The Secret Life of a Wallflower

I know I keep apologizing for my long absences on here, but I really do mean it.
Life has just been crazy busy lately, what with my new job and all. Also, our wireless router broke and so we’ve been having to poach off my nana’s wifi (she lives next door) which has not been a terribly successful method of operations. This has resulted in it being very difficult to get online and write posts or edit different versions of my book for different platforms.

Today, I am finally going to write the post I’d been planning about publishing my novel. As you may have guessed by now, I like to have a little time to reflect on the big changes and things that happen in my life before I write about them. I also intended to have information on here about all the different avenues you could purchase it on, but with the no wifi thing, it’s been essentially impossible to accomplish that. All I can offer you is the Kindle version, which is $2.99 and I DESPERATELY hope you will buy. Seriously, I will love you forever if you will click this link and make a purchase:
http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Life-Wallflower-Lives-Book-ebook/dp/B00M0EVCGU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406770072&sr=8-1&keywords=the+secret+life+of+a+wallflower

Another thing I have to beg of you is that if you read it, please please PLEASE review it. So far my novel has exactly two reviews, one from my friend Kayla that is kind and generous, and one from a random stranger that gives it one star and says it’s full of contradictions and the language isn’t true to the era (Newsflash: romance novels are works of fiction, essentially NOTHING ABOUT THEM is really historically accurate when you come right down to it. So if you’re looking for historical accuracy, read a history of Regency England. Hello.)

Even with only two reviews, one of which is ONE STAR, 304 people have still bought my book in a little less than a month. Let me just say how utterly mind-boggling that is. Like, seriously. My brain cannot fathom this. This is even more strange to me than when 100K+ people read my viral Buzzfeed post– because this is a NOVEL that I spend FOUR YEARS writing and which COSTS MONEY. And 304 people have said, yep, I’ll give that a go! 

Now, I know a large portion of that number comes from my amazing friends and family, who’s support has been overwhelming to me. But regardless of the reason they bought it, people are actually BUYING it. Even more exciting, this helps increase my chances of being noticed by a major traditional publisher– or at least gives me something to brag about when I write query letters, which helps improve your chances because your novel is demonstrably sellable. 

For anybody out there who doesn’t have a Kindle, I promise I am working on versions for Nook, Kobo, and the Apple store. But just a note, if you have a tablet or a smartphone or even a laptop you don’t mind reading on, you can download the Kindle app and buy my book that way. So technically you don’t even need a Kindle.

As for a print version, well, I’m considering. The problem is that when you print a book on your own, it becomes very expensive for the buyer if you want to make any viable profit off it. First, you have to pay to produce the books and have them shipped to you. THEN I have to pay to ship them to everybody who orders them. Based on the number of people who told me that they want to buy a hard copy, according to the math I would probably make 50 bucks on the whole venture for an enormous amount of time and effort unless I wanted to charge like 13 or 14 dollars for my book.

And that just doesn’t feel right to me. 

Right now I’m playing with the idea of ordering the books and then having an author signing event when they come in, so that way people could pick them up and it would eliminate the cost and need for a second round of shipping. But then you run into problems like where do I have it and what if people can’t make it to the signing to pick up their book? I’m still working to find a viable solution for both myself and the people who would buy the book, but I’ll keep you updated.

Another thing I’ve learned is that trying to market your book when you’re a self-published author is pretty difficult. I know I should’ve written this post before now to help with some of that, but like I said– things have been crazy. 

To anyone reading this who has a blog or something similar, I would be THRILLED if you might want to read my novel and post a review on your site. I would be happy to give you a copy for free in exchange for the promotion. If you have a book club that is interested in using my novel, I’d be happy to come speak or answer questions or something. A book club that my old soccer coach and a mom of one of the girl’s I played with have actually asked me to come speak at their book club before they read my book for the month of September, which is just crazy and amazing and terrifying all at the same time. But I can’t wait to do it.

So that’s about it, I guess. That’s where Sara Rowe, author, stands currently. I’m hoping that you, my amazing and wonderful readers, will join my fan club.

Here’s the links to some of my pertinent social media pages:

My Facebook Author page: 

https://www.facebook.com/sararowewriteswords

The Secret Lives Series FB page: 

https://www.facebook.com/thesecretlivesseries

My Twitter: 

https://twitter.com/rowemygatos

My Goodreads Author page:

 https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8402241.Sara_Rowe

and again, the link to my novel:

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Life-Wallflower-Lives-Book-ebook/dp/B00M0EVCGU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406770072&sr=8-1&keywords=the+secret+life+of+a+wallflower

Again, regardless of whether you buy it or read it or not, I still cannot thank you enough for following my blog. It means the world.

We Interrupt an Attempt at Self-Publishing to Bring You This Blog Post

Hiii friends.
So. I know it’s been almost a month since I blogged anything, and for that you have my apologies. It’s been kind of a whirlwind lately, and lots of factors have contributed to my unintended month long break. For example, I: went on a date, met Steven Adams, had two interviews for a job at a bridal store (waiting to hear back), went on vacation, got rejected by Avon, and decided to self-publish. Also the World Cup.
Mostly the World Cup.

But things have been a bit busy, you might say.

I intend to address the date, Steven Adams, job interviews, and vacation in another/other posts, but for now I just want to bring everyone up to speed on what’s going on in the world of Sara Rowe, potential author.

About a month ago, I submitted my manuscript to Avon. I can’t say I was surprised when I received an email telling me they weren’t interested a few days ago, because most authors get rejected hundreds of times and my book is just hella long compared to average romance novels. As I mentioned before on here, I have been toying with the idea of self-publishing anyway, and this was the necessary ingredient to push me into doing it. I still plan to pursue traditional publishing avenues, but in the meantime, I’m going to take advantage of the ever evolving and changing literary market and self-publish with Amazon’s KDP program.

This is much, much easier said than done. I knew when I initially looked into self-publishing that it was going to be a bit complicated. But, lo, how young and naive I was–I had no idea just HOW complex the process is. Let me just shoot you my top three concerns right now:

1. You have to copyright your book before you can self-publish it, and it costs $35. I do not have $35. A friend suggested a Kickstarter but that seems so weird– “Please give me money so I can publish this book that you’ll need to give me more money for!”

2. TRYING TO CREATE AN ACTIVE TABLE OF CONTENTS IN A WORD DOCUMENT IS REALLY REALLY HARD AND JUST PRETTY MUCH THE WORSE. To convert your Word Doc to an ebook, you have to preformat it in a certain way. One of those ways is putting in a navigable Table of Contents that will transfer to ebooks. Spoiler alert: SUPER CONFUSING AND AWFUL  AND GOD I’M STRUGGLING.

3. Designing covers– also really, really hard. Especially when you don’t have Photoshop. I started at about eight or nine yesterday, and didn’t finish creating my cover until about 9:30 this morning. I used a combination of an online photo editor, the KDP cover creator program, and Microsoft Paint. Because I’m just fancy like that. Now, for you viewing pleasure, I will debut my cover:

slow cover 2

I’ve actually had a few people on Facebook offer to help me create a cover, which is just ridiculously kind and wonderful and I’m not sure how to answer them. To be honest, I love this one. I really, really, really love it. I put an ENORMOUS amount of work in it, including finding a background; finding a picture of a girl in an appropriate dress and editing the colors and the style and then painstakingly cutting it out of its background in Paint; finding a picture of a flower and pasting it into Paint over and over and over again in varying sizes and then cutting out different pieces of it to create the flower train of the dress; and trying to appropriately format the title and my name in the very limited capacity of the Amazon KDP cover editor.

Is it truthfully that good? I can’t tell. Much like with a child, I put so much work and struggle and pain into this cover that all I can see is perfection, but it’s just probable that I may not be very objective. But I have essentially reached the limits of my cover designing abilities, and after twelveish or so hours, I’m pretty much just done with the whole thing anyway.

When creating it, I had in mind the covers of my current favorite author’s most recent series:

courtney milan cover

 

(Just a quick PS, if you like historical romance, you are committing a crime by not reading Courtney Milan. She is unspeakably wonderful and amazing and talented.)

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that I’m really just riding the struggle bus right now with the whole self-publishing thing.

Meanwhile, my brain has been overflowing with ideas for the second novel in what I plan on being a series, and I’ve just been busily working away on that. You would think that simultaneously going through all the awful, horrific editing/revising/trying to publish nonsense at the same time would put me off, but alas, I just can’t be that sensible.

Maybe this means I really am a writer at heart.

Speaking of, a writer isn’t officially a writer until they have their own webpage, so I have created one where you can find info and updates on how publishing the novel is going. It’s pretty basic and bare right now, but I’ll be working on it periodically and adding things as they come up. Hopefully I’ll actually have something more to put on it soon. You can also like and follow my Facebook page for updates, there’s a little box in the right upperhand corner that you can click and you’re set!

So that’s pretty much a quick summary of what’s going on right now. For the first time in probably ever, I’m going to publish a post that’s not even 1,000 words.

Maybe that will tell you guys how sick of doing work  I am.

Book Review: Renegade by L.A. Wilcox

Hello Readers!!
Today I’m doing something new– a book review!
I’ve known Laura Wilcox since we were young kids in elementary school, and I love reading her blog As Told By Laura, which I highly recommend– this girl has been Freshly Pressed, guys, and for a good reason.
When I heard she was about to self-publish her first book at the beginning of April, I was so thrilled for her, especially since I am in the midst of trying to publish my first book. I was even more thrilled when she offered me a free copy of her novel if I would review it on my blog– something I was happy to do. Unfortunately since Laura asked me, life has been a little crazy and with one thing or another I’ve never been able to get to it. But last night, I finally made myself sit down, and I read it through crazy fast because I couldn’t put it down (sorry I took so long, Laura!!).
I think it’s so incredibly important that authors and writers help out their fellow authors and writers by supporting them any way they can, and it’s especially easy to do when you consider them a friend!

Laura’s book Renegade is the first in her ongoing series. It’s a time travel novel set in the future but which ventures back to pre-Revolutionary Boston. The hero, Andrew Simmons, is a member of a hereditary line of time travelers governed by an Agency and a specific set of rules, one of which forbids human interaction with any person in the time period they travel to. It’s a fascinating, well-developed concept that immediately caught my attention and my imagination. Each time traveler has a special talisman unique to them that they must have in order to move through time. In the beginning of the novel, Andrew manages to lose his talisman while breaking the rule against interacting.
In a desperate attempt to get his talisman back, he makes a bargain with a shady figure in the Agency that catapults him back to Boston, where he must attempt to fit in while simultaneously trying to find his talisman within six days. If he doesn’t, he will be stuck in Boston forever–and he will cease to exist in the future.
I very seldom read books that are from a male point of view, and it was a nice switch-up for me. I was impressed by how well Laura did it– I know I never could! It was also interesting to follow Andrew’s infatuation with a girl from colonial Boston, Elizabeth, and the way that relationship developed. Andrew is someone that is very easy to relate to; he’s awkward at times, moody, and he makes a lot mistakes which he fumbles his way around trying to fix. There’s also a lot of twists and turns that keep you enthralled, not to mention a surprise ending to the first book that will leave you wanting to read the second.
The book is short and not a difficult read, but it sucks you in with the mix of futuristic and historical settings, as well as the fast-paced plot and the urgency of Andrew’s quest. There’s a cast of colorful characters that Andrew comes into contact with along the way, and some of them may end up surprising you. Overall, it was fun, balanced book that had a lot of interesting development and left me impatient for the next one. I highly recommend it!!

You can find Laura’s book here for $3.99 on Amazon Kindle, and it’s already getting great reviews. Also remember to go follow her hilarious blog, and you can stay tuned for updates when the second book in the Renegade series will be out!

10 Lessons I’ve Discovered While Writing My First Novel

Hello, Readers.
I’ve been meaning to write this post since about February, but somehow am only just now managing to get to it.
As I mentioned a few times, I recently finished my very first novel. To put it simply, it was an eye-opening experience. Over the course of nearly four years when I was writing this book, I learned a great deal about myself, my abilities, and the process of writing an entire book. Now,  I bring to you some of the most pertinent bits from my journey.
Throughout this post, I will be using my favorite meme of all time, Writer Leopard. Now, there have been times (SOOO MANY TIMES) when I have questioned whether I was meant to be a writer, whether I had any talent at all, if I was just wasting all my time. Then, one day, like a treasure chest of priceless gems in your own backyard, I discovered Writer Leopard, the most accurate meme I’ve ever found (aside from Socially Awkward Penguin). You may or may not know this, but I am OBSESSED with leopards. They are my favorite animal, hands down. When I realized that the meme for writers was emblemized by a leopard, I knew I had found my calling and that I was in the right profession.
Whether you are an aspiring writer, an avid reader, or just a kind person who is reading my blog, I hope you will find this useful. I cannot, of course, promise that this will be the same experience you are having, have had, or will have, but this is what it’s been like for me.
So get ready, because I’m about to hit you with a realization tornado.

1You will have a whole lot of ideas for a novel.

Since deciding I wanted to be a writer somewhere between the age of twelve and fourteen, I would estimate that I have started approximately fifteen to twenty books. I have had ideas for about 1,000. The best source for these, of course, is when you’re in bed at night, five minutes from the verge of sleep, and you’re suddenly struck with most incandescently brilliant and utterly original idea for a novel that has ever blessed the mind of any writer ever.
Generally, if you don’t write it down, you’ll have forgotten it by the next morning.

Did I mention it was a leopard IN A MONOCLE?!

The idea for the novel I finished actually came from another book I was reading at the time. I was very frustrated by the interaction between the hero and heroine, and I felt a need to make it better (another great source of novel ideas).
Suffice it to say, if you are drawn to writing, you will see ideas everywhere and in everything.

2. You should not, under any circumstances, believe all those ideas are really as great as they initially seem.

There’ll be a whole lot of ideas that you have that never even make it to paper, and that’s as it should be. But there will be ideas that you love so much that you do find yourself starting them into a real, actual novel. But one of the hardest lessons you’ll ever have to learn is that some of your ideas are just not good, and even though you’ve written a hundred pages on them, they are never going to see the actual light of day.  Some of your novels just need to be abandoned. As badly as it hurts, however, one day you’ll look back on them and wonder what in god’s name you were EVER thinking.

It’s for the best.

 

3. Writing a book is really hard.

Hopefully if you are really serious about being a writer, you’ll already have accepted this as obvious. I mean, the funny thing about writing a book is that you actually have to do all the work. Like, if you don’t write it, it just… sits there. It doesn’t go anywhere or do anything, because this is literally just stuff you’re making up. And one of the hardest things about writing a book is actually sitting down, picking ONE idea, and actually finishing it. Part of the reason I took four years to finish a book is that in that time I started five or six other ones, worked semi-seriously on two or three, and periodically lost interest and motivation in writing anything at all. But I think the way to know that you’re a writer for real is that no matter how tired of it you get, you always come back to it in the end, no matter how long it takes, because you just physically can’t stop writing. Even if it takes four years.

4. There’s no specific way to write a book correctly.

This was one of the big struggles for me. I googled all kinds of stuff to try and figure out how to motivate myself to write. When I was younger I felt sure that there had to be some specific method that was guaranteed to work. Like if you make an outline, type up a list of plot characters, and designate an hour every day when it’s time for you to write, you’ll have your book churned out in no time. I even tried making a timeline on a big piece of posterboard for one book I was writing, and you can figure out how much that helped me when I tell you that I’ve only written about twenty pages on that story to date. But writing is not like cooking (thankfully, because as you all might remember I am abysmal at cooking). There is no recipe that says, if you takes these ingredients in these quantities and put them together in this manner, you will end up with a product in a specific amount of time.
The more I read, the more I realized how personalized writing a book can be. Some people keep a notebook for each book they write, where they jot down ideas and impressions as they come to them, and create an outline and a character list. Some people start their book from the end, and some people start it from the middle. Some people write the big, important scenes in the story, and then just fill in and connect them together later.
There is literally just no right way. You simply have to work through the process of finding out what works for you. I wrote probably between 50-75 pages from the time I started my book as a sophomore in college to when I graduated, parceled out over three years. Then, after I graduated, I revisited the book and wrote about that same amount in a couple months. Then I got sick of my book and abandoned it, only to open it again in around November of 2013 and finish it in February of 2014, feverishly writing about 100 pages in four months. Writing just came to me in weird spurts and starts, generally in the middle of the night and in huge chunks. Anytime I tried to plan out my plot ahead of time or make an outline, nothing would come to me. Or, I would decide to write the story one way, and then suddenly I would just be writing something else and the characters would just be doing things and I would be just as surprised as someone who had never looked at my book before.

Three weeks, ha, try three days.

What I’m trying to say is that the only correct way to write a book is the way that gets it done.

5. You will hate your book at some point.

As I mentioned, this book took me nearly four years to write, and that’s partially because I hated it for a collective period of about two years. During college, I periodically worked on it and periodically hated it deeply and pretended it didn’t exist. The first half of the book was edited over and over again, because I would open it with the intent to write more on it, end up reading what I had, discover it was awful, and then go back and extensively edit what I already had. I fell back in love with it after graduation and managed to accomplish about as much as I had in the previous threeish years in just a few months. Then I read one of the best books I’d read in the past few years whilst in the midst of this writing fury (I DO NOT RECOMMEND), and subsequently fell into a decided and violent hatred of my book, essentially convincing myself that it was the worst ever and I would never be a talented writer.

The only reason I probably ended up finishing this book was because I reopened it months later and realized I had a really large chunk of a novel written. So I thought to myself, eh, might as well finish it! Then, after I reread what I had on my Kindle (an extremely handy editing tool) I fell back in love with it. The closer I got to the end, the more I loved it and wanted to finish it– until finally one day it was done.

6. Finishing a book is one of the most euphoric feelings a writer will ever know.

The night I finished my novel, I cried because I was so happy. It was like that feeling you get at the end of an amazing novel except times ten, because it was the end of MY novel. I couldn’t seem to believe it, that I had written an entire book from my own hands. The whole thing that makes writing hard, the fact that it comes entirely from you and you do all the work, is the same thing that makes finishing a book so amazing, because you have DONE IT ALL. When my best friend Skye read it, she told me that she would forget I had written it until suddenly she would think “SARA wrote this, HOW WAS THIS ALL JUST IN HER HEAD.” And the only thing I could say was that I didn’t know either. I don’t know where it all came from or how I had an entire story just there inside my head that I actually managed to translate into words and pages and dialogue. I read my own book and couldn’t seem to believe that all of that had come from me.

IT’S LIKE I’M POSSESSED

I used to scoff when I was younger at writers who said that the characters just did what they wanted and had a mind of their own, and they just wrote it down. I found the idea ridiculous; you’re the one writing the story, and making it all up! But I have been converted–I now know this to be the gospel truth. Most of the time, writing feels like I’m just watching this movie play out in my head, and I’m just frantically trying to keep up and write down what I’m seeing as it happens. To me, my characters are real and they exist, and I am as emotionally invested in their lives as I am in my own. The culmination of their story, therefore, affects me as much as if I’d found my own happy ending. In finishing this novel, I took a piece of my heart and soul and typed it into a Word document.

7. You can always assume that you have missed something while editing.

After finishing my novel, I knew I had a great deal of editing to do. I went through and read it on my Kindle, making notes of every mistake I made and every part I needed to change slightly, and spent a couple weeks fixing it.  Then I read it again and edited it more. Then I read it AGAIN and edited it even more. Next I let my sister read it, and fixed all the new mistakes I had made while in the process of editing. By this point, a few people had asked to read it, but I had to make sure I’d edited it enough so that I didn’t embarrass myself.

NO NO NO IT’S NOT READY YET

Even after I let my friend Skye read it, she STILL found mistakes for me to edit. It is a seemingly endless process.
(Funny fact: the header for this said “You can always assumed that you have missed something while editing.” until I went back an edited it for like the third time.) 

 

8. Letting someone read your book for the first time is the most terrifying feeling ever.

I am closer to my sister than any person on earth. We are like the same person essentially. But letting her read my story was even nerve-wracking. When I then turned my book over to my best friend Skye and next my best friend Tiffany to read, I honestly thought I was going to vomit. It didn’t matter that I loved it, that Rae said it was great– I was convinced that they were going to hate it and think it was the most awful book ever written, but worst of all they were going to have to pretend that it was good just because they were my best friends. Like I said, in writing this book I wrote part of my heart and soul on to every page, and I felt like I was essentially opening my chest and exposing it to them to crush if they so desired. It was AWFUL. But luckily, they were both wonderful and complimentary and very helpful in what they told me about it. It was a balm to my terrified soul.
What I eventually accepted was that I had written a novel, I was damn proud of the fact, and people would either like it or they wouldn’t. What mattered was that I loved and was happy with it– because if you don’t believe in yourself as a writer, nobody else is going to either.
Of course, that does not mean that I am one hundred percent comfortable telling everyone that my novel is a historical romance replete with things like kissing. For the people who I don’t expect to ever read my book or don’t want to let read my book, you just come up with the blandest description imaginable.

“It’s set in London in the 19th century and it’s about a girl whose sister gets kidnapped and she’s trying to find her andddd… ummmm…. Yep. That’s it. Nothing exciting, really.”

I’ve already told my parents that I’m very sorry, but they can never, ever read it, and that’s all there is to it.

9. Publishing a book is harder than writing a book.

Now, there might be people who quibble with me here, but as I am deep in the throes of trying to figure out how to publish my book, I am firm on this point. Publishing is terrifying, confusing, depressing, and overwhelming. What I have discovered is that most major publishing companies don’t even accept unsolicited manuscripts–this means you can’t send them your book unless you have an agent that can contact them and set it up. And from what I’ve managed to learn, getting a reputable agent is even more difficult than actually publishing a book.
I have found only three major publishers of romance novels that will even accept unsolicited manuscripts. And, let me drop a piece of information on you that I would have LOVED to know before I started writing my novel– all of these companies have specific word count requirements for the manuscripts they will accept.
As you probably know if you read this blog, I have a tendency to be rather long-winded. I have always been that way; when I was writing essays in school I always had to edit them down. I have never had a problem with meeting a word count, only exceeding it. I’ve just discovered that I have a lot to say. When I was writing my novel, I had no real idea exactly how long it actually was, because Word document pages don’t exactly translate into real book pages. I knew it was pretty long, and my word count was high, but I had no idea just how long it was until I finished writing it and started googling average lengths for romance novels. Apparently that average is between 80-100,000 words.
I have approximately 130,000 words.
Of the three publishers that might accept my manuscript, the highest acceptable word count was 120,000, and the other two companies highest were 100,000 and 95,000.
I don’t know how to explain to you just how difficult it is to consider trying to cut out 30-35,000 words from the novel you just spent four years laboring to finish. And of course it was especially disheartening to read these articles saying if your book is long then it means you’re a bad writer and you don’t know how to edit and blah blah lots of other depressing things.
Well, duh, I’ve never written a book before so no, I DON’T really know how to go about editing it. And even though it’s admittedly very long and I am sure I am biased, I don’t think the book really drags that much–it’s just that a lot of stuff happens and it takes a few pages to explain it. Of course I’m sure that there’s plenty of editing that could be done to it to make it shorter– but 35,000 words worth? I just don’t know if I can do that.
And so I started considering the option of self-publishing. It’s easier than ever for writers to self-publish their book cheaply with things like Kindle and Nook and the whole world of ebooks. If I self-publish, there would be no restrictions on the word limit. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.
But then I started actually reading about self-publishing, and I started getting just as confused and worried as I did with regular publishing. Which platform would be the best to use if I did self-publish? How do I format my book correctly? How do I create a cover for my novel? What is all this stuff about royalties and fees? And if I did self-publish, how big of an audience would I really be reaching?
Turns out self-publishing is not quite as easy as it initially sounds.
And so I find myself stuck in this strange limbo, wondering which direction I should go in. So far, the best I can think of is that maybe I will self-publish the full length version, try and see what feedback I can get on it, while simultaneously working on making a much shorter version that I could send in to publishers. Just when I find I’ve FINALLY completed my novel and I’m ready to share it with the world, it seems that I’ve got a whole world’s worth of work in front of me.

10. No matter how rough the first one was, before you know it you’ll be starting on your next novel.

Seriously, guys. It was  barely two months from the moment I had finished the first one– not even like from when I edited it or let other people read it or started researching publishing companies– literally from the moment I finished it mid-February that I opened up a new Word document and started working on the sequel. I’M NOT EVEN DONE EDITING THE FIRST ONE. I just couldn’t help myself, the characters were already there in my head and clamoring to be heard.
17 pages already in that one, everybody.
At least this time, I know about the word count thing.

Go big or go home.

Being a Writer Means Laughing At Your Own Jokes Can Eventually Not Be Lame

As a writer, sometimes you finish writing something and look back on it and just say, Ahhhh. You have this sense of glowing happiness that fills your soul when you know you have written something really well.
Many times, this feeling only comes after putting something off for a long time (well, at least for me, but that could be because I put everything off).

Spongebob knows.

As you may or may not know, I have been involved with a scandalous array of novels since realizing I was a writer, always filled with new ideas and never able to sit down and commit to writing just one. Consequently, I never made any significant progress on any of my half-formed, fledgling works. Instead, I would brainstorm a brilliant idea, then forget by the time I actually got to my laptop to write it.

image

I always had a dream that I would write some great masterpiece before I even finished school then publish it, and it would become the next Harry Potter. There would be no need to job hunt, no need to agonize over my great purpose in life. It would all neatly be taken out of my hands and I would happily go into my dream job, able to support myself as a writer.

He always know.

A some point towards the end of junior year, and much more seriously during senior year, I realized that this dream was, in fact, futile. I also realized that if I ever wanted to be published and become an author, I actually needed to finish a book first. I finally buckled down and began writing seriously on one of my stories. Then, I became distracted by a shiny new book premise, so I tried to write on that for a bit.
I think graduation sobered me. Since I have been out of school, I switched to a book that Word Document informs me I started on April 13, 2010, at 11:23pm. I have doubled the number of pages I previously had, and at this particular moment I find myself at 63,193 words for a grand total of 115 Word Document pages. Guys. I am super impressed with myself. I have actually been doing really well and making myself write every day, and everything has just been coming along. I have actually felt like a real, proper writer lately.

Like, Shakespeare selfie legit.

A few days ago, however, I came to the point where it was time for me to write a very pivotal scene in my novel. It was a really important part that I had been building up to for a long time. It had to be extravagant, dramatic, and intensely emotional. And I just did not want to write it. So I dawdled around, telling myself each night I would get to it.
I put it off for five days. Last night, when I went to take a selfie in the mirror, I no longer spontaneously turned into sexy Shakespeare. I knew it was time to write the scene.
When I finally emerged from my writing fervor, I felt like I had won the writing Olympics.

First place! Awarded by me to me!

When I posted 6 Reasons I Would Make A Really Great Girlfriend last week, I was excited. After I finished writing it, I got that first-place-Olympic-writing feeling. I would say it is my favorite blog post to date. Two days later, after I had received a combined total of 528 views, I realized there was a feeling better than that. It was the feeling that people might actually agree with my assessment of myself.
I admit I have been procrastinating this post. I did not know how to follow up my most successful blog post to date (the number of views from that first day, 323, was more than the previous record number of views in a day from both my blogs combined.) I wanted it to be funny, and live up to the last one. I wanted it to be extravagant, dramatic, and intensely emotional. I wanted it to be equally as successful. Finally I realized how very unlikely that was.

It's a key to being a writer though, guys.

It’s a key to being a writer though, guys.

So instead, I decided to do the proper thing. I decided to say thank you. I cannot express how much it meant to me to know that so many people looked at my blog. It made my day; heck, it made like three of my days. My amazing friend Skye actually pinned that post to Pinterest, and I know a huge amount of people found it that way. Then there were all my friends who shared it on Facebook, or who clicked on my link and read it. Without you guys’ generosity and willingness to help me out, I never would have been able to write my most successful blog post yet. Without you, I would just be an unemployed college graduate, typing away on a Word Document or an empty blog post and occasionally laughing at how funny I think I am, but knowing how lame that is. It’s only when you laugh with me that I get this sense of triumph:

Complete joy.

So thank you, Readers. It means the world.
Now, I will leave you with a map of what I must navigate through before I bring you another post. It is honestly an utterly, 100% accurate representation of my brain. This is also some explanation for why I go so long without writing at times.

It’s a hard road.