You may notice that things look a little bit different around the blog these days. That's because I've made a pretty big change: my name. And I built a whole new site to go along with it.
I've always intended on writing under a pen name, and I decided it was finally time to make the changeover. Here's why I decided using a pen name was right for me along with an inside look into how I chose my nom de plume.
It's no secret: I am a comically slow writer. Always have been, and unless I get my hands on whatever Bradley Cooper was on in Limitless, I always will be.
For the most part, I've accepted this. I work at a speed that allows me to avoid burnout while maintaining a full-time career as a magazine writer, which is no small feat. Lately, however, the self-doubt has started to creep in.
I’ve always considered myself a writer, but I didn’t really start writing until NaNoWriMo 2010. I churned out 50,000 words before Thanksgiving, and it’s probably not an exaggeration to say the experience changed my life.
Since then, I’ve always been my most productive writing self during NaNoWriMo. I love the frenzy of it, the sense of community, and most importantly, the hard, looming deadline. When the calendar turns to December, I usually decide to take a break after my month of exhaustive work, thinking “I’ll get back to writing in the New Year.” But then January is busier than expected at work and February’s so short that I can’t really expect to get anything done. All of a sudden, I’m in a creative rut.
Like a lot of authors, I often feel like I’m not doing enough. I procrastinate. I spend too much time on Twitter. I press the snooze button. I feel time slipping by and think about all the opportunities to write that I’ve missed.
As the twenty-teens come to a close, I don’t want to fixate on all the writing I haven’t done. A decade is a long time, and I’ve come a long way. For once, I’m going to sing my own praises: this is what I’m proud to have accomplished in my writing life over the decade.
I’m putting it out there, law-of-attraction-style: one day, I would like to support myself full time by writing fiction.
Until then, like a lot of aspiring novelists, I work a regular, full-time office job. And I have to admit, lately I haven’t been doing a very good job of keeping up with my fiction writing.
Since I’m feeling so overwhelmed by my job and other things, I wanted to remind myself—and hopefully teach you—how to find a balance and keep working on my personal projects.
You may remember my philosophy on New Years' resolutions. It's very similar to the old maxim, "under-promise and over-deliver." At the end of that December 2018 post, I made some very small resolutions, and since we've hit the halfway point of 2019, I thought this would be a good time to check in on my goals.
There is a subset of people who say, “Why make resolutions on January 1? It’s just an arbitrary date! You can make changes in your life any time of the year.” While I do make goals all year round, I think there’s something nice about using this season to look back on what I’ve accomplished in the past year and what I’d like to do in the upcoming year.
Generally, I have the same “resolution” every year, which is to write more consistently. Since convincing myself to sit down to write is often my biggest roadblock, I’ve spent the last few years refining resolutions that trick me into actually starting to work.
Right now, I’m approximately 24 hours outside of my 2018 NaNoWriMo win. I brought it down to the wire, with my latest finish ever, but I did it! Now that I’ve validated and claimed my goodies, I’ve decided to dissect the month — The joy! The tears! The confusion! — and make a plan for future writing endeavors.
So, How Did It Go?
Well, I wrote 50,000 words — 50,356 to be exact — so in that sense it was very technically a “win”, though there were definitely some things that didn’t quite go my way.
But I’ll start with the good.
As I type this, there are 8 days left until the start of NaNoWriMo.
I’m not ready.
A few weeks ago, I settled on a project to work on, and since then, I’ve pieced together a vague plot and come up with a protagonist (who I spent way too much time choosing the perfect name for). And that’s about it
I have a confession that is, frankly, a little embarrassing: I'm in a book rut. When I go through my Goodreads, I see that I'm shamefully behind on my reading goal for the year, and the books I have finished, I either haven't particularly enjoyed, or are rereads of old favorites.
Like most writers, I am usually also a voracious reader. In the past, it hasn’t been uncommon for me to read 60, 70, 80 books a year. I’ve absolutely been that cliche bluestocking, reading on the subway or while walking to work, cramming in minutes of an audiobook here and there while I work on laundry or preparing a meal.
On the blog, you'll finds musings on writing craft, book reviews, and general updates on my work. If there are any topics you'd like me to cover, leave a comment!