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on the power of showing up

note: I wrote this post in April of 2019 (pre-COVID). It's been sitting in my drafts for quite a while, but I think it's time for it to see the light of day. It's been helpful for me to reread over the past few months, especially as I continue to try to make an effort to write, and I hope it can be helpful to you, too. i got an invite to a writers' group a few months ago, and i had never felt like more of a fraud in my life. it had been months, if not years, since i'd felt like a writer. the proverbial well of words in my heart had dried up, it seemed, and i wasn't sure if it was ever coming back. i agreed to go out of a sense of helplessness—i'd identified as a writer ever since i could remember. if i'm not a writer, who am i?  i told myself that it was important to show up and act like a writer even when i didn't feel like one, because even though i hadn't been writing, i reassured myself, i still was a writer. but sometimes the words f

5 Things I Learned From My First Rewrite

In December, I admitted that I had never done a rewrite or any sort of editing, and that I was hoping to change that. In this post, I told you all that I was going to rewrite one of my soul-novels, Because I'm Irish.

Well, I did. Rewriting was overall an extremely positive experience, and I'd like to announce that I finished the second draft of Because I'm Irish on July 15th, 2015, at 12:14 am. (Yes, I noted the time. #nerd)
I knew I was close to the end, but I didn't know how close. As I was writing, I realized that the sentence I had just typed would be the last one. And I started to cry, because this book is so important to me and the past six months of work had finally been completed.

It's hard to come up with the words to say how I feel about this! Overall, I'm excited. But since I've devoted the past six months to writing BCII, now I'm not sure what to do with my life.

But never fear. It's still an amazing feeling. Here's a couple of things I learned...

1. Rewriting is actually amazing.

It's like reliving the story you love so much, except you get to make it better this time. BCII is now more fleshed out and one step closer to the final thing. I'm happy with it.

2. Writing is a discipline.

This has been so obvious to me for many years, but I haven't actually acted on it. While I took a few months off from BCII (from March to June), ultimately I finished in six months. Why was this? Um, the fact that I just sat down to write. (Something I should have done much sooner...) Ultimately, I just did the thing. Which brings me to my next point.

3. "Just do it" is a very valid way to write.

I have hesitated for so long with my writing. I have been a perfectionist. But the best thing I possibly could have done for my writing career was to choose to just plunge forward anyway. It's not going to be perfect. You just have to write it. Get it on the page.

This is a meme of epic proportions, but it is also very motivational.

4. I love this book.

I thought I couldn't love BCII any more, but I was wrong. I fell in love with the characters all over again. I'm also so grateful for this rewrite. It deepened the characters and the story. I'm kind of speechless on how to express how much I love these characters and how grateful I am that I got a chance to tell their story. BCII came to me at a time when I needed it most, when I was down in the dumps. It distracted me from my life and made me laugh, and it's lived on for all these years. It continues to help me, distract me from difficulties, and make me laugh. As weird as it sounds, this book and its characters have changed me and I wouldn't be the same without them.
Overall, I'm a gigantic emotional mess.

So what's next for me? I'll let BCII sit for a while, then probably do a round of edits. Until then, I have turned to the old standby: writing a new novel. I'm continuing The Angel Novel (clever title, I know) and it's going swimmingly (I just hit 20k today!). I honestly can't wait to finish that book, and all the other books after this. Which brings me to just one more point...

5. The feeling of finishing is amazing.

I have a new addiction. I'm addicted to the high of finishing a novel. And though it's hard work to get there, I don't ever want to stop finishing what I start. I genuinely hope you guys can have this feeling too. Pursue your dreams! Write your books. It's worth it.

What about you? Have you ever finished a rewrite? How was it?

P.S. - For those curious, BCII came to a total of 60,200 words. Also, I've noticed a trend: every June or July I finish a book in the BCII series. BCII was finished July 7th, 2012. I added a better ending scene to it in June of 2013. In July of 2013, I started the sequel, Because We Can. In June of 2014, I finished Because We Can. In July of 2015 (now), I finished the rewrite of BCII. I'd better start preparing for next year's BCII book. I have a trend to uphold.

Oh, also, I thought I was done fangirling, but I'm not. Allow me a moment.

Alright, I'm good now.


  1. I loved this post, because I'm coming down the homestretch on my first total rewrite too, and so much of what you said rings true for me. I was terrified of this project to begin with, because the first draft was a real mess. I've had my ups and downs along the way, but at the end of the day, I love the story, I love my characters, and the effort to rewrite it all into something better is entirely worth it!

  2. So exciting! I'm also on the homestretch of a rewrite ... the like fourth rewrite of this book. XD But it's one rewrite closer to finishing! I did a major revision and I really enjoy the book much better now.

  3. Wow! Well done! I am so close to -- on the brink of -- finishing my first novel and I don't even know how I'm going to feel. It's been such a massive journey in my life.


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