Category Archives: Musings from the Heart

A Resolution, Not a Resignation

Dear Readers,

It doesn’t seem all that long ago that I started this blog. Doing so, for me, was a logical step in seriously launching my journey—or perhaps I should say relaunching a journey I’d started long ago, but strayed from over the years. Whatever the case, my intention at the time was clear:

Follow my dreams,

Follow my heart,

And most importantly—

Follow the stories that filled my mind and soul.

And so I did.

Along the way, I discovered things about myself and the way I write. I learned things about the craft through incredible posts made by other writers. And perhaps the most dear to me, I met dozens of amazing people on a similar journey, sharing their hearts and souls as they blogged, commented, and became part of a wonderful cheering squad that we as writers must strive, always, to be for one another.

In the last few months, I’ve stuck closely to my intentions. I’ve been writing like a fiend behind the scenes, often waking from a trance at the end of the week and realizing I’d somehow managed 15-20 hours alongside my teaching hours. I explored new venues and tried new things, putting my pieces out into the world and discovering exactly how deep this passion to write burned within me. I whittled down my blogging because I wanted to focus, and in doing so found more time to write, more ideas to run with, and more exciting things ahead.

And so, over the last couple months, I’ve been toying with a notion I wanted to avoid, but one that I’ve come to recognize as a necessity if I want to truly follow my heart and run with my creative burst: the time to step back from my blog as I navigate the full landscape of my writing dreams. The decision to step away has been a difficult one—and that’s because of you. My connections here have been so satisfying, and I’ve found so many thoughtful, supportive, and intelligent people through this blog that letting it go seemed liked the craziest choice of all…until I dove back into my writing and realized where my heart was, and where I needed to be.

Since I’ve always been one to avoid saying goodbye, and since I also don’t intend to disappear from here forever, I’m opting not to call this a resignation from blogging. Instead, I’m calling it a resolution—a resolution to continue exploring my writing journey, and to continue spending as much time as I can focused on the craft and where it leads me.

I will still be around. I’ll still be reading blogs, and replying to comments for anyone who happens to mosey on over my old posts. I’ll still be reachable by email (evariederauthor at gmail dot com) and through my contact form. You can also find me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter (though I’m pretty quiet on the latter). Finally, you can connect with me on Goodreads, where I’ll still leave short reviews for the books I read.

I’m excited about putting my full focus into creating right now, and in doing so, fully committing to my original intentions. And while I’m gone, I hope that you, dear readers and writer pals, are doing the same! Always remember to follow your passion, your heart, and your dreams, and most importantly…

…live your fantasy!

Best wishes to all,

Eva

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A Special Midway Post: My #DFQWBS Entry in Honor of Anna Meade

While my next post isn’t actually scheduled for another week, I just had to make a special midway post in honor of the lovely and amazing Anna Meade!

Who is Anna Meade, you ask?

*Scoff!*

Well, you may remember that a while back, I entered the Once Upon a Time: Unexpected Fairy Tales blog flash fiction challenge. That brilliant idea was launched by one Miss Anna Meade at Yearning for Wonderland, and her writer pal, Susi Holliday. These two darlings decided they loved everyone’s entries so much, they would throw us all into a beautiful book of unusual flash fairy tales available on Amazon.

So basically, Anna was one half of a pair who made a whole bunch of us very happy published people!

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Anna managed to take over Facebook and the Twitterverse with her amazing social networking and promotion skills. She is a superstar at marketing others to the world, even building Nine Muse Press to support underrepresented authors, and all of this has come to make many of us feel extremely loved in about a million different ways. And here’s the fun part: we’re all over the world, and not a darn one of us has met her! Clearly, she’s got a heart the size of Texas!

Which leads me to the great news—Miss Anna is getting married in a little over a month (congratulations!), and to celebrate, Rebekah Postupak, Laura Jamez, and Miranda Kate decided to join forces and create the Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower: a flash fiction collection of wedding-themed stories in honor of Anna—also known as the Dark Fairy Queen—and her upcoming nuptials!

How cool is that?

In case I was unclear in anything above, I love Anna. She’s just my kind of funny, she sings, she calls me out on Twitter to go for a run (um…I’m not sure why this delights me, but it does), and she even featured my writing space on her blog with A Room of My Own. I also think she wants to steal my eldest cat, which leads right back to that whole Dark Fairy Queen business…

Anyway, I couldn’t very well not write something in honor of Anna, so the following is my mushy fantasy tale to add to the #DFQWBS collection. Did I mention seriously mushy? Because it totally is. Oh, and I should probably also mention that there was some commotion over Anna’s beautiful wedding shoes making her taller than her hubby… 😉

Hurray for Anna and Michael!

*****************************

Title: Love’s Truth

Author: Eva Rieder

Include in eBook: YES

Website: http://evarieder.com

Twitter: @evariederauthor

(Toast below.)

700 words

*****************************

Deep in the forest that lined the sea, they’d gathered to witness something beautiful.

From the east and the north came the Elven and Troll Kings, their alliance forged at the news of the betrothal, and their hollering clans hoisting their swords in honor of the bride-to-be. From the south came the Nymphs, who donned lavender and tulip-lined silk that rustled in the warm, sea-kissed breeze. On the rocks along the distant western shore, the Sirens’ song drew the Unicorns. They scratched their hooves and brought up the back of the crowd, uniting the circle that formed beneath the canopy of trees.

While all of these creatures had grown to love the bride, they watched the fellow, Michael, who waited for her at the altar—for it seemed to them that no human man could tame the mischievous beauty known as their Dark Faerie Queen.

A horn sounded, pulling the creatures from their thoughts and their eyes to the back.

The Dark Faerie Queen blushed, clutching a bundle of white roses to her chest. Her amber hair fell in waves around her face as she padded forward, and doves swept down from the trees to scoop up her beaded train and follow her to Michael’s side. There, the altar griffin licked regally at his front talons and rolled his gaze from the Queen to her handsome, yet shorter, lover.

“We are gathered to witness the most unusual of bonds ever known to the Fae, for the Dark Queen has chosen a human for her mate,” he purred.

Anna smiled. Most could see her sharp incisors peeking from behind her lips, but it was uncertain if the human Michael could detect them.

With a shake of his head, the griffin splayed his paws. “Are there any naysayers before we begin?”

“Aye!” Out from the trees slithered the Dragon Princess, the heiress of a dynasty stripped of power once the Dark Faerie took her throne.

“Oh dear,” Anna muttered.

The Princess curled around the Unicorns’ hooves with a flick of her tongue. “How do we know the Dark Queen hasn’t won the human with her Fae spell?”

Everyone gasped, for in the old tradition, if the love of a Queen and her mate wasn’t true, all rights would revert to lesser royalty—and in this case, the savage Dragon Princess.

The griffin tapped a talon against his chin. “What say you, Queen?”

Anna shifted back and forth in her wedding shoes, then frowned down into her lover’s face (for her Faerie Queen stature made her an inch taller than he). But when she began to protest, he interrupted.

“You’ve not a thing to worry about, darling, you or any of your kingdom, for I adore your darkness,” he said, his voice resounding over the creatures and beyond. He faced the Dragon Princess. “You, on the other hand…such a scaly, jealous thing.” He pointed, a ray of crystal shooting from his fingertip and forming a cell around the beast. It glittered bright enough for everyone to see, and clamped shut when Michael released a loud wail—a sound remarkably similar to that of a Faerie King.

The Dragon Princess recoiled. “You’re a Faerie!

At this point, Anna stared at her mate in great surprise. She realized for the first time that her lover was indeed much taller than her, and his eyes seemed to shimmer with the same light she’d seen in her kind. “Michael?”

He nodded. “I, too, am Fae royalty, a King from an alternate line. I sought you, Faerie Queen, for none in my realm are as exquisitely dark as you.”

The creatures of the woods gasped, then sighed.

The Dragon Princess rolled her eyes, and the griffin gave a loud chortle and flapped his wings.

King Michael drew up Anna’s hands and kissed them. “Can you love me even if I’m not human, my Queen?”

She tilted her head, the last of the sun’s rays glinting off her cascading hair. “Sweet Michael, even more.” She snuggled close. “Now we can be the Dark Faerie Couple!”

“Hurray!” the onlookers cried.

And thus the griffin commenced, wedding the Faerie Queen to her Faerie King to rule the darkness for all time.

*****************************

Wedding Toast: Dearest Anna and Michael—may you find great happiness and ever more love in your fairy tale! XO-Eva

Read other great stories here:




Life…The Hamster Wheel

I consider myself a runner. I think this because I conquer a few miles three days a week for both fun and fitness. For me, it’s a time to enjoy being active, to breathe fresh air, and to meditate while burning off calories. It’s also a great time to come up with story ideas. Bonus!

However, while my usual run is along a winding trail, my life is more akin to running on a hamster wheel. Kind of like this.

Today, for example, I opted to cram in a run after cleaning my house, then went straight to the store to buy the fixings to make 15 bean turkey chili for my step-dad’s birthday tomorrow. It’s a simple recipe, but one I’m excited to make for him. However, the beans needed to soak overnight, which is why I thought I’d hit the store now.

Except Safeway didn’t have any bags of 15 bean soup mix. Odd.

I grabbed some other things, then ran over to Trader Joe’s. There I picked up other items for my house and the chili, and went hunting for their 17 bean barley soup mix.

“We don’t carry that anymore,” the grocery attendant said.

Um, what?

So then I ran over to Lucky’s, which fortunately had bean soup mix. Only two bags—no more, no less—which thankfully was all that I needed.

While still pondering the absence of beans in the world (I mean, it’s a bag of beans, one of the oldest staples known to man), I got home, unloaded my groceries, and looked at the clock. The following is where my brain went:

8 p.m. Way overdue for my blog post. Dinner is not made. Groceries are scattered in bags on the floor. Must soak beans. Cats need to be fed. Dear gawd, I still haven’t showered since my run. Yuck. Um, wait, did I ever move that laundry over?

And then:

Oh crap. I forgot the ground turkey!

All of this, a typical evening in the life of me, and not surprisingly, most people.

So tonight I wanted to take a minute to honor those who run this hamster wheel called life, somehow managing to swing it all while still writing. I heard some statistic that 90% of writers have day jobs, and while I’m running over here on my wheel, doing the usual wake-up/feed cats/cook/write/work/run/grade/write/cook/consider doing dishes/throw hands up in air/feed cats again/ponder the existence of people who actually sleep enough/pass out/repeat, I have to wonder how we all do it. And often when I think this, I am baffled at the realization that I don’t even have kids and I’m still running on this hamster wheel trying to get it all done. Kudos to those of you who balance work, writing, and a family—like you, Jessica Vealitzek, and Rebecca Lane Beittel, and a dozen other people. It’s mind-boggling, and sort of amazing, really.

But it forms an interesting question: how do we do it? Specifically—

How do you find the balance? How do you “fit” the multiple life and writing goals you have into your day without falling off the hamster wheel?

I’m sure I’m not the only one to wonder such a thing, so please share your thoughts below!

As for me, I feel like I’m still working on that balance. Always running, always spinning, always…

Oh dear. It appears I just burned a pan cooking dinner (and blogging at the same time).

*Sigh.*


Blog-iversary

Just a quick note to say:

One year ago today, I made my very first post on this blog. It’s been a wonderful experience made extra special by all of you!

So, happy blog-iversary to us, and thank you for being a part of my journey. (And fun fact: the title of my first post was…The Journey!)

Thanks again, everyone. 🙂

-Eva

P.S. For anyone who missed Wednesday’s post, it’s now up on my page. My WP fail apparently created little technical foul-up waves so that it only went out to some email addresses (what?)… Hopefully by year two there will be no more mishaps! 😉

 


Excuses, Excuses…and a Different Approach

Hello again, readers!

The last two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind, and I admit, a lot different than expected.

As you may recall, I had big plans to start my next book in February, the goal being a first draft by mid-April and in turn, a daily devotion to my protagonist’s cause. This plan started off beautifully—on February 1st, I began drafting!

And then stuff happened.

I had a cat come down with pneumonia, which was better than the original diagnosis, mind you—immediate heart failure—which then led to adverse reactions to antibiotics and twice-weekly vet visits. Meanwhile, work grew unusually stressful, my sleep patterns got seriously whacked (read: 5 hours was a good night), and somewhere in there, I irritated a nerve in my elbow. Yes, she-of-random-and-bizarre-ailments had actually leaned on her elbow enough numb out her hand for two to four hours at a time…so I write this post to you accompanied by my beautiful and temporary new friend, a splint. Yay!

But you know how it goes—one must write to be a writer! So I kept trying to write. I really did. I put in 3,000 words in two days as the mess started. I wrote a blog post aligned with Valentine’s Day. I sat in front of this computer almost every morning at the ridiculous 4:45 time I wake up to do this mad thing we do, but I was coma writing—and not the good kind of coma writing, where one is just writing in a creative trance. Nope, this was pure and simple coma writing, lacking quality, form, and inspiration of any kind.

But I sat there. I typed. I stared at the wall. I typed. I stared again. I sighed a lot (more than one really should). Somewhere in there I thought about a couple anthologies I’d planned all along to write for and submit to “on the side” while I wrote my book—and I realized at that moment, I was really excited to write these short stories that kept popping into my head. Maybe with my rollercoaster real life already clogging up my brain, and my Glamour horoscope validating my concerns by telling me to do a great job on one thing instead of a shoddy job on several, I had to attack this a little differently.

So, I closed up the file for my charming protagonist, Simone, and opened a couple new ones for the short stories. In just a few days, I wrote them. Fast. Thoughtfully. Fairly darn cleanly, I might add. And I smiled the whole time!

Then I got on a plane—leaving my almost-out-of-the-woods cat with a capable and caring cat sitter friend—and went to visit my parents in southern Nevada. It turned out to be an incredibly relaxing trip. We walked, talked, and played cards while yelling at the Jodi Arias trial on tv. It was perfect! There was also a lot of good food, coffee, and rum and cokes, courtesy of my master chef and perfect latte-making dad. 🙂

These extremely therapeutic days dropped me at home four days later, ready to edit the shorts (which I did) and prepare them to submit (which I am). So what does this mean?

Well, March 1st is Friday, so it seems like a good time to go back and focus on that novel I intended to write. It might be a month later than planned, but now that my table’s really clear, I think it will play out much smoother in the long run. Phew!

As my Cascade Conference mentor, Ken Scholes, once said, you have to “prioritize your anxieties.” I’m pretty sure he got that from his mentor, Patrick Swenson.

No matter who said them—they seem like smart words to keep passing along, if you ask me!

🙂

Happpy writing, everyone!


Giving Thanks in Thirty

There’s been an awesome phenomenon going around Facebook lately: the Thirty Days of Thanks posts in honor of Thanksgiving. I think it’s important to remember all that we have and are blessed with in our lives, and unfortunately, I didn’t catch on to the trend until too late to join in.

However, with Thanksgiving in a few days, I decided I’d do my own Thirty Days of Thanks in one post! The following are things in my life that I am incredibly thankful for, and they come in no particular order except the very first one. 🙂

I am grateful for…

  1. YOU, my blog readers. Thanks for joining me as I meander along in my writing journey, and for sharing your thoughts back!
  2. Parents—all four of them!—who love and support me.
  3. Outstanding friends that do the same, especially
  4. Two dear friends who have put up with me for 19 years. You two are the best! XO
  5. A sister I grow closer with each day. (Love you, sisser face!)
  6. A niece I adore that makes me laugh with her adorable 5-year-old ways.
  7. Two mischievous yet ridiculously cuddly cats. (One is sleeping in my lap as I type this.)
  8. A roof over my head in a safe neighborhood.
  9. Food in my belly, always. (And I mean always, since I seem to eat every five seconds.)
  10. Wonderful colleagues, many of them friends at
  11. A job that I enjoy, and which provides me an income to do the things outside of work that I like to do, such as
  12. Vacations around the world and
  13. Going out and having fun. Then there is…
  14. The safe birth of my friend’s way-too early baby (so glad she got to the hospital early enough! Rooting for you, little one!).
  15. A second credential in English, which just made work twice as fantastic.
  16. A working, healthy body that allows me to live my life and stay active.
  17. Creativity, and the ability to use it.
  18. Rediscovering my passion for writing after ignoring it for far too long.
  19. Connecting with other writers both on the blogsphere and in person, especially
  20. Superb writing mentors and friends and
  21. People who are excited about my writing. Then of course, there are the little things, but as an “I have a glass! Yay!” kind of optimist, they make me happy too—things like:
  22. An organized bulletin board of writing projects.
  23. A gym in my condo complex, as well as a pair of hot tubs and a beautiful running trail.
  24. An antenna that lets me watch my favorite shows in high-definition without having to pay for cable.
  25. A hallway full of family and friend photos.
  26. A new housecleaner who rocks my world.
  27. A super fast typing speed that makes writing a breeze.
  28. My spiffy new Macbook, which paired with my desktop computer, gives me maximum writing options!
  29. My expensive but comfortable bed, and of course
  30. Books!

Thanks for reading the short list of things I’m thankful for in my life. I could go on, truly, because I don’t think that a list of thirty things is long enough to cover all that I appreciate. Especially my #1—thank you for you, readers! 🙂

I hope that all of you have an opportunity to find at least one thing you are thankful for this week, and that you all have a happy Thanksgiving. In the meantime, don’t forget, the submission call for Third Thursday Flash Edition Six: The Turkey Edition, is still open until 8 p.m. PST tonight. Can’t wait to see your ideas…gobble gobble! 🙂


New Digs, New Desk, New Dreams

Over the last month and a half, I’ve been moving. It’s a slow process—this is the first time I’ve ever moved during the school year in a long while, and I am now officially in awe at the rest of the working world for doing this all along. While I moved my bed in three weeks ago, it wasn’t until this weekend that the place started to feel like a real home. Sure, there are still curtain rods and picture frames that seem to come to life and jump right where I’m stepping every time I walk down the hall, but for the most part it’s coming together! 🙂

My running trail along the bay!

In this short time, I’ve also already fallen in love with the place. I lived in my old house for seven years, so it was hard to leave. Sadly, the neighborhood had grown increasingly more uncomfortable (read: neighbors breaking into condos in the complex, a jewelry store hold-up at gunpoint two blocks away, and various other violent and/or creepy oddities) and I had also become the fishbowl for the neighborhood (bottom floor, center unit; gazebo smokers watching the Eva Show daily). It was time to go.

I found a condo in one of the safest neighborhoods in the vicinity, a beautiful space that almost feels like an entirely new county. It’s filled with trees, clean areas, and neighbors who so far seem to look out for one another in a respectful way. A bonus to this whole event is that the place is along the water where I’ve come to run for the last seven years. Just a two-minute walk through the complex and I’m on my favorite trail, breathing in the fresh smells of the ocean and observing the beauty of the waves as they roll into the shore…and if I turn right instead of left out of the gate, I get to watch the sailboats coming into the port!

Score for me, right?

Now, when I packed up my old place, I decided it was time to give up my desk—the desk being a beat-up old table I picked up on the side of the road when I moved in. It served its purpose, for sure, but I wanted to buy an actual desk for my new office. Nothing fancy and certainly not expensive—I have no qualms with buying furniture at Target at this point in my life, honestly, if it looks nice enough and does the job—but something that would make me feel at home and ready to pursue my writing goals in my comfortable new condo.

So, I did. I bought a lovely little desk and assembled it last weekend, and while I still have yet to fill the drawers, I plopped my computer right on top of it with a delighted squeal. In addition to the desk, I bought two (more) bookcases so I could officially begin forming a wall of books (more squeals). It finally feels like I have a real office, and I’m looking forward to spending every day writing in here!

Sometimes a change of location means the world. For me, the change signifies safety, happiness, and a new boon in creativity. And with this great new desk under my computer—well, I think some new dreams are about to form. If you could see me now, you’d find a big smile plastered across my face!

I’m off to continue my unpacking bonanza now. Next post, I’d like to talk about the two awesome blog awards I received from Michelle Ziegler and Katherine Checkley. Until then, have a great week, everyone!

—Brought to you from the new desk in the new place of one newly happy Eva Rieder 🙂


Here Comes Halloween, Halloween, Halloween…

It’s that time of year again—time for all the children to dress up in their spookiest, scariest, and most creative gear before trick or treating around their neighborhoods. It’s also the time when we grown-ups enjoy a good excuse to wear costumes and have a some fun as we attend Halloween parties or answer the door for the children who come by.

Halloween has always been special to me because it involves two of my most favorite things: eating candy and dressing up. While I’ve attempted to subdue my love of candy all these years (or not), I still can’t seem to get enough of the dressing up. Back in my pseudo-seamstressing days, I made a new costume every year. Now, that endeavor [obsession] has established an actual Costume Closet in my house. Sure, it could be a bigger collection, but for now it contains everything from Renaissance Faire costumes to disco gear, red devil pants to cat dresses, and of course the legendary arctic raver meets unicorn meets My Little Pony ensemble (it’s a long story). These are just a few that I still have, though there were some from the past that were just as fun and exciting to throw together and wear (Mata Hari, Cleopatra, and the Madonna Montage, to name a few).

Saturday night I went to a friend’s Halloween party, and while I took the “easy” route for me—the disco dress seemed more suited to a three-hour round trip car ride—I still enjoyed a lengthy costume try-on session before I left. Each costume represented a different year of my Halloween adventures and ambitions, and all of them made me feel a like a kid again. The holiday is a mix of fantasy and magic to me—the day we get to let our imaginations run wild and dare to dress in the most unusual of costumes.

So in honor of Halloween I wanted to ask all my readers—what are you planning to don this year for Halloween? Or, what’s your favorite past costume?

In other words, what fantasy will you live on All Hallow’s Eve? Please share below!

Also, don’t forget to send your Third Thursday Flash Halloween-themed ideas by 8 p.m. PST tonight (to evariederauthor@gmail.com). I’ll be creating a Halloween inspired edition for Thursday’s post.

Until then…have a safe and spooky Halloween!


Destigmatizing the R Word

Rejection.

We’ve all felt the cold, hard sting of rejection.

It could be of that awesome suggestion you made at work. It may even be over your excessively conversational dating style. Heck, it could be over your choice of hair color.

Regardless, rejection is something we often face in life, and it’s something we could all learn to take more lightly.

In the writing world, rejection happens every step of the way. When you were inexperienced and new, you may have convinced yourself that you weren’t any good and that there was no point in taking yourself seriously. Later, when you overcame that and started to share your work, you might have heard someone throw out a negative thing or two that stunted your progress. Then when you deemed yourself ready to start submitting things anyway, you found rejection happening even more—except now it came from everywhere: a journal, a publisher, an agent, an editor, or even a critique partner. It didn’t really matter where it came from, though, because the truth remains the same. Rejection is part of the process.

I have long suspected that we as a society could handle rejection better (both personally and professionally) if everyone would start being more honest and direct. I will use a dating analogy to explain, because it’s something with which most of us can identify.

Take Billy. Billy didn’t think you were the one. Billy might have thought your ideas (and maybe even your hairdo) were quaint and unusually intriguing. You and Billy went out a few times, and as much as he liked that you could rock a pair of orange high heels with checkered socks and a neon lime skirt, he also knew in the long run it couldn’t work out. He, after all, really liked plaid, and the two of you together looked like a violent mess of color chaos. So Billy said, “Look, I dig that you express yourself in insanely bright colors, but it’s not for me.”

What would it be like in a world where each of us was okay with Billy saying, “Hey look, sorry, you’re not for me”? A world where instead of getting upset about such a thing and bemoaning one more bad date (I mean, seriously, did you see his color scheme?), we smiled and said, “Hey Billy, it’s all good. I have Billy Bob next up on the list to meet. And honestly I agree we weren’t a good fit anyway, since none of my colors would really work alongside that plaid number you’re wearing.” [Author’s note: I am in no way endorsing nor condemning the wearing of plaid. Rock your plaid if it’s your thing, peeps.]

I further this example with our tendency to say “I’ll call you” when really we mean “I will leave your phone number in my jeans pocket so that I accidentally wash it in the laundry this weekend because I really have no interest in you at all whatsoever.” Think of how much easier it would be if we just said, “Thank you for your time, but I’m not interested.” After a few of those, any mention of “Hey, I’m not interested” would suddenly be no big deal. We’d realize that each of these incidents were indicative of something that wasn’t meant to be in the first place.

In much the same way, a rejection of our writing is not a statement on our character. Rejection doesn’t mean that we are terrible human beings, or even bad writers—it simply means that for whatever reason, the timing was off and that particular person or venue was not a good fit. Plus, if we all fit together, no relationship (with a publisher or a person) would ever be interesting at all!

So let’s focus on the rejection letter. Sometimes they contain great tips: “We’re sorry we can’t use your work, but if you did x, y, and z it would be a strong piece for us.” Other times, they’re of the standard mass-rejection variety: “Thanks for letting us consider [name of piece here], but it isn’t a good fit for our journal at this time.”

Either way, we writers are going to see them. And though we can let them sting the first time, after that we have to find a way to chin up and recognize the mismatch that wasn’t meant to be.

Stephen King pegged his rejection letters to the wall. I’ve heard of other writers burning and deleting theirs. Some even print them out and put them in scrap books. I have a folder in my inbox called “Rejection Love Notes.” Maybe I’ve taken the writing-is-like-dating analogy too far, but if I look at them as love notes gone sour, then instead of frowning about them, I smile.

Right now, I am querying one novel and three short stories, and I’m about to send out three to four other shorts in the near future, and a few more not long after that. The more I have out, the more I’m going to hear back—and odds are with that much out there, the majority of the responses will be rejection. It’s just math.

To that I say “Bring on the rejections!” They’re part of the deal. Each rejection will lead me away from places where my writing won’t work and instead to places it will. Sometimes, I might even gain handy improvement tips from these rejections, and others only another love note for the folder. But no matter what, eventually these letters are going to teach me something. They will teach me how to market my work appropriately, where I need revision, what markets are “hot,” and most importantly, how to handle rejection even better.

The first time sucked. The times after—they just meant it was time to jump right back in.

I mean, there are other fish in the sea, right? 🙂

So what about you? What do you do with your rejection letters? Please share below—I’d love to hear!


Blogging is Like a Love Affair

In my last post, I wrote about why I started blogging and what it is that my blog is about. I guess I’ve been thinking about my blog a lot this week, because this morning it occurred to me that I consider it a bit of a love affair.

To be fair, I think this idea formed as a small kernel a few months back, when my blogger pal Vanessi Grassi mentioned she thought of her blog as her boyfriend. It probably sounds weird out of context, but as soon as I read the sentence, I found myself nodding along. Over the months since, though, I’ve discovered that blogging may be more of an affair than I originally suspected.

I’m not talking about the kind of love affair that only lasts for one night—clearly I talk too much for this blog to have ended then, and that wouldn’t make for much content anyway. I’m thinking more of the long-term love affair, one following the ebbs and flows of a relationship that will last for many, many years.

Blogging begins with that initial rush of excitement one might feel at the start of a relationship. That oh-so-sweet captivation when you think, Oh my goodness, he is so amazing! Except here, it’s Oh my goodness, I’m running a blog! Everything you see stirs the thoughts up in your head that you want to share. Ooh, we can talk about this, and that, and oh that over there—won’t he think that’s so interesting? There seems an endless supply of things to talk about over wine and perhaps the occasional dinner.

Next there comes a period of adjustment—no two people ever fall into step perfectly, you know. It’s the same with blogging. You set a schedule, and then maybe you change it up a bit, blogging four days a week instead of two, but then maybe five days a week instead of three. It’s much like those first few months of dating. Should we see each other this much? you may ask. Should I leave my toothbrush…er…all my personal thoughts in the sidebar? Hard to say.

How sick of each other might you become?

And BAM. You overdo it. All this mushy lovey dovey business is getting out of hand, and all of a sudden it’s time for a blog break. (All the big name couples are doing it, by the way.) There may have been a misunderstanding. Or he got a little smothering. Who knows. Regardless, we’re on a break!

But over time, you realize how much you liked blogging. Sure, it’s hard to cram it all in. Life is busy. There’s work, and the home life, and maybe kids, or 8,000 hobbies, and all of it is taking up your every breathing moment, but still, that blog was great. That blog understood me. That loyal and faithful sweetheart—it brought out the best in you, giving you leeway to explore on those days you weren’t blogging…so you come running back. (Plus, he even takes out the trash with his nifty spam sifter!)

The two of you grow together. You compromise and create a new schedule, one where both of you can have your personal time. You also decide that there are things you can do to strengthen the foundation of your relationship—whoops, I mean your blog. You don’t need to take Tango or cooking classes to do this, you two are so amazing together. Heck no! Instead, you work on improving what you are. You may even come up with a new blog feature that allows both of you to flex your creative muscles at the same time!

You discover you’re in it for real now, and when you’re a real blogger, you’re not only running one yourself but reading up on others. But you and your blog are a team; you want to share this experience as one. (It’s called polybloggery, folks, and it’s 2012. Don’t be so close-minded!) You and your blog hold hands and check out other blogs. You click on all the tempting links over at that one flashy site. You read all the words together, a sexy new game to kickstart your relationship. You comment on how hot their thoughts are, and both of you feel like a better match because you’re able to hear each other’s inner fantasies.

Maybe you even start “the list”—the infamous list of people everyone has for the day they’re trapped in an elevator and cheating just naturally happens. Listen, if for some reason I can’t write with you, it’s because so-and-so caught me alone [by email] and asked if I wanted to do it [guest blog] and of course I had to say yes because she [awesome blogger!] is on the LIST! 

Which of course leads to the day when you have to come home to your blog and confess that you’ve been cheating. In fact, every single day, you’ve been cheating, because you’ve been writing on the side—but it’s the way you were before you started this blog, dammit, and your blog has to understand. Baby, I’m a writer! I can’t be trapped in just this blog! I have to be appreciated for all that I am, for every word coursing through my skull!

And while it’s hard for your blog to adjust, it gets it. It gets you. Because this blog, folks—it’s the real deal. It loves you no matter what you are, who you are, or where you’ve been. Sure, you have some flaws (I mean, really, you’re following what other blog about nail polish and shoes?), but overall you are still the same loving person you were. Your blog can take it. It’s true love. It’s the kind of love affair that will last a lifetime.

That is why, on mornings like today—when I woke up and thought Oh my god! I have to blog tonight! I have 80,000,000 things to do and my blog wants me to rub his feet again?—I eventually crawled out of bed with a smile. There may be a lot to do, but I sure do love blogging. We keep growing and exploring together, and most importantly, writing together.

So for being that great of a companion, this blog is worth every darn character on the page to me.

🙂


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