First Cup of Coffee – April 22, 2024

Owning your process and still being open to learning from what others do to sustain productive creativity and aggressively refill the well. Some data on BookBub Featured Deals and release strategy, too.



First Cup of Coffee – February 2, 2024

A deep(ish) dive into my process today, to give an idea of how far down the intuitive writer spectrum I am. Also more on nuking the idea that slower = higher quality, and quieting the conscious mind to liberate the subconscious.



First Cup of Coffee – August 25, 2023

Burnout: how to recognize it, how to define what stage you’re at, and what to do about it. I recommend aggressive refilling of the well for all. Also, vacation, Hurricane Hilary, and doing Beach.



First Cup of Coffee – June 16, 2023

Happy to report that my training program to increase creative flow and word count is working! Also, additional thoughts on the ethics of using AI-generated work and how money factors into that for some people.



First Cup of Coffee – January 12, 2023

On burnout – how to identify it, prevent it, and recover from it, should you have to. Also other thoughts on sustainable creativity, monetization (and not) and making a living from your art or passion.



First Cup of Coffee – January 10, 2023

Superpowers, immortality, and whether we’d keep everyone alive forever if we could. Also the movie She Said, reflections on the naughty Tumblr I used to have and how the #metoo movement changed so many things for me.



First Cup of Coffee – January 9, 2023

Sad news – my 17yo cat Isabel passed away over the weekend. She went peacefully at home though. Otherwise I’m talking about productivity, training to increase wordcount and asking a Tarot question.



First Cup of Coffee – November 18, 2022

The novella is done! I’m reviewing my productivity over the last year and discussing the next projects. I’m also mulling writing retreats, why we go on them, and what I hope to get out of the one I’m going to.



Preventing Burnout with Non-Monetized Creativity

If you missed it, SHADOW WIZARD is now available for preorder! It releases September 29, 2022. This is Book One in my new trilogy, Renegades of Magic, and continues the story begun in the Bonds of Magic trilogy. Preorder links below!

Our topic this week at the SFF Seven involves our non-writing hobbies.
In various discussions around burn-out and sustainably productive writing habits, I’ve discovered that many professional authors (as in, getting paid to do it) have another creative outlet that is non-monetized. Ted Kooser, a U.S. Poet Laureate (1004-1006), told me that he painted as a hobby. His paintings were apparently glorious and much-sought, but he’d made the decision to only give them away. It was important to him to have a creative outlet that wasn’t connected to money. This was a startling thought to me at the time, and one I’ve come back to often.
Other authors I’ve talked with in various scenarios have also discovered that approach: that having a non-monetized creative outlet not only refills the well, but prevents burnout (or allows a creator to recover from it).
What happens to many of us – and I’m speaking of authors, but I imagine it happens with all creatives – is that we begin with writing as the hobby. It’s the passion, the special something that we do because we LOVE it. Eventually, with persistence, hard work, and luck, we make that hobby into the profession. Then it’s no longer the alternative to the day job and other responsibilities. It’s become work.
Which, let me be clear, is good and natural. I’m a big believer in treating writing like my job. That’s how I support myself and my family.
Still, to manage the creative self, I’ve found I need other outlets to refill the well and take the place of that other, special, and relaxing Thing. Keeping it non-monetized is the challenge. Especially since the pandemic began, I think we’ve all become adept at casting about for side-gigs. In fact, the gig-culture was going strong before that. It’s tempting to take that successful hobby – I imagine Ted Kooser’s friends admiring a painting, offering money for it, and him turning it down with a slight smile and shake of his head – and begin to dream of taking that art viral and making an avalanche of comforting money from it.
I sometimes think there’s a certain magic in refusing that temptation, in enjoying creativity for its own sake.
And magic is precious.