Tag Archives: writing

Minutes Before Sunset Release Day!

28 Jul

Minutes Before Sunset has officially released!

Available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and everywhere.

(You can also pre-order Seconds Before Sunrise and Death Before Daylight)

Available now!

Available now!

I’ve also make a special “thank you” video that you can now watch via my YouTube channel, Coffee & Cats.

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1

CoverTwo destinies. One death.

“Her kiss could kill us, and my consent signed our death certificates.”

Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful—too powerful—and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.

Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him—even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide.

Minutes Before Sunset is the first book in The Timely Death Trilogy.

Special thanks also goes out to my wonderful helpers:

Just AmyNerd GirlJust Another Girl and her Books, The Book ForumsGnome on Pig ProductionsMel’s ShelvesCrazy BeautifulRead Watch ThinkPau’s CastlesLive. Laugh. ReadChris PavesicCoffee Books and Art, The Fiction FanaticsAnnette AbernathyA Reader’s Review, and everyone involved the Juniper Grove Book Blitz:

Minutes Before Sunset Blitz Banner

Juniper Grove, The Wonderings of One Person, Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews, Melissa’s Book Buzz, Mythical Books, Lady Amber’s Reviews, The Moral of Our Stories, Black Words-White Pages, Books Can Take You There, A Fold in the Spine, Star Angels’ Reviews, The Bookie Monster, Day Parker, Girls with Books, One Guy’s Guide to Good Reads, These Words Tell A Story, and Kristy Centeno.

The winner of the signed book is Just Amy

If you would like a chance to win prizes like these, sign up for my newsletter here. (Your information will never be given away, and you’ll only receive about one email every month.)

In other news, you can join CTP’s Midsummer Magic FB party for YOUR chance to win a signed book, signed bookmarks, a necklace, and more on July 31 7-9 p.m. via Facebook. I’ll definitely be there, so I hope to see some familiar faces there with me. <3

Thank you for all of your support.

Stay Dark,

~SAT

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Website Wonders (And Announcement)

25 Jul

Before I begin our monthly Website Wonders post, I have to clarify a few changes that are coming to www.ShannonAThompson.com. As many of you know, my trilogy is releasing back-to-back during this month, August, and September. This is going to shift some of my regular posts around. That being said, you can expect my next blog post to be on the release day of Minutes Before Sunset—Tuesday, July 28—and after that, July’s Ketchup will be posted on Friday, July 31. The regular Monday, Wednesday, Saturday schedule will resume on Monday, August 3.

Thank you for understanding!

Website Wonders:

Every month, I share all of the websites I come across that I find helpful, humorous, or just awesome. Below, you’ll find all of July’s Website Wonders categorized into Reading, Audio Books, Writing, Travel, and Coffee.

If you enjoy these websites, be sure to follow me on Twitter because I share even more websites and photos like this there.

Enjoy!

Reading:

From the IRS to the Bestsellers List: Rick Yancey’s Journey: It’s always refreshing to read how an author “makes” it. I especially enjoyed this article because I love Rick Yancey and The 5th Wave.

This Librarian’s “All About Them Books” Parody is the Coolest Way to Get Back Overdue books: Seriously creative. And hilarious.

53 Of The Most Heartbreaking Sentences in Fantasy Books: Get the tissues ready.

31 of the Most Beautiful and Profound Passages in Literature: Read them over and over again.

148738_861779983890823_6405843304342802266_nAudio Books:

The 14 Most Addictive Storytelling Podcasts of 2015: Because…podcasts.

Writing:

Secrets of Great Characters, According to 6 Science Fiction Authors: I so do love secrets.

Travel:

26 Literary Landmarks in America to Visit Before You Die: I’ve been to the Kansas City Public Library.

15 Awesome Photographs of Interesting International Borders: These are amazing.

Coffee:

Coffee stain monsters by Stefan Kuhnigk: I want to try this…but I know I’d fail.

See you on release day!

~SAT

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

I’m at Penned Con in St. Louis, Missouri TODAY! If you can’t meet me, don’t worry. More events are coming soon.

Minutes Before Sunset releases in 3 DAYS! (And, of course, it’s available for pre-order.) Also available for pre-order: Seconds Before Sunrise and Death Before Daylight.

If you wish to help me out, please share the teaser below along with this link:

http://tinyurl.com/MBSTTDT

Oh, and make sure to come to CTP’S Midsummer Magic Party via Facebook on July 30 from 7-9 p.m. to play games and win prizes!

Thank you!

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#WW The Difference of Pronunciation and Writing

22 Jul

#WW Pronunciation and Writing

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris demanded my attention simply from the title. Despite working with the English language every day—both as a writer and as an editor—I have difficulty speaking. I stumble and stutter a lot. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I worked so hard to master the written language. I was making up for another aspect of the language I didn’t excel in.

Looking back on it, I blamed moving around a lot as a kid—mixing up accents and phrases and idioms—but I don’t have much blame anymore. In fact, I’ve rather embraced this awkward part of myself, and it no longer bothers me like it used to. While most people around me avoided bringing it up a few years ago, it’s now a common joke. “Okay. English major.” “Aren’t you the writer here?” Both phrases I now hear on a regular basis, paired with laughter and a “Yeah. yeah. I get it.” It’s an accepted part of my life now, something I don’t fight, something I realized most people look past anyway. I was the one judging myself.

Take the other day for example…

On a drive back from the grocery store, I saw Venus and Jupiter in the sky. I am a HUGE space nerd—probably due to Sailor Moon—so I started rambling about how new information on Pluto released, discussing spots on the surface, and NASA was speculating what could’ve caused it. That’s when I came across the word “meteors.” The problem was simple. I had just finished talking about how Meg Cabot’s final book in the Mediator series was coming out and now I had to say meteor? It wasn’t happening. I stumbled for three minutes. Eventually, it turned into a giggle fit.

I know the words. I know how to say the words. I just can’t explain why it doesn’t come out that way. But I think the saddest part is when people can no longer take you seriously when you stumble over a word or two. In all honesty, I haven’t had that problem much. In fact, I think I simply worried that it would happen, so I stayed silent. My speech class in college got me over that fear. If I can say this without bragging, I got a big ol’ A in that course. (I know. I know. It’s speech class. But it meant the world to me. In fact, it meant Pluto, Jupiter, and Venus to me.) Up until that point, I thought there was no way I could succeed as a writer with a pronunciation issue like mine. What was I supposed to do if I ever booked a signing where I had to read a chapter out loud? The horror! What happens when people think I couldn’t have possibly written the words if I couldn’t speak them? Double horror! How do I explain myself? …I just died from horror.

It was a panic attack waiting to happen…a panic attack I overcame a long time ago but still comes back every now and then when I have to say specific or pacific, shoulder or solider, Neanderthal, and, I suppose, meter or mediator. (Fun fact: I stumbled over mediator in my YouTube video—Book Boyfriends—and said “med-a-tore” instead. I suppose I could’ve deleted it, reshot it, edited it out, but I’ve embraced this part of myself.)

These are all words I avoided saying out loud. All words I’ve used in stories a hundred times. All words that are, no matter what, precious to me.

Two moments, two poetry readings, I overcame my fear.

Two moments, two poetry readings, I overcame my fear.

“Emma Saying” on YouTube and “How To Pronounce” are two websites I use on a regular basis to practice. I don’t avoid words anymore, but I still stumble, and I imagine that’s just a part of me that makes me me—a character in my own right—a writer who stumbled over her love for words.

~SAT

And…announcements…

promoI’ll be at Penned Con in St. Louis, Missouri THIS Saturday. I’m going as a reader, not as an author, so if you want to meet me, simply email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. In other news…

Minutes Before Sunset releases in 6 days. 6 DAYS! We’re less than a week away, and all of your support matters. You make a difference in my life, and for that, I thank you.

All three novels in The Timely Death Trilogy are up for pre-order: Minutes Before Sunset, Seconds Before Sunrise, and Death Before Daylight. Please check them out or share them with the teaser. That would also mean Pluto, Venus, and Jupiter to me. :]

ANDDDD don’t forget. CTP’s Midsummer newsletterMagic Prty is on July 30, from 7-9 p.m. on Facebook. You can win paperbacks, jewelry, and more – all by playing games. You know I’ll be there. :] OH! And I started a newsletter, so feel free to click here to sign up. You’ll get to win more prizes!

Get excited! More information to come.

~SAT

#SATurday: Eight-Year Anniversary of Publishing, a.k.a. WHAT?

18 Jul

Yesterday, July 17, marked my eight-year anniversary of my very first published novel, November Snow. Coincidentally, it was also my one-year anniversary of Take Me Tomorrow (my last published novel with my old publisher). Both novels are currently unavailable, and neither novels had a lot of time on the market…although I hope one day they can make a comeback. November Snow is actually my current goal, but I am saving an in-depth post about that journey for the near future. (Insert wink here.)

I’ve been thinking a lot (as does every person on this planet, I hope), and reflecting over these past eight years of publishing is both surreal and nerve-wracking. It’s easy to beat myself up over the few years I left the market (between 2007 and 2013), but I try not to count that time as “lost” time. I was still writing, after all. In fact, I wrote Take Me Tomorrow in that time period. I do have my moments though, and if I had to compare it to anything, I would compare it to a reading problem I’ve had. (I hope I’m not the only one in this, but I shall confess my little heart’s sad beats anyway.) Sometimes, not as rare as I’d like those time to be, I will be reading a fantastic novel and suddenly think, “Oh. Wow. I could never be this good.” It’s ridiculous and silly and even petty, but the insecure and (hopefully) fleeting seconds pass. I generally shake my head back and forth really fast, like I can whip the thoughts out of my ears. (I credit Willow Smith for inspiring this move.) This has also caused quite a few stares in public. Nevertheless, I found myself doing that dance recently—the don’t-think-that head shake—and I know it’s because I was concentrating more on the “lost” time than on what I’ve accomplished with the current time and what I am continuing to accomplish with the time I have left.

All we can do is concentrate on being our best selves every day. If we do that, no time is lost.

I don’t know if November Snow or Take Me Tomorrow or any of my other novels will ever sit next to The Timely Death Trilogy. I don’t know if they’ll be on shelves one day or if I’ll make to a book signing or if I’ll try a new genre or deepen a series. I don’t know those things at all.

But I do know one thing.

I love what I do, and I love it more every day, and I look forward to my ninth anniversary and all of the anniversaries to come.

Oh, and just for fun, here’s a time lapse photo of the release day eight years ago and today…just cuddling with November Snow on the couch. I even found the same sweater. (And, yes, that’s a pegasus. I love pegasus.)

20072015

And because I think it’s fun to explain this to everyone I meet…the reason my eyebrows are missing when I was 16 is because I shaved them completely off when I was nine. Why? Well, that’s another story. (I promise it’s not what you think.) But they took ten years to (mainly) grow back. Don’t touch the brows. Don’t do it. However, I definitely recommend the pegasus sweater.

~SAT

Goodies and announcements:

ex55Minutes Before Sunset releases in TEN days! It is up for pre-order at $2.99, but the price goes up on July 28. You can also WIN a paperback via this Goodreads Giveaway! (It ends tomorrow.)

Seconds Before Sunrise and Death Before Daylight are also up for pre-order.

I’ll be at Penned Con July 25 in St. Louis, Missouri, and more news is to come shortly!

July 30, Clean Teen Publishing, is hosting an online party where we play games and give out FANTASTIC prizes. (Jewelry might be coming your way from yours truly.) So, join CTP’S Midsummer Magic Party, by clicking the link, and I’ll see you on July 31, from 7-9 p.m, via Facebook.

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#MondayBlogs: Life as a Book Bloggin’ Reviewer

13 Jul

Intro:

One of the best parts of being an author is meeting and speaking with readers. Among the readers who help authors the most are the wonderful book bloggers. Without them, we wouldn’t be the wonderful and supportive community of writers and readers we are today. That’s why I’m proud to share today’s post about bloggers. Kristine Schwartz is the writer behind the infamous book blog, The Schwartz Reviews, and today, she shares all that goes on behind the scenes in this loyal writing community. Let’s welcome her!

Life as a Book Bloggin’ Reviewer by Kristine Schwartz

So, as the title of this post suggests, I am a book blogging reviewer. I review books. Lots and lots of books. I consider it my day job, as I am one of the lucky ones who is also a stay at home parent. So, when Shannon Thompson put out a status update looking for guest posts I started thinking about all of the wonderful things that I could write. As a blogger, that is the other half of my job. I say job, but I do not really get paid… unless you count the piles of free books I acquire, which I do. I do count those as payment. Plus it is always such a great way to find new authors that just wow your boots off (or how does that saying go again?). So, without further ado, I bring to you my life as a book blogger!

Photo provided by Kristine

Photo provided by Kristine

What is amazing about my ‘Job’

FREE BOOKS! Ahem. I mean the free books are obviously a bonus. However, a book blogger is not for the faint of heart. I mean, you probably will not pass out or anything by anything that I do BUT it does require a TON of your undivided attention. Plus, despite what some may think, you will not hit it off right out of the gate. It takes a lot of work to gather a following, a lot of work developing your talent as a blogger. I am not even sure that I have completely hit it off yet; however, I am getting close to where I want to be as a blogger. Years later and hundreds of posts in, I’m beginning to get the hang of this book bloggin’ business.

A book blogger is an author’s best friend.

Ok, so free books are at the top of the list of what is amazing about book blogging. What is next? In my opinion, the relationships you create with authors that you fall for. Sure, there are many authors that just come and go, but the ones that affect you the most are the ones that you begin to chit chat with on a regular basis. The ones on your Facebook, the ones you work with behind the scenes on their newest works, and the ones you spread the word about on more than one occasion. I absolutely love it when I begin to consider an author my friend. Yea yea, a Facebook friend, but they mean so much more to me as a reader than just a number in a list. I begin to want what is best for them and become available to them at any time. What? They need a review of their latest book? Sure, I will put this book down for you right now! What? A cover reveal? I need that on my blog! Let me Facebook that, tweet it, and Instagram it! The relationships you develop with the authors that you love and are lucky enough to meet through your blog, priceless.

I get to work with authors on cover reveals, guest posts, interviews, and giveaways! I absolutely love interviewing authors and finding out all the in’s and out’s of their writing habits and styles. I also think it is fabulous to see all the amazing covers before anyone else. I mean, sharing their amazing covers with all of the readers, yes that is what I meant…

What is hard about my ‘Job’

Emails. That is the hardest part about being a book blogger. I currently have… let me check… almost four hundred emails in my account waiting for attention. Why is this hard? Because I hate the fact that I cannot answer them all. I do not want to leave anyone behind. I want to help everyone. I want to reply to everyone. But realistically, it is impossible. So it hurts my heart that some authors who have worked so hard on their novels will not get a reply from me. When the whole point of my blogging is to help as many authors as I can. I even have several members of my family working behind the scenes with me, reading and reviewing books so that I can help more authors. Yet, so many are left waiting, for an email that just will not come because I am swamped. It is the absolute worst part of being a book blogger. Feeling as though I am letting people down. I just have to remember that I am doing the best that I can, and that I am helping as many authors as possible. That has to count for something right?

Another hard part would be the social media. I am more of a behind the scenes person myself. I like to read and write my reviews. However, to be a successful blogger you need to keep up with all of the social media. And well, I find that it just takes away from my reading time. That is not good. Not when I try to average 2-4 books a week. So keeping up with Twitter and Instagram are hard for me. Facebook is my main social network platform that I maintain, and even that gets difficult at times. I cannot help it! I am usually reading an interesting book! And you know how it is…You know how it is, right?

I guess I have to put this here as well, boring books. Yes, such a thing exists. I find it quite difficult when I accept a novel for review, only to find that the novel is incredibly hard to read. Like, all I want to do is put it down. However, if I accept a novel for review, well, I give it my best. I will read it, and review it objectively. It is my ‘job’ after all. For example, I once read a novel about constipation that turned into diarrhea… enough said, right?

Book covers, they will get me every time…

How I started out: 

This is easy. I started out on Goodreads. I honestly suggest that if you have the desire to start a book blog that you begin on Goodreads. Why? Because that is the best site to begin meeting authors, other reviewers, and start your reviewing career. Start with the books you have recently read, rate them out of five stars, and then write a review. Find your style. Then, when you are ready, you can create your blog. I suggest BlogSpot because it is super easy to use and maintain. You can even use Goodreads to begin announcing your book blog. Remember, a blog takes a lot of work to maintain. This is exactly how I began.

Remember, a blog takes a lot of work to maintain.

A day in the life of a book blogger: 

Ok, so let’s begin when my blogging day begins and ends.

Are you ready to be impressed? Bored? A little of both maybe? I start by reading…for hours! Sometimes, I forget to eat. Others, I have a hard time keeping my attention on the novel in hand (damn those boring books, eh?). I attempt to read for 4-5 hours a day. Yes, that long! Then, my housewife duties begin…Don’t worry, I only waste an hour or two on these ;)

Then, I attempt to do my social media connections for an hour a night. Setting up posts for timed postings. I also attempt to write articles for my blog for an hour a night. Plus, whenever there is time in the evening…I have my nose stuck in a book (or game, Xbox is my second passion and I am LadyRPG009 on live ;)

I also spend quite a lot of time on the phone during the day. Connecting with various family members who have novels on the go for my review blog. I pressure them to hurry up, take notes, and read read read! I am a hard arse I guess. But hey, it gets the job done… most of the time anyway.

Running a Blog: 

The main part of running a blog is design. Design of your blog. Design of your posts. Design of your images. Design of your layout…you get the point.

Once design is finished, content. I have spent a lot of time lately working out some content kinks. Design flaws. I absolutely love the way of my posts now. My review format works wonderful for me, and I love it because it is unique to my site. Unique to my name. And it holds everything that I believe is important to a review. I will not get into exactly my format, as it can be found completely on my “How Books are Rated” page. I give out stars in my own five star rating system. I also format my reviews so that everything is labeled perfectly and a reader can see what they deem important right away. BAM! Done to perfection…in my eyes anyway J

I also offer editing…why? Because I am an avid reader who has done her research properly and knows the rules of the English language. And because one of my greatest book peeves is reading a novel that has not been perfected for the reader. Ugh! Please, before publication, just perfect it… Even a little. It is greatly appreciated. I even include a perfection star in my rating system for this purpose. I would even go so far as to say that it is my GREATEST BOOK PEEVE!

Ok, so after editing, which is an amazing service (every author that has used my service has told me this), I mainly run reviews. I attempt to have a review posted at least twice a week. Sometimes that is just not feasible as some books are quite large. Therefore, when that happens, I attempt to post articles. Posts written by yours truly. Or posts written by authors, interviews, or cover reveals. I am also starting to put up some giveaways. I have several planned for the summer that will rock your socks off (THAT IS the saying!).

Honestly, book blogging is a blast! If you can do it…Do it! It is sooooo worth it. Yes, it is a ton of work. Yes, it is a commitment, but it is a lot of fun and so very rewarding. I, honestly, wish that I had started doing it sooner. Really.

Bio:

Kristine Schwartz from The Schwartz Reviews leads an extremely busy life. She is first, a mother of four young children aged seven to ten. Two beautiful boys to protect her younger twin daughters. Living with four children is only half her work however; she also has a home and husband to maintain. She has studied Economics and Accounting. She has also made a home 800kms away from where she was born and raised. Leaving London, Ontario behind for the country life of the Quebec province. She spends her day’s home arguing with her cat, Joseph, and reading or writing for her blog. Her evenings are spent running around like a chicken with its head cut off while she cleans, cooks, and bathes her small baseball team of children. Playdates, and homework, and of course, reading whenever she finds the time.

Where You Can Find Me:

The BlogFacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Email: theschwartzreviews@gmail.com

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

#SATurday: The Value of Knowing How Fast You Can Read or Write

11 Jul

The Value of Knowing How Fast You Can Read or Write

I don’t have time to read. I don’t have time to write.

We’ve all heard the phrases before…and possibly even said it ourselves. We get it. We do. Every writer and reader has a busy life, because every person has a busy life. Finding time to write or read isn’t easy. You just do it.

Easier said than done, right? Right. Which is why I want to share a small tip that worked for me in the early stages of my writing career. I’ve shared this with fellow writers before, so I know it works for some, but I must warn you that it has also discouraged others, so keep this one important fact in mind: It’s not about how fast you are. It’s not about comparing your speeds to anyone else’s. It’s about being aware of yourself, and using your awareness to manage yourself better.

Kiki helps me keep track.

Kiki helps me keep track.

My tip? Figure out how fast you read and write. (Remember, quality is key. This is not a race.)

What do I mean by that?

When you’re writing, take note of what time you start and your word count. When you’re done, take note of the time and how many words you get down. For reading, it’s very similar. Take note of where you started and when you started; then jot down how far you got and when you stopped. Do this a couple of times to get an average. Also, be aware of your nuances.

As an example, my major nuance is chapters. For both reading and writing, I cannot—for the life of me—stop in the middle of a chapter. So, for writing, I’m more likely to push myself longer just to finish that section, or if I feel myself getting tired, I might stop early to prevent myself from getting in the middle of a chapter. Now that I’m aware of my nuances, I can calculate speed. For two hours, I generally manage to write a chapter of 4,000-5,000 or so words and prep the next chapter, depending on where I’m at in those two hours. For reading, that’s about 200 or so pages, but this one is a little trickier since it is normally affected by the language or topic of the novel. That being said, that is my example.

Now what?

Now, pay attention to yourself. Did you just spend three hours watching television? I know I did that the other day. I couldn’t write due to carpal tunnel syndrome, so my situation was a little different, but I watched Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, an entire episode of John Adams, and the finale of Silicon Valley. I spent over three hours watching TV. Three hours. I could’ve written a chapter, prepped a chapter, and read 100 pages in my current read. This is where knowing your speed helps you manage your time. You stop counting time like one hour and you start counting time in word counts and pages.

Managing your time starts with being aware of your time. I know we all have difficulties—so, trust me, this is not a post slamming anyone who can’t find time to write and read. In fact, I’ve had a difficult time for the past week to find time to write and read since I’ve been moving more furniture from city to city. But there are days—like my three-hour television days—that I think we all have. And those are okay too. We’re allowed to take a break. This is more for those who might be struggling with their free time. This post is designed to suggest a new way to approach their situation. If you pay attention and figuring out another way to count time, you’ll be less likely to say, “I just watched one TV show” and more likely to realize that was an entire chapter in your WIP.

Remember that one important fact though. It’s not about how fast you are. It’s not about comparing your speeds to anyone else’s. It’s about being aware of yourself, and using your awareness to your advantage. And be aware of everything else too.

What do I mean by “everything else”? I wrote this blog post while cooking lunch—because I’ve been behind on blog posts and figured my lunch break would be a good time to sneak that in—so I wrote while I cooked. Pasta to be exact. It worked. I finished a blog post in time…but don’t let the water boil over like I did. ;]

~SAT

We’re so close!

As of yesterday, all three novels (YES, even Death Before Daylight) became available for pre-order

Minutes Before Sunset, Seconds Before Sunrise, Death Before Daylight

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Pre-order today!

#WW Staying Focused as a Writer

8 Jul

#WW Staying Focused as a Writer

Staying focused. It sounds simple but is all too complicated for many. It’s different for every writer, but I’ve recognized quite a few common stressors among authors. Some get overwhelmed by finding time to write and manage social media. Others can’t finish a novel without another one sneaking up on them. Some even ditch novels altogether. Like I said, it’s different for everyone, and there are many reasons behind the variety of #writerproblems out there. (Hence why there is an actual hashtag for such things.)

So, today, I wanted to discuss one I deal with as well as the ways I’ve kept myself in check over the years, but I would love to hear about how you manage your writing!

My issue is completing a novel when a new one suddenly demands my attention.

How are we supposed to concentrate on such a beautiful day?

How are we supposed to concentrate on such a beautiful day?

While I have no problem finishing a novel or coming up with an ending, I used to have a hard time keeping focused on the one I need to complete next. Any time I got a new idea or a new character, all I wanted to do was obsess over the new, potential story in front of me. I realized it was a problem when I spent more of my time planning novels than actually writing them, and while this happened to me a few years ago, I learned a lot of little tricks to keep me focused. In fact, this exact issue happened to me recently. While I’m mainly working on the rewrite of November Snow, I have another completed novel—one that’s never been released before that I refer to as “D”—and while it is complete, there is something wrong with it in my gut. And I realized what it was just the other day. Now, all I want to do is go fix everything in that manuscript. But I have to control myself. This is how.

1. Give Yourself a Time Limit

Whether it’s writing in a new novel or posting on your social media, tell yourself you only have an hour or two to do what you want before you continue to do what you need to do. Maybe you give yourself a few days. (I did.) However much time you need, give it to yourself, but try to set a time limit so you can get back to your original task. For instance, I gave myself a few days to jot everything down for “D”, but eventually, I know I have a bigger goal that needed attention, and now, I’m back to focusing on November Snow. “D” will gets its day soon. This isn’t to say I don’t want to work on November Snow. I do. I want to work on both, but I had to pick one because of other goals I’ve set (publishing dates, for instance).

2. Be Aware of Triggers

Another aspect of this I have to control has to do with triggers. I will use music as an example. I’ve only recently started writing with music on, but now I have associated playlists, and they help me focus almost immediately. If I hear “Murakami” by Made in Heights, November Snow is the only thing I can concentrate on. But “Dreamland” by Fan Shiqi triggers “D” so fast that I’ve learned to avoid that song when I’m trying to focus on November Snow. Keeping the right triggers around me, while avoiding the wrong ones, not only energizes what I want and need to focus on, but also prevents distractions.

3. And finally—Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

This is going to contradict my first tip, but if you go over your time limit or you simply change goals altogether, that’s fine. You know in your gut what you need and want to do. It’s a matter of being honest with yourself, understanding yourself, and accepting yourself and your artistic process. I could beat myself up all day that I lost time on the November Snow rewrite for “D”, but that would be counterproductive. I got something done, after all. Now, I just need to get more done. Just keep moving.

This is how I’ve stayed focused through my #writerproblems. How about you? What are your tricks and tips?

~SAT

Announcements:

We’re 20 days away from Minutes Before Sunset!

Seconds Before Sunrise, book 2, is also up for pre-order.

And? Clean Teen Publishing listed another Goodreads Giveaway!

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Also, I’ll be at Penned Con in St. Louis Missouri on July 25. If you want to meet me, send me an email! I’m just going as a reader, but I do have my first author event booked for October 17-18 at the Texas Book Festival in Austin, TX. Other events will appear on my Events page in the near future.

In other news, I’m also accepting guest bloggers again. My earliest available date is in October, so be sure to email me at shannonathompson@aol.com if you’re interested. I accept any posts about writing and reading, and I encourage bios, photos, and links. I look forward to hearing from you!

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