Why do You Write? Why do You Want to Publish?

throwing-booksI attended a workshop this weekend on publishing when this question struck me like a sucker punch to the gut: Why do you want to publish your work?

I realized I had no idea!

I had never given this question any thought before, because I had assumed, as a default, that every writer desired publication and therefore, so should I.

But in fact, there are many ways to publish and share work, and I realized that without having clear goals, the path to publication is a murky one.

Working on Publication

This past month I renewed my efforts to become published: I submitted numerous poems and short stories to various and sundry magazines, using Duotrope to target the best publications for my work. I became active again on Scribophile and in my local critique group to polish my writing.

After many rejections, I was accepted by the excellent magazine From Sac, where three of my poems will appear in their next printed issue.  And while the acceptance made me euphoric, it also stirred something deeper within me.

I went on to browse some literary contests, and I created some vigorous work to submit. But I found that, upon submitting my work to these publications, I became plagued by anxiety, doubt, and a host of negative feelings, even though I was proud of the work and had enjoyed crafting it and critiquing it.

I was getting clear warning signals that something was off, but I couldn’t figure it out. What was the problem?


Why I Write Versus Why I Publish

For the past ten years, writing has been more than just my creative therapy: it’s been my constant friend, the one I go to during hard times for solace. I’ve had a very stressful few months, transitioning from a difficult final semester at Graphic Design school into entering the workforce.

During the peak of my stress, when I was in school full time and struggling, I finished two novels I had been working on for years. Every morning, I would write for fifteen minutes, and every evening before bed, I would write for another fifteen. Writing every day wasn’t just a strategy to finish a novel: it was a way of staying sane.

Writing was a reason to get up in the morning and a way to become zen before bed. It brought me so much joy that I cannot even begin to describe it in words. Writing has become a juicy form of self-expression, and I am so thankful that it has come into my life.

My Platform: Internationally Renown as the Nerdiest Writer, No Kidding

Though I am shy to admit it, I am an internationally-renown Fan Fiction writer. Fan Fiction is, according to the internet, “Fiction written by a fan of, and featuring characters from, a particular TV series, movie, etc.” You see why I don’t tell too many people about this. It’s like, horribly dorky:)


Some of my Fanfic Stats: I almost hit 3000 views in one day!

After a few years of writing, this is what has happened:

  • I routinely get over one thousand hits to my stories when I update.
  • My work has been translated into four different languages by my fans.
  • And my most popular story hogged the entire first page of Google search results not only during its lifespan but a year after I finished the story.

It was this success that made me realize: Hey. I could totally do this for real.

Enter Publishing

But publishing is another beast entirely from the art of writing. It is marketing. Business. And I realize now that engaging in the publication process without understanding what my goals are has resulted in a lot of sadness for me.

I find that in general, I seek a lot of outside approval, not just as a writer but as a human being. And when that part of me takes control, I lose a lot of the joy that I find in my craft.

I realize I need to redefine my goals as a writer. I understand why I write, but I need to more fully understand what I truly desire from becoming a published author.

It isn’t just the money, although if I were getting paid for my art, I could devote more time to it. However, if I don’t publish for the right reasons, it will destroy the joy I take in writing.

It’s like walking a razor-sharp edge of a sword. Or at least, that is how it feels at the moment.

How Many Unfinished Novels is too Many?

sitting-on-booksCurrently, I have:

  • Four fully finished rough drafts for novels
  • Three handwritten rough drafts for novels that I need to type
  • A good handful of short stories, some that only need a bit of polish, other that need complete overhauls
  • A huge stack of handwritten poetry written from 2012–2016 that  I need to type and edit
  • A novel idea for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) that is burning me up inside and that I can’t wait to write! I am also, incidentally, a Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo this year, which means I will be your hostess with the most-ess this November for Novel Writing Extravaganzas!
Why Yes I am a NaNoWriMo Liaison!

Why Yes I am a NaNoWriMo Liaison!

So as you can see, I am meant to be a writer because apparently, I can’t stop. And with seven novels and countless poems and stories, I don’t want them to sit in my desk drawer forever. I have a strong desire to share my work.

But first, I have to figure out what my actual goals are, what feels right to me. I know that when this piece becomes clear, I will be an unstoppable force.

Until then, I am hooked on learning the Book Architecture Method and will be editing my novels in my quiet obscurity.

Thank you for reading! Please let me know: Why do you write? And why do you publish?

Flash Fiction Winner!

I’m proud to announce that I won first place at the Sierra College Flash Fiction contest! The prize was an “outdoor” basket, with a gift certificate to an outdoor store, a bag of trail mix, and a canteen. This was my very first time getting “paid” for a piece of creative writing…and it was literally sweet (because of the chocolate in the trail mix. Get it?)

Watch me read the story!

The piece is called “Blood Red” and will be published shortly in the Sierra College Literary Journal. Happy day! If you’d like to watch me read the piece, here you go:

What I’ve been doing, writing-wise

This is a good time to let you all know what I’ve been doing with my life, creative-writing wise, since last we met. It’s been a while since I posted—graphic design school has become an all-encompassing “black hole” of sorts—but I am still here, writing in this lovely, fecund obscurity. Here’s a short list of my doings:

Writing and Producing Theater

Last April and May, 2015, I adapted the first chapter of one of my novels to A One-Woman-Theater piece at Synthetic Unlimited Opera House! It was a life changing experience.


Solo Show Challenge Flyer!

Suffice to say I got to wear awesome costumes and, without a doubt, learned how to LITERALLY put myself into my characters. As you can see here:

I’m so thankful to this experience, I learned so much about writing and how to really, REALLY put yourself into your story. Also, I learned that it’s fun to be blonde…with a sword:)

After producing the play, I went on to finish the rough draft of the novel that the play was based on. I hope to polish it up this summer.

Creative Writing Class

I took the most excellent Creative Writing class at Sierra College, where I workshopped old and new material, brushed up on basic techniques, and plugged in to a wonderful group of writers.

I also attended the Sierra Writer’s Conference on January 23rd, 2016, which was hosted at the college. I was inspired by a host of fabulous authors:

  • Louis B. Jones read a wonderful piece about writing in and gathering strength from obscurity. To quote him loosely, “Obscurity is the writer’s dark pool of replenishment.” I love that.
  • Kim Culbertson also had a GREAT panel about Young Adult Literature. Culbertson is a local author and awesome woman, who is a HUGE inspiration to me. I love her books so much! I also learned that 70% of YA readers are ADULTS! #Mindblown
  • Wendy Hornsby clued me into the art of the mystery novel. She quoted Somerset Maugham: “There are three rules fro writing a great novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” Love that.
  • And Professor Iven Lourie spoke on a publishing panel, and inspired me to start local with publishing and open readings. My favorite quote Lourie shared: “There is something in poetry for the lack of which people are dying.”

Writing, Writing, Writing!

I’ve been writing up a storm!


I recently finished a romantic comedy that I have been working on for three years! It’s a very silly, light-hearted piece that I turn to in times of stress (like, say, my final semester of school!). I’ve completed the rough draft by hand in a notebook by writing at least one paragraph before bed, and another paragraph when I wake up. It’s a good way to start and end the day. Now I just need to type it all up!

Story a Day


I’m participating in the Story a Day challenge this May, and aim to write one short story a day. So far, I’m going strong and have only missed one day!

If you are participating in the challenge, come and find my profile!

Getting into the habit of writing every day has done wonders for my craft. Even if you can only manage tiny bits of stories, I highly recommend giving it a try.

Writing every day

In fact, since 2016 started, I’ve been writing every day, or nearly every day, usually for at least 30 minutes. I’m beginning to realize that writing is a great form of cheap therapy. As Kim Culbertson often likes to quote, there’s this amazing saying about Robert Frost:

I remember reading that someone thrust his work into Robert Frost’s hands, and said, “Mr. Frost, should I go on writing?” and he said, “Well, see if you can stop.”

Well, I don’t seem to be able to stop and I don’t want to! I’m hoping that when I’m finished with school, I’ll be able to publish a few pieces and work on my novels.

Until then, I’ll be scribbling furiously into a notebook by the fitful light of a flashlight under the covers while my husband mutters for me to quit writing and go to sleep already.

Thanks for reading:)

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. What writing adventures have you been up to?

Spontaneous Amalgamation at Synthetic Unlimited

This Saturday night, I had the privilege of participating in SPONTANEOUS AMALGAMATION at the Synthetic Unlimited Opera House in Grass Valley, CA. Hosted by the fabulous Micah Cone, this event had an unlikely premise: “Musicians and poets pair up and perform live for the very first time on this special night of verbal and musical adventure!” In other words, without practicing, without the musician reading my poem before hand…we PERFORMED!

Coaxed into the whole hoopla by my friend and poet/playwright Alicia Frost, I was sweaty and shaking as I got up to perform with guitarist Jesse Sabin. And here we are:

The first poem I read, “no god,” is a piece I have been struggling with for a few years. I FINALLY finished the poem with about an hour to showtime, and I am, at last, pleased with the piece. I originally was not going to read it, but was moved by the spirit of Passover which I had mostly neglected this year. Something about the desert imagery and breaking through old blocks really inspired me to read it, and I’m glad I did! The other two poems, “The Bones of Themis,” and “I Eat the Bones,” are a set of works from a larger compilation I am working on called “The Bones of Themis.”

This was the first time in about a decade I got up and recited poetry to an audience. I had a great time! Thanks so much to Synthetic Unlimited—https://www.facebook.com/SyntheticUnlimited—for a magical night of revelry!

NaNoWriMo and Necon E-Books Publication!

Hello lovelies! I’ve got two important announcements! One: my flash fiction “Fire Season” is part of the Necon E-Books Flash Fiction Anthology for 2013, now available here. It’s a great anthology, and more than worth the $2.99. It’s always nice to get published, and it’s even nicer to be published alongside so many great writers. Thanks Necon E-Books!

In other news, I am participating in NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month! I started off writing a book about mermaids, but it got a bit too emo for me. (I know. I got depressed about mermaids. Seriously. Just…seriously.) So I switched novels mid-race and am working on completing a romantic comedy (emphasis on the comedy). Recently, my protagonist accidentally ate a pot-brownie while trying to navigate her first date. Can you say disaster?

I just love getting my creative juices flowing with NaNoWriMo. While my schedule is a bit too busy to write every day, the fact is that I am WRITING! I’m just at about 23,000 words, and while I might not reach the goal of having 50,000 words at the end of the month, I am having a ton of fun. (But then again, I might make it–who knows? The fun is in the trying, after all:)

Here’s to the muses!

Anyone out there in the blog-o-sphere doing NaNoWriMo? Let me know how it’s going for you!

Cover Design for “No Punchline” By Jeff Suwak

I’d like to announce my very first cover design for the very fabulous story by Jeff Suwak called: “No Punchline:
Or, The Night Chale Thayer Blew his Head off at the Punch Drunk Comedy Club.”

As some of you may know, I have two blogs: this one here is for creative writing, and my second one, at Rachelrosestudios.com, is for fine art and graphic design. I’ve posted the main article about my cover design at my second blog, but I wanted to mention it here, since it obviously pertains to creative writing!

So I invite you to check it out! Please let me know what you think.