[WriYe Blogging Circle] Time is On My Side…

Main Prompt:
Life is busy, sometimes often insane. How do you find the time to write within your life?

The title is a lie; time is not on my side. And that, I think, is why I am successful at writing or finding the time to write.

Let me give you a little glimpse of my day-to-day:

During the Semester:
6:00 am – Wake Up
7:30 am – Leave for train after getting myself and the 16 month old ready
8:50 am – Meet up with babysitter
9:15 am – Get to work and begin work on Jobs 1 and 2 (Administration and FT Adjunct)
4:30 pm (most days) – Leave for Home
6:00 pm -Arrive home and take care of child
8:00 pm – Child to sleep
8:05 pm until sleep – Try to write

(One day a week: Teaching until 7:00 pm, get home at 9:00 pm, see if I have life left to write. Usually not).

Summer: All of the above except I leave work at 2:30 pm and get home by 4:00 pm. Which means more time to write.

So finding time can be tough. Especially with another person needing me at most hours of the day (and refusing spouse because why not?). But what I find helps is either writing while she’s napping, doing short sprints (10-15 minutes) when she’s distracted with Baby Shark or another toy, or just waiting until she’s asleep.

Luckily, I do have a decently fast typing speed so I’m able to do my minimum word count most nights during the summer. I can do a few 15 or 12 minute sprints and be done with whatever the goal is (if it’s not for #50in5, of course). During the semester, I tend to forego a daily word count and instead focus on monthly or weekly.

My weekends I take full advantage of however I can. My spouse is great about taking the baby out for a few hours if I need it. My in-laws or my parents will visit, but never for the entire day (thank the gods) which means I still can fit in words when possible.

This sort of rigid day-to-day really pays off with scheduling when I do have the time to write. Since I have to use any moment I have free to write during my busy time, during my not-as-busy time I can usually bring that same focus and feeling of “It’s now or never!” and be doubly productive.

For example, if I am doing a 10,000 word day, I can usually be done before dinner. I think the last time I had one, I wrote from 7 am until 2 pm and was finished. Then, since I had time after dinner, I wrote in my Camp NaNo novel because I still had motivation to write.

Now is that every day? No. A thousand times no.

Do I let it stop me? Some days. I stopped worrying about writing every day this year and have focused on writing as much as I can when I can write. It’s been successful so far.

Do I push through the lack of motivation? Yes.

Just like with running (which I’ll talk about in another post), it’s not motivation but dedication. If this is what you want to do – whether it’s writing a novel or running a marathon – you push through the suck. You do it. Because you are dedicated to that end goal. And when you cross the finish line and get the medal, you’ll forget the suck. I promise.

Bonus:
How do you deal with procrastination? What are your favorite tips/tricks to stay on track?

I love word wars and sprints for moments when I find myself losing focus. If I can be laser sharp for ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty minutes, I will eventually hit a scene where I want to write it. And then I’ll lose track of time!

Stats:

Words Written: 40,310
Shard of Sea: 10,291
Thriller: 30,019

Chapters Completed:
7
Shard of Sea: 2.5
Thriller: 5.75

Favorite Scene Since Last Update:

Shard of Sea: N/A (yet!)
Thriller: Kerrington’s escape.

[WriYe Blogging Circle] A Rose By Any Other Name

Topic:

Real name vs pen name? Is one better than the other? Why or why not?

For me, it depends on a few things:

  1. How hard is your name to spell, pronounce and remember. You can use your real name if it is hard to spell, pronounce and remember! I always support people who go for it and make others learn because it is your name and you deserve to have it spelled and said correctly. However, I can’t fault anyone who might want to use a different family name, a shortened name or even a new name for their own.
  2. Do you want anonymity? If you have a work life that shouldn’t mix with your creative life, maybe you want to keep it separate. Maybe you don’t want your family knowing what you write. Maybe being a famous writer isn’t your deal. Alls’ fair there.
  3. Are you already established in another genre? If you write multiple genres, you may want to have a pen name for new books in the new genre. Reason being, these are new audiences. New people that will want to read your books. Maybe some will overlap, maybe some won’t, but it would be nice to have a following that isn’t disappointed that your next book out is sci-fi when you usually write romance.
  4. Do you want one? Then go for it.

Bonus:
Which would you use? Real name or pen name? Why?

Right now, I use a combination of my real name and pen names. Right now, I am thinking I will have four distinct pen names:

This one, for my adult fantasy (and maybe my YA fantasy, but I waffle on this).

One for my horror/thriller/suspense stories.

One for the series I might end up self-publishing.

And the last possibility is to have a separate YA pen name all together.

The reason I want to have three is because I think that fantasy and horror have some overlapping audience but not enough that if I were to get published by a trade (knock on wood), I wouldn’t want my readers to hear I was putting out a new book only to find out it’s in the opposite genre.

It’s the one reason I lean toward having a separate YA pen name. I tend to write novels quickly, so I think I might be able (if all goes according to my dream plan) to publish under each pen name at least once every 18 months. That should keep a good cycle going.

The self-publishing pen name is strictly for business reasons. If I do end up self-publishing a series (and erin really tries to turn me to that side with all she learns about it!), I’d want it under a different name in case it goes belly-up.

This pen name is basically my real name with acronyms and my last name shortened. It allows me to keep some anonymity – which I really want at this point in my writing career – but also has enough of me in it that I don’t feel like I’m someone else. That’s why I use it for my favorite, main genre of fantasy.

My horror/thriller/suspense name is a family surname with my middle name. I think it would fit in the genre conventions and is short and catchy enough to be memorable. That and no one else seems to have a name quite like it yet so, gold.

Stats:

Words Written: 10,050 words (all in the thriller)
Chapters Completed:
3
Favorite Scene so Far:
Mae once again getting into a car with Vince. When will she learn that she can’t keep her lunch down with his driving?

[30 Questions for Writers] It’s Been a Hard Day’s Night…

Life has this way of getting to you. For me, the end of the semester consumes most of my time (in my non-writing life, I work in academia) and therefore, I disappear. But commencement is over, the first rush of summer paperwork is complete, and I have exactly one day to relax before my summer classes start.

Long story short: I have written some, edited some, #pitmad-ed semi-successfully and now can rearrange my schedule to work for me. I have a series to finish this coming month (and book two in a trilogy to finally get down), a series to plan, and more edits on The Final Rose.

But first, to keep my moment up… (and give you far too much to read):

30 Questions for Writers

(tagged by erin)

Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.

My favorite writing project/universe would have to be the one I am editing, The Final Rose. There was something when I was writing that just felt right. All of these ideas rush to me, connecting subplots and creating symbolism and twists that I didn’t have on my original outline.

Even now, re-reading it, I think there’s a lot of depth to that story and universe. There is another series set in the universe which I will be working on by the end of the year.

How many characters do you have? Do you prefer males or females?

For a fantasy writer, I actually keep somewhat small casts. I do have some novels that are more sprawling with split parties and adventures in different places, but most of the time, I try to keep it to a handful of major/main (5 or so) and then just a few important minor characters.

I don’t prefer either, but I know I seem to write more male main characters in my fantasy stories and more female main characters in my non-fantasy stories. I have no idea why.

How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you’re writing about fictional places)?

Well, with the fantasies, I usually go to generators until I see something I can play with. A few times the names have just come to me (Wenna from Bottle of Sunset or Task Tannes from The Final Rose). Places are much of the same.

There was one novel when I was much younger (at least 13 years ago) when I would smash the keyboard and go with whatever was there.

Tell us about one of your first stories/characters!

My first story? “The Friendly Ghost” when I was seven. I don’t think that counts…

My first completed novel was Sub Rosa. A fantasy (surprise) that followed a female main character who was an assassin with a very stylish elf partner. They were tricked into helping the Big Bad resurrect himself, which turns into a whole quest.

The female character was Rosalin, the orphaned daughter of (what turned out to be) quite famous parents. The elf was Ardre, who was a variation of elf that had him unaccepted by both wood and water alike. The two misfits did well together.

By age, who is your youngest character? Oldest? How about “youngest” and “oldest” in terms of when you created them?

If we’re just counting characters under this pen name, my youngest character is either Fyran or Cecily from my novella duology, Midsummer’s Reflection and Midwinter’s Choice. They’re both sixteen and at the cusp of becoming themselves.

My oldest is Ikala from The Final Rose. She may appear young but her true age is part of the story.

My “youngest” would be the idea I just came up with last night (because why turn the brain off). The main characters have yet to be named but they are a set of quadruplet princes.

My “oldest”… That has to be Aralyn, the Roc-riding character in my high school short stories. Long red hair, penchant for wearing yellow, loved birds. I haven’t written anything with her in a very long time.

Where are you most comfortable writing? At what time of day? Computer or good ol’ pen and paper?

My preference is on my laptop, early morning, with warm coffee by my side. But it isn’t often that things go to preference when there is a young child and a full-time job.

So I usually either write at night (anytime after 9pm is late) or fountain pen and paper on the train during the commute.

Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?

I am big on listening to video game remixes while I write because there are no words to distract me and I can hum along without thinking about it. OCRemix is my go-to.

Sometimes I will hear a song and relate it to my characters but it isn’t too often.

What’s your favorite genre to write? To read?

To Write: Fantasy, horror, thriller, usually all adult with some YA sprinkled about.

To Read: Fantasy, horror, thriller, usually all adult with some YA sprinkled about. Also non-fiction about historical figures, science, or the writing process.

How do you get ideas for your characters? Describe the process of creating them.

Well, I come up with my story ideas a little strangely (I go Title -> Plot -> Characters) so usually, once I have the first two, I think of what type of character would serve well in that plot. Once I start thinking about that, usually something comes to mind: gender, some description, personality, etc.

Occasionally, I’ll get the idea for a character first, mostly the problem they need to solve. Then it is fleshing them out, seeing the plot around their problem, and eventually building the novel around them.

What are some really weird situations your characters have been in? Everything from serious canon scenes to meme questions counts!

Weird situations…

Well, in Bottle of Sunset, the explorers are mucking around in the swamps, trying to call on pixies. It’s not so successful…

In the sequel, Shard of Sea, they get captured by desert-dwelling elves. Everything is just not where it’s meant to be.

Who is your favorite character to write? Least favorite?

With this pen name, my favorite character is Jene from the aforementioned seven book series, hands down. He is a cranky old bastard which I can relate to.

Least favorite character would be Ziove from The Final Rose. I’m never truly in her point-of-view so it’s hard to relay some of the things she’s going to do or things she’s thinking via her body language and cryptic dialogue. It’s the reason that the edits for The Final Rose are taking so long!

In what story did you feel you did the best job of world building? Any side-notes on it you’d like to share?

The story with the best world-building is definitely the universe of Terrosya where The Final Rose and the seven book series is located. I have maps. I have magic systems. I have political intrigue.

What’s your favorite culture to write, fictional or not?

The Oriadians from Terrosya. They’re musically-inclined people who have a city full of spectres and hauntings which are just normal for them. They’re the most urban of my many settings in Terrosya which makes for a much more fun atmosphere.

How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us?

Inkarnate is my go-to tool. Sometimes I just draw maps out and save them for later. Here’s one of the land of Adomar (which isn’t going to be quite the best map).

Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!

Brandon Sanderson. I want his output, his affability and his book deals.

Do you write romantic relationships? How do you do with those, and how “far” are you willing to go in your writing?

I think most novels I’ve written have some form of romance, either in the forefront or as an established relationship. For example, the romance of Task and Ziove is the driving force for some of The Final Rose. Counter to that, the already-set marriage of Ceack and Val in Obscura is just a part of their character.

I don’t think that full-out sex scenes are appropriate for most of my novels, but I’m not afraid to go there if the story calls for it.

Favorite protagonist and why!

Wenna from Bottle of Sunset (and the rest of that unnamed trilogy). She’s a strong character who just has one thing after another shatter the illusion of knowledge she has. By the time the third book comes, she’s going to be almost completely different.

Favorite antagonist and why!

Airaethon Ardhor from Obscura (and the rest of the Mist Trilogy). He’s very serpent-like in his actions and causes a lot of behind the scenes chaos before he’s revealed.

Favorite minor that decided to shove himself into the spotlight and why!

Actually, this is from what I’m writing now, but Wilford Garnot from The Lies of Jade and Ivory. He was meant to just be the roommate of the main character but now he’s become integral to the plot.

What are your favorite character interactions to write?

Arguments. In my first drafts, I’ll let them play out longer than they should so I can explore the emotions and true feelings of the character. Once I go back for edits, I can streamline it and bring in more characterization.

Do any of your characters have children? How well do you write them?

In my fantasy novels right now, no. Under a different pen name, I have a few characters with children. Getting the right age-appropriate reactions and development takes some research, but no one has pointed out that I’m so far off with the ages just yet.

Tell us about one scene between your characters that you’ve never written or told anyone about before!

I had to think about this one for awhile. I reveal a lot of things to my beta readers and critique partners. But though this scene is referenced in the novel, the original scene where Geir lets Task go in The Final Rose has never been written. It’s too far in the past to be relevant in the current novel, but serves as an important reference.

How long does it usually take you to complete an entire story—from planning to writing to posting (if you post your work)?

I am (and I’m not sure if I like the term) a “fast drafter.” When I have the time and motivation, I can write a significant number of words a day and my typing speed is relatively fast.

I usually can deal with planning and plotting in a month or so, unless it is a challenge novel (which I have a few from WriYe). I like to have a basic stats sheet with a small synopsis. A title is a must. And at least my main character, a minor character and the antagonist (whether corporeal or non-). Some world-building is necessary but I let a good amount develop as I write the first draft. I just make note of it in a notebook.

Then writing can take anywhere from a month to three. It depends on the challenge, the ease of writing (my thrillers are far easier for me to write than fantasies), and the POV. I can write first faster but I like deep third more.

How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? What’s the most interesting way you’ve killed someone?

Oh yes. Many characters have died. And many more will yet.

I won’t say what novel, but I do have a character who is eaten by a sightless, underground wyrm.

Do any of your characters have pets? Tell us about them.

One of my characters (in a series I am developing) has a pet griffin who acts like a cat. His name is Griff. They pretend he is a cat.

Let’s talk art! Do you draw your characters? Do others draw them? Pick one of your OCs and post your favorite picture of him!

I have zero artistic ability. I suppose others could draw them if anything was published – either self or trade – or shared on the internet, but it is not. Yet.

Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.

The only time I bring in appearances is when I am introducing a fantasy creature. Or if the physical feature has some significance to the plot or is symbolic in a way.

Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there’s nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.

I have. One of the characters in The Final Rose is revealed to be an addict (which I suppose is a stretch for this question). One character will be crippled by the removal of part of his body.

In other novels, I have had characters with limbs missing, characters with fractured personalities, and one with PTSD (in a sense). I tend to be very careful when writing these sorts of things since I do not have firsthand experience and I don’t want to offend by getting it wrong.

How often do you think about writing? Ever come across something IRL that reminds you of your story/characters?

All the time? Okay, that’s not truthful. A lot of the time I think about writing. Outside of my digital world, there are instances where I may be reminded of my writing (especially when I have students who act like some of my less mature characters) but that’s rare.

Final question! Tag someone! (And the part I missed: And tell us what you like about that person as a writer and/or about one of his characters! )

Paging Liz. Liz, to your blog please.

edit: So I somehow copied this question down wrong. Because that’s my life. So! What I admire about Liz:

  1. She has NEVER stopped trying to perfect her writing and her novel. I have been around with her with MoD since…almost day 1, I want to say. And she has been so dedicated about getting it done, getting it edited, and perfecting her craft to make it perfect.
  2. She’s always willing to try something new, even waking up at 4:30 am ;).
  3. She has thick skin. Thicker than mine by far! She never lets things stop her completely. And I won’t let her so… Tough. You’re stuck, Liz.

Ya Can’t Please Everyone, So Ya Got To Please Yourself

For this month’s WriYe Blogging Circle, we go straight to the root of the problem:

Why did you start writing?
Bonus:
How has your writing improved since you first started? What would you still like to improve?

So, let’s get back to the beginning. Why do I write?

Why wouldn’t I write? It’s where I belong, playing out the dreams and imagination that runs rampant in my mind. And it’s not something I can turn off on a whim. No matter how long I step away from it to focus on something else – first triathlon, first marathon, first child – it’s that comforting home I can turn to to find it waiting with open arms. Or blank page, as it may.

It’s like a compulsion. I always have a pocket journal – Field Notes, Log + Jotter, Moleskine – on me to take down notes or plot ideas or breakthroughs. There are more To Be Written plots on my computer than finished novels. I can’t stop and I won’t stop.

The only time I pause is when it is no longer fun. That’s the heart of the entire reason for my writing: fun. I have to enjoy it. To love it. Or else there’s no point in doing it.

That doesn’t mean I have to love it every day. To really become a published writer, writing consistently is important. Dedication over inspiration and all of that. But overall, I have to reach the end of the novel and say “I enjoyed that.”

Bonus

Oh Ancient Gods of My People – yes. I was a passive, telling-because-showing-means-what? novelist as a youth. Which I think is rather normal for most new writers. My characters were either flat or Mary Sues. My dialogue was florid enough to be in a funeral home.

But still, I enjoyed it.

What do I still need to improve? Consistency.

Fixing those muddled middles that are worse than a quagmire.

Most of all? Growing a thick skin. Plums are jealous of my skin’s thinness. But if I am going to be critiqued to improve, I need to actually accept it without pouting. (Or at least without pouting for more than a few hours.)

Wake Up… Run for Your Life with Me

Or just for your word count. (And sorry, the Foo Fighters are my favorite band so you’ll see them referenced often throughout the year.)

Back in 2015, I took up running. I had to lose weight and as much as I loved P90X3 and all of that, there was something freeing about lacing up the shoes and just leaving. One foot after the other, out the door, no one to bother me. What started with a run/walk 5K those years ago has lead to multiple marathons and triathlons. It’s rare when I’m not doing some sort of running every weekend, even if my weekday running schedule has been adjusted post-child.

But I digress. This isn’t about what I’ve done but how I use running to help me with my writing.

I will say, when I took up running, it was for mental health reasons as well. Times were dark. I wasn’t writing much. Work was overly stressful. I was planning on moving out to live with the spouse (unwed then but together ten-ish years). Everything had piled up and things except for running, spouse and dog were unimportant.

I really missed an opportunity to combine some of the things I loved together to try and help myself out.

Running, for me, is the perfect complement to writing. It’s me, the pavement, and my mind. Thirty minutes to four hours (depending on what my training run is for the day) of music and working through problems. And lately, these problems are all fictional.

That sort of solitude, even during public races, allows my brain to wander into realms it normally wouldn’t. With my left brain focus mostly on moving one foot in front of the other, breathing correctly, and why-are-my-hands-clenched-again, that right side of my brain can pick through the snarls in my plot and go, “Hey, stop thinking of how you’re dying. What about if we did XYZ?”

Most of the time, it’s some ingenious solution to problems I either didn’t know where there or didn’t know were causing bigger issues down the line. The Notes function on the phone has been a lifesaver for breakthrough moments like this, where I can jot down a few key words or phrases and continue my pavement pounding.

So I’ve started to take advantage. Frustrated with editing? Go run 5K and slam those words into submission. Not sure how to solve the weird plot hole that I hadn’t noticed developing? Hit the trails (I am an avid trail runner). Too sad to kill a darling? Speed workouts on the track because they’re painful and you’ll start to hate that darling by the end.

My suggestion? Find some sort of exercise you can safely do, whether it’s outside, inside or whathaveyou. When things get tough, put the physical body through some work and let the creative mind do its thing. The ideas that come out might surprise you.

Takin’ Care of Business and Working Overtime

Let me just share, for a moment, my weekday schedule:

6:00 am – Up for work, getting myself and baby ready (with assistance from the spouse).
7:41 am – Train one to work.
7:59 am – Train two to work. Baby has stopped napping on the train. Yay. No freedom from the punishment of Peek-a-Boo!
9:00 am – Work. Both lab and teaching every day but Tuesday and Friday.
4:00 pm – Out of work (I don’t take lunch!). Except Thursdays, because then I teach until 7:00 pm.
5:30 pm – Home with baby. More punishment.
6:30 pm – Spouse comes home to take baby while cooking. Baby enjoys “the sizzlies” of the stove. I get to destress.
7:30/8:00 pm – Baby asleep. Free time until bed, preferably by 10:30 pm.

So, on a normal weekday, I don’t start my writing/editing journey until after 8:00 pm.

Are there exceptions? Sure.

Can I write at work? Sometimes. Benefit of my own office. During the summer when there are no classes, I often write a bit.

Does this all cut into my productivity? Oh hell yes.

Before the baby, I used my hour commute both ways to write on the phone or tablet. Or in my stream-of-consciousness plotting journal. I could work through snags or finish up an easy 1k words while blasting music.

Not anymore. This, of course, was my decision to have children so I should have taken that into account.

Before I became and adjunct alongside my main administrative work, I had the time to write at work. I’d have a few hours while a professor lectured before I had to go assist in the lab. Now that I’m the professor?

Not anymore. This was not my decision, really. It was the only way to afford to live.

It’s strange to see what used to be at least four or five hours during the day to write be reduced to two (or less). Years ago, I could join crazy challenges on WriYe or participate in word count goals that are far higher than I have now. (I wrote nearly 200k a month once!)

Having just two hours to really play with (if I take out the hour of destressing and eating, I could have three) means I have to get serious about it. Once the nightlight goes on and the door is shut, my laptop is on my lap. Work has to start. And words should flow and red ink should be spilled.

And what I’ve found is that this makes me not more productive, but more successful. So far this year, I’ve written one novel and four short stories. I’ve put up two novellas for critique. I’ve finished editing/preparing for revision 137,000 words. I’ve never edited more than 20k before now!

I’ve become less voluminous but more focused. More serious. And hopefully more ready for getting this writing career off the ground. It just goes to show…

“If you want something done, ask a busy person.”


(Of course, weekends are a different story. I can foist the baby on the spouse and lock myself away for a few hours to work on something. It just means watching her on my own to give back the same time.)

In My Next Thirty (-two) Years…

Yesterday was my birthday. For me, after the excitement of birthdays in the dorm at college (where us forensic science students could write whole lab reports on how to properly dilute everclear), these recent birthdays have been uneventful. Work, home, cheers with the spouse, sleep.

But I’ve been thinking lately about what I had meant to do, writing-wise, before I turned thirty.

Firstly, I wanted to be published, which I think is the goal of a lot of young writers. Secondly, I wanted to see my name on bookshelves, have a fanbase that wrote excellent (and not) fanfiction of their OTPs, and have people excited for my next novel. I wanted K. A. Wyles to be known (well, the pen name came later).

But time flies when you’re getting a “proper” education. So I’m going to do some reminiscing because I feel old. Come back (to the future) with me:

My friend and I wrote together throughout high school. We met in eighth grade, when I moved to the school district, and became close in French class because I happened to have lived near her cousin. From that day on, we would scribble down stories between (and during) classes, usually in a roleplaying style, in marble notebooks that I still have on my bookshelves. We would go home, get on our respective computers, and write until it was far too early in the morning. Writing was everything.

(Hell, we still have ongoing stories that are far more like co-writing than something to while away the time.)

For her undergraduate, she decided to get a BFA in Creative Writing. I got mine in Forensic Science, because I had always been more science-brained, despite my awards in English and Literature throughout high school. Her goal to be published as soon as she graduated started. And I think that’s when I joined in on the dream. I had been writing short stories on my own since I was seven so I was no stranger to writing in my spare time. If she could do it, I could too. I may not have had the degree, but I had the passion.

I figured short stories were are hard sell, so why not try for a novel? My first NaNoWriMo was in 2006, and I had won. Never finished the novel. Next one? Also unfinished. It wasn’t until 2008, and when I was 21, that I figured out that whole “Finish What You Start” thing. In between, I joined smaller writing months. I joined WriYe and eventually helped moderate it. I joined a very popular LiveJournal prompt community, and then disappeared.

That’s my MO. Love something so much that it becomes the only thing… Then drop it and seclude myself because my brain is my biggest enemy.

And that seclusion is why I think I am unpublished and it bothers me.

Thirty, for some reason, is that spooky number in age where I think we all believe we should be more successful than we are. Chances are, our parents had gone a little further at 30 than we have, but there are numerous reasons for that both societal and cultural. But rationally? Most of us can’t get over that, I think.

I am a victim of my own mind. I look at my age and go, “Wow, Paolini was published at half of my age!” Does that really matter? No. This isn’t a competition. But no one has told my brain that. So the spiral of “What Have I Done With My Life?(tm)” begins. And that is why I disappear. I am unworthy. Or unsuccessful. Or just something so self-defeating that I should probably talk to someone about it.

But this year, on my 32nd birthday, I found myself editing a novel. A novel I wrote that I love. And I have a plan to finally pursue my dream by being serious about it. Write, edit, revise, query. That’s the goal. And, as WriYe can tell you, I’m dragging people with me. That’s why #Pub2020 was born – to force myself to keep moving forward.

So maybe in my next thirty(-two) years, I’ll have a series of novels published. I will see my name on the spines of novels in bookstores. I might have a fanbase (or a group of haters, bring it) that want to write fanfiction. I may even become a bestseller.

But I can’t do that if I don’t start now.

(My best friend? She published one short story before getting her MLIS and now doesn’t write at all, despite wanting to all the time. Life is a beast.)