Tag Archives: friends

Pre-Smoky Jitters

Greetings, Vikans!

So, Story #2 of The Chaos Accounts, titled “Account of Unrest”, released on February 16th (two Thursdays ago). Compared to its predecessor (“Account of Anxiety”), sales reactions responded weakly. “Account of Anxiety got 81 downloads in less than a month. My biggest download days were the first three days after release. With “Account of Unrest” having been out for over a week, I’ve only gottne three downloads.



However, I will NOT be deterred! In fact, I’ve come close to finishing up Story #3, and the only hint as to what happens that I’ll give at this time is that it’s from Luz’s POV.

Now, for the topic mentioned in the title: SMOKY!

Every year, a bunch of crazy, incredibly talented authors and their equally as amazing chefs, rent out a cabin in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee for a week. During this week in the majestic mountains, writing is our full-time job. Eight hours a day with lunch in the middle, for seven days. We get a “Free” day to explore the surrounding arear too, but I usually just get another day of wordsmithing in.

So, why does my title use the word “jitters”? If this is Year 3 for me, why so nervous?

Well… for a few reasons…

  1. My anxiety has been manically wild for over a month now, so I’m jittery enough at home in day-to-day life.
  2. This retreat is my safe haven. A place where I’m among people who are accepting and caring (and crazy, but we already mentioned that). The jitters will come from being away from home for a week after all the previously mentioned anxiety that’s cropped up recently. I know my fellow Smokies will be there to hold me up, but I don’t like the idea of burdening my friends with my problems.
  3. WILL I BE PREPARED?! Last year, I cranked out 36,000 words in 5/6 days. With everything worrisome in my brain space, will I be able to focus enough to crank out even a fraction of last years total word count?

To wrap up this worry-fest, I’ve been counting the weeks until Smoky for months. Now, with only days until we arrive in our “Valhalla” of a cabin, I’m starting to feel nervous. But, while I may have worries, Smoky is my safe haven, and all the people in that cabin are my writing family. They’ll be there to help guide me through all of this.

I’m so grateful I have them to get me through this. 🙂

TWO DAYS! Smoky, here I come!


WB vs. L.O.I.: Post-Writeathon Blues

So, for once, two blog postings in a week. This should make up for forgetting February, right?

Anyway, this post is one that is rough for me to admit, but I feel that people could relate to it, so why the heck not, huh? I mean, if that retreat taught me anything, it’s that finding other writers who have faced similar situations is an eye-opener, and they can give advice for the troubles you might be having, because they might have gone through them themselves.

This week, my struggle is my inspiration. It’s gone on vacation. For who knows how long. I spent a straight 7 days writing about 8 hours a day, with breaks for lunch and just because I need to step away. So, about 6 hours a day, I was either brainstorming or writing. And now I have 28,000 words for my third book in my most recent series.

The problem with that?

When I got home, my inspiration said, “Adios. Sayonara. Goodbye. I’ll be back whenever.”

I had lost all inspiration to work on finishing it. Maybe it was the draining from writing that much in that short amount of time. Maybe I missed my new friends and the snippets we would share before dinner. Maybe I’d laughed too much over the course of that retreat, and it gave me brain damage. In any case, I have not been able to get a coherent chapter out of my head for days. And it’s frustrating! Because, only about a month or two ago did I know how my series would end. And the ending is AMAZING! (Well, in my mind anyway. The rest of you will be sobbing and sending threatening letters for me to write another book to make things better).

The point is, losing your inspiration can be a scary, frustrating thing. I’ve had plenty of times when I had writer’s block, but what I’ve come to realize is that Writer’s Block and Loss of Inspiration are two separate conditions.

Writer’s Block, despite the usage some people use, is when you can’t generate any ideas for projects you’re working on, which causes frustration because you had hoped it would amount to something. Loss of Inspiration takes from the (wrong) public usage and capitalizes on it. I see it as you know EXACTLY what you want to write, EXACTLY which characters it involves, and EXACTLY how it ends, but can’t, for your life, get the words down on paper/computer. Some symptoms of both of these would be:

– frustration;

– not being able to sit still for extended lengths of time;

– spending TOO much time on Netflix, browsing episodes of Friends, Supernatural, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., or various, addictive anime shows;

– Talking/Rambling a lot, much to the annoyance of your family and friends.

However, a MAJOR effect of L.O.I. is one that isn’t that prominent in WB:

– Dreaming.

Being a writer is all about being an imaginative dreamer, right? Our stories are a part of us, every character has a piece of us in their looks, personality, attitude, quirks, or flaws. Each setting, plot bunny, character, world system – each and every word we have written since we wanted to be a writer – came from us. When you have WB, it restricts that dreaming ability, because we can’t seem to figure out what to write next. However, the opposite is just a frustrating to those with L.O.I.

They dream more than usual. You’d think this was a good thing, but think about it for a second. Being able to dream up every chapter, every plot point, every character development moment, but not being able to utilize it in story format? For me, that’s torture. It’s the most frustrating condition ever to have, and believe me, I know, because I’m going through it right now.

The downside? Every writer can get both of these issues at any time in their writing career. It will happen without notice, warning, or time to prepare, and when you least expect it. There’s a good thing to remember though.

There’s always a light at the end of a tunnel. You will get through it, and one day soon, you’ll be scribbling/typing at the speed of light. Just remind yourself of what you want, and remember that it will be worth it.

Yeah, having your own book in your hands, whether digital or print?

Yes, it’s ALWAYS worth the trouble.

Guess I gotta remember that myself, huh? 😉

AWESOME! – That Time In The Mountains


I’ve been quiet for a while, trying to figure out what I could blog about. Now, I have the absolute BEST thing to write about.

For the past week, I have been away on a Writers retreat (Smoky Mountain Writers- SMW) with about <20 AMAZING people. When I arrived, I only knew one person, one of my mentors who pulled me into this. I was petrified, not knowing who these people are, just knowing they were writers and friends with my mentors. Said mentors assured me that these were good people, and I trust them, which is why I agreed to go. I thought, hey, it’s a good experience, and great networking. However, with my shyness and reluctance to interact with other people, I was still a bit anxious about how I would fair during an 8-day retreat in the middle of nowheresville Tennessee (The mountains in Gatlinburg, for anyone’s information) with a bunch of people I didn’t know. At worst, I’d get some writing done, get some sleep and food, and not embarrass the heck out of myself.

Man, I was SOOOOOO GLAD that it was much more than that.

My drive was difficult to say the least. I drove through a blizzard on I-81 for over 8 hours, finally stopping 15 miles from the VA/TN border on Saturday night. I continued the drive Sunday morning, and when I got there, I learned it had been totally worth it (no matter how much my mom said she was going to kick my @$$ when I got home).

Sure, a majority of our time was silent writing time (which, over 6.5 days, I’d written over 28k). At first it was hard to interact with these people, because all of them had some sort of connections with other cabinmates. Most had been to Balticon, and were planning on returning this May. Some were co-authoring works together, and others had been friends for years. It was intimidating, being the odd one out.

Then came the surprising part: they attempted to include me. Like, talking to me, actually WANTING to get to know ME, of all people. They understood the challenges I’d had in life, because all of them had been through it too. They were welcoming, kind, CRAZY people, so much like me that it stunned me for a bit. They got me to do things I never would have done elsewhere. I read some of my raw work EVERY NIGHT. I watched a New Zealand vampire ‘documentary’ (coming soon to places other than NZ- What We Do In The Shadows). I even hot-tubbed OUTSIDE in 30° temperatures!

Before I arrived, I believed this would be an amazing opportunity to network and make connections. I hadn’t really expected to make 17 new friends. By the time I had to say my tearful goodbye (Bad weather on last day, so left early), I trusted them so much, and I hope they will be friends with me for a long, long time. They were amazing, creative, spontaneous, CRAZY people, and I miss them so much already.

Onto Smoky Writers 2016!



Hiya, everybody!

I’m still cruisin’ on a hyper high from last week. I apologize for not posting last week, but I’m about to explain why.

Last week, I attended FBLA/PBL (Future Business Leaders of America/ Phi Beta Lambda) National Leadership Conference, held at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center in beautiful Nashville, TN.

First in States
First in States

My reason for going was to compete in the Project Management national finals. The top 2 (or 3, not entirely sure…) contenders in each state are invited to compete for a place at NLC. I got First Place in my state, so I was excited to at least be among others who share my love of business topics.

There were quite a number of workshops that took place during the conference’s four days. I attended one about money, and the workshop leader was hilarious! He really made the workshop fun, and I enjoyed it, as well as appreciated the knowledge I gained from it as well.

My competition was late Wednesday morning. I was planning on waking up early and studying before going over to the convention center, but I unfortunately overslept. When I got there, I immediately prayed that things would end up well. The main reason for this was because in the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doubting whether my goal of being a Project Manager was too impossible for me. I knew for a fact that my social skills were incredibly lacking, and a good manager has to be good at talking to people, as that’s a big part of the job. I at least wanted to know that I had the knowledge and expertise already, so I could focus on the social aspect for the rest of college.

And you know what? I did. Know how I know that?

I got Fourth Place in the Nation!

I can’t even tell you how happy and nervous I was inside when my name was called in the random top 10. When we (the top 10 in Project Management) were called up on stage, I instantly forgot what I was going to have to do when they called my name. I had to keep repeating to myself, “Shake with right hand, take trophy with left!” As they started counting down from 10, every time I though they were going to call my name. The closer to 1st Place they got, the bigger my smile got and the bigger my anxiety grew. However, when they called me for 4th Place, I was so nervous that I think I rushed.

When I got back to my seat after a group pic, all my fellow LU-PBL-ers were squealing and cheering for me. In fact, they had been practically the whole time. I know now that my worries about people not caring are mostly unfounded, because this small group of classmates, that I barely knew before this conference, supported me. I guess I need a little more faith in myself, and other people as well.

#NLC2014 was the hashtag for the event on Twitter and Facebook, so if you’d like to see some highlights from other NLC-ers, go ahead and look that up.

It was a blast to attend, and such an honor to recieve Fourth Place. Now I know that my path I’ve set in life is possible. All I needed was a little faith.

View from Convention Center at Gaylord Opryland