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Checking In

Well, it’s been a while.

I’ve never claimed to be good at this whole “blogging” thing. I tend to spend most of my time over at Twitter I’m not writing or reading. I tend to let the blog go on the backburner for a while. As I’ve clearly proved time and time again.

I just don’t have the things to fill out an extensive blog. Most of my book reviews go up at Booked All Night and few things filter down to here.

So I guess a bit of a catch-up/check-in/update type post is in order, since we’ve solidly entered 2019 at this point.

I’ve completed my Master’s program!

That was a big thing that happened in 2018. I graduated as part of the first class in the Writing for Children & Young Adults from Sierra Nevada College in August. My final semester was stressful–I rewrote my thesis (from scratch!) three times over the course of a month and a half in order to get it as best as I could before my deadline. It was a rough series of months–both mentally, physically, emotionally, and as a writer. It tested my limits.

But I came out the other end and while I wouldn’t say I’m proud of the work I’ve done (it needs a lot of work, and it may not ever see the light of day), I’m proud of how far I’ve come as a writer.

I started a new job!

It was a strange series of events the day I got the job offer. It’s ten minutes before my workshop class was starting. I get a phone call from my local library–where I interviewed for a position about a week before flying out to school–and they offered me a position. It also happened to be the day where I had to defend my thesis before a panel of my professors. And I was the very first student in the entire graduating class to defend. Talk about setting a precedent!

But everything worked out great! I’ve been working at my local library (which is a dream come true!) and I’ve been considering going back to school for a degree in library science. (I won’t, because I’m broke and can’t afford more loans than I already have.)

I’ve been working on the story of my heart again.

I had to put away the YA fantasy I’ve been chipping away at for several years in order to work on my thesis, but I’ve finally been able to go back to it. I get to look at it with fresh eyes and a better understanding of the craft, and I’m not putting myself on any strict deadline to finish it. I’m taking it easy and writing as I can, when I can, however long I can.

I’m trying to hone in on my writing process. I’ve never been a Write Every Day type of writer. I reach burnout too quickly like that. I have days where I can write 7k words, and some days where I can only write 200 words. I’m learning to be okay with that.

Blogging

Writing Update

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about my writing life. So let’s go!

I recently submitted my second packet work to my mentor. It’s my final semester and I’m writing my thesis now. It’s a lot to think about, and the added pressure that this project is going to define me as I get my MFA is just an extra dollop of stress and anxiety on top of my usual anxiety.

I want to present my best work, I always want to be able to show people what my best work is, but I’ve come to a realization that this project will never be my best work.

I’m falling in and out of love with this piece on a near daily basis. Some days I like it and some days I think it needs to die in a trash fire. But this goes beyond the usual Writer Thing writers do. It’s a urban fantasy/fantasy fiction/paranormal type piece (I used to call it suburban fantasy but paranormal probably fits better). The problem with this piece is that it’s entirely too contemporary for me.

I’m a huge lover of fantasy and my writing voice reflects that. Contemporary is not even close to my favorite. It’s my least favorite genre, to be honest. But the story I’m trying to write goes beyond just the genre, since it’s a story about grief and accepting the loss of a loved one.

But all I want to do is write my queer elven princesses and lesbian mermaids.

It’s a struggle.

But sometimes the things you want to do aren’t the things you need to do. I know this project will be a good thing to have in my pocket, regardless of how I feel about it. Plenty of authors have written books they hated, but the point was that it was a book they wrote.

Something is better than nothing and I’m 50 pages deep into this project and I still have another 100 or so to go. Whether or not I complete this book when my semester is over is a totally different ball game.

Not that I know how to play sports anyway.

Blogging

Residency Log: Day Seven

I sort of missed yesterday’s log. We spent most of the day after workshop in the library doing some work. I plotted out the new parts of my thesis and I have a lot of things to do, but I have a new motivation for this story now.

I got some great news this morning and I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

That, and we got an earlier flight that gets us home a little sooner and just the idea that I can sleep in my own bed a little bit sooner makes me so happy.

This residency is almost over. Soon, my last semester will begin and then I’ll be graduating and then I’ll be a post-graduate writer and that’s just… a whole plethora of emotions, y’all.

Blogging

Residency Log: Day Four

We’ve mostly had the day to ourselves today. There was the option to go on the Tahoe Excursion to go into the city and do some ice skating and such. We decided to hole up in a classroom in the library and get some work done.

It’s always nice to help other bounce ideas around for their work and getting the chance to work on my own things without the feeling of being rushed because I only have a certain amount of time to do it before I have class again was nice. I’m still incredibly tired and ready to go back to sleeping on my own bed.

We also had meetings with our mentors today. Since my mentor isn’t technically hired by the school yet (paperwork troubles), I met with my “department” head and he lined things out for me and answered basic questions. We’re then going to call my actual mentor on Tuesday to discuss our semester plan.

I’m both ready for this semester and also not. I just can’t believe this is my final semester and I’ll be graduating come August.

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Residency Log: Day Three

If the morning starts with freaking out your roommate cause of your meditation, can it really get any better than that?

No, not really.

It’s been a rough one. I hit my wall early today and things have not been going great. There’s so much to do that I run out of spoons by lunch time and I feel terrible for not being able to attend some readings. But I’ve burnt myself out before and I can’t really afford to do that again, not with this being my final semester.

I really do love the community though. The WCYA tribe are some of the coolest, awesome-est people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. They’re all so skilled and awesome in their own ways and I love them. They make the residency worth it.

I can’t wait to see how their careers as writers turns out. I know every single one of them is going to be amazing at whatever they try to do. All of them.

Blogging

Residency Log: Day Two

While the east coast is being slammed with a crazy snow storm, I’m over here in Lake Tahoe, where it’s sunny and 40 degrees. It’s not necessarily warm, but at least we’re not under two feet of snow, so I call that a lucky break.

I’m still ridiculously exhausted. Last night, I passed out at like 7:30. Out like a light and down for the count until like 4 or 5 the next morning. But I’m still hitting a wall in the mid to late afternoon and all I need is a nap.

My brain is a little fuzzy today, and I haven’t been able to focus on much, especially not writing. My lit crit class might break that a little, since it’s such an intense class, but I’d like to start meditation this week to free up my brain. I’m an incredibly great adult on the west coast, only cause I can wake up at 6 am no problem here. So in that time frame between showering and leaving for breakfast, I might benefit from a twenty minute meditation in the morning during sunrise.