30 Days of Happy

This time of year is always a little rough for me, emotion-wise. I really don’t understand. Fall is my absolute favorite season. The cooler weather is perfect for coffee drinking. The stores are filled with school supplies (love buying notebooks and pens!). My kids are back to school, which gives me extra time to write, read, and/or nap. My friends’ kids are back to school as well which allows me adult hang out time (stay-at-home-writer-moms unite!) . . .


So why am I not dancing around doing Fiddler on the Roof reenactments 24/7??


I’ve been learning a lot about happiness. It boils down to: Happiness is a choice. It’s something we can control. We can either lash out and be annoyed at things, or try and find the humor in those same situations. Life is too short to spend your days grumpy and angry or having pity-parties—which I’m a little too good at this time of year. There’s so much out there that is silly and laugh-worthy. (*not condoning laughing in a mean way at another person, or their problems.)


I’m determined to make this year different. I’m going to run over the blues with my army truck and choose HAPPY! I’m going to post something every day during the month of September that makes me randomly happy. (Example: I actually have a friend named September!) My hubby, my kiddos, my extended family, and friends are at the top of my HAPPY list for sure. But for this exercise, I’m just going to post the little things—probably unobserved by “normal” people—that brighten my day with HAPPY.


So…Who’s with me?


Here’s to 30 days of HAPPY! May it continue for the rest of the year!



Self Promotion: HELP!

So, I’m trying to build my following. This is extremely hard for a girl who’s been raised to “let another man praise you and not your own mouth.” But as an author, it must be done. It’s important for agents and potential editors to see that I have a following, and that my name is out there. So, I’d really appreciate your help. I can’t do this without you!

Here are some ways you can help: 

1. Follow and like my blog–promote it to your friends.  https://janelleleonard.wordpress.com/

2. Go to Facebook and like my author page (Janelle Leonard, Author) BONUS: I’m having a $25 amazon gift card drawing as soon as I reach 200 likes! 


3. Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/JanelleLeonard2

4. Check out my page on Pinterest http://pinterest.com/volleyball143/boards/. I’m in the process of adding pictures to a board for my WIP BOUND. Check out my characters and some of the outfits/shoes/hair styles they’ll be wearing! 🙂 

THANKS! Again, I REALLY appreciate you!

5K Novel: After You Cross

You’ve crossed the finished line. You feel elated! You’ve accomplished something that scared you to death to do. You feel high on the excitement of it all. You don’t want to leave, but you know you must go home at some point.

You’re novel is done. You’ve pressed send. It is now in an agents or editors hands. You want to take a vacation from writing, do nothing, but you know that you have the next project to work on.

And now…you wait.

They won’t post your time until later tonight…

The agent said she’d get back to you in six weeks…

And then…you wait some more.

There’s a whole year until the next 5K…

The agent said you needed to have it edited some more…

You edit, extensively, and send it back…

Guess what…you wait some more…

I’ve given myself the title “Professional Waiter.” Writing is a waiting game. But if I’ve learned anything in this process, it’s that WAITING is an ACTION word. What can you do while you wait? How can you prepare for what’s next?

For 5K, running is the best action. Conditioning your lungs and muscles (starting 2 weeks before the 5K doesn’t really do it justice…) And you now have a record! You’re so gonna beat it next year!

For your writing, well, WRITE. Start the whole process again (1st mile…to Finish Line). Don’t be idle while you wait. Hone your craft. Read more books on editing. Send out articles to magazines. Write a story for your kids. Or a poem for your BFF. Just WRITE!

The process of writing is never-ending. But it’s sure worth it, even on those days when you want to chuck your notebook/laptop out a window and curl up–never touching another pen/computer key again!

And remember your battle cry: You’ve Got This!

5K Novel: The Last Mile

Okay, now you can say you’re almost done! You’ve conquered two miles! Only one more mile to go. This thinking helps your legs to pick up the pace a bit. The time you saw on the clock by marker two gave you pause, it wasn’t as low as you’d have liked, but you’re still well under thirty minutes.

As you run, you notice that spectators are less and less. The spectators have abandoned their posts along the course to go to the finish line. You kinda wish that there was still someone around to encourage you on this last mile . . . 

You hear music. A lady in front of you has her iPhone out. You know the song playing! You love music, it motivates you to do a lot of things that you don’t like. You run behind her, singing along (in your head). You get a small burst of energy, and realize you can pass her. So you pass the lady with music, missing it instantly. You feel lonely again, but then a boy appears on the sidelines, his arm outstretched. You smile and give him a high-five as you pass. Guess everyone didn’t abandon you.

You run some then walk some. Run. Walk. Run, Walk. This last mile is a killer. But you keep thinking “only a mile left!” You finger the bracelet on your wrist, taking up the chant “I can do ALL things through Christ.” This becomes your battle cry. 

You round the last bend and your running partner appears! She, of course, already crossed the finish line, but she came back for you. You feel so loved, so encouraged that she, instead of celebrating at the end without you, she came back to run beside you to the end. Your feet pick up the pace at each word your running partner says. She tells you you’re awesome and that she’s so proud of you. She’s gives you a drink of blue Gatorade. 

Then up ahead…you see the finish line. And it’s INFLATABLE! You laugh because that makes you insanely happy—yep, you’re a little past crazy at the moment, but you don’t care!

To the cheers of the crowd, you decide to sprint to the end. What have you got to lose? You hear your name being called by so many people. You see cameras flashing. You run like the wind, a smile lighting up your face.

You leap over the finish line…  

Tears threaten—happy, conquering tears this time. Your first 5K is done! And your time is 36:45! (I know that’s probably a lot for super athletes, but to someone who only started training 2 weeks before the 5K, that time is a miracle!)

 You may not have fallen in love with running, but you can now say that you have run a 5K! And who knows, maybe you’ll do it again next year!


Novel Time

You only have about 27,000 more words to write! You feel so accomplished. It was hard, but you’ve already written about 54,000 words! 

20,000 to go . . .

10,000 to go . . .

You’ve had times of inspiration. Times of nothing. Times of feeling alone. You heard a song on the radio that gave you an idea. A friend said something and you wrote it down, getting a whole scene out of that one line. These little bursts of inspiration helped those dry times. 

And then, you only have 5,000 words to go…Guess who just called and said she’s on her way over? Your writing partner! She finished her novel, sent it off to an agent, and is free. She’s here to help you finish your novel! She stays up late with you, bouncing ideas, telling you where you need to add, and where your writing is AMAZING.

The last thousands words . . . More writer friends huddle around you. Encouraging and pressing you on (threatening to beat you with a cane if you don’t finish by your deadline—all in super love of course…).

And then, you have two words left to type. THE and END.

As tears build in your eyes, you type 6 letters. Your novel is done! All those tears, pity-parties, chiropractor appointments, finger and wrist cramps from typing for ten hours straight…all that was SO worth it.

*cue victory music!

You have CONQUERED! 

5K Novel: Mile Two

Mile Two…Or as I like to call it “The Pity-Party Mile.”

Lungs are heated. Breathing is more of a gasping. Legs are shaking, but your goal was to run until the halfway marker. You’re almost there. You’re almost done! At least that’s what the boys, ringing cowbells, told you. “You’re almost done!” they yell as they run by in the opposite direction, not a drip of sweat on their faces.


You haven’t reached the halfway point yet! How can you be almost done with the 5K?

Someone calls your name. It’s your running partner. Your heart gives a twitch. She’s headed the other way, already having made it to the halfway point. She’s happily on her way to the mile 2 marker.

“Yeah you!” she calls as she passes.

You force a smile, thankful that you didn’t just give in and walk. “I haven’t stopped running yet!”

Your perseverance pays off. You can see the halfway point. And look, lovely ladies holding out glasses of ice cold water. Okay, you deserve to walk for a bit. You walk as you drink, but as soon as the water is gone, you start running again. You’ve been revived!

As you round the next bend, a hill appears. (And a guy on a bicycle tells you you’re doing great—and you seriously want to push him over, steal his bike…). Your lower back hurts at the thought of running up hill, but you can’t stop now. You’ve been “training” for this. Your course at home took you up lots of hills. You resist the urge to walk, I mean, the downhill is coming up! You conquer the hill, and fly down the other side, gaining another burst of energy.

Wait? What is that? YUM! Coffee! Chicken! And look, vendors selling sparkly and fluffy things…

You stop running. Thoughts hit you. You feel like crying. You feel so alone. You feel angry that you were talked into this . . .

“I hate running!”

“Why did I agree to do this?”

“I can’t do this! This is way too hard.”

“No one would blame me if I stopped running, curled into a ball, took a nap…”

Then a smiling woman catches your eye. “You’re doing amazing! The two mile marker is less than a minute away. Don’t give up! You got this!”

As tears build, you start running again. You feel like you’re hardly moving, but you press on… You smile when the Mile 2 marker appears. Nothing has ever looked better. You feel victorious. You resisted temptation. You didn’t give up.


The ideas are slowing. Your “bouncer” is on vacation or working on her novel. Some non-writer friends are on their way to lunch and to Wal-Mart. Their lives seem so easy compared to yours. They don’t know how you suffer. What’s it like to be “normal?”

You see that halfway point, and a fresh wave of ideas hits you.

But then…What’s that? Coffee! Nap time! Pinterest—you just HAVE to find a picture of your character. SHERLOCK!!

Roadblocks appear. And then the pity-party commences. No one would blame you if you gave up. It’d be easier than beating your head against your desk. You’ve been neglecting housework and family to write. Guilt . . .

“Why did I ever want to be a writer?”

“This is too hard!”

“No one cares.”

“I can’t write!”

Just when you’re about to throw your computer out a window, you get a note from someone you’ve never met. They tell you that you have a way with words. And that they love your writing. That they are on the edge of their seat and can’t wait to read more! Then another friend sends you an email DEMANDING you send them more of your WIP (work in progress)—they’re about to die and can’t think of ANYTHING ELSE but what happens next!

Your mentor sends you a reminder:

You wipe your eyes, turn on your computer, and type. Turning that pity-party into a thankful fest.

It hits you as you type: Your novel is more than halfway done! You ran over all those roadblocks with your army truck. You resisted curling up with all those distractions. You closed the door on the pity-party.

You resisted! You’re victorious! You got this!

**The last mile is fast approaching, and then the finish line…stay tuned!

Starting Line: https://janelleleonard.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/5k-novel-the-starting-line/

Mile One: https://janelleleonard.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/5k-novel-mile-one/

5K Novel: Mile One

This running thing is so easy. You got this! Your legs are flying. There’s no pain, no effort, you’re just running along. This is fun. You’ll be done in no time. Your running partner is by your side. You’re keeping pace. You’re able to talk, laugh even. You pass a group of other runners. Elated, you press on.

People stand on either side of the course, watching you run by, cheering you on. You smile. You’re encouraged to have so many fans there to yell your name. Even those who don’t know your name, are giving you a thumbs-up, clapping as you run by.

You round a bend, looping back over the starting line. Your running partner, in the bottled confusion of a whole group trying to run around a corner at the same time, ends up in front of you. You wave her on when she looks back to find you. “Go ahead! Run like the wind!” You’re not worried that she’s ahead of you. You’ll catch up to her. You could run for hours! You got this!

Breathing is getting a little harder.

The mile marker has to be close.

Um…a guy wearing one of those neon crossing guard vests just said you have about a half mile to go before the mile marker. WHAT? A mile was never this long before. What’s happening?

But then…THERE IT IS! You smile, put on a little speed, and fly by the sign.

You’ve conquered the first mile. Only two more to go! You got this!



The ideas are flowing, almost faster than you can write them down. You have tons of “OOOHH” and “This will work!” and “What a GREAT line!” moments. At this rate, you’ll have your 80,000 publishable words written in no time.

You call in your friends—designated “BOUNCERS”—and throw ideas and “what if’s?” around. There’s lots of laughter and coffee involved, and writing of course. Anything is possible at this point. There are no stupid ideas.

Oh, the excitement of putting together pieces of the novel puzzle!

Writer and non-writer friends alike are excited for you. They applaud you, cheering you on. They listen to your ideas, and then tell you to go find a nice quiet diner and WRITE! You got this!

As the days go by, the ideas slow a little. But you’re still excited about your bestseller idea. But then, your writing partner gets an idea of her own. She takes off. You applaud her because it’s fun to be excited and write together! You’ll both finish in no time! You got this!

You stay up late, you get up early. You write.

And then . . . THERE IT IS! 27,000 words are done! You turn off the computer, or set down the pen. You’ve made it to your first goal!

Writing is so much fun!

**If you missed it, check out the first installment–5K Novel: The Starting Line


And stay tuned for MILE 2!

5K Novel: The Starting Line

I ran my first 5K yesterday. It was quite the “research to the extreme” experience. Not sure where I’ll use it, but at least the hard part is over. While I was lying in bed last night—feeling the ache creeping over every muscle in my body—it hit me. Writing a novel is a lot like running a 5K.

Only those who press on cross the finish line–both in a 5K and in novel writing.


It’s your first 5K. You’ve got on your sneakers, workout capris, and a sweet new running shirt. (It’s teal and made of a material you’ve never worn before.) You’ve painted your nails a sparkly purple, and added a flower hair clip to your hair–you have to look cute. Mission accomplished. You tell yourself you’re now a runner!

You’re not totally sure where to go or what to do. Then a guy with a megaphone tells you to get to the starting line area. Nerves arrive. You want to back out, but it’s too late. You follow (walking at this point) the crowd of runners. You stretch, chatting with your running partner to distract you. When is the gun going to sound? It seems to take forever. You just want to get started—to see if you can actually do this, run 3.1 miles without dying.

You set goals for yourself:

1. Don’t be the last runner to cross the finish line.

2. Don’t pass out or throw up.

3. Don’t fall over and sprain your ankle.

4. Run without stopping for as long as possible.


It’s official. You can do this! And . . . You’re off and running.



You’ve decided you want to write a novel. You’ve set up a writing area, bought new Sharpie pens, and a notebook. You find awesome writing quotes—print them off and hang them in your writing space. You take the best quote and put it on a T-shirt. (“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” –E. L. Doctorow) Mission accomplished. You tell yourself that you’re now a writer.

So…What will your novel be about? You don’t know yet, but it’s gonna be the best idea EVER. You can’t wait to get started–to see if you can actually write 80,000 publishable words. You read books in your genre and tons of non-fiction books on writing, honing your craft. You watch movies, drink coffee, and hang out with friends.

You set goals for yourself:

1. Write something every day, even if it’s stupid.

2. Get up early for peace-and-quiet thinking time. (Don’t fall asleep!)

3. Spend time networking. Encouraging and meeting other writers, helping them with their ideas.

4. Carry a notebook with you at all times. Listen to conversations. Observe EVERYTHING.

All this preparation is stage setting—hoping/begging/praying that SOMETHING or SOMEONE will spark that killer idea. You feel it. It’s close . . .


It’s the middle of the night. An idea has arrived, come to you in a dream. You jump out of bed eager to get it down before you forget. This idea has bestseller written all over it–for sure and certain.

It’s official. It’s gonna be great, easy, fun. And . . . You’re off and writing!


**STAY TUNED! The race has just begun. Part 2: 5K Novel: Mile One…Coming soon to The Writing Life!