3 Tips For Finishing That First Draft

Nothing I’m about to say is novel, by any means, but…

These are just a couple of the tips and tricks I have used to go from a writing ZERO to a writing HERO (is that lame? I feel like that was kinda lame… sorry guys!) 🤷‍♀️

1. The first thing I do is employ the Eat that Frog! method from Brian Tracey’s book. Seriously, you gotta eat that nasty frog 🐸 (PS one of my old dogs ate a frog once and it was not only the grossest thing in the entire world, but he puffed up like a balloon! Hello anaphylaxis – don’t worry, he was ok). Essentially eating that frog means to do your writing/art/business building first thing in the morning. If you know you’re just going to put it off and procrastinate on your writing/art/personal project and eventually never do it, then make a commitment to do it first thing in the morning ☀️. I started getting up ONE HOUR EARLIER so I could write over my morning cup of coffee ☕️. Yeah, it’s hard to get up at 4am, and it kinda sucks, but after a long day of teaching, by the time I get home and get settled, my brain is mush 🧠 and my energy tank is left with a single wisp of smoke dancing around at the bottom 💨 No writing will take place for me after work. Period. 🚨 SUCCESS ALERT 🚨 After 20+ years of putting “Writing” down on the #1 spot of my daily to-do list and NEVER actually writing🤦‍♀️, I realized something needed to change if I was to eventually become successful in my dream of becoming a published author. I started employing the Eat that Frog method, and voila, I just finished Draft #1 of my next novel (oh yeah, you know imma talk about this more soon!!! Hang on to your pants 👖)

I freaking love New Girl, anyone else?


2. Have someone hold you accountable if you can’t hold yourself accountable. Use punishments, rewards, whatever, just be accountable to yourself and others — if need be. You can ask someone who loves you to make you check in daily or weekly with your word count/hours written per day 📞. If you don’t meet your goal, you don’t get your agreed upon rewards (a new purse 👜, those new shoes you’ve been eyeing 🥾, etc.). And when I say punishment, don’t pull a Nick Miller and hire someone from Craigslist to punch you in the face if you don’t make your word count! I was thinking something more like, you lose $50 to the person holding you accountable, you have to go clean your friend’s bathroom (toilet and all), etc. I don’t know about you, but I’d hit my word count if I made that kind of a deal! Seriously, accountability will be massive for you if you aren’t able to hold to your goals and deadlines. Find a support group on the internet or an app that helps you work toward your dreams 💕 They DO matter!

3. Read personal development books. Try books about writing ✍️ or finishing something you started 🏁, books that will inspire you. Try books like Big Magic (my personal fave), The War of Art, The Five Second Rule, The Compound Effect, The Miracle Morning, and other self-help books that kick you in the pants 🦵 👖 and encourage you to go for it. I listen to audiobooks on the way to/from work, the grocery store, and waking on my treadmill for 1 hour a day. Yes, sometimes I’d rather listen to music or watch Netflix while I walk, but they don’t inspire me to FINISH (and oftentimes to START) like the professional development books do. Listen to stories of other people who failed and then ultimately succeeded and never gave up, and believe me, you will be encouraged as well. This is one simple thing I have done that has changed my life. Between my Audible subscription and air pods, I am a happy gal 🤓 (#nerdalert, I know!)


Nike says, “JUST DO IT!” for a reason. It’s simple and straight forward. Combined with Mel Robbins’ The Five Second Rule (my second favorite PD book), you’ll be golden Pony Boy.

You can’t say you want to be a writer/artist/entrepreneur if you never put the time in to see that goal/dream through. You need to learn to push through the “I don’t feel like it”s” and the “I’m not sure where to go next’s” and just create. Even if it sucks, just create. Like Jake the Dog said, 

“Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.”

So go suck at something, and before you know it, you’ll be kinda good at it 🙂 

I Feel Like I’ve Been Both Writing and Dying…

Writing is not the end-all, be-all in life, yet I persist in a deep-rooted feeling that, yes, indeed, it is. Those golden published authors on their golden published hills who preach to the masses not to take their writing too seriously are both my gurus and my worst enemies 🤷‍♀️. They give me sage advice that I know I must heed, yet sometimes I want to flick them right in the toe 👉 (I wouldn’t actually do this because I respect people and their boundaries too much, and I’m also a pacifist ✌️. However, when I’m really angry, I threaten unkind things like flicking an arm or a toe. I’m not proud of it, but we all have our dark sides 😈).

Inside my soul, I feel this strong urge to write every day and allow my stories to come forth into this world 💎 whether they are ever published or not. But I also feel like if they are not, it might actually kill me (clearly, I am a drama queen 👑). I know I am not the only writer who feels this way, and honestly, sometimes I don’t know if I have the strength to keep going, to keep writing and pushing myself to get these stories out on paper. But then I think about if I were to stop and those stories never got to see the light of day, I feel like my own light would be extinguished 🔦. So long as my stories are in my heart, I will carry on and write. The torch I shall carry through this world and the next is built with letters and words and tales that were etched into my heart long before I was born 🌎.

Today, I feel like I’m standing on the edge of a precipice. There is a raging river of emotions below. ☀️ The sun is too bright and I can barely see where to place my next step. At any moment I could slip and fall to my doom. I must get to the other side, but there is no ladder, no road map, no help coming 🆘. I am alone in this struggle, and only my determination to survive will get me through 💪

Dramatic? Sure. I’ve already told you I am 😊. You should read my poetry 😂 I just want my stories to be meaningful. I want to bring joy 💕 into the lives of others and teach through my words 📖.

My success in writing is all that matters. If I say it’s not, I’m lying to myself to feel better. And it’s not because I want fame and gobs of money 💰, I just want people to read my stories and love them. I want people to relate to my characters, get lost in the fairytale, forget about their own troubles, and just “be” when they read something that I have written ✍

P.S. I feel the need to admit that I did *not* wake up at 4 a.m.⏰ even once last week (shame on me, I know) but I *did* write 6/7 days and worked out 5/7 so not too shabby! 🎉 Now, I just need to stop eating my emotions and get back to my normal weight 🥊 and life will be grande 💝

There is a meme that I recall from summer… something about “Want a bikini body?” 👙 “Then put on a bikini and go to the beach 🏖” It’s that simple. Want to be a writer? Then sit your a$$ down and write. Here I go!

Hope you all are all climbing toward your goals as well ☮️

It’s The Freakin’ Thunderdome Over Here

I’ve been frustrated lately. Like really, REALLY frustrated. I’ve been writing more than ever ✏️ (yay!) but I’m also gaining weight like crazy ⚖️ (boo!). I’ve gained about 20 pounds this year (not wanting to step on a scale today to give you an official number so imma guess that sh@t) 😩

THE BATTLE IS BETWEEN MY WORKOUTS AND MY WRITING, AND ONLY ONE CAN EMERGE VICTORIOUS

I spent the last 2-3 years losing weight. Now, I’m gaining it and I can’t seem to get back on the wagon. In fact, both my wagon and I are barreling down the hill at terminal velocity, losing wheels, and tumbling over ourselves like a couple of Cirque Du Soleil acrobats, unable to tell where one of us starts and the other stops. It’s bad friends. It’s bad.

I taught high school English from 2004-2014 (side note: I took a couple year break from teaching between 2014-2018 to work at a Big 10 university… that was soul crushing, BTW. Nothing like being a cog in an over-priced wheel that thinks its better than every other wheel in the world). Before the soul-crushing university job, I was teaching in a really rough school, and it weighed on me so badly I became a broken human. I was drained all of the time. I got home every day and was so stressed and unhappy that food and wine became my only source of comfort. Bad habit, of course, because tired = no exercise 😴 and eating 🍟 and drinking 🍷 to suppress anxiety = unhealthy weight gain 🎅 (yes, that’s a Santa Claus emoji because frankly, that’s how I feel lately).

Teaching stressed me out so badly that I had gained a lot of weight and then when I quit teaching, I lost about 40 pounds and was a svelte 121 💃. I was lifting weights, doing cardio, and made working out my top priority. When the alarm would go off at 4am, I would (slowly, and very much like a sloth) climb out of bed, strap on my tennis shoes, and go workout for one hour before work. I would also spend a lot of time meal planning and prepping since I no longer had to lesson plan and grade. I fought my cravings, got in a lot of steps, and it was great. My confidence was through the roof, and I was happy and always getting compliments 💪.

⏭ Fast forward to going back to teaching and mother-effing COVID ⏭

Teaching during COVID has been very stressful for me, and my new school gave me a VERY hard class to teach that takes up most of my time and also drinks my happiness like a vampire drinks blood 🧛‍♀️. I’m sick and tired of teaching taking so much from me, but at this point, with over 12 years of teaching experience and 2 M.A. degrees, I’m finally at a school that pays really good money. I have to work, and teaching pays the bills.

October of this year (2020) is when I decided to make writing my priority, even over my full-time teaching career and even over my small business (I’m a busy person). I rearranged my entire schedule to make sure writing was the first thing I did every morning, not working out 🏋️‍♀️

Well, that turned out to be the best thing in the world for my writing (I am about 87,000 words into my latest YA novel) but the worst thing in the world for my a$$. I don’t have time to do them both before work, and usually I don’t have the energy to do them both in a day. I have tried so many times, but my energy gives out. If I workout first thing in the morning, writing doesn’t get done. And when I write first, my workout doesn’t get done. It’s a vicious battle, a freakin’ Thunderdome if you will, and we know that only one can be victorious.

As a teacher, when I get home from school (well lately it’s off of Zoom), writing isn’t happening. Period. I just don’t have the mental capacity or the energy. It doesn’t help that I also have an autoimmune disease so I get drained faster than most people. And because of my autoimmune disease, I don’t have it in me to workout when I get home either.

I’ve been a massive slug and I can’t seem to unslugify myself 🐌

So here’s my goal (let’s see if I actually stick to it this week, but frankly, I don’t trust myself these days):

  • Wake up at 4am and chug pre-workout drink (it takes like 20-30 minutes to wake me up fully)
  • Let dogs out at 4:30
  • Workout 4:35-5:35 (with built-in time for dogs to be a menace and harass me)
  • Write from 6-7
  • Shower (quickly) and get ready for school (even faster)
  • Zoom at 7:35am

It’s just ONE WEEK before we go on break, so I am hoping that I can force myself to follow this for 5 short days. That’s all. 5 days. But I’m not gonna lie, when that alarm goes off, I’ve been abusin’ the snoozin’ for sure!

Fingers crossed I can get my butt back on the wagon and start feeling good again 🤞 Good luck to all of you who may be struggling as well!

Anyone else struggle to get in their word count, work their day job well, make healthy choices, and get in a workout?

You Don’t Know This About Me But…

I ask God for signs all the time. I ask for signs so much, you’d think I was a nonbeliever. It’s not true though; I’m a bonafide believer in the higher power (God…Universe…Allah…Yahweh…). I don’t think it matters what we call the higher power we believe in, but I do believe it/he/she exists.

Today I was writing (I’m officially at 75,892 words as of 6:40pm on Sunday, December 6 BTW!) and my character finds himself in a cave. I didn’t expect him to be in a cave when I sat down to write this morning. I’m not going to lie, sometimes when I write, the story just takes over while I’m in the flow. And before I know it, my character is in a cave when he should have been in a bathtub (don’t ask). But the unexpected place always ends up better than the planned place (if that makes sense). I swear it’s my inspiration/creative muse guiding me as I write, but that’s a blog for another day.

I asked God for a sign earlier today that I should keep going with this book as I’m officially at that point in my novel where I usually give up. For me, after the novelty of the first two weeks of writing a new book wears off (and the dopamine is gone), I get overwhelmed and tell myself this will never amount to anything. I tell myself that the writing isn’t good enough and I don’t have it in me to spend the next 3 years editing one story. And then I give up. That’s all she wrote. I stop. The story is kaput.

Yet, despite my quitting, the put-aside story haunts my waking and sleeping hours every day of my life. SO I decided that this time I will keep pushing through the hard stuff and the writer’s block and the incessant need to tell myself I’m not good enough. However, I’ve been super needy in asking for signs to help keep me going. Today, while my character was in a cave, he looks down and sees a man impaled on a stalagmite at the bottom of a pit. A freaking stalagmite. Bear with me and you will see where this gets interesting.

Yesterday I asked for a sign of a fox… weird, I know. But guess what? I came across THREE foxes. Coincidence? Maybe. But today I just asked for a sign. Didn’t ask for anything in particular, just a sign to keep pushing, and guess what email JUST came across my inbox?

The subject line said this: “Be a Stalagmite Writer”.

No mother-effing joke, that is honestly what it said!!!! I don’t think I’ve ever even written the word stalagmite before in my life, but somehow, today, when I asked for a sign and my character was in a pit looking down at a man impaled on a stalagmite, this aptly titled email comes across my inbox.

You might be rolling your eyes right about now, and that’s ok with me, but I’m still smiling and about to get back to word number 75,893.

Quitting today? I don’t think so!

✌️

Into the Vortex🌪

I start off every day with the best of intentions. Get up at 4. Meditate 🧘‍♀️. Do gratitude journal. Set 3 big goals for the day✏️. Accompany the dogs outside (they cannot go out alone even on the blusteriest of winter days 🥶 as they are what you would call “assholes” and cannot be left unsupervised for even two minutes) 🐶 🐶 Then I have to mix them their fancy breakfasts. Yes, I said fancy breakfasts. Thanks to living at home with my mother for two years while I paid off my student loans, she got them hooked on what has come to be called, “The Yums,” and we have yet to be able to break them of this unreasonable behavior. My dogs will quite literally go on a hunger strike and vomit for days on end before they would deign to eat non-yum food. I ultimately cave before them every time. But, like my writing over the past 2 days, I digress.

Still not done with my dog rant yet… sorry!

I can’t even get to how poorly my writing has been going the last few days, I’m still too busy talking about step 2 of my day (dealing with the demon doggies). Mixing the “Yums” takes about 10 minutes in total. They MUST each have 1 overflowing scoop of green bag dog food (they only like the green bag dog food, no longer the blue) mixed with 1/2 a large can of Pedigree wet dog food (preferably the cheeseburger one, but honestly, when it comes to the yums, any will do). But this is the important part, you need to leave a little yum in the can to mix 3/4 a cup of hot water with it until it creates a “gravy,” as my mother calls it. After pouring this new mixture into the bowl you again have to mix for approximately 3 minutes per bowl, making it “just right”. And then their bowls need to be placed no more than three feet from one another. Any more and they think the other is encroaching on their turf, any less and they flip out thinking the other might be given something better than what they have.

According to my mom, I don’t do any of this as well as her, and I need to work on my mixing technique to really coat every morsel 🙄 🙄 It is then that I remind her that the only reason I have to do any of those asinine steps is because she turned my dogs into monster babies while we lived with her.

You will probably not be surprised to learn that they each also take multiple pills every morning. Are they 900 in dog years you ask? N0, they’re 4, going on 1,000,000,000. My dogs have to take copious amounts of medicine just to keep them from eating my house, each other, and scratching their own faces off (they have the worst allergies a dog can have and the medication for that is almost $200 alone per month 💰💰 Oh, and at 4, they have full on hip dysplasia that requires a lot of medication to keep them comfortable as well. They are lucky they’re cute!!!!

Once I get up the nerve to do all that, they then need to be escorted outside one more time on leashes because it they are not, they will run away from me and never come back in. All in all, this dog circus takes about 30 minutes and by then, I am officially behind schedule and already a little cranky.

I go to my room where I open my computer and get distracted by everything BUT my writing. By the time the next hour has passed, I have paid my credit card bill, researched how to replace a bathroom cabinet, checked social media twice, and cuddled my dogs at least three times each. I look at the clock, realize I only have 20 minutes to write, write for 40 and put myself behind for work. I then skip my shower because I’m so behind, guess I’m going to teach online school like this for the third day in a row… maybe if I put on a scarf they won’t realize my hair still isn’t washed and this is, indeed, the same outfit I wore yesterday. 💻 I crush my teaching and make students smile despite the fact that I’ve muted them permanently so the smart alecks in 3rd period can’t say dumb things for me to yell at them for, but like Stephen King says, when the teaching day is over, I’m tapped out. The wires attached to my head have drained all my energy yet again.

Not #winning at life by any means

I’ve noticed that I’m definitely not winning at life, but I AM definitely at the point in my writing where I will do anything and everything to procrastinate sitting down to write. I guess that’s good news, right? I made it far enough into my book to get past the honeymoon phase and into the annoyed-so-badly-I’ll-do-anything-to-avoid-you phase. I’m officially an old married couple with my story! Whoot Whoot 🎉🥂🥳 “Why didn’t you make the bed this morning?” “Do I seriously have to take the trash out again?” “Do you even know how to turn off a light switch?””I swear to God, if you walk through this house with muddy shoes one more time…!”

Tonight, my story is hogging the covers, ensnaring itself firmly around my body and mind so it can be present in my dreams and then we can wake up, a tangled mess, and do it all again tomorrow.

Sleep well. I know I won’t 😴

The Ugly Truth 💣

Please don’t judge me too harshly for what I am about to say. I told you from the beginning that this blog would be my way of working through my issues and barriers in regards to writing ✍🏻 and the road toward potential publication, so I am going to be 100% honest all of the time, no matter how ugly that might look and sound. They say you’ve got to shine the light 🔦 on your hidden demons 👹 if you’re going to scare them out of their secret hiding places once and for all. So this morning, I went monster hunting 👺⚔️

Any writer’s out there who’ve read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron know all about morning pages. If you’ve not read it, morning pages are essentially 3 full pages of nonstop journaling done by hand that is meant to help you release all of your fears, worries, concerns, doubts, ideas, rants, etc. on paper before you start writing your main work. This way, when you finally sit down to write your novel/short story/poem, your mind is lighter and free of those demons that drag you down. Therefore, you’re able to focus on the work and not your fears of inadequacy. Well, I was writing my morning pages while laying in bed, and boy did I have a lot to say about my job… I knew my job has been weighing heavily on my mind for a LOOOONG time, but WOW! did I really let the ugly truth out of the ugly jar 🤬

F Bombs Galore!!!!

Let me be clear, I take my job very seriously and I work my butt off from morning until night lesson planning, grading, reaching out to students, reaching out to parents, giving additional help, making new templates, working on extra curriculars that I advise… some days, I work from 6:50am-11pm nonstop on teaching-related items. And not to toot my own horn, but toot toot, I am, a great freaking teacher 👩‍🏫. It is just the single most draining job in the entire universe, maybe in other universes as well, I don’t think it can be disproven so we will just go ahead and say it is there as well 🌍 .

*IF* I did not want to be a writer and creator with every fiber of my being, I would love teaching with all my heart and soul. I would be like the crazy cat ladies we all know, but crazy teacher lady. As it is, it is so hard to love the thing that keeps you from doing the thing you want more than anything else. You feel me?

I read Stephen King’s On Writing, another staple for all would-be writers, and his quote about teaching made me drop to my knees and raise my arms into the air shouting, “Yes! He gets it! Stephen King knows what it’s like!” 🗣

Teaching school is like having jumper cables hooked to your brain, draining all the juice out of you.”

– Stephen King

I get to school at 6:40am and then teach until 2:30pm ⌛️ By the time I am done, I have nothing left to give anyone. I am an introvert, so teaching 160 kids a day is exhausting to begin with. You have to be like Ellen Degeneres all day 🎵 dancing and upbeat. You’ve got to be “on”🎤 My students never see me as anything but positive and upbeat and ready to take on the world through English Language Arts 📚. I jump. I yell. I fist pump. All of it for ELA. But by 2pm, I feel like someone has snuck into my classroom and performed some serious bloodletting ritual on me 🧟‍♀️

I am so exhausted each day that I literally refuse to get married 👰 or have kids 👶🏻 (I’m 40 BTW) because after a long day of teaching, I have NOTHING left to give to anyone. I don’t know how teacher moms and dads do it. How do you continue to give and give and give and bleed and bleed and bleed all day long? At some point, I had to say no to something to preserve my sanity, and for far too long it was my writing that was always put off to the side as well as my future potential husband and kids. Now those ships have sailed 🛳 and all I’m left with is a heart ♥ full of stories that still beg to be told. I let my job get in the way of everything that mattered to me. I let other people’s kids be more important than my dream. I let other people’s kids be more important than any future kids I would have.

All these things (the choices I have made) have led me to a darker place lately where I am angry that I chose teaching despite my inner voice telling me at 21 to be a writer 📰. Ugh, if present me could go back in time and slap past me silly and say, “Listen! You are a grown ass woman. If your mom doesn’t want you to be a writer, too freaking bad. It’s your life. If you listen to her, your next 20 years will be filled with pain throughout your entire body, torturous parents who berate you for failing their children, hours of never-ending grading, agony filled overtime that you will never get paid a single cent to put in, also some misery, loneliness, too much booze, too much food, a constant cycle of gaining weight and losing weight, a constant cycle of avoidance, and some more. We may not know what’s down the writer path, but hey, give it a whirl because it’s better than the jumper cables strapped to your head day in and day out.”

Past me was smart, she’d have listened if only one person, ONE PERSON told her to go after her dream. I wish I never needed that kind of validation, but I did. I just needed one person who believed in me. I guess that’s why I chose teaching though. SO that I could be the one person for someone else. The person who encourages a budding writer or artist. The person who tells the kid who feels invisible, “I see you.” The person who steps in for the kid who is bullied and says, “That’s not ok, let me help.”

Don’t get me wrong, teaching is the most noble and wonderful job on the planet, but when your soul screams out in pain to write and create every day and you can’t because you’re too busy lesson planning, it is a hard thing to come to terms with.

I have yet to figure out my dilemma, but for now, I have rearranged my schedule and put my writing first thing in the morning. I now get up at 4am and write for one hour before school every day. That way, there are no excuses and no matter how bad my day goes, at least I have 1,000 words in.

Hope you all got time to put towards your passion as well. Anyone else have a job that keeps them from being the multi-passionate creatives that they are? I’d love to support you!

#Goals

Right this very moment I am procrastinating on my workout (I am a master of procrastinating everything friends, not just my writing…) Therefore, right this very second felt like the perfect time to sit my a$$ down and decide on my 3 main December goals. I SHOULD have done this way sooner than the day before December 1, but let’s be real, life is messy and I have been drowning in tasks and feeling wildly overwhelmed (pandemic, teaching full-time, owning a very small business, etc. etc.)

I did, however, figure it would be fun if we set our goals together 🙂 I am all about 1. goals, 2. tracking, and then 3. DOING, because I know that we will rarely end up anywhere if we don’t know where we want to go. One of my favorite quotes about roadmaps and life says,

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

So stop wishing for it and start WORKING for it.

December Goals

To work toward my larger dream of eventually getting published, my 3 main December goals are:

  1. Write 1,000 words daily (or a minimum of 7,000 words per week)
  2. Finish draft #1 of the YA novel I am currently writing (so far I have roughly 63,000 words and about 130 pages — ish)
  3. To lose 5 pounds. Yup, not ALL my goals are writing related and if I am being honest, between online teaching and an increase in writing, my aforementioned a$$ really needs some work these days.

What I’ll do to get there

In order to reach my 3 main goals I will:

  1. Get up at 5am on Zoom days and 4am on in-school days and write at least 1 hour daily, even on days I am mother freaking exhausted #noexcuses #writeordie
  2. I will write extra on weekends
  3. I will workout at least 4 times a week but will aim for 6.

What I will avoid to reach my goals

Ugh! I wish I could reach my goals and NOT give anything up, but again, you need to SACRIFICE in order to get anywhere in life. I used to teach a modern speech unit and I always should Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture” because I LOVED it. He had so many beautiful quotes, but this is my favorite and I use it all the time when talking to students about overcoming difficulties:

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”

Randy Pausch

In order to overcome some of my challenges I will give up:

  1. Netflix (it’s been two days and I miss you already…)
  2. Wine (it’s been 3 days, 7 hours, 2 minutes, and 37 seconds and I miss you more than anything in this world… write me?)
  3. Turning off my 4 a.m. alarm at 3:59 a.m. and going back to sleep/ procrastinating on getting up in the mornings/reading email in the mornings/checking awesome Amazon deals in the morning and just writing.

1 Year Goal = 100 Queries

That being said, in one year’s time (December 2021) I want to have sent out at least 100 query letters. This is a crazy, wild, HUGE goal for me since in my many years on this planet I have only had the guts to send out three query letters total. Not 3 a month, not 3 a year, just three. Pathetic, I know. Even worse, the stories I chose to send were BAD. Like really, really bad.

If you only send out your worst and get rejected, then you didn’t really get rejected, did you? I have some messed up thinking when it comes to rejection I guess. By the end of December 2021, I’d also like to get one “Yes!” from a publisher or agent. While I can’t control if an agent or publishing house accepts my work, I know, at the end of the day, that it’ll never be a possibility if I don’t put myself out there.

Share your goals with me!

I’d love to hear your goals for December as well as your big, scary 1-year goal as well. We are coming up to January so New Year’s resolutions need to be prepped for, planned for, and at the ready come December 31.

Thanks for reading,

Cheers!

Writing Calendar

Back in 2008, when I had just left a job teaching out in Las Vegas, I wanted to get back in shape and lose some weight (don’t we all? Ugh!) I wanted a really simple, no pressure way of tracking my behaviors so I created a fun goal calendar to help me do just that. I didn’t know how it would work out, but within a few weeks, I knew I loved my homemade system. For me, it just worked. I had only used to only use the calendar to focus on meeting my health and fitness goals, but I recently realized that I should be using my system to track my writing goals as well (duh!).

If you don’t track it, you won’t change it.

– Write or Die, Girl!

I am going to be uploading my goal system calendars for 2021 if you are interested in purchasing them for a small fee. They are downloadable PDFs and will be $.99 each, or $11 for the entire year’s worth of calendars. You can set 3 large monthly goals and track 6 daily behaviors. At the end of the month, you reflect on what went well, and what you need to change to do better. I also reward myself if, and only if, I meet my goals. I’m a psychology minor and know the importance of rewards when it comes to behavior modification.

Your support will go towards the payment needed to purchase a business site and keep it running.

XO

About Me

Hi! I am a recovering creative procrastinator. You see, I have know for a VERY long time that writing is what I wanted to do with my life, but my family never supported that dream. To be honest, they never believed I was good enough despite never once reading a single word I had ever written. Ever. I was told to ignore my heart and do something that would “actually pay the bills,” and to, “be realistic.”

So, despite my deep desire to write for a living, I gave up my dream and became… you guessed it, a teacher. Well, one ulcer, three herniated discs, one autoimmune disease, and about 15 dislocated ribs later (all from stress) I decided to say, “Screw it!” and start writing again.

I don’t know about you, but I have lived in fear of writing my whole life. The thing I loved the most in the world was the thing I feared the most. I put too much stock in getting published and got frustrated when the story in my head did not come out on the page perfect on the first try. Surely everything Stephen King puts on the page is gold on try #1, right? SMH. I could not have been more wrong if I tried. Eventually, I didn’t need my mom holding me back, I started doing it myself.

It’s weird isn’t it, how this thing we love more than anything in our lives is often the one thing we avoid at all costs? Well, it wasn’t hard to figure out that that my fear had taken control of my life and I decided to fight back. I had been in the passenger seat for far too long and I was going to reclaim my power. I let go of my fear of never getting published. I let go of my fear of my mother’s disappointment. I let go of my fear of not being perfect, worthy, deserving, or just plain enough. I realized that I was the one who got to decide if I was a writer, and you know what? I AM A WRITER. If I have a pen and paper, or a computer and key board, I can sit my ass down and write, and THAT friends makes me a mother freaking writer.

This blog is NOT going to be perfect. It’s simply me working out my issues with writing and motivating my internal self to keep going. Hopefully, if you come across this, you will join me on the journey and sit yourself down and write, paint, draw, sew, create, or whatever it is that is calling to you from deep within your soul, and JUST DO IT!

Blog Posts

Writing: A Matter of Life or Death?

If you have a story in your heart, it should be your life’s mission tell it.

Not that long ago, I read an excerpt from the Gospel of Saint Thomas for the first time. It said: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth shall save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth shall destroy you.”

I can honestly say, reading those few simple lines changed my life. When I heard it, every hair on my body stood on end, and bells began ringing in my head. “Yes!” I thought. “This is everything I knew in my heart and soul to be true.” I had been suffering from debilitating back pain and depression for over ten years. I had seen every doctor, every chiropractor, every specialist, had every injection and every pain killer prescribed, and never did anything work to lessen my pain or anxiety, ever. I heard this quote and knew, FOR ME, what the problem had been all along. I was born to write. I was born to create. I was born to put pen to paper. I was born to entertain people with my stories and my words. But the one thing I knew to my very core to be true was the one thing I avoided daily. There are a multitude of reasons why I have avoided writing over the years, reasons I will eventually puzzle out in this blog, but for now I will say this: far too many people who feel like they were born to create, to write, to paint, put it off because of fear, but I am telling you, if you do not bring forth that which is within you, it will destroy you.

After reading that quote I started writing daily, and BAM! my pain was lessened by 80%.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have back pain. I have 3 herniated discs and very serious degeneration in my lower spine (I hail from a family with bad backs on all sides—joy!). However, since making writing and creating a daily part of my life again, and putting my creativity FIRST, my pain has practically disappeared (well, disappeared compared to what it was).

I started understanding that if I did not find time to write, God, the Universe, Carl, whatever you want to call it, would get my attention in ways I did not necessarily care for.

I knew that if I did not write, that story dying inside my would take pieces of me with it, and those pieces, I was realizing, were vital to my survival.

So, dear reader, there are two things you need to know:

  1. I plan to remain anonymous as some of my posts will be me ranting and raving about my life, my family, my job, and the people and things that I feel forced me to give up my writing, and let’s be honest, we can’t always speak our full truth if we think our Aunt Matilda is going to share what we just said about how our mom told us we’d never be good enough to get published all over the internet. So no, I am not sharing this with a single person I know. Anyone who reads this will be other writing WARRIORS who are fighting the good fight to create despite the odds. So, even if no one ever reads this blog, I’m going to keep blogging because this is how I will work out my issues with publishing and convince myself that no matter how hard it is to find the time and energy to write, I need to keep going! We ALL need to keep going. Our stories are worth telling, and we are the only ones who can write the stories that God put in our hearts.
  2. I take writing very seriously. To me, it is a matter of life and death. Let me clarify, whether I get published or not is NOT a matter of life and death. Whether my writing ever sustains me financially is NOT a matter of life and death. Whether I become well known for my writing is NOT a matter of life and death. What IS a matter of life and death (for me) is whether or not I sit my ass down and write every single day.
  3. And since I just said “ass,” I might as well throw in a #3. I SWEAR. I love God, I drink wine, yet sometimes I cuss like a motherfreaker, so if anyone reads this and doesn’t like cussing, well… sorry.
  4. Shit. I know I said this was only going to have two points in my list, but I love a good list so here is a bonus #4: I wake up at 4 a.m. to write every day before my full-time job. This blog is NOT going to be edited to perfection and at some point I’m going to just hit publish when I think it is “good enough” because honey, I only have so many hours in a day, and I can’t spend all day worrying about commas.

Ok, so there you have it. The dreaded post #1 that I have been putting off for months is finally out there. Go forth and be free.

XO