THOUGHTS N’ STUFF
Zomg… so this quarter was really action-packed and yet also muckier than a swamp. (Basically, a lot got done but it was hard to do, I hit a lot of snags, and things moved pretty slowly. It was truly an uphill battle.) But the point is… Q1 is officially OVER, son! And I have some wonderful achievements to announce.
For one: I’ve completed 3 out 6 of my major 2016 goals already!!
And to boot, I’m halfway through with completing the fourth major 2016 goal: rebranding my author website.
WOWEE!! That’s pretty insane, actually, lol. ::pops collar::
Still, it’s a bittersweet victory, sorta. As I said, this quarter felt really difficult and slow. I felt like I definitely engaged in creative guerrilla warfare. Like I was fighting for every minute of my time and every ounce of my peace, while also sniping projects and problems where I could. I wrote, published, created, and built in the spaces I could find, 24/7, while also being a full-time, stay-at-home, single mom to a very rambunctious toddler. It’s not an easy gig (as I’ve brought up quite a few times already, lol), but I’m doing literally everything I can to play this whole creativity game “catch as, catch can”.
I’m ready to relax a bit and enjoy my writing, but I know that enjoyment won’t come until July, when I’m settled in my new city and the baby is firmly adjusted and in daycare. So until then? CREATIVE WAR: THE Q2, RELOADED VERSION.
As I gear up for another 3 months of “war”, though, I’m going to stop, breathe, and give myself a pat on the back for a job well done. And for not totally losing my mind, lol. Lots of things are coming up for Q2 (including our MAJOR move to Tucson to start our new lives), and I want to make sure I’m acknowledging my growth and accomplishments before jumping into the Q2 fray! So here it is: my Q1 round up followed by a monthly breakdown of how I’ve been kicking ass this quarter.
Q1 2016 Round Up
- 13 blog posts for my author site written and posted
- 3 blog posts for The Bohemian Badass written and posted
- 1 book review written and posted
- 3 website home pages redesigned
- 1 author brand rebooted
- 5 creative & career opportunities applied to: 1 rejection received, 2 creative applications withdrawn, 1 application still pending, and 1 won and accepted!
- 1 fully-funded acceptance into my dream program: the MFA in Generative Dramaturgy program at The University of Arizona
- 5 MFA scholarships and fellowships acquired
- 1 theatre production started (and then aborted)
- 16 creative training masterclasses attended, complete with notes
- 15 meaty, creative training signature courses completed
- 20+ action plans for up-leveling my author & blogging brands created
- 1 three-year creative action plan for my personal, creative, and business growth finished
- 3 new, unique IPs added to the Rebel Ragdoll project slate
- 3 novels re-distributed internationally
- 1 book distribution tracker created
- 1 novel pre-order set!
- 1 marketing package created for The Iron Maiden: incl. hot book description, reviewer request email, seven emails for The Books of Ezekiel welcome sequence, a landing page, and a set of FB ads
- 1 new company logo created (for Rebel Ragdoll Productions)!
- 1 major epiphany on life’s purpose realized
- Some awesome graphic design skills attained
- TOTAL WORD COUNT (for The Iron Maiden): 8,161
- TOTAL WORD COUNT (for The Iron Maiden + next 4 books): 12,996
- 1 leisure book read
- 1 awesome apartment acquired in Tucson
- 2 amazing, affordable daycares found in Tucson; 1 daycare chosen
- 1 massive personal, business, AND creative budget finished
- 1 healthier diet and routine adopted
- 1 light, daily exercise routine launched
- 3+ lbs lost! (was not expecting that, lol)
- 1 life officially in order (after countless hours of financial / administrative organization and stress)
- 1 happy, healthy, loving toddler
1. MAJOR 2016 GOAL 50% ACCOMPLISHED: Author Brand & Website Rebrand, Goal #2
So, I’m only halfway through this goal, but I REALLY upped my game on my brand this month (and this quarter).
Not only did I make all the deletions and changes I said I would, but I also spent a lot of time working on the site aesthetic. I really had to dig in and improve my design skills, aesthetic eye, and intuition in order to bring a new face to my author website and brand. And it looks HOTT so far!
So I’ve cut the fat and laid the bones down for the rebrand. Now it’s time to add meat and beauty to it. This’ll include:
- streamlining the website homepage,
- updating and filling out the site pages,
- choosing and activating a final template,
- choosing, solidifying, and launching brand colors, font, and site style, and,
- just making my brand more uniform across all my social media platforms.
The website should be fully rebranded and READY for its new launch by the end of this June, so stay tuned!
2. Created a Weekly Hustle and blog posts galore!
So I did a LOT of blogging this quarter. A lot. On both my author brand page and to a lesser extent on my other brand, The Bohemian Badass. I also got in the rare book review, so I’m pretty amped. I’m trying to review books as a BookTuber as well, but that probably won’t emerge until mid-year.
I’m starting to consider my “Weekly Hustle” updates as sort of a personal writer’s journey journal, and I’m really liking it. I also feel like I’m having a conversation with my audience, if there is one, lol. ::kanye shrug:: More so, though, I love being able to look back on the past weeks, months, quarters, and years and see my growth, how I’ve overcome challenges, etc. So that’s certainly sure to continue!
3. Mad skillz gained in graphic design!
I have to say: diving feet first into my author and business rebrands forced me to up my design game by 1000%! I spent the month getting much more adept at Photoshop, Canva, LeadPages, Befunky, and more design programs so that I could really scrub and cinch my brands.
Mastering certain aspects of Photoshop took a lot of time, but I came out of it with a much deeper knowledge and better fluency in graphic design. And now, I’m dedicating the next decade of my life to training myself as a digital artist and designer! So I’m super proud of myself. 🙂 And I only expect my skills to grow in the future as I do more brand creation!
4. One life officially gotten together, lol
I had to do SO many administrative things, and it sucked up the majority of January. Just little life things that all piled up into one big, and necessary, time-suck. Tax filings, appointments, paperwork filings, and more. But it really helped me get my foundation down. I think this was really a foundational month for me, and I’m glad I took time to establish and steady myself before jumping into the creative fray.
1. MAJOR 2016 GOAL ACCOMPLISHED: Rebel Ragdoll Project Slate Development, Goal #6
In yet another victory in my ongoing writer’s journey, I’ve kept my word on yet another one of my major 2016 goals and have added THREE new intellectual properties and franchise ideas to the Rebel Ragdoll project slate!
While this is yet an ongoing endeavor, I’m pretty relieved to know that, through all the daily challenges of #mommylife and #writerslife and #creativeentrepreneurlife, I still have enough energy and oxygen to keep churning out and mulling over new ideas for my development slate! I’m excited about these three ideas, and I know they’ll only develop more in my subconscious as they stay on my project slate.
One thing I have noticed though is that my ideas are coming a little more slowly nowadays. Guess that means I should actually finish writing and publishing the current ideas to make more room in my ether. 😉
2. Applied to a bunch of creative opportunities.
Yup! I’m still hitting the pavement on applying for internships, jobs, fellowships, contests, and scholarships, because that’s just become a part of my “artist’s way”. I’ve resolved that 2016, and all other years hence, would be PAID years, wherein I’m not trading in my experience, time, effort, and expertise for “credit” or for “more experience”.
Instead, I’m trading all that in for MONEY. And maybe even the coveted “opportunity”.
But it has to be one hell of an opportunity. And once you start gunning for paid gigs, the “competition” gets stiff. (I use the word “competition” lightly, because I don’t see my fellow writers as competitors. I see us all as experts, at different levels of mastery, all possessing different skill sets that may or may not be suitable to the opportunity at hand.)
And thus far, I’d advanced to the next stage in 4 out of 5 creative opportunities, and achieved success with ONE major one, which means I…
3. Got accepted into my dream program, the MFA in Generative Dramaturgy at the University of Arizona!!
This was February’s crowning achievement. I am SO incredibly psyched, especially because this is my DREAM program! It’s three years long, and it fits perfectly into my plan as an artist and my life as a mom.
AND IT’S FULLY FUNDED! AKA PAID!!
Let me tell you about the awesomeness of this program. Here’s how I’ll get to be a creative badass:
- My major is located in the School of Theatre, Film, and Television, which is a trinity of awesomeness for what I want to do in my career.
- I’ll get to major and become an expert in theatre and dramaturgy.
- I’ll get to dramaturg plays, write plays, and produce plays.
- I’ll get to take some amazing classes and also TEACH some classes!
- I’ll also get full access to the resources at the School of Theatre, Film, and TV, so that I can execute my own projects.
- I’ll have a steady solid means with which to support myself and my daughter.
- I’ll have access to other campus resources, including business, educational, financial, and recreational / wellness resources.
- I’ll have enough time and flexibility to write and publish my novels through Rebel Ragdoll Press.
- I’ll have enough time and flexibility to build a profitable blogging & infopreneur biz at The Bohemian Badass.
- I’ll have enough time and flexibility to develop, direct, and produce a debut action-thriller film trilogy through Rebel Ragdoll Productions.
- I’ll just have time and space, money and opportunity to build my badass creative f’empire, Rebel Ragdoll, from the bottom up.
- I’ll just generally have more time to establish myself financially, creatively, and personally (as a mom), and to grow.
- I’ll finally have a community of artists around me that I can support and who can support me, and we’ll understand each other.
- I’ll be free and finally standing on my own two feet, after three years of hardship and uncertainty. And that is worth more than anything. Super grateful. 🙂
So yeah. This is an amazing opportunity, and I’m so incredibly grateful. Arizuma, here I come!
4. Got FIVE scholarships to go to my dream UA Dramaturgy program!
In even better news, the Generative Dramaturgy program is fully-funded with a teaching fellowship and multiple other scholarships and fellowships. So I’m even MORE amped, obviously, lol.
This is a great boon to my creative career, and will obvs make my transition to Tucson a lot smoother.
5. Got started on my FIRST theatre production at UA!
Aaannd, then I was taken off, LOL. Not through any fault of my own, though, hehe! The production is called Epic Proportions, and is the first production of the season (to my knowledge). I started as an Assistant Dramaturg, but then it was decided that it would be better to wait until I got to campus to involve me in any major theatre work.
Either way, I’m ready to jump into the fray, so bring it on, UA!
6. Created 20+ creative action plans to implement in Q2.
Yes, I know that sounds insane, but hear me out. I didn’t actually finish all of these plans until March, but this is the month that I went crazy with them. As you guys know, I take a LOT of online trainings and masterclasses. But they’re only half-helpful if I don’t implement the knowledge I’m learning.
So, based on what I learn, I create action plans for each class. This is so that later, when I’m ready to apply my knowledge, I don’t need to re-take the masterclass to figure out what I need to do. The plan is just laid out for me, sequentially. Obviously, this takes time, but it’ll be well worth it when I’m ready to implement all this knowledge in Q2!
7. Healthier lifestyle activated
I’m really aiming to be the healthiest creative I can be. We spend a lot of time sitting and working on our art, but it’s also important to take care of our bodies. And in turn, our bodies will take care of us! So I’ve been more deliberate about making healthier choices and getting more exercise, and I actually even lost over three pounds over the past month, lol!
An unexpected boon, but not unwelcome. Teehee! So these are the ways I’ve decided to take better care of my body and health:
- Meal sizes. I changed up my eating patterns and portions. Now I eat big breakfasts, medium sized lunches, and a healthy snack or smoothie for dinner.
- Types of meals. Cooking at home, eating more veggies, hummus, yogurt, fruit, and muffins have really killed my cravings and upped my energy levels. Eating out has pretty much been completely eliminated from my diet, except on special occasions or in the rare times that I don’t have the opportunity to cook.
- Drinking more water. This one is still a hard one to nail down, as I really do love juices (especially OJ and lemonade). But I’m working on it. Carbonated drinks are now a once in a while deal.
- Daily exercise. I’m actually pretty good with this in general, except when it’s super cold or super hot outside. Either way, I promised myself I’d do some intense cardio exercise at least 5-10 minutes per day on the days I’m stuck inside, and at least 10 minutes of, um, muscle training, I guess it’s called (abs, glutes, etc). Most other days (when I can get outside), I’m taking a lovely 2-2.5 hour walk with the baby.
- Breastfeeding! Yes, I’m still nursing my toddler 2-4 times a day, and no, I give no fucks if you judge me, lol. I’m going to let her self-wean, but in the meantime, she gets the benefits of better health, closer bonding, raised intelligence, and a kick-ass immune system. As for MY health benefits, since she still drinks quite a bit, I burn anywhere from 300-500 calories a day!
- More rest and listening to my body. I’m actually sleeping between 8-4 am now, with some wakings in the night, but I’m getting used to it. The boost in sleep is helping me a lot, and I also make sure to LISTEN to my body when it says it’s tired. Really helps, and my body thanks me for it!
1. FINALLY made The Iron Maiden available for pre-order. Scheduled to be released June 6, 2016!
BOOM! And there it is. The clock is ticking on my manuscript, FINALLY! The Iron Maiden is officially available on all your favorite e-retailers for pre-order, and it’ll be coming to a reading device near you ASAP!
2. MAJOR 2016 GOAL ACCOMPLISHED: Global Book Distribution, Goal #5
So, I’m excited to announce that one of my major goals listed in my 2016 goals post has officially been achieved! So, in my 2016 goals post, I said I’d get my books globally re-distributed and that I’d keep them that way, didn’t I? Well, I’m pleased to announce that all my novels– The Given, The Taken, Ghosts of Koa– have been globally re-distributed. YAAAYY!! So no more KDP exclusivity for me, thank you very much! You can check out all three books at all your favorite e-retailers, no matter WHERE you shop!
And as an added bonus, I also revamped the book redistribution system for Rebel Ragdoll Press. To keep track of where my books are distributed and at what prices, I created the Rebel Ragdoll Press Book Distribution Tracker spreadsheet. As my backlist grows, I’ll need some serious organization so that I can keep tabs on my IPs. So that’s a tool I’m glad to have spent time creating!
3. MAJOR 2016 GOAL ACCOMPLISHED: Brand, Craft, Marketing, and Entrepreneur Creative Training Unleashed, Goal #4
In the past three months, I’ve completed 16 one-off masterclasses PLUS 15 fully-fledged signature courses (which include multiple classes and seminars for each). I took notes, listened intently, and created action plans.
And it was awesome.
I definitely went above and beyond in achieving my major 2016 goal, but the year isn’t even over yet. You should SEE what classes I have lined up for Q2! (And of course, that’s not even counting the informative podcasts, blog posts, and e-books I’ve consumed.)
Here’s a listing of the courses and seminars I took in the past three months (*** indicates signature course):
Email List Building (Mariah Coz)
Filmmaking Success (Tanya Kersey)
Fire Your Boss (Dr. Boyce Watkins)
*** The Independent Launch Lite Graphic Design Course (BMays)
*** Personal Branding Jumpstart (Maya Elious)
*** Infopreneur in 5 Course (By Regina)
*** Bestseller Blueprint (Kristin Kieffer)
Create and Market Your First Product in the Next 30 Days (Mariah Coz & Melyssa Griffin)
Black Money: How to Earn 1 Million + Dollars over the Internet (Dr. Boyce Watkins)
Black Money: Why Blacks Waste Our $1.1 Trillion Spending Power (Dr. Boyce Watkins)
Black Money: How to Quit Your Job (Dr. Boyce Watkins)
Black Money: The Man Who Saved His Pennies for 45 Years (Dr. Boyce Watkins)
Saying Yes (Shonda Rhimes)
Create an Interactive PDF for Your Opt In (Jenna Soard)
Explode Your Sales with Facebook Ads + Instagram (Caitlin Bacher & Farideh Caeser)
Launch Your Screenwriting Career (Lee Jessup & Corey Mandell)
Rock Your Email List (Melyssa Griffin)
*** The Art of Story Structure (Joe Nassise)
*** Goodreads Cracked
*** Facebook Ads for Authors
*** 100 Review Book Launch
How to Make a Living Being Creative (Hilary Silver)
Three Secrets to Writing Emails that Make You Riches (Ray Edwards)
Have a Five-Figure Launch with Great Content (Maya Elious & Halley Gray)
*** Copywriting for Authors) mini course (Bryan Cohen)
*** 2016 Live Richer Challenge: The Savings Edition (The Budgetnista)
*** Writing Productivity Habits for Self Published Authors (David James Ault)
*** Success: How to Master Your Mindset & Achieve Your Goals Now
*** Selling for Authors FULL course (Bryan Cohen)
*** #GoIndependent Course (byRegina)
*** Earn More Money Challenge for Women (Patrice Washington)
4. Got logo created for Rebel Ragdoll Productions!
Again, my creative f’empire continues to develop and grow, even if bit by bit. And a part of this growth is nailing down my logos and avatars for each of the four houses of my Rebel Ragdoll multimedia brand.
So this time around, we are focusing on the next creative house under the Rebel Ragdoll umbrella: Rebel Ragdoll Productions!
Take a look at our Rebel Ragdoll Productions logo and avatar and tell me what you think! Yes, she is Asian, and it’s super important to me that we represent diversity in our media. It’s what Rebel Ragdoll stands for!
As an FYI, Rebel Ragdoll Productions is going to officially start development on its debut action-thriller movie in January 2017. We’re actually trying to film it as a trilogy, and we want to do them all at once, lol. Right now, our concept is called “The Grid”, and I’m excited to get it launched!
Last note: I’m not limiting myself to Rebel Ragdoll Productions, obviously. #thatfempirelife is real, so we’re going for creative gold! By the end of Q2, all the avatars and banners for each of Rebel Ragdoll’s creative houses should be finished and ready for primetime!
5. Created a three-year creative action plan.
I truly believe in being as resourceful, efficient, and as methodical as possible. (Except with my blog pots, apparently, lol!) So when I get to UA, I don’t want to waste any time or energy by floundering, being unorganized, or dicking around.
Enter my 3-year creative plan.
This not only serves as a master list of all my creative goals between now and August 2019, but it also much lays out in a rough step-by-step timeline that I can follow so that I hit the appropriate milestones on time. Between the 40+ books I’d like to publish, the plays I have to dramaturg and produce, the creative and artistic skills I need to gain, and the three action-thriller films I aim to write, fund, and direct, I have a LOT to get done. So having a plan is essential!
6. Hit a quarterly word count of nearly 13,000 words for The Books of Ezekiel!
In truth, this might seem grand, but I honestly need to do WAY better, especially if I plan on getting out 8 novels for the year. In truth, I need to be hitting a daily word count of about 3,000-5,000 words a day to really get my goals in. Wish me luck… lol!
7. Got life all lined up for our Tucson move!
I did a heck of a lot of footwork in January and February to get all my ducks in a row, so that, come June, my daughter and I could be stable AND prepare for the big move across country. And I’m happy to say that lots of wonderful things are happening. I found a fantastic and affordable apartment, with enough room for me and the little one, and it’s within walking distance of the University of Arizona campus.
To sweeten the pot, I also found two daycares that are not only AMAZING but also affordable AND within a very short walking distance of my school, job, and place. It’s as though God or the Universe is really opening doors for me to make my transition into our new city and lives 10x easier. So, thanks, God!
8. True purpose realized.
Bruh. I woke up the morning of March 11 understanding EXACTLY what my true purpose was. It was so clear, so plain… like some shining light someone just flipped on while I was sleeping. Like, a light that filled my sight and my soul at the same time. The more I meditated on it, the more I could feel a true alignment in my mind, body, and heart. I know that sounds crazy, but that’s what happened. Have you ever had that moment? #truecalling #truepurpose #staybadass #epiphanyswag
It happened while I was exploring my “WHY” in Patrice Washington’s I Can Earn More Challenge. She asked us to really think about why founding our own businesses or asking for what we’re worth is important. She asked us to consider the larger and deeper implications. And as I did, THAT’S when my moment of clarity came! That’s when I realized why I was so driven to my goals and so drawn to creativity, and also, I realized why I suffered these trials and tribulations of single motherhood.
This is my true purpose, above just serving myself. This is my reason for being:
Alongside my creative f’empire, Rebel Ragdoll, I’m going to establish a foundation for single moms who want to make careers as creatives.
When I realized this, it was as though some crazy spiritual connection was made. Like a spiritual static was being cleared from my body. I know it sounds cray cray, but I don’t care, lol! I immediately shared my revelation on Facebook because this was too deep of an experience to not document it and speak into the world.
I love that my purpose has taken root so much more deeply than before, and that as I build Rebel Ragdoll, I can turn this entire endeavor into something that drives REAL, CONCRETE change. There are a lot of programs and fellowships in my future foundation that I’d love to bring into fruition, but until then, I’m going to first start small by giving 10% of all my income to my foundation, which will then pass to female creatives who are also single moms.
This is the great giveback, so get ready, world!
9. Happy, healthy, loving toddler raised and good mommyhood sustained
If you know me well, then you know that this is always my crowning creative achievement every quarter. In the past three months, I’ve watched my little girl grow at a rapid pace. Just in the past month, she’s been showing her love for dance and imitation, is actively speaking words in her toddler talk (especially the word “NO”, lol), picking up the house phone when it rings and saying “hello”, trying to dress herself, tie her shoes, and give herself a bath (complete with a shampoo, ya’ll), and so much more.
Watching her develop has been beautiful… and yet so heart-wrenching at the same time. Because in just three short months, she’ll be off to daycare, and I’ll be, well, sad as fuck. Lol.
The crazy thing is how unexpected my feelings of sadness are. Being a mom is really one of THE hardest jobs I’ve ever had, and a lot of the time, I didn’t feel as though I was a great fit for the role. This feeling of inadequacy heightened exponentially as I moved into motherhood as a single woman, having my daughter full-time, ’round-the-clock, and with virtually NO breaks. More and more, I began to miss my singlehood, stilettos, sushi, and jet-setting ways… mostly because I thought was just better at that. I thought was better at being selfish.
Obviously, I was really wrong. Because one day, when I realized that my baby would be leaving me for the wide world of toddlerhood and new friends, I broke down and just cried. I couldn’t– and still can’t– really bear the thought of her not being with me 24/7.
Ain’t that a bitch?
As much as I’m a career woman, who’d never thought she’d become a mom (at least not until the last possible moment wherein my fertility would take a kamikaze dive, lol), I always thought I’d be happy as my baby became a bit more independent.
But I’m not. At least not a happy as I thought I’d be. Tired? Sure. Relieved? Absolutely. But ecstatic? No. Not in the least. I’m just… sad. She’s my baby. My beautiful, intelligent, cheerful, bubbly, social, and oh-so-loving little Queen. My world and eternal light. And as much as I miss regular showering, eating uninterrupted, sleeping, and my weekly doses of Scandal, The Blacklist, and How to Get Away with Murder… I’m going to miss my baby even more when she goes off to daycare.
On the bright side, though, I’ll be amped to see what Olivia, Annalise, and Red are getting into nowadays. That + wine + uninterrupted writing + finally getting to test out an Xbox One? Maybe I’ll make it through the little Queen’s absence after all. 😉
So what about you, my dear offworlding badass? What did you achieve for Q1 this year? What do you wish you had achieved or done differently? What are you excited to close the book on for this quarter? Leave your thoughts below, and of course, in the meantime…
Congrats, Colby! You’re obviously working hard out there. Keep up the good work. So glad to have you as a student in my course!
OMG! Thanks so much, lol! I just had a starstruck moment; I feel like you’re a indie author celebrity that has come onto my blog and graced it with his presence. Thanks again for all the encouragement, and your course ROCKS SOCKS. It’s raised my writing game to levels I can’t even explain, so thanks so much! Best investment I’ve ever made. 🙂