Blog Post #22: Under Pressure

Caught between plans and executions. Also details about my current manuscript.

I’ve been re-reading Jewel Allen’s Rapid Release (attempted to link below) and it’s been inspiring, yet intimidating.

In the writing-craft book, Allen explains how she pens 50,000 words in the span of a week, allowing her to push out romance books on a monthly basis. She writes escapism romance, a niche that is both in demand and fairly simple to write (in terms of research, concepts, etc). She explains how marketing plans will still need to be devised by authors as rapid releasing is only one marketing strategy.

If I were to say my goal, it would be to take dark fantasy/sci fi romance and mimic what Allen is doing with escapism romance. I want to launch long series consisting of books which are about 70,000 words. I am not able to write 50,000 words in a month yet, but on my current manuscript Silver Blood I’ve written over 17,000 words in August alone. That manuscript is at just over 40,000 now.

17,000 isn’t enough, though. Even with this last remaining week in August I’ll need to push myself to write as much as possible to finish my draft before September.

Silver Blood, the working title of my current manuscript, is about a new kind of vampire. Today I will, hopefully, be powering through 5k words to finish the final chapter. Then the rest of the week I will add additional content needed to calm the fast pace of the story in its rawest form. It is a fantasy concept based on an old roleplaying forum board my best friend and I made back in 2002 on a website called avidgamers.com which doesn’t exist anymore. (Back in the heyday of free website hosting for no explicable reason, where I, and many other people, cut teeth on HTML.)

Ultimately, my end of year goal is to:
1) Finish Silver Blood first draft and editing
2) Finish Americana Wasted first draft and editing
3) Finish Americana Wasted 2 first draft and editing
4) Finish Dark Requiem editing

Successfully completing these goals will give me four completed books and set me up with 2 continuing dark fiction series and 1 stand alone series of horror/thriller books which will be released annually in October.

I forgot to mention, I have another manuscript I wrote in the summer of last year. It’s a fantasy about a demon hunter who’s possessed by a grim reaper in exchange for help in executing revenge against the entity that killed his family. It is VERY rough, and at this point I’m holding back on it because this character is going to tie into Silver Blood, just not yet. In my mind they are two protagonists, and their story will begin with Silver Blood and end with the other series. They just haven’t met yet.

That’s about it for today. I have more thoughts about potentially having a second pen name for straight up feel good romances that write easy and sell easier. I just don’t know when I’ll have time for that. If I can juggle two writing projects at once, though them being entirely different (outside of the romance subplot) may actually allow me to pursue something like that. And then, what kind of romances? Contemporary? Regency? Western? Historical? All of them?

I don’t have a real job anymore, so how much can I write until I burn out?

Also, enjoy the rebrand. This blog is gonna be looking different as I decide how to design it. I need to figure out how to get dark fantasy romance across in my site design. So for now you’re getting Mucha flowers!

Jewel Allen’s Rapid Release:

(I tried to link the book from amazon but wordpress blocked it so…. search it on Amazon, it’s definitely worth a read if you’re looking into self-publishing.)


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Blog Post #21: I’m Back

Hey, it’s been a while. A lot has happened. A lot is still happening.


I haven’t returned to work; at this time I am a homemaker and an avid gardener.

My husband and I were working on creating a family. That didn’t go as planned, and unfortunately I was diagnosed with a disease affecting my endocrine system which will require surgery. That surgery is being held up by genetic testing which I can’t get into any earlier than November. I was pregnant the very end of last year, and unfortunately I lost that baby.

When I lost that baby, I lost a very real piece of myself. I lost my ability to be carefree and believe that everything was going to work out. I spiraled into a deep depression, of which I’ve crawled out only recently. Even typing this out now I’m still reduced to a mess of tears; it’s just that I can pull myself back together in a matter of minutes rather than experiencing a revolving panic attack.

That depression had completely wiped my creativity. My muse wasn’t gone, she was just drowning in sorrow with me. Everything felt like it was halted: my dreams of being a mother and my dreams of being an independent author.

Time doesn’t heal, it just numbs, and as of now I’m numb enough to return back to what I was doing before.

I’m currently working on my fourth manuscript, a fantasy romance. I was hesitant to write romance, I am not a rom-com type of gal. I always preferred dramas, horrors, or suspense to romance. However, almost every story has a romance component to it, and I decided that I needed to strengthen my skills. It doesn’t hurt that romance sells the best as well.

The post-apocalypse western is still happening, it’s just that two years later I realize that I need to pull the story down the middle and make two books by changing the climax and making large fundamental changes to the world. Less sci-fi, more western.

The horror story that I believe I had mentioned is also still happening. I just need to revisit the manuscript and polish it up. It is coherent, I just remember feeling as if the story wasn’t actually fleshed out the entire way.

Oh, yeah. I also earned a certification in copywriting from Poynter University. It felt really good to earn that cert.

My big goal is still to stash back 12 books to publish my first year, I’m just now playing with the idea of having two pen names: one for dark/fantasy/horror novels and the other for historical/western/contemporary romance.

I will be consistent. I know that was the mantra of my previous posts but I’m serious. I’m beginning to write a lot faster and I need to amass an audience before I can publish. I need to have people ready to review!

Thank you anyone still here. I did not forget about you. The pangs of guilt from leaving you hanging the last 2.5 years was not lost on me, and I hope that you all made it out of the pandemic.

Blog Post #15: New Year, New Goals, and the Nano Manuscript

Hey creatives!

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post; work changed locations, goals were set, and priorities were shifted. Now that everything has settled again, getting back to blogging much more aggressively is right at the top of my list for 2020, along side writing in general, and thus I wanted to pop back on here and follow up on Nano, the holidays, and the start of the new year.

I’m still working on my horror manuscript from Nano, but unfortunately I didn’t win.  My manuscript came in at just shy of 30,000 words at the end of November, a far cry from the writing 10K words in a day blog post I just wrote here last (heh, cosmic karma for biting off more than I could chew, now I eat crow sheepishly while typing this).

However, it wasn’t all a loss, since at that point I realized I wasn’t executing my concepts and characters correctly, and so I gave myself the past two months to ponder and sift through my ideas, and it’s given me the necessary change in direction that I needed to get the ball rolling again.  Thankfully, most of what I wrote can still be used in my second first draft, but I’m energized to move forward with my newly formed characters and plots.  I’m hoping to finish this book completely before the end of March, but we will see how it goes. I’d love to plan to write 3, 4, 5, or 6 books this year, but it’s the execution that always evades me. (From my own doing, no less. I just spoke to my hairdresser yesterday about how people need to get out of their own ways and stop self-sabotaging, and what did I do tonight? Sat on the couch playing Skyrim until finally deciding to get to work.)

With the start of the new year I also enrolled in Poynter University’s copy editing certification (which I will link below), and I hope to complete the program before the end of January, but at the latest the end of February. I’m enjoying it so far, and it’s definitely making me feel more comfortable about performing self-edits on my works, as well as giving me hope to find a job geared more toward editing or technical writing.

Before I leave you for the night, I wanted to say that I really appreciate the people who have been taking the time to like, hell, even read my posts, let alone follow my blog.  With this new year I’m vowing to come back strong to writing these blog posts, granted, the posts may be shorter than my previous posts, but I’d like to increase to a few times a week, if not daily, and I imagine people would rather hear about the small lessons/breakthroughs, my daily writing, or my opinion on the books I’m reading at that time, rather than me prattle on repeatedly about the same shit to shell out content.

So you’ll hear from me tomorrow!  Happy creating ūüôā

Poynter University of Journalism and American Copy Editing Socieity’s Certification in  Editing: https://www.poynter.org/shop/certificate/aces-editing-certificate/

Blog Post #13: What I’ve Been Doing, Starting Nanowrimo, and How I Plot a New Book without Killing My Free Spirit

Hey guys.

First, sorry I blipped off the radar there, I just wanted to take a step back before a switched gears¬†again. I’m already prone to change plans (because I’m a crazy Sagittarius, or because I didn’t plan enough, or for any viable reason, really and especially, if the current direction is not working), and I didn’t want to give you guys a string of posts about me being indecisive.

Pretty much I realized that as of now TAW: WRP is shelved. That doesn’t mean I’m not doing anything with it, or I’m going to delete it, I’m sitting it down for now. Dystopian is pretty dead, I’m debating on possible placing it into a fantasy setting, but the main point is: I just don’t know what to do with it.

My editing plan was going great, but I hit A LOT of road blocks in developmental edits because I didn’t do enough character planning and development, so the plot points were home runs but the characters were… flat as fuck.

So we’ll just see, maybe I’ll work it out and Dystopian will come back, maybe I’ll change the setting to Fantasy and it’ll be a knock out, for now it’s going back into the idea pile.

Deciding to shelf this idea was good, not only because I was bashing my face against a wall reworking this manuscript over and over, but because I really wanted to participate in Nano for the first time.¬† I had been mulling over a psychological horror that was really intriguing me, and I said¬†fuck it, I’m plotting it.¬†You can also find me over at the Nanowrimo website under the name AnastasiaFrost! (As well as Goodreads under… you never guessed it, AnastasiaFrost, where I do actively update what books I’m reading, have read, and which books I DNF’d).¬†

That’s why you didn’t see me all October, I spent the spookiest month of the year plotting a psychological horror in the same vein as Jacob’s Ladder, Silent Hill 2, and elements of Dante’s Inferno. This first manuscript is about gluttony, and the main character is a recovering addict recently released from prison. Once I finish the manuscript and polish it, I will most likely post the first few chapters on this blog to stoke some excitement.

When I plotted the chapters out, I cried at the end of my redemption arc, and that’s a good sign I’d say, as it was the first time I was ever moved to tears by a story I was crafting.

This is probably a good time to give you all a short run down on how I plot my novels. I would consider myself someone who uses both plotting and pantsing, but I definitely fall more in the plotter category because if I don’t plot I chase every bunny down their holes no matter how time consuming or horrible an idea it might be. I need to plan so I have a map when I’m writing, or I just write whatever comes to me first, and that’s not the best way to sift your ideas!

I also don’t recommend purchasing a shit ton of index cards, different colored pens, or color-coded anything. All I suggest you purchase is: a lined journal with two book strings, a pack of post its, a pack of book page tabs, and a pack of your favorite writing utensil. The rest is all in your head.¬†

This journal is essentially the first round of your “book bible” and it will be MESSY. That’s okay though, you really want it to be messy, because this book isn’t just a book bible either, it’s your¬†stream of consciousness¬†when it comes to this particular story idea. My first third of my journals for both TAW and what I’m now referring to as¬†Dark Requiem¬†are just bullet point brainstorming. And when you’re brainstorming, especially for something like psychological horror, you really want to think outside the box, think of ways to invert or express themes in a different way, and to do that I suggest you track¬† basically every idea you have whether it’s a scene, a line of dialogue, a summary of a character’s motives. LITERALLY WRITE IT ALL DOWN.

Once you’ve scribbled enough ideas and you’re noticing a line of concepts that you could string together to form a plot or at least the¬†themes of your story and the struggle of your main character, now you’re edging into true plotting territory, which might terrify some pantsers, but hear me out quick.

I’m not suggesting you need to PLOT EVERY DETAIL RIGHT NOW. I’m simply suggesting to go through on a roughly chapter by chapter basis and just write the cliff-notes version of what the point of the chapter is, even if it’s just a sentence. These small notes will be elaborated on later, for an example, your chapter five summary now might say “Characters suspect that a witch is behind the terrible plague infecting the town”, and then in a few weeks after you’ve expanded more on the idea it’ll turn to “Characters suspect a witch is behind terrible plague, begin asking around, get directed to a witch hunter, witch hunter is gruff but could help, some characters don’t trust him, etc, etc”.

The point of plotting isn’t to kill your free spirit and snuff creativity, it’s to give you a map when you don’t know where you’re going, and believe me¬†with all the plotting I do, I still end up changing chapters or changing character direction, because it’s all fluid based on what the story needs, not based on what your plotting journal says.¬†

With this method I had brainstormed for about three weeks and plotted out 12 chapters in the last week of October, giving myself a clear map to keep me focused during writing. I’m hoping for this book to hit 100,000 words, but we’ll see. At this point I’m just trying to get a catalog of 6-12 books stashed so I can publish every 30-60 days of my first debut year. It’s a hefty goal, but it will be so rewarding.

With that I’ll leave you be and remind artists to not be afraid to change gears multiple times, to do what feels best now, but always thinking ahead.

 

 

Blog Post #9: 3 Reasons to Opt for a Stay-cation

Stay-cations at home are great ways to unwind and realign your focus when you’re juggling working full-time and pursuing passion projects part-time.¬†

Mr. Frost and I are trying to stash as much money as we can before we journey into the next step of adulthood: parenthood, and thus, we have no big summer plans of beaches or cabins for 2019.

Instead, I’m giving myself a few five-day long weekends to give myself time to not only to relax or catch up on housework, but also to write and brainstorm ideas for my saga.

Stay-cations, for anyone who doesn’t know, is using time off from work to stay home instead of spending large sums of money on a real vacation trip elsewhere. I recommend these basically to anyone. Give yourself days off, give yourself long stretches of days off, especially if you feel like you’re in a rut, a proverbial hamster wheel of bashing your face into the ground, failing at your personal goals and feeling lacking at work.

Here are 3 reasons why you should give yourself a Stay-cation this summer.

1: You got A LOT of stuff to do at home and you can’t find the time.¬†

This is the bane of every weekend warrior: two days just aren’t enough. Whether it’s cleaning out the basement/attic/garage or the piles of laundry stacking up, or the yard turning into a jungle, don’t be too proud to give yourself an extra day or two off work to get your home duties finished. You will feel much more prepared for work when you’ve taken your house work off of your mind.

2: Work is stressing you the fuck out. 

If going to work every day sets your anxiety sky-rocketing and sends you down a proverbial rabbit hole of dread and anguish, not only do you need to schedule some days off to relax, you should spend some of the time looking for a new job.

3: You need to catch up creatively.

Creatives tend not to foster good creations if we are stretched too thin and unable to dedicate time to our crafts, so make sure to give yourself days off to spend honing your skills and making new art.

Make sure to take care of yourself in the wild journey that is adulthood and responsibility, and don’t tell yourself you shouldn’t have a vacation because you have no money to go anywhere.

Blog Post #8: Using Journals, Planners, and Rewards to Fuel Your Metamorphosis

Everyone has things about themselves they want to change, but people can get lost or “spin-their-tires” when they don’t have a secure and reliable plan in place.¬† This post is all about planning to succeed!

When I began 2019, I decided that this was the year to start becoming the person I wanted to be.  I wanted to cut out smoking cigarettes/cigarillos for good, I wanted to reduce my grocery and eating out budget, I wanted to continue to lose weight (I lost roughly 25 pounds in 2018, and another 15 so far in 2019.  I am hoping to lose another 40 before the end of this year), and I wanted to start my career of being a writer.

This is a lot to change at one time, and as these past five months of 2019 have flown by, I’ve come to face the hard truth: changing your life is a slow game, and you need to motivate yourself to make these changes.¬† Here are three tactics I use to perpetuate my changes and fuel my desire to keep growing.

Journaling:¬†Journaling isn’t just something that angst-y teenage girls do when their parents ground them and they can’t see their boyfriends this weekend.¬† Many people turn to journaling as a way to release their emotions and really mentally reconnect with themselves. Journaling allows you to really think about where you are in the world and wonder, is that really where I want to be? I use my journal to list out my goals and brainstorm ways to reach them, to really deep dive into my feelings and remind myself why I want to change. Do not think that you need to buy into expensive journals, I bought a six dollar Exceed Dot Classic Notebook, a ten dollar pack of Papermate Flare Pens and began divulging my feelings, failures, or successes; and every time I do I am comforted with clarity and new perspective.

Planners:¬†I love planners. I love their uniformity, their design, and most of all the prospect of success and goal-attainment.¬† Planners should be used to keep you organized on your tasks, and should be used for any use necessary in the path of your goals.¬†¬†I use my planner to track how much money I spent that day, the daily chores I need to do, to meal plan, and to track my word counts/blog posts.¬†Use your planner as an accountability tool, and use positive reinforcement with…

Rewards: Positive reinforcement has been shown as a more effective tool than negative reinforcement, so set the standards you need to achieve your goals and tie rewards to these.  Here are some examples:

John wants to lose weight, so his goal is to increase his exercise and decrease his calorie intake, something that he’s journaled a lot about wanting to do.¬† Once John has chosen a diet and workout regiment, in his planner he would plan out his meals and workouts for the week.¬† If John completes his workout and eating regiment for the week he’s going to treat himself to drinks and dinner with a few friends at a local bar.

Sarah wants to read and write more everyday, and has written journal entries chronicalling her goals.¬† In her¬† planner she would list her targets, such as to write her first draft of her novel for an hour everyday and to read for an hour everyday.¬† She’s decided that if she meets her daily targets for the week, she’ll reward herself by purchasing a new book on Saturday.

Make sure to balance the desire of the reward with the difficulty of the task, give large milestones and break throughs with large rewards, don’t cheat yourself by giving in when you didn’t earn it!

Take the time to search your mind and heart for your goal, and then plan to chase it down like a lion chases a gazelle. With tenacity and hunger.

Blog Post #7: Balancing Self-Doubt While Making New Habits

Insecurities run rampant in the minds of all people,Habitehow do we release ourselves from the grip of fear and allow ourselves to spread our wings and achieve our goals?  

Insecurity is Hell.  It holds us back from chasing our wildest dreams towards happiness, it wracks us with fear and self doubt, it distorts our view of reality, changes how we perceive the world around us, and turns ourselves inwards when we fear the criticism of others.  So, how do we break out of this cycle, and give ourselves the opportunities to live out our dreams?

First, we need to accept that we are humans, that we make mistakes, sabotage ourselves, become engulfed in our emotions, or any other fallacy.  Chasing your dreams does not come for free, losses will be met but in exchange lessons are learned, knowledge is received.

Secondly, we need to allow ourselves to succeed by properly planning and forgiving ourselves if we come up short.¬† This is something I still struggle with now, and even though I generally feel like every week I get closer to my personal goals, I also feel like I slip back into old, die-hard habits of my youth.¬† The main take-away of this factor is to make a plan that you can reasonably stick to, implement the plan as best as possible, and keep track of your successes and losses in implementing the changes.¬† Don’t get emotionally hung up on the fact that you didn’t meet your word count goals this week if you’ve been making an effort to try to keep your house more clean or workout every day. (Hell, don’t get hung up at all even if you miss everything, because this probably means you’re expecting too much of yourself, and perpetuating your own self-guilt and demoralization is not going to help you do more the next day!) Everything is a give and take, and making changes in some areas will mean other areas need to be slacked¬†temporarily, with the main goal being to successfully juggle all aspects, but everything takes time, especially implementing new habits which is why…

Thirdly, give yourself the time and don’t rush. Everyone wants instant gratification, but things worth working for do not (generally) come instantly.¬† All the great craftsmen of all trades had to work constantly at being a better artisan, and this took years of perseverance and struggle, but being the best you can be at something is all based on the journey as you learn more.

Make sure to temper your disillusionment with the reality that change is difficult, and to give yourself the time and space to grow.

 

 

Blog Post #6: 3 Reasons to Write Multiple Books in the Saga Before Self-Publishing the First

For the self-publishers who are writing a multi-book saga, reasons why you should write and prepare multiple books before you publish the first, despite your excitement to push your creation into the world. 

As soon as I sat down to begin outlining TAW: WRP, I knew that this was only book one of a saga that will more than likely end somewhere between six and nine books to fully flesh out the world and guide the story in a meaningful direction with enough time to craft realistic relationships and impactful twists.

When I began researching how to self publish a series, I soon came across a piece of advice which said “We know you’re excited to publish your first book, wait until you have three for your series.”

What?!?! Wait until I have THREE finished?! ONE is already a feat, why wait until I have three???

Well, great things take time and a hell of a lot of work, and holding onto the first two or three of your series can give you lasting success well beyond initial publication. See the top three reasons below on why to hold on to your book babies just a little longer before sending them into the world.

Reason #1: Story Continuity

Don’t you just hate when you’re reading a great book in an immersive series and you come across a dreaded author mistake: a continuity error. Continuity errors are jarring in any storytelling medium, they are easy to spot in movies and shows, hair style changes, food on the plates at dinner, random knick-knack arrangements in the background move (good in horror movies, bad in romances). These errors pull the viewer out of the experience, gets them thinking about difficulties in editing, or how shitty the poor planning was. The same goes with books, if authors gets their characters’ names wrong, inexplicably change outfits, setting, or characters in the middle of a conversation (or anything else of the sort) it rips the reader out of the story and into a place of criticism, though arguably you deserve it for leaving these errors in your work.

Also, if a writer immediately publishes their books once written and edited, they’ve definitively set the parameters in stone for the story, and the standards NEED to be kept so the world stays believable to the reader (deviation from these set standards going forward in your story is the make or break of a good writer).

This rigidity in the story from early on can cause hiccups in long game story development if most of the story’s mechanics haven’t been hammered out in planning.

If an author chooses instead to give themselves the flexibility to take the story two or three books deep before publication, these issues can be straightened out prior to readers catching them and hating your work.

Reason 2: Quality

While continuity is a component of quality, overall quality itself is another beast entirely. This encompasses everything about your writing skills, plotting skills, and the overall concept of your story as a whole.

Once you publish your first book, an invisible clock begins ticking for your next book in the series, which can induce authors to run with the first few ideas that hit them for their subsequent stories. These ideas can be awesome or TERRIBLE, with not a lot of time for the author to differentiate between the two.

Holding off on immediate publication allows authors to brainstorm longer on large plot arcs and character developments, giving more of a guide for their creativity, instead of chasing every bad idea like a rabbit into a hole. (Which is why I HAVE to plot as an author, because I chase all the shitty ideas if I don’t plot and weed through them.)¬† Giving yourself an adequate amount of time to get deep within your story allows you to hammer out any difficult plot points before they become a huge mess, and allows you to sew in bits of foreshadowing VERY EARLY in your story, which gives re-read value to your readers. Imagine foreshadowing something huge in the beginning stages of book one and paying it off at the end of book three, this gives your reader an entirely new way to see your book’s first two installments. You can also dedicate precious time to crafting b-plots that span over novels when you chose to hold onto the manuscripts: love stories, character arcs, plot pushers, twists and surprises, etc

Reason 3: Marketing

The bane of many self-published authors: Marketing.

Marketing is a HUGE component that you not only need to utilize but you have to excel at utilizing! Marketing is how to turn your book launch into an event, how you’ll hype your fans (and potential street team) for publications, how you’ll connect with readers through giveaways and reviews, and how you’ll tantalize readers, and even book stores, into purchasing your beautiful novels. This all sounds great, but what’s so daunting about marketing is that essentially it is preparation and swift execution.

Everything about marketing starts with planning and ends with execution of the plan: your publication dates and the length between your publications, what your websites look like (all of them, social media pages too), what your covers look like, what schedule you post blog posts or vlog videos, your newsletter schedule, basically everything about the look and timing of your business as an author.

By waiting to write multiple books in the series before publishing any of them you can make sure EVERYTHING about the marketing of these books is COHESIVE. Do the novel covers’ designs match? Do you have your graphics created to blast all over your platforms when you publish a new book/do giveaways/send your newsletters/etc?¬† Do you have your summaries reviewed and edited? Take into consideration these questions and realize these are only a fraction of planning. Holding off from immediate publication gives you a chance to make a marketing strategy and map out your small steps to your big goals.

Remember to enjoy the process, writers! Self publication is an undertaking, but is less intimidating with proper strategy and time.  I will be writing more articles on writing and marketing techniques in the weeks to come!

Blog Post #5: Writing the First Draft; Just Get the Words on the Page, Seriously

Second guessing ourselves is natural in the creative spirits, but second guessing also delays our own creative processes by introducing unnecessary insecurity and self turmoil. Learning to let go and just accept the process is key.

Currently, I am 13 chapters into the first draft of my first novel, and it’s a humbling experience to say the least. When I first began on this creative passion project, I thought that getting the first draft was going to be so easy after nailing down the “details” in my outline, but when I began actually fleshing out the world I was building, I realized that there was so much more that I had not accounted for. This, naturally, meant more time was necessary to complete this draft, which made me very insecure and frustrated with myself. I had to let go of those initial expectations when I saw that they were unrealistic.

“Just get the words on the page” at first sounds placating, like yes, thank you, never thought of that before. Often when I heard this advice on YouTube I would snub my nose at it, thinking if it was so easy to just put the words on paper and write out a good story, wouldn’t all books be great then? What I hadn’t taken into consideration was the polishing and improvement that comes with each round of revision and edits. I naively believed that I could get a best selling book on the first attempt, which is obviously not how best sellers are created.

Getting the words on the page is letting caution fly in the wind, it’s letting go of high expectations and coming to terms with what your skill is at the time of writing. It’s realizing that even if you delete everything that you’ve written in two hours, you still spent two hours honing your craft and practicing how to write better. It’s finding peace in the process.

So I encourage you as a writer to write down the words even if they feel like the most juvenile and underwhelming writing you’ve ever mustered out of yourself. Often times it’s not that bad when read later, and even if it is you can revise or remove it.¬†

Blog Post #4: Shedding Procrastination and Planning to Relax

Being stuck in a never ending cycle of procrastination and working till the last minute (or longer) is hard on yourself, and a habit even harder to break. Once you establish the habit of a system that works for you, you can plan time to relax without feeling like you’re cheating something else.

I was a habitual procrastinator. I’d wait till the last week to write fifteen page final papers. I’d write small papers that night, or an hour before class if I really wasn’t prepared. I stayed up all night for a morning Art History final, managing to pull out a pass grade due to sheer force. Projects waited until the last moment, chores waited until Sunday night before I was able to get to sleep, and some weeks dishes still sat piled in my kitchen, a terrible start to the new week. I often ran late for work.

In feeble attempts to combat this, I would make lists of things I needed to do, house chores, yard work, exercise regiments, drawing goals, writing goals, meal planning to combat ordering out (which I will make an entire post about at some point, because meal planning is really a great way to get your shit together and save money); basically filling up my weekend (and weeknights) with a mountain of shit to do, with only two days (or a few hours after work), which destroyed my chances of really having any time to relax. With no scheduled time to relax I would “cheat” from my own lists, blow off the dishes for the day, fuck working out, “I’m drinking cranberry and vodkas tonight and we’re getting Chinese takeout and pizza!” I’d say to Mr. Frost.

At the end of the week was the worst, Sunday afternoon through the night, after enjoying a fun Saturday with my husband, I’d be scrambling to get the laundry done, to get the dishes clean, to meal prep lunches for the week. I’d be so burnt out even though I just “relaxed” the day before, all because I set up expectations that couldn’t be met within that time frame and then sabotaged myself in a blaze of liquor and defiance.

I came to terms with the fact I needed to start getting a head start on things, I had to start keeping up with the dishes every night (I don’t have a dishwasher, and probably won’t until we remodel the kitchen, and God only knows when that will ever be). I had to start the loads of laundry Friday night. I had to get up and go grocery shopping on Saturday, and do the weekly cleaning in the morning so I could enjoy Saturday night and all of Sunday. When I took the time to strategize how to tackle chores as they were needed rather than pushing them off, I was able to unlock all the extra time I needed to pursue writing, both as a novelist and a blogger.

I’ve also started waking up an hour early to work out with my husband in our mini home gym, which consists of a bunch of hand-me-down cardio and lifting equipment from family and friends. Working out is a release for me, but it’s always been a point of contention, feeling like another arbitrary task on a list of shit I had to do. Now that I’m not up all night putting laundry away or scrubbing dishes, I’m able to go to bed on time and wake up early.

Procrastination does not set a person up for success, and making a plan that actually works is the key. Once you’ve established a plan that you can execute effectively you’ll realize you have time to enjoy, without having to take away time from your responsibilities. This allows you to really enjoy your leisurely time, rather than stress during it, perpetually guilt-tripping yourself.

Artists, remember your responsibilities and tackle them ferociously, don’t cower and push them off! Schedule the time and activities to keep yourself sane!