On Writing and Recovery

artistswayI’ve been working through The Artist’s Way. In the past two and a half years, I’ve gone to tons of support groups and counseling and have read self-help books that were recommended to me to help shape up my life. And, a few weeks ago, I was thinking about how my writing had stalled, and I had a manuscript almost finished that I just wasn’t getting anywhere with. One of those things where, you’ve literally got about two more weeks of work to do, and you’d be done, but taking that first step seems as hard as climbing a mountain.

I remembered The Artist’s Way and how, as a teenager, I picked it up and scoffed my way through a few pages before abandoning it. It was too god-oriented and had too many stupid school-type exercises for the likes of me.

So I’ve got this YA manuscript that’s literally days from being done and has been workshopped by two groups of people to good reviews and even better pointers, and I felt the itch to go to the bookstore and see if The Artist’s Way might help me. I bought it, and the rest is history.

In the first week of following the exercises, my productivity exploded. In the second and third weeks, it flagged a bit, but I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone on a regular and am taking care of myself in new and gentle ways. And, from a little poking around, I discovered #PitchWars, which has given me even more structure and accountability and, most importantly, a short term goal that matters and should get my manuscript, query, and synopsis out the door and polished in short order.

This week, I’m facing a reading fast, which may be the hardest thing I’ve done in a long time. My plans for today and tomorrow were to read and write all day, but with reading off of the table, I’m already cleaning up my long-neglected website and getting some dancing and cleaning in. I’m not sure I can go a whole week without reading (which for me will include Facebook and Digg and most of Twitter except for #PitchWars, and the news, which is probably good because the news has been pulling me down lately until I feel like I’m drowning), but it looks like I’m already channeling the time in positive ways.

#PitchWars 2016 Bio of Doom

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This year is the first #PitchWars has hit my radar, and I’m excited because now is the perfect time to participate. In 2014, I wrote a paranormal YA for NaNoWriMo as a lark, but when I started submitting to my writer’s group, they told me that this is the best book I’ve written so far. A few years ago, I got a few agent nibbles for another paranormal romance I wrote, so I’m pretty optimistic about this year’s submission.

A little about me: by day I work in the tech industry. I help advocate for and educate nonprofit organizations and am in charge of my company’s support department. By night, when I’m not taking my dog for walks or helping the Big Easy Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence fundraise for LGBTQA causes, I’m at home writing, usually paranormal romance and urban fantasy, but I also dabble in sci fi, magic realism, and epic fantasy. This is my first YA; in addition to my home writer’s group, I have also workshopped it at Wiscon, where it received a pretty good reception. I’ve been taking the most recent critique suggestions to heart, and I think they have made my work much stronger.

My novel is basically the book I wish I’d had as a kid. It’s a YA novel about a bisexual protagonist, Lacey, who discovers her best friend and love interest, Rachel, is a werewolf. When Rachel’s cousin moves to town, Lacey struggles even more when she starts to have feelings for him, but she’s surprised when everyone in her best friend’s family, including Rachel and her cousin, support herĀ in figuring out her what’s best for her. To complicate matters, Lacey comes from a religious family, and she must untangle her own feelings about homosexuality, bisexuality, and the fact that werewolves do exist as she discovers what is really important to her.

What would make me a good mentee? I’ve worked as a professional journalist for some major papers in Florida, and I take edits and criticism well. I want my work to be as strong as it can be. I’m driven to write; I have never not been a writer. I work hard. And, I have a positive outlook on life that bleeds into everything I do. I also think that we need diverse voices in YA and SFF, and bisexual/pansexual/sex positive voices have historically been invisible in mainstream fiction.