Site Moved… Your Invited!

To those who have been following me here on this blog, you may know that I’ve been working to connect my website and my blog into one site.

I’m happy to announce that I’ve accomplished that with a new layout and would love to have you there as well. ~ www.kellyjeantaylor.com

With the choice to merge the two, I will be discontinuing this site. I’ll leave it open for a month to allow those who wish to continue to get updates from me to switch over where you will receive updated posts, new content, and so much more.

Wish you all the best and I hope to see you over on my new site!

Advertisements

Creating and Planning Characters

I posted on social media last week about how you come up with your character’s names and that got me thinking how I create and plan my characters. And because I love to share, I thought I would post it here to provide an inside to my thought process and possibly help those who are struggling in some areas.

So, let’s dig in.

Naming my Characters:

When I start a new story, I tend to have an idea for the main character in mind before the story actually starts or is planned out. What they look like, their personality, etc. Whether the character is timid and will grow in strength, or they are strong, but realize that showing weakness makes them human. Or maybe something different all together.

So, then comes naming my character(s). I really don’t like writing a story and not knowing my character’s name. It seems so impersonal. So, I think of a name and I tend to use the same technique to come up with their identity.

Letter(s):

I tend to, well I can’t say tend to, because I alway have a letter or a few letters in mind for the beginning of the first name. I can’t really explain how that works, but I think of the characters, how I want them to be portrayed throughout the story, and a letter usually presents itself.

I will use the characters of my Conquer Series for examples:

  • R – Raylynn
  • B – Blessing
  • J – Jazzmine
  • B – Brandon
  • J – Jynx
  • K- Knight

Syllables:

As with the letters, I usually know how many syllables the character’s name will have. Most do have two syllables with a nickname, while others have one or even three. Again, I can’t explain this, but I know how I want the names to work, so why not know their syllables? 😉 I didn’t realize it, but most of the names fit the characters so well they actually tell something about the characters.

Examples:

Raylynn, who’s nickname is Ray can be a “ray of light” (You’ll have to read it to get that one 😉 )

Blessing, who doesn’t realize she is not a nuisance or burden, she is a blessing

Jazzmine, well her personality fits her nickname.

And these were totally unintentional!

Visuals:

My next step is to find a visual for my characters, a picture to put with the name. I use sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels to find my photos, because most likely I’ll be using them to create their covers and photos from those site are completely royalty free.

Here are some example of photos I’ve found and how I used them:

Raylynn:

b7830-jazzmine2bfinal-2        pexels-photo-247203

Jazzmine:

1da18-jazzmine2bfinal        girl-2097003_1920

I may change their features a bit to fit the character better, but usually there isn’t much that needs to change. They are quite similar to what I’m looking for in my characters.

Physical Description:

This is one area I do stick to the norm and fill out a list of descriptive qualities such as:

  • Hair color
  • Eye color
  • Weight
  • Height
  • Build
  • Skin tone
  • Distinct feature(s)
  • Clothing
  • Age

Visit my Writing-Education or Writing- Character Inspiration pinterest page for great ideas to help in these areas!

Personality:

This is another area I have a list for:

  • Likes
  • Dislikes
  • Personal Goals
  • Struggles/Challenges
  • Accomplishments
  • Future Expectations
  • Future Reality
  • Internal and External conflicts
  • Quirks
  • Flaws
  • Secrets
  • Pet peveves
  • Personality type (I use the list from 16personalities.com)
  • Character archetype (I use The 12 Common Archetypes by Carl Golden)
  • One more thing I add to this category is their Ability. Most of my characters have some sort of power that makes them who they are so I mention that here.

Now the characters may not fit the personality or archetypes exactly, but that gives you a chance to use that as weaknesses or lessons they’ll learn throughout your story.

Habits/Mannerisms:

This is where I list quirks, things they do that make them… them. Make them real. (Link previous post) Things like running their hands through their hair, tapping their chin, tapping their fingers when their arms are crossed. Maybe they carry something with them always or rely on something for security.

Background:

Here is where you can add things like:

  • Family
  • Ethnicity
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Residence
  • Brief Life History
  • This is where I like to give a little about how they ended up where they currently are when the story begins as well.

Looking Forward:

This is where I like to give a little about the Character and where they will end up at the end of the book. It’s not a bad I idea to know where your characters will be by the end of their tale.

 

So, what are your thoughts? Anything I don’t have you think I should? What do you have and how do you plan your characters? I would love to hear from you!

Is Your Story Real?

One of the best parts of the weekends is sitting down to spend time with my family and last weekend was no different, except we decide to do a Hobbit/LOTR (extended versions) marathon, which fried my eyes by watching TV for two days straight, but it was totally worth it!

Let me tell you why:

Relaxation:

With the Holidays at an end, we are still feeling the fatigue of the run around. Next week I will be traveling back and fourth to my sisters house which is two hours one way to watch her kids, then back again to watch them again two weeks after.

So, we decided to do something fun and relaxing since my husband will not be accompanying me.We had been discussing that we spend way to much on snacks for game/movie days so I spent a few hours Friday afternoon baking. Yes, I know. I hate baking, but it was worth it and I didn’t burn anything so that’s a plus. (If you know me, I am not a baker, my twin on the other hand is. She had to mark her calendar for this!)

I made four loaves of banana bread (my favorite and my kids apparently, because they ate three of them before I got a slice!), two loaves of white bread, four loaves of garlic bread with pasta sauce, three batches of Peanut Butter balls and three batches of chocolate/peanut/coconut bark. (I have a sweet tooth).

So I made all this from scratch (except the pasta sauce which is still in the works, but that my husband’s project) and set it out to munch while we watched our movies. What is better than watching movies than watching them with your favorite comfort foods?!

Inspiration:

Now we chose The Hobbit and LOTR because they are our favorite, and they provide inspiration to an author when stuck on a scene, or story line, character, or… anything really. There are so many great quotes, ideas, and characters. You really can’t go wrong with this series.

So many fantastic quotes came from these series:

“I miss my books and may armchair, and my garden. That’s home.” ~ Bilbo Baggins

“These are Rosgobel Rabbits. I’d like to see them try.” ~ Radagast the Brown (This is my favorite!)

“Mithrandir… Why the hafling?”

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? I don’t know. Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.” ~ Galadriel and Gandalf the Grey

“I can not do this, Sam.”

“I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we should’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, This shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories That stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk In Those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only They didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.

“What are we holding on to, Sam?”

“That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo … and it’s worth fighting for.” ~Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee

“Are we not a part of this world?” ~ Tauriel

“If the mountain defeats you, will you take a more dangerous road?” ~ Saruman the White.

“I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!” ~ Samwise Gamgee (Samwise the Brave)

The Unexpected:

Our daughter loves theater, dancing, singing and anything else drama related. When it’s time to play games or watch movies, she is up in her room acting out her current favorite scene. This weekend, she finally sat with us to watch the whole series. (Though Legolas and Tauriel may have had something to do with it) She likes awesome characters like her mother. 😉

But what got me and the reason for this post was the one sentence my husband said. I got up to switch discs when he said something that nearly stopped me in my tracks. It was so inspiring, I changed my post for this week to this topic. He said,

“I love how Tolkien wrote is books as if they were real.”

That stuck with me because I wanted that experience for my readers. I want them to finish feeling as though the story was real. And yes you are always told to create characters that are believable, but do you create them as if they are real? Real settings (even if they are fantasy/space/other based), real events, real lives, real people. Is your story Real?

If us authors looked at creating our stories as if the events, settings, characters, etc really happened – really existed, would the outcome provide a greater experience for the reader? I gained a new perspective while watching these movies with my family and I’ll be keeping that in mind as I move forward with my writing.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

PS. Incase you are wondering about the recipes I use for my bread and treats they are listed below with links:

Banana Bread

Bread, Rolls, Garlic Bread (I use this same recipe for all my breads – except pumpkin and banana bread, instead of rolling in to rolls, I make loaves and bake them. For garlic bread I make long loaves, bake them, then mix oil, parsley, oregano, and garlic – either minced, powder or freshly chopped, whichever I have on hand and bake for another 10min.)

Peanut Butter Balls

Chocolate Peanut Coconut Bark (This has walnuts, but we had peanuts, so I substituted)

New Beginnings…

The new year brings new beginnings and everyone is ready to forge ahead with plans, goals and resolutions. Since the New Year thrill is still upon us, I’ve been thinking of a way to keep the excitement going… and what better way than with a freebie!

Yep, I am offering a New beginning – short story for free! Now, this is in the beginning stages, but I would love your thoughts and heads up… there is a cliffhanger at the end since it leads into my Conquer Series books.

So, if you are interested in what happens before Raylynn’s story and how Conquer Enterprise and Security starts, here is a sneak peak and a link for the whole story!

I hope you enjoy, and (shameless plug) leaves you wanting to read more!

So without further ado, here is your sneak peek at Conquer E.S. – The Prequel!

Conquer E.S. Prequel

Where It Begins…

There was nowhere else for them, they insisted on creating a place for them. A safe-haven for his sons and others with unique abilities, but where? A soft knock interrupted his thoughts as his youngest entered.

“What are you doing?”

“Why Brandon, what a pleasure! What else would I be doing in my office, son?”

“Working on that secret project of yours. I won’t be but a moment, I wished to ask you for a Petrie disk or two. I have a hypothesis and wish to test it out.”

He rose from his chair moving to the cabinet along the side of the room; enjoying his son’s fascination not just with sciences but languages as different ones slipped through.

“Sandalwood.”

“What?”

“Your office always smells of sandalwood and gum.” He turned from his

notes to look up at the man he called father and smiled. “A hint of cinnamon, am I right?”

“That you are. That you are.”

“Thanks dad.” Petrie dish in hand, he walked to the door. “Oh, if you plan to build something to protect those like Knight and yourself, you may wish to create a second branch to cover conspicuous actions of the company. I’d suggest a Non-profit Organization dedicated to giving back to the community.”

“Ah, Brandon?”

“Yeah, dad.” The thought brought a grin to his face as the boy glanced up from his studies. Brady understood Max was not his biological father, but that didn’t stop him from calling him dad and it made him swell with pride of the son they adopted.

“What’s your hypothesis?”

 

“Well, it’s more of a comparison study. I wanted to compare my blood with Knight’s and combine a small sample to see the reaction. With his blood, I hypothesis it will, in time overtake mine leaving nothing behind, since I have the weaker human blood.”

“Hmmm, care to share your results when your study is complete? I’m curious what you discover.”

“Sure, dad. I gotta go, time for school.” “See you later, son.”

He sat back at his desk, knowing Brady was careful. He understood the consequences should any of his tests be brought to the public eye and that most evidence was locked away or destroyed for the protection of the family. His sons got along so well it was as if they were best friends and not stepbrothers. It still amazed him to think on it.

His thoughts returned to their discussion and how Brady discovered the project he was creating. He lifted the phone, dialing his wife and partner to relay the information for her to think on. He hoped his boy kept his composure when he found out he may not be as the Campton family, but he was no human either.

She answered on the third ring, “Hey, dear.”

“Good Morning love, how’s work at the office today?”

“Boring, once we get ours up and running I’ll be happier to spend the day in my own building instead of someone else’s.”

“Speaking of that, Brady came to visit me a moment ago.”

“Oh, what did he want?”

“A Petrie dish for anther small comparison project he’s working on.” “Is that why you are calling? To relay that our son is at it again with his testing kit?”

“On the contrary, I believe you are correct in your assumption that Brady has his own talent.”

The tapping on the other line stopped as he gained her full attention.”What did he do?”

“He gave me a suggestion.”

“Maximus, if this is one of your jokes…”

 

“No joke. I walked across the room to get a Petrie dish for him and he commented on the smell of sandalwood and cinnamon. Then told me that if we insisted on building a safe-haven for Knight and others like him, we might consider a Non-profit Organization. One designated to giving back to the community to cover conspicuous activities, which I find brilliant.”

“That’s because it is and I have the perfect idea. We’ll discuss this more when I get home, boss is coming. Call Jynx, he can help. Love you.”

“I love you too.” He hung up and returned to work on his secret project wondering what his young son possessed within him.

His fingers grazed the screen as he dialed the number for the young man so similar to his older son he considered him a part of his family. He answered on the fourth ring.

“Yeah, what do you need, Max.”

“I’ve got a business proposition for you. You are one of my best men and I want you in on this. Choose who you wish to accompany you, bring the Manzerell brothers.”

“What kind of business proposition?”

“One, if all goes as planned, will be quite lucrative for those involved and provide the protection and training for those like ourselves.”

“I’m interested, but why me?”

“I understand your age may put a damper on things, but we consider you a part of our family. Though my sons no nothing of this venture, at least not full details, we wish you to be a part of it. You understand more than most how hard it is to deal with what’s within. If at all possible, we will have the resources to save your brother from the destructive path he is on. Any news on his condition?”

“Still struggling, but I’m optimistic. I believe we can pull through this.” A struggled growl came through the phone. “Listen, I’ve got to go. What time do you wish to meet and location?”

“Here, in an hour? If you think you can make it if not we can Skype. Whatever works best.”

“Thanks, Max. I’ll pass on the information to the boys. See you in an hour.”

 

“Take care, Jynx.”

He hung up the phone and reviewed what he gathered of Jynx’s position. His brother was struggling and if they failed to find a solution, his brother may not make it through this ordeal. That was the reason Conquer Enterprise and Security was within reach. His wife refused stand to watch Others suffer the ridicule of humans nor what lives within them.

The sound of his son’s talking caught his attention, Knight was leaving early for a class and Brandon will follow after getting his things together. He thought to ask if he wanted a ride, but understood Brandon enjoyed the walk to offer time to ponder. He let it go and prepared for the meeting he scheduled with his new employees/partners.

***

Brandon walked into the kitchen in time to catch his brother before he left. “Knight, I’d like to conduct an experiment to test a hypothesis I’ve been working on.”

“Yeah, what hypothesis is that?” He pulled the milk carton from the fridge and grabbed a glass when his brother stopped him from drinking straight from the carton.

“Well, it requires some of your blood.”

 

 

What to read more, Click HERE to get the full download ~ FREE! 

How Writing is like a Puzzle

I received the best birthday gift from my husband last month and after putting it together I thought about how it relates to writing. Obviously, from the title you would guess what it is my husband got me, but you’re probably thinking, “Really, Kelly? You couldn’t possibly be that excited over a puzzle.”

Well, I am about to prove you wrong. This wasn’t just any puzzle. It was a 1000 piece Sherlock Holmes and the Speckled Band – A mystery jigsaw puzzle. This was the best gift because for one, I love Sherlock Holmes and two, not only was it a puzzle; it contained the story and required you to put the puzzle together in order to solve the mystery of the Speckled Band! The best part… the puzzle was not that of the image on the cover so we had absolutely no idea what the picture was. Of course we had some clue from the story, but no picture to go off of. Three of us, my sister, husband and I spent eight hours straight putting this puzzle together so we could solve the mystery! We had a blast!!

Now, why am I blabbering on about this puzzle and how much I enjoyed it? Well, as the title suggests, it got me thinking about how writing is like a puzzle. So, let’s get started.

So, how can writing be related to puzzles?

Buying and Opening the Puzzle:

In this case the puzzle was a gift, so even better! Anyway, this would represent that moment of awe inspired revelation that you found a new idea for your next great novel. That initial excitement and enthusiasm for the newest story growing in your mind. Now that you have it home you open it to find it neatly packaged, but in a mess of pieces. What to do next?

Preparing the Puzzle:

Now, if you are anything like me (and I know some of you are), you open the pack and the sorting begins! The what seems like endless searching for edge pieces while the rest are filtered back into the box for later. Those edge pieces are your guide, your starting point to the finished product. Much like writing a story, the outline or planning stage comes first. You construct the base or starting point for your puzzle or story to begin and then take off running.

Proceeding With the Inside Pieces:

Now, it’s time to dig in and start forming the puzzle with the inside pieces, but where to start? Do you organize the pieces by like object depictions or do you dive in looking for whatever fits along the edge where you are currently sitting? In this case since we originally began with four people, (my nephew ducked out to play video games before to long) we each took a side. Unfortunately, I took the side with really dark pieces and had a really hard time finding the right pieces, so I decided to look for all the pieces to an object in the top corner and was able to gain momentum. As you move through your story, you start with a flourish of excitement and enthusiasm for the new ideas brewing in your mind as you do a puzzle searching for those first few pieces that will start you on your journey to the finished product.

Ugh, Those Annoyingly Frustrating Pieces:

You gain momentum and for a while you cruise along finding piece after piece, but then you hit a snag an you get stuck working on a section that is all floral carpet and every piece you need looks the same! As with puzzles, you may hit a snag in your writing with a difficult scene, event or even chapter. You struggle to find the right pieces to keep your momentum going or the right action, words or story arc. You syphon through the rest of the pieces to search for the ones you need, but it is no use. Your brain is just to worn staring at this section of the puzzle and you need a break to you gather your thoughts.

New Perspective:

So, you decide to take a break, switch spots (to which your sister finds all the pieces I was struggling and frustrated with within a few minutes :/) or ask for advice from a trusted ally. Taking a break and coming back will give you the rest you need to return with a fresh mind, and a new perspective. You could also move onto another area of your story and work there, then come back when you are ready to tackle it again or ask for advice. You could post your situation on forums and discussion sites to get suggestions and thoughts from others. This is where, when you are finished with your manuscript, beta readers are immensely helpful.

Finishing the Puzzle:

After eight long hours of working to find the right pieces, switching spots and perspectives several times, we finally finished the puzzle! The accomplishment was a collective sigh of relief. The same goes for finishing that first, second, fifth, or twentieth novel, a sigh of relief and elation. It is finally done, finished and the puzzle was ready to be solved. Your manuscript ready for the editor or if you added your editor to the last phase of a new perspective, ready to publish! Now, on to the next puzzle… I mean story!

Looking for a puzzle to enjoy? Try this one from my store. Or see others here as well.

So, what do you think? Could a story be similar to a puzzle? Let’s here your thoughts. Comment below!

My 2018 Goals

It’s getting to be the end of the year and I’ve been working on plans for next year.

While thinking of what I really wanted to do with my business and how I want to move forward with my books, I find myself realizing that my goals from last year were… well, dull. Though they fit my business there was really no depth to them and to the business itself. If I want to make writing my career, I need to be more specific and defined with my goals for my business and my books.

My thoughts here are to keep myself accountable to my goals and my business by publishing them for others to witness. I did come a tad short from my goals last year as my fourth book will be published by the end of January. I realized I pushed myself to do to much without a team to keep me focused and motivated as far as my business is concerned. So without further jabbering from me, here are my goals for 2018.

Books

stack-of-books-1001655__340

Publish 3 Novels by 12/31

  • Though my goal last year was to publish four books, I have written four, but will be unable to complete the last as the holidays and the need for much required rest has taken presidents since I have stretched myself further than I can go within the last few weeks. So for 2018 I have reduced my number of published novels by one to give myself the needed rejuvenation required to keep motivated and productive throughout the year.

Read 12 Books in Genre by 12/31

  • With keeping up with reading I have surpassed my goal for this year and will repeat it for next year to keep the inspiration and imagination flowing. What better way to stay creative that to read those who have come before you?

Read 6 Books NOT in Genre by 12/31

  • This I have not kept up with this year, though I have read a few books not on my genre. I intend to keep reading so that my creativity is at it’s max for Inspiration as well as continued education on the industry.

Organize a group of Beta readers for my books by 4/30

  • There are some parts of being an author that I have really slacked on and wish to remedy as soon as I’m able. This area would be one of them. I plan to gather a dedicated group of people who would like to beta read my books. I will begin using Wattpad, so if you would like to know more you can visit me there.

Find an Editor I connect with by 6/30

  • Here is another that I am in need of. I understand the importance of hiring a professional editor and funds have not been enough to accommodate this need. My hope is to remedy that this year and hire a professional editor to edit my books to create a better reading experience for my readers.

Organize a Critique Group who enjoys my genre and will give productive feedback by 3/31

  • Another area that has been lacking this year. I would like to find like-minded people interested in the same Genre to participate in a critique exchange for our stories. Have an interest… comment below.

Create and Implement Street and Review Team for Books by 4/30

  • One more item to participate in: My plan is to create a Street Team and Review Team for my Novels as they become available. If you would like to be a part of that when the time comes, Click HERE to sign up for my newsletter for updates as we get closer to organizing the groups.

Communication

minions-363019__340

Post 26 Blog Posts Every Other Week in 2018

  • My goal is to provide you, the reader with insightful and useful information throughout the year. Have a topic you would like me to elaborate on? Comment below and I will add it to my list!

Be More Communicative on Social Media and Online: Comment on Posts and in forums, Post advice, comments, thoughts and questions on social Media.

  • Another goal is to provide more communication with you, my readers; with advice, encouragement, and more.

Business

office-620817__340

I’ll keep these as a list as they don’t nee much explanation:

Grow Business by 25% by 12/31

Create New Products and Useful Printables for Readers and Writers – 2 by 12/31

Start Using Video in Marketing by 6/30

Create/Participate in 2 Big Events for Readers: Haha, I have thoughts, but what’s the fun in ruining the surprise here! 😉

Create 100 total items for store by 1/31 and continue with 5 more per month after January. Want to visit my store, click HERE!

Try out New list of Marketing Ideas and record results.

Revamp Webpage and Pages by 3/30

Extras/Other

thought-2123970__340

What better way to keep up with your skill than to lean more about it?

Complete 3 Educational Courses by 12/31

Schedule Time to Work on Drawing and Take Art Classes (Once a Week)

 

So, what are your goals for 2018? What is the one thing you want to achieve this year?

Mine is to create community with my readers while providing great content! Let me know your goals below. I would love to hear what you plan to achieve this year in your personal life or business.

One more thing:

board-2161880__340

Planning for 2018

No affiliate links or bribes were accepted while planning or writing of this post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely those of the author from their experience.

This year has been a year of learning, change, forging on over mountains with determination and falling to valleys of procrastination. With the year a few months to a close, I have decided to begin planning 2018 sooner rather than later.

With my form of planning and always wanting the shiny new ‘thing’, I decided shortly into the year to go back to some programs and implement others that have worked well for me the last few months.

Planning Start

First of all, I’ve signed up to receive a lot of email newsletters that most I probably don’t need, but some stood out and one I took to heart, by Meera Kothand. In her Plan Intensive One Week Challenge, she goes through steps to organize your thoughts, plan out your goals and steps to reach those goals and scheduling them into your planner so you can keep track and move forward toward your business/personal goals. Though I worked through it in more than a week, I found it massively enlightening for my goals and where I wanted to see my business in 2018.

What I love about Meera is the fact that you can reply to any of her emails, ask her questions and she will get back to you. I’ve personally asked her questions while going through her Plan Intensive Challenge and she responded within manner of hours to a day or two later.  To find out more about her challenge click here.

With that being said though I have my books, emails, blogs, etc planned. Now I just needed somewhere to keep everything…

Software Implemented

Last year I mentioned a few apps. On called Pad 3, which I still use for notes, but after a while I realized I was just not the type of person to commit to writing everything out even on my Ipad all the time and for me there was never enough space in the calendars to keep things nice and orderly. The other was 17Hats. I liked this one well enough too, but I couldn’t quite get the hang of it and connect everyone to it that’s on my team.

Asana

Solution: I worked for a company that shall remain unnamed and we used a program called Asana for tasks and communication. As much as I hated the thought of using a program I had used while working for a place I didn’t enjoy. I found myself coming back to it. To my surprise, it has saved my life and my business. The layout is completely different from when I used it back then. I can create different projects with different board within the projects for different tasks or just use a task list. I can also connect my team up to five members for free and haven’t had a need for the upgrade so that is always a plus.

I have even created projects for my personal, home and my kids homeschool to keep all my tasks all in one place and they are in separate projects so they don’t feel like any of them are overtaking or interfering with another. Though this program does have a calendar I do take the time to add my blog posts to my desktop calendar to keep them updated regularly.

Planner

I also keep a planner that I update daily as well as a journal I try my best to write in daily. The planner is handmade by me and the pages were printed until I needed toner and then decided to just draw out the pages so I wasn’t spending $90 plus for a toner cartridge when we plan to get a new printer anyway. As I mentioned before, I feel it is a waste of time to site and write out every tiny detail, but I’ve managed to make my pages simple enough to be copiable within a few moments.

Within my planner I have a section for Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly tasks, notes and whatever else I want in there. The one thing I love about my planner is that I created tabs for business items I wanted to keep with me. For my books I created a tab and within it I have notes on characters, settings, plots, and a short outline so I alway have it with me even if I decide to write instead of working on a computer. Another section keeps my blog plans as well as my email newsletter plans and another tab just for compiling from Scrivener so I remember how I want my books compiled when I go to publish them. This is the one thing I am really glad I created myself as it is updated daily and everything is in one place for me to view whenever necessary.

YNAB

Another app we invested in is YNAB, which I have spoken about before and seriously if you are looking to get your finances in order. This is the app you need. It has taken us almost three months to get the system down, but it is completely worth it. Right now my husband and I use it for our personal finances, but I have deeply considered using it for business since you can create more than one budget! It does have a price of $50 a year and they allow a free 34 day free trial.

I will be trying out this program next year for my business finances, so I will let you know how that goes as things progress.

 

How about you? Have you started planning for next year? How are your plans going if you are? Drop a comment, I would love to see what you use and how you plan your year!