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“Whatever you do or dream you can do – begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.”
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

GUESS WHO WROTE THE FIRST CHAPTER OF HER NEW BOOK THIS MORNING?

If your answer involves someone who is so seriously overjoyed about this new beginning that she feels the need to shout about it in all capital letters, then you’d be correct. I am so, so, sooooo excited, y’all. After spending the better part of the past two weeks researching, brainstorming, and plotting out plans for the new manuscript – which will be the third and (likely) final story about Sofie’s journey – today was finally the day I’ve been looking forward to for forever. Okay, actually it’s been more like six months, but when writing is akin to a heartbeat for you, half a year feels so very much longer.

So sitting down at the computer this morning? Skimming the last pages of this manuscript’s prequel, shuffling through my writing journal, mulling over the (tentative) ending I decided on for the new book yesterday? It made me want to dance a jig. And opening up a new Word document, staring at the blank page and letting myself be inspired by all the possibilities that can fill it? It may or may not have made me actually clap in glee. After almost a year and a half with these characters – spanning two novels, over six hundred pages, and countless moments in their lives – they have become like friends to me. They’ve become, in a way, my family. I am so excited to go along on this next journey of theirs, to be part of their ups and downs, their setbacks and successes, their tears and triumphs. It honestly fills me up in a way words cannot describe.

This is why I write. Sure, it will always be my dream and my active goal to have my books published, and to that end, I’m still on the query trail and still adding to my agent database all the time. But when it comes down to it, this is why I fell in love with the craft. It’s feeling so energized, so invigorated, that you jump out of bed while the morning air is still quiet, unable to wait even a few minutes longer to dive back into your characters’ world. It’s feeling pride in your heart as you watch them grow. It’s feeling that constant pull towards them, even when you’re technically not supposed to be working anymore. It’s feeling so lucky because that work … well, it’s not really work at all. It’s a work of heart. It’s magic.

Will the love affair ever fade as the days and weeks go by? Will the whimsy I’m swept up in now spin in a different direction? I think it’s impossible to feel that unadulterated joy all the time – writing is a challenging craft for everyone, and that’s a good thing, because it keeps us pushing ourselves further, higher, deeper. Sure, there’ll be days when the words don’t flow easily. There’ll be roadblocks that seem to throw the story off-course and questions along the way. Mine for today: which format should the new manuscript take? My first two were written in first-person, present tense. My third was written in a combination of first and second person, past tense (aka: diary style). And while the game plan for the new novel was to return to present tense, I found myself slipping back into past as I was writing this morning. It may be force of habit or maybe something is telling me that this is the way the story should be told. I’m still not certain, but I’m excited to see what happens. Fellow writers: do you have a format preference?

Going back to that love affair – yes, the light will dim every now and then. That’s only natural. But more often that not – and, as was the case with the first two books in Sofie’s story – that glimmer will be there, shimmering with a bold, bright glow. For me, that’s what writing is. It’s filling those blank pages with part of my heart and soul, and, more importantly, parts of my characters’ hearts and souls. And to know I get to do that all over again now? To have this new beginning that’s so full of hope?

No wonder I feel like dancing.

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Why this week rocks:


“Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is.”
~Maxim Gorky

When your week begins like this, it’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for how the next seven days will play out. Luckily, a trip to the Apple store + the return of my multi-colored planning pens + some really exciting news has done more than enough to balance out the computer troubles. So, you may ask, why does this week rock?

Reason #1: Seeing the MacBook Pro in person and getting to explore its features? Made me want to buy one instantly. Despite the insanity of the Apple store (wow, do they need a space that’s double the size), the employees were all so friendly and helpful, and beyond that, the computers are just … awesome. If only I were a millionaire, I’d have snapped one up in a nanosecond. But since that’s not the case, I’m now weighing the OMGIWANTTHISLAPTOP voice in my head with the one that reminds me how much more affordable and reasonable a PC would be. Only … we can’t be reasonable all the time, right?

Reason #2: Who has a Meet & Greet pass for Kelly Clarkson’s concert this Sunday? ME!! I’m so excited I can’t stand it, so I can only imagine how giddy this weekend will be. And even better – my sister and friends have passes, too. To say I’m thrilled for them to meet Kelly for the first time is an understatement. Sharing the news with everyone yesterday was such fun. Is there anything better in this world than being able to make other people happy? I think not. I truly cannot wait to share this experience with them, and of course to talk with Kelly again. She has been such an inspiration over the years and I’m already planning what all I want to tell her this time. Here’s hoping I don’t ramble on for so long that she has to interrupt to ask my name like she did back in 2007. Ha. Really, though, when Kelly Clarkson is the one you’re embarrassing yourself in front of, it’s all good. All great. All SO FANTASTIC THAT YOU WANT TO JUMP UP AND DOWN!! Is it Sunday yet?!

Reason #3: Most people dislike Monday mornings. This week, I was looking forward to it more than words can express. Why, you may ask? Because I FINALLY got to start working on my new novel! Okay, okay, it’s only been six months since I finished writing the first draft of the previous one, but when writing fills you up like nothing else can, six months feels like an eternity. For as awesome a process as editing turned out to be, nothing – nothing – can compare to the adrenaline and hope of beginning a new manuscript. It’s like a new journey just waiting to unfold. A new adventure just waiting to envelop you in its grasp. A new baby just waiting to be born. Sitting down at my desk, swirling out my multi-colored pens like a rainbow of inspiration, it made this pure, innate joy swell inside. Getting started on character sketches, loose outlines, and research? I know it’s work – and challenging work at that – but my goodness, it feels like such a ray of light. There’s so much faith, so much belief, so much love at this stage of the game. And yes, the characters may be like old friends to me by this point, but their story is constantly spinning and creating new threads in their tapestry. So excited to see what they weave.

How has your week been going? Tell me one reason why it rocks!