Who doesn't like a deal? I know I do!
You know that feeling you get when you find the next perfect read in the bargain bin? When the 25% off sticker screams at you from a shelf? Or what about the used book store where you hope to find a cover that catches your eye for only a couple dollars?
Then there's the feeling you get when you read the back cover, the cover is beyond gorgeous, the first page you skim over hooks you... then the price jumps out at you... Especially if you're Canadian.
I hear you. Trust me.
But lets do the math of what went into that book.
Hundred and hundreds of hours, years, tears, smiles, anxiety... all wrapped up in a beautiful book that might have cost you $20.
Is $20 really that much? Is $30?
Just the 3 years it took to go from research to my novel making it onto bookshelves, that means you're paying just under $7.00 a year that went into the story you might devour in a few days.
For myself, I want the characters and worlds I create to be shared. For others to love and loathe them as I did when I was writing. I don't do it for the money (obviously), it would take the fun out of it and I'd probably wouldn't get very far in my writing career if it was the case.
Other than paying full price for a book, leaving reviews and sharing our titles with your friends and family is another way to not only support authors, but thank them for all that went into the hundreds of pages. Ask your local library to carry our books too! Then share a photo with us, it will make our week...or month! I promise.
The month to write a novel in 30 days is here and I'm just over 36K words.
NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, encourages authors and writers to focus on getting at least 50K words in.
I've attempted this yearly challenge a few times now, usually either forgetting or making excuses not to find time, but this year, a girlfriend has joined with me and we now hold each other accountable.
Entering our word count does help, with any "buddies" you add, you'll be able to see on your dashboard. Congratulate in messages, ask questions, etc.
But Rachel and I decided to meet once a week at a café, taking at least a couple hours to get in words and focus only on our stories. And caffeine.
I wish we could meet more than once a week, but we both have our regular lives and live about a half hour apart, and she has two little ones to put to bed.
But thanks to these weekly meets, it gets my wheels turning and I find myself picking up my laptop to continue where I left off or start a new chapter. Bouncing ideas off of one another gets the creative juices flowing, and really got me out of slumps or break through blocks... two things I would have used to not finish my 50K.
This is a free event, simply sign up and decide your word count goal! Grab a friend to help with accountability, or ask them to sign up with you and plan virtual dates. Or, add me as a buddie!
You can find my profile here.
We've enjoyed warm drinks at Bistro Sapin in Knowlton and Café 1792 in Bromont... where to next?
The pandemic has really flipped our world upside down, barely allowing me to remember what life looked like before everything shut down.
All negative words, aren't they?
As much as I've enjoyed the positive, the negatives tend to creep up between the cracks and try to pull me down. What frustrates me, is that I allow myself to be frustrated or become hard on myself.
I'm fortunate to have had both vaccines. I've kept my job and never worried about losing my house. My family and friends are healthy.
Time not spent rushing to parties or events has allowed me to complete and polish my third novel, finding the courage to query agents with the dream of becoming traditionally published. My confidence in my writing has grown. I recognize how important it is to me and how badly I need to stay creative.
But the days on the couch after work or nights I spent doing my nails nags at me.
You should be writing.
You won't make it at this rate.
Look how long it was since your last blog entry.
All I see is failure and it takes all the energy I can muster to fight off these claims I taunt myself with.
The guilt of not being better or faster. Guilty of ignoring editing or leaving my laptop closed.
But what author would I be and what story would I tell if I forced myself to do everything on a schedule? Words would be forced, characters would be unrelatable, and the story would be yawn worthy.
Why is falling into a rabbit hole or Trixie & Katya YouTube videos so bad? Reading instead of writing is the last thing I should punish myself over. Getting enough sleep and being able to breathe easier will only do me good.
I know the spark will come again and I'll scurry down into my creative cave, reappearing when I'm low on food or tea. Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves of this. Allow ourselves to not be perfect. And do what we need to do to refuel and take charge again.
It has been quite the busy last few months... As busy as one can be during Covid.
I have joined the Knowlton Literary Festival board and have been wearing the social media crown since January, if you can, go give us a like and follow on IG, FB, and Twitter. You can find more info at www.knowltonliteraryfestival.ca. We've been adding great webinars and are currently planning what the 2021 festival will look like.
Book 3 is now with my editor and as usual, a smooth process and I can't wait to get it more polished and ready to get to agents.
What's harder than writing 110K words? Writing a ONE page query letter. How is this even possible you ask? Imagine trying to sell your book, your baby, to a stranger in just 300 words. This will not only include a quick wrap up of the story (think back cover blurb), but your own bio and catchy introduction... showing you've done your research.
I have luckily joined a writing group and we have had workshop days, getting feedback on my query letter which has changed so much it's barely recognizable from the first draft.
While I wait for my editor's notes and suggestions, I'm just over 20K words into book 4. It's a big change from what I'm used to when creating worlds and characters. You'll find yourself in Montreal during the 1930s with some badass women who refuse to bow down to the patriarchy.
We need more female leads like this, right?
What do you wish you saw more of in books when it comes to female characters?
Finally, 2020 is behind us and fingers crossed, it gets better from here.
It was an odd year for all of us, Plans cancelled, vacations postponed, celebrations done virtually...
Though it allowed me to get some serious writing done, I wasn't able to visit any libraries or bookstores. No sales or events to sell my books or sign copies.
A lot of us have had to rely on social media to get the word out on our business and products, but I for one, have missed the in person exchange... even if it terrifies me the majority of the time.
I'm shy and can't take a compliment to save my life, hopefully this will be something to work on this year. However, 2020 made me work on my fear of being in front of the camera, live, to join Zoom meetings and FB video chats, something I would have avoided like the plague before... too soon for plague jokes, maybe?
I believe a lot of us learned how to be kind to ourselves, took the time and sat back when we probably wouldn't have if the world had shut down on us. We're discovering things about ourselves and those close to us, gaining a new perspective and goal to what we want for our lives.
Wishing you all a year of patience, kindness, and joy. I hope you discover things about yourself and pick up a new hobby... or old, perhaps finish that book or puzzle you've been telling yourself you never have time for.
Am I the only one who assumed since this pandemic was keeping us from our usual lives, we'd have all the time in the world to get things done?
Though I did finish the first draft of my 3rd novel, I'm only 1/3 way through editing. I did sew a bunch of clothes, but I also still have a pile of mending I keep ignoring. This blog... I'm just awful and seriously need a new system...or someone to smack me to put more effort into it.
October has whizzed by, less daylight and colder temperatures mean seasonal depression becomes best friends with my chronic depression...
It draining... Which means my art suffers. But these times also allows me to slow down, organize, prioritize things I might have put on the back burner for far too long.
One way I've "solved" distance between friends was start a podcast with my girlfriend Jennifer-June. I know,I know, sounds like it's just adding to my plate, but "seeing" her via Zoom amd laughing is just what my soul was craving.
Check out our podcast and listen to what we get up to and how we are getting through these crazy times.
Nearly 100 days later, I'm back to work pretty much full-time.
It also means I can go back to some normalcy, as much as possible that is.
As my therapist has reminded me countless times, this has been a traumatic event that happened to everyone. Our world was turned upside down and life as we knew it, was no longer.
Being the introvert I am, the first few weeks was pretty epic. I continued to get up around the same time I would have for work, getting into projects early on in the day and pack my day full.
One downside was my waistline suffered to my need to bake nearly every couple days. I was missing Japan like crazy and made matcha ice cream and melon bread. Then I found myself making their cheese tea...
Then I had the bright idea to find he best oatmeal cookies recipe. I think I did 7 recipes in total, finally the last was best, a handwritten recipe in one of my great-grandmother"s cookbooks.
Self-care included making body and face scrubs, bath salts, a new wardrobe to work with my ever expanding body measurements.
But as time went on, the lack of physical contact begun to get heavy on my heart and mind. I found myself talking on the phone, something my anxiety always kept me from. Texting just makes everything easier to deal with, right? So I made facetime calls and virtual lunch dates with friends. I signed up to weekly dance lessons on Zoom then added K-Kardio on the weekend virtually as well.
The hugs! Oh my goodness! The freaking hugs! I finally broke down not long ago and hugged my parents, unable to take it much longer.
My therapist and I discussed different tools and ideas to keep my mentally and emotionally healthy, one being to start a journal. So off I went on my OCD search for the perfect journal/workbook. Blank pages only gave me anxiety and others weren't mental-health oriented. I finally decided on one and was over the top excited for it... to which I was pretty disappointed. It only had a mood wheel for one month and none of the pages were in order or made my sense.
So what did I do? Started brainstorming and tossed out ideas to friends who happily gave their opinion and shared their excitement for my project. A few weeks later and my dear friend Keri proofreading her copy and gave me feedback, I hit the publish button!
The response I have been getting has been overwhelming! I cannot thank everyone who has either shared it or bought their own copy. Hearing that those in search for something as I was, were finally able to add a tool to work on their self-care and self-love.
I'm hoping to create a ore kid-friendly one, something a little easier and straight forward, and I'm always open to suggestions or requests!
So here is my newest book-baby, I Got This.
I'd love to hear what you think if you bought it or are in search of something else as a journal or workbook.
It's been almost a month since the Quebec government decided to shut down any non-essential companies, including where I work at.
Of course I, along with the majority of my coworkers, went through all the possibilities. Would we be off long? Could we work from home? Will we have a job to come back to?
The president and VP assured us we would all be taken care of, letting us know we'd all be taken care of. This, thankfully helped somewhat.
My mental health has been made my priority in the last few years, better understanding it, coming to embrace it. Being an introvert, it was a dream come true to be at home in quarantine, social distancing, avoiding everyone and everybody...
But, I didn't take into the account how much I would miss the hugs from my family, stopping in and chatting with my sister or having tea with my mom. Luckily, we live in the country which means I can deliver cookies to my dad and chat outside on the farm, keeping more than 6 feet apart.
We've enjoyed Easter and birthday suppers over FB videochat. I've laughed and played games for 3 hours non-stop with friends in Montreal. Hearing their voices, seeing their smiles, being able to socialize virtually is something I thought I'd never enjoy.
Being stuck at home has given me the time to sit down and write, hitting the 100K mark last night on my third novel! The "creative cave" my husband set up for me couldn't have come at a better time. I think it really has been a major part of keeping me sane and mentally healthy.
When I'm stuck on a chapter or need a break, I move onto my other creative hobby, sewing. I'm creating a new wardrobe for myself, in bit of a need of new frocks since I've put on a few pounds since our trip to Japan.
Oh mental illness, how I love thee.
One of the best decisions I made was signing up for a virtual dance class with one of my favourite troupes, The Diamond Denver Dolls. If this pandemic never happened, I probably wouldn't have ever had the chance to "dance" with them.
Trying to see the positive in all this chaos is helping me deal with the small struggles I have every day.
I'm happy I had the time to discover new things about myself and enjoy the time to create, something I feel I have pushed aside a bit or struggled to get back into it when my depression threatens to bring me down.
I hope you're all doing well and have found different ways to stay busy, but keeping healthy. I look forward to sharing my projects with you, especially my novel!
If I don't have a to-do list or notes scribbled onto our dry-erase calendar, I'm fantastic at procrastinating... As you've seen.
Not in everything of course.
But ever since I traveled to Japan last fall, I've realized what I need and want to focus on.
Japan ran so smoothly and almost effortlessly. Millions of people on a small island never felt packed at all.
I was on sick leave for nearly 6 months, prior to this big, life-changing trip. My depression and anxiety got the best of me, my workplace at the time and certain people in my life pushed me over the edge.
It was a scary time, as well as frustrating and exhausting. The struggle to find the right medication and therapy was nothing compared to the judgement I received from others. "Faking" & "Wants attention", are thoughts and words people with mental illnesses never want to feel or hear.
And I did.
I pushed through, fought the negativity, and two-faced people whose actions were the opposite to the words they spoke.
But I survived, learned a lot, and focused on things I love.
After my 36 years on this crazy little planet, I've learned to take a breath, smell the roses, and enjoy. No need to rush, no need to juggle, and no to be in more than one place at once.
The feedback and love I am receiving for my two novels makes me want to keep writing and creating worlds and characters for others to enjoy.
I find myself dedicating more time, much easier, making sure some sort of writing or writing related activity happens everyday.
Drafting, researching, marketing, reviewing, social media...not blogging...
Okay, that's obviously I need to add to my agenda to make sure I get on here.
I want this blog to be honest and allow others to get to know me. I'm not only a writer, but a wife, sister, daughter, friend, and doxie mom.
Sewing, going for pedicures, finding the perfect shade of red lipstick, making tea lattes, and collecting stationery are just a few things I love.
What do you want to know?
Where did the time go?
Between racing to get my final manuscript to my editor in time for the release date, my launch party of Let Go, Christmas and New Years, it has been a whirlwind!
A lot changed for me in 2019. Finally becoming a published author of not one, but two books! My husband and I traveled to Japan for 3 weeks, celebrated both our birthdays, and our wedding anniversary.
We said goodbye to my old pup, Boo, who was about to turn 16. It was a hard decision, but it was time. I hope to write a post about her and how we found each other all those years ago.
I also changed jobs, landing an amazing position at an even more amazing company. The only downside is there is no downtime for me to get some writing in, so I've been working on trying to schedule time before and after work to be creative.
My mental health took me for quite a ride in 2019 and it made it hard some days to find the energy to do things I love. But, with the help and encouragement from my husband, family, friends, and doctor, I'm back and working on book three!
There is more exciting news to share, but it'll have to wait for another day. I enjoy keeping you on your toes!
I hope 2020 has many surprises in store for you!