Spotlighted Routines

Five years ago I walked away from a decades-long controlling, manipulative relationship. Each day holds new opportunities to discover and combat residual effects of that dysfunctional control. Slowly, I am analyzing and evaluating my thinking processes and choices, intentionally taking back true control of my own life.

One of my first independent choices (after the major one of “No more!”) was to go back to school to get a degree. This one decision enabled me to find a path toward orchestrating and controlling my own life. I worked hard and often spent way more time on projects with less spectacular results than my talented classmates. but I succeeded. (Take that, self-doubt!) I graduated with a 3.62 GPA. (I’m not listening to you, negative voices from my dysfunctional past!)

Just when you’d think I could cruise down this new Life Path of mine, I run smack dab into yet another road block. There is a part of me that craves being told what to do next. That dysfunctional thinking still needs reshaping. I need to own my own choices, not just do what comes naturally, or is the thing expected of me. If I do the expected thing, it needs to be because I chose to do it, because I want to do it, because I have specific reasons for doing it. Those last few semesters, I chose to jump through the hoops of the required course of study (even though I chafed at some of it) and get that degree. I finished well. Now it’s time to create my own hoops and expectations.

In this new life of of choices, I’m trying to start a business (SaRoseDesign) as I also create art and rediscover storytelling. I’m being pulled in many different directions. At the same time, my intense self-doubt melds with my natural procrastination to cause a disconnect in both my thinking and my productivity. I get stuck doing things that are the equivalent of a hamster wheel. Like journaling, but always saying the same things, never making any connections to the themes I journal. Or writing blog posts that never get posted. Or making business plans that never get enacted.

To break this trend of procrastination-fueled self-sabotage, I decided I needed some easily accomplished goals for each day that would build a foundation of success, which in turn would bolster my self-confidence and start me on the path toward my dreams . . . Or at least to the map that would help me choose which dream(s) to pursue.

    I chose two routines:

  1. making my bed each day (here’s an article similar to the one I read that inspired me to chose this habit); and
  2. writing 500 words in my journal. To keep from writing the same things over and over again, I set guidelines for choosing a different daily prompt. The journaling could serve two purposes, create a daily writing habit and maybe make progress on at least one of my project ideas.

I started on May 5. I have missed three days in three months. Success! It might be safe to declare that routine established. Out of that success, new paths are opening up. My imagination is tentatively coming back to life. Ideas are burgeoning and blossoming. My enthusiasm and motivation is overpowering that procrastination inertia. (Notice, two blog posts in as many weeks, both here and on my personal site.)

And that’s the next routine. Posting to Routines for Writers and Stephanie’s Musings. My goal: post a new blog post at least weekly on each blog. See you next week (or sooner!)

Arise and Dream!

This blog has been silent a long time. It’s about to wake up.

I (Stephanie) disappeared (as opposed to Kitty and Shonna who just relocated) and stayed away much longer than I’d planned. I ran into my scaredy-hole, created a tunnel network down there and am having a hard time finding my way out. Reigniting this blog is just one way I’m re-entering the online world. (If you are interested in my personal journey, you’ll probably get more information faster by visiting Stephanie’s Musings.)

Briefly, my husband and I separated and divorced five years ago. I was buried in the pieces of my broken life and dreams. In the process of picking up those pieces, I decided to return to college. The past four years have been an intense, overwhelming, healing, stretching, challenging, I’m-not-going-to-make-it adventure (torture?). I finally graduated in December (2015) with a a BS in Graphic Design, and a Communications minor.

The self-doubt and lack of confidence and just plain I-don’t-fit anywhere-what-do-I-think-I’m-doing-what-could-I-possibly-do-that-matters feelings have pommelled me since graduation. I’ve alternated between being convinced I’m not really qualified to do anything (regardless of that degree) and glaring down those doubts and trampling them with physical proof (like the degree). All that angsty feeling results in a lot of procrastination. (Anyone else get frozen when their emotions go dark?)

It is well past time to stick my head out of my scaredy-hole and re-engage with my dreams. So here I am. Not sure my dreams are the same as before. (How could the be? I’m a different person.) Whatever they are, it’s time to explore, re-discover and re-ignite them.

One of my biggest dreams is to write, to craft stories and share anecdotes that bring life into such clear focus that those who read are encouraged, enlightened and inspired. Thus, it makes sense this blog would be a starting point for re-igniting my dreams.

We started this blog to encourage other writers on this journey. Restarting it will help me find my way back to the writing path and hopefully continue the task of encouraging others. I look forward to reconnecting with RFW readers and gaining new ones!

See you in the next post!

Changes

There are a few changes happening here at Routines for Writers.  The biggest is that Stephanie is returning to blog.  In fact, Stephanie is taking over the day to day upkeep of the blog, allowing Kitty and Shonna to devote more time and attention to their own careers and other websites.

Stay tuned!

Routines For Writer’s Ebook

Routines for Writers was a blog started by three aspiring authors who wanted to help other writers create routines to make writing easier. Since then, two of us are now published, and one went back to school!

If you look around, you’ll see there is so much great content on here, but unfortunately it gets buried in this blog format.

This summer as Kitty is teaching a self-publishing class (more info to come on that) I (Shonna) will be using the Routines for Writers blog as source material to put into practice what I am learning in her course.

If you are interested in a free copy of the Routines for Writers ebook when it comes out, sign up here and  you will be among the first to know when it is available. It will only be free to those who are on the list!

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required




Little Miss Lovesick Is Free Today Through Saturday

Little Miss Lovesick by Kitty BucholtzHi friends! I hope you’re having a great week! Maybe I can make it a tiny bit better. Would you like to read Little Miss Lovesick for free? You can if you download it from the Kindle Store either for your Kindle or your Kindle app on your computer, smart phone, or tablet.

I’m running a promotion this week, Tuesday through Saturday, to help readers who like sweet chick-lit romantic comedies find my book and give it a try. What I’m really hoping is that readers like you will leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, or wherever you like to leave and read reviews. This helps new readers to see what other people liked and disliked so they can decide if it’s a book they would enjoy.

Would you do me a favor? Please share this post with the social media buttons below. I’d be so happy to know you wanted to tell your friends about Little Miss Lovesick. 😀 And let me know if you liked this one. I’ve had two people tell me this week that they enjoyed it so much they want to read more set in the same area (my hometown of Traverse City, Michigan). Wow! Thank you, friends! If there’s a character whose story you’d particularly like to read, let me know. Maybe I can do that for you. 🙂

And if you’re interested from a writer’s perspective of how the various promotional strategies performed, let me know in the comments below and I can write a post here sharing what I did, how much it cost, and how well it worked.

Meanwhile, Happy Reading!

Flash Sale on Cinderella’s Dress: Only 99 cents

red-banner sale
Limited Time only Cinderella’s Dress ebook only 99c

Who is in the mood for some Cinderella fun? With the new Disney movie coming out this weekend I’m seeing Cinderella everywhere. So I asked my publisher at Entangled Teen if we could join the party and put my book on sale. They came back with the idea for a one-week 99 cent sale.

So, how is the sale affecting sales? Well, I don’t have access to the timely stats like the self-published authors do, but people are scooping it up. My book has popped back up on a few Amazon lists, where it used to be when it first released back in June 2014. That’s a good sign.

A sale is a great way to get your book in front of readers again. It’s a marketing campaign. Instead of purchasing advertising, you are cutting the price!

At 99c potential readers are willing to take a chance on a new author, and at a limited time, they have to act quickly or lose out. So what are you waiting for? There’s a buy button on the sidebar that will take you to your online bookstore of choice. Sale ends on Monday. Enjoy!

A Quick Survey – What Do You Want to Know About Self-Publishing?

Hi friends!

Many of you know that I teach online classes on self-publishing, how to get your completed manuscript up for sale as an ebook and/or a print book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online retailers.

You may also know that it’s my personality to want to continuously improve what I do and what I teach. The next class will begin next month, in April (haven’t nailed down the exact date yet), and I’d like to get your input. Will you fill out this survey for me? Thank you so much!

At the end of the survey is an email address you can use if you have questions about the class, but also notice there is a link to my new web site where you can sign up to get a free 10-Step Checklist to Starting Your Self-Publishing Business. I hope you find the checklist useful as you begin or continue your journey in self-publishing.

Thanks again for taking the survey below! Together you and I are going to write books that change the world! 🙂

The Cinderella Interviews

Creating videos is something that takes practice. There are so many little steps to remember and if you don’t produce regularly, you forget! Like when I upload a video to Youtube, which of the kazillion export options is the one I’m supposed to use? And whoops, now that the video has gone public and started getting views, I realize I used the old “outro” without the preview of the last video. Oh well. An annotation can still do the job, just not as elegantly.

For my Cinderella Interviews series, I’ve been using Google Hangouts to interview other authors who have written Cinderella fairy-tale retellings. In this latest example, Marissa Meyer was passing through town on her Fairest book tour so I took the Cinderella Interviews on a special road trip to the Lunar Ball. It was a fun way to shake up the series and refresh some of my video-editing techniques (as well as my on-call teen son’s editing skills.)

I bought a new camera and this was its first test. However, I about had a heart attack when I went to play back the interview and the time stamp showed 30 secs. What? It was supposed to be a few minutes!!! Did I do that thing that all dad’s do: press record at the wrong time and only record my feet after the interview was over? *dies*

But no, the interview was there. I could breathe again. I must have misread the time stamp.

I’m still learning to use the camera, and I was very pleased with the quality of the video. However, when I uploaded it to Youtube, it lost some of it’s crispness. I’ll have to play with my export settings and find the one that works best with my new camera. Baby steps.

Self-Publishing Class – Sample Lectures

I thought you might want to know more about the self-publishing class that I’ll be teaching starting Monday. So here are some samples from some of my class lectures.

From Lecture 1

Welcome to my class on self-publishing your book! I’m glad you’re here. There are a lot of ways to get your book out into the world, and I’m going to present only a few. Then you’ll be able to take what you learn here, continue to research and learn more about your other options, and make changes (if you choose) in the future with more confidence.

The first things you’ll need to decide are:

  • do you want to publish in ebook only, print only, or both?
  • what software will you use?
  • what distributors will you use?

Starting today, if you haven’t already started a notebook or computer file to save all the information you collect on self-publishing, do it now.

I use an ARC notebook from Staples to save everything that is already printed, or that I print out.

http://www.staples.com/M-by-Staples-Arc-Customizable-Durable-Poly-Notebook-System-Black-9-3/product_886237

I prefer these because I like how easy it is to pull a piece of paper from one section and press it into another without having to open and close a 3-ring binder all the time. But whatever you like and will find easy to organize is what you should use.

I save different information – my house style guide, some how-to blogs that I’ve saved, a list of passwords and links to the distributors I use, and much more – in a Scrivener file.

Screen shot - Style guide

From that Scrivener file, I can cut and paste links I need easier than if they were in a printed file, and I can continually update my style guide, add new books or formats (like audiobooks), and organize other information that I don’t feel the need to print.

From Lecture 2

In addition to the big choices – will I publish in ebook, print, or both formats? what software will I use? – you have a lot of detailed choices as well. This lesson will help familiarize you with some of those choices, and provide web sites where you can look up more information and/or sign up for the service.

Business Type

When you sign up for an account to publish your book with a distributor (KDP, Smashwords, etc.), you will need to provide your legal name (if you write with a pen name) and/or your business name. I chose to register a DBA (Doing Business As, also known as a Fictitious Business Name) so I could have a company name without the expense of setting up a corporation or LLC. You will have to do your own research on this, ask your accountant and/or attorney what is best for you because I am not qualified to give legal or financial advice.

If you live in California, here is a link to the state web site explaining the minimum tax if you set up a corporation or LLC. Google “[my state] minimum tax” to find out more about the tax consequences of setting up a corporation/LLC in your state.

https://www.ftb.ca.gov/individuals/faq/beMinTax.shtml

CHOICE: How will I set up my distributor accounts, and what do I need to do before I can sign up for those accounts?

Tax Identification Numbers

When you sign up with a distributor, you need to provide banking information and a tax ID number so you can get paid and so your earnings can be reported to the Internal Revenue Service.

If you run your business as a sole proprietor, with or without a DBA, you can use your social security number or you can apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). While I can’t give you legal or financial advice, here are some articles that may help you decide.

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Employer-ID-Numbers-EINs

http://legal.answers.com/definitions/should-you-use-an-ein-or-your-social-security-number

http://info.legalzoom.com/need-ein-am-dba-23281.html

Depending on your bank and your business type, you may be able to set up a business checking account. (Your bank can tell you if they require an EIN for a sole proprietorship with or without a DBA, or if they will allow you to use your social security number.) Your royalties/earnings can be deposited there instead of your personal account to make accounting and taxes easier. Or your bank may only let you set up a separate personal checking account. Either way, you need to decide where you want your money deposited.

If you use PayPal, you may want to research how you can set up a separate PayPal account connected to your business checking so you can keep your business and personal finances separate.

CHOICE: How will I set up my banking for receiving payments and paying expenses?

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATION: How will changing from one business type now (sole prop/DBA) to another later (corporation/LLC) affect my business? How will it affect my sales, sales rank, tax reporting, sales reporting, etc. from the vendors and distributors I’ve signed up with?

From Lecture 5

This lecture is not going to be an exhaustive how-to on using InDesign. You’ve either decided to learn it and you plan to use additional resources to do so, or you are already familiar with it to some degree. This will also help you get your book set up in InDesign if you have used Quark Xpress or Pagemaker or another desktop publishing program. There are enough similarities among the programs that knowing how to do this or that in one program gives you an idea of how to do it in another.

I’ll tell you what I do, and you can follow my directions, or just use them as a jumping off point to decide how you want to design your book’s interior. (You can also read along and ask yourself if this seems easy enough to learn. I think you’ll find it is.)

What I Do

Following are directions for creating a new file, making it into a template so you have all your settings saved for future books, and then adding your current manuscript to the template to create a new document.

Open InDesign
Go to File, New, Document
Under Intent on the popup screen, leave it as Print (the default)
Under Pages, make it a few more pages than you think it needs to be

Example: My superhero story is 100,000 words and came in at about 325 pages with the manuscript, the front and back matter, and the short excerpt of the next book at the end; my 8,000-word short story is about 36 pages with front and back matter and short excerpt

Under Page Size, choose Custom, then you’ll create a custom preset for all of your books

Adjust the width and height to the sizes you want for your print book (this won’t affect your EPUB if you create one from InDesign), and type in a name for the Custom Page Size.

Example: You could create one that is 4 1/8” x 6 7/8” and call it “Mass Market,” and create one that is 5” x 8” and call it “Trade Size.” Then you only need to choose which Custom Page Size you want to use this time.

Screen shot InD New Doc 1

Click on the Add button to save the name of the Custom Page Size. If you created more than one, click on the one you want and hit OK.

Screen shot InD New Doc 2

Leave the columns section as is if you are creating a novel template. Adjust your margins according to the CreateSpace guidelines. (You may have to click on the “chain” icon next to the top and bottom margins in order for your changes to save.)

Example: I use 0.75” for the top, bottom, and inside margins, and 0.5” on the outside margin

Sign Up Today!

These are just a few examples of what you’ll learn in my 4-week online class, Your How-to Guide to Self-Publishing. You will receive 8 lectures with 92 pages of information, including screen shots, to help you get your book up for sale as an ebook and/or in print by the end of the class. Everyone will be encouraged to ask questions and offer suggestions to each other so that everyone can avoid or solve problems, and gain the newest information in an ever-changing industry.

Manuscript not ready? No problem. You can go through the lectures and practice with a dummy manuscript. This will give you an opportunity to ask questions about anything you don’t understand so you can be ready when your manuscript is complete.

Check out my Classes page and sign up for the class. It starts Monday, January 12, 2015.

Released Today – A Very Merry Superhero Wedding

A Very Merry Superhero Wedding book cover by Kitty BucholtzIt’s out! My new book, A Very Merry Superhero Wedding, released today! Woo-hoo!!

It has been a long, exhausting, exciting two months! My writing friends, Debra Holland and Brenna Aubrey, suggested I try to get a Christmas novella out by Christmas week, and I took up the challenge.

Of course, because I normally write longer books (350-400 pages), it was really hard to write a shorter story. Haha! A novella is generally thought to be about 20,000 to 40,000 words, about 80-160 pages. This one came in at 45,000 words! I decided to still call it a novella so you didn’t wonder why it was so short compared to Unexpected Superhero, book one in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke series, and the other books that will follow. 😉

As of today, the book is available on Amazon for Kindle, and on Smashwords for all formats. It’s on the way to iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and other online retailers, and will be available in print in the next couple of weeks.

Congratulations to the 5 winners of the paperback version in the Goodreads Giveaway – Nancy A, Sandra B, Jessica L, Rachella B, and Alena K!

Here is the book’s description. I hope you enjoy it! And Merry Christmas!

A novella in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke superhero series

WEDDING DREAMS…

Tori Lewis can hardly wait for her Christmas Eve wedding to handsome Joe Clarke. But her friends and family don’t think it’s prudent to marry someone you just met. There’s something about him, though. She’s never felt safer in her life. The only question is — does she have to tell him all her secrets before the wedding?

Joe Clarke expected to be a happy superhero bachelor for years to come. But after meeting Tori Lewis on Halloween, he can’t get her out of his head. Marrying a woman he barely knows is hands-down the craziest thing he’s ever done. So how does he explain himself to a woman who doesn’t believe in superheroes?

…AND CHRISTMAS FIENDS

Meanwhile, the city is going through a Christmastime crime spree. In addition to the usual madness and thievery, a gang of robbers is targeting mall shoppers. Joe must juggle his wedding duties with his alter ego Superhero X’s commitment to protect the citizens of Double Bay.

Will it all come together without ruining the perfect Christmas wedding?

Buy it now!