Books, PhDs, and Ghosts, Oh My!

This year has been pretty strange so far. The world is a giant trash-fire, but there’s been great news for my friends in terms of their writing careers. It can be hard to reconcile the two things, holding sadness and joy in my heart at the same time, but I’m learning to just kind of roll with things.

I’m so incredibly excited for my writing friends. Two of them are self-publishing their work, and it’s awesome to see their stories out in the world. One just got published with a small press this past week. And two more have signed with agents. My heart is filled with pride for their successes, and I can’t wait to see more stories from them!

As for my writing… I’m still tootling along. I’m putting my writing career dreams on hold for a while, though, because I’ve decided to take the plunge back into academia. I was accepted into a PhD program which starts this fall, so while I’m planning on writing here and there, school will be my life for at least 4-5 years.

I have a goal to finish the novel I’m working on before heading off to school in ~3 months. Not sure if I’ll meet that goal, but we’ll see! Moving planning has been taking up a huge chunk of my time.

And next weekend, I’m off to a haunted weekend full of ghost hunting and metaphysical talks. I’m pretty excited about it!

So, lots of changes and exciting things coming up in the next few months. Life is funny because I never know what it’ll throw at me next.

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Life Upheaval

These past 2 months have been incredibly busy. My work transferred me to another location and gave me 4 weeks to pack everything up, make all the arrangements I had to make, and then move. They wanted to give me 2 weeks, but that was a little much…

So, now I’m here in the new location, which is actually in my old stomping grounds where I grew up. It’s surreal being back in an employed capacity. I’m used to just swooping in for quick visits, so it’s taking some getting used to actually being back.

But it feels so, so good.

I’m back on the query wagon for my book and I’ve started writing a new one! It’s amazing how creative I can be when I’m in a place that’s more suited to me.

I’m back, baby! And I’m happy!

Goodnight, 2016

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I can honestly say I’ve never been this excited to say goodbye to a year and welcome in a new one.

This year has had so many ups and downs. I’ve cried over celebrity deaths and personal ones. I’ve helped welcome new life into the world. I’ve let old friends go and welcomed new ones into my life.

I’ve watched my country divide itself further and further and I honestly don’t see how reconciliation is possible. But hope dies last, and I will fight for love and acceptance until my dying breath.

And two things happened this year that changed me forever.

The first was the Aspiring Writers Workshop with Madcap Retreats. I am a stronger, more fearless writer because of this experience. I’m perfectly willing to burn my work down until only the good remains. Before this, I clung to every scrap of writing even when it wasn’t working. And I have made lifelong friends after getting to know the talented, welcoming people who also attended.

The second was the Strange Escapes: Ghosts of Christmas Passed event held in Gettysburg, PA. Again, I made new friends and I found a new passion to explore. My life isn’t weird enough yet, but I’m hoping 2017 will change that. I want to be braver and put myself out there more to experience new things. Change comes slowly, but I’ll get there.

And finally, there are things brewing in my personal life that I can’t talk about yet, but I hope that soon I’ll be able to share them with you.

So… Goodnight, 2016, and goodbye. I’ll miss the parts of you that were good, but mostly I’m glad you’re leaving.

Writing is Hard, but Keep Going

It’s been about 2 months since the Madcap Aspiring Writers Workshop I attended. I left the workshop in high spirits, really riding the excitement I felt while there.

However, in the time since then, I have run the gamut of “my work is terrible, I should stop writing” to “I can do this! It’s my dream and I will get there!”

Writing is hard. It takes a lot of self-confidence, which fluctuates for me from day to day. It takes commitment and self-discipline. And when I have a stack of books come into the library for me, it’s easy to not write for a couple weeks.

But, there’s always the pull back to the page. Now that I’ve started on this journey, I feel like I can’t give up now. I feel like the finish line is just around the corner and quitting isn’t in my genes.

If I stop writing, nothing is going to happen. No one is going to knock on my door demanding to see my work. No one is going to call me up and scold me for not finishing my book. And yet, I don’t want to fail.

Sure, I might have oodles of rejection letters sitting in an email folder marked “Lit Agent Rejections.” Sure, I might not have heard back at all from a handful of other agents. But I don’t see that as failure.

Failure is me saying “I’m done” for no other reason than it’s “too hard.” There are plenty of good reasons for someone to give up on this journey, but for me, being hard isn’t one of them.

So, I’m going to keep plugging along. And one of these days, my dreams will come true. Then, I’ll be faced with the onerous task of choosing a new dream to fulfill. But that’s the exciting thing about life. You never know what’s around the next corner.

Creating a Life

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I miss the river, too.

Moving is hard. Moving to a new place without any friends or family is even harder.

I’m very family/friend oriented, so moving 5 hours away from everyone I know has been tough. I’m trying to balance the stresses of my first professional job with trying to create a life for myself.

Sadly, I haven’t been doing a very good job of living outside my head. I’ve thrown myself into the internet, into books, into writing, as a way of escaping my reality. I miss everyone back home so much that living inside fantasy worlds is more appealing than the loneliness I feel outside of them.

And I don’t really feel like I fit out here. I’m from a more diverse place, within 2 hours of at least 3 major cities. Moving out to the rural part of the state has been quite a shock, and not in a good way. I knew life would be different out here, but I didn’t realize just how fundamentally different my values would be from the ones people here have.

I’m tired of feeling like I have to choose between my values and not being ostracized. I don’t see how this gets better, but I’m stuck here for now.

So I will continue hiding in my stories and others’ stories. I will write until my fingers fall off from typing and my eyes burn from my head from staring at the computer screen. And I will continue yearning for something better.

How are all of you doing this month? I’d love to hear from you.

Upheaval and Settling In

These past few weeks have flown by. With the job offer, apartment hunting, packing, hiring movers, actually moving, and now the seemingly-endless unpacking, life has been incredibly busy.

I start my new job in less than a week and I am so excited! I’m embarking on a career and it’s thrilling and nerve-wracking and every emotion in between. This is definitely a new beginning for me.

My apartment is beautiful. Light and airy and perfect. There are a few quirks to get used to, but what new place doesn’t have those? It’s lovely to be out on my own again.

I’m hopeful for the future.