Authoring can be all consuming at times. There can be days when I don’t speak to another human for eight hours–pretty bad when you and your husband are both home all day. But it is one of those things, when the words are flowing, then the hands on the clock seem to whiz around at lightning speed.
Being an introvert, I don’t crave others company, am happy in my own skin, and love the solitude that my writing gives me. But, every now and then, I can feel drained of the creative juices and need to step back from the pages and find something to kick start my creativity.
I broke for Christmas this year, I hate taking full breaks as it always seems to take twice as long to get back into the swing of things. But Christmas was busy, with lots of guests staying over so, writing was not on the table. Going back to it in January, I thought I’d be refreshed, but it has been an up-hill slog. I’m writing, but feel that it is a case of supergluing my bum to the seat to make myself do it. While scrolling through social media–an avoidance tactic–I spotted a course being promoted by a talented cover designer that I admire.
Now, some of you may know that the other hat I wear is that of Book Designer. I create and sell covers for the Cat’s Pyjama’s. I started this out of necessity, way back in the beginning of my writing career, because I was so clueless about the whole book publishing business. Back then, I was truly terrible, as I had no idea how to use Photoshop. I may have lacked the skills, but I had big ideas and have always had an artistic bent. Many of my hobbies fall into that side of things. I also have a good eye and a nose for analyzing the market in this area. So, with the help of my daughter, an Art student at SCAD at the time, I set about learning how to use the Photoshop software.
Once I had gained enough skills, I started producing my own covers, then ones for friends, and finally moved on to selling them wider. The course I spotted the other day, sounded like just what I needed. It promised to teach the most useful 20% of the software’s features that book designers will use 80% of the time. Being self-taught, I knew my gaps and my limitations so I signed up immediately.
OH. MY. God!
Talk about game changer. I have spent so many hours watching the videos and then practicing the skills that a whole week has whizzed by. Surprisingly, I have also managed to fit in writing a couple of chapters a day too! My hubby has had to remind me when to eat, and around ten o’clock at night, he opens my study door and mumbles, “are you gonna be on there all night?”
Even when I go to bed, I have been running through the stuff I have learned in my head, and thinking up new possibilities. It’s been a long time since I have been this excited about something. But improving my design skills aside, I have also noticed a bit more pep in my step with regards to my writing–even though part of that is due to wanting to get on my computer to do the next lesson! I am now drafting out a chapter a day, and rewarding myself with doing the next element of the course.
Trouble is, I am running out of classes. Still, my creativity juices are flowing, and my brain seems to have enjoyed the chance to do something different for a while. More than that, expanding my knowledge has given me a sense of fulfillment. Pushing my skills to the next level, challenging myself to understand all the tricky nuances associated with that very technical piece of software, is quite uplifting and re-energizing.
So, I am making a late New Year’s resolution, to take more meaningful breaks over this next year, and I’m going to take that time to give myself training. Other, big companies do it. They see the value in training their staff, so even though I am a one-man band, Author Angela Stevens will be closed for training until Wednesday next week, and scheduling more motivational courses for the summer.
But for now, I am upping my game, and just completed new covers for my next release, Hat Trick, in my brand new pin-off series Hockey Boyz. For those of you that loved my Hockey Punk series, then you should know, this book stars one of the Hockey Punk guy’s sons. We are going Next Gen!
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Angela Stevens is an Amazon International Best Selling Author. Her steamy romance novel, Nolan’s Resolution, from the highly popular multi-author series, After Hurricane Nina, hit #1 New Release on Amazon in America, Canada and the UK.
Her 5 book debut series, Hockey Punk, is a sports romance series set around her adopted town near DC and revolves around her favorite sport of ice hockey. Writing in both contemporary romance and contemporary fantasy genres, Angela portrays gritty characters with emotionally charged plots and is not afraid to tackle difficult social issues in her fiction. If you pick up one of her romances, you may have to order an extra supply of tissues, but Angela Stevens will always deliver you a HEA and some smoldering hot scenes to get you there.