It wouldn’t a stretch to suggest I’ve fallen off the face of the earth. I’ve neglected this little piece of internet real estate for far too long. I’ve got a list of excuses but I won’t bore you with them.
Quarter 1 has been stressful and full on. I’ve taken on more responsibility and commitments than I probably should. But these things happen. We move on.
The upside: I’ve finished editing Book # 4 in the Lexi Ryder Crime Thriller Series.
The process has taken much longer than anticipated – lots of procrastinating in between!
It’s so easy to to over edit and ruin a story or never have it published. I’ve reached a point where enough is enough. It’s time to publish and move onto to the next project.
So, Lethal Games is heading to my proofreader and I’ll have the cover reveal and blurb out shortly.
BOOK SALES & GIVEAWAYS
The first book in the Lexi Ryder Crime Thriller Series is currently perma free on Amazon, Kobo & Smashwords.
If you happen to download the book from Smashwords, I apologise but the formatting may be off. I’m in the process of reformatting all three books in the series.
The only marketing that I’ve done is some Twitter posting.
FREE BOOKS DOWNLOADED: 199 BOOK SOLD: 11
FREELANCING & SIDE HUSTLES
As much as I’d love to have time to hustle more and get freelance assignments, I just don’t have the time or the energy. Freelancing hasn’t been a priority.
That’s not to say that I’m giving up.
No, I enjoy writing articles and will submit queries and pitches. I’m just taking the pressure off having to do it. Which means I’m probably more likely to get shit done.
I’ve set a goal to read 78 books this year. It’s been a slow start but here’s some of the books that I’ve enjoyed.
1. The Art of Earning: Because Making Money Should Be Beautiful
2. The End of Me by Tara Brown
3. Kill Me Again by Rachel Abbott
4. Dead City by Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant
5. Dead Simple by Peter James
6. Swiftly Sharpens the Fang by Stuart Kenyon
7. American Sniper by Chris Kyle
8. Nowhere Child by Rachel Abbott
9. The Cleaner by Mark Dawson
10. Reinvent Yourself by James Altucher
11. Zero Sum by Russell Blake
12. Money Master The Game: 7 Simple Steps To Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins
I’m not happy with the look of this place. So over the next few months I’m going to have a redesign.
I want to share with you some awesome indie talent that’s out there and will start featuring indie authors and their books.
GOALS FOR QUARTER 2 (April – June)
1. Publish Lethal Games – Book 4 in the Lexi Ryder Crime Thriller Series 2. Reformat all three books and update on Amazon, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, Smashwords 3. Publish Omnibus – Book 1 – 4 in the Lexi Ryder Crime Thriller Series 4. Start marketing my books through Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads, etc. 5. Rebrand my website 6. Complete draft of my new series – a little horror, a little supernatural, a little forbidden romance. 7. Write and publish my first non-fiction ebook 8. Sell 100 books and giveaway 1000 books 9. Start a monthly newsletter 10. Create a schedule for writing and blogging and stick to it.
How is your year going? Are you meeting your goals for 2017? Have you read any interesting books lately?
The first quarter of 2017 is done and dusted and I’m curious to know where you’re at with your goals, your dreams, your day to day life. Are you living intentionally and enjoying every moment? Are you working to achieving the life of your dreams? Or are you still stuck in a spiral of failure that’s your own doing?
I hope it’s the former.
We’re well into 2017 but I feel like I still haven’t gotten my bearings. The past few months have been everything but consistent.
I make plans. They turn to shit.
I set goals. Obstacles emerge.
It’s frustrating as fuck and driving me crazy.
Consistency is a key to success in anything whether you’re trying to run a marathon, write a novel, grow a business, maintain an awesome relationship, lose weight or save for a house deposit.
Life doesn’t always go according to plan and it’s easy to give up on your dreams arguing that it’s just too hard or not meant to be. Bullshit. It’s you.
Yes, sometimes we draw the shit card. So what? That’s not a reason to fall into a cycle of a zombie like state and waste our life away by living groundhog day and ignoring the fire that burns inside.
HOW TO STAY CONSISTENT?
1. Quit the excuses
Excuses are too easy and too often we let them get in our way of achieving our goals and dreams faster.
Almost anything is possible, if we are willing to put in the effort to get it.
But excuses are debilitating. They lead to unhappiness. Dissatisfaction. Regret. Blame.
None of these are conducive to creating the life of your dreams.
If you don’t feel like doing something, do it anyway, even if it’s just for ten minutes.
Chances are that you’re going to keep going.
And remember, you’re always going to feel better having ticked off the item from your ‘to do’ list then if you made an excuse and put it off for tomorrow.
Just do it. It’ll help keep you consistent.
2. Figure out what you want
What is that you really want out of life? Is it to spend the majority of your life stuck in a cubicle making someone else rich?
Or maybe you’d prefer to travel the world, get up early or stay up late, spend more time with the kids, or just your dog without having someone else dictate your worth?
Maybe you like working but have always wanted a different career that offers flexibility and allows you to look forward to Mondays?
Once you can clearly see what it is that tickles you fancy, it’s going to be much easier to stay consistent and turn your dream life into reality.
3. Set clear goals with an action plan
Consistency requires that you have goals and action steps in place.
It’s easy to say, ‘I want so and so, but much harder to achieve if you don’t have a plan.
So many people say, I’m going to write a book or I’m going to lose fifteen kilograms or I want to travel the world.
The problem is they don’t make it a goal, they don’t create action steps that will ensure they will meet their objectives.
Writing a book for example is simple.
It’s not easy.
Once you’ve come up with your story kernel you have to keep your reader entertained for about 80,000 words through conversations, action scenes, recoveries, ups and downs before drawing them to a satisfying conclusion.
But you can do it.
“When asked, “How do you write?” I invariably answer, “One word at a time,” and the answer is invariably dismissed. But that is all it is. It sounds too simple to be true, but consider the Great Wall of China, if you will: one stone at a time, man. That’s all. One stone at a time. But I’ve read you can see that motherfucker from space without a telescope.”
― Stephen King
One word at a time as Stephen King would put it.
Start with one word. One sentence. One paragraph. One page.
Write a page a day and you’ll have a novel by the end of the year.
Write 2500 words a day and you’ll have a book by the end of the month.
Simple, isn’t it?
And it all comes down to consistency.
4. Make it a habit
Do anything for long enough and it’ll be come a habit.
Through consistent behaviour humans are capable of transforming themselves from fat slobs to fitness fanatics, from bankruptcies to riches, from dreamers to individuals living out the ‘impossible’.
But habits and consistency take effort.
Most of us are more likely to sway towards taking the easy route. Humans don’t like pain. Pain hurts.
But there are a few of us who are willing to push through. Push past the barriers. Jump over the hurdles, and achieve our wildest dreams.
We’re all capable of it, but we’re not all going to do it.
Which group are you going to fall into?
5. Don’t rush
Success in life isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon.
If we rush certain things, we increase the chances of mistakes that can hinder our progress and results.
You’re not going to train for a marathon in a week if you’ve never run more than 100m chasing the bus of a morning.
You’ll start slow. Aim for running 1km. Then 5km. Then 10km. Then 20k. Finally you might consider the long one.
It might take you six months, it might take you two years.
It doesn’t matter.
The journey matters as much as the destination, sometimes even more so.
Stay consistent and you’ll enjoy the journey and reach a much sweeter destination.
6. Take responsibility
Your life. Your doing.
We get to a point in our lives where our choice have long-term consequences. It’s when we start blaming others for our problems that shit hits the fan and life doesn’t go to plan.
To be successful in whatever you’re doing is to take responsibility for the good and the bad. That means owning up not just to your success but also to your failures and then working towards self improvement every single day.
The only person responsible for not having the life you want is you.
You make consistent choices every day. These choices come with ramifications.
If you’re consistent with turning up late for work every day, well it shouldn’t be a surprise if your boss gives you a final warning.
If you’re consistent with sitting on the couch watching three hours of television each night whilst binging on a box of biscuits, it’s no wonder you can’t do up the top button of your jeans.
If you’re consistent with picking up after yourself then you know that your home is always going to be clean.
If you’re consistent with your savings, it shouldn’t be a surprise when your bank account hits six figures.
Work towards your goals, whatever they may be, with consistent effort and you will get there sooner rather than later. One day you will wake up and realise you have created your own success. Go out and celebrate.
HOW AM I GOING TO STAY CONSISTENT IN 2017?
So this year I’m focusing on consistency. There are three things that are important to me and I want to continue to improve on:
Books Blogging Training (Running, Cycling, Swimming)
The only way to be successful at anything is to be consistent with your efforts.
My goal is to eventually be a full-time author. Consistency means working on my books every day. This includes writing, editing, research and brainstorming.
I enjoy blogging. Maybe it’s the instant gratification thing. I’m going to aim for two blog posts per week. Stay tuned!
Training is important to me. I love taking part in triathlons and running events. This year I’m aiming to compete in a few. So, in order to achieve this I need to be consistent with my training. That means 5-10 hours of training per week. No excuses.
Consistency is key.
HOW DO YOU STAY CONSISTENT? WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO GET CLOSER TO LIVING LIFE ON YOUR TERMS?
It’s a piece of software made especially for writers. Scrivener has been around for some time now and it can change your writing forever. You can check out a post I did here about how Scrivener improved my writing and made me more productive.
I use Scrivener every day for both my fiction and non-fiction and I’m still learning all the awesome functionalities available. Here are just some of the awesome capabilities the software has and it’s just scratching at the surface.
1 – Project Targets
I love numbers. So when I write I like to track what I’m doing. Scrivener has a Projects Target box where you can set the amount of words you want to write in your project (novel, non-fiction book, article, blog post, essay, etc), as well as a session target. The bar changes colour from a red to a green the closer you get to your target number of words.
While this can be distracting for some it’s motivating for others. The box doesn’t have to be open you can check it from time to time without having to look at it constantly too.
This function is especially useful if you’re doing NANOWRIMO and need to keep track of your words or you simply have a goal to achieve each day. I’ve been testing myself by aiming to write 100 words between each train station on the way to work. I generally surpass it (there’s 3-5 minutes between stations).
2 – Project Statistics
Gives you the stats about your entire project within the file. You can change certain parameters but it tells you the things you want to know about your project.
3 – Text Statistics
I only discovered this function recently and it’s helping me become a better writer.
I can see which words are being used more often than others in a chapter which can reduce the risk of repetition. It’s perfect for checking how many passive words you use and choosing alternatives.
To keep readers engaged it’s important to write in an active voice and avoid using ‘was’, ‘been’, ‘had’, especially when writing a novel.
But when you’re rushing through a scene it’s easy to get lazy.
Checking out your word frequency and ensuring that you use a variety of words and avoid passive language as much as possible will make your writing stronger and more pleasant to read.
4 – The Binder
The layout of Scrivener is visually appealing. While you can have just the writing screen open, I like having the binder and the comments section available at all times.
The binder allows me to organise my writing. I use it for writing fiction (three books using the software so far, and I’m still learning about its abilities), as well as non-fiction.
I use folders to separate the different non-fiction projects. I have this blog, as well as a personal finance blog and I’m working on an e-course and a non-fiction book for writers. If I get stuck on one project I move on to the next and because the binder is right there, I can move from one to the other without a hitch or wasting time searching through folders.
When writing a fiction novel, it’s easier to reorganise chapters without having to go through cutting and pasting. And sometimes reorganisation is a necessity.
5 – It’s all in one spot – research, writing, notes
When you write you want to have your research and notes all in one spot. Scrivener allows you to do that.
I use the comments section quite often to ensure that instead of starting and stopping with me writing I just put in a comment to check a resource, find an answer to a question, do some extra research, etc.
6 – Helps me stay organised
As mentioned above, organisation is important for a writer.
Time is limited and often we need more of it.
The less time you spend looking for things and shuffling through your work the more words you can get down on paper.
There’s no scrolling and searching. Everything is neatly set out. You can jump from chapter to chapter, scene to scene, and not get lost. The only thing you do get lost in is the world that you’re creating!
7 – Formatting for Kindle and epub
Formatting can be a pain in the backside. With my first novel I actually paid someone to do the formatting for me. Which is fine. You can find businesses that will format your book for you and charge you anywhere from $100+ for their efforts.
Scrivener can do it for you without charging you any extra than what you paid for it. Once you buy the software (only $45US). It’s yours to use forever and it’s available for Mac and Windows and now even the IPhone and IPad. Awesome.
You can compile your document and export it to Kindle, epub, print, novel format, draft format and several others. You do need to fiddle with the options to get what you want the first time you do it but then with each book after you know exactly which settings to use and you don’t need to be spending a hundred or more dollars on getting your book formatted. It works for fiction and non-fiction.
8 – You can Import files from your computer and the internet
Scrivener allows you import files from your computer and the world-wide web. Did you find a piece of research that you want to use in your next book? Fantastic, you can save it to Scrivener so you don’t have to waste time searching for it again and having to open extra screens.
How about pictures?
Scrivener will hold your images for you too.
If you’re writing a novel you might have a section for your characters. You can find a picture that resembles the character in your story and add it in. The same goes for your setting.
9 – It saves your work automatically
Are you paranoid about losing your work? Scrivener automatically saves your work eery few seconds which is great for writers who forget to click save regularly.
When you hit delete. The work goes into the trash but it’s never completely deleted until you go in and empty the trash can. That means if you accidentally delete an article or chapter you can retrieve it.
10 – It has a useful corkboard
The corkboard is useful for organisation and giving a visual of what you’re writing. You can quickly outline your chapters with just a sentence or a few paragraphs. Then once the story is set you can add more details.
I used the corkboard to outline my next book within an hour on the commute to work. It’s the e-version of using cards.
As you can see I’m a huge fan of Scrivener. I’ve been using it for about three years now and it’s been integral to my productivity and efficiency. If anyone asks about it, I’m ready to scream at the top of my lungs, ‘Get Scrivener!!!’ Just get it, you won’t regret it.
If you want to try Scrivener you can do so at no cost for 30 non-consecutive days. What business offers that sort of trial? I haven’t heard of many. It took me more than a year to use up my free trial. I was procrastinating over $45. But as soon as I realised what I could achieve with the software it was the best money I have spent for my writing career.
Need a crash course in using Scrivener to save you time and get you writing ASAP? Check out this course, Learn Scrivener Fast.
Yesterday’s gone, tomorrow doesn’t exist and right now is all there is.
Yes, I’ve heard it too. But it doesn’t stop me from looking back over the past twelve months and thinking about what I want to do next year.
On a success scale of 1 to 10, where one is complete failure to ten being an epic success, I’d rate 2016 about a 6.
Am I being fair? I’m not sure. But here are just a few of the things I achieved.
✓ Started a new position with the same company at a higher pay
✓ Published Lethal Instincts – a prequel novella
✓ Published Lethal Aftershock – a sequel novella
✓ Drafted Lethal Games – book 4 in the Lexi Ryder series
✓ Ran the Mother’s Day Classic 8km
✓ Spent a week in Fiji
✓ Ran the Fiji 5km and came 3rd female (awesome!)
✓ Spent a week in Hawaii (epic!)
✓ Increased my social calendar activities by saying YES more often
✓ Started construction on the house (sort of)
✓ 15 Email Subscribers
✓ Sold 98 books
✓ Gave away over 1,596 books
But I don’t feel successful. I don’t even feel happy. It’s been an emotionally turbulent year and I’m working on getting all my ducks in a row. The most important is my family’s health and the rest will slowly fall into place.
Deep inside I’m feeling like a failure and that sucks big time.
I need to shift gears. Stop taking so much on and focus on the little things more.
In 2017, I don’t want to work harder. I want to work smarter. I also need to be grateful for the little things.
I’ve been meaning to write and publish this post for the past week. Call it laziness, call it procrastination, call it whatever you want but I haven’t been able to get motivated to do much writing at all lately.
Then it hit me: motivation isn’t going to come knocking on my door. I need to seek the motivation to keep me going forward with my dreams, with my goals, with the habits I’m chasing.
It’s up to me to make a change. Just the same as it’s up to you to create change, joy and excitement in your own life.
Imagine December 31st 2017, what are some of the goals you want to be ticking off your list? What’s important to you? How hard are you willing to work for what you want? Is 2017 going to be the year that you achieve your wildest dreams?
Do you find yourself setting the same goals each year?
Hmm, me too. I’ve noticed that my productivity wavers between the years. One year I’m all about hard work and achieving lots and then the next year is just a downer. It’s weird and frustrating and has to stop.
But I do have to learn to take it easy sometimes. Which is why this morning I spent two hours lying a blanket under a tree by the beach after dropping my son off at kindy then I treated myself to a nice lunch while I wrote and thought about what I want to achieve in 2017.
When you consider your goals you need to think about the following:
Do you really want it?
How hard are you willing to work for it?
What’s your plan for achieving them?
Are the goals difficult but realistic?
Can you break them down into bite-sized pieces?
MY 2017 GOALS
1) Start and finish the construction of my house.
That should finally start mid January and hopefully be completed by August. Fingers crossed. All the finance and paperwork and contracts are organised so it’s just a matter of the builder getting started.
By 31 December 2017 I’m living in my newly built home with my husband and son, and I’ve done up an awesome home office full of inspiration for writing.
2) Write and publish three fiction books and one non-fiction book (that’s 4 books in 2017).
There are four quarters in the year so one book per quarter. I can write a book a month, then spend a month editing and the third month preparing for publication. Ok, I’m being super optimistic here!
By 31 December 2017 I have seven books on the market which are selling, getting positive reviews and bringing me at least $1000 in side income each month.
3) Complete the 70.3 Ironman in Ballarat in under 6 hours.
This race is in December. I’ve did a 70.3 before I had my son and I’d like to do it again but giving myself a year to prepare rather than just the five months I had previously. There will also be a few fun runs and a half marathon (maybe a full) somewhere in the middle – signing up for these events keeps me motivated to train.
By 31 December 2017 I’ve trained hard all year, injury-free, and am comfortably finishing the 70.3 in under 6 hours with the bike leg under 3.2 hrs and the run leg under 2 hrs with my family watching on the sidelines cheering me on.
4) Earn $25,000 from freelancing, blogging, books and side hustles.
That equates to $2500 per month. While this figure won’t allow me to quit my job and work for myself it will help me reduce my mortgage and give me funds to travel.
By 31 December 2017 I have two websites that are getting 15,000+ views per month and are earning me an income through affiliate marketing, sponsored posts and products sales.
5) Travel to three new places this year.
The places on my mind are New Zealand, Barossa Valley and Tasmania. Earning extra side income will help me achieve this. The places aren’t set in stone though, I’ll be looking for specials throughout the year.
By 31 December 2017 I have spent a weekend at the Barossa Valley in April, followed by a week in Tasmania in July, and a long weekend in October in New Zealand.
6) Increase my personal savings to $15,000+.
While the mortgage is priority, I’d like to have cash sitting on the side as a safety net.
By 31 December 2017 I’m saving at least 15% of my income from each pay which has been automated as well as putting aside at least 50% of my side hustle income.
7) Read at least 78 books in 2017 of which 26 are non-fiction.
By 31 December 2017 I’m averaging about 1.5 books per week and getting through my Goodreads ‘want to read’ bookshelf.
8) Become a better writer
By 31 December 2017, I’ve developed good writing habits, I’ve challenged myself within different genres and styles of writing. I’m expanding my vocabulary and I’m constantly pushing my abilities to continue to grow as a writer.
These are just 8 of my goals for the year that will be conducive to my happiness and satisfaction. I’m being challenged physically and mentally providing me with the balance I crave.
How do you envision your 2017 turning out? What goals have you set for yourself? What are you going to achieve them?
Happy Friday! I can’t believe it’s Friday already. I swear the end of the work week rolls around faster and faster each week as we draw closer to December.
Did you know it’s just over eight weeks till Christmas?
Yes, it catches me by surprise every year. Worse now that I’m older and a mum.
I’ve been feeling a bit blah about my writing and everything in life the past week. It’s been a busy busy one as usual and instead of keeping up with writing articles and publishing them Monday to Friday, I’ve been reading them.
And I haven’t done a Friday Link Love in a while.
So cheers to Friday and here’s a few interesting posts I’ve caught up on this week that you might love to add to your ‘to read’ list this week!
Being Authentic Matters at Horkey Handbook
Authenticity is hard to find, especially on the Internet. Gina talks about the ups and downs of freelancing and business and her honesty is refreshing. We should all stay authentic to ourselves and maybe then we’d all be closer to living our dreams.
Make Money Blogging: Lessons From 10 Successful Bloggers at Money Can Buy Me Happiness
Some great tips and ideas for making money blogging from experienced bloggers at various levels. I have a weakness for personal finance websites. I love reading them and writing them (have had one I write anonymously on).