New Year’s Resolutions – Writer’s Style

As we move into the new decade, we writers need to come to terms with what worked for over the last ten years versus what didn’t work for us so well. That means telling ourselves some hard truths about our habits and fears.

No More Half Written Novels

Stop calling your short stories, novelettes, novellas, whatever “half-written.” It’s rude. It hurts their feelings.

There is nothing wrong with writing short. If you’ve said all there is to say about Tom and Jacob’s tricycle gang that sold abandoned souls on the black market in 3500 words or less, then cool! Leave them to live their lives in those 3500 words.

Move on with your life. Stop using them as an excuse not to write that other story that you’ve been telling your friends you’ll “get to after your first book is done.”

MVP. Minimum viable products will get you through this.

The Book in Your Head Finally On Paper

You do not get a reward for thinking about writing a book just like no one gets brain surgery by me because I thought about becoming a brain surgeon.

Write it down. Type it. Speak it into a recorder or dictation device. Do something to free your characters from your mind.

You are their only hope of having their story told, so what, my darling, are you waiting for?

Read Less. Write More.

2017 was the last year I read 100 books in a year. Last year, I read 76 books. This year, I’ve read a little over 20.

In the last two years, I’ve written one novelette (and published it) and one soft sci-fi novel.

Additionally, I’ve begun teaching writing to fellow writers.

Reading is wonderful, but writing makes you a writer. Do both in as balanced a fashion as possible.

Write Daily, But Don’t Be A Jerk About It

Keeping that balance means writing daily, but be kind to yourself. I am not a fan of setting daily word count goals. I get credit every time I write anything toward my end goal. If I am not working on a book, then journaling and blogging count.

Penning poems and short pieces of fiction without planning are all forms of writing and count toward your daily writing goal because they use your creative writing muscles.

Emails and newsletters shouldn’t count toward that goal, because those items are admin related.

Set these resolutions for yourself. Keep them for at least three months to see if they work for you. If they do, let me know when you’ve posted or published something. I’m rooting for you.

Writing in Public: Observations

The music is absurdly loud. The handful of people who do not have headphones are talking loudly so as to be heard over the music which means that we with our headphones in have to have the volume on our devices almost maxed out to avoid the inappropriate discussions being hand by the young women that are currently positioned to my right.

A man with the newest iPhone is scrolling through his phone, pausing and then holding up a magnifying glass to his screen. I want to show him the zoom feature, but something tells me that he already knows how to do that trick and prefers the magnifying glass.

A Word on Gratitude

I wrote a gratitude post on Pilgrim Fowl Press earlier today which I will link here:

I wanted to also post something here about my overwhelming feeling of gratitude.

This year has been challenging for me. My life changed a great deal, and I am not ashamed to say that for the most part, I have had a hard time emotionally.

Keeping busy is what keeps me sane and going, so I started a lot of things. I dove into project after project, and I slowly started finding myself again.

On November 3rd of this year, I published my first book for adults and launched my small press.

I did not treat this like a big deal even though it was. It is.

I have only ever wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write books, and have full creative control over the process and business.

And, here I am. 37-years old. Author of four children’s books. Writing educator. Fitness professional. Day-job holder. Women’s health activist. And, now, I am writer and owner of a small press.


This leads to the gratitude part. The moment I semi-quietly published my book, I didn’t think anything would happen. But, something did happen. People bought my book. You bought my book. You may not have read it, but you wanted to support me, so you bought my book.

People I had never met wrote to me asking me for more books. People subscribed my newsletter. It was crazy.

Writing students like you reached out and tell me that thanks to my classes, they’ve finally written the children’s book they had always wanted to write.

I could keep going, but I won’t. You’re great. You all make me great. I hope I help make you great.

Great. Great. Great.

End of Ramble.

I love you.

Tony Made Me Cry

Well, the adventure is over. FullTimeTony and The Planet Playground adventure is over.

What is this Planet Playground you speak of, Barbara?

Well, I’m so glad you asked, Tim! FullTimeTony and The Planet Playground is an epic tale of adventure, aliens, and parenthood that you must read immediately. NOW. DO IT NOW. Click this.

But, Barbara…Why are you crying?

Well, Tim, two reasons:

1) It’s over. I know there is more coming, but still… Weepy face.

2) Tony wrote a very nice Thank You post that made me have all the feels.

Cool, cool…Why you are…writing like this?

Well, I just woke up. I have had but one sip of coffee, and am not yet fully in my body imaginary Tim that I now realize is a paper mache dinosaur that lives on my dining room table.

Real Talk – My friend Tony did a brave thing. He had an idea, he executed that idea, and he did the unimaginable: He shared it with the world. But didn’t just do a brave thing, he did a great job. It’s funny, heartwarming, and entertaining through and through.

And, and, and! He says there will be mooooooore! I’m so excited!

You can start reading this novella using this link:

As you can tell from the URL, this links you right to the beginning. Happy Reading.

Tony, we (me & Tim the Dinosaur) love you!

Personal Update

Hello, there, social media.

I have not been posting on social media as often as usual. No, I am not going on a social media cleanse. I just haven’t had the time or desire which is saying something seeing as I typically only use one social media platform: Instagram.

I woke up earlier than usual this morning, so after walking River and meditating, I posted three photos in a row. It might be a comeback.

Women have to go to the doctor way more than men.

I had a medical procedure recently. It was purely routine and for testing. No big deal, but I am a bit more sensitive to things like that. So, I have been out of commission for the most part. No running or yoga.

I tried lifting some weights on Saturday like a fool! I spent the rest of my Saturday and Sunday not doing much of anything. I was able to get some mini workouts in yesterday with my coworkers. I have every intention of at least trying to run a mile today.

I can finish anything in 30-minute increments.

I finished the edits of my novelette in 30-minute sessions. Sometimes, I could get two in before work, but mostly, I did a single session after my morning routine was taken care of.

A note here: When I talk about a morning routine, I mean chores. Legit chores. Feed and walk my precious River monster, make coffee, help step-person wake and get ready for school, make lunch for step-person, make lunch for me, make sure partner is awake and rolling out of here, etc. I am not talking about a morning mask, lighting candles and doing gentle stretching surrounded by crystals in my perfectly clean home. Somedays, I wish I were, but, alas, I am N O T!

I would pour a cup of coffee, open Scrivener, set a timer, and go!

I bring this up because that is how I am working on all of my projects until I can get back to working for myself full-time.

I had to redo all of the previously made content for my new class.

Since the launch of the novelette, I have been working on a course that I have been promising my writing students all year – How to Write a Personal Essay.

I had made some excellent progress. I had recorded seven or eight class segments of the course when I realized I was teaching a blogging class…not an essay class.

Not all blogs are personal essay style, and not all personal essays are for blogs. So, I scrapped it. Yep. Scrapped it.

I have since adjusted my presentation materials and have rerecorded everything. I am a few videos away from finishing. The course should be out very soon.

I have a lot more writing to do.

I have plans to release a soft sci-fi in July 2020. The first draft is complete, but I am not very happy with it. I need to work on it some more before I start digging into the editing process.

I have three more holiday novelette in store for my pen name.

Also in 2020, I will be doing a short story challenge that I will talk more about as soon as I iron out the details.

end of post

Memorial for the Best Couple on TV

Here’s the thing: If you haven’t watched every season of The Magicians, skip this. You’ve been warned.

I went to the comic book store yesterday (which is the best use of a Saturday), and my partner picked up issue one of The Magicians comic. Love.

When I went to check out with a variety of Dog Man books for the step-person and the single Magicians comic for we grown-folk, the lovely, comic book genius behind the counter had picked up a hardcover edition of The Magicians: Alice’s Story for me to peruse.

Let me say right here and right now that the staff at my local comic book is the most knowledgeable and kind of all the stores in the world. Period. Also, this was the most subtle sales pitch ever. They saw I had a Magicians comic, and genuinely thought, “Hey, they might not know about. I’ll tell them about it.”

Back to the story:

Our conversation went something like this –

Magical, comic book store unicorn (MCU): Do you watch the show?

Me: Yeah. Well, I did.

MCU: It’s coming back on soon.

Me: Yeah, I don’t know if I can watch it now that Quentin’s gone. He and Eliot were supposed to end up together! That was the whole reason I was watching.

MCU: But, they had that whole day together where they lived an entire life…

Me: I know! Proof of concept! ::sigh:: I just can’t watch Eliot be sad…

MCU: I get that.

Me: Are you going to watch it?

MCU: Yeah.

Me: That’s good. You watch it, and I’ll come in for updates.

MCU: Okay, I can do that.

Then, they gave the rundown on The Magicians: Alice’s Story. While Alice is my least favorite character on the show (the actress is great. I think the character type just annoys me which means the actress is doing her job.), I liked her in the books a lot.

So, yes. Of course, I bought the book! Yes, of course, I’m reading! What am I? A monster?

Morals of the story: 1) #QuentinandEliotForever and 2) My comic book store is the best comic book store

A Gathering of Writers

In case you are a fellow writer that has taken a class on Skillshare or Udemy and missed the emails:

Hello, Writing Friends!  This is a friendly reminder to sign up for the LIVE Q&A on Sunday!  The Q&A will be held at 2p Central Standard Time and will work a lot like an Instagram Live and Reddit had a baby.

You will be able to see me and I will be able to answer your questions in real-time.  Also, you will have the opportunity to vote up questions that have been submitted by your fellow writers!

Click the Link to Join –

I do hope to see you all there!