Getting To Know Aila, Positive Mindset, Success Mindset, Writer's Life

Hear No Evil: Writer Edition

Copy of Writer's Group

Happy Monday, writers! I hope you’re in for a truly amazing week filled with lots of productivity and words that thrill you and chill you.

So, unless you’ve been living under a rock—or perhaps you’re not on Writer Twitter—you’re aware of a bit of an indie-publishing scandal nicknamed #CockyGate or #ByeFaleena. Yeah, it’s a doozy.

I am actually not here to discuss Faleena or her trademark. All of my sentiments have been shared either here or by other people. What I want to discuss today is the negativity that has been brought about because of the whole cocky hoopla, and the negativity I’ve seen in general. In fact, I want to discuss it so much, it’s become an impromptu three-part series.

The Root Cause

When you find yourself tempted to lash out at others, I urge you to take a second and figure out why. Usually, at least in my experience, the why has much more to do with me than it does the person to which I intend to give a lashing.

Let’s look at the whole Faleena thing as an example. If you watched the odd, desperate video she released and then took down, you might have paid attention to when she addressed someone rather specific. Now, they didn’t have a name, but she did say that this person was someone she had been in a writing group with, someone whom she had shared their works with her own newsletter subscribers, and that the whole reason she went for the trademark was this one person. She said, and I quote: “You know who you are.” The rest has gone down in some astounding Twitter history, but the gist is, there was a root cause for her actions. Her actions were not okay, mind you, but instead of evaluating why she was hurt by this person and working to resolve this one issue with that one person, she wound up alienating a large sector of the romance writing community…and perhaps ruining her own reputation in the process.

I think if she were honest, Faleena might even say she’s gotten herself in a shit storm she wasn’t prepared for because she basically lashed out with this trademark thing. Of course now she’s in no position to really admit that, but there’s a lot of evidence that points to her flailing about as all of this settles.

What can we learn from her mistakes?

Don’t lash out. See, if you haven’t noticed, the internet isn’t exactly a forgiving place. As a writer, everything you post online is your brand. Your reputation. Your work.

You will be wronged.

You will be hurt.

You will be slighted.

You will want to shout from the social media rooftops that the wrongdoer is an asshole. But, this rarely works out for anyone. Are there times for it? Perhaps. Maybe if someone is being abusive. Like, really abusive.

The best thing to do is just block, mute, and move on. Be better than the asshole.

[All of this is a moot point if your entire shtick is to be an asshole, like those waiters at Last Resort restaurants. In which case, keep on keeping on if that works for you.]

Sort Rudeness from Constructive Criticism

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I can’t wait for winter.

So, you know that we writers aren’t supposed to read our reviews. At some point, you won’t. But, let’s be real here. We read our reviews. We wait on them like a kid at Christmas who was really, really good and expects that toy they’ve been asking for all year. Only, lots of time we find out that our dad didn’t get his Christmas bonus check and instead was enrolled in a Jelly of the Month club…but reviews aren’t guaranteed because of a sale.

(I should know.)

We see our sales. We see no reviews. We covet reviews. When we see one come in, you bet your ass we read them.

But…maybe you lashed out at someone because you hadn’t read this post yet, and suddenly you have a 1-star review that just says your work is shit and no one should buy the book. It sucks, but there isn’t a lot you can do about it.

There is one thing you should never, ever do: never respond to negative reviews.

Especially never respond to a negative review with your own bullet point list as to why they are wrong and your book deserves 5-stars and that you’re going to blast them on Twitter and petition Amazon to take the review down and…just stop.

Now, if you get a string of bad reviews and they all pretty much had the same issue…then maybe that is constructive criticism.

Listen to constructive criticism, do not listen to rudeness.

The writing community is filled with wonderful people. Amazing people. Talented people. Jealous people.

That’s right. I said it.

You will find people who want to say something negative about your work simply because they haven’t published a book yet and you have. Or maybe they have published and you haven’t, but you have more social media followers, or more blog subscribers…there’s a million reasons for anyone to be jealous of anyone.

The best thing to do is keep on keeping on. I’m telling you, that mute button is a wonderful thing.

And finally…

Don’t Listen to Your Negative Nancy

Guys, I’m not talking about depression. Depression and mental illness aren’t something you can control on your own, and those voices are impossible to ignore without help—and sometimes not even then.

I’m talking about that little voice that creeps up now and again telling you that you aren’t good enough or that you don’t deserve the life you want. That voice is stupid. That voice is also stupidly loud sometimes.

Writing is lonely and hard and defeating at times. It’s easy to look at someone else’s work and say I’ll never do that. If I can’t do that, then what’s the point? I’ll just quit. 

For instance: I’d love to have a vlog. If I had an ounce of true self-confidence, I’d dump the blogging platform for vlogging in a heartbeat. I see other indie authors with these insanely popular YouTube channels, and I know that a chunk of their writerly income stems from their channel and you bet your ass I wish I had a piece of that pie.

But, if you’ve even read a few of my posts, you know I am terribly introverted and the thought of putting my visage on camera and speaking…well, I’m already shaking. That’s just not in my deck of cards. I’ve wondered more than once if an Indie in today’s landscape can be viable at all without a YouTube channel, which is silly. If all of us had a YouTube channel, subscriber numbers per channel would probably plummet.

When I first got into this arena, everyone said GET A FACEBOOK, GET A FACEBOOK, GET A FACEBOOK. And, so I did…but I never utilize it. I hate it. So I technically fail all the time because I have this thing I don’t use. Why bother with a social media platform if I don’t take advantage of the most popular platform out there? Why not just give up?

If I only had a nickle for every time a similar thought has crossed my mind.

My point is I’ve come up with at least a thousand excuses as to why I should just stop writing. I’ve listened to them once, but I came back and I have no intention of going anywhere again. We all have our bad days, but tell your Negative Nancy to shut up and let you finish that chapter.

Remember: When you’re online, you are responsible for the types of things you read and hear because you have the power to distance yourself from it. You can’t control what someone else says, but you can control your reactions and whether you choose to be around their curmudgeoness. Don’t give a single inch of room for someone else’s negativity (or your own!) to seep in and poison your creative well.

All that said, I hope you have a fabulous week. Be kind to one another. There’s plenty of evil and meanness without contributing to it!

Oh, wait!

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Borrowed from Jewel’s Twitter…It’s so pretty!!!

So, my amazing, dear, sweet, lovely, talented friend Jewel E. Leonard is once again hosting a slew of lovely people on her blog as she counts down the days to Possession’s release, and today was my day to guest post! Check it out!

Also, check out Jewel’s Twitter account and wish her well on Possession’s release—and get your copy! I had the pleasure of reading it already and it is AMAZING! ❤ ❤ ❤

Please be sure to show her some love for this amazing book’s birthday!


 

Okay, really now, goodnight!

 

 

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Getting To Know Aila, Positive Mindset, Self-Care, Success Mindset, Writer's Life

Migraine vs. The Writer

Writer's Group (1)
Happy Monday, friends. I’d like to start by saying a huge congratulations to the winner of the ProWritingAid giveaway. I announced it on Twitter yesterday, but in case you missed it…

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If you’re still interested in trying out ProWritingAid (and I highly suggest you do) you can get your free trial started…now! Well, as soon as you click the linky-loo below. (Yes, it’s an afflink, but it doesn’t affect the price of the product whatsoever.)

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Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Freaking migraines.

I’m writing this on Sunday evening, and it may or may not be a good thing for me to do at the moment. See, I’ve had a migraine today. I think it’s over. For the moment it’s been downgraded from migraine to annoyingly bad headache. But, I’ve dealt with these things for so long, I can also feel my body still giving me warning signs that I’m not entirely out of the woods just yet. My body isn’t happy I’m looking at a computer screen. But, at the same time it also wants me to do something to distract myself from the pain it’s in and the pain it has been in all day.

See, migraines are funny that way. They’re different for everyone, but for me there comes a point where I can do too much or too little and navigating that fine line is difficult, so, here I am.

My Migraine History

I’ve suffered them since I was a child. I’m not talking headaches, okay? Headaches and migraines are different things. For people like me, watering down the definition of migraine to meet the definition of a headache is dangerous. If I tell my employer I cannot come in to work because I have a migraine, sometimes that is met with: “Well, can’t you just take a Tylenol and come in in say…an hour?”

Nope. So, pardon me if I am one of those migraine sufferers who will prod a bit if someone says they have a migraine and yet they are playing video games.

Oh yeah, my history.

They’re hereditary for me, passed down from my father who got them from his mother, and I suppose she got them from one of her family members. I don’t know that my mother has actually ever had a true migraine. I don’t know if my brother has. I get them on average around 3-4 per month. Sometimes it’s worse.

When I was little I had them much more frequently, because not only do I have them due

balance (1)
Sympathy cards sent to:       Aila Stephens | P.O. Box 25223
Greenville, SC 29616

to my fantastic gene pool, I also get them as a reaction to eating Sodium Nitrate or Sodium Nitrite…a fact that went unknown until I was in the second grade. My reaction to nitrates and nitrites is frightening. I was hospitalized when I was in kindergarten, scarily dehydrated. It was around this same time frame that, while suffering through a nasty migraine, I pleaded with my father to please get his rifle and put me out of my misery. True story. Sad story, but true.

Once the sodium nitrate/nitrate aversion was discovered, my migraines became less frequent, but they didn’t disappear. Once, my mother was cooking something overnight in the crockpot which contained a ham hock and the simple action of breathing that in put me in terrible pain. I was put on some heavy medication as a youngster because they were so unbearable.

Aside from my nuclear family unit, though, convincing other adults that a child as young as I was at the time actually suffered migraines was a bit difficult. That’s an adult problem, was the general consensus. So, I found myself on occasion being forced to suffer through them while at school because my teacher didn’t believe me, or thought I just wanted to get out of assignments.

My Migraines Now

oLuckily I’ve gained some valuable insights as to what triggers migraine for me now. I still can’t eat things with Sodium Nitrate or Nitrites. I also can’t eat onions anymore. (Which, is probably what happened to me today. We had breakfast at a diner yesterday, and I’m guessing they probably cooked my eggs where they cooked someone else’s bacon, and there were some onions in my hash browns. Good job, Aila.)

Sunglasses are a must for me. The bigger, the darker, the better. I’ve even been known to wear sunglasses in the wee hours of the morning or the darkest parts of night in order to cut down on the brightness of passing headlights. Even wearing sunglasses, if the sun catches on the car in front of me in just the right way, the migraine is near instantaneous.

Some people go to bed when they have a headache, because a nap makes it go away…not me. If I have a run-of-the-mill headache, I cannot go to sleep to make it better. If I do, nine times out of ten, I wake up with a full-fledged migraine.

I also upgraded, for lack of a better word, to aura migraines. Most of the times I hear something that isn’t there, a sort low beeping noise. Sometimes I see flashes of light, sometimes bright, sometimes like a dim strobe.

Coping

It helps I have a supportive husband who never complains about caring for me when I have a migraine. I cannot handle much light, so we have blackout curtains hanging in the living room and our bedroom.

balance

Balance is everything for me. I usually want a light blanket, but also a cold pack on my head. I don’t want sudden loud sounds, like dogs barking, so I cope with having the TV on rather quietly, to keep them from hearing and reacting to every little thing outside. I don’t want strong smells, but I will occasionally utilize some essential oils. I take my medicine, which sometimes includes chewing up some baby aspirin (eight of those things with some tepid water can take the edge off if I catch the migraine early on.)

Even caffeine becomes a tightrope act. Too much makes the migraine worse, too little makes the migraine worse—or can actually cause migraines in some instances.

Sidelined

Migraines knock me on my ass.

Someone could offer to fully-fund my dream Disney World vacation and arrange for David Tennant himself to be my tour guide…and if a migraine struck, I’d have to pass on the adventure to someone else.

Today, for instance, Mother’s Day…I had to call my mother (after the migraine had started to ease) and tell her I wouldn’t make it. She understood, of course, because that’s what moms do, but I felt even worse for disappointing her.

As a writer, migraines can be stupidly disruptive. I’ve forgotten ideas. I have to take time away from the computer because a screen so close to my face is a bad idea. I also get really negative thoughts while the pain is at its highest points, and even sometimes on the way down—thoughts that I’ll never be good enough at this, that I’m too awkward for social media, that I should just give up and do something else, nobody likes me, I’m a burden to my husband, etc.

I’m not telling you this to get your sympathy. I’m talking about this so that other sufferers know that they’re not alone in all of this. The perceived severity of migraines has been diluted because it’s become what people say when they have a headache. If you’ve ever said that and now you’re wondering if you’ve actually ever had a migraine…chances are you didn’t. You’ll know it when you have one.

Being A Writer When It’s Impossible

So, how do I take care of business while I’m caring for myself in the throes of a migraine? To put it simply: I don’t.

There’s nothing I can do during a migraine except for try to get better. They can last for hours or they can last for days. There’s nothing to be done except wait and employ all my personal tricks.

When the migraine wanes, though, and downgrades, there’s this period of time between headache and healed when I might not be able to write but I can do something to be productive, even if only a little bit.

Today, for instance, once the migraine faded and my head stopped swimming and my stomach settled, I dimmed the screen on my laptop and tinkered around with a bookmark design for Alabama Rain. I worked slowly and took several breaks for my eyes. I stopped when my body told me to.

When I gave up on trying to come up with the wording for the bookmark’s backside, I took a breather, drank some water, refreshed my cold cloth, and then decided to reorder business cards.

I jotted down some notes on an idea I had for my next book. And while it might not have looked productive to an outsider, I shut my laptop and shut my eyes and I just thought about my current work and the trajectory it is on. I contemplated changes and also I tried to think of the story as if I weren’t writing it and instead reading it. Thinking is very important to a writer.

So, why didn’t I buckle down and write in Alabama Rain rather than this post? Either way I’d be coming up with new content…well, I figured if the pain level increased, I’d feel less guilty if I abandoned a blog post. Also, by getting it out of the way, I’m freeing up my entire afternoon tomorrow (today for you, or yesterday or last week, depending on when you are reading this.) to write in Alabama Rain.

The Unspoken Side-Effect

It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, a mother, a father, a chef, a police chief, a coal miner, a teacher, a librarian, a dog-walker, or The Queen…suffering from a migraine causes all sorts of problems, there’s pain agony and nausea, sometimes visual and/or auditory hallucinations, sensitivity to light, sound, ambient temperature, etc. etc. etc. but there’s also one that isn’t talked about much.

Guilt.

We’re supposed to be doing something else. Anything else. We rarely plan to spend 5+ hours sitting in the dark, trying to block out smells and thoughts that are too loud. We aren’t enjoying ourselves, and no one else is enjoying us either. So, here’s my big secret. Here is how I truly take care of business when I just can’t:

I take care of myself, first. And you should, too. Not take care of me, take care of you.

So, that’s all I have. Literally, that’s all the energy I have to give today. Thanks for tuning in and I hope you have a wonderful, productive week.


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Playing With Others

Writer's Group

I have gone against my own grain a lot lately, it seems. I’ve started bowling. I took time off from work. I started telling real-life people (oh, you know what I mean) about my books. I’ve even joined another writing group.

I’m not even sure I used to talk about the writing group I was a part of a while back, but I’ll give a brief overview from what I remember.

OMG!Real People!

I found this group on Meetup.com and I spent a few weeks going back and forth on whether I should actually join the group. At the time I hadn’t yet published SL&T and I was afraid of being the only person there who wouldn’t be published. I was afraid I would be the only one to view Indie Publishing as valid.  I was afraid of sounding stupid. I was afraid of not being as well-read as everyone else.

I was afraid of a lot.

I convinced my husband to hang around in case I needed to run. (No, I’m not joking. The social anxiety is real.) They met at a bar/restaurant that is no longer in business. It was a bit too loud for me. There was too much going on, and I was so far out of my element I couldn’t even see my element anymore.

They went around the room, of course, and asked for introductions and I choked out something about how I was on revision seven-million and forty-two, which got a lot of laughs. I eased. A little.

And I went back for the second meeting. It was at that meeting they asked for people to consider paying dues in order to keep the Meetup.com thing going and to help pay for the materials they brought each week. (Each presenter would bring worksheets they created, educational materials, etc. etc.)

I paid.

*afflink*

I can’t remember how many meetings occurred between the time I paid my membership dues and the time I decided I was sorta, kinda…done…but it wasn’t many. I never really spoke much. I think I read one or two of my writing prompts we did. Mostly, though, I sat in the back, sipped my tea, and soaked in the knowledge from the presenters—who, I should add, consisted of four different people, two I barely remember, one who was a traditionally published author, and the other a marketing professional who was finishing up her manuscript and getting ready to seek traditional publication. She got it, by the way…suffice it to say, I was ecstatic about the knowledge in the room.

But…c’mon, you knew there was a but coming…then there was the meeting that killed my warm, fuzzy feelings.

They announced a traditional vs. self-publishing pros/cons type meeting. I was skeptical, but excited.

gross

I don’t want to say the traditionally-published author was rude to the self-published author they had invited. I really, really don’t want to. It certainly felt that way to me, regardless if that had been his intention. I don’t suspect he thought she’d be so incredibly articulate, nor that she would make such valid arguments for going the indie route.

The whole thing made me feel very awkward. I cannot imagine how it made the invited indie feel. She did great, though. And while I had already decided that was the route I wanted to go, I had looked forward to gaining knowledge and insight from the pitching process and all the trad-published guy had to say. (Which was basically: I’ll take getting an advance for my book and plopping myself on a beach any day. That was about all I learned about the trad-world that night.)

That was my last meeting with that group. I kept my affiliation with the FaBo group, for reasons, but I never attended another meeting. And there weren’t more anyway, as the group quickly fizzled out (mind you, they’d been going strong for years before that) and that was pretty much that.

pigI’m giving it another go, though! It’s time to once again play with others. New group, [mostly] new faces, new ideas, new leader. No dues, as of yet anyway, but I’d consider paying again if this incarnation is more accepting of indie publishing. And maybe even if they’re not.

Our first meeting was so much freaking fun! I was a nervous wreck again, but not as much as before. I’ve published two novels now, so I’m at least not a total newbie to the indie-publishing process. I knew I’d have something to contribute to the group in that aspect, a far cry from how I felt the first go-round. I legitimately have hope this will be good for me. We’re going to meet twice per month, every other Monday. The first Monday of the month will be more of a free-for-all type meeting, with discussions, and guided topics, workshops, etc. The second Monday will consist of critique groups.

You know, not far from your typical writing group.

So, what am I afraid of this time? I’m leaps and bounds more knowledgeable than I was the last time, though I will always have a lot to learn. I’ve got more confidence in my writing than I had. I’m certain that while I may not be the most talented in the group, I won’t be laughed out of it either…so, what’s rattling my cage this time?

Not a damn thing.

Briefly I was afraid I’d cut loose if they started trashing the indie publishing world, justhero as I did last time. But, this time? I think I’ve gained enough confidence in myself, and the indie world as a whole, that I will be able to smile through it and do my best to prove them wrong. Sometimes that’ll be a tall order, because as we all know, there’s a lot of…we’ll call it examples to the contrary out there. But, if we all run away, how will we ever prove our point? So, of course I’m lying. Of course I’m afraid of all of that. But, I’m not lying when I say I’ll stick it out. I will attempt to be a champion-voice for indie publishing.

I’m going to submit the first two chapters of Alabama Rain to the critique group. I’ll see how it goes. Tell me, have you been a member of a writing group outside the interwebs? What have your experiences been like? Any ideas you’d like to share from your writing groups that I might pass along to this one? We’ve only had one meeting and we’re still brainstorming ideas for what we want to do. I’d love, love, love to hear from you!

Don’t forget!

Time is running out to enter for a chance to win a full-year subscription to ProWritingAid! This is a $50 value, but the benefits of subscription are priceless! Click the image below to enter!

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All right, my wonderfully talented, amazing, sweet-as-pie friends (and you snarky, little-bit-of-devil-in-you friends, too), that’s it for this week. Enjoy your weekend, enjoy your words, and take the time to enjoy someone else’s, too. ❤


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I’m Alive!

I'm Alive

General Life Update

Since I didn’t post anything last week, I’ll start with a general update. Why didn’t I post anything? I felt…horrible. Physically, I was just exhausted. It felt like day 4,591 of allergy season. I was adjusting to new allergy medication. I couldn’t think, much less write, anything. So, I apologize. It was the first scheduled post I’d missed since December, and missing it made me feel even worse. I haven’t even been on social media much.

I woke one morning and I felt fabulous. I can’t explain it. I’m no spring chicken, so I don’t normally feel fabulous upon waking. Most days I feel okay. Better after a stretch. Better still after a cup of coffee or two, and as the day progresses I might even feel good…but this one morning I woke up, I felt sixteen again. It was weird, and it hasn’t happened since. Nothing remarkable even came of that day, but it was such an anomaly, I feel the need to share it.

So, what was I up to during my convalescence? Watching Doctor Who and eating all the spicy things. I re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-restarted with No. 9, and I’ve just about finished up Amy and Rory’s first series, so for you Whovians that are calculating…that’s a lotta Who in a short time! But don’t worry, I brought a bunch of bananas to the party. 😉

Carrying on…

Both of my nephews and my niece are hitting some major milestones all at the same time, which contributes to my feeling ancient:

My oldest nephew just turned 21.
My youngest nephew just registered for kindergarten.
My niece is going off to college in two weeks.

THIS MAKES AUNTIE AILA FEEL SO OLD. Old, proud, and excited to see their futures unfold.

In other life news, my father’s physical health remains about the same (which isn’t good, but will never get better, so the same is better than the alternative) but his mental health seems to be in a steep decline. So, I know I don’t talk about him often because his privacy is so important to him, but if you are a prayerful person, a love-and-light person, a chanting person, a good vibes person…anything, please send him/me/us a little something.

Wonderful World of Writing

When, not if, when I finish Alabama Rain, it will be a joyous occasion. I am thoroughly enjoying writing the book, but it’s not been easy by any stretch of the imagination. I am behind in this book. I’m not too worried at the moment, because I’m about to take a nice vacation from work which will give me time to catch up. (When I’m not at work, I can easily bang out 6k words per day, if not more) Since my allergy medications are doing their thing now, I’m back away plucking out as many words as I can during the work week. I know this will be out-of-context, but I really enjoyed writing these last few scenes and thought I’d share a little something, something. Remember, it’s raw:

Capture

And:

Tizzy

Corrie is such an interesting character to write. In the sections of the book where she’s a teenager/young adult, she’s a little naive and totally smitten at first, but life in the 1930s was tough, and it’s heartbreaking to write the things that harden her. The research I’ve done into the psychological problems people went through during The Great Depression has been hard to digest sometimes. A lot of the time. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I have to mentally check out of it for a few hours and watch or read something light and fluffy after researching something for this book. Don’t fret, I am writing in some moments of levity because I must.

In other writing news, my local writing group disbanded about a year and a half ago when the group leaders either got married, moved out of state, or started new jobs—someone is picking it back up, though! It appears they want to meet on Mondays, which may cause me to rework my schedule some over the next few weeks, but if these first couple of meetings prove beneficial, I’ll make it work. Cross your fingers! [I just came back from the first meeting, and it was amazing! More on that Thursday!]

That Thing Happening on Twitter aka #ByeFaleena

So, of course I grew up being taught that if you have nothing nice to say you should say nothing at all. I try, at least publicly, to live that way.

But not today.

If you haven’t checked out #ByeFaleena, let me just sum up what’s happened here the best way I can without interjecting my thoughts just yet. A romance author by the name of Faleena Hopkins applied for and was granted a trademark for the word cocky. This pertains to a series of books she has written called The Cocker Brothers of Atlanta, where each book’s title starts with the word Cocky. Therefore she now (as of April) has two series titles for this series. 1.) The Cocker Brothers of Atlanta, and 2.) The Cocky Series.

She began sending her own cease and desist letters to authors with the word Cocky in their titles, going so far as to say if they did not change the titles of their books that she would sue them (and would win) all of the monies they had made on those titles.

Look, I understand wanting to protect your work. And if Ms. Hopkins had created the word Cocky, or even just wanted to prevent people from having their own series of books called The Cocky Series, I might’ve been alright with that. But, this sort of thing happens when you use certain words, especially within certain genres.

Common words in Romance titles: Love, Lust, Billionaire, Sexy, Kiss, Cocky

Common words in Sci-Fi titles: Odyssey, Space, Mission, Battle, Star(s)

Common words in Mystery titles: Murder, Killer, Blood, Detective

Common words in Fantasy titles: Land, Magic, Dragon, Wand, Crown, Sword

What I am getting at is the precedent that’s been set here. Ms. Hopkins’s trademark hasn’t affected me, nor anyone that I know personally. But, the ramifications might. What would happen if someone decided to one day write a series of books with Secrets in the title and my lovely friend Vania receives a cease and desist letter for her Summer Secrets books? Or someone else decides to write a series about witches and tries to strong-arm my friend Jewel out of her own series about witches? Or if someone decides to trademark the word Rain and decides I can no longer have my title? It’s the precedent that’s being set which gets to me.

Ms. Hopkins alleges that authors which she insists re-title their books will not be impacted further than a day’s worth of effort into changing their covers, but that isn’t so. It’s a huge financial undertaking for some authors. Perhaps not all, but definitely for some. For me it would mean reassigning an ISBN because those are not transferable. One title can have multiple ISBNs! eBook, paperback, hardback, audio–those little strings of numbers are not cheap! Then, there’s having to edit the interior of books where you’ve listed your now-unusable title in the back. For those of us who use IngramSpark, that’s $25 to edit each interior where the offending title exists. There’s marketing materials that need to be trashed, and the loss of our own brand recognition for the sake of someone else who also decided to use a common word.

And to a degree, Ms. Hopkins understands this. In an apology she included in the back of her book Cocky Soldier she stated she had no clue that Marines never refer to themselves as anything other than Marines but it was too late to change the title because when she learned of this, Cocky Soldier was already up for pre-sale and she had already printed bookmarks. There’s a lot of speculation about Ms. Hopkin’s net-worth, and frankly, I don’t particularly care, but if it would’ve been too much of an inconvenience or expense for her, then how can she, with a straight face, claim it won’t be so for another indie author? We aren’t well-known for our abundance of wealth.

I have other suspicions about Ms. Hopkins, but I only want to acknowledge things on this blog that are rooted in fact, so I will keep them to myself. All of that said, however, let me say something to her opposition:

Don’t give her undue 1-star reviews.

Don’t stop voicing your opinions on this frankly baffling display of cockiness, either. Don’t stop signing petitions. Don’t stop spreading the word that what she is doing is at the very least morally wrong—but don’t leave her undue 1-star reviews. Be better than that. Believe me, I want you to win this fight. I want her to lose the trademark on this very common word, but I don’t want you to give up your own reputation in the process. Is she a 5-star writer? Not from what I’ve read in the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon. But, I haven’t, and won’t, buy her books, therefore I will not review them 1-star or otherwise.

Just as I do not like the precedent she’s set by trademarking a word that shouldn’t be trademarked, I do not like the precedent set of 1-starring authors we do not agree with.

Call for boycotts. If you’ve legitimately read and reviewed her work before and now in this light you’ve decided you don’t want to support her because she doesn’t support others, fine. Erase your review, but don’t change it to a 1-star just because. 

I am keen on watching this story unfold in the next few days. I’ve never seen someone seem so content on throwing gas on their own dumpster fire, what with talking about sitting back with popcorn and watching the hate spew, down to issuing not an apology, but a statement of forgiveness to those who are wronging her. This will definitely get more interesting as the RWA steps in with an IP lawyer, and with all the parody books being published astonishingly quickly on Amazon.

I still find her trademark of choice ironic as hell.

But let’s set this negativity aside!

There are only a few days left to enter my giveaway!

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That is all I have for you today, my friends! May your muse be kind this week! ❤


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Aila’s Day Out : Smoky Mountains

QG - Smokies.pngThe mountains are calling, and I must go.
-John Muir

I have this terrible knack for saying I’m going to do something for myself and not doing it. I wind up feeling guilty for a multitude of reasons and can come up with more excuses than George RR Martin can come up with characters to kill.

Tuesday I felt those familiar pangs rising up, threatening to thwart my plans for yesterday. Chief among those guilty feelings was the fact I was going alone. I’m not opposed to being alone. I’m one of those people who sometimes feels lonelier in the company of people than I do when I am, in fact, by myself.

I devoted some time to exploring these feelings, though—something I rarely do, but should do more often. I realized I felt crummy about it because I’d penciled in some locales that my husband and I hadn’t experienced together. I guess it’d equate to if one of us watched an episode of one of our shows without the other one. So, I scratched those ideas and decided I’d go to some of my tried-and-true favorites. Places I don’t mind seeing over and over again, which isn’t really the husband’s cup of tea. (Not that he doesn’t enjoy these places, but he’s not one for as much repeat business as I am.)

Now, this may sound odd, but while I’ve never lived in the Smoky Mountains, I feel more at home here than anywhere else. There’s a certain sort of peace of mind that washes over me when I lay eyes on these hills. Maybe it’s what an addict feels when they get their fix. I don’t know.

I left my house at 6:00 am.

Let that sink in.

I’d leave this early for all of my trips if my husband would too. Leaving this early meant I’d gifted myself the sunrise over Flat Rock, NC (just minutes away from Carl Sandburg’s House. It was a little foggier than I’d like, but that’s the mountains for you.

(Also, since I was by myself, I wasn’t able to capture pictures. Cue sad face.)

When I got into Asheville, North Carolina it had started raining. But I wasn’t afraid, this is also just par for the course in the mountains. Weather is extremely unpredictable.

But when I got on the Smoky Mountain Expressway?

Fog. Oh my goodness.

But then when I got into Maggie Valley?

F. O. G. FOG, FOG, FOG!

I’d planned on walking around Maggie Valley to take some pictures, but that didn’t happen. Here, to see what I saw of Maggie Valley, close your eyes for a second and picture a gray box.

That about covers it.

I hadn’t intended on getting on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but I thought maybe I would elevate above the blasted fog and actually see something. You tell me:

photo (34)

This was actually the best view I had on the Parkway for several miles.

I began to get a little discouraged. I mean, I’d come early for a reason, and that was to beat the crowds, not get swallowed by a thick pea-souper. So I meandered down the BRP, even slower than required, because the freakishly thick fog required it.

And I’m glad I didn’t give up, because eventually, somewhere past the Bunches Bald overlook and the Thomas Divide (Elevation change -1190 feet), Mother Nature must’ve had a cup of coffee, because the fog lifted and I couldn’t have been more elated!

IMG_3039

Now, if you are ever on the Southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway (which, I suggest adding to your bucket list) look for Balsam Mountain and take that road all the way to the end where you’ll really find Balsam Mountain road, which is a twisty, winding little one-way road (meaning do not begin this road if you don’t intend to finish, because you have no choice. Have snacks, drinks, and above all else make use of the facilities located conveniently before the road starts.)

If I had been in my SUV, and if it hadn’t been so foggy, I’d have taken you down this road with me. There are some excellent chances to see wildlife: I.E. BEARS.

Instead, I journeyed on to a very special place, one I’ve been visiting since I was, as they say, knee-high to a grasshopper.

Oconaluftee Visitor’s Center has changed much (new facilities built in 2011), but it’s better than ever. First thing on my agenda was the mini-museum.

Normally we fly through this, if we even visit it at all anymore. But I took my time reading the signage and watching the videos. It really is a neat stop.

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It might be hard to see in the slide, but the chair is the one used by Roosevelt at the dedication ceremony in 1940, the site of the ceremony is just about a 25-30 minute drive up the mountain toward Tennessee—unless it’s peak tourism time (especially leaf season), then you’re looking at closer to an hour or more.

After I’d had my fill of the museum and shopping (where I bought a jar of chow chow for husband and peach preserves for me) I decided to explore the old farm, braving the cold (and boy was it cold!) and really allowing myself time to study the buildings and the information stands.

I hadn’t realized how ingrained in my memory that cabin had become over the years, because it is nearly a carbon copy of what I envision for Corrie, Nelly, and Mabel in Alabama Rain (though, not with a second story).

I also walked along the Oconaluftee River as long as I felt safe doing so. I wasn’t as worried about bear here as I was Elk. They are notorious for being in this area of the park, and with it being springtime, I wouldn’t have been excited to happen upon a pregnant Elk, or worse, one with a baby.

After I’d finished with the farm, I felt a rumbly in my tumbly and thought it best to have lunch. I’d packed my own, so I decided to drive up to Newfound Gap and teeter along the NC/TN line just so I could say I’d been in four states in one day (Georgia would come later). My view for lunch:

IMG_3119

Not shabby, eh?

Now, when I left Greenville at 6am it was over 70F.

It was 34 at Newfound Gap. I didn’t care to be outside the warmth of the car very much. I did volunteer to take a picture of a nice elderly couple. She took his picture first, then he took hers. I stepped out and asked if they’d like to have one together. I think it was like Christmas for them! I chatted with them a while. They were fascinated that I’d travel there alone, what with the bears and snakes (not in 34F!) and general scariness of being alone. Truthfully, I was enjoying the solitude.

I contemplated driving the seven miles to Clingman’s Dome, but if it was 34 at Newfound Gap, it was likely to be mid-20s at Clingman’s, so I thought better of it. I did see some worn-out hikers coming up the Appalachian Trail, which is always neat. I envy them so much.

It was still only a little after noon, so I decided to stop in at Mingus Mill (which you saw pictures of already. Here are some that didn’t make the video.

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If you notice the trail that runs along side the water, aptly named Mingus Mill Trail, that’s a really neat one to follow. A little rough, a little steep, but really worth the effort if you’re ever in the area long enough.

When I departed, I decided to make a loop. Going back the way I came would’ve been just fine, but why not see more stuff?

Not to mention, the loop afforded me the opportunity to stop in and surprise my parents.

Once I made it into Georgia there were two stops I wanted to make. One of which, and I’m sure you’ll agree, is one of those places that could only happen in The South.

It’s freaking Goats on The Roof.

Goats. On the Roof.

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I’m a sucker for goats.

There are actually some neat gifty things inside, and if it had been warmer I’d have gone to the sweet shop and taken pictures of how they make ice cream (liquid nitrogen!)

But, be forewarned: Walking in some areas may result in goat poop raining from above.  They are living creatures. They’re on the roof. It’s got to go somewhere. Do not let children run amok here, I’ve seen them try to feed the goats hamburgers. Not cool.

My final stop (with pictures) was in Tallulah Falls, Georgia. Most people mistakenly call it Tallulah Gorge (though, that is why people come here.)

I didn’t go to Jane Hurt Yarn, but you should. I’ve been there many times, and would’ve stopped in on this trip had I not planned on stopping in to see my parents. I did, however, stop at the best overlook in town that happens to have one of the neatest shops!

(Also, I think it’s fun to note that even though it was roughly 20 degrees warmer here than at Newfound Gap, the wind coming off the gorge was insane, thus making this the most frigid stop on my trip!)

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Why the moon pies?

You’ll find out when you read Alabama Rain.

This concludes my day trip yesterday! I hope you enjoyed reading about it and all my pictures. If you haven’t been in this area, I totally suggest it. It’s gorgeous and full of character. I wish I could be your tour guide through my mountains!

Now, about the giveaway…

I know I was supposed to announce what all is included, but I am still waiting to hear from one of the companies, so while I do want to share it today, I also don’t want to potentially disappoint. So, please bear with me and come Saturday if I haven’t heard back from this company yet, I will select another one and go from there.

I will give you a hint, though, already locked in for the giveaway is a full-year’s subscription to one of the services you’ve seen popping up on my blog lately.   Including this one. Quite possibly below. 😉 Nod, nod, wink, wink.

See you soon, friends. xoxo


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Q1: How’d I Do?

Q1 - How did I do

I promised I’d be honest with you guys. No matter how much it hurts. It’s time to pony up and tell you the truth about how I did with my goals for quarter one.

If you’d like to see the full blog post where I laid out my plans, click here.

Here goes nothing, ya’ll.

1.| Print business cards. I did this, but I didn’t like them. Which, technically, wasn’t my fault. So, I’m going to count this as done, but it’s something I need to redo.

2.| Print bookmarks. DONE!

3.| Get signed copies of my books for sale. DONE!

4.| Write 65,000 words of Alabama Rain. Oh, so not even done. I’m about 20k shy…which is embarrassing.

5.| Update the website at least once per month. DONE!

6.| Send three newsletters. DONE!

7.| Keep up with the blogging schedule. DONE!

8.| Utilize Instagram 5x per week. Oh, yeah, no, I did not do this.

9.| Update both the cover and interior of Sex, Love, and Formalities. DONE!

10.| Attend the Writing/Book Festival in Dahlonega, GA. Sadly, I did not get to go. 😦

So, I accomplished 70% of the goals I gave myself for this quarter…but I’m really upset for not hitting my word count goal. That one stings a lot.

Going purely on testing standards, I passed for the quarter. By my standards, however, I should be flogged. I mean, sure, I could give some solid excuses—especially for not getting to the book festival—but I won’t. Besides, I said in that blog post that I’d only consider myself a success if I accomplished 8/10.

I am stupidly proud of keeping up with my blog schedule, and also for not giving up on my newsletter. Also, while I didn’t hit my count goal, I am proud of the feedback I’ve received on Alabama Rain thus far, so even if it is taking me a little longer to write, I am proud of how it is shaping up. I guess that matters more? I’m going to tell myself it does.

It was a busy quarter both as a writer and in my personal life, and I’m going to try not to give myself too much grief for not accomplishing one more of those goals.

So, what about Quarter Two?

Here’s what I hope to accomplish over the next three months:

1.| Tweak and reprint the business cards.
2.| Reach 80,000 words in Alabama Rain.
3.| Form a solid book launch sequence/plan.
4.| Send three newsletters.
5.| Keep up with the blogging schedule.
6.| Finalize Alabama Rain’s cover.
7.| Utilize Instagram 3x per week.
8.| Host a giveaway.
9.| Update the website at least once per month.
10.| Explore three ways of increasing sales of SLT & SLF.

Again, I will consider the quarter a success if I accomplish 8/10 of these goals.

I will update you on how I’ve done on Thursday, June 28, 2018! That’s all I have for you today! Have a fantastic weekend! xoxo

P.S. If you haven’t checked out the interview Vania Rheault did with me, click here to check it out! Her blog is fantastic…which isn’t a surprise, because she is fantastic!

 


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Writer Resources: SkillShare

WR_ SKILLSHARE

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you’re in for a fantastic, productive week! I had a really nice weekend, though not as productive as I’d hoped—but our oldest nephew spent the weekend with us, which was worth it. My husband took him to the SC ComicCon, and then we went downtown for some Pokemon Go, and stayed up late playing Boss Monsters…a card game based on 8-bit video games. (Side note: I’m the reigning champ!)

But the weekend is gone, and it’s time to get back to all things writerly. This week, in my Writer Resources series, I am super excited to introduce you to SkillShare!

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Costs: You can access SkillShare for free, or you can upgrade to a Premium Membership
Premium Membership Costs: Monthly: $15.00 or Annual: $8.25/mo billed once
Ease of Use: If you can navigate YouTube, you can navigate SkillShare.
Usefulness: Amazing

What’s The Big Deal?

Being an indie author means you must wear a lot of hats. You’re a writer, an editor, a designer, a marketer, a publisher, an accountant, a social media manager. You are taking on every single role filled at a publishing house and the ones they outsource.

It’s all on you, baby. 

Your forte may be crafting your story, but you don’t have a clue about design—but you need an advertisement, or a book cover, or a simple blog post visual. You might be tempted to jump onto Microsoft Paint and give it your best shot, thinking you’ll do better next time.

Don’t.

You owe it to yourself and your work to give every aspect of the writing process the best chance it can have. If you can’t afford to outsource everything (which, most of us can’t), then you need to make learning these things a priority.

Enter SkillShare.

What Kinds of Classes Are There?

SkillShare1

As you can see, there is a category to help the indie author in almost every stage of the writing process.

Here are just a few writing-centric things I’ve personally sought help with in SkillShare:

• Storycrafting
• Outlining
• Drafting
• Editing
• Character Development

There are literally thousands of classes for writers.

SkillShare2

Take a look at the enrollment stats of some of these classes! This is because these teachers have incredible passion and have gone to great lengths to provide you with a valuable learning experience.

Some of the classes are shorter, around a half-hour long, whereas you can see some are longer, like the one approaching two hours (top, middle). Never fear, though. These longer classes are broken into shorter, more appetizing bites, making it a lot easier to complete classes on your own time table.

What about those other hats we talked about moments ago? You know, the ones that are a little more difficult, the ones that might make us scream into our pillows or drink an extra scotch. Let’s look at just a few of the other topics close to the writer’s heart:

SkillShare3

A quick search for cover design gave me over six-thousand results.

Whether you’re aiming to learn how to design in Canva, PhotoShop, InDesign, or GIMP…there are classes for you. Learn to use the program, then learn steps to design something highly professional. There’s something for every skill level.

SkillShare4

Marketing: Aila hates it. It’s true, I find marketing to be the single most-daunting aspect of being an indie author…but with SkillShare, I’m trying to change that.

Classes Vs. Videos

I’ve talked about SkillShare with someone before and they asked me what the point of it was, since there’s this little thing called YouTube where you can learn stuff, too.

Well, here’s the thing: YouTube is great, and sometimes I also go to YouTube in order to learn something…but SkillShare is comprised of classes.

Enrolling in classes means you’re going to have teacher-led videos. Many, if not most, of the teachers I’ve found on SkillShare have homework assignments or projects attached to their classes, and you have the opportunity to complete solo-projects, interact with other students for support, guidance, or simply to do a little networking.

Often times when you complete a project, the teacher will review it and give you personal feedback…not something you’ll find on YouTube.

SkillShare5Why Premium Membership?

I wholeheartedly recommend signing up for the free membership first and looking around to see if SkillShare is for you before signing up for the Premium Membership. But, it does have its perks. (See the list on the left.)

Regardless of which membership level you choose, I truly believe you’ll find SkillShare’s platform beneficial for you and your creative business endeavors.

Do I Use It?

I do.

I’m currently taking marketing classes, but I’ve also used it to help strengthen my storytelling, learn new methods for outlining, and web development.

My experience with SkillShare has been nothing but positive.

 

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Recommended Teachers

• Daniel José Older
• Jenna Moreci
• Laurie Wang
• Gary Vaynerchuk
• Mike Pickett

If you’re tired of feeling like everyone else is passing you by or that you’re the last to know something, but you aren’t being proactive in your own journey…what are you waiting for? Sign up. Take some classes.


**Disclaimer** Afflink means an affiliated link. Clicking and using one of my Afflinks in no way changes the price of any product or service you sign up for, but does provide me a small commission. I will never post affiliated links for products or services I do not believe in or use myself.


That’s all I have for you today, folks! I do hope you’ll give SkillShare a shot! If you do, give me a shout in the comments below and let me know which classes you’re taking and if you discover a favorite teacher.

See you Thursday when I get to tell you about all the quarterly goals I’ve failed…yeah, I’m not looking forward to writing Thursday’s post.

At all.

Wait! One more thing!

Just a little head’s up…Check out Vania Rheault’s blog tomorrow, March 27th! 🙂 Actually, check it out any time, but most definitely tomorrow. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Have a fantastic week, my friends! xoxo



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Writer Resources: Wix

WR_ WIX

Welcome back! In this week’s post, I am bringing you Wix. I’m sure you’ve seen their advertisements on YouTube—Rhett and Link from Good Mythical Morning are currently spokespeople. You might have seen some advertising on television too, though I’m not entirely sure about that, since I haven’t had television service in about five years now.

If you’ve seen it and you question whether it could really be as simple as they make it out to be, let me spoil the rest of this post for you: IT IS.

The Particulars

The Price: You can use Wix for free. You won’t have a custom URL, which I like, but it will look like this: username.wixsite.com/sitename/page-url. If you want to upgrade to a premium plan so you can use your own domain, here is the price breakdown as of today’s posting:
Wix Prices (1)

Ease of Use: ♦♦♦♦♦


What’s The Fuss?

Before I stumbled onto Wix, I spent several weeks fighting with another hosting site which, at the time, seemed to advertise more. This other website, let’s call them SquireSparce…claimed to provide a website building platform which was super simple and gave highly professional results. It…didn’t.

Wix really does.

Not only can you drag and drop, resize, and generally edit your website flawlessly, they also make it super easy to edit the way your mobile site looks and feels, too.

SEO

Search Engine Optimization is this crazy, headache-inducing hullabaloo that eludes almost everyone. It is important, though. Wix guides you through all the tough stuff, though, and within a few clicks you’re far better off.

Newsletters

If you tossed a virtual rock around the writing community, you’d hit on at least three-dozen separate blogs and vlogs advising that writers have a newsletter and email list. You can absolutely use a service like MailChimp for this, but if you have your website with Wix, you needn’t look any further than their integrated Shoutouts system. It is just as easy to create professional-looking newsletters as it is to edit your website.

In my humble opinion, we writers should focus the majority of our time to our books. The platform-building and marketing stuff is important, too, but if you can streamline your marketing time and keep yourself in as few places as possible, that just frees up more writing time. Boom!

Tons of Apps

Want an easy-to-customize contact form? They’ve got it.
Want to integrate your Instagram feed? It’s simple.
Want to add a status tracker your readers can see on where you are for your WIP? Not hard at all.

There are hundreds of things you can add to your Wix site,
so simply you won’t find yourself reaching for the aspirin.

Easy to Use

I know I’ve said this a few times in this rather short post, but it deserves to be repeated. Instead of attempting to show you its beautiful simplicity through a series of screencaps, though, I found a short video on YouTube I recommend watching if you’re interested in learning more about it.

I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is

$14 per month, to be exact.

If I didn’t make it clear in my last post, no matter my skill level in the resources I’m bringing to you in this series, I believe in them 100%. I use Wix for my website, and WordPress (obviously) for my blog. Why? Because there is no other blogging platform I’ve found that compares to WordPress.

If you’d like to see what my Wix-built website looks like, please give it a gander, by clicking here. (Bonus points if you sign up for my newsletter!)

That’s all I have for you today, friends. I hope you have an excellent, super-productive week! See you soon!

xoxo,

Aila


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Keep Fighting

Keep Fighting

Happy Friday Eve, ya’ll!

Before I get started with the meat and potatoes of this post, I’ve wanted to get in the habit of making a little list at the beginning of all my Thursday posts, so here goes:

What I’m Reading: Kitchens of The Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
Last Song Purchased on iTunes: Pet by A Perfect Circle
Current TV Show: Just finished The Defenders.
Last Movie Watched: Actually, I’m watching Guardians of the Galaxy 2 right now.
Alabama Rain’s Current Word Count: 30,765
Weekend Plans: Visiting nephew in Atlanta, writing, blogging, and updating websites

Onto the post.

I’m not sure if I’ve made you guys aware, but my Monday blogs are thoroughly planned out ahead of time, and most weeks I’ve actually been writing them for several days before they’re published. My Thursday posts are spur of the moment. I try not to think about them too much because I want them to be true to who I am in that moment.

Today was rough. Scratch that, this year has been rough so far. I think back on those posts I made in December and January. I had such high hopes and plans for this year. I thoroughly believed that 2018 would be a far better year than 2017. Not so much.

Last year (which, comparatively, was better, as hard as that is to believe) I gave up writing for a while. I’d absolutely lost the ability to keep up with both halves of my world. Writing doesn’t pay the bills and it likely never will. So I made the sensible decision and I put my writing away to alleviate some of my stress.

But I was still stressed. I am still stressed.

Cutting out my writing ambitions was the wrong move. I know that now. Believe me, I am desperate to cut something out right now…but it won’t be my writing.

Let’s talk about stress.

Is stress bad?

Not necessarily. There is such a thing as good stress. For me, writing is good stress. I stress over getting the words right. I stress over getting reputable sources for my research. I stress over cover design. I stress about marketing. I stress over my blog posts.

But the thing is, I want this stress. It motivates me and pushes me to get better in so many areas of writing—which is all I want to do anymore.

See, I am actually in control of this stress and I utilize this stress. It, for me, is good.

Bad stress, I believe, is when you have little to no control over its origination nor its resolution.

For me that is most of my work-related stress and dealing with family health issues.

So, when I gave up my writing last year, I indeed gave up some stress, but it was the good stress and all I was left with was the bad stress. It was not a good equation.

Short of quitting my job with no notice, what am I to do?

Keep fighting.

I know you’re going through something rough right now, too. You’re fighting your own battles, and I’m sure there are days you feel you’re winning, and others when you are so damned exhausted from it all that you don’t even notice when you start to cry. There are days when you feel whole and motivated and invincible…and then there are days when you feel defeated and even simply going through the motions is so taxing you crumble.

Whatever you do, don’t give up. Keep fighting. Don’t lose your passions, because you’ll lose yourself.

How am I coping?

Not well, usually. But I have taken to closing my eyes and counting back from five. On especially bad days, I do something nice for myself. I find things around me that I like. (Something in the color green, something that smells nice, something I like to eat or drink…anything to make me focus on something positive.)

The tough love ending here is that even though lots of the things that stress us out are beyond our control, we can control how we react to it.

I nearly lost my control at work the other day. I started to walk out the door with my middle fingers up and said I’d figure the rest out later. All that would’ve accomplished would have been to trade one bad stress for a heap of other bad stress.

Instead, I have accepted the fact that my job will never again be the same for me. Coming to this realization has clarified for me what I should and should not fight for. I’m incapable of changing the company culture…but I can change the company I work for. It might take some time, but that is within my control.

I cannot change the fact I have an aunt who is fighting for her life, the stress of which is causing ripples in the family. I can, however, do what I know is right and visit her and offer my shoulder to her daughters.

These things are preventing me from devoting as much time as I’d like to my writing, but I also have to accept that I will likely not meet my quarterly goal for 2018. I imposed these deadlines and the only person who really cares if I meet them is me. I have to give myself permission to adapt my goals.

I am going to give myself permission to be human.

I hope you will, too.

See you Monday, my lovelies.

Hot and Steamy Excerpt_ ALIGHT (1)
Aila


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