why (and how) I am building a writing habit ...still

I have been a writer since before I can remember. I started blogging more than half my life ago and journaling by hand years before that. I can’t help but write. Even when words don’t make sense I try to make sense of words by putting them to paper. Even through the ugliest parts of my life I write to try to find beauty. Even when I think no one is reading I put my words out in public. It is my habit.

Still, my writing habit isn’t near as strong as I would like.

This habit is one that needs cultivating. Sure I have a natural bent toward it, but I also have a natural inclination toward abandoning it completely when my words feel imperfect or pointless. I write when I feel like it. Fortunately I feel like it a lot of the time, but I go through phases when I don’t feel like it at all and when I fall into one of those phases it’s hard to pull myself out again.

I spent much of 2017 not feeling like writing, but because I kept writing anyway I published a book and started writing for clients.

I might not have felt like writing, but I showed up to write anyway and ultimately it felt good. Maybe it didn’t feel good to force myself to put words on the page, especially certain awful rough drafts, but it felt good to have written: weekly blog posts for not only my own blog but also a client’s, a package of case studies for another client, much of the course I will be launching later this year… and many more private words that I haven’t shared.

In December I used prompts provided by Kara at bohoberry to rekindle my habit of personal journaling. Having a predetermined topic each day reminded me how helpful it is to know what I will be writing about before I pick up my pen or begin typing. Instead of continuing to use personal journaling prompts in January, I decided to go through Sean McCabe’s 30 Days to Better Writing course a second time. I had taken the course once before when it first came out so I knew it would be a helpful exercise to participate a second time. This time I’m not so much focused on learning anything new, but rather rekindling my professional writing habit like I rekindled my personal journaling habit in December.

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More than halfway through January I haven’t actually written every day. My little one’s imminent birth is distracting to say the least, and makes it quite difficult to focus on my business, but I’m choosing not to let a skipped yesterday be an excuse not to write today.

Some days it’s hard to put a single word on the page, but occasionally I write thousands of words because as my hands and conscious mind are nesting and preparing the nursery, my subconscious is working on my business. The fact that I have been working on strengthening my writing habit makes it easy to record those thoughts when they finally came together.

I’m focusing my daily writing efforts on producing content surrounding case studies which I will publish weekly beginning in February. Make sure you subscribe to the newsletter below if you’re interested in reading that content, as it will be separate from this blog!

so I'm creating a course

If you have done client work for any amount of time you have heard how important case studies are to your continued success. Yet with how often we talk about their importance, hardly anyone is talking about how to write them!

Where to begin?
Is it really worth my time?
What makes for a good case study?

Last month I attended the seanwes conference in Austin, TX and heard more than a couple people asking these sorts of questions. I know the answers because years ago when I was a professional seamstress I used case studies to further my business. I also knew how hard those answers are to find because I had searched and ended up developing my own method through trial and error.

A few months ago I used my knowledge to write a series of case studies for a client. At the seanwes conference I realized that there are a whole lot more people like her that I can help by sharing my expertise in this area.

So I started to plan for a course.

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I began the brainstorm process immediately. I even met with a student before either of us left Austin after the conference! Still, organizing my thoughts was daunting.

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Thankfully, while at the conference I met Gabrielle Chipeur of Course Design School. Her materials have proven to be incredibly helpful as I begin this process of course creation. First I took on her 5-day Course Design Challenge, then I participated in a webinar. Now I have a complete outline and a clear direction for my course materials!

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The next step is to finish writing this course. Then I will be testing it with a hand-picked group of people. (Enter your email below if you'd like to apply to be a beta tester!) Finally, sometime later in 2018, I will open up registration and be able to share this information with the public!

finishing what I began {Consumption, a novel}

Last year I joined the throngs of people who set out to write 50,000 words (a short novel) over the course of the month of November. The rules of NaNoWriMo are simple: begin writing a new novel on November 1 and write 50,000 words before December 1.

This year I'm a NaNoRebel. I'm not writing a novel, and I'm not starting anything new. I'm not keeping track of my wordcount either. But I am working on a novel — the novel I wrote last year.

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If you haven't already read the beginning of my novel, Consumption, you can do so here.

I had intended to release the whole thing as a serial here on my website, but certain monumental life changes got in the way. Plus, to be honest, I didn't like how the second half was turning out. Something was missing.

So I let it simmer all summer.

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I know what the second half was missing now, and I'm using the month of November to finish what I started.

Still, it's been hard to return to this project. I have a tendency to mull over all the ways I don't love it instead of focusing on what I do love — those things that made me begin writing in the first place. I'm choosing to remember now. I'm choosing to use the coming month to mold this manuscript into a masterpiece. ...Or at the very least make it into something worth reading ;)

Don't expect to be able to buy the book in December; there's a lot that goes into making a book beyond simply writing it. I'm not promising a particular release date yet, but know that I want to get this book in your hands as soon as possible.

You can help me to do just that.

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Two ways you can help make this book a reality:

First, if you've begun reading Consumption, help me remember why this story is worth telling. Use this contact form to share why you want to read more.

Second, if you want this book to have a professional cover and perhaps even interior illustrations, buy my other books. The profits from the {classic wrap skirt} sewing book and the collection of poetry, my heart poured out will help fund the art for this novel.