First Cup of Coffee – September 19, 2022

Some stats on my Bookbub Featured Deal and setting DARK WIZARD free for the week. TL:DR-great sell through on books 2 & 3! Also how I harvested grapes, organized all the things, and danced to TSwift.

Productivity Coaching and Small-Group Mastermind

Earlier this summer, I was chatting with my good friend, author Darynda Jones. Okay—I was hitting her up to help me with some plot brainstorming, because she’s so much better at pre-plotting than I am. Once we solved my plot problem, she mentioned her chronic lack of productivity. As often plagued her, she found herself months behind deadline—on multiple projects—and feeling that panicked exhaustion of never being able to dig herself out of that hole. Like I admire her ability to pre-plot, she wishes she had my ability to be consistently productive with wordcount so I always meet my deadlines.

“If I could just look up and see someone else writing and holding me accountable, I think I’d do so much better,” she said. Because she’s my friend, I told her that I could do that for her.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure how well it would work, but I thought if I could help her at least get through finishing the most-pressing, truly awfully late book, that would be something. So, she switched to my writing schedule. We got on Zoom in the mornings, chatted briefly about goals, then each wrote on mute with our windows minimized. We took short breaks between, and worked for three or four hour-long sessions. After I got my 3,000 words for the day (my sustainable daily wordcount), she kept writing while I worked on other business and timed her.

We discovered a number of interesting things.

  1. She was interrupted less by family because they didn’t want to disrupt my writing
  2. She found herself getting up earlier, feeling more positive, and being hugely more productive. She got more done in two months of working with me than she had during the previous seven months.
  3. She began to have fun writing again! And she is now on track to meet all future deadlines.
  4. To my surprise, I liked it, too. Talking with her daily gave me the opportunities to vent frustrations and feel like I wasn’t so on my own in this sometimes lonely enterprise.

Three months later, meeting with her has become a key part of my writing day.

My husband, overhearing our Zoom meetings and Darynda’s enthusiasm for how well this was working, said it reminded him of a technique he’d learned as a young athlete to improve his performance—one that world-class runners use to increase their running time. He would find other excellent runners to set a pace for him. At first it was difficult for him to keep up with the pace, but before long he found himself running faster than he’d imagined possible.

Now, I am no athlete! But I can see that this is a perfect analogy. You can spend time alone trying to increase your writing productivity—and you may have some slight success—but what could increase your productivity the most in the shortest amount of time is to find a productive writer that knows how to set the pace for you.

It turns out I have the skills to draw that productivity out of you. I know how to challenge you in a way that creates a sense of playful participation. I can help you discover what your sustainable daily productivity looks like. Like Darynda, you will soon find yourself writing more smoothly and naturally, and effortlessly. It really can be fun again!

So, because this worked so well with Darynda, I’m going to offer this as a supplement to my other author-coaching services.

Actually, I’m offering two new things—which can be combined or not, according to your needs.

Because that’s the pivotal consideration here: what do YOU need in order to move forward in your writing career? Writing productivity is one thing, but we all know there’s more to being an author than just laying down words. (Alas for that, but so it goes!)

What I’m hearing from a lot of writers is they want a long-term community or partnership—and they want help with productivity. Let’s face it—2020 has been a vicious year for both keeping our chins up and putting words on the page.

So, here are my solutions.

I’m offering to set you up with a mastermind group of like-minded writers. I’ll match you up based on creative mindsets and processes, ambitions, needs, and outlooks. I’ll teach you how to function as a mastermind together, to make something bigger than your individual selves in order to move everyone forward. I’ll personally lead the group at the beginning, then—once you’ve all decided how you want to run your own group the way you all want it—I’ll visit with periodic check-ins to make sure the group is staying on track. We want this to be a positive part of everyone’s lives and creative careers.

As a step further, I’ll set up co-writing sessions. This can be with your mastermind group, or with a different group—or with a single partner, like I’m doing with Darynda. I’ll get you started and set the pace. Once you have a good rhythm, I’ll check in periodically with you.

The small-group mastermind will cost $200/month. If it’s not working for you, you can drop out any time. Or I can set you up with a new group if you prefer. Paying this amount each month is part of the incentive. You’ll value your participation in the group that much more if you’re having to budget for it.

You can also sign up to be matched with a co-writing partner or group (according to your preference) for $200/month. I’ll work with you and check in frequently to see how you’re doing. Again, you can drop out or be re-matched if it’s not working for you.

If you’d like to do both, you can do that for $300/month.

How can you get started? Email me via the contact form and we’ll set up an interview. We can do that via video or voice call—or another medium if you’re not comfortable with those. How you prefer to interact with people is part of how you’ll be matched up. We’ll discuss what you’re looking for, what you hope to overcome, where you are in your writing career and where you hope to be. You can ask me questions and so forth. For this initial conversation, I’ll charge $50.

If you decide the program isn’t for you, I’ll refund your money. If you decide to go ahead, the $50 will go to your first month. If I think you’re just looking for free advice, I’m keeping the $50 ?

You’re also welcome to ask questions in the comments, but all answers will be posted to an FAQ, with personal information redacted.


Check out the pretty pretties! This gorgeous cover by the wonderfully talented Ravven is just phenomenal in print. And now I have copies on hand if you want to order a signed and personalized book! You can also check out my store for signed print copies of most of my other books. *Note that if you want it personalized, you need to fill out the line saying so. Also, if you already have a print copy, you’re welcome to mail it to me for signing, too.

Also, I’m teaching an online class in August: Keeping Secrets and Creating Suspense

The judicious use of secrets and revelations can be a difficult skill for new writers to learn. Jeffe Kennedy, known for her slow reveal of deeply held secrets, worldbuilding details and using secrets to amplify sexual tension will teach skills to approaching this delicate task.

She’ll discuss when to withhold information and how that functions to build tension, even in books that aren’t technically mysteries. She’ll also give pointers on how to know when NOT to withhold information and how to seed important clues. She’ll cover how to create suspense through setting, body language, and dialogue. Finally, Jeffe will discuss different approaches for the big reveal and how to avoid info-dumping so that the pace remains climactic.

Should be big fun!

I’m also considering starting one or more Mastermind groups for aspiring writers. I’d match you up with a few writers of like minds and goals – and current career status – and guide the group in supporting one another to maximize everyone’s success. If you think you’d be interested, message me through the website contact form.