Ho-Ho-Ho

So, I’m sitting at my desk… A Balsam & Cedar candle burning, a little 100 year old ceramic Christmas tree lit, and a Hallmark Christmas movie (Two Turtle Doves) on in the background.

And I thought maybe now would be a good time to show y’all the cover for one of the stories I have been chipping away at the last few months.

I don’t know when it’ll be out and I don’t want to speculate. It could be November or December this year, or it could be January. I know I’m supposed to set dates and have goals and to be quite honest, I burned myself out thinking about all of that instead of doing the thing that would really get me anywhere at all and that thing was and is…writing.

The writing doesn’t burn me out.

It’s all the other stuff that comes with the writing as a business that does.

But… That’s not what this post is about. No, this post is about giving us all permission to look at a cute cover, imagine what the story is and who the dapper guy is, and indulge in a little holiday cheer. At least, it’s permission for me to indulge in a little holiday cheer since last year I was moving in December and we didn’t really do any holiday…anything.

I don’t know if I’ll do more than watch a few of my favorite Hallmark Christmas movies and drink some hot cocoa or make a gingerbread latte, but sometimes those few comforts are enough.

The latest news to come from Wall Street is that Billionaire Brett Randolph has bought a small town. Not just any small town, though. Nope. He bought his hometown of Gumdrop Valley.

Now, I know many of you have never heard of Gumdrop Valley before and I hadn’t either, but the story goes that in the Spring, the wildflowers that bloom look just like gumdrops and at Christmas when all the houses are decorated and lit, the town looks like one of those quaint holiday villages people set up on every available surface in their homes. So, when the town was facing bankruptcy and businesses were beginning to close, Mr. Randolph stepped in and purchased all the land in the county along with everything in it.

Gumdrop Valley was saved and with the influx of money and the hiring of advertising and marketing firms by Mr. Randolph to help turn things around, his investment looks like it will pay off by the holiday season.

This isn’t the blurb, this is just a little something I wrote at the beginning of the story…

Anyway, I’m going back to my movie and I’m going to find some breakfast.

I’ll talk to y’all soon.

Coffee On The Porch…

I started a little series on Instagram called Coffee on the porch… And it’s exactly as it sounds. I took pictures of coffee on my back porch over looking the pond, the trees, the mountains in the distance, and sometimes even cows from the neighboring farm were in the background.

I don’t exactly know why I started doing it, but it’s been an interesting way to see the changes to the land and it combines two of my favorite things…coffee and the view from my porch.

So, since I’m not on Instagram right now, I thought I’d continue the series here on the blog…

 

Hi! Again…

Have you missed me?

I’ve missed me.

However, I’ve sorta found me. Back in December we moved from Charlotte, North Carolina about 100 miles southwest to a small area between Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina called Greer. I have a view of mountains outside the back of the house and it takes me less than 30 minutes to get into the heart of the Blue Ridge. I love this area and it fits me more than Charlotte. Maybe that’s why I write small towns so much. I’m a small town girl at heart…

As most of you know, I’m not an active participant on Twitter much anymore, nor on Facebook at all. I’m not participating on TikTok because well… Yeah. I was somewhat of an active participant on Instagram, but found myself more and more in a negative headspace, deep in comparison, and lacking any sort of inspiration. so, I decided to take at the very least July off from Instagram. I’ve decided instead to use this blog for any sort of communication, comments, thoughts, images, etc… I don’t have anyone here to compare myself to except myself and I don’t have endless things to scroll through wasting time, procrastinating, and generally avoiding ALL THE THINGS.

It’s also July which means Camp NaNoWriMo. I participated back in April and it really helped me get back into writing a little bit after months and months and months away from it. I’ve written in May, and June. Not a lot, but enough to get the ideas flowing again and find my way back into storytelling. I have an ambitious goal, for me, for July, but that’s one of the reasons for my self-imposed Instagram ban. More writing. More reading. Just more…

Anyway, that’s about all for now. I’m going to get to some writing and I’ll talk to y’all again soon.

 

So, I had a new release…

That’s it to the left.

And here’s where you can buy it…

Amazon Everywhere Else

And… I suck at marketing.

But I love the book. And the two people I’ve heard from who bought and read it said they loved it, too. Everywhere else there’s been crickets. That’s cool, though.

I watch a lot of Gary Vee and one of the things he said recently was… Okay, well, he said a lot of things recently that I’ve taken to heart. I need these little nuggets to remind me where my focus needs to be rather than where it would normally be which is not constructive or creative.

Some of what he’s said that stuck with me…

Insecurity fucks you up. Yep. 1000%. It has fucked me more times than i care to admit and it didn’t even use lube. It’s been painful as hell my whole life.

Fall in love with what you want to say. And also, Fall in love with No. These are two things that tie into insecurity for me. No is a personal rejection even though it’s not in most cases. And loving what I want to say… I can do that so long as I don’t look at what others are doing or saying and I keep my eyes on my own page. It’s harder to do than you think.

Focus more on what you’re saying, more than judging what you’re creating. Well, fuuuuuuuck. But it’s such a true statement. I will judge and judge and judge what I’m working on and ultimately decide it’s not good enough, it’s not as good as this author or that author or those authors over there. Again, if I just keep my eyes on my own work, and get lose in it, I won’t have time to judge myself or compare myself with what someone else is doing.

It all comes down to insecurities. Not being confident. Being scared. Being uncertain. Caring more about what others think or say than what I’m doing, than what I’m trying to say.

And if you’re wondering what this has to do with marketing, well, it has a lot and practically everything to do with marketing. If I don’t market, then more people can’t read what I write, and more people can’t hate it (in my head everyone always hates what I write, whether I love it or not). But is that fair? To me? To readers? Nope. It’s not. It’s not fair at all. So, I need to change it.

In this, I do watch what others are doing. How they’re marketing their books, how they’re getting the word out and I’m just… Paralyzed with fear that I’ll do it wrong, that I won’t deliver, that I will be laughed at, that… You name it, I’ve thought about it happening… Except, success.

All of this, ladies and gentlemen, is insecurity at it’s finest. Fear at it’s finest.

Gary would say, so what if people laugh at your efforts, at least you’re doing something and not just waiting for everyone to happen upon your book.

But what does that mean? What kind of marketing should I do? Ads? Blogs? Blog tours? Bookstagrammers? Email list? Paid promo through marketing sites? Facebook group? Or should I just go on video? Should I just post pics of my book cover? Should I fill up my feed with nothing but my book? I don’t know. Should I do a little of it all? Or do I wait until I have X number of dollars to put into it?

I was writing in my journal today about this, that I’d like a step-by-step guide of do this, then this, then this, and then this. I’d like a blueprint, or one of those diagrams… Did you write a book? Yes or no. And if yes, then do this. And if no, go write one. You know the one’s I’m talking about?

Unless I do something, I won’t know what might work or what might not. Unless I do something, anything, no one will have the chance to know if they like or hate what I write.

I don’t have a lot of author friends. I can’t just turn to a group of writers and ask for help, for shout-outs. Once upon a time, yes. Now, no. It’s up to me to figure it out and fear and insecurity jack me up every damn time. Analysis paralysis. What if…

I suck at marketing. I suck at knowing what I should or shouldn’t do. I don’t suck at writing. I’m pretty fucking good at that, but in this game, that’s not enough.

So, I better figure it out, huh?

 

Lissa

Life, Change, and Writing

In the midst of this pandemic so many lives have been turned upside down. People have been thrust into new ways of living, existing, coping. I haven’t. My life hasn’t changed much because being home, working from home, homeschooling was my life and to a point, still is. The most I’ve struggled with is finding toilet paper and finding focus. The degree of change has varied with each person, with each family.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot because I know there are people struggling with getting anything done at all when the house is full of people, when normal routines have been disrupted, when there’s no certainty when things might go back to some semblance of the way they were. I wish I had some tips and tricks to help others figure out how to navigate this, but the way I did it was to just do it. I didn’t have any other choice. I didn’t have the privacy of a home office the way I do now. I didn’t have the dedicated time to do what I wanted to do. I had to make it or I just had to do it in little swatches of time.

And one thing I learned by doing it the way I did is that I’m a high stress person. I’ll stress about the smallest things and I’ll stress about big things and I’ll stress when something impacts my family and I’ll stress when something may impact my ability to get coffee the way I like it… But I’ve found, in general, that I can actually thrive and make progress when there’s a lot of stress, outward stress, at least. Inward stress and I’m done for. But the outward stress… That’s what I thrive in.

I didn’t always believe that and here is what this post is actually about. I thought having a nearly empty nest, and all sorts of time in a day, and a dedicated home office, and a chore schedule, and pretty much zero interruptions that I would be productive as shit, cranking out books left and right and upside down and right-side up… And well, I was wrong.

I can’t speak for anyone else. There are writers who need that, who need to not be on the verge of pulling their hair out. They need dedicated space and quiet and to be left alone. I get that. For instance, when my books are in editing and when I’m formatting them, I am that writer. But otherwise, I am not. I get distracted and unfocused and even…bored. God, I hate that word. So fucking much. And I’ve tried the schedules. The morning routines. The plan everything. The set my intentions.

Maybe the quiet gets to me. Maybe the walls get to me. I don’t know. But I do miss the chaos of all the things happening and going on.

And there’s definitely a piece of this that is mourning the near empty nest. I am in mourning that my kids are grown and don’t need me as much. I am in mourning that those magical years are over. I am in mourning that a new stage of life is here and I wasn’t emotionally or mentally prepared for it. Sometimes I’m not sure what to do with it all and maybe that’s what most of my struggle is. What do I do with it all? The mourning and the new? I spent so many years working and writing and living one way that I’m not sure how not to work and write and live another way. This is the inner stress. This is upheaval of life as it once was but isn’t anymore and I know a lot of people are going through it, just on the other end.

I worked a job. I homeschooled. I did the cooking and cleaning. I wrote in the wee hours.

Then… I homeschooled. I cooked and cleaned. I wrote in the between times and in the wee hours.

Then… I dropped off and picked up. I cooked and cleaned. I wrote less and less and not in the wee hours.

Then… I wandered aimlessly and the concept of time got skewed in my head.

I miss the chaos. I miss the way things were. I miss being pushed against the walls of all the things that needed to be done.

Now, none of that is to say that chaos is the only thing that helped me or that peace and quiet and time  are the only things that I’ve struggled with. I’ve struggled jealousy. Envy. Compairisonitis. Too many things. Not enough things. Inconsistency. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Humiliation. Embarrassment. Lack of confidence in myself. Lack of belief in my writing and the stories I’m trying to tell. These are all pretty serious things in and of themselves, but put them together and it’s one big fucked up show.

But when there was chaos in my house, when there was normal life in my house, I didn’t have time to think about all those other things that throw wrenches. I could only throw myself into the writing in the windows of time I had at my disposal. I wrote at the kitchen table. On the couch. In bed. At baseball games. At band rehearsals. In the pick-up line at school. In coffee shops. At restaurants. In bookstores. In the middle of the hotel lobby at a conference. Those things worked for me, worked like a fucking charm for me. I can set goals until I’m blue in the face and with the best of intentions and for a couple of days, I’ll get all over them. Then, I’ll fall off. I have time. I can start again later. I can do that tomorrow or next week or whenever. No one is waiting. No one cares. And those things are just fucking lies. People are waiting. People do care. I am waiting. I care.

For a long time now, by this point in the year, I’d have given up already. The goals long forgotten. The planner collecting dust. And I’d be in the… Well, I’ll try again next year frame of mind and beating myself up. I had time. What’s wrong with me? But this year… through the writing of blog posts and journaling and not giving up and plugging along and trying to learn about myself as I am now, as life is now, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t do well with a planner (that post is HERE), and I don’t do well with word count goals (that post is HERE). I need pressure and a little chaos, even if it’s manufactured. And when it comes to my writing, a deadline does that. It gives me an end. It gives me an ultimatum. And I will thrive in that. Telling myself that I need to get to 50,000 words by the end of the month does absolute shit for me. I’ll let the end come and go, and I’ll wave as it passes. Set up a pre-order and have a deadline… Dude, I’ll get that done. I’ve let one lapse over the years, but my mindset game wasn’t strong at all. It’s stronger now. It’s better now. It’s not to be fucked with now.

It’s kind of like when my mom is coming for a visit and my house is a wreck the way it always is… I’ll start off doing little things here and there a few days before she’s due to arrive. Then, the day she is supposed to get here, I’ll talk to her throughout the day to find out where she is and how much longer it’ll be until she pulls into the driveway… When she’s an hour to an hour and a half out, my ass is in high gear and this place is spotless and things are put away and the toilets are cleaned and the floors are mopped and the clothes are hung and the surfaces dusted and the kitchen is gleaming.

The writing for me, with a deadline, is like that. The writing for me, in small pockets of time with all the things going on around me, is like that.

The writing with all the time in the world to get it done, is not like that for me.

The writing with peace and quiet and time, is not like that for me.

It’s probably why I also like and need and have conditioned myself to use a timer when I write. Not blog posts, obviously, but my books, definitely.

Life is a bit of a struggle for me. I’m not ready for all the changes that are here now or that have been coming. I can’t control any of it and I can’t stop it. I can’t make my life go back 10-20 years even though I wish I could. I’m jealous of all the people who are homeschooling now and who have all their kids around because I miss mine. Because I miss those years. And I know some people are jealous of the situation I find myself in…kids pretty much gone and time is now my own. The only things I can control right now is my writing and my output and I’ve not done well with it. I’ve lost a lot of time trying to find what box I fit into now.

How do you cope with changes in life and stress? Does your writing soar or suffer? Let me know. I’m curious. Always.

 

Lissa

 

error: Content is protected !!