Tag Archives: journey

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.

🙂


What is This Blog Thing About, Anyway?

Happy Labor Day, everyone.

My writer friend is getting ready to start his blog. He shared with me that his current holdup is picking a focused theme, which then started a great conversation about different blogs and what they’re all about. There are a variety of blog themes authors use—some focus on the craft or writerly tips; others focus on book reviews, movies, and the craft pieces contained within (point of view, setting, characterization, etc.); and still others follow the author’s journey as he or she progresses from the birth of an idea into the crafting of a full-length piece.

So while we threw around ideas, he asked what my blog was about. It got me thinking about why each of us starts a blog, and though I had an answer in my mind of what my blog was about, I wondered if my purpose or theme was as clear to others as it was to me.

I found my way to this blog because I wanted to finally publicly live my dream of being a writer. No longer would I just talk about it, or write on the occasion I had nothing else to do—it was time to take my writing seriously. I wanted to meet my goals and live my fantasy, and share that journey with those who cared to follow.

To me, living this fantasy is a mix of topics. It’s exploring the fantasy genre, since it’s the one I tend to write in most. It’s discussing the writing process, both successes and roadblocks. It’s examining writing techniques, skills, and strategies. It’s reviewing other great books in order to discover what makes those books so amazing to us as readers.

And sometimes it’s just about sharing life—a place full of passion and dreams waiting to be lived.

When I wrote my tagline, Live your fantasy…, I wanted to keep it broad so that my imagination could soar as widely as my hopes and dreams on this writing expedition of mine. Hopefully, I’ve conveyed that to you too, dear readers!

Writing is a journey. Some writers are further along on the path than others, and some of us are still bumbling our way through, discovering what it feels like to live the passion of putting thoughts to page. No matter what stage we’re at, all of us hold a wonderful connection that truly is a fantasy to live.

So on that note, thanks for sharing it with me. 🙂


The Liebster Blog Award!

 

I’m delighted to have been nominated for another award by fellow blogger Nathan Payne! Nathan runs The Writer’s Codex, a site following his journey through the writing process. I enjoy Nathan’s blog because he manages to share his real feelings on the writing process (gut wrenching and all!), while also posting some helpful and thought-provoking info on the field. In addition, he posts impressively often (go Nathan go!). Nathan has been following my blog for a few weeks now, so I am flattered that he thought of me for the Liebster Blog Award. Thanks, Nathan!

Pursuant to the Liebster Blog Award rules, Nathan has provided eleven questions designed to “get to know me” outside of my blog. After I answer Nathan’s incredibly challenging questions (he even stressed he wanted his recipients to think hard—geez, Nathan! :)), I will be providing my eleven nominees with eleven new questions to answer.

First, the answers to Nathan’s questions:

1. What prompted you to start your blog?

A little over two years ago, I found my way back to writing. In the summer of 2011, I decided I was serious about doing what I’d said I wanted to do my entire life—be a writer. I set to work on a plan of action, booking a conference, writing regularly, and even getting an English credential (both because I wanted a change, and because I wanted my job to more closely align with my love of writing). Then in March, it was time to launch my website and blog. I was ready to share my writing journey with the world and to finally live my fantasy.

2. What is one life event/decision that you didn’t expect, but made your life what it is today?

I would say the terrible torn wrist cartilage of 2009. If I didn’t hurt my wrist, I wouldn’t have had some serious time to ponder my aerial antics (find out more here). That pondering led me to the reality check that I really wanted to write, and though I still practice for fun, massacring my wrists while performing would have destroyed any hope of writing. That was something I simply couldn’t do!

3. Do you have any regrets in life? If so, are you doing anything to resolve them?

I try to live a life without regrets. I fret about things excessively sometimes, but I believe that all the things that have happened in my life happened for a reason, even if they were horrific, traumatic, or hard. In some cases I would choose differently if I had the opportunity to go back again, but I think of that less as “regret” and more of “reliving with more life wisdom.” In addition, I would rather “regret” things I’d done than things I’d never even tried, which tends to nullify the concept of regret in my mind. 🙂

4. What specific tasks are you doing to achieve your goals right now?

My goals are to write often and more, and to work on getting published. To do this, I have been getting up extra early (hello, 5 a.m. alarm clock chime!) and putting in about 45 minutes every morning before I leave for work. I try to get more in at night, and have restructured my evenings a bit to make it happen. I’m also aiming to hone in on the plan to write and submit a short story every week—I haven’t gotten there quite yet, but I’m working on it!

5. What one thing do you wish people would remember you for after you’re gone?

My optimism and loyalty. I would do anything for most of my friends and I try to be everybody’s cheerleader! Finding the silver lining is extremely important to me, even if it takes some real searching.

6. What do you enjoy most in life?

Most? (Seriously, Nathan?) I enjoy life the most. Everything about it!

7. If you could make one decision that would change your life forever, what would that decision be?

To become a full-time writer. I’m not even close to there yet, but hey, a girl can dream.

8. What is it about books that draws you them?

The fantastic stories inside. The smell of paper. The black print on white (or cream or beige or tan) background. The way they look stacked up on my coffee table. But mostly, just the words and the stories contained within.

9. Describe your favorite movie in terms of what makes you love it so much.

My favorite movie has been Dangerous Beauty for about ten years. The movie is a biographical drama/romance starring Catherine McCormack and Rufus Sewell, directed by Marshall Herskovitz. It follows the life of an Italian courtesan who falls in love, and I’ve adored the movie since I first saw it. (I own it too, though one of my friends has it now and I don’t know which one. Grr!) The movie is filled with exquisite costumes and set pieces, and of course the sensual nature of the story is smashing too. Honestly, I’ve always liked movies about courtesans, and I’m not sure why. It’s a bizarre and lovely profession, all at the same time. Catherine McCormack is sensational in this role—if you haven’t seen it, I recommend it.

10. Think of a loved one, what one question do you want to ask that person?

Can you live forever, please?

11. What would it take for you to make friends with an old enemy?

I have made friends with many old enemies, some who were worthy, and some who sadly proved again that they were not. It depends on the circumstances, I suppose, but mostly it’s showing that he/she has a good heart.

**

Okay, now that I’ve answered all of Nathan’s heavy questions (!), it’s time to nominate eleven bloggers and give them my own questions. Poking around the internet, I’m finding most Liebster nominees had much easier questions, so I’ll provide my nominees with a mix of hard and easy. 🙂

The questions are:

1. What prompted you to set up a blog?

2. When did you discover you liked to write, and why?

3. What is your favorite writing setting? (Coffee shop, office, etc.)

4. What is your favorite time of day? Least favorite?

5. If you could have anything you wanted, at this moment, what would it be?

6. What is your guilty pleasure?

7. If you were trapped on an island with only three things, what would they be?

8. What is your favorite animal?

9. How would you describe yourself in five words or less?

10. You are offered $100,000,000, but you may never write again. Do you take the money? (Crazy question, I know!)

11. What is your favorite television show, and why?

Somehow I think my nominees will have a much easier go with their questions than I did with Nathan’s! 🙂 Now for the nominees, and I encourage you to seek all of them out. They are:

  • Jessica Vealitzek from True Stories – My favorite blog subscription! Realistic, heart-wrenching, fun, and definitely a great blog to read.
  • Rebecca Lane Beittel at Rebecca of Tomorrow – Her site is a mix of writing insight and maternal joys. Rebecca’s posts make me smile.
  • Anna Meade at Yearning for Wonderland – Whimsical and demonstrating a real gift with flash fiction, Anna’s posts make me think of fairies and butterflies. Unless she’s posting about her new Zombie Apocalypse fitness program, in which case I’m thinking of zombies and running.
  • Regina Swint at Write on Time – I met Regina on SheWrites and have considered her a mentor ever since. She’s thoughtful and kind, and you can hear these traits in every one of her blog posts.
  • Marylin Warner at Things I Want to Tell My Mother – I’m a new follower to this blog, but the concept is beautiful. Marylin focuses on the effects of Alzheimer’s on her mother’s memories and writes a journal to her mother in her honor. It is incredibly striking, and a real emotional journey that moves me through every post.
  • Mike Manz from The Blog (of Destiny) – Mike formerly ran a blog at http://lived-inlife.blogspot.com/ but left it behind to start a more story-focused site. I followed Mike then, and I’ll follow him now. Though I enjoyed his snappy posts, I’ve appreciated the stories I’ve found by him much more, so I’m excited to see where his new blog leads. Congratulations on the change, Mike! 🙂
  • Catrina Barton at Kitty’s Inner Thoughts – She’s fun. She’s peppy. She has intel. Check her out.
  • Daniel Swensen at Surly Muse – Daniel is a whippersnapper, and he can write, too. I enjoy his posts tremendously.
  • Angie Richmond at Write Me Happy – Angie has a good spirit and a warm blog. I like it here.
  • Angela Goff at Anonymous Legacy – I’ve been following Angela for a while on Twitter, but she posts some lovely fiction pieces on her blog. I’m sorry I didn’t start following her blog sooner than I did!

YES, I was supposed to choose eleven, but here are ten. Ten wonderful bloggers that I think truly deserve it and whose work I admire and enjoy! Be sure to check them all out. And once again, thank you to Nathan for the nomination!


Roller Coasters, School Starts, and Call for Flash Ideas!

They say when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade, but this particular week I’m working on my one-woman ten-lemon juggling act. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride for me (start of work, blown head gasket on my ten-year-old Honda, gluten allergy testing, apartment hunting madness, insomnia, and terminal illness of a family pet, just to name a portion). As usual, I’m trying to see the bright spots in a bizarrely heavy last three days.

So the good news: work has been a breeze! Even better, I taught English for the first time on Wednesday—three wonderful sections of Freshman English and you know what? It felt completely natural. Hurray! I enjoyed my Math sections, of course, but I have to say I’m pretty excited to continue on this big English teaching journey!

Other fun news—Nathan Payne over at The Writers Codex nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award. I’ll share more about it in my next post but in the meantime, thanks so much, Nathan! 🙂

And now…start your engines! There is exactly one week until the second edition of Third Thursday Flash, when I’ll post a 500 to 1,000 word flash fiction piece I’ve written based on your idea! Please pass along whatever idea you like (it can be a theme, a sentence, a prompt, a couple of words you’d like me to incorporate or use as background—your choice). Send your suggestions to me by email at evariederauthor@gmail.com, or you can also use the handy contact form on my website. Submissions will remain open until Monday the 27th at 8 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, when I will pick one of your great ideas and craft a piece! In your email, please let me know if you would prefer I keep your name anonymous should I pick your idea. You can click here to read the first episode of Third Thursday Flash.

Thanks to everyone who participates, and of course, to all for reading!

And don’t forget, when life gives you lemons… _________ (Fill in the blank in the comment section below!)

🙂


Thank You

Today I wanted to take a moment to say thank you.

I have always been an optimist, finding delight in the simplest of things. My thinking is that if one can find joy in these simple things, then it makes the great things that much more amazing. This is why I’ve often said, “Forget glass half-full! I have a glass! Awesome!”

Sometimes, things get complicated. Our day-to-day lives get filled with frustration, illness, difficulties, or even just a plethora of mundane and exhausting things we have to do. Optimism can get lost in the shuffle, leaving us hurt, angry, miserable, or complaining. I’ve been guilty of all of these at one point or another, because sometimes, it’s easy to forget how spectacular life really is.

But somewhere amidst this cloudiness, something happens to make me realize just that: life is good. This weekend was one of those moments for me. I walked around with a smile on my face the whole time. I did things that gave me happiness, talked to people who bring me joy, and enjoyed every little thing that crossed my path. I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, wonderful friends and family, and so many things that I get to do that make me happy.

And in the last six months, I’ve been able to add even more to this list of greatness: you.

Starting this blog has been one of the best developments in my life. I’ve connected with many amazing thinkers, and have heard feedback and comments from inspiring, wonderful, and kind people all around the world. I’m delighted with the connections I’ve made with all of you, and I can’t wait to continue this blog so that I can keep enjoying another aspect of my life that puts a smile on my face.

So, for all of you out there reading this now, thank you. You’ve made my day. 🙂

Have a fantastic week, everyone.


Off to a Conference!

Well, I’m a day away from attending my very first writing conference, and I’m so excited!

In the past weeks I’ve been hyper-focused on my novel, Kyresa. My goal was to have it finalized, edited, and proofed by the conference, so that I could start querying agents the moment I got home. Goal attained! I can now rest easy knowing the creation part is done…and the hard part—marketing—is about to begin.

Bring it!

Tomorrow I will head off for the Cascade Writers Workshop, where I will get to work with several other writers, as well as a handful of editors and agents. Most of the authors attending also write in the fantasy genre, and I expect it will be a great time. (The numerous hilarious emails flying around between group members are starting to confirm my suspicions!) We will be workshopping, critiquing, socializing, and writing as a group, and I’ll also be pitching Kyresa at a formal pitch session. Fun!

Since I still have a gigantic To Do list to tackle before my flight tomorrow (um, starting with PACKING, sort of important…), I’m going to sign off for now. When I return, I’m sure I’ll have tons of stories to share. Can’t wait!

Also next week: I’ll be settling into a more regular blogging schedule again (TBA) and I’ll share my thoughts on Stephen King’s On Writing. I’ll leave you with one word for now: fantastic.

Stay tuned, and have a splendid rest of the week, everyone! 🙂


Mi Casa Es Su Casa, or, a Bonus Post!

Yeah, yeah, I know I said I wouldn’t be back all that often while I’m editing, but after spending over seven hours focused on Kyresa today (woo hoo!), I decided that I ought to reward myself with a teeny tiny addendum post.

You may remember my post last week, Clean Space, Fresh Perspective; I went on a mad cleaning spree after being inspired by Anna Meade’s “A Room of My Own” series. Anna runs the lovely Yearning for Wonderland blog, and after seeing my post, she asked if I’d like to participate and share my room. I was of course delighted to join in!

If you’d like to learn more about where all my writing happens, you can do so here: My Room. (There’s even a picture!) A big thank you to Anna for inviting me to participate in the series. It was fun!

Also, after yesterday’s post, I decided I needed to seal in my reestablished confidence as an author…

So I ordered myself some business cards. 🙂

Have a great week, everyone!


Process, Self-Doubt, and…a Published Piece!

It’s been another solid week of editing…however, this week proved a bit more challenging for a handful of reasons. The first noticeable obstacle was the three-trip adventure to the mechanic for my mysteriously overheating car—sadly, this resulted in a loss of a lot of editing time, and also no verdict on the car (hmph). It also led to a bit of meandering around on foot and thinking, which then rushed me right into the monster obstacle of the week: a giant case of randomly and inconveniently induced self-doubt.

Generally I’m a pretty confident and ambitious person. I mean, it was only 8,000,000* changes, and my years performing circus led me to believe that I’m part Superwoman, so really, how hard could this be?

Ha.

I was editing, then I was up, then I was editing, then I was off in la-la land, then I was editing, and…well, you get the picture. Sure, I suppose I could attribute some of it to my self-diagnosed adult A.D.D., but as I stewed and fretted and wondered “Really, really, can I ever truly finish this book?”, I started thinking maybe it wasn’t the five-year-old trapped in my head after all.

I read some good blogs on getting motivated, and a great post on Letting it Go that I bookmarked and kept referencing (you should too). I had lunch with my talented author and graphic novelist friend MariNaomi, who handed me Stephen King’s On Writing (she’s also the third person to recommend this book to me). I made a deal with myself that I would definitely peruse this memoir right after I entered the 8,000,000* changes in my book but before I gave it a last touch-up read, since I might actually learn something helpful from Mr. King. And then when all that still didn’t seem to make me any calmer, I busted out my Kaiser medical handbook and learned how to belly breathe.

Sadly, all good monster stories tend to contain the really scary moment when the beast goes haywire. And that moment happened. Hard.

I happened to be on the phone with my cousin. I don’t usually like to refer to her as my cousin; she is more of a best friend than a relative, and she is also one of my treasured beta-readers/editors. She’s sassy and smart, and despite our familial connection, she can critically (but kindly) tear apart most any text I throw in front of her. We keep telling her husband that the two of us are going to quit our jobs so he can support us while I write in their basement and she edits for me full-time, but alas, he seems a little slow on follow-through…

All of this aside, the darling dear had something I really needed at that moment: patience and a good ear. I told her my frustrations—because “life” happened, I shelved this book so many times and for such long intervals (read: years) that my first novel had now been with me for the better part of two decades [belly breathe], and I have so many great ideas bouncing around and waiting for me to hurry up and finish that it was distracting and frustrating me [belly breathe], though of course I love the book I’ve been carrying around for more than half my life, but would I ever stop finding things to change on it [belly breathe!], because it simply feels so drastically different from the style I’ve been writing on the side for the last ten years, and how would that ever work? [BELLY BREATHE!]…Wah wah wah, cue violins, play a sad song, and then I dropped to the floor to belly breathe again.

After my cousin ascertained that I was indeed alive and breathing like a normal person, she said, in the wisest and calmest of voices, “Eva, you’re doing fine. It’s your first novel. Of course it’s going to be the hardest. So finish this edit, get it out there to some agents, and then feel good about it no matter what. You owe it to yourself to finish and move on.”

Before I knew it, I was on my feet with that last little sentence on a post-it hanging on my mirror (no I’m not kidding). I was ready to go full-tilt and finish this little baby.

And honestly, I realized the end is not so far away. In fact, here’s a pretty little visual for how many of the 8,000,000* changes I’ve entered:

So close!

I cooed to my cousin for about ten straight minutes with lots of thanks and a threat to send her cookies in the mail, and then I pulled out more pages to enter. Before I started, I checked my email and got the real kick in the pants to cheer up and get to work:

The wonderful anthology that Susi Holliday had worked and slaved over from April’s Once Upon a Time Flash Fiction Contest was in print and ready to order!!! I mean, could I get any more inspiration than that?!

So, in summary, I think I need to spout a few great lessons I learned here.

1. Surround yourself with good people.

2. Listen to the wise words of your cousin/friend.

3. Belly breathe. Often.

4. Don’t let the Self-Doubt Beast win when it comes to writing. So the book takes forever, and maybe it doesn’t get published, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. And if it doesn’t work, okay, move along. In fact,

5. “You owe it to yourself to finish it and move on.”

6. And finally, always celebrate good things—like, for example, my first ever published piece. Yippee!

If you would like your very own copy of this fantastic anthology, you can hop on over to Amazon to order it here: Once Upon a Time: A Collection of Unexpected Fairytales. Edited by S.J.I. Holliday and Anna Meade, this anthology contains 89 tales by brilliant authors on the theme of “Unexpected Fairytales,” and it’s only $3.70 plus shipping. The proceeds beyond production costs even go to charity!

So, I’m off to edit now, with a big smile on my face and no belly breathing necessary. And thanks to all of YOU for going on this journey with me. 🙂

*Special Note: A week later, I am still fessing up to my tendency to exaggerate, often with the number 8. But shhh, don’t tell, or I’ll have to pick another number. 😉


Clean Space, Fresh Perspective

It’s been one full week since I last posted, and it turns out, this time away is incredibly helpful! For those of you just tuning in, I called a Blog Time-Out last Sunday. It’s not entirely a hiatus—me not talking is about as likely as pigs flying while it’s raining cats and dogs on a very cold day in hell—but it is a temporary blogging slow-down while I focus on finally turning Kyresa, my “work in progress,” into a “completed work” instead.

So far, so good! I managed to edit for over 30 hours this week, and I’ve virtually reached my next step: entering all 8,000,000* of my changes into the computer for a final reread. I’ve always been partial to editing on paper, both because staring at a computer screen gives me a headache, and because I prefer being as hands-on as literally possible, but I’ll admit it does tend to lengthen the process. Still, I am far closer to “completed” than before. Hurray!

Last night, when I set my binder beside the keyboard to start entering said 8,000,000* changes, I realized that my desk had gotten completely out of control. I’ve always been a pretty neat person, but after spending seven weeks in a cast a couple years ago, I learned to loosen the reins a bit. This was a wonderful thing to learn because (1) I generally find I need to relax far more than I allow myself to do, and (2) writing is just plain more important than the dishes. While I still clean pretty regularly, I’ve definitely fallen into an old habit: in any given room, and on my desk, there are various piles of things I need to reference. Though I know exactly what is in each pile, I have nowhere to put the items in these piles. I’m sure several of you have this little habit; short of causing a tripping hazard in the middle of the night, it doesn’t seem like such a bad one to have.

But add to this that Anna Meade over at Yearning for Wonderland has been showcasing various author and bloggers’ writing spaces, as well as the glass of wine that was in my hand, and I pretty much lost it over the state of my desk. It didn’t matter that the desk—actually table, there are no drawers on this sad piece of furniture—also served as bill station, supply house, project table, bookshelf, computer hub, and writing place anymore…it had to be cleaned!

So naturally I swooped all my paperwork to the floor (just like in the movies) and started reorganizing. I’m not finished yet, but already, seeing the surface of the table without all the clutter is making me feel better. It has also inspired me to continue into the next stage of Kyresa‘s  final edit! Clean space, fresh perspective, finished project, and very soon, a return to my more regular blog schedule.

In the meantime, I’m going to need to figure out what to do with all the papers I dramatically knocked to the floor. My cat—usually a cuddly sweetheart who thinks she’s a dog—made clear in her extraordinarily devilish look that she has her own plan for them:

Sienna the Troublemaker. Sure…she doesn’t have any plans to mess with this paper stack. At all.

Oh dear…

I’ll be back probably next weekend, folks. Thanks for your patience as I finish this edit, and for reading!

(*Special note: I like to exaggerate. Often with the number 8.)


%d bloggers like this: