E-book and Productivity Series Input

Alternatively titled, Come tell me what to do!

First off, about the Christmas e-book….I’m in kind of a quandary.

I feel like I might have bitten off more than I can chew, in the sense that Christmas is such a huge topic, especially for an e-book first-timer like myself. I should probably have decided to write an e-book about something really simple, like “25 Homemade Gift Ideas” instead of a book about all of Christmas. And I probably should have picked a topic that wasn’t time-specific so that I could take my time getting it finished.

I keep feeling like this book isn’t done because new topics keep popping up into my brain and I realize I haven’t even touched on them in the book. Then again, I can’t possibly cover all of Christmas in a little e-book.

The wants-to-do-things-really-well side of me feels like I should have started this months ago so that I could make it more fabulous than I can at this point in time. And that same side says that I should give up on getting this done now and should wait until next year to release the book (maybe at the beginning of November 2011). I’d still do a bunch of Christmas-related posts during the month of December, since you all had submitted such great Christmas questions this week.

On the other hand, my it-doesn’t-have-to-be-perfect-to-bless-other-people side says to just finish it up and release it even though it’s not perfect and comprehensive (and even though it’s less than wonderful to release a Christmas e-book in the middle of December!).

On yet another hand (??), having to finish up a book about a Simple, Frugal Christmas might stress me out and cause me to not apply some of the principles I’m writing about in that very book. I might feel relieved at the idea of not having to have this finished until next November.

What do you think? Are you anxious to have the book now, or would you prefer to wait another year so that you could have a really well-done and more comprehensive book?


My second quandary has to do with the productivity series. I didn’t manage to get that done in November because this past Thursday fell on Thanksgiving Day, and that de-railed my weekly plan. I’m thinking that maybe we should just finish that series up in January (I think I have 3 more posts to share) because people are probably more likely to be in a productivity mode at that point than in December. Plus, that would free up some post slots for Christmas-y topics.

Or maybe you all are dying to hear about how to be more productive because you need to be more productive in December?

Enlighten me! I want to do what will be most helpful to you.

Today’s 365 post: Real or fake?


  1. Elisabeth says

    I think it would be great to finish it up and release it in January or February! I know I’ve been working on Christmas gifts off and on for a whole year (not very productive I know, but it gave me lots of time to implement ideas!) Christmas isn’t just about December.

  2. says

    I vote delaying it and just sharing some simple tidbits now! You won’t be happy with it if you rush! :) And that will make for a MUCH merrier Christmas for you!

  3. Juliette says

    I think you should delay and and release e book next season. Write some blogs on what you were thinking of putting in the book and then you are still working on the book and can polish those up and organize into the book.

    I think you should write about what’s on your heart or what you feel led to write about. If it is Christmas topics, then do those, if it is productivity then that is great too.

    I have enjoyed reading your blog these last few months. You bless others with what you do.

  4. Ruth says

    I think wait is good. No point in stressing yourself and like you say, not applying the very things you are writing about.

  5. Kathy M says

    I am a big believer in keeping stress levels to a minimum when possible. Of course, there are always stressors that we have no control over. Therefore, I vote to hold off on the book until next year. Same with productivity posts. It’s the holidays, as someone else suggested, write what is on your heart. It is a pleasure to read your blog, whatever you choose to write. Blessings to you.

  6. ann says

    I actually think it would be helpful to delay the book until early next year, not just for you, but also for us. We would still have a few ideas for this year via your blog posts, but we could read the book while Christmas is still fresh on our minds and think about how we can make changes for next year. I think it’s the perfect time to publish a self-help Christmas book. Also, you could consider re-promoting it closer to Christmas next year, maybe in October, for your new readers. Either way, I am very much looking forward to reading about Christmas this month on your blog.

  7. says

    What’s your gut feeling? It’s hard to be patient for a year, but are you satisfied with what you will be publishing if the ebook comes out now?

  8. nestra says

    I would say finish it when you can, in a way that makes you happy with the ebook you are putting out. One option would be a series of shorter ebooks spread throughout the year so that you can include all your ideas if you wish. Then you could bundle them when they are all done.

    Whatever you do don’t get too stressed over something you are doing to make the holidays less stressful!

  9. says

    I think it’s refreshing to see someone else make nice plans, then have to re-arrange them because life/better things intervene – that in itself is a good lesson, and one not wasted on your blog. (I do it all the time, too, so you’re not alone!)

    • says

      Hee! I’m glad I could be of service to you.

      I know what you mean…when I read blogs that never, ever seem to have a hiccup, I sometimes start to wonder what in the world is wrong with me!

  10. says

    Delay the e-book and productivity series, have some “sneak peek” Christmas posts (e-book excerpts?) and relax. While I love reading, it’s just a blog and not worth stressing over.

  11. says

    I vote you wait to release it. You could even do a Christmas in July thing. Write some posts about starting to save money/pick-up gifts early and then release your e-book. Then you can run a sale in November when the season starts again.

    • Karen says

      I second this. While I am anxious to read your e-book, I pretty much already have this Christmas planned out. Help us all start a little earlier by putting it in our minds in July.

  12. AnneWF says

    I vote for releasing your E-book next Christmas. I always say that haste makes waste. You will not be truly happy with a rushed and perhaps not as informative version of your book. Give yourself a year to complete it. More time means more fabulous information to share.
    I also think finishing the productivity series in January is smart. You are right about how many people are in that month. I know I am big for organizing and clearing things and straightening out my environment.

  13. Kristen says

    I vote to wait for the ebook till next year and productivity posts in January….the stress is not worth it to turn out something that you may not be 100% satisified with. January is like a fresh start, so the productivity posts would be timely then for people looking to incorporate new habits. The e-book later next year would give us all more time to heed your wise advise!!
    Love your blog! Thanks for sharing yourself and your family with us!

  14. Reese says

    I say delay the E-book until you are satisfied with it. If it’s JUST about Christmas, wait until next holiday season (which in Chicago? Starts in JULY. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT MADNESS?!?!). I’d love to read it, but I’d love to get everything out of it as I can! So for both of us it might be better :)

    In terms of the productivity series, wait until Jan.

    But for December… I don’t want to miss any great posts you’d love to share about your strategies for this year, how you manage to surprise the kiddos, what they “asked” for, how you and Mr. FG make the holidays special for just the two of you, yummy recipes that you ALWAYS make in December, where/how you store all the Xmas goodies, and when you start thinking about savings/planning for NEXT Christmas. Did that help? :P

    And yup. Kristen I totally want to see the inside of your Christmas closet :D

  15. LisaB says

    I vote to delay it as well. You don’t need to stress yourself out, that is not why you decided to blog! Your readers totally understand!

  16. anonymous says

    I too think it’s best to not rush the Christmas idea. At this point, why not focus a little more ahead and do something about planning out 2011- maybe focusing on how with frugality, you really have to plan ahead, so like when should readers start preparing for holidays, events, graduations, etc so as to not get slammed at the last minute. Additionally, what are key things to do on a weekly, monthly, bimonthly, etc basis to stay organized and prepared. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that!!!

  17. sheridan says

    I vote for delaying the e-book (dont be stressed! and have more time to do funfrugalchristmassy projects in your real life), posting as many christmas posts as you can stand this month (i love christmas to an embarrassing extent!) and post the productivity series in January (that’s when everyone promises to get on track anyway). Enjoy the season!

  18. says

    I vote that you postpone the release and do it at the first of Nov. next year. I agree that you will be able to bless people in the next few weeks with your blog posts. I am also in the process of writing a book (enlighten me on what an e book is and how you do it) and when I have put a deadline on myself it hasn’t gone well. When I can flow from inspiration the product is much much better.

  19. Alison says

    If I were you, I’d wait on the e-book. Take some time to figure all of your ideas out and maybe you have a couple of books in there… I think a Christmas e-book would do better to be released in November, or certainly by Black Friday, so I think it’s in your best interest to wait.

    Productivity can wait until January. I’m anxious to see all of your baking this time of year – I know that’s how I will be spending my days. Last year I took your advice and started giving yeast breads away as teacher gifts, etc. It was a huge hit!

  20. Vanessa says

    i’m (apparently) with everyone else. wait to release, although I’d like to see it maybe in may or june, not november. obligation is NEVER a good reason to complete something creative. now, go spend some time relaxing, knowing that we support your ebook whenever you’re finished, and not before. ;)

  21. Charyl says

    The marketing person in me says release the ebook as is. Then, next year, offer an all new, revised edition :) Really, just enjoy your holiday and put this stuff on the backburner for now.

  22. says

    I’d delay – don’t stress this time of year – that’s my main focus for December and have made My Simple Christmas Pledge on my blog. I’d release Christmas Content Late Sept early October based on my previous marketing experience. Minds start to focus on it after summer holidays, but after Halloween it really kicks in.

  23. says

    Why would you HAVE to finish it now? Sometimes I get stuck in the perfectionism of getting everything done right now or by a certain time frame I have gotten fixated upon (you’re not necessarily doing this, I’m just reading myself into your situation). I think that you can “bless” a lot of people by doing Christmas posts on your blog, and I imagine that taking one more thing off of your “must do now list” may make this season a bit calmer for you. I’m all about things being calmer. Just my 2cents. I’m sure whatever you do will help people.

  24. Katy says

    I vote with those who say release the book next year. Part of being creative and de-stressed at the same time is cultivating the fine art of postponement. I’d suggest September because people can really start thinking and planning then – that’s what I do although I do often pick up things during the year. On the productivity pieces – yes, wait until January. We’ll be much more ready to read them and that way when we are trying to be productive in January, we won’t be figuratively thumbing back through your December posts! :-)

    As far as Christmas this year is concerned, why not use your readers as a giant writing group? Use some chapters from the e-book in their early form and ask for feedback such is there anything else we’d like to know about a certain topic.

  25. Kaya Seaton says

    It will bless others no matter when it’s released. My vote is next year so that it can be all you want it to be :)

  26. Kate says

    Since it seems as if you may feel guilty with whichever option you choose, I would advise that you polish what you have now for the Christmas e-book, and put it out there. Then, in July, if you choose to do as another reader suggests, or in November, put out a revised, expanded edition. You won’t have stressed yourself out as much, but you will feel as if you’ve kept your commitment to yourself to do this.

    As for the productivity series, my vote is that you postpone it until January, and do Christmas posts now.

  27. says

    I vote for early next year too so that we can have a lot of time during the year to preplan and use the ideas.

    I would love to see the productivity series continue this month (I was excitedly checking in this morning to read an installment :)) but I can wait until January :)

    We have a wonderful supportive community built up here around your blog. We learn from what you write about your life and from others who comment on your posts. This is another opportunity to focus on what we value and how to prioritize that at such a busy time of year. Your “it doesn’t have to be perfect to bless others” philosophy is one I find myself focusing on now (many thanks from this fellow perfectionist!). You said that this side of you encourages you to release your ebook as is, how about shifting the thought to changing your personal deadline. It doesn’t have to be released this month to bless others and might actually serve us better next year so we can get the most out of it as we plan throughout the year like yourself.

    Do what works best for you and yours and remember when the Frugal Girl is happy we are all happy :)

  28. Diane says

    I would love to hear about your day-by-day preparations, surprises, traditions, etc. for this Christmas season. This would give us an overview of Christmas at your house.

  29. Molly F. C. says

    Kristen: Gosh, wait until you have more time. You’ll enjoy the process way more if you don’t rush. You do bless your readers daily with your blog-we can wait! Merry Christmas to you.

  30. Jenny says

    I’ll add another voice to the chorus–do the e-book next fall when we’re starting to think about the holiday but not inthe thick of it yet. Productivity would be grea tin January to get our year off to a good start. Guessing that a lot of us are really productive this month, but it’s more a keep-your-chin-above-water-paddle-faster kind of productivity than anything really planned!

  31. Erika says

    I think that Zoe looks SO much like you in that picture. Usually the resemblance isn’t so obviously notable!

    Also, I agree – hold off on the e-book and enjoy your holidays. We can wait :) And I think it would be great to have a few more Christmas posts in December and then push off the Productivity series until January.

  32. says

    If you are going to charge money for the e-book, then don’t rush it. You won’t be happy with the result and it wouldn’t be fair for those who shelled out money for it. Books are not supposed to be written in a month – printed or electronic. Don’t stress out over it!

    • Katy says

      I totally agree with Budget Confidential. It’s better to sell it when you feel it is ready to sell or at least closer to your vision than it is now. I get the sense, maybe I’m wrong, that if you were to wait it would be quite different in scope than it would be right now. So I agree that it’s not fair to charge folks for what might end up not being all that close to the final version.

      On the other hand, I am one who would be happy to buy both versions! If you do end up publishing it this month, just let us know there will be a more complete deal sometime next year. Read us our rights!

  33. says

    Delay seems to be the word of the day – I’m all for it. The irony of the situation is that it’s quite the effort to write a book on simplicity. I guess it just goes to show that simplicity is not always easy.

  34. says

    My take is, do what you feel will make YOU happiest. Forget what’s useful for US!

    How about, work on Christmas posts this month for your site, and use them as “notes” for your ebook to be released in Nov 2011!

  35. Lindsey Doolan says

    Productivity, please!!! I’m falling behind on schoolwork. So here I am, reading your blog. Definitely productivity.

  36. juliana says

    On first reading your post I was going to say ‘publish what you have now, and use people’s comments, thoughts, feedback etc as notes to edit the book for an updated version.’ as from one perfectionist to another, I find if I put things off the need to make it ‘perfect’ before finishing it can become overwhelming. However after reading everyone else’s comments, I now am going with publishing it in Jan/Feb next year…..after all that’s when you published your ‘3 ways to start preparing for Christmas’ post last time, and I found that invaluable. Then perhaps minor edits based on feeback and a sale/more promotion in Nov/Dec 2011?

    Oh! And productivity is fine to do in Jan. At. The moment it’s Christmas and I would much prefer to hear your thoughts on that – whilst I know in Jan I will have to get back to everything, and so will welcome productivity posts then!!

    And to add to the Christmas questions, I would love to know:
    1) the recipe for your special cream of crab soup!
    2) is there a reason/story behind the fact you have this as a special chortles eve dinner?
    3) are there any Christmas traditions you have from a child growing up that you have continued in your family, or did you and Mr FG make your own?
    4) and what are some of those traditions?


  37. Jenn says

    I vote wait. You are already blessing us with the work you are doing with this blog. Don’t rush. Do it so that you are happy with it, and in return, others will be happy with it. The tidbits you have already posted regarding the holidays have been invaluable. Perhaps linking the previous advice together in a post or just a brief summary would suffice. Whatever you choose, I’ll still be here to read your blog, as I will others. :) Enjoy your holiday season!

  38. Teresa says

    i’ve compiled some booklets for folks at church and i tend to feel it would be great if you could put some immediate ideas into an e-book so as to bless others and then next year sometime to really develop it and do a revised edition! :-D

    up to you, of course!

  39. Wanda says

    Okay so maybe a little bit of a choir member…I say wait on the book. It isn’t the season to be stressing. Take your time,explore the topics you want and don’t want. Maybe those that don’t make the book can become blog posts.

    I would love to see the productivity series again. I found that interesting. Though this is the one time a year I am ahead of the game.

  40. says

    Put off today what you can do tomorrow! Don’t stress out your holiday’s even more than they already are, by giving yourself a deadline! I like the idea of the previous poster to release it after the first of the year, so we can implement your strategies all year long! I am looking forward to some of your Christmas posts!

  41. robbiekay says

    Aha! So that’s how you get so much done–you have three hands! ;)

    I am in agreement with all the other commentors. There is a lot of love in your comments section. It seems that we all just appreciate coming to your blog and reading what you write regardless of the topic or how often you post, etc. I just hope the blog always remains something fun for you. Look to your priorities in making your decision.

    Productivity is one of my favorite things to read about because I so struggle with it, so it was reassuring to see that even someone like yourself who seemingly juggles so many things so well got off your planned schedule. As I’ve said before, one of the things that makes you such a great blogger to read is the fact that you are inspiring, but the fact that you keep things real makes you a good role model. If it just seemed like you were *always* living the perfect frugal, productive life, then some of us would feel like what you are modeling is too unrealistic an ideal to strive for.

  42. says

    As nothing such as writting a book is ever finished, I vote for you to publish what you have. There are many of us who would gleen from your tips and advice. I am 70 years old, a missionary in Brazil and I have learned a lot from your posts. Publish now and expand it next year with the rest of your ideas.
    God bless you richly,

  43. Pam K. says

    There is enough stress involved with getting ready for Christmas–don’t add to your own! Wait until Sept-Oct to put out the book in the form that satisfies you. It would actually be pretty late to do any major planning or changing for this Christmas, anyway, by the time we could read through the book. But post some quick hints and fun things that would help us right now as we go through the December rush. I’d love to read those! I’m off right now to make your cranberry bread!! Thanks for the recipe!

  44. says

    i vote for taking your time and making it the best quality and most comprehensive. that’s how i’d be happiest about it! and you’re right … not to stress over the holidays .. .is what it should be all about! just my two cents. i read all your posts but rarely comment so here ya go!

  45. says

    Post a few bits and pieces (if I may call them that) and give yourself the time to do a job you will be truly satisfied with. That’s my feel. I’m sure everyone will enjoy what you can give and it’s really good of you to commit time and effort to it all.

    J x

  46. says

    Your true friends would not want you stressed, Kristen, especially this time of year. Please delay the e-book to do at your leisure throughout 2011. You’ll feel better that you put forward your best effect and still have time to do all you do without going bonkers!
    January is fine for resuming the productivity posts, too. Now, have a great Christmas!

  47. MyDigitalis says

    Delay the e-book. There’s nothing to lose by waiting, and more to lose if you put out content you aren’t 100% happy with.

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