Currently around here

Amy SchubertTwo days ago I told you I needed a little RIGHT NOW project. Here we go …

Currently I am….

Watching: Just finished House of Cards and The Jinx. Took myself to see Newsies (the stage musical version) for my birthday. Watched the first episode of the new Game of Thrones season. Next I’m thinking about Mad Men season 7 (part 1) that just showed up on Netflix. There are SO MANY great shows I need to see!

Reading: Just started Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein. Not too far in yet, but I loved her first 2 books. Also looking for and poring over actual court documents and transcripts and things for murder trials, since I’m writing a murder mystery right now. Next, I think I’ll start a history book.

Listening: I’ve been catching up on podcasts while I shower. Currently binge-listening to Stuff You Missed in History Class (Ethan Allen, Lady Juliana, etc). I love history.

Making: I haven’t been *making* anything lately other than lots and lots of pages of notes for this murder mystery I’m writing. Between the actual murder details, the investigation details, the characters, the town, all their secrets and betrayals and interactions …. PLUS getting all the legal stuff accurate….. There’s a LOT of planning going into this series before even beginning writing. It’s SO MUCH FUN!

Feeling: Behind. Constantly behind. That’s the thing about working for yourself — you always have work to do. You can just do 40 hours/week and call it a full time job, but in reality you probably have another 100 hours’ worth of work to do. Working on feeling ok with never being caught up.

Planning: To go to Phoenix next weekend. My grandmother died Monday morning, and we will be having a memorial for her. Also hopefully planning to visit some friends a few weeks after that, but nothing is set yet. I need to travel. I need to get out of the house.

Loving: Working for Sterling & Stone. It’s only a few hours a week, and it’s not even anything super impressive. But I KNOW I am needed and appreciated there. AND it helps me get in front of more readers (for whenever I do eventually finish the books I’m working on). This weekend I’m going to Austin for a live event with them and I’m really looking forward to it!

What’s going on with you?

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5 (more) fast facts

Amy T SchubertJust for fun ….

I get stress headaches … and I massage my own scalp to help them go away. I worked 32 hours/week while I was going to college, and I basically had a headache through ALL of grad school. Literally every day. My mother used to tell me to go to the doctor, but it all went away after I graduated, so ….

I eat frozen vegetables …. frozen. It’s the perfect snack for a hot day. Instead of chips or candy, for example. I’m especially fond of frozen corn and frozen green beans.

I have terrible luck with technology. The worst. Through no fault of my own. I will be doing all the requisite backing up of data and the phone will fail. Andrew has used the same laptop and hard drive for 8 years, while I have gone through …. like 4 or 5 hard drives in that time. If someone drops their phone 75 times and doesn’t crack, I’ll just drop mine twice and it will fall apart.

I feel like my hair is blonder when I blow-dry it. Why would that be? I have no idea. I’m sure it’s not ACTUALLY blonder, but it feels that way.

I’ve never seen some ‘classics’ like The Simpsons, Citizen Kane, Veronica Mars or Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I’m sure there is a long list of TV shows and movies that I *should* watch. The Simpsons is the one that comes up over and over again.

Also, bonus fast fact: Today is my birthday! I’m going to the theater tonight to see the National Touring cast of Newsies and I am SO EXCITED!!

P.S. I realize I haven’t been around here a lot in the last month+. I have a TON of stuff going on and I’ll tell you all about it sometime. In the meantime I plan on being back here soon OR check out my author site here (I’m in the middle of 3 different books to release in the next 6 months or so).

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January Reset: Goals

First and foremost — this post was meant to go up on Monday, but didn’t because I was completing a HUGE STEP toward accomplishing one of this year’s goals! Hurrah!

Both Saturday and Sunday I woke up before 6am, and sat at the computer all day and finished my revision for my first novel. I was writing (and thinking) all day, both days until about 7pm on Sunday night. My back still hurts a bit.

At that time I sent emails, delivering the draft to my beta readers! My first novel is actually in front of readers! It’s not done, and I’m sure they will all come back to me with lots of suggestions, but finishing the draft and delivering a readable copy is a big big step!

I’m hoping to get back critiques by the end of the month, another draft, another round of beta-readers, final tweaks and releasing the book March 3.

It will be free to my newsletter subscribers … and then I have to get to work on the next book….

Because (as you will see in the next few images), that is my #1 goal for 2015.

If this is your first time hearing about the project, check out my first post here with an introduction and my first pages, and then the first prompt REFLECTION and my pages here and last week’s prompt RIGHT NOW and my pages here.

This is the THIRD prompt for our January RESET project: Goals.

These are the big ideas, the where-I’d-like-to-be, the long-term projects.

This week is not the time to worry about the next step (that’s next week), but instead a time to figure out what your priorities for the whole year are.

As we go through my pages you’ll notice there’s only 1 spot that I have a photo to include. This project truly is journaling-heavy. It’s almost all pages, labels and journaling cards from the RESET kit — grab yours here.

Here we go …

The left side is 3 journaling cards and 1 (still-to-be-taken) 3×4 photo. The two ‘filler’ cards are from the Seafoam Project Life kit.

The GOALS journaling card is from the RESET digital kit and I held myself to 4 goals for 2015, noted just briefly in bullet form. I actually love that the smaller card only left space for a reasonable number (one of them is still private).

The opposite page is one of my favorites for the WHOLE PROJECT. That gray label says ‘Write your number 1 goal for this year. Now write it another 10 times.’

I love that. I love the commitment. I love the repetition. I love the burning into my brain that happened when I got to number 8, 9 and 10. I love that it forced me to actually think about if this was what I wanted by writing it so many times.

My current plan is to self-publish a novel March 3, June 30, September 15 and late November/early December. Visit my author site and get on that email list if you’re interested.

So this page was a reminder that all my actions for the year should in some way support this number 1 goal.

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The back side of that page is still a 5.5×8.5 page with a label from the RESET kit — A year from now.

This list includes both my BIG concrete goals, as well as I-hope-I-can-manage-it goals. None are particularly audacious on their own, but if I accomplish all of them I will throw myself a party (again, one censored).

The opposite page is one of the Quick Pages from the RESET kit, all about acknowledging what the obstacles I have to overcome are. Because, yes, of course, it would be awesome to accomplish all these goals, but it’s not magic. There ARE things standing in my way that I need to move past/around/over/etc.

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The last layout for this prompt begins with the GOAL / Action Steps Quick Page from the digital kit. I only printed out one (though of course, you could print out 1 page for each goal you are going to pursue). This is a great transition to the next prompt for next week.

But, really, the goal that I will be MAD at myself if I don’t accomplish is publishing four books this year, so that is the only one worth the attention.

The opposite page is another series of journaling cards from the digital kit. ‘Just say no’ is blank in this photo because the journaling on that relates to my private goal.

I loved using the Just for ME journaling card in this section too. Not all my goals have to be I’m-going-to-be-awesome. I love reading and it’s my only real hobby and just for me I’m going to set the challenge to read 52 books this year. Considering that is way less than my average for the last few years, I think this is just an easy ‘goal’ that still keeps reading in my schedule no matter how busy I get otherwise.

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I’m excited to see how much of this I can accomplish in 2015.

Next week’s prompt is ACTION STEPS — the nitty gritty, actual steps to make these happen.

EXCITED!

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Goals and intentions for 2015

Image taken in Austin when I was there to meet with other writers. 2 more similar trips to Austin planned in 2015!

Image taken in Austin when I was there to meet with other writers. 2 more similar trips to Austin planned in 2015!

2014 was rough. So much so that I’m not even going to do a year-in-review kind of post. Let’s just say I gained a lot of weight, didn’t really make any money, barely got to spend any time with my husband and started over (again) in a new career. There were some cool things, yes, of course, but …. over all I’m ready to look forward.

Right now…

I have 5 jobs. FIVE. Lemon and Raspberry, fiction-writing and 3 part-time jobs working for other people. I’m really excited about starting the new year like this and even more excited about the possibilities for the future. I would much (much much much) rather it be this way than a full-time day job outside the house, with no real control over how I spend my day.

I am *this close* to finishing my first book in a series to be sent off to beta readers (I wanted to be done before Thanksgiving, but oh well). I cannot wait to be done, mostly because I cannot wait to see what happens next. I’ve made writing novels a much (much) bigger part of my day than this time last year.

I read more than 100 books in 2014 (112, to be exact) and …. I never thought I’d say this, but that might be too many. I *maybe* could have gotten more done in my life if I hadn’t read so much.

Looking forward ….

 As mentioned – fiction. Tentative release schedule will be book 1 (currently called Academy of Secrets) of my first series published end of Feb/beginning of March. Another book (stand-alone) published end of June, and then possibly books 2 and 3 of the series published in the last half of the year. Sign-up for my email list here for dates, cover releases and maybe even free books.

Also … editing fiction. I would love to do developmental editing on 1 novel every month or so. Not a ton. Not a full-time career, but enough to be useful to other indie authors and help them become better writers. I did a bunch last year, and have a few things lined up for this year. It’s kind of the best job in the world – reading novels.

Those 2 things combined (plus all the work I have done with the BUILD ecourse) mean it is a natural fit for me to jump headfirst into self-publishing. I am already a part of the community of self-published authors that listen to SPP, and I am working on becoming a bigger presence there.

Lemon and Raspberry was kind of … just treading water last year (part of my goal to NURTURE what I had instead of continuing to launch new things), but I have some plans for this year. I want to do more webinars, and offer more journaling and memory keeping resources. All tying in with my hopefully daily PRACTICE of writing more. I have a bunch of content that needs to be organized and added to the BUILD ecourse. I love this space.

This will be the year Andrew quits his day job. We are set on it. I don’t know when yet, but he is really doing incredible things in the music industry and his little niche and he is an honest-to-goodness record producer. He is so close to being able to be totally freelance.

No big trips planned, no big house projects (except landscaping the backyard which we are trading with one of Andrew’s recording clients for). 2015 will be a year to reset and get a firm foundation for the future.

What do you have planned this year?

P.S. I want to be Joanna Penn when I grow up

P.P.S. I wrote these long-term goals almost 2 years ago and I think I’m doing pretty well so far

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One Little Word 2015: PRACTICE

One Little Word | Ali EdwardsChoosing BRAVE as my One Little Word in 2013 changed my life.

Choosing NURTURE in 2014 ended up being exactly what I needed for a rough year.

I had chosen One Little Words before 2013, but it wasn’t until that year — the first time I signed up for Ali Edwards’s class — that I actually got anything out of it. I don’t even remember the words I chose in 2011 and 12. I am not even an affiliate, but I just love it so much. Sign up for 2015 here.

(I know if you have done the class once or twice, you might feel like you don’t need it. You *get* what kind of projects to fill your year with. But I need the accountability, so I am happy to give Ali money every January)

My word for 2015 actually came to me about … two or three years ago or so, and I knew I wasn’t ready for it. But I wrote it down (in this very same draft post) and thought about it. Around November of 2014, I revisited this word and description and knew it had claimed me.

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An online entrepreneur I follow — Chris Brogan — chooses 3 words every year. For 2012, he chose Practice as one of his words and described the meaning far better than I can:

Practice is the building block of all habits. But I just realized something. You might think I mean “practice” as if that’s separate from doing.

Practice is the path. Practice is what you do every time, not just before the “real” thing. Practice is the choice to adopt the lifestyle, the way, the path of what you intend to be.

Because the secret is that there are those who “do” and those who “are.” If you “train for a marathon,” you might complete a marathon. If you “become a runner,” you will run as many marathons as you’d like.

When you go beyond “do” and into “be,” that’s because you’ve chosen a practice and not a destination.

The practice is the reward. The practice is the reward. Practice means that I will remember to do DAILY what needs doing. I will look at all of my larger efforts in life as the results of the work I accomplish through practice. I can’t be a sharp sword if I stay in the scabbard all the time. My days will be geared around practice. I refuse to just “wing it” in any aspects of my life any longer. And when I say that, I don’t mean that I’ll not allow for serendipity or leisure, but instead, that I will be much more mindful of how I can accomplish what needs doing, and that I will work towards those goals and interests in a way that affords me more success.

 I love it. That is exactly what I need right now. That’s what I mean when I say I wasn’t ready January 1, 2012 when I first heard it (I was still at the day-job then), but I *totally* am now.

Now — 2015 — I feel like I have finally shaken off all the baggage and crud from having a full-time day job that made me miserable. I feel like I am ready to start again with a new foundation and build my work and income (and practice) from the bottom up. Taking 2014 ‘off’ from launching new L&R products is a big part of that and now I have a clean slate.

I’m ready to actually identify myself as a writer and publish finished novels. Move beyond ‘do’ into ‘be’ … I love how much this word means DO. Look at the synonyms in the image up there: execution, use, implementation. All focus on doing. Actually doing it, and not just planning to do it.

The word PRACTICE ties in with my 2 biggest goals for the year — write fiction every day (and publish it regularly) and get into shape.

I have everything I need to write (just gotta get my head in the right space), and I bought myself a Fitbit a couple weeks ago to track my steps and be the constant reminder that I have been sitting for too long.

Lucky me — Elise’s Make29 product for December was perfect for these goals! I logged on too late to get a letterpress one, but I bought the digital download and promptly printed myself off one (and then my printer ran out of ink).

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That’s where I’m going to start. 1000 words written (and I’ll print up another for 10,000 steps taken). Considering I don’t yet do either of these every day it’s enough to start with, but I’m hoping by the end of the year I will have a higher word count and other daily/weekly practices.

I also want to work on improving my chosen PRACTICE (read: career) and read at least one writing-craft book each month.

Results are the external proof of practice. If I can write at least 1000 words every day, that’s probably 2 books a year. If I can walk 10,000 steps each day, that will burn about 4x more calories than I am doing now. I want to get into the practice of taking care of my backyard (I forget to water vegetables) so we have a lovely place to hang out. I want to get into the practice of a better-structured promotional calendar for L&R, so new readers can easily find my old offerings.

There are lots of ways to take this, and I love the long stretch of 365 to feel my way through this word.

I’m ready to PRACTICE.

 What is your word for 2015?

P.S. One Little Word word choice and discussions from my friends Megan, Elise, and Ali. I hope you find your word!

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December book report

December was full of  … I dunno. A little bit of chaos. A lot of Harry Potter magic.

I have actually pushed back all my library requests from December, January and February so I can get through the books that I’ve bought and borrowedfrom friends that have been sitting around my house. The next few months of book reports *should* be full of books I own.

But in December I read …

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker: Technically this was the November selection for the NovelTea Book Club, but I didn’t start it until the very last week, so it became a December book. It reminded me a bit of The Rise of David Lavinsky by Abraham Cahan (an 19th-century book I read in grad school). Same Jewish, NYC, immigrant experience. Only Wecker’s book also included a wide vein of Middle Eastern mysticism (I guess you would call it). The characters were interesting, the plot was creative. I really liked it.

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: LOVE. I have been thinking about re-reading this series for several months, but I only ever want to do it in cold weather (snuggled under blankets). I read books 1-4 this month and am currently partway through book 5.

Le Fleur de Blanc by Lexi Maxxwell: Actually by my friends Sean and Johnny for their romance pen name. My first *real* marketed-as-such romance. Except, not really, because apparently they (rightly) decided to change it to the Women’s Fiction genre. It’s Chick-Lit basically. I liked it, and I would read sequels for sure. It’s about a midwestern girl who moves to a wealth L.A. suburb and starts a high-end flower shop. And has to deal with all kinds of challenges, of course, business and personal. It’s not released yet (February, I think).

Virtual Freedom by Chris Ducker: This was 100% not on my radar, but it was gifted to me by a friend who I now actually work for. It was a quick, easy read (partly because I blatantly skipped over sections that I knew I wouldn’t need yet like interview questions). I would definitely recommend this book to any of you that are starting to feel like your blog or online business is getting to take over your life. Ducker owns a headhunting-for-Philipino-V.As company, but even if you don’t outsource something overseas, this book will give you a good idea of the kinds of things you CAN hire someone else to do.

*This is the last book report to be posted here on L&R! In future months these will appear on my fiction-writing site ATSchubert.com. Come over and visit me there!*

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Welcome to the 2015 Blog Party!

Ta-da!! It’s today! The one day each year I publish a couple months’ worth of content in 24 hours!

This is now the FIFTH annual L&R New Years Day blog party! I’m so glad you’re here!

This post will live at the top all day so you can easily find the collection of links for all the posts …

Happy New Year!

ETA: The winners for all of the giveaways have been chosen and notified:

  • Anna Jacobs — Collection of Journaling Cards
  • Amy Melniczenko — Big Things Happen printable
  • Alissa Ulrich Williams — RESET digital kit
  • Amelia — One Year of Journaling subscriptions
  • Megan Woolston — Be Brave ecourse
  • Carla Carreon — BUILD ecourse
  • Claire — #30Lists bundle
  • Rachel T — Finishing Manifesto
  • Eeva Hall — Pocket Your Year class

(I really do love you all)

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Around here, in December

In the last month …

I’ve been working out of my office a lot more (it gets too hot a lot of the year). And when I’m in there, Fang insists on being with me. I have an old backpack, on top of a box, that she curls up on to nap. Cutie.

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We went to the theatre a couple weeks ago — Wicked tickets for my birthday! The actress who played Glinda was incredible. The actress who played Elphaba was good. Not great.

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We went to the movies twice this month. Which actually became twice this year. The Hobbit (pictured below). We went the same day it came out, but the theater was almost empty. Wednesday night, though, and a long movie, so I guess that’s it.

We also went and saw Into the Woods in the theatre on Christmas Eve, and it was SO good! We loved it!

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Andrew has his studio up and running FOR REAL. He’s had a session basically every single weekend since mid-November. I am so crazy proud of him!

If your band wants to make a record with him, let me know :)

golden Dec

#HPDec is still going strong. I began book 5 over the weekend. I love this series so much — of course there are flaws and all, but I don’t care. I just love enjoying them. I’ve pushed back all my library books until February or so to finish this series and a bunch of other books I own that have just been sitting in to be read piles around my house.

HP5

on my bookshelf

Family portrait

babies

Hung out with family on December 23 — my cousin (pictured here) was home from school in NYC and we all went to dinner and played games at home. They are awesome.

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Same family gave us this hand me down patio set. I think we are going to rehab it in white and gold. Andrew is obsessed with gold. A friend of ours also came over to look at our disaster of a backyard to help us with landscaping. I AM SO EXCITED! Maybe in a few months I’ll have a good ‘after’ photo for you.

patio

Chicken enchiladas (or, rather enchilada casserole) for Christmas. I should post a recipe soon. So good and much easier than rolling each enchilada individually. I made 2 pans for holiday get-togethers.

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Christmas afternoon at my in-laws

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Our nephew got a bounce house for Christmas! SO fun. What a cutie.

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And we invited our friend Travis over for Christmas dinner too. He’s from New Orleans, and this is only his second Christmas in L.A. so obviously he needed to come share enchiladas.

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The next time you’ll see me will be for our annual New Year’s Day blog party!!!!!

Hope you all are having a lovely final week of 2014.

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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

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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

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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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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!

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