I'm taking a little bit of a writing vacation. I haven't taken an official one in a long time, but I've carved out some time from my writing schedule (i.e. I will not be hitting the self imposed writing deadlines I set for myself that were, quite frankly, impossible anyways). With luck, I'll be ready to come back to writing for July. I still have ambitious plans for the rest of the year, so it's time to rest up, find some good compression gloves and refocus!
Happy Insecure Writer's Group Day for everyone!
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
The funny thing about the impostor syndrome in writing is that we often forget that it breeds itself and proliferates.
At my day job recently, I was nominated to help our Union (Join the union, pay the dues, unless you aren’t into things like sick leave, 40 hour work weeks, health insurance, vacation). So I have to go to the employer who will surely be bringing a lawyer to the table.
Why am I intimidated by a lawyer?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. For some reason, lawyers have always had a place in my mind as the pinnacle of modern professionals. They dress nice (I have nice clothes, too). They have a fancy degree (I’ve got one of those, too). And they have confidence (uhmmm…).
To be frank, I have considerably more education than required to be a lawyer (I have more education than is required to be a surgeon), so it’s not their intelligence. So why do I feel like a complete fraud going to talk to them?
Part of it is that I have always viewed myself as the underdog. I have never come into a situation and thought for sure I would win a fight. I didn’t feel adult enough to buy my first home (or my second, to be honest). I feel like most people got off the train when they were younger and started believing in themselves as adults long ago, and I somehow missed the stop—honestly I was probably playing D&D at the time. In fact, I’m sort of terrified that someone will show up with a clip board and say “Rena, you enjoy things too much to be on this Very Serious Panel That Discusses Very Serious Things. Go home, impostor.”
So here I am, a little shocked to find that everyone at every level experiences some impostor syndrome. And for me, my impostor syndrome is tied to me feeling like an outsider. I have never fit in, and I’m not going to start now just because the other side of the table has lawyers.
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
I grew up in a very small town. I grew up in the kind of small town where everyone was just certain of my path and my destiny.
“Oh, that Rena. She’s going to be an amazing veterinarian when she grows up.”
“Rena you’ll be such a great teacher.”
“You know, Rena, you can make real money raising sheep. If you do your herd right, you’ll be able to go to college in the winter and work lambing on spring break.”
“You need to study hard if you’re going to save the environment.”
Yup, my whole life was planned, signed and delivered by the time I was 11. About then someone asked me what I wanted to do, and I said I wanted to be an astronaut. Reader, I broke hearts with that simple proclamation.
But it’s an old small town and they knew the true path to getting their way, patience, solidarity, and a steadfast denial of all words actually issuing from my lips. I played a pretty convincing part, raising sheep, showing horses, training llamas, you name it, I did it. But I also memorized all the features on the near side of the moon. I studied the stars, I took extra physics classes when I could. I sang in the choir. I was in the band, and drama, and soccer and swim team. I wanted to play football, but that path was closed to me. Small towns can only allow so much.
In school, I read every book in the library with a horse on the binding. When I’d read all of those, someone recommended that I try the ones with the rockets: and I did. And it was amazing! The only problem was, none of those books were about kids like me. Not one. I grew up lonely and never seeing a girl from a small town who got to have a story other than grow up and fall in love. The story was always girl grows up and realizes horses are childish and falls in love with a boy.
First, I desperately didn’t want to think horses were childish (one of my first real jobs was as a horse back riding instructor). I loved horses (and had to sell mine to go to college), and well, let’s just say the guys weren’t exactly throwing themselves to date the girl who ran faster, got better grades, and could literally throw hay bales, so a love story wasn’t exactly going to cut it for me. I was lonely, and my life looked nothing like the books that should have been hand made for me.
So one day, I wrote a different kind of story where a girl rode her horse into outer space to go save the Starship Enterprise. Firstly because everyone should ride a horse to go save the world, and secondly because I’d never seen a girl like me, do anything the world seemed to think important. Surely saving the Enterprise would count as important.
That story was very important to me, and no, no one will ever read it. But it had everything that I loved and it spoke to me.
Hooked, I wrote another story just for me. This one didn’t use nearly so much Intellectual Property not belonging to me. As with many of my works, I cajoled, bribed, and begged until someone else read it. And that time, that time I heard the timid voice whisper back, “I thought I was the only one.”
I thought I was the only one.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard that whispered back to me by people who were embarrassed by some deep truth so close to their hearts they’d never shared it with anyone until I showed them the scars on mine. People I didn't think I had anything in common with, people who didn't look like me, grew up under totally different circumstances saw something of themselves in my words.
And that’s why I write. I write because even in the world of over sharing social media, I still hear it. People read my stories and confess that they had always felt alone. They’d always thought they were the only one who felt it—the shame, the secret joy, the guilt, the pain, and the pure exhaustion that is life, or just how lonely it is to feel something you shouldn't feel because society tells you that you're supposed to have exactly one emotion (I'm looking at you motherhood).
In short, I write so people will know they are not the only one.
It's Insecure Writer's Support Group, so hop on over to the Link, wave at The Ninja Captain, and say howdy to this month's cohosts: J.H. Moncrieff, Natalie Aguirre, Patsy Collins, and Chemist Ken!
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
I’ve talked before about how the best way to protect yourself from failure is to never try. You are absolutely guaranteed to never experience any rejection if you never put yourself out there for others to see (and all too often, criticize).
Which brings me to today. I have cleaned my work area, swept the floor, answered every email, done the dishes and cooked every breakfast the people in my house are going to eat for the next week. Yeah. All of that.
I’ve spent the whole week thinking about how much writing I was going to get done, but instead I have done LITERALLY every other chore in the house. I’m avoiding it. I’m worldbuilding. I’m plotting, I tell myself, I need time to think. Okay, that might be true, self, but it looks like, from over here in the no word count land, that you are actually doing the thing where you are avoiding writing.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: I have an idea for a novel, and I LOVE it. As in, I love it so much it might just break my heart. I love the idea so much, I might just never write it because the book it will become, no matter how good, will never feel like the shiny thing in my imagination. If I could have one wish, it would be to be able to make books fell the same way the idea feels in my head. It just doesn’t happen. Well, I should say, It hasn’t happened yet.
Am I the only one, or do you procrastinate putting pen to paper when you have an idea you’re in love with?
Jump on the link, visit the Ninja Captain, and check out this month’s co-hosts: Raimey Gallant,Natalie Aguirre, CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace!
Hey, did you know my books are up on Amazon?
Monday, January 21, 2019
There’s so much going on right now, I feel like I’m one of the spiny bits in an old school egg beater. Here we go:
The good news: Acne, Asthma, And Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon is available for sale. Yes, you read that right! I got the rights to my book back, and it’s currently for sale on Amazon. I have not pushed it out to other platforms, and it’s not looking like I’m going to anytime soon. Turns out, I don’t have any time to figure out anything else right now (long story), so for the foreseeable future, my book is on Amazon as an ebook. I have some paperbacks left, but it’s a diminishing supply (don’t buy the fifty dollar copy from that crazy person who thinks my book being rare drives up the price). In a few months, I should be uploading to Create Space for those of you who like books you can touch.
More good news: Prom, Magic, And Other Man-Made Disasters will be up soon. How soon, you ask? Sometime this week, ebooks should become available. I’ll post when things are settled out (it takes Amazon some time to link editions, and I’m trying not to lose my reviews, those are hard to come by!).
The BEST NEWS: The sequel to Acne, Asthma, And Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon is coming out! That’s right, it’s really really happening. GROUNDED, NO PHONE, AND OTHER SIGNS YOUR MOM IS A FIRE BREATHING MONSTER is in production!
Sunday, January 6, 2019
If you’ve been to my buy pages recently, you’ll probably notice that they don’t work. My three novels have been taken down by my publisher, Curiosity Quills. The publisher is in the process of reorganizing their business, and we are currently in the process of rights reversion.
So what does this mean for me and my books?
Right now this means you can’t buy my books. (Sorry!) It means I am taking a crash course in self publishing because I have an irrational need to finish things. Acne has a sequel. It has two, possible three, and I want to make sure the whole story gets told. This means drafting, editing, formatting, cover art and marketing plan. This is not minor. On the plus side, the first sequel has already been written, but there’s a lot of production even when a book is 100% ready to go, and it isn’t there yet.
But Rena, you say, What about Acne, Asthma, And Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon? I haven’t bought my copy of that book yet! And I want it!
Yeah, for the books that were already finished, there’s a different problem. There are some paperback copies going out into the world still, but that’s a limited supply. There are no e copies. There were never audio copies.
As of right now, it’s going to be a while before ebooks are available again, and they will be. My plan is to re-release Acne and Prom as soon as I solve the problem of formatting, cover art, and final typo fixes (an issue we had with the previous books).
So I have a lot of work on my plate, and much sooner than I’d planned!
On the plus side, this gives me the opportunity to have more control of the direction these books take. I have loved being a Literary Marauder, but now I get to shred the skies with my own flag—just as soon as I figure out how to rig this spinnaker so it doesn’t flip my ship.
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
It’s a new year.
I don’t really know what happened to last year. It was rough. It was good. Like all years, it was complicated by too many factors to be easily summed up in a single post.
Going forward, I have a lot of thoughts. I’m working on migrating the content of this blog into a new format (I’ll probably still cross post for a while), but as I go back through, expect to see some old posts go dark. Think of it as the pack rat going through and cleaning everything up.
In writing, I’m moving into a new phase of my own growth. I’ve been working on improving my craft, and I feel like that’s gone well. It’s an ongoing process, and with writing, you never “arrive.” Writing is like a knife, constantly requiring honing. I took a break for the whole month of December, and it was very useful to know there was no need to do anything for a whole month. Now I’m cracking my knuckles and looking around at what needs to be done to clean up my writing life. I have a list of projects, and I’m toying with a Shiny New Idea. We’ll see.
To start the year I’m writing a low pressure piece just for the fun of it, and to share it with my friends. I kid you not, it’s a piece that I have no actual intentions of showing to the rest of the world, and I’m really looking forward to the ridiculous purple prose of an elf prince falling madly in love with the wrong person. So good.
I’m taking it easy right now due to other factors, so I’m going to write my very extra pointy eared prince and then reassess the direction of my career.
Do you plan out your writing year? Whenever I try to, it takes a detour at Albuquerque. So no real plan this year. Working on craft, writing something just for me, and we’ll see when we get there.
While you’re procrastinating, jump on the Link and visit the Ninja Captain, Alex. Be sure to check out this month’s cohosts: Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, and Fundy Blue!