Don’t Be Afraid

Okay y’all, this is your fair warning- I’m probably going to yammer on about myself a lot in the post. Possibly more than normal. So you feel free to flee if you’ll break out in hives or something 🙂

Why am I going to be so chatty today? Because on Saturday, I FINISHED A BOOK. Yes, it was just a draft, but it is a draft of a book I really love, a book that often scared me because I knew so clearly what I wanted it to be and couldn’t find the words to make it so, and a book I’m still just giddily excited about.

I don’t want to tell you too much yet, because we all know how much things can change in revisions, but basically this is a contemporary YA retelling of Phantom of the Opera, set in a Charleston youth orchestra. I might be able to post an excerpt here in a couple days, if y’all want to see.

The other reason I’m so full of chatter is yesterday was my birthday (yes, I’m still accepting giant boxes of books if you just weren’t sure)! Which is, naturally, the time where you sort of sit and take stock of your life, where you’re going, if you like that direction, and what you hope to accomplish in the next year.

This year was incredibly difficult in my personal life for quite a number of reasons I won’t get into here, but it was also a year overflowing with opportunities to learn, challenge myself, grow, and struggle with some important decisions and circumstances. On the writing front, this is the year I took it to the next level- I went from just straight up writing tons and tons of stuff all the time to writing with purpose, learning about the industry, and taking my first steps to a more professional pursuit of writing. In all, I wrote six novels this year- two MG, 1 NA, and 3 YA. I wrote a handful of short stories and some of them have appeared in places like Pen and Muse and a couple of upcoming anthologies you’ll hear more about later. I tried to blog fairly regularly, and I made some amazing friends in the writing community.

It was a very hard year, but also a very good one. I am so thrilled to see what this new year is going to bring, what adventures will unfold, and how life will challenge and deepen both me and my writing. If I had one lesson to give you from this past year, I think it would boil down to this: Don’t be afraid. Life is going to rock you, maybe sometimes overwhelm you, and almost never go as expected. Don’t be afraid. Embrace change as much as you can, put into the world what you want to receive from it, and love as an action even when you can’t love as an emotion. And don’t be afraid.

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