Blog Post #19: Maintaining Relationships While Juggling a Full-Time Job and a Part-Time Dream

Maintaining good relationships with friends, family, and lovers is just as necessary to maintain your sanity as relaxing at home alone and working on your dream.

It’s difficult to give each aspect of your life the attention it deserves without shoving another out of the way, and I’ve been struggling personally with cutting out time for work and working out over time with people/being lazy.  I find it hard to prioritize my personal goals over the opportunities to engage with others, I’ve always been a very social extrovert.

Making plans with people is extremely important, carrying through with those plans is extremely important.

So how does one juggle the desire to maintain friendly relationships while working full-time and pursuing a creative-entrepreneurial endeavor? My personal goal has been to shift my work into times where I’m naturally not going to be seeing people, which surprise, surprise, is the early morning. My female friends are more likely to meet for lunch or for dinner and return to a friend’s house for a movie than they are to get together for breakfast. My husband and I cherish the times we get to spend at night with one another because it’s the quality time that we miss when we both work. We are very attached to one another, and even if we are just reading different things on our phones, it’s the fact we are together that matters. I try to visit my mom once a week, where we talk for hours over cups of coffee.

Shifting your schedule to the easiest option is what needs done, but the ability to get yourself to carry through with it is where we all struggle. Once I’ve figured out the answer for myself, I’ll let you all know. Until then, never stop trying to find the best way for yourself. I do not recommend shutting out opportunities to be with friends as you get older. Being in college, surrounded by other people your own age at all times, getting away from people to study is the main motive, but as an adult, when everyone is running to different jobs, maintaining good friendships and being there is the most important and one of the most difficult things to juggle.


Blog Post #18: The Power of Believing In Yourself

Pushing through insecurity and self-doubt is hard, but believing in yourself is the only way you’ll be able to give all your opportunities and goals 100% of your effort.

I doubt myself when it comes to pursuing self-publishing and writing as a career. It is a field based in talent, and naturally it is highly competitive. Looking at the success of other self-publishing authors doesn’t rile jealousy or envy from me, it just fills me with dread that I won’t have the dedication necessary to fulfill my own dreams.

Yet, it’s always the tiny voice in the back of my mind, the small fire in my belly that says “but why can’t you?”

When you hear that small voice, don’t snuff it out, stoke it with a little hope and determination. When you ditch the plan, when you fall behind, don’t continue to sabotage yourself, try to make the changes you know you need to. Someone might fail over and over again, but it’s that one time that they succeed which makes all the difference in their life.

This is something I always have to remind myself of, that I can always work better to hone my craft when I feel like my writing is terrible and I should just quit, that I can always change the aspects around me to better fit my goals and actually work to help myself achieve what I want.

Everything is within our grasp, we only have to reach out and grab it.

Blog Post #17: In The Hopes of Beginning a Routine that Works

 I have always been a night person. Now I’m coming to terms with how that’s not conducive to getting any additional work done around my 9-5 office job. 

Happy Sunday guys, Sunday is the day before the new week, and thus I want to discuss something I’m starting new tonight: going to bed early and changing my system.

One of my giants to slay has been my lack of a good routine (or system, as I’ve heard them referred to as well). My husband has a great one, he goes to bed every night at 10:00PM he wakes up every morning at 6:30AM, works out most days, showers, packs his food, and leaves for work, giving himself an hour to get everything done and ready for his day.

I’m NOT like this. I hit snooze five times in a row, run out of the house with my hair in a sloppy bun, no packed lunch in hand, not even my water bottle, and definitely no coffee.  At this point I not only sabotaged myself out a peaceful morning, I’ve sabotaged my own diet goals by forcing myself to eat out, thus also sabotaged  our budget, the savings we’re trying to stash before we make the next great leap: parenthood.

I generally steal sleep in the morning, I always have, ever since I was a teenager and talking all night online became the new cool thing and because I don’t go to bed to give myself enough time to get up early, I go to bed with the least time so I can spend it at night, I ruin any hope of a good morning before work. And what do I generally do all night? By the time I get home from work I’m too burnt out to think about writing anything, so I sit around and play video games, watch videos on YouTube, and extend my lowkey night of doing nothing, letting the dishes sit in the sink, left over take out in the fridge, and staring at my phone into the small hours.

This drills down to a deeper level of insecurity: How can I be a good parent if I can’t even make sure I get a shower and pack myself food before I leave for work? How am I going to juggle everything if I can’t even get the basics right? How could I possibly think I could handle parenthood, all of the daily house stuff, and maintain a job? How do other people do all of this, even do more, and keep their heads?

Negative self-talk swirls, feelings of failure swell, but before I let it all mount and drown me, I take a deep breathe and remind myself that tomorrow is a new day, that I have time to get myself together. But like water, the time I have to get it together feels finite, it runs out of my hands, pours out of my control…Or does it? Aren’t these micro failures facilitated by my own actions, my own hands? What if I’m just making excuses?

Listening to people make videos on YouTube, I heard a girl refer to her daily routine as a system, and it really opened my eyes, really made me step back and recognize a routine as not just a daunting list of boxes to check each day, it’s a network of symbiotic relationships between blips of time you spend doing something productive. The system of skin care to maintain my cystic acne prone skin. The system of eating moderate portions of healthy foods to maintain your body, creating a system of work out plans and weight loss/strength goals. Sleeping enough at night is vital to everything.

My goal is to go to bed tonight at 9:00PM, so that I can wake up at 6:00AM. That would give me enough time to cycle, shower, prep food to cook throughout the day, grab all the stuff, and maybe even let me plot my current book for a little bit, all before leaving for work.

I’ll be sure to update you all with my progress (with this, in addition to the book of course), but I’m hoping that by taking the options of sleeping more away from myself (just because I won’t be tired if I allot myself that much time), I’ll be able to have a productive morning, and therefore, a relaxing evening, where all I have to do is pick up the house before bed.  It will be so nice to relax after work and not feel the guillotine of uncompleted chores hanging over me all night.

Make sure you all get enough sleep too 🙂

Blog Post #16: Merging Notes into a Book Bible, Fleshing Out Character Stories, and Filling the Creativity Well

Hey everyone!

I spent today going through my story notes and organizing them into a book bible for my current horror story (first of a series). It’s been a little exhausting, but it’s making me feel more in tune with my story. I had spent about a month avoiding the project at the end of November, so burnt out from failing Nano and feeling the holes of my story as I tried to craft it, and now that I’m coming back to it and re-working it from the ground up, it’s feeling more cohesive, giving me more to elaborate on.

I’m a giant plotter, if you couldn’t tell, and while I don’t plot every aspect of my chapters, I need an outline of what I’ll be writing or I’ll lose focus, lose interest, or blow off writing all together. Yay, self-sabotage and laziness!

My original idea was to write this story from an omniscient point of view, focusing on a single protagonist mixed with a few side character chapters, but now I’ve decided that while there is one true protagonist, I’m writing each of the other four characters with just as much backstory and detail.

This tale I’m composing is definitely a stretch of creativity, and I’ve been trying to draw inspiration from my favorite psychological horror stories, addressing central themes like redemption, forgiveness, guilt, shame, letting go, and aligning ones shadow, a Jungian concept while still creating a world that is my own.  The story surrounds five people who wake up in an alternate, timeless dimension between the living and the dead, each chased by their pasts and searching desperately for a way back to their old lives. They all share a common vice, though not immediately apparent on the outside.

This series won’t follow the same protagonist throughout, each book will be its own slice of this dimension, with new characters and new stories, all focused on a central theme which connects it all together. I’m planning on doing seven books total, not sure if I’ll just write them all back to back or intersperse other novels to break up the subject matter, but this manuscript I’m working on will (as of now) be my first publication.

Happy Tuesday!

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 🙂

Poynter University of Journalism and American Copy Editing Socieity’s Certification in  Editing:

Blog Post #14: Attempting a 10K Day at Home because your Week at Work was Hell!

Hey! It’s half way through Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) and I am not half way through my manuscript, heh…

I’m not too far behind, sitting at 18,966 words out of 50K, but this week was hell, as many can relate, when tasks come ahead to quick deadlines and documents required re-editing, the sort of stuff that makes an already busy administrative assistant want to rip their hair out.

Needless to say, when I got home every night I made dinner (if we were lucky) and sat on the couch, enjoying some wine and playing through Outer Worlds. I was zapped mentally, and thus creatively, and the thought of attempting to sit down in my off time and write any words was unbearable, so I didn’t.

Even thought it put me a little back, I decided to give myself the room the relax because I know if pushed myself to write I was going to hate it and it would ruin any future motivation I would’ve hoped to have. It’s depressing, but it’s not something I can’t achieve (or at least get close to achieving).

Today I’m doing a feat that only a few have been able, I’m attempting a 10K day to make up for my lost time and (hopefully) getting ahead. Mr. Frost is busy in his workshop today, giving me the alone time I need to write in between cleaning sections of the house. Because none of that shit got done this week either and I don’t have a dishwasher. 

This 10K attempt today is a loose goal, however, I’ll be happy with any words on the page because I haven’t written in four days, but this would be the first time I’ve ever written 10K words in one sitting. I’ve heard that some writers can write 5-10K words a day on average, and this would definitely be a game changer in terms of independent book publishing potential.

Just wanted to give you guys and update today! I’m roughly 1/3rd of the way through this manuscript, which is what I was expecting, I’m estimating this first draft to reach somewhere around 60-70k, with my editing adding an additional 20-30k.  This won’t be a long book, but I think it will be a good debut, and a good first book to a series of seven.

I’m already brewing the second book in this seven part series, (which won’t be a direct sequel, this is going to a be loosely tied series based on an underlying themes resonating between each of them. Each individual story will resolve with those specific characters (though other encounters and events will clearly tie them together for perceptive readers).

I also have a new story idea entirely, a two-part series (a retelling of a specific series of classics) about a very important and often ignored global issue set in a psychological horror-scape. I’ll have to do a significant amount of research about the topic in order to give an accurate portrayal of the victims, a voice to the voiceless in many ways, but I feel like the background of these classics in particular, juxtaposed to the issue at hand, I think most people will be able to pick up on the issue/themes, but I’ll have to do a really good job of portraying the events in a dream-like dark fantasy horror setting, combining the symbolism of the character’s surroundings and story events to the emotional trauma they are experiencing in the real world.  I don’t really know when I’ll be working on these stories, even if I brainstorm/plot/write my first series’ books each in 60 days, I still won’t be touching the new series until next year. It feels good to have a plan though, something that I can keep thinking about.

I’ve been practicing brainstorming these new ideas while writing this manuscript, before I just ignored them, hoping to finish my current project before starting the next, but it never really works like that, it’s important to have one project that you put most of your writing into, but jotting ideas is something that needs to be done at all times to catch your best ideas, and it’s been easier than I had anticipated at first.

So that’s an update to where I’ve been the last two weeks, I’m still loving my current manuscript, and I’m excited to get into writing it.  The chapters I’m beginning with aren’t my favorite, but I’m reminding myself that I’m in the muddy-middle, getting bogged down happens to everyone.

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 #12: Endless Editing, Developing Character Flaws, and the Inevitable Feeling of Inadequacy

Bogged down in the mire of editing my first novel, I now realize I greatly underestimated the levity of editing and how much time and effort it would truly take to create a beautiful story.


Hello, all.

I have no short story for you… yet.

I know, I know. I told you I would, just like I told you I’d write eight blog posts a month, or when I told you I was planning on publishing my first book in April 2020 as a total novice who had never written a book before. In both of these instances, I had not really considered either what effort these undertakings would take, nor what my end result would look like in a worse case scenario.

So, just like I ditched the crank out blog posts about mundane shit everyone already talks about gig, I’m ditching the goal of April, 2020, because it’s just not feasible to make this book what it should be.  I don’t know when I’m planning to publish at this point, but do no fret, this doesn’t mean I’m ditching the project all together, or my dreams of being a self-published author and CEO of a power-house independent publishing house that works to find the greatest unknown authors.  I’m still putting in the 15-20 hours a week on this book until it’s finished, and I still plan on doing somewhere between 8 and 12 books, but with our goals of growing our family from just the two of us to three (and more), I don’t know when in the foreseeable future we’ll be able to do the whole publishing shebang. I don’t want to half-ass it, if I’m going to do this then I want to pay for good cover art, a professional proof-reader, the website, and all of the marketing tactics, promos, giveaways, it’s just a lot, but all necessary to give myself the best chance possible of being successful.

So, I’ve got to take my time, and that’s okay, there are tons of bloggers and vloggers who aren’t published yet and are documenting their journey. That’s really what my goal is with this blog, it isn’t to give you cheap advice about an art I’m still developing my own skills in, it’s to give you an honest look into a novice writer with passion and a big dream, which includes the times that I fail (and re-evaluate) my current goals. (This also includes getting snippets of my work posted on here for you guys but editing has been so intensive I haven’t had time to do anything else creatively outside of brainstorm ideas @.@; I’m so afraid to start a new project and leave this one behind.)

I totally underestimated the work this novel was going to take, and it’s not that the meat of my plot and story beats aren’t there (thank god I plotted to some degree), it’s just that my two main characters had no arc at all.

My female protagonist is now alright, her half of the book is what I’ve spent the most time on in the month of August (outside of the beginning itself), but I fear she’s not likeable, and I don’t really have a problem with that, she’s a depiction of a bad lifestyle in a lawless land, but I don’t know how that will translate to the reader, and I wonder if she needs a save the cat moment, even if it’s just small, to give some empathy to her. She’s on a tragedy arc in this novel, her story set into motion by her decisions (rooted in selfishness) and her subsequent downfall due to her inability to let go of that selfishness, but perhaps granting her a saving grace moment would twist the knife a little more at the end. I can say that as I’m getting older and have fully transitioned out of young adult and into adult, there are major moments of cringe and disappointment in my past that I couldn’t see at the time that I can now, and this is a sentiment I’m sure most people can empathize with to some degree. Giving her memories to look back on later and reconcile with internally gives her a rich character, now and in the future.  As long as I can pull it off. 

My male protagonist is who I’ve been having the hardest time with, and I think it’s because I wasn’t sure what kind of guy I wanted to start him as or what flaws I wanted to give him, so he basically had no set personality, nor a goal of what kind of person to develop him into.  The premise of the story requires a lot of stepping up and shedding away the traces of his childhood self behind to become a true adult, so I’m trying to hone in on areas where he would still be immature, to give him a developmental arc in this first book around the essence of becoming your own person, deciding your own fate, and doing what you think is right even if everyone else disagrees.  Again, as long as I can pull it off.

So that’s where my head is at right now, I took the holiday weekend away from my manuscript and haven’t looked at it today either, but I’ll return to it tomorrow to revise my male character and contemplate the depth I want to add in to other factions this early in the story without bogging down the pace. As of September 1st, my manuscript is at 124,215 words, and I feel like I have so much more to add.

Artists, give yourself a chance to re-evaluate your goals if you’re not reaching them despite your dedicated efforts, you just might be asking too much.


Blog Post #11: Finishing the Rough Draft, My Editing Plan, and Future Additions to the Blog

On July 16th, after seven and a half months, I finally finished the rough draft of my novel.  

My last few chapters may be fairly short, the word choice not the most eloquent, and the prose might be sloppy, but I finished 25 chapters, wrote 89,000+ words, and finally put to (digital) paper the beginning of the story I’ve been mulling over the past half decade.

It was cathartic in a lot of ways, using a passion I’ve had for writing to actually craft a formal story, following structured plot beats and (hopefully) coinciding with firm character arcs.  This is a personal accomplishment that I always hoped to achieve but never thought that I would have a story idea large enough to build off of, and even if this ends up being the worst book ever written in the history of literature, at least I’ll know I had a hell of a lot fun writing it.

Since I’ve finished my rough draft I jumped straight into editing it.  And yes, I know, I know. I wasn’t supposed to do that. I was supposed to sit on it and marinate on it so that I could come back with fresh eyes and see the mistakes.  I didn’t want to, though. Mind, this wasn’t a I just don’t want to in a petulant child manner; I didn’t want to step away from it and lose momentum and the vision.  I didn’t want to let self-doubt creep in and make me fear going forward with my idea (fear is the mind-killer), which always happens when I stall on an idea, and why I mulled on this for five years in the first place.  I also didn’t want to stop writing everyday, something that I’ve finally worked back up to and I used to do everyday after school from my preteen years through high school.

My editing process has been developed from listening to multiple Author YouTuber’s videos on the subjects (Heart Breathings, Alexa Donne, and Jenna Moreci, mostly), and while I am mainly following Sarra Cannon’s method on her Heart Breathings channel, taking advice from both a traditionally published author (Donne) and an indie publishing author who edited as they went (Moreci) has been awesome as well.

My editing plan consists of the following, the goal being to complete it before the end of August:

  1. Two rounds of developmental edits:
    The first focusing on fleshing out the character arcs and plot beats, and actually writing my two romance arcs! 
    Major focus on dialogue and character motives, their emotions, and reactions to surroundings. Starting at the beginning of the story, my worst writing by far, my main goal has been developing the two main character’s viewpoints in their homes, and as I move on chapter by chapter it will develop into the fleshing out the emotional weight of the plot beats and character arcs as they leave their homes, while beefing up the action sequences, both of which are very brittle in my rough draft.  I realized I didn’t flesh out either of the dysfunctional romance arcs that my characters will experience. Subsequently, I added entire sections to chapters, doubling their page amount, and it’s really adding more desperately needed depth to the characters I’m creating.
    The second focusing on fleshing out the world. 
    The second round will be focused on adding more depth into the world around them, beefing up descriptions of surroundings and settings, histories of various factions that have formed in the wastes, reinforcing class differences, religions that have pop’d up after the end of the world, songs sung and rumors told in bars, urban legends of beasts hidden in the wastes, and subtle hints about future characters to come forward in later books, among countless other attributes to consider when world building.
    Ultimately, I am expecting to add at least 50,000 more words in these two
    developmental passes.
  2. Two rounds of Line Edits. There’s nothing fancy here, two slow, clean sweeps through where I’ll pick apart my sub-par writing and attempt to deliver this story succinctly and with eloquence. I’ll be focusing on word choice, sentence structure, dialect of characters, balancing purple prose with concise explanation, a last review of show versus tell, and generally second guessing everything I’ve ever written.
  3. Two rounds of Proof Reading. The first round will be myself printing and combing through it one chapter at a time, reading it on paper, and marking any errors as I see them, since I’ll have only read it digitally either on my phone or on a computer prior.  The second round will be an automatic proof read, where I’ll run it through an additional spell check and a grammar check, followed by combing through it digitally while listening to a reader online.

After these steps it will be ready to send to my personal group of writer, editor, and artist friends who said they would act as critique partners and beta readers, to let me know if they see any mistakes (And Mr. Frost, of course). After I hear back from them, I’ll hire a professional editor to proof read it.

Then it’ll be time to do it all over again for #2 of the series, while also turning my focus to the beginning stages of true online marketing for my Author career and Publishing House.

This brings me to the announcement for this blog, I’m going to be writing short stories, additional pieces of the world I’m creating for you all and publishing them here.  I’m hoping to publish these monthly, and once I set up a newsletter I’ll be offering sneak peeks and writing samples from my current WIP.  These short stories won’t be very long, maybe 2,000, 3,000 words, but they’ll be small snippets of this world that I want to entice readers with.  My first short story will be published here in August! 

So creatives and artists, always keep striving, even if it feels like it’s the worst piece you’ve ever made, because the journey is what matters, not how bad you are at the moment. Realize that it’s the small, consistent steps that help you reach your goals.



Blog Post #10: Indie Publishing, Staying Focused on the Original Goal, and Preserving the Integrity of your Piece

Facing all of the avenues of success as an entrepreneur and independent author can be overwhelming, but the trick to achieving your own success is focusing on what you’re passionate about and not pushing yourselves into spending all your creative energies on side projects.  

Hey guys, I know it’s been awhile — approximately an entire month and then some — since my last blog post.  To sum it up, I needed to focus solely on my manuscript, which resulted in June being my most productive month so far!  As of now, I am working on chapters 17/18 and I’ve reached just under 65,000 words on my first draft.  I am estimating this book to be 25 chapters in total, so my completed, super rough first draft should land around 90,000, and my brain/plotting notebook is already filled with small editing notes on what to add in my first rounds of developmental edits.  My goal is to do all my own developmental and line edits (multiple rounds each), and hiring a freelance proof reader before publication.  I have friends who are readers, writers, and artists who are very interested in the concepts of my story and who have told me they will review chapters and leave ARC reviews for me once I’m ready.

This brings me to the point of this post today: No, this isn’t me telling you I’m done with my blog, I’m telling you it’s gonna be randomly published on, at least for now.  My hope is to do one or two, maybe up to four posts a month, but as of now they won’t be on a set schedule, they’ll be written whenever I think of them.  I need to dedicate this time to my book, this story that I’m falling in love with writing and these characters I have very roughly developed arcs for that need fleshed out.

My initial intention for this blog was to pound out two posts a week for you beautiful people, but what I realized was I was exhausting myself and exerting my creative energies on a side project, not the real project.  I love this blog, it’s a great space to clear my head and get some advice about following creative passions as an adult, but stepping back from it for a few weeks revealed that my rigid schedule was going to turn this blog into a recycled piece of garbage, the same posts you’ve seen done countless times by other people.

Let me explain: I don’t want this blog to be another mouthpiece of a writer-working-to-author just trying to peddle books out to any readers who come across it.  I don’t want this to be another blog that doles out contrived, try-hard posts about a craft I’m still developing my own skills in.  The direction and intention of this blog is to be a place for me to organize and collect my thoughts, to give my two cents on how to juggle following your passions and keeping a roof over your head; not a direct piece of my marketing strategy, where I create a false persona of myself for “fans” to falsely idolize and I write blog posts that everyone has already read (or watched on a YT/vlog channel) somewhere else. Frankly, I’m not that person, and I never want to be that person, and running my creative energy into the ground to write articles about topics I either don’t care to write about or aren’t really qualified to do so, to hit an imaginary quota I put on myself makes me not want to do it.

There is a big push on independent authors to do EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE.  Going through the videos on Author Tube (YouTube’s author community), you get told that in order to cultivate the amount of people necessary to succeed at sales you need to juggle email lists for newsletters, pump out blog posts or vlogs on YT, start a patreon, join a bunch of social media groups with other authors and start critiquing each other’s work, consider putting out classes that people pay for, and other innumerable ways to push yourself out there. It is a lot, especially when you as an author plan to write books for the rest of your life to support an income and live your dream. The expectation is to start doing most, if not all, of this before your publication (while you’re still working for most people) in order to use it as a marketing hub, which is a perfect strategy, but you run the risk of flying too close to the sun and melting your wings.  Putting all of your time and energy in managing an empire of side gigs when what you really started for was to write stories you love isn’t rewarding.

Self reflection says it could just be me whining about what’s par for the course.  I could just be feeling the impending stress of needing to begin true marketing prior to a book publication and be getting overwhelmed.  Every publishing house hypes the launch of a book prior to release, that’s how you get the most people to buy it.  I guess the bone I’m picking at more is the struggle with keeping your sincerity and integrity while pushing out so much work and getting noticed, ensuring to not create a facade of a glossy, perfect person and putting that out into the world as the real thing. That’s ultimately what social media is, the best of everything projected as if that’s your real life, the visage of what you wish to share. It’s about the management of true quality control, ensuring everything you put out isn’t a rushed piece of shit that doesn’t give fans true value.  It’s about ensuring you have enough energy to keep writing your work, the real reason why you’re doing all of this in the first place.

As an aspiring independent author looking at the long game prospect, I am reflecting on what my true goal in this game is.  I feel like the story I’m wrestling with is very high concept, it requires a lot of world building and character arc development and it’s very taxing to weave these character developments into the overall pacing of the rest of the story.  It’s something that I will be working on for years to come, before starting other series I have notes written for stashed away.  TAW is my baby right now, with all of the different long game ideas and weaving in an entire flashback arc at the end about society before WW3 and the atomic decimation of the globe, it could be eight, ten, twelve books total.  Considering possibly weaving my other book ideas into the same universe, like the fantasy series being a comic book in my dystopian world, a horror series set in the pre-dystopian reality. Just different ideas that I have to keep somewhat fresh, yet preserved long enough to dedicate myself to TAW.  I brainstormed TAW: WRP for five years before it came out to be an idea I could divulge myself into (and before I stopped telling myself I could never do this and stopped doubting myself); I can hold on to these ideas too.

Shout-out to Sarra Cannon, I’ll link her website and YouTube, Heart Breathings, below.  I haven’t read any of her books but I love her web series, she’s a great example of a writer who turned her creative passions and entrepreneurial spirit into an empire; writing what she wants and supporting her family by following her heart.  I hope to do the same; writing from home while homeschooling my future children until I can afford to get them into private school.   She also provides classes to purchase, and I would argue her experience of writing 20+ books in multiple series for the past ten years puts her in a different echelon of mentor than others in the AuthorTube community who also offer classes.  I eat, sleep, and breathe her Anchor Series and when I begin editing I’ll eat, sleep, and breathe her Editing Series, both linked below.  I love her message of writing what you love, always studying the craft of writing to be a better writer, and focusing on high concept story ideas to make sagas that fans adore.

So, artists, remember to stay true to what you want, and don’t get caught up in your side games while focusing on crafting the true product. Grow and accept needed change, but always remember your original goals.  Think about what you want to pursue, and manage how much creative energy you spend.

Also, please feel free to message/comment any topics you want me to write about in the future.

Sarra Cannon / Heart Breathings:

Heart Breathings YouTube:
Elements of a Best Selling (or Anchor) Series:
How To Edit Your Novel: