Writing Journal: What If I Never Have a Project Published?

I was thinking last week about one of many projects I’m working on. There have been several times that I go back over something I’ve written and love the “sound” of my writing voice. But then the wheels get to turning and I wonder if anyone else loves my writing voice.

Let’s be honest, I don’t get much traction on either of these blogs, and sometimes I wonder why I keep doing it. But the answer is simple—I do it because I like it. I like putting certain thoughts out into the universe and having something to physically look at to see how my ideas and opinions have changed (or not) over time.

Also, if even one person reads something on one of my blogs and feels a little less alone out there, then that’s enough for me to keep going a bit longer.

But I’m not really talking about my blogs here. I’m talking about this tiny book of essays I’ve got waiting for someone to read it, and this little book of short stories I’m working on, and whatever future novel I decide to dig my heels into writing. What if none of those get published? What if no one wants to read them?

There’s something to be said about self-publishing. I mean, if you want your work out there at any cost it is a viable option. But isn’t the dream to have some big publishing house think you’re awesome and want to pay you for your work and promote it?

That’s my dream. One of many, at any rate.

But what if it doesn’t happen? Am I content with self-publishing? I mean, sure, if my work gets enough attention it could be picked up by a publisher later, but we’re talking about never here. We’re talking about self-publishing and selling 50 books to my parents, a couple family members, a friend or two, and some of my mom’s work friends who would buy a copy just because they love my mother.

What happens then? Do I stop writing? Do I bring myself right back to this empty little blog corner? Do I write something else and try to make it better? What if I can’t write any better?

I know it sounds like I’m being self-deprecating, but I’m really just wondering what my capacity for failure and resilience is.

I know I ask more questions than I give answers, but that’s what life is. Some questions can only be answered through experience.

Happy writing!


Writing Schedules

I was asked recently what my writing schedule looked like. My answer?

“Well, I write when I write.”

The only consistent writing I’m currently managing is blogging. And by “consistent writing” I mean, I post some kind of blog post every week between here and the main blog. They’re not all fantastic, but they do get me typing at my laptop or tablet for a couple hours every Sunday.

Honestly, I wasn’t very happy with my answer to that question, especially since I know I’m capable of more. During the last few months of 2016 I would spend hours every day working on my first novel. I wasn’t working at the time, and I got 50,000 words written in just over a month. Once I started working again at the end of that year, I’d wake up consistently at 5:20am to write for two hours before getting ready for work.

Unfortunately, and even though I’m a solid morning person, getting up that early did not produce solid writing and I quickly lost my characters and myself, and still haven’t finished writing that book. This summer has been full of hints that I should start again, though, but I really want to focus on these short stories.

My dilemma is not that I don’t have time to write, because I certainly have the time, it’s just that I don’t make myself sit down and do it. As much as I want to see the short stories completed, I don’t feel motivated to do them.

My brain is slightly overloaded by human interaction once I get off work, so I have something to eat while watching a show, telling myself I’ll write after, and before I know it it’s 8:30 and my brain is shutting down.

*I like to say that my energy is tied to the sun. When it’s up, I’m alert and properly functioning; when it’s down, my brain winds down and I’m no good to anyone.*

I get my best work done in the middle of the day when I have no time constraints and nowhere I need to go. Unfortunately, that’s also when I’m at work so it doesn’t do much for my creative writing.

So how do I force myself to sit and write? How do I motivate myself to get these 12 (I think) pieces done?

I also want to submit another piece to an online magazine by their September deadline. They didn’t pick up the piece I submitted in April, so I want to try again. I know whatever I submit will have to be written and rewritten a couple of times before I feel it’s good enough. How do I challenge myself to write more consistently?

I’m going to find a way to push myself to write more, and decide on a set of rewards for each time I finish a group of short stories….or something to keep myself motivated.

I’ll let you know what I decide to do and whether or not it works for me.

Happy writing!


Germophobe’s Guide to Library Books

I love libraries. I love books. I love having access to books from libraries for free. And so do lots of other people.

I am the type of person who always has hand sanitizer in her bag. I also keep a little bottle of rubbing alcohol in my car and one next to my bed. I don’t like when my hands or feet feel dirty (which I feel like sometimes even after taking a shower) , so I’ll spray them with a bit of alcohol before bed, and I wipe the seat before using the bathroom in my own home (other people live here too).

That being said, you can imagine that I feel some type of way about reading books other people have had their hands on, have placed on various surfaces, have taken into their own bathrooms…are you getting the picture? Okay.

So here’s what I do when I borrow a book from my local library (If you have a better way, please let me know):

First things first. I wipe down the outside of the book with rubbing alcohol and a napkin. Sometimes I’ll do it as soon as I get in my car after leaving the library, sometimes I wait until I get home.

Second. I turn the book over and shake it out gently, also flipping through the pages to make sure nothing gross is stuck in there (I’ve found old candy wrappers that someone else probably used as a bookmark, I’ve found crumbs, and there may have also been a squished little bug once or twice.). Then I lay the book open and flip through it again to make sure there’s nothing jammed into the spine or that needs to be wiped off the pages.

Third. I lightly mist the pages of the book with rubbing alcohol as I flip through them quickly. We’re not wetting the pages here, and there shouldn’t be any wet spots left either—we don’t want to cause any damage. This is probably more mental than anything, but it makes me feel better.

Fourth. I wash my hands after every reading session. While I’m reading I make sure not to touch my face or handle food.

In general, I don’t do anything with, or to, the book that I wouldn’t want anyone else to do (even though I know other people most certainly do all of these things and more). I don’t take books to the bathroom with me (that’s what smart phones are for, and even that gets an alcohol wipe when I’m done). I don’t eat or drink directly over the book. I certainly do not lick my finger to turn the page (just bear the extra couple seconds people!).

I do these things with every book I get from the library. Sometimes I do it with books I buy as well, especially wiping the covers. I really wish there was a more efficient way to completely sanitize books from the library.

Okay, so this isn’t exactly a detailed guide, and it certainly isn’t for anyone with an extreme phobia, just a little of what I do to feel better about community books.

If you have any tips for sanitizing books in a way that makes you feel more comfortable touching them after other people have had them, or if you have scientific proof that germs do not live on the pages of books, share them below!

Happy Reading!


P.S. We’ll see you in a couple days for our Short Story Thursday, and next week we’re taking a mental heath break.  We’ll be back the first week of June!