2 years….

So tragic. We owe it to them to DO something! Honor the victims by changing society.

It has been almost two years since you were killed.  It still hurts.  It is still hard.  I feel that moment I learned that you were dead still so fresh in my mind.  It just didn’t seem real.  I will never heal completely, because YOU complete me.  I love you Emilie.  You redefined my life and I will fight hard to be worthy to see you again.

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That terrifying moment when you have time to write!

The deadline is looming. You drive to work yearning to turn around, go home, and get to work on the job you really want to do, which is writing. But you have responsibilities. You need that pay check. So you drive down raining streets, dry streets, snowy streets, seeing your characters in your mind. Engaging them in conversations and coming up with new plot twists.

The ache is real and intense. You NEED to work. And you will. Just a few more weeks in the semester or before that next brief break and you’ll hit it like a sailor on leave hitting a …….well, you get the picture.

The time comes. For me, that means finals are finished and semester grades are turned in. Finally, I can focus on what I really want and need to. SO WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT!

I recently tried to find the original writer who compared writing to slicing open a vein. To my surprise, there have been many such analogies by many writers throughout history. Is that why it’s so hard? Because writing is like tearing open an artery to your soul and letting it pour out on to the page?

Maybe it’s fear. If I were trying to create a masterpiece out of marble, I might work hundreds of hours only to leave it unfinished for fear that carving just a little bit more might leave my Venus de Milo without a nose or my David without his big toe. In other words, fear of screwing up!

What if what I write next isn’t as good as what I’ve already written? Or worse yet, what if I finish it, send it out into the world and no one likes it? Yikes!

The truth is writers are human. We screw up and that’s why we have a delete button and why the great Stephen King told us to “kill our darlings.” We’re going to make mistakes, and not everyone is going to love everything that we write. But that yearning is there. That desire to create. So we suck up our insecurities and we get to work

Besides all of the sayings comparing writing to self mutilation (of the highest form I might add!), there is the saying that if writing was easy, everyone would do it. It’s not easy, but if we silence our fears and jump off the proverbial cliff, well…the view is pretty damned amazing. So time to stop procrastinating and get to work.

Happy writing everyone!

To Write or To Cry. That’s the question.

Yesterday, I was digging through a pile of papers looking for a misplaced psychology exam when I came across a piece of paper that literally made my blood halt in my veins. It was a page from the first round of rewrites my editor sent me of Deadly Design. In reality, I think she had more ink on the page than I did.

It reminded me of the roller coaster that comes with getting published. For many writers, I think the magic moment comes when a publisher says, “Yes, we want your book.” We’re elated that someone has faith in us. We made it! Yes! That fragile author’s esteem has finally been validated. We’re finally feeling good about the hours (and years) we’ve spent developing our craft. Then after weeks or maybe even months, your editor, this mysterious Gandalf of the publishing world, contacts you with your first round of rewrites.

Little do we realize that this first round is kind of like a ’round’ in the ring with the heavy weight campion of the world. It’s rough. That validation that I mentioned earlier, is sucker punched right out of you. And there’s that voice that can’t help but say, “If there’s this much wrong with it, why did they want it?”

But then you have to make a decision. Do you buckle down and get to work, or do you cry? I imagine that many writers end up doing both.

But this is it! This is the dream! And for the first time, someone is helping you achieve your goal of not just getting published, but of publishing something that can be better than you ever imagined.

It seems like a long time since I got that first package on my doorstep. Little did I know how many more would be over-nighted to me because when it comes to rewrites, there’s always a deadline. But then one day, there were two boxes on the front porch that I had not been expecting: two boxes of ARC copies.

I’d made the choice to write. That’s what we do. Writers write. It doesn’t matter if someone is praising us or giving us painful but needed criticism — we write. So take heart.

The only thing more fragile than a house of cards or the petals of an orchid is a writer’s ego. But there is nothing more beautiful or valuable. After all, we are the painters of the imagination. We are the creators of worlds, of heroes and villains. All we have to do is decide to write. (And maybe occasionally, to cry.) But mostly, write!