That's right -- three months and counting until THE NAMING OF COLTON BLACK is OUT! To prepare for the new book, I'm going to be getting the website ready--particularly figuring out some fun, new interactive features. Like personal Namings. (You'll get this soon, I promise.)
In preperation, I'm going to repost some embarrassing stories about myself in junior high and high school. Why? (Yes, Robin. Why.) Because my main character in THE NAMING OF COLTON BLACK is prone to embarrassment. So I figure, to make things authentic (after all, my heroine is pretty much me), I should reveal to you, dear, kind readers, some funny things that have happened in my life.
Here's the first.
Yes. I tried out for drill team in the sixth grade. I adored dancing and the idea of exclusivity in the shape of a drill team uniform. No, I wasn’t popular, but I guess you could say I was liked. Which, in the life of a middle-grader, means absolutely nothing. You’re still invisible in the eyes of the people you want to be visible to. Trying out for DT was a step towards being seen. It gave this quiet, reserved introvert a chance to shine. On audition day, I hit those angles hard and was selected as one of four drill team captains. I was on my way!
What no one tells you is that you’re going to perform to songs you’ll forever hate. And look back on and be mortified you ever did such a thing. Like our Christmas show. Adorned with Santa hats, we tip toed, crawled, and skulked across the stage to Tim Burton’s “Kidnap the Sandy Claws.” Or our spring performance. I dressed up in a large white teeshirt, oversized plaid boxer shorts, and chunky socks and danced to a song called “Overload.” And I can never again hear the 90s anthem “What is Love” without cringing (it was our big show stopper).
Regardless of corny costumes or cheesy songs, my days in drill team were enjoyable. Embarrassing today? Sure. But it gave this shy, squirmy, and scrawny preteen an odd dose of confidence. A new set of friends. And a handful of memories to fondly laugh at in her thirties. Oh, to be a sixth grader again. (Please, God. No.)
I'm so excited about this one. Guys, I'm updating the website in preparation of THE NAMING OF COLTON BLACK! It's still a bit under construction (none of THE MISSING CRIMOIRE'S features are up at the moment). But I'm working hard to tweak it, prettify it, and on-brand it.
I've got some fun ideas for THE NAMING OF COLTON BLACK too. Some interactive goodies; character images; and more. None of this will be fully launched until the book is launched in August. BUT I miiiight add some bits here and there to whet your appetite.
Which leads me to this. I'd love it if you added your name to my email list -- I'll be sending out email updates for when things launch on the website. If you want to join, simply click the adorable "sign up!" bubble on the homepage to add your email. And join me for some fun. Boom.
Thanks for following along on this journey with me. All the feels, guys. Truly.
I'm not gonna lie. I love working for myself. The flexibility that comes with self-employment is my jam. I can schedule my hours around my husband's; I can work in my yoga pants; I can work at 2am and wake up at 10am. Those of you who work from home get it.
I've been hit with some depression lately. And usually when that happens, I take a step back and analyze things. Often times the depression is just there. A physical heaviness that has no reason to exist. Life can be going well and then BAM. Hello, depression.
Other times, however, there's a root to the cause. And this time, when I gave it some thought, I realized something. Self-employment can suck sometimes.
If you're anyone like me, someone who loves doing good work; loves pleasing people; loves being an excellent employee; then you might understand me when I say--I need feedback. I crave it. I've been getting by without it for a while now. True, with every freelance job I get, there's a sense of validation that comes along with it. This person must value my skills--they're paying me.
But when the freelance gigs wane, and writing your own projects take president, the feedback disappears. And you're left facing your own doubts and demons. Without the balance of outside praise, those negative voices can become overwhelming; push away any good thing you've done. Tell you it's worthless; it's stupid. No one cares.
I don't know what the solution is. Because I know I shouldn't live my life solely for the praise of my work. Gosh, no. And I know I need to develop that internal voice that'll give me the confidence I need. (#girlboss). But it's also a good thing to reflect on. It helps me know how I work best. Helps me know how to encourage other self-employed pals.
And most importantly, know how to deal better with that self-employment depression when it comes along.
Love to know how other self-employed writers / artists / etc. out there deal with this!
Thank you to everyone who read my long, personal post. And for the comments and love you sent. This social media / blogging world is a strange one, isn't it? Where you can chose to either paint a picture of perfection or invite strangers into your struggles. I hope to do the latter and never cause anyone to believe I lead a perfect life.
Because I don't.
And my Part I post should be an indicator of that. What I wanted to expand on, if you'll let me, is the after part. The part that is good. Not perfect. But good. Because there is goodness to this life. God-filled goodness. And it was through God's great faithfulness that I was able to survive such imperfection and ugliness of my disorders.
Yes. God's faithfulness is good. So, so good. Through every beaten down step, I cried out to him. Pleading for him to remove this "thorn in my side." To just make it disappear. Because he can. He could. But instead? He chose to show me his faithfulness through the pain. And that was the greatest gift he could have given me. Because now, when I'm hurting, he gently reminds me of the greatest struggle so far in my life. How he was there. Holding me. Never leaving me.
Today, I still struggle with anxiety and OCD. I don't think it'll ever go away. But God has helped empower me with the knowledge I need to live with them. He gave me my therapist to free me. He gave me my husband to love me. And he gave me his Spirit to heal me.
While Part I is full of suffering, Part II is full of rejoicing. This is why I love God. He brings beauty out of darkness. Beauty out of pain.
And? He gave me all of you. To listen. To pray. To love. I thank him for YOU.
Writing ACT ONE
Ahhhh, ACT ONE of a new novel. It's one of the hardest yet most enjoyable parts of the novel writing experience.
Well, I think it's obvious why it's one of the hardest. Because well--you have to start. From nothing. That blank page stares at you, judging you, whispering all sorts of doubts and ugly words into your ear. Telling you it's not worth it. You'll only fail. What you have to say is stupid.
And yet, it's one of the most enjoyable too because--it's the beginning. Things are fresh. Ideas are new. You can have as many brilliant plot points as you can conceive--and you don't have to tie them up yet. It's like skipping through a field, picking daisies and not worrying yet about trimming, watering, and caring for those flowers.
At the moment, I'm nearing the end of ACT ONE. It's getting serious. I've introduced my main characters; highlighted my hero's dilemma; created an inciting incident; and am close to writing the opposing argument. Then? It's ACT TWO.
I'm TERRIFIED of ACT TWO. Yes, the beginning of the novel is hard; because of the doubts that waft in and out. Because of the blank page. But ACT TWO? You have to make. Things. Happen. You have to carry your plot points convincingly forward; you have to build your character arc; lead your readers along as authentically as possible; dive deeper into your hero's desires and wants.
*Takes deep breath*
Thankfully, I have another week until ACT TWO is upon me. For now, I'll delight in wistful ACT ONE. Picking daisies and not caring a thing about what's to come.
What about you? What's your ACT ONE journey like??
Truth time. I am now 5 days behind on my writing schedule. FIVE. DAYS. People. This is bad. I did so well last week; plugging away, writing my weekly goal. But somehow, the weekend hit, life happened, and whoops. There went my WIP.
But besides feeling guilty for ignoring my baby, I must say, I'm excited about every word. No. Every word isn't perfection. (Gosh, no. My manuscript is horribly messy and poorly written so far). Every word, however, is fresh. New. Mine. It's the start of something new and I'm loving where this journey is taking me. Where my characters are leading me.
Writers, isn't it bizarre when we have an outline and while we "stick to it" per say, we never quite know what's exactly going to happen because we have these livable, breathable characters doing things? It's definitely been a learning experience, allowing my characters to do things uncharacteristic of them. I always thought I had to have them do things that made sense. But hello--people aren't that way. Why should my characters be?
Now. Time to get caught up; and set a new goal. Then stick to it. Here's to the next 13K. This should get me to ACT TWO. (Which COMPLETELY freaks me out. I always feel ACT TWO is the hardest. More on that later.)
Since last week's post was long, this week's will be short. I'll definitely write the Part II of my first post. But before then, I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU for your sweet words of encouragement. I love being real with you--and I love that you don't mind.
So, to make this post a bit more sweet, I'm sharing another bit of THE NAMING OF COLTON BLACK's cover design!
The proof copy is in the hands of my mom--who's giving it one more read through before I submit it to Amazon. EEK! Looking at an AUGUST RELEASE! CAN.NOT. WAIT.