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Blog Posts I Recently Enjoyed Reading

Blog Posts I Recently Enjoyed about Staying Focused

To stay with January’s productivity/time management theme, I’m sharing links to a few blog posts I recently read.

The first one was a guest post by Tamera Alexander over at Seekerville–“10 Writing Tips for Staying Focused & Finishing Your Book.”

Here’s an excerpt:

1. Disconnect…and be disciplined about it—

So easy to say, so hard to do.

In my early years of writing there weren’t as many distractions as there are today—yes, we did already have cell phones and email (I wrote my first novel in 2002, not the dark ages!)—but phones and email and social media weren’t the “great commanders of time” as they seem to be now. The number of ways to communicate has increased exponentially since then. Which, in turn, has contributed to our lack of concentration and ability to focus.

Now there’s Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, blogs and the list goes on and on. An author could easily spend the majority of her time doing social media, staying connected with readers (which is an absolute blast!), and sorting the rest of “life stuff” that always crops up—and never write. Or at least never finish that novel.

The best—the only—way I’ve found that works for me is to turn it off. Literally.

There’s much more to it, and it’s worth the entire read. You can find the rest of the post HERE.

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Bite-Size Sessions for Lower Priority Projects

Bite-Size Sessions for Lower Priority Projects by Jill Kemerer

This month I’m sharing tips based on my experience with setting and meeting goals. I’ll be the first to admit I’m self-motivated and disciplined. However, I have blind spots about habits that don’t always work well for me.

Three years ago, I got serious about reworking my schedule to address those habits. You can read about it in “Get More Done with a Plan.” The schedule worked really well until the pandemic hit.

Then…things fell apart.

I slipped into my old habits. Yeah, I still met my deadlines, but I was no longer making time for the lower-priority projects. When I don’t make time for them, they NEVER get done. Because there’s always another high-priority project to jump the line.

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How the Week is Going

How the week is going (and book trailer!) Jill Kemerer

Well, it’s Monday as I write this, and I already feel overwhelmed. My grocery order had some surprises I hadn’t anticipated. The fruit flies are out in force, and spiders are making their way into my home because they know winter is coming. I hate spiders.

When I look at my planner for this week, I swallow and it’s more like a gulp.

A tight knot is growing between my shoulders. That’s how the week is going.

On the to-do list:

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Every Word Written is a Small Success

Every Word Written is a Small Success. Writing Tips. Jill Kemerer

When you’re in the middle of writing a book, it’s easy to get discouraged. You might not be sure what’s supposed to happen next. You certainly can’t remember what happened two chapters ago. The main characters you thought you knew so well seem wobbly, like you don’t know them at all.

This is when it gets tempting to avoid writing.

When everything inside you is screaming to do ANYTHING but write (hello, laundry! Why, yes, I need to scrub my stovetop right this minute…), extinguish those screams.

Sit down.

Write something.

Anything. Even if it’s ten words. Five.

Every word written is a small success.

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What I’ve Been Up To This Summer So Far

What I've Been Up To This Summer So Far, Jill Kemerer, busy summer

The busy summer has just begun, and I’m already loving it!

We’ve been able to spend time with both my hubby’s family and my family this month, which is practically unheard of outside the holidays. It was so great to see everyone.

We also celebrated our anniversary with a trip to the Toledo Zoo and a romantic dinner after. The zoo had baby tiger twins, and they were the cutest things. Plus, the otters were swimming and having a good old time. They are a lot of fun to watch. Here’s one below.

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Digital Minimalism Experiment: 2 Years Later

Digital Minimalism Experiment 2 Years Later

A little over two years ago, I read Cal Newport’s book, Digital Minimalism (#affiliatelink), and it made a huge impact on me. I immediately did a digital minimalism experiment by setting rules regarding my phone and laptop. In fact, I wrote about it in a blog post back in March 2019, “Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport.”

Here’s a snippet:

“Scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and various news sites often eat up precious evening hours. And I couldn’t tell you what I’ve gotten out of all the mindless scrolling! Another problem I have? If I’m working on my laptop and check in on Facebook, I feel anxiety over unanswered private messages (I don’t use Facebook Messenger on my phone and only get private messages from my laptop). Ditto for unanswered emails–even if I get them at 10pm!”

I also went on to describe the actions I was taking to combat the digital takeover of my free time.

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Let’s Set Goals! {June 2021}

Let's Set Goals {June 2021} Writer Productivity

My writer productivity skyrockets when I set monthly goals. At the beginning of each week I break them down into daily tasks that will work within my current schedule. Do you know how great it is to finish projects? Of course you do! For me, setting monthly goals makes it all possible.

Every 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 May Goals

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3 Ways to Avoid Distractions and Keep Writing

3 Ways to Avoid Distractions When Writing by Jill Kemerer

I’m currently writing the first draft of a new book. I’m working on one of those in-between chapters, and, needless to say, I’m distracted. How to fight distractions when writing?

Well, first let’s look at why I’m distracted.

I’ve reached a spot in the book where I’m not certain what will happen next or even what needs to happen. And instead of figuring it out, I avoid it.

I don’t even think I fight the distractions! Anything is better than the hard work of figuring out the best path forward with the plot.

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