the Bear…and I published The Dark Huntsman on my own.Snow and the Seventh Wolf by Jessica Aspen

This year is all about EFFICIENCY. How do I set a few big goals and achieve them by achieving little goals. Be flexible and re-evaluate frequently. Be light on my feet. Be a butterfly stinging!

How are your goals looking? Did you achieve the important things this year? What changes will you be making for 2014? What goals are you setting? Personal and professional? I’d love to hear! Leave me a comment and tell me your goals.

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Filed under About the Author, channeling success, Goal Setting, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey

August Goals Review

Moonday Mania

a blog where we surge past the goal posts (or not)

The last hazy days of summer. Time to laze around the pool, get in those last hiking trips, and try not to think about the craziness of fall. Or, you could do what I’ve been doing: working my butt off working on editing Prince by Blood and Bone, book two of Tales of the Black Court, my spicy, new, fantasy romance series. And it’s coming out December 2013.

That’s right, December 2013.

I’ve set myself some crazy publishing goals for the latter half of this year and believe it or not bringing my first full-length twisted fairy tale: The Dark Huntsman to market is not the most difficult or the craziest. It turns out bringing out book two, at the same time I’m bringing out a Christmas novella, and promoting The Dark Huntsman, is the craziest.

So, I decided it’s time to review my yearly goals and see where I am, then I’ll add at the bottom my crazy production schedule for the rest of the year. You’ll be able to see why I have nothing scheduled for 2014, other than bringing out book three, Broken Mirror. I’ll be taking a long quiet vacation somewhere and trying to get my pulled out hair to grow back.

Here are my goals. I posted them back in January HERE and revisited them in March HERE.

Jessica Aspen Goals for 2013

Overall Organizational Goals: 

  1. Continue to set and review monthly goals, set daily goals based on monthly goals Always in progress!
  2. Write five days per week, 3 hours per day. This summer I’ve been hitting the editing at least 3 hours per day, on the days I manage to get to writing. Yeah, summer does mean spending a lot of time doing other things, but it’s all been good. 🙂
  3. Goal is 3k/day Currently I’m editing, so I’m trying to move through my ms at a rate of finishing five chapters per week. That is a seriously challenging goal and I’m doing okay. Every day it is a struggle, but I am determined to get Prince by Blood and Bone finished and off to the editor by the end of the month. 
  4. and edit 15-20 pages per day Only on the days I’m not writing. And there are editing days when getting 5 pages deep edited is AMAZING! Yeah, see number three for this one.
  5. Keep up with personal site, blog 2 days a week Of course!
  6. Self-publishing class in January (taking a fabulous class on Author EMSwith  Amy Atwell and Kelli Finger!) This was a fabulous class, if you are at all seriously considering Indie Publishing, then take this class. You will absolutely understand the costs, labor and rewards involved.
  7. Tax class in February from Colorado Romance WritersYep! Done! Another great class, but I don’t know when it will be offered again.
  8. Market 1-2 hours per day Not sure I’m getting in two hours, but I do spend a lot of time researching marketing right now, and that counts in my book.
  9. Attend CRW Writing Retreat in September Hot Mojave Knights. UPDATE Instead of attending the CRW writing retreat like I have for the past two years, I’ll be going to Hot Mojave Knights, a reader convention, in October. WOOT!

Writing Goals

  1. goldi and the bear by jessica aspenFinish editing Goldi and the Bear by January 18th I think I was a few days later than this, but it is done and turned in and I” it came out on AMAZON on July 22nd.
  2. Polish Goldi and the Bear  by January 30 Done!
  3. Write rough draft of B&B (second book in TQH series) The rough draft was finished in the spring. WOOT!
  4. Edit rough draft of B&B Working on this, plan to be finished by the end of August.
  5. Start thinking about 3rd book in  TQH series
  6. Outline 3rd book in TQH series
  7. Superhero goals: Edit BW and outline first book in that series Not happening. This entire series will be pushed off until spring 2014.

Marketing Goals 

  1. Submit Goldi and the Bear to PIP by January 30 Check!
  2. Decide what to do with HH Novellas This  big news. I’m releasing my first Haunted Holiday’s Novella, Ghosts from Christmas Past, in Novemeber. Fingers crossed. For this to happen the moon, and stars, and my keyboard, all need to align.
  3. Continue to submit TDH Check! As many of you know I went through the ups and downs of rejections and finally an acceptance of The Dark Huntsman, but finally decided to bring it to market myself. And so it will hit the shelfs (okay, e-shelves) in October. The goal is for the Print version to be up October First and the e-version to come out October 14th. Fingers crossed!
  4. Market all books (Little Red. S&S. GoldiCheck!
  5. Enter Little Red in  contests Check! Red finaled in the Golden Quill and received a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. Woot!golden quill finalist desert rose rwa
  6. Enter TDH into contests I ended up not doing this, but I will be entering contests with it this fall, and in spring of 2014.
  7. Increase presence on Goodreads
  8. Work on All Romance Exposure
  9. Figure out how to increase presence on reader sites/loops
  10. I’ve joined Pinterest. I don’t have many pictures up, but I’ll be working on it slowly and adding them as I go. I’m not sure what the best way to work it is, so I’m a little slow. But you can check it out HERE.

Now on to the big production schedule that will make me type like crazy for the rest of the year.

  1. Finish edits on Prince by Blood and Bone by 9/1/13
  2. Finish writing Ghosts of Christmas Past by 9/15/13
  3. Edit Ghosts of Christmas Past by 9/30/13
  4. Bring out The Dark Huntsman in Print on 10/1/13
  5. Bring out The Dark Huntsman in e-book on 10/14/13
  6. Work on the edits my editor sends back for Prince by Blood and Bone finish by 10/30/13
  7. Work on the edits for Ghosts of Christmas Past finish by 11/15/13
  8. Send both to proofreader for edits, then apply those edits
  9. Publish Ghosts of Christmas Past on 11/18/13
  10. Publish Prince by Blood and Bone December 26th, 2013

Oh, and I also am planning on some blog tours, cover reveal tours, and all kinds of marketing shenanigans!

Fall into a collapsed heap on January 1st, after attending Margie Lawson’s annual New Year’s party!

How are your goals looking? Have you looked at your overall goals for the year recently? Did you revamp them mid-year? Share with me where you are and I’ll commiserate or celebrate with you!

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Filed under channeling success, Goal Setting, Jessica Aspen's Books, writing organization

Discover Three Tools For Making Your Dreams Come True

I’m beginning to love Facebook. It’s taken a while. At first I was a Twitter fan. I could easily think up one liners and there were all these cool tools for re-sending information on my blog. Hootsuite made it organized and I found interesting things on there. But Facebook was slow. I felt a little lost, didn’t know what to post, and only visited about once a month.

A few months ago I decided to start doing a little more. So I checked it out once a week. Then a little more. Now I’m over there at least once a day. And I’m enjoying it so much more. Why?

I think it’s the pictures and the fact that people are not limited to 120 characters. They can say what they want to say and illustrate it. And I’m learning how to see when friends respond to me, or follow them better on the side. I still don’t like the way Facebook changes stuff all the time. That is not user friendly, but I’m learning to like other aspects of it.

It’s how I found this killer post on success on Karen Salmnsohn’s site, Not SalmonSelf help for people who wouldn’t be caught dead doing self-help. You gotta love that tagline.

And this poster. Which is also available as a cool journal to record your successes on your way to your dreams. Love it!

Now I am a self-help lover, I love to hear boostering talks and read books, but I am not so great on the follow through. Mostly because it either takes a lot of time, or it is very goofy. And there are only so many things I will spend time being goofy about before I give up and move on.

But I really like her philosophy.

She has three simple rules in this blog and I love all three. I’m only giving you my short explanation, for Karen’s excellent in detail explanation, click HERE.

1. BAN THE WORDS “ALWAYS” AND “NEVER” FROM YOUR VOCABULARY!

This one is pretty self explanatory, but I want to add ban negativity. My least favorite phase this year is “The problem is….” . Forget about the problem, what is the solution?

2.    KNOW WRITE MAKES MIGHT:

Hence the journal. Write it down. Make lists. List your goals and your successes. Big, small, and everything under the sun. Some days it’s as simple as- I wrote 1000 words. If you can do that everyday, you have accomplished something small that will grow to 52000 words a year. And that is a novel.

3. KNOW THAT “SEEDING IS BELIEVING.”

This works hand in hand with #2. Those little steps grow into big accomplishments, but if you don’t acknowledge the little steps you might stop making them. So get to work stepping and start your marathon.

Many of you don’t know this about me, but after I had my second child I was in terrible shape. I was 220 pounds (and I’m only 5’2″) I’d had two surgeries and two kids within eighteen months. I was a wreck. And I was not exercising. I started getting up at five am, before any babies, husbands, or dogs could start making demands, and sneaking out of the house and walking for fifteen minutes. And then twenty. And then thirty. I lost a bunch of weight and eventually was walking an hour a day. Small steps make a big difference.

Several of my friends are working on the Artist’s Way (Sherry Isaac and Gloria Richard)  and I think that goes along with this kind of attitude. Start with the basics and the big things will come. I’m not ready to plunge into the Artist’s Way, but I think I might just start a journal like this. Fill it with all the little positives and big positives that come my way.

And if you want to read a very good post with a funny kid story then hop on over to Karen’s Not Salmon blog on Mustering Up Success HERE. I loved it and it gives you the real nitty gritty on her three steps as well as the opportunity to see what classes she’s offering that are not self-help!

How do you keep yourself charged? Do you do activities to stimulate your creativity like the Artist’s Way? Do you read books outside of your sphere? Do you make lists of blessings or three good things that happened that day? How do you stay re-charged and what keeps you going?

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Filed under About the Author, Goal Setting, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey