Muse Music: Sex & Candy–Maroon 5

So, after much pussyfooting around, I have FINALLY dived in my new wip.

(YES, the one that is due in to my editor in another month. ¬†NO, I don’t need your judgement ūüôā

So, as things tend to go, I pulled out my trusty playlist to me channel¬†my characters and bring some soul to the plot. ¬†First song that rolled up what Maroon 5’s take on Marcy Playground’s “Sex and Candy”.

Something about the slow, soulful sexiness Adam brings to the table makes this the PERFECT fit for my hero.  So much so this is now his personal theme song.


NaNo 2016: Week 3 Update

This update is full of heartbreak and angst. ¬†Ok, mostly angst and anger. ¬†As I was working yesterday on building my characters out–actually adding words y’all, my ENTIRE FILE CRASHED AND I CANNOT OPEN THE RESTORED FILE ūüôĀ

So my total week 3 update is zero, zip, nada.

I am not happy about it.

But I refuse to wallow any longer. I have an older version of that file on my backup driveРI CANNOT stress how important it is to back up your files on an external drive people.  I shall see what I can salvage from that and I shall move on.

Onward and upward people. ¬†I remain in the NaNo hunt (I think this is the longest I’ve stayed in so far ūüôā ) But know, I am not happy about this still.

NaNo 2016: Week 1 Update

NaNo week 1 was been full of action and activity! By far, one of my more productive week 1’s in my NaNo participation history. ¬†I am currently:

  • Taking a very detailed plotting workshop by Mary Buckham
  • Brainstorming story details and characters
  • Creating my world
  • Doing Character sketches
  • Fine tuning my initial story outline

NaNo Week 1 UpdateSo most of my NaNo work this week has been spent on activities that don’t necessarily produce words, but without which I will never have a story. ¬†This is my process, I simply cannot plot a story or create characters without knowing a decent amount of backstory & details. ¬†This is my first time actively doing story development while also drafting¬†an outline and character profiles. ¬†It’s been working!!!!¬†(But more on that later ūüôā )

So, week one accomplishments include:

  1. 2,709 words
  2. Completed “Believable Characters: Creating With Enneagrams” craft book
  3. An outline about 80% complete
  4. The humble beginnings of my story bible
  5. 3 main characters which are solidifying into tangible, workable pieces

Week 2 Goals include:

  1. Finished working outline for book 1
  2. Do template work in workshop
  3. Completed initial sketches for main characters (4)
  4. More tangible words on my story- 7,000
  5. Additional worldbuilding and brainstorming as I see fit

NaNoWriMo 2016

It’s November 1 and we all know what that means!! It’s NaNo time! ¬†There will no long speeches of intent this year. ¬†There will be no super involved and complicated schedules and trackers this year. ¬†No, this year I plan to simply do it.

To. Do. It.

What is it, you may ask. ¬†Well, this year, “it” for me is to, at bare minimum, loosely outline a new 3 book paranormal/urban fantasy (can’t decide which right now) series and to get started on the¬†rough draft of the first book in this series.These are¬†lofty, but doable goals for me this year. And to help ensure my success, I have some tools handy.

First up, this super cute NaNo tracker from Kara over at Boho Berry. One thing I’ve discovered this¬†summer while I was working my way back to writing, is that colorful and stress free creative exercises prime my mind to actually be productive when I sit down to either write or do author goals. ¬†To that extent, water painting, doodling, coloring, free writing, or fun list making do the trick for me.

2016 NaNoWriMo Tracker
Kara made this really cool tracker and has it available as a free download on her site.  The graph really appeals to the analyst in me. I really need to see the numbers and my progress daily and weekly and this allows me have that info but without a spreadsheet or a computer program.  Also, Kara include a cute book shelf with 30 books on it.  I  plan to color in 1 book for each day that I spend with my butt in the chair working on my NaNo goals. This is an easy, unobtrusive way for me to view my stats and get my mind freeing exercises done each day.

Secondly, I am currently taking Mary Buckham’s¬†Power Plotting workshop. ¬†I was lucky enough to win participation in this workshop from the Moonlight and Magnolias conference last month. ¬†Plotting really is one of my weaknesses, so taking this workshop as I am plotting out my new series has been beneficial. ¬†It’s a lot of work to keep up in the workshop and write, but its the path I must take if I am to achieve the goals I’ve laid out for myself.

And lastly, I have me. ¬†Yes, I have my own determination, grit, and accountability working in my favor. ¬†I’ve taken a bit of a break from the creative side of my writing over the last few years, but the timing feels right for me to get back to it now. ¬†I have several stories that I need to tell and there is no time like now to do it.

For all those doing NaNo this year, I wish you good luck and happy writing!! Feel free to add me as a buddy, I’m listed as La-Tessa.

10 Goal Setting and Time Management Tips for Writers to Kick off the New Year

This is a guest post by Lisa Sullivan


WritingHappy 2016, fellow writers! A new year brings new writing goals and ambitious plans to achieve them. To help you along, here are some goal setting and time management tips for creating  and achieving your 2016 writing and time management goals.

1. Eliminate distractions.

  • If you sit down to write, then write.¬†Do not use writing time to¬†check social media, websites, email, text messages, Angry Birds, etc. Do not let mindsucks, timewasters, and energy drains¬†tempt you away¬†from your writing. Set clear boundaries with people and pets to let them know that writing time is writing time.

2. Separate writing tasks.

  • Multi-tasking (switch-tasking) is¬†proven to be unproductive, so focus on one writing task at a time. Schedule prioritized time for brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, proofing, planning, promotion, research, business/admin, etc. Draft, revise, edit, and proof when you are freshest. Promote on social media at¬†peak times¬†to maximize return.

3. Organize your space.

  • Make your workspace work¬†for you by having all you need right at your fingertips:¬† laptop, paper/pen, coffee, passwords, etc.¬†Make your workspace comfortable¬†so that you love working in it and can totally escape to it to plunge gleefully into your writing tasks. Leverage¬†your VAK style¬†(visual,¬†aural, or¬†kinesthetic) to create an uber-productive, energy-freeing work environment.

4. Empty your mind so you can focus on writing.

  • When¬†something besides writing¬†is on your mind, it clouds your productivity.¬†Deal with it¬†then get back to writing, even if it takes days, weeks, or months to resolve. Journal about it, talk it out, or workout to clear your mind for a more productive writing session. Similarly, take frequent breaks ‚Äď the mind focuses best in 20-minute chunks.

5. Set goals that are not just achievable but motivational.

  • Goal setting is not the same as goal achievement, and goal achievement (in my lexicon) is not the same as goal accomplishment. Goal achievement, in a nutshell, means you visualize¬†where you want to end up¬†then plan and strive to complete incremental tasks to get you there. To stay on the path of completion, you must¬†believe you can achieve, make a reasonable plan, and commit.¬†Goal¬†achievement¬†is the logical¬†conclusion¬†to the milestones you have completed on a prescribed path. Goal¬†accomplishment, on the other hand, is emotional and thus more powerfully motivating. What pleasurable, emotional feeling will you get as a result of completing your writing exercises? Holding your book in your hands? Getting accolades, awards, or royalties for your work? Connecting with your readers? Leaving a legacy? Starting a new career path? Doing something you‚Äôve always wanted to do? Finishing something you started a long time ago?¬†Overcoming barriers or fears? Dispersing your message to the masses? Making yourself/your mom/your spouse/your kids proud? Whatever that emotion is for you, pinpoint it and hold fast to it because it will best lead you to goal accomplishment (in contrast to goal achievement). Emotional motivation is a much more forceful predictor that you will reach the end of that long, lonely writing path than setting word count goals and deadlines will be. The bottom line is,¬†you know you¬†can¬†do it,¬†so ask yourself why don‚Äôt you¬†or why will you?

6. Associate with supporters.

  • Beware! Some people in your writing circles wear masks of¬†amity, but their face underneath is one of¬†enmity. To them, getting published and selling books is primarily a competition, and YOU are their rival. ‚ĶDitch those people! They do not want to help you achieve your goals at all.¬†Associate with those who are genuinely supportive¬†of seeing you achieve your writing goals, and help or¬†thank them profusely¬†in return.

7. Strike while the iron is hot.

  • Does a great idea strike you while bathing or driving along the highway? When, without warning, the next scene of your WIP starts to fill your mind, stop what you are doing (if you can) and capture it ‚Äď and¬†keep going¬†with the moment until your imagination iron cools. You never know:¬† that brilliant idea may never strike again or in the same way later. There‚Äôs no reason to wait for a scheduled writing time to make great progress. (Just ask Bob Dylan.) Write it down, type it up, or leave yourself a voice mail message right then and there. So what if you are the one who looks like you are talking to yourself in the car but, unbeknownst to all, you are recording voice memos on your smartphone about a new scene idea or character brainstorms? If it helps you reach your writing goals, then do it.

8. Take care of yourself.

  • Be well rested, healthily fed, and free of stress to be the most productive writer you can be.

9. Deal with Writer’s Block.

  • Either plow through it (i.e., keep writing) or give your mind a break ‚Äď the words WILL flow again. On the other hand, are you truly suffering from Writer‚Äôs Block? Maybe you are procrastinating. In that case,¬†read my book for more tips¬†on how to overcome procrastination.

10. Stay dedicated.

Now, go forth and write your novel! Make it happen this year. Enjoy the journey with smiles and good times. Best of luck to you in 2016!
© Lisa A. Sullivan, 2016

Lisa SullivanLisa A. Sullivan is an award-winning trainer and recipient of the American Society for Training and Development West Virginia Chapter’s Workplace Learning Professional of the Year and the Federal Executive Association of the Eastern Panhandle’s Manager of the Year Award. She is also owner of publishing house LASBooks,  the author of the Time Management Workbook, a blog, and four other books.  Her fiction work has finaled five times in different contests over the years.

Join her free Time Management Workshop at the Hedgesville Library in Hedgesville, West Virginia, Saturday, January 30, 2016, at 10:30 a.m. Follow Lisa on Twitter @LASBooksWV.