writing

Writers Wednesdays – Time for a New Laptop!

Hi friends! I hope you all are doing well and enjoying the week that you desire. I’ve been tying up some loose ends before I resume regular posting, hence my absence. I know that a post went up yesterday, but that post was premature and will be rewritten and reposted in the near future. Also, I have a little announcement tomorrow that will explain more of the “loose ends” that I have going on in the background.

Anyhoo, you aren’t reading this because you’re interested in my loose ends. This is Writers Wednesday, and I’m bringing up a writing-related discussion.

Y’all. It’s time for a new laptop. And I (low key) dread having to choose one, for multiple reasons.

For those that know me offline, you know why this isn’t my highest joy. For those that don’t, I’ll share a little tidbit about me with you. I’m actually quite tech averse, and I don’t enjoy having to get the “latest and greatest”. I prefer to use what I have until it no longer serves me, and then I upgrade when I don’t have another option for making my existing technology work for me. I don’t “spoil myself” with tech purchases (I prefer experiences and luxury enhancements for my personal environment instead). I’m still very much an analog girl, and, had it not been for my fibromyalgia, I’d prefer to write most of my books longhand. So purchasing new laptops, tablets, phones and the like aren’t things that I enjoy from a consumer or creator standpoint.

All of that being said, I am the possessor of an older laptop/chromebook (2018!) and I’m getting messages about certain apps that will no longer be updated on my device. Also, the device is moving much slower than I prefer (age and amount of files that I have on it are slowing it down), so I plan to put my crucial files on a cloud drive, then retire this device. I’ll probably give it to my daughter for her web surfing needs, since I’ll be able to speed it up a bit once I do a factory reset on it. I know, I could just do a factory reset and use it myself, but it can’t serve me well if I cannot use certain apps. So I’ll get the new device and the one I’m currently using will be the family/web surf computer.

So now, I have to choose a new device. I’m fairly certain that, while I am an iPhone enthusiast, I don’t want a Macbook at this point, nor do I want a standard laptop or desktop. Chromebooks are still my preference for their speed and how the limited space forces me to be selective with the files that I download. I’m considering getting this Acer Chromebook: the screen is just a little smaller than what I’m used to, but it ‘s still a great size and should be fine for my writing endeavors. It also has 64GB eMMC storage (the internal data storage I need).

Now this Acer has the same size screen as my current chromebook but has double the eMMC of my current device (it would be a jump from 16 GB eMMC to 32eMMC). This device has less internal storage than the first one I’m considering but it is one pound lighter than the other device (which matters to me if I’m traveling with it). It’s a little more economical than the first chromebook but the savings is not significant enough to make that a deciding factor in my selection.

If you’re wondering why I’m only looking at Acer Chromebooks, I can assure you, the reason is simple: I’ve had good experiences with the two Acers I’ve had, and I find their design simple enough to not be overwhelming but fast enough and powerful enough (when they’re still new-ish) to get the job done. I’ve used other laptops and chromebooks, but Acer is perfect for someone like me, that isn’t really interested in having all of the bells and whistles.

I’ll be choosing my device by the end of this week,and I’m excited! I’m looking forward to working on a new chromebook.

That’s it for today! Have a good one, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

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This post contains affiliate links.

writing

Writers Wednesday – Planning for 2022

Welcome to the last Writers Wednesday of 2021! Can you believe we’re already wrapping up this year’s activity? I hope that all of my fellow writers completed one of their works or, at minimum, made some progress with one of their works. If this year wasn’t the best for your writing practice, I hope you find more inspiration in 2022.

In 2021, I accomplished a lot of my writing goals (all of them, except for NaNoWriMo). It was exciting to see so much of my work completed and in print. I also am really proud of how much energy I put into my writing, instead of letting my passion languish unused and unexplored. Sometimes, it’s not about the finished product but, instead, it’s about the dedication to our practice.

So of course, now that I’m at the end of the year, I’m starting to plan for next year. I have some pretty simple writing goals. Daily writing, publishing at least 5 more books, and getting more attention to my writing business (both the blog and my publishing company) are a few of my objectives for 2022. But, to help with the planning portion of my writing goals, I decided to go a step further.

I’m hereby designating each Tuesday as my writing day. This week, I’m setting up my office so that I can sit down and start writing, without having to even think about it. I have my spare laptop in place, my favorite books on the small bookshelf next to my desk, and a few things that I found helpful when I wrote daily at my desk in DC (basically, a makeshift inspiration corner with things I find beautiful, interesting, and, well, inspiring). I’m still putting the finishing touches on it, so you’ll see that beautiful space in next week’s Writer’s Wednesday, after I take some pics that I like.

On each Tuesday, I’m dedicating at least two hours of time (probably more, so long as I don’t experience any major schedule changes) to immerse myself in my writing practice. Sure, I’m writing daily nowadays, but I currently write everywhere: my dining room, living room, bedroom, entertainment room – it doesn’t matter to me. By dedicating this space and this time to writing, I aspire to bring a sanctified aspect to the practice which, I hope, brings in the muses like never before. It’s no guarantee that the inspiration will come flowing in, but it certainly can’t hurt.

So, that’s my plan: weekly writing in my dedicated space, daily writing anywhere, lots of publishing, and growing business. I’m so excited to see what this year brings me!

Do you all have any plans for your writing practice in 2022? Please let me know about it in the comments below!

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

2022 – What You Can Expect from Bronze Butterfly

Hi friends! I hope you all are doing great. You all already know how much I love the new year: it is literally my favorite day of the year (even more than my birthday!). The energy of the new year inspires to do retrospective, introspective and future-gazing exercises. In the spirit of looking forward, I asked myself a simple question,

What do I want to do with Bronze Butterfly?

This blog has been my pet project for several years, and I want to set a theme for 2022 that will guide and inspire my writing. I thought about the things that matter to me right now, and what I want to explore more in the future. I think of my previous posts as reflecting a sort of larva stage (staying with the butterfly analogy here): I consumed a lot of information, engaged in a lot of activity, and I had a chance to use some of that knowledge but not to the maximum expression. I want to enter a bit of a chrysalis (cocoon) and eventual butterfly phase with this blog: reducing information consumption and instead being focused on using my energy stores. I will use this energy to actively craft the life of my dreams, instead of simply theorizing and experimenting here and there.

On that note, here are some of the things you can expect from the blog in future posts:

More interviews and deeper conversations – I had one incredible interview this year, and I want to add more to this space. I want to get the actionable tips, wise counsel and pure inspiration that comes from interacting with people that have done “hard things” and succeeded. So look out for more interviews in the upcoming year.

More Kibbe discussion [with a twist] – I think of how much our wardrobe reflects the times we live in, the things we value, as well as how we want to be perceived by the world. I really want to explore what certain Kibbe-verified celebrities expressed through their wardrobe, both pointedly and inadvertently. So that’s another topic I’ll be sharing more about in the months to come.

More book chats and writing tips – This is a continuation of the past couple of years of Writers Wednesdays, but here’s hoping I can share even more about the writer’s life and events that are relevant to writing. Also, I’ll be going back to doing book reviews (which I put on hold over the past couple of years, for the most part). I’ll be focusing on books that impact my life significantly, not just reviewing books simply because I read them.

Diving deeper into curating a beautiful life – This is also a continuation of the past few years, but I want to go deeper than the surface, and discuss the underpinnings of high quality living and all of its components.

More finance discussions – This is a topic that I’ve touched on briefly here and there, but I really want to dive more into this, exploring how to live well regardless of your current income, as well as how to increase your income to the level that you desire.

On a side note, I’ll be incorporating more of my previous blog content, my other active blog (which is finance centered) as well as my YouTube channel content into this space, as some topics are best explained via video.

Whew, I think that’s enough for one day! I’m so looking forward to you all joining me on this deeper journey into the Bronze Butterfly world. Thank you all so much for your continued support, and I’ll chat with you all tomorrow. Take care!

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 – 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 – Success!

Happy Writers Wednesdays! This week will be another short post (similar to last week’s). Likewise, this post is a follow-up to last week’s.

I mentioned last week that I would be working on a booklet to offer for free over on my business website, Bronze Butterfly Books. And I’m happy to announce that I have the content for my booklet all written out: all I have to do now is format it and turn it into a PDF. I anticipate that I’ll be able to publish the booklet sometime next week.

I actually fell short on my goal of having the finished product ready by today. But I have the content, which is more than I had last week. I’m learning to be gentler with myself, and avoid criticizing myself when I don’t quite hit the mark. Progress, not perfection.

For those that are curious, the booklet will help aspiring writers tap into their unique skill sets and customize a practice that inspires them to write their best works. I’m proud of what I’ve created, and I’m excited to share it with you all soon.

That’s it for this edition of Writers Wednesdays! Are you currently working on a writing project? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

business · career · writing

Writers Wednesday – Is a Writing Coach Necessary?

Happy Writers Wednesday! Today’s topic came to me after I spoke to several people that are part of writer support groups, or they have gotten writing coaches to assist with creating their books. Further, I’ve seen numerous advertisements for writing coaches that are appearing on the scene, all claiming that they will help the aspiring authors to finally release their works into the world.

The question on my mind (and possibly your mind) is this: is a writing coach necessary?

Personally, I’ve never used a writing coach, but given how many delays I’ve encountered on my writing journey, perhaps a coach would be a good investment! That being said, I will admit that I don’t think a writing coach is necessary for *most* people. I think that there is only a tiny subset of people that actually need a writing coach. However, I believe there are enough people in the subset to provide an abundance of potential clients for writing coaches.

My recommendation for anyone considering hiring a writing coach is to go through this list of questions and see where you fall on the writer spectrum.

  • Are you having difficulties with determining which direction your writing needs to take?
  • Do you need regular external motivation in order to work on your writing project?
  • Do you struggle with structuring your writing?
  • Do you have questions about writing that can’t be answered through other means?
  • Do you generally respond better to verbal instruction, as opposed to written directions?

Answering “yes” to any of these questions may make you a prime candidate for a writing coach. I’m still of the mindset that the best way to write is to problem solve for yourself, then, after you’ve hit a wall, consider reaching out for help. However, everyone is different, and what works for me may not work for you. I do think there’s some value in the practice of solving your own problems through your own efforts, but I’ll be the first to admit that time is precious and if a coach can save you time and energy, then it may be a worthwhile investment.

I’m curious: have any of you ever hired a writing coach? What was that experience like? Also, if you’re a writing coach, please comment on what that experience is like for you, and how you can help aspiring authors. You can leave your comments below.

That’s it for today! I look forward to talking to you all tomorrow. Take care!

business · writing

Writers Wednesdays – 5 Exercises to Beat Writer’s Block

Happy Writers Wednesdays! I took off four days from my bookwriting practice because I’ve been entertaining visiting relatives (yay for finally returning to a semi-normal life!). On top of that, I had a few other things to work on in my ever-fleeting downtime (such as writing on this blog and putting more time into my tutoring business).

However, when I resume my writing practice, I want to ensure that I am able to hit the ground running. So I took a little time to think of some additional ways to beat writer’s block. I’ve discussed some strategies before that I find to be effective, but I’ve never done a consolidated post – until now. If nothing else, I hope these tips can help those authors-in-the-making who want to bust through those uninspired moments so that they can finish writing the book of their dreams. Here are my five favorite techniques for beating writer’s block.

  1. Try haiku or a limerick. I have found it really helpful to switch up my writing whenever I’m feeling stuck. Since I usually write fiction or how-to manuals, I try a few short poetry styles (like haiku or limericks) to get the creative juices flowing. Something about breaking up my routine really works well for helping me to get over creative challenges. I chose haiku and limericks because they are are so drastically different from the type of writing I enjoy most and they engage a different part of my brain. Of course, you can use any type of writing that differs from what you usually do. The key to this is to keep the exercise brief so that you aren’t overwhelmed by the process.
  2. Do 7 days of stream of consciousness writing. Anyone can do this, but it is especially good for anyone that is working on an autobiography or some work that involves self-reflection. As soon as you wake up, you write for 10-15 minutes about whatever comes to mind. You don’t reread or judge what you’ve written until you’ve finished doing it for 7 consecutive days. After that time, you can look over what you’ve written and figure out if there are any patterns or latent messages that are being revealed. If nothing else, you may find that your mind is under- or over-stimulated, and you can adjust your routine accordingly.
  3. Go somewhere or do something you’ve never done before. Speaking of under- and over-stimulation . . . Sometimes, the blockage comes from boredom. We know that boredom is a problem that everyone experiences at some point in time. But, we are so conditioned to view time on the internet as “doing something” that we feel guilty about claiming to be bored. It’s very possible to scroll endlessly on social media, news websites, personal blogs, or video platforms, yet still feel bored. So break up the monotony and try something new: do something you’ve always wanted to do, and see how that improves your creative blocks. Alternatively, the block may be happening because you’re overwhelmed. In that case, disconnecting from your daily activities and severely reducing your “to-do” list may be just what you need to get inspired again. Try a no- or low-stimuli routine for a defined period of time, and see how that improves your creativity.
  4. Have someone to tell you a story. This works particularly well for me, because it passively engages my storytelling “brain”. As I listen to the story, I try to anticipate what will come next, and I’m always delighted when the story takes an unexpected turn. There are some times where an author needs to transition from the role of storyteller to the role of captive audience member. Listening to someone else tell you a story gives your brain a pleasant rest from trying to figure out what’s next with your own writing projects.
  5. Do a scent (or flavor, or sound) summary. This is a really good practice for writers that struggle with creating sufficiently descriptive passages. Instead of focusing on your latest work-in-progress, try flexing your adjective and adverb muscles, and attempt to accurately describe your favorite food dishes flavors, your favorite musical genre (focusing on the instruments used and how the sounds make you feel), or your favorite cologne or perfume. Go beyond that, and perhaps try your hand at describing the smells, flavors, or sounds that make you feel excited, sad, angry, or fearful. This exercise takes you outside of your normal writing practice, but it still engages the creative part of your mind.

Those are my five favorite hacks for busting through writer’s block. What are some things you’ve done to help with those creative blockages? I’d love to hear aobut them in the comments below!

writing

Writers Wednesdays: Creating Realistic Schedules

It’s that magical time of week: yes, it’s another Writers Wednesday! I’ve been slacking a bit with my book writing, but that’s because I’ve been POURING so much into this blog. I love blogging, so I have no regrets. But, I still have book writing goals that I need to accomplish this year, so I had to buckle down over the past few days and get my book writing schedule back on track.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was redoing my daily schedule. This post is a continuation on this thought. The original goal was to devote some of my weekend hours to my writing. I’ve actually done that a bit, but there’s a caveat. Like I’ve already mentioned, my writing time has been directed toward blogging, so I actually haven’t worked much on my books. Further, the time I can devote to book writing on the weekends is minimal: as it turns out, I really do need more rest, and the weekend is the perfect time to do that.

So I’ve had to revisit my ideas for creating a good writing schedule. For the past couple of days, I’ve tried something that I think will be sustainable for a long time. What I’ve found really helpful with creating a realistic schedule is, instead of doing my book writing on the weekend, schedule between 15 and 30 minutes to work on my books each day. I took some of the pressure off of myself by not requiring a huge block of time, but I appreciate that even someone as busy as I am can do 15 minutes of book work.

To clarify, “book work” isn’t just writing for me, but it encompasses all of the work that I put toward book creation. That could mean selecting images for a specific book that I’m writing, or compiling sources that I will reference in one of my books, or (as with the case of the children’s book series that I’m writing) perfecting templates that I can reuse for future books. And yes, it could mean writing as well. But so long as I do something book-related, I count it as a win.

To help me stick to my schedule, I’m using a daily timer. The timer rings at the same time daily, so I’m making this part of regular routine. I feel so accomplished each time that I spend a little time on my books: it feels great!

Do you all have any schedule hacks that you’ve used to stay on track with your writing? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

life curation · writing

Writers Wednesdays – When The Last Chapter Is Elusive . . .

I don’t know if this has happened to any of my fellow authors out there, but I seem to have a dilemma every time I write. It doesn’t matter whether I’m writing fiction or nonfiction, short story or novel, lengthy instructions or a brief booklet.

The problem is this: I usually don’t know how to end things.

Yes, I’ll write, and write, and write, and write, happily breezing through the middle portion of a work-in-progress. I may have a little challenge with the opening chapters, but at some point, a brilliant (or so I think) way of introducing my book comes to me. Sometimes, I’ll even write something “out of order”, just so that I can capture the ideas that are already in my mind, bypassing all of the stuff that needs more time. It all sounds great when I’m in the “flow”. But then, I get to the end of the book, and I have a hard time wrapping things up.

You can probably even see my difficulty with “ending things” here on the blog. I enjoy sharing my world and telling you all about what I’m loving at the moment. So when I get to the end of the post, I often don’t know what to say. How do you bring proper “closure” to anything when you aren’t really ready to say goodbye? (On a side note, this is a recurring theme in my life, so the deep dive into this is necessary on multiple levels. Back to the conversation at hand . . . )

I think my reluctance to write the last chapter of any of my works in progress comes down to the inability to say goodbye easily. I never want the fun to end, or to part ways with something that I enjoy. So, ending a book – especially books where I absolutely adore the main and supporting characters – is like losing a good friend. Yes, I can always allow the characters to have more adventures by writing secondary books, but something about that first work with a set of characters is just . . . special. It’s as beautiful as a first kiss, or seeing the sunrise for the first time. Nothing compares to it.

I long to freeze those beautiful moments and never let them go. But alas, the only constant in life is change, and even the best works-in-progress do me no good if I don’t eventually write a suitable end for them, so that those books can eventually be read and loved by others. So, my challenge is to learn to let go and to give my books the beautiful endings that they deserve.

I have my work cut out for me in the next few weeks. For the works-in-progress that I have now, I’m concentrating on just writing the endings, even if I hate what I’ve written. The goal isn’t to make the ending perfect, but to just GET IT DONE, so that I can edit it later and make it better. The children’s books are easy: they’re formulaic, so the same ending is used repeatedly but just tweaked a bit here and there. But the novels and self-help/personal development books I’m working on definitely need an ending that is befitting. However, I won’t get to those perfect endings until I write imperfect endings first.

For future works, maybe I should try writing the endings first. I recall that there was a story (told second- or third-hand) about a person visiting actor Will Smith, who had the plot for a movie written out onto a bunch of index cards that he arranged on a storyboard. According to the person telling the story, Smith said that the easiest part of the story was the end, because he always started there, and basically reverse-engineered the story until he had the middle and beginning parts.

I think that writing the ending of a book before writing anything else would be a good exercise for me, even though I’ve traditionally disliked writing this part. Perhaps my comfort with endings will grow if I focus on making those as special and beautiful as the rest of the story will be . . . Hmm, it’s a thought.

Have you ever had a difficult time coming up with the ending of a book you’ve written, or in any other written work? I’d love to hear how you grew past that challenge in the comments below!