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When is Your Peak Time to Write?

When Is Your Peak Time To Write? Jill Kemerer

I am NOT a morning person. For every piece of advice I read that says to write first thing in the morning, I want to growl. The only thing I can do first thing in the morning is brew a pot of coffee. Even that can challenge me at times.

Granted, I’m in the minority on this one. Most people I talk to admit they do their best work in the morning. I’m fine with that. Hey, we can’t help how we’re wired.

I do my best work in the middle hours. 10am – 4pm. Before 10am, I work out and read the Bible. After 4pm, I switch projects and work on things I need less brain power for. It works for me.

Although I am not a morning person, I get up early every day. It helps me ease into my day, and I find that not being rushed makes a big difference in my mood.

When is your ideal time to get into the writing groove?

Are you able to write during this time, or do you have other obligations?

Also, when is your worst time for writing? For me, it’s late at night. I’m fried after a long day and just need to veg out.

Have a great day! March is almost here! Woohoo!!

16 Ways I’m Beating the Winter Blues

16 Ways I'm Beating The Winter Blues. Jill Kemerer. Blog

Winter can be rough in these parts. Day after day of gray skies take their toll. I’m sure if you live somewhere that’s always sunny, the brightness could take a toll, too. I wouldn’t know since I’ve always lived in states that have all four seasons. Unfortunately, winter just happens to be the longest season around here.

This year I decided to be proactive. I figure I can’t change the gray skies, but I can try new things to make life feel fresh. Here are sixteen things I’ve done since January 1 to beat the winter blues.

  1. Listened to happy music on Spotify. I’m currently enjoying the Sunday Morning Jazz playlist.
  2. Bought new makeup. I didn’t just buy a blush or a lipstick. No, I threw away ALL of my old makeup. It was past its prime, and I had Christmas gift money to spend.
  3. Watched YouTube videos and borrowed a book from the library to try new makeup techniques. This has been fun. I’d never applied foundation with a small brush before. I wouldn’t do it every day, but I’ll use it when I want to look special.
  4. Walked outside. When you bundle up and wear warm boots, you can get outside in the winter. I recently walked three miles during a gentle snow. It was incredible! So quiet and relaxing.
  5. Rented movies. We watched Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and I was stunned by the sets. It was like getting transported to Hollywood in 1969. The attention to detail blew my mind. I’ve read several books recently about movie stars, musicians and places (Hotel Chelsea in NYC and Chateau Marmont in LA) in the late sixties, so “seeing” the Sunset Strip back then was a thrill for me.
  6. Sunday pampering. I give myself a mani-pedi every Sunday night. It just makes me feel fresh.
  7. Read magazines in our living room. Our living room is in the front of our house and has large windows and good lighting. The only problem with this room is that it has great views of the sidewalk, and our mini-dachshund Sophie barks at everything she sees. Since she follows me everywhere, I don’t get to enjoy many bark-free reading sessions, but I’m trying.
  8. Went thrift shopping. I enjoy consignment shops and thrift stores. Finding a new shirt or pair of jeans always makes my day.
  9. Spent a few hours at a different library. We are blessed to have multiple libraries in our system that I can borrow from. So I drove a little farther and browsed the stacks at a different library. I found some great books.
  10. Read books in different genres. I’m reading a short story collection, The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury right now. It’s been on my list for a while, and I finally ordered it. I’m enjoying it even if it is creepy!
  11. Tried a new dessert recipe. Valentine’s Day is my day to try new desserts. I made an ice cream pie–well, dome, really. I layered an Oreo crust, coffee ice cream (with added chocolate-covered almonds), hot fudge sauce, chocolate ice cream, chopped Oreos, more hot fudge sauce, and vanilla ice cream covered with chocolate-shell topping. SO BAD FOR YOU (yet so good)!!
  12. Watched a few episodes of Landscape Artist of the Year (Ovation channel). Seeing artists creating incredible landscapes before my eyes is very interesting and satisfying.
  13. Tried a new coffee shop. Coffee is always good!
  14. Browsed a purse sale. Didn’t buy anything. The prices were still pretty high. But sometimes it’s fun to look.
  15. Watched a high school diving meet. Out of all the sporting events I’ve been to, this was a first! It was wonderful to be WARM the entire time. Plus, we’re pretty proud of my son’s girlfriend who excels at diving!
  16. Modified my Passion Planner. I adore this planner! But the bottom sections of the weekly layout weren’t working for me as given. So I modified them to make more sense for my brain. Now it’s perfect.

I could have listed even more, but you get the idea. None of these things cost a ton of money (except for the makeup–thanks, Mom, for the Christmas money!), yet they brought me joy in so many ways. Sometimes beating the winter blues is just a matter of doing something different for a little while.

How do you get through monotonous seasons?

Have a great day!

Get A Meddled Match Today for 99 Cents!

A Meddled Match 99 Cents Sale. Jill Kemerer

Happy Valentine’s Day!

One year ago, the RESORT TO ROMANCE series kicked off, and several of the authors, including me, are holding a sale! Today through Sunday, you can get the Kindle version of A Meddled Match for only 99 cents! Woohoo!!

A Meddled Match: Resort to Romance Series by Jill Kemerer

Opposites attract…with a little help!

Gavin Sterling wants no part of Matchmaking Week, but his eccentric great aunts insist he fill in for a no-show or he won’t have a chance at inheriting their island resort. Surprisingly, his match intrigues him. Mollie is blunt, sassy, and best of all, has no idea he’s the son of a billionaire.

Mollie Macomb needs a relaxing vacation without the dating drama. A relationship with Gavin would never work in the real world, anyhow. He’s a gorgeous businessman. She’s a quirky failure. But even the unlikeliest couple can find love during Matchmaking Week…

Click HERE to buy A MEDDLED MATCH for only 99 cents!

*I’m an Amazon Associate and earn a small commission with no additional cost to you.*

To check out the rest of the series, click on RESORT TO ROMANCE series!

Have a very happy Valentine’s day!!

The Importance of Motivation in Fiction

The Importance Of Motivation In Fiction. Jill Kemerer

This year I challenged myself to read fiction for a minimum of twenty minutes every weekday. (#20for2020) I’m LOVING this! I’m trying different authors, different genres, and best of all, I’m enjoying the stories. A few weeks ago I read a historical romance novel set during the French Revolution, and I’m currently reading a contemporary romance.

The books are wildly different. The historical romance reeked of danger. The characters were wily, smart, loyal, brave and captivating. The setting came to life. It was a suspenseful, gripping, and deeply romantic book. It had its over-the-top moments, and I loved every one of them!

The contemporary romance is like getting dropped in a heart-shaped box of chocolates–sweet and fun with a lovable cast. I haven’t finished it yet. While I couldn’t put the historical romance down, I’ve been reading the contemporary in small chunks.

What’s kept me reading these books are the characters’ motivations. I understand why they make every decision they make, and I want them to succeed. The contemporary might be more lighthearted without the high stakes of the historical, but it features a heroine with a strong backstory who knows she needs to change if she’s ever going to embrace love. It’s page-turning in its own way.

Motivation can be summed up in one word: Why?

  • Why did she slam the door in the hot neighbor’s face?
  • Why is it important for her to get to Paris, knowing there are people who want to kill her in the city?
  • Why does she agree to work with him, even though she’s attracted to him and fears a romance will ruin everything?
  • Why is he letting her think he doesn’t know who she really is?

As writers, we must be careful to always give clues and reasons so readers understand why our characters act the way they do. If the motivation is unclear, readers get frustrated, think the character is an idiot and lose interest in the story.

Motivation helps readers bond with the characters. We can have the most action-packed plot in the world, but if the characters are flat and the reader has no idea why they’re acting the way the do, they’ll put the book down and move on to another one.

Every time your character makes a decision, be sure to spell out or hint at the reason why. And if you can make it personal and emotional, all the better.

What books have you read lately? Were they page-turners or slower reads? Did you relate to the characters? Why?

Have a terrific day!

By the way, Friday through Sunday, my novella A Meddled Match along with several other novellas from the Resort to Romance series will be on sale for only $0.99! Click the above links for purchase links!

Let’s Set Monthly Goals {February 2020}

Let's Set Goals February 2020. Jill Kemerer Blog

I’m big on setting goals. By listing them and breaking them down into manageable chunks, I accomplish more than I think possible. My process is to set monthly goals, then at the beginning of each week, I create daily goals that will work within my current schedule.

Each month I share how I did the previous month as well as my new goals. Let’s get to it!

How Did I Do? Jill’s January Goals

  • Expand the plot, write the long synopsis, and draft the sample chapters of the fourth book in the Wyoming Sweethearts series. CHECK!
  • Revise/polish proposal and send to agent. CHECK!
  • Continue gathering ideas for new series. CHECK!
  • All the first of the year business tasks. CHECK!
  • Exercise 5 days/week. CHECK!
  • Log calories using MyFitnessPal. ALMOST CHECK–I missed three days of tracking last month, but I’m calling it a win!
  • OTHER:
  • Prepare presentation for speaking engagement at the end of January. CHECK!
  • Read fiction for a minimum of 20 minutes every weekday. (I read tons of nonfiction and want to get more novels in!) CHECK!

January was VERY productive for me, and I attribute it to returning to my strict block schedule. I often get caught in the trap of wanting to work on ONE thing until it’s finished, but I’ve learned that switching projects for a small amount of time each day helps me get more done.

Jill’s February Goals

  • Writing
  • Revise/polish/submit proposal for Wyoming Sweethearts book 4.
  • Plot basic stories for new series.
  • Start setting up promotion for The Cowboy’s Secret, releasing March 17, 2020.
  • Health
  • Continue exercising 5 days/week
  • Continue tracking calories/nutrition with MyFitnessPal
  • Add more protein to diet
  • Other
  • Get back to my crochet project
  • Pick out four novels to read
  • Go through photos to prepare a slideshow for my son’s graduation party

The power of one hour a day is often underestimated. What have you been putting off because you “don’t have time?” Can you carve out an hour once this week to begin? What about an hour each weekday?

No pressure! I just know from personal experience that there’s an amazing feeling of accomplishment in consistently working on something you’ve put off for a long time. Try it!

I’m a huge fan of Cal Newport’s books. His blog has a ton of interesting productivity and time management tips in the archive. This post, “My Focus-Centric Work Day” is from 2009, and I find it completely relevant today. He divides his days into chunks to work on specific projects. My “Shoulder” chunk is at the end of each day, and it’s when I switch gears. I write blog posts or newsletters, draft short stories, plot new books, study, read blogs, you name it. It’s wonderful!

What were your goals last month? How did you do? What would you like to accomplish in February? Leave a comment!

Have a terrific week!

What I’ve Read so Far in 2020

What I've Read So Far In 2020. Jill Kemerer

As I’m writing this, it’s January 20, 2020. Yep, it’s a solid nine days before the post will publish. This means more books will have been read when the post goes live.

I’m okay with that.

For about ten years I’ve tracked the books I read. I started off using a small notebook–one you could fit into a purse–by writing the date, the title, the author and a brief musing on the book itself. Then I found myself doing less musing. Hey, life changes. So I did away with the musings. A few years later, I no longer had a flip phone. So I did away with the small notebooks.

For a while I tracked using Goodreads. But it got weird for me. I’m an author. I used to leave reviews for books, but for various reasons, I no longer do. This led me to the dilemma of stars. I just want to list the books I read–I don’t want to rate each one!

So…I began tracking the books in the OneNote app on my phone. (I’ve used Evernote, too.) I have a virtual Notebook for Reading, and I have tabs for the years. Currently, 2020 has five books on the list. I’m also in the middle of reading three other books, one of which I’m not going to finish. How do I know? I’m just not feeling it, and since reading is my hobby, I gave myself permission long ago to not finish a book I’m not feeling!

What I’ve Read so Far in 2020:

  1. Your Creative Work Space by Desha Peacock. I loved peeking into the work spaces of artists, writers, and other creatives. In addition to fabulous photographs, there is a short interview with each person featured.
  2. The Art of Stillness by Pico Iyer. A good reminder of how quietness and slowing down are important for our well-being.
  3. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Well. This wasn’t an easy read! Every year I read between six and ten classics. I don’t know how I feel about this one. It kept my interest, and I read it until the end, but it’s so unusual.
  4. Rhythms of Renewal by Rebekah Lyons. Perfect read for January. I read it over the course of a week, and it really spoke to me.
  5. Reunited in the Rockies by Mindy Obenhaus. I loved this installment of the Rocky Mountain Heroes series.

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. The above links are affiliate links.

Right now I’m midway through two more nonfiction books. Tomorrow, I’m heading to the library for another novel. I’m not sure what I’m in the mood for, but I’ll grab several and choose from them.

What are you reading?

Have an amazing day!

Growing Comfortable with the Discomfort of Writing

Growing Comfortable With The Discomfort Of Writing By Jill Kemerer

Do you ever feel uncomfortable as you stare at the cursor on the screen or the blank line in your notebook? I do ALL the time!

Here’s the thing. I love writing. But before each writing session, I struggle with discomfort.

My blood grows sludgey in my veins. My muscles tighten. A thousand thoughts flutter through my brain like released butterflies, and I can’t catch a single one.

In the back of my mind is the fear. Will the words come? Will they make sense? Is this story even good? Where is the chocolate??

I do not allow myself to be a slow writer. Because I don’t have the discipline for it. When I write a few hundred words here or there, I get lazy and I lose the plot thread. Trying to get it back takes time–precious time.

So when I’m drafting a novel, I push myself to write a big chunk each day. But before I do, I’m sitting there looking at the cursor, dreading the moment I have to make a decision and put a word on the page. Then another and another until I’m in my groove.

Part of my process is accepting the discomfort. I know I have to grow comfortable each time I sit down to write by reviewing the previous scene. This jump starts my creativity and allows the words to flow.

If the words refuse to flow, I go for a walk. When I return, the cursor no longer taunts me. I’m ready to begin.

Do you dive into each writing session? Or do you feel the discomfort I experience?

I’d love to hear your process! Leave a comment!

This Writer’s Inner Care

This Writer's Inner Care. Jill Kemerer Blog

In December we had several unseasonably warm days, and I took advantage of them by walking at a local park. I even took a long walk on a seasonably cold day–it was 19 degrees out! Every time I was out, I breathed in the cool air and noticed the bare branches. My mind kept circling around something I didn’t want to deal with, but finally, I admitted it. I’d been neglecting my inner care.

For two years I’ve followed a health plan that works for me. Sure, I get off track sometimes, but for the most part logging my food using MyFitnessPal six days a week and doing workout DVDs at home on weekdays has kept the weight off and added energy to my life.

But I’m not always great at the inner stuff–taking time to just sit and think. Using my off hours to recharge instead of scrolling on my phone or tackling a house project.

I love to read and always make time for it–there is that. I’ve also maintained a daily Bible reading habit for almost fifteen years. Reading the Bible is a must for inner care. But the silence I crave, the sitting and thinking about nothing? Feels so indulgent!

Inner care isn’t indulgent, though. It’s necessary.

My inner care involves:

  • Silent time to think.
  • Journaling or making lists
  • Long walks outside in every season
  • Listening to relaxing music
  • Puttering/tidying my office
  • Chatting with friends
  • Reading
  • Bible reading/prayer
  • Dreaming about vacations
  • Making a wish list

The things I crave might be the exact opposite of what you crave. We all have different personalities. This means what recharges me might give you the heebie-jeebies, and your go-to recharger might make me dry heave. That’s okay! The important thing is to figure out what your soul needs–and make time for it.

Are you good about inner care? What have you been craving? Is there any way to make it happen?

On a side note: I’ve found some great blogs that feature monthly Christian fiction releases, so I’m retiring my monthly roundup and will share the other blogs’ links as I come across them! Check out Batya’s Bits: January Book Releases!

Have a lovely week!

Let’s Set Monthly Goals {January 2020}

Let's Set Goals: January 2020

I’m big on setting goals. By listing them and breaking them down into manageable chunks, I accomplish more than I could imagine. My process is to set monthly goals, then at the beginning of each week, I create daily goals that will work within my current schedule.

It’s really satisfying to check off my list each day. Last year I took the extra step of reviewing my week. I like to do this in a small journal on Sundays. The added bonus? It’s now a little time-capsule I can refer back to when I moan that I’m getting nothing done!

So now that the new month, new year, and new decade have arrived, are you feeling confident? Ambitious? I am! Let’s go back to December and see how I did.

How Did I Do? Jill’s December 2019 Goals:

  • Polish the third book in the Wyoming Sweethearts series and send it to my editor. CHECK
  • Revise/polish proposal and send to agent. NO CHECK
  • Exercise 5 days/week. CHECK
  • Log calories using MyFitnessPal. CHECK
  • Attempt to implement homemade chia pudding as a snack. CHECK. (It’s kind of gross, though.)
  • OTHER:
  • Christmas shopping!! CHECK
  • Check out Christmas lights somewhere. The Toledo Zoo has an amazing display, but the crowds and traffic make me iffy! NO CHECK. I couldn’t handle the crowds this year!
  • Watch Hallmark Christmas movies and read the Christmas novels I bought! CHECK

I also took TWO WHOLE WEEKS OFF from work and social media! It was fantastic! The first week was all things Christmas and extended family. The second week was relaxing and cleaning out the scary closets in our house.

Jill’s January 2020 Goals:

  • Expand the plot, write the long synopsis, and draft the sample chapters of the fourth book in the Wyoming Sweethearts series.
  • Revise/polish proposal and send to agent.
  • Continue gathering ideas for new series.
  • All the first of the year business tasks.
  • Exercise 5 days/week.
  • Log calories using MyFitnessPal.
  • OTHER:
  • Prepare presentation for speaking engagement at the end of January.
  • Read fiction for a minimum of 20 minutes every weekday. (I read tons of nonfiction and want to get more novels in!)

I love the new year! I hope you have a healthy, successful beginning to 2020! Please leave your goals in the comments!

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas! From Jill Kemerer

Christmas is almost here–yay! I’m enjoying the season. It’s been flying by! A few years ago I pared down my Christmas prep and festivities, and it’s been good for me. So far this December I’ve watched a few Christmas movies, read a few holiday novels, baked some cookies, wrapped some presents, and stared at twinkle lights.

I’ve been reflecting on 2019 and looking forward to 2020. I’m making a “20 for 2020” list of things I want to do. In the meantime, check out my fun stuff of 2019 video below!

I’m taking a blog break until January 8. I plan on continuing our monthly goals. Mine are never glamorous, often repetitive, but that’s what progress is–consistent steps. Thanks for keeping me accountable.

Have a very merry Christmas! What “fun stuff” from 2019 makes you smile?

See you in 2020!

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