30 days of gratitude 13

What abilities are you thankful for?

I’m really glad I can write. It helps me express myself, especially since sometimes I find it hard to explain things verbally. I also like that I can act and sing a little. I enjoy performing.

I really like that I am good at resolving conflict. I think I do a good job keeping the peace with my family and friends. I seem to have a talent for empathizing and seeing things from other people’s point of view. At least most of the time.

I also like how I’m dang good at finding stuff on the Internet.

Ta-da

30 days of gratitude 11

What holiday are you thankful for?

All of them? Lolz.

Um…I guess Thanksgiving. I like going and seeing my dad’s family, and it’s the only time we do it. I also don’t have to cook, and that’s cool. And my mom and my sister’s family and mine go to this state park outside of my cousin’s town and we stay there for two nights and that is wonderful too. I look forward to it every year. Some holidays are hard to do but since I don’t have to cook much, Thanksgiving is pretty nice.

30 days of gratitude 10

What taste are you grateful for today?

Right now it is sour cream and onion chips because I just had that for lunch and it’s still in my teeth a little bit, and it still tastes nice.

Overall, I don’t know. I’m grateful for a lot of tastes. I like tasting different things, but who doesn’t, really?

Um…I like chocolate covered strawberries a whole lot…so I guess that?

30 days of gratitude 9

Okay, so it’s Nov. 20, lol.

My computer cord got severed in the recliner, but that only accounts for like three days of the time missed. It was just a busy time. It’s whatever.

What place are you most grateful for?

I guess my house. I like it here. It’s a cool house, even though I don’t like being here when it is messy. It’s a big, awesome, old house and even though it needs work, I like it an awful lot.

Also, you know, it houses my family and keeps us all warm and safe and dry and stuff. Ha.

NaNo Day 4

Okay. I wrote seven words today, lolz.

But I also went to my friend Gaye Sanders’ book signing for her debut!! And I walked around downtown with the husband for a while and played Pokemon Go. And I ate DIM SUM for the first time AND I ate a mushroom, what???

And then I did some writer stuff and tried to push my novel on Swoon Reads to my social media followers and friends. And then we watched two episodes of Stranger Things.

And then I got on the computer with four minutes to spare and wrote seven words so I could say I wrote every day and I logged it on my NaNo account and then here I am.

Yes, I wish I had written. But I don’t exactly regret today either. 🙂

NaNoWriMo ’17

So. It’s November 1 and yesterday I decided to do NaNo. I didn’t think I could because of my unfinished wip. Then I decided I could finish the wip for NaNo. I’m about 16K in and if I add 50K it would be dynamite. Of course, I had this same goal in 2015. And in ’16 I didn’t even attempt NaNo. I had a lot of weird stuff going on then though.

I have some trepidation because I haven’t written much in so long. I was so full of words before…now I’m just full of it, ha ha.

Maybe this will help me get my mind off of things that I can’t change. I’m generally content and peaceful, but there are a few things that still swirl in my mind and won’t let go. I believe I need to continue to learn how to live with the things I can’t change, but it’s easier said that done.

Anyway, I haven’t written yet, so I should probably save the words for NaNo right now.

Good luck to me.

Coffee shop musings

So I’m at this cool coffee shop in OKC while I’m typing this. I am, however, too chicken to ask the baristas if I can get the wifi password, so I’m going to post this later. I might use my phone’s hotspot. Depends on my mood when I get done, maybe. I’ve got a hot cocoa and biscotti and a glass of water. Plug in is nearby but I haven’t taken advantage. I’m in pretty good shape, battery-wise.

Anyway. I came into town early to help Ben with something at lunch. And now I have our SCBWI Oklahoma OKC Connect meeting in three hours, so it seemed kind of crazy to go home and basically turn back around. So I got brave and entered a place I’d never been before. Vintage Coffee. And it had one of my greatest fears – front doors you can’t see into. So there’s no way to really know what’s inside. But I got smart and looked the place up on facebook, so at least I had an idea of what to except. Once inside, I figured out where to stand to get my order taken and then I relocated to a plushy chair in the corner where I can observe everyone easily. Bliss.

I have several things I can work on today. I read through my wip the other day and got a good vibe for it again. I dislike some of the things that happen – it seems very surface in some spots – but I remember it was that way when I first did it but I just decided to do the rough draft and then go back and fix. It’s just such a complicated, issues-heavy book. I didn’t want to get bogged down on the first time through. I did, anyway, though. So I’ve been trying to decide if I was going to go back and try to fix the shallow parts, or if I would just keep powering through. I guess I’ll just keep going. I’m not even a third of the way through, so I really need to keep after it. So that’s project one.
Project two is the fanfic that I haven’t worked on. But that one should probably wait until I work on the wip. I mean, if I was desperate to work on the fanfic, I’d probably put it first, but this is actually a hard premise for me, so I don’t mind waiting on it. And that’s better anyway. I used to do fic on weekends and the real stuff during the week. That would be a nice rut to get back into.

Project three is the blog. I have lots of things I do each day, so I don’t see why I can’t do this that way too. I just need to have a plan. I still want to the 100 journal entries. And I like doing things to promote my local SCBWI and the members. And I have a new idea to start giving snaps to my agent’s other clients, because a lot of them are doing AMAZING things and deserve the recognition…even if it’s just from my obscure blog.

Mondays I’m probably not going to do anything, due to our homeschool co-op. But I should be able to blog other days, though. But should I do it multiple times a week or just once, at a minimum? I don’t know what schedule would keep me at it in a more consistent manner. I know it’s important to write regularly, to stretch that writing muscle. Of course, I also have journals and things that I write and just keep at home, either on the computer or in a book. Those are generally personal enough that they will not be appearing on the blog. And how much do people really want from my personal thoughts anyway?

I used to be more open with things, I guess. I did livejournal regularly and was very active on social media. But now I’ve pulled back. Maybe because I have a lesser need for external validation? I also think I have less of a need lately to please everyone. My biggest reason to be on social media so much before was to please people and FOMO. Honestly, there’s pretty much only one reason for me to be on social media anymore – apart from work-related things – and it is FOMO in a way, but not like it used to be. Missing out on most things doesn’t really concern me any more.

Anyway, enough cryptic talk for now.
Muse is on the speakers at the coffee shop. I’m going to take that as a sign. A sign of what, I don’t know. But I think it’s positive.

In like a lion

So it’s March!

Biggest news for me so far is that I finished my final revisions for Maybe, Baby and sent them to my agent. That was yesterday. Fingers crossed that she thinks we’re ready to go on submission.

I’m ready to get back into a regular writing schedule (FINALLY). That’s good because I have a couple of projects that have been simmering for a while. I thought it might be a good idea to put them right here and maybe have a little bit of accountability, lolz.

So. Things I want to accomplish – ideally in 2017.

–I want to finish my halfway completed first draft of Liddy Chatterley’s Lover. I know what I need to go back and fix, and where I want to go from there. It’s really a matter of just powering through the tough middle parts.

–Project two is writing the first draft of a novel I’ve been playing around with in my head for a year now. Working title is Hunting Down Dylan.

–After I get that one done, I get to write the first draft of my newest idea. Working title is Taco Bell Wedding.

–Keep updating the blog with better regularity. Like…once a week would be crackerjack. Once a month would be acceptable. I’m not a machine, ya’ll.

–Doing more and better publicity for SCBWI Oklahoma.

–I also want to continue working on my fanfic, but just a little bit. I can’t believe I haven’t done anything there in more than a year. I want to write more on at least one of my unfinished fics. More would be nice but I’m not going to make myself crazy over that. I hope to work on this when I’m taking a break from my main projects. Keep my writing fresh and all that.

–And, of course, I know there will be lots of editing and revising on these and other projects. Plus, you know, real life.

Here we go.

2016, for me

A lot of people hated 2016. I can understand why. I know all the terrible things that happened in the year we’ve just ended. And I can emphasize. But my 2016 was possibly the best year of my entire life.

It didn’t start out that way, though.

Oh, I was happy enough when January came. Really happy, actually. I’d just signed with my wonderful agent a few months before, and I was very optimistic about the book she was going to submit for me. I think we’d gotten the manuscript where we wanted it at that point, and it was going out. But I can’t remember for sure. But I was optimistic and excited for the future, working on a new project, writing my just-for-fun fanfiction like crazy, and feeling so positive every single day.

Then something happened to me at the beginning of February that shook things up a lot. I don’t really want to delve into the specifics, but I only wrote one thing at that time – a fanfiction chapter that I’d been planning for a while. It took one day and I posted it and said I’d do more and I didn’t. I hope I do more with it in the future though. This new thing took up all of my time and attention, and I didn’t even have time to write. It was a very happy time for me.

But like Robert Frost said, nothing gold can stay. And when my project began to fall apart, I was left grasping at the wind. As the days dragged on, I fell into the darkest time my soul had ever experienced – even more than when loved ones had died in the past. I couldn’t understand why this affected me so greatly. I had several strange illnesses fall on me at the same time, and I felt like I would never find hope or joy again.

I read a lot. Nothing that was really important to me, but just something to pass the time. I would sit on my porch and read and read. Because if I wasn’t reading, I was thinking. And that was unbearable. But I had do something to fill the endless days, stretching onward to forever.

I didn’t write. I didn’t do any edits. I avoided people as much as I could. When I did have to get out, I hid it the best I could, but I was so broken inside. I found enough strength to finally contact a therapist, and I began seeing her at the end of April. It helped. Somewhat. But I was still so confused and full of sorrow. And it shouldn’t have affected me like that. It shouldn’t have. But it did. And that was all there was to it.

Sometime in May, I reread a book that had always meant a lot to me – “I’m Gonna Bury You” by Gene Neill. I had been given this book as a teenager and read it many times. This man’s journey to God was always inspiring to me. I decided to give it away, so I reread it first.

And for the first time, I noticed something. New the end, the author mentioned a book that he had enjoyed by a man named Merlin Carothers. I was intrigued by the thought of a book that had helped the man who had inspired me so much. So I took a photo of the book title with my phone. A few weeks later, I ordered a copy on Amazon. It came, I read it.

And that’s when things began to change for me. Most of Carothers’ works are about finding joy in everything in your life through thanking God, and praising Him for it all. And it says everything. Good and bad. It’s scriptural – in the Bible it says to rejoice in all things. So I decided to give it a try.

As the days turned to weeks, I began to change inside. I once again found hope where there had been none. And I began to feel truly thankful and close to God. The more I thanked Him for everything in my past and present, the more I learned to trust Him and be at peace with what was happening in my life.

I still had trouble. A lot of trouble. But I kept reading, and praising, and praying, and learning about more scriptural teachings, and things kept steadily getting better. Even when I had setbacks, I would come around within a day or two. I kept talking to my counselor, confiding in my husband, and praying. I had several Christian books on all types of subjects that I read every day. It would usually take me between two and four hours to get through my devotional time every day. But I didn’t mind it – I enjoyed it…and I’d never experienced that before in my life. I highlighted key verses in my Bible and took pictures of important thoughts from all my books, so I could read over them later. I’ve been a born-again Christian for a very long time…but this was something new. Something more real and vibrant than I’d ever experienced.

This went on for some time. Lots of good days, a few bad. Overall I was surviving. I still wasn’t writing. I still had my mind on the things had had happened earlier in the year, and what I had lost. And I kept trying to determine how to manipulate the situation. How to fix everything. How to help things.

And then November came. The year was almost complete. At the beginning of that month, I would not have said 2016 was all that great. I was excited about the new relationship I was experiencing with God, and I was so grateful for it, but I was still confused and hurting…even though I was thanking God for the confusion and the pain! But then something changed in me. I know the exact date – November 11. I was wasting time as usual (and feeling guilty about it, as usual) reading things online. And then I read something that changed everything. It was like a switch turned on for me and suddenly I could see the light.

And I can’t even tell what it is, because it’s odd. It doesn’t really make sense. But it does to me. And that’s what matters.

I have never, ever, felt a peace like I do now. And it’s been strong and consistent this entire time. I no longer worry about things. I am truly filled with a peace beyond all understanding. I still thank God for everything, and I praise Him each day. I completely trust Him with everything in my life, and I am willing to go wherever He leads me.

And self-love! Oh, man, I finally understand this concept! When that big thing suddenly clicked in my mind in November, I really loved myself…maybe for the first time in my life. I love myself unconditionally. And others I love? Also unconditional. I do not need anyone else in the world to do anything for me any more. I choose to be with the ones I love, and I want to be with them…but I don’t need them. I will still be whole and be me regardless. Not needing them doesn’t mean I don’t love them – I suddenly loved them even more. They don’t have to do anything to earn my love. My love is there, always and forever, regardless of the circumstance or choice.

I’m so free. I’m so free, ya’ll! I don’t even know how to express it fully. I finished my revision and got it to my agent. I’m getting ready to start back on my unfinished manuscript. And I’m starting to think a little bit about fan fiction. It’s just so freeing! No matter what happens in life, I have God. And I have me. Those are the only two things I really, really need. Everyone and everything else is wonderful blessings heaped on top of an already complete and fulfilled life. And it’s mine!

And this is why 2016 was the best year I ever had. All the suffering and pain, all the long days and endless nights full of questions and doubts and misery…they were all worth it. I’d go through them again a million times if the way I feel now is the end result.

And the thing is…I’m not even describing it well enough. I’m a writer but there are no words for the unspeakable joy that is within my soul 100 percent all of the time. But it’s blissful. And I don’t think I’m ever going to lose it again.

I want to thank everyone who has been with me in one form or another, loving me when I couldn’t love myself, through so many years. I especially appreciate those who loved me in 2016, when I was in the dark night of the soul. I finally found the light and I am honestly, truly well.

May the joy of the Lord be with you always. <3