Slowing Down is an Act of Rebellion

Slowing down is an act of rebellion. So I'm learning how to write slower. Here's why it's making me more productive
 

For the past few years, I have maintained a schedule of writing 1,000 to 1,500 words a day Monday through Friday. When NaNoWriMo 2017 came up, I tried to step up that writing goal, but no surprise if you read my NaNoWriMo 2017 Recap post, I didn’t hit 50,000 words in November.

Then, December slammed me with a cold and then the flu. I found myself only writing 1,000 words a day two, maybe three, times a week. I was frustrated that I wasn’t writing every day Monday through Friday like I had for so long.

 

With the first of a new year approaching, I knew I wanted to get back to writing five days a week.

I missed writing on a regular basis, and that’s when I realized I had to let go of word count goals for a while.

 

For the entire month of January, I gave up tracking how many words I wrote each day and instead focused on writing until I felt satisfied each M-F morning.

Looking at where I started and ended in January, I wrote roughly 400 words a day, five days a week for the month. As someone who can write 1,500 words in a day, this might seem like a loss, but thankfully, one of my favorite bloggers, Danielle LaPorte came to the rescue about halfway through the month.

In that email, she wrote, “Here’s a reframe on taking a break or slowing down: You are not weak, you're not giving up or losing ambition, and you sure as hell aren’t lazy.”

 

Hell yes! There is nothing weak or lazy about the need to slow down. I could write 1,000 words twice a week or I could write 400 words five times a week. I still end up with 2,000 words by the end of the week, but when I ask myself which method is better, the answer is: writing every day. I would much rather write fewer words every day than write a ton of words every once in a while.

 

I WOULD MUCH RATHER WRITE FEWER WORDS EVERY DAY THAN WRITE A TON OF WORDS EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE.

 

Let me share a little more what Danielle says about slowing down because the way she phrases it, is so spot on:

“Our society is addicted to productivity. We think productivity increases our value as a human. And we want to be valued and loved. So…we become addicted to productivity. Which means... being still is an act of courage.... When you pause, you are rebellious and wise. Courageous. You’re synchronized with Mother Nature herself.”

 

“WHEN YOU PAUSE, YOU ARE REBELLIOUS AND WISE” —DANIELLE LAPORTE
 

 

As an author who loves to write rebellious characters, how can I turn down the opportunity to be one myself?

I may still have days where I crank out 1,000 words or more, but I’m glad I’m learning to write slower. I’m content knowing that each day I add more to my stories, and as long as I continue to take one step forward each day (even little ones), I’ll reach my destination.

 

I’d love to continue the conversation on stillness and slowing down with all of you. Leave a comment on this post or chat with me on Twitter or Instagram. How do you feel about slowing down? What’s your definition of productivity? Is it different from the rest of the world’s?

 

*Quotes from Danielle LaPorte were taken from her January 2018 newsletter (a sign-up form is at the bottom of her home page) and from her January 2018 blog post, “Addicted to Productivity, and the Courageous Act of…Stillness.” 

When You Want to Give Up

There are times we want to quit too. There are crushing moments that incapacitate us. But like our favorite characters, we can't let these moments define us. How we move forward sets us apart as the heroes of our own stories.
 

*Warning: there are story spoilers in this post!

 

If you didn’t already know, Emma’s father, from Emma’s Con, is a con artist. There’s a moment in the story where, due to his con, “someone” kills themselves. In that moment, Emma wants to quit. She wants to run. The moment is too much to want to think or feel.

When Florence, from Florence’s Candle, discovers her cousin’s body has been taken from his grave, she wants to give up. It was hard enough surviving the Civil War and losing her best friend...the last thing she wants to do is face the man who murdered her parents and wants to kill her.

There are times we want to quit too.

There are crushing moments that incapacitate us.

I had my own crushing moment last month when my husband called to tell me he’d been let go from his job. It was the last thing I wanted to hear when I was at my job trying to focus on my own work. Let’s just say it’s impossible to fill in reports and calculate data with a throbbing head and puffy eyes. I really wanted to give up. I wanted to go home, crawl into bed, and wait for the next day to face reality.

But...

It takes a Native American from the Sierra Nevadas to snap Emma out of it. She can’t run away and leave the town to her father’s mercy. It would be easy to give up, but if she does, those counting on her are screwed. And she’d hate herself if she quit. So what does Emma do? She cons the con artist.

The same could be said for Florence—not the coning part—but like Emma, there are people counting on her. If she falls apart, the entire witch coven falls apart. And like Emma, Florence needs someone, in her case, it’s her closest friend, to snaps her out of the “I’m so sad and everything sucks” zone. So Florence sucks it up, pushes aside her desire to quit, and gets the bad guy :)

So what do we do when we want to quit?

I personally like to take a step back, whether that means taking a day or just the evening off to be alone and zone out while I process the blow.

Next, like your normal Type A, I make a plan. When my husband lost his job, that plan meant going over our budget and figuring out how many hours I needed to work a week to keep us afloat while my husband looked for another job. It also meant making a plan to spend more time with one another so we didn’t let this incident defeat us.

Yes, I really wanted to hide in my closet and cry, but my family was counting on me. Sure, I had my freak out day, and okay, I did cry a good amount, but the next day, it was time to get down to business just like Florence and Emma.

I want to hear from you...

Do you have system or plan in place when things get tough? Are you usually the one to pull yourself back up or do you need help from a faithful sidekick?

 

2018 Word of the Year

I used to be one of those people who scoffed at the idea of a “word of the year.” Then I tried it in 2016 and was blown away by how much just focusing in on one word for the year could change my life. Now, I look forward to choosing my word of the year, and I want 2018’s word of the year to be DARE.
 

I have a confession: I used to be one of those people who scoffed at the idea of a “word of the year.” Then I tried it in 2016 with the word “Mindfulness” and was blown away by how much just focusing in on one word for the year could change my life.

 

Now, I look forward to choosing my word of the year, and I want 2018’s word of the year to be DARE.

 

And in my case, Dare doesn’t mean doing more—this year, I’m actually daring myself to do less.

 

I dare myself to be willing to things go, to write slower, more deliberately, to not rush into self-publishing everything I write (see 2018’s Goal post for more info on this).

 

I dare myself to let go of anything that isn’t serving me be they habits, objects, events, hobbies, etc.

 

I dare myself to stop trying to be on every social media platform.

 

I dare myself to stop filling up my agenda with to-do’s from dawn to dusk.

 

I dare myself to find my own way and my own time instead of letting the pressure or influence of others make my decisions for me.

 

Most of all, I dare myself to be utterly and completely me.

 

2018 is going to be a braver year. What’s your 2018 going to look like?

2018 Reading Goals

Got your TBR list reading for 2018? I'm no one near done adding to mine, but I've got a few books to start me off the year. I'm sharing them over on the blog.
 

One of my favorite lists to create each year is a reading list. I keep this list in my planner, adding to it as I discover new books I want to read.

 

Currently, my favorite place to find new books is BookBub. I get a daily email announcing which books in my favorite genres that are on sale. If any interest me, I download them onto my Kindle app to be read later.

 

Right now, the books I have on my to be read list are:

  • Beowulf (a classic and a favorite that deserves to be read every year)
  • Grimm’s Fairy Tales
  • Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
  • Easy Learning German Grammar (not fiction, but it needs to be read, haha!)
  • The House of Closed Doors by Jane Steen
  • Rising by Holly Kelly
  • Traitor’s Masque by Kenley Davidson
  • My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison
  • Fame, Glory, and Other Things on my To-do List by Janette Rallison
  • Seeking Persephone by Sarah M. Eden
  • The Hostage of Glenorchy by Kristin Gleeson

 

This list will definitely be growing as the year goes on, as I’m sure yours will. Leave a comment and tell us three books that are your TBR list for 2018.

New to the Reader Library!

Guess what bookworms? The reader library just got a lot more fun with printable bookmarks, art, and of course, more fiction! Click here to find out more.
 

Even though there will be fewer books being published over the next year, I promised I would spend special attention to the reader library and add more goodies for you amazing readers.

 

If you’re not already aware, you’ll find the complete copy of Ingrid’s Guilt (The Hidden, Book 1) in the library as well as the first chapters of the remaining books from the series: Annabel’s Revolution, Florence’s Candle, and Emma’s Con. And yes, later this year when Zoe’s Secret is released, you’ll have access to the book before anyone else.

 

So other than books, what could I add to the library? I wanted to find a way to blend my design and artwork interest with my fiction, and came up with the following goodies:

 

 

The first release is centered around Ingrid’s Guilt, but don’t worry, there will be collections for every book in The Hidden series by the end of the year.

 

As always, the password to the library can be found in my monthly newsletter, and access to the library is right here.

 

Haven’t signed up for the newsletter yet? I send my VIP Readers a monthly email with book updates, behind the scenes sneak peeks, and more. Click here (or fill in the form below) to join!

2018 Writing Goals

Author E. L. Scott has been through a lot this past year. Due to narrowing my niche, I unpublished The Warlock Murders series and The Owl Flight series. There was initial fear in having fewer books published, but when I look over my author brand, I feel more confident in it.
 

Author E. L. Scott has been through a lot this past year. Due to narrowing my niche, I unpublished The Warlock Murders series and The Owl Flight series. There was initial fear in having fewer books published, but when I look over my author brand, I feel more confident in it.

 

That means, the most important goal I want to accomplish this year is completing The Hidden series with Book 5: Zoe’s Secret, which is scheduled to be published on July 1, 2018.

 

The next exciting thing that’ll be launched the same time as Zoe’s Secret is a printed edition of all five books! I really wanted to wait until all five were released before moving into print editions. The same cover designer who worked on the covers of the ebooks will be designing the printed covers as well, and I can’t wait!

 

This year, I also want to finish writing my “prophecy” work in progress and write another novel. I have this medieval vampire idea I’ve been playing with for a while, so I would love to write it before the year end, but in another major change for my business, I won’t be self-publishing either one of these until I am able to make a profit from The Hidden or earn enough money to pay for a quality editor and designer.

 

It’s never fun to admit, but as it stands, my work as an author is less of a “job” and more of an expensive hobby. I love what I do, but to get a polished book into your hands costs a lot of money. I’ll keep writing stories, but I may have to look at traditional publishing options in the future.

 

And even though I’ll be cutting back on publishing books (Zoe’s Secret is the only book planned to come out this year), I want to keep giving to my readers, so I’ll be adding more to the Reader Library all year long, starting this month! I just sent my VIP Readers a sneak peek of this, but in a couple of weeks, these new bookworm goodies will be available in the reader library.

 

Lastly, I want to stay in love with storytelling. The joy I get from writing should always come first. I struggled a bit with this in 2017, so I’m making it a priority to keep my focus on “is this story bringing me joy?” in 2018.

 

Now I want to hear from you! Comment and tell me what your top three goals are for this year.

 

P.S. Don't miss out on all the behind the scenes this year! Click here to join the VIP Readers and get instant access to the library.

 

A Plastic Doll Compelled Me to Write

I learned to write instead of giving into my fears. And you know what this writer learned? My fears can’t stop me from being brave. Writer's life. Life of a novelist. Click through to continue reading.
 

I have a favorite story. It’s a favorite because it reminds me of a girl, who, despite her extreme shyness and fear, found her voice and made a difference for herself. This story is my favorite because it reminds me of who I used to be and who I still can be.
 

The story is this…

In eighth grade, all health class students had to take care of fake, crying baby for week, and I couldn’t wait until it was my class’s turn. (Obviously, thirteen-year-olds are stupid.) When the time came for our teacher to pass out the dolls to us, my class blew its chance by being rowdy and I’m sure what the teacher would call “disrespectful.” She told us we weren’t mature enough to handle this assignment, and instead, projected the school disciplinary agreement on the board, making us copy it down the remainder of the period.

I wasn’t having that. I was shy, I was quiet, I was a nerd who didn’t cause trouble, and I wanted that freakin baby. So instead of copying the given assignment, I wrote a letter to the teacher explaining why I deserved a chance with the crying doll.

Guess what? She gave me a chance!

The following school day, she pulled me aside after class, explaining to me that she had read my letter and was convinced. I could pick up a doll Friday afternoon and return it to her Monday morning.

At thirteen, I learned the power of the written word.

To this day, I’m still shy. I struggle with speech and absolutely balk at the thought of public speaking. Discovering that yes, I had a voice (it was just a written one) at age thirteen changed my life. My confidence grew. I was able to argue and make my point, even if I did have to write it down first. And because words were so fun to manipulate, I developed the passion for storytelling and poetry, I still have today.

I believe I had to learn to write to survive. That scared thirteen-year-old stood up to an authority figure, fought for what she wanted, and got it. When anxiety and depression start to take over, I cling to the knowledge that that girl is still inside of me. I still have the strength to fight for what I want, and get it.

My fears can’t stop me from being brave.

How To Write Through the Holidays

Should you write during the holidays? Do you even want to write during the hustle and bustle? Whether you're working on a side project or hitting hard deadlines on your WIP, here are five tips to finding time to write during the busy season of the year.
 

Every time holidays or big events roll around, I’m torn between: 1) writing anyway, it’s my job or 2) using the time to take a break. This year, I did a little bit of both.

Because I was traveling, I took the entire week of Thanksgiving off from writing, but still thought about ideas for my current novel.

On the other hand, even though both my brothers got married this year and we had plenty of family visiting from out of town, I still made time to hit my daily word count goals (yes, even on the days of the weddings. I could afford 35-40 minutes for 1,000 words).

Why go one way or the other? You’re probably tired of me talking about mindfulness, but that’s what it comes down to: What do I need at this time?

  • Could I use the break?
  • Are the pressures of the holidays too overwhelming to also squeeze in writing time?
  • Have I been working nonstop on a project and need to take a step back to clear my head?
  • Do I want to reach my current goals regardless of travel?
  • Do I want a break from the craziness of the event and my writing is my sanctuary where I’ll get it?

 

It really comes down to you, your WIP, and your current needs. I say current because they probably change just as much as mine do ;)

 

If you’re one the brave souls who wants to keep working on the WIP this holiday season without losing your mind and without missing out on family time and parties, here’s what you can do:

 

1) Rearrange your schedule to make time for writing before you spend time with your family. In the past when I’ve either had family in town or have visited family, I’ve woken up before them so I can get my writing out of the way for the day. My family doesn’t know I’m working because they’re asleep, so no one can say I’m choosing my novel over them. Win!

 

2) Write before you go to a holiday party, not after. You know you’re not going to want to sit down a write after hours of socializing and eating too much, so schedule time to “get ready for the party” by adding 30 minutes to an hour of writing time. No need to wake up early!

 

3) Outline instead of writing. While everyone’s gathered around watching a movie, you can be curled up on the couch with a notebook in hand, outlining ideas for your WIP. I find in my family, people get more upset if you’re on a laptop or phone, but for some reason, notebooks are totally allowed, so this way, I can still work on my story even if I’m not actively adding to my word count.

 

4) Talk it out. While driving to visit family this past Thanksgiving, my husband and I talked through the entire second act of my novel, and I didn’t write one idea down. Despite the fact that I can’t write while in a moving vehicle, I really didn’t need to. What I needed in that moment was to talk my ideas out loud with someone and then let them be. When I finally did get back to my WIP a week later, I felt much more confident in developing the second act. You don’t necessarily have to have a pen at the ready. Sometimes, just tossing ideas around is enough to stimulate your creativity.

 

5) Tell them writing is your job. And of course, you can always let friends and family know that writing is your job, and you have to work a couple of hours today. You respect their jobs and ask that they respect yours.

 

Worst case, you lock yourself in the basement and put on headphones, right? :)

 

I’d love to know if you like to continue writing during holidays or if you prefer to use the time for a break? (Or are you like me and it totally depends on the moment?)