A few years back when I was working for Indigo Books, I purchased this great notebook. I'd bought multiple notebooks back then. In fact, it was a bit of a joke that I never once brought home my entire paycheck. Part of it always went back into purchases at the store. This notebook, though, was special. It was leather bound. Full of amazing motivational phrases. Not on sale. And not cheap, either.
I brought it home -- and it sat. And sat. I liked it so much, I didn't want to write anything in it until I had something "important" to write. This, I thought, could be the journal my kids read someday after I'm dead. They'll look at the cover and just know something important must be inside.
How long can a notebook sit empty, staring up at you, pointing out that you have nothing 'important' to write down for your kids to read posthumously?! Apparently, I've already passed on all the smart stuff I know, or I don't know much. lol
At some point, I couldn't take it anymore. I mean, it was ridiculous. I valued this empty notebook so much that I refused to use it. There is a metaphor there, I'm pretty sure. (See that could go into the book!)
So, I cracked it open, and wrote a character list.
Okay, if I'm being totally honest, I first wrote some sort of journal entry. A list of stuff happening that day, apparently. So -- and this is unfortunate -- the first word I wrote in my amazing notebook was... Trump. My bad.
Trump has Corona Virus.
Sheena is cuddling on my lap.
The weather is amazing...
My conclusion that day was, "The profound realization: life is in the little moments."
Then I wrote a character list.
That was October, 2020. Seven months ago.
(PS, gallery peops -- parts of this original list have changed, fyi)
Last night I spent a bunch of hours mapping out the new series I am working on (Peachland Passions). Today is a gorgeous day, and I was VERY tempted to ditch the computer, hit the road, go play in the sun in Peachland -- and call it research. Instead, I decided to be a grown up and work this morning, mow the lawn in the sun this afternoon, and if I still feel like it, make that drive after the work is done. Responsible isn't always a bad thing. Especially when you love your job, the way I currently do.
Book One of the Peachland Passions series -- Walking Walrus Café -- comes out in July, and although all the books in this series stand alone, Walking Walrus also introduces a cast of characters. I wanted to have a general idea of where each of them is at in life when each book takes place. For one thing, I've just started writing book three in the series, and I kind of needed to know who was doing what where when.
The problem was, I discovered last night as I started flipping through pages to map out a sequence of series events, I have so much going on in this notebook at this point that I kept losing my place in the pages. Where were Sunflowers and Sweet Peas pages located again? flipflipflip. I was wasting time. So, this morning, I found my sticky tabs and marked all the books being worked in this notebook. Guess what I discovered?
Since October 2020, I have worked on SIX novels. That's in seven months, baby! And that is worth celebrating.
Shutter's Eye was written in November last year for NaNoWriMo, but it was edited this year and just launched in April.
Whiskey And Mistletoe was edited last month. It comes out December 3rd -- the last in my Near and Far Magazine Christmas romances and the last of my birthday launches.
High Art (formerly Art Heist) was fully drafted as of last month -- and it was birthed kicking and screaming, lemme just say! That puppy took its sweet time.
Walking Walrus Cafe was written -- I forget, to be honest. It was awhile back. But it was just edited, formatted, and submitted for distribution. it launches on Canada Day!! So excited!
Sunflowers & Sweet Peas is book two in the Peachland Passions series and launches next year. Technically, I didn't need to edit it quite yet, but I wanted a refresher on where the series is at, so I did. Edits finished two nights ago!
Which leaves Smoking Hot Summer -- book three in the Peachland Passions series, and the one I now have outlined. Tonight I write Chapter One, where Louisa learns to swim and Nina drools over Colton but hates herself for it just a little bit.
All in all, it turns out I put good stuff into this notebook, after all. And in truth, I've left something for my children to learn about me without even realizing. This, right here, is my process. It's messy and involves multi-tasking and a lot of imperfection and many detours and some scribbling then crossing out the scribbles and scribbling something else. But it's mine, and I love it -- and it's working for me.
So, I have to advocate for taking your very best notebook -- and writing your most everyday stuff.
Be Bold. Take Risks. Live Life Freely. Lead By Example. Trust Your Gut. Say What You Feel. Mean What You Say. Express Gratitude. Believe in Your Power. Exceed Your Expectations. Dance the Night Away. Skip Down the Street. Don't Take No for an Answer. Be Your Best Self. Don't Look Back.