What I did when my life and writing got out of control…

I know I’ve mentioned that when I started writing, I lived in Siberia. I had four kids, I was teaching ESL, going to the market every day and carrying home our food in a backpack, washing cloth diapers by hand (yes) and trying to learn another language. My plate was pretty full.

But I had this dream, see, the one that kept me sane late at night when Hubs was away, when the kids were in bed. I wanted to be a novelist. I didn’t know how it would happen, I just followed the nudge. Followed what brought me joy. Followed my talents and skills and passions to see where they would lead.

Nearly twenty years later, I’m a full-time novelist, written over 60 books, and run an academy for novelists. And I’m a wife, mom, grandma and I try to be a participating, good servant in my world. But it can be overwhelming, I admit it. (She says after feeding people for a week of Christmas festivities.)

For years, I struggled to find the right planner—one built for the creative mind, the spiritual person, an entrepreneur and writer and a busy get-it-all-done woman. I usually ended up with four planners—a journal for my inner life, a wall calendar for the family activities, a business planner for my marketing and speaking events and a writing journal where I could capture my brainstorming. I had to lug them all around in a big bag.

This year, I thought…I’ll simplify. (And, I’ll go to the chiropractor less!) I wanted a place for meditation and prayer, a place for my goals, a place for my daily logs, and a place to keep all my habits and daily tasks.

After all, this is the story of my life.

Working with a talented artist who understood the needs of a creator, I sat down and created a planner for a creative, busy writer. I synthesized the organization of a seasoned CEO, the motivation, and self-analysis of a life and business coach, the daily habits of a wife and mother, and the brainstorming techniques of a career novelist. Organizing them into logical (and pretty!) logs, I put together what I consider the perfect planner for a career novelist/authorpreneur/creative. Someone who wants their whole life in one, well, big book. One fabulous place to keep track of everything.

And, the really cool part is that this feels like a book, with the interior and cover set up like a novel. Because it’s the story of your life.

I’m so excited to introduce The My Book Therapy Dream Keeper & Planner 2018. Classy, Pretty, Motivational—the place to create your vision, stay motivated, ignite your writing, improve productivity, live with joy and get it all done.

  • Jumpstart your Year with analysis and planning to discover the most lucrative and joy-driven projects, a place for reflecting, dreaming big and following your passions.
  • Plan for Success with the Brainstorming and Project Boards to hone your ideas and create actionable projects. Quarterly and 90-day task sheets help you break them into energizing and goal-crushing tasks.
  • Make it Happen with the Month-at-a-Glance and weekly planners. You’ll see your projects take form.
  • Put Action to your Task List with the Daily Logs, a week-at-a-glance planner that incorporates not only your big projects but daily habits, menus and exercise/life activities.
  • Stay Motivated with the daily inspiration section and motivational quotes in the back.
  • Analyze and plan for the next amazing month with the month-end analysis.
  • Finish your year with a review and a plan for the next.

You’ll be amazed at the brilliant year you had.

And, don’t forget the BONUS STORYCRAFTING Section in the back. Brainstorming and plotting sheets for three books, including an indie-book project sheet to track your deadlines and finances!

This is more than a planner, it’s a keeper of your dreams. Because your story—the one you live and the one you create—matters.

8.5×11, matte cover, paperback. 490 pages (yes, it’s big, but so is your life.)

Some snapshots!

I’m not sure where you are in your journey, but if you’re a creative, a business person and a person who wants to incorporate their spiritual journey with the rest of their life, then this planner will help you keep it all in one amazing place. Get your copy today (and then attend my FREE webinar next Thursday on how to follow your joy and create your brilliant 2018 plan!)

Most importantly, it’ll help me keep all those deadlines for the brilliant (hopefully!) books I plan to write in 2018!

Your Story Matters!

Make it brilliant in 2018!

P.S.  If you’d like a PDF copy that is downloadable and printable, find it here!

 

Five Things I Wish I’d Known About Publishing

by Connilyn Cossette, @ConniCossette 

It’s been nearly six years since I began Googling things like “How to get published” and “How to get an agent” and pretty much freaking out over the sheer volume of information those searches provided. You too may be overwhelmed by all the (sometimes conflicting) advice out there and the myriad unknowns involved on the bumpy road known as publishing. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the past few years that may encourage you to keep moving forward!

  1. Rejection gets way easier over time

I learned that with every negative contest judge comment came ten positive ones, and with every scathing 1-star review came twenty glowing 5-star ones. Yes, there will those that do not like your work and those that feel it necessary to post unkind opinions, but those readers are not your target audience. Your skin will toughen and the right editor/agent/reader will connect with your work when the time is right. Take heart, remember every single author gets bad reviews, and press on.

  1. Everything is slooooooooowwwww 

In my Pollyanna outlook, I thought as soon as I received manuscript requests it would be just a few weeks before I received a response. Instead, it took months before I heard anything, months before I was signed with my agent, months before I received a contract, and then another year and a half before my first book was published. And honestly, my experience was inordinately swift. If you are heading the traditional route you must be prepared to wait! Use that time to hone your craft, dig into another story or two, and do not be discouraged. With timing and perseverance, great things can happen!

  1. Successful authors are super cool and encouraging

I went to my first conference completely in awe of “real” authors, knees knocking if I even happened to stand next to one of these “rare unicorns.” I had put successful authors on a pedestal instead of realizing that they were just like me—people who adore words, likely sitting around in their pajamas paralyzed by fears and doubts when faced with the blank page. Don’t be afraid to reach out to an author, ask for advice, or just let them know you enjoyed their work, it’ll bless both of you!

  1. Social media doesn’t have to be stressful

Social media does not have to take over your life. Pick a platform or two that you enjoy, don’t mess with the ones you don’t, and just have fun connecting with people instead of focusing on sales. Instead, spend your valuable time writing the very best book you can.

  1. It’s hard but so worth it

Sometimes this business is tough, sometimes it’s discouraging, sometimes you’ll feel like knocking your head against a wall—but if you’ve been called to it and you love writing for the sake of writing then it’s so worth the ups and downs. I can’t imagine my life any other way now. Enjoy the journey, with all its twists and turns!

Tweetables: 
Tweet: Five Things I Wish I’d Known About #Publishing by @ConniCossette via @NovelAcademy https://ctt.ec/ub39k+ #writing

Tweet: “It’s hard but so worth it.” 5 Things I wish I’d Known About #Publishing by @ConniCossette via @NovelAcademy #writing https://ctt.ec/B6zf9+

~*~

Connilyn Cossette is the CBA best-selling author of the Out from Egypt Series with Bethany House Publishing. Her debut novel, Counted with the Stars, was a finalist for both an INSPY Award and a Christian Retailing’s Best Award. There’s not much she likes better than digging into the rich ancient world of the Bible, uncovering buried gems of grace that point toward Jesus, and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Although a Pacific Northwest native, she now lives in a little town near Dallas, Texas with her husband of twenty years and two awesome kids, who fill her days with laughter, joy, and inspiration. Connect with her at www.connilyncossette.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Three powerful Show-Don’t Tell-themes to put in your life-changing novel this season

show and tell Christmas themes

Anyone catch the snowball fight in Buffalo yesterday?

While I watched the Vikes struggle it out against the Panthers, the Bills and Colts had an epic pigskin fight in the snow:

Hubs said, “We could use some of that snow. It doesn’t even look like Christmas around here.”

Of course, we have a smidgen of snow, but admittedly, we are used to drifts and snow castles this time of year.

(this is NOT this year…this is from years past…)

So sure, you might tell us it’s Christmas time, but we’d like a little SHOW, er SNOW please.

Show me, don’t tell me!

The fact is, although the heart can be told something, sometimes it needs to see it to believe it.

I finished writing a novel last week—the epic finale to my Montana Rescue series. I was a little worried about it because I didn’t have my typical “truth teller” in the story, a wise old guy who drops in nuggets of wisdom. I had to rely on the transformation of my characters to reveal the truths of the story. But it occurred to me as I wrote that sometimes that’s the best kind of storythe kind that makes the reader take a second look, that makes them dig deep into the truths and appropriate them through the experience of the characters.

Like, oh, say, the Greatest Story Ever Told…the Christmas Story.

The ultimate Show-Don’t Tell, I Love You, and I’ll Prove It message from God. Jesus is the action and the words, the show, as well as the tell from God.

Our pastor said something this Sunday that is ringing with me: “Truth from heaven should affect our daily life.” It made me think about my life. Do I SHOW the experiences of truth in my life? Or do I just talk about it? And how does it affect my writing life?

If you want a powerful story, here are three themes we can take from the Ultimate Story to weave into our own.

  1. JUSTICE. The world is not fair. It’s a horrible lesson we learn as children. And it gets worse as we get older—we see the injustice in the world and it calls to us to fix it. But it never seems like we can do enough. Thankfully, this will end. God will enact justice upon our evil world. (Revelation 19:11-16). This is not the end. But what does that have to do with story? As inspirational writers, we need to remind the world of hope—that justice will prevail. Give your reader a sense of justice in your story, that taste of things to come.
  2. SACRIFICE. Thankfully, GOD is also not fair. Because if he were, we’d surely be doomed. This is what Christmas is about—God saving us when we didn’t deserve it. But it came at great sacrifice. There can be no redemption, no salvation without death. Even in your stories—your character must “die” to himself, to his will, to his pride in order to be transformed. Make your character sacrifice something of himself to show this death.
  3. REDEMPTION. BUT THERE IS HOPE. And that is the point of a great story. Do not leave your readers, or your characters despairing. Because we do not live in a tragedy when we have Christ. (Romans 10:13 – for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!”). We show hope through the redemption of our characters. They should be different at the end than they were in the beginning. Think differently, act differently. Have a different life. Show us living in their happy ending. (we often say, have them DO something at the end they couldn’t at the beginning!)

As writers who want to make an impact on our world, we need to remember: We are the testimony. We are the purveyors of light. We are the vessels that reveal truth. Our stories should overflow with hope.

This season, give your readers a taste of what awaits us. (Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.)

Your story matters. Write something brilliant!

Susie May

P.S. One of our epic morning chats during the Deep Thinker’s Retreat 2017 will be about how to put reader-engaging themes into your story! If you want to write stories that impact the world, we’d love to help you. (in February, in Florida!) Join us for the 2018 Deep Thinker’s Retreat Feb 23-27.