Hello! Wherever has the time gone? It's nearly spring! I'm definitely not complaining about the change of season, but goodness! Time is flying. I've been rather absent from the blog and social media lately, not to mention extremely behind schedule for releasing my next book. 2014 was a busy year--lots of exciting trips stateside to visit family and friends, meeting darling new nephews, building our first home, learning to drive (in Germany)! As I broke out the new calendar for 2015, knowing all too well that my publishing schedule was an embarrassing mess, I decided to make a few changes.
Writing this current book has taken far longer than I anticipated. I think a combination of things made for a slow writing and editing process this time around. Yes, it was an unusually busy year in terms of exciting extra-curriculars. Can't say no to those, right? When I completed the WG series I felt a great sense of accomplishment and also a need for a vacation to celebrate, to take a breather. I planned to take a little time off and focus on the marketing side of things before starting my next book.
Sitting down to start an entirely new (and different) project was also overwhelming. When writing the series I was always a couple steps ahead. While writing book five I had a solid idea what book six would look like, and book seven had a rough sketch. By the time I began writing this new book I had most things pretty fleshed out, however I had no confidence whatsoever in whatever my next project would be. I panicked, stressed, and became frustrated with the work at hand. With this book I didn't have near the routine or straightforward view as I had with the series. After reading The Happiness Project and soaking up inspiring pieces from my Oprah subscription, and with a fresh new calendar opened up, the light went off. I've been in desperate need of balance.
I love routine, scheduling, organizing, planning. Understandably, not everything can be scheduled and certainly not everything in life goes according to plan. But my lack of a clear and focused direction and lack of consistency made for a scattered work day and heavy imbalance. With so much imbalance my moods and attitude were poorer than usual and I began to feel physically unfit. Writing, what I've always enjoyed, suddenly became a chore. I was frustrated with how slowly my book was moving, how plotting seemed fruitless, and then I questioned if what I was writing was even worth publishing at all, if any one would enjoy it. Lots of doubt, negativity, frustration, slow progress, lack of direction, and throw in procrastination, and it was no wonder the publishing date continued to stretch and stretch. No wonder I didn't feel motivation, that I felt like the to-do list was out of control.
So, fed up and with a new year before me, I decided it was time to clear away the writer's block cobwebs and fix things! Going full speed ahead and exhausting myself because of such an imbalance in my schedule wasn't going to be the answer, nor was shoving projects in a drawer a long-term, productive solution. I grabbed my highlighters and colorful pens, my new calendar, and planned out a healthy, well-rounded schedule. It wasn't like any schedule I'd made before. No more filling day after day with a heavy load of one or two activities in an effort to be at maximum productivity. (What long-term good does putting off exercise or delaying editing do when the neck and head aches begin? When the publishing date is pushed back some more? When exhaustion gets the better of me?) This time I made plenty of room for many things: Writing, my day job, reading, researching, exercising, social time, time for hobbies and learning new things, even some time to collect decorating ideas for the new home my husband and I will be moving in to this summer. A little of this, a little of that--balance.
My schedule and new routine are works in progress, but I'm excited about writing again. When I sit down and put my heart into what I'm writing I'm reminded that this is what I should be doing. I added a comma and changed a word in a sentence yesterday when I sat down for my block of writing time and actually I exclaimed, "I love this job! This is what I should be doing!" All that from a little comma and cracking open the thesaurus. The walks in the neighborhood and to parks I now make time for and the time carved out to get a nice meal on the table are also helping with the writer's block in addition to being healthy and delicious bonuses! Reading within my genre and researching the craft of writing help me grow as a writer, just as keeping social ties strong and allowing for some free time inspire new story lines and characters.
Rest assured, I have not disappeared from the writing scene. My efforts to be more balanced also do not mean that I'll be publishing once in a blue moon. I'm trying to get things back on track, live a healthier and more balanced life, and in doing so I'm much happier, feeling more inspired and encouraged and healthy, and my writing is reaping the benefits.
Having said all that, I want to thank you, dear readers, for being patient with me. Thank you for being fans of my work and for patiently awaiting my next novel. I've been apprehensive about calling it finished and releasing it because it is something new, and because I have fallen out of balance and routine, which have left room for doubt and procrastination. This book is a bit of a departure from my previous work--more mature, developed, different--but as my editor says, it will still resonate with fans of my WG series. I do hope you like it! I've been pouring my heart into it for a long time, polishing it up as best I can!
Speaking of this next book, I've got some good news to finally share! I do not yet have a specific date (I don't like to get too specific about pub dates too far in advance because of so many uncontrollable variables with self-publishing), but I assure you that the book will be available to you in April! I am still working on some edits that I can't let go of. My editor says I've written a wonderful book and just a few tweaks here and there will tighten it up. I do hope you agree and will enjoy the end product!
I'm going to be testing something new this time around with this book. For a few months this title will be Amazon-exclusive, and will be available for pre-order. I haven't tried pre-order yet and thought I'd give it a go. I'll have a pre-order date for you soon!
Also! I will be sending ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) and only have a handful of spots open, so if you think you'd like to be among the first readers of the book, in exchange for your review on Amazon, keep your eyes on my Facebook Page and Blog as I'll be announcing the sign-up soon!
I'll be back here with more book updates, including a cover, title, and synopsis reveal so stay tuned!
Have a lovely week and thank you for sticking around!