Hello everyone! It's so great to be returning to the blog. So much has happened in the last four months, it's hard to know where to begin! I got married. I learned to format my own books. I learned how to make book covers using Photoshop and InDesign. I started an education doctorate program that is very interesting, but strange because it’s mostly online and I find myself missing the interaction of a classroom setting and also because its strange to be graded for online interactions (forum postings, etc.).
Now don't get me wrong, I love online forums. In fact, when I first started to actively use the internet, it was forums that really made it magical for me. I was constantly on the Song of Ice and Fire and Mugglenet discussion forums. I loved hearing other people's theories and ideas, finding that they took me even deeper inside of the books. I wasn't much of a poster—I preferred to read and think about what I was reading, but it was awesome to know there were so many people out there as actively engaged in the books as I was and that I had a way of being able to connect with them. There weren't a lot of fantasy or Game of Thrones readers in my life back then either, and even now with the show being as popular as it is, I still don't have too many friends as excited for The Winds of Winter book as I am. Which is totally fine, because there are tons of people excited on the forum! But it does make it difficult for me to go from loving forums as a way to connect to people with shared interests, to having a forum be a place where I must engage in dialogue for a percentage of a grade. I get it, and I’m grateful that these new forms of communication and technology are being incorporated into our program, but it’s such a different space to be writing in.
Then, towards the end of the summer I went through a period of horribly uninspired writing that I’m still recovering from. It was awful. I had followed an idea almost to the very end when I realized I was absolutely not interested whatsoever in writing the book I was writing and was only doing it so I would be writing new words every day, instead of editing the projects I had finished and enjoyed writing to the point of being publication-ready. I don't know why I did it. It was like I'd created this self-imposed expectation on myself to write something, anything so long as it was new, instead of letting myself take a break. I don't know if anyone’s had a similar experience, but doing this was really damaging for my creative spirit. I've heard other writers talk about this before, about only writing the projects that you’re on fire for, and all I can say is that I agree one hundred thousand percent. I didn't think it would hurt me to not work on something that was a startling, new idea. I thought it would help me to rest, rather than douse, my creative energy. I was wrong. Really wrong. And now, I am doing my best to rebuild my creative stores. It's slow work, but it's happening.
This whole experience helped me to see that I needed to finish certain projects so I could genuinely embrace new ones. So I took time off from writing in October and parts of November to edit and format my books using InDesign, which means, I am this close *squeezes fingers together* to launching my very small publishing company and publishing the first two titles in the series, to be followed shortly thereafter by other works.
This is the ideal publication schedule for the next 3-12 months:
Spirit & Intent: A Collection of Short Stories & Other Writings
The Vampire Skeleton
The School That Ate Children
The Fortune Teller's Daughter
The Skeleton Key
I'm ridiculously excited about all of this. As I've written before—for the most part—my books are inspired by themes and events in Haudenosaunee stories and most of them have magic in them. Over the last year, I've gone back and forth many times about whether or not it would be best for me to try and pursue a traditional publishing path or to independently publish. This last month really cemented it for me, though. The truth is—I absolutely love every part of the publishing process. As frustrating and time-consuming as it was, I loved learning to figure out formatting. I loved making various sample covers and figuring out what works and what doesn't. I loved studying other books covers and examining how stories I loved with older covers had been rebranded for a modern audience. I loved ordering proofs and assigning ISBNs. I loved learning how to make ISBN barcodes (thank you again, generous and wonderful independent authors for sharing your knowledge).
Which meant I realized that while a traditional publishing company might have more luck reaching a wider audience than I would on my own—I couldn't give up all of this love for what is truly, the very technical parts of the process. It's been far too long since an entire day disappeared just because I was caught up in trying to figure out how to renumber pages properly. The only other kind of work that makes me feel joy like this is writing itself.
So I'm going to pay attention to that. I've often heard it said that when time starts to disappear on you—that's when you know you’re doing your passion. No one's paying you to do it. There's no reward or grade to mark your accomplishment. You simply do it because you love it. Fostering that kind of passion and happiness is so important to me right now. It's the kind of energy I can share with other people. Starting with you. Happy writing everyone! And remember—write what you love!