Thank You.

I started blogging weekly, more than five years ago. October 20, 2011– to be exact. I was just finishing up grad school and my first book, Neverending Beginnings, hadn’t even been published. I had a different non-writing job than I do now. I hadn’t met Julia Kelly & Alexis Anne and therefore, had no idea I’d co-host a monthly podcast. I’d never attended a huge national conference, much less presented at one. Five years ago I’d maybe run a couple of 10Ks, but if you’d told me I’d a half marathon once, let alone twice, I’d have swiftly dismissed that as crazy-talk. I had never been to Paris, or Belgium, or Portland, or Austin, and I’m sure there were countless beers I hadn’t tried, books I hadn’t read.

Five. Years.

The thing is though, when you do a thing for so long, it’s easy to just keep doing it because it’s that thing you do, right? You roast chicken every Monday, and make quinoa bowls every Wednesday. You go to happy hour at that one brewery every Thursday. You meticulously move things from this week’s to-do list to next’s every Sunday night. You always brush your teeth before you wash your face. And then maybe one day, you forget and wash your face before brushing your teeth, and you realize it’s no big deal. Or you can’t get to the chicken on Monday and realize it’s just as good cooked in the slow cooker on Saturday. And maybe you break your brewery routine to join a friend for jazz at the cafe around the corner and realize there’s this whole other world of things to do on Thursday nights. And that to-do list? Well, perhaps if it’s not getting done there’s no sense in re-writing it.

Five years. Thirteen weeks. But today, I break my routine.

I don’t know what it will feel like not to publish a blog next week. I haven’t not spent some of the hours leading up to Thursday preparing a blog post for the last 273 weeks of my life, so I imagine I’ll feel like something is a bit out-of-order. However, for some time, I’ve been feeling like this whole thing has just become a little too habitual for me, just one more thing to check off the list and write down again on the next week. Like it’s missing a bit of soul. I’m quite certain there is a whole other world of writing to do out there just waiting for me to breathe some life into it and better serve readers.

So that’s my plan. I’m going to take some space and explore some other venues and new projects. But I can’t step away without saying thank you for spending a few precious moments of your day with my words. Whether you’ve been here for all 273 weeks, or are finding yourself here for the first time, I am so very grateful.

Five years. Grateful.

 

Since I won’t be blogging every week, I will no longer send a weekly e-mail. However, I’ll still be sending a message on at least a quarterly basis with an update on the progress of my latest novel, including excerpts,  release dates and pre-orders, so I do hope you’ll stay on my mailing list (or sign-up for the first time, below). And again, thank you.

 

Rory’s Story

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I’m not a dog person. I know, I know. It’s a terribly controversial thing to say — but before you (a) stop reading this and/or (b) decide you should never read of my books because, seriously who could NOT love dogs– I implore you to at least finish this post, which is somewhat ironically, about a dog that I liked quite a bit. Continue reading

The Surefire Way to Overcome Fear

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Take a risk . . . be okay.  Twice in my life I have moved to a new city with a lease on an apartment and no job.  That’s right, twice.  The first time was right out of college and the second was three years later.  Both times I had some money saved.  Both times I took jobs I didn’t love until I found better ones.  The second time, that better job was a long time coming.  If I had studied the economic trends of 1999 versus 2002 or taken a harder look at the job market in Richmond, VA compared to the suburbs of Washington, DC I might not have done it.

I also might never have learned that I can land on my feet.  Or figured out how to block out the noise around me and just have faith.

There have been other risks in my life.  Some bigger, some smaller.  Each one, regardless of the outcome leaves an indelible mark.  The irreversible knowledge that I can.  And I will be okay.

I would love to hear from you.  Tell me about your riskiest move and how it turned out in the comments below.

*awesome photo found here!

Uncomfortable

There’s that quote about fear and change and growth and being uncomfortable. I can never remember it exactly. Perhaps because, per the quick google search I just performed to try to jog my memory, lots of people are talking about the whole fear-growth-uncomfortable-changey thing. So here’s my contribution . . .

I’m taking a writing class, trying to push past a bit of a stuck phase I’m in. I tend to blame this stuck phase on lack of inspiration. Or the fact that I have become less disciplined now that I am no longer trying to squeeze writing in between working and grad school (i.e. Never mind that self-imposed deadline, I have so much free time after work and on the weekends I can always write tomorrow). While these may be a part of it, they aren’t nearly all of it.

The exercise in class was to write about our history as a writer. We were told to write until we had nothing to else to say. I started with memories from childhood. Elaborate stories I acted out with stuffed animals. The book about two cats (literally, cats) that fell in love, which I read a snippet from at a launch party hosted on the playground near my friend’s house (we served gummy bears and swiss cake rolls). The bad pathos-laden high school poetry. I wrote about frequently being told my papers in college were well-written, but not connecting this with writing outside academia until much later. About friends telling me my e-mails made them laugh, but not connecting this with voice until much later.

And then, my tone shifted. I wrote about my decision to really sit down and write; to seriously try to finish that story I started. A decision that was largely motivated by the sudden death of a close friend and a tangible realization about the brevity of life. The story that went on to grab the attention of an agent, who tried her best to sell it. The story that many editors praised as well-written but ultimately passed on for publication; offering tidbits of critique on plot and pace and hook. All of which I tried my hardest to learn from; to use in the writing of the next novel. The perfect publishable novel. With no heart.

So where does the uncomfortable come in. It comes in reading this to the class. Unpolished. Unedited. Raw. I could take the easy road here; claim that I had no idea that we would be sharing our writing. But I knew. Maybe it wasn’t even that I consciously thought about it; but more just that my soul knew this was what I needed; to write the darker, heavier stuff down and say it out loud.

The last words I wrote in class were as follows. Writing a novel was something I did instinctually the first time and something I must make room for. It can’t be learned, just must be given space. And freedom. If the price of that space and freedom is a few minutes of red-faced, shaky voiced discomfort, so be it. I owe it to the stories that still need to be told.