A REMINDER FOR WORKING PARENTS: WHEN TRAGEDY HITS CLOSE TO HOME

I'll be honest. 

It's been a week of ups and downs for me. 

On Monday morning, I finished writing my newest book. It felt great to reach the finish line of the first draft, but I also knew there was a lot of work ahead of me in revisions. 

Then that night, I found out a former student of mine had passed away suddenly. The news rocked me. 

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Last night, I got an email with a wonderful marketing opportunity for my fiction books, something that could get my stories a lot of visibility. 

I'm glad I'll have the day off tomorrow to sort through all these emotions and get some needed rest. 

In today's video, I process and share my thoughts on a recent tragedy that struck my local community recently. It's a sad reminder for me and any other stay at home mom, work from home mom, or any working parent. 

I also talk about the one thing we can do, even when we feel like failures as parents or like we can't make the difference we wish we could. 

BEST BOOKS FOR WRITERS: FAVORITE READS FROM 2017

In today's video, I share my favorite reads from 2017. This list will include something for everyone, whether you’re into fiction or only non-fiction, I think you’ll find something great to read.

So last year, I set a goal of 50 books to read. This was scary to set such a high number, but I did it and I’m so glad because I read so many good books. I think I was wasting a lot of time just rewatching old TV shows, but now I’m spending more time than ever consuming new stories and non-fiction.

In 2018, my reading goal is 60 books. I'm upping my goal again, but I'm also ecstatic to be making even more room for reading in my life and become a better storyteller through reading.

Here are my favorite reads from last year (my affiliate links):

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If you’ve been in a reading rut or are looking to level up your life, I definitely recommend you start with some of these books. And if you’ve read some of these before, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. I read and reply to all of them.

One of the most important things you can do for yourself as a person and as a writer this year is to read more books. It’s why I’m making reading one of my top priorities in 2018. It makes me a better storyteller and helps me level up. And I know it’ll do the same for you if you give it the time.

As always, thanks for watching, subscribe so you don’t miss future videos, and keep creating your art.

MY 2018 THEME, GOALS, & HABITS + Q1 GOALS (HOW TO PLAN YOUR YEAR BY QUARTER)

In today's video, I share my 2018 goals, habits, and theme.

Plus, I share why I now plan by quarter as well as what specific goals I'm striving for during the first quarter of the year!

If you'd like some new year inspiration and tips, you'll love this video. 

Here's what I discuss:

  • What I failed to mention in my 2017 in review video (how did I do as far as $$?)
  • The phrases, mantras, habits, and mindset that I'm going into 2018 with
  • Why I'm switching to planning by quarter instead of by year
  • Big picture goals for 2018 (like revenue & hitting publish every 3 months)
  • My specific goals for the first quarter of the year (2 big goals plus a handful of smaller goals)
  • My #1 tool for 2018
  • Why I'm convinced that 2018 is going to be so much better than 2017

Find the video helpful? Remember to subscribe so you don't miss the next one! Sign up in 3 seconds on my homepage. 

How to Keep Going When Your Goals Seem Impossible (& A #NANOWRIMO UPDATE)

How to Keep Going When Your Goals Seem Impossible (& A #NANOWRIMO UPDATE)

We're eleven days into November and National Novel Writing Month.

A lot of writers get behind right around now or (like me) maybe you never got started for whatever reason.

For me, it was already being behind on a ton of things plus getting sick and then both of my kids getting sick one right after the other, plus last-minute editing work (which I was thankful for, actually).

So it’s been almost a month of dealing with all that, and, honestly, feeling like I’ve been behind the entire year.

5 Tips to Keep Writing When the World is Full of Devastation and Heartbreak

5 Tips to Keep Writing When the World is Full of Devastation and Heartbreak

Today, I want to talk about something a little bit different.

How do you keep writing when the world is full of so much devastation and loss? 

It’s something that’s been weighing on my mind the past few days with the earthquake in Mexico City and the hurricanes in our part of the world, and so today, I just want to offer some advice on how to keep going when you feel so emotionally weighed down by the news. 

WHY IT TOOK ME 6 YEARS & 7 BOOKS TO TELL PEOPLE I'M A WRITER

How do people react when you tell them you’re a writer?

What did your friends and family say the first time you told them you were writing a book? Did you tell them right away or did you wait before you told them?

Maybe this wasn’t a big deal for you at all, but for me it was, and it’s something that I’ve only recently been able to get over.

Let me tell you my story (and why it took me six years to tell anyone I was a writer).

My Novel Sucks, and I Think That's Great

Nano '11 was the year I made it through Nano and won.

On previous attempts I had crashed and burned only days (even hours) into the challenge.

Last year, about seven months pregnant, I was determined to finally write my first novel. I knew I had to write it before Andrea was born or it would never get done.

Well, I got it done.

Over fifty thousand words, and they all suck.

Really.

Yes, this novel is one of my biggest achievements, and I still remember the high I got when I typed the last line to the story's ending.

But ever since I wrote the first word, I knew it was bad. It reeked of first time writer. I know I probably did tell, don't show instead of show, don't tell. The characters were either not believable or flat. The plot was outright confusing (even to me) and about stuff I had no idea about. Don't even mention the ending. Even I didn't buy the happily ever after outcome.

I still haven't opened up the file since that night on November 30th.

Too scared, that's why.

I know there's a monstrous load of research, revision, and rewriting to do.

But you know what?

Even though my first novel truly sucks, I'm proud of it.

The truth is: it was liberating to write badly. Before, I was so scared to write badly that I just wouldn't write at all. Nano was the push (or painful kick in the rear) I needed to just sit down, write. and say “you know what, self? I don't care how much this novel sucks. I'm going to write the book anyways because I know I can always go back and fix things.”

I learned that allowing myself to write badly and not worry about it took the pressure to be perfect off. I could finally enjoy writing.

Now it's time to get that mentality back and start my second novel. It'll probably suck even worse than the first one.

It might not.

I won't know until I try.

And who knows? I might even open up that first novel file and start working on that, too.

What's the biggest lesson you learned from writing your first novel?