Just keep writing, just keep writing…

It has been well over a year since my last post.  I suffered from total burnout.  All the things that writers juggle got in the way of my writing: family, work, health issues, social networking, reading, writing YA reviews for Examiner.com, sleep, blah, blah, blah.  I even took time off from my writing class which is something that I look forward to every week.  My novel seemed to float out there, completion just chapters away.

2011 hit and my writing took off.  Perhaps it was the motivation of a fresh slate, a new year full of promise or promises kept.  I experienced a few life changing events that have spurred me on. 

In January, I joined two of my YA author friends, Sera Rivers and Lorretajo Kapinos for a long weekend at the NYC SCBWI Conference.  We survived a snow drift delayed train, coffee dates with editors and writers, days full of presentations by some of the best in the industry and nights full of meeting new friends and downing adult beverages.  What?  I had a rare girls only weekend.  Don’t judge.  🙂 

In February, I turned the big 4-0.  Yup.  I know, I don’t look a day over 32, but fate has blessed me with a youthful appearance and the imagination of a 6-year-old.  My husband surprised me with a roomful of my closest friends and family.  My two worlds collided…in a good way.  My family wanted to meet “these writing folks that we hear so much about” and vice versa.  I was so excited to introduce everyone.  It felt like my characters had become real.

In the spring, I finished the first draft of my novel.  This was momentous.  I really felt like I had pushed and pulled my way up a mountain and was sitting at the top with a bird’s eye view.

This summer, I attended a Writer’s Digest webinar on the picture book, hosted by Mary Kole of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.  I came away with a deeper understanding of what I needed to do in order to edit my picture book.  As part of the webinar, I was allowed the chance to submit my manuscript to Mary for critique.  My writing group helped me to tear it apart and put it back together in the best shape it’s ever been.  I am looking forward to hearing from Mary in a month or two.

I have decided to begin setting my alarm for an hour earlier each morning.  I am going to squirrel myself away in the pre-dawn minutes to dig into edits for my novel.  Following a quick-fire critique from one of my writing cohorts, I have a good sense of what I need to fix and things that I need to dig into deeper.

September is going to explode around me with my oldest starting 2nd grade, swim lessons and dance classes for the girls beginning again, my work with a new boss hitting stride and every weekend tied up with travel or functions.  I don’t want to lose my momentum nor do I want to stop writing. 

Looking back at 2011, I realized that I’ve accomplished some amazing things.  Through it all, I’ve had the support of my husband, my writing crew and my close family and friends who I share all the best bits with.  My mom summed it up when I mentioned the things that I learned in the picture book webinar.  She looked at me with a smile and said, “Niki, it’s so good to hear you talk about your writing with passion again.  You lost that for a bit.” 

I realize that life won’t ease up and allow me endless hours to hone my stories.  Case in point, this blog post has been walked away from umpteen times in order to help my four-year old find a Tupperware “hot tub” for her doll, order take out, referee an argument between two seven-year olds about the proper way to play Clue, change over a load of laundry, help free a bicycle from the garage where it was wedged behind two cars and a trash barrel, allow the hubs to check his fantasy baseball (on this computer) and field a phone call from the take out restaurant to repeat the credit card number to the ditz answering the phone who wrote it down wrong.  I have patiently completed each task and diligently walked back to this post to soldier on.  I haven’t even had to shout “I’M WRITING OVER HERE!”  Well, not at loud, that is.  Yes.  Early morning will have to do.  Those of you who know how much I love to sleep will understand my deep committment to my writing and my future fans.  I apologize in advance to my co-workers who will have to endure my snarky, in-need of caffeine coma with which I will most likely arrive each morning.  Wait…that’s me now.  Add sleep deprived to that mix.

I will continue to morph the Finding Nemo quote from Dory…”Just keep writing, just keep writing.”



  1. Sera Rivers said,

    August 14, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Love this! Glad you’re back at it. You will be surprised. That hour of writing in the morning will actually BOOST your energy (trust me) and your brain will continue to write all day as it works out kinks, etc of your story. 🙂

    • nicolemarkel said,

      August 14, 2011 at 9:18 pm

      Thanks Sera! Keep me honest sister. I’ll need the continued motivation otherwise I’ll hit the snooze button. Friday mornings may be a tough sell though. 🙂

  2. Sharon said,

    August 14, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Wow, welcome back! Glad you’re here. I’ll follow your lead and wake up a little earlier. Get it, girl!

    • nicolemarkel said,

      August 14, 2011 at 9:21 pm

      Thanks Sharon! Good luck with the earlier start. It’s going to bite but it’ll be worth it. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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