Starting Over

In many ways this is going to be a year of risk and discovery. It is the year of exciting explorations and flexibility.

Risk because I made the decision to take a step back from self publishing at a rapid pace. I know that I need to get my name and my books and myself out there. But I can not (financially or mentally) release a book a month. I admire those who can. But that pace is not something that is maintainable for a long tim for me.

Why?

  •  I have a full time job.
  •  I take care of my mother who has several health issues.
  •  I have aging older relatives that I also help.
  •  I need to take care of myself (because of my own health issues) and not get burned out by the pace that would be required.
  •  It is not financially feasible.

Discovery because I am also stepping out and writing the books that have been calling to me to be written. The books that don’t fit into any one category or genre easily.

Will they still be romances? Yes. And they will all still have a HEA ending. Or at least a HFN ending.

But a lot of them will be darker and grittier in some of the themes and character backstories and story events.

What is happening with Motor City Romance Series?

It will be rebranded at some point. Probably towards the end of the year. I still plan on writing the other books in the series.

Second Chances will be released in the second quarter of the year as a free read.

Motor City Romance is my male/male focused series set in my hometown of Detroit. If you want to keep up to date – Sign up here for updates specific to the MCR series.

Why am I doing this?

I loved writing The Marriage Contract and working on getting Take Me As I Am to the point where I am happy enough with it that I can release it. I refuse to put out a product I am not proud of.

Take Me As I Am has been a labor of love.  But Take Me As I Am is not in the right place. It needs more. More depth, more on the relationship struggles between Jay and Darrius, more on what initially broke them up and just more in terms of story. So I am re-writing it completely and starting in a different place. When I first published TMAIA it was by a small online publisher. I am grateful for the experience but it didn’t sell much. So I got my rights back and decided to revise it a bit and republish it as part of the MCR. I had some lovely beta readers and editors who wanted more. And after much consideration, they are right. So I am going backward in the story so I can go forward and give my readers a much better reading experience.

What does this all mean?

I have been holding back on some of the scenes and themes and characters because it doesn’t fit the normal romance mode and doesn’t fit neatly in the box.I have realized that that doesn’t matter. I have to write what it is my heart and soul. I have to write the type of stories that I want to tell. I have to write the type of stories that started me on this writing journey oh so many years ago.

It means that my production will be slower. But there will be some new things coming from me. And I am excited about that and how I see the stories I have written so far these past 6 weeks shaping up. I am also excited because I am doing something that I love – writing and being an author. Hopefully readers will love it too.

TL;DR – What it all boils down too is I will be hustling hard for myself, my goals and visions.

How I Write – Success Obstacles

So this week’s questions is: What’s your current biggest obstacle to success? Name at least 3 things you can do to overcome it.

The biggest obstacle to my success besides me has been time management, focus/concentration and motivation. I also realized earlier that I was writing the wrong stories. Or more accurately, I was writing in the wrong genre – romance. I had these stories that were hounding me to be written but I kept ignoring them. With some help and a great discussion with my writing friends, I decided to pursue these stories.

Now for the time management, focus/concentration and motivation aspects.

Something that helps me, at least focus wise, is music. It helps me to better and I can easily tune it out when I really get into scenes so it’s not as big of a distraction as say the t.v. or the internet. I find that lack of sleep adds to to the focus/concentration issue. Sometimes it’s creating a playlist for a particular story, mood/emotion or scene type.

If I am struggling with a scene then I either skip it after making notes and move on. If it’s that I don’t feel like writing, I may take that day as my free day.

I usually get up early and write or stay up late. If it’s a long day at work (10 hour shift or an early morning) then it is usually harder because tiredness enters into play. But I try to push through it and just write. I have set a 1 hour minimum daily writing time.

3 things I can do to overcome these obstacles are:

1. I schedule time with myself. More specifically, I block off sections of time in my calendar as an appointment to write.

2. I make sure that I know my story and where it is going. I do a phase outline. I have  been doing them for years but did not know that that is what they were called, It’s loose enough that I don’t feel stifled but structured enough that I don’t feel lost.

3. I use my playlists to keep me focused. Sometimes what helps is taking a break so I either go walk around, read, cook or do something crafty (crocheting, beading, knitting).

4. The other thing that I do is say no. I say no to people that want to suck my time, energy or focus away from my writing. If I don’t make my writing and my writing career/journey/path a priority then no one else will. There are a few exceptions to the no rule but I have found it easier.

If you want to check out how a few of my writing friends write:

* Alexia Reed * Emma G. Delaney * Kimberly Farris *Kristen Koster *

Why Wait?

I realize I think differently from others. This fact became clearer to me this week when discussing writing-related topics with another writer. The conversation centered around my OWP (other writing persona). And the conversation turned to the topics of publicity, promotion and marketing.

The way I see it. There are many ways to market yourself as a writer. And Bria Quinlan (an awesome person and someone I consider a friend) had a post about the Writing Career Mindset last week. That post plus the conversation with Author X I realized that my writer mindset, demeanor, attitude was different than others. And realistically, I knew that but this was a “ah ha moment” so to speak.

Anyway, during the conversation with Author X the topics of  “waiting” and “success” came up. Specifically, waiting until they were famous/successful to do something. Whether it be building and maintaining a blog or website, joining twitter, donating a free story, putting up a serial read on their website, submitting a story to a charity anthology where all royalties go to a specific charity.

And it got me to thinking, which my dad has told me is a dangerous thing. Why wait?

Why wait for some mystical point where “success” is bestowed upon you? Who defines if you are a successful? How will I know when I am a success? Will I know it if I see it, get to that point?

Isn’t it about reputation, building a reader base, building a name for yourself as an author, getting your name out there?

There are plenty of reason to wait. And I know how real life can get in the way, stop you, make you pause. I’ve been dealing with real life for a while now. And sometimes real life sucks. But one thing what I’ve had to deal with, am going through right now in my personal life, has taught me is to why wait.

If I waited for some magical “ok you can do it now” then I wouldn’t do anything. My thinking is do it now because if I waited I would still be stuck in the same place I was. I don’t like being stuck. I prefer to move forward. It is me who defines successful for myself not someone else, not something else. And I will admit for years the thing that was holding me back the most was me.

In many ways I am more successful as a writer than I was last year. I have more focus, a better attitude and a better mindset. I have defined, realistic and smart goals. I know where I want to go with my writing, what I want to accomplish and how. I have a career business plan.

And I do make a small bit of money with OWP. I have sold short stories, novellas and poetry. I have even self published a book of poetry. To some just the act of selling is a success. For others it’s submitting (a story). And for others still it’s a numbers game either monetary or quantity books sold to readers.

Success if a personal thing. Each person has to define it for themselves. Would I meet other’s standards? Probably not. Do I care? No. And that is another kind of success right there. Not letting others perception of me, hinder me.

But it goes back to  – why wait? What are you waiting for? What is your definition of success?