Hey readers! It's been a couple months, and as much as there is a lot happening in my life, there has also been very little happening in the writing world. However, I recently had a major breakthrough that I want to share with you all because this is going to be the direction that I hope to reorient myself to as we head into the end of this year and the beginning of 2024.
20BooksVegas: My Reawakening
This past week, I was in Las Vegas, Nevada attending the 20BooksVegas conference with my fellow indie writers from the incredible Facebook group, 20Booksto50k. I know I have talked about them before, but in case you're new to my newsletter, 20Booksto50k is an amazing group of indie authors who are collaborating and sharing expertise about how to make money as an author. It was born out of the simple concept that twenty books earning $7.50 each per day (which is about 2-3 sales) could earn you $50,000 per year. I discovered them early in on my author journey just before publishing Chasing Fae, and I have learned so much from reading posts and engaging with other members. I have even been able to teach people a thing or two about marketing. The conference in Vegas is really the culmination of celebrating and encouraging indie authorship every year, and I couldn't have been more excited to go for a second time.
I could tell you a million stories about the time I had and everything I learned in sessions throughout the day, but instead, I'm going to focus on my three main takeaways.
#1: Discovering The True Nature of My Mental Block
As I'm sure it has been apparent to many of you, I have not been putting out as much content recently in the marketplace or on social media. I frequently tell you that it has been a crazy semester, and it absolutely has. But what I haven't mentioned (to many of you) is that my mental block started quite a bit earlier over the summer while I was completing my fellowship at Fort Ticonderoga. I got into a bad car accident on my way from Texas to New York on my second-to-last day. A deer ran out in the middle of the Thruway and hit me around 10 pm at night. There was nothing in front of me, and then suddenly there was a deer. It ended up totaling my car (the tow truck guy actually said he had ever seen an engine block move in that far), but I walked away with nothing more than a bit of bruising on my shoulder and hip. I spent the first few weeks of my fellowship not only adjusting to the full-time job, but also dealing with the car insurance people and the rental car people and the basic emotions of having been in a serious accident. Because of this, I felt super tired after work and on the weekends. This was somewhat unexpected to me because I have always been someone who could go, go, go; get my work done and then have energy to write and create afterwards. So, this was a completely new sensation for me.
Unfortunately, my brain decided to take that as not being amazing at project and time management anymore and having lost my touch. So, I lost myself for a while in the trenches. I have been known to not give myself a break, but this time, I went too far in the other direction. I took wayyyy more time off than I ever have and let the writing fall to the wayside. I was afraid that I was succeeding at my author dream and afraid that I was failing at it too.
I attended several productivity and motivation sessions at 20BooksVegas, and within the first day, I suddenly felt unlocked. The creativity had never disappeared; it had only been buried under feelings of self-doubt. So, I'm shedding that weight off of my back starting this week, and you will start getting more from me. For example....
#2: It's Time To Get Back To Social Media
I want to be connecting with you, my readers, more on a week-to-week basis. This was a goal I had early on in my writing journey, but I never quite knew what to say. I always believed that I had to be incredibly structured in the way that I put content out. No random thoughts, no quick summaries of events of the day, and very little video content. I haven't always been in love with my face, and being on camera can be difficult for me depending on my confidence level in a given day. But I'm realizing that I want to share more of the everyday aspects of being an author and a graduate student and a daughter and a girlfriend and a career-driven woman. So, starting this week, my goal is to post at least once on one of my platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (X), TikTok, Pinterest) a day. Even if it is just a quick note about what I'm doing that day or what I am thinking, I want you to hear about it. Hopefully, you won't feel like I don't pop in and out all the time, and I'll get to share a little bit more of the things and work that I love. I am also going to try to do some more video content as well so you can put a face to the work as well.
#3: The Way Forward For Content
I am back to writing every day starting this week. No matter if I can only get 50 words on a page that day, I am going to be making progress on drafts every day. First priority, of course, is Ashes and Arrows, Book 1 of my fairytale retelling series, The Fablian Truths. If you contributed to the Ashes and Arrows presale campaign, expect an email from me today about receiving your behind-the-scenes updates. This first draft is getting done very soon no matter how late I have to stay up! I'm taking so much time on this one because the story is so epic and so sweeping in my head that I just want to cover everything I can. Second content priority: The Ivy Labyrinth will restart posting episodes in December. I am in the process of building up a stockpile so that I can stay ahead of the workload this time. Keep an eye out for a much greater push behind the serial fiction problem and Volumes 1 and 2 over the next few weeks. The episodes needed to complete Volume 3 have been completely outlined, something I completed during some of the conference sessions last week. And as soon as those episodes are finished and released, Volume 3 will be coming out in early 2024. After that, the prequel to the Chasing Fae Trilogy, Chasing Truth, is next on the agenda. That is in its revision stages, and I'm starting to see a path forward in the story.
Looking further ahead, I am not sure what's next. I don't know if I'm going to stay in the fairytale retelling world and write/publish that entire series first or if I want to stick with my original plan and alternate those releases with books from a New Adult urban fantasy academy series. That is something I will probably ask you about down the line. All I ask is that you stick around, you help keep me accountable to the stories that I have promised you, and if you are so inclined, send me a message or leave a comment every now and then to let me know that my work means something to you. I am so grateful for every one of you who has read my work and continues to follow and support me. Thank you all.
Quick Life Update
I have officially registered for classes in the spring! I have to take an overload of coursework (4 classes instead of 3) in order to graduate on time after the final decision came down that I could not double-count any courses between my primary degree (Master's in Public History) and the Museum and Gallery Management Certificate program through the Arts Leadership department. The classes are Readings in Imperialism, Fundamentals and Planning for the Arts, Digital Museums & Exhibits, and Histories of Environmental Justice Activism in Houston. I will be continuing with my fellowship with the Sharing Stories from 1977 project, but I am going to be dropping some of my other activities to make more space for writing. Particularly because my current writing time has been at least partially filled by job applications! Can't believe it's that time already, but I graduate in May!!! No idea where I might head next, but I'll definitely keep you all posted.
Thanks for reading a super long post today! Have a great week.