Keeping Sane After the Book

keeping saneYou’ve done it. You finished your book. Now the hard part comes—keeping sane. As writers, we experience our most fragile moments after we publish. We’ve put our souls into our work. Now comes the time for the world to see us at our most vulnerable.

Keeping Sane

An essential but difficult skill to obtain is a tough skin. Let’s face it. Things aren’t always going to go easy. There will be times when you get anxious or down. Sales may not be what you hoped for. Maybe someone didn’t like your take on a particular subject.

It hurts. And it’s normal. It’s okay to feel these emotions. I found myself feeling them to with every painting I put on auction.

Moving Pass the Negativity

For writers, we have to remember several things in perspective to achieve this lofty goal of keeping sane. It’s all a matter of putting things in the right perspective.

Don’t Take It Personally

Remember, your involvement with your book is different than everyone else. To you, it’s your baby. It deserves the utmost attention. Others will need time to fall in love with it. And just because they don’t right away is not a condemnation of you or your work.

People are busy. There are numerous distractions. Sometimes, it’s hard to be heard upon the noise. And believe me, there’s a lot of noise.

Remember Your Achievements

When things don’t go the way you’ve planned, take those moments to remember your achievements. You wrote a book! That’s a helluva achievement. Think about it. You set a goal, and you met it. You did it! That’s fantastic of itself. Don’t forget that.

And think about all that went into accomplishing that goal. It wasn’t just the writing, but it was the editing, the formatting, and the publishing. That’s a lot of work. But you stuck to it. You finished it.

Embracing Mindfulness

When doubt threatens to overwhelm you, pause. When negative self-talk invades your thoughts, pause. Live in the moment. At this moment, you are more than a writer; you are an author.

Too many times, our thoughts rush to the future or seek out the past. The best place for them is the here and now. Let yourself feel that rush again of accomplishment. The rest will fall in place. Enjoy the moment.


photo credit: Poor Charlie Brown! He’s lost his mind! via photopin (license)

Publishing with CreateSpace

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Lessons Learned

publishing epic bookPublishing with CreateSpace is an ideal solution for a new writer. And there are several reasons for this claim. For this second in this series, Lessons Learned, I’m going to discuss the advantages of using it.

Publishing on Amazon

Publishing on Amazon is where it’s at for quick online sales. The process with CreateSpace couldn’t be easier. For the new writer, there are templates for each formatted size. However, as I posted yesterday, I found Pressbooks a lot easier to use–even over Scrivner.

You can get a free ISBN number with CreateSpace. And that’s not a bad thing. Buying a block of ISBN numbers isn’t cheap. Last I looked, it runs $249 for 10.

With the cover generator, you can produce a decent cover. Tip: use Chrome not Firefox to create your title. For some reason, Firefox wouldn’t allow me to upload a cover image. Speaking of images, CreateSpace has a gallery of images to use. They’re fine, but the selection is limited.

Other Advantages

I can’t comment on Smashwords because I haven’t used it. I also published my title on Ingram Spark. However, because I had titles with Amazon already, I couldn’t make 101 Things to Do on Lake Minnetonka available on Amazon. That’s why I opted for CreateSpace and Ingram Spark.

CreateSpace has a lot going for it in the self-publishing biz. Copies are printed same day and shipped for a helluva lot less than Ingram Spark. The quality is excellent.

With CreateSpace, you can easily publish on Kindle too. From an author’s perspective, getting your book available online as quick as they do is a huge advantage. With CreateSpace, it’s a 24-hour turnaround. Nice.

Summary of the Process

For publishing on Amazon, I used CreateSpace and did not opt in for the Expanded Distribution. For publishing for retailers, I used Ingram Spark. It’s a name that retailer and booksellers trust. In a world where us indie authors are still trying to make a go of it, we have to play all of our cards.

Next time, let’s look at the editing process. Besides writing, editing is likely to take the biggest chunk of your time.

Happy Pub Day to Me!

101 MinnetonkaJune 28th marked an important day in this writer’s life. My latest book, 101 Things to Do on Lake Minnetonka, was released. After months of hard work and stress, the day have finally arrived. I can say that it is done.

For those of you not familiar with Lake Minnetonka, it is the ninth largest lake in Minnesota. Located west of the Twin Cities, the lake differs from others. You can describe it as a chain of lakes. Some have been naturally connected, but others among the 24 bays were later connected via channels.

That’s what makes it unique. If you are a boater, you can appreciate a place where there are, in essence, 24 different lakes. But it’s more than boating.

There are numerous stories surrounding the lake. I found the history absolutely fascinating. The book bridges the gap between the history and the land, like an interactive experience. Of all the books I’ve written, this one was a true labor of love.

Take a peak and see what you think. I’d be ever so grateful if you’d share the link.

Preview Link

Writing Practice to the Rescue!

backhoe interupts writing practiceI have fashioned a new writing practice for myself. Routine are important elements in a writer’s life. I wanted the security and familiarity it could offer. It became especially important when my life turned upside down.

Making Peace Out of Chaos

It began the week after Christmas. I was startled awake by the sound of chainsaws. Then, there was the crashing sounds of limbs breaking and the shaking of the floor and house. Construction of the rain garden and drainage fix on our land had begun.

Through a lack of foresight and bad planning, our lot became the trough for the surface runoff from the main drag, the schools, and the subdivision across the street. The runoff dug an ever larger trench into the land, with flooding and nasty sediment filling the yard every spring. The city had come to fix its wrong.

The first two weeks meant backhoes, semis of boulders, and diggers on the property. The large picture windows of our house, cabin really, meant no privacy as workers walked the length of the trench, laying out guidelines for the trench. It was hell. It was also driving me nuts.

I didn’t want to leave as the workers took down trees close to the house. I didn’t want to come home to a tree trunk through my roof. So, I stayed. But I needed an escape.

Welcoming a New Writing Practice

Usually, I sit at my desk and listen to Focus @Will. This time, I used headphones to take me away. I plugged into the Ambient channel. It was like magic. I am so grateful for noise-cancelling headphones!

Midst the chaos, I found peace. The music negated any sounds of backhoes and back-up lights. I was in my own world. And it was a world occupied by the characters of my working novel, another in my Jack Hunter series of mysteries. This one is titled, Lying at the Door.

I must confess to feeling a bit naughty. I made myself totally inaccessible. I couldn’t hear my phone ring, nor did I want to. I didn’t hear the chiming of my Ship’s Bell app (which I love, BTW). It was just me, the music, and the world of my mystery. I couldn’t have asked for more.

It seemed like such a simple thing, but it empowered me. I faced a problem and found a solution that restored calm in my life. If I could tackle that annoyance, I could handle anything, even outrageous interruptions to my writing practice. My dad’s words, “There’s no such word as can’t,” sounded in my mind.

Yes, Dad, you were right.

By Chris DR/

photo credit: Moved 18 feet west via photopin (license)

Put Down Your Phone!

smartphoneWith this blog, I like to explore all aspects of learning and cognition. Reading, after all, is a bridge a whole new world of ideas. That’s why I found this study from the University of Texas at Austin interesting. Researchers found that student increased in schools where cellphones are banned.

A Bad Mix

Personally, I believe that kids should not get a cellphone until they are juniors in high school—or later. It’s probably best that I didn’t have kids. Too much neural development is going on. Using a cellphone can negatively impact their sight development as well as keeping them from being active.

What was compelling about this study is the comparison that researchers made. They equated the performance benefits of cellphone bans to extending the school year by five days. Think about that a moment. Consider how much learning gets done in a school week. Whatever the scores on tests, the effect of added learning time is huge.

For the Writer

There are some good lessons for you as a writer too. Let’s think about what cellphones (aka smartphones) bring to the table. We have distractions in the form of texts, emails, and calls. There’s also the stress that may accompany those contacts.

Then, you have the allure of social media whoever you follow, friend, or chat with. If you like games, your cellphone beckons you with another round of Temple Run. And maybe there’s a little stress or frustration there too if you’re stuck at one level.

Sure, cellphones make things easier for looking up stuff. But it comes at a cost. And that’s what I think is the takeaway from the University of Texas study. Distractions not only affect our driving, but also our learning.

A Compromise, If You Will

I don’t keep my cellphone in another room while I work. I also don’t use it until my lunch break. I have an app to silence all notifications while I’m working. I also have it set not to ring for calls not in my contact list.

It’s too easy to get swayed by the distractions of a cellphone. For writers, those distractions cost. And yes, it’ll be hard to break the addiction at first. In the long run, your cellphone is a tool, not a master. Chris DR
photo credit: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact smartphone via photopin (license)