12/20/14

When I Grow Up

Well, hello.

Yes, I'm still alive. I'm one semester away from graduation, and I'm still alive. I've been to Germany and back. I've been in a chemistry lab and answered my chemistry professor's questions about my book, all the while verifying that I'm wearing safety goggles, pants, and closed-toed shoes. I've made it through what I think will have been my hardest semester and still passed all my classes. In May, I will be college graduate with a degree in physics.

And I still want to be a writer when I grow up.

Yep, that happened.

Oh, I considered grad school. Considered it hard, especially since I wanted to go back to Germany and make solar cells, because making solar cells is what I did all summer, and it's fun.

Then I realized that grad school meant, um, more school, and I'm done with that, thanks.

So I started thinking that I would staff at a nonprofit in Austin, a nonprofit that has more or less been my home base while I've been at school here. But every time I planned out what that life would look like, there was one thing important to me: How much time will I have to write?

Until I decided: I'm going home. I'm going home, and I'm pursuing writing, because that is the risk I choose to take. Not-writing is what I will regret most if I choose some other path. {Of course, I will mesh this crazy leap with something like a job. Don't freak out.}

It was over Thanksgiving that I came to this conclusion, over Thanksgiving that I sat down to see what I had in my writing arsenal after no writing for months. Turns out, I had a three-book "trilogy." I've written parts of it over the past 2 years, but this was the first time I realized...I have something here. While I've been turning in homework and serving organizations, I've also been creating.

I tell people that it's a book about space aliens. "The Space Alien Book," I tell them, so that they know which one I'm talking about. But it's not really. I mean, there are space aliens, but it's not their book.

It's a book about a rebel heroine named Mara Wade.
A city looks to her for hope. Now it's time for her to leave.

Yeah, I'm just a little bit excited.

3/31/14

Wonderful Curious Peoples

For several weeks, I’ve been asked variations of a particular question by curious peoples: how many books have you sold?

People ask it a little hesitantly, as if they shouldn’t be prying. I truly don’t mind, but I don’t have an answer for them, because I don’t know.

Yep. I don’t know how many books I’ve sold.

It’s quite pathetic really, for this girl who chose a major that does little more than make graphs of data. {Just kidding.} {Not really.} You can blame the major, if you like. Or perhaps my cynicism is at fault. When all this started, I think I expected to be able to keep track of it--more or less--in my head. I’m usually pretty good at that.

I wasn’t taking into account the fact that my books are sold through three different outlets in about a dozen different countries. Keep track of that in your head, I dare you.

But two things recently forced me to put some numbers on paper. First, April 15 is arriving swiftly, and, second, I recently bought glasses after 5+ years of an old prescription {when your eyes are as bad as mine, this matters}.

Thanks to tax preparation, I had to figure out how many books I sold in 2013. The book came out in August, so I had over four months of data to wade through. And I am here to tell you, all you people who want to know, that Those Who Trespass was purchased over 100 times in 2013. I don’t know if I’m supposed to tell you that or not; for authors with a publishing house, this is a bit taboo. But I am my own publishing house, and one of my favorite things about being an indie-author is the utter control I have over things like this. You’re welcome, wonderful curious peoples.

And because you are so curious, I know you’re now wondering what that translates to in dollars. I’ll let you do the estimation yourself {and good luck, because it's so varying that I can't even estimate it accurately}, but I can tell you that I recently went to the optometrist and paid for my own exam, like a grown-up person. And I bought glasses.

Such things are expensive, especially when you have to have your lenses smashed to socially acceptable thinness.

Yes, my face whitened a considerably when I heard the number. And yes, I know about online glasses places. {Wasn’t my cup of tea this time around.} But seriously, do you want to know something cool? The entire cost was covered exactly to the dollar by my book profits.

That was cool.

So. I hope your curiosity is slightly satisfied. If it’s still bothering you, I suggest physics.

3/17/14

100%

If I have learned one thing from blogging, it is never to post about the frailty of excuses. At least, not if you think you'll ever miss a posting day.

Ahem.

It was Spring Break.

Honestly, I've been a bit at a loss as to what to post. I'm practically never writing any more. On occasion, I reach day's end and realize I haven't daydreamed at all. {Daydreaming is very important to writing books.}

The reason?

I came to a decision early this semester: no more whining and complaining about how unhappy I am and how college has jerked away my writing life. I really wasn't sure how I would function if I wasn't needing to write. How could I give up that drive, the words spiraling through my fingertips? Writing is a rush. Voluntarily setting it aside sounded like torture.

But there's this verse in the Bible about doing whatever it is you're doing with your whole heart. And I wasn't. I was trudging through school and school activities while wishing I could be at home at my desk with my laptop. {You really don't want to know how many tears were shed asking God whywhywhywhy.} Everything I did, I did halfheartedly. I dedicated myself to my classes, because I don't know any other way to treat academics, but I wasn't happy about it. I wasn't passionate about physics.

And so early this semester, I vowed to be 100% where I was. I was terrified. Terrified of losing the words and the stories. Terrified even of losing my homesickness, my passionate belonging in my house with my family. Terrified of losing my identity. But I did it anyway. I promised to be "all in."

Yeah, things are different now. I'm okay with spending a lot of weekends in Austin. I'm okay if I haven't written in a couple weeks. I'm okay. Surprise.

Am I the same? No. Do I know what to make of that? No.

Am I okay with that? Yes. Life is not a stagnant thing. It ebbs. It flows.

Have I given up writing forever? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I still say that with absolute certainty. In fact, some things have happened recently that make me think writing will be a thing for Melody in the near future.

Am I happier? Yes. I've known for four semesters that I was where I was supposed to be. Now I've chosen to be all there, and it's a most freeing experience. {And yes, it took me that long. God is so patient.} To be where you are meant to be, to be 100% where you are meant to be...there are few greater adventures.