Life Routines Every Twenty-Something Needs

Lately, I’ve noticed that “life routines” have been gaining steam on the internet. They are all over Pinterest, the “Successful Woman’s Morning Routine”, or “How I Routine My Night for My Best Sleep” posts. I’ve read through my fair share, wondering if the posts had any tricks that I myself might find useful.

Some I definitely did, while other routines I found far too elaborate for my liking.

But reading through them did get me thinking. There are routines I do in my life that I know I won’t regret, and there are some I know I need to start implementing.

As of writing this post, I’m twenty-four. But whether your age or gender, I know some of these will be helpful for anyone.


Skincare

This, hands-down, is my most important routine at the moment. No matter how young or old you are, your skin type, how great your parents look at their age…everyone needs a skincare routine.

Your skin is the one thing you’ll have throughout the entirety of your life. Hair falls out and regrows, your teeth can be fixed or altered with veneers. You can buy new clothes, and you can have your lips injected if you find them too small.

But you cannot replace your skin.¬†(Unless, you’re like, a burn victim. But I’m assuming most of you reading this are not).

It’s of the utmost importance that, starting now, right now, you start caring for your skin. The younger you are, the better. I’d rather obsess over it now and thank myself later than grow old and look like a baseball mitt.

And don’t use the excuse of any good skincare being pricey either. The majority of what I use is from the grocery or drug store. It may not come in pretty packaging but works just as well as, if not better, than the pricier stuff.

So wear your sunscreen, take off your makeup at night, and slather on your moisturizer.

Morning/Night

Like I mentioned in the intro to this post, having a morning and nighttime routine has been growing in popularity. While it doesn’t have to be planned out to the minute, knowing what you need to do and planning it out will save you time and stress.

So why not?

Getting up at the same time every morning, and going to sleep at the same time every night is good for you. Or at least, that’s what I hear. I try my best to do this, especially because the earlier I go to sleep, the earlier I can wake up to get some writing in (read more about my writing routine here). If you don’t write like me, you could use the time to exercise, or play with your dog, or put the night’s dinner in the crockpot.

It’s the same with nighttime. Plan your stuff out to where you’re washing up before you’re too tired to. Give yourself time to read in bed, or journal the past day’s events.

You’ll thank yourself the next day.

It doesn’t have to be considered mundane or boring to do this. No matter whether or not people may think you’re a bit obsessive, the benefits of having a semi-set schedule are too good to ignore.

Cooking

A cooking “routine” may not make much sense, but hear me out on this. I’ve been living alone–well, with a roommate–for 5+ years now and meals are always what clean out my wallet. I’m not a huge fan of cooking, don’t know many recipes, and despise going to the grocery store. These three things make the perfect storm that always ends with me eating out.

And that adds up to be hella expensive.

So lately I’ve tried finding recipes that are easy and have a good bit of the same ingredients. That way I don’t have to learn or buy too much, and only have to make the occasional Target run. It’s so much cheaper and so much healthier.

If what I used to do sounds anything like you, maybe you should try out the same thing.

Cleaning

One of the best things about being a twenty-something with your own place is that you don’t have someone nagging at you to clean up. For most people, this ends up being a catalyst for a bedroom filled with dirty clothes and a shower covered in soap scum. You don’t have to be a clean freak, but being hygienic is kind of a must. Except for, you know, if you never want people to want to come over ever again.

One of the best things to do to boost your cleaning is to make your bed every morning. You’ve probably seen this tip countless times, but take it from me, who does try to make her bed every morning and feels a significant difference. IT HELPS. Something about it makes you want the rest of your room to be just as tidy and making your bed only takes one minute from your day.

So just do it.

Money

Managing my money better is one of my main goals for 2018. I have a whole post on my others here. When it comes to money and spending though, I haven’t always been the best. Which is why I have a significant amount of debt to pay off (thank you, college).

But, like many other people my age, I support myself about 90%. I pay my own rent, my car & its insurance, my groceries and prescription medicines. I have expenses and I have bills, aside from also needing to make payments on my credit cards and student loans.

Which is why I have to keep my finances organized–a money “schedule” of sorts. Some people do this in their journals, others use a phone app, and some (like me) use Excel spreadsheets.

It’s whatever is best for you to see your monthly expenses as compared to your income. Whatever method you use though, you need to have a method. Your money is the roof over your head, the food you eat, and the Netflix subscription that keeps you from going crazy.

It’s important, okay?

Seeing Family/Friends

I don’t care how much of a homebody or introvert you think you are. You need human interaction, some form of it, at least once a day. Being cooped up in your bedroom alone may sound like the best time (at least for me, it does), but it can quickly deteriorate into you feeling alone and depressed.

Not only that, but person-to-person contact cannot be taken for granted. To keep your relationships, familial and friendly and romantic, you have to put time into them. Even if you’re feeling lazy, calling your parents or meeting up with your best friend for coffee are things that, more often than not, you won’t regret.

Your social health is just as important as mental and physical.

Self-Indulgence

But spending time alone and pampering yourself is also necessary. Self-love is necessary for any person out there to live a happy life. You need to be able to enjoy alone time, even if that time only lasts fifteen minutes.

Doing something small every day or something big once a week, only for yourself, isn’t a bad thing. Being selfless may seem like an entirely good thing, but can end up driving the most put-together person insane. Selflessness isn’t always good, just like selfishness isn’t always bad.

Being good to yourself will only make the good you give to others greater.

So take that bubble bath, eat those chocolates, or roll your windows down and drive that drive.

Do what you gotta do.


And that’s that! Obviously one of the greatest things about life is the freedom to be spontaneous, and having routines for certain aspects of your life help with that. Being rigorous about things you need to do can help lead to more free time and less stress weighing you down. Which then leads to having more fun when it is time for fun.

So yeah.

Hopefully this helped some of you! If you have any other life routines people need to try, please leave them down in the comments. I’d love to see them ūüôā

My 2018 Resolutions

It’s the beginning of the new year, so you know what that means…people making resolutions! Some people believe in them and others don’t, and I understand why each feels that certain way.

As for me, I think there is nothing wrong with striving to make some positive changes in your life. Even if they don’t last until February, at least you tried. You can’t achieve anything without trying first, right?

So that’s why I (and others, obviously) make resolutions.

I usually fall short of mine, so I’m hoping that me writing this post and putting it out into the universe may help me accomplish them. That, and I’m sure I have some of the same as some of you reading this!

I love reading through other people’s resolutions, especially when they’re super personal and give you a good insight into who they are. So I figured I could to that for you all ūüôā


In 2018, my resolutions are…

to Purge Material Things

I’m a neat freak. I know I am. It’s a blessing and a curse because yes, my apartment may always be clean, but I also can’t relax or focus on anything else if it isn’t clean. So if it’s my designated writing time (see this post for further explanation) but I know there are dishes in the sink, I can’t focus on the writing itself.

So that’s where a purge comes in.

Of course, I won’t be ridding myself of dishes, but for other things that cause clutter? It’s time to go. I don’t think I’ll be able to handle a fully minimalistic lifestyle, but I would like to take some inspiration from it. I will keep trinkets and random things that make me happy, but that purse I never use from three years ago? It can leave.

Not only will it calm my anxious mind, but I can also donate the items or sell them via Facebook/an app/Plato’s closet which will leave me feeling cheerfully generous or with some spare cash.

It’s a win-win.

 

to Stand up for Myself

For someone with a Pinterest board filled to the¬†brim with inspirational quotes, I’m notoriously bad at standing up for myself. At nearly twenty-five years old, I still let myself be treated as a¬†doormat. It’s lame and as pathetic as it is unhealthy. My fear of confrontation and rejection keeps my dignity from shining through, and it’s time for it to stop.

I’m a grown ass woman.

I need to demand that I be treated as such.

 

to Promote Myself More

This sort of ties in with standing up for myself, but is more geared toward my writing. I may have briefly touched on my fear of self-promotion in my post about a book signing I did (which you can read here), but unfortunately, it’s still an issue.

I’ve been writing for over a decade now, yet I still blush anytime¬†someone brings it up. I’m terrified that posting anything about my book on social media will come off as boastful and gross. I worry that people will think that because my book wasn’t an overnight success, that I failed. The self-doubt is terrible, and the way I let it affect me is even worse.

I wrote a book, got picked up by a publisher, and achieved one of my life dreams.

I need to be proud of that.

My first step? Shameless self-promotion right here on this post!!

Love romance books? Or coming-of-age stories? Or the new adult genre? Check out my book here!!

to Treat my Body Better

It’s one of the most cliche and overused revolutions for a reason.

I’m lucky enough to be genetically predisposed to be thin. My entire family is society’s definition of “normal”. But instead of settling in that easy place, I want to be better. I want to treat my body better. I want to eat less gross stuff, and to feel good about what I put into my body.

Now rest assured, I am a carb freak. Give me a loaf of bread and some butter and I’m a happy girl. That will never change. But nowadays I realize I need to balance that out with a carb-less dinner here and there. Or some yoga in the mornings.

Something that will make me proud of my health.

 

to Not Be Afraid of Being Hurt

My number one fear in life isn’t death, or spiders. Or anything normal.

It’s rejection.

I know everyone’s afraid of it, and everyone hates it. But my entire life has revolved around my fear of rejection. I’ve not tried to be friends with people or even tried not to be better friends to my friends. I’ve not truly opened myself up to anyone, and like I mentioned before, I’m nearly a quarter of a century old.

How sad is that?

My relationships, those platonic, familial, and romantic, have suffered because of it. And that’s not okay.

 

to Go Easy on Myself

This may seem a bit counterintuitive since most of these resolutions are about bettering myself, but still. I am my own worst critic and I need to chill out. Even if I have the most productive day, I’ll still beat myself up about that one stupid thing I didn’t achieve that day.

I need to go easier on myself and give my mind time to rest. Everyone needs a break now and then. I have to remember that.

to Stop Seeking Perfection

As of when I’m writing this post, my perfectionist self is the main reason my creative writing has been suffering. Now that I’ve been published and have somewhat of a real, true audience, nothing I write seems good enough.

I can’t get out of my head and realize that nothing, especially not the first draft of something, is going to be perfect.

It’s a writer’s worst enemy.

to Save Money

This resolution really needs no explanation.

to Journal More

My 2018 resolutions | a bullet journal spreadIn March of 2017, I started getting into the whole bullet journaling craze. I got the right notebook, the colorful pens, and the tiny little metal ruler to keep my lines perfect. For a few months, I was obsessed. And I did feel as if it lessened my stress. Instead of keeping mental tabs on every little thing I needed to do, I had it written down.

I think my attempts at perfection are what screwed me over here as well. None of my pages looked as good as the ones I saw on Instagram or Pinterest. I’ve always known that drawing and art have never been my specialties, but for some reason seeing that every day when writing down my tasks bothered me.

So I want to get back into it and remember the good it did for me instead of focusing on the bad.

That’s why I made this entire page for my 2018 resolutions! (Totally took inspo from Pinterest on the layout, btw).

to Write More

I’m a writer, and I cannot tell you the last time I felt like one. Like I mentioned before, I’ve been too caught up in my own insecurities to truly enjoy my writing like I used to. It’s incredibly depressing too, and something I’ve been trying to work on for months now.

It’s just easier said than done.

So hopefully me working on the mental resolutions I mentioned above will help this out as well!

 


And there they are: my 2018 resolutions! Hopefully you all enjoyed getting to know me a little bit better. If not, maybe you picked up some resolutions for yourself! Or, if you don’t believe in resolutions, maybe you just realized some little things you need to work on. I know I did by writing this entire post.

I hope you all have an incredible 2018, and remember that self-love is just as important as any other kind (if not more)!

Gift Guide for Book Lovers

The Holiday 2017 Gift Guide for Book Lovers | a blog post at authorcjmiranda.com

With Christmas right around the corner, I’m sure some of you are scrambling for gift ideas, whether it be on what to get other people, or what to ask for yourself. So that’s why I came up with this simple gift guide.

For me this year, since I’ll be moving out of my apartment with my roommate and into a place of my own, I don’t get to ask for many fun things. My wish list includes money, toilet paper holders, and any kitchen thing ever since all we have is my roommate’s.

So making this list was pretty cathartic for me.

All of these options would be perfect for the book lover in your life, or just any regular ole’ person who likes comfort-related things. I would kill for any of these items on this list, so hopefully, some of them will help you with ideas!

Disclaimer: some of these links are of the affiliate variety. That means I may make a small percentage of anything you click on, but at no extra charge to you. These opinions are completely¬†my own, so please don’t be mad at me for trying to make an extra penny. I’m a (semi) starving author, okay?¬†


A Fuzzy Blanket

There is nothing better in this world for a book lover than a comfy blanket to curl under while reading. While any blanket will do, I think this faux fur one would look gorgeous thrown at the end of the bed or over the sofa while not in use.

Get the one in the picture from Amazon here, or get another option at TJMaxx here.

Candles

Candles are the Paul Rudd of Christmas gifts–everyone loves them.

As long as they smell good, no one is disappointed by opening a¬†candle. For book lovers, they have candles that smell–wait for it–like books. They even have some that smell like literary settings, like this Winterfell from Game of Thrones one. Find more literary setting and book-related candles here, or at the merchant’s website here.

Bookends

If the book lover in your life has an impressive bookshelf going, why not give them something to ornament it with? Bookends are a cute¬†way to spruce up any readers’ library, and they keep their books from tumbling over.

How adorable is this Dobby one, by the way? If anyone who knows me in real life is reading this, GIMME PLEASE.

Book-Related Clothes & Accessories

I’m not even going to try to break all these down into separate categories. If your person has a favorite book or series, simply Google that and add “socks” or “t-shirt” or “hoodie” to the end of it. And therein lies your treasure trove.

For example, here’s what happens when you search Harry Potter shirts on Amazon.


Gift Cards

I know, I know…gift cards feel like a cop-out for many gift givers. But trust me when I say that although they may not be the most fun thing to open, people still love them. For the reader in your life, you can get them gift cards to Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books-a-Million, or any other bookstore near you.

Sparkling Pink Marble Abstract Pattern with Name NotebookA Notebook

Not only are notebooks cute and versatile, but you can find them anywhere. Book lovers can use them to keep track of their to-read list, books they’ve read and loved…anything.

At Zazzle.com, they have tons of cute and customizable designs like the one pictured here. Add your loved one’s name and “to read list” for a personal touch they’ll love.

Coffee Mugs

Many readers I know like to read with a cup of coffee or tea by their side. Or wine, which you can totally sneak by having it in a mug (no judgments from me).You can find adorable coffee mugs all over the place for cheap, and trust me when I say no one can have too many. I’m absolutely obsessed with this one I found on Amazon.

A Book

…obviously. Whether it be one that you see on their Goodreads “To Read” shelf (mine’s here), or one you think they’d enjoy, never doubt the gift of a simple ‘ole book. It’s what caused them to become the book lover they are today, so they’ll love it.

Also, a shameless self-plug here. If your loved one is a romance, new adult, or coming-of-age story lover, feel free to gift them with a copy of my book!


And just because I couldn’t help myself and kept browsing the black hole that is Amazon, here are some other things I think would be perfect gifts!


And there they all are! I know to some, these recommendations may seem a bit basic. But there is a reason these types of gifts are so common, and it’s because many people love them.

So use these as a base guide for your loved one, and feel free to diverge from there!

Happy Holidays, Happy Reading, and Happy Shopping.

 

 

What No One Ever Told Me About Accomplishing My Dream

Ever since I was young (which wasn’t long ago since I’m only now 24), my dream was to be an author. A fiction author, one who specialized in the romance genre with coming-of-age undertones.

It was all I ever wanted.

Well that, and to be interviewed by Chelsea Handler for my tremendous success (I used to watch her old show on E! religiously). But I digress.

Despite working/writing my ass off, choosing to be a hermit instead of a teenager, and living in my head more than reality, I didn’t expect to achieve my dream so quickly. And at such a young age.

I’m damn proud of myself too, please don’t misinterpret that. I get to hear congratulations from people who used to pick on me for being so quiet in high school. I get popular, well-liked people asking me for writing tips.

It was everything I ever thought I wanted.

Until the excitement faded, and I realized accomplishing my dream wasn’t the end goal.

It was merely the beginning of learning things I never would’ve guessed I needed to learn. And those things are listed below.


Accomplishing Your Dream Doesn’t Mean Instant Happiness

In fact, at times, it’s sort of depressing.

You find yourself asking, “Well, what do I do now?” or “How do¬†I make this even better?” We as humans are greedy as hell, and one accomplishment isn’t enough. Even if it was the ultimate accomplishment. Reaching that point only means craving even more.

You Realize Your Dream Isn’t Quite So Glamorous

This may have been pure naivety on my part, I’ll admit it. Or it may be that I had no earthly idea what being an author was actually like.

My dumb ass¬†thought¬†that being published automatically guaranteed you success and money. I didn’t realize that being an author was more promoting yourself and your work than it is actually writing. And for my antisocial, hate-attention self, I was horrified.

It Only Gives You More Work to Do

As I mentioned before, we as people are greedy bitches. We get five dollars and want ten, we get a book for Christmas and immediately want the rest of the series. Nothing is enough for us.

It’s an epidemic, surely, and something you can train your mind to be aware of.

But when you first accomplish your dream and you’re on that high horse of yours, there’s nothing more depressing than hearing you’re not quite done yet.

There’s no end goal in life, not like many people think there is. A lot of people assume your life isn’t done until you’ve found true happiness, or made that million dollars, or made out with your childhood celebrity crush.

They don’t think of after when the excitement has faded and you realize you no longer have something to strive for. That’s when you try to build on that feeling, to turn that million into a billion, to turn those kisses into a relationship.

Nothing is ever truly over. There’s always going to be something else you want, another goal to chase.

It’s Isolating

Hear me out on this, okay?

My family, my friends, people I’d never spoken to but were somehow friends with on Facebook, were thrilled for me. When I posted the status that I’d been signed by a publisher, friends and family called me, screaming their excitement, telling me how utterly proud they were.

It was the greatest weekend of my life.

But it fades eventually, just like your own excitement. The phone calls slow done, the texts stop chiming in, and you’re left in your bedroom with this golden metaphorical crown on your head and no one to tell you how beautiful it is.

This huge, monumental part of your life, the one you’d always wished for, the one you killed yourself working toward, gets passed over by the next “is this shirt these colors or these colors?”.

You wonder to yourself if it’s really not that big of a deal. Or if your dream was nothing because people aren’t constantly hounding you about how proud they are of you. It’s a narcissistic, immature feeling, but it’s real. And it hurts.

Looking back on it now, I realize that that isolation was only because of my own thoughts. Back then, I was too blindsided by my achievement to see that.

It’s Scary

This ties in with the first thing I mentioned. Once your dream is accomplished, and you still have so much of your life left to go, you can’t help but get scared. What do you do next? Are you done? Have you reached the peak of your life? Is there nowhere to go except for down?

This may have been my anxiety yelling at me, but I did feel that way for a while. Now? Not so much. Now I’m scared but in a good way. In a proactive way. I’ve told myself that I still have three-quarters of my life left (hopefully) and that I refuse to peak now.

So I’m going to keep working my ass off, writing my ass off, and accomplish more of my dreams.

Because what is life if you don’t have something to work toward?

Because what is life if you don't have something to work toward?Click To Tweet

It’s The Best, Most Fulfilling Feeling Ever

You didn’t actually think this list would be all depressing, right? I write romance novels with happily ever afters¬†(my book page here). Of course not. That’s not my jam.

I wouldn’t have felt all of these scary things, all of these anxieties, if accomplishing my dream didn’t feel so damn good. If it felt like any other normal day¬†than I’d most likely be content to coast through life without trying for anything.

Getting that email from my publishers, calling my mom and scream-crying out of happiness, hearing my dad tearfully tell me how proud he was….I’ve never in my life felt that. It was this out-of-body, can’t believe it, can’t stop smiling sensation that I ache to feel again.

The feeling lingered for months, the most potent of it did anyway. Even now, I still feel brief glimpses of it. I’ll be doing my makeup in the mirror, and somehow look at myself and think “I’m a published author”. My body will warm with pride, and I’ll be thankful for my awkward, book-nerd, pre-pubescent past.


This post of mine is here as a warning, yes, but hopefully, first and foremost, as a kick in the butt to start working toward whatever your dream is. I don’t care how Disney Channel¬†that may sound.

Working toward my first dream had me waking up hours before school, typing furiously on my laptop while my sister yelled at me to shut up so she could sleep. Accomplishing my dream has me waking hours before work, typing furiously on my laptop while my dog stares at me and begs for my sole attention.

And that goes to show you, as it’s showed me, that nothing about you changes when you¬†accomplish your dream. It gives you motivation, more goals, more work to do. It scares the shit out of you, and may even lead you to stay up at night with anxiety plaguing your mind.

But it’s all worth it.

Hands down, it’s so worth it.

Having those anxieties, having those goals, those motivators…it’s a blessing. I’m so proud of myself for having ambition, for having things to strive for. Not everyone gets to strive for such things, and even fewer get to accomplish them.

That’s why accomplishing your dream is only a pit-stop in your life. It’s stopping at a gas station, filling up your tank with pride and motivation, before hopping back on the road and driving further.

So if you’ve accomplished your dream and are feeling these bad things, or if you’re still working hard to accomplish that first one, do not give up. DON’T GIVE UP. It’s so, so simple.

Keep that fire lit under your ass.

It’s there for a reason.

The things that no one tells you about accomplishing your dream | a blog post at authorcjmiranda.com

Being a Writer with a Full-Time Life

[vc_row 0=””][vc_column][vc_column_text 0=””]Anyone with half a brain would know that writing takes up a shit ton of time. First, you have to gather inspiration, then you have to write, then you have to have a mental breakdown midway through and wonder why you ever thought you could be a writer in the first place. Then you have to write again.

The whole process is very time-consuming.

But it is possible to write a book, a novella, or whatever else you’d want while living a life outside of your head. For me, I wrote my book “Back to You” while in college full-time and working part-time. It was my procrastination station, so basically I wrote most of it while I was supposed to be doing something else.

I will admit that it’s a damn miracle I was able to stay in school and keep my scholarships, but still. I did it! And you can too.

And here are some tips how ūüôā


Designate Your Writing Time…

If you don’t set your life aside to write for a period of time, you’ll never get any writing done. I’ve written a whole post about creating your best writing process here, so check that out for a base guide if you haven’t yet.

If you want to be a writer, you have to have the discipline for it. It’s so much easier said than done, I know. But it’s really that simple. Forget about the load of laundry you have going, tell your partner to leave you the f*** alone for twenty minutes, give your dog a bone so they stop begging for your attention. When it’s time to write, WRITE.

Or else you’ll keep putting it off until the passion to do so is no longer there.

My best writing time is super early in the morning, right after I’ve woken up. So in the hour before I have to start getting ready for my day job, I try my hardest not to do anything but write.

…But Don’t Get Crazy

I am the WORST at this. When I was in college and writing “Back to You”, if I hadn’t written for a while and suddenly felt the urge to, I would abandon everything else. And I’m not talking about the good things to abandon like I mentioned above. I’m talking about hygiene, eating, social interaction, work (sorry boss, if you’re reading this). If I was in my zone, I would take too much advantage of it.

And by the time the day was over, I’d be alone in my bedroom with a growling stomach and a gross, depressed mindset. As introverted and antisocial as you may be which, believe me, I completely understand, you at least need to talk to SOMEONE once a day. I don’t care if it’s tagging your mom in a cute dog meme on Facebook. You just have to do something.

Utilize Free Moments

If you’re like me and have a day job, which most writers do, it’s hard to focus on anything but what you’re working on. You may feel guilty for thinking of a fight scene while you’re supposed to be inputting invoices, but you need to take advantage.

Some of my greatest ideas, and even not-so-greatest ones, have come to me at an inopportune time. But instead of pushing them aside and forgetting them, I quickly grab a post-it or my phone and jot it down. Yes you have a job and that should be your priority while you’re there, but you’re still a writer.

Even if you’re not at work. If you’re out shopping or stuck in traffic…anywhere you are. Inspiration is hard to come by, so indulge in it.

Use a Notebook

With how crazy life can get, it’s hard to get down to the basics of writing. Getting on the internet to research a novel can turn into replying to work emails. Reading a novel for inspiration can turn into a full-day reading binge. And it’s even worse when you’re working full-time, and have that thought “well…I just need a break from everything” and only avoid writing more.

That’s why I’ve always been such a notebook fan (obsessor).

Keeping a journal, writing your thoughts down, transports you to the most basic, pure form of writing. You can’t get distracted by a notification in the corner of your screen, or be only one click away from stalking your ex. It’s you, your thoughts, and pen and paper. You’re not a blog runner, or an accountant…for that period of time, you’re simply a writer.

Yes, of course, there are apps and software that will mute notifications or keep you from going onto Facebook for the millionth time that day, but in my opinion, nothing will ever beat a notebook.

I’ve linked some of my favorite notebooks below.

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Keep Things Separate

If you do use a notebook for your writing, don’t let it be the same as the one you use for your life. The worst thing for your creativity is to have that doctor’s appointment reminder, or those test notes, staring at you while you try to create.

Use two different notebooks. Keep separate computer folders. Color-code your life; green for finances, pink for your novel.

Do everything in your power to have it where, when you’re writing, that’s all your focused on.

Turn Writing Into Your Life-Break

This is something I still struggle with. When I was younger and wrote, it was an escape for me. It calmed me down, and made me forget about my life.

But now that I’m older and published and want writing to be my life, it’s harder to lose myself in it. I stress myself out, become too perfectionistic, and think about so much more than I should.

When you’re writing and creating, that needs to be your escape. It doesn’t need to be a job to you because you probably already have one of those. It needs to be fun, for the most part, and give you a break from stress.

For me, something that helps is not saying that I’m a writer, but saying that I enjoy writing. That way, it makes it less of a job and more of an enjoyment thing. I’m sure there are tons of other psychological hacks that help, but this is the easiest for me.

Write For Yourself

I’m putting this as the last tip because, if you take anything away from this post, THIS NEEDS TO BE IT.

It goes hand in hand with what I just mentioned, that writing needs to be fun for you and not a job. And the best way to do that is simply to write for yourself. Lose yourself in the creative part of your mind, not the stressed part that is constantly thinking about how a reader may perceive what you’re working on. Don’t think about getting it published, or whether or not this one subplot will piss readers off.

Just write.


And that’s that.

Unfortunately, most writers, even the published ones, don’t make nearly enough money. The average writer makes maybe $10k per year, so unless you’re married to some major earner, you need a solid income. You need a desk job, a side hustle. Or if you’re a stay-at-home spouse, you have to keep the house clean and make sure the kids/pets have everything they need which is a job in itself.

Life is overpowering and fast, and it’s so important that if you love to write, you make the time for it. Because if you don’t, you’ll never get to write that story that’s been inhabiting your brain for so long.

Life is overpowering and fast, and it's so important that if you love to write, you make the time for it. Click To Tweet

So I hope that some of these tips help you out! They’re all easier said than done, I know, but hopefully, they provoke you just that much more to get writing.

Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips for us people who love writing!

Thanks for reading ūüôā

How to balance being a writer with your full-time life | a blog post at authorcjmiranda.com

Essential Oils for Writers & Other Creatives

Disclaimer #1: I am NOT an essential oil guru. I know nothing about using oils to cure cancer or to put my kids asleep at night (especially because I don’t have kids). I love essential oils, I do, but that doesn’t make me an expert.¬†

Disclaimer #2: Some oils are not good for children or expecting mothers. The ones I know of are peppermint, rosemary, and clary sage. Basically half the list below (sorry!) So if you have any hesitancies toward using them for any reason, you may want to look deeper into it.

So. Here we are. Essential Oils.

They’re something you’ve most likely seen all over your Pinterest feed or tried to have¬†been sold on from a girl you graduated high school with. Nowadays, they’re everywhere.

And I’m not mad at it.

Whether or not you believe in their super-magical claims, essential oils do serve a variety of good. Creativity and inspiration for writing (other tips on that here) are just a couple of those. And I’m here to explain the singular oils that help along, and then after give you some of my favorite blend¬†examples.

Obviously, any essential oil could be said to help someone’s writing, as everyone has different needs for when they write. To keep this post from going into detail about every single oil possible, I’m only going to mention the ones that I’ve tried and think help me out.

Most of the links in this article¬†are that of the affiliate variety, but please don’t let that lessen what you may take away from this.¬†It charges you nothing extra. I’ve been using these oils/blends for longgg before starting this blog. Now, I’m just trying to make an extra penny with spreading the word about them since, you know, authors don’t make shit.

So yeah ūüôā


Peppermint

I will rave about this oil ’til the day I die. I always buy the big bottle of this stuff, and make sure to keep it stocked. I’ve gotten everyone I know hooked on it, including my dad. It’s energizing, clarifying, and stimulates your mind in a way that makes you want to be productive with your writing.

As with any essential oil, there are multiple ways to use it. My favorite ways are sprinkling a few drops in my shower in the morning, as well as putting it in my diffuser with some of the other oils I’ll mention below.

Rosemary

This oil definitely isn’t as in your face as peppermint is. But while it’s more low-key, it’s still incredibly invigorating and helps boost mental energy and focus. It’s also capable of reducing tension, so if you’re feeling too stressed or under pressure to be your most creative, rosemary is an oil to consider.

Orange/Lemon/Grapefruit

Some people on Pinterest swear that the three of these have completely different side-effects. For me, though, they’re interchangeable. I usually choose one of the three based on what smell I’m craving (that sounds kinda weird, doesn’t it?).

Even so, these three fruity scents help uplift your mood and, mixed with other types of oils, can majorly aid in energy. Too much of a sweet scent can negatively impact your focus, though, so use them lightly.

Frankincense

Aside from being good at everything else, hence why this is dubbed as the king of all oils, frankincense has many mental benefits. It can calm your mind and your nerves, giving you plenty of free space in your head for creativity. There are also claims that it helps improve your memory and concentration, as well as giving you the clear mindset you need to write that bestseller of yours.

Clary Sage & Bergamot

The last of the oils I’ll mention are these two which, while completely different, do have the same sort of effect on the mind. These, like frankincense, have incredible mood benefits. They’re known to boost mental strength and confidence, as well as get all that mood-lowering gunk out of your head. Clary Sage is more of a hormone balancer, while Bergamot has more of a calm & uplifting sort of smell. But they’re both awesome.


The Best Blends

These are my favorites from the hundreds I’ve found and tested from Pinterest. You can use them in equal parts or one oil more than the other, whether that be through a diffuser or with a carrier oil in a roller ball. It’s all up to you and your preferences. So just know that these recipes are mere guidelines, and you can customize them however you like.

Smells are personal, you guys.

Peppermint + Orange or Lemon (my all-time fave)

Peppermint + Lemon + Rosemary

Frankincense + Orange + Lemon + Peppermint

Grapefruit + Rosemary + Peppermint

Lemon + Rosemary + Frankincense

Bergamot + Lemon + Orange

Basically, as you can probably tell, just throw together some of the ones I initially listed and see if it smells good and works for you. That’s the fun part of essential oils. You can feel like a scientist. They have premade blends you can always buy, but to me that’s not nearly as fun.

I truly believe they help me focus and boost my creativity, and even if they don’t, they still smell awesome.

So let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of these or if you have any others you think I should’ve included! I’ve only recently gotten into essential oils this past year, so I still find it interesting to research.

Thanks for reading!

Using essential oils to boost creativity for writers and other creatives | a blog post at www.authorcjmiranda.com