I'd love to take you back to the beginning--the real beginning--but going back over three decades would take WAY too much time, and frankly, it's boring (from a writing standpoint). So, instead, let's start with the most recent past, when I picked up writing again.
At the beginning of July 2018, I had an epiphany. As a stay-at-home-mom to two kids (a 2 year old and almost one year old at the time), I found myself in a great position to start writing again. For reals. I have a full-time job, but unlike my previous jobs, I don't have to get up early to get ready the way I did before, and I don't have an hour commute. My kids have also been pretty decent nappers, getting anywhere from 2-4 hours in the afternoon (most days).
But where to start? Well, I started with a new #5amWritersClub wake up, time just for me and my snuggly cat companion. Because it had been so long (think a decade) since I last seriously considered a writing career, and so much had changed, I started with research and cleaning up some short stories I had written years before. I looked into writing contests, plot and structure, publishing, etc. I had the ideas, but I needed to know what to do with them.
And then I launched into my novel, Birth of the Bacchae. The book that haunted my dreams--night and day. On August 30th, I wrote the last sentence of the first draft. Whoa.
I spent September in the #amediting life, filling in plot holes, finishing scenes, developing characters, etc. My Sunday mornings were spent in a Barnes & Noble cafe with a local writing critique group who helped me find new direction with the first few chapters. Also during September, a new friend on Instagram (@sydney_hawthorn) pointed me in the direction of a Critique Partner (CP) Finder Event in a Facebook group, Plotter Life Writers Community.
Best thing ever.
Not only did I find several CPs, but more importantly, I found friends. Writer friends who understood the passion and the craft and were willing to work together to make our manuscripts the best they could be. I'll talk more about my experience with CPs in another blog post, but for now, just know they're a must have as a writer.
Onward! I printed my entire manuscript. If you are stuck in a writing or editing funk, print your work. There's something magical (and also scientific) about having your story in your hands, tangible, smelling like ink and paper. The new format (i.e. not on your computer or handwritten) spurs your brain to look at it differently.
Throughout all this time, I was hard at work building my social media presence, learning the tricks of the trade--an ongoing process--and making connections. As you may already be aware, keeping up on social media is a full-time job.
Anywho, October arrived, which also meant it was time for #PrepTober, the Instagram challenge to prepare writers for November, aka NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month. Editing plus participating in PrepTober plus outlining my second book, Her Majesty's Fury, turned out to be a LOT of work.
NaNoWriMo is an experience that deserves its own blog post, so stay tuned.
Zooming along on our journey, I avoided writing in November by creating this website. I still won NaNoWriMo, but as most writers know, sometimes you need to distract yourself while your creative juices work in the background of your brain. Let's say this again:
...sometimes you need to distract yourself while your creative juices work in the background of your brain.
I also found out some amazing and somewhat unbelievable news...
My short story, Oneira, the Dream Maker, won a Silver Honorable Mention from the Writers of the Future Contest!!
I immediately submitted it to my writing critique group to find out how I could have made it even better. And now I have great tips to do just that when I can squeeze in the time.
Where were we? Oh yes. I won NaNoWriMo with 50,004 words, just squeaking by! December is a hard writing month with all of the holiday goodness, so I planned with my CPs to swap manuscripts instead. I took a full break from Birth of the Bacchae, and focused all of my energy on reading my CPs manuscripts and spending time with my family.
Now we're up to January 2019. I received feedback on my book from my two wonderful, amazing, can't-say-enough-good-things-about-them CPs. January was all about revising, revising, revising so I could send my manuscript off to my professional developmental editor. You guessed it, that'll be it's own blog post.
We're almost up to the now, but a few other things happened in January that I'll discuss real quick before we wrap up. I volunteered to become the Project Manager (aka, cat herder) for my writing group's next anthology, which will be published in May 2019. I also lied to you earlier (oops?). I wrote my short story for the anthology while on Christmas vacation in Arizona with my family. And because writing a story, critiquing manuscripts, and spending time with family wasn't enough, I also started a newsletter.
So, what's next in my world? Sign up for my blog posts so you get a notification when I tell you more!
Ta ta for now!