#WriteTip: Getting Into the Habit


Habit. It kind of sounds like a bad word…probably because for most of our lives we’re told we need to “break that bad habit”. Be that habit smoking or drinking too much soda or indulging in a candy bar once too often.

One thing I’ve learned over time: it’s much easier to learn a bad habit than it is a good one. I think because the bad habits can be so fun – I mean, who doesn’t want to spend a day in the pool rather than at the office? Who doesn’t want another slice of Chocolate Decadance or one more drink of that mojito? We’re human. We like the things that, in many cases, aren’t great for us.

According to Mr. Webster, an habit is “a behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary”. In other words, a habit is a learned behavior, and it doesn’t have to be a bad learned behavior.

I think the key to creating any habit is to begin by looking at it as a positive rather than a negative. Instead of “I can never eat chocolate again” look at it as “I’m going to enjoy one slice of the best chocolate cake ever and I’m going to enjoy every second of it”. Instead of “I can never laze in the pool on a hot summer day!” think “I’m going to meet __(goal)__ before I laze in the pool this afternoon”.

Y’all know I love my planner – it’s so much easier to have a list of to-dos and deadlines and expectations and family events all in one place that I can keep track of. But, another thing I do is track my habits – the good and the bad. Up above you’ll see the habit tracker I created for 2018 (feel free to download my Habit Tracker and other printables for writers here). I don’t fill it out every month, but I do find it helpful to use it every couple of months, just to make sure I’m doing the things I need to be doing – like exercise, like drinking enough water, like making my bed time. I’m happier, in general, when those things are going well, and I’m more likely to follow through on work goals when I’m also meeting my personal/health goals.

Here’s a copy of the tracker so far for August. Making those checkmarks is very satisfying…and as you can see, I’m not perfect. I haven’t been tracking my meals like I should (which is probably why, even though I’m hitting my bed time goal, I’m still feeling a little tired and “off”). But, now I can see where I’m not being the best me I can be (as bebe’s teacher liked to say in 4th grade), and I know how I can make a small change to start feeling better, in general.

Have you tried tracking your habits? Did it work for you? Share in the comments!

Author Services from @AuthorKristina Knight

..and I’ve done a thing. One of my favorite parts about the writing business (other than the writing, naturally) is the other creative stuff we get to do: coming up with promotional graphics for book releases, setting up files for e-versions of books, and even the occasional cover. The graphic to the left here is one I did for an anthology from a group (including me) of Harlequin Superromance authors last fall.

Graphic design has been something I’ve enjoyed doing since college and my journalism school days – I think I was one of the only people in my class who had as much fun laying out the paper or designing promo graphics for the nightly news shows as I did the actual writing/reporting. I’m also updating my printables for writers all the time – a handful of planner printable are up now (and they’re FREE!) and more will go up periodically. Right now, the planner/manuscript/project printable are free; they are something I really have fun making for myself, and I see how much simpler it is to stay on-task when I use them, so I wanted to share them with you. 

After a lot of thought, I decided to hang out my shingle for other authors or, heck, businesses in general, to create social media graphics and headers. You can click over to my Author Services page for in-depth details, and if you think I could help you design some graphics, feel free to drop me an email and we’ll chat! I also format ebooks for publication using a really fun (and beautiful!) software program. 

And an update to the blog schedule: I’ll be here every Friday with a new post – some silliness, some book reviews, some author interviews/writing tips, and we’ll of course talk organization and goals…so be sure to stop by often! 

 

#AmReading: Still Writing

During my yearly reading challenge last year, I rediscovered my love of the memoir. I’ve been a fan of autobiographies for a long time, but I’d gotten away from memoirs because they seemed too preachy or too vague or too…something. But, I’d set a reading goal for the year and I was in a bit of a rut and so I decided to step outside my reading comfort zone to pick up a book I’d heard writers buzzing about for a few months. 

I’m so glad I picked up this book! Part memoir, part writing guide, part advice, Shapiro’s book helped me get a better handle on where I was both professionally and personally. 2017 was a big year of change for our family – the line I wrote for at Harlequin closed, my husband changed jobs, a magazine I’d written for for several years cut way back on freelancers…there was a lot of upheaval and had left me wondering what the heck I was doing with my life. When I picked up Still Writing I wasn’t sure what to expect. I ended up laughing a little and crying a little and being really inspired to take control of the things I can control: the writing. Publishers will come and go, and so will editors and publicists and cover artists. What I can control is the writing. I can sit my butt in the chair every day and write the words. And the next day, I can write again. By controlling the writing, or at least putting myself in the chair to write, I’m doing my part in this crazy roller coaster ride of publishing.

If you’re looking for an inspirational read – whether your in a creative field or not – I think you’ll find something to enjoy about Still Writing…What are you reading right now? Feel free to share in the comments!

#NewRelease: Perfect on Paper

Perfect on Paper

Hey, readers! I have a new release out this week and I can’t wait to share it with you! Here’s a fun excerpt to get you started !

“I’m sorry I gave you such a hard time about finding the right guy. The partners will be so caught up in their own dates, no one will notice me.”

Nick had his doubts about that. From the way Howard put himself between Nick and Daisy’s door, he had a feeling her boss would keep a close eye on them. But Daisy didn’t need that kind of worry.

“Did you really send Joe back because he drove a Smart Car?”

“I don’t have a death wish, Nick,” she said wryly. “Other than the trip to the airport, when is the last time you drove on the San Diego freeway?”

“Point taken. And Andrew?”

“I need complete silence when I sleep, and his voice was very nasally. I thought he had a bad cold and offered him some orange juice, but he insisted he was fine. That leaves adenoidal issues.”

Nick chuckled. He’d never paid attention to Sam’s voice, but now that he thought about it, he did sound a bit stuffed up most of the time. Maybe he should set up a specialist appointment. “Mitch?”

“Mitch of the Callused Hands?” She raised her eyebrows. “I just had a manicure.”

“Right.” He bit back a smile when Daisy held up her perfectly manicured, blue-painted fingernails.

“And if you weren’t desperate, what would my crime against dating have been?”

Her brown gaze shuttered, but not before a little flash of something crossed her pretty eyes. A flash that made his stomach muscles clench.

“Nothing,” she said finally. “You’re perfect. On paper.”
About Perfect on Paper:
Nicholas Vega started ManServants as a way to make extra cash in college; five years later, his business is bigger than he ever imagined. And it’s in trouble. An angry ex-client wants to sue because one of his employees didn’t sleep with her. To keep things going, Nick takes on a client of his own – his best friend Daisy MacIntosh.

Daisy needs a boyfriend in a bad way. Her current boss – and ex-lover – has planned a retreat and makes no bones about wanting her back in his bed, at least for the weekend. Daisy wants a barrier between them, and an on-paper boyfriend seems like the best idea.
The problem? Once they’re playing at being in love, their fictional relationship might blow their real life friendship out of the water.

Buy Perfect on Paper: Amazon  B&N iBooks KOBO