Hello Motherhood

After an almost 14 hour labor from my water breaking to my son’s arrival, I’ve officially entered into Motherhood! Despite the sleepless nights, dirty diapers, and the constant breastfeeding, I’ve never been happier.

It’s funny. I never considered myself maternal at all. Kids are cool and all, but I always thought I could do with or without them. In fact, one of my worries during pregnancy was the fear of losing a part of myself by devoting such a huge portion of my time to someone else. Now, that I have Micah, I can’t imagine him not being in my life. I can’t imagine not wanting to be with him every minute of the day. The love between mother and child really can’t be explained. It’s like finding your life partner or soul mate. It changes everything. The way you feel, the way you see the world. Just. Everything. It makes me see my own mother as well as all moms in a whole new light.

Right now, I’m still adjusting to our new addition to our family and my new role, but just like my son is his own person, I am reminded that so am I. True, I am a mom now, and as much as I love it, it’s not all I am. Once I find my rhythm, I look forward to going back to writing and revising. Still chasing that dream and leading by example so that my son never gives up on anything he deems worthwhile.

So, anyway, that’s where I’ve been lately. Still here, alive and well, watching my son grow as I think about all the stories I want to read and write for him.

Celebrating Baby

The past few months have been a whirlwind for me, but despite it, a good amount of time was carved out to celebrate the arrival of baby. First, on the agenda was a babymoon! Michael and I never really went on a honeymoon, so I really wanted to go on some kind of trip before the baby came. It didn't have to be a big trip, just something for the two of us to getaway since most of our trips this year was dedicated to visiting family. We ended up taking a weekend getaway to charming little Victoria, BC in July and I am so glad we did. It was nice to simply bask in the glow of our marriage and the new family we were creating. It was a fun weekend of garden, butterflies, food, museums, and walking about the water.

August called for our last trip to California to visit family. Now that I was getting into the third trimester, I no longer felt comfortable flying anymore, nor did I want to fly after the baby when he was a newborn. So friends and family came together to throw us a memorable baby shower, making the trip back home that much sweeter.

September called for even more celebration, but this time with the Washington friends and family! This baby is so loved by everyone where ever we go. I can’t wait until he’s old enough for me to show him just how excited everyone was for him to arrive.

Before I knew it, it was October, and I found myself extremely anxious. Anxious to be done with pregnancy, and even more anxious to meet my son!

July: Writing Update & Latest Recs

Writing: Know where you're headed, but don't rush a good thing

Currently, I am working on substantial revisions for one of my manuscripts. When I had set out to do this revision, I planned all my changes on a spreadsheet and gave myself deadlines (I'm a type-A planner. Can you tell?). At first I was moving pretty steadily, making my daily, and weekly goals, and then things got sticky. I pushed through anyway. And then I got stuck. After what felt like taking a huge step forward with the revision, I realized I had taken two steps back. By trying to meet my daily goals and weekly deadlines, I had rushed the story and it showed in my writing. Every scene felt forced.


One and a half week's worth of work needed to be re-revised. That hurt. That really, really, hurt. And my mindset became totally wrecked as the finish line slipped farther and farther away. And when you're feeling down, all the other negative chatter follows, making it hard to be focused or passionate about the story when all you can see are the flaws in it.

I got myself out of it by taking the time to go back and seeing where things went wrong and being honest with myself with what needed to be done to get me back on track.

Here are some tips and tricks that helped me:

  • Always, always, always, have an updated outline as you revise. It helps to sort out the changes you've made to easily compare it with what the draft used to be. Since there are so many moving part to revising, I use a spreadsheet which has two outlines. One is the previous draft and the other is what I want the revised draft to be. I use columns in between these two outlines to jot down notes for myself on what needs to be changed. Think of it like going from point A to point B. How do I make the draft I have now into what I want it to be? That's what you need to figure out during the revision planning process, and then revising is all about executing it. Though, I will mention, nothing is ever set in stone. As you are knee deep in revisions, you might change your mind on how you want the finished revision to look like. That's totally okay, but update the SS to reflect the new changes so you always know where you are and where you're headed when your knee deep in revisions. (If you guys want a full explanation on how I make revision spreadsheets, let me know, and I can make a resource post for it.)
  • Remember to never rush a good thing: This applies to life but also drafting/revising. You can always tell where an author put in a lot of time in a piece of work, versus rushing through a plot point. Rushing leaves the reader unsatisfied. I mean forced plot, forced character, forced everything, wouldn't that leave you unsatisfied? You know how you can tell when someone is trying to hard? It's basically the same thing. You're trying too hard to make a plot point or character arc stick and it shows up as being inauthentic.

So happy to say that I am almost two-thirds done with this revision! Middles for me are always the hardest, so I am looking forward to revising the ending and being done with this layer of revision.

Motivation & Inspiration

Motivation: Showing Up & Never Giving Up

This month in the woes of my revision I looked for some inspiration and found them in some podcasts featuring Sarah J Mass and Julie Dao! If you need a motivating boost, check them out!

  • Showing Up - Sarah J Mass interview at '88 Cups of Tea': I absolutely adored Sarah's conviction and dedication to her craft. Her belief in herself and what she wanted to do with her life since 16 really restored my belief in myself and what I want to be: a writer! Her most important advice? Show up, every day. If it's the job you want, you have to work for it.
  • Never Giving Up - Julie Dao interview at Write or Die: I knew a little bit about Julie's road to publication but not to this extent! She goes through her journey in detail which goes to show that the only failure in writing is in giving up. Her persistence is awe-inspiring and gives me hope for my own journey. She made a great comment about how you never really know when success will arrive. It may be right around the corner and you don't even know it. So that should be reason enough to keep going, and never give up.

Inspiration: Latest book & music recs

Book-wise these two have been my highlights:

Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young - Thank you Ms. Young for bringing me out of my book slump! This standalone YA fantasy had so much action and heart, and was seriously my cup of tea. I devoured this beauty for its fun adventure and gut-wrenching plot. These are the kind of fantasy books that I want to write so this story just felt like home bringing me to a brand new place with such a feisty, but flawed heroine! Oh and also, the slow burn romance. Bonus points for that. Fiske fan forever! *end fangirling rant* (She also had a great interview with Sarah Enni on the First Draft podcast, that I highly recommend listening to as well!)

You Are A Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero - This was a Mother's Day gift from my sister. Now, that I am pregnant, I've been kind of stunned at how much it costs to raise a human being! I always had the mentality that money does not make a person happy nor does it define your worth. One thing I have to admit: money makes life a whole lot easier as long as you are able to manage your money well. Though some parts I couldn't get behind 100%, I felt like this was a quick and uplifting read to encourage you to step out of your shell and ask for what you want.

Own the day, Own your life by Aubrey Marcus - So I really enjoy listening to self-help/motivating books on audiobook (it makes doing chores/the commute go by so much easier). I highly recommend you do the same for this one. Marcus illustrates how focusing on optimizing and doing your best each day is the best approach to owning your life instead of getting owned by the day to day. Focusing on all aspects of your life, this book really resonated with me (I'm a productivity junkie--anything to be more efficient and make the most use of my time always gets me inspired) by emphasizing balance and how to achieve it. There were so many takeaways from it that I'm still digesting everything I learned.

Music-the latest adds to my spotify playlist: I've been on an alternative kick lately!

Panic! At The Disco - Thank you for the new album. My faves are: Dying in LA, High Hopes, Hey Look Mam I Made It

The 1975 - Girls, Somebody Else

Rosie Darling - I Fall Apart

Pregnancy Update: Halfway There

The anatomy scan. The mid-pregnancy ultrasound where you get to see your baby and make sure everything is developing properly. Being the worry-wort that I am, I've been looking forward to this appointment since its been scheduled, hoping it will ease my conscience, but also because I just want to see the baby. The belly is getting bigger, the heartbeat is becoming my favorite sound in the world, and I've been feeling flutters, swishes, rolls, and kicks, but there's something about seeing him moving on the ultrasound screen that just makes me want to cry happy weepy tears. Maybe it's because I love him so much already my chest feels like its about to burst, or maybe seeing him makes me fall in love with Michael all over again. After all, this little miracle wouldn't be possible without our love for each other.

As you can tell, pregnancy makes me emotional. The abundance of love I feel for my husband and child is hard to describe, and I feel like it's one of those things you don't really get until you experience it for yourself. Like I knew I was already capable of love, but just when you think it can't get any deeper, it does. 

Everyone thought I would want a girl first seeing as I come from such a badass female family, but when I thought of having a child, I knew I wanted a mini-Michael. I get so much support from the femme fatales in my life, I knew in my own family unit I would want a boy like his father to melt my heart for years to come. I am literally counting down the days until I get to meet him, even knowing the first few weeks will be insane and my chances of sleep or null. #worthit

As I enter motherhood, it's made me really appreciate my family in a whole new light. It takes a village to raise a child, and I can't help but count my blessings for my mom and my sisters who raised me. We didn't have much growing up, but we had each other, and really that's all you need.

But back to the scan. I've been a bundle of nerves because I don't really sleep well anymore since I am no longer allowed to snooze on my back. Couple that with revisions, work, and getting things sorted in my personal life, it's been one heck of a rollercoaster, but once the day arrived, I couldn't help but count down the hours, wishing on every minute like it was a star that our baby would be healthy and progressing normally. I'm not sure my heart could take it if we heard otherwise.

Luckily, the ultrasound tech put me at ease immediately. He was smiling, which made me smile, and he went through all the body parts of the baby, constantly reassuring us that everything looked good. I started to relax, enjoying the show as baby seemed to be dancing to his own groove, fist pumping in the utero. The doctor came in afterwards to give us the final report. Baby was healthy and growing within one day of his due date, and he saw no reason for us to come back for any future ultrasounds. Now, it was all about taking good care of myself and baby for the next 19 weeks to ensure optimum health.

Now, that all the scary testing stuff is over with, I am finally enjoying my pregnancy :)

Other fun pregnancy updates:

Things I don't love about being pregnant:

  • Not being able to drink wine. Most days I don't really think about it, but some days I really miss it. It was an experience Michael and I shared, and I miss having that. This is the first year we are breaking tradition and not going on a wine trip *pouts*.
  • Not being able to eat sushi. I dream of having an omakase meal post-pregnancy. I keep telling myself it's going to be my push reward along with a bottle of champagne. Though oddly, it's been difficult for me to eat some kinds of cooked fish, so Michael brought up the point that even though I want sushi while pregnant, my body would probably revolt against it.
  • Pregnancy acne. I never really had to struggle with acne in general, so it's really been a pain to deal with it all pregnancy. Starting to think this pregnancy glow is non-existent. Ha.
  • Hating to wear clothes. Ha. Nothing looks good! And I'm so not into purchasing a whole new wardrobe to dress up the bump, so I've only bought a few essentials that I hope will get me through the next few months.
  • Being hungry all the time. You would think the excuse to eat more would actually excite me because I love food, but it's actually kind of torture when you have no room in your belly, so you have to constantly graze every two hours. It makes eating a chore when you can't really enjoy a full meal and your taste buds are off.

Things I love about being pregnant:

  • Feeling him move. Nothing is more magical. Sometimes when I feel alone and I doubt myself as a mother and wife, I always seem to get a reassuring nudge from the little one as if he's saying, Chill ma, you're doing great.
  • Baby likes the sound of Michael's voice. He is more receptive to moving and kicking when he can hear his papa close by. It's so neat now that Michael can feel him, too.
  • My relationship with Michael. I feel like the baby has brought us much closer and or marriage is better because of it.

Behind the scenes: 2018 NVA finalist & the gender reveal!

When I first moved to Seattle and my sister came to visit me, we decided to see a fortune teller for fun off Broadway in Capitol Hill. I'll admit, I sometimes go once a year to get my fortune told. I don't know if I believe in them one hundred percent, but when I get good news, I like to think it manifests itself into reality.

Anyway, this particular reading occurred in the summer of 2014, and the only reason I remember it is because the fortune teller told me, Writing for you, goes hand in hand with your love life. I took that to mean that if my relationship was good, so would my writing be. Who knows if it's true, but my young twenty-something self had recently moved to Seattle for love, and I was one year into seriously writing novel-length works with the intent for publication. Back then I had been naive. I thought I could make a three-year plan to be published, and I would be financially stable enough to quit my day job. I'm shaking my head at my past self as I write this. Oh, how I wish I could have warned my past self just how difficult that would be. That's not to say it can't happen--because it has for the fortunate few, but I am not so fortunate. And the reality is, most authors still have a full-time job in addition to their writing contracts.

The whole point of going to the fortune teller though was for me to ask if I would make it into PitchWars, to which I got the vague reply, Writing will be a long journey, but when your door opens, it will happen very fast. Suffice it to say, I did not get in that year, and my relationship with Michael was still relatively new. After that summer though, I stopped thinking about that fortune, until things started to line up.

In 2015, Michael and I went to Vietnam with my family. During this trip he asked my mom for my hand in marriage. When we came home from that trip, I started working on a manuscript inspired by that trip. That was the year I got into PitchWars and Michael proposed. For a moment, it looked like things were getting serious! Writing and relationship-wise!

In 2016 we booked the venue for our wedding, and I also got my first agent. Finally, I thought. Something is happening! During this year, I wedding planned and also went on submission for the first time. All the while, I waited thinking, This is it. My door is opening!

Except it didn't. The rejections came in, and my writing confidence took a hit which showed in my other works. I started to doubt myself and my ability. Then my 3-year plan was up.

In 2017, I got married, but then my agent and I parted ways amicably. I felt like a complete and utter failure. I felt like I'd failed everyone whoever believed in me, and then eventually, I stopped believing in myself.

I took a long break from writing after that. I thought of doing something else for awhile. Maybe I should learn to code? Maybe I should become a sommelier? Maybe I should focus more on my career! Looking back, I know that my hesitation to pursue my dream came out of fear. I didn't want to admit I failed on my dream.

But with the push of writing friends, I decided to try again. It's only failure if you stop, right? Except when I tried, I was faced with rejection yet again (Seriously, miss fortune lady. Where is this door? And why won't it open?). 

Then I saw the New Visions Award contest, and I thought, why not? I liked the imprint's mission, and it became more important for me to want to share my story with readers then to simply be published. I also wanted to give an old manuscript one more shot before putting it in my trunk forever. So I submitted, and retreated to drafting once more.


In 2018, I got pregnant. And then the beginning of my second trimester I found out I was a finalist for the award. I didn't win, but I was finalist, which meant, I wasn't outright rejected. I was in the top five, after feeling like the past five years of writing amounted to what seemed like nothing. After years of rejection and setbacks, I didn't realize at first just how monumental or how much this affected me until I received an encouraging e-mail from an editor.

Sometimes, you just need encouragement from someone who isn't family or friend who sees something in your work for you to realize, Hey, I've improved over the course of my journey. Which means I can only get better if I keep at it. And if I do, maybe a door will finally appear.

So sure, being a finalist was a small victory, but one I needed.

I have no idea whether or not the fortune lady will be right, but that's really besides the point. As long as I believe in myself then eventually some door--wherever it may be--will open. Only because I won't stop pounding on it until someone let's me in.

There will be no more 3 or 5 year plans for me. Only a lifelong dream.

Now, I'm about to dive into a cool writing opportunity this summer which may or may not come to anything. But I'm excited to tackle it just because opportunities in the writing world don't come up every often. Hopefully I'll rise to the occasion, but if I don't, that's okay too as long as I try my best, because I know I'll grow and learn from the experience (which I consider a win). To do so, I'll have to put drafting The Gilded Cage on hold, but I plan to get back to it soon.


On another life-related note, I'm having a baby boy. We revealed the gender to the family on Mother's Day, and my heart is full of warmth and happiness for my family and in-laws from all the support we've been given. My son is already loved by everyone, and we haven't even had the pleasure of meeting yet!

The fortune lady was right about one thing though: writing and love goes hand in hand for me because the act of writing is the best way I know how to express my love.

A Valentine's Surprise: We're Expecting!

I've been keeping a secret: Michael and I are expecting! It's been a wild ride during the first trimester, but I'm so happy to finally start sharing our journey with you.

How we found out:


So funny story, the night before Valentine's day, Michael made a chicken stir-fry with chili oil for dinner that for some reason soured my stomach. The smell made me so upset, and I got angry because the house just reeked of it. I ended up holing myself in the bedroom and going to bed early. When Michael came up to get ready for bed, the sounds woke me and I could not fall back asleep (as you can tell, I was in a terrible mood that night). Then around eleven p.m. I started to get painful cramps in my abdomen. I tried a heating pad, but that didn't help. I tossed and turned which woke Michael up. It was so bad I started pacing in the room. At that point Michael and I both weren't getting any sleep. He suggested we either go to the ER or I take some aspirin. I was stubborn. I did not want to go to the ER, since I thought it was a hormonal side effect from going off BCP, nor did I want to take aspirin on an empty stomach since I felt nauseous. So I ended up sleeping in the guest room so Michael could get some sleep.

Then my alarm went off and it was time to get to ready for work. My sister had mentioned off-handedly the night before that maybe I should take a pregnancy test, but I waved it off since I'd taken one a week before and it had been negative. I thought all my symptoms were contributed to PCOS since my doctor was going to test me for that soon. Then lo and behold the pink line showed up.

Oh shit! was my first thought, but I couldn't believe it. Poor Michael did not get any sleep because I woke him up immediately and showed it to him thinking it was a trick of my eye, but it wasn't. He saw it, too. I saw my doctor that day who confirmed it with a blood test. That night we flew to see my family and traded Valentine's Day cards at the airport to commemorate the big news.

Was this a planned pregnancy?

Yes and no. Ha. On our trip to Santa Barbara for Michael's Birthday last Summer, Michael brought up the idea about us having kids earlier than we had planned. In my head, I always thought I would start trying when I was 29-30. At the time, I was only 26. The more we thought about it though, we knew we would at least have one, and we didn't know if I would have fertility issues or not so we planned to start trying in January 2018. In October 2017, however, my doctor suggested that I be off the BCP for at least 3 months before starting to try. So I got off of them and received a rude awakening in exchange. After being on BCP for over a decade, I ended up having really bad side effects and pain on my left side. My periods became irregular, and after an ultrasound they found ovarian cysts. I was dealing with a hormonal imbalance and they suspected I might have PCOS since I might not be ovulating.

At the end of December, we weren't thinking of trying anymore. We were thinking it would take 2018 for my body to heal from whatever it was going through.

So was this a planned pregnancy? Yes, as in we wanted it to happen if it could this year. No, as in we weren't actively trying.

The big reveal. How did you let the family know?

It was our intention that Michael's parents would be the first to know since it would be the first grandchild on their side of the family. Going home for Valentine's Day/Lunar New Year weekend made that kind of difficult. We almost got away with it up until the last hour we were leaving when I ate something I shouldn't have. My sister guessed it when I didn't react. To her credit, I also didn't drink wine at dinner which was a huge flag considering I'm a big wino. I blamed it on PCOS, but I don't think that was really convincing. So when we flew back to Seattle that night, I face timed and told my sisters (because once one sister knows, they all do ;)). In the end, I was glad to have the moral support of my sisters because I was really afraid of miscarrying since I had hormonal imbalances prior to conception. And also, my oldest sister was already a mother and a nurse, so when I fell sick with a fever, it was nice for Michael and I to seek her advice on what I should do and how I should care for myself during that time.

Once we received news of a stable heartbeat at week 8, we felt it was time to spread the news to the rest of the family. We met up with Michael's sister and brother-in-law for dinner to tell them before leaving the next day to Palm Desert to visit Michael's parents and to tell them the news. We face timed my mom that Sunday after sending flowers. We wanted to tell my Mom in person, but it wasn't financially smart of us to try last minute, but we plan to go back down for Mother's Day to properly celebrate!

Time line of the first trimester:

Week Four: We find out we're pregnant. Symptoms: cramping, increase in appetite,  frequent urination

Week Five: My sisters learn the news. I catch a fever/cold. I'm sick with absolutely no appetite whatsoever. Extreme fatigue.


Week Six: First ultrasound and we realize I'm not far along as we thought (at this point we thought I was 8 weeks). There's a flickering heartbeat. I'm still getting over my cold. Blood tests are run. Symptoms: Nausea, food aversions, no appetite, emotional weep fests, extreme fatigue where I'm sleeping 10-12 hours.

Week Seven: Same as week six. Ha, except the only thing I want to eat is carbs. Oh yeah, and I have food aversions.

Week Eight: Second ultrasound. Heart beat is at 176 bpm. Things are looking good. Nausea is slowly subsiding, but the fatigue has not. We deliver the news to the rest of the family.

Week Nine: We celebrate my 27th Birthday and the nausea is subsiding. Fatigue during the beginning of the week, but slowly getting my energy back. Cravings have started.

Week Ten: No more nausea. Increase in appetite and cravings, but I am sleeping so much more. Dizziness when I work out. Clothes are not feeling very comfortable anymore.

Week Eleven: Appearance of weight gain, and the start of taking belly progress photos! Which we totally fail at as we have yet to take any more.

Week Twelve: I look into getting maternity pants because my jeans are getting uncomfortable. And OMG, maternity pants are like heaven.


Week Thirteen (Fourteen): Ultrasound! Our baby bean is no longer a bean, but an actually baby! Also, I was super surprised at how active it was in my uterus and the fact I can't even feel it. It's so bizarre. And we get to hear the heartbeat for the first time. We also find out that I am a week further along than we thought! We start doing genetic testing, and we decide to do the gender blood test.

Week Fifteen: I feel like I've suddenly grown in my belly. It kind of just popped out. Whoa. Weird. By week 15, my co-workers all know my news, and we've told close friends. It feels good not to try and hide it anymore.

Week Sixteen: Check up appointment with my OBGYN. Baby is developing well. My uterus is up to my belly button. I no longer look chubby. There's an actual bump! And we receive the results for the gender test! Though we are keeping it a secret until Mother's Day.

Thoughts on pregnancy:

It's crazy how much my thoughts became consumed by the baby growing inside me. From the moment we found out, it was ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT. I devoured books on pregnancy, read forums, and literally crammed my head with info, and then the nausea and fatigue set in. Ha. And then all the emotions! Then I became useless. A crying puddle who just slept all day and hardly left the house. First trimester was no joke, and I started feeling very guilty because I was not enjoying my pregnancy because I felt completely out of control of my own body. I already felt like a horrible mother for even thinking it. Especially when I had thoughts about how raising this child would cut into all my writing time and would hinder me from traveling, and how I was missing out on life experiences.

Once I started feeling better though, once the sickness subsided and things became more real with the heartbeat and ultrasounds, and I was no longer controlled by my irrational emotions, I realized that what I was undergoing was an even more amazing experience that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. In truth, I never saw myself as a mom. I didn't want it ending up as my  only identity, but there's something about the process, growing closer with your husband, and the baby you have yet to know, that flips a biological switch.

Now, I want to be the best possible mom I can be, on top of all my other roles in life (wife, sister, daughter, writer, friend). It's a privilege to be a mother, and I can't believe I didn't see that at the beginning of the journey. What's happening is pretty miraculous and the bond that's being established during it is just something that can't be put into words until felt.

The only downside is I'm constantly worried about the little one, but I think that goes along with the territory of being a parent. Michael and I both are becoming worry warts and it's kind of cute because it just shows how much we love our baby.

So far we're waiting on results for the genetic testing and spina bifida, and then we have the anatomy ultrasound in June. After that, it's all about growing, so hopefully the worries will lessen for us and we can enjoy our summer.

Anyway, that's my lengthy post :) The secret is officially out (online anyway)!

A new perspective, a new approach.

I am done counting the WPR weeks. I have accepted the fact that I am not projected to catch up on my word count based on those weeks. Please don't be disappointed in me! I did make it to 30K, and no I am not quitting on The Gilded Cage! The 'fast-first-draft', however, just wasn't working for me for this particular story, so I knew I had to change things up. The plot is more intricate than I expected which burned my brain out quickly when trying to keep up with the threads.

A few weeks ago when I was wallowing in despair, a CP offered to read what I had so far to give me feedback which I happily accepted! I sent off my rough pages, and while waiting, I made a six page outline of the plot so I could bounce off ideas with her. Since I had yet to hear from her I thought I should continue drafting since I had an outline to work off of. I added about 7K more but then I got stuck, again. Something felt off, just as it had felt off when I got stuck the first time around and sent off the rough pages to my CP. I contributed it to doubt making me second guess myself, but it had been five years since I started writing novel-length works. Hadn't I learned something? Shouldn't I trust my gut? Shouldn't I have cultivated some type of intuition by now?

Suffice it to say, I stepped away from my WIP yet again, and picked up old manuscripts. I delved into my trunked stories starting with the first and worst and immediately cringed. I read a few passages and then moved onto the next story and the next. Some were left unfinished, some thoroughly revised, but funny enough, I could see why they didn't lead to publication. With what I'd learned over the years, I could pinpoint exactly why an old MS of mine's wasn't working. So why couldn't I see what was wrong with my WIP? I'd obviously improved, yet why is it that writing had become harder than ever?

I think it came down to this: I know I can do better. I know I can be better. So when I don't see it reflected on the page, I get discouraged. But it's a first draft, right? It's supposed to be vomit. Just get it out. Right? For TGC, I couldn't do that. The last two manuscripts I'd done that process and what did it leave me with? Numerous rewrites! Instead of deepening the story in each draft, I basically ripped it to shreds and rewrote the whole thing multiple times! It was exhausting work, and I know writing is a lot of rewriting, but it seemed so inefficient! It drove me mad. I couldn't go there again. So what was I to do?

Going back to the old manuscripts, I picked up the one that had gotten me close to my dreams: Diamond Queen. It was one of my best works though it could still be improved (revising is endless). I missed how enjoyable the writing experience was for this one. The story, the characters, I just knew it without realizing it because it had always been a book I'd wanted to write. It had always been ready for me, it just took me being ready to get it down. So maybe that was the difference? It had the time to develop and marinate in my head and my heart before I even got it on the page. And once I did get to the page, it felt as if it had written itself because I'd already told myself the story many times.

So maybe that's what I was missing. This love, this deep intimacy of knowing my story, of this impulse to get it out. Maybe that's what was missing for TGC.

Knowing that, I knew I was not ready to face my WIP. Deep down, I've been holding TGC at an arms length, not wanting to get my hopes up again.

Then two weekends ago, Michael and I went to go see Echosmith in concert. One of their songs, 'Tell Her You Love Her' heavily influenced one of my old manuscripts. As I sat there, listening to the song live, I thought about how the years had passed since I had written that story. Between that time, the band themselves had been on hiatus trying to figure out the sound of their sophomore album. I found that I didn't really connect with the sophomore album, but I did connect with their struggle to find their 'sound' because I had been struggling the past two years to find my 'voice'. And yeah, my sophomore stuff after DQ was very experimental, but it pushed me as a writer, and I learned so much from it. The manuscripts weren't 'the one' but they were stepping stones to 'the one' (or at least, that's what I am telling myself).

This weekend, Michael pushed me to go on a date with him (to be honest, I haven't been able to bring myself out of the house much--bad wifey, I know), but because he is wonderful and I knew we needed it, I went and I had a good time. We ended the date by going to the bookstore, and I picked up a craft book, Story Genius, hoping it could enlighten me. I spent the weekend reading from cover to cover, but it was just what I needed to get some much needed clarity.

The reason why I couldn't move forward with my MS, was because something was wrong in the pages I'd already written. A plot point or an emotional beat wasn't leading me down the right path which resulted in a ripple effect. I needed to go back and fix that before I could move on and the ripple effect became to large to contain. I realized this plot was too intricate for me to rush through. It needed careful planning. If I barreled ahead, I would be screwing myself by writing a ton of words that I would end up rewriting anyway. No, this was not a fast first draft story, and my gut was telling me so by getting me stuck every time by telling me to stop and think about what I was doing instead of simply getting to my word count.

This was a layered story, and I was not doing it justice. I'd put my guard up, not wanting to get too close or too attached to this story or the characters in fear that this WIP was again, not the one. That thinking, however, was detrimental to my work, and it showed in my words, and I felt it during the writing experience.

I got into writing to put my heart on the page, when had I become so afraid? Had rejection made me that fearful? That doubtful of my work? I guess it had, but it was no way to write.


It took me a couple of weeks to cultivate a new perspective and new approach going into TGC, but it was much needed. I needed to allow myself to get close to the characters, to immerse myself in their world, and allow myself to hurt and grow alongside them. I needed to take my time with it. There's no rush, no ticking clock. Just me, my characters, and their story. Go at their pace, not some arbitrary deadline I've placed upon myself.

After coming to that conclusion, I felt much better, and now I know what I need to do for myself and for this manuscript.

After five years, I had learned something after all. Now, to continue trusting my gut and intuition.