Posts in motivation
The Healthy Writer: A Renewed Commitment to Wholistic Health

Happy New Year!! I’m not a resolution maker, but I do set goals and plan for my year as a writer and just as a human. This year, I’m renewing my commitment to wholistic health and continuing my journey of being a healthier, happier person.

Since May 2017 I have lost 40 pounds and managed to keep it off through the holidays. Whew. You can read about my Journey Back to Health here. I’m thrilled to be in much better shape thanks to a lifestyle change and exercise program that works for me. I love the Naturally Slim program for lifelong health, physically and emotionally. I’m also enjoying working out with my HomeFit trainer, Joselyn Kirstein. These workouts hold me accountable and keep me on track, which is especially important during the dreaded, dark winter months.

Winter is my achilles heel. I don’t like cold, wet winter weather. I’d much rather park my tush in a chair to write, read or snuggle with Tonks. But I can’t give into that desire or I will regain my weight and lose my fitness. I need to get out!

I’ve also made great strides to connect with friends on a more regular basis. Scheduling time for lunches, dinners, and ladies’ nights. I need the interactions more than ever while I transition from living in Northern Alabama to make the move to Austin, Texas. Supportive, fun and loving friends will help me get through the harder days.

And, finally, I am fully invested in following my Chunk Scheduling solution while I continue building my awesome new series, release more books, market them, blog about life, and more. I’ve learned a lot about how to create a better rhythm for my world that liberates me from the twin monsters of guilt and pressure.

A new year and a new journey toward fulfillment and happiness while striving to make a difference in other people’s lives too!

A new year and a new journey toward fulfillment and happiness while striving to make a difference in other people’s lives too!

2018 was a great year, but I’m positive 2019 will be even better. I’m super excited about all the challenges and new adventures that await me in the months ahead.

Best of all, I am going into this year feeling like I am on the right path for my complete wellness. Health isn’t just about diets and exercise. Our souls need nurturing too. I am definitely taking care of mine. And I’ll share my journey with you in this blog. Together we can make this year fulfilling and fun!

XX

Christine

Digging Out of Distraction: The Chunk Schedule Solution

I’m a hybrid author who is transitioning to a full independent published career. I like the control I have over my time as well as ascertaining if my marketing efforts are generating results. However, the more I move into indie publishing, the more I have to do to get my books into people e-readers.

And there is a lot of competition for those readers. Reaching them takes time, money, and creative skills. So, in addition to writing, revising, and publishing my novels, I also have to create ads, connect with readers on social media, maintain a newsletter for my followers, and keep track of all the expenses, results, non-results… the list is endless. Plus, I am also a freelance content editor which means generating contracts, editing my clients’ work, coordinating payments to my co-editor and keep track of all the information and finances. Layer in two critique partners who need my eagle eye in exchange for their input and I’ve got a lot on my to-do list.

Too much. I’ve been attempting to find a way to schedule it all in all the time. End result? Didn’t work for me and my focus scattered. If I am marketing, concentrating on my writing goes to hell. Period. And if I’m editing someone’s work, my own work takes a hit. Some of this stuff has to happen when it occurs: client contacts us and we have to respond with a yes/no, here’s the contract, etc.

During the summer, I discovered something about my work style: I do better if I can focus on the task at hand 100%. Around the same time, New York Times Bestselling author, Skye Warren, shared her four hour day workday method. Four hours of dedicated time in the chair writing or marketing or whatever task you need to do for your business until you complete the task. You can read more about her methods by subscribing to her newsletter. I do and it’s a great resource.

Rather than work four hours in a row, I sometimes tell myself 4 hours in the chair and you’re done. I workout in the mornings, then I come home and put my time in for whatever I am focusing on. I also put the bulk of all my efforts into the project while devoting less time after I’ve completed my task to other activities such as checking emails, popping into my social media sites, or checking sales figures.

The writing does come first. Repeat after me: books sell more books. That’s the number one marketing tool I have in my arsenal. Everything else is next. So how does my Chunk Schedule work?

Let’s take a look at my recent month of writing and work. I had a first draft to wrap up and send to my critique partners, Carmen Falcone and Pam Mantovani. My four hour day was devoted to completing that task. Period. Once I sent the manuscript to my CPs, I used my four hour day to develop AMS ads and experiment with them to see if I could reach readers. I spent about two or three days handling that only, then I devoted all my four hour days to revising another story which I sent off last week.

Now my four hour day is dedicated to catching up on all my marketing, social media, and composing my blogs. Once those tasks are completed, I will begin pre-planning the second novel in my brand new series. This includes character development, story/plot points mapped out, writing back cover copy and setting up my beat sheet. All of these tasks are very portable as I have the resources online and ebook versions of my print craft books on my reading apps. This will begin while I’m traveling to see my daughter.

By telling myself it’s okay to put all my energy into blogging now, I am liberating myself from twin monsters: guilt and pressure. That’s a win-win for me!

I’ve liberated myself from the twin monsters guilt and pressure by scheduling my work and writing life in manageable chunks.

I’ve liberated myself from the twin monsters guilt and pressure by scheduling my work and writing life in manageable chunks.

I keep a calendar at home along with an Erin Condren vertical planner that doesn’t have stickers, but is filled with my project deadlines and more. This is my traveling schedule. I use it for everything. Seeing on paper is more immediate and keeps me on task. This doesn’t mean things don’t slide to the following week, but I tend to accomplish most of what I intend to do.

I really like this way of working and writing. You can adjust this type of schedule easily based on whether you have a dreaded day job or little ones to take care of or BOTH.

Plus, in all of this is a thing called having a life. All work and writing and stressing about marketing makes for an extremely dull life. I have a full one with friends, family, travel, dining out, reading, going to movies, binge watching Hallmark Channel movies and more. I don’t want to live in a box. How can I write about people who are real and 3 dimensional if I don’t get out and play? I need social interactions, quality ones, and time to regenerate my creative soul.

I finally feel like I have a handle on how to organize my schedule in a manageable and realistic way. If you’re feeling stressed out by trying to do it all, maybe my chunk schedule solution is something that’ll liberate you too.

Happy Writing and keep Digging Out of Distraction!

Digging Out of Distraction: The Climb to the Top

Many years ago, before I sold my first book and released it into the world, I wrote about the journey toward publication. DIGGING OUT OF DISTRACTION had motivational pieces, craft ideas, shared my ups and downs as I struggled to find a publishing home for my stories. After I sold to Entangled in 2013, I compiled the blog posts into a volume and published it on Amazon. I also have a nice motivational workshop/presentation with the same title that has, I hope, inspired and encouraged other dreamers to keep on trying no matter what.

My first non-fiction collection of motivational essays for writers. The contents still apply today!

My first non-fiction collection of motivational essays for writers. The contents still apply today!

But… attaining this dream didn’t change the realities facing me prior to publishing.

Quite frankly, the romance publishing industry has changed tremendously since my debut novel THE MAVERICK’S RED HOT REUNION released in June 2014 with Entangled Publishing. And the challenges facing romance writers and authors are manifold. I’ve learned that there a lot of authors out there who want their stories to get discovered. Certainly, I do, but I’ll be honest. Getting discovered is hard on a shoestring budget and in the face of all the competition.

There have been moments of discouragement and I’ve struggled to maintain my motivation at times when sales have lagged or contracts dried up. But I pushed through and decided I had an opportunity to continue publishing as an Indie author who controlled her own world. If the money ever followed, great. If not? I still need to write about as much as I need to breathe to live. So the writing will always be a part of who I am.

But how do I keep my motivation and my butt in the chair writing stories along with performing all the other jobs in my empire?

I go back to my roots. To the beginning. When everything was possible. And I refresh my memory about how everyone’s publishing & writing journey is unique. We’re all climbing the same mountain, but there’s no one right way to get to the top. While it’s daunting to see those authors who are ahead of me… how could I even compete with these powerhouses… I know there are also people climbing behind me.

After you reach the mountain top, check out the scenery and you’ll discover there’s always another mountain to climb!

After you reach the mountain top, check out the scenery and you’ll discover there’s always another mountain to climb!

And we all have different ways of approaching the summit along with different resources to do so. Some people are steadfast, eye on the prize, only write… publish… market… repeat… and they keep going even on bad days. Others need to take breaks, look at the view, set up base camp with their friends and relax while enjoying each other’s company. Some take side paths, going in different directions for a while. They want to explore different facets of the mountain, then they resume climbing.

At the end of the day, my personal climb up the mountain has been a combination of all the above. I’ve stayed head down and super focused without having a break, then I’ve come up for air and realized… hey… I want to hang out with the other people at this point of the journey. And I want to look at the view for a while, take in the vistas and rest before I continue climbing.

Ultimately, reaching the summit only leads to another discovery… there are always other mountains to climb, valleys to traverse and if we don’t learn how to be at peace with where we are in our own journey, we’ll never enjoy the fruits of our writing successes.

So focus forward, aim high and remember not to compare your ascent up the mountain to anyone else’s climb. Embrace your journey and you’ll have a lot more fun while you’re climbing to the top of this mountain. And then… when another mountain comes into view… you’ll be eager to climb again!



Digging Out of Distraction: When Life Happens

My writing slowed down during the summer for a few reasons. One: I had surgery. Nothing major—I thought. Unfortunately, I ended up having a post-op complication which meant staying in the hospital for a few nights. I’m better now, but it did put a major dent in my writing schedule. Frankly, I was exhausted and emotionally drained. The ER experience was a NIGHTMARE—more about that in a Healthy Writer Blog—and I just lost some of my mojo.

Then we went on a trip to Europe. And I deliberately used that time to rest, rejuvenate my spirits, and enjoy a laid back life. I had fun. I saw my friends. I laughed so hard I cried. And I healed emotionally from the trauma.

My body slowly knitted together too, but it’s hard to get back in the writing chair and focus after a long break. Plus, I had another life happening with the Career Girl. She needed my help and still does so I had to reevaluate my schedule and my high expectations before I sat down to write again.

And every moment spent away from the story means I have to fight harder to get my brain back in the game. Writing novels is a lot like Shonda Rhimes says in her book THE YEAR OF YES: laying down railroad track. The first five miles are tough, but once you get rolling it’s awesome and flows. Do not, repeat, do NOT interrupt a writer when she is the writing groove and laying down tons of track. If you do, prepare for her to yell or snap because she’s got to start laying the first five miles all over again.

DOOD Blog andrew-neel-237802-unsplash.jpg

Well, I feel like I’ve been laying down the first five miles for about a month now. Not getting enough track going before I get interrupted by LIFE. However, those pesky interruptions aren’t going away. Not soon. I have a trip to Austin this month that wasn’t expected, but my Career Girl needs me so off I go to Texas.

So here’s the deal: the family and my health ALWAYS come first. They have to because my family is a gift and I love my people. They support me and love me too. We are a team. Team Glover. And writing can’t give me hugs or tell me I love you or comfort me when I have a scary post-op complication. So I treat my peeps like gold.

And my health is a priority. I just overcame a major health issue and that enabled me to lose 40 pounds. I also am working out and taking care of myself physically. I need to be healthy to write my words. So working out comes before the writing.

Frankly. My LIFE has to come first. I need my people time and I need to be part of the world by exploring it and interacting with new people too. Without these experiences, I won’t have anything of value to put on the page. I need a full heart to write characters who jump off the page and connect with the readers at a deep emotional level.

So I decided not to stress out about the tracks I have to lay down. I gave myself a low key schedule until the first of the year. I workout in the mornings, come home and write until noon, then I stop to regroup and do the other part of my life as a writer: marketing, promo, critiquing, and editing.

This career. This writing gig. It’s part of me, but it’s not the only thing that defines me as a person. Ultimately, I think taking the time to look after myself and my people will make me a better writer. Which means y’all will get better stories to read because they will reflect a full, rich life.

So don’t expect me to crank out a crazy bunch of books per year. But do expect me to publish stories with heart, soul and characters that’ll make you want to meet them in real life.


Digging Out of Distraction: Perseverence Pays Off

I haven’t had a lot of time to blog lately—despite the best of intentions. Life sort of happened in a big way. I’ll share what happened to me in a Healthy Writer Blog post. But today isn’t about when bad stuff happens… it’s about when GOOD STUFF HAPPENS!! And boy did something really good happen to me in Romancelandia!

Wait for it… wait for it… drum roll please… the ROYAL & RECKLESS boxset that I was a part of as an author with 22 other authors HIT the USA Today Bestseller list THIS WEEK!!! I’m over the moon. I am officially…

A USA TODAY Bestselling author!

Yes! It’s official. But I honestly didn’t believe it until I saw this in today’s USA Today website:

This is the screenshot of where the ROYAL AND RECKLESS Boxset landed on the list yesterday! I’m still in shock… it’s surreal… and it’s AWESOME!

This is the screenshot of where the ROYAL AND RECKLESS Boxset landed on the list yesterday! I’m still in shock… it’s surreal… and it’s AWESOME!

Yes. I hit a list with 22 other authors in an anthology. I’m very proud of all of us because we worked really hard to make this happen. We wrote kick butt stories, had a Royal & Reckless Party room with guest author takeovers, ran ads, did newsletter swaps, ran more ads, grew our followings on BookBub and Amazon, ran more ads, hosted more takeovers, supported each other and kept plugging along for over four months to get to this point. At times the work was overwhelming and took precedence over all other writing projects.

BUT ALL THE HARD WORK PAID OFF AND IT WAS WORTH IT!!

Does this mean I’m any different today than I was yesterday? In some ways, yes. Writing is a lonely art and the romance industry has seen many ups and downs. Sometimes it’s enough to make this romance author want to run to the hills with a jug of wine and stay there indefinitely. This isn’t an easy industry, but I keep slogging away at this thing called “crafting a romance” because I love writing the stories. But there are days… days when I feel like maybe it isn’t worth all the time and energy I’m putting into this gig.

But then something magical happens when I need it the most. Something like becoming a USA Today Bestselling Author and then I am motivated to try again even if I don’t know when the next magical thing will happen.

So on days when you’re feeling like tossing in the proverbial towel and running to the hills with a jug of wine for an indefinite period of time, don’t… hang on and keep writing… magic is waiting just around the corner!

XX

Digging Out of Distraction: Quality Over Quantity

The Physicist & I have been participating in a program called Naturally Slim. Frankly, this is the first time I've been completely happy with a lifestyle change because it's not about counting points, carbs, or calories. It's about learning how to eat like a True Thin and how to live a fit and full life. This has been revolutionizing the way we think about ourselves and our future. We're not just losing weight, we're gaining valuable insights about ourselves. 

In addition to the Naturally Slim program, I've been involved in a new Life Makeover Journey. Many years ago, I and a few close friends decided to go on the journey together. That journey led to my writing my first novel and now, all these years later, I'm published and continuing to write books, edit, and present workshops to other writers about how to stay focused and in the chair. I figured I had the program locked in place, but a new friend propelled me to revisit the Life Makeover with her. I'm so glad I did. I'd forgotten some of the valuable lessons within the program and I needed a mental and emotional reboot. 

Both programs, along with really good articles I've read in the Romance Writers of America's monthly magazine RWR by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, have reinforced my desire to live a quality life over chasing a life filled with quantity. 

My desire to have a quality life has given me a brand new perspective on the choices I make as an author, a wife, a friend, a mother, and for me. I believe that as I lost the weight I gained and as I rebuilt my fitness, I also discovered my spirit needed a little help. I'd smothered her in a pile of fat and frustration. I'd allowed negative words to creep back into my vocabulary. I started to believe I might be a failure because I didn't excel at marketing my books and I wasn't taking on enough projects and I didn't get everything completed on my to-do lists.

But my best friend gave me a wake-up call in January 2017 that began my transformation physically, emotionally and spiritually. I needed this wake-up call. Then the hard work began both physically and mentally. First, I identified what my spirit didn't need.

Just as my body doesn't need to stuff itself with food to bury her negative emotions, my spirit doesn't have time for pettiness, mean words, or people using her confidences as weapons against her. My spirit doesn't want to be attacked when she can't or won't say yes to other people. My spirit doesn't want negativity in her life. 

My spirit doesn't chase dollars or write twenty books in a year in an effort to remain relevant. My spirit doesn't need to eat food that isn't delicious and special. My spirit craves physical activity. My spirit yearns for quality one  on one time with quality people who edify her and make her stronger. 

In searching for the things that fill my spirit, I've actively been gathering strong and supportive people in my life. I've focused on building the relationships that matter to me. Some I've had for decades, others are new and special too. And in focusing on the positive, I've been given a fabulous new treasure trove of stories to write in my time and in my way and with the support of people who believe in my ability to do so. This brings me so much joy! Now my spirit is full, happy and determined to live a centered, quality life.

Doing something I love in the time I want while nurturing special relationships and bringing others support and encouragement is my passion. My sincere wish is for all the people in my corner of the world to find their passion too.