It’s really easy to push things off. In fact, I’m the worst at focusing and the best at procrastinating. In fact, it took me a year to finally clean my keyboard, and I only did that because I was trying to come up with reasons to procrastinate on writing. I’ve found that procrastination is a gift generously bestowed to most teenagers, which isn’t something we should hold onto.
NaNoWriMo is a day away, and in honor of that, I have 5 tips that help me focus and push away procrastination. Let’s aim to win NaNo, and have a productive November.
(Note: I am not an expert, and everyone is different. Find what works for you and stick to it! You ultimately know what is best for yourself.)
1. Write your expectations for the day
And be reasonable.
I’m really good at believing myself to be superwoman. I can do a million things and work all night without batting an eye, right? A regular sleep schedule? HAH. Eating? Why is it necessary?
But I’ve found that I need to sleep, eat, and schedule. Your expectations feed into your priorities. What is more important to you, working on some art or writing a book? Music practice or book reading? I personally try to have three overarching goals, and then fill in with things you know you have to do. When you have expectations, especially if keep them doable, it’ll shape your whole day and set you on track for slaying it.
2. Wake up and exercise
This might be a walk, this might be stretching, this might be a full on HIIT thirty minute routine, it’s totally up to you and your day. As someone who’s constantly jittery, I find that if I expel some of that energy even before it kicks in (The only time I’m not jittery is in the morning, when I actually need to get up. Go figure. 🙄😂) It also puts your mind into a work space, instead of a relaxation, do nothing space.
If that makes sense.
It probably doesn’t. Regardless, waking up and exercising helps your brain realize that you plan to get things done.
3. Fidget toys
I live for fidget toys. When I was younger, I actually hated them, mostly because the ones that I had available didn’t agree with me. They either made noisy clicks, or were the wrong texture, or they were fidget spinners. Fidget spinners and yours truly are not friends.
But in the past month or so, I’ve found some fidget toys that work for me. I love stress balls, but I’ve always popped my stress balls in the past. (It was kinda satisfying, like popping a huge, gross, unattached pimple.) But, I finally found a stress ball that I cannot pop. Isoflex has amazing, unscented stress balls that are filled with moon sand instead of liquid. They’re amazing.
Stress toys are an awesome way to help you focus.
4. Take breaks
Might seem slightly counter intuitive, but I know that when I give myself slots of time to just rest, I often work a lot harder. I find that I love racing. When I find that I have thirty minutes, fifteen minutes, or even five minutes until break time, I’ll push myself harder, to see if I can beat my record from last time.
Sometimes taking breaks doesn’t work for people, because they need to stay in the work mindset instead of flipping back and forth. That’s okay, if it doesn’t work for you, find what does.
5. Figure out your most productive time
Some people scoff at being morning person or night owl, and other people say you can train yourself to be either or, or even both. I’m not here to agree or disagree with them, but I know for me personally, I’m a night owl, but if I don’t want to get distracted, I need to do it in the morning.
I know that if I do something in the morning, my brain is programmed to do it again at night. Not sure how it works like that, but it does. And if I want to do something creative, I need to do it at night. (Unless it’s a huge project like painting.)
Figure out when you’re most productive. You might be better at math in the morning, and better at music late in the evening. There’s no set procedure for every person, it just takes a willingness to explore.
What tips do you think will be most helpful? Do you enjoy fidget toys?
Hello, ladies, gents, and otherwise unidentified objects.
I’m dropping in quickly to let you know 1. the giveaway winner. 2. About the scavenger hunt. and 3. randomness.
If any of you were at the launch party, thank you so much for coming! I hope you enjoyed it and were entertained by the various games, poems, and fangirling that happened. I honestly haven’t done something that fun since the pandemic shut everything down, so thank you. Thank you all for being there, for helping bring about Fifteen and for the fun moments in-between.
The giveaway winner has been chosen, and I’m so glad to announce that Eliana D. is the winner! I’ll be contacting you, Eliana, as soon as I post this. I can’t wait for you to receive all of your lovely goodies.
So far, one person has completed the scavenger hunt, but they didn’t get the sentence correct. So, if any of you have a free thirty minutes, you can run through all of the blog tour stops, searching for the words. (*whispers* Just look for italicized words. Or some people give you the word at the very end of the post.)
This week I’m going to be working on putting my life back in order. (Scheduling, yay!) So, hopefully in the upcoming weeks you’ll have some higher quality posts. HOWEVER, I want to you what YOU want to hear about. So if you have any post ideas, drop them in the comments below, or questions that you would like a whole post about, just comment.
Today is launch day. I don’t really have much words. The book . . . my book is out. And since I don’t have words, I’ve decided to share the note that is in the back of Fifteen, the note to every reader of Fifteen and my blog. The note from the author.
“If this book were about me, and just about me, the book you’re reading wouldn’t be in your hand. In fact, if it were about me and just about me, I might not be sitting here typing out this note to you, my beautiful reader. If it were about me, and just about me, I would probably have given up years ago, given up on everything.
But praise the Lord, it’s not about me, and it’s not just me.
God calls us to do hard things for Him. His first call was to give myself to Him, and years later, it was a call to keep living when everything else inside me asked to die. And this year? One of the calls was to publish a poetry book of the lessons that He has taught me. A book to help other teens dealing with mental health issues.
This book isn’t just about mental health issues. It’s not just about broken, bleeding hearts and hope. It’s about one simple word. Love.
Love is what has kept me alive. At first, it was love for my parents, knowing that I couldn’t hurt them. Then it became love for Christ, love for myself, and over time, it has overflowed and become love for you. For other teens like me. For the hurting.
But if it were about me and just me, I wouldn’t have that love. The only reason I have love for you, love for my parents, love for myself is because Jesus Christ first loved me. Sounds kinda strange, right? But it’s true. And once you realize that and let that love wash over you, fill you, and overflow through you, you’ll understand. You’ll understand why I wrote this book, why I’m still alive, and ultimately why you should live, too. Because it’s all about His love.”
The scavenger hunt has been going on, but on the 12th there wasn’t a post, so I suppose you might not be able to find the word. Thankfully, I don’t require for you to go without a word. That would be simply rude, wouldn’t it?
I will say that I personally went through all the posts and was able to find the words, so I know you can do it as well. Once you have the sentence all written out, fill out this form. (And hurry! The first one who does it AND gets it right wins.)
There’s still time to enter the giveaway, and if you order Fifteen today, it’ll still count as pre-ordering, if you want to enter the giveaway. So please do! You can enter here.
Lastly, join me, Kara Swanson, Ashley Townsend, and Rebekah Black as we celebrate Fifteen’s launch with a party! It’ll be a LIVE on my IG, from 8-10pm EST. I would love to see all you there.
If you want to order Fifteen, push the button and it’ll take you to Amazon. Unfortunately the paperback is having problems, so the button is for order ebook. If you’d like to order a paperback, hit the other button to go to Etsy, where you can “pre-order” it.
If you had asked me a year ago if I wanted to write a poetry book, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. In fact, a year ago I didn’t even share my poetry. It was something that I was ashamed of, something I viewed as an unwanted necessity.
Isn’t it funny how life can change in a year? If anything, 2020 has taught me how life can change in one night. How you can go from plans for the rest of the year to a blank schedule with the exception of a million video calls.
But a lot changes in a year. You learn lessons, meet new people, maybe welcome a pinto bean to the family (a very cute pinto bean), you ask for help and receive it, you grow, change, and you love. Before you know it, God has given you the ability to do something you thought impossible.
Fifteen talks about a lot of the things I’ve written about on this blog. It talks about having friends and losing them. It talks about losing yourself and finding yourself. It talks about sadness, depression, anxiety. It talks about pain, about tears, about giving up.
But it doesn’t let you give up.
Fifteen is so dear to my heart, it gives you laughter and word pictures. It brings hope and joy to your soul. It makes your feet want to dance after it tore your heart and made you cry. Because it doesn’t let you lose hope.
Quite a few times these past two weeks I’ve been ready to just give up on Fifteen. Marketing takes a chunk out of you, and there’s been a lot going on outside of Fifteen. (Migraines aren’t jokes, folks.) But each moment I just had to take a breath and remember why. Why I’m doing this.
God knows it isn’t because I wanted to have a poetry book out there for the world to critique. Fifteen isn’t for me. It’s because God has called me to do it for you. For the people who need to read it, who need a helping hand.
As you know, the blog tour is going on right now, and those posts have totally made my day. I’m going to go through the posts during this week, and point out some fun things you should read.
Olivia @ https://oliviaspenn.wordpress.com wrote this beautiful review. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was reading. I was so thrilled I ran into the living room and read it aloud to my family. She says:
“Is it Shelf-Worthy?
This is an undeniable yes. Amie Woleslagle has created a glorious compilation to adorn any shelf. I’d personally recommend this to preteen and teenage girls. This is a call to girls by a girl, screaming that while darkness is looming, there is always hope. This is the perfect introduction to poetry for young readers looking for a relatable perspective that mirrors their life in such a familiar and relatable way. Read it. Read it again. Then again. And see the glory of God’s goodness pouring through from Amie’s heart to yours.”
Malaya @ https://lifewithmalaya.blogspot.com/ hosted me on her blog with a lovely interview. It was so much fun answering her questions, and one of my favorite questions she asked was about the title of Fifteen, and what it means to me. So if you want to learn about that and her other questions, go check out her blog.
Hailey @ https://haileyhuntington.com/blog-feed/ also interviewed me on her blog, and we talked about all things book and Fifteen related. I loved how she asked about what people without mental health issues will take away from Fifteen, so if you don’t have mental health issues, definitely go check out Hailey’s interview. (Even if you do have mental health issues check it out. She has other amazing questions as well.)
Ryan Elizabeth @ https://ryanelizabethwrites.com apparently reviewed Fifteen a month ago without me realizing it. (Epic fail on my part.) So you can read a review AND an interview on her blog. In the interview, she asked my advice to authors thinking about getting published for the first time, so definitely check out the interview. She also wrote this in the review:
“It’s clear that the author has personally experienced what she writes about; she cares for and sympathizes with those who have also unfortunately experienced it. I was impressed by how delicately the topics were handled while still being extremely meaningful! I was also delighted to find how strong the Christian themes are, while being nowhere near the level of ‘preachy.'”
Liesl @ https://lieslbrunnerauthor.wordpress.com/ conducted an awesome interview with me, which I loved! We talked about things that surprised me about Fifteen, and what helped me the most during writing, so go check out this interview.
“First of all, this is no ordinary poetry book. The poems in this collection highlight the struggles of mental health and finding who we are inside this crazy, broken world. In a way Fifteen isn’t a poetry book at all- it’s an autobiography in poem form. Amie tells her story and the stories of many others, sharing bits and pieces of her heart as she shows us glimpses of what it’s like to be in her head.”
You have to go read the rest of her review and comment on that post, so I can see it and like it because yes. Yes. It is amazing.
“Amie really showcased how we matter–and that we all have a purpose here. She also showed how we shouldn’t get stuck, caught, or even overwhelmed with our inner battle. We know the One who can break us free from these chains. We are not going through this alone.”
Bella @ https://bellaputt.com/ wrote another beautiful review. (Can I say I also love seeing all of these blogs, and how the blogger’s personalities shine through them?) She says:
“Amie weaves these poems together with the most powerful, emotional words, where I could really feel what she was saying. There have been many instances when I’ve felt something that I didn’t know how to describe, and she took that feeling and managed to perfectly portray what I felt.”
She also gives quite a few sneak peaks at verses, so go check them out!
“But I have to be honest and say that this book… was not really for me . . . However. Amie’s message is something that so many teens need to hear, and I’m still incredibly glad that I get to read it and share about it! I definitely recommend purchasing yourself a copy of the book. Even if, like me, it’s not your favorite style, I promise you won’t regret owning this lovely book with fabulous illustrations and such a meaningful theme.”
Fe @ https://theunshaken.blog posted a lovely lovely lovely SO MANY LOVELIES review. It made me cry, because I just . . . couldn’t believe it, to be honest. She says so much, so you must read her review, but here’s the part I’m going to quote here.
“Before each poem, she explained the meaning behind it. I really appreciated that because it helped me understand the whole story. One example is from her poem “Asthmatic.” It’s one of my favorite ones in the book. She related grief and mental pain to asthma. She explained that people we love help relieve the pain like an inhaler, but when they leave the pain would come back all over again. I wouldn’t have understood it without her explanation. It was BEAUTIFUL, for sure, and it sounded like it could be in a hit song, but it really sank in when I realized what it was about.”
Over the next few days you should be seeing post from:
Now, this is probably a super long post with a million typos, but no. I’m not editing it. Thank you all so much for your support. It’s crazy to believe that it’s SIX more days until Fifteen is launched!
(*whispers* Don’t forget to get your pre-order goodies. *magically inserts image*)
You’re not the only person who struggles with mental health issues, not the only person with demons floating in your mind. Amie Woleslagle wrote Fifteen because she deals with them as well. Not to fix your pain, but to reach out and hold your hand. To remind you that you are not alone, to ask you to stay and make the world a better place. Because the world will never be the same without you and your unique take on life. Fifteen is a book of poems crafted from one teenager dealing with mental health issues to another teenager in the same place. It walks through the battle of pretending to be okay, of having people you thought were trustworthy shatter your heart, and the battle of not giving in when your brain has given up. Fifteen covers true friendships, embracing joy, self acceptance, and living your faith while struggling with mental illness, all the while showing that, in the end, flowers will bloom in the ashes of your pain.
It’s been a really long but much too short journey, and I’m so excited that I get to share it with beautiful people during this blog tour! It’s been so amazing to see all the different people who have been investing in this adventure, and helping me along.
But you want to know more about the book, don’t you? Fifteen is a collection of poems, illustrations, a thoughts I’ve compiled that tell a story. The story of a girl who starts out believing that if she keeps on saying she’s okay, ignoring the problems bubbling under the surface, she’ll be okay. Fifteen follows this girl through her journey of learning about true friends, of learning how to cry again, of learning to dance again, and it ends with her realizing that life has seasons. Thankfully, seasons don’t last forever.
Right now, pre-order’s are open for both ebook and paperback, so if you’re interested in pre-order, you can visit the links below. If you pre-order the paperback, don’t forget to take a picture of your pre-order receipt and submit it to the pre-order goodie form.
I love seeing the pre-orders, and getting the goodies ready for the mail. It just seems so much more personal, so I do hope you pre-order and get the goodies.
To celebrate Fifteen’s launch, there’s going to be a lot of fun things this month! So let’s dive into them.
The scavenger hunt I’m probably most excited for. I’m going to try to explain it in a way that makes sense. Every day, one stop along the blog tour will have a word. You as the readers will collect the words, and at the end of the blog tour on October 23rd, I’ll post a wrap up post that will include the last word and a form for you to submit the sentence that the words will form. The first person to submit the sentence correctly will win a hardcover copy of Emily Dickinson’s poems.
(Let me tell you, the book is beautiful. 😍 And Emily Dickinson’s poems are AMAZING.)
It might seem confusing at first, but don’t worry. It’s not as bad as it first sounds. It should come fairly easily after you find the first word and know what to look for.
Of course, we can’t have a blog launch without a giveaway! This giveaway includes a tea cup, a bag of coffee or box of tea (depending on the winner’s preference), a bag of chocolate, one candle from Wick and Sarcasm (winner gets to pick the scent), and two original Fifteen illustrations drawn by yours truly. *bows*
Now, to enter the giveaway, you must pre-order Fifteen or have already won Fifteen from a giveaway. If you haven’t already pre-ordered Fifteen, and you don’t have the money, I’m hosting a giveaway right now on my Instagram here, giving away a t-shirt and a copy of Fifteen.
Speaking about Instagram . . .
On my Instagram tonight, I’ll be reading my favorite poem (or two, depending on how I’m feeling, lol) and answering questions, so if you have time tonight at 8pm EST, feel free to hop on and join the fun!
Now, that all of the housekeeping is out of the way, here’s all of the beautiful people that are joining the blog tour!
*bounces* This is going to be so much fun. If you want to stay extremely up to date, go follow my Instagram. I happen to update that much more often than my blog.
I hope everyone is having a great fall as well. Life can be so strange at times, but hey, that’s where the joy, the victories, and the coffee comes to play. What is your favorite type of coffee? What are you most excited about with this blog tour?
*looks at the hours I’ve slept this week* *sips coffee and laughs evilly at the world*
Mood, huh? At least, right now that’s my mood and it probably won’t change until the weekend. Isn’t life an interesting conundrum? And yes. This post will have long words because when I’m tired I don’t have the energy to search for shorter synonyms.
This is week two of a post without a definite topic. Blame it on the fact that all my energy is going into different places. Isn’t it the most aggravating thing that we only have so much energy, so we must pick favorites?
*proceeds to groan as my wet dog runs inside and climbs on top of my computer*
Well. That was a pleasant interruption. Regardless, I shall continue. Because I have limited energy and braincells, most of those braincells are going into publishing my book, Fifteen. It’s less than a month until launch day and yes. I am very much nervous.
But! Never fear, my dears. I shall return my gaze to my blog before the fateful October 23.
*pauses to glare at my dog as she huffs and scratches my chair*
*proceeds to take a break to chase my dog around the room*
Alright, excuse that interruption. Star has been deeply grieved by my lack of attention, and so I couldn’t risk offending her again. Yesterday, if I even looked at her, she would huff and turn her back to me.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Returning my gaze to my blog. Starting October 10th, I will be hosting a blog tour for Fifteen! It’ll go until October 23rd, on Launch day. So I need all of you beautiful bloggers to help me out.
I love blog tours. When I first started blogging, it was literally the thing I looked forward to the most. Not only does it allow to you make awesome connections and friendships, you’re also able to gain a few new followers. (At least, that was always my experience.)
Anyway! If you’re interested in joining the party, you can sign up here. I should be contacting everyone who signs up a week before the tour, so if you don’t hear from me by then . . . I don’t know what you should do. XD
Anyway, thank you all for enjoying this rambley post. I promise, when I have more sleep and energy, these posts will be pulled back together again.
One of the most exhausting things for me is the ups and downs of my mental health. How one week I can be totally exhausted with no motivation, no desire to eat, no desire to clean, no desire to do anything and little to no creative inspiration, while the next week I can be bouncing off the walls and destroying stress balls.
And somedays, like today, I have no idea what I’m going to be blogging about. 😂 For awhile, I had a beautiful blogging schedule, but since . . . well, the pandemic, I haven’t had one, and I haven’t take the time or mental energy to plan one. I think that’s okay.
It’s okay to sometimes not be scheduled, to sometimes not do everything you feel like you need to do. Sometimes it’s okay to just play with your dog or pace the house.
But this week has been a productive week, and so I’m celebrating. XD I’m celebrating because I haven’t felt like crap, I’ve been able to appreciate the little things, like the dimple in my sister’s smile and the puns I can make out of things people say. (I had to stop myself in one instance, though, when I wanted to make a joke about getting to the root of the matter, because the puns were already running too deep. 😂)
On Tuesday I made cinnamon rolls with yeast, and they were amazing. I love cinnamon rolls almost as much as I love my dog, and since I don’t eat gluten, I don’t get them enough. But I’ve been in a baking kick recently, and so I’ve made them twice, once without yeast and once with yeast.
On Thursday, I decided that I needed a pumpkin spice latte. The problem is that I think pumpkin spice is the most disgusting thing on the planet. However, I reasoned with myself that if I made it at home, perhaps it wouldn’t taste as much as vomit as it does when you get it from a well known coffee chain.
But I had one problem. We had no pumpkin purée.
Now, normal people don’t even THINK about making homemade pumpkin spice latte. Slightly abnormal people would give up when they realized that they were out of pumpkin purée. But Amie? Why Amie doesn’t give up once she has an idea in her head, and so I used decorative pumpkins, made my own purée and made the most delicious pumpkin spice latte I have ever tasted.
Yes, it was worth the extra hour and a half. 😂
You all want an update on Fifteen? Well, I suppose I must grant you your request. All the pre-order goodies are in, and I’m LIVING for them. I mean, how can you get any cuter? I’m such a sucker for any kind of pre-order goodie, so as soon as I knew I was publishing Fifteen, I knew I had to do pre-order goodies.
So I obviously want you to get them, because what’s the fun of keeping them all for myself? If you pre-order the paperback here and take a picture of your receipt, and then fill out this form here, you’ll get your own pre-order goodies. *bounces all around*
Yes, I am low-key obsessed my own goodies. 😂
Now, there’s another announcement about Fifteen that’s coming up, but I’m going to be telling it to my email list first. If you haven’t joined the Newsies, goodness! You’re missing out! My email list gets the first news about my activities, and sometimes, when I’m in a good mood, they get my random ramblings and my favorite things.
I only send out emails . . . once-two times a month, if even then. I’m slightly sporadic, but you know. Work on one thing at a time. If you’d like to sign up for that, you can do it here.
(Go do that before I send out the next email, because guysssssss. It’s going to be full of fun stuff, and I’m so super excited to write it.)
So, all of you followers are looking at me, wondering what on earth this blog post is. I’m wondering the same thing. It think it’s a lot of things. 😂 And it’s definitely not professional in the least, but give me a break. I need a break, or I might break and that would be definitely something.
What is your favorite season? Winter is coming fast and I am SO glad. Please, I need more sweatshirts and comfy pants and beanies. And boots. Though I wear boots year round because I’m a rebel. *salutes.
Ugh, I’m getting off topic again. Welcome to my brain. Are you excited for Fifteen? What is your favorite fruit? Pumpkin spice, is it everything nice or has it come to ruin your tastebuds?
“Don’t let it get to your head, don’t let it get to your head.”
The words surround you, even after you release them all with a puff, the smoke that slipped out hovers above you. You’re unable to drown it out.
So many things to be thankful for, so many things that should blot it out. But you feel like you’ve made another mistake and the voices again have grown too loud.
Maybe those who protect me are wrong. Maybe the other people are right. Maybe I was immature, maybe I did read into it too much, I probably am being dramatic. I probably should just shut up, sink away, let them win again because this is just way too much for me today.
It’s not my fault? What do you mean? They’re all saying I picked a fight, don’t you see? Shush the voices in my mind, shush everything I’ve been told for a time. Even if all was silent and I was floating above, I would be pulled back down by this weight that at my heart tugs.
Don’t blame yourself, it isn’t your fault. Don’t let the hate keep you from moving along. But how can we do that when all along, we’ve been told to be silent and avoid what is wrong?
How do we stand when our knees are weak? How do we keep moving when all we want to do is weep? Paper cuts mar the most tender heart, tears are what it bleeds among its millions of scars. How can we continue moving when there seems no end of the pain that creates a hurricane within?
Forcing a smile and saying okay, though, in a way, I really am okay. I might be hurting by the words that stung my heart, I might be taking a moment to keep from falling apart, but I’m okay. Because I know.
I know that God will use my message in spite of my fear, my hurt, my pain. I know I serve a God who has created all things. I know that even though I didn’t want to go on this ride, God will be there protecting, comforting, pushing, always on my side.
“Though troubles assail me, and dangers afright. Though friends should all fail us and foes all unite, yet one thing secures us whatever betide: the scripture assures us ‘the Lord will provide.”‘
He will provide in the darkest hour or the most joy filled day. His provision might not give you a butterfly and rainbows type of life, but you will still see his fingerprints on every part of your life. Pain might stun you for hours on end, but He’s always there to pick you up and help you begin again.
Some people may seem to have the perfect life, but everyone has secrets they would prefer to hide. Faith doesn’t stop you from having pain, suffering, and doubt. But holding onto God’s precious promises keeps us from giving up and falling out.
Someday this journey will be over. Someday, our messages and our moments will be through. Someday we’ll get to heaven and have to hand over the talents that are due. Did words stop you from using yours? Did people discourage you from investing the talents that weren’t yours, only lent for you to use?
Take a deep breath and begin again today. So that at the end of the journey we can all sing and say,
“When life sinks apace and death is in view, the word of his grace shall comfort us through; not fearing or doubting, with Christ on our side, we hope to die shouting, ‘Our God will provide!”‘
(quotations from John Newton’s hymn, Though Troubles Assail Us.)