50 DAYS TO 50K

If there is one thing that being a gymnastics mom has taught me over the years, it’s this:  You can have all the talent and intentions in the world, but without the mindset and motivation to do something, none of it matters.

This, unfortunately, has been the status quo in my life over the past few months. I have the goals. I know what I need to do.  I even want to do them, at least until it actually comes time to do it.  The problem I’m having is finding the energy and will power to execute — to start writing, to start exercising, to start eating better.  They sound like great ideas when I’m feeling miserable on the couch after eating a bunch of fries or plotting “my best work yet,” but for some reason, when the time comes, I’d rather be checking for reviews and reading Facebook posts than working on my next project. Or I convince myself it’s easier to grab a quick bite from a fast food restaurant than go through the trouble of fixing something at home and messing up a clean kitchen. Or I just don’t have enough time to take the dogs for a walk, because The Walking Dead starts in six hours and I need all of that time to prepare!

Seriously. These are the things I tell myself.

I could blame it on the hibernation of the winter months and our crazy practice schedules, but when it really gets down to it, I know those are just excuses.  If I wanted it bad enough, I’d find a way.  This is something I’ve told my daughters many times when they’ve had a mental block, or were too sore to go to practice. Make it happen. Push through it. Find the motivation!

Well, Ladies & Gents, it’s high time I take my own advice, and finally I have my motivation.

I am heading to New York for the first time ever at the end of May to attend Book Expo America (and a nice trip with the hubby!). Two weeks later, I’m throwing a release party for my book.  So while I might not want to sit in my office and type words on a computer….I WANT to be able to say, “Yes, I’m halfway through my next manuscript!” when people ask if I have plans to write another. While I might not want to eat a carrot instead of a cookie, I WANT to fit into that amazing dress in my closet that I used to look so nice in. While I might not want to climb the six flights of stairs at work, I WANT to have the energy and stamina to walk all over New York City with my husband and have an amazing vacation.

So, today I’m launching the 50 Days to 50K Challenge to myself, to my friends, to my fellow writers, and to anyone out there who just needs the motivation and support to get moving.  For me, this will be a two goal challenge, but it does not need to be for you. Whatever works.


Goal 1: Write 50,000 Words

By the end of these next 50 days, I will be at least 50,000 words into my next manuscript. These don’t have to be 50k perfect or final words, just words.  The goal is to get my story moving and onto paper. I’ll worry about making them perfect later.




Goal 2: Eliminate 50,000 “bad” calories from my diet.

I say “Bad” calories, because this will be a collaboration of cutting back on overeating, replacing bad calories with good calories, and burning calories through exercise.  The idea here isn’t to be “hangry” all the time, but to get healthier, have more energy, and hopefully fit into that dress!


Maybe your circumstances won’t allow for either 50k words or calories.  Maybe your challenge is 50 Days to 25k or you can make it all the way to 60K; it doesn’t matter! Whatever your life allows, set a goal, make a plan, find the motivation, and write it down. You can write it here in the comments if you want or just on a sticky note beside your computer. I will keep track of my progress and check in frequently to let you know how things are going, and I encourage you to do the same! I’m not sure about you, but I definitely feel more motivated knowing there is someone else out there struggling with me!

Best of Luck!

Jenna P

Inspiration · Self Publishing

A Writer vs. An Author

So, it’s been forever since I’ve blogged, for many different reasons.

First, we’ve been super busy finishing up the gymnastics season.  We traveled to Orlando, Columbus, Ohio, and Charleston, SC, then finished up the season in Asheville, NC.  Congratulations to my “Spotacus” for being the Level 6 State Champion for her age bracket on Vault, Bars, and All-Around!  She also qualified for Regionals, where she took ninth!  Super proud of her!

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Second, we’ve been mourning the loss of our 17 year old dachshund, Dakota.  This one hit hard.  He was our first baby, and was such a good boy.  We had so much time with him, but it never feels like enough.  We miss you, little buddy.


Third, we’ve been getting ready for summer.  This means making sure the boat is primed and ready for the Lake, and getting the pool opened up for the season.  I’ve had muscles hurt the past few weeks that I never knew I had.  And then I look at the insane things my daughters do at gymnastics and realize I have no room to complain.

It’s been crazy busy, to say the least.  Looking forward to some down time in the summer.

As far as writing goes, I’m pushing hard toward getting my book published in the fall.  I’ve done lots of research, talked to a few hybrid publishers to see what they have to offer, have my cover artist lined up, and am finally working on edits.

Yep, that’s right!  I received edits back from THE REAL WRITER last week on THE RULES OF HALF.  Receiving that email was a monumental moment for me.  It made it all more real, not just a pie in the sky notion I had about someday being published.  I was really truly on my way.  I smiled and giggled and celebrated, and might have had a glass or two of wine.

And thenEdits I opened up the docs and the squees quickly changed to hyperventilating.

It wasn’t the quantity of the comments or the fact that I had more work to do that had me in a panic.  What bothered me was that I didn’t see the things she pointed out until she pointed them out to me.  How could I have missed that?  Why didn’t I think of that?  Do these people not have any other way to express themselves besides raising their brow?  Why the hell do I use passive voice so much?  You mean, I’m not perfect?

Part of me felt a little embarrassed, if I’m being honest. Embarrassed and down.

And then I reminded myself that this is why I’d hired her in the first place.  Because I want my book to be the best book it can be.  Because she can see things I can’t.  Because I’d rather have her tell me these things than readers leaving bad reviews.

And then everything changed.  Parts and ideas started sparking in my head.  All the things I remembered having trouble with when I was writing this manuscript – you know, the ones that don’t feel 100% right, so you kind of skirt them under the rug and hope no one notices – suddenly started to fall into or out of place completely.  I could see a path lighting its way through the crazy maze in front of me.  I no longer felt embarrassed; I felt empowered, determined.

For the first time, I felt like an author, not a writer.

But, Jenna P, you say, what is the difference?

I used to wonder that too.  At what point does one change from being a writer to an author?  Is it when you have something finished?  Is it when you have an agent?  Is it when you earn a book deal?  Is it when you are finally published?  I really didn’t know.  But I finally get it, folks.  I do.

No, I’m not perfect.  Not even close.  And I can guarantee that you aren’t either.  But those that make it in this business are those who can admit it, and tackle their weaknesses head on.  They are those who aren’t afraid to hear what they are doing wrong, and aren’t too lazy to suck it up and do what’s necessary to make it right.  They are those who don’t settle for a dull story when there are clearly ways to make it shine.

That, my friends, is the difference between an author and a writer.

So which are you?