My first post kicks off with a stellar lunar eclipse in Sagittarius. I looked up what this luminous super moon represents and what encapsulates this important time; it’s the final phase of letting go all the internal garbage that sabotages our psyche and no longer serves purpose in our lives. The cycle lasts four days prior and four days after. With that said, utilize this time to set intentions, goals and manifest dreams.
We break down the blocks during this phase, that hinder us, including the psychological fear that we can’t attain something for reasons we were conditioned into believing. Expand your horizons and lay the groundwork for some serious action. It’s never too late to become what you’ve always wanted to be in a world that allows ego to override our sense of self.
Take those steps, whether they’re baby or gigantic, take them and set forth on a new adventure, trusting in yourself with complete faith that you’ll achieve what you want. It doesn’t happen overnight. You have to ask, everyday, for what you want. Let it soak into your pores, marinating on the tip of your tongue, believe in it and most importantly, have patience with the fruition. You make it what you want here on this plane, you just simply have to ask the universe. Ok, that’s my Full Super Moon pep talk.
What a profound and empowering evening to start my blogging journey. I’m pretty excited and pumped right now. So, to get down to the nitty gritty of what I’ve been working on the past ten years, yep ten long, agonizing, arduous and at times hopeless years of writing my first novel. This is a novel based from a true life event that I experienced in 2009. I wrote out the idea as a memoir, then realized after research I’d have to ask permission, and set it in stone contractually from the people aforementioned in the memoir. I was not willing to ask permission for my time, sweat and blood to publish with their blessings, MY hard-earned work. I had to figure out what type of genre this piece would fall under.
Back in mid-2014, an ex-coworker and now dear friend shared a story of her sixth grade teacher, who recently wrote chapter series books for middle school aged kids and the books became best sellers. One in particular was adapted to screen. I asked my friend if she could find out from her ex-teacher, who she paid to edit. My friend took it a step further and found the editor in the books she owned, searched the editor online and found she worked part-time at Denver’s Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop.
I researched Lighthouse and instantly registered as a member at the end of 2014. In January of 2015 they had an open house mingle with new and recurring members/students, volunteers and instructors. I’m one of those introverts who can extrovert to a certain degree and this kind of thing would be one of those gatherings where I’d find it excruciatingly painful to be an extrovert, but I sucked it up and attended, alone. The people were inviting and kind as I sauntered through the breathtaking and amazing old Victorian home converted into a writing school. Volunteers smiled, as they offered chilled wine and appetizers and handed me pamphlets on the upcoming courses.
I met a couple instructors who, in the middle of my 30 minute long elevator pitch (should be 3 minutes) of what my story was about, helped narrow down what type of genre I could categorize my book. A novel “based from true events” or Creative Non-Fiction. I chose the former and celebrated with more wine, feeling joy of finding a tribe of writers, in a city that grew on me over the years AND knowing I didn’t need legal disclosures and permissive authority over my work.
I went home and pulled out the few chapters I wrote in 2010, rewriting fictitious scenes and newly discovered characters. I was on a high and kept thinking “I can do this, this will happen.” I was also invited into a writing group a few months down the road by another dear friend who was working on a memoir. I was accepted as a member and thought I was on my way, and in no time I’d have a best seller.
Nope. Wrong. Terribly, presumptuous wrong.
I was surrounded by seasoned writers, a few with English related degrees, the rest possessed stronger writing skills. I felt inept, intimidated, doubtful, fearful and disappointed in myself. Every time I submitted chapters, the formatting was horrible or the dialogue was confusing, the point of view and tense were all over the place, and the pacing and continuity inconsistent. The scenes were either too descriptive where it wasn’t needed or not enough where it should be. What did I do? What did I get myself into?
After spending months with the group, I developed the much needed thick skin of accepting constructive feedback, it was not easy. However, it was helping me formulate and figure out where I needed to sharpen and hone in on my writing. I listened, paid attention and followed the advice and guidance of my fellow peers. I enrolled in classes and workshops at Lighthouse conducive of the much needed direction in my prose, voice, technique and style. The courses and revisions of my work were paying off, but the time needed to write was hard to manage since I worked a full-time job and helped support a family. Balancing work, family and writing was not an easy task.
- 2010 I started Chapters One – Three of my book
- 2014 I joined Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop
- 2015 I joined a writing group and started coursework with Lighthouse
- 2017 I suffered a personal tragedy of loss (I’ll get to that later down the blogging road) and dropped out of my existing writing group
- 2018 Soon after tragedy, I enrolled in an 8 week course at Lighthouse. After course was complete, I reached out to my fellow students via email asking if anyone of them or all would be interested in writing together. One enthusiastically offered her home to host a writing group; Alma’s House Writing Group was formed in March of 2018 aka AHWG.
- 2018 – 2021 Still active with AHWG since the tragedy (I broke ties with the previous group as I needed a change, no personal offense to that group, which they understood and graciously wished me well.)
- May 2021 – After 3 1/2 years of being unemployed (quit my previous job due to tragedy.) I accepted a full time position starting June 1st AND I’m approaching the light at the end of the tunnel in completing my first novel. Deep breath. Kids are no longer in the house, need to devise and plan writing strategies with new full-time gig.
The intention of this blog is to document my progress through present transparency into my feelings, frustrations and thoughts while walking this beaten writer path. I do not have a college degree. I am an autodidact through the workshops I’ve taken at Lighthouse, the plethora of books I’ve devoured, podcasts I’ve listened to and websites for writers recommended by my writing group family. Yes, I consider them my bibliophile/writer family. You spend one day a week with the same 7 people for going on 4 years now who’ve become a collective of constant nurturing and support, they blossom into a “writing family.” We all agreed, over the course of these years, our writing has grown exponentially stronger from consistent, diplomatic and respectful feedback we’ve bestowed one another.
During the process of writing my first book I came up with two more ideas for new stories. I started outlining them a little, but stopped because I needed to finish my first project and not catapult ahead. I spent a lot of wasted (for me) non-writing time through the past decade, dealing with life situations or emotional strife and figured out what internal and external factors could help re-center my attention.
The second book will focus on the personal tragedy that hit in 2017 and the third will actually be a 3-book series by encouragement of one of my fellow peers from group. The third was originally a short story resulting into an expansion by certain group members requesting details on characters and scenes in the story. I wrote this short, now soon to be full length novel, during the pandemic to reignite my writing as I fell into a slump with my first project. Most of my fellow group members did as well, struggling through the same depression that hit globally, trying to upkeep writing tasks and goals. We met on Zoom during the lockdown phase (and continue to do so, until we’re ready to meet physically again) maintaining our weekly sessions and trying to keep up morale, although it wasn’t the same as meeting in person it was better than no interaction.
The short story piece expanded from 25 pages to 50 to over 130 something pages. I ultimately decided with some brainstorming that I could lengthen this first book in the series and write two follow up books (very rough and short premise/outline are already written out.) I sent out the expanded short in revised format of 130 + pages to several beta readers and the ones that were able to send me their feedback provided substantial and enthusiastic review with the exception of one. A dear relative, who’s an avid and sharp reader didn’t like the story, however she loved the writing.
You think this would bother me coming from a family member, but I did ask for explicit honesty and she provided what I asked. I was not crippled by her response. The story won’t be for everyone, I am realistic, BUT “she loved the writing” and expressed uplifting support and pride knowing I was pursuing my dream and she’d still buy the book once it was published (Start changing your thinking from “if I get published” to “I will get published.”) Focus on the good. It’s not the end of the world if someone doesn’t “like” your story, they may “love” the next one. Focus on the good.
I’ll share reviews on books that are both leisure and educational reading, circulate links to sites that helped me, like some great writing coach ones offering free short e-books on story structure, character development, plot pointing and writing prompts. I’ll provide insight into my writing group time (a separate blog on writing groups will also be in the works) and advice, suggestion and strategies that worked for me, not everyone functions the same way, but if I can offer something that could work then I’m fulfilling my purpose with this blog.
I’ve dabbled in freelance photography the past 3 years, also self-taught and will share some random photos, because who doesn’t like to look at pretty pictures, right? (The blood moon photo is not mine, I can’t take credit for that gem, but most photos will be mine)
I can’t wait to meet and network with fellow bloggers. I’ve been doing this on Instagram with other writers and coaches and it’s a wonderful phenomena to establish through social media and gain some insight with those platforms. Especially when it comes time for the marketing and promo involved once publishing is complete.
I hope this blog resonates with those novice writers who want to give up (don’t do that) and ease the minds of those who feel like an imposter, particularly the writers like me, who don’t hold a degree in the arts and feel they’ve been wandering aimlessly without clear direction or guidance to the writing craft. I don’t allow “I’m not good enough because I’m not college degreed” to get in my way and this is not true. Do not tell yourself this, or anything to the extent, nor believe it.
Be well, take care of yourself and soak in the rays of that Super Full Moon, washing away the stagnant, negative energy of old and absorbing the renewed faith and hope that all things are possible. Believe in yourself and hold clear and true to your heart’s desire.