Hi there, how are you? If you’re paying attention to my blog, you’ve noticed my lengthy absence. I’ve noticed it too and it wasn’t entirely intentional. I love blogging and if I had my way, I’d blog regularly like I used to…back when I first started swirl and spark over 9 years ago!
This year, however, too much has been going on. It’s been hard to juggle all the things. We lost my brother-in-law to cancer in the spring. He was way too young and so I guess chatting about books and dreams was not exactly at the top of my to do list. I know my family is not the first to experience a pain like this but it was certainly a first for us. We were all incredibly close and it has just been so hard. All these months later it’s still hard but the shock has worn off at least. I think that’s something, right?
Over the summer, my husband and I hosted two family reunions. Those were a great distraction and very healing. I even took a trip to Charleston with my daughter. We had always wanted to travel someplace together, just the two of us, so we finally did. By the time September rolled around though, I was more than ready to settle into a writing routine again. But then my daughter got engaged! And that fun news has been all consuming. But it also reminded me of how this blog used to be sort of a journal for me. I used to share happy moments like that all the time. So… here I am, back at it sharing happy news. I’m so thrilled for her and her fiancé and after months of sadness, it’s so nice to be excited and feel happy about something big again!
I often think about the people I’ve met through this blog. So many of you reading now, and ones who’ve long since moved on from this space, have been a big part of my writing journey. Sharing the highs and lows has made all of it so much more bearable, so much better. And I hope in some small way I have been able to do that for you too.
But back to the topic of writing. If you go back to my last post from January, you’ll see that at that point, I had taken a lengthy break from revising my manuscript. Shortly after I wrote that, I opened it back up and began tearing it apart. With fresh eyes. I could see several major problems. For one, it was too long. For another, it needed to be written in third person not first. Besides that, the stakes and the MC’s goal needed to be clarified—tightened up in a big way. For six weeks I worked endlessly to fix what was broken. I was energized and excited to make this story what it was meant to be.
And then in March we lost my brother-in-law.
Grief is a complicated thing. It makes you question things. It turns your world upside down. It can feel like the things you do (like writing a book) aren’t important anymore. At least it felt that way for me.
But months later, I realized that the things that are important to us, like our families and our passion projects, are the things that matter. At the end of the day, life is about community and sharing your gifts with each other. And so my manuscript has become more than another story. It’s a gift that I want to share with readers and it’s a project & process that I want to share with my writng friends.
It’s easy to act like everything is going well in the process of getting published, even when the journey is not a smooth stroll. But I’m here to admit that navigating the winding path is not easy even after publishing three books. Publishing is not for the weak. Writing is tough. Querying is brutal. Being on sub is not much better. Seeing sales numbers is like sipping from an empty water bottle one minute and finding a refreshing stream the next, all while traveling up and down the hilly landscape.
But if you’re anything like me and have a story inside you, I bet you’ll find that the tough trip to publication is worth it.
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is this. My longer than expected rest from my manuscript is over but it was just the rejuvenating break I needed. Because it has led me to create a story I now love. After spending the latter part of the the summer and early fall completing revisions on it, it finally feels like the story I was meant to tell. At its core, it’s a middle grade novel with a heartwarming sibling bond, an unbreakable interplanetary friendship, and cosmic magic that also tackles grief. It’s colorful and imaginative…and I can’t wait to share it with you and readers some day!
The rocky querying path may wind wildly with this one, and I’m ready for that. But you never know. Maybe the sparkly land of offers is just around the corner. And hopefully it is for you too!
Thank you for reading and being here for me. It means more than I can say!