Quote of the Moment

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T. S. Eliot

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Writing Bullet Journal

OK, so I'm usually the last person to jump into something that can be seen as a "fad" (heck, usually I run the opposite direction because I hate being part of the crowd - lol), but when Shelley Adina started talking about Washi tape on Facebook, I was curious. Off to Google I went, intent on discovering what exactly a Bullet Journal is. (Yes, I had no clue that these things were so popular. Fine, I live under a rock then.)

And I got crazy excited by what I saw.

Hello, world. I am an obsessive list-maker. My husband thinks I'm crazy because of all the lists I make. I am also in love with pretty pens. All the colors make me drool...

However, I still haven't found a list-making tactic I am completely happy with, which is why I was so excited to try a Bullet Journal.

I read the basics on the Bullet Journal website, and then I watched all the videos on the BoHo Berry site (if you are considering starting a Bullet Journal, I highly recommend these).

After some thought, I figured I'd attempt both one for personal use and one for writing (with a tiny bit of overlap). Yes, I know, with a Bullet Journal you're supposed to use it to integrate everything in your life. But I thought it would be awesome to have a separate Writing Bullet Journal so I could page back and solely look at my writing progress throughout the year (I know a bonus to these is it can also be diary-like, but for some reason I'm not that into gushing about feelings in these things -- maybe that will change eventually).

I started my personal one in a regular notebook the final week of 2016, and my writing one at the beginning of this year in a nice Piccadilly journal I hadn't written anything in yet. I didn't want to invest tons of money in new stuff until I knew if I liked it, though I did buy a kitty stencil and a couple rolls of Washi tape... and then stickers (more on these later).

What do I think so far?

Well, I'm not thrilled with the personal one. It may be the notebook or that I'm using a set of InkJoy pens I had on hand (which I have grown to hate - they make me want to never touch a ballpoint pen again). I used some old stencils I also had and then doodled a little with the kitty stencil I bought, but I'm still meh on it (thought I'd love stencils, but honestly, not a huge fan right now because I feel like I'm wasting too much time doodling). And I kind of feel panicky with it sometimes because my to do list before the Bullet Journal was a spreadsheet with a list of things to do for the entire week. Yes, I know I can adapt the Bullet Journal to whatever I need it to be, but the thought of writing out a whole weekly to do list makes it feel more overwhelming. Even now I have the habit of migrating too many things once I turn the page, which means I have the first day of the spread with too many items on it.

I do like the Habit Tracker, though. That's quite nice. Part of me is tempted to only do a Habit Tracker each month in it and go back to my spreadsheet for my to do lists.

Anyway, this post isn't about my Personal Bullet Journal. It's about my Writing Bullet Journal! And that one... I'm in love with!

How could I have such differing feelings? Who knows. Maybe it's the stickers? I just can't seem to find the desire to add stickers to my personal one...

Anyway, I'm using a little of the Washi tape in my Writing Bullet Journal, but not going too crazy with design. Here's my title page! Isn't it pretty? Book Washi tape! And yes, I'm happy I don't have messy handwriting. I'm using a Micron pen, which I had on hand because I use them to do the outlines on my hand-drawn versions of the Fate Tarot cards. Love the Micron, though I'm tempted to try Staedtlers because Walmart actually carries them not in a pack of varying sizes.

And here's the month of January! I kept things simple, but I'm tracking how many days I write. The colors are from gel pens (I bought a 100-pack back in November to do some coloring, and I really like using them in the Bullet Journal as well).

I also wrote in my 1-Year Plan. Though I also have that typed up in a Word doc, it felt good to write it down in my Bullet Journal as well, like it solidified my goals more. And yes, those are sparkly heart stickers!

Finally, here's the guts of my Writing Bullet Journal. My dailies! And I love this so far. Mostly because... stickers! If I hit my writing goal for the day, I get a sticker (I may do a smaller sticker if I write but don't hit goal, too)! When I started the Writing Bullet Journal and wrote down my first daily writing goal, I felt like I was missing something. Stenciling felt like too much work, and I do love stickers but never have anything to use them on. I quickly demanded my husband take me that night to Walmart so I could buy some stickers. A sticker is my reward for actually writing. True, I don't succeed everyday, due to life (and exhaustion), but I don't seem to get too sad not seeing everyday with stickers. Even though the thought of earning a sticker still encourages me! So this seems to be working well for me.

As you can see, I'm keeping things pretty simple. I have a little "bling" with some Washi tape, the stickers, and the colored gel pens, but I'm not spending tons of time making it look all fancy. It's still pretty to me!

I also started a section for Ideas and Mindworms (when one popped into my head one night). I know I'm not quite two weeks in, but I'm thinking I'll be sticking to the Writing Bullet Journal (even if I do have a master list of monthly tasks on another tracker, which I can access from my phone -- I don't check and update that one daily). We'll see about that personal one...

If I come up with any new layouts, I'll be sure to post an update! Maybe I'll even post one if I have an awesome streak and a bunch of stickers. <3

Do you have a Writing Bullet Journal? Or a Bullet Journal you use for other things? I'd love to hear what works for you!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Setting My Sights On 2017

Well, 2016 was a busy year, as you saw from my last post.

Time to charge headfirst into 2017! (Kind of like my toddler does to the door when we put her in a time out... but maybe with a little more focus and intent - lol.)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I won't be publishing as much in 2017. This is mainly because a lot of the stuff that came out in 2016 only needed a bit of polish before it was released to the world. ;)

But that doesn't mean I won't be writing! I'm scared my to do list might be too ambitious with a THREEnager in the house, but we'll see how it goes. I reserve the right to change my trajectory at a moment's notice. That's the great thing about indie publishing -- if real life slaps you silly, you can shift deadlines around. I'll of course keep everyone posted if plans change. The best way to keep track of my upcoming publications, as always, is my newsletter (there's a form to sign up to the left).

Anyway, first I'll list my intended publications, and then I'll list my writing goals for the year! Here we go!

2017 Publications

❦ January 2017 - Mind Behind the Mind (Trinity Torn, 1) - I'll be releasing it to several retailers other than Amazon.

❦ January 2017 - Patreon page! I intend to offer flash stories and poems. If you become a supporter you can even feed me story prompts!

❦ March/April 2017 - Edge of Sorrow (Fortunes of Fate, 6) - Remember Jasp from Reversed? Yeah, that rotten mage Darney asked for help. Well, it's time to get into Jasp's head! This will immediately be available at several retailers, and not just Amazon.

❦ August/September 2017 - Hell On Wheels (Devil Made Me, 2) - So, last time we dealt with Moira's first experiences in Hell. I wonder how things with her and Jared are going... Can't be good, right? Not with her stubborn streak. You'll find out in this sequel to Hell Hath No Fury!

❦ November/December 2017 - GSD (Getting Stuff Done) vs. Everything - This is humorous non-fiction, but if you like any of my humorous fantasy, you may like these essays. I'm hoping to have this published by the end of the year, but it's a side project, and it will be the first thing removed from my to do list if I get behind on my fiction. I'll remain optimistic for now, though, that it'll get completed.

2017 Writing Goals

❦ Complete the first draft of Thorns Entwine the Blade (Trinity Torn, 2).

❦ Find beta readers for Thorns Entwine the Blade.

❦ First draft and revisions of Edge of Sorrow (Fortunes of Fate, 6). And publish it!

❦ First draft and revisions of Hell On Wheels (Devil Made Me, 2). And publish it!

❦ Revisions of Dead As Dreams (Shepherd of Dreams, 1). And get it ready for publication for January/February 2018! This is what I decided to work on instead of attempting revisions of Thorns Entwine the Blade this year. My heart is telling me it needs to be released to the world. Though, if I get enough people demanding the next Trinity Torn novel, I'll be willing to switch my focus back to Thorns.

❦ Start the Patreon page!

❦ Start offering clean and simple ebook formatting services via Haunted Unicorn Publishing. Also consider offering developmental edits, depending on the toddler.

❦ Finish first draft and revisions of GSD vs. Everything. And publish it!

❦ Continue writing 3 blog posts per month and sending out a newsletter every month at most and every other month at the least.

❦ Read more. Always need to read more. I just restarted the Dresden Files series. So many books, so little time.

Well, those are all the main things at least! Personal goals this year mostly focus on my mind and body health. Writing is not a very active career - lol.

What are your plans for 2017? Resolutions or goals? Are they quantifiable or more general? Good luck with whatever you decide to aim for! And if you have any writing goals, remember you can always join us at Writing Quest to share them and be cheered on.

OK, 2017 -- here I come!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Publication Year In Review 2016 & Mind Behind the Mind Countdown Deal

Wow, it's been a crazy year! Both my body and mind are feeling it, and I am overdue for a short break to recharge my creative batteries (not that I don't have a list of ideas, stories, and novels that need to be worked on, but my brain needs to reorganize itself after this year's long journey).

So, while the 2016 publication list below is long, I will be pulling back in 2017 on how many stories/novels/books I publish. I wanted to get my backlog of stories polished and out to the world in 2016, and I've pretty much done that. In 2017 I'll plow ahead with new material or continue tales I've started and am long overdue to get back to. But all of that is for a future post (in about two weeks). ;)

What titles by Alexa Grave made it out into the world in 2016?

Love Fades (Fortunes of Fate, 2) - urban fantasy short story (E-book at all major online retailers)

Hell Hath No Fury (Devil Made Me, 1) - humorous romantic fantasy novelette (E-book at all major online retailers)

Bound - urban fantasy short story (E-book at all major online retailers)

Blood & Booze: Two Urban Fantasy Stories - urban fantasy short stories (E-book at all major online retailers)

Reversed (Fortunes of Fate, 3) - epic fantasy short story (E-book at all major online retailers)

S.O.L. Air (Fractured Fairies, 2) - humorous fantasy short stories (E-book at all major online retailers)

Sunset Street - YA urban fantasy short story (E-book at all major online retailers)

Void of Intuition (Fortunes of Fate, 4) - urban fantasy short story (E-book at all major online retailers)

Beguiling Moon (Fortunes of Fate, 5) - epic fantasy short story (E-book on Amazon, but will be available at all major online retailers by the end of this month)

❦ "Monster in the Room" (Fractured Fairies) in the anthology Monster Maelstrom: A Flash Fiction Halloween Anthology - humorous fantasy flash story (E-book at all major online retailers)

Mind Behind the Mind (Trinity Torn, 1) - epic romantic fantasy novel (E-book on Amazon, but will be available by the end of January 2017 at all major online retailers; Trade Paperback on Amazon, Createspace, Barnes & Noble, and hopefully other online retailers soon)

A Very Grinka Christmas (Fractured Fairies, 3) - humorous fantasy novelette (E-book at all major online retailers)

Dancing in the Wind, Fractured Fairies: Immortal Woes & Ode to Buses and Libraries (Fractured Fairies, 1), Dreams in Shadow (Fortunes of Fate, 1), and Tales of Chyraine: Two Short Stories were originally published as E-books on Amazon before 2016, but in 2016 they were released to all major online retailers.

A lot of titles, no? Just typing up the list exhausted me!

I still have a lot to think about as far as plans for 2017 go. I thought I'd originally hammered the plan down, but lately I've been rethinking things. Certain tales are tugging at me to be finished (like a novel that's halfway through it's first major revision!). Hopefully I'll have it mostly figured out for my next post.

Until then, I also wanted to mention a Kindle Countdown deal for Mind Behind the Mind (Trinity Torn, 1). Starting tomorrow, December 16, 2016, my novel will be $1.99 for 3 days and then $2.99 for 3 days after that! You can find this deal in the US store only. But for the entire 6 days, 16-21, those of you in the UK with be able to get it for £1.99.

If you've been waiting to grab a copy, now is the time to do it! The links to the US and UK stores are below. Enjoy!

Mind Behind the Mind (Trinity Torn, 1) - US

Mind Behind the Mind (Trinity Torn, 1) - UK