7 Steps to Choose Your Next Book Project

After finishing my YA Thriller, I couldn’t help but wonder what book project I was going to write next. Like so many writers, I have a million ideas floating around in my head. Some are small snippets of dialogue, others are entire scenes, or characters. But with so many ideas, it can be difficult to choose which book project to actually tackle next.

What if this one idea isn’t good enough?

What if I’m not a good enough writer to tackle this project?

What if one turns out to be a lot harder to write than I thought?

What if I hate everything I write?

What if I get bored halfway through and want to work on this other idea?

The self-doubt can be crippling, but there comes a point where you have to make a decision and stick to it. So how do you do it? How do you choose which project to work on next?


Step #1: Write Them All Down

Write down every idea, small or large. Seeing it written down can give you a clearer picture of what exactly you’re working with. You’ll be able to see what ideas are more fleshed out, versus the ones that still need time to marinate. Sometimes, an idea just needs a little while longer to sit in your brain and develop.

For me, when I’m ready to tackle a new project, this is the first thing I do. It gives me a clear view of every idea currently in my head, no matter how simple or complex it is.

A few examples of what I have right now:

1.) Beauty and the Beast Retelling – with a twist
2.) Vampire Huntress Idea
3.) Beauty Guru Thriller Idea
4.) YA Fantasy Thief Idea
5.) YA Secret Project Idea
6.) Adult Sci-Fi Idea

These are examples of exactly what I have written in the notes app on my phone. They might not say a lot, but to me, there’s a premise to each idea. I currently have nine story ideas written down, and each one has a different premise. But likewise, each one is in a different stage of development.

Step #2: Think About Them

Once you have your ideas written down, take a step back and just think on them. Which ones are you finding yourself more excited to write? Which ones do you have more ideas for? Which ones are you clearly seeing the characters, the world, the stakes, etc.?

The more you really sit back and look at each idea, the easier it’ll be to tell which ones are actually ready to be written. Like I said before, sometimes an idea needs more time to develop in your mind before it’s ready to be written. Really taking the time to step back and think about each idea, and how ready it is, is incredibly beneficial.

Step #3: Check the Market

Like everything in this world, trends in publishing come and go. Knowing the market – and what is selling and what isn’t – can help you decide which project to work on next. For example, vampires made their big splash with the release of Twilight, the House of Night series, and Vampire Academy over a decade ago. Since then, vampires and werewolves have had a hard time selling. Knowing this, my Vampire Huntress idea – as passionate as I am to work on it – isn’t the best project to pursue right now.

The same can be said for a lot of other ideas. YA Dystopia came and went with books like The Hunger Games and Divergent, and has been struggling to make a comeback. Knowing the market is incredibly beneficial to every author, and can really help you make certain choices on what to write next.

Step #4: Narrow it Down

After you’ve taken the time to reflect on all of your ideas, and pay attention to the market, it should become clear which ones are more developed than others. For some, everything will jump out at you: the characters, the conflict, the stakes, while other ideas may not jump out at all. This is where it’s time to narrow down your ideas into which ones are more ready.

Going back to my previous example above, I have six ideas I’ve pulled out to show you. Out of all of them, only three ideas are more developed, and some aren’t worth pursuing right now, due to market trends.

1.) YA Fantasy Thief Idea
2.) YA Secret Project Idea
3.) Adult Sci-Fi Idea

These three ideas have all had time to develop in my brain. The Adult sci-fi idea I actually got over a year ago and began actively working on, before I decided to tackle another project. The thief idea I’ve had in my brain for over six months. The secret project idea came to me out of the blue, and has been actively picking at my brain to be worked on. The point is – with all three of these ideas, I know the bare bones for the start of the story: The who, what, when, where, and why.

The other three ideas? I still have hardly any clue about the conflicts, stakes, or characters, and that lets me know that they still need time to rest and develop.

Step #5: Daydream

Once you’ve narrowed down your ideas, let your mind wander. Think about the ideas and your brain will do the rest. Over time, more ideas will begin to form. A more concrete plot will take shape. Subplots will begin to fill themselves in. Your characters will begin to take on lives of their own. And one idea will really begin to stand out amongst the rest.

This one idea – or maybe two or three – will start to call to you, to tell you it’s ready.

Step #6: Ask Yourself the Hard Questions

From the initial developing of an idea, to the writing, revising, and editing of a new project, we may be with it for months, or even years. As writers, we spend countless hours with our ideas, plots, and characters, and sometimes when choosing your next project, you’ll have to ask yourself the hard questions.

Do I feel confident in my writing abilities to tackle this project?

Do I feel passionate about this project?

Is this the novel I would want to debut with?

Am I willing to put the time and effort into this project?

Is there anything holding me back from writing this project?

Do I feel emotionally ready to tackle the themes of this project?

If you find yourself hesitating on any of these – you or your idea may not be ready yet. And that’s okay. Sometimes we need to be in the right headspace, or emotional state, to really tackle something we’re trying to say.

Step #7: Listen to your Heart – but Don’t Wait For Your Muse

Once you’ve completed the previous steps, one idea, or several, may be screaming at you that it’s time to be written. It’s time to sit down and plot that idea out, or just begin pantsing your way through it. I’m sure all of us writers have experienced this – when one idea is just screaming at you, and has its grip on your soul, and you know there’s nothing you can do but sit down and write it.

But the most important thing: Don’t wait for your muse.

I recently learned this the hard way. I was giving myself a break from writing, and actively thinking about my next projects, when I realized I had been sitting around waiting for ideas to spring into my head. I was waiting for plots to write themselves. I realized I had to get up and actively develop my plots and tackle my ideas. It can be fun for a while to sit around and daydream, and think of all your ideas, but there comes a point when you have to choose one, sit down, and work on it until it becomes a novel.

Whether it’s one project you’re working on, or three (like me!), the most important thing to do is start something and stick to it. Find an idea you’re passionate about, and keep working on it, no matter how hard it gets.


Choosing a new idea is never easy. But it’s important to choose a project you’ll feel passionate about working on. By finding that one idea and sticking to it, you’ll not only improve as a writer and creator, but you’ll fall in love with a brand new story you’ve created, and there’s nothing quite like it.

Do you have a different method for choosing your next book project? Let me know!

XOXO – Devon

Anticipated Book Releases (May & June 2019)

A lot of books get released every month. I admit, I shouldn’t be buying anymore. I have way too many books on my TBR shelves that are waiting to be read, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a few anticipated reads!


May

Step Sister by Jennifer Donnelly – May 14th

I love a good fairytale retelling – or one that follows Cinderella’s evil stepsister. I can’t wait for this book!

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June 

The Beholder by Anna Bright – June 4th

I love a good story where the protagonist has suitors, and has to find her “perfect match”. I’m so excited for this book!

Emmie and the Tudor King by Natalie Murray – June (?) 

A time travel story about a girl trying to win the heart of a King and unravel court secrets? This one sounds so unique!

I’ll Never Tell by Abigail Haas – June 4th

A beach-side murder mystery? This one is right up my alley.

The Good Sister by Gillian McAllister – June 11th

A thriller all about the bond between sisters and how their lives change when the unthinkable happens? I’m so intrigued!

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Man of the Year by Caroline Louis Walker – June 11th 

I love the sound of this one. It sounds so unique and compelling, and I love everything about the blurb!

I Looked Away by Jane Corry – June 21st 

The blurb alone has so much mystery behind it, that I can’t wait to dive into this book.

Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym Martineau – June 25th 

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book, so I can’t wait to get my hands on it, and the cover is gorgeous!

The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter – June 25th, 2019

An evil queen retelling? Yes please.

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What new book releases are you most excited for? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO – Devon

7 Ways to Refill Your Creative Well

Back in April, I finished writing my YA Thriller, Little Lost Girls. While I was proud of my accomplishments, I was pretty burned out. It felt like all of my creativity had been run dry. No new ideas were running through my head, and I felt a little bit like a failure. Where did all my ideas go? What was I going to write next? Why can’t I think of anything to write about?

After a while of feeling that way, I knew it was time to take a step back from writing in general. I needed to refill my creative well. The well had run dry, and the only way to get back into a creative mindset was to give myself ample time to rest, recover, and refill the well. Here’s seven tips that helped me get there!


1.) Take a Shower or Bath

I think all of us writers swear by getting some of our best ideas when we’re in the shower, but it’s not a lie! Immersed in all that hot water, and feeling relaxed, does wonders. I’ve recently started taking bubble baths as a nightly routine, and it’s been amazing in helping me relax.

2.) Read – and Read a Lot

Reading has seriously helped get me back into a creative mindset. Just being able to absorb the words instead of worry about my own novel that’s waiting to be written, has really allowed me to just sit back and enjoy reading.

3.) Binge TV

I admit, I’ve been doing this quite a bit the last couple weeks. I’ve been loving Switched at Birth, and I admit, I may be spending a little too much time in front of the TV. But when I’m writing, I hardly do anything else, so it’s nice to catch up on all the things I’ve missed otherwise.

4.) Take a break

No, but really. Take a break. By that I mean don’t do anything that involves writing. Unplug from the internet, don’t think about writing or editing. Step away from anything – like Twitter or Instagram – that may make you feel guilty for not writing.

5.) Go For a Walk

I never use to go for walks. But due to some changes in my life, I’ve been able to take walks, and when the weather’s nice, they’ve become a frequent, evening routine (and Pokémon Go is a good excuse to take them). There’s something about stepping away from the inside world, and being immersed in nature, that feels so refreshing.

6.) Make an Aesthetic

Since joining the Writing Community on Twitter, I’ve come to love making aesthetics. I find all my pictures on Pinterest and use Canva to edit them. The simple acting of creating an aesthetic, and just browsing Pinterest for story inspiration, has helped me come up with entire scenes and ideas.

7.) Listen to Music

I’ve been an avid music lover all my life, and it’s always been a huge source of story inspiration for me. Lately, I’ve learned that I need total silence while editing, and while writing my recent WIP, I didn’t listen to any music. Being able to put my headphones back in and listen to my favorite songs and artists – and find some new ones – has helped tremendously in discovering new ideas and inspiration.


What do you do to refill your creative well? Let me know, and I hope these seven tips help you!

XOXO – Devon

10 Steps to Fast-Draft Your Novel

My writing process has changed a lot over the years. But recently, I’ve come to love fast drafting.

Fast drafting is the process of writing the first draft of your novel as fast as you can. You don’t edit as you go, you don’t look back, you just keep pushing forward. But fast drafting isn’t easy. I spend hours pumping out as many words as I can, only to have writer burnout in the end and I need to take some time to recover.

It’s definitely not a process that works for everyone, but it does for me, so I thought I’d share ten tips on how to fast draft your novel!


1.) Make an Outline

Having an outline can be a lifesaver. If you find yourself getting stuck because “you don’t know what happens next”, this is where an outline comes in. Whenever you get stuck in your writing, simply look at your outline and you’ll know where to take the story next. Even if you’re not a plotter, and hate outlining, knowing the beats of your novel can come in handy too.

2.) Do Writing Sprints

Working with my cabin mates for Camp Nano really showed how powerful writing sprints are! You set a time, say thirty minutes, and work with your writing friends (or by yourself) to write as many words in those thirty minutes. The competitive nature of seeing who can write the most really helped some of my cabin mates (and me) push ourselves to write as much as we could.

3.) Set a Scheduled Time

Similar to writing sprints, but without the “sprint” part. Set aside a time, such as an hour or two, and force yourself to write. Don’t get up from the chair until the time is up. Likewise, writing in short bursts I’ve found can be really beneficial. Sometimes when I’m waiting for dinner to finish cooking, or cleaning, I’ll sneak away to my desk and write as much as I can before getting back up to continue what other things I’m doing.

4.) Know When You’re Most Creative

All of us are most creative at different times of the day. Some of us are morning people, some of us are night owls. Finding the time when your brain is ready to go can be so beneficial. Forcing yourself to sit down and write during a time when your brain is not ready can hurt more than help. For me, I’m most creative in the morning and the evenings. I crash in the afternoon.

5.) End on a Cliffhanger

If you’re getting close to the end of a scene or a chapter, don’t finish it. Just stop. Get up and continue with your day. When you come back to write, you’ll find it’s easier for your brain to pick up the momentum from where you left off, instead of starting a whole new scene or chapter. Try it!

6.) Use Placeholders

This doesn’t work for everyone, but it can work for some! If you find yourself getting stuck on a particular scene, simply use a placeholder! Skip over that scene and come back to it later. Use whatever method you want – a specific word, brackets, a color. Something to let yourself know that you need to come back and write the scene. For some people, this can work wonders.

7.) Set a Goal

Make a goal to write a certain number of words every day, or at least when you can. It doesn’t have to be a huge number of words, but anything that you know you can feel confident about sitting down and doing. For me this means writing at least two-thousand words before getting up and doing anything else.

8.) Keep Pushing Forward

Seriously, don’t look back. I know how tempting it can be to start rereading what you wrote the previous day, and get the itch to fix it. But don’t! Just keep pushing forward.

9.) Research Later

If you reach a spot in your writing where you need to do some research, just write whatever you need to get yourself through the scene. You can research later and add it back in. It’s easy to fall down a hole of research and suddenly find yourself spending hours looking up a particular piece of information that you may only need once. (On the opposite end: do all your research before you begin writing at all! This works too.)

10.) Challenge Yourself

The most important thing you can probably do: just challenge yourself to write. When you can, as much as you can, give it a try. Fast-drafting involves a lot of word vomiting on the page, and for me, it works.


If you haven’t noticed – one of the biggest things about fast drafting is that you have to keep pushing forward. The most important thing about fast-drafting is not looking back. Don’t get caught up in some poorly constructed sentences, or crappy world-building. The important thing to do is get the words on the page. You can edit them later.

“You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

-Jodi Picoult

XOXO-Devon

Camp Nano: How I Did (April 2019)

With Camp NanoWrimo over, it’s time to look back on how I did!

If you don’t know, NanoWrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. In November, writers get together to join a “cabin”, and set a word count goal for themselves. The standard is 50k, but you can go higher if you want. You then try to write those 50k words in one month! There are different times of year Nano happens, like in April and July, where you can focus on not just word count, but if you want to edit a certain number of pages, too.

I did Camp Nano last July with several of my cabin mates Tauri, Kelsey, and Joy. This year we decided to do Nano again, and added Madeline to our cabin! Last year, I set a goal of 100k words for myself – which I surpassed and beat Nano with a few days to spare. That was the first draft of Forbidden.

This year, I sat down to write Little Lost Girls and set the goal of 70k words for myself. I went into Nano with 20k words down already, and was confident I could write another 50k…and, well, that didn’t quite happen. Since I was writing my thriller, the book was rather fast paced. I tend to write chapters between 8 – 10 pages long, but this time, my chapters were 4 – 6 pages. There were a ton of scenes involving police procedures, or other criminal investigations, that I flew through and made up because I didn’t actually know how those procedures went. It took me twenty days, but I finished writing Little Lost Girls halfway through Nano. It ended up being 54k.

That’s the shortest novel I’ve ever written. I’m definitely an over writer, and most of my revisions involve cutting or trimming down scenes, so I was shocked to see how short my novel actually turned out to be. While I did finish writing my book, I didn’t quite “win” Nano. Or did I? I don’t really know! Either way, I’m proud of myself for finishing writing another book!

It still needs a ton of work though. There’s a lot missing that needs to be expanded on, especially things like police procedures that I had no idea how to write. Luckily there are some people I can reach out to in hopes they’ll answer some questions I have.

Overall, I’m very happy with myself for using Nano as a tool to help propel myself into writing another book. And having cabin mates is a blast – we did writing sprints that really encouraged us all to write as much as we could and further our goals. If you’ve never done Nano before, I highly encourage giving it a try!

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XOXO – Devon

April Recap 2019

Well, April is over and May is here. The weather where I live has been up and down from good to bad. We even had a snow storm a couple days ago. I am so sick of this rainy weather, and am eagerly awaiting the sunny, warm days.

April started out a lot like March did. I was recovering from my kidney stone but continued to have pain, and ended up in the hospital once again. I’m feeling a lot better now after tons of rest, but I finally made an appointment to see a urologist to try and figure out what the heck is going on with my body.

I also finished writing my YA Thriller, Little Lost Girls! It ended up at 54k, which was 10k-20k shorter than I had anticipated writing. I’m not too bummed about it though, since it gives me a lot of room to really expand on the mystery and the characters.

Overall, April has been an okay month for me. I’m proud of myself for writing another book, but there’s still a ton of work ahead.

What I Wrote:

I am so happy to say that I finished writing my YA Thriller, Little Lost Girls, which took me about twenty days to write. Camp Nano really helped me shoot for meeting a daily word count goal. Unfortunately, I’m not too thrilled with the way it turned out. It needs a lot of work to get into shape, and I’m not rushing to dive into rewrites or revisions just yet. I have some other projects I really want to write first.

What I Read:

Total: 8

They All Fall Down by Roxanna St. Claire ★★☆☆☆

I actually posted a full review of this to Goodreads, which you can read here. I went into this book with high expectations, expecting a thriller with a lot of unique twists and turns. While the author did deliver on that – there are actually three different twists thrown at you – the ending is what failed. The final twist, while unique, is highly implausible and doesn’t make any sense. Your suspension of disbelief really needs to be thrown out the window to enjoy this book, and unfortunately, I didn’t.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart ★★★★★

Wow, wow, wow. I picked up this book on a whim because I’d heard such good things. But this novel did not disappoint! While I wasn’t a fan of the writing in the beginning, somewhere around page fifty I suddenly got hooked into the plot. The characters were great, the twists and turns, the story – everything about this book was amazing.

People Like Us by Dana Mele ★★☆☆☆

I love a good boarding school mystery, but this one fell flat. While I liked the premise, I had a hard time connecting to our main character, Kay. Much of the plot revolves around the characters ability to generally be jerks to one another, and the mystery itself was just kind of…boring? The first half of the novel was rather fast-paced and exciting, but somewhere in the middle, it really slowed down and became less than enjoyable. And while I didn’t see the twist coming, I was just too bored to be hooked any longer.

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Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser ★★★★☆

I’m a little torn on how I feel about this book. On one hand, I did enjoy reading it. I liked the characters and the story. But on the other hand, I feel like this was marketed as a thriller, and it really…wasn’t? The book focuses more on domestic abuse and the realities of what can happen in a situation like that. Because of this, the end twist was pretty obvious, and there wasn’t much of a mystery. Had I known going in that this book was more about abuse, I think I would give it five stars.

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian ★★★★☆

The sequel, Lady Smoke, came out earlier this year, and I really wanted to reread Ash Princess before reading it. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I love this book. I like the characters and the world-building is solid. I appreciate that our main character, Theo, uses her mind more than she does magic. Seeing a character only rely on their wits and not be some super badass assassin or magic wielder is refreshing to read.

All that said, the reason I haven’t given this five stars is because of the ending. There’s a particular twist at the end that I’m not a fan of. Reading it this time around I wasn’t bothered by it, but the first time I finished the book, I was really underwhelmed and a little upset. Ash Princess is still a gem, and I would definitely give it a read.

Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian ★★★☆☆

I was originally going to give this book four stars, but after some reflection and reading other reviews, I decided to lower it to three. As much as I loved Ash Princess, I really think Lady Smoke suffered hard from second-book syndrome. While I thought the initial set-up was great, the rest of the book suffered from a saggy middle. The entire plotline about Theo trying to find a husband who could provide her an army pretty much becomes null and void in the end, and if you took it out of the book entirely, I don’t think it would have suffered.

On top of that, I was most disappointed about what happened to another character. In Ash Princess, something happens to another character and I was eagerly awaiting to see what would come of her in this book. Unfortunately, she doesn’t show up until the very end, and even then we don’t get to see much of her. I feel like the author really missed out by not including this character’s own POV in the novel, which would’ve been so interesting to explore.

In the end, I’m pretty disappointed by Lady Smoke, but I’ll still be reading the final installment in the series when it releases.

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Sea Witch by Sarah Henning DNF’ed

I’d heard mixed reviews of this book, but as a big fan of the Little Mermaid as a kid, I was excited to dive in. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t connect with anything about this book. The writing style never pulled me in, and I couldn’t connect to the characters. On top of that, this story was just…boring. I never felt like anything really pulled the plot along, and the magic system and world-building didn’t make much sense. I got halfway through this book in one sitting, but when I put it down and began dreading coming back to it, I knew it was time to put it aside. Maybe one day I’ll come back to it though.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen ★★★★☆

My mom actually let me borrow this book some time ago. She’s an avid thriller and horror reader, so her recommending it made me even more excited to read. That said, I read this novel in one sitting, and couldn’t put it down. The writing was beautiful and I loved the detail and interwoven mysteries of the plot.

My only gripe is that the final, big end twist just didn’t blow me away like I was hoping for. While I definitely didn’t see it coming, I just sort of shrugged me shoulders and thought, “That’s it?” On top of that, I’m a little over the “husband-who’s-too-good-to-be-true-is-actually-an-abuser-” plotline that seems to be surfacing a lot in thrillers lately.

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What I’m Watching:

The boyfriend and I finally caught up on all seven seasons of Game of Thrones, and he got HBO so now we can watch the last season live! We didn’t have it when the first episode of season 8 aired, but we got to watch episode two! I’m not going to lie that it felt good to watch and be in the loop with everyone else. I’m totally rooting for Daenerys to take the throne – she’s been my #1 since the beginning. Who are you rooting for?

Beside Games of Thrones, we also started watching The Magicians, which we’re both really enjoying.

Unfortunately, I gave up on watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I just couldn’t continue watching with the strange plotlines, the weird characters – I don’t know. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

I did start watching Switched at Birth. I got halfway through season two last year, and for some reason I stopped watching, I think just due to time. I’m almost finished with season one, and am really enjoying it so far.

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How I Did: April Goals:

At the end of April, I gave myself several goals:

• Write 50,000 words for Little Lost Girls
• Outline my three new projects
• Finish my plan for figuring out how to go back to school
• Figure out new topics to blog about

I only managed to complete two of these. While I didn’t quite write 50k for Little Lost Girls, I did end up finishing the book. I also managed to come up with a list of blog topics and have been planning out my blogging schedule every month.

Unfortunately, I didn’t end up outlining my three other projects, or really figure out how to go back to school. I’ve been feeling pretty uncreative lately, and took the rest of April off to try and refill my creative well. I might take a few more days off in May, since I still don’t feel ready to outline the new projects, but I’m definitely beginning to get more ideas!

May Goals:

• Outline YA Fantasy Thief Idea
• Outline Secret Project Idea
• Actually make a plan to go back to school
• Create my June blogging schedule
• Begin writing YA Fantasy Thief Idea
• Begin writing Secret Project Idea

I’ve got my fingers crossed that May will be an even more productive month! What are your goals for May?

XOXO – Devon

 

Life as a Full-Time Writer

It’s almost May, and that means I’ll have officially been a full time writer for four months. For four months, I’ve been pursuing my passion and goal of publication. To be clear: I haven’t made any money off this. I’m not published, and I don’t have an agent. But I’ve always wanted to take the leap into full-time writing.

Let’s take a trip down 2018, shall we?

In May 2018, my boyfriend of almost five years graduated law school. For the last three years, he’d been a full-time student. While he worked during the summer and did internships, I worked a part-time job in retail. I worked odd hours of the week, and never had a set schedule. When I was home, I worked on my writing, but I’m not going to lie: I was miserable.

I didn’t hate the retail job. I actually enjoyed it, and I loved all my coworkers. But I hated working in a retail setting, and working with customers became exhausting for my mental and emotional health. I dreaded going to work every day, and I was always anxious and nervous. On top of that, I had several health problems I was dealing with.

After graduation, my boyfriend got his first job and like me – he quickly became miserable. I won’t go into too much detail, but this prompted him to look for another job – and he got an offer. The job offer he received required us to move two hours away, to a new town neither of us had ever lived in. But after much discussion, we agreed that him accepting this job would be for the best.

By December, we both quit our jobs and moved two hours away. As miserable as I was at my retail job, I had been afraid to quit. The pay was okay, and I made commission. The commute was short. I loved my coworkers. Management was easy going and the job was fairly easy. When it was slow, I could read or write behind the counter. The pros far outweighed the cons in my mind.

But quitting the job was freeing, and it opened a door I’d been hoping for: full-time writing.

The boyfriend knew I’d always wanted this opportunity, and neither of us took it lightly. We had multiple discussion on finances, budgeting, saving, etc. you know, all the important things. But he was adamant that I take some time for myself. After all, I’d spent the last three years taking care of him while he was in school, and he was determined to do the same for me. (I am so lucky to have someone as supportive as him in my life, and I don’t know what I’d do without him.)

After we moved, we spent most of December getting the apartment in order and traveling for the holidays. It wasn’t until January that I finally sat down and began writing once again. At first, I was terrified. While I did love it, I was constantly worried about money. I found myself in a constant state of loving and hating my decision.

I loved not going to work. I loved that my “work” was getting up and writing every day. I loved having a lot of free time to myself. I loved getting to do whatever I wanted all day. I loved that I took this huge risk.

But I hated worrying about money. I hated checking my bank account every time I wanted to make a purchase, and try to justify if it was worth it or not. I hated feeling like I wasn’t earning or saving any money. I hated that people looked down on me for not working. For depending on my boyfriend. For taking a risk that might not pay off in the end.

It’s been four months, and I’ve learned to quiet those thoughts. While they do pop up frequently, it’s easy to silence them when I remember how much I love what I’m doing. Especially when I go to my boyfriend and double-check that everything is okay, that we’re still doing okay. I’m lucky that he assures me everything is fine. We love each other. We can pay the bills. I can keep doing what I love for now.

The most important thing for me is treating this like a full-time job, because in my mind, it is. I wake up the same time every day, sit down at my desk, and start working right away. I spend hours sitting in front of the computer. If I’m not writing my novels, I’m writing blog posts, or reading, or trying to keep myself in a creative mindset. I make sure to hit a word count goal every morning before I get up and do anything else with my day.

But not all days have been good. I’ve definitely had some days where all I’ve done is stay in bed and read, or play video games, or sleep the afternoon away. But I’ve tried my hardest to keep myself going, and to keep pushing towards my goal.

My Goals:

The first thing I wanted to do when we moved in was revise my novel, Forbidden, and I’m proud to say I accomplished that. I spent all of January and most of February revising it, and finishing what is now the third draft. It’s currently out with beta readers and I am awaiting their feedback. If all goes well, I’m planning to do one more round of revisions before sending it out to beta’s one last time, and then hopefully I’ll be able to begin to querying process.

The second thing I’ve wanted to accomplish is write at least three more books this year. I can proudly say I’ve written one more book – a YA Thriller. It needs a ton of work, but it’s a finished draft, at least. I have two more projects I want to work on that I’m outlining.

The third thing I wanted to do was start this blog, and I did that! Not only did I start it, but I’ve continued to post frequently and on a consistent schedule.

And as a non-writing related goal, since moving into a new place, I’ve really been taking the time to get organized and throw out/donate all sorts of things I didn’t need anymore. The move really has felt like a fresh start for myself and my boyfriend, and we’re both getting our lives in order.

Once I start querying Forbidden, I think I’ll be ready to go back to work. My ultimate goal right now is to really get that novel ready, so that while I’m querying I can use work to distract from the waiting.


I know this isn’t permanent. I will eventually go back to work, and I’m actually hoping to go back to school. But for now, I’m proud of myself for making this leap, and following my passions. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, and I don’t regret taking this chance. Not one bit.

XOXO – Devon