As a child, I loved the back-to-school season. It was a time of new beginnings, a time of fresh pencils and crayons, of new clothes and shoes, of new friends and of reuniting with old friends. As soon as the Fourth of July ended each year, I set my sights on September. I would brim with anticipation.
(Yes, I was a nerd.)
This year, our oldest child is heading off to full-day kindergarten. She never went to preschool, so it’s been her, her younger sister, and me every day together for the last nearly four years. Instead of looking forward with anticipation only, the new school year has been mixed with tears (on my part, not hers), knowing that the sun is setting on an era of our lives. And instead of reaching forward and grasping new experiences, I’m uncurling my fingers and letting a little girl walk into the next stage of her childhood. She’ll thrive, and I know she’ll love it like I did, but this new experience of letting go is a bittersweet one. Continue reading “The Autumn of Letting Go”
It’s hard to explain to others that I wrote a book I never wanted to write. I didn’t even write a book I’d want to read. I went against all conventional advice.
Stay with me here.
I always wanted to write books that are light and allow a reader to escape from reality. The world is so dark and heavy, and I wanted to bring levity to the weightiness. But, when I prayed for a story, that’s not the story God gave to me. Instead, I wrote A Sacrificial Justice, a book so saturated in reality that beta readers reported that they wished the story had ended differently, only because they wished it didn’t portray the world as it was. They said they felt heavy. They said the story hit too close to home. These weren’t criticisms, they were compliments. But, here I am, a writer who wanted to write light-hearted books, and I’m standing with a book that weighs people down with reality. Continue reading “I Didn’t Want to Write It”
It’s been months (again) since I updated, and it was unintentional. Life has a way of reprioritizing day-to-day events, and my revision process took a step to the back for a month or so.
But, I have picked it up again, and I’m nearly 66% through draft two. And, during this draft, I’m eating my words. Though I never wrote it out anywhere, I was cocky enough to think that my second draft would not drastically change from my first, but it has. I cut three semi-important characters, the entire catalyst of the story changed, and I cut thousands (and thousands) of words. I’m writing this draft nearly from scratch. I’m copying and pasting some, but even those scenes are altered from their original state. If I handed someone both drafts, the first would be a shadow of the second.
I’m also in a bit of a race against time. Continue reading “Writing Update and Pitch Wars”
I finally, finally have a breakthrough in my revision process.
And, you know that feeling I mentioned that I felt like there was one more thing I needed to know, but I couldn’t quite grasp it? I think this is a big part of that.
And the crazy part is, the piece I was missing was right in front of me this whole time. It was the most obvious piece that I refused to even consider.
But first, let me back up, especially if you’re new around here. Continue reading “Don’t Forget Your Reason”
Do you remember the version of Candyland that has the Molasses Swamp? The swamp is at the top of the board, near the bend that sets you on the last set of squares before you reach King Kandy’s castle, the ultimate destination of the game. But, before you can reach the castle, you pull the wrong card and lose a turn while you’re slumping around with Gloppy in the Molasses Swamp.
I feel like I’m hanging out with Gloppy right now.
Life has been — different — than I anticipated for 2019. When I was flying high on whizzing through my first draft last year, I anticipated being through my first round of revisions by January first. I thought I would be well through my second round now, but I’m not. I’m not even close.
Life dealt us the Molasses Swamp card in the past six months, and instead of pulling myself out and marching forward when my second turn came, I’ve sat down next to Gloppy, and I’m completely saturated in sticky molasses. I’m not wallowing like a pig would in mud, but rather sitting and staring at Gloppy, wondering how we got here and how the heck I get motivated to fight my way out. Continue reading “Gloppy and Me”
I am knee-deep in revisions of my book right now, and by knee-deep, I mean that I’ve written a lot of notes, watched a lot of videos, listened to a lot of podcasts, signed up and participated in writing challenges, and read a few books about revising a story.
But really, I’m spinning my wheels a bit and fretting and talking a LOT about my book without making significant steps forward in the revision process. All of what I’m doing now is helpful and good, but there just is not much forward momentum.
And, I hate that.
I’m a do-er. A go-getter. I don’t procrastinate. Procrastination stresses me out. I like to start a project and then finish it. Long projects (like writing a book) sometimes put me on edge, even if I live for it. I can’t just check “write and publish a book” off my list at the end of the day.
I keep sitting and stewing about the revision process, and it’s just leading me to stress.
Why can’t I get started? Why does this feel harder than drafting? Why do I feel like I’m banging my head against a wall constantly? I have a deadline, for goodness’ sake, why can’t I just get this done?!
And then God – in the nicest way possible – hit me over the head with a sack of bricks this week. Continue reading “Seeking Him First”
I apologize in advance for the roughness of this post, but whenever I lose someone I love, I write. Below is a jumble of my processing of yet another death in our family. This is family death number eight between my husband and me in the last two and a half years. Though it was expected, it is never easy.
What is this life that we hold on so tightly to? We think we have control of our existence, but the days of our life are not ours to number. We never know how many days we will have. I’ve scrolled through Instagram this week crying and praying along with people who have newborns and three-year-olds hanging on to life. I have cried with the posts of those who lost pregnancies and infants. And, today, I’m crying with the loss of someone much older, but whose death carries the same ache.
My grandmother passed away this morning at ninety-one.
I know most people unrelated to us would look at that number and say a trite “well, she lived a good long life.” And, while that’s true, that doesn’t ease the ache of the vacuum she left behind. My grandpa tonight won’t think “at least she had a long life” as he lays down in a bed void of the one he’s been married to for well over sixty years. It doesn’t ease the pain for my dad or his brothers who have yet another family member to say “goodbye” to in less than two years. Any loss in life is hard, even as Christians. We have the hope of heaven and the knowledge that we’ll see our loved ones again someday, but we still have to soldier on and pray that the Holy Spirit comes and fills the void our loved one has left.
I am not sad for my grandmother’s sake. She is freed from a body that ailed her for years, and she is in Heaven meeting our Savior and reuniting with her son she has yet to see whole. No, on this day, she has shed the skin that we live our lives fighting against and gets to live in whole peace and happiness. For the Christian, “to die is gain.” My grandmother has gained so much today, even while we mourn what we have lost. Continue reading “The Sad Loss of a Good, Long Life”
As a little tribute to finishing the first revision reading of my book, I wanted to address two questions that have come up several times during the process of my writing.
1. Why does your book focus on “subtle” sexual and gender harassment and not the “big” topics of sexual harassment and assault?
When I first started writing A Sacrificial Justice, I wasn’t even going to include sexual harassment of any kind. I wanted to make the entire story about the experience of a whistleblower without diving into the issues that come with sexual harassment. I tend to avoid hot-button topics when I can because I hate conflict. The problem was, as soon as I started writing the book, the sexual and gender harassment became integral. I couldn’t tell the story without it because both my sister’s experience and my own experience included it, so it became a large part of the story. Continue reading “The Book: Your Questions Answered”
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
As a child, I was a performer, despite being so shy that my mom tells me I never spoke to my kindergarten teacher. But, I loved singing and acting. I was the first to volunteer for any church play or solo. I starred as Mary in a church program when I was nine and had several solos. I loved it.
But, as I got older, something crumbled in my confidence, that continued to crumble as the years went on. I still tried out for solos in middle school and landed a handful. I even tried out for a solo my freshman year of high school, but I didn’t get that one. By junior year, I was in my school’s large concert choir, but when it came time for our one-on-one midterms with the choir director I opened my mouth to sing, and all that came out was a squeak. (My choir director was not happy, and she told me in no uncertain words.) I managed to scrounge up enough courage to pass that midterm, and I somehow managed to slip into the audition-only chamber choir my senior year.
Continue reading “Be Strong and Courageous and Other Impossible Things”
This is a long overdue writing update (I think the June 1st entry was my last actual update), so I have lots to fill you in on (especially if you don’t follow me on Instagram).
First off, I finished my first draft on July 29th, almost exactly five months after I started. That in and of itself felt like the biggest accomplishment and the most anticlimactic moment of this whole process. Finishing the first draft meant I got the bones and a little meat down, but there is still so much work to do. My celebrating lasted all of twenty minutes before I realized what was before me work-wise. Continue reading “A Writing Life Update, and a Title”