Bringing My Inner Writer Back to Life

Yes, I’ve talked about this before. Many times. But guess what? She’s still dead, so here we go.

Back in April, my Writer Self and I parted ways. It was amicable. But now that we’ve had some time apart, I think it’s time we get back together. She doesn’t know this yet.

Listen. We used to be a pretty good team. We wrote an entire novel together! It was beautiful! And honestly, I miss that creative drive that used to keep me occupied for hours on end.

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It’s simple. I was feeling stuck. I wasn’t writing anything new. No ideas. I was stuck with my novel. I felt like I was running out of agents to query. I was questioning whether my story was any good. It’s only natural to doubt your story’s awesomeness–and your own awesomeness–when you are unsuccessfully querying agent after agent. So I stopped querying.

And I put that entire writing part of my being to the side. I stopped posting on Twitter. I stopped writing blog posts about writing. I took a hiatus from my online writing group at Scribophile. Aside from my kitty litter duties, I don’t spend much time in the room I designated for writing. And I feel as if I’m no better or worse off than I was. What exactly did taking a break accomplish? I don’t feel rejuvenated. I don’t have a handful of new story ideas to crank out. I just have me. Just the same.

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When July came, I had an opportunity to send in a story for consideration in an anthology, a story that I have loved and that I’m pretty proud to put my name on. And by some miracle I haven’t wrapped my brain around, my story was accepted. I’m in an anthology.

If somewhere were looking for a reason to start writing again, getting published would certainly help. I believe it has done the trick. Sort of a delayed reaction, but I’ll take it.

I’ve decided–as I’m typing the words, actually–when September arrives, I’m getting back to it. I’m going to tweet for the hashtag games, assuming they still exist. I’m going to like and retweet. I miss that! I’m going to write more Writing Wednesday posts. About what? Uh, I’ll figure it out. I’m going back to Scribophile and reunite with some pretty awesome gals.

Will I write something new? I can’t say. That seems unrealistic to me. At this point anyway.

But here’s the biggie. I hesitate to type this because then I’ll be held accountable…by the 1-2 people who may read this post.

I’m going back to my novel, read it for the 187th time, and edit the entire thing. Maybe the 98th revision is the best. Time does wonders for edits. Perhaps I’ll be able to address some things I didn’t want to see before.

Then, I’m going to query. Maybe by the time I finish the latest edit, there will be some new agents looking for manuscripts. 🙂

I just can’t let it go.

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To anyone out there who may be reading this, if you still believe in whatever it is that you’ve created, don’t let it go. How would your characters feel if you decided to kill all of them off? That may not be the most sane way to approach this. Point is, if it means anything to you, keep at it. Patience. Lots of patience.

If you’re in a similar situation and you came here for some writing advice, I suggest making some goals. Weekly. Don’t think, “I have to edit x number of pages.” Give yourself a reasonable chunk daily/weekly. Heck, monthly. Go crazy. But set some goals and stick to them. Write them down. Tell other people. This isn’t a new strategy by any means, but I think it could be pretty effective in your writing life. Good luck.

Until next time.

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Time for a shameless self-promotion! If I don’t, no one else will. 🙂

Maryland’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology is officially out in the world! And although it still seems unreal, my name is listed in the table of contents. My story is in there, people! Page 54! (Well, part of it. They had an insanely small word count. And I babble like I’ve got all day.)

So if you’re looking for a great gift idea, look no further! Birthdays, weddings, bar mitzvahs, baby showers! Donate one to your local library. Add one to your own collection. This is why I could never be a salesman.

In all seriousness, if you’d like to purchase one of these books, that would be so very appreciated and humbling. Then let me know, so I can send you a thank you card. No joke.

Click here:

Maryland's Emerging Writers: An Anthology


Thanks for spending some time here. Happy writing, all!
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I Have Writing News!

I’m humbled yet proud. Excited yet scared. Chatty yet speechless. This is big. Yes, the biggest of all writing news ever shared on this blog.

An excerpt of my YA short story is going to be published in an anthology called Maryland’s Emerging Writers.

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As you may or may not know, I’ve been querying my novel for a minute or two, so this came as an unbelievably gratifying, validating surprise to me. I submitted on a whim, and now my words will be on paper. It’s…well, it is amazing.

I wanted to share this with you, because, obviously, it’s good news on the (ever-so-quiet) writing front, but it’s also a reminder to take a shot. You never know. 🙂 Put yourself out there, submit your work, and you may be writing a blog post like this one.

If you’d like to purchase this book (or you just want more info–I get it), click the link below. The official release date is August 21st, but you can pre-order it right this second, if that’s how you roll.

Maryland’s Emerging Writers (new link below)


*UPDATE 8/21/18: Here is the updated link, now that the book has been released:

Maryland's Emerging Writers: An Anthology


I hope you enjoy my story, “Not Quite a Dunbar Man.” If I manage to find it a home in its entirety, you’ll be the first to know. Thanks to Z Publishing for reaching out to me, accepting my story, and not changing it! Thanks to everyone on Scribophile who critiqued the story or stopped by just for a read. A special thanks to the Pipsters for all the writing support and venting. You ladies rock! I also need to thank the fictional-but-oh-so-real Tim Riggins, who subconsciously inspired my MC’s big brother.

And thank you for reading my blog, following my journey, and patting my proverbial back. You’re awesome.

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Now I’m heading to Twitter to spread the news…


Thanks for spending some time here. If you found this blog because you are also published in the Maryland anthology–or any of the other states–please say hi! And congrats on your new pub credit.

Writing Wednesday: How to Rekindle the Flame

I want you to know up front that I don’t know the answer. So don’t start reading this with the expectation that all will be revealed by the end. Not happening. Anyway.

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Here’s the deal. I’ve taken a little break from writing. Well…more like a hiatus. I severed all ties. Why? A few reasons. Namely, I had other things going on, like new jobs. I don’t know how I was able to work full time and do anything else. Wow. Point is, I pretty much quit.

And it’s strange because writing used to be this thing that I had to do, you know? I used to write for hours. I’m talking about those intense writing sessions where you’d only move to pee. You didn’t eat. You didn’t sleep. Come to think of it, writing is extremely hazardous to your health. It’s a wonder I’m not dead. But I digress.

Maybe I just don’t have many ideas. Maybe that’s why I spent so long on the same story…because I didn’t have anything else to say.

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A Writing Update on Writing Wednesday

Just wanted to check in on the writing front. Where all is quiet. #literarypun #suchadork

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The last query I sent was March 20th.

The last rejection was March 30th.

The last writing other than a blog post? Um…last year? Yeah, I think.


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Don’t Worry. I’m Not Dead.

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I have returned. Please. Contain your excitement.

I’ve been a bit MIA lately. Twitter, this, my writing community… I’m such a routine-oriented person that when something new comes along, it throws me off so much that something’s gotta give. In this case, three somethings.

My cat’s social media presence is still very much alive. Because priorities.

So what’s been going on with me? What is it that has screwed over my precious routine?

I got a job, y’all.

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For that and other randomness, keep reading. 🙂

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Embracing the New WIP

I’m writing again! And it feels fantastic!

Of course, it has no plot. I don’t know if it should be a novel or short story. I’m having continuity issues. Past tense writing is hard!

But I’m writing again!

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*Me. If I had a slinky. And looked like Johnny Depp. So, not me.

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WW: John Green

For this Writing Wednesday, I give you John Green. Why? Because he is an awesome person. And that’s the only explanation you need. Case in point:

Man, I love him.

 

*Update: A twenty-four hour period must have magic in it. After whining about my lack of motivation and all the changes I need to make to my manuscript, I woke up the next day and tackled that beast ALL DAY LONG. Seriously, besides 2-3 hours, I stared at this screen. It’s not healthy and I don’t recommend it, but I got so much accomplished! I realize not everyone can devote all their waking hours to writing–nor should they–so I don’t take my situation for granted. But wowzers. It was cool. I haven’t felt that spark in so long. I had hoped I’d feel this way about a new project, but hey, I’ll take it.

June is here

When I was a teacher, I prayed for June. June, June, June. Come on, June. Now that I’m not wishing my life away hoping for summer, I’m actually bummed that it’s June already. I’m not ready for summer yet. I must have blinked and missed spring entirely.

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But a new month means new goals and plans. First, I thought I’d revisit what I projected for May and see how I faired.

  1. Stop editing: Success!
  2. Final beta read(s): In progress–this is out of my hands 😀
  3. Find the courage to say goodbye to my characters: Success –sort of
  4. Transfer love to other WIP: Fail. An epic one.

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What Now?

So…I did it. After one final pass, I shed a proverbial tear and put I’m Only Me away. I guess I didn’t realize how much time I actually spent mulling over that document, because now that it’s over, my days seem super long. o.OImage result for mic drop meme

I have two beta readers lined up. *I think.* My plan, after reading their gushing reviews of course, is to take a fresh look at my query and start sending that baby out. Obviously, I’ll keep you posted.

Aside from losing a chunk of my daily routine, I have nothing to post on Twitter. Oh, waah, waah. It’s true though. I’ve been posting pretty much daily since January to each day’s hashtag games. Twitter is like instant feedback. You know within a day how a line is received. It’s not 100% accurate and means nothing in the great scheme of life, but it’s just sorta nice. haha. I could still participate, true, but I’m afraid if I go searching for lines to post, I’ll end up diving back into the novel to edit again, and I don’t want to! No! I’ve finally reached a stage where I can say, I’m finished! (That is until the betas are done. Sigh.)

There is a simple solution to this problem: WRITE MORE.

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It’s May!

Hello, all. Welcome to May. I want to post that Justin Timberlake meme, but I will refrain. Yeah, you know the one. Just knowing that you are now picturing it in your head, or googling it if you’re confused, is enough for me.

The first of the month, any month, is usually a positive and motivating day. A fresh start, to be as cliche as possible.

I stopped doing #authorconfession on Twitter for April, but I figured I’d pick it up again this month. For those who don’t know, this is a daily hashtag game (Is it a game though? It doesn’t feel like one…) with questions about your WIP and writing in general. Follow @_JM_Sullivan for details.

Today’s question was about your own writing goals for May, and I thought I’d share them here as well.

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