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.

1 comment:

Paula Barrows said...

Disappointed that Lady Justice will not be coming, but I am still in awe of people who write. Good writing always leaves us wanting more. You do what works for you because we missed you. Keep writing and we will keep reading.

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