Spring Has Sprung!

At long last, the weather is springlike here in Maine! Yesterday was a gorgeous sunny warm day. As I write this, it is pouring rain. I love both of these modes. Yesterday was amazing to get out and play in, and today we’re getting some much-needed water for the plants and trees. And it’s not snow!

I’ve gotten a fairly slow start to Round 2. I’ve begun the process of collecting reader feedback for my novel draft. I still have a few readers who are finishing up their reading, and luckily my timetable is quite flexible. So far the feedback I’ve received  is very useful. Everyone liked the story, and all of them had helpful comments for making it better.

My goal around learning has been a big focus this week, with biz classes and readings and more. Today we recorded the first new episode of the PawedCats Podcast, which is something we used to do but set aside. We plan to offer it every other week. My ongoing health and spirituality goals are both going well. Yesterday I did some archery with my daughter, and also some hula-hooping, thanks to the glorious weather.

That’s really all I have to report for now. I hope the rest of your week is full of inspired action!

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A New Round of Writing

I’m so excited about Spring and thus a new ROW 80 Round! Though I’m a bit late posting here, for various reasons. Nonetheless, we had a lot of rain last night, and it helped dissolve a bunch of the snow. The forecast shows warmer temperatures this coming week. And my beta readers have been sending lots of very helpful feedback for my novel. Lots going on here!

Here are my goals for the Round. I’m ready to dive right in!

2017 ROW 80 Round 2 Goals

Promote and sell Heart of the Goddess book. Get the book on Ingram (so bookstores and libraries can order it). Once that’s done, revise my promotion plan. Get more reviews. Do the 100 Review Book Launch course that I already purchased. Look into hiring an agent or virtual assistant to help with ongoing book promotion.

Revise Patterns in the Void and prepare it for publication. Collect all beta reader feedback in one document. Make a revision plan, then implement it. After the revisions are complete, do a proof-reading edit. (Target publication date is July 2017).

Continue my craft, finance, & business learning. Participate in In Arms Coaching program. Read at least 3 books about writing craft and/or making a living as a writer. Participate in Personal Finance Consciousness Circle (PFCC). Finish reading and working through the Barbara Stanny finance book.

Build community for Feline Dreamers. Create and promote podcasts and online workshops. Get 3 new speaking/teaching engagements in front of existing audiences.

Focus on blogging. Post to my Starcat’s Corner blog at least once every other week, Feline Dreamers each month, and on this blog twice per week. Write, edit, and submit monthly guest blog posts for Kind Over Matter. Submit a guest blog proposal to Mike Dooley’s site. Keep a running list of blog post ideas, drafts, and picture ideas.

Spring Hometending. Clear off and de-clutter my desk and filing cabinets. Finish painting the stairwell and put up photos. Work on de-cluttering the basement.

Enhance my physical health. Devote time to daily exercise, including but not limited to walking, yoga, dancing, hula-hooping, and swimming. Stop eating sugar. Eat less in general.

Live my LUMINOUS spiritual daily life. Do things I love: write in my journal, read, do yoga, dance, walk, spend time with loved ones, and express my gratitude. Pay attention to my dreams and keep records of them. Set intentions before sleep and upon waking. Meditate and do my chakra clearing daily. Gather with my sisters on Full Moons.

If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, many of these goals look quite familiar. Still, I’ve been making steady progress on my writing projects and other work. I’m keeping the faith and enjoying my creative time. May you enjoy yours as well!

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Wrapping Up Winter (Please?)

It is still very wintry up here in Maine, which is not unusual for March. It’s disheartening, though, when Spring Equinox has come and gone and we’re still getting snow. I’m having the winter blues in spring! This picture was taken about 10 minutes ago. Yeah.

Well, this is the wrap-up, at least, for Round 1 of ROW 80. So rather than continue to lament how I’m in a funk, I’ll review my goals. Then I get to start setting some new ones for Round 2 – my favorite part. Onward…

2017 ROW 80 Round 1 Goals

Promote and sell Heart of the Goddess book. Set up a timeline and task lists for all the items on my promotion plan. Get more reviews. Order book stock. Get my books in local stores. Do more giveaways and contests. Get the book on Ingram (so bookstores and libraries can order it). I’ve done a little bit of work on this goal, though not as much as I’d wished. I had a timeline, but didn’t really follow it. I did order book stock, and got the books in one local shop. I sold a few books at events. It is selling slowly on Amazon; I have two reviews there. I know I need to bump up my game in regard to book promotion. I want to be able to afford to hire someone to work on this, ideally.

Do revisions of Patterns in the Void and send to beta readers. Use the three-pass system to revise the manuscript, during the month of January. Get initial feedback from my guys in January (using the basic draft, not revised yet) and implement their suggestions in early to mid February. Do other editing as needed in the remainder of February. Get non-family beta readers and send them the manuscript in early March. (Target publication date is July 2017). DONE. I’m very excited about my progress with Patterns in the Void! I’ve made this goal and have begun to receive feedback from my beta readers. It makes me so eager to get to work on the revisions! That will be a fun part of Round 2.

Continue my craft, finance, & business learning. Participate in In Arms Coaching program. Read at least 3 books about writing craft and/or making a living as a writer. Participate in Personal Finance Consciousness Circle (PFCC). Finish reading and working through the Barbara Stanny and Denise Duffield-Thomas finance books. I’ve been participating fully in my coaching program, have finished the Denise Duffield-Thomas book (Get Rich, Lucky Bitch), and have been off-and-on with the PFCC group. Next round I’ll focus on the other items in this list, too.

Build community for Feline Dreamers. Create and promote workshops and other events. Write sermon for UU service. Get 2 new speaking engagements. Make a plan for the debut of our podcast (Spring 2017). The sermon went really well, and I have had a few other speaking gigs (and have more in the works). Some of our community-building events were very poorly attended. We’re now working on new ways to get in front of existing audiences. The podcast is still in planning mode thus far. I’m continuing this goal.

Focus on blogging. Post to my Starcat’s Corner blog at least once per week, Feline Dreamers each month, and on this blog twice per week. Write, edit, and submit monthly guest blog posts for Kind Over Matter. Submit a guest blog proposal to Mike Dooley’s site. Keep a running list of blog post ideas, drafts, and picture ideas. I’ve been doing less blogging than this, but I’m mindful of it. I’ll adjust the goal a bit for the next Round. This is an ongoing one.

Winter Hometending. Clear off and de-clutter my desk and filing cabinets. Finish painting the stairwell and put up photos. Work on de-cluttering the basement. Haven’t really worked much on this goal this winter, other than a bit of re-organizing in my bedroom. To be continued.

Enhance my physical health. Devote time to daily exercise, including but not limited to walking, yoga, dancing, hula-hooping, and swimming. Stop eating sugar. Eat less in general. Since February 1st, I’ve been doing daily dancing, at least 20 minutes per day, and that feels really good. I’ve been starting to focus on better eating habits as well. This will be ongoing.

Live my LUMINOUS spiritual daily life. Do things I love: write in my journal, read, do yoga, dance, walk, spend time with loved ones, and express my gratitude. Pay attention to my dreams and keep records of them. Set intentions before sleep and upon waking. Meditate and do my chakra clearing daily. Gather with my sisters on Full Moons. My spiritual life is going very well. It really supports the learning I’m doing with my writing, revising, and business stuff. Lots of new insights. I’m very thankful for my connection with the Divine.

I hope you’ve had a good Round and are ready for a creative Spring. Blessings!

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A Good Time for Some Introspection

It’s hard to believe that Round 1 is nearly over! But in many ways, it’s good timing for me. I just attended a retreat with my biz coach and 19 other clients of hers. We had to do it as a “virtual” (online) retreat this time, because the blizzard this past week messed with travel. But still, I got a lot out of it. It’s causing me to rethink some of the things I’m doing/planning for my business, and to figure out how those things merge with my biggest goal, which is to make a living as an author.

It’s big stuff, and I’m sure it will work its way into my Round 2 goals. I’m still processing and figuring things out.

In the meantime, I’ve gotten feedback from a couple of my beta readers for my fantasy novel Patterns in the Void, and that’s so super exciting! One reader, a longtime acquaintance of mine, had warned me that she was a tough critic. She sent back her feedback with an admonition to “not freak out!” To the contrary, I’m so thrilled with her thoughtful feedback that I can’t wait to dig into the revisions. I think earlier in my life I might have been discouraged by (even constructive) criticism, but at this point in my writing career it is so valuable. I crave it. I need to wait 3 more weeks to gather more reader feedback, as I gave them until April 10th. But honestly, if I get even 2 or 3 more responses with such useful feedback as this one, I’ll be well on my way to crafting the final draft.

I haven’t been doing as much blogging as I used to. I don’t know if it’s a lull or if I’ve just lost interest. I’ll be re-evaluating as I get ready for Round 2.

Good luck to those who are working on finishing some big projects this week!

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A Big Step and Satisfaction

(The heroine of my novel spins fire – like my daughter!)

Over the weekend, I focused in on my novel draft, Patterns in the Void. I decided not to do any big-scale revisions, but rather to finish the smaller tweaks and get it ready to send out to my advance readers. One reason for this is that I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing in terms of novel revisions. Another was that in some ways, the story seems pretty solid as it is. Emotionally, I bounce between the two poles – this book is incomplete and I don’t know how to fix it versus I think I have a pretty great story here. I’m sure you’ll understand, fellow writers.

On Sunday, I sent a pdf of the draft to a dozen wonderful folks who had volunteered to read it and give their feedback. I felt a bit nervous about it, but I hit “send” anyway.

One of my closest friends read my book draft all in one day, staying up late Sunday night to finish reading. She really enjoyed it! Both of my menfolk have already read the draft as well (they were the advance-advance readers, I guess). So this gives me hope and satisfaction, knowing that I’m at least heading in the right direction.

I look forward to seeing what feedback the other readers share, over the next month or so. Not all of them are close personal friends, which is a good thing. I’ve asked for their honest feedback about the content, and I’m prepared for anything.

I also got invited to be part of a three-author book signing at a local yoga studio in May. I’m very excited about it, as I’ve been wanting to get the word out more about The Heart of the Goddess, but I’ve been feeling resistance to setting up the event. I love that my friend Rebecca had this idea and invited me to be part of it! I’ll probably still do a book signing of my own (or several?), but this is a very good way to get the ball rolling.

We have lots of Feline Dreamers events coming up this month, and of course I’ll have books available for sale at each of those, as well. Things are starting to kick into gear now that the energies of Spring are beginning to flow. I’m so thankful. I hope your week is going wonderfully, as well!

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It’s Been A While

Wow, it’s been a while since I checked in here. Three weeks, to be exact. We have had SO MUCH SNOW in these past few weeks. There’s only one more week left in February, and then we move on to March, which contains Spring Equinox. Notice I didn’t say “that’s when spring arrives” – I live in northern New England, so the snow is likely to persist into April. But at least we’ll begin seeing the signs of a new season approaching.

Things are generally going well. I’m a bit behind on some projects, and ahead on others. I have a lot of revising to do in this last week of the month, because my target is to have my second draft of Patterns In the Void to my beta readers at the beginning of March. Yikes! I think I can, I think I can…

Book promotion and community building are going quite well. I’ve had two unexpected teaching opportunities recently, both on the topic of the Feminine Divine, and they were both fun and inspiring. I love talking and teaching about my passions! It also gets the word out to new potential readers and students. March is going to be very busy with community-building events: we have two workshops, a day-long mini-retreat, and will be helping a friend with a virtual week event. Plus some virtual online chats of our own.

I did some de-cluttering in my bedroom, with more yet to do. I’m dancing every day for exercise, and that feels really awesome! I’ve gotten back to a bit of blogging – not as much as I’d like, but better than none.

I hope your late winter is full of words and stories!

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Forward Momentum, Check!

Well, I’ve certainly got my mojo back! This week has been very productive so far.

My sermon for the Unitarian Universalist church on Sunday, on the topic “The Rise of the Feminine Divine,” went over super well! I got a lot of positive response and feedback. So that’s really empowering. I felt natural up there at the podium. I’m ready to offer the talk to lots of other venues, including more UU churches. That’s exciting.

I’ve been working a bit on revisions for my novel Patterns In the Void. I’ve also secured a DOZEN enthusiastic advance readers! That will certainly keep me accountable and on track to finish my first round of revisions by the end of this month, so I can get the second draft to my new beta readers. Woo hoo!

My book promotion plans for The Heart of the Goddess are moving forward, baby step by baby step. It feels good to have a plan that I can follow, and one that’s not too overwhelming for this introvert – if I had to call a dozen bookstores in one day I’d probably hide under the bed! So I’m not doing it that way. So far, so good. This week so far I’ve asked some folks to write reviews, and set up a Goodreads giveaway.

Last night I finished reading Get Rich, Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas. It was excellent! I got a lot out of it. Very worthwhile. I also watched the recording of a webinar she did, and she’s just fantastic. She’s also a fellow Virgo, which is interesting – is that why I resonate with her so much? Perhaps so.

I’ve also been dancing and doing some great Feline Dreamers biz work with BlackLion and lots of other productive things. In fact, the only area where I’ve really been slacking lately is blogging. In particular, I haven’t posted to my Starcat’s Corner blog for about three weeks. I do have a couple of topic ideas, though, and will hopefully get back to it soon.

Enjoy your week. I hope it’s joyfully productive!

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I’ve Been In the Cave

So after writing last week about how excited I was to get started on my new direction, I kind of crashed and burned. I mean, in terms of being productive. I just couldn’t seem to gather the energy to get started on my new plans, or do much of anything, really.

Over the weekend, in a group of supportive friends, I was able to articulate that I feel like (in my writing and biz life) I’ve been giving and giving and giving – with very little in return. I do love what I do, and would do the writing part whether or not I was compensated, but even so. After a while it wears on the soul.

This week I’ve been working with my biz coach and tribe of women, and I feel like I’m finally back on track. They helped me to see that it’s completely normal, as an entrepreneur, to “hit the wall” and to have to figure out how to keep moving forward. I liked my biz coach’s notion that our failures are simply clues about how to better relate to our audience and clients. I can do this.

I’ve drafted my sermon for this Sunday – that feels really strange to say, as a Pagan priestess – and I’m pleased with how it’s coming along. I’ve been asked to give the service at a local Unitarian Universalist church, where I am part of a women’s group. I’m actually quite excited about it, and I look forward to offering the same sermon to other UU congregations in the future.

I’ve been thinking about my novel draft, though I haven’t done any actual work on it lately. But pondering and musing is definitely part of the process. I’ve been reading a lot, and watching some shows and movies that inspire me. For me, that’s part of the process of being in the creative cave. I need to get re-inspired and to allow myself extra rest and self-care, which I’ve been doing.

If you’re curious, my reading has included book 4 of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (and now I’m on to book 5), Talk Like TED (a book about being a better public speaker, very timely for me), and Cheryl Richardson’s recent book on self-care. I watched the movie The Prestige last night, which is about rival stage magicians in the late 1800s and also has David Bowie playing Tesla. The movie is a really good story, and is also creepy and thought-provoking. I’ve also been watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. We’re near the end of season 3 and it’s wonderful.

So, that’s all I have to report for this week, but I’m actually (really really) back on track now, and should be moving forward toward my goals from here on out. So be it!

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New Directions

After a couple of disappointing responses (in terms of number of participants) lately to some free online workshops we’ve been offering in my business, Feline Dreamers, I’ve been rethinking my goals and directions for 2017. Even though they are similar based on subject matter, I realized I’d kind of been approaching Feline Dreamers and my writing career separately, almost as if I had two businesses. In my coaching program, I’ve mostly focused on Feline Dreamers and the type of things we do – online and in-person workshops and courses, spiritual mentoring, that sort of thing. But my biggest passion is my writing, and in particular getting the word out about the subject of my latest book, The Heart of the Goddess, which is the rise of the Feminine Divine.

Working with my biz coach, who is amazing, I’m discovering that there is a way I can merge the two into one main focus. On the surface, it might look like my stated goals haven’t changed that much. But merging the two is really powerful for me in terms of mindset and approach. I’ll have more to say about this in future posts, I’m sure, but right now it’s still percolating on the back burner. It feels empowering.

This week I started working on revisions for my novel, Patterns In the Void. That feels really good. All of my book stock has now arrived, and so I’m ready for book sales at upcoming events and such.

Other than that, I haven’t taken new actions on my goals. Life has been taken up with my daughter’s birthday weekend, and also I got sick with a cold and have been recovering. But I’m hopeful for more progress during the rest of this week, as I’m feeling better now and much more on track.

Have a productive week!

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Taking Baby Steps

This week I’ve been taking some baby steps toward my goals. For some reason, the whole notion of book promotion feels intimidating. I’m sure my fellow writers can relate. I mean, this is my fourth book, so I’m used to doing certain things to get the word out. But for The Heart of the Goddess, my goal is to expand my readership, in a big way. I’m so passionate about getting it out there into the world, because I think we really need these techniques and this wisdom in our daily lives.

I kept putting off taking action, though, because, it turns out, my tasks were too big. “Work on book promotion plan” is pretty vague. I broke it down to “schedule 5 tasks from book promotion plan.” I chose 5 smaller tasks and put them in my calendar. Today, I was at a local coffee shop which is also a bookstore, and I inquired about having my books for sale there. The “book guy” wasn’t in, but they gave me his email address, and tonight I wrote to him. They accept books on consignment, and they also have regular book signings where several local authors come and do readings and signings. That feels like a really positive step!

Quester has finished reading my Patterns In the Void draft and gave me so great feedback! He also really liked it, which I take as a good sign. He’s a Libra, and is good about giving honest feedback. Plus he enjoys books in this genre (urban fantasy).

I met with my friend who is on the worship committee at the UU church where I’ll be speaking later in the month. The plans for the service are coming along nicely, and I’ve been reading Talk Like Ted (on how to give a good speech) and making notes for the speech.

My books arrived! Well, most of them. I still have one more shipment coming, and then I’ll be fully stocked up for selling books at various events, taking them to local shops, and doing promotional giveaways. What I really need are more reviews…

I guess I’ve done more this week than I thought I had. Those baby steps can add up quickly!

I hope you have a very productive and fun week! I probably won’t check in again until next Wednesday, as this weekend will be very busy with my daughter’s 18th birthday celebration. I can’t believe my youngest is going to be 18! Time flies.

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