Sunday self-care: Morning routines

I know a ton of people suffer with anxiety, and lately, I’ve had lot of it. You know when you’re ambling along, everything is fine, and then BOOM all of the anxiety hits at once? It’s funny because I’m constantly left feeling the same way, “How did I think everything was ok? What signs did I miss?”

I’ve gotten much better at identifying signs of building tension or burn out (which is so common for teachers in June). When I get too obsessive or lost in work, I’ve trained myself to say, “You’re working at a lunatic’s pace, and you need to slow down.” This time, however, it was random. It was my body just failing me and causing me to be anxious when I’ve done what I need to do to be healthy and happy.

So, I just allowed myself to be anxious. Literally. I woke up early in the morning, and just let myself get my head together. And then I started my routine of meditating and self-care. It might sound-as my favorite podcast host/inspirational author Cara Alwill Leyba says- “very wu wu or mystical” but I promise you it’s not. It’s smart. Waking up in the morning and practicing acts of self-care is so important, whether you’re a stay at home mom or a teacher or whatever!

Whatever your morning self-care routine looks like it is not a waste of time. It’s something that has deeply healed me and allowed me to stay focused and fresh throughout the day.

Anyone can do it. Even those of you who say, you are NOT a morning person. Whether it’s something like making breakfast, reading a book, meditating, doing affirmations etc., you can do it.

Throughout the day, I’ll be adding some self-care resources. I’m also curious: What does your morning self-care routine look like? Or, what would your dream morning look like?

Writer Wednesday: Pieces

Writing a new story has been like trying to mash pieces of a puzzle together, and lately, I’ve struggled with starting Book 2 of my series. It feels like my head is all scrambled. I’ve sent out queries to a bunch of agents, and I’m waiting on responses. I’m trying to haphazardly ascend to the next step, but right now I feel stuck. As a result, I feel like there are these thoughts whirling about in my brain while I’m trying to focus on a completely different project.

I’ve been trying to figure out whether I should outline, research, or just write. I feel like I need to make this perfect product, when in reality, I can’t make a perfect product all in 1 shot. I need to write in pieces. I need to plan in pieces. I keep acting like I’m just going to have a completed master puzzle, but I’m skipping the step when I’m trying to push the cardboard pieces together, one at a time.

I think it’s time to take a breath and reset my mind and be ok with the fact that it’s a new project, and that it’s obviously not going to be done like Book 1. It’s fresh, and I’m allowed to take my time putting all of the pieces together.

How do you start a new project? What’s your process like?

Morning Routine

Fear pursuit

I know I’m going to sound like a lunatic, but I woke up at 445 am, and I was thrilled. Before you’re like, “she’s an insane person, and I hope she seeks psychiatric help” there’s a reason for my madness.

Earlier this year, I realized I had NO time to write when I would get home. I would be so completely drained and mentally exhausted that I found myself not being able to do it. So, I started to wake up early and not only write, but to also meditate and journal, and it’s really transformed my mindset to something more positive.

With how demanding jobs can be, it’s hard to get time for yourself, but now, I do. It’s totally changed everything. My friend, Melissa, put it best, “When I take the time to do this, I feel like Teflon.” I’m able to do the things that I really care about and am excited about early, and for the rest of the day (while it might not be every day) I feel like there is a light on inside of me.

I’m curious, what is your morning or nighttime routine like? Are you hoping to create one?

Querying Resources

This week I’m focusing on revising and editing my query-gulp- and in my query-research hunt, I’ve found some resources that I want to share with some fellow writer-warriors

Querying Resources

Query Guidelines

  1. Query Setup
  2. Query Setup: Writer’s Digest


Query Letters

Sarah J Maas Example

Dear Ms. Rydzinski:

What if Cinderella went to the ball not to win the heart of the prince, but to kill him?  In THE EYE OF THE CHOSEN, the first book of my fantasy trilogy, QUEEN OF GLASS, Celaena Sardothien is not a damsel in distress—she’s an assassin.  Serving a life sentence in the salt mines for her crimes, Celaena finds herself faced with a proposition she can’t turn down: her freedom in exchange for the deaths of the King of Adarlan’s enemies.

Before she can complete her mission, she must first train within the glass castle in the capital of the empire. As training with the Captain of the Guard revives her muscles, encounters with the Crown Prince threaten to do the same to her heart. But Celaena soon learns that the King of Adarlan might have plans more sinister than assassinations.

An ancient queen’s ghost charges Celaena with an enormous task: to discover and destroy the mysterious source of the evil king’s power. Torn between her desire to win her freedom and a mission much bigger than herself, Celaena thus begins an adventure she never wanted, which will uncover her forgotten, magical past—a past more dangerous than any tyrant…

I am a 2008 graduate of Hamilton College with a degree in Creative Writing, and I have been published in Hamilton’s literary magazine, Red Weather. Because of your interest in fantasy, I thought you might be interested in my trilogy, which is centered on a retelling of the Cinderella legend through the eyes of an assassin. My completed manuscript is available at your request. Below, please find the first ten pages of my manuscript. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Sarah J. Maas


  • Middle Grade Query


Dianna Winget Example

Dear Ms. Kole,

[1] According to your agency’s website you’re actively seeking middle-grade fiction, so I’m pleased to introduce my novel, A Smidgen of Sky. [2] This novel won me a scholarship to attend the Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop at Chautauqua. It was also awarded honorable mention in the Smart Writers W.I.N. Competition.

[3] A Smidgen of Sky is the story of ten-year-old Piper Lee DeLuna, a spunky, impulsive dreamer, whose fierce devotion to her missing father is threatened by her mother’s upcoming remarriage.

[4] Everyone else has long accepted her father’s death, but the fact that his body was never recovered from his wrecked plane leads to Piper’s dream that he might one day reappear and free her from the secret guilt she harbors over his accident. Her stubborn focus leaves no room in her affections for her mother’s fiancé, Ben, or his princess-like daughter, Ginger.

[5] Determined to stop the wedding, Piper Lee schemes up “Operation Finding Tina”—a sure plan to locate Ben’s ex-wife and get the two of them back together. But just as Piper succeeds with step one of her plan, a riot breaks out at the prison where Ben works, and suddenly nothing seems sure.

[6] Since middle-graders care deeply about things and people and love to daydream about their future, I think readers will identify with Piper Lee and find her an appealing heroine as she learns that you can both cherish the past and embrace the future.

[7] This story, set in the coastal region of Georgia, runs about 33,000 words and is somewhat similar in tone to Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn-Dixie.

[8] I’m a 1990 graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature and my work has been published in U*S* Kids, Child Life, Columbia Kids, True Love, Guide and StoryPlus.

Thanks very much for your time. I have included the first ten pages and look forward to hearing from you.

Truly yours,

Dianna Winget