Something in my brain has made me feel like I can't start a blog until I start something new. That it should capture a journey - the ship leaving shore, a seed landing atop soil, cracking open. But I - from schedules to to-do-lists to diagnoses - am perpetually behind. (Also, I want you to know that I spelled "diagnoses" right the first time and completely on accident.)
Life has sent me plenty of shake ups. Rather, I have sought them out, sometimes deliberately, sometimes not. But more on that in another post. Usually, when I'm a couple months into a big change, I think to myself: man, I should've written all that down along the way. Recreating the early moments would feel disingenuous, the raw emotions of things gone wrong scabbed over, the elation of good surprises and things gone exactly right tempered with time and the next curve ball. To remember it would be delivering watered-down tea, and as a born and raised Georgia girl, that shit just won't do.
But now I find myself waking up to something new: I am effectively un-agented. Technically, my agent isn't leaving the agency until the end of the month. But this is where she steps off the quiet, slow train of my writing journey.
Hell, sometimes I want to step off, too.
I have five published books out in the world - a fantasy series under pen name Jadie Jones, and a thriller under my real name, which came out with Pegasus Crime in May of 2020. The release of my first "bigger" title was promptly and unceremoniously swallowed whole by the first wave of the covid pandemic, made quieter quicker by the departure of my editor a couple weeks after the release. In a way, this has been the signature of my career thus far: arriving at each new "station" with the hope that THIS time will feel different, go better, creature value and connection. But over and over, the fanfare grows louder the closer the next station comes, yet upon arrival I find myself more or less alone. Maybe it's me. Maybe it's the industry at large. Maybe it's both.
As someone with ADHD, who has bailed on more hyper fixations, dreams, and Next Big Ideas than I care to count, sometimes it really, truly stuns me that I keep coming back for more, that I stand on the proverbial Shore of Want as a published author and gaze out at the horizon, hand shielding my eyes from the glare of the sun as I search into the distance for the Land of Made It. Sometimes it feels like that great leap has to be made in a single bound if you are to stand a chance of landing even a toe on solid ground upon that far-off shore and stand a chance of sustainable success. All you have to do is cross what amounts to the Atlantic Ocean on a pogo stick.
Maybe I'm just sulking. But there aren't exactly lily pads to land on between unknown-and-unpublished to a writer who can financially support themselves on book sales alone, especially if you come to the game later with just a story on your hard drive and a lot of hope in your heart. Sure, there are some things you can do to make yourself stronger for that big leap, or so they say. Build an online following, join writing associations, attend conferences, grow a backlist, sell short stories, essays, and articles, etc.," but even then, very rarely does it WORK, and when it does, timing, luck, and other people deeming what you've done to be valuable and worthwhile are what turn the heat on whatever it is you're cooking. And even then, it doesn't always pay off. I had five titles to my name when a random tween went viral - nearly two million impressions, celebrity support, and thousands of interactions within 48 hours. Do you know how many books I sold in the same time frame? That week? None. Zero. Nada.
So clearly, come here for entertainment if you can find it, but don't stay for advice.
On that note, what the hell am I even doing with his blog, you might be wondering? I have absolutely no idea. But here's what I know. I'm still game to keep trying. I'm braced and ready to start over, to hear no, to hear that my work is a pile of pretty sentences with no plot, to fail again. I have two manuscripts I believe in (that I email myself every time even a word is changed because I don't trust hard drives, and neither should you.) I am also in a position to change course. It is, in a weird way, a clean slate, and it was, in retrospect, a long time coming.
I'm also a mom of three with a horse farm and severe ADHD, so lord only knows where these entries may go - and that's coming from a pagan. At the very least, I'm hoping that by making myself brain dump here first thing most mornings, I can kick the habit of doom scrolling social media or stalking my inbox for news that now is at least months or years away.
So here we go. If you've made it this far, I'm sorry and thank you. It's an end and a beginning. I'm standing on this lily pad of mine. It's a little squishy underfoot, but it floats. I've got my pogo stick in my hand and my eye on the horizon. What I want is out there, somewhere. And, more days than not, I'm still hell bent to find it.