So I have decided to take the initiative in the next step of my writing journey! I will be self-publishing two of my novels in print and e-book:
Stealing the Dark Moon: Dragon's Den Orphanage Volume I
Coming January 2018.
and . . .
A Fair Account of the Traitors Snow White and Rose Red
Coming October 2018!
I also have a children's book, True Gossamer: A Wingless Fairy Tale, that I hope to have ready by September 2018. This story will take a bit longer to get ready because I have decided to illustrate it myself using a digital sketchpad, and I am still playing around and familiarizing myself with all the awesome options in Corel Painter Essentials 5.
I can't wait to share all the stories that have been kicking sequins and syllables around in my head for the last several years! I am also super excited that the fabulous Audrey Bagley will be illustrating my novels' covers. More story details and juicy tidbits to come later.
In the words of a cheaply cheerful dollar store poster I bought years ago:
"Dreams do not vanish, so long as people do not abandon them."
John Keats is one of my favorite poets, in part because I know the ache in his poetry is tied to the brief urgency of his life. His father died in a horse-riding accident when he was only eight, and later his mother and younger brother died of tuberculosis. He also caught the disease and died at the young age of twenty-five. Yet what he accomplished still dazzles the minds of starry-eyed English majors everywhere.
But beyond the lust for life, there is also a very familiar fear threading some of his lines; the fear of failure, of never finishing, of a blank emptiness haunting Keats as his time comes to a swift close:
When I have fears that I may cease to be
When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-pilèd books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starred face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.
I would dare to say that every writer has known this same,
kindred fear at some point. Somehow, knowing that Keats felt that yawning pit of despair but still inked his way out gives me courage to keep on inking on. I've lived almost nine years longer than Keats so far, and I want to make each precious additional year on this spinning marble count for something. But like love and fame, I will sink one day, too, along with everyone else. I just hope I can catch a few of those "huge cloudy symbols of a high romance" first and pin them to a page, no matter how ephemeral. For in the end, aren't all the people we know, and the stories we've heard, a "fair creature of an hour"? Time doesn't let us keep them. So we reach for each other, so we share tales, passing hearts and ink likes sparks in the dark that would be nothingness.
I honestly never feel like I am going to finish a novel. I lose the
vision too easily, I give up as the character and plot flaws pile into
mountains. I actually have four unfinished novels totaling about 500
pages that I abandoned. And then I have 2 practice novels and 2
unpublished novels on top of everything else. So why do I bother
slogging along? What keeps me going?
Good question. Many answers.
*Wisdom from fortune cookies! Seriously, this is deep stuff:
"It takes guts to get out of the ruts."
"The dream is within you."
*MUSIC. Shut up and listen. Then get your muse on.
*My peeps. Can't emphasize the importance of nurturing your
relationships with friends and family enough. As an inky introvert,
wallowing in despair comes naturally. A good friend will kick your brain
back into gear and/or distract you with their awesomeness until the
story bug bites again.
*Flexercise. Take a walk, engage in some form of (in my case, most
moderate!) exercise, and chill with the tree babble. The leaves are
saying far more interesting things than you or me. But don't take my
word for it.
A novel never feels real to me until I hit the first ten thousand words.
Then, I feel obligated to finish the dang thing! And excited...by the
10k word count, the ink threshold in my brain is beginning to overflow
But how do I keep that creative momentum up? Here are a few of the methods that help me:
1. Morning Meditation: I read a bit of philosophy, poetry or biblical wisdom for a few minutes. My current favorite is Earth Prayers from around the World edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon.
2. Exercise: I do physical exercises to get myself energized
before I plop in front of the computer. Other times I write a little
first and then exercise just to break things up.
3. Writing Excuses: I am getting into the habit of listening to this fabulous podcast whenever I do physical exercises, or take a lunch break.
4. Online Stopwatch:
I use the countdown tool to keep myself from getting distracted too
often. Sometimes I set the timer for only 15 minutes, sometimes 30
minutes. Usually I stop using it once I get into the flow of ink.
5. Music: Playing music often inspires me while I write. This
method doesn't work for everyone, but it definitely helps me. Also,
making up a track list that expresses the mood of a chapter or character
also gets me energized to write.
6. Get gritty! I re-read this story shared by Paulo Coelho
and written by W. Timothy Gallway, and tell my fragile whining ego to
shut up because every story starts as a seed. Of course it will be
gangling and strange as it grows and needs pruning to shape it into its
end form. So take pride in the dirt and nourishing dark and keep pushing
towards the light.
“When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice it is small, but we do not criticize it as “rootless and stemless.”
‘We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed.
“When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don’t condemn it as
immature and underdeveloped, nor do we criticize the buds for not being
open when they appear.
‘We stand in wonder at the process taking place, and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development.
“The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential.
‘It seems to be constantly in the process of change: Yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.
“A flower is not better when it blooms than when it is merely a bud; at
each stage it is the same thing — a flower in the process of expressing
7. Write something, even if it is just one sentence: still
working on this one! The point is to get myself into the habit of facing
my ink demons. Start with just a sentence, and the next day make it
three, and before long paragraphs and pages come next.
8. Fallow Days: Some days I just don't write, and that's okay. Quiet times nourish creativity, too.