I’m currently working on a serialized urban fantasy novel, called Angel Blue. Some of y’all have been hanging out with me long enough you’ve read teasers and know a fair bit of the story. For those who are visiting, I started the first draft of this story a decade ago. Before I published Qeya or had started writing Silver Hollow, I began a story I called The Chosen. Since my first drafts, this title has been used again and again, so I’m calling it something different these days. But I have spent more time on this novel than any other.
A few years ago, I decided to begin at a new school and I had to make a hard choice. If I continued writing stories (wasn’t published yet), then I had to take fewer classes. I would essentially have to go to a smaller school with an easier degree program, while working. Well, I had been doing exactly that long enough. I wanted a change. I thought I could handle the challenge. My studies included reading Plato and Aristotle, studying old world philosophy and Latin. I loved all these aspects of my studies, but I missed writing something fierce. My second semester, I was put on academic probation and told I could only take two classes. This devastated me for two reasons:
One, I had studied my arse off the previous semester. I had given up most outings with friends in order to study. I had regimented my days while also working a day job, and going to school, in order to have ample study time. Two, I had a professor I had gone to for help, who in turn told me “maybe you aren’t meant to finish school, maybe you’re meant to be the mother of someone who will do great things someday.” Sounds crazy, I know. The school was competitive, so I get it, I suppose. But what I basically heard was, no matter how hard I had been trying, it wasn’t good enough. This wasn’t my third college, and I was going for a degree I was passionate about, at the time. I felt like a failure.
So when second semester rolled around, I took my two classes, but I also started writing again. Stories had carried me through high school and difficult periods in my young life, and they did the same thing for me at my last college experience. I wrote and wrote and fleshed out an outline for three full-length novels in my Chosen series. I breathed with these characters. I cared much more about my stories than my classes (which I was failing, btw). I knew midway through my second semester that, while it was a great challenge and brought me out of my comfort zone, I didn’t want to study anymore. I only wanted to work a job that would allow me to make enough money to write. And not just write, make my dream of being published a reality.
I have attempted an school one other time since then, an online program, which also ended in disaster. That fourth attempt was just the nail on the coffin for me. I realized at this point, I needed to focus on what was important. For me, those three things were, my family, my job and writing. Some of my best friends growing up, had great and successful college stories, but for me and so many more of our generation, the institution felt like it failed us. I suppose many could say we didn’t try hard enough? All I know is I gave it my all, but it wasn’t enough. Yet I’ll never complain about what happened to me, because it drove me to write, to pursue a dream. I chose the “starving artist” route and I haven’t looked back since.
Ten years later, I’m working on the Chosen stories again, this time titled Angel Blue. I spent the past year rewriting Silver Hollow, which was a huge milestone craft-wise for me. It taught me so much. As I’ve approached updating and expanding my old drafts for Angel Blue, I have been forced to reach above myself once again. I’ll admit, I was tempted to just do a light revision of what I had already written. This would be easier, right? But, for the same reason I dared to enroll in a difficult school once upon a time, I knew I could do better. Thankfully, I have no politics or system to work around, besides the mighty Amazon 😉 And my critics are professors, but rather you.
Ten years ago, I self-enrolled in the course of writing life. I haven’t always made “straight-A’s” and there have been bumps along the road, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come. And I’m no longer haunted by that feeling of failure, of not being enough. Because I know each book is just a new challenge, and a new adventure to be had. I’ll continue to do my best, and reach beyond myself with each book from here on out. I look forward to sharing more about Angel Blue with you!