That Was Fast

Anyone else feeling like this week went by super fast? Actually, that May itself is just speeding by? Oh, good, so it’s not just me, then.

In my last post I mentioned bullet journaling, and someone asked what it was. It’s basically a method of making a customized day-planner-slash-journal-slash-to-do-list that you can tailor to your needs. This link will take you to the official site by the inventor, but if this topic intrigues you, I suggest looking for bullet journal videos on YouTube. There are some amazing creations out there! Many people like to make theirs a work of art, though you can also use it in a really utilitarian way. I’d say I’m somewhere in the middle.

So, on to the ROW 80 update. Let’s see, what did I accomplish this week?

I had a book signing event on Tuesday, with a couple of other authors. I was invited to participate by a friend who teaches yoga. Each of us talked for about 10 minutes, and my portion seemed to be well received. We had about a dozen attendees. I only sold one book there, but we all get the email addresses of the attendees, so we can follow up with them and ask if they’d like to join our mailing list.

I worked on novel revisions only once this week. It’s going well, though. I just had a very packed-full week. BlackLion and I recorded our bi-weekly podcast, plus a re-do of a short video, and all the raw video for a virtual workshop. So that was good to accomplish. BlackLion is doing the production part, so it’s out of my hands for now, which is also good. I did tweak the marketing copy I’ve been working on, with help from my biz coach. That will be useful in helping us get the word out about our books, videos, and other offerings.

On Thursday and Friday I attended the quarterly business retreat my biz coach offers. There were 20 of us total. “Quarterly business retreat” might sound a bit dry and boring, but it’s actually super fun and amazing. I got so many new insights, offers to collaborate, and concrete plans for the next nine months. It was awesome! Now to implement all of this cool stuff…

This weekend has been full of family time and also some down time to integrate all that I’ve been learning. So I didn’t get to any new writing or revising, but that’s okay. This coming week I’ll have more time to work on the novel revisions. I’m also going to start setting aside regular time for writing copy. It’s such a different way of writing, and one that I want to get better at – I keep telling folks “I can write a whole book, but ask me to summarize it in a paragraph or two and I’m lost!” I figure having more time to practice will help me get better at being succinct (and compelling). And we have a lot of copy to write for our website update, so this will help me stay on top of it.

My daily movement challenge (dancing and hula-hooping) is going well. We had a really hot day on Thursday, and after I got home from the retreat I went swimming outdoors (in a local pond) for the first time this year! It felt so good.

I hope your week is filled with creativity, fun, and sunshine!

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In 14 Days

It’s been 14 days since I last made a ROW 80 update. Not because I’ve been meandering away from my goals. Things have actually been going pretty well. So – what have I accomplished from my goals list in 14 days? Here, in no particular order, are some things I’ve been up to.

  • I met a librarian who wants to carry my books in a local library.
  • I’m all ready for an inspiring discussion and book signing event (with two other local authors and a yoga teacher) on Tuesday evening.
  • I have been working a bit on revisions of my novel, incorporating the feedback I received from my beta-readers. I worked for at least an hour (sometimes more) on 4 of the 14 days.
  • I’m participating in my biz coaching program fully, including calls, online interactions, and an in-person women’s biz dinner.
  • I’m also participating in the Personal Finance Consciousness Circle.
  • I have started a daily “money mindset” activity (whether it’s reading, journaling, or other means of focusing on prosperity).
  • I’ve been using a Bullet Journal since the start of 2017, and I really like it.
  • In terms of BlackLion and I and Feline Dreamers, we’ve made two videos, one of which we’ve shared already and one that’s still in the works.
  • We’ve outlined and planned an online workshop that we’ll be offering very soon.
  • I wrote and posted a Starcat’s Corner blog post.
  • I’ve been plotting a bit, mostly in my head and a few notes in my journal so far, about the next novel, which I’ll be starting during NaNoWriMo.
  • I’m still doing at least 20 minutes of dancing (and some hula hooping) each day (since February 1st, woo hoo!).
  • My spiritual practice is still going well, and I’m celebrating 20 years of continuous daily practice! (No, not always the same exact one – but daily!!).
  • I hosted a fun Full Moon gathering one evening with my Wild Women sisters.

That feels like a lot for 14 days, and it doesn’t even include working at the radio station, household tasks, spending time with family and friends, reading, getting good sleep (which I do, thankfully) and lots of other things. Cool! I didn’t think I’d done that much before writing this list.

I highly recommend you write your own list – wait, you probably do in your regular check-ins. Well, keep it in mind for those times when you aren’t sure you’re getting anywhere. And have a wonderful week of writing!

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A Good (Re)Start

I haven’t written an update in nearly a month! That’s because I wasn’t working on my main writing project at all, and I didn’t want to say so. Heh heh. The good news is that I’m working on it now. “It” being in this case the revisions of my urban fantasy novel Patterns In the Void. Today was my second day of working on them at least an hour each day.

Doing book revisions doesn’t usually bother me at all, with my non-fiction books. But for some reason, I’m making a big deal out of them with this first full-length fiction that I’m getting ready to publish.

Just because I’ve been hiding from book revisions doesn’t mean that I haven’t been doing anything productive, though. I’ve been working on my business and learning new techniques, then implementing them. It’s going pretty well so far.

My physical health changes are going well, too. BlackLion and I just successfully completed a 90-day dance challenge, and we’re starting a new round. Added to this at least 20 minutes a day of movement, we’ve also been getting active outdoors. I’ve been walking (with my dogs), biking, and hula-hooping, and it’s feeling quite good.

The new theme I’ve been working on in my business is centered around one of my passions (and book subjects): daily spiritual practice. My own practice has been going very well. I’m meditating 30 minutes each morning, and also making gratitude lists and writing affirmations. I’ve been reading a really good book about gemstones and crystals and working with some of the rocks that I’ve been collecting over the years.

So, I’m feeling rather on track, if a bit sore-muscled from the outdoor fun. I hope your writing is going well and that you have a terrific rest of the week!

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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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