for the Creatives

3 practical strategies that keep me hustling

My writerly dreams battle against lovable nuisances like a day job (Cha-ching$$$$), family & friends, self-care, and of course household chores. And I have found three strategies that keep me writing even amidst ALL THE THINGS that will squeeze their way into my calendar.

I am beyond THRILLED to be featured on Ksenia Anske’s blog. My five years ago self would never suspect that I would one day have this opportunity to work with and learn from this writerly genius I admire so much (Oh btw, awhile back I also wrote about all the reasons I love Ksenia). Okay, I’m going to stop gushing now. Keep dreaming and working, and go steal my tips from Ksenia’s blog for your own world domination plans.

Advertisements
for the Creatives

An experiment saving $$$ with Qapital app

Always one to shirk away from traditional New Year resolutions, I’ve come up with an improvement-related experiment instead.

I’m all for finding motivation to save without too much spreadsheet work. Ech, spreadsheets, am I right?

Enter Qapital app.

(Psst… Sign up using my referral link, & Qapital gives us both $5)

Qapital is kinda like a saving $$$ game. You set “rules” for how to save and then you rake in the dough – or at least the dollars and cents and sense.

The great savings experiment numbers data stuff:

I already save each month, so my skepticism reared its actually-quite-beautiful head when I first heard of Qapital. “But wait… To save that money, you have to already have that money, so it’s just moving money at certain times to ‘save’ it when you already had it.”

Since I’m not a numbers person, I budget with Mint which tells me my net each month of the past calendar year. See below: The green is income, the red is spending, and the black tumultuous line is my net. bargraph.png

I’m not super consistent, because income fluctuates, payments fluctuate (somewhere in there I paid off loans, woohoo!), and okay fine, Starbucks and Lularoe addiction fluctuates. But I used excel formulas to find the monthly net average/median (which is the best to track here? I don’t know!).

I’ll be testing if Qapital app helps me save more than my average or median. My average/median are both just over $1000. If I save more than that, I call this a possible success, while realizing there are a bunch of other factors that affect how much I’m saving. (I’m no scientist with a control case and laboratory or anything here… ) But it would be the start of an indicator.

If I don’t save more than that, it may have been a flop *for me to choose to use it in this way.* Note that doesn’t mean the app is a flop. My next option would be to automatically deposit my average into savings each month, and then only after that point do Qapital savings beyond that average.

 

How I’ll be saving through the Qapital app:

I set up two savings buckets in the app:

  1. Money for my book launch – I figure I’ll need some money for ads, giveaways, book launch party, something, though I don’t have details figured yet.
  2. General savings – because I should save money to just save money too of course.

 

I’ll be saving money for my book launch in relation to groceries & visits to Starbucks:

  1. If I spend less than $40/month at Starbucks, the remainder will go toward my book launch (so I’m incentivized to not go to Starbucks as often)
  2. Every time I buy Starbucks, $5 will go toward my book launch (so I’m saving even if I cave and go to Starbucks)
  3. Every time I buy groceries at Walmart, $5 will go toward my book launch (so I’m saving throughout the month regardless, just by living my life)

 

I’ll be saving money for just saving based on bigger rules:

  1. The 52-week rule reversed, meaning each week an amount goes into savings counting down from $52 the first week, $51 the next week, $50 the next, and so on through the year.
  2. The round-up rule, meaning every time I spend money, the amount will be rounded to the nearest dollar and the change put into savings.
  3. Plus, 1% of my income will automatically be deposited into savings.

 

We’ll see how this goes. I’ll update you in about 3 months on my experience. I may keep it the way it is or adjust depending on results. I could definitely move more into savings, but I want to start small and see how it goes.

 

How are you saving $$$?

Tell me your best tips and tricks to savings in the comments below. And if you used the Qapital app before, let me know your experience.

Want to try the Qapital app?

Use my referral link anywhere in this post and Qapital app will give us each $5

Want something more simple for saving?

My friend Kathryn is using the Qapital app in a set-it-and-forget-it way, because she’s all about the simple life. Check out her post and see if it’s something you’d want to try.

for the Creatives

When to hire a ghostwriter

In my class Do You Have a Book in You? I don’t coddle. Just because you’re taking the class doesn’t mean you automatically get the “YES, you should write a book!” answer.

Some people have a story but not a book. They don’t have a passion for the writing; they have a passion for the message, the story.

If you fall into that boat – the “have passion for a story, but not passion for writing” boat – then ask yourself these questions:

  • If writing isn’t your dream, are you willing to devote time and energy to writing a book instead of devoting that time and energy to your actual dream?
  • Since you likely aren’t trained in writing since it’s not your passion, are you willing to sacrifice quality in getting your book out there – sacrificing the number of readers and the impact of the message?
  • Alternatively, can you devote the adequate time, effort, and income to receive the training necessary to clearly communicate the story you want to tell with the quality it deserves?
  • If you do choose to devote time, energy, and income towards receiving training on writing, are you willing to chance diluting the passion of the message with the obligatory monotony of a medium you aren’t passionate about working in?

If you answered “No” to these questions, take a moment to consider hiring a ghostwriter. There are options other than hiring a ghostwriter of course: Telling your message in a medium you *are* passionate about, but that’s a whole ‘nother blogpost – or actually, it’s a 30-minute online course of mine that you can take for free 😉

If you decide, “Yes, I must have a book out there, but no, I can’t write it,” then don’t devote time and energy to writing; instead devote some finances to hiring a ghostwriter. In a couple weeks, I’ll talk about the awesomeness that is the supernatural ghostwriterly world. Keep an eye out for it 🙂

Stories to Read Right Now

A Very Mermaid Christmas

Or, a Christmas more impossible than Unicorns and Pocket Pandas

No, my obsession with mermaids isn’t quite over yet 😉 In fact, I have an eerie holiday tale written just for you!

My White Winter Hymnal dystopian story – Turn the White Snow – wasn’t creepy enough, so I teamed up with Jaclyn – Proprietor of Amica Mea – for a new holiday horror story.

 

Find some time this holiday weekend to get away from the hubbub and read The Cost of Holiday Cheer for some chills.

Here’s my Christmas greetings to you: I hope your awkward family Christmas isn’t as awkward as this one 🙂

for the Creatives

Sorry, but there’s no market for your idea…

Many artists, entrepreneurs, and dreamers hear that there’s no market for their dream. It’s dire, folks, but here’s some hope for ya.

Psst! I heard that some odd sort of people prefer watching videos over reading articles. Super weird. But weird people are my type of people, so I made a video preview of this blogpost. Now you can go watch the great quirky awkwardness of me instead of reading my awkwardness in blogpost form. 

 

So I was walking through Barnes and Noble and stumbled across these books:

img_20171110_071510746.jpg

They were on the shelves in the front, the money-maker shelves. You know what I’m talking about, the shelves that mean publishers have bought into this book, that have said “Yes, these will make money, put them prominently on display for all to see!” Those kind of books.

But these aren’t your typical money-maker books.

Exhibit A: poetry.

Let’s be real, I totally judge books by covers, and I bought “The princess saves herself in this one” without even opening it. But when I did open it, I found poetry. A story in poetry form.

IMG_20171110_071543882

Poets are notorious examples of being told “there’s no market for your work.” When’s the last time you read poetry from a book? Probably high school. Poets are told they’ll only get interest on cutesy Instagram or Facebook images, and they’ll never get a publishing deal, and if they self-publish, they’ll never have any readers. Yet Amanda Lovelace, I don’t think she listened to that. At least not entirely. Because she wrote poetry and convinced probably an agent and a publisher that her work was worth front shelf placement at Barnes and Noble.

Exhibit B: Cartoon drawings with bad spelling, for adults not kids.

Like seriously, how do you pitch THAT to an agent or publisher? Got me! I’m still trying to figure out how to describe it on a blogpost.

It’s a book of cartoon drawings. An alien comes to earth to study humans, but the alien is bad at spelling and grammar so the book is full of cutesy misspellings, and the alien is actually befriending non-humans like rocks and animals and trees, but it’s insightful and philosophical into what actually makes us human. Oh yeah, it’s not a children’s book, it’s for grown-ups.

IMG_20171110_071623509

Okay, I have no idea how he pitched it, probably better than me, but I’m just saying if your dream sounds crazy, you’re in good Barnes-and-Noble-front-shelf company.

 

The business guy top secret insight:

After posting that Facebook video about these books, my business school brother messaged something insightful.

I had mentioned that poets often hear stuff like, “Nobody buys poetry anymore, they only read it on cutesy Facebook or Instagram posts.” I had said these authors didn’t listen to that negativity.

My brother noted my claim isn’t quite correct. They did listen to that. They noticed where the audience was and went to it. Amanda Lovelace started on Tumblr before ever being published, and I heard that Jomny Sun was on Twitter before being published. They both went to their market to get their big break. You can find your market and build interest now, too.

There’s a step in the right direction for ya. Past the dreaming and onto a practical tip. This is why my bro will make the big bucks 😉

Fashion

To break a mermaid curse

You may recall for Halloween I shared definitive proof that I am cursed by mermaids.

I had a great discussion about breaking the curse with Beware of the Reader <– which can we all agree that is the best bookblog name ever?

The curse all started when I didn’t show up to a magical disappearing lake at midnight. So presumably I could break the curse if I could just wake up at midnight to get there! Alas, I love sleep more than I did as a child – we all do, right? – so I have not remained conscious through that time. If I were Cinderella, I would have made it home long before the spell is broken, but alas, I’m the opposite of Cinderella where the spell is only broken if I can stay up ’til midnight.

However, in the weeks following the reveal of my mermaid curse to the world, I received a number of mermaid items:

A mermaid blanket,
to be a land-dwelling mermaid from the comfort of home:

mermaid

Mermaid socks,
to be a mobile land-dwelling mermaid:

mermaid1

A mermaid necklace,
to carry the magic of mermaids close to my heart:

mermaid3

I guess you could say something fantastical is happening, something mermaid-related. Here’s some possibilities:

Option 1: The curse is broken. This could have occurred from my vocalizing the curse, realizing and acknowledging it existed in the first place. I did not wake up at midnight and go to the lake, but I did inexplicably wake up at 5:45 the morning I received the first mermaid gift, and isn’t that basicly equal to midnight?

Option 2: The mermaids are placating me. Mermaids are almost sirens, and sirens have a way of luring humans to their death. When I acknowledged the curse and the way to break it, maybe the mermaids sent gifts to lull me into a false sense of security, so I wouldn’t try to break the curse, to keep me forever in their grasp. Mer-things bribery, if you will. Aghhh clever mermaids you!

Option 3: I have been dubbed mermaid ambassador. My affinity for mermaids has made me an ally, speaking on their behalf to the human world. I never became a mermaid, but I now have an understanding with them. And I am surrounded by amazing non-merfolk that give me merfolk gifts, so I certainly can’t leave to live with merfolk. I like it here with you all too much. So maybe the mermaids have given me their blessing and the humans have embraced my mermaid obsession.

My parents got me the blanket and socks since, as they said, I’m “obsessed with mermaids.” But they should know by now that I’m just obsessed. I’ll flit (like a faerie!) from one fancy to another, whether that be circus or mermaid or unicorn or magicians or – who knows what’s next. But now as a potential mermaid ambassador, I’ll have at least one more mermaid story to share as a Christmas present for you all. Just you wait 😉