On (not) Losing Faith

I’ve wanted to be an author most of my life. This shit is hard.

I love writing. I love writing so much that I did it for free for a long time, and then nearly free after that. The list goes on and on. I had a glimpse of what to expect from this career when I first decided to stop hiding behind ghostwriting. At the time, I was still maintaining my ghostwriting career. Then, a series of unforeseen circumstances pushed me back to square one.

I wasn’t prepared for this to be my only source of income. I wasn’t prepared for the possibility of not having any income.

The harsh reality of writing for a living is that thousands of books die daily because no one ever sees them. I’m happy to say that isn’t the case for me, but not

everyone is so lucky.

Writing for a living takes so much more than just writing.

I’ve been behind the curtain so long that I have to figure out everything else. From building an author platform to which marketing techniques are best for my work, all of it takes a skill set that I am still acquiring. Some days, I am extremely bitter about this.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve done some co-writing as wells as ghostwriting. My co-writer handled all of the marketing, and editing. I handled most of the writing. In the end, she had all the skills to create another great partnership with someone else. I’ve become a better writer because of the work we did together, but I’m less of a business woman because of it.

Design

I don’t have thousands of dollars to throw at my craft, but I do have faith. Which in my case is saying a lot. I’m not generally the type to believe in what has yet to manifest in my life.

This time is different. The same way it was with my darlings. Just when I was ready to pretend I never needed them, they arrived.

That is to say, writing is beautiful. Writing for a living is hard. Difficult dreams are worth the difficulty.

So work hard. Work tirelessly for what you want. Not because the rewards are timely, but because you want it. You’ve spent endless hours dreaming it could be real. So, spend endless hours making it real. You can do it. I can do it.

It is okay if no one but you can see it. It is okay is nothing is right about it. If things aren’t falling easily into place, or every turn you take creates another bend in the road. It is okay.

It is your dream, no one has to believe in, work for it, or push passed their insecurities about it but you. But me.

I’m working on understanding perfect timing. I’m working on the realization that things are not going to happen when I want them too and this is no reason for me to quit. My vision for my life is valid, beacuase I say so and because I am willing to keep after it.

Having faith does not mean seeing the whole picture or knowing how things will come together. Having faith doesn’t mean a perfect path or a open highway toward your dream. Having your faith tested, doesn’t at all mean you should give up on your dream.

Work from the place you are, and you will eventually level up.

Just. Keep. Swimming.

I know I’m not the only one with dreams I have to remind myself to believe in. So, what are yours?

Joy.

 

 

#JuneGoals : My June author goals and the larger picture.

I’m living a new normal. I honor that with my determination.

My vision for my life has changed over the years, but probably none more than this year. With every new challenge I face,  I reconcile that my time is not my own. Every minute is borrowed from something ( someone) precious to me. I know that and it forces efficiency from my time. I’ve accomplished a lot on a personal front this year. I’m growing as an author/writer on a professional front. There is so much for which I still hope.

No matter what alters my personal life, I can’t forget that I am an author.  My new life is more time consuming and burst at the seams with joy, but there is still much to do as I build my career/dream. I have to work hard, and smart or else all the things I’ve been working toward thus far will be in vain.

I’m building.  My work as an author is only one piece of the puzzle. The ultimate goal is to use it as a cornerstone toward financial security. I owe it to my shifter mate for all he’s done for me and to my littles for all they give me. It is the least I can do.

To work smarter, I must work within my limits and keep my eyes peeled for the right opportunity to push further. I’ve altered my June author goals to reflect this belief. I have taken some of my own advice in the  editing of my goals as I get back to “normal”.  I’m giving myself the summer to wobble, but only the summer.

In my wobbling, there are still some things I have to accomplish. I want to publish two more full length novels before the year is out. Not to mention,  at least two shorts for fun. I still have a ton to learn from a marketing stand point, and my ultimate goal is to hit the best seller mark.  I’m a dreamer at heart. Keeping this running tab of my years goals is helping me to remain present in my pursuits. It is not an easy task for me.

Piece by piece, I build my creative life and I’m thrilled watching it transform.

Having this monthly break-down of goals helps me to manage what I want in a realistic way. So here are my author goal milestones for June. Every task completed strengthens the foundation of my dream and I can’t lose focus now.

June Author Goal List

Title Brainstorming for Second Release

25,000 words on second release

Evaluation of Second Release date

Choose a new editor

Third round of marketing for The Alpha’s Dream

New responsibilities require adjustment. If I find that I can do more than my projected word count then I will. It is important that I move the bar for myself as often as possible. Pushing the limits of what I know I am capable of is only going to make me stronger, better at channeling my abilities. It doesn’t matter that I am figuring it out as I go. It only matters that I am willing to wobble and still pursue my vision.

What about you? What are your June steps toward your years goals? Comment below with your summer plans.

Joy.

#KeepinTouch: 5 Reasons you should subscribe to my blog

I’ve been working on my blog as part of my author platform for a while now. The truth is, it’s become so much more.

As I write this, I’m already thinking of what other things I will add to my blog to make it more interactive for my readers. Not just those who read my books, but those who drop by on occasion to keep in touch. I love the alerts when someone likes a post I’ve read or when they send me a message about something I’ve written. It feels good to be connected.

So, I want you to come here more often. I want you to send your friends, your frenemies, and the all that you believe will be interested to my website. I’m more than just books and here are five reasons you should subscribe to my blog and keep in touch.

 

Mama Stories/Wife Things

I’ve only been a mother for three years. I’ve been a wife for nearly eleven years. My years alone with my husband are a very telling part of my being a romantic. My years with my children were the catalyst for me to stop ghostwriting. Already, I’ve gained a lot, learned a lot about myself and the world around me that I didn’t notice until my children were born. Their births kicked my writing into gear and I love it. Often enough, I found myself writing about their influence as I blogged. It has now become a permanent and intentional writing point. I’m a #MamaAuthor. It is a major factor to my work. If you are a mama/ wife who has found yourself influenced by your children or your spouse to commit to your other passions, these stories are for you.

Book updates, snippets and conversations on publishing

My blog came to exist because I am an author. It is a place for readers to connect with my books. So of course, there will be updates for what I am working on, new release information, and soon there will be snippets of works in progress. I write shifter romances with African-American leads. If you are into that sort of thing, subscribe! keeping in contact here will allow a greater chance that you will see what’s coming next, first.

Goal Digging

This is a big thing for me. I’m always working on other projects. It’s not that I just prefer to be busy, but I prefer to expand on my purpose. My blog deals a lot with my goals from the stand point of an author. However, the tools and methods I use can be applied to anything. I’m all for accountability. When I’m writing to you, I am asking you to hold me accountable for the dreams I have made public. When you comment, you are inviting me to do the same. It is a small thing, but a very useful one. Together we can inspire each other toward the lives we all want.

Exclusives and Giveaways

Now that I am getting the hang of this blogging thing I’m offering a lot more. My writing career is officially kicked off and while establishing my dream team, I’m in the process of developing exclusive swag for those who join. In addition, the excerpts and #freshpress work that you find here is exclusive unless otherwise noted. When you come to my website, I want your experience to be one fluid invitation into the creative space of my life. I aim to make that as seamless and welcoming as possible.

We’re All Family Here

You may have stumbled upon my blog. You may have gotten here through a search engine or some other method of funneling. Whatever the way you got here, it is because you were looking for something. So is everyone here. I’m writing African-American centered shifter romances because I couldn’t readily find them when I was looking. Maybe that was what drew you. Stay for the coffee and conversation. Stay for the insights on publishing, and the struggles I face while trying to write what I love. Comment with tips for dealing with anxiety or other ways to balance work and wife/mama life. We’re all connected here. We are all here for a reason and I am working to nurture those reasons for all of us.

There you have it. Five good reasons you should subscribe to my blog if you haven’t already.   You can simply follow me from the site or you can sign up  for my newsletters for updates on the latest going on here and with the books I am publishing. I’m sure you have your reasons for coming. These are reasons to stay. Don’t break my heart. Leave a comment below about some of the things you’ve liked about my growing blog so far. I love to hear from you.

Joy.

 

#TeamJoy: I’m building a street team and I want you to join it.

One launch down, numerous to go.

As I wrap my head around being a published author a few things come to mind. I can’t do this alone. I need your help. I need your ears, your eyes, and a little bit of your free time. I’ve decided that now that I have an idea of what my launches will look like, I should build a street team. Here you’ll find all the specifics, and decide if being a part of the team is for you. Loved The Alpha’s Dream? Great! Here’s how you can help me bring you more.

Street Team Requirements:

-Like Jocelyn F. Young Facebook page

-local distribution of flyers to coffee shops or other reader friendly locales

-minimal promotion assistance, I.e. tweets, retweets, ig, and Facebook promo

-launch week reviews of projects

 

Obviously, I don’t expect you to do any of this without incentive. I realize you are giving up your precious time. So, here are the things I will be giving to those who join the team!

-free finished e-book copies of future works

-exclusive team swag

-exclusive street team only giveaway

I already have the first giveaway planned. I’m really excited about growing with all of you and sharing in my success. So, join my street team and we will take Shifter Romances to a new level.

Joy

#LaborandDelivery

The Alpha’s Dream is officially live.

My heart is a toddler at Disney World. Excited, drunk with happiness, and over stimulated. All the insecurities I have had about this project are out of my hands now. What I know is that I’ve loved Nathaniel and Euphoria since their conception. I knew they were beautiful before the were flesh and bone and vibrant personalities. I learned them as they grew beneath my fingers.

I am happy to have introduced them to you, their village.

All of these metaphors are corny. I know, but they come from an honest and sincere place. They also come from my pregnant brain which as I write this is staring down the barrel at my due date. In theory, I have five more weeks. In theory.

All of my little darlings have come three weeks early. So, It’s very likely that I only have two weeks left. Birthing books and babies almost feels the same. Almost. One of those things is definitely more painful than the other. Nonetheless, they both come with fear and want. My heart swells when I think of the lives they will take on and they both make me feel like I am exactly where I should be.

The Alpha’s Dream is a manifestation of so many dreams. The newest little love who will soon follow is a manifestation of dreams as well. As they both grow and thrive,  my hope is  that I never forget these things were born of nothing. These things came to exist where once was only barren land. Gratitude above all things. Faith woven within and I am forever humbled.

Joy.

#ReleaseDayMagic

We made it! The Alpha’s Dream is live on Amazon! One-Click your Copy or read it free on Amazon today!!!!

Release day is final here and I am so excited. After months of hard work, it feels intensely rewarding to have this project complete and in your hands.

I’m not foolish. There is still a lot of work to do. There is a lot of promoting that will continue to go on in my quest to become a bestseller. I am determined to leave my mark on this genre.  All that, the knowing that the work isn’t finished, doesn’t stop me from having an abundance of gratitude for being this far.

I have loved writing all of my life. Every step I take toward being a known writer brings me that much closer to the dreams I have of being internationally renowned. My dreams are much bigger than one released eBook, but it starts here.

It’s started with The Alpha’s Dream and two unlikely characters who fell in love. I am proud. I am filled with all manners of thank you’s and Amen’s. My cup runneth over.

I have learned so much along this process. My instincts are sharpened, my skills as well. I trust my voice and the voices of my characters. I trust what I am doing and all that comes in between. Every moment that I’ve spent creating this has burned into my brain that writing is purpose.

I’m willing to grow in my writing even more and learn everything I can to be the best in my field. I expect that every project I work on will bring me more growth.

It is such a simple thing when it’s all said and done to see my name as author on my release page, but it doesn’t feel simple. Even setting up my Author’s page on Amazon brought tears to my eyes. I feel light. I feel lifted and honored.

I’ll be doubling my promotional efforts after this, but today. I’m only going to enjoy being a published author. I’m going to enjoy saying to my littles, this is what Mama has been working on all those long hours. I’m going to bask in my husband pride at the work being finished. This is a dream realized and nothing can dampen that feeling. Nothing at all.

Joy.

 

#MamasatWork

With the official launch day of The Alpha’s Dream being only six days away (April 23rd), I’ve had a little time to reflect. One of the things I constantly think about is how much time I spend away from my little loves while I work. The eldest is nearly 3. Often, when I say mama has to work, I’m immediately bombarded with tears and pleas not to go.

It feels like the ultimate in betrayal to close the door on my children and write.

It feels frivolous.

I’ve had to get creative with explaining to my little ones what mama does and why mama does it. They don’t always understand, but it helps me to say out loud there is a purpose for my actions.

I’m a writer because I love to write. I am a writer because I love to read, and I find words powerful. I am a writer because it is my passion. I feel deeply that it is one of my purposes in life. I write because it supports their lives and my ability to be with them on a daily basis.

There is nothing easy about being away from my little loves while I work. Even though we are in the same house and in theory I can reach them at any time. It is a heartbreaking separation. It feels selfish to be so close and still miss bed time routines and evening wind downs. It is frustrating to her the current littlest crying, but knowing if I even peek out it will only make things worse. Their father is more than capable of tackling their challenging moments even if it’s not in my preferred way. I know they are ultimately okay.

When I remind them mama works because it helps to pay for the bath water they love to play in or their favorite foods, I am also reminding myself. My writing is part of our livelihood. It is part of the way that I say to my lover, we are on the same team. We are building our life together. Writing is part of the way I say to my little loves dreams are valid and worthy of being chased. My example is how they will learn to survive on doing what they love when the time comes.

Writing is part of the way I say to myself it is okay that corporate America was not your best choice.

In a perfect world, as I write more and my books become more profitable it will become clearer to all of us that the hours aren’t wasted. Being a mama author is nothing if not a constant juggle of priorities. It is a battle of who is loved more and how much time the more loved gets.

I love my children. I do not lie to them about what my writing is for me and us. I also do not dismiss their feelings on the matter. Mama works because these little loves deserve all things divine. Their father and I are determined to give those things to them.

Joy.

 

#AprilShowers

I have to say, I’m not upset that it feels like this year is breezing by us.  I have a little bit of an added incentive to rush some, because in May I will be welcoming my third little love. I’m only hoping for healthy happy baby. So every month brings me a little closer to that reality.

In other news. April is super important as The Alpha’s Dream will be released later this month. So many things are still left to be done, and here are the ones I will get to expressly before the release. Plus, updates on any migrated goals.

April Goal List:

-Format The Alpha’s Dream

-Decide on KDP Select Exclusivity

-Pick New Release Date for Second Project

-Execute Promotion Phase 2

Migrated Goals:

-Send The Alpha’s Dream to the Editor

-Complete Shifter Shorts

-Finish Second Novella

I should be more upset about not finishing the novella and the shorts than I am. The truth is very simple, I overestimated what my time would be like while completing edits. At this point, I have to take them off my list. They will be added at some point after baby is here and settled, but I’m not going to pressure myself to have them  done a minute before hand.

While dream building and executing, it is important to know your limits. Give every goal on your lists your best shot, but understand when things are beyond your control. Those books just got away from me. So, I will reset and get back on it. After my second full release, I will reevaluate.

How have your goals been going? Are you hitting them all or just barely getting by? Leave a comment below.

Joy

#MarchRevisited

March was a busy month. I’m running behind schedule as seems to be the story of my life, but still there was a lot to get done and even more as April flies into view. So let’s get an update on what my March goals were and see where we ended the month.

March Goal List:

-Send off First Newsletter

-Send The Alpha’s Dream to the Editor

-Build up my ARC Lists

-Execute Phase #1 of my Marketing Plan

Migrated Goals:

-Finish Second Novella

-Write/Edit 2 Shifter Shorts

So here are the updates.  The list is still long. I successfully created my newsletter, but have not sent even one out. The Alpha’s Dream did not make it to the Editors as I’m still working on my second draft Edits and the novella and shorts are just plan out of view.

The only things I accomplished completed were Building my arc lists, which is an ongoing thing, and executing part one of my marketing.  Those are two important things and I’m working hard on them, but my aim is always to complete my goal lists.

I’m torn between being completely disappointed that I’m not hitting my lists and also recognizing that I have more time constraints than I give myself credit. This isn’t a fun thing to come to terms with, but it must be done.

I have to just adjust. Adaptability to the circumstances of my life are the only things that will keep me put together right now. My husband, my children, my pregnancy, and all the other events going on have a level of priority that I have to respect. Sigh.

It will only get harder when baby three is here in may, but I have to find a groove. My dream needs to flourish and it means I have to make the time.  No one else is going to do the work for me. Every part of my dream come with it’s on obstacles. I cannot let myself forget that.

Over the next month I will be taking a serious look at my time constraints and determine what are the most important things I must do to keep pushing toward my end game. Hopefully, the conclusion will be a more efficient schedule and better execution. We will see.

Joy.

#soclose

On April 2, 2017 I will reveal the cover of my first realease. Twenty-one days later, The Alpha’s Dream will be live on Amazon.com.

My emotions are all over the place, but mostly I feel like it’s time. I’ve worked hard. I’ve loved these characters. I’ve struggled with the long hours, prayed,  discussed, and planned to a level that I never have before. I know I am doing what I am meant to do. Writing isn’t just something I do for a hobby or even for a paycheck. It literally calms my souls to be able to create these stories. Isn’t that what your purpose should do? It is what I have come to expect.

This has been a crazy journey. It has asked of me things that I did not believe I had to give.  Time and again it challenged what I believed was possible, and forced me to make adjustments. I am stronger now because I have attempted this, and because I refuse to fail at it.

I am stronger now, because I am no longer afraid to have it fail.

The Alpha’s dream is honey in my mouth and will be forever. Whether it is my first bestseller or a complete flop, it has awakened a sleeping dragon in me. It has taught me how to give my all without question, and without expectation. I’m excited to have you be a part of this.

Join me on April 1st, 2017 for my first official cover reveal. Let’s get acquainted. After all, we are in this together.

 

Joy.

 

#wingingit

I’m feeling the crunch.

In a little over three weeks The Alpha’s Dream will be live and ready for the world.  I’m excited, and terrified, and exhausted. All the things I thought I would be over-ish by now. Turns out, I was lying to myself. Not a habit I want to continue, so I’ll put that on my list of habits to break this year.

I make a lot of list.

Whatever it takes, right? Whatever it takes.

I’ve spent the last several months working my behind off to create The Alpha’s Dream. I love my work. I’m really happy with it…mostly. Lol. I don’t know that there will ever be a day where there won’t be something that I want to tweak about it.  Such is life as a writer. I hope I never lose the hunger for creating stories and then for making them better. It’s all part of my ever expanding dream.

It will continue to grow.

The closer I get to the end of this or rather the middle, the more attached I get to my characters. Their needs have grown with my understanding of them. They expand, and I relish their expansion.

I love that my hero, Nathaniel, is sure of himself, until his heroine, Euphoria, forces him to examine his most hidden resentments. I love that Euphoria doesn’t try to change him, and instead makes whatever uncomfortable choices she has to in order to keep them both in their comfort zone. It doesn’t work, because they want each other too badly. The fact is, when you are made for someone, attempting to walk away from that will never end well. It takes a little transformation and a lot of faith to come out happily ever after.

This book has become so many things for me. Hope. Labor of love. Confirmation. Affirmation, and so on and so forth. I have learned more about myself as I’ve crafted its pages than I intended too. That’s a good thing. What we love should reveal us to ourselves.

I hope everything I write has that effect on me. After all, there is nothing more dangerous than a settling into complacency. I don’t want to be the author who simp,y cranks out books with no regard as to their effects. I strive to keep that true always.

I want you to enjoy my book. I want you to read and re-read it because the story is good, and the love is real, and it reminds you of something you’ve wanted or have. I want you to come back for me. As we continue on this voyage together, I want you to know that my heart is in it.

 

Joy.