Last week was arduous to say the least. It was the Election Day that would not end. Like groundhog day but so much worse.
Day after day last week I tried and failed to unplug and focus on my own life rather than a situation that I had done everything I could to encourage the outcome I so desired. When I tell you I will be naming my burgeoning ulcer ‘2020’ I am not kidding. Like, whoever decided to put Dolores Umbridge in charge of this year needs to take a long walk off a short cliff.
But mid-morning Saturday someone posted the results in my work chat. I quickly googled ‘election status’ because I needed to see it with my own eyes.
Ladies and gentleman:
President Elect Joe Biden
I can only hope that, now that the results are in and the next four years no longer hold a giant, blinking ‘?’ that the divisiveness that has gripped this nation will ease. I have no illusions that it will dissipate completely but I do hope that our country will find a way to heal.
Maybe now that this unknown has finally been answered enough stress will alleviate that I can get over this writer’s block and actually finish S&S’s sequel!
Well this past Saturday was Halloween. I neither participated in the tradition of costuming, nor did I adorn my porch with festive ornamentation. I sat at my computer and worked for eleven hours. Because nothing say Spooky Season like cashing in on 2.5 hours of Overtime!
But seriously though, I did participate throughout the month of Halloween (yes it’s the whole month).
I decorated my desk and entered myself into a costume contest at work:
I think I looked pretty badass if I do say so myself!
I actually won the Spooky Spot contest for decorating my desk but I don’t have pictures from its height of glory and I will not show you the meager remains of my prize winning display as they detract from the awesomeness of my costume pictures.
Saturday was also a Blue Moon. As in, ‘Once in a blue moon’. That. And given that it was taking place in 2020 I took no chances. Holy water in one hand, heavy hardcover book in the right, I awaited whatever foul being would arise…
If you’re reading this such an event obviously did not take place and the BEAST of legend has remained entombed for another millenia…
Anyhoo, this week is a very important week. An incredibly important week. Possibly the most important week of the year. This is the week we find out what president we get for the next four years. I will not say anything about my political affiliations but will say that you have no right to an opinion on politics unless you VOTE!
This is a bit of a sequel to a previous post about rejection. Because it’s never fun and no matter how much you tell yourself it wasn’t meant to be it still smarts a bit. Especially when you give your all to something only to discover it’s not going to work out.
I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard. For someone like me, when I get invested in something I overcommit. Not to say that you shouldn’t be passionate about the things you want, but sometimes I get ahead of myself. I have a habit of imagining what could be instead of focusing on what is. To a certain extent that’s a great trait to possess, but not always.
My biggest problem is that sometimes I have a hard time being grounded in the moment. I choose to lay the blame 33% with my anxiety, 33% with my ADD, and the final 34% comes from a need for personal growth. I am not above recognizing that we are constantly evolving into better versions of ourselves, always in flux between who we were and who we have the potential to become.
I got off on a bit of a tangent but let me bring us back on track. Rejection is going to happen. Failure is going to happen. It’s how you react and grow from it that defines you as a person.
Oops, I did it again. I decided to leave the cushy, comfy, familiar job I had and had mastered in favor of the unknown.
It was an impulsive decision that I was hyped about for a day before I began my traditional spiral into regret induced despair. I’m big on second guessing myself. I don’t know why. It’s something I’m working on.
Thanks to my amazing support system I was able to talk myself down from the ledge and gain some perspective. Yes this position will be more challenging than my previous one, but if I don’t challenge myself my brain will atrophy and that is bad.
I’m still working for the same company, it’s just a different campaign. And while the previous campaign was strictly a customer service role, in this new job I will be in a position to help people in a very real way. It’s something that I am very much looking forward to.
When my agent was first reaching out to publishing companies, I had the thrill of being considered by a major publishing house. Like…huge. It is one of the bigger publishing houses and to even be considered by them is an honor.
Sadly, that is as far as I got. They were interested in reviewing my full manuscript but ultimately decided it was not for them. That’s not the end of the story, though. The editor who rejected my manuscript must have seen some untapped potential in it, because she took time out of her busy schedule to give her thoughts on my manuscript, along with some invaluable advice that allowed me to change my manuscript for the better.
While I was initially crushed by the rejection, I was eventually able to see it for what it was, a learning experience. An opportunity to grow and recognize that not everyone is going to like my work, but that doesn’t mean it is without worth. Just like in life, not everyone is going to like you. That doesn’t in any way diminish who you are as a person.
Rejection letters are a bit like the miles you walk. They may hurt your feet and leave you weary, but each step builds your strength, grows your calluses, and prepares you for the day that you finally reach your destination. Keep on writing, drawing, or living your best life!
As my dad recently told me after I experienced my most recent rejection, “It’s all experience.”
Personally, I love having a routine. Especially in these uncertain times, a little bit of certainty can go a long way to calming the anxiety that lurks in the dark alleys of my mind. But too much of any one thing is going to end up hurting you in the long run. That is how I came to recognize my new arch-nemesis: stagnation.
This sneaky villain has a way of calcifying one’s progress and leaving the victim in a state of monotonous misery. It is the sepia-toned beigeness that creeps into life and saps the energy out of spontaneous and creative pursuits and turning the person it preys upon into little more than an unchanging statue.
Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating just a little.
If you stick to what you know and “stick to the status quo” as was once so wisely sung in High School Musical then you will never grow. Did I mean for all of that to rhyme? No.
That is why I have taken on some new hobbies and interests. The first of which is resin. It started with a simple idea that exponentially exploded into a full grown obsession. The idea? Make bookmarks to give away with the sale of books at events. It’s a simple concept. I mold a tiny sword and then put that solidified resin sword in a bookmark mold and pour the resin around it. Now I’m also making popsockets, the top of an end table for my living room, wedding favors for my sister’s wedding next year, and a super secret surprise that has involved a great deal of trial and error (emphasis on the error).
My second interest is a new show called My Hero Academia. An anime set in an alternate reality wherein people are born with superpowers, this fun, dramatic, and sometimes startling show has me hook, line, and sinker.
I have also taken up journaling, courtesy of the birthday present given to me by my sister Laura. It’s formatted as a question/answer book so I’m not free to hyperfixate on the negative and spiral as I usually do when I journal.
Well that’s it really. I’m going to go back to cleaning my condo (I took the time to write this as a way of procrastinating), and having a lovely day.
So last month August 20-21 Amazon AUS (Australia) featured The Sword and Shield as part of a promotional discount program that they run. Not sure how I was chosen but I was just happy to be a part of it. In the 24 hours that this promotion was live I sold a whopping 163 books!
When the publisher told me I quickly rushed to the Amazon AUS Sword & Shield page and got these screen grabs. Gotta love having a ‘#1’ next to something of yours!
Australia has never been on my radar for places to visit because I have a Ronald-Weasley-sized fear of spiders and in the Down Under they grow to be just about as big as Aragog or Shelob. But if books continue to sell at such a rate in the outback then I may have to get over those (incredibly rational) fears and add it to my bucket list!
In other news, I read a post on Instagram that suggested converting one’s own manuscript to *shudders* Comic Sans would help with the flow of creativity. Because I’ve been in a dry spell inspiration-wise as of late I’m ready to try anything. Even…that.
Well it’s here. I leave my twenties behind for the much touted greener pastures that are my thirties. Everyone who dwells in this pasture brags about the amazing times they’ve had since arriving and I’m hoping they’re right. Because while I had some amazing times in my twenties I am ready for a change.
One thing I was hoping the universe would gift to me as a birthday present was the rather monumental achievement of selling 3000 books by my 30th birthday. I came SO CLOSE! And yet, so far. Since March 26, 2020 I have sold 2,805 copies of The Sword & Shield. I recognize this achievement is massive in and of itself but the reason I was so excited at the prospect is that I have very little else to celebrate as far as my writing is concerned.
The well is dry. My creativity is on hiatus and/or my muse is on vacation. Aside from a picture book I haven’t written anything substantial since the RONA hit and words can’t describe how much that bums me out.
But there is good news coming, I can feel it. As many of you know, I suffer from a pretty severe case of insomnia. That is, until I upped the sleeping pill I’m on. I was previously getting about 7 hours of fragmented sleep throughout the night. But now I’m getting solid sleep. And I go to bed around 8:30/9:00. Which means I’m waking up hella early. It is my deepest and most fervent hope that my creativity will return and I can use the 2-3 hours of extra awake time to write and knock out The Sword and Shield’s sequel!
You know when you start to have so many balls in the air that you realize you need to set some to the side so you don’t drop all of them? That’s where I am right now. The puppy, the blog, work, a social life, getting healthy, editing a children’s book, writing the sequel to The Sword and Shield, and getting my condo back in shape after the chaos of having my flooring done. Just a couple things, really.
So I’m setting something down. More specifically, I’m setting my blog down for a hot minute so I can focus on the mandatory/necessary aspects of my life.
I haven’t been able to muster the energy to make any progress on the sequel in several weeks and what’s the point of running a blog on writing at the expense of being able to actually write?
With that in mind, I hope to be back up and running, posting every week, no later than my birthday (one month from now) with all new content and reports of progress in my writing!
A youth’s world becomes much wilder and stranger as an elderly man guides him out of his past life and into a life of adventure and danger. Am I describing The Hobbit? Or how about Star Wars? Maybe Harry Potter?
Honestly? Who knows.
Perhaps you’d like to read about two star-crossed lovers, divided by their family’s. Am I talking about the Underworld movies? West Side Story? Romeo and Juliet?
The point I’m trying to make is, at their core, every idea has been used. People have written articles stating there are only three, seven, twenty, or even thirty-six plots in all the world of literature. Each list has its own merit.
At the end of the day, it’s not about whether or not the concept is original, but the twist on that method.
A scientist takes their work a step too far and their creation rebels against them. Frankenstein or Jurassic Park? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that your twist is new and innovative and, most importantly interesting!