Continuing on a bit from my post last week, I wanted to touch a little bit on motivation. I’m currently reading Charles Duhigg’s Smarter, Faster, Betterso I’m sure I’ll be writing some posts based on what I’m learning from him over the next couple of weeks.

A common response when I tell people “Yes, you can” is “But how?” They can start working on something easily enough, but after a few weeks, days, hours, they lose interest or can’t find the oomph to keep going.

This is absolutely normal. I am currently working on my thirteenth novel, and I think I can safely say that with every single project I’ve worked on, I’ve hit the point of wanting to walk away from it. Not even give up, but just a “I’m not really in the mood today” or “I’ve already done so much this week, I think I’ll just take a break and come back to it later.”

And I have had it happen that later turns into two days, then turns into a week, and then turns into months, after I’ve completely forgotten I was even working on something until I open up a related file and it comes up on that sidebar of recent documents and I’m like “Ohhh yeaaah. Welp, I don’t even remember where I was going with that anymore.” So I trunk it and it fades into the distant memory of my past.

It’s normal.

But it’s also something you can prevent with a bit of self-compassion and discipline.

This is not a post against taking breaks. They are important and necessary, because artistic burnout can absolutely happen.

This is a post encouraging you to make sure you come back to it. This is often harder than getting started. At the beginning you’re all charged up by the idea of making A THING. But as you go, you realise THE THING is not turning out the way you saw it in your mind. It’s more work and taking more time than expected, and you’d rather be doing X. So you break, and finding the motivation to come back is hard.

The next time this happens, I challenge you to ask yourself WHY you started in the first place. What was it about the idea that sparked your excitement? Was it the idea of finishing something you’ve been thinking about for a while? The pride of hitting the last stroke and declaring The end? Was it this particular story you wanted to share with the world for the sake of a friend or because you felt the world needed a new interpretation on a classic tale?

Whatever the WHY, write it out and post it somewhere you can see it whenever you sit down to work. Keep it in your mind so whenever your motivation starts to flag, you can grab on to  your purpose again and plug through, even if it’s just one little section at a time.

Remember: motivation and self-discipline are skills that can be developed. It’s just about finding tricks to build up those muscles.

The doing is not always fun (you think I enjoy writing every single day? Ha! Yesterday, I played a game of picross for every three hundred words I wrote just to keep myself going), but that moment you hit your goal and reach your WHY — that’s the part that makes up for all the taxing work and off-days.

So go on, ask yourself WHY, and if you feel like it, share below the reasons that keep you going.


Yes you can, and yes you do

I hear a lot of things when I tell people I’m an author. There’s the usual “What kind of books do you write?”, the ever popular, “Do you make a living doing that?” and another one of my favourites, “Anything I might have heard of?”*, but there’s also a lot of “I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I can’t do that” or “I don’t have time to do what you do.”

As always, I want to make it clear that while I’m using writing as my experience and example, I believe the following applies to all kinds of artistic expression:

Yes you can, and yes you do.

There is really only one rule to completing that story you’ve always wanted to tell: butt in chair.**

It’s justa matter of putting down one word at a time, which leads to one sentence, paragraph, page, and eventually a final story at the end. It can be difficult to keep yourself motivated, absolutely, but that’s not a problem of can’t, it’s only an issue of learning how.

Discipline/motivation is a skill, and it’s one that needs to be strengthened over time using whatever strategy works best for you. Rewards, breaking big tasks down into bite-size ones, to-do lists, asking someone to hold you accountable. Try them all, change things when they don’t work, but keep going.

And once you’re invested in the project, finding the time won’t be a problem.

I recently started a short-term government contract (I really needed to get out of the house and talk to someone who wasn’t my cat), which meant a complete overhaul of my work schedule, reverting back to my previous full-time work system.

Has it been a challenge? Absolutely.

Have some things been pushed back or ignored on the to-do list longer than they otherwise would have? Oh man, have they ever.

But the important stuff is still getting done. I carve out the time. My family knows and understands that just because I also have a 37.5 hour work-week for a few months, writing is still my priority.

Between 4:45 – 7:30am, I’m at my desk getting in words, or editing, or updating my website. Lunch hours are partially spent replying to business emails. After work, I take a bit of time to prioritize my tasks for tomorrow.

It’s not easy, but because it matters so much to me, I make it possible.

So the next time you’re struck with the desire to tell your story in whatever form best suits you, stop shooting yourself in the foot before you even begin. Stop discouraging yourself and putting yourself down. You are absolutely capable holding that finished project in your hands, whether it takes you a week or three years. I encourage you to do it, because your story is one that has never been told before. Even if you think it is, no one has told it the way you could.

Put any believe that capability or time is what’s holding you back and ask yourself the only question that matters: how badly do I want this?

Have you recently decided to tackle the project you’ve been putting off? Let me know in the comments!

*because this one never leads to awkwardness. Ever.
**figuratively or literally, depending on your preferred set-up or method. With dictation, sit-stand desks, treadmill desks, or the classic “working at the kitchen counter”, chairs are really not a requirement.

“I’m real” and other lies we tell ourselves

That’s not to say it should be a lie, but more that, as I’ve learned, it often feels like one.

Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to Imposter Syndrome, the feeling that you’re not actually worth your accomplishments and that, at any moment, someone could pop up and shout, “You! You aren’t actually the thing you claim to be, so sit down and stop pretending that you are!”

This sort of fear is good if you are, say, an actual fraud. Perhaps it will stop you from doing something fraudulent.

For the rest of us, it’s the irritating voice in our heads that stops us from celebrating/talking about/recognising our own achievements to anyone beyond our immediate toddlers or cats. And even then, it might be a whispered “Woohoo”.


Ever feel like this when people ask you about your goals and ambitions? This image basically sums up most of my social interactions if ever I think that question will come up

I was facing my own inner heckler early last week. Here I am, getting ready to publish my 11th novel since Nov 2013, and I’m still sitting here firmly believing that I don’t know enough about my business after three years to make this a successful launch. I just shouldn’t make a big deal out of it, because whatever. It’s just a story.

“I’ve already published a book this year. People are going to get tired of hearing from me, so they’re going to ignore/unfollow/block/report me for spam” <—– ACTUAL THOUGHTS, PEOPLE.

How am I supposed to sell books when I’m too worried to stand up in front of wonderful readers who tell me they love what I write and let them know I have a new book? How am I supposed to reach new readers, if I don’t feel I’m worthy of the incredible reviews and messages I get from my existing readers?

So I took these thoughts and insecurities to one of the few Facebook author groups I love, and within an hour, I had a dozen replies from other authors (many of whom I really look up to and admire) telling me they experience the exact same thing.

This made me feel so much better!

I might be a fraud who is incapable of retaining a single piece of information about the business that I have dedicated three years to building…… OR I could be like so many other people and just think I’m a fraud who is incapable of, etc.

THE BRAIN IS STUPID, FOLKSIf you haven’t figured that out by now, then you are the most well-adjusted person in the world and should probably talk to someone about that. It’s not healthy.

Of course, as I was realising this about my business, I also realised how much I do it in the rest of my life, as well. I got married two weeks ago. Hitched. Was made an honest woman out of. I shared the news on social media, but sort of in passing. During all of the lead-up, during the planning for all the events that go with the big day, I felt really awkward and uncomfortable making a big deal about it. I didn’t want to appear vain or self-absorbed, so I internalized everything, and, as a result, ended up walking away feeling a bit like not many other people cared. Why would they? If I’m all calm, cool, and collected, then where is their motivation to be all bubbly and excited and bouncy?

This is a mistake I will not make for the reception in July, gosh darnit.

So why am I posting this?

Because I want you to know that you’re not alone. Yes, I’m making an assumption that you feel like this, too, but that’s only because every single other person I have spoken to has expressed understanding, empathy, and “THAT’S TOTALLY ME” whenever I’ve brought it up.

It might not be over everything. You might go crazy and shout as loud as you can when you get that promotion at work, but maybe you hush up when something you’ve been working on (your garden, a poem, a song, a robot you plan to use for your eventual world domination) goes really well, because you don’t feel that you’re REALLY a gardener, a poet, a musician, or an evil mastermind. You’re just playing at it. It’s not REAL.

But there’s the true lie. If you do it, it’s real. You really are those things. It’s time to admit it.

So I challenge you to do so in the comments. What’s something that you’re really proud of yourself for achieving/doing, but are never comfortable telling people about? I want to know!

EVENSONG: Free e-book and awesome art!

In my last post (where, if you recall, I offered a free Meratis short story as a thank you for being wonderful), I mentioned something about a big announcement coming up. It’s here. Today. RIGHT NOW.

EVENSONG, book 1 of the Meratis Trilogy, is now FREE for your e-reader! FREE


AmazonKoboNook, iTunes

Author Jeff Powell wakes up to find the impossible has happened. He is within his own novel—summoned into the fictional world of Feldall’s Keep by a spell he didn’t write. One the House enchantress hasn’t figured out how to reverse.

When the villain he’s been struggling to write reveals himself, unleashing waves of terror and chaos, Jeff must use more than his imagination to save the characters he created—and the woman he loves.

Trapped within a world of his own creation, he must step outside the bounds of his narrative to help his characters defeat an evil no one anticipated, even if he must sacrifice his greatest gift. In the end, he has to ask: are novels really fiction, or windows into other worlds?

I announced this a few days ago, but was still waiting for a few sites to catch up. IF you’re looking at a site that still shows it for 99c, just report it to Amazon and they”ll price match!

And the offers don’t end there! Well, the free ones do, but you’ll love me anyway right?

A few months back, I commissioned some art piece from my friend and artist Adam Tupper. I posted the original black and white prints here a few weeks ago but NOW I can share the final versions and they’re GORGEOUS!!!

Hello Kay Aya Lan Hello Talfyr

Once I get my hands on some prints, I’ll be selling them for $10 each (+ postage if applicable).

All the Meratis excitement!!!!! I hope you’ve enjoyed my Meratis spree, because this is where it ends …… for now.

Ringing in 2015

I wrote my wrap-up post on Monday for 2014, but now the calendars have flipped over and I want to share what my new year looks like.

Today is my official start of Writerlife 2.0 a.k.a full-time authorhood. I have two days a week of part-time dayjob, and five days a week that I can dedicate to making my novels the best quality possible before giving them to you. Which I hope to do many times over the next twelve months.

I’ll get to a loose calendar below, but first, as I do most years on this blog, I want to look to you to see what I should do more of on TRQ. What do you want to see? More excerpts? More cover reveals and interviews with other authors? Should I take the risk of embarrassing myself and start that vlog? I hope to have all of these things going on, but where should I focus my efforts? Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments below!

I crossed a final book off my TBR last night, adding another Dickens to my list of reads. I only just found out the man had a thing for Christmas. More than the The Christmas Carol, he has a full collection of Christmas-related short stories and how the holiday changes the world for its one day. The Haunted Man stood out especially for me – about a Chemistry professor haunted by the troubles of his past. He makes a deal with a Spirit to take away all memory of his sorrows and troubles, and to give this gift to others. Trouble is, with no memory of his pain, he loses all compassion and turns everyone around him into unsympathetic monsters. An interesting reminder to be grateful for the hardships as well as the blessings.

I’ll have to come back to this story as the year goes on and my full time writerhood poses its challenges.

So how am I planning to stay busy in the year to come?  I’ll have no lack of projects

1) EVENLIGHT should be ready to go by January 13! The proofreaders are busy catching typos and the cover should be ready by the end of the weekend (interested in helping me with the cover reveal? Shoot me a message or leave a comment below!) .

2) I hope to have a launch party for book 3, celebrating that the entire trilogy is done. I can also jump up and down with excitement because I’ll have more than the books to offer at my table now. My good friend and artist Adam Tupper added a few Andvell characters to his “Hello Kitty” portfolio. The coloured prints should be on their way to me soon, but for $10 each, you’ll be able to own your very own adorable “Hello Sisters” or “Hello Talfyr”

2014-12-17 12.16.492014-12-17 12.17.02

Aren’t they too precious for words? I couldn’t be happier.

3) I’ve pulled my Daughter of Time novels out of the trunk and am attempting to make something out of them. The first book is getting ready to go out to beta and undergoing some pretty thorough revisions. I’m thinking of having a “blooper reel” post here. The old draft I worked on was perfect in terms of typography. I found not a single typo as I worked from it. The same cannot be said for the new draft. Apparently, my fingers didn’t work with their usual attention to detail. This draft contains gems like “She turned to catch the window on her face”, and “An uninteresting looking man with plain brain hair and brown eyes.” And that’s only 30 pages into the book.

DoT is a 5-book historical/urban fantasy series. The first two books were written four years ago and need to be rewritten, with a few plots outlined for the last three books. If you don’t hear from me for a while, I’m buried under a pile of papers!

So that’s 2015 in a nutshell, plus all the craziness I’ll squeeze in between drafts. So HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! I hope you all keep me in the loop with your own plans in the months to come.