This writing blog has been sorely neglected. For those of you that follow–I apologize! This absence of posts reflects the busy year and introspective change in my attitude as a writer. I suppose that statement requires an explanation that I’m afraid will be rather lengthy, but, luckily for me, it’s cold outside so there’s not much better to do than hole up indoors with a computer and read this missive. I’ve always been fond of lists as they organize my always disorganized thought process, so here follows a list of what I’ve done this past year in writing and life.
I Started Another Blog
For those of you who follow me via Facebook, this is old news. For you exclusive WordPress followers, this will be new. In March 2016, at the urging of friends, I decided to take my fashion obsession to the Internet and begin a style blog called Luna Elise. I have been lucky enough to have several amazing shoots with friends and, through these talented photographers, I have met even more connections to collaborate and shoot with. Books and clothes are two of my favorite things in life, and I have definitely enjoyed extending some effort towards fashion. Since Luna Elise’s inception, I have come a long way. I’ve gained a decent following, become a more confident model, gotten a sponsorship with a well-known online boutique and even made the runway model roster for Kansas City Fashion Week! To learn more about my other blog, check it out at http://www.lunaelise.com!
I Traveled a LOT
This past year has been crazy and amazing with the amount of traveling I’ve done. Aside from going to Cancun, Colorado and Austin, I also went on a once-in-a-lifetime road trip with my boyfriend. The exhaustive list of places visited–The Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Devils Tower, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Crater Lake, Seattle, San Francisco, LA, Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, Aspen–plus all the amazing highways and little gems along the way. The entire trip was a month long, then we immediately headed out to Colorado with my Dad for the annual mountain climbing trip. All this travel amounts to nearly two months of my year, which is a pretty ideal work:play ratio if you ask me. 🙂
I Did Writer’s League of Texas Conference Again
The travel wasn’t all play; I attended the WLT Conference in Austin in June. This was coming off of the huge realization that Capacitance needed a much more involved rewrite than I had envisioned. As I went back through the story (which I originally thought I would have rewritten for the conference and ready to pitch), I realized that the entire storyline needed work, needed depth. It was frustrating, but necessary to accept. Thus, I went into the conference ready to pitch ideas, not land a deal. I remember sitting in my hotel room right before pitching to an agent, brainstorming a plot that I would pitch on the fly in 10 minutes time! The plot I pitched was DRASTICALLY different from the original Capacitance. It still has the same characters, but the set-up is quite changed. I pitched to Jessica Papin at Dystel & Goderich (despite my former rejection there), and bluntly asked her if she thought the idea was salable and good. She said yes, and that she would like to see the rewrite. But here’s the thing–I have no idea whether to believe the agents at these conferences. Especially at the pitch sessions. We pay to pitch to them, so I am wary of their reactions. It is so much more comfortable to say something encouraging even when you’re thinking how much it sucks. Hurting someone’s feelings is uncomfortable. So, maybe this is just my perpetually hyper-critical brain being paranoid, or I’m onto something here. Almost all agents at conferences say they want to see material. Honestly, I think that’s just easier on them than saying no. What’s another email to just delete? All said and done, my experience at WLT was interesting, but it just added to my general frustration on the professional world of literature.
I Took A Break
Which leads me to my next point. My six weeks of traveling came hard on the heels of WLT, and I took that as a sign to pause and breathe. Jessica Papin wasn’t going to be sitting with bated breath at her computer waiting for my revamped version of Capacitance. She might not even really want it anyway. So, I decided to give my mind a break from my characters. It may not make sense to anyone but the writer, but your characters are always with you. The brain is always carving away at them, shaping them and trying to fit them together into this perfect story. Believe it or not, it’s rather difficult to make the mind stop doing this! However, as Johnny and I hiked mountains, walked beaches, and sipped poolside drinks, I was able to let the characters go and give my mind a much-needed respite from what had been a very high pressure journey of expectations that were too high on a timeline that was way too short.
After our travels, not wanting to cease our constant companionship of the past six weeks, Johnny and I moved in together. It was a very natural choice, especially since I no longer needed the secluded haven of living on my family’s farm. However, my delicate, over-thinking writer brain always needs time for the proverbial waters to settle after they are disturbed by any major change (thanks, brain), so during this transitory time, the characters in my mind continued to stay silent–or were drowned out by all the other noise. Until one day they spoke up again. Although this time it wasn’t Mara and Runey clamoring for my attention, it was a completely new story, inspired by this old, odd river town I’d moved into. A town where Victorian mansions march up and down the riverfront hills, shoulder to shoulder with a Catholic university and mystery fills the air (to romanticize it heavily). It’s always said to write what you know, and I think small town Kansas fits the bill and represents an unexplored potential for stories. Johnny and I aren’t in this small town by choice but rather by career moves, but I think this piece of our puzzle serves several purposes, one of them being major inspiration for a new novel. I am not going to say much more about this project I am working on. I’ve already said too much about it! This time around, there won’t be any jumping the gun. No aspirations of fame dancing in my mind after the first draft. But I will say, I am excited about this project and I’m approaching it in an entirely new way by doing more planning and structuring of the plot before I start writing. So now I appear more lazy than ever since much of this work has been contained to the old cranium thus far (HA).
In conclusion, no, I haven’t forgotten Mara and Runey’s story. I don’t think I ever will forget it. That statement makes it sound so final, and that’s not intentional. Truly, I plan to tackle that saga again in the future and implement new ideas–maybe even the ones I improvised 10 minutes before pitching! That being said, I am in no hurry to get back to Capacitance. I got severely burnt out on it and I want to make sure I am fully fresh and ready to be excited by the project before I start it again.
What’s in store for 2017? Already, I have a lot of travel planned. The Luna Elise blog is picking up steam. Thus, there will be distractions. However, I am going to go into full-on writing mode. Like, hide in the basement with notes all over the walls and a giant white board full of outlining writer-mode. The downside of going offline in my writing mind for so long is that it makes it VERY hard to get back into the habit of self-discipline and treating writing like a job. That is the ultimate struggle. So, 2017 is going to be a tough one. I welcome your encouragement and understanding of my very infrequent blog posts. 🙂