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Using Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies to Meet Writing Goals

Meet Your Writing Goals using Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendencies

Last weekend I was blessed to speak at Maumee Valley Romance Writers, Inc. Every January we have our annual goals discussion. The first half of my talk was about basic goal-setting: taking time to think about professional, health, emotional and personal goals for the year and deciding how and when to achieve them.

During the second half I shared how we can use Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies to meet our writing goals.

We had a frank discussion, and I was thrilled to learn we had writers ranging in all four tendencies. I was surprised to learn some of the solutions I thought would work for one type clearly wouldn’t. And I loved hearing these writers share what would work for them.


Meet Your Writing Goals using Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendencies


If you’re not familiar with Gretchen Rubin’s new book The Four Tendencies, you can read about it HERE. Basically, Ms. Rubin studies human nature (she’s the author of several New York Times best-selling books, including The Happiness Project), and she divides people into four groups according to how they respond to expectations.

  • Upholders meet inner and outer expectations readily.
  • Questioners meet inner expectations easier than they do outer ones.
  • Obligers meet outer expectations more readily than inner ones.
  • Rebels struggle against both inner and outer expectations.

In other words, Upholders tend to get things done that are important to them personally as well as what others expect them to do.

Questioners tend to get things done that make sense to them. If someone expects them to do something they don’t agree with or see the value in, it won’t get done.

Obligers tend to get things done when someone is depending on them. They find it difficult to meet personal goals.

Rebels want to do things in their way and in their time. Standard advice for meeting goals does not work for this tendency!


*If you’re not sure what tendency you fit in, take the QUIZ (linked). It’s short and sweet.*


Here’s what I loved about having this discussion with fellow writers.

Upholders are planner geeks, and we (yes, I’m an Upholder!) love time management tools. We can be rigid and too-rule-follow-y, but we get things done and that’s good. Setting daily/weekly/monthly writing goals works for Upholders.

Questioners who struggle to meet their writing goals need to keep asking questions about the goal until an answer clicks in that makes sense to them. For example: I’m going to write for one hour every weekday morning before work. You might then ask, why the morning? and you’d remember your nighttime routine is exhausting. But what if I wrote right after dinner? But you already decided to walk on the treadmill at that time. Face it, my creative energy is gone by 8pm.

At that point, you see the value in dedicating an hour in the morning. But you might have to keep questioning why writing every weekday is important until you get to your gold.

Obligers don’t want to let people down. If you fall into this category, you might put off writing until a hard deadline looms. Sure, you know you need to write or you’ll struggle to finish the book, but you struggle to feel the urgency. In this case, an accountability partner or group can make a difference. If you decide to physically meet someone at the library or a coffee shop to write for two hours, you’re much more likely to actually write at that time then if you marked those hours on your calendar to write at home.

As far as the Rebels out there, I urge you to throw out all the “expert” advice about planning and goal setting and do your own thing. Experiment. Get creative. And keep trying new methods of getting and keeping your butt in the chair until you find what works!

I’d love to hear how you find success in meeting your writing goals! Please leave a comment!

Have a terrific day!

Author Platform: Newsletter Providers

Author Platform: Newsletter Providers


One of the essentials of an author platform is establishing a mailing list. The easiest way to do this is to sign up with one of the numerous newsletter providers.

I confess I resisted starting a newsletter list for a long time.

When I was an aspiring writer:

  • I felt I had little to offer. Why would anyone want my newsletter?
  • There were so many newsletter providers to choose from. How would I know which one to pick?
  • I feared the entire process would be time consuming and nerve wracking.

I was wrong.

With so many great providers to choose from, there’s no reason not to start building an email list today–no matter how far along you are on your publishing path. Most newsletter services offer free, limited accounts. They also have easy-to-use templates, scheduling options, sign-up widgets for your website, ways to import or export subscriber lists, and segmenting capabilities.

I recommend looking ahead before signing up with a provider. Hopefully, at some point, you’ll have enough subscribers to move out of the free account. That’s why it’s important to research the costs involved when you’re just starting out.

Be aware that most providers fall into one of two camps.

  1. They charge you based on your subscriber list and allow unlimited emails.
  2. They charge you based on how many emails you send per month.

If you only send newsletters once or twice a year, you’re probably better off paying per email.

Check out Sendinblue or YMLP.

If you send newsletters out often, you’re probably better off paying based on the size of your list.

Check out MailChimp, MailerLite, or Constant Contact.


If you’re looking for a thorough list of possible providers, go to “Top 25 Free or Low-Cost Email Marketing Web Applications (linked).”


Full disclosure: I started out using Mailchimp, and I currently use Mailerlite because they offer a substantial discount if you pay annually. I’ve been very happy with both.

Do you have any questions about newsletter providers? I’ll do my best to answer!

Have a wonderful day!


Weak Areas in Your Writing? Website Essentials? Answers Here

Weak Areas in Writing? Website Essentials? Answers Here! Jill Kemerer

I’ve been going through the archives of my old blog ( and came across a few articles I’m going to share here. They are still relevant and may help you.

The first is “Strengthen Weak Areas in Your Writing” (linked).

Here is a snippet:

I’m writing a first draft. I’m not a fast drafter, and I’m not a revise-as-you-go writer either. I’m somewhere in between.

There are days when I have to glue myself to the chair in order to achieve my word count goal. I should have invested in superglue this week. Yikes. The first fifty pages are slow and torturous for me.

Each writing session starts with a review of the previous scene. Weaknesses glare at me. I tidy up the details before writing a new scene.

Here are the weaknesses I’m fighting in this book:


Next up is “14 Blog or Website Essentials for Writers” (linked).

I could write this post today with no changes. These are still my essentials for author websites.

Here is a snippet:

Often I’ll see writers commenting on blogs, and I’ll click through their profile to check out their blog/website, leave a comment, or e-mail them. I add them to my social networks too.

That’s why I’m surprised when I see very basic “musts” (in my humble opinion, at least) overlooked. You’d be shocked at how many writers don’t include an e-mail address anywhere on their site. Agents and editors DO occasionally contact authors from websites. contact writers from their websites. No e-mail? Missed opportunity. With the countless free e-mail services out there, I don’t understand why a writer would omit this.

What about failing to engage readers? I’ve wanted to respond to blogs where comments were either turned off or only allowed by team members. Again, this doesn’t make sense to me. If you want readers to connect with you, you have to provide them ways to do this.

Another problem? No spelled out reason for me to be on the site. If you’re a writer and you’re trying to build a platform, you need to be bold and tell everyone you’re a writer and what you write. Don’t make them guess!



What are your weak areas in writing? What essentials for author websites did I miss?

Have a terrific day!

What Are Your January 2018 Goals?

January 2018 goals! Welcome to another year. Sure, 2018 is already ten days in, but it’s still pretty fresh. I’ve been using my new planner for over a week, and I love it. I decided to try the Day Designer this year. It really works with the way my brain is wired.

Here’s a peek at the monthly and weekly layouts.

Day Designer


It has a pretty cover, too!


Day Designer Cover


I also use Microsoft OneNote to keep track of social media stats (important for author platform) and setting monthly goals. I thought I’d share my goals with you on the first Wednesday of each month, and feel free to share yours in the comments.

Jill’s January 2018 Goals:

  1. Finish revising and polishing third book in Wyoming Cowboys series. Submit as soon as finished.
  2. After manuscript is turned in, dedicate time each weekday on side project.
  3. After manuscript is turned in, continue writing work-in-progress novel.
  4. Continue health plan (exercise for 30 minutes 4-5 days per week, log calories in MyFitnessPal and stay within calorie range).

After I set my monthly goal, I take time to figure out how I can actually accomplish it.

Last Sunday I looked ahead and decided how I would finish revising and polishing book 3 in Wyoming Cowboys to turn it in on Friday, January 12.

This coming Sunday, I will figure out what time block to dedicate to my side project (it will be roughly one hour per day) and how many words I can write on the work-in-progress novel.

My daily word count goals depend on several factors. What other obligations do I have that week? Do I have any other deadlines or editor requests that take priority?

As far as my health goals, every day I log my calories, so no planning is needed there. However, I decide in advance what my exercise plan will be for the week and when I will do it. For instance, Tuesday and Thursday I have a Biggest Loser Boot Camp DVD planned for 8:30 am. Wednesday and Friday I have a yoga DVD planned for 9 am. It works for me.

I also plan coffee or breakfast dates with local friends in between my busiest times. Face time with people I care about is vital to my well-being.

Okay, I’ve shared my goals. What do YOU want to accomplish in January?

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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