Thursday, December 1, 2016

Where I've Been, Why I Almost Quit Writing, And My Regained Positivity

Hello, my lovelies! So, I'm going to start off this post by stating the obvious: 2016 sucked.

There, I said it. I doubt, given the craptastic year it was for just about everyone, that anyone would disagree. That said,  as 2016 comes to a close, I feel the need to give thanks for several things, including: family, friends, and my rediscovered love of writing.

Let me backtrack for a few and fill you in on my 2016.

My middle daughter was diagnosed with a moderate to severe case of Crohn's disease. Not going to go into too much detail other than to say it's a debilitating disease and it sucks on an epic level. My girl is strong, and despite the MANY challenges this year has presented, she's always dealt with her illness with grace and positivity. My baby girl is my hero. I'm sure you can imagine why my focus has largely been on her health and not my writing. Or much else, for that matter.

There's really no easy way to talk about my experience this past year with the publishing industry. It was not good, and that's putting it mildly. I got burned and it not only hurt, it made me angry. It made me question my faith in the industry and in people as a whole. I lost my drive. My characters quit talking to me. I completely lost my joy when it came to writing and creating, which combined with the stress of my daughter's new diagnosis put me in a really bad place.

I grew my author Instagram account from just under 1k to 18k. I stopped posting. Why continue after the yuck that happened? I didn't see a point.

For months I stopped reading. Ugh! I can't even believe I allowed that to happen. Reading has always been an escape for me. I've always read multiple books a week. But, things happened. Things kept piling on, and I allowed bitterness, and an overall sour mood to take that away from me too.

Guilt ate away at me during all of this.  All I could think about morning, noon, and night, was :I should be writing. I should be reading. I should be engaging with my readers. I should be posting on FB and Instagram. Should. Should. Should. All of the "I Should" thoughts were driving me batty, so I shut down. Pulled away. I stepped away from the writing world completely and  focused on myself and my family. I enjoyed time with my husband. I took my girls shopping. Watched television with them and played games.

The break was exactly what I needed. I'd allowed myself to get so wrapped up in the business of writing (and all the bad and disappointing things that had happened to me) that I completely lost sight of why I wrote in the first place: because I love to create. The extended break allowed me to slowly regain my love of reading, and the itch to open my laptop and start writing again quickly followed.

So, why am I telling you all of this? Simple: Bad stuff happens to all of us. Life gets us down sometimes, and when it does, you have to know it's totally okay to step away and regroup. It's okay to put yourself first and tend to your own needs. I'd forgotten this truth this past year and I'm not gonna lie. It sucked.

Where does this leave me? What am I doing now? Well, I start by saying that my middle daughter has an AMAZING doctor who is very aggressive with her treatment. We're struggling a bit to find a medication that keeps my girl in remission (symptom free) without scary side effects or allergic reactions. She's doing much better than she was earlier in the year and has not let her disease stop her in any way. Baby Girl co-captains her cheer team, cheers on the competitive team, and maintains straight A's. Momma is proud.

As far as my writing? I regained the rights to all of my YA works and am in the process of rebranding. I'll be re-releasing all of my books with new covers starting with my standalone, Abandoned, pictured below. If you're an author and you've been burned by someone in the publishing industry, don't let it kill your passion. Step away. Nurse your wounds and feed your soul with things that make it happy. Rekindle your love of writing and creating, then turn around and share that passion and joy with the world. You don't need anyone's help. You write books. That, in itself, makes you a damn rock star. Publish that shit on your own and let everyone know YOU ARE A BASASS!

Here's my new cover for Abandoned. Synopsis below.

My name is Tierra Owens, and I like to kiss. A lot. It numbs the hollow ache in my chest and—for a few minutes—makes me forget how truly alone I am. My mother is an alcoholic. She hates me and insists I'm the reason she's not married to my father, whom I have never met. My best friend, Kaylee, is the only person who knows the real me. Everyone else sees what I want them to: a happy, confident, popular girl who has the world at her feet.

I am a fraud.

Relationships are forbidden. I avoid them at all costs. Sex? Emotions? Those things make a person vulnerable, and vulnerability always leads to heartbreak. When my childhood crush, Mattie shows up at school my world tumbles off its axis. The shell I surround myself with feels more like a pathetic crutch than a protective barrier, and I find myself wanting things. Daydreaming about what it would be like to have a boyfriend, a relationship—love.

The sad fact is: I'll never have any of those things. I am unworthy—trash. Which is why my mom abandoned me.

If you've read Abandoned previously, it would mean a lot if you would leave an honest review on Amazon. I'm starting fresh and would love the help. I'll be publishing Abandoned shortly and will add the purchase link to this post once it goes live.

Thanks so much for reading. Love you guys <3

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Graphics by Octopus Artis