Saturday, March 26, 2011


I'm not a patient person.

I've become a lot more patient in the past few years.

I have a feeling I'm going to become even more patient as I get older (and maybe even wiser).

One mistake I made about 13 years ago was praying for patience. I found out that God is faithful to answer that prayer by putting you through an ordeal that teaches you patience. That ordeal lasted a good year and a half or so. I prayed for patience in ignorance, not realizing what I was asking for. I figured God only gave me a year and a half long trial because I didn't know any better.

Then, about 9 years ago, I figured I was ready for another lesson. I figured I could handle another year and a half long lesson. So, in full knowledge that I was going to be tested, I prayed again for patience.


I knew better. God knew I knew better, so He didn't go easy on me. This lesson lasted much longer. Years longer. In some ways, I'm still enduring it. I figure that's because I'm still not as patient as God wants me to be.

He's faithful.

I've been getting pretty impatient recently with my writing. It's just not clicking. I'm just not finding/making time to do what I need to do to send queries. When I make goals to do things, somehow I ALWAYS run out of the time I need to devote to these goals in order to accomplish them. This past week, I didn't have a single evening completely to myself. When I tried to write late at night (the only time available since I work 6 days a week), I'd end up falling asleep at the keyboard almost as soon as I started.

It has been weeks and weeks of this, over and over. The hamster wheel is getting old. I've gotten frustrated. But now I think I've come to the conclusion that it's just time to wait. I need to do what I can writing-wise, but it almost seems as though there's something keeping me from doing what I need to do in order to get it done. Even the little bit of writing I've done on a new project is just lacking something. I'm not sure what it is. I'm not sure how to fix it. I just have to wait.

I've had a couple of friends recently tell me (in a nice way--or maybe a not so nice way) that they're sick of waiting for me to get my books published (some of them have even recommended *shudder* self-publishing). What they mean is that they really want to see me published. They really want to read what I have written. I do understand that. It's just not very encouraging to have other people getting impatient with me when I'm more than impatient enough for myself.

Believe me, if you're one of those people waiting for me to get something written/published, you don't want it NEARLY as much as I do.

So thanks for your patience. I'm trying to have a little of my own. I don't doubt it's going to happen. It's just a matter of time. Right now, the wind is still. Maybe I've just gotta be still too...but just for a while.

Thanks for bearing with me.

And since I've actually got an evening off, I'm going to go try and write now. I have a feeling it's going to involve beating my head against a wall. Yay.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I'm a wretched poet (my lyrical Dragon-Muse, Dravaena, has her work cut out for her). Usually, when I write poems, they're in the forms of song lyrics. I'm just not creative to make anything sound good unless it rhymes. Even then, it usually doesn't sound good. And even if it does...years could go by before I come up with some decent music (you know, using the 10 or so guitar chords I know) to put to the words.

But sometimes some lyrics find me, and I know that these lyrics are going to have to have music to them someday. This happened to me yesterday. I was writing a poem...but it wasn't quite right yet. I got really drowsy. I fell asleep. I had a vision.

An actual vision.

It's not the first time it's happened to me. It's been the first time it's happened in a long while. It wasn't even anything clear, but something happened.

It wasn't words. It wasn't even images. It was just a knowledge--a knowledge that something's about to happen. I don't even know what it is, but I have a few ideas. The thing is, it doesn't matter what's going to happen. Now's the time to wait for whatever it is, and there's beauty in waiting. There's beauty in the expectation and anticipation. If I didn't have to wait and get excited about Christmas, it wouldn't be as wonderful when it finally came. Right now, God is calling me to wait expectantly for what He has for me.

And since I've only got a handful of readers anyway, I figured I might as well share the lyrics that came to me yesterday. Because when I woke up from that dream-vision, I was able to finish it.


The Wind is still.
The sky is white with cloud,
But the sun breaks through.
Gold streams down from heaven.
Kissing the earth with dreams
That have already come true.

...but I still have a few dreams left to dream...

And I lift up my head
And I look towards the sun
And sparrows soar like eagles
And You watch every one.

My heart beats inside my chest
Rattling these world-weary bones,
And I long for the Wind to stir in me--
I yearn for it to rage and blow.
Yet my eyes are too weak to see,
And my heart is too frail to know.
Still I lift up my head.
The Wind is still.

And even in the smallest stirrings
I can't feel Wind on my face.
It doesn't scatter through my hair.
But the trees dance so gently
With anticipation and with joy,
For they know You're there.

...and You're the One who's leading...

And I lift up my head
And I feel for that breeze
And though I'm not moving,
I am dancing with the trees.

My heart pounds inside my chest
Rattling these world-weary bones.
And I long for the Wind to stir in me--
I yearn for it to rage and blow.
Yet my eyes are too weak to see,
And my heart is too frail to know.
Still I lift up my head.

All creation is silent
In the calm before the storm.
All creation is expectant
To see what lies in store.
And I know You're going to move in me
Stronger than ever before
Though the Wind is still.

The Wind is still.

I lift up my head.
I lift up my eyes.
I wait for You.
The Wind is still.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Characters Welcome

I really like those USA television promos with the little "Characters Welcome" slogan. USA gets it. Good television shows don't do well because every single script is perfect. Even the best shows have bad episodes (except maybe Psych. Never saw a bad episode of Psych--but even that is because Shawn and Gus make me snortle). While good plots are very important, what really keeps people watching is the characters.

Plots are important, but I think characters are even more important. If you have a wonderful plot with amazing twists and turns, I'm probably not going to care too much about it unless you also have some amazing characters to experience that plot. I'm not going to relate to anything in the story unless I can relate to the characters. That relating can mean I understand where they're coming from and what they're dealing with because I've been there, or it can mean I want to know WHY they're acting the way they do in a certain situation, or it can mean I want to be more like them. However I relate to a character, I'm going to keep reading to figure out what's going to happen because I've made an emotional investment in the characters.

I'm looking back on some of my favorite fictional characters. At the top of the list is Meg Murray from "A Wrinkle in Time" and the other books in that series. I get her. In a lot of ways, I am her. I'm that awkward kid who gets frustrated with herself and others way too easily. I'm constantly struggling with the idea that I am not good enough, trying to balance it with the idea that I've been made in the image of God. Madeleine L'Engle struck gold when she found Meg. I know a lot of people who have said that they're just like her. If she can overcome the odds she had to face, then so can we. That's good writing.

Then there's my second favorite fictional character, Samwise Gamgee from LOTR. To me, this little hobbit is the embodiment of loyalty. He wouldn't leave Frodo. When he couldn't carry Frodo's burden, he carried him. I relate to Sam because I think I am a lot like him, but I want to be even more like him. I want to be that fiercely loyal friend. My emotional investment to him caused me to weep like a baby when I got to the end of the books and realized he would have to be separated from Frodo. It makes me a little teary eyed to think of it even now.

My third favorite fictional character is also someone I wish I could be more like. Lucy Pevensie from "The Chronicles of Narnia." I wish I could be as childlike as she is. Every time she has to leave Aslan, especially at the end of "Voyage of the Dawn Treader," I also get weepy.

Another of my favorite characters is Taran from "The Chronicles of Prydain." He's a boy and he's a little harder to understand than some of the other characters I love. I do understand him some. I do want to be like him in some ways (good characterization is usually pretty multifaceted). I also wonder what he's going to do next because I don't always understand why he acts the way he does. I want to see if he attains his dreams. I want to see if he gets the girl. I want to see what he learns through his journies.

It's the same sort of feeling I get when I read Harry Potter. I don't get why Harry acts the way he does. I don't know why he gets himself into certain predicaments, but it's interesting to see how he gets out of them. I want to see what happens to him. J. K. Rowling is very good at weaving elements through stories. Something that seems insignificant somewhere might be the very thing that ties everything else together. I like her writing, but it wouldn't be very good if she didn't also have all these amazing and interesting characters.

I've been thinking about my own characters. There's a few that are very much like me, and these have been the easiest for me to write. But right now I'm starting a new story and I think the main character is a lot like me, only I'm having a lot of trouble with her. I think the reason is because she's a lot like who I was when I was a teenager, only perhaps a little more down to earth (she has had more disappointment in life than I had ever had at that point in my life). She's closed. She doesn't let people in easily. I'm trying to write her, but she doesn't want to let me in enough to let me see how to write her. She has the potential to be someone amazing, and I want to show her that. Right now, though, she's uncomfortably awkward (I've finally become very comfortable with my awkwardness--read my socially awkward blog). She has one friend. She doesn't trust people. She's angry and bitter and extremely moody. She has a lot of good qualities, too, of course, but it's harder to see them because she doesn't like to show them.

I adore her, but she doesn't want to let me write her.

I know that sounds weird. I can't help the way I relate to my characters. Ever since a character named "Rain" entered my life and demanded that I write her the way she IS instead of the way I wanted her to be, I've been treating my characters with a lot more respect. If I expect them to live, then they're more likely to live.

But Rain didn't take over (and quite literally possess me for two weeks) immediately. I dreamt her up and thought she was someone quite weak and unimportant until one day she just spoke up and proclaimed her strength and vitality. Maybe it's the same thing with this other character. Maybe I need to give her some time.

I hope it doesn't take too long. I've got a plot (weak as it is at the moment), but without her and another character (who I am also having just a little bit of trouble with), the plot is pretty much useless. I want people to invest in her and my other characters. I want to make people care about what happens to her. At the moment, I don't think she WANTS other people to care. So that's where the conflict is. Sigh.

I think it's time to write letters to my characters again.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Four-Leaf Clovers

(Note: Even though this is technically posted on 3/18, I wrote it on 3/17 and just now got the chance to post it. Also, it's very long, so if you read it, you get an imaginary gold star! Also also, this is one of those honest, deep, personal blogs--so run away if you hate that kind of thing.)

Most of the world refers to March 17th as St. Patrick’s Day (unless you’re my friend Desiree or my friend Eric, who call it their birthday). Me? I call it Birthday Eve. My birthday has always been and always will be on the day after St. Patrick’s Day. As a kid, I remember when people would say, “Make sure you remember to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day or you’ll get pinched,” I’d always reply by saying, “Oh, and make sure you wear pink on the day after, or I’ll slap you on the back of the head.” I was OBSESSED with pink from birth to about the age of twelve, and I thought everyone should honor my special day by wearing my favorite color. Of course, no one ever listened to me, and I knew better than to actually enforce the “head slapping” thing. My parents were teachers; if I ever did anything wrong at school, they found out about it one way or another.

Another one of my weird Birthday Eve traditions involved one of my weird hidden talents. I have this uncanny ability to find four-leaf clovers. There have been several times when I’ve just been walking along, not even looking for a four-leaf clover, and I’ll spot one. So I started a tradition of looking for four-leaf clovers every Birthday Eve. When I find the four-leaf clover, I always give it to the first person I see. That’s how the “Birthday Eve Four-Leaf Clover Finding Tradition” works. Most years, I’ve found one without even really looking for them. It’s been like those times when I just miraculously spot them. Sometimes, I really have to search for them. Sometimes, I just don’t find them, no matter how hard I look.

Last year, I couldn’t even find a patch of clover to search. The thing was, I was working most of the day and only had a few minutes to look between my jobs, so I just figured I’d search around my apartment. There aren’t that many patches of clover around my apartment, or at least there weren’t last year. This year, I found some patches of clover around my apartment, but I didn’t look long enough to find a four-leaf clover. For some reason, this year, it wasn’t that important.
Now, I don’t really believe in luck. I do believe I have some kind of weird and mostly useless ability to find four-leaf clovers (I think it does brighten other peoples’ days when I give them a clover I found, but other than that…useless). But there are times when that ability doesn’t work, and I have to really work in order to find one. Then there are times when I can work really hard and I still can’t find what I’m looking for. Sometimes, there’s just no clover to be found. Sometimes, I’m just too lazy to put any work into what I want to achieve.

That could apply to my writing. But we’ve been through that before. My problem most of the time in my writing is that I just don’t want to put in the effort it’s going to take to achieve my goals. Most of the time, I have the talent (which was given to me and I can’t claim any credit for). Sometimes it’s hard and takes work, but I do have the ability. I just have to work for it, even if I’m searching for ideas that I can’t quite see yet.

And there I’m going to end the writing analogy because I think everyone gets it.
And I’m going to get personal because I think it’s a good time for it. I kind of have an inability not to get squeamishly honest in my writing from time to time. If me spilling my guts in a blog makes you nervous, I suggest you stop reading now.

Most people who have known me for longer than a couple of years probably know the tragic story of how I got dumped on my 25th birthday. I’ll have been single for six years as of tomorrow. The people that know me really well already know that I’m still not quite exactly over this ended relationship—at least not to the point that most people want me to be over it.

When I went walking/jogging today, I decided to listen to this Rich Mullins tribute that “20: The Countdown Magazine with John Rivers” put on the radio almost exactly three and a half years ago when it was the 10th anniversary of Rich Mullins’ death. Yes, I recorded it on my mp3 player (I would call it an iPod, except for it’s not an iPod—it’s a dinosaur mp3 player that I’m very grateful to have, thank you very much). I’m that much of a Rich Mullins fanatic. The song “The Color Green” makes me think of St. Patrick’s Day/Birthday Eve, so I listened to that this morning, and it really put me in a Rich Mullins mood. So I listened to the tribute.

And there are a lot of reasons why I like Rich Mullins, but one of them has to do with the fact that I have drawn a lot of comfort in how he dealt with heartache in his own life (or at least the way he communicated how he dealt with heartache). His fiancé broke off their engagement and he never got married. I was never engaged, but I have to admit I really loved this guy who dumped me on my birthday. Still do...but not in any way that I'm willing to act on at this particular time and place in my life.

One of the songs I love most by Rich Mullins is called “The River,” and it’s about how he wanted to be physically closer to heaven, to God, but there’s also a verse about this girl he loved. “Maybe she could come to Wichita, and we could borrow Beaker’s bike. Let the road wind tie our hair in knots, let the speed and the freedom untangle the lies. Maybe fear can vanish before love. Oh God, don’t let this love be denied.” I’m not sure when he wrote this or what exactly was going on in his head while he was writing it, but I think I understand this conflict.
Sometimes I don’t know what I’m looking for.

I’m six years wiser than I was when I was 25. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and when I think about my amazing church family and the friends I have here where I am, when I look at the beautiful children God has given me to love and teach, there’s no way I can regret the life God’s given me. Still, I can’t deny that there’s times when I want to go out looking for a clover that probably doesn’t even exist anymore.

There’s times when I have a “Maybe…” verse to the song of my life. “Maybe he would come to seminary in Wake Forest, and we could start over from scratch.” “Maybe I could move back down to Gville and start rebuilding the friendship that has gradually dissolved into nothingness.” “Maybe God would just move in his heart to call me, to rekindle the friendship that I miss so much.” Sometimes, even six years later, I still cry out, “Oh God, don’t let this love be denied.”

But you know, Rich Mullins died single, and he was content. He was happy. And I’m single, and most days I’m pretty content with that. I have a lot more than I could ever deserve. In a manner of speaking, I have a lot more than I could ever desire.

Sometimes I go out and look for a mostly useless four-leaf clover in those little green patches around my apartment, when I’m forgetting that there’s a pot of gold I’ve been promised, and it’s just beyond the rainbow. I want things that are so much less than what I’ve already been given.
I already have Christ, and nothing in heaven or on earth or under the earth can take Him away from me.

He’s not a consolation prize, though sometimes I treat Him as such and sometimes married people act as if He’s something I have to settle for.

Another line in that Rich Mullins song? “I may lose every dream I dreamt that I could carry with me, but I’ve failed so many times. But You’ve never let me fall down alone.”

I’ve really been thinking lately about what that means. If I lost every dream, if I lost every thing that I held dear, I would still have Jesus. And for the first time in my life, I really think that I get it. He’s enough. I say that as I type on a borrowed computer, but I have a computer to type on. I say that as I have a roof over my head. I say that as I have food in my fridge and health in my body. I say that as I have all these dreams that haven’t died yet—the stories that I long to write, to sell so that others can read them. I have songs to sing, friends to encourage, life to live. These things are all gifts, but there’s so much more…

I have a God that sympathizes with my weaknesses. I have a God that knows I sometimes struggle. I have a God that loves me enough to accept me as I am, but too much to leave me there. He’s always growing me, always stretching me, always showing me that there’s something more I can learn about Him and His amazing grace.

I’m very grateful for these last six years—the five and a half years of winter season, and this new and glorious spring I’ve had for the past six months. I’m excited about what God’s doing now, and I want to be a part of it.

I’m just grateful He WANTS me to be part of it. I know I don’t deserve it.

And I think this year that when I went out looking for clover, I just didn’t really think it was worth looking for anymore. There are other ways I can spend my time and energy than on dwelling on things that I only think I want. I do believe the Lord wants me to love this guy. I don’t believe the Lord wants us to be together—or otherwise, we would be. I don’t think those two statements are at all in conflict; the conflict is just in me. I don’t need to know the reasons. I just need to trust.

I’ve been wrestling with this for about nine years (we had a weird friendship for 3 years prior to dating). I will probably continue to wrestle. Most days, I’m fine, but there are going to be times when it hurts. There will be times when I’ll want to go back out and search for the clover, forgetting the pot of gold beyond the rainbow.

But it’s when I seek first Him and His Kingdom that I’ll find all I really need.

I’m learning, slowly but surely. I’m learning because God loves me enough to teach me.

I am so grateful to be alive.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I haven't posted in a while because nothing is really happening in my writing world. I am writing and plotting (I love plotting), but it's nothing too exciting. Lots of other amazing things are happening in other areas of my life. God's providing. Work is going well. I'm still losing weight. Yeah...there's also some new developments in my exercise world...

I'm trying to be a runner, which is something I've never wanted to be before. To be honest, at this point, I really don't think I'm going to become a runner. I've entered this 5K for a program called Girls on the Run. It's some kind of self-esteem program for girls. I don't know too much about it, actually. My boss' tweenage daughter is a participant in the program, and I got free registration through work. I like my boss' daughter, so I figured it would be a cool thing to support her in this way.

It's a walk/run 5K. I could walk it if I wanted, but there's something in me that is saying, "Walking? Don't be a gurlymahn!" I've never been athletically inclined, but right now I'm in the best physical shape of my life. Why shouldn't I attempt to do something like this now? If I don't try now, I might never try.

I don't want to run a marathon (because that would probably quite literally kill me). I just want to be able to run the 3.1 miles of the little race I've entered. Right now, I'm up to about...half a mile. I can jog half a mile at one time without having to stop for a walking break. And by the time I finish that half mile, I'm gasping like a fish out of water. I sound like I'm dying. Maybe I am dying. I don't know...I just keep walking while gasping until I can breathe semi-normally. Then I try to run again and only make it about a quarter of a mile before my lungs threaten to burst and my legs start turning to Jell-o. Then I walk home and pass out on the floor.

The race is only a little over a month away. The only improvement at this point is that I didn't have MAJOR abdominal cramps the last time I ran (I did the first few times). I have a feeling I'm not going to be able to physically run a 5K. If you're a runner, then you probably think I'm pretty pathetic right about now. I probably am.

For the first time in my life, I'm really bummed that I'm not able to do something athletic. I've always just kind of shrugged when it came to sports/running and figured I had other talents. I just don't want to give this up. I don't want to let my own body beat me. Therefore, Saturday, when I actually get off work in time to go out running before dark, I'm going to get out there and try again. In the meantime, I'm going to get on that elliptical and up the resistance and try to strengthen my body and lungs. I don't want to fail at the goals I've set for myself. I'm going to keep trying, even if I'll probably never be able to run those 3.1 miles.

I wish I had that kind of dedication right now with my writing. I have only sent one query out this whole year. It was to an agent I pretty much already knew wouldn't be interested. I've got a list of agents to query. I've got a list of the things they want me to send them along with my query. I just haven't made myself sit down and get those things together. While I'm physically beating myself up to get to the goal I've set for myself, I have left all this writing stuff in limbo.

I keep coming back to this point. I need to do something with my writing--or stop saying I'm going to do it and go get a job as a lumberjack, instead. I don't think I'd be a very good lumberjack. I don't like splinters. Therefore, I need to do something with my writing.

I also need to start editing a story I've already written.

I also need to work on a new project (or two).

Many people have suggested (and I have thought of this myself, many times) that I just try to focus on one thing at a time. Maybe I should set aside the writing to focus on sending out my queries. Maybe I should set aside the queries to focus more on my editing. The thing is, while sometimes it's more important to devote time to a particular project, writers don't usually have the luxury of just doing one thing at once. If I'm going to make it as a writer, I'm going to have to learn to do something I've never been that good at: Balance.

Writing isn't like a 5K or even like a marathon. I can't just put all my focus on one aspect of it. Writing is more like a triathlon. I have to learn how to train for three separate types of events all at the same time...three events, but with the same goal. To win. I have to learn how to balance the writing with the editing, the querying with the writing, the editing with the querying. And if I ever get to a point where I'm so awesome that I don't have to send out queries, then I'll still have a separate event to train for: the marketing. The life of an author is not what I imagined it was when I was in high school. It takes a lot of work.

I've learned so much in the past year about discipline. Writing is no different. If I'm going to get anywhere, I'm going to have to set some practical goals. If I'm going to meet those goals, I'm going to have to be disciplined. It's hard, but I don't want to be a lumberjack.

...and also, I'm pretty sure I won't have a career as an olympic runner to fall back on. No Wheaties boxes for me.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thoughts on Traditional VS. Self-Publishing

In the past few weeks, I've had some loving and well-meaning friends and family show me this article (or a similiar article) about a 26-yr-old named Amanda Hocking who has done extremely well self-publishing her books for Kindle. The article can be found by clicking here.

While I am happy for Amanda Hocking and her amazing success, I'm reluctant to just jump on the self-publishing bandwagon. As a person who has attended Southern Baptist churches all her life (and gone to three private Southern Baptist learning institutions), maybe one would think that I've just got a very Baptist mentality about everything, including publishing. "We've never done it THAT way before...." Only I have never really considered myself Baptist (I consider myself Christian and leave it at that--if you want to know more of what I believe, ask questions--don't rely on labels that often have very little truth). I try to keep an open mind to new things, and one would have to be pretty blind not to realize that the world is changing at a lightning fast pace.

There have been rumors and articles and such about the possibility of traditional publishing disappearing as self-publishing starts to become more popular. If one were to take the success of Amanda Hocking as the new norm, then the eventual closure of all traditional publishing houses would be a logical conclusion to make. However, Amanda Hocking's success is very much the exception and not the norm. This is why I grit my teeth and bite my tongue when well-meaning friends/family try to suggest self-publishing as an option for me. I KNOW they don't mean it in this way, but seriously. Every time someone suggests I try self-publishing, what that says to me is that they don't believe I can make it traditionally. They're saying to me that they think I'll have to self-publish because no one else will want me. While I know that's not really what they're saying, I wish people would think about how they might come across.

Personally, I'm just not going to feel like a published author if I don't see my book IN PRINT and ON SHELVES. I just don't think that having digital versions of my books floating around on Kindles and Nooks is going to feel the same. When reading books, I would much prefer to have the actual book in my hand. There's the feel of the book--the weight of it in my hands, the experience of actually getting to turn the pages. There's the smell of the paper and ink. There's the sound of the pages turning. All of these are experiences I love when reading a book, and scrolling down a screen just wouldn't be the same. According to this recent article, I'm not the only one who prefers actual books over a digital reader. I don't think traditional publishing is dying at all. Self-publishing may or may not be a fad. It may or may not be taking over the publishing world. But I don't think self-publishing is the same thing as traditional publishing. Traditional publishing involves more than just you (it involves people who know what they're doing and who know the publishing business), which, in my opinion, makes it more valid. If you think your writing is good, then it might be...or it might just be you. If an agent and editor think your writing is good, then's probably good.

I am NOT trying to say that self-publishing isn't real publishing. What I will say is that there are times when it CAN be fake publishing. Amanda Hocking and others like her have proven that self-publishing can be a legitimate method of getting one's writing out to the world. She's built a strong online presence and has gathered a following. I applaud her for being able to do that. I'm actually a little bit jealous. With that being said, for every Amanda Hocking out there, there are probably about a gazillion John/Jane Does who think they can call themselves an "author" because they've self-published pages full of crappy drivel. I'm sure there are several good self-published writers out there who have put in a lot of time and effort editing and polishing their work before publishing it. I'm also sure there are several bad self-published writers who have not.

I don't have a problem with self-publishing in general. I have a problem with how easy it's become. Amanda Hocking tried traditional publishing before she attempted self-publishing. She put in the effort. It's not like she just decided "I'm going to write a book and self-publish it." She sent queries and got rejected before she went the self-publishing route--and now she's a millionaire. I have a lot of respect for her because she didn't just do things the easy way.

Now, let me also say that there's nothing wrong with self-publishing if you are just wanting to get a book out there for fun or whatever. Just please don't call yourself a "published author" in my presence unless you have some successful sale numbers to back up your claims. If you want to get something you wrote out there and have no goals of making any money or sales, then whatever. It really depends on what you want to accomplish through publishing.

I happen to have a dream of becoming a fairly successful author (and these days, a successful author can mean many different things). I don't just want to self-publish and have it done with. I want to see my name IN PRINT, my books IN PRINT, my books ON SHELVES. That's what I want. I also want an agent to represent me (because I have lousy business sense). The Amanda Hockings of the world apparently don't need agents to make a fortune and a name for themselves. I think that I do.

So I'm going to continue to try the traditional route. If the current book I'm trying to sell doesn't fly (it's my first book--first books are often dreadful), then I will look into small-time publishing NOT self-publishing. And then I'll try to seek representation for another book. Even if I go small-time on my first book (and the series that goes with it), I'm not giving up on my dream of being a successful published author.

With that being said, I have a lot of work ahead of me.