Saturday, March 10, 2018

An Update, An Announcement, but Mostly A Ramble


This might end up being a long, rabling mess of a blog post. I will edit it the best I can while keeping the authenticity of what I want to say. But to be fully honest: It will be as Jenni as you can get. So bear with me.

That's right. A newly printed paper edit I am diving into...

In 2010, during my first actual year participating in NaNoWriMo, I finished my first ever first draft of a novel. In 14 days.  PRISON NATION was a story inspired by real life experiences, personal opinions, exploration and the pure love for a good dystopian story.  I can still feel that magical moment when I typed the last word and realized that my ultimate dream had come true.

Literally since the first moment I can remember, I have wanted to write a book.
And I had done it.

I spent the next year editing, revising, sending to beta reads, editing again. Submitting to agents.  Getting rejected.  Getting requests for more of the book.  Getting more rejections.  I edited more. Then I decided to follow the path of some good friends and go down the self-publishing route.  I edited. More. Designed a cover. Formatted. Uploaded...then with a racing heart, I hit the button.

One year to the day of me getting my NaNoWriMo winner's certificate, I was a published author.
And I had written two other books during that year to boot.

People seemed to love my book. Great reviews started showing up. Scathing and hurtful ones too. I learned what not to read (okay, let's be honest: I did read them. All of them. I still do. Maybe I didn't learn that as well as I hoped.) I even got an offer from a producer to option PRISON NATION as a TV series. Yup. I never posted about THAT one. Ultimitely and obviously, THAT never happened.

For those of you who maybe have not read PRISON NATION, here's a little spoiler: It ends with a cliffhanger.

So not long after publication, and as I was getting ready to dive into editing one of the other three books I had written by this point, people started asking for more.  They didn't like the open ending. They felt connected to Millie and Reed and wanted to find out what happened next. They felt like the story wasn't complete. 

So...I wrote more. LADY JUSTICE came into existence. I wrote it. Edited it. Revised it. Sent it to beta readers. Edited some more. Created the cover, the Goodreads page...Edited a little more.

And then...I stopped.
And I never came back.

I wrote PRISON NATION in 2010. I published PRISON NATION in 2011. I wrote LADY JUSTICE in 2012. And I stopped.

The covers...one published, one in obscur limbo land

So why? What happened? Will Lady Justice ever be published? Will any of my other WIPS? Will I ever write again?

Let me ramble and try to answer...

First off, let's rip off the bandaid and answer the question of "Why?"

I have thought about this. For years.  And I finally feel like I might have an answer.
I wrote PRISON NATION with the intention of it being a single standing book. I never intended for more of the Millie story.  I was darn proud of my open ending, because life is an open ending. I loved the fact that it made the reader question what the ending TRULY was. Like they felt lost and confident and fullfilled and wanting more, all at the same time. I was darn proud.

But people really wanted more.  THEY didn't seem proud. They weren't satisfied. They were addicted.  
I am a people pleaser. So I wrote what they wanted.

Don't get me wrong. I was more than flattered and bolstered by the fact that people wanted more from me. I must have done something right with my story and felt like I really had found my place. The place I always wanted.

But LADY JUSTICE, as I have said, was not planned. It was not part of the story. It was never intended. I forced it out and did end up creating a great sequel and pieces I was beyond proud of. My writing grew with this piece.  But I never felt right. I had all these other books I had written the first drafts of that were authentic to me. That I was excited about. That I wanted to create.  But I HAD to create Lady Justice. Because I had promised it and people were expecting it.

But I just didn't feel good about it.
So I stopped writing all together.
Because I felt bad about not publishing Lady Justice. I felt like I was disappointing everyone. I felt like my time had come and gone. I felt lost. And I couldn't work on anything else, because I felt guilty with that looming promise always hanging over my head. I felt like no one would accept another book from me, unless it was LADY JUSTICE.

Now here I am, 7 years after I published my first book...with only that to show.

Guilt. Pressure. Expectation. Exhaustion. Stress. The great disappearing act.
That's my why. I hope it makes sense.

Time for the next question. The big, looming question: 
"Will LADY JUSTICE ever be published?"

LADY JUSTICE might be published. Someday. I am not deleting the files. I am still proud of pieces of it. I still feel like it is a story worth telling. But will it be published soon? I can finally answer this honestly: No.

I am being true to myself. I am being true to my art and my dreams and my life.
And publishing LADY JUSTICE will just be more of the same thing. Editing, stopping, disappearing, and feeling guilty. I have too many stories to tell. I cannot keep trapping myself in this vicious circle. It has taken me many years to come to this realization. It isn't even a decision. It is a full realization of what my mind and heart and fate and life were all screaming at me since 2012. I am just finally listening.

Go ahead and feel sad. Even disappointed. I know I feel both, plus so much more. 
But I also feel free. Free to finally create again. To get these other worlds out of my head and into yours. To be the author I have always wanted to be.

So answering the other questions: "Will any of my other WIPS? Will I ever write again?"

Yes, I am writing again. Yes, I am attacking the first drafts of the books I wrote a couple years back that have been filling my mind and dreams. Yes, I am brainstorming yet more novel ideas. And yes, I have plans to start publishing again, hopefully sooner than later.

What changed?
Alot. It a nut shell.  That is a long post for another time. In short...I need to be true to myself. I am a mom. A Drama director and teacher (which is VERY time consuming, let me tell you.) A wife. A friend. I assist a local photographer when he needs extra help. I sell clothing. And while I love everything I do, I realized I still was missing something. And that something was: Being true to me.  If you have ready any of my earlier posts, I have talked about how I battle depression and other health issues. It has been worse than ever in recent months, and I was able to take it as a wakeup call. I need to make some changes. And the biggest one is being true to who I am and who I want to be.

I want to write.

And now you ask me: "What next?"
Oh, I don't know if I will get into all THAT right now. I am finding my schedule, my rhythm. I know what book I am finishing up next. I know what trilogy I am diving into after that. I will be present on my blog and Instagram and Facebook page more often.  I don't want to get in depth on that in this post, as I feel like I have rambled on for some time now and I am thankful you have read this far. There will be update posts coming before you know it, telling you more of my "what's next" plans.

So to wrap it up...
Thank you.
Thank you for your support. For reading my work. For believing in me and wanting more out of me. Thank you for reading my rambles. Thank you for waiting years and years to hear from me again. Thank you for being you, and for sticking around. Never stop. Keep pushing me. Keep cheering me on and asking me questions and begging for more. Encourage each other, and accept encouragement from those around you. It's people like you that keep people like me going.

I cannot wait to give you what I create.

Oh yeah, here's my face for you too. Hello.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I Mean It This Time

So.  This is happening.
I am getting back to work.
I am back.

And this time: I MEAN IT.




Friday, August 5, 2016

The Lady Justice Playlist


I am about to sit down and bust out a (hopeful) crazy edit session on Lady Justice.
But before I disappear into the final few chapters of Millie's story, I thought to pop by here and share with everyone what I am listening to.

That's right.

For those of you who have been with me since day one, you will notice repeat songs from the Prison Nation playlist.  And that's okay.  Because all those songs still apply so strong to the LJ storyline and the end of Millie's story.

I am still adding songs when one comes on that sounds just right.  But for now:  This is my editing list that keeps me in the LJ mood.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Find Me on Instagram

Have I mentioned I do the Instagram thing?
Well, I do.
And you should follow me.


I post anything and everything on there.  From writing tips, inspirational quotes, random photos of yours truly...all the way to in-the-moment updates on my writing and books.  While I do cross-post to my Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook, there are many posts I keep solely on my Instagram account.

So if you do the Insta thing: Go find me! @jennimerrittwriting (or click HERE)


Monday, July 25, 2016

LADY JUSTICE: The Long-Awaited Update

What's that?  An update about LADY JUSTICE?  Can this be real?

Believe it or not, I am here today to finally post more information about the PRISON NATION sequel.  It has taken me too long to get to this point.  If you have been following me on my blog and other feeds, you know what I mean.  But here we are.  Today.  Updating.

Are you ready?

FIRST:  A few LADY JUSTICE reminders...
1.  LADY JUSTICE is the sequel to my YA Dystopian novel, PRISON NATION.

2.  There will be no more books after this one.  It is the PRISON NATION DUOLOGY.
 Meaning there are only two.  This isn't a very common occurence, especially in the YA world, but I feel it is the right move for this storyline.  Enjoy it while it lasts.  I love where the story went, and plan to leave the rest to a reader's imagination as I move on to my other waiting manuscripts.

3.  It was written during the amazing craziness that is NaNoWriMo, back in 2012.  
Yes, four years ago.  I know.  Late is better than never.

4.  LADY JUSTICE will be Published in paperback and Kindle.
 I am still deciding on whether I will keep it exclusive or also do Nook and iBooks.


Now that those items are out of the way...

I have been working on LADY JUSTICE! After this reason and that reason and who knows how many other reasons, I have finally buckled down and decided to get this done.

Here is where I am at right now:

- Finishing up the edit/rewrite round.  Rewrite you ask?  Well, after much pondering, I decided a certain section that was not in the original write of LADY JUSTICE needed to happen.  I am at that point right now.  I am about 50 pages from the end of the book, and trying to decide where to add in a few chapters worth of content.  This has slowed me down a bit, but has not stopped me.  I love the add-in I am creating and I feel it will better tie up the story with a mean old dystopian bow.

- So when do I aim to finish this round?  If all goes right (meaning I stay focused and stop with the excuses) I aim to finally finish this round in about a week, give or take.

- What next?  Beta readers!  My Betas have been waiting far too long for this MS.  So in about 1-2 weeks, they will check their emails and find a book waiting for them to tear apart.  This part always gives me a stroke.

-  What do I do while they read?  Well, for one I am directing a three week children's theatre camp, so I will be kept busy.  Aside from that, I will finally concoct the dreaded synopsis for LADY JUSTICE and start in on finalizing the cover layout.

- By the end of August all the Beta reads will flood my inbox, and I will set to work plugging in edits and polishing this book up.

- Is there a projected publication date yet?  Well...I don't want to say an exact date due to still rediscovering my groove with everything.  But I will say this:  I plan to publish NO LATER than December 1, 2016.  Why that date you ask?  It is PRISON NATION's 5th birthday, that's why.  The OFFICIAL publication date will be announced as soon as I get a better idea of how long everything will take me.

- Until then... I just need my amazing readers' support.  I cannot wait to be back in the published world and sharing my creations with all you librophiles.  Find me on FB, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram...and keep holding me accountable.  With our powers combined...books will happen!  (Yes, I went Captain Planet on you.)

Are you excited?
I sure am!



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Real Reason I Disappeared

Over the last year I have posted five reasons I disappeared from the writing world.  (If you haven't been following along, go learn more about my RID list here.)  I decided these were the top five reasons I had stopped writing and publishing, and explained what was going on behind each of them.

I stick by everything I said.

Yet as I have sat back and read over everything I wrote, I came to realize something.  While they are all a part of the reason, they aren't THE reason.  They are only pieces of a much larger puzzle.

The pieces together showed me the truth.
And I am here to say it.

I gave up.
I stopped trying.
I stopped believing.

It sounds so simple and too easy.  But it is so true.  Whether I felt too busy, too tired or beaten down or discouraged, the real reason I disappeared is I stopped letting myself see the magic in the craft.

I stopped.
Simple as that.

I never thought the RID series would open my eyes that much.  I thought I would just air my grievances and that would be that.  But it was so much more.  I saw myself.  I saw my excuses.  And I saw how easily I fell into them.

And I do not like what I saw.

So here I am today:  Refreshed. Awake.  Aware.

Believing.

I am a writer.  I am a creator.  I am the master of my craft.  And there is no reason I should ever believe I am anything less than magnificent.

We have hard days.  Hard times.  We have bad reviews and horrible writing sessions and writers block and pure exhaustion.  We have jobs and families and fights and love.  We have life.  But if there is a dream you have, you should stop at nothing to achieve it.  

Do not let your excuses define you.
They are a roadblock.  You are the masterpiece.

Do not quit.
You are almost there.  You are already there.

One of my earliest memories is declaring I wanted to be an author.  It has not been an easy road.  I have quit more than I like to admit.  I am not a New York Times Bestselling author.  I am not even represented.  I have compared myself more than is healthy.  I have doubted myself and been hard on myself and been just plain lazy.

But at the end of it all...I am still a writer.
I live through my words.
And I need to stop excusing myself, and start believing in myself.

Whatever stage you are at with whatever passion you possess, never give up.  Don't you ever stop believing.  Because you can do it.  Excuses come and go.  Passion lives forever.

Let's do this together.



(Oh come on...you knew this song was coming.)

Monday, July 11, 2016

The RID List: LADY JUSTICE

The final chapter of my RID list has finally arrived.  And it is taken long enough.
(Disclaimer: This is not an official update on Lady Justice.  That is coming...)


Today I am going to write about the final RID I put on the list.  Later this week I will post one more post about this topic.  And then I will move on.

In 2010 I finally finished my first novel, thanks to the insanity of NaNoWriMo.  PRISON NATION came into being.  It wasn't perfect.  It was a debut.  But man I was proud of it.  

I self-published it in 2011.  Readers started to read it.  And like it.  Dare I say even love it.

It felt amazing.

During 2011 I also managed to write the rough draft of two other books.  They have not been touched since.

Then in 2012 I decided to do something I had never planned.
You see, PRISON NATION was supposed to be a single standing book.

But readers begged for more.  So I gave in.  During NaNoWriMo 2012 I busted out the rough draft of the sequel to PRISON NATION.  And that is when everything changed.

I loved the story I created.  I wanted to share it.  But I honestly can say that my heart wasn't in it.

Normally (not all the time, but I would dare say the majority of the time) when an author writes a series, they plan on it.  They have the story arc, the drive to finish it, the desire to see the books all the way through.  They can see it.

LADY JUSTICE was created for my readers.  Not for me.
I was finished with the story on the final page of Prison Nation.
It was done.  I loved its ending.  I had no complaints.  

So was this a mistake?

I am going to go out on a limb and say yes AND no.

Why yes?
Yes, because I had written other books I was ready to move onto.  (I have written two other novels since I wrote Lady Justice, meaning I have four different WIPS waiting to be edited.)  Yes because it wasn't my initial idea.  Yes because it wasn't the story I wanted to tell.  Yes because I gave in.

Why no?
No because it managed to stretch me.  No because authors don't always get to plan what they wrote.  No because I learned so much.  No because in the end, I ended up loving Lady Justice.  No because I gave in.

Yet I kept finding reasons to NOT work on it.
And "why?" is my eternal question.

In all honesty, with all excuses aside: I held myself back.
I let my insecurities about LADY JUSTICE take over.  I let all the YES reasons take over.  I did the biggest taboo and read and reread the bad reviews.  I doubted myself.  I told myself it was crap and I shouldn't do it.

Instead of just pushing it aside and moving on to one of my other WIPS, I let it take over even more.  I felt guilty every time I even thought about working on one of my other WIPS.  Guilty because I had readers longing for THIS book.  THIS book was ready and waiting.  THIS book was expected.  And it wasn't happening.  So what right did I have to work on a different one?

My guilt of dragging my feet on LADY JUSTICE stopped me from working on anything else.  Ever.

The pub date came and went.  Readers started to ask me where it was.  I felt guilty because I knew where it was...it was nowhere.  Then I didn't work on it MORE because of THAT guilt.

What a viscious web...

To make matters worse:  PRISON NATIO touches on police power. Guns.  Prisons.  Horrible Laws.  Everything that is big in our country right now.  People started to think I was making a political point.  I was only making a creative story.  But I got worried that LADY JUSTICE would stir even more of that thinking and people would think the stories inside were my honest opinion.  

And I let it stop me.

Books are SUPPOSED to stir conversation.  That means they are a success.
But my fear and my guilt took over.

And now, here we are.  Four years ago I wrote LADY JUSTICE.  Five years ago I published my one and only book.  And here I am...with only that.  I stopped myself right when my ball was rolling.  All because of fear and guilt.

I blamed a book.  A book I created.  I put all the guilt on LADY JUSTICE.
When really: I was the one who was guilty.

But there you have it.
That is why LADY JUSTICE is on my RID list.  This is quick and raw and true.  It is just a tiny insight into the mind of an insecure author.  It is that glimpse into what makes us stop instead of go.  I can't go one any more than I have, because then I would be more explosed than I can afford to be.  Writers a delicate creatures.

I am proud of LADY JUSTICE.
It is a piece of FICTION that does not reflect how I really feel.  I made it up.  Because that's what I do.
I am not going to let myself feel guilty anymore over it.

And I am going to write on.



Come back later this week for the final thoughts on my RID list

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