Then Comes the Crash

Hello, all!

Now, those of you who follow me on social media (thank you!) probably already know this, but I finished the first draft of Salt and Silver!

God, it’s exciting. I can’t even begin to express how much of a high it is to finish writing a book. (Not without taking absolutely forever about it, and, lets face it, that would get pretty boring for you guys.) The feeling of accomplishment is incredibly overwhelming, though.

Of course, now there’s the problem of…the crash.

You see, finishing a book is huge. But I’ve spent the past 4 or 5 months (since the first or second week of January) in the minds of these characters. I’ve lived and breathed their lives and breaths.

Ness, Nolan, and Elias have become so real to me, as do the characters in every book I write. And they have to, really. My writing is deeply psychological and very emotional. I have to flesh the characters out, have to know what drives them. I have to figure out their deepest desires, their coping mechanisms, their humor, the things that make them nervous…

All of it.

And by the time you do that, they’re like real people.

Add to that the fact that I’m a pantser, and it’s basically like the beginning of a friendship (or rivalry, in the case of villains). Every time I sit down with these characters, I learn something new. Every time I think through their lives, I figure out something new in their past that explains the personality they’ve taken on.

Yes, I know. I can practically hear the scoffs and see the eye rolls I’m sure some of you are giving me. I’m perfectly aware that most people who do a lot of outlining and plotting think that all this pantser mumbo jumbo is…well, mumbo jumbo. “You made the characters. You control their personality and their actions.”

Yeah, I do. To a degree.

But for the sake of realism, I have to treat them like people. The only alternative is plotting everything ahead of time, and feeling like I’m suffocating. If they each have their own code, their own personality, then writing them by the seat of my pants is easier. Because there are certain things they would, or would not, do.

Plus, much like real people, fictional people cause all sorts of drama for themselves when left to their own devices.

But treating them like real people has a price. Now, there’s the emptiness left behind by getting their stories out. Because, now, I don’t have to learn more about them. I don’t have to figure out their lives. I don’t have to learn what these friends like to eat, or why they like the sound of the birds in the woods beyond their cottage window, or why they feel guilty all the time.

It’s all done. It’s all figured out.

These friends, in their own way, have moved on. Which makes this “crash” seem a lot lonelier than I intended it to. Lol.

And since I’m going to be editing for a while, rather than starting another story immediately, I’m not building a new world or creating people. It’s honestly…a bit boring. Lol. 12 hours shifts go by so much faster when I have a story spinning through my brain. My mind is desperate to work on something, but…I can’t edit while operating heavy machinery.

Not if I expect to come out the other side of the experience with all my parts attached…I kinda have to watch what I’m doing. Staring at a screen is just a bad idea. Lol.

It’s not like I don’t have ideas, though. I intend to finish The Regonia Chronicles this year, and then there’s Second to None, the thriller that I’m dying to get started on.

But if I don’t do some editing, and get all this other shit done, I’ll never get any of these stories out to be read. Between the rerelease of The Gem of Meruna, Salt and Silver, and the other completed standalone novels (I specify standalone here, because technically book one of Regonia is done, but I’m not far enough with the series to even think about a release for that one yet), I have five books…just…waiting.

And since I’ve decided to self-publish, all they’re waiting on…is me.

We’ll see how stir crazy I get, not writing. It genuinely drives me batty. I may have to do a chapter here and there for Regonia, just to maintain my sanity.

For now, though, I’m about five chapters into the preliminary edits of Salt and Silver. (I have the edits for the next couple chapters handwritten, though, because I worked on it in the cafeteria at work. So…sorta seven chapters into the edit.) This is just the “I put that in to fill a plothole, so don’t forget, take it out, and fuck up the story” edit. It’s also the “Why the fuck did I choose that word?” edit…

Basically, just catching wonky flow and typos while it’s all still fresh in my mind.

I have to tighten it up, basically. Not that my first drafts are absolute monstrosities, or anything, but they certainly need work.

Then, I’ll let it sit while I get The Gem of Meruna ready. Then, back into the minds of Ness, Nolan, and Elias in the world of Salt and SIlver for more edits. Then…drum roll…writing something else. Eventually, some more polishing for Salt and SIlver, and then it’ll be off to beta readers.

So, in case you thought books were quick and easy…They’re not. Lol. There are so many steps involved.

Now, I write fast . The last two books I’ve written took about 4-5 months each, while working full time, with overtime almost every week. Hell, since I started taking my writing seriously in 2014, I’ve written six complete novels, a novella, and a lot of short stories. (RIP the novel I wrote in college, that was lost when the laptop and the external hard drive it was backed up on…fried.)

But there are so many things to do to get a story truly ready for readers. Writing it is only the beginning.

Anyway, though…

That pretty much gets you all up to speed with where I’m at, right now. I’ll set a release date for The Gem of Meruna once I get through some of the updating, and I’ll keep you posted.

For now…

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Decisions…

Hello, all!

Since I know the aforementioned announcement is what likely brought most of you here, I will, of course, keep you waiting.

Lol.

After all, what writer in their write (see what I did there?) mind would give away the goods at the beginning?

None. Not a single one.

So, I’ll start with a progress report. The rewrite of the first half of Salt and Silver is done, and I have officially moved forward into writing the rest of the story. This supernatural romance has taken a lot of twists and turns that I did not see coming. But I love it.

When I started the rewrite, I had roughly 40,000 words across 100 pages (ish). Now, I have 49,547 words over the course of 128 pages. 🙂

I’m pretty happy with how it’s going, and I’m super excited to keep pushing forward.

I also managed to do the alchemy photo shoot I mentioned last week. If you haven’t seen it, head over to my Instagram or my Facebook author page, and check it out. (Links for both are at the absolute bottom of any page of my website.)

Anyway, I really like how it turned out. It took so long to do, but that’s okay. The sigils on the necklaces (which I sculpted and painted) took about an hour and a half to make, and turned out awesome. Set up for the shoot took about an hour and a half, maybe two hours, and the shoot itself took maybe an hour?

But it really brought Ness’ potion making livelihood right into my living room (literally). It brought her to life even more than she already was. In doing so, it contributed to Salt and Silver in a more…ambiguous way. Because now, I’ve been in her “home.” Lol.

Now, though, to bring this around almost to the main topic.

Over the past week, I’ve been doing more research into the differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing, as well as the pros and cons of each.

Some of these things are obvious.

Traditional publishing means you have teams of professionals doing some of the work for you, which is nice, especially when it comes to marketing (which I suck at). It also means unbearably long wait times.

The query/submission stage of any book project is maddening. Each agent or publisher has their own list of things they want you to write about the book to send along with the manuscript, and they all have their own formatting requirements.

Some want a one sentence summary, including the ending, of the story you’ve just spent 70,000 to 120,000 words telling (which is incredibly difficult), along with a query letter, and the first three chapters of the manuscript. Another might want a three page synopsis, a cover letter (yes, this is different from a query letter, though in very small ways), and the whole manuscript. Others want all of the above, as well as market research, and five year plans.

And every single submission item, be it a one sentence summary, a query letter, or a synopsis, is both an art and a science, in and of itself.

Needless to say, submitting to one agent or publisher can take hours. And all of this is after you’ve compiled a list of people to submit to who are, at that exact moment in time, accepting unagented submissions in that genre, with no theme or subject matter restrictions which would eliminate your work.

Then, you get to wait.

Anywhere from two weeks to an entire year.

Some of them require that you submit nowhere else while they consider it.

So a manuscript can just be placed on hold in someone’s inbox for a year, and you can’t do a thing with it.

Then, there’s the fact that offers are only made on 1-2% of submissions at any given publisher…

All told, the submission process is riddled with grueling hours in front of a screen and waiting and rejections and waiting and heartache and yes…more waiting.

Then, more rejections…

And, for a while, I thought it would be worth it.

Not for the prestige of being picked up by a traditional publisher. Don’t get me wrong, getting an offer for a book deal would be fantastic. The validation of it would be magnificent.

But I just kind of assumed it would be better. I assumed that my work would do better with a traditional publisher, and that the money would be better, thus I’d be able to be a full time author much faster.

Over the course of my research this week, though…I discovered that this isn’t really the case. I was watching a video on Youtube by Alexa Donne called Traditional Publishing Book Money 101, and learned some rather shocking things about the publishing industry.

Apparently, advances (predicted royalties paid ahead of time in good faith) are paid out over the course of a couple years, not all at once. As of 2017 (when she made the video), the average advance was between $1,000 and $10,000. Sounds good, right?

Except, that it’s then halved by agent fees and taxes (which are 40%, because Uncle Sam treats it as freelance/contractor work). So…$500 to $5,000…over the course of a couple years…

Not quite quit your day job money.

And since it takes so long to get a book deal, often years, there aren’t going to be many of those small checks coming in.

So…it seems…far less worth it to wait out the submission process.

Now, self-publishing can work very well for people who write quality books quickly, and who can market themselves.

I suck at marketing, but I learn fast.

And I write quickly, with high standards.

So, if you haven’t guessed where this is leading, I’ve decided to stop putting time into submissions. Instead, I’ll be focusing on the final rounds of edits, formatting, arranging cover art, and self-publishing.

I’ll be re-releasing The Gem of Meruna (likely first, because it needs updated and I can assign a lower price on kdp than that assigned by the original publisher).

Then, I have three standalone novels to release. Where Darkness Leads is dark fantasy romance. Soul Bearer is sword and sorcery/fantasy romance. After is post-apocalyptic, and a bit of a roller coaster.

By the time all that is done, I hope to have Salt and Silver done, as well as The Regonia Chronicles. And the thriller I got an idea for over the past week, tentatively called Second to None. Plus all the other ideas I have, and the stories I’ve begun, but haven’t had time to finish just yet.

So, long story short, the decision to self-publish is a very exciting one.

After and Soul Bearer are each still submitted to a couple agents and publishers, so, of course, I’ll await their responses before moving forward with this. It wouldn’t make sense to throw away the work of submitting, my time, and the time of the people reading through them.

But, given the 1-2% odds, they’ll likely be self-published. Lol.

Anyway, the future looks rather promising. I’ve got a lot to do, and I can only hope that my day job doesn’t mandate me for too much overtime. :/

But, for now, I’d better be going. I’m off work tomorrow, but I have an unfortunately early morning calling my name.

So…

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Writing tips? Who the hell am I to give writing tips?

Hello, all!

I recently got an audio book version of one of my favorite books (I won’t say which, because I’m about to shit on it a bit. Figuratively, of course. Lol.) I put it on my phone, and have been listening to it while at work, and….it’s just stunning. It really is a perfect story, even if the writing could stand a few improvements, at least in the beginning of the book.

It has aliens and futuristic technology, primitive survival and humans on the brink of extinction, other worlds and a new vision of our world, drama and tension. Multiple romances, even a love triangle, though in this case it’s more like a square with one side collapsed so that two corners collide.

In short, the story has nearly everything that I like to read.

But hearing it spoken aloud brings writing flaws to attention. There’s a reason that one very common tip mentioned in writing groups is to read your work aloud.

Which brings me to the topic of discussion today: passive voice and copula spiders.

Basically, they’ll fuck your shit up.

Too many make your story drag on, racking up the word count without adding to the plot, or moving it forward, at all. I know how comforting a higher word count can be, believe me, but if it’s all going to be cut out in editing, it doesn’t help in the end.

Passive voice example:

The apple was eaten by Tom. (passive as hell)
Tom ate the apple. (much better)

The second sentence actually shows someone doing something. It’s active. It’s more interesting, and doesn’t pack your story with useless words. (A tip I saw in a meme recently said that if you can insert “by zombies” after your verb, you’re using passive voice. The apple was eaten…by zombies.)

Now, for copula spiders. Basically, if you search for the word “is,” or some other conjugation of the word “be,” in your manuscript, and can find more than 8 on a page, that’s a copula spider. If it’s printed, circle one, and then circle the others, connecting them all to one in the center. It’ll kinda look like a spider.

Is, am, were, was, be, been.

Look into it. They’re vicious soul suckers, and slow the story down. Don’t believe me? Here you go:

The apple is red. It is shining. The sunlight is bouncing off it.
The red apple shines brilliantly in the sunlight.

Which would you rather read?

Hell, I was able to add another word (“brilliantly”) for impact, and the second version was still shorter. Concise writing vastly improves story quality.

Let’s combine the two flaws, because they tend to go hand in hand. How about we raise the stakes while we’re at it, really drive the point home?

The gun is loaded. It is pointed at me by Tom.
Tom points the loaded gun at me.

Sweet (in theory, not in the practice of pointing guns at people), simple, and to the point (pun intended).

It just flows, so much better.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times where this can be used for emphasis. Perhaps, Tom wants to assure us that the gun is loaded. Perhaps, someone is colorblind, and has confused a fuji apple for a granny smith. They need corrected, lest they put the wrong type of apple in their pie, and someone says, “It is red.”

Similarly, passive voice can be used to emphasize parts of the sentence, and, let’s face it, people love to really drive their points home, any way they can. So, dialogue becomes a free-for-all, to a degree.

In a similar vein, first person-present tense can use these things quite effectively, if the story is written as if it were the character’s thoughts. Even then, it has to be done well.

Not to mention the potential for a troublesome character who tends to over-explain, thus limiting any possibility for concise language.

So, every rule has its exceptions.

But, for the most part, passive voice and copula spiders hinder storytelling. Burdensome and ineffectual, they slow the reader, transforming a potentially page-turning novel into a sluggish read.

That’s not exactly something most writers want.

Some stories are strong enough to pull their weight, regardless of a few extra words. The one I’ve been listening to, for example.

But not every story can bear that kind of burden.

Do yourself, your editor (and thus your wallet), and your readers a favor. Be wary of these things. When you employ them in your story, do them with great purpose, and make sure it’s obvious that you meant to do it.

We can tell when it’s an accident.

*steps down from the soap box*

*prepares to use the hell out of copulas, because at this point, I’m just talking*

On a more personal note, I want to say that rewrites are exhausting. Lol. I worked through about seven chapters of Salt and Silver, and was frustrated the whole time. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. I just knew that it wasn’t working.

Then, I realized I was holding on too tightly. To sentences. To phrases. To chapters.

To a character.

So much stuff must be cut to make room for the things I have to work in. I was trying too hard to adjust things, rather than eliminating them. But if a character’s role in the story changes…naturally the amount of time they’re given in the limelight should change, as well.

So, I head into this week’s revisions with a clearer idea of what I must do.

Wish me luck. Lol.

For now, though…

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

My Writing Process

Clutter. Crossed wires. Messy. Tangled wires on a telephone pole.

Hello, all!

This was a week of decision making. At least, as far as one of my WIPs (works in progress) is concerned.

Now, I’ just about done editing/reacquainting myself with what I have written of The Regonia Chronicles. Book one is edited (first sweep, I’ll do more later before submissions), and four of the…seven or eight chapters I’ve already written of book two are edited.

As such, I’ll be diving back into writing that one very soon. Which I’m looking forward to. There’s a lot to be written, and I’m pretty pleased with how one of the character arcs is turning out.

Salt and Silver, though…

I finished writing the first novella and even the scene which connects it to the second novella. but I hate this wonky format, and the shift in perspective forced upon me by the ending of the first novella makes the whole story fall flat.

Now, before I say much more on the subject, I should probably tell you a bit about how I write.

Some authors are incredibly organized. Some even use the “snowflake method,” which, I believe, goes as follows:
1. Write a sentence containing the story you wish to tell.
2. Expand that one sentence summary into a paragraph with all main plot points.
3. Come up with basic info for your main characters.
4. Turn that single paragraph mentioned above into a page.
5. Do a thing called character bibles and character synopses, which entails writing a full page about each main character (background, personality traits, appearance, etc.) and half a page per minor character.
6. Use everything from steps 1-5 to make a four page synopsis and scene list (EVERY SCENE!!).

THEN, you start your first draft.

Some people spend YEARS just planning their novel. Which is fine. If it works for you, keep doing it.

But to me, quite frankly, that sounds exhausting, and extremely confining. Such a restrictive, planned method seems…suffocating.

I don’t do any of that stuff from the snowflake method.

At all.

There are a few names for my writing style. Discovery, exploratory, organic. I prefer pantser (flying by the seat of my pants).

I get an idea, and start writing.

Period.

Then, I just figure out the details, and build the world and the characters as I go. Usually, i have a vague idea of how the story will end, with a few scenes I know I want to include, though everything is subject to change, at any point in time.

I keep a separate document for important information, like character or world description, a basic timeline (established/filled in as I go), things like that. But aside from main characters, I rarely know the appearance or background before starting. Sometimes, all I know of my main characters is there appearance and a single defining trait. I just make sure to put details in the other document as I come across them, so I can reference that, and avoid continuity errors.

Basically, I make it all up as I go, letting the characters and the details of the story reveal themselves to me as I write. It’s just more fun for me that way.

Only about 20% is ever really planned before I start writing.

Salt and Silver had about 2% planned. If that.

I had the opening scene, which has been revised several times over to incorporate details which eliminate plot holes later on. I had the aesthetics and names of two main characters, but only because they’re in that scene.

Nothing else.

By far, this has been my least organized WIP to date.

(Side note: My writing style frustrates my husband. Lol. He likes to see the process, and pictures me with a room with notes tacked to the wall with strings tied from one pin to another, making a huge mess. But I keep all that in my head. Lol.)

But now, I’ve hit a snag.

Those of you who follow my blog might remember a little mention of a song which sparked an idea for this story a couple weeks ago. I resisted, stupidly enough, and came up with the janky novella-scene-novella format to “solve” the issues.

I was already almost done with the first novella, and didn’t want to rewrite nearly 40,000 words. But the final scene, the one where the couple finally gets together, was such a chore to write, and I didn’t know why. Usually, I love writing that scene to wrap up a book.

But the story was broken.

And now…I have to rewrite. There’s no way around it.

I thought I was going to have to kill off a couple characters, too. But, a few days of agonizing over it while at work helped me figure out a way to use those characters (alive) to drive the story forward. Monotonous, labor intensive factory work is great for working through writer’s block. Seriously.

They now have the ability to pull their own weight in the story, creating all kinds of extra tension and conflict for a prolonged amount of time, rather than just, “BAM! They’re dead! Everyone’s sad. Ope, time to move on.”

Yay, torture! Lol.

Jk.

But seriously, that’s the best advice I’ve ever heard about writing. Find out what your character wants (sometimes it takes a while to figure it out), and then do everything you can think of to keep them from getting it.

Long story short, I’ve solved the problem. I just have to rewrite/reshape 40,000 words to implement the solution… I’ve already started, though, and it flows so much better.

Since I’ll be doing a major overhaul of Salt and Silver at the same time as writing The Regonia Chronicles, I should probably try to maintain a schedule. Sunday night/Monday afternoon will be blog time. Monday night will be Salt and Silver. Tuesday night will be Regonia. Wednesday night will be submissions and/or whichever story is calling to me.

By the way, if you couldn’t tell, I’m a night time writer.

The rest of the week is all work, though. Actually, Sunday is a 12 hour shift at the factory, but I normally start my blog after work, regardless.

Anyway, though, I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m genuinely excited about all of it. Salt and Silver will be so much better for it.

So, for now…

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Using Social Anxiety as a Shield

Hi, everyone!

Yet another unproductive week. Only about 1400 words typed. I polished off a chapter, and started another. I have the rest of that one written out (just not typed yet), which officially brings Salt and Silver to a close.

Which is pretty exciting.

I began the scene that will connect it to the next novella in the series as well, and made it halfway through that (also handwritten). The format of this series is odd, though. I get the feeling that finding a publisher or agent willing to look at it will be difficult…Most places don’t want novellas, let alone novellas connected by single scenes…

It may have to be another self-published work.

At any rate, I still have a long way to go on the rest of the series, and have to decide now which series to give my writing time to, as I’m just about done editing Awakening, Book one of the Regonia Chronicles.

Now, then.

The reason I typed so little this week…

I was social.

That’s a rare thing for me. I went out with friends twice last week, in addition to going to the gym with my husband and one of our friends.

(Don’t worry, I’m not going to start talking health stuff, and talking your ear off about meal prepping. I’m only doing this gym stuff because I’m tired of the crease in my side. The top of my hourglass is holding hands with the bottom half, and I don’t like that. Lol. Some women can pull off that look, but I’m not one of them.)

But I digress. Back to the socializing thing.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I’m…not a people person. I never have been. And I mean NEVER. I found out recently from my mom that the reason I was in preschool for two years (started a year early) was to help me socialize. Even then, I apparently didn’t talk to the teachers for the first year and a half. Then, when it came time for kindergarten placement testing, I refused to talk to them, and they thought I needed special ed. Mom asked me the questions, I passed, and went on to standard kindergarten…where I refused to talk to the teacher for the first 3/4 of the year. Lmao.

I did fine with my school work. I just…wouldn’t talk.

And then, I just kinda…stayed that way. Sort of.

I’m better about it, now, at the ripe old age of 28. I talk to people when they ask me questions. But I still don’t start conversations with strangers. People I’m comfortable with, sure, I’ll talk to them somewhat easily, so long as no one else is present. Though, it takes a while for me to get comfortable, and usually that puts people off, chasing them away before I actually open up.

Social anxiety has been a plague for most of my life, as have a few other anxiety disorders, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, though that one was triggered by trauma.

You see, being blatantly unsocial as a child made me an easy target. For a lot of things, really. Bullying being one of them. The people who did that are completely different people, now though, as am I, and we actually get along. Which is not something I ever, ever expected.

But the thing that brought on crippling (yes, I mean crippling) OCD is that I was molested as a child. It feels a bit weird to just lay that out there like this, but I mention being sexually abused in the afterword of my novella, Annabelle. So…it’s kinda already out there for the world to see.

After it happened, I didn’t tell anyone for years. Because I couldn’t. I couldn’t talk to people about normal stuff without feeling like a disappointment, let alone something so…disastrous. I couldn’t explain why I couldn’t stomach being touched, or why I immediately had to wash. I couldn’t explain why I spiraled into a fit of incoherent, rage-fueled tears if I couldn’t get to a sink or get my hands on some antibacterial wipes or lotion or whatever.

I couldn’t explain why my hands were so dry that the knuckles cracked open, and bled, or why I couldn’t stop washing them, knowing it would make it worse. I couldn’t explain why I opened doors with my wrists, or refused to touch remotes (which is why I never watched tv or movies, or played video games until college/after college).

I couldn’t explain why I was so tired, because no one knew I laid awake in bed, waiting for everyone else to fall asleep so I could get up, wash my bed clothes because the cat or dog brushed the blanket with their tail, get a shower, step onto a clean towel, put on socks before stepping off said towel, sanitize the tv remotes, wait for the sheets and blankets to be dry while curled up in a ball on a clean towel in the living room floor (with the socks removed as I stepped onto this new clean towel) watching reruns of The Nanny and (ironically) The Cosby Show, until I could finally make my bed, and get some sleep. The fact that my hands would have been washed at least once after or during each step of that process also went unnoticed.

Sadly enough, the part of it all that makes it so terrible (my young age), also helped me. Had I been older, had I needed to hold down a job, I wouldn’t have been able to. No one wants a cashier who can’t touch money, or who screams/cries when she can’t wash her hands.

But I could be a good student. No one else touched my pencils, or my paper, or my books.

And since people assume that good grades are an indicator of good coping abilities, my straight A’s joined forces with my previously established anti-social nature to keep me under the radar for years. No one ever suspects that straight A’s might mean that a person who finds school to be easy is using that very misconception of good coping mechanisms to hide, or that maybe they’re just terrified of getting a B because they’d feel like a horrific disappointment if they did get one, even if they know, rationally, that B’s aren’t bad grades.

But OCD and social anxiety don’t give a damn about rational.

So, I kept my grades up, kept my head down, and drifted along, secretly drowning.

Eventually, I got tired of the OCD, and got tired of being miserable and wanting to die every day for years, and did something drastic. There’s this technique for dealing with OCD and phobias called flooding. I didn’t know what I was doing back then, but I put myself through it. It’s definitely not a best case scenario. Essentially, I touched a bunch of things my OCD determined to be dirty, and then touched everything in my room, effectively ruining my sanctuary.

This, obviously, has the potential to backfire, and result in panic and massive anxiety, followed by hysterical cleaning.

But I got through it, and started dealing with the OCD. A while later (a couple years) I actually started telling people (after someone else confessed to me that they’d been abused, which told me that I wasn’t alone), and I got into counselling.

It’s been an unbelievably long journey to get to where I am, and there’s still so far left to go…

But I’m trying.

So, this past week, I was social.

I didn’t do as much typing as I probably should have. But it was for the best.

Sometimes, you just have to step away from the computer, get out of your sanctuary, and be with people. Even if it’s difficult.

And sometimes, you have to talk. Typing this up has been….difficult. The internet provides a nice little barrier, though. A bit of anonymity, if you will, even if this is on my website, with my name clearly printed atop it. Because I’m not saying all of this to someone in person, I’m not staring into someone’s eyes while I lay everything out there. I don’t know who will read this, or how many people will see it. It could be no one, it could be one person, maybe hundreds of people.

But if one person sees this, and thinks, “I’m not alone…”

If one person finds strength in these words…

Then, it’s worth the lump in my throat, the butterflies in my stomach, and the knots in my shoulders as I pour my heart out, or, rather, type it out.

*sigh*

Anyway, I don’t know how productive I’ll be this coming week, given that some of my family is visiting from Texas, and of course, I have work and overtime. But, I’ll keep you guys posted.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. It’s been a much more revealing post than usual…I just hope someone comes away from it with that little bit of strength that they need.

Because, it doesn’t stay terrible forever.

Even if it feels that way sometimes.

For now, though, I’ll be signing off.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.