When the pain starts

I had big plans for January. I’d been riding the high from my first fast drafting success in November, and all the submission craze of first weeks of January. My momentum was huge, my goals… Godzilla-sized, and I could see success looming before me. Between wrapping editing on two projects, attacking cardio workouts with my new elliptical, and going ‘no added sugar’ for the month, January 2017 planned to be EPIC.

Then it hit. What is it? Pain.

Pain came in the form of mental, followed by physical. As I sit here typing this I’m dealing with a strained muscle running from the back of my neck into my left shoulder. It’s getting better, slowly.

The pain started with rejection. Agents, publishers… the sadness. I would forge on and hold my head high. The right one is coming along, this story will find a home. The mantras were clear and on constant repeat. Then came the beta reads on a manuscript I’m working on. This didn’t hurt as bad, and my fellow writers are helping me grow, teaching me how to get better. But, I’m a perfectionist… I like to get things right the first time and even though I know that’s not how this writing process works, still stinks when I don’t get close to that finish line.

Then came the beta reads on a manuscript I’m working on. The comments and feedback didn’t hurt as bad. My fellow writers were/are helping me grow, teaching me how to get better. But, I’m a perfectionist… I like to get things right the first time and, even though I know that’s not how this writing process works, it still stinks when I don’t get close to that finish line in the first rounds.

The ‘no added sugar/no fast food’ was a bit harder. I managed and started planning meals. Then I got busy with the cardio sessions, determined to get on the elliptical every day. Until last week, it started with back and shoulder pain. Then Sunday I woke up and could barely move my neck.

Now, how far the mighty have fallen. I’m humbled. Reminded how a tiny injury can set back even the greatest warrior. It’s a slow road to recovery, which includes ice packs, visits to the chiropractor, stretching, and rest. I’m trying to get my mind wrapped around the edits I’ll need to make to my story and I hope to be back to somewhat normal functions by next week.

The moral is- life will always knock you down, the important part is how you bounce back.


About Landra Graf

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

2017 Goals by Julie Jarnagin

The Passionate Critters have been in planning mode this week. Everyone has been sharing their goals and dreaming about the year to come. It has been fun to see the similarities and differences in how we’re planning for 2017, but we all have the same hope – to have a healthier, happier, more productive new year.

Here’s a few tips I’ve collected from seeing the goals of our group:

  1. Decide how to break it down: Some people have set monthly or quarterly goals. Especially as writers, it’s hard to plan for November and December now. So many of us have set early goals that we’ll look at again later in the year.
  2. Balance: Most of the goals have a balance of personal and professional goals. We all included writing goals (because we’re a writing group), but many of us also set family and health goals too.
  3. Realistic but big: We all have big dreams, but we also try to keep our feet on the ground. Several of us have day jobs, young kids, and other big responsibilities outside of writing.
  4. Keep it simple: My plans consisted of only a few bullet points because too many goals tend to bog me down. I want to keep the most important things top of mind.
  5.  Having friends to encourage you is key: We’re lucky to have a group of encouraging ladies to cheer us on. Share your goals in the comments, and we’ll cheer you on too.

Do you have reading goals for the year? My goal is to read 100 books in 2017. Join my in the Goodreads reading challenge. https://www.goodreads.com/challenges/5493

My Latest:

Engaged by Friday

From a USA Today bestselling author Book 4 in the Matched Online series

Can a fake engagement lead to lasting love?
After her boyfriend dumps her instead of proposing, Mary Beth wants nothing to do with her ten-year high school reunion. Especially because if she shows up without a date, she’ll lose a bet with her high school nemesis. Christian is too busy with his camping equipment startup to date—until his sister sets him up online. The chance connection could help his business—if he agrees to Mary Beth’s dramatic request that he pretend to be her fiancé. But when make-believe becomes something more, they must decide if this new love can last…


About Julie Jarnagin

Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and young son who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.JulieJarnagin.com

Pay Yourself First

IS A HABITThe idea of “Paying yourself first” is one my father tried to instill in me when I got my first job…notice I said “tried.”

All those years ago I just didn’t get the concept…at 52, I wish I had paid more attention. LOL

As most of our loyal readers know…this has been a year of change for me, and some habits definitely were in need of an upgrade, or an overhaul, depending on your perception.

I’m now working a full time job…and yes, I do pay myself first with every paycheck, just in case you were wondering.

But, this post isn’t about money. It’s about YOU and what your priority is, each and every day. Turns out when your life is turned upside down and you end up in therapy for 8 months, you learn a few things. The first thing I learned was that it is OK to want to be happy in this life, it’s okay to do something for myself. Knowing what I want from the second chapter in my life and how to achieve it weren’t often on the same page.

Until now.

I’ve decided to truly take to heart the idea of paying myself first.

My goal is to be a successful author (and yes, the idea is subjective…so don’t go there with me right now! LOL) and to achieve that goal, I have to actually produce written work, on a frequent basis! That means I cannot find a host of excuses and reasons why the words didn’t get on the page EVERY SINGLE DAY. Sure, I work a long day, spend way too much time in traffic, am exhausted when I get home…yada, yada. Let’s face it, some nights the chocolate mint chip ice cream is the devil and lures me away from everything else (You’ve been there, right? Right?)

I’ve been setting the alarm a little earlier and earlier each day. Now the first thing I do everyday is take care of my dream…I sit my ass at my computer at 5am and write. This is job number 1! (And it feels really good to check it off my “tasks” list at 6am! BooYah…go me!)

So, I’m not paying myself in dollars, I’m paying myself in words on the page. Each word taking me that much closer to the end goal of a published book.

So, now it’s your turn. Evaluate your life, your dreams and goals…what can you do tomorrow, first thing, to set yourself on that path? How can you invest in your future before you do anything for somebody else?

Good luck and let me know!


About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

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