Saturday, September 26, 2020

Can procrastination be a consequence of stress?


Now I have spent a few words about procrastination in the past, but I've never considered the deep roots on which it grows. Particularly, as I started to think about it. I've always been a mild procrastinator, meaning that I could complete every task I had scheduled, even if it wasn't in the exact order, and perhaps sometimes I had to rush.

Since my new career as a writer started up, I have seen an increase in my tendency to postpone my duties. Likewise, many other indie writers have to rely on my day job to provide the funds necessary to live and pay my bills. Yet, this means that I have much less time to dedicate to de-stress, relax, and spend time in the family. 

I should have seen it coming that this also means an increase of stress when I need to check up on my ads, write new novels, create social media posts, read and review. 

Indeed it's an increase of stress, and I believe this is why lately, I couldn't find the right motivation to write my weekly blog or even the time to do it. I realize I have been searching for something else to do, or even doing nothing at all because I needed to recharge.

A small part of me feels guilty for having let things slip away. The other part is reasoning with those senses of guilt, justifying them by my lack of time and need to rest my brain with activities that have nothing to do with work or writing.

I believe this is something very familiar within the indie society, and it's something I know I should take care of before this slight stress turns into burnout.

The best way I can think about it is to make sure I can organize a sort of schedule. But most of all, I should consider not to pretend too much from myself.

I don't need to write a certain amount of words a day if this will overwhelm me, nor I need to cram in a single day the checking for the ads, and I can undoubtedly make scheduling of social posts a smart way to ease my time. But most of all, I don't need to kill myself in what I love to do, which is writing.

Why would I turn into a nightmare, something I consider a dream?

If you have the same problem of being too stressed to focus and tend to procrastinate more than you used to do before, the solution might be decluttering.


Wish you a fantastic weekend!


Sunday, September 20, 2020

Finding inspiration - A hero's quest


There are so many posts around the social media world asking creatives about their source of inspiration. The answers are always different, and the reason is that we all are different human beings with different thinking processes, thus different triggers for our creativity.

As I can't speak for anyone but myself, I will tell you what I've discovered about my inspiration process. Sometimes I think I just sit down and listen to the voices, and most of the time, this doesn't go so far from the truth. However, recently I went a bit deeper into my creative process, trying to understand it better, so to be able to answer that question more precisely. After a long brainstorming, I figured out the following common points:

1. Frustration. Many of my novels were indeed born during periods I found extremely challenging. Whether they were triggered by a conflictual relationship with the rest of the world or myself. Whether I dealt with a particular unfavorable condition or the feeling of fighting against the windmills sparked the creative flame. This year, the situation with the COVID-19 played only a marginal role, to be honest. My life isn't generally made of social gatherings. Therefore, going to restaurants, theaters, pubs wasn't on my list anyway. The only difference it brought to my life was that I can't travel the way I desire. This also means not being able to reach my family for my usual ten-days solo holiday. Perhaps, that was the thing that blocked my mojo. Being away from my everyday life to spend some time with myself and my family is a therapeutic period.

2. Long evening chats with my spouse. Although they might get heated, they can spark great ideas for the next novel to be written.

3. Being a mainly a thriller author means that the next source of inspiration in the list is reading crimes on the news or checking unsolved mysteries in history. The search for psychological profiles of serial killers is a fascinating, informative, and inspiring process.

4. Traveling is another vital source of inspiration. Meeting different cultures, religions, and heritages can offer a wide range of character developments.

Of course, there might be other sources that can inspire me. This is the case of the 'Ghosts of Morgan Street,' where the inspiration came from a casual chat with a homeless gentleman. For 'The Man from the Mist,' I wanted to give voice to those invisible people who live their lives in complete anonymity like I was forced during my youth. The paranormal novel, 'Thou Shalt Never Tell,' comes from the experiences in my family with ghosts and paranormal activities.

Obviously, there isn't an easy and straightforward inspiration source, at least for me, and what grabs my attention is going, sooner or later, to be transformed into a story.

Will that be worth the effort? Is it enough? Those are the questions to which only my readers can answer. As for me, they had been useful to find out more about my own self, and that's already a gain.


If you want to know more about my books, check out my website: https://pjmannauthor.com/category/books/


Saturday, September 12, 2020

Thou shalt never... compare yourself with other authors (a note to self)



Although this post is mostly a note to self, I'm pretty sure also other authors have found themselves in need of such a reminder.

In my case, I mostly tend to appreciate my success only in function of what other, more successful authors can achieve. In this way, I'm losing touch with some critical reality factors.

The first is despite writing in the same category, using the same marketing approach can work for one author, leaving the other completely resultless.

The second is that we're all much different from each other, and there might be other millions of secondary factors contributing to the success of their books that go beyond the marketing strategy. Most of the time, success comes from the combination of many other actions. 

The third is that although my books can be written in the same genre, they can be completely different (and believe me, they literally are) from the mainstream standard, which characterizes that genre.

The fourth, and that's the most crucial point of all, is that I have my unique voice, I have my own style, and the only author I can compare myself with is myself.

Mainly I need to compare my today success with the success I had yesterday. 

Did I learn something from my trials?

Have I improved anything from what I achieved in the past?

Have I spent some time analyzing what made the success of one book then respect others?

Can I extract the formula and replicate it for the future?

I know it might be disheartening and frustrating sometimes to look at those who are more successful and then returning to your still acerbic results.

Nevertheless, if there's something to do is to be inspired by their development and get from them, the motivation to get things done.

One more time, there isn't any competition going on between authors. There isn't a single spot to be filled so if one of us can be successful, so can be other thousands.

As I said in the beginning, this is mostly a note to self, as it sometimes happens to feel discouraged, yet, nothing is lost, and I have everything to learn and, thus, achieve.

If you, too, are an author (or other creative figure struggling to get your art noticed), look back at the path you've walked so far. You might be surprised at how successful you've become from the day you started your journey.


Take care and compare only to yourself!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Finding the time


 I have been spending the last two weeks trying desperately to find the time and to organize all my duties. Needless to say that I wasn't entirely successful as I wished to be.

The problems with my failed achievement are the increasing of the task I'm putting myself through and the time I can realistically dedicate to each of the duties. Many times, I am also possessed by the procrastination demon, or by the overthinking demon.

Those two can get me completely off track.

I'm not yet in the position to leave my day job to pursue my writing career full time. This means that for eight hours a day, I need to be focused on my working duty, forgetting plots, ads, ideas, social media, website management, courses, challenges, writing new books, and God-only-knows what else.

Of course, from the day, we need to take away not just the times when I am at work, but also the time for sleep, eat, take care of the house, and, well, why not? Also, having a full deserved rest enjoying the company of my family.

In a perfect world, I would return from home, sit at my desk, and write at least 1000 words on my new novel. This would be achieved dedicating to the activity one and a half hours.

The next would be creating another five to ten ads on amazon, adding one or two ads to each of my books. 

The following step would be to update my website and social media, answering questions, replying to posts, or ask questions about any kind of doubt I might have. 

This also should take a couple of hours. At this point, it would be the time for dinner, and my day could be considered over, dedicating the rest of the evening to family life.

So where's all my fuss?

Well, we don't live in a perfect world, do we?

As I come back home, I certainly sit down, and my best try is to create a list of things I need to do before dinner. From there, the thoughts in my mind become random. Meanwhile, I have a list of things to do; I recall that I need to update the blurb of my novels. Then I also need to find a better hook and glancing at the sales report, which generally gives me nothing but depression, I think about the best solution.

The result is that generally, I can write the 1000 words for my next novel, I can ask questions and hardly update any social media, and in the best cases, I can do one or two new ads.

Saturday and Sunday, there are so many of the chores I've set aside that I can hardly write my blog anymore. You might have noticed that I started to write every two weeks instead of my usual one-week blog.

It's not lacking ideas, and I'm not even sure whether it's a lack of time. The problem is that I'm dealing with a massive lack of discipline and organizational skills.

I have no idea where I'll be heading or if I ever will be able to find the right pace and organization to allow me to take care of everything. That is, at least, my goal.

I will go back, trying to find a way to efficiently organize the time and get out of this mental chaos.

Meantime I wish you all a great end of this week and a happy labor day if you're living in the US.


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