I Miss Writing Full-Time, But I’m Not Going Back (Yet)

Come along this journey with me.

You probably clicked on this post after rolling your eyes, thinking this was just going to be me complaining about my job or my blog or just life in general.

Yeah, I don’t do that. It would be a waste of both your time and mine to take up space on the internet just to whine about my privilege.

At the same time, this blog exists as a way for writers and non-writers alike to see the real, raw truths of a creator’s life. Sometimes what you see isn’t very pretty. I could sugar coat everything for you and make writing sound like the most fun, rewarding, worthwhile job on the planet, but I’d be lying.

Every job — even writing — has its challenges. And sometimes, in order to face them, we have to look at them from all angles. Question the way we are doing things. Ask ourselves, more than once, if this is REALLY the way we want things to be.

Today, after spending a full Saturday doing what I love — writing about things I love — I am in that place of questioning. Is living a life as a “nights and weekends only” writer really what I want? Is it what I need? Is it what I can handle?

Come along this journey with me as I piece together the solutions to my woes. Maybe there will be something you can take away from it all and apply to your own struggles as a writer.

Continue reading “I Miss Writing Full-Time, But I’m Not Going Back (Yet)”

12 Ways You Probably Forgot Writing Makes Your Life Better

Writing is the best!

1. Meeting new people! Even if they’re pretend people! It still counts!

2. It’s your universe. You can quite literally do whatever you want. You make the rules.

3. If people make you mad in the real world you can seek revenge by writing a story that may or may not feature a character based on said person.

4. It (usually) doesn’t involve math.

Continue reading “12 Ways You Probably Forgot Writing Makes Your Life Better”

What If Your Story Is Good, But Not Good Enough?

What is good enough anyway?

What does a “good” story look like?

You probably know the difference between a story of high professional quality and one that’s so-so at best. But you might not always be able to put into words exactly what those differences are. Is it the writing quality itself? The story? The emotional relatability? All of the above? Something else?

Yes, there are very specific guidelines that technically lay out all the things a “good” story should have. But sometimes even when a writer follows this outline point by point, a story can be good … but not good “enough”?

Here lies the dilemma we all face but don’t often consciously consider: Even if you end up writing a good story — and you know it checks off all the boxes — how do you know if it’s actually good enough to publish?

Continue reading “What If Your Story Is Good, But Not Good Enough?”

A Bunch of Strangers Showed Up At My House and Refused to Leave

In other words, I’m writing a novel.

A group of humans I had never met before showed up on my doorstep one day. I opened the door, surprised by the knock (why didn’t they just ring the bell?), and without so much as a kind hello they pushed past me and immediately made my home theirs.

Mind you, they weren’t rude, at least, not in the sense that I felt uncomfortable having them there. Believe it or not, this wasn’t the first time this had happened. I don’t know — I guess I just attract

After a while, we started talking. I figured, if they’re going to invite themselves in and crash on my couch until further notice, I might as well be polite. Get to know them a little. Feed them some snacks. Learn what they’re doing here, why they’re in my living room, what I’m supposed to do about it.

How to get them to leave.

They shared pieces of their lives with me one by one. Their likes, their dislikes, their wants, their fears. Very quickly I found myself actually starting to like them. They were interesting. Funny. Relatable.

But I still wasn’t sure I wanted them, you know, in my house. Taking up my space. Still not telling me what their purpose for existing was.

So eventually I decided I needed to face the truth. I could continue to be polite and give them these still mostly strangers a place to stay and plenty of food and someone to talk to, but at some point I was going to want my life back. And that would require knowing why they had shown up in the first place.

I promised myself one thing: If they told me their reason for coming here, I had to try to help them. It was, I felt, the least I could do.

“What do you want?” I inquired with genuine curiosity. “What can I do so you’ll go away and leave me alone?”

Blunt, but to the point. They seemed fine with that.

“We want you to tell our story,” they said.

Continue reading “A Bunch of Strangers Showed Up At My House and Refused to Leave”

It’s OK If You Don’t Want to Write For a Living

It’s OK if you just want to explore and have fun.

Every once in a while, I consider going back to writing Just For Fun.

At this point, I’m not sure I’ll ever make a full transition back to writing just for myself or just for the sake of storytelling. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t days, even now, I still feel overwhelmed enough to weigh my options.

While it may seem like every writer’s end goal is to make money — and let’s be honest, if we could all make a living doing it, would any of us really say no thanks? — not everyone wants to write full-time. And the good news is, that is one hundred percent okay.

Writing is a lot of work. Some people are right in thinking they personally wouldn’t enjoy writing as much if they HAD to do it — so for them, the choice to write on the side is the best one. There are others who pursue specific degrees and other educational opportunities with full intent to write for a paycheck. There’s nothing wrong with that, either.

But here’s the thing: If you’re ever feeling weighed down by writing — if all of a sudden the pressure to perform just becomes too much — you can take a step back. You can give yourself room to breathe. You can redefine the role writing plays in your life. You are in control.

Continue reading “It’s OK If You Don’t Want to Write For a Living”

To Write a Masterpiece, You Must First Make a Mess

Mess it up.

When my brother and I were little, our house used to have more LEGO in it than just about anything else.

I’m fairly certain building with LEGO so young is one of the reasons I became a writer. Creativity needs constant fuel, and when you’re only given instructions to build one model, after you’ve done that, suddenly you have hundreds of parts to choose from and the possibilities pile up before your eyes.

Everyone has different methods for preparing to build a LEGO castle, tower, boat, or whatever your imaginary choice of task might be. We always started by doing the thing our parents hated the most — dumping every single LEGO piece we owned onto the floor in one giant pile.

They never seemed to understand this, for us, was the most effective way of creating skyscrapers out of bricks. You don’t know what you have to work with until it’s all laid out in front of you.

It would be years before I realized this same method can also apply to writing.

Continue reading “To Write a Masterpiece, You Must First Make a Mess”

How to Love (Almost) Everything You Write: A Quick Guide

Self-doubt is inevitable. Quitting because of it is unacceptable.

Here’s something you might need to hear today: It is totally normal not to love your own writing.

But that doesn’t mean you have to let drag you down.

We have no worse critics than ourselves. It’s hard to read something that came out of your own brain and not see all its imperfections leaping straight off the page.

And sometimes, what you see isn’t what you WANT to see. Even if you like the story you’re writing or have faith you can transform it into something better, it simply doesn’t look, sound, or feel like something you’ve read from other writers. Chances are, it feels less polished. Less professional. Less … good.

Even the most confident writers sometimes look at their work — even their PUBLISHED work — and think, “Ew. Why did I write that?”

It’s normal to not always love what comes out of your brain. To let a lack of confidence or uncertainty or shame stop you from doing the thing you do love deep down, though, just doesn’t make sense.

Continue reading “How to Love (Almost) Everything You Write: A Quick Guide”

Will You Ever Be the Great Writer You’ve Always Hoped to Be?

Perhaps it is a matter of perspective.

Do you ever look at the work you’ve done recently, shake your head, and think, “Wow — I’m really not that great at writing”?

We all — okay, maybe 99 percent of us — experience moments of self-doubt, of disappointment, of low self-confidence. It’s just the nature of how we think about our uncertain futures, and whether or not the work we’re doing in the present will be worth whatever its outcome might be.

Worrying about doing good work is a sign of dedication. You want to do well, so when you don’t feel you’re doing well, you start to question whether what you’re doing is working or isn’t. This is, in most cases, a good thing.

It becomes less of a good thing when we start to doubt ourselves so much that we stop doing the work we love. Continue reading “Will You Ever Be the Great Writer You’ve Always Hoped to Be?”

The 22 Stages of Writing a Novel, From THIS IS THE BEST IDEA EVER to I HATE EVERYTHING

What a journey this has been.

1. I have a new idea for a book! Do I have time for a new idea for a book? What is time? NEW IDEA!

2. I cannot stop thinking about this new idea. It is consuming me.

3. Maybe … maybe I’ll just open a blank document and write a few paragraphs to get it out of my system. There’s no harm in that, right?

4. I have written 20 pages of a book? I guess I should keep going??

Continue reading “The 22 Stages of Writing a Novel, From THIS IS THE BEST IDEA EVER to I HATE EVERYTHING”

How to Write Stories That Scare You

Some stories are just meant to be written.

I was not prepared to start writing another book. In fact, the idea of abandoning one project for another was so ridiculous that when the idea approached me I actually laughed out loud in an empty room … to myself.

“No,” I said. “Go away. I’m busy.”

I actually spoke these words, as if saying them out loud would convince the idea before me that it truly was not welcome here.

The trick did not work, of course. I am a busyness addict (not proud, just stating a fact). I never claim to be too busy for anything, especially when it comes to writing.

So what was really going on inside my head?

The truth — as much as I can reveal to you at this particular moment in time — was that as the idea began unfolding in my mind, taking up more space, expanding inside me to fill all the empty space reserved for random and passive thoughts, I quickly came to the realization that if I were to give it the level of attention it begged for, I would be heading into something I wasn’t sure I would be able to handle.

What I learned, not long after that, is that fear is strong. But so am I.

Continue reading “How to Write Stories That Scare You”