Posted in writer life

Self-Care for Authors

The term self-care didn’t exist when I was growing up. At least, nobody ever talked about it. I actually got an “I’m Third” award at a church camp for putting everyone else before myself. While serving others is good, there is a point that it turns into a detriment.

If you don’t care for yourself, you can’t take care of others.

Refilling your creative well is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot in the author community. I’ve touched on it before when discussing getting space from your work and vacationing. There is a reason this theme is preached with such rigor.

An author that is physically and mentally drained cannot create. 

While self-care looks different for everyone, I have found two primary themes prevailing over the landscape.

Simplify your life

Remove as many of the things that cause you stress as possible. That may require planning or purging, but the more “clutter” you can get out of your life, the less there will be to hold you down.

Reward yourself

You work hard. It’s okay to give yourself a little break. Eat some cake. Take a quick nap. Get a massage. Whatever that reward is for you, give yourself something to look forward to at the end of a grueling task.

Having your mind and body in top shape gives you more energy and makes finding motivation easier. When an author finds themself in a bad place in these areas, crafting stories can be nearly impossible.

Take a few minutes to check in with yourself and see if self-care needs to be put back on the menu.

Not sure where to start? Take a look at these articles for a few ideas.

For me, it’s spending time resting. Lying on the couch with a good sheet mask and a cat to snuggle helps me recharge. What practices do you use to keep yourself in a space that is perfect to let your creative juices flow?

Posted in writer life, writing advice

Setback or Comeback

Have you ever noticed that everything seems to go differently than planned? You research, build the most beautiful color-coded spreadsheet, and then an unforeseen variable knocks it out of alignment. Setbacks can stop us dead in our tracks or motivate us to achieve new heights.

According to Psychology Today, less than 20% of people successfully reach a goal on the first try. That’s a pretty low number. So what happens to the other 80%? How do they find the motivation to keep going?

Feel the feels

Missing a goal sucks. You’re allowed to be disappointed. Eat that box of Girl Scout cookies. Binge-watch your favorite TV show for the millionth time. Give yourself one night to indulge in the feelings. It’s how you know it was important to you.

Learn from it

Step back and evaluate what went wrong. What caused you to miss the mark? Did you forget to do something? Underestimate the time it would take? Look at it as a learning opportunity. Find where you misstepped so you can do better next time.

Do it again

If at first you don’t succeed… Just because it didn’t work last time doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It means you need to change your approach. Take the things you learned from the previous attempt and do it again. Success is measured in tiny increments. We may only notice the final result, but the little steps along the way make those big shiny moments of awe possible.

Every setback is a setup for a comeback. Look at it as a learning opportunity to rise above the fray and become better than you were before. This is the start of your comeback story. And who doesn’t love those?

Posted in writer life

Take A Break: Even Writers Need A Vacation

I’m the type of person who gives 110% to everything I do. It’s allowed me to accomplish some amazing things. The downside is that I hardly ever stop to take a break, running from one activity to the next with little time to recharge. That has been my pattern for most of my life. 

 Recently, I took my first vacation. Hold your applause. It’s awesome. I know. My BFF and I set off on a week-long Disney cruise. Sun, sand, food, and more relaxation than my little body could handle. I turned off all my phone notifications and let the world fall away. In a word, heaven.

 I’d been so focused on my goals that I hadn’t realized how burnt out I’d become. Everything was focused on the next benchmark. Accomplishing the next goal. I knew I didn’t feel like writing. The thought of going over editor notes when I got back was paramount to torture. I could only see myself enjoying examining the back of my eyelids. That feeling vanished after I took the time to take care of myself.

 Coming back to the real world, I was ready to tackle it all. I’d written about five pages of brainstorming ideas for my next novel while on the ship. I raced for my inbox to see if my editor had sent my manuscript back yet. I was ready. I went from dreading publication this fall to looking forward to it.

 This brought me to one conclusion. Taking a break is every bit as important as putting in the work.

 I’d heard many things about the importance of self-care and refilling your creative well, but I didn’t get it until now. I knew it was something I needed to do. I just didn’t realize how low the water had gotten.

 If you’re feeling the burn and can barely look at your computer without envisioning setting it ablaze, consider this your invitation to put it all away. Unplug for a few days and let your mind rest. Not switch tasks. Rest. The way you will feel when it is over is beyond any sense of accomplishment you will get from trying to push through with your tank on empty. Believe me. It will be worth it.

Posted in writer life

Word of the Year 2023

As the earth starts another trip around the sun, (yes I forgot to post before going on vacation) people around the world set resolutions for the new year. I am not one of them. Goals are great, but there is something about a resolution that feels more like lip service than an actual goal to me. That’s why I adopted a “word of the year.”

This idea came from the brilliant Brynn Donovan. I ran across her blog five years ago when I began researching writing techniques and the publishing process. I have followed her ever since. One of her posts talked about selecting a single word to highlight her intention and focus for the year, and I loved it!

I’ve been choosing a word for the year for a few years. Writing that word on a notecard and posting it somewhere I will see each day has done wonders. It reminds me of what I want to accomplish and redirects my focus when I drift too far off course. This year, I chose the word imperfection.

Now, before you all race to the comment section and launch into a million and one reasons why that is the worst motivator ever, hear me out.

2023 is going to be a year of major change for me. Those of you that subscribe to my newsletter know what I’m talking about. Things are coming down the pipe that will turn my world upside down. While I’m excited about them, I know they will come with a huge learning curve. Feeling out of control or unprepared drives me nuts. I want to get everything right the first time, no questions asked. In fact, I’m such a perfectionist that my mom once got me a shirt with “Prefectionist” on it. No kidding. People who know me know how much I like my control. All of that will have to go out the window this year.

Choosing imperfection as my word reminds me to let go and let life happen. I don’t have to be the absolute best at everything. The house doesn’t have to be white-glove clean every day. Meals that come from my kitchen don’t have to be Michelin star masterpieces. As long as I and anyone else in my care finish the day on this side of the dirt, it’s a win.

Setting intentions and picking a word to embody them is a powerful exercise. I encourage you to take some time to think about what you want to manifest in your life this year and pick a word to remind you what you’re working toward.

Leave a comment below to let me know what your word is so I can cheer you on. I can’t wait to see what we all accomplish in the new year.

Posted in resources, writer life, writing advice

Community Connections

Everybody needs people. Introverts, hold your horses. I know what you’re thinking. “No, I don’t. Introverts don’t need people.” I beg to differ. We all need a community that can rally around us and support us in reaching our goals. This is especially true for writers.

While writing is a solo activity, writers can’t succeed in a vacuum. We need people around us to support us in our journey. I don’t care if it is your first book or your thousandth. Having a group of fellow writers that can talk you off a ledge or help you work through the story issues causing chaos in your brain will get you a lot farther, a lot faster than trying to slog through it all on your own.

Writing communities are also a great place to find beta readers and street team members. We need people we can rely on to help us out. I can’t tell you the number of times someone signed up to be a beta reader or help promote my book and didn’t follow through, but do you know who has always followed through for me? Other writers.

We are all in the same boat. We understand how important these things are and will help each other reach our goals.

Fellow authors are fantastic resources. By networking with other writers, you can learn about the latest trends in your genre, best marketing practices, and much more. 

The hardest part about a writing community is finding one, and even that isn’t difficult. Facebook has a wide variety of reader and writer groups. Doing a quick search will yield more results than you can shake a stick at. Look around and see if you find one that sounds right. And remember, just because you join doesn’t mean you have to stay there. Finding the right writing group is like finding the perfect pair of pants. Sometimes you have to live in them for a while before you find the right fit.

NaNoWriMo is another excellent way to find fellow writers. While the event may only be one month out of the year, several groups continue to interact all year long. They even offer home region groups that can meet in person if you do better with face-to-face interaction.

Speaking of face-to-face, don’t forget to check with your local library. See if yours has a writing group. Or even a book club. Telling an avid reader you are working on a novel and would like their feedback is like dangling a seal in front of a Great White. They will jump at the chance to be a part of the process. 

There’s nothing quite like a kick-ass writing community to help you achieve your goals. They offer insight and feedback. They encourage you when you’re down, and they will party like there is no tomorrow when you get it right. Step out on a limb and connect with a community of your own. It is well worth it.

Posted in resources, writer life, writing advice

Lessons Learned: Book Signing Events

One of the many things I never thought I’d have to do when I decided to become an author was public speaking. My mentality was that book signings are only for big-name authors. Nobody is going to want a signed copy from a debut indy author. They only want best-sellers. Boy, was I wrong.

I recently did a book signing at a public library near where I grew up. I loved every minute of it, but there were a few things I could have been better prepared for. Here are a few takeaways I have after being a part of my first author event.

People love signed books. I thought that since this event was in such a small town, I wouldn’t need very many books. The library was packed to the gills. I could have sold twice as many books if I’d had them. Next time, I’ll double the number of books I take. Turning people away because you are out of books is a terrible feeling.

I’m a prepper. I spent time reviewing interview transcripts from authors I follow to try and see what kind of questions I would have to answer. I wasn’t prepared for the questions about me and my life. People find it fascinating that you were able to write a book and want to know about you. Not just your work.

Everybody loves free stuff. Having a few free giveaways on your table is a must. This will help people find your book later if you run out, and it helps promote your brand. Just be sure you tell people you have it before they start coming up. The transition from Q&A to signing was so fast that I forgot to tell people I had bookmarks and pens they could have for free until they got up to the table. It does no good to have swag if nobody knows to take it.

I feel like this one should have been obvious, but I totally forgot it. I introduced myself and gave a bit of my background, but it took somebody asking me what my book was about for me to give the synopsis. Embarrassing, I know. Maybe lead with that one next time.

Author events are a fun way to get your book in front of readers and interact with them. While no two events are the same, it’s always good to cover the basics. Do some prep work ahead of time to be prepared when that inevitable curveball arrives.

Posted in writer life

Two for ’22

I know I’m a little late on this one, but New Year’s resolutions aren’t my thing. While I’m a big goals setter, I feel like waiting for the end of the year to decide to change something is a waste of time. That doesn’t mean that I don’t set goals for the new year. I do, but they are usually smaller pieces of a larger goal.

That being said, I set two main writing goals for 2022.

1. Complete content edit

Some of the edits for my first novel, Batter Days, came down to the wire. This made an already stressful situation a supernova of nerves and angst. I don’t want to live through that again. So I’m proactively setting early deadlines for myself to avoid it. One of the biggest pieces of this is the content edit.

A content edit is where a professional editor sits down and tells you where all the problems are in your novel. For me, this comes after my self-edits and beta reading edits. It’s the first time an editor will see my work and will likely be the most labor-intensive of my professional edits. Once complete, the story should be more or less set with only a good prose polishing needed.

2. Hold three author events/sales

Events are going to be a big part of my strategy moving forward. I want to spend time talking to readers. Maybe even hand out some free swag. Building a relationship with your audience is a sure-fire way to get your book in their hands. That’s why I plan on doing no less than three events this year. 

I already have one on set, a book signing at a library near where I grew up. The rest are still in the embryo stage. Getting through this first event will help me understand what I need to make future events more successful.

I’m curious. What are your goals for 2022? Did you make any? Better yet, what’s your game plan for getting there?

Posted in writer life, writing advice

Giving Up vs Getting Smart

I think we’ve all heard the phrase “don’t be a quitter” at some point in our lives. Giving up has this negative connotation attached to it that I tend to agree with. Throwing your hands up in the air and saying “ta hell with it” because something is difficult is never the way to go. But what if you want to explore another path to the same destination?

That’s what I ran into with NaNoWriMo this year. The traditional goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. I decided to go non-traditional and set a goal of finishing my first round of rewrites on the manuscript I won NaNo with last year.

It was going to be a heavy lift. I had to remove a POV, add a subplot, and fix a litany of general storytelling issues. The plan was to take the detailed notes I’d compiled during the drafting process and edit as I went. I knew the story well enough to start at the top and make the needed changes as I read through it. At least, that’s what I thought.

A week and a half into NaNo, I realized I was creating more problems than I was fixing. So I had two options; press on to win NaNo and fix it all later, or stop and take everything back to outline to get it right the first time.

I’m very goal-driven. The thought of not reaching a goal is crushing to me, so the idea that I wouldn’t win NaNo was devastating. I reached out to a fellow author friend of mine for advice, and they pointed something out to me. The only reason I was hesitating was NaNo. Not getting through the first rewrite in November wouldn’t impact my publishing timeline. In fact, forcing myself to keep going could do more harm than good because of the additional rounds of self-editing I would need. I wasn’t giving up; I was getting smart.

They were right. Not reaching my goal, while unpleasant, didn’t mean I was a quitter. It meant I was learning more about my writing process and what works best. 

I learned that pantsing of any variety doesn’t work for me. Stopping a process that is not working in favor of a new one, does not mean you quit. It means you learned and adapted. As long as I keep working on my manuscript, I’m not a failure.

Changing course is not giving up. It’s allowing yourself to find the most direct route to your ultimate goal.

Posted in writer life, writing advice

Lessons From Life’s Curveballs

You look at the calendar and see a date circled in big red ink. It’s the moment you’ve been working towards. You’ve dreamed of this moment for as long as you can remember. Your lips curl into the barest hint of a smile. The day is finally here, but it’s not what you expected. Your smile falls along with your spirits as your dreamed of publication date passes you by.

I know this feeling all too well. My original plan was to publish Batter Days in Fall 2020. As you can see, that clearly didn’t happen. A house fire in January 2019 left my childhood home in ashes and my parents homeless. I spent the next five months driving three and a half hours one way every weekend to help them rebuild. That, along with a litany of other unforeseen issues, left me running on little more than fumes. Rewrites took twice as long as I’d expected. Then 2020 happened. Do I really need to go into details? After all of that, this year kicked off with my editor falling through and having to start the search all over again. 

Life has gotten in the way more times than I can count with publishing my debut novel. I’ve had to push things back and rework timelines over and over again. It sucks! There’s no two ways about it, but dealing with these delays has taught me some valuable life lessons.


Writing is important. Every writer understands that, but there are going to be times in your life that it will have to take a back seat. That’s okay. It doesn’t mean writing isn’t important. Stepping back to take care of family, your mental and physical health, or whatever else may go on is okay. Spend a little time being honest with yourself. Look at what is in front of you and decide what is most important at that moment. It doesn’t mean you’ll be in the same spot forever. Give yourself some grace and focus on what you need most right now. The writing will be there when you come back.


I’m a very goal driven person. Always have been. You put a target in front of me, and I am going to go all out until I hit it. Goals are phenomenal. I’ll be the first person to tell you that, but if I have learned anything in the last few years, it’s this: there comes a time in everyone’s life where you have to adjust your goals in order to better yourself, take care of family, and live a life you can be proud of. Adjusting a goal does not mean you failed. It means you recognize your current situation and reframe your focus. For me, that was pushing back publication. The stress and strain of my self-imposed deadline was detrimental to my mental health. Rather than letting myself wallow in shame for missing my mark, I adjusted my goal so that I could continue to move forward.


This sounds simple. Breathing is automatic. No conscious thought is required for each inhale and exhale, but the breathing I’m talking about is not a simple expansion and contraction of the lungs. I’m talking about taking a moment to center yourself. We get so wrapped up in everything that is going on and what we need to do that we often forget how important it is to just breath. Take a moment. Relax. Regroup. Then get back out there and work to get it done.

Dealing with delays sucks. Having anything in your life derailed is never fun, but if you can take a moment evaluate what is happening and take a step towards a more advantageous future overall, then you’ll always come out a winner.