Starting the Novel Over: My Story

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Image: Pexels

One of my biggest writing goals since I was a teenager was publishing a book. I can imagine for my fellow writers, that has been yours too.

Last week, I talked about going through my notebooks, binder, and flash drive. In it, I came across MANY poems that I forgot about over the years. As I read through some of my works, I felt the passion I had when I was younger budding again. There are many reasons why a novel is never finished: writer’s block, fear, life getting in the way, and so on. Sometimes you even come up with multiple ideas for a story, but they never go further than that.

I got the idea for my first novel in 2015 while on vacation in Maine. Upon entering the cottage my family and I stayed at, my brain was buzzing with ideas. After two weeks, I had a notebook filled with fifteen pages of ideas, characters, scenes, and more. Now and then I touched the story, but my final year of college took priority over sitting down and writing.

Upon graduation, the job search also took priority. By November 2016, I was participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and wrote over 26,000 words. But…nothing happened after that.

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Image: Pixnio

I have felt like a failure as a writer. I even found myself questioning my passion. Maybe if I was passionate for something else, life would be easier, safer, better even. Maybe I was kidding myself all these years about my writing.

That’s why I had shared what I did last week about a friend commenting on how much I wrote. It felt like much-needed motivation, a revival of my passion after other things buried and burned it out. Also, my opportunity to review books for Hallmark Publishing has revived the desire to write again. Seeing their guidelines, reading the books that I have so far, and reading about a writer recently get her book published…awakened this drive I haven’t felt since before starting college.

I may not publish the book that I’ve started. The other ideas I’ve developed may never come to fruition. But, my writing isn’t dead.

It’s just starting over.

Writers, whatever may come, you will get that book out.

Happy writing!

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Encouragement and Revisiting Influences

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Image: Ramdlon (Pixabay)

I apologize for no post last week due to Easter and a busy week ahead of the holiday. I hope you all are well and writing to your heart’s content and reading great books!

…this week was interesting in terms of writing. One of the biggest things, I think, a writer needs once in a while is encouragement. Whether it’d be from a friend, family member, fellow writer, and so on. Another is realizing how much authors influence other authors.

In late February, I had received a comment from a friend that stayed with me since. The comment wasn’t about how beautiful, honest, or raw, etc etc my work was (writers, of course, do appreciate those compliments when we receive them). Instead, the comment referred to HOW MUCH I wrote.

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Image: StockSnap (Pixabay)

I have felt discouraged as a writer because I don’t write every day like others do. I don’t have a set schedule even though I’ve struggled to make one for a few years now. I also get discouraged when people don’t think I’m writing because I don’t do it on a daily basis and comment on that to me. Just because a writer doesn’t write every day or on a schedule doesn’t mean they’re not a writer.

Earlier this week, that comment was on my mind again. So I went through my drawers looking for my binder and growing collection of notebooks. I also checked out my flash drive.  I was quite stunned by how much I found, some writings from as far back as high school that I forgot about. That discovery got me thinking, a lot. If I could write as much as I did before…what’s stopping me from writing that much, or even more, now?

Sometimes you receive encouragement when you least expect it. When it happens, hold on to it when the doubts come. I’d like to thank this friend for his comment about my work; I really needed it.

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Image: Philip Halling (geograph.org.uk)

Another piece from this week involved revisiting a writing influence. I have admired and found writing influences throughout my life. But there was one–make that three–I had discovered in college: The Brontë sisters (Charlotte, Emily, and Anne). If you’re a big Brontë fan like me, you’ve probably read Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Agnes Grey, and so on. You may have also read their poems.  Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is currently on my to-read list.

I found myself revisiting how their works stirred my love for classic novels, particularly Victorian literature, and changed my role as a writer, by writing about them. When that post is complete, I’ll add it to my portfolio so you all can read it. That piece was my first time writing about an influence on literature and how I want to write my stories. As I wrote about the Brontës, I thought back to reading their novels and poetry. Later, I’d come across documentaries about them, a reimagining of Jane Eyre called Jane Steele, and books that imagined what their lives were like while also staying true to historical accounts.

I believe the Brontës are the reason I fell in love with more classic authors including Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, and more. Plus, I have realized how much the Brontë sisters influenced many other writers to this day.

Take courage from people and writers, past and present. You never know when you’ll need it most.

Happy writing!

Enjoying a Good Book: Post-Flu Follow-Up

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Image: BenjaminMiller2651 (freerangestock.com)

Thank you all for your patience as I recovered from the flu. I am very thankful it was not a serious strain and only lasted a week. Now I can get back to business. My Book of the Month post for March will be coming up next week so keep an eye out for that!

After recovering from the flu, I shared how I wanted to unplug from the devices and social media because I realized how much I was looking at them. So how am I doing?

Well, if you look to the right of my blog, you might have seen my “Kristin is Currently Reading…” column. I love this part of my blog because I have a chance to share what other books I may be reading beyond what I review every month. At this very moment, I am reading five different books, and it’s been great! I’m not just making time for books I got this past Christmas, but also ones that have sat on my shelf for far too long. Making time before bed to read a few chapters has helps me sleep better, wind down my busy day, and escape to a different world. I am currently dwelling in different time periods, various romantic scenarios, parts of history, and more. I vowed last year I would not read ten books at once again because that was overwhelming. Five is a good limit, though, at least for me.

I don’t think we can argue how much we love books, no matter what genre or topic interests us. Whether we enjoy scholarly works, a classic, a recent bestseller, and so on, we feel something. Literature is a beautiful, powerful, and moving art. It is no better from other areas of the arts like dance or music. I know I sound like a broken record, but I just cannot stress enough how much books mean to people, and not just myself.

For me, unplugging from the devices and reading more since getting sick is helping me slowly rebuild my time for writing. My creativity is budding again, and, well I’m feeling inspired!! Before writing, the books were my first love, and still are!

Unplug for a few minutes or an hour a day, and open a book instead.

Happy writing!

My Absence: Update

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Image: StuartMiles (freerangestock.com)

I am now 100% but with a minor cough and sleep patterns all over the place. I’m still working on getting back in my writing habit, but I’m happy to be reading books again!! My Book of the Month for March will go on as scheduled so keep an eye out for it next week. Post ideas will require another week of patience but I’m finding my way back.

As we near Spring and allergy season, too, please make sure to take care of yourselves.

Happy writing!

My Absence

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Image: admiller (freerangestock.com)

Some of you have not heard from me for a few weeks now, and I can imagine with no new content on my blog, it’s concerning. I want to assure you all that I’m fine. I unfortunately caught the flu after attending two concerts last week and was stuck in bed for the duration. I’m just finally getting better after a lot of sleeping, fluids, cough medicine, and self-care.

But this week of being stuck in bed gave me some perspective. I couldn’t read my books because I would have to wipe them down once I was better. Writing wasn’t possible due to my mind being all over the place. My devices were my only comfort…and I hated it.

After charging my phone this morning, I decided to shut it off. I will have my tablet on for an audiobook I started listening to: Romeo and Juliet: A Novel by David Hewson and narrated by Richard Armitage. I will take time to read my books this weekend and the next couple of days.

Because, frankly, I’m sick of the devices and need a breather. I may sound like a broken record with topics about slowing down and not overdoing it, but in today’s world, we really need to take the time to do that.

I will write again this week, and maybe being sick just gave me clarity on why my writing hasn’t been going anywhere for a while now.

I ask for patience as I recover and get back into my routine of posting, writing, and so on. I hope you are all safe after our recent Nor’Easters, taking it easy after illnesses, and finding comfort in great literature.

Happy writing!

Writing Prompt: Spring

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Image: Leland Davis (freerangestock.com)

Spring is almost here!! With a busy week ahead, I’m going to share a writing prompt to get you guys thinking about spring, and some much warmer weather. Last week, I shared with you all about my past adventures in writing showcases. One of the showcases was Spring Fling. Even though the theme was about connecting with people, I think the season of spring could also apply. You can check out my story for that showcase here!

Here’s the prompt:

  • Write a story around an object associated with spring (flowers, warmer temperatures, sunny days, rainy days, etc.)
  • What does the season of spring mean to you?
  • Write a love story that takes place during springtime.
  • Write whatever enters your mind about spring!

The word count should be between 500 and 1,000 words. Try writing for an hour if you can to start off.

Happy writing!

Writing Throwback: Participating in Writing Showcases

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Image: Merelize (freerangestock.com)

Having been blessed with so many amazing writing opportunities in the past couple of years, I feel it’s time to revisit a few of them. This week, I’m going to talk about Pen and Muse. I stumbled upon this writing website back in 2013 when their Twitter account showed up in my “Who To Follow” box. Curious, I followed them. At the time, I had a poem published in my community college’s literary magazine a year earlier and was looking for ways to build my writing connections.

Over time, I got to know the founders of the website, Jolene Haley and Kristen Jett, and began reading articles about the use of pen names for authors, publishing tips, and more! Soon, the website held Writing and Illustration Showcases for writers and artists to submit their own short stories and art. The stories centered on themes and holidays including Halloween, Christmas, and spring. Having the opportunity to participate in these showcases helped build credibility for my writing, try out short stories, and learn about writing great stories with a limited word count and set deadline. Routine was established, and so was taking time to edit and revise my work. If you want to check out my showcase stories, just go to the Portfolio and click on Short Stories.

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Image: Merelize (freerangestock.com)

What I really appreciated about Pen and Muse’s showcases was the chance to show off my work. I’ve read articles over the years from magazines and websites that have debated the issue of submission fees for contests and submitting work, so it was nice for a website to give writers free exposure to their gifts and not having to worry about paying a fee.

In 2014, I had received an email revealing that the stories and illustrations from the Dark Carnival showcase in October 2013 were going to be put together in an anthology and published as an e-book! I was stunned. This would be my first publication for the masses. The e-book was later released through Amazon and Goodreads in November. Even though I wasn’t paid, I had my very first publication credit outside of a showcase. Plus, it did very well, reaching #1 on Amazon for the horror category, surpassing Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft!! Recently, the anthology was featured in an article on Bustle after the film version of Stephen King’s novel, It, was released.

Although the website is no longer active as of 2015, you can still access some of their past articles and stories from prior showcases. Now and then, I still keep in touch with Jolene and Kristen. Jolene is still writing, running blogs and a small publisher called Hocus Pocus & Co., while Kristen is running her own marketing business called Starlit Strategies and helping people find success. I am forever thankful to them for what they did with Pen and Muse and am so happy about their recent endeavors with writing and business!  Please lend them your support and check them out! If you go to their websites, you should be able to find them on their various social media accounts.

Happy writing!