Saturday, February 21, 2015

Intentions and expectations

A little over eight years ago I started writing my first novel Love You, Always.  I wrote two chapters and wrote a detail outline but stopped writing for three reasons.
            1) At that time in my life, I was so deep in depression that it would have been impossible to give my main character a happily ever after.
            2) Too personal to publically talk about.
            3) Staying true to characters and story meant writing things that I grew up believing were bad to read let alone write. 
            I was so worried about what others would think or their expectations of what a good Mormon girl should write that it literally stopped me from writing.
            During the six years between when I first started my manuscript to when I picked it back up and finished it, I had gone through major life changes. I separated from Love Machine (my husband) and had to rebuild my marriage from the ground up. I went back into the work force after being a stay at home mom for over a decade. We went through BIG financial challenges and ended up losing our home of twelve years and had to move into a rental half the size of what we lived in. And the biggie of all biggies, I let go of religion forever and I have never been happier. Don’t get me wrong, the challenges sucked. I mean REALLY sucked! BUT, during the three years that all of this was happening, I felt a transformation inside of me that changed my perspective on pretty much everything, including writing.

            I FINALLY let go of the expectations of others and started writing with intention. And these are my intentions:
            1) Write from the heart.
            2) Tell real stories no matter how offensive it might be to others…even if it includes sex and swearing.
            3) Stay true to characters and their stories.
            4) Write what I would want to read.

            Sex and swearing will be in my books. I’m not sorry about that. My stories might be fiction but they aren’t fantasy.  Sex and swearing happens. I’m well aware that this means that friends and family will not like or read what I write (including my mother ::waves at mom::) and I’m okay with that. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Falling into the sky

I spent my 8th to 12th grade years living in a small town in Nevada. I mean really small. During the summers there wasn’t much to do especially during the day when the heat kept people indoors. But at night my little world seemed to wake up. I spent my evenings walking around town with my friends talking about how much we couldn’t wait to leave our boring town or talk about the boys we liked. We ran through the sprinklers at the high school and played on the playground equipment at the grade school.

On one particular night, a friend and I went to the grade school and played on the teeter totter, jumped around on the jungle gym but eventually I ended up on the swings. I pumped my legs and enjoyed the way the slight breeze cooled the sweat on my neck. I looked up into the night sky and for the first time realized how infinite our universe was.  The sky was clear, the moon was barely a sliver in the sky letting the stars be the show for the night. And they were endless.

I felt the swing slow down as I was caught up in my realization. Once again I pumped my legs until I reached the highest I could go; I leaned back and for a split second I knew for a fact that if I let go, I could fall into the sky and it was terrifying. I tightened my grip on the chains of the swing while my hands shook. I pinched my eyes closed and tried to calm my racing heart until the swing slowed and I could plant my feet on the ground.

The memory is still so strong that when I close my eyes I can still hear the crickets and feel the warmth of the summer evening.

I spent most of my life feeling that fear over and over. It wasn’t that I was actually afraid to fall into the sky but afraid of letting go and having nothing to hold onto.  Self-publishing feels like falling into the sky but instead of feeling terrified today, I feel empowered.  It’s strange feeling and not something that I feel regularly but the past few years have prepared me for this moment. 

I hit publish on Smashwords yesterday. I still have to upload to Amazon but I found it very…anti-climatic. I expected to feel the kind of fear that makes my chest tighten and my hands shake but instead I feel relieved.  It’s been a long time coming.