me

The Long and Short Of It

Let me ask you a question: how long is a book?

I’m asking this as a writer. Most readers think of books in terms of pages, but most writers think of books in terms of word count. So, how long is a book? How many words?

Of course, the answer is based on various factors: the genre of the book, if the book is in a series, if so which number, and even who the author is, as some authors are known for the length of their books. On top of that, publishers set their own guidelines for how long they want their books to be. As a romance author, most romances are between 70,000-90,000 words, BUT some romance publishers want works much shorter than that and specify so.

Once you figure out how many words make up a book in the genre you’re writing in, for the publisher you want to be published with, then comes the hard part–you have to write that many words.

I’ve recently seen a big shift in how I make my word count. This is why I never say never, because as I grow and evolve as a writer, I try new things (and sometimes I like them). Here’s my before and after:

(BEFORE) OVER-WRITING

I used to write too much. If I was plotting an 80,000 word book, I’d write 100,000 to 120,000 words. Then, in editing and rewriting, I’d chop, chop, chop until I slimmed it down to that mark. I’ve been doing this for a LONG time, I can’t specifically say how long, but for as long as I can remember. I thought of my work as a sculptor thinks of their work–you heave out a huge block of marble, then you get to work chiseling and cutting until it’s a beautiful work of art. Here are some pros and cons of writing this way:

PROS:

  • You have a lot of material to play with. You start with a big basket of apples and gradually pluck out all the rotten ones, or the ones that are about to go bad. There’s a nice fat body of work you can shape and mold.
  • It’s easier sometimes to get rid of stuff than to try to find something to add.
  • There’s a huge sense of accomplishment that comes with writing this much–and it keeps your writer brain occupied so you don’t spend so much time looking at yourself in the mirror yelling “I’m a hack!”

CONS:

  • Sometimes it’s very hard to cut out stuff you love, even if it’s a really bad apple. It might look shiny and sweet on the outside, but you know, deep inside, it’s black and mushy.
  • It takes longer to over-write.
  • When you write something that’s too long, you might do a lot of rambling and going off plot.

This was the way I’d always written. I never thought I’d change. However, this past year, I’ve seen a shift in my writing style. Now I’m doing this…

(AFTER) UNDER-WRITING

I’ve started hammering out books in a more basic format. I under-write, and then go back and fill things in and fatten up the story. By this, I don’t mean I write 5,000 words when I’m aiming for 70,000, but more like I write 50,000, bringing myself up short in the same amount I used to overshoot. In editing, I flesh out the characters more, expand plot points, and generally decorate things and liven it up. Since this is still new and exciting to me, I enjoy it. In this case, I’m more like an artist painting–I get the contour and colors down first, then go back and add in fine details. The pros and cons of this are:

PROS:

  • You’ve already written the story, so you know what it’s about, what you want to convey, and what the tone is. Adding to that enhances those things.
  • It takes less time to write the first draft.
  • Sometimes having the bones down first makes you a lot more creative when it comes to building the flesh–you can also manipulate the story to go in a different direction if you don’t like what you wrote the first time around.

CONS:

  • Adding things can be more difficult than taking them away. What you have might already be so clean that adding to it just makes it bulky (in this case, there’s a huge market for novellas out there, embrace it).
  • Editing and rewriting isn’t as simple as when you’re plucking bad apples: you have to go find more good apples.
  • It’s much harder to write succinctly than to over-write. You have to start with a clean, simple plot in mind, and not be afraid to move from point to point without filling in all the pomp and circumstance–remind yourself that comes later.

However you write, over, under, or somewhere in the middle, you figure out eventually how to reach your desired word count. The more I write, the more I’m willing to experiment. Funny enough, editing used to be the bane of my existence, but now I love it. Maybe that’s why I’ve started under-writing, because I get to spend more time in the editing phase.

How do you get your words?

That’s It, I’m Out

This post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. The awesome co-hosts for the June 7 posting of the IWSG will be JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner!

I’m co-hosting the IWSG today, whoo! I really love this group and I love participating in the blog hop every month, and occasionally co-hosting (this is my third time). I credit the IWSG with making me a better blogger. To think there was a time I hated the idea of blogging and barely posted once a month! Now my blog is actually my most active and widely-read social media connection.

And that fits in with my answer to today’s question, in a way:

June 7 Question: Did you ever say “I quit?” If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

Hahahaha wow. That’s a big YES.

I think part of being a writer–at least, a writer who sticks with it–is experiencing that melodramatic moment where you throw in the towel and fling yourself upon the ground in a fit of despair and defeat. You scream to the skies “I’LL NEVER WRITE AGAIN!” but you know, somewhere deep in your heart, it’s a big fat lie. Because though you hate writing right now, really, really hate it like a cat hates getting a bath, secretly you still love it and you always will.

My “I quit” moment is still part of my writing oeuvre, and I keep it that way so I can occasionally laugh at myself. In 2003, I declared to all and sundry on my LiveJournal that I was done with writing, or at least, the pursuit of professional writing. I hadn’t gotten published in any significant way in all the years I’d been pounding the keyboard (just something in a zine once, which I never even saw), agents and publishers were turning their noses up at me left and right, and I just felt horribly defeated. Here are some hubris-laced excerpts from that tragic post (I will leave all typos and errors of grammar and structure as is, for underlined effect):

…About a month ago, I made a decision. I didn’t write about it in here, because I’ve been saying very little about my life lately in this journal. (If I don’t talk about it I don’t think about it, right?) Anyway, the decision was that I was no longer going to pursue a professional writing career. At first it was that I was not going to write at all anymore, but I’ve written fan fiction since then–albeit, I haven’t finished anything–so I assume I’m still writing. I’m just giving up the dream, idea, hope, whatever it is, of making writing my career…

(Good Lordy.)

…I did write a book, and I’ve had it through several agents and publishers now, trying to find someone who would give it a chance. It’s been turned back every time, and the past two times, I got a very specific answer as to why. I was told it was disjointed, contrived, dull, banal, and the characters were too one-dimensional.

And you know what? They’re right…

(They were totally right, by the way.)

…I’ve been writing for almost 13 years, I’m almost 30, and I have nothing substantial to show for it yet. Because I have this fear I’m going to die not having done anything that people would remember me for. Because I bragged to the people in high school that I would be a famous writer someday, and they honestly believed it. Because I promised someone wonderful and supportive and who was a pivotal figure in me finding the courage to be a writer to begin with that I would some day dedicate my first book to him. I’ve not made good on any of those promises yet, and I’m terrified that I never will…

(My first book was in fact dedicated to him. And oh, to be 30 again.)

…This is the reason I decided to stop pursing a professional writing career–at least, for now. It’s hurting me too much, it’s ceasing to be a dream and becoming a nightmare. And that in itself is painful too. I always had this ‘direction’ in life, and now I feel like I’ve been abandoned in the middle of the woods and I don’t know which path to take…

Goodness, it’s clear why I’m a writer, because I do have a flair for the dramatic!

I can’t remember (my God, that was 14 years ago!) exactly when or why I started writing and attempting to get published again, but I can tell you with almost certainty it was because I love to write and I couldn’t give it, or any of its trappings, up entirely. And now here I am, with multiple books published, going along strong. The reason I still have this entry bookmarked is because I eventually intend to print it out and hang it up next to my first book cover.

You may give up, but you’ll be back. Mark my words.


Make sure to stop by the IWSG site today and check out the open submission call for the IWSG Guide to Writing for Profit!

Writing Every Day

During the April A to Z Challenge, a commenter on my blog introduced me to 750 Words. I mentioned this briefly at the end of my Z post, but I wanted to talk about it a little more. I’ve been doing 750 Words since shortly after I was introduced to it, and it’s actually been a great tool in keeping me productive.

The site is pretty simple: you create a bare bones account and try to write at least 750 words every day. Your writing is entirely private and no one can ever see it. You CAN choose to make your profile public, which shows some of your stats and insights into your writing (you choose what is shown) but no one can read what you actually wrote. The site is free for 30 days and then $5 a month to use after. Having the paid version gives you access to a few things. I found out during my free trial period you can’t write more than 10,000 words in a day unless you’re a paid member. As a paid member you can also make public posts kinda like blog posts, that are meant to be encouraging to others.

There’s lots of various accomplishments that earn you badges. Things like writing 3, 5, 10, 30, etc. days in a row, not being distracted during your writing, finishing your words in under 15 minutes 10 days in a row, writing 50,000 words in a month (the NaNo badge), and completing a one-month challenge where you write every day of that month, just to name a few. You may not be terribly motivated by the idea of silly badges, but hey, I freakin’ love badges and I’m trying to collect them all!

However, the main point, and benefit, of the site is that it gets you writing. I’ve found since I started writing every day like this, I feel a lot more creative, and I’m writing easier, if that makes sense. It also takes away the angst that plagues me every day I don’t put my nose to the grindstone and churn some words out. Amazingly, my stats tell me that (at the time of writing this blog post) in my 26 days on 750 Words I’ve written 46,953 words so far! A good portion of that has been for a book I’m working on, which is now almost done because of this. But some days I didn’t feel like working on it and couldn’t get up the gumption, so I just used my 750 words for personal stuff, like a diary. Still, it kept my fingers on the keyboard.

I recommend this site if you’re looking for a productivity and motivational tool. My profile is here (only visible if you have an account). I think paid members can follow other people, but I haven’t followed anyone yet so I’m not sure how it works.

Hope to see you there!

Hello There!

So, the Blogging From A to Z Challenge is OVER for another year! This was my third year and it’s always exciting leading up to it, and fun starting off, but I always seem to forget as the challenge drags on it can become daunting and tiresome. Even with all my posts ready well in advance (I usually write them in February), there’s a lot of communication and promotion to maintain. I didn’t really care for posting our links on the daily blog posts this year instead of using the LinkyList, but I understand the organizer’s need for a change. HOWEVER, all this yammering will be for the A to Z Reflections post, so for now I’m just going to take a deep breath and say goodbye to another year of the challenge!

Now, for those of you who started following me during the challenge, I hope you’ll stick around, and I’ll fill you in a little bit about my blog:

I’m primarily a romance author and about 90% of my blog content is about writing. I tend not to focus on any one genre, more the mechanics and ins and outs of writing in general, so it’s friendly and identifiable to everyone, no matter what you write. I try to be entertaining and funny as much as possible. I TRY, anyway…

I’m also a tour host for Goddess Fish Promotions. I host tour stops primarily for romance and urban fantasy authors, so you’ll see those from time to time. Every one of them includes a gift card giveaway, and you might find some new reading, so it’s lots of fun! I am also quite willing to host a promotion/giveaway for anyone else, if you write romance/urban fantasy or something with romantic elements. This is mostly because, of course, I’m a romance author and my main fan base is romance readers, so something of a completely different genre probably won’t get much traction on my blog. Also, please note: I am not a reviewer and I don’t review books. If you’re interested in a guest spot, contact me!

I’m part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which does their blog hop on the first Wednesday of every month (also run by some of the same people who run the A to Z Challenge). Join us!

On more personal notes, I recently (and finally!) created a ‘wall of fame’ for myself in my bedroom. I left lots of space for more covers! Here’s hoping I’ll fill them in. I had posters made at Vistaprint for super cheap:

Anyone know this ‘Megan Morgan’ person?

I also got glasses for the first time in my life this past week. Truth be told, I needed them LONG ago, but I was stubborn and just used to the world being fuzzy. Now I’m freaking out because I can see blades of grass and individual leaves on trees. IT’S CRAZY.

I really like pink.

I also have a cat that needs constant attention or she will combust:

SLEEP? No sleep, ADORE ME.

So, that’s that! Welcome to my blog. Another hilarious thing you should know about me is that I’m addicted to watching Mountain Monsters on Destination America. It’s ridiculous and overblown and so very, very fake, but I can’t stop laughing at it.

Tell me about yourself!

Never Say Never

I’ve been writing for a lot of years. Way, way too many years (I’m old, folks). Sometimes it’s funny to look back on those years and reflect on the attitudes or ideas I had at any given time, and how that directed my work. I believe when you write, and stick to writing for a long time or maybe even your entire life, you’re always growing, learning, and evolving. New attitudes and ideas come along, your skills grow, and you try more new things than you ever imagined you would. It makes sense, because there’s very few creative and artistic people who stay stuck on one theme forever. You expand. You branch out. You give your ‘nevers’ a try.

I’ve had a lot of ‘nevers’ through the years. Things I said I would NEVER do. Things I would NEVER write, or try, or dabble in, or accomplish. Here’s a few of those things I said I would never do and then did them anyway:

  • Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Many times I said I would NEVER get published. Oh, how I languished, and despaired, and felt inadequate and overlooked. I’d never have a book published. No editor would ever want me. No one would ever read my brilliant masterpieces which were actually awful at the time. Well, check out the sidebar of my blog now.
  • I said I would NEVER write romance. This was back when I was younger and trying to be a horror author. Like way too many people, I dismissed romance as fluffy, silly writing that ‘wasn’t real,’ and was just trash and drivel. Never mind it’s the biggest-selling genre in books since…the dawn of time, possibly. I was young and full of myself and never seemed to realize I was constantly writing romance into my stories anyway.
  • At one point in my life I went through an intensely spiritual, religious phase and swore I would NEVER write horror again because it clashed with my moral point of view. I tried switching to sci-fi during this time and I was really, really bad at it. I don’t know what was going on with me, but eventually I moved on, or outgrew it, and got back to writing about vampires.
  • Hilariously, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group question for this month was about whether or not you’d ever gone back and rewritten an old piece of work. I said I hadn’t, and swore I NEVER would because I feel that looking forward is the best direction. Well, guess what I’m doing right this very moment? Revising an old story for an anthology call. D’oh!

NEVER is a block, a wall, a stone in the road that trips you up. It keeps doors closed and opportunities undiscovered. I’ve found that just because I have a writing ‘never’ today, it might be quite flexible tomorrow. And since I know I tend to dispose of those nevers eventually, I’m trying hard not to create them in the first place anymore.

What about you? What NEVER have you kicked aside and done anyway?

The Gang’s All Here

For most of the first part of this week, I was down with the flu. Ick. I always seem to fall prey to the flu or a cold in late February/early March. I don’t know why, it’s a strange cycle for me. Even if I do my best to avoid sick people during that time frame, it finds me. Anyway, being sick meant lots of down time, and I thought to myself since being sick frees you of all obligations, maybe I’d get some writing done. Ha!

Instead, I binge-watched the first two seasons of Shameless on Netflix. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, it’s a dark comedy about a seasoned, neglectful (and wholly irredeemable) alcoholic and his six children (ranging in ages from 21 to 2) who are left to fend for themselves since he and his ex-wife have essentially abandoned them. The oldest, 21 year-old Fiona, becomes her siblings’ surrogate mother and fights hard to make ends meet and keep them from ending up in the foster system. And the show is, in a word, hypnotic. It’s also very, very adult, if you’re considering watching it, so be warned!

The thing is, I LOVE ensemble casts. Whether it’s in TV, movies, or books, I like a big, robust roster of characters who interact with each other but also have their own storylines. From the Lord of the Rings trilogy, to Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, to heck, Star Trek, I love a world populated with fleshed-out characters, not just background and side characters. My own Siren Song series is pretty much an ensemble cast, but I wish I had written it in third person omniscient, so I could have followed the lives of some of the other characters more closely. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll re-write it that way.

That’s not to say I don’t like stories that focus more tightly on just several characters, because I do. But a huge cast of characters feels like I get more bang for my buck, that I get many stories instead of just one.

How about you? Do you like lots of characters with lots of stories, or would you rather write/read a more tightly-focused character study?

Have a great weekend!

The Evolution Of Writing Tools

I’ve had a lot of writing tools over the years. I started out in high school writing in notebooks. I got a manual Brother typewriter for Christmas when I was 12 or 13, but even by the standards of the day (goodness I’m dating myself, but 1989? 1990?) it was archaic, clunky, and hard to use, and the keys always stuck. The only way to correct typos was with white out paper (remember that stuff?), though you could buy ink cartridges with a correction ribbon as well. Nevertheless, I did type out a short story on it and sent it to a magazine. Hilariously, they sent it back unread because the typesetting was so bad as to be nearly unreadable. I was 14 and more optimistic than smart, what can I say?

My first ‘technological’ writing tool was a Brother word processor. MUCH better than a manual typewriter, but by today’s standards still a cumbersome, difficult piece of equipment. They keyboard part (which was also a typewriter) weighed about seven hundred pounds, and the cables to hook it up to the monitor were plentiful. Despite it being a huge advancement over a typewriter, its technological capabilities were limited. Printing anything took years, as it printed by literally typing out everything on the screen (and to print out an entire book took about six ink cartridges). It did take 3.5 disks though, which I saved tons and tons of stories on. I can no longer access those disks because the files on them can’t be read by newer technology. Nevertheless, I wrote many stories and books on it and submitted them to magazines and contests. I even got a short story published. I also had a ‘laptop’ word processor, but I didn’t have a printer to hook it up to so I mostly wrote fan fiction on it.

And then, in 2000, we got our first desktop computer. Oh, the ease of writing! The technology! The mountains of stories and books I wrote and submitted and had rejected! Truly astounding. The internet also enabled me to become a hugely popular fan fiction author, which is where I cut my writing teeth to full sharpness (I won’t tell you the fandom or my screen name, to spare my dignity, but there’s a few friends who read this whom I actually met through that writing).

And then on to laptops, eventually. With each new machine came better technology and a better version of Word. Just recently, I replaced my old laptop because I’d had it nearly four years and it was getting to the point it was usable, but not very efficient. Kind of like that one light switch in your house that’s wired backwards so you have to turn it off to turn it on, or the toilet handle you always have to jiggle. It’s comfortable and you know the workaround by heart, but why not fix the issue and do it without the unnecessary jumping through hoops and voodoo spells you have to cast to make it work right?

My new laptop types beautifully, has more memory, better graphics, more storage, and Word 2016 runs as smooth as butter, the words just flowing from my fingertips onto the screen like the technology is right inside my head. I’ve come all this way from pounding sticky keys and cramping my hand with a pen and notebook. Do I miss the old ways? No, not at all. But nostalgia isn’t always about wishing you could do something the hard way again.

How have your writing tools evolved?

A Memorial To A Friend

Six years ago today, a friend of mine named Chris passed away. We met when I started working at my very first serving gig in a restaurant that doesn’t exist anymore. Everyone there was like family, and until this day, at all the places I’ve worked, I’ve never found friendships or bonds like the ones we created there. If the place was still around today I’d probably still be working there. I keep in touch with a lot of those old friends via Facebook and meeting up from time to time.

Chris was a wiry, scruffy guy who looked like John Lennon (though he hated when people pointed this out). He was a true dank hippie, loved jam bands, was a huge fan of Phish and The Grateful Dead, and did all sorts of drugs not to get high, but for the existential experience. That sounds like some old stoner who was a teenager in the 60’s, but he was actually only 30. He could tell a story like no one I’ve ever met, and his tales of ‘enlightenment’ were so mesmerizing I believed that I, too, could drop acid and see the face of God (I’ve never done acid, btw). He had an incredibly interesting life and had done so much in his short thirty years it boggled my mind. He also had so many friends it was surreal–and not just acquaintances, honest-to-God friends. He was known and loved by everyone, a truly gregarious and outgoing person, and he always made everyone feel equally important.

He was spastic, a prankster, and loved to make people laugh. He was a trickster with a heart of gold. He was one of my best friends, a brother to me, and we had so many good times together. One of his last pranks, which will live on forever, is that he would change his birthday on Facebook every day so it would alert all his followers that every day was his birthday. Because of this, some people now believe December 27th is his birthday (his real birthday was in July, like mine). It’s bittersweet, because when I see that notification pop up on Facebook it reminds me of his humor, but it also reminds me what the next day is.

He was a writer, too. He was working on his memoirs, Triumphs of An Open Mind, most of which contained stories I’d already heard from his mouth. Since I was a writer too we constantly shared ideas and advice. He was my writer friend and everyone knew us as ‘the writers’ where we worked. He hadn’t gotten published yet, but he was working on it. We both had big dreams of bestsellers and stardom.

Then, a few months before the end of 2010, he was diagnosed with Graves Disease after suffering heart palpitations and weakness. I was adamant that he was fine, and reminded him of this when he’d get down on himself about it or start feeling hopeless. I remember saying “You’re not going to die!” about a hundred times. I was convinced he wouldn’t, that he’d have a long happy life telling wild stories and bouncing off the walls.

A few days after Christmas, he proved me wrong. (Some of my friends still joke ‘he died to spite you’ because it’s the sort of joke HE would make.)

I’d worked an early shift that day and came home, turned the ringer on my phone off, and took a nap. When I woke up I had about 16 voicemails and missed calls from different people, and none of them said anything more descriptive than “call me.” I knew something was horribly wrong. I picked my friend Jodi as the one to call back, and when she answered she was crying and said “Chris died.” He’d passed away in his sleep the night before, from heart failure, at the age of 30. I remember being so disoriented I got up and tried to get dressed and couldn’t figure out how to put my clothes on. Absurdly, Jodi and I went shopping and called everyone we knew before they got the news second-hand. We didn’t know what else to do.

His funeral was massive. I had never seen so many people at the funeral of a person who wasn’t famous. We actually closed the restaurant that day so everyone could attend. I remember thinking ‘I want to live my life in a way that I end up having a funeral like this.’ The place was huge and they still couldn’t fit everyone inside.

A few months later, I had the opening line of his novel tattooed on my arm. I think he would appreciate it, and it gets me through the dark times in my life.

I had a dream about him Monday night, amazingly. We were sitting and talking like we used to, and suddenly I said, “I know this isn’t real, but can I hug you? Because it’ll feel real for a minute.” And of course, it did.

We were both huge fans of Carl Sagan, and so I post this today in honor of him, our favorite essay by Mr. Sagan:

I hope you’re still out there jamming across the cosmos, Chris.

The Language Of Writing

Many years ago, I wrote under a different pseudonym, in a somewhat different genre, and had a modicum of success. The name was Lydia Nyx, if you’re curious, but it doesn’t matter because everything I had published back then is no longer in print/distribution and some of the publishers are defunct. I ended up eventually shifting genres and reinventing myself as Megan Morgan.

However, despite the fact I didn’t write fantasy/sci-fi, I somehow ended up being a panelist at 2011 Penguicon in Detroit (which is a sci-fi/fantasy con). It’s a funny story, and what I learned from the experience–that we, as writers, no matter where we are on our path or what we write, are all in this together–was invaluable.

I ended up at the convention because I made a comment on a blog post of a fellow author who was published in an erotic horror anthology with me. He mentioned Penguicon and that they still needed panelists (I believe he worked for the organizers? I can’t remember clearly.) and I looked into it, despite the fact I didn’t fit the demographic. When I contacted the organizers, they said indeed they would like to have me, and didn’t care what I wrote, they just wanted published writers to speak. I was scheduled for not one, not two…but SEVEN panels. Keep in mind, I had never spoken publicly on writing before, ever.

The convention ended up being a blast. However, on three of those panels, I sat alongside sci-fi/fantasy authors Jim C. Hines, Stephanie Osborne (who had the coolest NASA ribbons), and….*GULP* Brandon F*kin Sanderson. Needless to say, I was way out of my element and way nervous. I was terrified to sit with multi-award winning, bestselling Mr. Sanderson, who, let’s not be modest about it, 90% of the convention goers were there to see. What’s more, I was expected to sit with him and talk to a huge audience about writing, intelligently.

I had no idea what to do, so me and my son just got Steampunk’d.

What did I learn from those three nerve-wracking panels? I learned that despite the fact Mr. Sanderson was at the top of the food chain and I was way down at the bottom, in the swamp, and that we write in radically different genres, our love of writing, the way we talk about it, and the techniques we use to evoke creativity are exactly the same. He was a tremendously nice and polite man. He moderated all three panels (basically directing the flow of conversation/controlling the subject matter/provoking the rest of us to speak) and he was extremely pleasant, encouraging, and helpful. I realized despite our different points on the spectrum we were both writers, and we both thought like writers. We could discuss it on the same level, all other things aside. It was incredibly comforting as a young, floundering author.

Jim C. Hines is also a darling of a man. I sat directly beside him for all three panels and he was just a great conversationalist and gentleman. He eased my nerves greatly before each panel.

It was an eye-opening weekend. I also made several fans at the time who were pleasantly surprised to find an author so radically out of place. I met author H.B. Pattskyn there, before she was published, and she was so wonderful and supportive of me on those days when this young author was so scared. I even had her sit with me on some of my other panels!

The thing I learned that weekend, and I still carry with me to this day, is that we’re all in this together, no matter where we are on the ladder, no matter what we write. Writing is a universal language!

Look how well I fit in! I apologize, my son could only seem to take pictures during earthquake tremors.

A Writer’s Gratitude

This week is Thanksgiving in the US, and for that reason it’s time to reflect on what I’m thankful for when it comes to writing. Feel free to tell me why you, too, are thankful to be a writer! You don’t need to be from the US or be celebrating Thanksgiving to share your joy.

I’m thankful to be a writer because:

  • I get to make up stories and share them with others–and sometimes, they even like them and want me to share more!
  • Writing is a form of therapy for me.
  • I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since a young age. It always gave me focus and direction, and a dream to follow.
  • Language is fun to play with.
  • I love the stories that others give the world, and I love being part of that community. Being one of them.
  • If there’s a story I’d love to read, I can write it.
  • Writing is an ever-growing skill and there’s always something new to learn. It’s never boring.
  • As a writer, I can understand the structure of and what goes into making some of my favorite stories and entertainment. Knowing how it works doesn’t ruin the magic, quite the contrary!
  • I have a ‘calling.’
  • Though I don’t make much money from writing, the fact that anybody pays me at all to do what I love is a miracle.
  • When I’m screwing around on my laptop, I can still pretend I’m working. 😉

Those are just a few of the reasons I’m thankful to be among the ranks of those who create stories for the enjoyment of others, and just as importantly, for themselves. What about being a writer makes you thankful?