Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Importance of Timing

Partly thanks to the new year, I thought I knew what I wanted to (and could) get done in 2019. Yet almost any time I tell you all what I'm planning, the road takes a sharp turn ... and the plans change. I think timing is so important when it comes to writing, but I also think it's not entirely in our hands.

As a writer, timing really is everything. It's both a good and a bad thing that the timing really isn't up to the writer. Though it might sound odd to a non-writer ... there's only so much we can do! If you've ever written an essay, I'm sure you know the feeling. Sometimes writing works. And sometimes it doesn't. Timing is everything.

Case in point: I wanted the sequel to Martin Hospitality published in spring of 2018. As in ... 9 or 10 months ago. As it turned out, I didn't even finish the first draft until December 31, 2018. You see where I'm going here?

The timing was not right when I began the first draft. So I took a break and restarted. Even though that was frustrating (as I really did want the series finished), I've had a lot of insights and breakthroughs that wouldn't have been possible if I'd written the first draft sooner than I did.

God knew what timing I needed.

It's important to note that the sooner I learned to be all right with that, the happier I was. Contentment is always a tricky balancing act, and letting go of a vision and plan can be hard. Especially when that plan is your career's timeline. :)

So I really encourage you all to be willing to figure out what works for you. There are times to press on and times to step back. What that looks like for you will depend. But trusting that God is handling the timing is a huge step.

Your readers will understand, truly. At least mine (that would be you) have really blessed me by being patient and still encouraging. Let's be honest ... having people anticipate your next work is both a tremendous blessing and an odd pressure.

And yet, what's meant to happen will happen ... when it's supposed to happen. I'm not saying you shouldn't make deadlines or goals. But remain flexible and open to what God has for your writing. I think we all know that His plans are infinitely better. It's a little harder to realize that He might be behind a case of writer's block.

Write with all of this in mind, and I hope you'll find a little bit of peace and joy in writing again like I have!
Do you work well under pressure? Have you ever had something work out but on a completely different timetable than you planned?

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Why I Hate Marketing

I truly hate marketing. With a passion. It's an unfortunate reality of my existence that I've been contemplating for a while now. I'm sure I'm not the only one who struggles with this, and I think I've finally pinpointed some reasons it's hard for me!

I think the biggest deal for me (and probably all people who hate marketing) is that it's not natural. It seems pretty normal to dislike things that you have to struggle to do well, whether that's spelling, running, or ... marketing.

Actually, I can't think of many people who love marketing. Yet those who do are often really good at it. So maybe there's a cause and effect there. Maybe those who like it enough to put the time into it get really good at it ... not the other way around. Maybe marketing is something that's always learned.

This is good, because it means there's hope for all of us! Some of us might have to work harder than others, but that's the way of the world. Learning is the easy part for me. Executing is the hard part, which brings me to my second reason I hate marketing.

It's strategic. That is not a negative thing! But the newer the strategies are to me, the more they feel like strategies. So, again, it comes down to how natural it feels. When marketing feels unnatural, I feel fake. I hear that at least for face-to-face marketing, how much you believe in what you're selling is a big factor in how likely someone is to go along with your spiel.

Another reason I tend to dislike marketing is somewhat selfish ... I don't want to be that person. When people flat-out, cold-lead market to me, I am instantly turned off. I'm talking about the person you barely know talking to you for the first time probably through social media and telling you how great something for sale is.

I never, ever want to the be the person annoying people with the "buy my stuff!" message. Because that totally overrides the greater point that people often really do have your best interest in mind. A product worked for them or they're a really great writer ... and they want you to know! That's not a bad thing.

I think the "bad" thing is when they lose all potential interest due to their approach. It's highly unfortunate.

The good news is that means it really comes down to how you market. I am never going to be  comfortable messaging every friend I have on Facebook and telling them about something I'm selling. That's just not me. That's fine.

Nor am I going to be comfortable bringing that I'm a self-published author with books for sale on Amazon the first time I talk to a stranger. That's just not me. And that's fine.

But eventually, I think all of us have to ask ourselves, how much of my hesitancy is driven by fear? Because while I want to be wise about my approach (which means I'll never be super bold), I don't want to hold back because I'm scared.

I mean ... if I won't bring up what I wrote when talking to a stranger at a writing conference where that's expected??? That's actually me being scared, not me trying to be considerate of others.

People will form conclusions and have preferences no matter how comfortable I try to make myself.

So I think another reason I hate marketing is because it's personal. For me, that means it's going to take me out of my comfort zone. In doing so, marketing will grow me.

I'm always going to have preferences, like not over-sharing and mainly marketing through social media. You have preferences too.

So what am I doing about this whole introvert-must-market situation? I'm marketing. I'm studying strategies, starting new accounts, posting about my books and health products more. And the more I do, the more I realize that I've wanted to all along. I've mostly been holding myself back. Time to work on that a little as I get better about marketing in general.
That was long, but a good look at my thought process, I hope. Do you enjoy marketing? What's your comfortable way of doing it?

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Roots of My Writing

I've been thinking a lot about what things are at the root of my writing. The things that have to be nurtured and tended so that my writing can flourish. Recently, I narrowed it down to two roots.

I think for me, the two roots of my writing (or really any of my passions) are my faith and my health. While that may sound broad, it covers both the spiritual and the physical.

So lately I've been giving more thought to how I can deepen my faith in Jesus and how I can better address my health.

Don't get me wrong. I'm still an active Christian and I don't have bad health per se. But I want to get better at intentionality in both of these areas this year.

As far as my faith goes, I'm reading more nonfiction books that are instructional in the faith. Elisabeth Elliot and C.S. Lewis, anyone? ;)

As I mentioned in my goals post last week, I'm also trying to read through the Bible chronologically and focus in on a morning routine.

While those may sound like little things, they've been casually on my to-do list for years and simply haven't happened. 2019's the year. And today's the day.

For my health, I don't have anything major on a diagnosable scale. But I think we all want to function at full capacity, and there are plenty of little things I'd like to conquer that will help me in that regard.

So in order to work on things like better digestion, less wrist pain, and fewer respiratory problems, I am paying for my own supplements.

While my family uses essential oils, eats fairly well, and is generally health-conscious and naturally-minded, paying for my own supplements instantly makes me 1000x more likely to take them daily.

And just since trying a new brand of natural products focused on gut health, I've seen improvement!

So even though none of these changes are huge, theure important and require consostency. I want to encourage you all to look at what root things fuel what you do every day. I think beliefs and health are big ones for everyone, but you may have another area you want to shore up.

Maybe give it some thought and see what you come up with.

My mom's always reminding me that now is the time to establish routines and good habits. Before I live on my own or have a family. Not tomorrow--today.

In that vein of things, I've started a second Instagram account for the faith and health aspects of my life. So I'd love to chat with you over there if you have any interest in getting more intentional with me!

If I were to pick a third important root, it's community. So thank you all very much for the community we have here together. :)
Do any roots you need to tend to immediately spring to mind? What passions do you want to be able to pursue more fully?

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Nine Goals for 2019

Last week we looked at how I did on my 2018 goals. This week I'm sharing the goals I want to accomplish in this new year. And I'm probably going to need your help staying accountable! (Plus, there's a giveaway stuffed in here.)

Read the Bible differently

Is that vague enough for you? I'm bad about reading bits of the Bible and only out of my favorite NKJV copy I got when I was five. This year I want to shake it up. So I'm using a Bible Gateway plan on my phone to read through the ESV Bible chronologically in a year. It's been a while since I read through the Bible in a year, and I'm hoping that by approaching it differently, I'll have new takeaways.

Develop a morning routine

Starting with my Bible reading will be part of my morning routine. But I'm also hoping to get into the habit of reading a little of my current non-fiction read, making a to-do list for the day ... things like that. We'll see what works! (I already know that journaling doesn't work.) But it's been a while since I've had a true morning regimen that helped me get ready for my day. I work enough that this should get me out of bed earlier out of necessity.

Prioritize my editing

I've talked about this before. This year I want my editing business to be more than just a side job. (Let's face it--it will still be a side job.) But I want to prioritize it more instead of always fitting it in after 8 pm. I already have 16 manuscripts booked for the year and I tweaked my pricing some, so I think it will be inevitable that I prioritize this more. I've also joined Reveries Co. which you can find out more about at the end of this post. Maybe by next year I can phase out babysitting and go full time?? :D

Develop a street team

Work has already begun on this front! I'm calling the members of my street team Resonators, thanks to . I've already got a Facebook group going (where the real fun happens) and a Resonators-only newsletter underway that will be going out monthly. Be sure to sign up if you're interested!! It'll mostly be fangirling and you learning about what I'm doing first. In return, you get to be my go-to peeps for release hype.

Find an agent

Obviously, this one is a little optimistic since Behind the Act still needs a little editing before I query it more. BUT. I do intend to query it this year. And pitch it at the OCW conference in August. So wish me luck with all of that! Getting an agent (or better yet a contract!) is up there on my dream list! I'm really at peace whatever happens, though, because I really do think I'll get there eventually.

Publish Martin Crossroads

I will cry if this doesn't happen this year. This will happen! Probably not until fall. But I just finished the first draft on New Year's Eve, so I'm feeling much more optimistic about the progress ... even though it still needs a lot of rewrites. ;) It will be so nice to have this over with.

Get published elsewhere

Other than self-publication, I'd love to get published in a magazine or something ... Havok is somewhere I'll continue to submit to. (I got my first rejection--yay!) It'd just be nice to gather a few more accolades like this, especially as I try to get an agent. :)

Read 24 books for me

I have so many editing projects on the horizon, it's hard to even think about reading books besides those. But I'm determined to! While I'd ultimately like to read 30 books just for myself ... I think I'd better go for 24. Two a month should be doable and keep me reading. I've got a TBR a mile long this year so I honestly have no idea what I'll even end up getting to!

Pinpoint my health

One of the initiatives I've finally taken this year is to figure out what works for me, not just in my writing and morning routine, but also in my health. My wrist has bothered me for a while, but it's getting better thanks to supplements. So I've actually started a second Instagram account to chronicle my trying to figure out what can better help me overall as I try to pursue my writing and editing more this year!

More on that next week. ;)
Remember how I said I'd give you more Reveries Co info? Kellyn is hosting the blog tour right now on her blog. And we’re giving away 30+ books—a combination of ebooks and paperbacks, genres and subgenres—to one lucky winner! You can enter HERE.

What are some of your goals for 2019? Maybe we can help each other keep up. ;) Which one of my goals excites you the most??