Hello there, Cotton’s Corner!
It’s been three weeks since my last post, and while I shot for many things to happen, not everything went my way.
Now, that’s not to say that’s a bad thing because I learned a lot about myself. I’ve never made resolutions, but rather goals and I break those goals down into steps as I see fit.
But what I really needed was a break. The first of last year was a blur with trips to the hospital and doctor, and the latter half of the year didn’t fare much better. I was proud that I made real steps toward working on my book and blog, but I suffered from real burnout.
I was trying to do it all: write a book, market myself as a writer, all while promoting my blog/brand and possibly start a YouTube channel. Did I mention that I work full-time job and take care of my family? I deal well with pressure, but at a certain point I can crumble.
I wanted to be thought of as successful, but I forgot that I set those standards and just by deciding that I want to do more with my life than work and sit on my butt and watch Supernatural re-runs, I’m doing pretty well.
So I took a little break, and here’s what I did and decided regarding the direction of my writing and the blog.
In my last post [link post to NaNo Wrap Up], I said that I wanted to write the last 20,000 words of my novel by January 31. Pardon me while I giggle a little. As of this writing, I haven’t touched the manuscript and that’s ok. I realize that a book takes work and it’s not as simple as setting deadlines and meeting them BAM, BAM, BAM.
I read. I spent time with family and my husband. I used time in other ways as I saw fit. Going forward through February, I’ve made a small goal to meet each day: spend 30-60 minutes a day on the novel. I’d like to write at least 500 words a day (hey, if I stick to that, that’s 14,000 more words.), but any time spent editing or brainstorming counts for me. Everyone’s process is different, and while NaNoWriMo was fun, I’d like to carefully finish the rest of the book.
I’ve also talked about my participation in the Beat the Backlist Challenge and my Goodreads challenge where I’m attempting to read 52 books this year. This is where I giggle some more. However by signing up for these challenges, I’ve learned more about my reading habits than I did in college.
First, I’ve become prone to reading more than book at a time. Call it bipolar mania, but I really enjoy reading a couple chapters of one book and moving onto the next. Maybe it’s a mood thing: today I want some Sherlock, tomorrow I want to learn more about organization.
Second, I read a lot of nonfiction. Anyone who knows me well knows I loved school. Not the social aspect so much, but I loved writing, researching, participating in discussions. I’ve got so many books on mental illness, meditation, writing, and I’ve already added to my collection with psychology and philosophy. Somewhere down the line I intend to read more about World War II and piracy in the 1600-1800s, but I’m not in a hurry.
And third, I lean toward literary or older fiction. I have stacks of newer released books I should be getting to, but something draws me in with the classics. Do you know I’ve never actually read a single Sherlock Holmes story? I’ve seen movies, television shows, and even video games about the great detective, but I’ve never read any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work. So these nights, I’ve been switching between my volume of Sherlock adventures, and an annotated book of works by H.P. Lovecraft to get my fiction fix. I did see that one of the Goodreads groups I’m in is going to read A Darker Shade of Magic - which is on my TBR pile - so I may try my hand at reading that book all the way through before returning to everything else.
In summary, I may not end up reading 52 books this year because of my reading style, but I’ve enjoyed it so much this month. I even ventured into the local library system and fell in love with it. I’m used to old school libraries where you look up books using catalog cards and filling out the card in the back of the book. I live in civilization now which means I can look up books on the library’s website, place a hold, and pick them up. I can also check out a book by just scanning the book and my library card without talking to anyone. The future, huh?
If you aren’t my friend on Goodreads, you can find me here [link account] and here are some of the books currently in my rotation:
The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin
A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld
The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles by William Irwin and Gregory Bassham
The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft
The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume I by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Blog and Beyond
As much as I loved the blog at first, I wore myself out trying to be like everyone else. I tried to post multiple times a week and even start a YouTube channel to keep up with the growing author/reader community. I even had editing software and video equipment.
I admire so many people I watch on YouTube, but I don’t know if it’s for me. I’m still going to try one of these days, but for now, I’m going to focus on reading and writing. My endeavors shouldn’t cause me the kind of panic-inducing terror they were because at the end of the day, I’m really doing it for me. Sometimes talking is easier than writing, but I get a certain creative pleasure out of writing, editing, creating graphics, and marketing a blog post.
Speaking of posts, I was trying to crank out weekly content, but that becomes a part-time job of it’s own coming up with a schedule and planning post times.
Don’t worry though. I love Cotton’s Corner and I still plan to post at least twice a month and of course the monthly newsletter will continue, albeit somewhat smaller.
My goals for February? Keep writing, reading, and because my Twitter count hit over 1,000 followers, I want to host a giveaway!
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If you want to talk, just email me at email@example.com.
Nicole C. Thomas
Nicole is a writer working on her first novel Samantha Darkened, created during NaNoWriMo 2016. She writes weekly posts regarding books, writing, and mental illness. She has an interesting sense of humor which includes a love of alliteration and puns.