Soul Searching

Fellow blogger Jessica at Jeweled Again By Jessica has had a couple of posts recently that have really resonated with me. While she’s been struggling to decide if she should continue with her art or throw in the towel, I’ve been struggling to make the same decision about my fiction writing. Writing has always brought me joy – or at least it used to. I’ve spent most of this year trying to decide how I want to proceed and am still no closer to a decision than I was in February.

Image courtesy of DepositPhotos.com

I fell in love with creative writing in high school and spent years wanting to write stories. However, I didn’t actually start until I was 47 and discovered the world of fan fiction. I wrote several stories based in the world of Mass Effect, my favorite video game series. The positive feedback I received on those stories gave me the courage to begin writing original stories. I decided to write under a pen name, Isabella Norse, since I write romance and worked in IT which is still a male-dominated field. I knew if any of my coworkers were to find out, I’d never hear the end of it and I didn’t want to have to hurt anyone, LOL. The decision to write under a pen name is one of those things that I would change if I could go back in time. I don’t like having to be two people, especially since, as a writer, I’m pretty much expected to be on all of the social media sites and I hate it. Izzy has FB, Twitter, IG, and Pinterest accounts, and even has a separate blog – pretty much all of them inactive. Sigh. It would be easier if I could just be Linda. However, I haven’t figured out the best way to combine me and Izzy into one. Double sigh.

One of my biggest problems has been “finding my tribe”. As best I can tell, this consists of being really good at tooting your own horn on social media. Since I’ve already said that Izzy’s SM accounts are pretty much inactive, it’s a safe bet that I ‘m not good at this. As a matter of fact, it would be safe to say that I completely suck at the marketing portion of writing. The whole “look at me, look at me, look at me” aspect of marketing is completely anathema to me. Triple sigh. Honestly, I don’t care if I’m ever a New York Times Bestselling Author but I would like to have some readers, LOL. (Thanks for reading my stories Jessica!πŸ₯°)

I’m a hybrid author which means I’ve self-published a few stories and have others published with a couple of small presses. One of the small presses recently returned the rights to my sweet paranormal romance series; their business took a hit during the pandemic so they are downsizing. I wasn’t the only author published with them impacted. However, my feelings weren’t hurt. I was already planning to ask them for my rights back; my stories just weren’t the best fit with with their imprint and I wanted the ability and freedom to rebrand and advertise my stories as I see fit.

Honestly, I miss writing for the joy of it. Now, even when I’m working on a story I enjoy, part of my mind is wondering if it’s even worth the trouble, if anyone will ever read it. Kenn tells me I should just write for myself and not worry about readers, etc. I wish I could. However, my brain just doesn’t work that way. Quadruple sigh.

I’ve considered stopping my creative writing and just continuing with this blog. I get to interact with people here! However, the thought of completely giving up on my stories has caused more than one panic attack. I guess that, in itself, is an answer. I’ve just got to come up with a way to muzzle the part of me that likes to put a damper on things with its negativity.

Thanks for listening while I vented. It helped and I appreciate each and every one of you!😘

Here We Go Again…

If you’ve followed me for any time there are a couple of things you may know about me:

  • First, I’m a writer. I write under the pen name Isabella Norse.
  • Second, I participate in the annual madness known as National Novel Writing Month where I attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days ( or less).

I debated not participating this year but decided on Oct 31st to go ahead and go for it.

I’m a pantser which means I don’t outline, I write by “the seat of my pants” . I’ve always been this way. Even in high school when I had papers to write and teachers expected outlines, I was baffled. How was I supposed to know what I was going to write until I wrote it? The outlines that I had to turn in in advance of the finished paper were complete works of fiction.πŸ€·β€β™€οΈWhen I start a story I know who my main characters are, how the story begins and ends and random bits in the middle; the rest comes to me as I write. I’m pantsing a little more than usual this year because at this point my heroine doesn’t have a name, LOL. I’m also writing in a different genre this year. In years past I’ve been focusing on my sweet paranormal romance series. I decided I need a change so this year I’m going to be working on an urban fantasy with a middle-aged heroine. (Why should the twenty-somethings always get to save the world?) Since I always have to have a title when I begin a story this one is called Menopause and Mayhem. I even used Canva to create a book cover to use on the NaNo site. I’m looking forward to just having fun this month, even if I don’t reach the 50K goal.

Wish me luck!

Road Trip 2021: The Long Distance Relationship

We left Trenton, Maine and headed for the Farmington/Chesterville area. We wound up staying at the Skowhegan/Kennebec Valley KOA; it was further away from our destination than I would have liked but it was an amazing campground that we would gladly stay at again. (My review is available here.) Our first stops were near sites we wanted to see, so what drew us to this area? Friendship.

When I was in high school, I had several pen pals – up to 21 at one point. Over time, that number dwindled to just one and we have now been writing for over 40 years. And, as you’ve probably guessed by now, my remaining pen pal lives in Maine. There was no way I was going to visit the state and not take advantage of the opportunity to meet. So, we exchanged (more) letters and phone numbers and I kept her apprised of when we would arrive. I have to admit, I was nervous. I’m shy and writing is easier for me than face-to-face interactions, but I shouldn’t have worried. Our meeting was… easy. You would think we had known each other for years, LOL.

Kenn and I spent a day with Ruth and her husband, John. We went out for lunch and then stopped for ice cream. We spent the remainder of our time just sitting around our campsite and talking. Ruth asked one of the campground employees to take our picture.

John, Ruth, Linda and Kenn

One of the souvenirs I collect when we travel is (are?) Christmas ornaments. Somehow, I got home from our trip without an ornament for Maine. I turned to Amazon (of course) in my search for a Maine ornament but wasn’t happy with the selection; many of them were too similar to ornaments that I already have. Then, inspiration struck and I turned to Shutterfly where I had the photo shown above printed on a metal ornament. I think it’s perfect and look forward to it gracing our tree in all the years to come.😊

Here’s hoping that it won’t take us another 40 years to get together again!

Until next time, here’s to friendships and happy trails!

National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month. (Also called NaNoWriMo or NaNo for short.) This is the month when writers across the globe – including yours truly – commit to writing a 50,000 word “novel” in 30 days. Are we crazy? Probably. Is it fun? Strangely enough, yes. The NaNo community is made up of people who love to write and run the gamut from published authors to those dipping their toe into the writing pool for the first time. Some people write novels, others write scripts or fanfiction; it doesn’t matter so much what is written as long as the 50,000 words are new.

I have a tendency to get into my own head when I’m writing and can spend too much time second guessing myself or going back and revising what I’ve already written. The limited time frame and word count goal force me to push all of that to the side and just write. Most of my novels and short stories (written as Isabella Norse) have been born during NaNoWriMo. I usually write as “rebel” meaning that I’m not starting a brand new novel. (My rebel status is no great surprise to anyone who knows me, LOL.) This year I plan to use the first 12,000 words or so to work on a short story that I’m planning to submit for an anthology and the rest of the words I’ll put toward completing My Fair Vampire, the next entry in my Kudzu Korners sweet paranormal romance series.

Another reason NaNoWriMo works for me is because I’m an extremely competitive person but I’m also a sore loser, LOL. With NaNo, I’m mostly competing against myself. I’ve participated in NaNo every year since 2011. In spite of my competitiveness, I haven’t “won” every year. There are times when I’ve just had to let it go, and that’s okay; there are no NaNo police to come around and rap me on the knuckles with a ruler. The NaNo community is very supportive; we cheer each other on when things are going well and cry on each other’s shoulders when they aren’t. It’s also great because non-writers don’t really understand how characters can take over a story and take it in a completely unexpected direction or how a writer can have a character they hate. (Several years ago Kenn asked my how my story was going and I told him that I hated the heroine’s best friend. He just looked at me and finally said “How can you hate her? You created her.” Yes, I did, but that didn’t keep her from being a complete jerk. Once I got to know her a little better my opinion changed and she got a book of her own, LOL.)

Wish me luck!