Are you already prepping for NaNoWriMo? My thoughts – Please share yours!

I know… it’s August, but there are a couple reasons why I’m already thinking about November.

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This month, I’m finishing up my novel The Witch’s Uprising, gearing up for another year of teaching kids, and reading fantasy fiction as part of a 25inFive challenge.

I like keeping busy, but I also like balance.

I have a tendency to overbook myself when I don’t plan ahead. November is a particularly interesting month in terms of being busy:

  • My birthday is at the end of November, and I thought it would be a nice gift to send The Witch’s Uprising out to as many publishers as I could before my birthday. This feels like a the right step. I’ve already begun my research, and I feel more and more confident each day.
  • November is a nexus of obligations, celebrations, and explorations. I have to plan anything I’m doing ahead of time. Wedding planning, my teaching job, family, and friends obviously come first. So I need to manage my time and energy well if I want to continue writing during the year.
  • NaNoWriMo is in November, and I love the intoxicating energy bubbling through the online writing community. Even now, I imagine myself participating, just for enjoyment.

As I research and study several avenues of self-publication, online publication, and author-related social media, I notice that I often daydream about writing new pieces outside of my mainline series. It would be nice to draft a quick 50,000 word novel, if only to have fun writing with other people in the exquisite madness of NaNoWriMo. I’d like to reconnect with the joy of writing a new piece really, really, quickly.

Here are my questions to you:

  • Are you thinking of participating in NaNoWriMo?
  • Are you already prepping for November?
  • Are you working on something else?  

Share your thoughts in any case! I WANT TO KNOW.

-Curtis


 

(Psst….. You Can Read The Witch’s Uprising: Part One on Wattpad!)

Witch's Uprising Experimental Cover

 


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What just happened? Why I had to temporarily stop writing and re-asses how I create . . .

In the last two weeks, I have not written a single word, despite my original goal of reaching 180-300 hours of writing this summer. Why?

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A Downward Spiral of Inactivity

My relationship with time management is a funny one.

For weeks at a time, I feel like the most productive person ever, and then, for an equal span of time, I am the least productive person! I know some people can relate – especially writers.

Sometimes, I stop writing, because thinking about lost time causes a unique type of anxiety within me. It makes sitting down to write harder, and the inactivity perpetuates a negative emotional cycle. Usually, I feel a mixture of imposter syndrome and frustration. I view my work through an overly critical lense, leading me to abandon projects or spend less and less time towards writing my books.

These emotions lead to a lot of time spent thinking about my creative projects without actually doing them – biting my nails as to why I wasted two, three, or four days.

This was part of what happened this month, but not all.

Life Took Over in July

Earlier in July, I had other priorities to take care of in my life.

I needed to spend my time with important people that needed love, care, and attention. Attending to family was far more important than anything else going on. I have to spare you the details, as they are extremely personal and private.

During this last week, I needed to spend time away from writing. Just seeing my fiancé, my brother, and my immediate family, while getting back into exercise was what I needed. I had to take time to think about my life’s overall priorities and bolster my health and spirituality practices.

While taking this time, I had so many questions: What do I want to accomplish before my last breath? How can I be of service to other people in the next ten, twenty, or thirty years? Am I spending enough time with my family? In light of that question, does it even matter what I want to accomplish?

I realize now that this past week was about reminding myself of my priorities.

Yes, writing is important. It is meditative to me, and it is a thrilling hobby. However, my family and friends come first, before my creative projects.

My health comes first, before writing my novel. I needed to be present with all of it.


Despite My Frustrations…

I still need to finish my book, and honestly, I’m biting my nails!

My project The Witch’s Uprising, has taken me too long to write because I initially didn’t know how to manage my time. Earlier in the summer, I had finally reached a successful streak. I was running with the manuscript, full of creative flow. In July, life took over as mentioned above, I needed to take time off. And now… Now I’m trying to get back to writing again.

My gut tells me that taking time off it’s ok. It tells me I should take my time and that I shouldn’t rush. Still, my ego reminds me of the goals that I set. It reminds me that I should have been done, that I should have worked harder, that I should have pushed.

So which is right? Maybe both? Can I embrace the duality of this situation?

Maybe I’m overzealous. Maybe I’m setting goals that I cannot meet, and maybe that’s a recipe for disappointment.

Taking time off from my creative hobby made me understand a fundamental problem in my writing practice: I had not yet developed a balanced practice. Meaning, I had not yet found a way to work writing into my life where it wasn’t a high-octane endeavor at the exclusion of other important activities.

It’s time to try something new – an emotionally healthier way of writing these books. I’m going for balance, and I as I reach towards it, I’ll keep you posted.

Be well!!!

-Curtis


Share a comment below, or, you can connect with me here.

 

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“Just writing” – How a summer of writing is teaching me to do life better

This is one of a series of posts for my writing challenge, Minutes to a Better Book. You can read more about the challenge, and see all related posts here.  


 

 

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I Wrote an average of 2.5-3 hours a day, for ten days…

I’ve reached the 30-hour milestone for writing my books. I’m happy with the results:

  • An almost-finished manuscript of The Witch’s Uprising (TWU)
  • A longer manuscript than expected
  • Meaningful changes to character arcs and conflict
  • A completely posted Part One of TWU on Wattpad – You can read it here.
  • Rankings on Wattpad going up: 

    Instagram: @CurtisWritesBooks
    One of my Instagram stories. @CurtisWritesBooks

Other Results:

  • I was able to work through some writer’s apprehension I’d been having over the last few months.
  • My mental health is better, and I’m starting to balance my life. This was the biggest success.

(There are, of course, always more details. You can check out my public posts on Patreon if you interested.  All public posts are available here. )


Just Doing vs. Meeting Quotas: What writing without a word count made me realize…

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Why does it feel so easy to write, all of a sudden? Maybe it’s because I have more time this summer than usual, but the very task of writing feels so different when I sit down to do it.

The real answer?

Between work obligations and commitments to friends and family, it had been hard to find time to create, and when I found the time, I didn’t write well.

I was out of balance. I touched on this briefly in my last post.

My time is balanced now, and when I sit down to write, I’m just writing and enjoying writing. It reminds me of a Zen Buddhist idea of being fully present while “just doing” something.

On that note, I stopped using word counts.

Writing without them has helped me be more creative. For example, I focused last week’s time on crafting scenes, and I wasn’t worried about reaching a quota of words. My characters came to life instead of robotically moving through their conflicts.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been a fan of using word counts in the past, and why not? Word counts are useful. It’s nice to set a challenge. It’s nice to do a writing sprint every once in a while, but any method can become a crutch. The act of writing was no longer fun when I was just aiming at a particular goal.

I learned a valuable lesson this summer. By taking care of myself, my commitments, and my time, I was better able to enjoy writing – just writing. Setting aside blocks, without any arbitrary word count or quota to meet. Just writing for however long I can.

An hour. Two hours. Three if I have them.

I know I won’t have this much time forever. In fact, in a month and a half, my work-life balance will tip towards work. But after this summer, I won’t forget what I just learned:

-Make time for writing that doesn’t intrude on valuable family time and social commitments.

-Taking care of your mental health.

-Just write… Just write and enjoy writing. 

Before this summer, time was scarce, but more specifically, my imbalance negatively impacted the quality of my time. I was putting goals on a pedestal, and while goals are fine, experience has taught me that putting goals before balance leads to burnout.

Balance is important. This whole process makes me want to do a better job balancing my life…  I mean, who would want to miss a morning of this:

 

I hope you find a routine that works for you, and that you find a way to “just do” too.

Be well.

-Curtis


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A Summer of Writing: Minutes to A Better Book

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I write books as a hobby, and last month I had to push that hobby to the side.

The school year was ending, and I spent the first two weeks of June wrapping up loose ends and taking trainings. I was busy, to say the least. The three days that followed were fraught with mental fog, and quite frankly, guilt. I avoided writing at all costs. I looked at my work, and I thought, I could have done more.

 

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I felt guilty for not writing.

I felt guilty for putting my hobby to the side.

On top of that, I made a pretty big deal about writing my books for the last nine months, and I feel like I don’t have a lot to show for it.

I do not want to belittle the important steps I have taken, however tiny those steps were. I do, however, feel like I could have done better.

Yes, I’m proud of the revised chapters and new material. Yes – I’m happy to have made new friends and connected with total strangers over reading and writing. Still, I feel like I need to do more.

So . . . I will do more.

Minutes to a Better Book

A few posts ago, I talked about Minutes to a Better Book. My goal was to dedicate 180 to 300 hours towards writing my books – not my stories, not my blog, but rather, my books.

If I write for three hours every day until August 20th, I will make the 180 mark. The 300 Hours bit makes the challenge far more interesting and incentivizes me to just dedicate my time towards writing books.

What does this mean for Paper Palaces? It means that I will only work on posts after finishing my required writing for the day. This will most likely result in one or two posts per week on the usual topics.

You can read more about the challenge by visiting the challenge page here. Or, you can follow me on Instagram (@curtiswritesbooks), where I post stories about my progress, among other things.

If you feel like dedicating time towards your hobby, let me know. I love knowing that other people are putting hours in towards their passion.

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Are you writing to? Do you have a hobby that you’re diving into this summer?

-Curtis

Instagram: @CurtisWritesBooks

Facebook: /curtisteichertbooks

Patreon: /CurtisWritesBooks

Twitter: @staghorncrown

WordPress: PaperPalacesBlog.com

Monday Recap – Last Week’s Wins

I’m smiling.  It was a productive week and a restful weekend. Here’s a recap of last week’s wins:

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Monday Recap – Last Week’s Wins

Home & Writing Books

I spent time with my fiancé, attended a student play and worked 5 hours closer to my 300-hour goal for writing my novels. This puts me at the 300-minute mark, which means I’ve hit the first level (copper) of the Minutes To A Better Book challenge.

Paper Palaces, Posting, and Site Changes

For the last few weeks, I’ve experimented with posting every day. While I see more visitors on this site, I want to make sure that the content makes sense for you. I created a poll for followers so you can give me feedback on how many posts I should do per week.  

I have also created a few new pages and changed up the top menu. They are getting a few hits from outside of WordPress, which is always nice.

Quick Links – New pages:

Let me know what you think! Like a page or two, if you want.


A Mock Schedule

I really enjoy posting every day. I feel like I don’t have to fit in all my thoughts into two or three posts. I can spread them out. I have tried to come up with a few structures for posting. Still, I’m taking a break from posting this week to focus on some other things.

Here is a rough and loose  idea of what content may come if I post every day:

SundaysFeedback! Polls (To stay open throughout the week) (Here is this week’s poll. Please vote!)

Mondays 

  • Last Week’s Wins –  a recap of the last week & a look at the current week 

Tuesdays 

Wednesdays 

Thursdays 

Fridays 

Saturdays 

If I don’t post every day, I would like to try creating two or three posts that combine the elements from above.  


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Noteworthy Posts from Last Week:

If you didn’t get a chance to see these, check them out!


What do you do on your own blog or site? Do you have a set schedule or preferences?

-Curtis

Like it_ (1)Instagram: @CurtisWritesBooks

Facebook: /curtisteichertbooks

Patreon: /CurtisWritesBooks

Twitter: @staghorncrown

WordPress: PaperPalacesBlog.com

How would ______ do this? Three more questions to ask yourself when experiencing a creative block. . .

I knew I had an idea . . . I knew it was great, but where did it go? The blank screen had no answer for me, and only the sound of my cat meowing filled the air. What happened to that shiny object I was chasing? Luckily, I had an answer.

This is the second post in a series on creative blocks. You can read the first post here.

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Ideas are abundant, which is why I take the time to create notes for new ideas that I have.

That is what I would say to you if I was diligent.

The truth is. . . I run with my ideas, big and small, and sometimes, they get lost.

Some writers call this being a pantser from the phrase “flying by the seat of your pants.” I’m guilty of being a pantser; however, there are times when I really do take the time to develop my ideas, like my current project A Thousand Watchful Eyes.

Today was not one of those times. Part of today was a “shiny object” day, where I chased new ideas like a small, eager animal collecting whatever catches its eye.

It’s tragic. I am attracted to new ideas like cats to fuzzy socks. Sometimes I can’t stop.

While this process is almost always exciting, there is always the danger of losing out on an idea that would be a worthwhile investment.  Luckily, today’s shiny-object fiasco came after a morning of creating fiction.

A Full Morning of Fiction

For those of you new to Paper Palaces, I am working on a fantasy saga. The finished work will span twelve novels (a prequel series and main series). Every day, I try to work on the project, but I also have to dedicate my time towards other tasks. Managing this time is often difficult, as everything seems important. Last week, I wrote about a new writing challenge to push myself towards dedicating a large amount of my time towards writing my books. So far, it is working.

Still, I want to write short stories, and I want to start new books. Yesterday, I wanted to a create handful of detailed blog posts and useful how-to articles, and today, I just needed to write fiction. The urge to create more writing ensues, but wanting to write more is not enough.

I fought the urge to chase shiny objects today by focusing on one project: my fiction.

Here’s what happened:

  • I revised chapters for three hours.
  • I made detailed notes about new chapters.
  • I redrafted two old chapters and wrote one new chapter.
  • My chapters look better.
  • I no longer feel stressed writing new posts and articles.
  • I now have time to pursue my “shiny object” ideas, if only I could remember them.

In essence, there is no issue, but I want to keep writing, and my ideas have run dry.

What is a person to do?

What I have done to fight this type of creative block

Keep a list!

Really, keep a list of the ideas that you want to develop. This list could evolve into a document, a database, a binder. . . Honestly, it can be as big or as small as you need.

There’s an interesting technique that some artists use, where they create a portfolio of inspirational images to motivate them through the creative block. In this case, your list would keep your fledgling ideas safe until it was time for them to take wing.

But what if you forgot to add the idea to the list?

Well, honestly there’s not much you can do. But I suggest asking the following questions.

Here are three questions you should ask yourself when your ideas are scattered or missing . . .

  1. What inspired me today?

  2. Are there any other ideas that I have yet to develop?

  3. How would _____ do this? 

These open-ended questions will help you to open up the creative part of your mind, and I’m not just talking about writers. This will help with any project. These questions help me when my brain feel so overwhelmed, or so blank, that it needs a starting point.

Each question focuses on different solutions for creative block. Number one focuses on building specificity, number two focuses on working through former ideas, and number three focuses on developing organization and style.

When all is said and done, I enjoy the writing process, but that does not mean I don’t get stuck. In fact, it’s my desire to make write a large body of work that sometimes keeps me away from the screen.

In order to focus, in order to fight the blank page, we must find what works, and that looks different every day.  Here is how I approach each question:

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Question # 1: What inspired me today?

This may be the easiest question to answer. You simply have to remember what you have done today. If you can’t think of something inspiring, try thinking of something that makes you curious.

Were their people you interacted with that sparked your curiosity today? Was there a moment that stood out to you as interesting? How could you translate part of your personal experience today to your craft?

Finding inspiration is sometimes as simple as sitting down and writing stream of consciousness for ten minutes and picking an idea that appears. I call this method a “brain spill.” Caution – don’t publish your stream of consciousness, or “brain spill.”

Your goal is to get to a place of specificity, not to produce polished writing. This is great if you don’t have any ideas on hand because there is always something to use from your brainstorming session. There is always something that you can use from your day if you spend enough time thinking about your experience from different angles.

Question # 2: Are there any other ideas that you have to develop?

For non-fiction, I have a document that is an entire list of questions sorted by topic. Someday, I will answer all of those questions. Each question is open-ended.

I have another document that is a list of story titles, character names, and one-liners. I used to keep these in a handwritten journal, but lately, I like to keep everything digital. These are helpful for writing fiction.

I sporadically collect pictures and articles from the web to help inspire me. Pinterest is a pretty great tool for that, but it’s also an easy way to procrastinate.

Keeping your ideas handy for later will help you build a bank of ideas to develop. These seeds of ideas are not ready on their own, but with enough care and the right conditions, they can grow into better ideas, stories, projects, etc . . .

Question # 3: How would _____ do this? 

This is a great one if you have a personal hero in your field. Sometimes I think to myself: How would J.K. Rowling do this? How would George R.R. Martin do this? Or, more specifically, how would Rick Riordan describe this character? How would Kelly Barnhill explain this to a child? How would my favorite blogger structure this post?

You can get as specific as you want, or stay general. The point of this exercise to think outside of yourself. This gives you a break from your own organization and style, providing a space for you to create something new.

Take-Away

If I remember anything from this today, it is to keep my idea bank full while also dedicating appropriate time to my projects and to never give up, no matter what complications arise.


I hope these questions help you with your creative projects.

-Curtis

Let’s Connect!

Instagram: @CurtisWritesBooks

Facebook: /curtisteichertbooks

Patreon: /CurtisWritesBooks

Twitter: @staghorncrown

WordPress: PaperPalacesBlog.com


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Why 300 hours of writing seems like a good idea . . .

For the last two weeks, I worked on promoting and participating in a 7-Day Reading Challenge. This summer, I plan on challenging myself with an experiment that I call Minutes to a Better Book. This long-term experiment involves dedicating 300 hours towards writing my books. Here’s why I’m doing it:

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Why am I choosing to dedicate 300 hours towards writing my books?

My goal is to dedicate as much time as possible towards my book series. You can read about my new personal challenge here.  

The truth is, I’ve spent much more of my time doing other things – and for good reasons. By day, I’m a teacher. I grade papers, read young adult novels, and help kids develop their reading and writing skills. When I get home, there are nights of my week dedicated towards grading, reflecting, reading and planning for my classroom. This is the case for many teachers. 

Even finding twenty minutes to write my fiction has seemed harder these days, and I think I know why. I have been avoiding my novel. More specifically I have been avoiding ending my novel.

The reason is simple. End a novel is hard.

Ending my novel would mean passing judgment on a project that I have worked hard on, put off, and returned to over the course of a year.

It would mean that the manuscript was ready for full revision – a process I actually love once I get started. I feel like my worst procrastination habits come in two places: right before the start and right before the end of major tasks and activities. Novel writing is no exception.

With my first novel From One to Another, I wrote a short, 50,000-word young adult realistic fiction novel. To be honest, it was pretty awful, which is why it will never see the light of day in published form. I have since had practice writing, but I noticed that I am most enthusiastic when I start stories and novels.

In many of my major projects, I encounter resistance around the 75% mark. One factor is time, and another is commitment.

As we near the summer, everything changes.

I have fifteen days before my students end the year and fourteen more before I am finished with training, meetings, and other important school-related work. My brain will be free to write for hours on end when the summer comes. If I’m organized, this could be a great chance. I will have more time and mental space to write!

I would be a fool, however, if I didn’t admit that this will take discipline and follow through.

Why is this different than any other summer?

In the past, I didn’t set a specific goal for writing my books. Now, I have one. I want to dedicate 300 hours to my books this summer. This is different than setting a word count. I noticed that I am more productive just setting aside time for the task, rather than an arbitrary outcome or word count.

When the summer hits, I’m aiming for three or more hours a day of writing.  In the next 30 days, that will be hard to find, but after the next 30, it will definitely get easier. Don’t worry. I will still post about other subjects, and not every post will be a process post. 

Right now, it’s a push for as many minutes as I can contribute to my novel, no matter how small. It will all add up. 300 hours is just a worthwhile mark to hit.

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Let me know what you think!

-Curtis

Let’s Connect!

Instagram: @CurtisWritesBooks

Facebook: /curtisteichertbooks

Patreon: /CurtisWritesBooks

Twitter: @staghorncrown

WordPress: PaperPalacesBlog.com

 

 

 

 

7 Lessons I Learned From Hosting My First 7-Day Challenge, and What I’m Doing Next . . .

Today marks the end of the 7-Day Reading Challenge.

At least, it marked an end to the official days. . . Here’s what I learned from hosting a 7-Day Challenge over Twitter, Instagram, and WordPress, and what I plan on doing next.

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Seven Days of Challenging Myself

I spent the last seven days of my life reading for 20 minutes a day and posting to Instagram, Twitter, and WordPress about my reading experience. This was an attempt to start building a stronger reading habit while connecting with others about the joy of reading. You can read about the challenge here.

I thought that building the reading habit would be the hardest part. It was not.

The most difficult element of the challenge was keeping up with a consistent posting schedule across the three mediums. The process taught me so much.

Here’s what I learned:

Lesson # 1: Hosting a challenge is fun, even with a small number of people.

As of writing this post, the Instagram hashtag garnered about 26 public posts. This is a relatively small number considering what is possible during a challenge. However, this made no difference in terms of how fun the challenge was.

Some people are still continuing the challenge, and that’s unbelievably cool. Others are just starting, like this user, @blackbird_reads, who is creating a story highlight for the challenge.

I had the opportunity to connect with people I didn’t know, inside and outside of the challenge, simply because we were consistently reading and posting about our reading experience.

Lesson # 2: Social pressure helps me accomplish tasks.

Hosting the challenge gave it an extra edge, as I had the opportunity to see the process grow. I was pushed by social pressure to make sure I completed my 20 minutes of reading a day. Social pressure also encouraged me to post daily on WordPress and Instagram – a habit that I would like to continue whenever possible.

Lesson # 3: I can easily let social media consume me.

On Wednesday and Thursday, I found myself checking Instagram far too much, and I needed to check in with myself about how much social media time was healthy. I know I may sound old saying this, but there definitely is a limit to how much Instagram a person should consume before it consumes you.

Still, it wasn’t wasted time. Last week I didn’t even know what a theme or aesthetic was for an Instagram feed, and now I’m learning how to post more visually-appealing content.

Lesson # 4: On most days, I wanted to read for more than 20 minutes.

The reading challenge not only pushed me to read for 20 minutes, but it also pushed me to think deeply about my own reading. As a result, I took a longer amount of time to process my reading each day. For that, I am happier.

Lesson # 5: The most meaningful connections were with people over the smallest things.

Whenever someone told me about a new book, project, or ARC, I felt like we were building a small community around reading. I know that Bookstagram and other communities exist for readers, but this felt more personal. Maybe it was the size, or maybe it was the specificity of the challenge.

The smallest conversations somehow felt bigger, like we strangers were reaching across the internet and building bridges.

Lesson # 6: Hosting a challenge keeps you focused on a small set of tasks.

Hosting the challenge kept me focused on these tasks:

  1. Reading every day.
  2. Posting to Instagram every day.
  3. Writing blog posts every day.
  4. Asking questions every day.
  5. Becoming inquisitive about what works and reflecting for a few minutes on new things I could try.

Lesson # 7: Seven days is too short of a time to recruit people to a challenge. Which is why it will remain open . . . forever.

I only promoted the challenge for a week before it started, and I honestly have a very small following of people at this point. This didn’t discourage me when I started the challenge, and it doesn’t discourage me now. In fact, it’s rather encouraging. I’m keeping the hashtag open, and I will post regularly to it, just in case someone else decides to take on the challenge and #readwithcurtis.


What’s Next?

I organized all the 7-Day Reading Posts on a new site page. You can check it out here.

I’m going to post about my reading regularly to the Instagram hashtag #readwithcurtis , and I will update the #readwithcurtis site page when I write articles about specific books.

New Habits to Keep

  1. Reading regularly.
  2. Posting regularly to Paper Palaces.
  3. Posting to Instagram daily.
  4. Connecting with others daily.

I’m sure there will be days when this won’t be possible, but I think setting the intention is important.

A New Challenge

I’m planning a new challenge, just for me. It’s more of an experiment than a challenge. You can follow the experiment via this blog. Of course, you are welcome to join in too!

For the next season, I am going dive into my fiction writing. I will post about it regularly on my Instagram feed as well under the hashtag #MinutesToABetterBook, and I will, of course, create process posts here on WordPress. I want to see how quickly I can get to 18,000 minutes (300 Hours) of time dedicated to just writing fiction, specifically my books. Read more about Minutes to a Better Book here.

I’m would like to complete that writing time by the end of the summer. It will take many early mornings, and probably some late nights, but the story must be told.

-Curtis

Let’s Connect!

Instagram: @CurtisWritesBooks

Facebook: /curtisteichertbooks

Patreon: /CurtisWritesBooks

Twitter: @staghorncrown

WordPress: PaperPalacesBlog.com

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Want to try the 7-Day Reading challenge? Read more about the challenge here.

-Curtis

A Note of Gratitude: On Surpassing 50 WordPress Followers . . .

This is a note of gratitude for readers of Paper Palaces and Curtis Writes Books.

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Thanks!

I’m grateful.

My blog, PaperPalacesBlog.com, has gained over 50 WordPress followers. Over the past six months, I’ve connected with many writers on WordPress: book reviewers, travelers, armchair historians, and academics alike.

I want to take this moment to thank you for reading Paper Palaces and Curtis Writes Books. It means a lot to me to connect with you on the topics of reading, writing, and the motivation it takes to do both.


What’s Next?

Posting

I’m happy to say that I’m trying to write at least one solid post a day on Paper Palaces, but this is not yet a promise! Life pulls us in all sorts of directions, and finding the right direction is often fraught with difficulty. I find just having the goal of writing one post a day to be enough!

Books

I’m still working on all my fiction projects, and believe me, it’s hard to manage the time. No matter what, I will keep pushing to write as many books as possible in 2018 and beyond. Maybe I’ll work out a schedule this summer where I complete a writing session and post the day of, or on the very next day with a relevant topic.

More Media

I would really like to do more this summer with both Paper Palaces and Curtis Writes Books, perhaps adding videos and more media in general. Do you have any suggestions?

I am even toying with the idea of a barebones podcast to accompany the content. I’m a beginner at this so I may need your advice and feedback!


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Let me know if you have any suggestions! Again, thank you for your support!

-Curtis


Let’s Connect!

 

Instagram: @CurtisWritesBooks

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When you have writer’s procrastination, try these five simple steps. . .

I sat down at my screen today wanting to write for my project, A Thousand Watchful Eyes. This resulted in the usual pattern of procrastination – surfing the internet, watching a video, writing notes about future projects, eating a snack… The list goes on. I have faced this dragon before, and I have defeated it many times over. When you don’t feel like writing, try these five simple steps . . .

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Stop Writer’s Procrastination in These Five Steps


Step One:

Feed Your Brain So You’re Not Fighting Hunger and Dehydration

Here’s what I suggest… Drink a glass of water. If you have not eaten in hours, eat a light snack with a little protein and fat. You don’t want to lose out on your precious writing time because your body isn’t ready for you to sit down and use your brain. It takes effort and persistence to write, so feed your brain.

Feed your brain so it is up to the task.


Step Two:

Make your writing space comfortable and enjoyable.

I suggest setting yourself up in a comfortable place – a place that you enjoy. Ideally, this is an area that creates the right mindset for you to write. In the long term, try setting up something permanent. In the short term, work with what you have!

For me, my favorite spot to work is at the kitchen table when no one is home. Make sure everything you need is available to you, including whatever writing implements you use.


Step Three:

Clear away all possible distractions.

Put your phone on silent and close all social media, and make sure all your extra tabs and windows are gone. Music is the only exception, as it can get you pumped to work. A playlist is the most ideal, as you won’t shuffle through songs every minute or so.


Step Four:

Set a timer.

Set a small amount of time. I suggest five minutes or under.

The bigger the urge you have to run away from your project, the smaller the amount of time you should set.

For example, to overcome procrastination today, I did Steps One through Three, and then I set a timer for three minutes. I wanted to get three solid sentences finished in that time. This is a simple and manageable task for me.

You should strive for your own simple and manageable task. Maybe it’s just writing for that small amount of time. Maybe it’s describing a character or a detail of your setting.

You could set your timer for thirty seconds or thirty minutes! The point is to set a small goal, and that’s relative to what you are doing.

This tiny writing sprint moves you from procrastinating to actually starting your work. Crushing this tiny goal will give you enough motivation to move forward.


Step Five:

Make what you just wrote better.

Take what you created during your tiny writing sprint and revise it to make it better. This may involve re-arranging the sentences, editing for punctuation, or re-arranging the order. In fact, it may involve a few other processes I failed to mention. The point is to improve what you just created.


Now what?

Now, your brain has switched gears.

Now, you are no longer procrastinating.

Now, you can stop, if you want, but you’ll probably feel like working on your project! Maybe you will even feel like repeating steps four and five again. In all cases, you can say, “I worked on my project today, and tomorrow, I can try to do the same, or better.”


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A Quick Tip

While these five steps work for Writer’s Procrastination, you can apply the same method to any task. You just need to get creative with Steps Four and Five.

If you procrastinate frequently, don’t worry. You’re human. It’s better not to beat yourself up. What you could do, however, is see what can be fixed. Maybe one small area of your life needs changing for you to work on your project.

A desk may need clearing, or a light may need fixing. Maybe you just need to adjust the little things in your life that help you focus 1% better. Maybe you need to rest. Sometimes there are a thousand little things that call for our attention and we have to decide to attend to them immediately or budget time later.

In all cases, I hope you try these five steps yourself. They work rapidly for me, and I hope they work for you.

Do you have any tips for overcoming procrastination?

-Curtis


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