Savoring the Moment

The Adventure Amazon Page

The Adventure is up on Amazon!

There was a point I wasn’t sure this would actually happen…actually, there were a lot of points. There’s a proverb that says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12)

I’ve felt that heartsick feeling. Now I can say the flip side of the proverb is also very true.

I’m savoring the moment.

Blessings,

Jennifer

P.S. Here’s the link to The Adventure’s Amazon Page. Check it out!

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Hiccups

As The Adventure’s launch date arrives this weeks, my well laid plans screech into the finish line with the back end swerving out of control.

As the saying goes, “We plan, God laughs.” This may be true. I don’t think the laugh is maniacal or cruel, I think it’s just amused because God knows the disparity between what we imagine and what reality will bring.

CreateSpace Proofing

Online proofing tool in CreateSpace

My ‘well laid plan’ said that the book would launch on the 30th of November. Set, specific, easy to remember launch date. Throw in the reality of how CreateSpace does things. Their verbiage goes something like this, “Once you proof your book, hit approve to finish the set up process.”

This led me to believe there was a bit more to making the book available on Amazon beyond proofing the book. Maybe I just assumed that’s what they meant.

I hit approve. Next message reads something like, “This book will become available in 3-5 business days.” Done. I have lost control of when the book goes live.

Ummm… guess that’s that. So I can say The Adventure will be available this week. I can’t say the exact date. Oh well. Guess I can laugh with God and be happy over the success of finishing the process.

Next step: Figuring out the hardcover edition. This hiccup came about as I was informed that CreateSpace does not offer even the author a hardcover book. They used to, now they don’t. I’m digging into other options now. I’ll let you know how that goes =)

Until then, Blessings,

Jennifer

Defining Success

Sleep

Writing Sidekick sleeping…he’ll sleep anywhere.

My husband and I have this routine we follow almost every night before we drift into dream land. No planning went into this routine, no preconceived notion forms how it’s followed but over the years it’s developed into a habit.

As we lay there about to drift off, we let everything from the day come spilling out in conversation. Logic would say dinner would be a better time for this and my sleep habit would agree, but reality doesn’t usually agree with logic.

So the other night, my husband and I were discussing the deep matters of the world, workout schedules, work grievances, body aches and pains, you know, the really pressing stuff, when we stumbled onto the topic of success.

I’m a worrier. As you can imagine, my worry level is up to the red when it comes to The Adventure, which launches on Amazon the end of this month. As we discussed this, Nate commented, “Define what success is for you. People will tell you all sorts of things but if you know what you want, then you know if you’ve accomplished what you desired no matter what others say.”

This stuck in my brain like a fly in honey. It wriggled around until it became fully immersed in my thoughts.

Regular, traditional publishing says you have to sell thousands of copies before a book is a success. Some say you have to make a living off of your writing and then you’re a success. Others gauge it on whether or not they’re familiar with your name, or if they’ve heard of your book before. Some point to Amazon reviews and press releases, interviews and book signings.

By many of these, I’ve a long way to go before I’ve achieved success and if I let these things define what I’m striving for, I may never reach the point where I’m satisfied with my accomplishments. Ouch.

But Success, as according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as:
  • A: degree or measure of succeeding
  • B: favorable or desired outcome; also :the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence
  • C: one that succeeds

Interesting…only one part of the definition deals with ‘wealth, favor, or eminence,’ and even those have varying degrees. A and C both rely heavily on what success is defined as in the first place. So really, the ‘favorable or desired outcome’ is where we each need to focus.

What, to each one of us, is the favorable or desired outcome that defines success?

The Adventure Kickstarter ImageFor The Adventure, I think achieving my goal for the year, as I outlined in my last post, The Trap in Dreaming, defines success.

That goal, specifically stated, was: Publish The Adventure and break even on the cost by the end of 2017.

Thanks to the amazing backers of The Adventure Kickstarter, that goal will be accomplished November 30th. Thus, this year has been a success. Period. Dot. Done. =)

What to you is success in your own life? Don’t let others define it for you.

Blessings,

Jennifer

 

 

The Trap in Dreaming

Achieving dreams, pursuing dreams, realizing dreams.

These sound so much nicer than achieving goals, pursuing goals, realizing goals.

The former sound beautiful, exciting and empowering. The latter sound like we’re sitting in a business meeting, working.

When I post about The Adventure, it usually involves something about my ‘life dream coming true,’ and I use this vocabulary for the very connotations I just referred to.

There’s a trap in these words, however, if we’re not careful. This trap is akin to watching a magic show and believing we can Magic Sparkperform magic simply because we’ve seen it done on a stage.

Dreams, by nature, produce an end product image like the magic on the stage, beautiful and exciting. This image is necessary or we wouldn’t know what we’re striving for. But to focus solely on that end product image leaves us with just that, an unrealized image.

To achieve the actual magic show, we have to step back and accept that there are nuts and bolts behind it. These nuts and bolts are structured by goals.

This sounds very pedantic, and it is, for a reason. Dreams are images, hopes, heart concepts. Goals give us a way to achieve them.

A true goal offers something for us to grasp in order to make dreams happen.

Here’s the structure I’ve found for an achievable goal (Thanks to Michael Hyatt for most of this):

  1. Write your goal
  2. Be specific
  3. Make it measurable
  4. Make it timely
  5. Make it scary
  6. Figure out the next step

Let me explain just a bit. There’s something about seeing the dream image in words on a page. This isn’t just me. Research shows we’re 40 some-odd-percent more likely to achieve something when we write it down.

So for step 1: (Write Goal) Publish a book.The Adventure Book

Good, it’s written. But it’s incredibly broad and raises more questions than answers. What book? When? How long will it be? This scatters my brain instead of focusing it. Here’s where #2 comes into play.

Step 2: (Be Specific) Publish three of the adventure stories in book format. We’ll call it The Adventure. Even more specific, The Adventure will consist of Moonrise Mountain, Temple of Night and Wind and The Tournament.

The more specific you can be, the better.

This still doesn’t give me a gauge to work with on my progress. I could stare at that specific goal for the next 10 years and still feel like I’ve got a good goal…yet make no forward motion on it. To be able to see progress, we need to have something to measure it against.

Step 3: (Measurable) Publish The Adventure and break even on the cost.

This is like saying I’m going to lose 10 pounds instead of simply saying I’m going to lose weight. I know how much. Measurable tends to be a number.

However, if I just have a number, I could work on that number as well for the next ten years. The longer something drags on, the more it becomes drudgery instead of accomplishment.

Step 4: (Timely) Publish The Adventure and break even on the cost by the end of 2017.

Timely gives a deadline. It tells how much has to happen, how fast, and whether it’s too much or too little. If I just say I’ll break even on the cost of The Adventure, I could be striving for that for years without making much progress.

Step 5: (Scary) This is important because of how we human beans react to things. If you aim too low, there’s nothing to excite you about it. For some reason, we crave challenge and challenge tends to be scary, but there’s a balance here. You don’t want to go so far as to make your goal impossible but you definitely don’t want to aim so low that there’s no effort involved. Make the goal an elephant, not a spider you can squish or a T-Rex that will eat you before you’ve even started.

With all that put together, all I have to do is figure out the next step, as I discussed in Eating an Elephant last week. I figure out the next step and only the next step. Once that’s done and it’s accomplished, I figure out the step after that.

According to Michael Hyatt, you shouldn’t have too many of these goals at a time or they become overwhelming. 5-10 a year is more than enough. I’ve found, for myself, 1-2 large goals per year is plenty for my brain.

So what dream do you have? What goal do you need to articulate on paper to make it happen? If you’re feeling bold, write it out below.

Blessings,

Jennifer

 

Terror from a Box

I stated Thursday that the realization hit, “This is really happening,” in regards to publishing The Adventure.

That realization was both happy (Yay, I made it this far!) and terrifying.

This post is the terrifying and how I’m dealing with it. =)

The updated proof arrived in the mail last Thursday. Eager child that I am, I heard the mailman drop the book against the door, and I ran to fetch it…

After tearing into the packaging, I held the book up and stared at it. A lump formed deep in my throat. Although the quality of the cover was better than the first copy, it still turned out blurry, amateurish looking. They say “don’t judge a book by its cover” but we all know it’s human nature to do so.

Panic warred in me like nervous butterflies turned into pterodactyls trying to escape. Painful in its intensity.

Two options opened before me.

Slump to the floor and have a good cry or figure out what went wrong, again. The former, trust me, tempted me with welcoming arms. But motion has always been my weapon in dealing with things. My brain, in its crazy moments, must know something is being done to fix whatever bothers it.

House is dirty, I have to clean. I’ve had an argument, how do I fix it? What do I say or do to make things right? Book cover turned out blurry, figure out why…and figure it out fast.

Contacting customer support with CreateSpace can be time consuming. So I shot off an email asking for help and then I turned to Google because any reply from CS can take 24 hours.

Then, when I’ve exhausted my brain to the point that it’s tied in knots, I pull in my Calvary. Namely, my husband. He comes to these problems with the idea that I’ve tried everything obvious and thus he has to think outside of the box.

This works well because he thinks completely sidewise to the way I think. We may have the same goal, but it’s almost a guarantee that we’ll reach it in completely different ways.

Finally, after much squabbling, which is our usual way of processing things, we figured out it all comes back to that pesky thing called PPI or DPI (Pixels per inch).

Quick technical explanation. When using Illustrator, you have to make sure it does not downgrade the PPI to 72 when you create a new image. It does this by default, thus downgrading the quality of any image you’ve made. For publishing, CreateSpace recommends 300 PPI. You can imagine the difference. Check out below what I’m talking about.

The fix for this required me going back and recreating all of the images on the cover at the higher quality. time consuming but maybe good for my brain since motion helps me.

First Proof:

 

 

 

Updated Proof:

 

 

 

Updated…This image is a print of the PDF off my own printer. The quality, along with the glossy finish, will be better from CreateSpace. New Proof shipped yesterday, so we’ll know if the quality is, in fact, up to snuff, by the end of the week.

Hopefully from these you can see the difference in print quality but even if you can’t, maybe due to my poor photo taking, I promise the actual quality on the book is better. So in creating a cover, watch out for PPI. It’s a sneaky little detail that’ll put holes in everything if you let it slip past your guard.

Blessings,

Jennifer

Hitting Pavement

There’s always a moment when pursuing a dream when it hits you,

“This is actually happening.”

MotorcycleWhen I was learning to ride a motorcycle, that moment arrived with a  smack against the pavement. I dumped the motorcycle I was riding during the class. As I stood up, my body shaking and my mind racing in a hasty injury check, it struck me in one clear thought. “Either get back on or forever walk away.”

I got back on. It took months before the terrified, almost vomit-inducing anxiety left me every time I got on a motorcycle, but now I can say with total confidence, getting back on was the right choice.

The updated proof of The Adventure arrived in the mail today. As I hold it in my hand and see all the work from the last year culminate in an actual, physical book, it hits me, “This is actually happening.”

I might hit the pavement in the process, but it’s worth it. I’ll never question if it’s possible again.

Don’t get me wrong, I might have vomit-inducing anxiety as I move forward, but that’s natural and no amount of anxiety will keep me from getting back on and moving forward.

Where are you at in pursuing life? Any “this is happening” moments?

Blessings,

Jennifer

Eating an Elephant

Nostalgia hit me. It gave no warning and only let go when I became aware of what was happening. The sneaky little…

Anyway, I was sitting at my desk staring at the master plan…err calendar for blog posts. Today’s date said Thank You’s. My past
self didn’t give my present self any more guidance than that. Perhaps I gave myself too much credit and figured I’d be able to write a sufficient post for Thank You’s. Now I know better.

Thank you

There is no way to say Thank You enough to those who have helped me make my dream come true. And in trying to figure out a way, nostalgia slipped in and I began reminiscing over this last year.

I started working on The Adventure as a book back in January. It’s a good thing that I didn’t sit down in January and try to figure out everything that would go into making The Adventure actually happen. If I had, it would have grown, and grown, and grown into a monster that terrified me, roaring in my face with such indomitable strength that I probably would have backed down, afraid of defeat before I even started.

It would have become the proverbial Elephant that I couldn’t figure out how to eat.

But as the proverb says, I looked instead at a small part. The editing, then the illustrations, then the…

One step at a time in the process and one step only.

This sounds kind of counter intuitive. Wouldn’t you want an overall plan? Wouldn’t you want to be prepared for things down the line. Of course, but only in a flexible way. Down the line is constantly changing and whatever’s written on the Master plan (even a Thank You post) must be able to change in accordance with what actually happens.

For the here and now, for the part that’s immediately in front of me, or you, all we need to know is the next step. That’s it. And that’s amazingly refreshing in a world of overwhelming information and planning.

This post is as much for me as it is for you. It’s a reminder to only focus on the next step.

I encourage you, if you’re attempting a dream, or wanting to learn something new, or whatever it is, you can do it. Just focus on whatever comes next.

For me, that’s getting the finishing touches done on The Adventure, getting rewards out to the amazing Kickstarter backers, and launching the book Nov. 30th. Oops, that’s shoving too much into the next step. Let’s haul back on the Elephant’s reins. Next step for today, finishing this post.

What’s your next step?

Blessings,

Jennifer