This is late because it’s about Orlando.
My Monday post is usually noon on the dot because I just jot off writing thoughts as I have them and schedule them for the next free Monday. Depending on how many thoughts I’ve had (read: how badly I’ve been procrastinating on the fiction part of my writing), this could be several weeks in advance, so I usually have a nice buffer. I pushed back my post on revising for this Monday because I knew that I wanted to say something about LGBTQ+ YA fiction in the wake of Orlando.
In fact, I want to say so many things that it’s hard finding a place to start. It’s hard trying to edit my scattered thoughts. But I think the reason we need LGBTQ+ books comes down to fear.
It’s easier to hate what you don’t understand. It’s easier to hate people that you don’t feel any connection with. It’s easier to hate people when you fear them.
That’s what coming out was about for me. It’s easier to hate when you don’t think of the people you hate as your children, your siblings, your coworkers, that nice woman who always shares a smile with you in the post office. I won’t go into the process of othering, because people far more educated and experienced and eloquent than me have said what needs to be said there, but this is a common factor of the human psyche.
So I write characters in the LGBTQ+ YA not only so that LGBTQ+ teens and adults who read YA have characters to identify with (though that’s a large part of it), but also so that teens and adults who aren’t LGBTQ+ can get a window into these characters’ heads, maybe be touched by them, maybe identify with them, and realize that we’re people. Just like other people, no better or worse.
I think that’s important, not just in the wake of this massive tragedy to my community, but to tolerance in general. So as hard as it is for me to write through grief, this renewed sense of purpose is making it possible. I can’t do anything really meaningful for the victims or their families. But I can try to build tolerance and basic human decency so that tragedies like this one are less likely in the future.
This is why I write LGBTQ+ books. This is why we need them.
I’ve passed my second-year anniversary of writing regularly, and I’m approaching my first-year anniversary of starting this blog. While I have been writing stories casually off and on since I was in grade school, I finished writing the first draft of Soul Eater, the first short story that I decided to submit, on June 14, 2013. I consider that the beginning of my decision to be a “real” writer, instead of just someone that would maybe one day like to try to write something one day.
My writing has improved a lot since then, and writing has become a part of who I am. There is really something to be said for practice. I don’t manage to write every single day, but I try to get at least an hour in on the weekdays and a couple hours in on the weekends. And even when I don’t write, I think about writing, or read about writing, or imagine new plots and new stories. It’s simply part of my life.
I look back on that first story and I can’t believe that I submitted it. But I’m glad that I decided to break that barrier and decide to start submitting. Receiving rejections and getting over them has been very valuable. The rejections are hard, but they’ve taught me that I can finish things and take rejection and keep on going. The point isn’t selling something, the point is writing. I enjoy writing, and if I manage to make some money off of it (or maybe even a living, some day) then that’s fine. But if I don’t, that’s fine too. The important thing is that I write.
So this is my new website. I thought I’d set out what I’m hoping to do here, so that I stay focused and on topic. And when I write down rules, I’m a lot more likely to follow them. Maybe that’s just my lawyer brain.
The goal is to post frequent updates. What do I mean by frequent? I like blogs best when they update at least once a week. I’d like to shoot for twice a week. I don’t make any promises about length. In fact, I intend to limit myself to devoting no more than 15 minutes to a single post. The goal is for the blog to keep me motivated and excited about writing, not for it to take over my life and use up all of my useful writing time.
My life is pretty jam packed with work and family and volunteering and writing and gaming. So I’ve been asking myself, why add a blog on top of that? Here’s my answer in a simple syllogism: Thinking about the process of writing keeps me motivated to write; writing about things makes me think about them; therefore, writing about my process of writing will keep me motivated to continue writing.
Besides, I like the idea of accountability, even if I’m only accountable to myself (and my writing group). I’ll post later about how valuable my writing group has been to me.
So here’s where I’m at with writing. I have a couple completed short stories and a few in various states of not-yet-ready-to-sell. I’ve put those in my Works in Progress page. I’m also about half way through chapter 13 on my novel. I’ve almost hit my 15 minutes and I’m sure to spend more time writing about that later… a lot more time… so I’ll leave it at that.