Goodbye, Patreon…

I hardly knew ye! Which makes this decision easier.

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they have to be honest with themselves. Today is that day for me. I jumped on the Patreon train way too early–I wasn’t ready for it. I don’t have a large enough following to be asking people to pay money for my writing when I’m still very unknown.

I do feel a little silly for throwing in the towel after only two weeks, but I feel it’s the right thing to do. The logistics of my Internet following aside, I think I was just trying to take on too much at once. Juggling my Twitter account, this website, and Patreon was too much. The work was stressing me out, and the lack of response to that work was discouraging.

It wasn’t a pretty mix. It was affecting my mental health pretty badly. I’ve spent much of the last week or so in a funk and down on myself for, in my mind, being a failure.

Something had to go, and Patreon was the chosen one. For the time being, it’s getting kicked to the curb. I’m not going to delete my account but I will stop promoting it. I’ll go back to it another day, when I feel I’m truly ready.

In its stead, I’m going to be more active here. I planned to post every Friday on Patreon, so I think I’ll adopt that schedule for this site. Expect an influx of poetry and short fiction pieces and maybe even a poetry reading once in a blue moon.

I want to thank everyone who has supported me thus far, in whatever capacity you’ve done so. You cannot know how much a “like” or comment means to me. Each one gives me the strength to carry on when depression tells me to quit.

Other ways to support me:

Summer Book Buying Ban

Not to be a braggart, but as I’ve been out of work since last March, I’ve read a lot of books. Well, a lot more than I’d read in the past, anyway. 2021 is on track to be my best reading year since 2011–I’ve read 36 books so far. In comparison, in 2018, I read only two books the entire year.

I was a whole mess in 2018. Seriously. It wasn’t pretty. Remember when I said I was almost fired for poor attendance twice? Blame 2018 for that.

Since being out of work, I’ve also bought a lot of books. Upwards of at least 50, but probably closer to 100. I’ve always had a problem hoarding books, but it’s been really bad this year. My TBR list is ridiculously long yet I keep adding books to it. I’m running out of shelf space!

Oh, and my husband and I are going on vacation this July, so I should probably save money where I can.

Obviously, I need to rein myself in, and so, I’m putting myself on a strict book buying ban from June 1st until August 31st. I have over 400 books and I’ve only read 47% of what I own. It’s time to read the other 53%…or get a start on it, at least.

There are two exceptions to my ban. I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out!

1. I can only buy books from series I already own.

When I was a young girl, my mom started buying me the Little House books. The Martha Years, Charlotte Years, Caroline Years, the original Little House books, and the Rose Years. I loved them so much and read each of them multiple times. Unfortunately, they went out of print before we could collect them all. Over the years, I’ve been acquiring the ones we missed. It’s a slow process. Usually they’re out of stock OR the prices are jacked up to hundreds of dollars. I’ve only got six to go, so if one of them pops up on thriftbooks dot com, I’m buying it, ban or no.

2. Book of the Month picks.

My second exception is to allow myself to enjoy Book of the Month still, but perhaps I will try to limit myself to only one or zero add-ons. It’s so hard to, though! I can get three hardcovers a for the price of one. And they have some really good titles to choose from.

3. Gift cards!

Exception three is pretty self-explanatory. I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, after all. If people give me money to buy books, absolutely, I’m going to spend it!

So…anyone feel like floating some money my way? I have both a Ko-fi and Patreon.

I kid, of course. Mostly.

Well, wish me luck. This is going to be very hard for me. And you, my readers? Do you need to limit your book spending?

Third Time’s the Charm

Writers have to have thick skins. By putting ourselves out there, we risk the possibility of being told no. It’s easy to take such rejection personally–we put so much of ourselves into our writing that any rejection of it feels like a rejection of us.

But it’s not. Receiving a rejection doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. It simply means your writing was not meant for that place, but there are hundreds and thousands of other places it may find a home in.

I have been rejected three times now. I won’t lie, it stings a little, but I try to keep in mind my own advice. I allow myself to be sad for five minutes (okay, maybe more like five hours), and then I try again.

And my perseverance has paid off. I am happy to announce I have just been accepted for the third time! My poem A Day in the Life of Henry VIII, which you can preview here, was accepted by The Copperfield Review and will appear in the Summer 2021 July edition.

As this is a poem I am most proud of, indeed, it may be one of the best poems I’ve ever written, I am beyond happy. And to think, I almost backed out of the query!

If you’re struggling, if you feel like your writing will never be published, if you’re considering giving up–this is your sign not to. Keep going. Keep fighting for your writing.

Your time will come.

Writing Goals

It’s no secret that the biggest roadblock along my path to success is my lack of self-motivation. Depression, anxiety, and ADHD team up to make sure I rarely have any. Anything I manage to create is done so whenever the fog of mental illness dissipates enough for me to see a little sunshine through the clouds.

I keep trying, though, and for that, I applaud myself. It’d be all too easy to give up for good. But I won’t. Though writing is hard, unbelievably hard some days, it’s still something I love to do, and I think I’d go crazy if I couldn’t write.

I have a couple of writing goals I’d like to accomplish this year. I’m going to record them here for some accountability. By the end of 2021, I would like to have at least 15,000 words of my novel written. I would also like to have my poetry chapbook ready for publication. I plan to go the traditional route first. If that doesn’t pan out, I will consider self-publication.

I’m both excited and not. It’s going to take a lot of work. Depression is telling me I’ll never be able to do it, and anxiety is telling me even if I did manage to finish my chapbook, no one would want to publish it. I wish there was a way to make them shut up forever.

All I can do is try my best. Onward!

Getting Back on the Horse

I feel I should apologize for my sudden absence but doing so sounds exhausting. So, I’m going to spare myself that hassle and just say: I’m back!

Some explanation is in order, though. Mid-September of last year, I descended into a sudden depressive episode. I’ll spare you the details, but essentially, it killed all desire to do anything but read and play video games. It’s taken me this long to feel marginally okay again.

It’s really disheartening how mental illness can be a roadblock to success. I was feeling super excited about all kinds of prospects last August. I was writing, a couple of my poems were accepted for publication, and I was trying to get an editing business up and running.

In what felt like one day, it all unraveled. I didn’t want to write anymore. I lost all confidence in the quality of what I had already written and felt like nothing I might write in the future would be good. I even gave up on the editing gig. It didn’t take off, anyway, which felt like a swift nail in the coffin of my dream of being an editor.

In short, I felt hopeless and like I wasn’t good enough, wouldn’t ever be good enough, so why bother trying?

I’ve been telling myself that for most of my life. Boy, I’m really tired of me.

With the turn of the weather, I’ve felt much better. I’ve started writing again! I even submitted a couple of pieces for publication. Keep your fingers crossed for good news!

As for the editing gig…it’s still something I’d like to do and think I’d be good at. I realize now it’s a hard field to break into, though, and I’m wondering if perhaps I was too ambitious to think I could crack it, at least in such a short time frame. I’ll need to think on it more and do some research.

I feel more like myself again–it’s good to be back. And this time, I hope to stay for a long, long time.

Silence!

Everyone who has ever written anything knows writing is hard. There are many reasons why, and every writer’s journey is different. Something I struggle with may be easy for someone else and vice-versa.

I could write a novel about why writing a novel is difficult for me–I won’t. Not today, anyway. I have something specific in mind and it’s universal to all forms of writing.

How does one deal with their inner critic?

I can’t say much yet, but yesterday, I wrote a poem comparing Donald Trump to the Titanic. I wrote it in a rush of creative madness, knocking out a 32-line poem in about twenty minutes. I bragged about it to my friend and on social media, and even texted my husband while he was at work, something I rarely do.

I thought I was so clever, and I was positive I could publish it.

And an hour later, I hated it. The more I re-read it, the more I thought it sounded like pretentious garbage, and I wondered how anyone could ever like it, much less anything else I write.

For the record, I’m back to believing in my cleverness. I finished editing the poem and have already scouted out some places I’d like to submit it to. Wish me luck!

But I know it’s just a momentary respite. Once I hit “Submit,” my fears will return.

So…how do you silence your inner critic? A girl could use some advice.

Oh, is This Your First Time?

Among all the changes to my life I’ve made since I turned thirty, I also decided I was going to begin submitting my writing. If I want to be published someday, I have to start putting myself out there. Opportunities aren’t just going to fall into my lap, after all!

Though, wouldn’t it be nice if they did?

During my research, I stumbled across a great online literary magazine called Mother’s Always Write, and I thought, why not? I’m a mother, and I write. Sometimes I even write about being a mother. Perfect fit, right?

I am proud to announce that my poem, “The Robin,” will be published in the late summer issue on Monday, August 24th. Please look forward to it!

In the meantime, enjoy this short preview:

The robin bops
along, hurried,
harried,
at wit’s end—
I reckon she regrets
ever lying with a man.

On Turning Thirty

Whatever your personal feelings are on the matter, I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a strange year. In just seven months, we’ve dealt with, among other things, wildfires, murder hornets, and a global pandemic. It’s been a lot already, and the universe doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon.

Another thing that happened in 2020 that’s personal to me: I turned thirty! Don’t ask me how I feel about it, because I don’t know. It’s odd to have a different digit beginning my age, but I don’t feel any different.

Except, I do.

The me I want to be and the me I am are not the same person. I got sick of it. I don’t want to reach the end of my life a bitter, depressed woman with a lifetime of regrets. So, I’ve changed a lot in my life. I’m going back to school. I’m pursuing a new career. I’ve started a novel, which I’m very excited about. I’m trying to change my eating habits, and I’ve started an exercise regimen.

I’ve made a lot of decisions that will, hopefully, lead to a happier, healthier me. I deserve it, my husband deserves it, and my children deserve it.

So many times you hear that your twenties are meant to be the prime of your life. A lot of good things happened in my twenties, but the decade was also fraught with uncertainty. I waffled between what I wanted and what I thought was feasible, and, unfortunately, I chose to settle. Subsequently, I hit a bad depressive episode and flunked out of college.

Now, I’m older and, I think, a little wiser. At least, I’m less willing to settle.

All-in-all, thirty is feeling pretty good!

Let’s Talk Experience

I haven’t been playing the freelancer game for long, and I certainly haven’t learned all the rules. I have learned, however, that experience, as experience always does, plays a large role.

You know, the whole “you need experience to work at this job but you can’t gain experience without a job” shtick.

Hence why I decided to go back to school. I’ve always wanted an English degree, but if it didn’t seem like a necessity, I wouldn’t bother. I’m already in debt from my BS in Psychology; I’m not looking forward to being even more in debt.

We do what we must, though.

Before I was laid off, I worked as a Behavior Therapist at the Minnesota Autism Center. My schooling was invaluable in that it helped me understand the technicalities of Autism Spectrum Disorder, but it was my personal experience growing up with a sister with ASD that helped me understand how each child’s experience with ASD is different, and how important it was to adapt my approach to their individual needs. It’s that knowledge that ultimately made me a good therapist.

I’m not disputing that professional experience is important. I am, however, disputing the disregard of personal experience, which I believe is just as important. I would even argue that sometimes, personal experience is the most important.

As I mentioned before, I’ve been writing prose and poetry for 20 years, and I’ve been editing it for nearly as long. I edit all my own writing, and I offer proofreading and editing services to my writer friends who ask for help. Please visit my Portfolio and Testimonials pages for more information.

Writing is hard, but I can at least make the editing process easier for you, and I’ll do it quickly, thoroughly, and while having the time of my life. The degree and professional experience will come in time, but in the interim—take a chance on me. You won’t regret it.

On the Job Hunt

I admit, now that I’m tasked with finding my first job, the initial excitement of my decision to pursue freelance editing has waned a bit.

No one likes job hunting, least of all me. There’s always a lot of anxiety involved–it’s the nature of the beast. Are there many jobs available? How many am I qualified for? Will anyone be willing to take a chance on me?

For someone like me, a long-time sufferer of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, the innate uncertainty of job hunting compounds issues I’ve been trying to overcome for years; it’s hard to remain confident when my brain is working so hard to undermine me.

I am, however, confident in my proofreading and editing abilities. I know I’m capable of helping writers reach their full potential. I wouldn’t have begun this journey if I didn’t think I could see it through to the end.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to completely silence the little voice inside my head telling me I can’t, but I won’t let it dissuade me.

Now that I’ve come to the vast ocean of the writing and editing business, it’s time to cast my fishing lines. With enough skill, determination, and maybe a little luck, hopefully I’ll reel myself in a big fish.

Or even a small fish. I’d be happy with that.