This is how I get writing done these days. With this fellow passed out in my lap.
Teething is hard.
That is all.
Ramblings of an Obsessive Bookworm
THE WORLD IS MADE OF WORDS. THE TRICK IS TO FIND THE RIGHT ONES.
This is how I get writing done these days. With this fellow passed out in my lap.
Teething is hard.
That is all.
I met with the artist who is doing the interior artwork for my book this week.
Spoiler alert, she’s my sister.
Crazy, right? I, who can draw stick figures and the occasional smiley face, have a sister who does artwork like this:
If you’re interested in her Instagram, btw, you can find her here.
Anyway, she and I had a meeting. She’s been reading my book from the very first day I started writing it, and now I finally get to commission her and her incredible talents for the chapter headings, a full page illustration for the title pages, and a map.
I’m way excited about the map.
Every good book should have a map in it.
That first picture is a draft sketch of the chapter headings we designed together.
It’s a mess now, but I can guarantee it’s going to be gorgeous later.
I am still chipping away at revisions for the book I have coming out at the end of this year. Once I finish with it, it will be sent off to my editor, and she will send it back with a million notes to tell me all the things that are wrong with it.
When you have someone like that, y’all, appreciate them. Not everyone is willing to be so wonderfully honest with you.
While I’m working on that, I’m also checking off the other thousand tiny tasks that go into getting a book published, including this lovely new logo.
I finished it last night. It’s perfect.
My book is being published through my business, Storynook Productions. The regular logo that I have, with my personal and business brand, is too complex for the spine of a book, so I had to come up with a similar, simplified version.
I think I managed it.
I’m excited about this, y’all. Getting a book from manuscript to finished product is an overwhelming amount of details, but I have been planning for this for years, and I am so ready to have it in my hands.
Plus, this is the kind of thing I enjoy. I mean, who doesn’t love seeing a dream come together?
I have a confession to make.
It’s horrifying. Are you ready to be horrified?
Here we go.
Ten years ago, I wrote the first half of my two hundred plus page novel in the notes section of my iPod touch.
No, I’m not kidding.
Yes, it was every bit as bad as it sounds.
By the time I finally succumbed and switched to a computer, I spent almost as much time scrolling as I did writing.
You know, because it was all one impossibly long document visible only through a tiny iPod touch screen.
It makes me overwhelmed just thinking about it.
What happened was this. Ten years ago, I graduated high school and promptly went on a week-long road trip with my dad to a school up in Idaho where he was lecturing. The night before we left, I started playing around with a story that I had been thinking about for a while. A medieval fantasy story about a bodyguard-turned-gladiator who is forced to gamble on his own soul to save his partner from the ring.
And, because I was leaving for Idaho the next morning, I wrote the beginning on my iPod.
Would I ever do this again?
Was it worth it?
Well . . . I’ll leave that to you to decide. Ten years later, I am still working on this book/series. (There are five!) And at the beginning of this year, my lovely editor and I began moving toward getting the first one ready to release into the world.
I’m panicking. It feels like I’m letting my baby out of the house for the first time.
Okay, my ten year old child that I should have set free a long time ago. But these things take time, okay?
Anyway, the books are ready, and this year, we are running through all of the many tasks necessary to get them released into the world. Edits, a few last revisions on chapters that need an update, cover design, interior artwork . . . I’m having way too much fun.
There’s gonna be a map, y’all. I have an artist lined up already.
I’m wildly excited.
There are a lot of steps ahead of me, so I’ll be sure to share all the exciting things as they appear! I’m crossing my fingers for a 2023 release date and promise to keep you updated.
These days, it’s a little harder to find time and space to write.
You know, between nannying thirty to forty hours a week, building a house, and taking care of an infant with serious skin issues.
So finding time for my scripts, outlines, and short stories is a little bit difficult.
Finding time for my books is even harder.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way, so they say, and tonight’s way happened to be bundling myself up in my coat and sitting outside on our porch swing on a dark, cold March evening while my husband gave our baby a bath and got him ready for bed.
You do weird things for words when you’re a writer.
Weird, cold, uncomfortable things.
But words come and chapters are edited, and my goodness, I can’t wait to share this book with the world. It’s almost ready. I don’t dare give away too much just yet, but I hope to be holding it in my hands very, very soon.
Maybe even by the end of the year. What a crazy thought, after ten years. I can’t wait!
I had a week of meetings this month.
Hot coffee turning cold, conversations through lunch, white boards erased multiple times kind of meetings.
Creative meetings. The kind with lots of ideas, people laughing, and problems that take hours to fix and are so, so satisfying once they’re solved.
It’s always one of my favorite weeks out of the entire year.
This year, of course, was a little different. I had a baby at home, and that meant driving the hour commute every day instead of staying home so I could squeeze his tiny cheeks.
I was also sick this year, but we won’t talk about that, because I’m still working through my frustration at being sick the ONE week of the year I really needed not to be.
Anyway, my lovely husband (and my awesome sister) took time off work to watch our boy while I was away, and I called in whenever I slipped away to pump so I could coo at him and see his tiny cute face.
He was crying when I called y’all. And then he heard my voice. And started grinning. And laughing. And playing up for the camera.
What a little ham.
I love him.
Adjusting to life as a working mom is definitely a different experience, but we’re getting there! And judging by that grin, he’s not suffering terribly.
I love being a writer. I love being a full-time writer, and I’m looking forward even more to being a full-time writer who is also a stay-at-home mum.
That’s still a weird concept for me, by the way. Me, being a mum.
Probably will have to get used to that at some point.
Existential crisis aside, I love being a writer. But there are things about this life that I wish I had known before I started.
Three things, in particular.
1) Writing Is… Different
I started out in my writing career because I loved it. I loved stories and I loved words, and I wanted to make my living with them.
But writing as a career is . . . different. I still write to enjoy myself. I still enjoy what I write. But the time I spend writing for pleasure is significantly decreased, and I’m more often motivated by impending deadlines and a paycheck that I need than I am by an urgent desire to write. I still love writing, and I’m certain that I always will, but it is a job, not a hobby, and a job means writing when you don’t necessarily feel like it.
2) Stability Who?
I am the sort of person who thrives on stability. I like a paycheck that comes in promptly every other Friday at the same time with no exceptions.
Writing is . . . not that way. Freelancing is not that way. The paychecks come in when I finish a project, and if I don’t have the energy to be creative, I don’t get paid. Money comes in, but it’s not regular or very predictable, and I have to trust that God is my provider and that the checks will continue to come in, even when I can’t see it.
3) Writing Isn’t The Whole Story
Yes, I’m a writer.
I’m also a business owner, an accountant, a publicist, a social media manager, a director, a public speaker, and my own personal life coach, because apparently someone has to keep me motivated and moving forward in my career.
Basically, every part of my career is my responsibility. Taxes, publicity, social media. All the hats are mine, and I have to be far more savvy in things that I never would have dreamed of when I was still writing the first drafts of my books ten years ago, dreaming of getting to where I am now.
To be honest, I didn’t know almost anything when I first started writing. I didn’t know how long it would take to start earning money, I didn’t know how much I still had to learn, I didn’t know how much of my job would consist of me constantly being out of my comfort zone and forcing myself to do things that were difficult and felt too big for me.
If I had known, would I still have chosen to pursue it? It’s definitely different than I expected it to be . . . definitely harder, and definitely less glamorous. Would I choose it again?
I’d like to think so. Personally.
I’d hope so, anyway. I’d hope I’d have the courage. I’ve faced a lot of challenges in the last ten years, and a lot of moments that felt like more like an end than a beginning.
But I hope I’d have the courage to face them again.
Really, though. Maybe that’s the reason we can’t see everything that’s coming, and everything that will be required of us.
I Mailed A Letter Today I mailed a letter today, I wrote it just for you. The words were traced with gray-green ink, It’s still my favorite hue. I pasted in a poem, The kind I knew you’d save. Full of loss and hope and bitter tears, And the love he wished he gave. I wrote about the time, We laughed beneath the trees. While autumn winds and winter snows, The leaves began to tease. I tucked a teabag inside too, From all those endless nights. When we sat and talked and sipped and cried, And made up for a dozen fights. I mailed a letter today, I wrote it just for you. I slipped my heart between the sheets, In case you missed me too. I hope it finds you well, And you have an answer soon, Fill it with your thoughts and dreams, And your most favorite tune.
I flew down to California a few weeks ago.
Wait. Let me be more specific.
A few weeks ago, I woke up at 2:30 AM and drove forty five minutes into town to the airport so that I could catch a 5:45 AM flight to Burbank, California.
Then I got picked up at the airport and drove straight to the studio, because the whole point of getting up at ridiculous-o-clock in the morning was to first watch Phil Lollar direct two episodes of the radio show we both write for, then direct my own episodes the following day.
What is my life, right?
Did I also mention I did all this while I was ten weeks pregnant?
And having regular bouts of morning sickness?
And taking at least one nap every single day, sometimes as early as 8 AM, because I am currently growing a tiny human who is committed to sucking away my energy, brain, and most of my sanity to fuel his (or her) growth and development?
Anyway, it was a miracle that I made it through without puking or falling asleep on the floor. I’m pretty sure God was looking down from heaven on me and thinking that if he didn’t give me a double shot of caffeine/adrenaline to run on for the two days I was in-studio, I was probably going to die.
Probably because I spent the two weeks before I flew down telling him that if he didn’t give me a double shot of caffeine/adrenaline to run on for the two days I was in-studio, I was definitely going to die.
Thank you, Jesus, for grace.
And adrenaline, because pregnant ladies cannot have caffeine. At least not in the dosages I would have needed.
Once I got over the nerves of being in the studio to actually direct for the first time, I had a lot of fun. Recording sessions are wildly unpredictable, and I’ve learned in my nearly-three-years working with this radio program to say ‘yes’ on the fly and worry about the consequences later. This particular session, that meant jumping into a booth to read opposite a few of the actors for one of the longer, more populated scenes, which was missing a character.
Yup, I had my own mic and headphones. Nope, you will never hear those recordings. There was a reason I became a writer instead of an actor.
But! It was fun, experience, good memories, and it helped the team, because the real actors in the scene didn’t have to do any awkward pauses to leave space for a character who wasn’t there.
I made up for it the next day, when I was the one in the director’s seat, and one of the guys on the team was filling in for one of my characters.
He had a lot more pages than I did, but I didn’t feel too bad. He’s got more experience. And talent. He played a pretty convincing teenage girl, although I think the part will still go to the original actress.
Once my episodes were recorded, we flew home the next day, and to make up for two packed days without a nap or pregnancy symptoms of any kind, I was sick for four days straight and barely got out of bed.
Growing a tiny human is hard, y’all. But at least I can now tell people that I have two skeletons inside of me. And one of them is growing.
That alone is worth the lack of sleep.
Adventurer beware! I have a tale that I could tell. Of giant ants and fearsome beasts, And monsters black and fell. Adventurer beware! When once you mount that trusty steed. Home you’ll leave behind you, Down dangerous roads your search will lead. The Forest Gloom awaits you, On your most magic quest. Haunted by enormous spiders, And a dragon with a glowing breast. Mighty villains you must face, And raging beasts galore. To conquer all your many fears, And reach that shining shore. Adventurer beware! The prize is close to hand. A precious, glimmered jewel, Awaits you in that distant land. Adventurer beware! Many tales will speak of you, Songs sung of courage, Written for the mighty few. An adventure of adventures, A mighty hero’s quest. You’ll never be forgotten, Even when you’ve gone to rest. So close your eyes and off to bed, My brave, resourceful knight. Your mighty deeds protect you, And I’ve left on your bedtime light.