Wednesday, September 30

A Letter to My Family

I have a wonderful family.

My parents have supported my dreams and aspirations for the past twenty-five years. My husband has done the same for the past nine years. They have never doubted me. Not once. Not even when I’ve given them plenty of reasons to wonder.

I’m not an easy person to live with. My house is OCD clean. Mum likes to say I clean as if the Queen herself was expected at any minute. Some might think that’s a good thing, but it’s really just a giant pain in the ass for everyone—including myself.

I’m also moody, emotional, opinionated, and rather stubborn. And yet, by some miracle, my family still loves and supports me. They deal with my creative outbursts. They understand when I need to stay up late to finish writing a particular scene. They know what to do when I’m having a bad writing day—or week, or month. In short, these people should win an award.

I owe everything I am today to them.

I have a degree because of them. I have a home and a family because of them. They support me emotionally, mentally, (sometimes) physically, and financially. I know how lucky I am to have them. I have friends who would kill for the amount of support I receive. And yet, my story still isn’t done. Why?

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve asked myself that very question.

I should be done. Not only are my parents and husband extremely supportive, but I have dozens of other avid supporters on my side. My critique partner. My beta readers. My hairdresser. Heck, even a few agents and editors are asking for my story, wanting to read my work. So why is my story sitting in a folder, only three-quarters finished?

I have no answer to that, and I doubt I ever will.

When I wrote Warrior Branded, I had no idea what I was doing. I started during my spring semester, but it didn’t really take off until summer hit, when I had all the time in the world to sit and create. I wrote just over 83,000 words in two months. For you non-writer types, that’s pretty intense. I ended up editing quickly and querying by the time school started again in September.

It went well. I had a lot of success in the trenches, but I ultimately decided to pull the story and work on something new. That something new was A Highlander’s Ransom—my current story. Over the next several years, other things took precedence over my writing. I had two serious arm surgeries. I finished my degree in English Literature, with a minor in European History. I planned a wedding across the continent, worked towards my FiancĂ© Visa, and eventually moved to Virginia. I married my best friend. I adopted my fur-baby.

And then I went through a bit of a dark patch. Our marriage was going wonderfully, but I missed my family. I missed my homeland. I wasn’t depressed per se, but I wasn’t inspired to create, either. About a year later, things started to look up. I started writing creatively again. Things were going really well. It was slow (and I mean glacially slow), but it was progress. There were hiccups here and there, but I always went back to writing.

And then in July 2014, I found out I was pregnant. We were ecstatic. Unfortunately, I suffered from extreme bouts of nausea. I lost a lot of weight for a pregnant woman. I slept most of my days away, and my writing stopped. Completely.

By the time my daughter was born in April 2015, I hadn’t written in months. Even while enjoying my time as a new mother, a part of me was devastated. Humiliated. I felt incredibly guilty. My husband of three years worked every single day to keep a roof over our heads, and yet, I couldn’t hold up my end of the bargain. I hadn’t produced a book. I hadn’t been published.

I finished my last story in a matter of months, but A Highlander’s Ransom is still unfinished after four years sitting on my computer. Part of the problem is my own perfectionism. Another part has to do with knowledge. I’m wiser now, and although that can help my writing, it also hinders it.

Regardless, I should be done. Yes, I’ve had huge life events during that time—there’s no denying that—but I’ve used it as a crutch for far too long. I’m driven. I graduated with high honors in university. I finished my first book as a teen, I have been published several times as a poet, and I queried my first book by the age of twenty. There’s no reason this story shouldn’t be done.

In the end, this post is an apology to all of my family and friends who have supported me over the years, who have asked me how my story is coming along. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I took your support and your interest and your patience for granted. To be honest, my writing isn’t going well. I haven’t written much in months. That’s about to change, however.

I’m done abusing your support, even inadvertently. I’m done with the excuses, no matter how valid they might be. I will finish this story and have it ready to be queried by the new year. I thought about putting an “if not” clause on here, but I’m not going to, because I’m not going to fail. Not this time.

I have a wonderful family. They are my best friends, my confidantes, and I won’t let them down again. I promise.

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