Currently reading Harry Potter for the NovelTea Book Club


in found

Desire Map: New paper planner for 2015

For the first time in I literally don’t know how long I am going to use a paper, physical planner for next year. (I’m sharing this with you now in case you want to get your own before the beginning of the year!)

After seeing Kristin’s Filofax, and looking at a bunch of different options, I’ve decided to use Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map Planner.

Desire Map Planner 1

I suppose you don’t *need* to go through the Desire Map book to be able to use this planner, but I would still recommend it.

The very basic premise is that you decide how you want to feel, instead of definitive specific goals. For example, maybe your goal is to finish your book to submit to agents. But the Desire Map program has you look at WHY. What do you want to feel by finishing that book? Is it that you want to feel accomplished because you finished? Or you want to feel intelligent (because look at how much you know), or that you want to feel …. you know, whatever?

One of the things I really liked about this planner is that it’s got a spot on every single day to write your Core Desired Feelings. I love that repetition, and I love having the reminder every single day.

Desire Map Planner 2

I love the month-views include a spot to note the goals and intentions for each week.

Desire Map Planner 3

And at the end of each week — the Sunday of any week — includes different reflection questions than the other days of the week. I need that pause. I’m really trying to set better work boundaries and this should be awesome.

Desire Map Planner 4

I kind of don’t want to write in it. Which is silly, of course. But it’s so pretty and new and clean. But I made myself write in it, reading the beginning/intro bits, putting in dates and events I knew already.

This first beginning part includes room to write your major goals and core desired feelings. A good overview spot as you begin (and a little cameo by my OLW for 2015).

Desire Map Planner 5

You can see more photos, watch a video and order your planner here.

Do you have any good tips or resources for 2015?

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in dreaming and planning, FIND YOUR GREAT WORK, productivity

Coming soon: January Reset project

I love the new year. I love the fresh start. I love the annual feeling of resetting. Yes, you can absolutely set new goals at any time of the year, but I love the special-ness of re-evaluating at the same time every year.

So this January I am starting something new — the January Reset project — and you are 100% invited to join me!

January Reset

 You don’t *need* anything specific to join me — but this is what I am using:

Supplies pictured:

You will LOVE the kit that Allie and I are releasing. You don’t *need* it to participate, though. No worries.

We’ll be launching the digital kit on January 1 (at my blog party) and I will be posting throughout the month of January.

Can’t wait!


in courage and fear, dreaming and planning, FIND YOUR GREAT WORK, great work, memory keeping, mini-scrapbooks


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in found

‘Follow your passion’ is usually nonsense

Quick: What is your favorite thing to do ever ever ever and always?

Mine is reading. I’ve been a reader since I could pick up a book. My grandmother used to work at a bookstore and bring my bags and bags of paperbacks with the covers ripped off (it’s a weird publishing industry thing). I would read 2 or 3 books a day during my summer breaks. Those silly Pizza Hut reading challenges were a joke to me because I read that much and more all the time. I read basically any genre and I will gladly recommend you a book in any genre and my to read list on Goodreads is completely out of control.

I love reading with all my heart. It is essentially my only hobby.

But, did you catch that? It’s a HOBBY. Not a job.

Go read this post — How to choose a business — and learn all about why Naomi decided not to become a prostitute. It’s brilliant and funny and lays out 7 very smart reasons why turning what your friends say you are good at into business is not always wise.

I especially like #2 and #5. Both reasons why I am not a full-time developmental editor and don’t really want to be.

Following your passion, while it sounds like a good idea, and you certainly don’t want to pursue anything you’re not interested in, is not as cut and dry as you might like.

I didn’t really pursue marketing because I’m passionate about it….. although I do find it fascinating. If I was being honest, I am PASSIONATE about learning. Reading every book I can get my hands on. The non-teaching part of academia. But I can’t make a living going to school and haunting the library.

I can, however, make a living learning about things and translating them into useful products and services for other people.

I can offer myself as a developmental editor and make an income reading novels. But even then, not 40 hours a week.

Just because you love it with all your heart, does not mean it would make a good vocation.

Of course, there are exceptions. And of course if your passion really is small business accounting or teaching 2nd graders, then godspeed. But I know for most of L&R readers that is not the case.

P.S. For a probably better-said clarification, check out this post on why passion shouldn’t drive you.


in blogging, BUILD YOUR PLATFORM, dreaming and planning, FIND YOUR GREAT WORK

What I’m working on this week

Working for myself means I get to decide what project I want to work on when — AND IT IS THE BEST. Just the other day, I tweeted about how reading Harry Potter totally counts as work for me this month.* Depending on what kind of blog content I have planned, I may need to be reading a non-fiction book for a review or working on a memory keeping project. I can be watching a video series on how to build my email list or reading a novel to provide edits to the author or journaling about when we bought our home for an example for a new product.

It’s the best.

This month is a combination of finishing projects started earlier this year and getting ready to start 2015 with a bang. Here’s what I’m working on this week, a look into what my to do list looks like ….

Editing my novel, working title Academy of Secrets

novel writing and editing

This will be my first completed and published novel (!). I would like to send it to my first round of beta readers this week (or, really, last week), so this is going to be the biggest chunk of my week. Throughout 2014 I dedicated A LOT of time to writing fiction, spent a lot of money on it and didn’t earn a penny. 2015 is going to be the opposite, hopefully, but the first thing to do is finish this novel. Tentative release the beginning of March. Sign-up here for first news!

Week in the Life album


This is the first memory keeping project I actually have attempted in 2014 and I really want to finish putting it together before the end of the year (especially considering the last time I did this project was 2011, and all those photos and journaling are still sitting on my harddrive). I have everything I need to finish, I just need to sit down and do it.

December Daily album


I love the holiday season and I love the idea of doing a December album, but if I don’t keep up with it semi-regularly I will never do it. So this week I am editing photos from last week and getting them printed. I’ll fill in some journaling and embellishments as I go. Little by little.

30 Days of Lists

To be honest, most of the WORK work is done for #30Lists. Which means I get to just spend some time in the Facebook group with the participants and keep 1 eye on email just in case. SUCH a fun project!

Blog party posts

January 1 will see 24 blog posts in 24 hours. That’s many weeks’ of content for Lemon and Raspberry, so I need to get started early. I begin with revisiting what I have done in the past (some post topics are great to use year after year), and then also brainstorm a bunch of more topics I could write about. I usually have about 30-40 post ideas ready and narrow them down to 24 by December 30 or 31.

Previous years I have spent most of the day December 31 (and even the morning of January 1) writing blog posts and I definitely don’t want to do that again! The earlier I start the better!

(I’m also accepting guest posts if you think you’d be a good fit!)

What are you working on this week?

*If you’re wondering how I am justifying that, remember that I am helping lead the Harry Potter book club, remember that I am launching a fiction-writing career. And every person in the Harry Potter book club is a super-passionate reader. What better way to find potential readers for my own books than get in front of and make friends with these readers? Therefore reading Harry Potter = marketing!

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P.S. I’m slowly figuring out tumblr. I blog about books over there if you’re interested.



in found

5 resources to become an awesome small business owner

The question came up last week in Kara’s Babes Making Things Facebook Group, about if someone should go to school or if there was something she absolutely needed to do in order to be a designer and small business owner. I jumped on RIGHT AWAY to spew my self-taught-evangelism. I 100% believe that you can do it yourself.

be awesome resourcesMy husband went to trade school for 9 months and now is the very top of his industry through hard work and teaching himself. I have a blog that makes enough money to let me quit my job, and my 7 years in college were all about novels and critical analysis of text and not in the tiniest bit about marketing.

YOU CAN TOTALLY DO THIS ON YOUR OWN. Here are my favorite resources to take control of your small business and learn how to become an awesome small business owner:

Blogs: There are some *amazing* smart people out there writing every day or every week and just offering their knowledge for free on their blogs. I recommend Problogger, Jon Morrow, Seth Godin for sure.

Podcasts: If you have a long commute, or a lot of piecework or time that you watch TV or listening to music, I suggest trying podcasts instead. Briefly, a podcast is kind of like a radio show, except on demand. I am subscribed to more podcasts than I could ever possibly listen to, but they are in a variety of topics and I can learn all kinds of things just by listening to these free audio shows! (my favorites are here)

Email lists: Not unlike reading blogs, so many brilliant business people will send tips directly to you via email. And a lot of them offer exclusive content via email. I love Tara Gentile, Braid Creative and ittybiz among others.

CreativeLive: This began a few years ago as free live-streamed courses for photographers, but it is so much more than that! Design, business, life, money, etc. If you have the time to watch the courses live (usually 2 or 3 days from about 9am to 5pm) they are an amazing free resource. If you don’t have time, you can purchase the courses for a really low price and watch the hours of video whenever convenient. Here’s a glimpse at some classes coming up.

BUILD ecourse: I mean obviously, self-promo. But my goal with this ecourse is to be a one-stop-course to help you establish your foundation AND have the steps to build your business even further. I am super proud of the ecourse as-it-is and even more excited about what I have planned to add to it!

What are your favorite small business resources?


in blogging, BUILD YOUR PLATFORM, Business, resources

5th annual blog party! Calling all guest posters

blog party 2015

GUESS WHAT!! The annual New Year’s Day L&R blog party is coming!

This is the FIFTH year in a row that I get to spend New Year’s Day with you all!

I start thinking about blog posts in … oh, September or so. 24 hours of blog posts. Every hour. On the hour. All day.

Also all day? Discounts and giveaways and it’s my favorite way to spend New Year’s Day! I hope you’ll join me!

I’m open to guest posts – email me by December 14 with your guest post pitch (and check out these tips first).

Mark your calendars!

1 comment

in Amy

November Book Report

November was a slow month for reading ….

Axis of Aaron by Sean Platt and Johnny B Truant: This is definitely the kind of book that needs to be read more than once. I do have some gripes — I don’t love the way the female characters are drawn, even if it is a deliberate device. I also don’t love how explainy the text is. I prefer to make connections and figure things out for myself and not have the writer wave a big red flag that says, ‘hey! did you get this symbolism I’m using?!’. But other than that I really liked it.

Dreadnought by Cherie Priest: The second in this alternative history, steampunk series. Really good, and I would recommend the series. Although, my library doesn’t have books 3 or 4 so I don’t know how I’m going to read more. This particular book is about a Confederate nurse (in a world where the Civil War has lasted ~30 years), taking a train west to Seattle and all that ensues (attacks! politics! more that would constitute spoilers!).

Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger: Just came out the first week of November. Book 3 of I think 4 in this series. Just read what I said about books 1 and 2 here. The big conflict becomes more pointed in W&W so I’m looking forward to the conclusion. Whenever that is.

I also read the book I am writing about 4 times AND the rough draft of the sequel to The Dream Engine as part of Fiction Unboxed 1.5. And about half of a history book.

I’ve decided not to check out any library books for the rest of the year so I can A) re-read Harry Potter because obviously. And B ) catch-up on all the mountains of to-read piles already in my house.

P.S. I’ve started a tumblr that is going to be book-centric if you’d like to follow me over there too

Read anything good lately?


in Amy