Nine Books, Nine Years

6:00 AM

This month marks the time I began writing. I cannot believe it's already been nine years. The time has just flown by. At the same time, however, it is so difficult for me to remember what my life looked like those eleven years I spent without writing. Writing has shaped me as a person and formed my soul, and the thought of what my life looked like--what I looked like--before all that is crazy to me. But I haven't been writing my whole life, and from the time I began, my life has become even more of an adventure in learning.

Do I have any words of wisdom to impart? Nine years have passed, and with that nine books.

I'm not going to do a list like I used to do. I'm just going to give the biggest piece of advice that I have come to find.

Don't be afraid to make writing fun. 

That's a huge reason why we write, isn't it? Because we enjoy it? You have to love writing to a certain extent in order to keep on with it, because writing doesn't fall into your lap. It isn't easy. But a lot of people glorify the stereotypical "suffering artist" that lives on ramen noodles in their parent's basement and rides their bike to walmart to pay for more ramen and a new laptop.

But writing doesn't have to be that way. It can be fun, if you'll let it.

In the nine books that I have written, I've dabbled in fantasy, co-writing, mystery, paranormal, and poetry. I've written magical characters and dead ones. I've written on earth and in lands far away, both in reality and beyond it. I've written stand-alone novels and then books in a series. I've written novels that are distant cousins, and books that are worlds apart.

I know that when you think along the lines of being a professional author, it is often said that you want to stay in the same genre. Because readers that pick up your books because it's a middle grade fantasy novel will not necessarily want to pick up a young adult paranormal book about dead people. That's certainly what was going through my head this year during nano.

Why did I write a book that was so polar opposite from what I've written all my life? Why did I turn around three days to the end of nano and start hand writing a verse novel, while still finishing the first draft of my paranormal nano book?

Because I wanted to.

It's really as simple as that.

Yes, I want to write mainly for middle graders. But hey, right after writing my nano novel, I wrote a middle grade fantasy. And I love that book. It's taken a very special place in my heart.

But part of me wonders what would have happened if I hadn't gone wild and crazy and written something unlike anything I've ever written before. Who knows if I would have been struck with the inspiration to write this little fantasy verse novel?

As creatives, we have to think outside the box. But not only that, sometimes we have to take our metaphorical hammer of curiosity and wonder, and we have to smash that box to a thousand pieces.

Because as creatives, we have to be willing to take risks. It's that breaking of boxes that opens the mind to all the new ideas and possibilities that life holds for us. Life is wild. It's vast and swooping and crazy. And our books can reflect that--they should reflect that.

So, if you've written contemporary your whole writing career, try a fantasy novel. You've written romance? Try historical fiction. You're like me and have only really written fantasy? Try a paranormal book (I will tell you--writing from the perspective of a dead high school boy was really fun.)

Write what you would never expect. Surprise yourself, and you just might find a hidden treasure chest in the corners of the curiosity.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever written? When was the last time you broke out of your writing comfort zone? What's the most valuable lesson you've come to learn in your writing journey? Tell me all the things: I've missed chatting with you guys!


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