When Your Fantasy Novel Sounds Too Modern

When You Need To Fix Your Language

I finished my copy-edit on my 5th round of revisions Tuesday night! So, I’m ready to go back to the querying!

Except, first – I’ve got a new critique partner doing a quick read through to check for blatant errors and things that might confuse new readers. That’s the sad thing with any reader, they can only read it for the first time, once.

However, last week, when my eyes weren’t quite recovered enough for focused editing, I decided to fix my language. Sometimes, when I can’t make coherent progress on the story itself, I’ll go through and look for problematic words.

Editing Out Filler words (and passive voice)

I’ve done it before with filler words and passive voice. Using search and remove or replace to lower the number of uses of each:

  • just
  • that
  • felt/believed/thought
  • all forms of ‘to be’ (am, is, was, were, be, being, been..)

This time, though? This time I was fixing an issue with my voice. I love Lilyen and her voice and her family, but sometimes? She sounds like a regular girl. Which would be great, except I’m writing fantasy.

There are certain tropes that are expected when you write fantasy, and one is that the language should sound… for want of a better word. Archaic. More polite.

Ways I Made My Language More Fantastic

  • Step 1 – I googled ‘formal English’ and ‘polite language’
  • Step 2 – I replaced informal words with more formal ones, particularly during dialogue
  • Step 3 – As I read along the paragraphs around those edits, I looked for other phrases that stuck out as ‘too modern’ and replaced those as well.

NOTE! I didn’t replace every word the same way, it took finesse to convey the proper meaning. If the pre-suggested word from google didn’t work, I went to my handy-dandy thesaurus and looked up synonyms (or googled them).

Here are some of the more widespread words I converted and some of the things I converted them into.

modernToFormal

Hopefully my new critique partner won’t find too many sentences that got TOO stilted to fit in.


How have you changed your language for your setting?

Morgan’s LASIK Adventure

When Morgan Got LASIK

The Night Before

Last Thursday started off with my meds and eye drops.

I knew one of the drops I was supposed to start the day before, so I looked over my bottles and found it. Then, I reread my directions where it said: 4xs a day, starting the day before surgery.

Well, BLEEP. A little late now.

I did the drops that night and twice before surgery.

Before Surgery

Surgery was at 1pm, and I was supposed to have a light snack at least an hour prior. So, I had a large breakfast sandwich at 10am and called that “good.”

Packing up to go, they’d mentioned they had stuffed animals for me to hold during surgery. But why use theirs when I have stuffed animals of my own. I slid one I call “Alfred” into my bag and grabbed all the drops for the doctors to check over.

My appointment was the first one after lunch, so the office was quiet when I arrived and logged in. They had a remodeling show on the TV in the waiting room, so that proved suitably distracting from my slowly rising panic.

When the receptionist got back from lunch, she had me sign my wavers and took my money. Then, I sat down for about 10-15 minutes, until they called me back.

The surgery assistant told me that it was fine that I’d only had 3 rounds of the antibiotic and gave me a name-tag to wear. Then she proceeded to give me about 3 more different types of drops, while going over the procedure and the steps I would have to take when I got home, while answering my questions as they occurred to me. She used a cross between a giant mascara wand and a large cotton swab to get the extra drops off my lashes. Plus, she gave me Xanax – to keep me calm and to relax my face muscles.

The surgeon came in with a very low-key vibe, almost surfer-esque and reiterated that staying calm would make everything go much better.

20170511_133705

Morgan: With protective hairnet and last time with glasses.

Surgery

The room was surrounded by windows on the front and sides, with 2 different laser/operating set-ups and carts of tools around the edges. Spot lights were on the ceiling and there were seats for my friend/driver to wait and watch from.

I got a big hug, took a deep breath, and entered the operating room.

The assistants directed me into the chair/bed with all the lights and lasers set up over it. I hugged Alfred to my left-side, out of the way, and held his hand with my right.

Step one was to slice open the lens of my eye.

They had me stare into a bright light, taped my lashes out of the way, and then they put something on the lens of my eye before they made the incision. I don’t know exactly what they did, (and I’m not going to look it up because the thought of it makes me want to panic), but it felt like a hard lens.

The lens for the right eye went in, it was uncomfortable, but I followed directions and concentrated on slow, deep breaths and not moving.

The left eye was not so cooperative. I think I heard the surgeon say, “Huh, your cornea’s a bit small but it’ll fit,” but mostly, I tried really, really hard to stay still and breath quietly.

The back of my head was chanting: Don’t move or you might go blind!

While the front of my head was going: I don’t want to do this any more, he’s really smooshing my eye. I don’t like this anymore! Why am I doing an elective surgery? Why did I ever think this was a good idea?!

Fortunately, that part lasted less than 15 seconds. Three slow breaths and the smooshing was done.

Step Two were the lasers.

As forewarned, they moved the bed over to the second station and the surgeon reassured me. “That was the hard part, nothing else will be that bad. The lasers are easy.”

And he was right.

I stared at a green little dot between two red dots, keeping my eyes as still as possible.

I remembered from remarking on it during my readiness check-up, that when they move the light closer, it feels like your eyes are drifting either up or down, but they aren’t. So, I didn’t panic when I was keeping my eyes on the green light but it felt like my eyes were moving.

I think there was a sensation? But mostly, I remember the smell – like using a curling iron a little too long and you scorch the hair a little. Plus, trying to forget that if I flinched, I could do serious damage to myself.

Each eye, once they were lined up and set, took less than 20 seconds.

As they finished with each eye, they peeled the tape gently off my lashes and just stuck it to my hairnet.

Then, it was done. Less than 10 minutes.

LASIK: Post-Surgery

They led me over to a chair, just on the other side of the wall from the observation chairs. I tapped at my driver and waved, then sank into the seat where I hugged Alfred pretty hard.

The surgeon said, “You can put down the–oh, that one’s yours.”

To which I replied, “Now’s when I really need him, with the adrenaline rush and the being able to move again. Now the panic’s setting in.”

He reminded me of my post-op care, escorted me to the door, and I was done.

With my post-op-sunglasses, I looked around in awe. It was like having contacts in, although I was very light sensitive.

About the time we made it to the highway, the numbing drops were starting to wear off. I just closed my eyes and hid from the sun for the 30 min drive.

Once home, I had a regiment of drops: antibiotics, steroids, and moisturizing drops (regular ones for while I was awake, gel ones for pre-nap/bedtime).

The doctor advised chilling the drops, but I’d asked his assistant about that before the surgery.

I don’t even like cold water!

When I’d taken the moisturizing and antibiotic drops pre-surgery, I’d already fought the urge to rub the bottle between my hands to make it closer to body temperature. She reassured me that it was just for comfort and that the drops were fine at room temperature.

I’m not gonna lie–the first round of drops stung a lot, and I asked myself yet again, why did I do this to myself! After waiting 3-5 minutes between drops, I finally got them all in and checked off on my chart. Stumbling up the stairs, I put on my sleep-goggles, carefully made sure I had a pillow behind my knees, and lay down on my back.

The assistant had mentioned during my surgery-prep that it was important not to put any pressure on the eyes or to touch them, especially for at least the first two days. But! If at all possible, it was best to sleep on the back and with the goggles for the first week. I want the best possible outcome, so I’ve been very, very careful.

Following surgical directions, I took my 3 hour nap, got up, and did another round of drops.

20170518_003831

Morgan Collage: With sleep-goggles, post-op sunglasses, and no glasses

The First Day

The first day, steroid drops were hourly, the second day every other hour, and for the rest of the first week, meals and bedtime — just like the antibiotic drops.

The lubricating drops are every other hour for the first 2 weeks, and at least 4 times a day for the first 3 months.

Did I mention in the pre-surgery post that the tear ducts are connected to your sinuses? And thus you can taste the steroids about 5 minutes after you put in the drops. They suggest pressing on your tear ducts/bridge of your nose to keep the drops from draining too quickly, but you can’t hold them there forever. I’ve taken to keeping a box of tic tacs in the bag I carry my drops in.

TV wasn’t hard to watch. Reading was more of a challenge, although my computer screen was worse than my phone. (I’ve turned the brightness down on all my devices). After a bit of TV, I headed off to the mall (it was raining heavily) and got some walking in, and focusing on something further away than a phone or TV screen. I could read my phone, but it hurt my eyes to do it for too long.

The night-halos are as predicted, although I’ve been told they usually get better. Oncoming traffic has larger halos than the red back running lights. Break lights also get the halo.

LASIK – The Aftermath

The day after my surgery, I had a 10 am appointment to have my eyes checked and was declared to have 20:20 vision, just over 20 hours post-op.

They did mention there was some blood in my eyes around the incision site, but it should clear up. If not, I’d go back to the surgery suite, they’d fold back the lens, and just suction it out. (I REALLY hope it’s cleared up on its own, I haven’t seen any blood in the mirror.)

I took a 6 mile walk on a trail near my house. It had been raining earlier, and was heavily overcast – which was just perfect for my delicate eyes. I wanted to get the exercise and taking the long break from screens was really helpful. I needed a nap, though. Either the stress or the healing was exhausting.

I had the surgery on a Thursday and by Monday I was back in my office. It was a little bit of a struggle and I had to turn the brightness all the way down on my monitors, but no headache from that. My work laptop screen is a different story. (Or maybe it’s just because I logged onto it after a long day, when my eyes were already tired.)

1 week out, my eyes still tire easily–especially of screens. This is evidenced by mild headache and my eyes drifting out of focus on my computer screen. I find pressing my palms over my eyes very restive. I haven’t been able to edit much, but I did manage to squeeze in a scene.

My eyes still have edges that sting a little when I put in the drops. Hopefully that will be healed soon! Eyes shouldn’t have edges!

I think my eyes will continue to be a bit photo-sensitive for a while, so will continue wearing the post-op-sunglasses anytime I’m outside in full daylight for quite a while.

P.S Here’s an actual picture of those plastic blue glasses, 1/3rd the size of my face versus post-op Morgan:


Got any questions about LASIK that I didn’t cover?

Had LASIK? Feel free to share about your own experience!

Lasers, 8 o’clock, Day 1!

By the time this post goes up, it will be Thursday morning, and the end of an era.

Today, I get LASIK.

After today, when I wake in the morning, I’ll open my eyes and be able to see.  No more scrounging for glasses, or fumbling for my prescription sun-glasses while driving, or trying not to scratch my eyes while peeling out contacts.

I’ll be able to see, unaided.

I’ve needed glasses since I was eight years old.

At eight, I was an under-sized, gawky little girl. My sister and I both got glasses at the same time. We spent a long time looking over the few options available for children in the eye-doctor’s office. She picked out a light, pink pair. Me? I picked out a pretty blue, plastic pair that put as much of the world within my focus as possible.

They were probably 1/3rd the size of my face.

As I got older and bigger, my glasses steadily got smaller and my vision stabilized. By college, I just needed new frames, my prescription was still good.

I experimented with contacts. I was okay at putting them in, but struggled a bit getting them out. The week after my junior prom, I made a mistake. This was back when contacts were kept in solution overnight, and rinsed in the morning. I forgot to rinse. My eyes watered so badly, it took me nearly an hour to take them out. It would be nearly 3 years before I’d wear contacts again.

After college, I fell out of practice of contacts. I liked my glasses and so did the guy I was seeing.

Two years ago, I got fitted for contacts again.

I thought, if I could get the weekly-wear ones, I wouldn’t have to struggle with taking them out. Only, there were a couple problems.

My eyes reacted to the contacts as though they were infected! My white blood cells were war mongering to the extent that you could SEE a white spot on the blue of my eyes! That meant I couldn’t get the extended-wear contacts–I’d have to get the daily lenses.

Worse: my eyes had time adjusting to reading. I realized I was now within spitting distance of needing reading glasses. Which, to a glasses-wearer: means BI-FOCALS or Progressive Lenses. Neither were things I was interested in.

Several friends and family close to me had had eye surgery and spoke highly of the results. My mom warned me of a family history of cataracts, so I knew I might be high risk. I started my research into safety and risk complications. After lots of contemplation and nerves, I made my decision.

I decided to get LASIK

On the 12th of April, I saw an eye doctor that was recommended by a friend. There, I asked if I was a good candidate for LASIK. They did a lot measurements and dilated my eyes. And told me I was good-to-go. There, they gave me a recommendation to a LASIK surgeon.

It took about 5 hours for the dilation to wear off, where I could read again without an instant headache. I’m not sure if it’s me getting older or if I’ve never tried to read immediately after an exam before. Or maybe it was the numbing drops making everything return to normal slower? I napped and when I awoke, half my pupil had returned to normal… they were off center, though! Reaching more towards the outer-upper edge.

But, eventually, my eyes were fine again and I knew it was time for me to do it.

I checked with my insurance and the recommended surgeon was in-network. My insurance doesn’t cover the surgery, but did give me an almost 20% discount! When I told my brother-in-law who I’d been sent to, he said it was the SAME surgeon who’d operated on HIS eyes. And that he highly recommended him!

Two recommendations for the same surgeon? And really nice reviews online (except for the people shocked at having to wait at a doctors office or shocked at the cost).

So, I called.

Thursday, April 27th, at 9:15 am, I went in for my consult.

By 10:30 am I had a surgery date exactly 2 weeks out

At least that meant I have very little time to second guess myself?

Thus far, my technique has been not to research any more, think too hard, or ask people about what could go wrong.

At one week out, they put me on meds to prevent cold sore outbreaks, (since those can transfer to the eyes), refreshing drops 4 times a day, and an ointment I apply to the inside of my lower lid just before bed.

I’m not sure if most of the drops/ointment are more precautions, to keep my eyes healthy pre-surgery, or simply to make certain I’m practiced at giving myself drops and eye goop before I have to do it while my eyes are healing.

Once my eyes have healed, I’ll no longer need glasses or contacts to see at a distance. But eventually, reading glasses will be in my future.

Oh, a small correction to this post’s title:

Lasers, 1pm, Today!

Catch you on the flip side!


Have you had eye surgery? Tell me about it! (I’ll be reading this AFTER my surgery…)

Types of Writers and 10 Tips For Joining A Writer’s Group

I’ve heard myths of writers who produce amazing works from within a vacuum.

Writing can be very solitary work. You, the keyboard, and the depths of your imagination. It’s easy to feel like you’re locked away from the world (or perhaps escaping from the world) while you craft the story you want to tell.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

In this day and age, writing groups are all around us. Even if you live in the middle of no where, as long as you have semi-regular access to the internet, you can find people on their journey to become a writer.

The Many Types Of Writers You Can Find

  • You can find the dreamers, who dream of becoming an author, with their whirl of ideas–struggling to find the time or fearing the reality won’t be as great as the novel in their heads.
  • You can find the beginners. The ones who’ve written a few chapters, who are fiddling with their plots or their characters or their world. They tinker and craft based on inspiration and their own motivations. They’re learning the discipline it takes to finish their story, to fight the duel masters of perfectionism and completism.
  • Next are the amateurs. The ones who’ve finished a story or ten, who’ve started querying agents and publishers, and have been through the editing doldrums. They’re getting the hang of the hours and dedication it takes. They’re journeymen on their way to mastering the craft.
  • You can find the debut authors: some self-published, some hustling with their small publisher, some with the fabled traditional publishers, all dealing with the modern publishing world and learning the marketing tricks and tribulations on the road to making a name for themselves.
  • You can find the established authors, the ones who, if they’re very good or very lucky, are able to make this their day job. They’ve practiced their craft and know what works for them.
  • And then? Then, there are the run-away successes — the ones who got rich and who have fans like a world-class athlete or actor — the ones everyone hopes to become. Most of us know it’s a pipe dream, but hard work, talent, and luck can combine to make it happen — why not for me?

Do you know where you can find all of these people? Online! In libraries! In classes! A coffee shops! At Cons! Doing NaNoWriMo! Not all of these places, not all of the time, but some of the people, some of the time.

There are hundreds of groups for writers at EVERY stage of their career.

  • A good level of group to join is the one that’s half-a-step ahead of you. They’ll push you, challenge you, and encourage you to grow. They’ll be there to help you answer plot questions, or editing questions, or pacing questions to the best of their abilities.
  • Having a support group at the same stage you are gives you a sense of not-being-alone. Knowing you aren’t the only one with these struggles can be reassuring.
  • Having a mentor a stage or two ahead of you is great, if you can find one. Writers tend to be friendly and encouraging so don’t be afraid to ask. (DO take no for an answer, you know how hard it is to find the time to work on your OWN projects)

Personally, I help run 2 facebook groups, help administrate another, and am just a member in 2 others, I’m a member of several twitter lists/groups, have this blog–and follow many others, made a google circle group, have a tumblr, an instagram, and a pinterest. I saw a few reddit groups when I followed a tweet this afternoon. (Can you tell I’m not exclusively an introvert…)

No matter where you want to hang out on the internet, there’s a group there.

It’s not enough to join a group though, you need to be the type of person people WANT in their group.

How To Get The Most Out Of A Writing Group

  1. Spend a session (for in person) or couple days (for online) listening. Find out the group dynamics, read the linked resources (if any), get a sense for if your writing style and critique/support style are right for the group.
    • Are they all super encouraging, while you like to analyze every word? This might be the wrong group.
    • Are they in your genre? A non-fiction group or women’s lit group is probably going to follow different rules/tropes than a science fiction story. It’s good to learn about other genre’s, but if you don’t feel they have the knowledge to properly critique your story, you’re going to ignore their feedback.
  2. Follow the group’s rules
    • Take the time to ask if they have any, read them, and see how they enforce them.
    • If you have questions, ask. If you’re still not sure, don’t.
    • Even if there isn’t a rule, if you think people might think it’s wrong, DON’T DO IT.
      • Yes, sometimes writing deals with tough issues and situations. Bad things happen to good AND to bad people. If you want to share a writing question or sample that contains questionable things, make it an opt-in situation, not an opt-out one, with a fair warning.
  3. Be supportive
    • You don’t have to flatter everything you read. But be positive where you can.
    • If you hate something, you can simply say that style’s not for you.
    • If you feel someone’s work has a long way to go, try to offer high level advice, don’t delve into every issue you see.
  4. Contribute more than just your work
    • Don’t be the person who always asks for edits/critiques, but never gives feedback on other people’s work.
    • If you say you’ll read something, do so in a timely manner — or send your apologies and bow out, don’t just leave them hanging.
    • Remember, reading other people’s works-in-progress helps teach you how to see those issues — and fix them — in your own work. Reading only published work and your own stuff can blind you.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, though!
    • You joined this group to help with your writing! If you find yourself spending all your time helping others, or feel your questions are foolish… this might be the wrong group for you. Or, you might need to step back for a bit, to focus on your own work.
    • It can be very hard to share your own work. So much time and effort has gone into it. But, you have to start somewhere. If you’ve found the right group, then take a deep breath and just go for it!
  6. Take advice respectfully
    • Edits/critiques/etc can hurt, they can crush you. If you think you might be reaching your breaking point, you can ask them to stop.
      • “I think you’ve given me plenty to think about, let’s stop there for now.”
        • You can say this if you think they’re right, wrong, or so wrong they’re right. You can say this if you think they’re picking on you. You can say this if you plan on burning an effigy of them with all their criticism on it. It’s honest, it’s polite, and it should end the advice there.
      • If you can shut down comment threads? Make a note like above and do-so.
    • My standard take on critiques is 1/3rd are easy fixes/clarifications, 1/3rd illustrate how badly the other person misunderstands your world/setting/characters, and 1/3rd are those deep-routed issues that you’d patched over and hoped would go away.
      • Yes, these percentages can change, but give it a few days, reread the critique if it’s not total garbage, and think it over.
  7. They are NOT there for you to market to
    • Yes, they want to celebrate your successes (I’d hope!)
    • Yes, networking with other writers can be amazing for your career
      • But remember to treat them as people, not contacts! No one wants to be used. You should be looking to make friends, NOT setting up career moves
    • Yes, you can share your books/blogs/other products
    • BUT! Make sure it’s a 7 to 1 ratio at least — contribute and support more than you sell.
  8. Take a break if you need one
    • Burn out happens, emotions happen — if your group starts to feel like drama or work, it’s okay to take a step back. Just don’t flounce.
      • “flouce” – – To leave an internet group or thread with exaggerated drama; deleting posts, notifying mods and or group users, and cross-posting on other groups to draw attention to the drama.*
  9. Shop around
    • You don’t have to commit to the first group you join. They may be wonderful people, they may be brilliant amazing contacts, but if you don’t feel comfortable, you don’t have to stay.
    • You can join more than one group:
      • One for the support and cookies
      • One for the critiques
      • One for the querying tips
    • Remember why you joined the group — to grow as a writer. If you feel like you’re not growing, if you’ve stagnated or dynamics have changed, you can move on.
  10. Be gracious
    • The writing community is small and people talk, people remember. Make sure they remember you for the right reasons.
    • The internet is forever, people can screenshot, reshare, reblog anything. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want to come back and haunt you.
    • The world can be cruel, why not be the kindness you want to see in the world. If it’s got to start somewhere, why not with you?

kindness


Where are you in this journey?

*  Urban Dictionary: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Flounce  May, 3rd 2017

How Success Blinds Us

For every success story, there are a plenitude of failures you never hear about.

I’ve been reading a few essays recently on survivor bias, (including a blogpost I can’t find), and they’ve reminded me that if I only read published work, I’m not seeing the failures.

I need to read unpublished work to grow: I need to see the people on my level, struggling with the things I’m struggling with.

Why Should I Read Unpublished Manuscripts?

  • It’s easier to recognize flaws in other people’s work – things I just read right past in my own work, stands out and screams in other people’s work
  • It’s easier to figure out how to fix other people’s work
  • I can watch how they fix those issues and learn to apply it to my own writing

Seeing polished writing that’s already been found worthy and published is hard.

  • Sometimes I think, how can I get there?
  • Sometimes I think, my writing is just as good!
  • But it’s hard to see the steps between where I am and where they are.

When all you see are the finish, polished drafts, it can be easy to think that the people you read are just talented. It can be easy to dismiss how much work, effort, and skill went into that novel. As Dr. Nerdlove says, we’re just seeing their highlight reel.

Luckily, there are peers all over the internet, you just have to be willing to share. Share your novel, share your insight, and share your time


Are you part of a writer’s support group? Do you have critique partners you can trust to push you and help you grow?

Don’t be afraid to move on if a group isn’t helping you grow the way you feel is right.

How Can I Be a Writer, I’m Not _______

How Can I Be a Writer?

There are so many images of writers: smoking, coffee guzzling, depressed alcoholics pouring their hearts and souls into their words. Those grizzled, introverted men who know writing is their raison d’être*, their one, true calling!writer_morgan

I don’t look like that.

I don’t smoke, nor drink coffee**, and I rarely drink alcohol, even socially. I’m about as ungrizzled as a person can be***.

avatarMorgan

Plus, you know what? I don’t think of writing as ‘my calling.’ It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but I’d still be me, even if I stopped writing.

I have no better idea than you do about why we’re here, but the best I can figure out is that we’re here just for the experience points.

*

Yes, people who struggle daily against the oppression of depression can be writers. Your brain chemistry, no matter what you might struggle with, gives you insight into characters that no one else could write.

And those characters may be just what someone else needs to read, to know they’re not alone.

If you get medication or other treatments to help you cope better? That doesn’t take away your uniqueness, it just gives you something else to work with.

For those of us whose brain chemistries are naturally more cooperative? That’s okay.

Even if you’re not an introvert, relying on the written word to communicate coherently, doesn’t mean your words cannot have beauty in them.

Just because you’re not a “tortured artist” doesn’t mean your writing can’t be just as meaningful and insightful.

*

We all bring something different to the page, and that’s a good thing.


How are you different than the caricature of a writer?

What does that add to your writing?

 

P.S. April 22nd is the 2nd anniversary of this blog. Happy blogiversary to me!

* Reason to be (in french).
**Or dark soda, I resort to Sunkist for my caffeine no more than 3Xs a week.
***At my age

Confession: I’ve Been Struggling

I’ve Been Struggling

For the last two months, you’ve probably noticed a theme in my blog posts: finding momentum.

I’ve been dragging-tail, binge watching TV, my lofty goals have all fallen by the wayside, discarded like empty candy wrappers.

I knew writing was hard, I knew it takes skill, timing, and luck to get anywhere in this business, but I just knew if I got my story just-right, it would be fine. Someone, somewhere would like it.

My vague plans when I first started this journey were: query for a year, if I had no takers, just self-publish. I never realized how much one could edit. I didn’t realize that every rejection would have me look at my novel with a more critical eye, and find things to fix, to polish, to shine.

It’s a learning process, I’ve been telling myself.

I never looked at my book and thought: This Is Shit.

I’ve thought mine was a decent ‘popcorn’ book and I wanted it to be stronger. I knew I could make it better and I wasn’t afraid to ask for help.

But last week?

Last week, I had the thought: what happens if I just stop.

No one’s making me write, or edit, or revise. No one would be mad at me. They might be disappointed, but more disappointed FOR me, than IN me.

What would happen if I let the dream die?

The thought crept in, like the story of the monster on the roof of the car, scratching his way in, one scrape of his nails at a time. I’d felt the doubt pressing in, but I wasn’t ready for this thought.

The thought hit me like a punch to the gut–I felt queasy. I wanted to slam the door shut and pretend I never saw the thought.

What if just thinking it jinxed me?

The thought of just walking away bothered me. If I walked away, all of my work would have been for nothing.

No matter how many times I try, I haven’t failed unless I give up.

The stars themselves fought and aligned and gave me a empty weekend: free of friends, family, or obligations.

I wasn’t ready to give up. I shoved my way through “reading” my own manuscript. In 3 days, I read over 150 pages and made notes, unlike any I’d given myself before–notes of Morgan: the reader, not Morgan: the writer. (I even read a book or 2 for fun, in the middle of that.)

Sunday afternoon? I wandered over to the Panera where my local CampNano group was writing, opened up my draft, and started making changes.

I’m making progress again, and it’s very good for my writing emotional-state.