writing

Writers Wednesdays – The Journal I’m Using Right Now and Request for More Books to Read!

Happy Writer’s Wednesday! Today, I have two things to discuss with you: the first thing will be about the journal I’m using currently. Then secondly, I want a chance to support you all (more about that later . . . )

One of my friends has had it on her heart to write books and create materials for personal growth. She’s incredibly inspiring and dynamic, and I’m blessed to have her in my circle.

So, when she shared that she published a journal, I knew I had to support her! You can click here to purchase her journal, or you can click on the picture below.

I christened this journal as my first quarter journal, so I’m using this for the next 75 or so days (it’s a 90 day journal, and we’re already 12 days into the new year). The way I’m using it is as a high-level daily overview: I’m putting one or two big ideas, concerns or desires on a page. I intend to use this to set the tone for my day, similar to how I used to look up an inspirational quote each day at work, and hand-write it on my embellished Post-It-sized note paper. And, since I still occasionally experience pain in my hands from writing more than a page or two at a time, this will prevent me from overdoing my handwriting.

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Next, I want to help out any of my fellow authors. So if you have a book or other written product that you’d like me to check out, please send me a message using the Contact form. I’d love to check out your work!

business · goals · health · international · life curation · luxury · reading list · travel · writing

December Goal Updates

Hey friends! This is my last goal update for the year, and I wanted to take some time to look over the things that I mentioned as my “goals” in 2021. Of course, you can look up my old goal posts for more info (like this one here, here, here, and this one here, too). But in this post, I’m going to re-share my original list, and let you know how all of this turned out for 2021.

Here’s my 2021 goal list:

  • Publish 5 books
  • Lose 15 lbs
  • Manifest 3 international trips
  • Earn 6 figures in my businesses
  • Read 100+ books
  • Luxury purchases – Hermes, Christian Louboutin, Sophia Webster, Ralph & Russo
  • Cure my fibromyalgia

So let’s take it point by point, shall we?

I published my 5 books, and actually published more than that. Yay me!

I gained weight, instead of losing it. I figured out that I am likely heavier because of my prescription medication, and that’s fine. I’ve transitioned off of those meds, and now I’m getting my body back into balance. It’s a process, and I’m giving myself time to figure all of this out without judging my body for being a bit heavier. In most cases, you gotta make peace before you can make progress, so that’s what I’m doing.

No international travel! But, I did manifest a local trip for free, which was nice. I also have several international trips lined up for 2022 (as in, flights purchased and deposits paid). I’m confident that I’ll have my wings again in no time.

My businesses didn’t earn 6 figures however, I did reach an all-time income high for my businesses, which was very exciting. It only goes up from here!

I read somewhere between 85-90 books. I had to slow down during these last couple of months of the year, which was the time I scheduled to catch up due to some slower periods during the first part of the year. However, I’m still SUPER proud of how many books I’ve read. I’m sure I’ll read more than 100 books next year with no issue!

I bought some luxury items, but I decided I’d rather support Black American luxury designers in the future. I’m saving some coins for my next big luxury purchase, which I’m pretty sure I’ll have before the end of the season (if all goes well).

My fibro isn’t cured, but I’m learning a LOT about how to heal my body, and I’m seeing that eliminating the symptoms is possible. I’m also seen some positive effects after removing my medications (not nearly as exhausted or achy as I thought I’d be). For all of this, I’m thankful, and I’m going to press on and share information as I get it in this upcoming year.

Well, that’s my super-fast summary of my 2021 goals. I don’t anticipate posting a 2022 goal list because it doesn’t quite resonate with the direction where I want to take this blog, but if I’m inspired to do something different, then you’ll see a goal list in 2022. But, if you want to know more about my upcoming 2022 plans, check out Tuesday’s post (two days ago), or click here.

That’s all, folks! Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

writing

Writers Wednesday – The Latest About My Writing Practice

Hey everyone! There is only one more Writers Wednesday for 2021: can you believe that 2022 is almost here?

I’m still working on a few writing projects, so I don’t have any major publishing goals that I’ll be accomplishing this month. However, I did finish the last chapter on a BIG writing project that I’ve had for a while, and I’ve even done a mock cover to the book (I may end up changing it, but for now, I like it). In a way, the book is “done”, but because I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I will be editing some more and maybe tweaking the cover a bit before I publish it. However, I’m excited that the writing is finished, and I can focus on polishing it up and preparing it for publication. I’m thrilled that the book will definitely be published in 2022.

My business coach advised me to write daily, and, while I understood the importance of practicing my craft, I had been slacking and she pointed out that this needs to be a priority. So I’ve been writing almost daily and I’m enjoying how I’m making this part of my regular routine. I suspect that I’ll be done with my NaNoWriMo 2021 book before the middle of January 2022, and my edits for a previous NaNoWriMo story should be completed before the end of March.

I haven’t taken on any “new” writing projects over the past few weeks, because I really want to focus on completing the projects I’ve already started. However, every now and then I’ve gotten a book idea, and I job it down and put it aside until I have more time to work on it. It feels good to put my energy toward a project in motion and to see my current works-in-progress move steadily toward completion.

That’s all for my update, and I’m looking forward to sharing some of my 2022 writing goals next week. What are some of your writing updates? I’d love to hear all about them!

writing

Writers Wednesdays – NaNoWriMo Week 3

Hey everyone! I skipped the Monday and Tuesday post this week so I could concentrate more on my writing and filming (since I’m still adding content to my YouTube channel, as well). Whew, it’s been busy over here. But I’m loving it, and I’m excited to see how things go by the end of this month.

My word count isn’t where I want it to be . . . Yet. I know that I don’t have a lot of time left, but I have no issue writing huge chunks at a time, so I’ll leverage that skill and see what kind of progress I can make this week.

I did, however, want to post a quick update on what’s happening on my NaNoWriMo journey, so I filmed this video. As a bonus, I included a writing tip that may help you if you’re feeling stuck. Enjoy!

writing

Writers Wednesdays – NaNoWriMo Week 2 and Clarifications

Hello friends! It’s another Writers Wednesday and I’m excited to share my NaNoWriMo progress with you all! But first, I need to clarify something.

My blog is 100% my opinions, 100% of the time. I was recently harassed by a random visitor and attacked for my stance on Harry and Meghan. The insults in the response were vile and uncivilized, which is why you won’t find the comment anywhere on the blog: it was deleted and no response was offered. I wanted to state my stance on cyberbullying and digital violence for you all, but my good friend (thanks chica!) reminded me of the goal of this space and how to address this.

I will never entertain bullies that feel entitled to my attention. I will never allow hateful comments on my platform, nor will I engage anyone that leads with hate or violence. I will always protect my readers from comments that are mean-spirited and not constructive.

Further, I have chosen to ignore the bully and celebrate YOU ALL, my regular readers that have offered kind words and good energy for years. I am choosing to turn my focus to the good that surrounds me at all times. You all have made blogging worthwhile. The comments, private messages and overall goodness that you’ve brought to my blog is much appreciated.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Now, back to the topic at hand. NaNoWriMo kicked off last week, but it took me a week to pick out a book idea. That’s why I opted out of last week’s Writers Wednesday post: there was nothing to share with you all! I prefer not to do too much pre-planning for NaNoWriMo: I like to allow inspiration to guide me from the very beginning. But, since it took so long to find an idea, I’m behind on my writing schedule. I only have 1,500 of the 50,000 words I need to win NaNoWriMo (eek!) Fortunately for me, I have some time over the next few days that I can use for my writing. I’m thinking of setting up another writer’s retreat to give myself a block of time to work on my writing. And honestly, for someone that has been writing for just three days, I’m pleased that I still have so much momentum that I can leverage for the rest of the week and, hopefully, the entire month.

How is NaNoWriMo going for you all? I’d love to hear all about it!

reading list

Books Read in October 2021

Hi everyone! I’m so excited that I made great strides toward my monthly reading goal, and I’m still on my way to hitting my annual reading goal well before the end of the year. Here are the books that I read in October:

One of the books I read, The Black Girl’s Guide to Calm

Thomas C. Hinkle, How to Eat: A Cure for “Nerves”

Melanie O’Hara Salyers and Susi Galloway, The Traveling Tea Ladies Death in Dixie

Admiral William H. McRaven, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … And Maybe The World

Oprah Winfrey, The Path Made Clear

Jamie Fleming-Dixon, The Black Girl’s Guide to Calm

Cassie Parks, Retired at 32 (not available for sale)

I initially intended to read more than 10 books this month, and I was well on my way at the beginning of the month. However, I actually put in major efforts toward my October writing plan, so I simply didn’t have enough time to read, write, edit, publish, and maintain my offline life. I still count it as a WIN that I got to read 6 books this month, and, while I’ll be throwing most of my energy into NaNoWriMo, I aim to read more than 10 books during the month of November. I’m also considering doing a review on one or two of the books that I read in October, but we’ll see: I don’t want to overextend myself!

Do you have any reading or writing goals for the remainder of the year? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

*** This post contains affiliate links.

business · goals · health · life curation · luxury · travel · writing

October Goal Updates

It’s that time again: I’m going to do a quick round-up of my 2021 goals and tell you all how things are going.

Here are the goals I had for the year:

  • Publish 5 books – done!
  • Lose 15 lbs – working on it …
  • Manifest 3 international trips – finalized the details for my next 3 trips!
  • Earn 6 figures in my businesses
  • Read 100+ books
  • Luxury purchases from Black-owned companies
  • Cure my fibromyalgia

As you all probably recall, my publishing goal was reached (and exceeded, as of yesterday’s post). I’m going to still try to get a few more books published before the end of the year, and then I will try to embark upon a nice little campaign to promote my books and hopefully connect with my ideal customers.

As far as weight loss goes, I put that on hold temporarily. I am transitioning off of my fibromyalgia medication (more about that in a future Fibro Friday post, I promise!) because I concluded that those medicines were contributing significantly to my current weight. However, it still takes some time for the body to adjust to this change, and I still have to figure out how to manage my symptoms outside of using medication. So I have my work cut out for me, but this process will likely help me to meet my goal of “curing” my fibromyalgia. My hope is that transitioning off of medicine will result in major weight loss (hopefully exceeding 15 lbs) before the end of the year.

I didn’t yet manifest 3 international trips this year (I remain hopeful!), however, I did manifest a free dinner cruise (all expenses paid) and I also have started making my 2022 travel plans. I already have selected a few trips, and now I’m putting my money aside to pay for them. I’m still open to more trips manifested in this year, but for now, I’m satisfied with what I’ve already received as well as what’s on its way to me.

My business hasn’t yet reached 6 figures, but I can state confidently that, between my regular job, passive income streams, and my tutoring business, I did hit my highest earning year! Everything from this point on is simply setting the momentum for next year. Also, because I can see where I dropped the ball in 2021, I’m better prepared to exceed my performance in 2022! I’ll still keep an eye on how my businesses perform in these next two months, because I’m amping up my marketing and I anticipate that this will improve my bottom line tremendously.

I’m still reading my books, and I expect to hit 100 books read before the end of the year. However, I need to stay focused: it’s easy for me to get sidetracked with work, writing, and life in general. I’m increasing my reading during the next few weeks, just to ensure that I hit my goal (I wrote all about it in this post).

I put my luxury purchasing on hold because I had some major repairs to complete in my house. I may not be able to purchase a lot of luxury goods during the next couple of months, but I’m still relishing my luxury purchase from earlier this year (my Sophia Webster shoes that I won’t be able to wear until the weather heats up again!)

I’m still working on “curing” my fibro, and I’m feeling confident about the fact that I’m getting closer to a solution. I’ve been experimenting with dietary changes and herbal supplements to see how these support my health. It’s a bit of a long-term project, but the more I experiment, the more I learn, and the closer I get to finding the perfect combination of routine, supplements, and personal practices to help eliminate my symptoms.

That’s it for my October goal updates. I’m looking forward to seeing how things shape up over the next couple of months and finishing the year strong!

writing

Writers Wednesdays – The November Writing Plan

Happy Writers Wednesday! As I wrap up the month of October, I’m so pleased with the writing progress I’ve made. My October writing plan went like this:

  • Finish writing a book
  • Finish editing a book
  • Publish a book

The question, of course, is, Did I do all of that?

Yes, I did! I published Let’s Go to Kenya, my first children’s book that explores one of my favorite African countries. I also finished my first round of edits to my mystery novel, the first full-length book that I’ve ever written. This is only one round of edits (there will be more!) but it feels really good to complete those edits for the first time. Finally, I finished writing one of the books that’s been on my laptop for years, needing just a couple of chapters to be officially “completed”.

Now that I’m done with my October writing plan, it’s time to move on to November. And for November, I’ll be participating in National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo). I haven’t even begun to think about what I may write next month, which is kind of the point. I want to just let my fingers fly across the keyboard and let the ideas come to me as I type. I love allowing the story to unfold as I write instead of overthinking about what to include.

During the month of November, I’m taking a break from publishing some of my books, and focusing instead on writing. I’ll also be posting weekly updates of my NaNoWriMo experience on this blog, because we all know how important accountability is.

Are any of you planning to participate in NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments below!

*****This post contains affiliate links.

writing

Writers Wednesdays – Setting Up Your Own Writing “Retreat”

October 11th was a federal holiday in the United States (Columbus Day or, as the better informed among us prefers, Discoverer’s Day or Indigenous People’s Day). I initially planned to join a forest therapy retreat being hosted at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. However, the event was cancelled, and since I was off from my regular job, and I had already blocked off a portion of my day for the retreat, I figured that I shouldn’t waste the time.

So I planned my own retreat at home.

I planned this at the last minute, so the instruction I’m giving you all are close to what I did, but not quite the same. I did the best I could: after all, I had initially planned to be forest bathing in a gorgeous botanical garden, so this last-minute change was unexpected. When I take time to do this again (before the end of this year), I’ll use these points as a guide. Here’s how I would – and did – plan an ideal writing retreat.

Pick a day and time, and block it out on my schedule. I already had the date and time, based on the forest therapy retreat. I mentally blocked it out of my schedule, and made sure to plan my activities for after the retreat. I also took care of what I could over the weekend, and I scheduled anything that wasn’t pressing until the following day.

Select what I’m going to work on during your retreat. I already had three books that I am working on actively (as shared in the previous Writer’s Wednesday post), so I knew what I wanted to work on. However, if I was planning this during a month when I didn’t have a writing plan, then I would select the book I’d work on before I embark upon my retreat time.

Clean up the space where you’ll be writing and retreat-ing. Or, if your budget allows, get a hotel room for at least 24 hours (48 hours would probably be best). I didn’t want to book a hotel room, but I knew that I could tidy up my office and make it feel pretty and relaxing. I took some time during the weekend before the 11th to wipe down surfaces, unbox some stuff that was overdue for a permanent home, and clear space for my laptop and anything else that I may need.

Add things into the space where I’ll be writing that will make it easier to feel like I’m getting away from it all. Fragrances I enjoy (that make me feel creative or inspired), a tray of fresh fruit and sparkling water, a cozy blanket, a yoga mat, and a playlist of great tunes were all prepped and ready for my home retreat. I also brought in my Himalayan salt lamp and a few fun crystals, just for good measure.

Have a variety of writing equipment and material. Since my retreat happened in my office, I already had a plethora of pens, pencils, markers and even crayons nearby. I also have a variety of notebooks and journals nearby, for convenience. If I want to write by hand, I have everything I need, and if I want to type, my laptop is always nearby, too. And, if I feel like voice typing, my headset is in my office and ready for use.

Set a timer for my writing. I set my timer to start, and I stuck to it, just as I would if I was scheduled for a meeting at work, or if I had a tutoring student session on my calendar. I set the timer for the length of my retreat, and when the timer goes off, I do a couple of yoga stretches and then continue with the rest of my day. I don’t allow anything to interfere with my time during the retreat.

Last but not least, I prepped my loved ones. I told my beloveds that I was not to be disturbed during this time, and I left food where they could easily access it. I put up a sign on the office door to confirm again that I was not to be disturbed. I turned off my ringer and let them know that I wouldn’t be reachable until after my retreat time.

Those are my tips for creating a fantastic writing retreat at home. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below! Also, if you need a pretty journal for your own writing retreat I got a cute one for you. This journal has wide ruled pages and each page has an image of one of five Black American opera singers from the turn of the 20th century: Mamie “Bronze Melba” Flowers, Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones, Elizabeth Greenfield, Flora Batson, and Marie Selika Williams. The journal has 179 pages, so LOTS of writing space for your journaling needs. I think you’ll love it!

That’s it for today’s Writer’s Wednesday! I hope you got some tips that you can use. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

***This post contains affiliate links.

writing

Writers Wednesdays – How It’s Going . . .

Y’know, I absolutely love doing Writers Wednesdays posts. I often struggle to come up with content for these posts (especially if I’m doing a writing break) but I love that the commitment to only talk about writing – either the art or the business side of it – on Wednesdays keeps me accountable, even on a little level.

So today, I’ll continue in the spirit of accountability and tell you all what I’m currently working on, and how its going. As you recall from the last Writers Wednesday post, I have a writing plan that covers completing one work, editing a different work, and publishing yet another work. I, like many people, find it easy to get distracted, and when that happens, my writing progress slows down to a crawl. The objective of the writing plan is to infuse some major forward-moving energy into my writing practice.

The status of the writing plan is this: so far, so good. I started off with the editing project, because that’s my least favorite part of writing. I reread one of my completed books that I had shelved a while ago (the idea was that I would eventually come back and edit with “fresh eyes”) and realized I had even less love for editing than I recall. I seriously considered picking up a different book and editing that one instead. However, I’ll stick with the book I initially selected. It’s the first novel I ever wrote, and I would love to make some editing strides with it, so I can (hopefully) publishing That’s why I’m saying “so far, so good”: by pushing through (what I feel is) the most unpleasant part of writing, I know that the rest will be a breeze.

More about the So Cozy: Hygge Journal in a moment . . .

I’ll be finishing the first round of edits this week, then I’m leaping right into finishing a book I’ve been working on for almost two years now. I only have about 2-3 chapters left; fortunately for me, once I start writing, the process goes quickly. The trick is getting into the flow: it’s hard to hit my stride when I’m thinking about the other 4,739 things I have to do. On the bright side of things, the editing process has forced me to be ruthless with my schedule, so I don’t have to hunt down my free time in order to complete the chapters that still need to be written.

The last phase of the writing plan is to publish a book. I have a great book that I have already edited extensive over the past few years, that just needs some minor tweaks, illustrations, and a great cover. Once all of that is done, it should be ready for publishing. Knowing me, I’ll probably add quite a bit of additional text to it (just so I can hit a page count that seems appropriate for the subject matter) but I find a lot of consolation in just knowing that the books is more than 80% ready to be released into the world.

If, for some reason, that book isn’t able to be published, then I’ll make it my goal to publish two more children’s books before the end of the month. Those books are simply enough to be written without a need for extensive editing, and I love that I can get that sense of accomplishment without having to make a major time investment in the creation process. I already have two children’s books in progress, so finishing and publishing them would be a breeze.

That’s my not-so-brief explanation of how things are going. Things are moving along, and I’m pleased. Oh yeah, that reminds me: I’m trying to promote my books more (I think it’s about time that I started acting like a real author and publisher LOL!) So, for each Writer’s Wednesday, I’ll highlight a book that I have created, that I think would be of interest to some of you. The book for this week is the So Cozy: Hygge Journal. It’s the perfect little journal for capturing all of your autumn musings. The journal is super-cute and a really nice size (6 in x 9 in). Also, it’s only $5.99USD! If the cover isn’t a design that you love, never fear: I have multiple cover options. I’ll feature some more of them in the weeks to come.

That’s it for today. I hope you all are having a great Wednesday, and I’ll tlak to you all soon. Take care!

***This post contains affiliate links.