Tag Archives: writing

Welcome Nanowrimo 2017!

NANOWRIMO!!! WOOT!

NaNo-2017-Participant-Badge

This is the year! This is the year that I write fifty thousand brand new words in one month!

I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month several times. Including the year, a very long time ago, when I didn’t sign up on the website but I tried to write something, anything, that looked like a novel. Needless to say, that year wasn’t my greatest success. But this year will be.

Why?

Because I’m an experienced Nanowrimo writer now. And I understand my writing process. You see, some people can write their minimum 1,667 words per day and make it to 50k. Not me. If I try to do that, I’ll hit a day when I don’t write at all, and then the next day I need to do 3,333 to catch up. But something will happen, and I won’t, so then I’ll need 5,000 words in one day. And we all know that that’s a lot of words.

Can I do this? Let’s look at the stats:

The most words I’ve ever achieved during a November Nanowrimo is back in 2012 when I wrote GOLDI‘s rough draft of 21,588. I’ve done more during Camp Nano, mostly because the month is not interrupted by a major holiday, like Thanksgiving. During Camp Nano, my record was this summer when I wrote 41,220 and completed a rough draft of PACK ENFORCER.

If I can do 41,220 words in a month, than 50k is totally doable!

So, here’s the plan:

  1. Have a cohesive idea for the book
  2. Outline the book (okay, I do a very loose outline of story beats, but it works!)
  3. write as much as I can during the first three weeks

Yeah, having a major holiday in November sucks for me because I have Thanksgiving for the extended family at my house, but there is no reason I can’t do this. It will just take strategic planning.

Hence, the rest of the plan…

  1. Shop for Thanksgiving early
  2. Follow the Fly Lady’s holiday prep plan
  3. Delegate
  4. Don’t stress!

I have a plan, I have an idea. Now, all I have to do is get some kind of an outline in place so I can hit the ground running on November 1st.

Who’s with me????

*****

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

 

Your Jessica Aspen Starter Library is waiting.

Click HERE to discover Jessica Aspen’s fast-paced world of paranormal romance

jessica aspen starter library

 

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

Unplugged

I’m just flying home from a fabulous week on the beach where I put my phone and tablet into the hotel room safe, and didn’t look back. It’s a funny thing in this day and age not to be constantly in touch with your friends, your family, the world. And it really is the world you are leaving behind. Because of the Internet I now am in daily contact with friends from all over; Canada, the U.K., everywhere. It’s amazing. But it’s also consuming.

When I told my brother that I didn’t think my phone would work out of the country and that I wasn’t going to be on the Internet much, but that I would try to check email every day he said, “Well I can contact you via Facebook, right?”

And I said, “No, I’m not going to be looking at Facebook.”

“Well then, we can do a Hangout, if I need to get ahold of you. That should work out of the country.”

I just shook my head. “What don’t you understand about not being on the Internet?”

It was almost inconceivable to him that I was truly unplugging.

It turned out that I checked my email a few times during the last eight days. Not every day. I kept forgetting. I was busy. Busy doing nothing.

And it felt fabulous.

I talked to people, face to face. I danced with my husband. I sat on the beach and soaked up the vitamin D and didn’t even read while I did it. Sometimes I think our new world, while amazing, takes over our lives. I love getting to know new people online. I love checking in and seeing what they are all doing. But I also loved checking out.

And you know what? I think I’m going to try to do it more often. Not because I don’t love all my FB friends and family, but because I loved getting to know that other side of myself. The side that shows up when I’m not frantically online, writing, reading, keeping up with all the things I “have” to do. The inner side of me.

As a writer I do look inside, but not as much as I used to before I become a Internet social butterfly. Writing is an internal thing, but it’s also inspired by what’s outside. But what if you start to look so far outside, you forget to look inside? What happens to my writing then?

And what about you? What have you done for that inner self lately? Whether you are a writer or not, consider nurturing it by taking some time and unplugging and seeing what the other world has in store for you. Your inner world, the one outside of all the hustle and bustle.

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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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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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Filed under channeling success, Moonday mania, Nanowrimo, Writer's Journey, writing craft

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

Moving the Balls

Moonday Mania

a blog about the joys of juggling balls

Before I start in on the blog, just a reminder I’m hosting the PRG Re-Vamped Facebook Party from 3-4pm EST (for those of you out here with me in the west it’s 1-2pm). Come on by and win prizes all afternoon and into the evening. And if you read down to the bottom of the post you’ll see the link to vote for the PRG Review Awards. I’m nominated, so please vote!

I’ve discovered a new way to work out. Balls. 

ballsYep, I work out moving heavy balls around the gym. And I love it. Who would have guessed that the fat girl who failed gym would love working out?

Okay, given my previous posts on fun with balls, you might have guessed it. But I had no clue. For years I’ve been using those stupid weight machines. I also tried free weights. And it’s not that each of those isn’t appealing or has it’s joys, but playing with the balls is so much more fun. And I get a better work out.

Working your whole body rocks!

I’ve used the weight machines for several years now, and about four years ago I moved into the free weight section of the gym for a few things, like my triceps and biceps. I was even doing the bench press…with just the bar. The thing I loved about the free weights is that you used more muscles than just one or two when you moved the weights. The machines focus on individual muscles and that means you have to work out each and every one, what a pain, but when you do a free weight, you have to use more of your body to shift the weight. That means, if you are doing a bench press you use your shoulder, back, stomach, arms. For those few reps you get a big payback in a multitude of muscles.

That means you get to work out less time for more payback!

Now I love that. I’m pressed for time, everyone is. So why did I move to the balls?

Natural movement. We are designed to use our entire body when we work. It’s what our bodies do. We bend over and pick up something heavy and we use, not just the upper body, but the entire body. Using the medicine ball I stand up, rotate to the side, rotate to the middle, squat, stand, rotate to the other side—then do it all backwards. That’s using my entire body. Back, shoulders, forearms, legs, stomach—you name it, it’s used. So in just a few reps, just a few minutes, I’ve worked out every muscle in my body.

Work out done!

Now I’m doing in twenty minutes what I used to do in an hour. And there’s no waiting in line. I love it! I do squats on one day and sit ups another. Yes, even the dreaded abs are easier and quicker. Add in some aerobics on the elliptical and some stretches and I’ve had a full work out, Jessica style, in an hour. Now that’s time management!

So, how does this apply to writing romance?

Healthy body, healthy writer. When I’m not working out, I’m sluggish. I don’t think well. I always walk in the mornings, but adding in the weights means that I feel strong. And I love feeling strong. I fall off of the wagon with my gym visits, I only went once in November and not at all in December. Starting up again in Jan was tough, but once I did I felt so much better. Everything works better when I exercise: my brain, my body, my emotions.

And I’m more creative. I think up lots of ideas while I’m working out. Somehow, just letting your mind flow while your body is working is super good for creativity. I’m also out and about, seeing new people and getting new ideas. Love it!

Try something different this year with your body.

Tired of doing the same old, same old? Try moving the balls. I’m now doing sit-ups with a ten pound ball. If you had told me I’d be doing that a few years ago, I’d have walked out of the gym. I’ve always hated sit ups and with two cesarean births I had worse than no stomach muscles, I had damaged ones.

Start small. Use the 6 pound ball and keep your sets down to a few reps. Take breaks. Just like my sprinting started with slow walking, fast walking, I started my sit ups with reps of fifteen. I’d do a few different exercises, then I’d take a break.

Just get moving, a little bit counts

 

I like to do a loop on the track in between my sets. That gives my muscles time to relax and I can then do more than I would if I was trying to aim for a hundred sit ups or squats. I write like this too. I set a timer and do 45 minutes, then I get up and do something physical. It’s how I get my housecleaning done in those fifteen minute breaks, but I could use it to do a few squats or sets of stairs or a quick loop around the block, if I wanted to. This year I had a terrible time sitting down and writing, and I had to tell myself that I only had to do a little bit. Just get started. That helped immensely. Once I sat down I was involved and writing. But the getting started was the hard part. That’s true with exercise too.

How do you like to move? Do you just do little bits or are you an all or nothing person? How does that work for you?

More ball posts to love! Why Everyone Needs an Extra Pair of Balls, Revenge of the Dryer BallsHot Balls of Luv, Martha Stewart Has Balls,

Voting closes Wednesday for theParanormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice AwardI’m nominated in two categories, both the Sci-fi/Fantasy book and series. Please go vote!

All the participating books are nominated by reviewers, but after that, it’s up to popular vote as to who wins, so I’m asking all my readers to take a minute and go to the PRG Website and vote!

And it’s for both the dark huntsman by jessica aspenTHE DARK HUNTSMAN and PRINCE BY BLOOD AND BONE!prince by blood and bone by jessica aspen

WOOT!

Unfortunately I think you can only vote for one of them, but pick your favorite. I’m having a tough time deciding which one to get behind myself, but choices must be made. 🙂 Which book did you like the best?

And, TALES OF THE BLACK COURT was nominated in Sci-fi Fantasy series, so that helped. Only one to vote for there!

Voting is open for one week starting today and closing on 1/28/15

PRG 2104 Reviewer's Choice Awards

And, bonus this year! My crit partner, ML Guida has been nominated as well in three other categories, Paranormal Romance Shifters, Paranormal Romance Vampires AND Paranormal Romance Series. Whew! You can vote in each category, so for her’s you don’t need to choose. Lucky Mary!

Thanks to all of my readers for all of the fantastic support this year. You all rock! I’m looking forward to making 2015 a fabulous year and you are a huge part of that motivation.

Thank you!

Jessica

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, Moonday mania