Captain’s Quarters: January Writing Update

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+J.M.J.+

Well, here I am. It’s 2017, and we’re already halfway through January. But I still wanted to post my goals for this month, and some annual goals that I’ve come up with. Maybe you have similar goals, or have goals of your own that you’d like to share. Feel free to share in the comments below!

MONTHLY GOALS

  •  I’m part of a wonderful group of writers called the 365 Club. It’s all about forming a habit of writing every. single. day. during the year. My daily word count I want to try to hit each day is around 300, which is relatively easy provided I buckle down and do it. That’s a little over a page, so very much doable, even if I don’t have much time to write. So far, I’ve had a couple of off days, but I’ve also had some great days that will make my daily average pretty high if I keep going steady.
  • I’m also participating in Writing.com’s 30-Day Blogging Challenge this month. The challenge is to write a blog post, every day, on time, in response to the daily prompts that are mailed out through the site’s email system. So far, the prompts have been pretty fun to respond to. Some days I only write a paragraph or two, but other days, I feel like I’ve typed my hands off and come up with several hundred words of a response. Today, we get to talk about music: whether or not we play an instrument and what our favorite song is. I’m rather excited about that, being a musician and all. ^_^
  • A sub-goal for this month, along with my general writing goals, is to write at least a couple pages on my outline for “Sun of Truth,” which is the second in an epic fantasy trilogy called “The Mending” that I’ve been working on for a decade now.

After releasing “Kingdom of the New Moon,” I’ve been debating on whether or not I should go ahead and make myself write its sequel, “Kingdom of the Blue Sun.” I know what the general storyline is, but world-building and character arcs are nowhere in sight at this point in the creative process. And since I’m an indie author, I thought, “Well, it makes more sense to release the next one I’ve got ready.” Which is the first in “The Mending.” I had a good heart-to-heart with my alpha reader, who told me these wise words: “If you force yourself to write a book you’re not ready to write, you’ll lose your passion for writing. I guarantee it.”

So, I’m deciding to listen. “Kingdom” is a good novel in its own right and can stand on its own without causing too much stress for its readers. The sequel is going to focus on secondary characters, anyway, so the first is a complete story of a complete character arc in and of itself. That’s why I’m not so worried now about letting it sit for a while as I work on other projects that are much closer to being ready. I left no cliff-hangers, and the story wraps up quite definitively for the main character. So I’m not too worried that readers will hate me for keeping them waiting. It doesn’t technically “need” a sequel to finish it, but the story came to me, and it wants to be written. Just not right this second.

YEARLY GOALS

I won’t post all of them, because I’ve got several, some of which are not writing-related.

*Finish the draft and first round of edits of a book

This might end up being my first non-fiction offering, which I’m tentatively calling “Journey by Journal.” It’s going to help novelists power through writer’s blocks and keep tabs on their writing journey by journaling. The edits might be on “Queen’s Daughter,” the first book in “The Mending” series. (I’ve seriously got to get some info pages up on all these projects so you good people can keep up!)

*Set up email freebie and monthly newsletter

I’m not so consistent with blogging (as you, my dear, patient reader, know well). So I’m going to try to fix that by creating something AWESOME to give away, and then curating content and updates once a month for all my faithful readers. I want to include helpful writing articles, updates on my progress, and maybe even answer some questions or feature a reader’s blog/book. ^_^

*Guest post twice

I have not done a single guest post, and I really need to fix that.

*Be posting weekly to my blog

CONSISTENCY. I need to work on this. I’ve failed so far this year, but I wanna fix that going into next month.

*Win a contest on Writing.com

I’ve been entering tons of contests these past couple of months, and I’m determined to win at least one of them this year.

*Set up author fan page and get 100 likes

I haven’t done this yet. Why have I not done this yet?

*Read two books a month (24 total) NOT COUNTING spiritual reading.

I do daily spiritual reading as a matter of course, so I naturally get through quite a few spiritual books in a year. Which is GREAT. But I also need to start getting back into reading fiction. That’s how I learned in the very beginning, and it’s how I will continue to learn. Audiobooks are my new best friend, so I can listen while I’m folding laundry/walking on the treadmill/otherwise incapacitated but with nothing for my brain to do. In fact, I might post an accountability update each month to let you guys know what I’m reading and how I’m progressing. I read a new trilogy in November and December of last year via audiobook, and now I’m revisiting a favorite author, as he’s released a ton of new books since I last read his stuff back in high school. So this month, I’ve got “Forbidden” by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee, and then I’ll have to find another, maybe “Tales of Earthsea” by Ursula LeGuin. I’ve been wanting to read that one for a while.

I’m also thinking of maybe splitting it up by one fiction book, one writing how-to a month. That might also be a good balance. I’ve got lots of how-tos in my to-be-read pile.

Well, there they are. All my goals for this month, and for this year. Hopefully I can make good progress on them. But I’m not going to beat myself up too badly. After all, I now have a bundle of joy due in September. ^_^

Thanks for stopping by, and as always, I’ll see you on the next ship in!

Chat with me: What are your goals and resolutions for this year as far as writing goes? What’s your plan to reach those goals? Tell me in the comments below; I’d love to chat!

 

January 2017 Writing Goals

Captain’s Quarters: December Writing Update

December Update
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+J.M.J.+

Hi, all! Here with a monthly update. I’ve been meaning to get back on track with this blog for ages, and wouldn’t you know it, life just keeps happening. They’re mostly good things, but things I have to give priority over my blogging life right now.

Anyway, I wanted to give you guys a quick update on where I am in my writing life. This is gonna be super brief, but expect more details on the big news to come in the following weeks/days!

1. First things first. KINGDOM IS LAUNCHING THIS THURSDAY.

That’s right! My first-ever novel, “Kingdom of the New Moon,” is launching this Thursday, December 15. I’ve been trying to drum up some buzz for it this past month, and I’m also throwing a launch party, where I’ll be giving away coffee, gift cards, and books! (I’ll include the link to the Facebook page where you can join the event live on the 15th!)

2. I’ve sold my first two pre-order copies of Kingdom!

I will always be grateful to Karen Magro and Katie Weiland for being the first two to jump on and grab an early copy of “Kingdom” the day it went on pre-order. Thanks, guys! Your support means the world to me!

3. I’ve got a new digital freebie in the works.

And email subscribers will get it first! It’s called “Journey by Journal” and it’s going to be an exploration of how to enhance the creative life by keeping a writing journal. I might do a blog post series on this, or even a full-blown how-to e-book, but I wanted to create a freebie to see if this is a topic that resonates with you guys.

For your constant support through subscription and comments, I wanted you all to have it free. (Also, anyone who wants to subscribe during launch week is welcome to this freebie as well!) I don’t have a specific release date for this freebie yet, but I’d like to be able to send it out to you all before April of next year.

4. I’m participating in a 30-day blogging challenge over at Writing(dot)com!

I’ve been a member of this site for years, but have just recently started getting involved more in the community there. And let me just say, they’re all fantastic! I’ve really enjoyed getting to know so many other people who are on this writing journey, too.

Well, I think that’s all from me. What about you guys? What’s been on your writing plate this fall/winter? Tell me in the comments below; I’d love to chat!

As always, thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you on the next ship in!

December Update

3 Ways to Be Creative (Even If You’re Too Tired To Write)

Creative
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+J.M.J.+

It’s Friday. You come home from work (or log off your work) and head straight to Facebook. You’d planned on doing some writing. Your creative hopes were high at 10 AM, but now that evening is here, scrolling through your News Feed, watching random YouTube videos on your phone, or even collapsing right into bed is about all you can work up the energy to do. You fall into the same old time-suck trap or shut the computer, looking guiltily at the Word or Scrivener icon in the taskbar.

How long has it been since you wrote last? It asks you. Why didn’t you write?

I’m just too tired, you answer.

And you probably are.

Believe me, this is an all-too-familiar scene for me. Being a human in today’s world is just plain exhausting. But these three activities I’m going to discuss have helped me break the cycle of exhaustion on more than one occasion. I hope they’ll help you recharge, refill your creative tank, and reclaim your time for doing what you do best—creating awesome story ideas.

1. Work a Puzzle

Yes, I’m talking about good, old-fashioned jigsaw puzzles where you dump the pieces in the floor, sort them by color, or just pick a couple of border pieces and get to work. There’s something about the visual and tactile experience of rummaging through a box of colorful puzzle pieces that soothes this writer’s creative soul.

It also forces me to reevaluate my ideas of how certain pieces fit together, as sometimes a simple turn of a puzzle piece makes the picture jump out and its placement obvious. This unlocks juicy possibilities for playing with story ideas subconsciously to see how they fit together—or if I’ve been “turning” them the wrong way all along.

The process of putting together a puzzle takes a combination of left and right brain thinking, which closely mirrors the writing process. This gives your exhausted, drained brain a new, tactile way to creatively work out tough problems—and perhaps even work on story problems at the same time.

2. Color or Sketch

Another great strategy for visual learners is coloring. Adult coloring books are soaring in popularity because of their ability to relieve stress and promote creativity. Coloring intricate designs is a great way to let your right brain enjoy a child-like playground of possibilities. Using color schemes that correspond with the mood you want to create for yourself is also a key part of coloring (e.g. red for passion and energy, green for peace and serenity, etc.).

Alternatively, whether or not you claim to be the world’s greatest artist, sketching characters, settings, or objects from your story allows you to see your story in ways you hadn’t been able to before. Consider just drawing a quick sketch of your protagonist’s face. You’ll be amazed at the questions this will spark: “What does he wear?” or “How tall is she?” Soon, you’ll be compelled to fill in the rest of the details and satisfy your curiosity. Along the way, each decision you make about how to draw your character will inform the way you describe your character in your writing later on. Drawing elements of your story forces you to think about details you hadn’t considered before, and helps you learn more about your story.

Note: You can see my process for drawing my characters and their comics in a future post!

3. Unclutter Your Writing Space

I’m guilty of keeping a pretty sprawling, messy desk (as many writers are). Throughout the week, I move my laptop from desk to couch innumerable times, scatter handwritten pages/receipts/notebooks all over the place, and lose track of more pens than I thought I could possibly own. Naturally, when it comes time to write, I balk at the mess on my desk.

Trying to write at a messy desk works about as well as frying an egg in the snow. And the last thing I feel like doing after a long day is expending more effort to focus on my writing. But for me, there’s a certain “zen” to re-organizing my desk and uncluttering. Not only does it clear my physical space, but it gives me a feeling of starting fresh.

I also inevitably uncover old notes and ideas while going through my papers. This sparks my thoughts and takes me back to the moment I jotted each idea, bringing back the creative rush I’d felt at the time. Next time you find yourself “procrastinating,” try uncluttering instead. It just might be the spark you need to get your tired thoughts moving freely again.

I’ve used each of these strategies (sometimes all in one night) when I just can’t seem to work up the energy to face the blinking cursor. It takes some discipline and desire to break away from the comforting monotony of your warm bed or that 3-hour Vine compilation. But even if you can’t write, you can feed your writer’s soul with these strategies, bringing you one step closer to writing than you were before.

Tell me your opinion: Have you used any of these strategies to stay creative? What other methods do you use? Tell me in the comments below; I’d love to chat!

 

Creative

In Open Waters: Ode to Coffee

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+Feast of St. Cecilia+

Okay, this isn’t really going to be a poem. But I just want to take a minute and do a fun blog post. I want to talk to you for a minute about what is perhaps the greatest weapon in any writer’s arsenal: coffee.

Coffee, for me, is a substance so magical, so necessary, that I literally have not gone a day without it in close to a year. I tried switching exclusively to tea for a while, but after a couple months I caught a whiff of that magical bean potion and came crawling back.

Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good, strong cup of tea with milk, and on nights when I’m feeling especially bubbly, I like to curl up with my husband, warm mug of cocoa in hand, and watch Disney movies. But that “mineral water” filtered through ground beans from heaven is what gives me my cheery disposition back after a short night’s sleep and keeps me going through mountains of laundry and freelancing day after day.

The only note of sadness in this story is that I (alas) suffer from a condition known as IBS. Therefore, too much caffeine can send my stomach on a whirling, hurling adventure, and make my limbs so jittery that I can hardly type straight. While I see others on Facebook groups announcing their second, third, and even fourth cups of coffee with glee, I’m reminiscing about my early morning cup, sipping boring old water to soothe my digestive tract, wondering how much time is enough time to wait between doses–I mean, warm, steaming, healthy mugs–of that wonderful stuff.

I never drink more than two cups a day, never without food, and never very fast. My second (if I have it) is taken up to 5 hours after the first, and always heavily-laden with whole-fat milk and a touch of vanilla creamer to avoid unpleasant, jittery after-effects and the roiling complaints of my stomach.

Despite the fact that my consumption must be strictly monitored and limited, I’m happy to even be able to drink it at all. If anything, it keeps me from spending too much money on coffee and creamer–and forces me to stay hydrated in between mugs.

All in all, I don’t know what I’d do without my precious bean potion each morning (especially since I get up with my husband at 6AM on weekdays). It’s my go-to, my reward for a morning of writing well done, and my pick-me-up on sleepy days.

I hope you guys enjoyed my “ode” to coffee! Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you on the next ship in!

Do you guys LOVE coffee? What’s your favorite beverage to drink while writing? Let me know in the comments; I’d love to start a conversation!

 

Captain’s Quarters: October 2016 Writing Update

October Writing Update
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+J.M.J.+

Hi all! So sorry I’ve been away for so long. I’ve come through a lot this year, mostly good, but I’m just now getting the time to get back on track with blogging! I’m excited to be back! 

As an introductory catch-up post, here is an update!

 

It’s Friday, October 13, 2016. I’m sitting at my desk in my (second) new apartment in 6 months and staring down the barrel of finishing up edits on my manuscript and drafting up some copy for the back cover and about page for “Kingdom.” This week was my husband’s (yes, I’m MARRIED now!!) fall break (he works as a substitute teacher), and so he’s only been going to work in the evenings to his second job. Tonight is his closing shift, so I’ll be in bed before he gets home, but I plan on staying up a bit to finish up this manuscript and get everything ready for next week (and maybe organize this office that’s gotten out of hand).

I have some reviews in the wings also that need finishing that I’ve promised some fellow authors. Tomorrow night, I want to start looking over my outlines for NaNoWriMo to see if anything needs to be worked on before November.

Yes, I’ve somewhat made it to my dream job. And yes, I’m a VERY busy bee. Writing has become greater than my freelancing career. But lately, I’ve still been drowning in stress.

I think my new writing schedule will really help that stress, especially since my portion of the family income has been able to go down considerably. I’m restricting myself to freelance work ONLY in the evenings, and using my mornings and afternoons during the school year ONLY for writing (and perhaps a couple loads of laundry lol). This is because I used to try to freelance some in the morning (because I wanted to just get it over with) and ended up wasting my whole morning just looking for jobs that weren’t going to come in until later anyway. It divided my focus, made me waste precious writing time hitting the ‘refresh’ button, and made me become more and more frustrated with the lack of work until I just didn’t have the drive to do much of anything.

With the new schedule, I HAVE to focus on writing things at the beginning of the day to ensure that they get done. Each week, I’ll come up with a list of things I’d like to get done writing-wise, and I’ll see where I can fit them in each morning. This way I should get a solid 5 to 6 hours of focused, quality writing work in before I ever start my freelance “work” day. It also takes advantage of the time when I’m naturally most productive and creative, instead of relegating it to later at night when I’m already exhausted from getting up at 5:45 with my husband and just wanting to do something mindless and entertaining.

Enter another resolution: I need to read more. Ever since leaving high school, my fun reading has been on a downward spiral. I have plenty of books to read–I just need to take the time to sit and read them. What better time than after my freelance work is done and I have a couple hours left until bedtime? I can relax with a cup of tea at the end of a productive day and read guilt-free, knowing my writing work was accomplished already. It’ll be a nice reward to look forward to after the day’s work is done, and something to help wind me down to sleep so my husband and I can get into bed at a decent time. So I’m looking forward to that as well. Especially on Fridays, since Hubby doesn’t come home until 2 AM or later, I have PLENTY of time to dig into a good book (and maybe even finish it) before he comes home.

All that to say that things are looking both busier– and freer– than they have in a while. I suppose being able to give more time to writing is what’s giving me this sense of freedom. I’m no longer tied down to a high weekly quota for freelancing, and I have designated times of the day to work on it, so I don’t have to feel guilty about leaving it for the end of the day anymore.

I’m really looking forward to this new phase in my life (for as long as it lasts) and I’m grateful to have the support of my hard-working, hilarious and creative husband through all of it. We’ve made a lot of changes and sacrifices to get our situation to where it is now, with me working from home and not having to contribute very much to the family pot, and this was a desire on both of our parts. We’re grateful to God for giving us the means to be able to do this, and I intend on taking advantage of every spare moment to give my writing and my service and love of the craft to the world.

I’ve also gained some clarity on my mission for this blog and for my writing in general. I want to inspire authors to feed their creativity, to dig deep for the things that make their writing real and powerful and raw, and to engage in activities that complement the art of writing and replenish the soul’s creative energy. From now on, my posts are going to focus more on this mindset, because at the heart of all I post, I want to spur writers on to discover the things that feed their souls and make their creativity come alive. I want to help writers with the heart and soul of writing: finding and feeding that deep place within one’s self where stories burst to life. Things won’t change much, but you may sense a shift in direction, and this is the heart of where that is coming from. I am hoping this will be truer to the message I want to share with the world, while also allowing me to explore my faith and creativity in ways that would have been restricted by my previous focus.

Well, it’s been so nice to come back and share an update with you guys! Let me know in the comments how you all have been doing and what things you’ve discovered to feed your creativity; I’d love to chat!

Thanks for stopping by, and as always, I’ll see you on the next ship in. 

Captain's Quarters

In Open Waters: Character Interview with Dom

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+J.M.J.+

After much probing (and waiting), King Dominic the 13th has agreed to an interview for my blog! I hope you’ll enjoy learning even more about the Tognir kingdom and my upcoming novel, “Kingdom of the New Moon,” from the perspective of its minitagonist!

 

Aly: Welcome aboard, Dom!

Dom: That’s “King Dom” to you, if you must shorten my name. *mutters something about Kar-Togs*

Aly: Whatever. Anyway, I just have a few questions for you. You seem quite young to be a king. How old did you say you were again?

Dom: I am 19 years old and qualified in every way to run my kingdom, thank you very much.

Aly: …I never said you weren’t, but we’ll move along. What is your ruling style? How do you govern the Tognir people?

Dom: We’ll just say that I have a way with the crowd that works wonders to appease any issues that may arise. And so far, I haven’t had any. *eyes glow bright green*

Aly: That’s very nice. *looks away quickly* So that seems to be working well for you. As young as you are, have you thought about marrying at any point in the future?

Dom: *sniffs* I have yet to find a mate that suits me.

Aly: Surely there are plenty of eligible ladies in the kingdom who would love to marry you.

Dom: Oh, certainly. I just don’t want to marry any of them. I need excitement in my life. Something wild and different, like myself. *flashes a grin*

Aly: I see. What do you like most about your kingship?

Dom: The people love me. To them, I can do no wrong. And I get what I want, when I want it. No questions asked.

Aly: That’s interesting. And nobody challenges you?

Dom: *sighs* I do pay attention to Luc, my High Guardian. I would never admit that to him, though. He was a friend of my father’s, and as such, holds a great deal of respect in the eyes of the kingdom. I try my best to let him know his true place as often as I can, but with him, I have to be very careful.

Aly: This Luc seems to hold a high rank, too.

Dom: Yes, and that is unfortunate. Still, he fulfills a vital role in the hierarchy, and so I suppose I’ll just have to deal with that.

Aly: Well, it seems your kingdom is well-structured. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself or your kingdom?

Dom: No. You are dismissed, Kar-Tog. *waves me off*

Aly: …I live here.

Dom: *glares at me* …Fine. *stands and leaves*

 

Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this interview with Dom, the minitagonist of my upcoming novel “Kingdom of the New Moon!” And don’t forget to check out the protagonist interview with Eli here!

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you on the next ship in!

 

In Open Waters- (1)

 

 

In Open Waters: Character Interview with My Protagonist from “Kingdom of the New Moon”

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+J.M.J.+

Alright guys, here is the first in a series of character interviews I hope to post leading up to the launch of my first YA portal fantasy, “Kingdom of the New Moon!” In this one I’m interviewing my main character, Eli. I hope you enjoy it and if it gets you excited, be sure to keep checking back for more interviews and sneak peeks! And don’t forget to share with friends! 😉 Happy reading!

 

Aly: Okay, first question. What exactly IS a Tognir?

Eli: Typical of a Kar-Tog to ask, really. And yes, Kar-Tog means human, just in case you were wondering. A Tognir…well, just look at me. Dark scales, fins, webbed fingers and toes…but otherwise remarkably human shaped. Not that being shaped like a human gives you Kar-Togs any credit.

A: Okaaaayy. So what is Tognir culture like? What do Tognir do?

E: We have a kingdom under the riverbed. King’s an idiot kid but my dad runs the place pretty well. Dad’s second-in-command so I’m third. We’re in charge of catching humans for— *pauses, then smirks menacingly* Can’t give away too much.

A: So you don’t like your king, huh?

E: *sighs* He’s a complete and utter fool. Dad told him not to take the throne at 19 years old, but no. Stupid brat had to have his power. *shakes head and scowls* I never liked him, either. Always bullied me with that crazy power of his.

A: So you two have a bit of a rough history?

E: *snorts* You could say that.

A: Alright. So what’s this crazy power all about?

E: *Sniffs* That’s rather hard to explain to a Kar-Tog but I’ll try. It’s almost like a song. No. It IS a song. But inside your head. It can simply speak to you— *speaks inside my thoughts* like this. Or it can do much more complex things like shut down your consciousness and paralyze you. *eyes glow aquamarine* Would you like to see?

A: *shakes head vigorously* No thanks. One final question: Why do the Tognir hate the humans so much?

E: *rolls eyes* Besides their utter stupidity? Well. I can’t say too much, of course, but we’ll just say it goes beyond us, back in time, and is legislated by a higher power who wants revenge. That’s all I can say. *winks*

A: Alright, well, if that’s all you have for us, Eli, I’ll be happy to let you go home. It’s nearly dawn, which means…

E: Right. Almost bed time for me. *yawns* Catch you around. *grins threateningly*

A: *chuckles nervously* Yes, well, I don’t think you’ll be catching ME around here anymore. Bye! *runs away*

 

Tell me your thoughts: What do you think of Eli? Any similarities/differences between him and your own protagonists or antagonists? Chat it up in the comments below; I’d love to hear from you! 

In Open Waters-

Weathering the Storm: Snow After Fire

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+J.M.J.+

Hi, guys! Aly here. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? I thought this graphic was particularly fitting since we were hit with Winter Storm Jonas over this past weekend, and so I got snowed in and got to thinking about this blog and my life in general as a writer. I have lots of insights to share with you!

1. I am a writer, not an entrepreneur.

This means that I write for the mere joy of writing, because it’s a gift within me that can’t be suppressed. I simply have to use it, come what may, because it fills a part of the plan that God has for me. I don’t write to make money. I write to create joy and reflect truth. And if I can just do those two things, writing and sharing my work is enough and more than enough.

2. I am getting ready to become a wife.

In less than 100 days, I will tie the knot with the wonderful man I’ve been courting for the past 4 years. Marriage prep is in full swing, as are my nerves. And once the knot is tied, I will have my primary vocation to attend to, being a wife and a future mother.

That’s one more reason why I do not view myself as an entrepreneur. I personally can’t see how other women juggle a demanding career AND being a wife and mother. Perhaps they have some magical superpower that I don’t. Regardless, I can’t be both.

3. I am suffering from PTSD.

Back in November, I was in a pretty bad car wreck. Nothing major happened; I broke my tailbone and totaled my car, but no one else was involved. Still, I have to battle my fears to get in a car every single weekday, and I have to struggle not to panic when we pass the site of the wreck. I also suffer with a bit of depression at night; I fear that I’ll never enjoy road trips again.

This is making things more difficult on an emotional and psychological level because in order to get things done, lots of long-distance trips between my house, my fiance’s house and our future house will have to be made. That means there’s a lot of extra stress pushing down on me from unexpected sources.

4. I have to keep going.

Being an adult sadly means that you don’t always get the time or rest you need to face the next big challenge that comes your way. This also means that when the time does come and the stress finally catches up with you, it can be debilitating. I discovered this after my car wreck when 5 weeks after the fact, I started having violent flashbacks and being afraid to get in a car (I was back behind the wheel about a week after the wreck and did not have symptoms then).

But I’ve been persevering because I know if I give up, if I quit my day job and hide under the blankets every time I have to get in the car and shy away from going to see my fiance and constantly worry about the safety of other people, I have only made my own situation worse. I have to keep going, keep trying, because if I don’t, I won’t be living. I’ll be going through some vile mockery of life instead of actually living, actually embracing risk and love and danger in order to do the things that make my soul come alive and the things that are necessary to prepare for this lifelong vocation of marriage.

So now, amid this new blanket of snow, I am experiencing the snow after the fire, and though I will hardly have a spare weekend to myself after this one, though Lent is fast approaching and bringing with it fasting and penance, I am looking forward to these fires of trial. God is in control, and He is not finished with me yet. He proved that to me the day of my wreck and He proves it to me even now.

Even dragons have their end.” This, too, shall pass.

Thanks for stopping by, and as always, I’ll see you on the next ship in!

 

Tell me your opinion: What storms have you been through lately? What discoveries have you made about yourself and your writing? Please share in the comments below; I’d love to encourage you!

Weathering the Storm - AlyCatAuthor

Wind in the Sails: Perseverance

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Hi, guys! Sorry for the long hiatus. This month has hit me with a lot. Naturally, I felt the need to come back with an encouragement to myself (and to you guys!) about perseverance. I’m wading through edits (more like trying not to drown) of my work-in-progress, and a lot has happened this month that has stolen my attention, mostly good things (Thanks be to God!).

I just want to encourage all of you guys not to give up. Whatever it is you’re doing, whatever you’re writing, reading, studying, editing–don’t give up. Keep striving for the truth and keep striving to be better at what you do. It’s definitely not always easy, but it is always worth it.

Side Note: I’ll be attending a conference this weekend, so you probably won’t see anything else from me until next week. I may or may not post a poll about my working title later this week, perhaps on Thursday. If not, look for it next week! My posting schedule will probably be a bit wonky over the next few weeks. I’m becoming much busier than I ever anticipated, and while it’s all good things, I feel that I need to focus most of my writing time on my editing at this point in my life. I don’t want to do it anyway (even thought it’s usually my favorite part) and so I need some butt-in-chair time to really sit down and make myself work through it.

So if I seem absent a lot, I promise I’m trying! I’m super excited to start sharing all the juicy details about my work-in-progress and letting you guys into this crazy world I’ve come up with!

I hope you go through this week persevering with courage! And I’ll be persevering right alongside you, fellow writers and readers.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you on the next ship in!

 

Tell me your opinion: What difficult or challenging circumstances are you persevering through this week? I’d love to chat; feel free to get the talking started in the comments below!

 

Captain’s Quarters: Posting Schedule for October

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+J.M.J.+

Well, guys, after following my blogging schedule for a month, I think I’ve learned quite a lot. The first is that my schedule is doable. The second is that it’s not doable when I’m trying to edit a book, work from home, work a part-time job, and keep my sanity.

I’m kind of proud of myself for being able to keep it so faithfully, but I think this month I’m going to try a less-frequent posting schedule to see if it works any better, both for being able to schedule more time for editing and for creating better quality posts.

Here’s the rundown on how things are going to look for the month of October.

Probing the Depths: Formerly every other weekend, these in-depth writing and spiritual fantasy analyses will be a once-monthly thing, on whichever day I happen to find the time and energy to pull one together.

Captain’s Quarters: Posts on the first and last Wednesdays of each month (Writing Goals and Focuses, and the Captain’s Log) will remain the same. There may or may not be any more of these throughout the month, depending on if I have any exciting news to announce.

Wind in the Sails: Once a week. Will typically be a homemade graphic with an inspiring quote that grabbed my attention each week.

Potpourri: These will be every week, if I can squeeze them in. These will play host to whatever category of post is most relevant for that week. Possible categories include Captain’s Quarters, Weathering the Storm, Wind in the Sails, and In Open Waters.

The biggest change is that I will no longer be posting on Fridays, which I think will help relieve some of that weekend stress. I’m looking forward to trying out a new schedule. Here’s hoping I can use some of that freed up time to dig deep into my edits. And as things get closer to release, I’ll start revealing some goodies related to my WIP (look for a title reveal poll next Wednesday!).

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you on the next ship in!

Tell me your opinion: What do you think about the new schedule? What’s your current writing schedule? How could you make some small changes in your time management to create more time for writing? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat!

Captain's Quarters-Posting Schedule for October