Sustaining your writing during stressful times—five:

Purposeful blending of goals and community

It’s another week of staying the course. In the spirit of celebrating small victories, I’m happy with the results thus far. I’ve consistently sat in front of my computer daily to write, market, or both. The first of six stories are up for pre-order and today I received the copy edits for story number two.

I’ve tested my first Facebook Ad and while the results left my mouth dry, I stuck to my budget and learned some tricks to test another Ad which will run in June for two weeks.

The local community I’m part of is growing strong despite changes to the way we meet. Weekly progress reports and goal setting keeps us motivated.

Oh, I’m also getting closer to wrapping up the first draft of book two. For me, this was a busy week. I anticipate a slowdown and wouldn’t mind redirecting Ad creation time back to crafting new words.

As you may have guessed, I’m not just interested in reading the stepladders and forgetting them after a month or two. I want to implement strategies to create lasting change.

For those following along, at the end of each post is a reminder of the stepladders with my goals for achieving success. My hope is that sharing these makes setting goals less daunting. Also, I’d love to know your process. After all, we’re in this together.

Oh fun! A Stick With It exercise. Nope, not weight lifting, although this might feel like it.

  1. Identify the behaviour you want to change.
  2. If you’ll recall, my purpose is to form achievable, measurable habits. More specifically, writing consistently to build my writing.

Read week one

  • Start or join a community.
    • I’m already rooted in two communities because a writing career has many layers. I joined another last week. Each of the communities I chose is focussed in one area:
      1. Writing Romance
      2. Editing
      3. Marketing / Marketing to romance readers
  • Connect with members through sharing, posting, or engaging.
    • I’m getting better at connecting. It’s a work in progress.
  • Take note of the way you engage. The power of social magnets – what keeps you coming back.
    • For me it’s being surrounded by positive vibes.
    • I’ve never felt better than when I decided to blog about topics that impact me. Through comments and private messages, I found that I wasn’t alone.

Week 4

Small steps: Can be accomplished now.

Write daily (no matter the word count). Lots of progress this week. Other parts of writing needed my attention which extended book two’s deadline.

Short term goals: Can be accomplished in one week.

Work on marketing twice per weekWorking on second Facebook ad and new short story cover.

Cover for my steamy Scottish romance brief

Long term goals: one month

Finish book 2I can see the finish line! No dancing yet though.

Dream: three months or more

Publish 1 story a month starting May – October

Publish 6 titles in six months

Works completed:

  1. The Captain’s Lady – first draft, edits, cover, and formatting done. July release
  2. Champion of the Isles – first draft, edits, format, and cover done. August release

What I’m listening to: Smart Author Podcast

Feel good story: 15-Year-old Girl Hailed as ‘Lionhearted’ Hero for Cycling 750 Miles with Injured Father

Sustaining your writing during stressful times—four:

Wow, two months in quarantine went by quickly. I hope everyone is keeping well and haven’t done anything silly.

It’s been a busy month as I try to sink my claws deeper into my writing. I’ve made personal goals to publish six pieces of work in six months and let me tell you, as a slow writer this is challenging. As indie publishers we are responsible for all aspects of publishing, not just writing. There are creative parts that I’m honestly enjoying, like putting a cover together, but I can’t say the same for sifting through tons of images.

I’m also enjoying marketing and learning a great deal about Facebook ads. At some point I will put together cost and ROI for this six-month challenge. I’m all about sharing what works and what doesn’t in hopes that it will help other budget conscious writers. But you’re not here to read my ramblings, you want to see if I’m blowing this challenge!

Sorry to disappoint you. But keep coming back because you just never know when I’ll fall face first!

Sustaining your writing during stressful times

The science of community is the section of Stick With It I’m currently reading. As I’ve mentioned before, a solid supportive community is invaluable. I’m constantly on the move to discover groups I can share with and learn from. Groups that hold me accountable. I’m also willing to bet that that is true for a number of writers, whether you’re new to the business or seasoned.

This section highlights six ingredients essential for a successful community: 

  • Trust 
  • The need to fit in 
  • Self-worth (feeling good about ourselves)
  • Need for a social magnet (team/group elements that keep people participating) 
  • Being rewarded 
  • Empowerment. 

The ingredient that stuck out for me was trust. Not because it is more important, it’s equally so, but it’s the one writers seem to trip over the most.

Even the act of blogging, posting and sharing my words are deeply personal. Some writing, especially topics around love, sex, and romance are particularly intimate and yet wide reaching, given today’s virtually communities.

As a writer and member of a number of groups, I see various degrees of trust discussed. One example is around plagiarism. Another common area of trust is copyright. I’m sure there are many examples and those two only reflect my most common experiences in writing communities. 

I’m curious, in your circle, how did you overcome the issue of trust and how did you know when you were ready to share? There is no question that on many levels in my life, trust has increased my willingness to learn.

  • Personally, the decision to share happened once I identified my dream for my writing. Being published. This will vary for everyone. I learned as much as I could about copyright and I am still learning.
  • In groups meant to improve writing skills, I critiqued before sharing. I was willing to leave groups that were more social in nature. If they didn’t take their writing seriously, why would they take mine?
  • I look for and offer honest feedback based on current skills. Be informative and respectful. No one likes a dick.

Gradually and after many tries, I started becoming comfortable sharing. I attribute this to gaining confidence in myself as a writer and the knowledge I gained. Trust also allowed me to be more receptive of information, weed through the good and the bad to find golden nuggets. If you don’t trust the person giving feedback you will be less likely to use it.

Week 3

Small steps: Can be accomplished now.

Write daily (no matter the word count). Okay, I missed Wednesday, but I totally killed it on Monday.

Short term goals: Can be accomplished in one week.

Work on marketing twice per weekWorking on a Facebook ad and a new cover for a short story.

Long term goals: one month

Finish book 2Added over 5,000 words last week

Dream: three months or more

Publish 1 story a month starting May – October

Publish 6 titles in six months

Works completed:

  1. The Captain’s Lady – first draft, edits, and cover done. Posted: May 2020

What I’m reading: Help! My Facebook Ads Suck: The Wooden Pen Press

Indie Publishing Question:

Q. Should I copyright my work?

A. I’m not a copyright lawyer, however copyright begins the moment a work is created and fixed in a tangible form. In my case, written/typed. A copyright notice should contain:

A. I’m not a copyright lawyer, however copyright begins the moment a work is created and fixed in a tangible form. In my case, written/typed. A copyright notice should contain:

  • the word “copyright”
  • a “c” in a circle (©)
  • the date of publication, and
  • the name of either the author or the owner of all the copyright rights in the published work.
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