February 1, 2022

What I've Learned After One Month of Self-Employment

People leave secure jobs for many reasons. My experience is no different; but rather than list them all (and that list would be long), I will tell you the one that matters most: I was uninspired.

Showing up to a job that doesn't move you or challenge you or encourage growth or empower you to do better is not a job; it's a chore. I gave almost two decades (my entire adult life!) to one place. Throughout those years there were indeed times that I was inspired, but it wasn't sustained and I couldn't give anything more when I knew I could show up to serve in other ways and in other spaces that didn't make me feel like my soul was dying.

It has now been an entire month of being self-employed. A few people have reached out to ask if I miss my old 'chore'. No, I don't.

Do I miss knowing there's a guaranteed pay cheque coming? Sure. Do I miss the human connection I got to make with some of my co-workers? Okay, a little bit. Do I miss the gossip? Yeah... that was kind of fun.

But do I miss invisibility? No. Do I miss the commute? No. Do I miss serving a database of over 500 people and being acknowledged by four? No. Do I miss the ghost who lived in the basement? No.

I am afraid to be out on my own. It's terrifying to think that my success relies on my showing up for myself, because showing up is hard. It is work. 

But it's not a chore.

I have found a way to focus my passion for igniting creative fires in others into a full time publishing career. No, it's not paying all the bills yet, but it is replacing the income I gave up, and that's enough motivation to find me sitting at my desk each and every day.

I made a couple commitments to myself when I decided to launch off on my own:

  1. I will not sleep in even though there's no boss to mark my punctuality.
  2. I will take a lunch break.
  3. I will allow (most) evenings to be consumed by family and not by work.
  4. I will keep my weekends work-free.
  5. I will be unapologetic and loud in my pursuit of the life I want to create.
  6. I will say no to the projects that don't move me.

3 and 4 have been the hardest challenges for me. I have worked on some weekends and I have spent some evenings pouring over manuscripts—but despite that, I feel like I am showing up for my family much more now than I ever was before. Balancing a day job and my publishing side-hustle meant that nearly every evening and weekend was packed full of projects. I was on the road to burn-out. Letting the thing go that was holding me back from the life I really wanted was the powerful step I needed to take in claiming control over my whole world.

 

So, what have I learned after one month of self-employment?

I've learned that my work is sacred, boundaries are essential, systems change everything, I am a brand, you have to spend money to make money, I keep showing up because I know my why, funnels matter, and my voice is not free.

Let me unpack those things a little bit...

My work is sacred

I am showing up to something that matters. It matters to me and it matters to the people I am serving. It has validated my existence in a way that makes me excited to wake up in the morning. I don't have to go to work; I get to. I get to be a change-maker. I get to light people up. I get the read between the lines and draw out the thing that someone doesn't have words for. I get to make dreams come true. I get to tap into the creative energies that make me most truly myself and see that mirrored in others who trust me to guide them on their journeys.

Boundaries are essential

When I said I wasn't going to work evenings and weekends I didn't understand that my work is sacred. It took going back on that promise to myself and then asking why I didn't feel guilty. Work CAN be soul-feeding. Sabbath matters but it doesn’t have to fit any mould but the one you need in the moment.

I do take breaks when I need them and I do make a point of having at least a 24 hour period when I don't step into my office.

Systems change everything

I am a strategic thinker. I like to envision the end goal and then work backwards, marking the steps I'll need to take to reach that goal. Last summer (when I made the decision I was going to leave my day job at the end of the year) I began building systems that would help me keep on track. 

  • I have a calendar system so I can see my whole year in one large view.  
  • I have a monthly system which helps me gauge how many new projects or clients I have space to take on.
  • I have a weekly system which focuses in on immediate deadlines (and a weekly meal plan so I don't have to spend mental energy on that each night - I'm not very consistent at that one yet, but at least I have the system in place and am working towards making it part of my routine).
  • I have a daily system that breaks that weekly one down into even more detail.
  • I have a financial tracker that lets me know how far off target I am on a daily basis based on the net income I have to make in order to replace the job I left.

I need lists to keep me on track—to know what I've completed and to know what is still to come. Having everything laid out systematically frees my brain from trying to juggle and remember. It means I'm not missing deadlines and it means I'm showing up organized for my clients so I can serve them best.

Tracking finances is SO important. There is nothing that lights a fire like a zero income day and in January, I had 14/31 of those. But I also had other days of 300%, 400% even 700% above what I needed. Being able to see that in real time keeps me on my toes and always pushing.

I am a brand

One of my priorities in this new lifestyle I've chosen is to carve out intentional time for reading. For the last four or five years my reading time has been limited to submissions. I did very little reading for pleasure because I was pulled too thin between all the things I had to accomplish. Now I make a point to start every day with my coffee and a non-fiction book that will inform my business in some way. And when I take my lunch break, you'll often find me at the table with a fiction novel that I am reading for (*gasp) pleasure. (I'm currently re-reading Interview with the Vampire for the gajillionth time and it's holding up as one of my all time favourite pieces of art.) Such a simple addition to my life, but it's really having a positive impact on me.

My morning read has currently been You Are a Brand by Catherine Caputa. It's teaching me the importance of establishing a personal brand and it has encouraged me to zero in on my approach, being much more vocal about my journey on social media as a method of building trust. And now, new potential clients are coming to me not just because I am a publisher looking for submissions, but because they already feel like they know me. I've named authenticity as one of the core values of my business. Showing up raw and giving a glimpse inside my world—both the things I am celebrating and the things that I'm struggling with—has opened some doors that would have remained closed otherwise.  

You have to spend money to make money

I hate this lesson, but I also know it to be one hundred percent true. If I'm not willing to invest in my own business, it's never going to grow. Yes, everything costs money, but most investments will yield more than they cost. I'm still at the penny-pinching stage of this journey and every time I have to spend money—even if it's just for shipping supplies or Sharpies—I feel annoyed and afraid. I am learning to push past this discomfort and trust the reward on the other side.

I'm showing up because I know my WHY

I have a vision and a mission and I'm being pretty loud about it. I have some experience being on a rudderless boat and it is not fun. There's no direction. You're at the mercy of the wind. Not anymore! I am very clear on who I am and what I want and why I want it. To do anything without a why just makes you a wh and that's not even a thing...

If you don't believe in the funnel, you're just holding a megaphone and yelling into an empty room

While away on a two day visioning retreat in January (investing in myself!) (that's where the photo above was taken) I cracked my sales funnel. It was a true light bulb moment (arriving fully formed in one big brain drop to which I exclaimed out loud: HOLY CRAP! paused the marketing training I was participating in, and filled a few sheets of a legal pad with the scribbly plan). That has resulted in an aggressive amount of work as I build it and get it ready to launch next month.

I've been seeing things about 'the funnel' for as long as I've had this little business on the side, but I always thought it was for big-timers who wanted $10K clients.

It's not. It's for me. I need it. It and another one and another one and another one.

Conversion rates are terrifying. 2%? I have a lot of work ahead of me, but bit by bit, brick by brick, I am building the framework for passive income.

My voice is not for free

One of my greatest weaknesses is generosity of time. You may think that's a nice thing, and it is, but it's detrimental if you want to scale your business. It's uncomfortable to ask people to pay me for my time, but it's also weird not to. Everyone is paid for their time. Anyone who has a job shows up in exchange for money—that's how an economy works. 

The first time I charged for my time, I felt like an imposter. The second time was less foreign. The third time seemed almost normal. And when I increased those prices by more than 30% and people still said yes, I realized my hesitancy had nothing to do with the people I wanted to serve, but everything to do with me.

I have to constantly remind myself that I am worth it. And I have to constantly remind myself that the value I have to offer is absolutely worthy of a price tag. My first instinct is still to offer it for free, and there are cases where that is appropriate, but on the whole, I need to keep fighting that instinct and to project my worth so that when someone asks what I charge I can tell them with confidence and know that I deserve it.

 

Was my first month a success?

  • I don't hate myself.
  • I don't regret leaving my day job.
  • I wanted to sign one new client and I signed two.

So yes. Yes, it was a success. I can't afford to travel three months of the year yet, but that's on my long-tern goal board. 

In 2022 I want twelve new publishing clients. I want ten new mentoring clients. I want 800 people to step through the first level of my funnel. I want to double my social media platform. I want to take four weeks of holiday. That's it. That's all. I have eleven months left to make it happen!

Here we go!

 

 

Thinking of publishing a book this year? Come check out Chicken House Press. My coop might be just the place you want to lay your eggs.

 

Links to the books I've mentioned in this post 👇 (Any sales generated by clicking on these links will put a few ad dollars in my pocket which I get to invest right back into my small business. 😘)


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January 1, 2022

A New Year's Letter to Myself

2021 brought so much change. It opened the door to creating my own space for my business and the push I needed to finally leave my day job and pursue a full time career in publishing. As I sat and reflected on how far the last year has brought me, I began to turn my focus to where this new year will take me. No, it won't be easy. But I am ready. Bring it on 2022. 

I've got big things brewing! Happy New Year to each and every one of you. 🥂🥳 I hope it is a year of focus and growth! 💕 


 

Video transcript:

 If you want something — if you really want something — you don't let anything stand in your way.

You have to stop asking the questions that make you say no: Do you know how? Have you ever done this before? Are you trained for this? Can you afford it?

You have to break down walls and build new ones.

You have to know your why before you know your how. You have to know your why before the how appears. You have to believe in your why.

You have to believe in yourself. You have to believe in magic.

This isn't your destiny. This is your journey.

This is where you get broken. This is where you are rebuilt.

This is where you find yourself and it is where you are reborn.

It's where the reflection of your past differs from your future but informs your path because you've learned so much.

It's grabbing life by the balls.

It's being afraid but trying anyway.

It's failing. It's hurting. It's doubting. It's persevering. It's breaking free.

It's falling in love with who you see yourself becoming. It's deciding you're not a shadow; you're a fricking sunbeam and you're ready to ignite the passion that's laid dormant in the souls of the people you meet.

You are strong. You are confident. You are afraid but you don't care.

You are ready. This is your time. You earned this. You built this. You are this. You are going to knock this year flat on its face.

Now go.

 

Want to see the whole renovation project that resulted in my new workspace? Check it all out HERE.

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April 3, 2021

A New Home For My Small Business?

In 2016, out of frustration over (what I believed to be) the unfair state of the publishing industry and my stubborn confidence in my own abilities, I registered with the government as an official Canadian publisher. Yes, it was a bit of a middle finger to Harper Collins and other members of the BIG FIVE, but it was also a move towards embracing the future I wanted to create for myself.

✔️I wanted full creative control over my own work.

✔️I wanted to be a lighthouse of encouragement for other writers expereiencing the same kind of frustration I was feeling.

✔️I wanted to be my own boss, design my own workday, take on the projects I wanted, and ignore the things I didn't feel passionate about.

2016 feels like a lifetime ago. So much living has happened since then. I've written three books, I launched a Canadian literary arts magazine, I've taken on publishing clients and am now beginning to produce books by other Canadian authors. And now, after five years, I am ready to expand.


When the library dream fell flat like a bird that flew into a window, I had some energy that needed to be directed somewhere new. I spent (wasted) HOURS on realtor.ca looking for alternative buildings or potential storefront rental properties, but nothing matched what I wanted.

When I found a local storefront quietly listed on Facebook marketplace for just $600/month, we zipped into town and pulled up against the curb to jump out of the car and peek in the windows only the discover that it was the size of a closet. Seriously. Not even room for a table, let alone my HUGE dreams of a creative community hub. 

The experience forced me to take honest stock of where I'm at and what I actually have at my disposal.

The main motivation for my search was space. My teeny, tiny home office has produced some MAJOR things over the last five years, but I have outgrown it.

Could I continue forward in my current space? Sure.

I could decide to be content and maintain the status quo.

But you know how they say a goldfish in a bowl will remain small, but if you place that little goldfish into a pond, it will grow?

I am a goldfish.

Perhaps the library fell through because it was an ocean. It forced me to look for a pond.

And I found one. Right on the property I already own.

 

The 'Chicken House' has always been that extra building down by the apple tree. It collects junk and looks kind of cute, but it's underutilized. It's wasted space.

And I think it's time to change that. 

No, it won't be the community hub I imagine, but it is one step closer, and I'm excited to see the opportunities a new space will open up for me!

Stay tuned. I plan to share the whole journey.

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March 15, 2021

Saying Goodbye: A Eulogy to Orange Brick and Heritage Columns

Early Saturday morning I went to say goodbye. The rapid snow melt left behind a mess of dirt and the landscaping looked like my feelings: a little sad, a little rejected, but hanging on to that promise of springtime.

The sold sign winked at me as I walked around front to snap a picture, and then, like a child clambering onto Santa's lap, I climbed the cement steps and sat down beside the iron railing. I whispered my apology like a wish... it just wasn't meant to be.

 [Don't know what I'm talking about? Catch up HERE.]


The truth is, I'd let go the moment I sent my proposal off to the mayor. I'd put it in the hands of the universe and already decided to trust the outcome.

My realtor told me that nine offers came in. Someone else told me they heard the winning bid was a whopping $100K over asking. Rumours are that a daycare centre is going in.

And I'm... okay. I'm sad that this beautiful piece of literary history won't be used as I envisioned it. I know children aren't going to appreciate the wooden mouldings or the built-in bookshelves, but some little person will likely draw on the wall, so it's kind of like it IS going to the arts...

***sigh***

I want to thank everyone for the support of my vision. I was surprised and delighted by the number of people who reached out with encouragement, who stood behind me, and who petitioned the town council on my behalf. Thank you. The dream isn't dead. Knowing there's so much local support for my idea has lit a fire under me that isn't going to be easily extinguished. So watch out! I am on a mission!

* * *

As I write this, I'm sitting in my tiny office that is currently bursting at the seams. I'm running an online  children's writing workshop in a hour and I barely have room for the little whiteboard I need. I know I'm at a point where I have to find a bigger space because the frustration of getting things done in this closet is hindering my progress. (Please don't misconstrue this as me being ungrateful — I know how privileged I am I have a dedication workspace in my own home!)

So, if you're sitting on a commercial property, or have office/shop space to rent in my locale, we should talk. I am ready.

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February 28, 2021

Historical Buildings and Reality Checks

Eyes closed, breathing even, space heater purring (because we're missing a section of our chimney — a story for another day), but I can't sleep. My brain is buzzing with the scent of Pine-Sol as I pour it directly on a rag, using it to polish the heritage trim of my mind's eye. I am high up. Ten feet? Fifteen? "Cathedral ceilings" the listing said. The ladder is steady and I'm not afraid and the wood is gleaming and I can't wait to tackle those cobwebs at the transom windows... 

I may never sleep again.

My sister sent me the link and I nearly lost my head. I was in the kitchen beginning supper when my phone buzzed with a new notification.

—You saw this, right? 

(One of the things I love about my sister is that she almost always uses correct punctuation in her text messages.)

It was a real estate listing for the old town library building.

And I had not seen it.

photo from realtor.ca

 In less than ten minutes, the whole family had congregated. Dinner preparations were put on hold while I cast a vision that, somehow, didn't seem to scare anyone.

  1. I have wanted this building since I was a child.
  2. Anyone who has ever had to listen to me talk about an eventual home for my publishing company/magazine knows this building has always been at the top of my list.
  3. Yes, it is bigger than what I need but that means MORE ROOM FOR ACTIVITIES!

"But can you afford it?"

Ah... my dream-crushing, reality bringing, heart-stomping, pragmatic nineteen-year old. 

No. I can't afford it, you monster!

Truth is, the building is listed far below where I expected to ever see it and that's the only reason this family meeting is actually happening: because I CAN SEE IT HAPPENING!

My brain works fast when it knows what it wants. I had a few proposals ready:

  1. We sell our house and live in the library basement and all we have to do is get it rezoned.
  2. We sell our house and live in the van and all we have to do is get rid of a few kids.
  3. We cash in our retirement savings for a down payment and carry two mortgages and everything will be okay because dreams come true every day.
  4. We ask if the town would be willing to lease and then I offer to run a town museum out of part of it for a break on the lease and then we can keep our house and leave our savings alone.

Each plan had its merits. (Okay, maybe not the 'get rid of a few kids' one.) And even though I love where we currently live, I was 100% ready to leave it behind. Because DREAMS!!!

"Let's go see it," my husband said. 

I don't need flowers or jewelry or trips to Europe. If you want to love me, I just need you to see me. I just need you to indulge my dreams, encourage my heart, and come along for the ride with a little touch of wisdom and grace.

We are in the middle of a pandemic. I haven't had a date night in eleven months. I texted back and forth with an agent and we booked a showing. This is the sexiest thing I've put on the calendar since March 2020!

I crunched numbers. I sketched floor plans. I tried to figure out what our current home is worth. I freaked the freak out when I found out that all offers had to be in by noon on Thursday — just five days after I saw the listing. This brought two things to the forefront:

1. Someone definitely wants a bidding war

and

2. I am a lover, not a fighter

On Tuesday night, we stepped through those old doors, the musty waft of thousands of stories hitting us through our face masks as if the books still lined the shelves. Windowsills held years of dust, dead flies resting in their dark corners like tiny soldiers that got tired on their watch. Filthy carpet muted our footsteps and I peeled it back to check the damaged hardwood underneath. Blue Ethernet cables followed the centre arch and stole some of the magic, while the old library desk stood empty and sad with one section hanging loosely. Bookcases stood affixed to the walls, romantic and grand, and I remember losing myself in those stacks as an eighth grader, finally migrated from the children's section in the basement. Huge windows framed in heavy trim, tall ceilings where cobwebs danced as we disturbed the air, the old fire alarm that dinged when you flicked it, the crank pencil sharpener attached to the wall in the librarian's office. 


 
I saw it all at once and one bit at a time. I knew where I'd host workshops and where I'd meet with clients. I saw the best spot for the coffee bar and that the light from the east window would inspire amazing new stories. I saw my children leading class field trips through this shiny hub of publishing glory. I imagined my nieces playing hide and seek around the corners and my nephews reading comic books on a leather couch. I felt the ache in my muscles after hours of freshening up the white paint. I envisioned a gallery of original work by local artists, and how my typewriter collection could continue to grow and grow and grow.

I saw it all.


I saw the water damage on the ceiling, the damp smell of the basement, and the critter with a million legs who approached my boot with little fear. I saw the "kitchen" that was really just a closet with a sink and a hot water tank. I saw the bathrooms which were... shall we say "less than desirable"? I saw the single pane windows that would never stop a brisk wind, and the limitations of taking on a designated historical heritage building. I saw dollar signs where accessibility ramps and chair lifts would have to be installed. I saw the outdoor space which was little more than a few parking spaces in the back.

Yes, I saw it all. Every nitty, gritty, painful, expensive detail.

But I was also Belle in the bookshop in Beauty and the Beast, pushing off on that library ladder as if I could fly. I was Belle in the castle when the Beast opened the curtains and showed her shelf upon shelf of stories to keep her company. I was Belle at the table when the candlestick invited her to be their guest...

Every romantic bone in my body said "yes!" 

But my brain said, "Whoa, girl!"

The moon shone down between the south wall and the next door church steeple as we returned to our car. "It was really important for me to do this," I told my husband.

I needed the reality check to bring my brain and heart in line.

I asked our agent to find out if the town would be willing the lease the building. The town said no, they want to sell. They planned to take the top two offers to the council meeting and make their choice. More confirmation that they were setting up a bidding war.

I decided to take their 'no' as a 'come at us' invitation, and I wrote a letter to the mayor. (See a brief excerpt of my letter posted below.) I shared my heart for the building, the importance I feel it holds to the history of our town and the vibrant arts community that has become such an ingrained part of our local culture. I talked of my own vision for the space, but more than that, pleaded that the council (should their end goal be to unload the property) to consider mission over money — not to sell it to a developer without a personal tie to our town — but to consider bids that will contribute to the arts. (Oh, and p.s. if nothing like that comes across the desk, maybe you'll think of me and my big plans and reconsider that option to lease.)

 

With readings, book signings, author events, workshops, mentoring, and more, I see that old building being a vibrant hub of creative activity. In partnership with other organizations (Words Aloud festival or Ontario Culture Days for example) it could be a venue for various cultural events year round. With a keen eye for local engagement and a mission of being a champion for creative living, it could also be a powerful tool in the mental health crisis - giving like-minded artists/authors/poets and anyone curious a community hub: a place to share their work and journey.

I love my little town. I love it's quirky arts community and I want to be a more visible part of it. And if that means wearing my heart on my sleeve and putting all my cards on the table then I'm willing to do it.

I believe in seeing what you want and then chasing after it. I believe that if things don't fall into place then it wasn't meant to be. I also believe that if one thing doesn't work, the dream is not dead. I may never hear back from the mayor. That's okay. I move on to fight another day. But for now (and I just checked) the listing is still active. So who knows... anything is possible in this strange shared experience we call life.


UPDATE: Less than an hour after pushing 'publish' on this post, the mayor responded to my letter, thanked me for my vision, and assured me that she would get it in front of the entire council. And if nothing else, it's so empowering to feel seen and heard. ❤️

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April 29, 2020

Tick Tock: A Writer's Guide to a Writer's Timeline

When it comes down to it, I think what I really want to be known as is prolific. I am wildly jealous of the authors who can line shelves with title after title. I revere a few of them and every day as I walk through my living room, I see their names lined up on my bookshelf and I wonder if someday somewhere there will be a shelf lined with my name too.

But the truth is, being prolific doesn't necessarily mean you're producing great work. There are 'authors' who are pushing out something new monthly and I refuse to believe there is much substance to such a practice. I want a story that is deep and nuanced and pushes me to think in new ways. I want an author who lets the characters drive the story, who understands the subtitles of humanity, who lets their passion leak off the page, who understands when a story is finished and doesn't let it go until then. I want an author who is the kind of author I'm trying to be.

So, in truth, maybe I want to be known as the author that 'writes well' as opposed to the author that 'writes so much.' I don't just want to tell stories, I want to tell stories that matter.

I knew I wanted to be an author from a young age. I didn't know what that would involve. I naively thought that since I liked to write stories, it would be just as easy to write books. Ernest Hemingway said it best when he said: There's nothing to writing, all you do it sit down at your typewriter and bleed.

Easy peasy, right?!

Comparison is my greatest hindrance.

Competition is my great motivator.

Compassion is the key to my timeline.


Comparison

Dear Anne Rice/Ted Dekker/James Rollins/etc.
You are you. I am me. What you are capable of is not what I am capable of. What I am capable of is not what you are capable of. My life situation is different than your life situation and we're all just doing our best with what we've got. Amen.

Competition

There is so much value in striking up relationships with other authors who are in a similar situation as your own. For me that means authors who are independently publishing (or running their own publishing company), working 'regular' jobs outside their home, and raising families all while trying to put their writing out into the world. Whether these people realize it or not, I am in healthy competition with them. Watching them overcome real-life struggles to keep their writing a priority is massive motivation and I push myself to keep up. It's not about winning, it's about keeping pace in order to support one another.

Compassion

Rejecting comparison and embracing friendly competition allows me to set realistic goals with a compassionate eye towards attainability. Being an independent author means I am my own boss: I set the rules, I set the goals, and I'm the only one allowed to break those. Leaving room for deviations leaves room to breathe. Sure, I deal with guilt when I feel like I-just-can't-write-another-word today/this week/this month, but I've also allowed myself the space to take that break. I never want writing to be a chore or a job. When that happens, I've sold out. I want to love it. Forever.


My second novel is currently in the beta reading stage. You probably think that means I have written a complete manuscript since the release of The Church in the Wildwood back in 2017, but you would be wrong. I wrote the first words of Black Bird in November of 2011, almost three years to the day before I wrote the first words of Wildwood. Black Bird has fought me every single step of the way.

There are many reasons a book refuses to be written and almost every reason has to do with the author, not the book. 

I was afraid. There were scenes the characters dictated that terrified me. There was one particular scene—the main conflict climax of the whole story—that I knew backwards and forwards in my mind but I couldn't make myself write it. I spent months trying to sit down and pull it from my head, but I just couldn't. My fingers were frozen. This wasn't writer's block. I knew exactly what I needed to type. This was resistance to what our dear friend Hemingway tells us: I didn't want to bleed all over the page.

And so, instead of writing what had to be written, I started writing a new book, a YA post-apocalyptic saga (because seriously, people keep buying those and I might as well have a title for pop culture as well as the literary fiction junkies, right?).

Timelines are messy and painful and defeatist, but looking back on it, I'm not sure I would change a thing. The old adage tells us that things happen for a reason, and I know that to be true. Had I not allowed Black Bird to simmer gently on the back burner, I would never have discovered the town of Fallmoore or the cult commune of Harridan Bluffs. I would have never learned that Bird's story happened in the same town. The richness of the story cross-over would have been lost—and though each is a story that can stand on its own, it holds so much more weight when paired up.

Just as my narratives are not revealed to the reader in chronological order, so too is my approach to writing.

November 2011 - began Black Bird
November 2014 - began The Church in the Wildwood
November 2015 - revisited Black Bird for the NaNoWriMo challenge
November 2016 - began The Path That Takes Us Home (working title - YA Post-Apocalyptic)
July 2017 - released The Church in the Wildwood
September 2017 - began The Ghost of Iris Carver (novella)
May 2018 - released The Ghost of Iris Carver
May 2019 - refocused on Black Bird
January 2020 - re-refocused on Black Bird

November 2020 - RELEASE BLACK BIRD

It will be nine years from first words to release. Nine years. That's 22% of my life; 75% of my daughter's life; 40% of my marriage...

And that's okay.

Everything in its own time.

To rush a thing is to cheat it. To let a thing unfold on its own is poetry.

So the moral of the story is, just go with it. Let your story guide you. Take the breaks you need. Give yourself permission to step away. Days, months, years. When the time is right, you will write.
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