• Cheryl

Happy Hour: HB90 Bootcamp Week

This was a different kind of week for me. There wasn’t a lot of outright creating going on, but what HAS happened is actually even better than that.

There’s a paranormal young adult indie author I follow named Sarra Cannon. She’s published more than half a million books worldwide over the course of the last nine years. She got into indie publishing when it wasn’t the thing to do - in fact, it was rather looked-down-upon back then, and the widely-held belief was that if you self-published, you could kiss your dream of a lucrative writing career goodbye - no one would ever take you seriously. When she ultimately decided to make that move, self-publishing on Amazon was new, and there weren’t a lot of people who had done it just yet, so there weren’t a lot of lessons to be shared. Now that she’s become successful, she firmly believes in sharing everything she’s learned to help other fledgling authors or authors who want to move into indie publishing. She has two YouTube channels, one called “Sarra Cannon,” which focuses on her own books and writing career, and the other called “Heart Breathings,” which focuses on writing in general. It’s on the “Heart Breathings” channel that she teaches and helps other authors.

In the last year or so, she’s developed two online courses she offers to anyone who wants to take them, and they’re only offered a couple times a year. One is called “Publish and Thrive,” which walks you through the process of launching your indie career, and I’m hoping to take this the next time it’s offered. The other is called “HB90 Bootcamp,” which is a weeklong course in which she teaches the planning and productivity system she created and uses herself.

I’ll be the first to admit it: I LOVE planning, I LOVE structure, I have plenty of ideas I want to pursue (and I don’t dream small, either), but what invariably happens every single time I set up a plan for myself is that I get overwhelmed, I don’t know what I should be concentrating on next or most, I freeze up, and I get off-track. I’ve accomplished quite a bit of what I wanted to do these last few years - I started a voice acting business and booked a number of gigs I really enjoyed, I wrote and produced three seasons of a podcast, I completed my novel - but none of it came easy, and a lot of other things I’ve been wanting to do just haven’t come to fruition. Whatever I’m doing, I’m not doing it right, or as well as I can be. So when I got the notice that “HB90 Bootcamp” was running again, I signed up.

The name comes from “Heart Breathings” and the fact that Ms. Cannon uses a quarterly planning system, meaning she’s only planning and goal-setting for 90 days at a stretch. The class started this past Sunday with pre-class homework, which required us to ask hard questions of ourselves, what our ideal lives would be, how we define sucess, what’s important to us, etc. Then came a live kickoff video call in the “HB90 Bootcamp” Facebook group, and then each day, a series of videos is unlocked that we can watch at our leisure, and that we’ll have lifetime access to if we ever need to go back and rewatch one (or all) to get ourselves back on track. Each daily set of videos involves Ms. Cannon explaining the next step of her planning process, showing what she herself has done, and then assigning us homework, which the next day will build upon. If we need help, we can e-mail her, or post on either the video itself or in the Facebook group, and she answers our questions and encourages us and helps us when we’re stuck. So the class is taught by video, but Ms. Cannon is always interacting.

I finished Day 4 today (I’m a bit behind), and the entire course so far has been an eye-opener and exactly what I’ve been needing - everything from what I truly want for myself, my life, and my career, to how to define my priorities, to how to set motivational and measurable goals rather than just throw together a to-do list, to figuring out a realistic expectation of how and where to devote my time (and how much time I actually have available to devote). It involves changing my entire way of thinking in order to find my focus, which is challenging, because we are, after all, creatures of habit. But I’m already feeling less overwhelmed, less scattered, and more in tune with not only what I really want but what is doable in the next three months. As Ms. Cannon points out, I have a lifetime of working on achieving everything I want to work on achieve - everything builds on everything else. Right now, I ONLY have to worry about what I can do in the next 90 days. Everything else can wait.

What a liberating thought! And how freeing!

So this has been my week. Tomorrow I’ll do Day 5. It’s exciting, and motivating, and at the risk of sounding sappy, I feel like I’m finally truly in tune with myself and the kind of life I really want to create. The goals I’ve chosen for this third quarter of 2020 are doable, not too much, not too little, and they’ll springboard me into what I’m already considering for the fourth quarter when it begins in October. For right now, though, I have 11 days until July 1, when Q3 begins, and I can hardly wait!

If you’re a writer, or if you enjoy reading YA fiction, or if you just want to see what Sarra Cannon is all about, I highly recommend her YouTube channels. She’s a friendly, wonderful person who loves what she does, both writing and teaching, and I’m so glad I came across her.