Hello My Mighty Friends,
Long time no talk, right? Or maybe long time no news? I mean, we don’t really “talk” that much in a conventional sense, although I would to change that in the future. But I’m getting ahead of myself. In this edition we’re going to talk about awesome book news and a little about the power of habits.
Shadow & Flame is out! In case you missed my 4,219 posts and comments about it, the conclusion to Onyx &Ivory officially released yesterday. (I might be exaggerating, just a little). The book is available across all formats, including eBook and audio. The latter version is once again performed by the wonderful Kristine Hvam. If audio is your jam, I highly recommend anything performed by her. She’s an amazing actor and really brings books to life.
Joseph Beth Bookseller in Cincinnati hosted my book launch last night, and it was amazing. The funny and talented Kristen Simmons joined me for it, and we had a blast. Sadly, no video proof of the awesomeness exists, so you’ll have to take my word for it, but we started off with a game of Charades involving famous YA book title. If you weren’t able to come, there are signed copies of all my books available at the store. Just give them a call at (513) 396-8960. They can ship anywhere in the US.
The last few weeks (read: months) (read: every day of my life) have been super busy. So much so that I’ve sadly let this newsletter slide despite my good intentions to post monthly. Only, that’s not exactly true. The reason why I’ve let it slide is because (1) I haven’t made the newsletter a priority yet, and (2) I’ve not implemented any habit techniques to make sure I follow through.
For this first issue, let me just say that I plan to do some evaluating in the next couple of weeks to decide how I want to move forward with these posts. More and more I’m learning to accept the limitations of my time and energy. Writing a newsletter takes both, and I want to make sure that I’m doing it in a way that makes it worthwhile. I have to decide if the time I spend writing these would be better served writing the books. Of course, if any of you are reading this and finding it helpful then it surely is worthwhile. But if no one is reading it or caring, then maybe not. See what I mean? Some things I’m going to consider is content—should I talk more about writing? Can I combine writing talk with health / lifestyle talk? (for me they’re very intertwined). Who is my audience? And so on. I’m also considering platform. Is a blog post the best way to do this? I’m considering trying to vlog, perhaps. If you’ve got any suggestions or feedback, please let me know. You can reply to this email if you’re reading it that way, or leave a comment if you’re reading on the blog itself.
For the second issue though, I want to talk a moment about habits, and just how crucial they are in shaping our lives. For the majority of my life, my habits were an unconscious thing, which in many ways they should be. I mean, a habit is something our brain tells us to do without us having to think about it. If the brain didn’t do this, we would be a hot mess. This covers simple activities, like which sock we put on first when getting dressed (for me it’s always left then right). But there are many meaningful activities controlled by habits as well, such as the way we eat, whether or not we exercise, and in my case, how I go about getting the stories written.
In the case of these more impactful activities, I’ve discovered that we have the power to either build a good habit or break a bad one. And the discovery has been life changing and empowering. In the case of this newsletter, I need to implement some habit activities in order to get better about posting regularly. Of course, there’s no way I can get into the extensive minutia about habits in this one little letter, so instead, let me point you to three good books I’ve listened to in the last few weeks that have really opened my eyes to these techniques. I’ve listed them in order of importance. They’re all worth reading, but if you’re going to pick just one, I recommend the first.
This book is short and to the point. There aren’t any frills or wasted space, and the advice is absolutely solid and practical. Not only has this one become a must-read for me, it’s also going to be an annual re-read.
Lots of insight here in how our environments influence our behaviors.
This one is good but a little redundant over all. I still enjoyed it, but if you don’t want to take the time to read it, the most salient point here is that it’s not talent or inborn ability that makes someone successful at an activity. Instead, it has to do with “deliberate practice.” The author goes into great detail about what makes a certain type of practice deliberate, but I think that some of it is self-explanatory. It has to do with being mindful about you’re doing. Not just doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, but attempting new things. Challenging yourself, and so on. Anyway, I hope you find these useful, and be sure to chime in if you feel so inclined.