Balancing Act: Time Management and Life

So as many of you know by now, I had a very long, unplanned hiatus from writing … right in the middle of my debut series. It was not good for me, for readers, nobody! But it was unplanned. It was one of those life happens moments that hit me and kept on hitting me until I didn’t know how to get back up. I couldn’t find a balance and I couldn’t get back to something that had once been so important to me. I’d like to think I’ve made my way back onto two feet … maybe onto one foot with a tip-toe down of my other. But it took a lot of learning how to balance all the new things that happened in my life and I had to re-teach myself how to manage my time!

I remember a few years ago when I first started writing. I was in my mid-twenties and I remember I felt busy all the time. HA! I want to go back in time a few years and kick that girl in the butt. I want to tell her that she doesn’t know what busy is! But the thing is, we don’t realize until we are in the thick of something how busy we can truly get, right?

Now, I look at my life and think, I can’t possibly take on anymore! And I’m sure in a few years, I’ll want another time machine to come kick me in the butt and say, you don’t know what busy is! But for now, I feel so busy! I’m trying to balance being a wife, a mother of 4, working a full-time job, and writing whenever I can. So between homework, cooking (which I’m terrible at — As a side note, if you can help me out with easy recipes I’m all ears), bathing kids, bedtime stories, cleaning, time with my husband, sports, work, writing – it can be hard to keep up. I know I’m not alone, and I know I’m not the only one out there struggling.

Maybe it’s not with kids, maybe you’re working multiple jobs. Or maybe you’ve got other people or things you care for. We all feel busy! And here is where the balancing happens — the time management piece.

I am still working through how to best do it all, so please, if you are a ROCKSTAR in this area of life, please help us mere mortals who struggle! Another side note — it’s funny because in my “real” job I’m a meeting planner. So I thrive on production timelines, schedules, etc. You’d think that would carry over into my personal  life but for some reason it doesn’t always work out like that. One thing that does carry over from my work to my personal life are To-Do Lists — they are my life line. I have a planner that has EVERYTHING in it — dinners for each day, which then help me shape my shopping lists for each Sunday, my appointments, my deliverables at work, my writing goals, etc. I write everything down. It helps to have things scheduled like appointments (doesn’t always help for things like laundry, which I usually end up washing for 3 cycles before I finally move it to the dryer, but hey I’m working on it 🙂 )!

To do list

As far as writing goes specifically, one of the BIGGEST and most helpful things for me has been connecting with a support group. People I can count on to kick me into gear! This year my fantastic Writing Sisters started a group where we motivate each other and it is working for each of us to continue writing and working on our current WIPs (Work in Progress). Accountability can go a long way in Time Management and helping us prioritize the things that are important to us. Life can get crazy, but setting a goal for the important things, and scheduling time for the important things, is the only way to make it happen!

So here’s my weekly theme — TIME MANAGEMENT and creating a balance. If there is something you want to be working on, or an area that you feel isn’t getting attention – try to find some support & accountability and then schedule time for it. Make a weekly goal and stick to it, just one week at a time!

What are some of your time management tips and tricks of the trade??

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Writing Inspiration: From Avid Reader to Author

I’m not sure if I’ve ever told my story about how I decided to write. It wasn’t something I thought about for ages before I started, and it wasn’t something that I’d wanted to do my whole life. It was a passion I discovered, almost by accident!

I was working at an incredible company awhile after I graduated from college with a group of gals who loved reading as much as I did. I was plowing through 3-4 books a week and rushing into work to talk about my latest read with the girls at the water cooler … well it wasn’t a water cooler. It was over a way too expensive Starbucks drink, but same idea! After a few months of that routine, I started to find myself stuck in a “what if” cycle every time I finished a new book. I’d propose new twists, or new ideas for an ending and I’d throw out ideas of how the book could have lasted longer, or gone a different direction. Eventually, one of the girls I worked with said, “well if you think you can do better, go for it!” She was teasing and we laughed about it at the time.

But then I thought … “what if?” It seemed that there must have been something inside me, tugging at me and yelling to come out. I had some sort of expectation each time I read and was being left unfulfilled. And maybe it was my own story, trying to make its way out. So after a good laugh I decided to just try. I didn’t have ANY experience in writing. My grammar isn’t the greatest, I didn’t outline, I didn’t even know what I wanted to write about. I knew I love paranormal romances and fantasy books, vampires, and that I could most easily relate to my age group (college & post college). So that’s what I went with. I sat down and started writing. In 3 months I had 45,000 words and an idea that was growing by the minute inside of me.

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It was at that point that I started wondering how long a book actually was, word count wise. As a reader, I never looked at the other side of writing like that before. I decided to start researching. I learned my favorite author at the time, HP Mallory, was self published. I read her book on how to self publish and was soon immersed in the world of authors. I met my 2 Writing Sisters, who inspire me and who I think are some of the most gifted authors I’ve ever read, and I realized that I’m passionate about writing. I discovered my PASSION! It took a long time, and my passion ended up being something I had no idea I’d ever even have an interest in! But I tried something new and said “what if.” That what if led me here, to writing!

So, my point in this week’s theme is if you have even a tiny “what if” playing around in your head — GO FOR IT! What will it hurt?!  If it’s writing, sit down and see how you feel cranking out 1 page of a story, YOUR story! If it’s something else, take a small baby step towards that!

I’ll be chatting this week on Social Media about inspiration — comment below or visit me there to share what your inspiration is! I’d love to hear from you!

A Look into Protected (Book 1 in the Ariya Adams Trilogy)

Happy Monday!

One of the things I have loved most about becoming an author has been the community.  When I first started writing, I met some incredible authors, book bloggers and designers. I can’t quite capture and describe how wonderful it is to be surrounded by people who share your passion. These people became friends and there are many that I am still in touch with, years later!

Surround Yourself

With Social Media it can sometimes be hard to feel real connections to people. But, since technology isn’t going anywhere, I feel like it’s so important to encourage those connections when we can!

So with that being said, I’m going to be “theming” my weeks on Social Media so that we can connect, discuss and chat about things — hopefully more often!! Each Monday I’ll be hopping on Facebook, Instagram and here on my Webpage to say hello, touch base and let you know what the weekly theme is & if there are any particular things to keep an eye out for in the upcoming week!

Since this is the first week of an official theme, I thought it was best to start with where my journey began — Protected!

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Protected is Book 1 in the Ariya Adams Trilogy. It’s a new adult, paranormal romance centered around Ariya Adams, a Senior at Kingsbrook College. She has led a “normal” existence so far, but that’s all about to change. Get ready to go on a journey with Ariya and her friends as she learns secrets about her past that will throw her into a dangerous new paranormal world.

Protected has both vampires AND werewolves, for those of you who like both paranormal creatures (although I will warn you I am #teamvampire, so the werewolves don’t play as big of a role).

Protected is available on Amazon in e-book and paperback formats (Click here to check it out!). I am exclusive with Amazon, so that is the only place to find my books at this time. This also means, I have enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited Program! If you don’t know what that is — check it out at Amazon! But essentially what it means for you is that you can read the entire Ariya Adams Trilogy for FREE!! YES you are reading that right! 🙂 FREE!!

A couple of other notes / reminders, in case you hadn’t heard! I got a new Pinterest account, Author Anna Applegate, so look me up there and check out some things I’m posting. Can’t wait to Follow what you post as well!!

I’ll also be doing a GIVEAWAY this Wednesday for a little #WinningWednesday action. I’ll be giving away a signed paperback version of Protected with a bookmark on both Facebook and Instagram! Stay tuned later this week (Wednesday) for how to enter that!

That’s all for now! Thanks for stopping by and I’m looking forward to chatting with you soon!

Happy New Year & Hello 2018!

It’s here! 2018 has officially been welcomed in. You might already be sick of the motivational posts and the reminders to set new goals for yourself! So don’t worry, I’ll keep it semi-short & sweet!

Instead of encouraging resolutions, I’m going to borrow a page out of a friend’s book. I saw her post that instead of a list of resolutions, she was going to create a theme for 2018. I thought that would be a fun idea! So while I have goals for myself for this upcoming year (some are the same as every year I admit … get in shape, eat healthier, etc. etc.), I want to start 2018 off with a theme! It’s a 2-parter really, and one that I hope resonates with you as well.

My theme for 2018 is: Just Breathe & Dream Big!

I know I’m not the only one who lets herself get stressed out! I work full time as a wife, a mom of 4, a real 9-5 job and I work at writing and being an author as often as I can! Add in the daily curve balls life inevitably throws, and it can get pretty messy! Honestly, it can sometimes feel downright overwhelming! That’s where the Just Breathe comes in (does anyone else have a flash to Drew Barrymore in the scene from Ever After where she’s walking into the ball when you think those words?).

jut breathe

Just Breathe through the fears, the guilt, the mess, the struggles, all of it. Because they don’t last! Eventually, things look up and maybe if we can remember to breathe through those times, through the tough times, we might enjoy the ride more 🙂

Dream Big because, well, who doesn’t want to shoot for their dreams?! My favorite quote (take a peek below) is a Disney quote .. yes the sappy side of me is REALLY shinning through now, but I truly love it. Seriously, if anyone knows a thing or two about dreaming, Walt Disney does, amiright!?

Walt Disney qyote

I saw a comedian make fun of this concept the other day — he was saying you can’t actually be anything you want to be, so we shouldn’t be telling our children that. And while maybe that is true to some extent, you certainly will not be able to reach your goals if you don’t set them in some aspect! So why not set big goals? Why not Dream Big? Work hard, yes, but go ahead and dream big, too! What does it hurt in the end of you strive to have a year where you just decide you’ll be brave and accept those big dreams of yours?

So that’s it! Just Breathe & Dream Big for me in 2018! That’s what I have for you this New Year’s Day! I’m SO looking forward to everything that 2018 will bring and excited about the endless possibilities ahead!

I hope you have a safe and beautiful 2018!! Whatever you decide to focus on, hope for, achieve, just go for it! And not just in the month of January, when all that motivation is plentiful! Go for it ALL YEAR! We can cheer each other on along the way! Happy New Year & Happy 2018!

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