Finding the Time: A Challenge

First and foremost, a million thanks to the amazing Lyn Midnight for presenting me with The Versatile Blogger Award yesterday. YAY! I feel like I just won an Oscar. I’d like to thank the Academy…

Kidding! On a more serious note, I’ll be passing it along myself later in the week to three fantastic bloggers. So more on that later!

Now on to the main attraction.

Many of those who’ve never written a novel like to think that those who have must have all day to just sit around and write. “How nice,” they think. “I wish I had the time to sit down and write a book.”

Truth is, we don’t have any more time than anyone else. As much as we’d like it, writers aren’t gifted with the ability to cram more hours into the day (though if anyone figures that one out, totally let me know).

This is no secret to us writers. Finding the time to get words on paper isn’t an easy task. If you’re a student, it means writing before (and sometimes during) class. If you’re working full-time, it means getting up early to get some words in that WIP, or staying up late in the night to finish that chapter. When your friends are going out for the weekend, sometimes it means staying home to edit yesterday’s writing.

Fact of the matter is, we all have lives. We have friends and family and work and school and a million other responsibilities that compete with the time we have for writing. Some days it’s impossible to get anything in, and that’s ok.

The best writing advice I ever read was simple: make a writing quota and stick to it.

For me, it’s writing 1,500 words a day or 10,500 words a week. If I miss a day, which happens, it’s fine because I know I can make it up another day. As long as I make 10,500 words a week, I’m happy. And if I don’t? That’s ok too; I can make it up the next week.

The daily/weekly writing quota has helped me finish many a manuscript. It keeps me honest, and it saves me from the guilt of wondering whether or not I wrote enough that day.

Even more recently however, I discovered something that changed the way I approach writing completely. There used to be a time when I’d sit down and write until I met my quota. This was painful. Some days it’d be easy and I’d be done in no time. Other times I’d sit at the computer for hours, checking every five minutes to see how many words I’d written. This led to screaming in frustration when after an hour I only wrote 500 words (or on really rough days, even less *shudder*).

It turns out, you DON’T have to write it all at once. Whoa.

Let me say that again: you DON’T have to write your quota all in one sitting.

My new method was stemmed from a little beauteous Twitter hashtag known as #wordmongering. I intend to write a full post on this later (because it’s just THAT amazing), but it’s basically a thread where writers get together at the beginning of every hour and write for a half hour, then compare word counts. We cheer each other on and there’s virtual confetti.

Ok, a LOT of virtual confetti. Like an ocean of virtual multicolored strips of paper. Though that may be partially (read: completely) my fault.

Anyway, its effectiveness blew me away. Writing in spurts, it turns out, is much less stressful than trying to get it done at once. With just a few half-hour rounds a day, I’ve been able to get my word goal down without a problem.

So. If you haven’t assigned yourself a word count, I challenge you to do it. Try it for a week. It could be a 100 words a day or 5,000 words a week or 15,000 words a week. Whatever it is, stick to your guns and get it done.

You just might be surprised by how rewarding it is.

So let’s see it! What are YOUR word count goals this week? 

Everything is Changing

So guys, confession time.

I understand that my chatty Tweets and bursts of OMG HYPER digressions might lead people to believe that I’m a sugar-high extrovert that gets excited in large groups and loves to schmooze at parties.

Alas, I’m afraid to say that’s not the case. It’s quite the opposite in fact.

Truth is, I’m an introvert. 100%. I was that quiet girl in class that nobody noticed because the only time she talked was to get participation points for class. The one that read while walking in the hallways and occasionally sat alone at lunch.

I know a lot of writers are the same way. Many of us like our privacy and cherish those moments alone because that’s when we can really slip into our writing. It’s when we can let our minds wander to faraway places and write some of our best. And twenty years ago, that was ok. Authors could get away with sitting in their offices with their treasured books and shying away from the masses.

Today, not so much.  

I’ve touched on e-books and how they provide new opportunities for writers. But as I’m sure many of you are aware, that’s not the only thing changing the game in the publishing industry. With social media exploding the way it is, writers can no longer afford to be introverts.

I’m not saying you have to totally change your personality, in fact I hope you don’t. It’s being genuine that gets people to connect with you.

I’m also not saying that I’ve pretended to be someone else. Truth is, rather than shying away from social media (which I’ll admit, I initially did) I’ve found that by embracing it, I’ve been able to get past my normally timid exterior and open up to other writers. To people like you, my lovely blog readers.

Social media is making waves, and beyond my own experience, I have a pretty epic example.

I’m sure you’ve heard of her: Tahereh Mafi.

First of all, if you’re on Twitter and you’re not following Tahereh, you need to. She’s funny, genuine and best of all, actually answers your tweets. Even annoying questions required to write an accurate blog post on her. :)
Tahereh is a living example of how social media has changed everything for the writer. She’s 23 years old and her first book SHATTER ME will be released in November. Five-ten years ago, that meant no one would have heard of her. She didn’t yet have a book on the shelf which meant she didn’t have a fan base.

But today that’s not the case at all. Between Twitter, Goodreads, her blog, Facebook and Tumblr she’s built an incredible fan base all before the release date of her first novel. When she went to BEA, the line to get her autograph was so long they had to cut it off seven minutes after she started signing. 7 MINUTES! 

And SHATTER ME isn’t even out yet. That was unheard of until now.

Let me get something straight, I’m not saying that because of social media we can all magically attain a level of super-fantabulous-amazingness like Tahereh. Like everything else, building a fan base is hard work. It requires hours online, making sure all your sites are beautiful and kept up to date and trying to connect with your followers all the while still writing and keeping the day job and everything else we have to do.

Yes, it’s another thing to add to the already overflowing plate of the writer, but it’s necessary.

And if used correctly and treated with care, the rewards are well worth it. Just ask Tahereh.

How do YOU think social media is changing the industry? The life of a writer? The life of a reader?  

The Never-Ending Job of the Writer

Photo credit: Kansas Poetry (Patrick) on Flickr
No one told me the truth about what being a writer means.

I’d been told more than once through my childhood years that I should be a writer, but even as I started to embrace the idea, no one explained to me what it really meant. Because as any writer knows, being a writer is more than just pumping out a poem, story or novel every once in a while.

When you’re a writer, you’re consumed by your passion. There isn’t an on-off switch. Writers don’t sit down and say, “Ok! Time to be a writer now!” then switch it off when it’s convenient. A writer is always taking mental notes for their current or upcoming work. When doing the dishes, driving, doing homework or going out with friends, a writer is watching, listening and feeling the world around them. On a day soaked with fresh rain, a writer closes her eyes and smells the air.

A writer always asks how would I describe this? Always.

You see, sitting down to write is only part of the job. A writer who doesn’t pay attention to the world surrounding them is missing out on a huge opportunity. I cannot stress this enough. This is HUGE.

Just think: How can your character describe the residual sting of a burn if you, the writer, have never been burned? How will your reader feel the chill of a winter storm if you, the author has never sat outside in January?

Last time I accidentally touched the side of the oven, as I ran my hand under cold water I closed my eyes and tried to come up with words to describe it. I’m not a masochist. I’m just a writer, and that’s what writers do.

I’m not saying if you’re a writer you have to experience absolutely everything your characters do—in fact if your characters are as tortured and punished as mine, I sincerely pray that you don’t. And I’m also not saying that when you get hurt you should sit there and describe how it feels instead of getting medical attention. (Please, please, please get medical attention immediately!)

What I am saying is the purest moments in your manuscript happen when you reach past imagination and make the moment real. When you pull that perfect detail from your experiences, that’s when the reader will sit back and say, “That’s what it feels like.”

When you’re a writer, your job is never over. A writer lives and breathes and feels everything around them until they find the right words for their work.

Then they sit down and relive them on paper.

Food for thought: What else is part of the 24/7 job of a writer?

The E-Book Experiment

So in response to my last post about querying, I got an interesting comment about self-publishing.
Joe said:

I've never queried etc. but I do think that if you're good enough you should self-publish an E-book, sure you're going to have to raise a little capital for cover design and formatting. I'm not saying that you're going to become instantly successful like Amanda Hocking but if you can market your book properly then you have just as good a chance as any self-publishing indie author and will probably surpass that original capital raised at the start and get some nice profit.

Just my thoughts, and this is the route that I am going to be taking. Traditionally publishing is going to get HARDER to get into, where anyone can self-publish, even that of the everyone is fair game, right?


It got me thinking.

Before I tried querying again, I spent a long time considering self-publishing. It looks like a good deal. You get 70% royalties one-books $2.99 and up and 30% on e-books under that. They never go "out of print" and if you keep them up, will literally sell forever. Plus, while Borders is going bankrupt, the e-book market is skyrocketing.

But there is a down side. Horror stories of authors who published books that weren't ready and got slammed with scathing reviews.

So in the end, what scared me away was the fact that I couldn't hire an editor. I just don't have the money.

Everything else, however, I knew I could do. I'm a Photoshop nerd, so the book cover isn't a problem. I even have a mock-up about halfway done.

The formatting I was worried about, but I found a bunch of guides that take you through the process step by step (The Smashwords Style Guide, for example, is free in the iBookstore and online). It took me about two hours, but I was able to correctly (I think) format my manuscript for Smashwords.

So far my experimental mock-up and e-book formatted manuscript seems to be progressing nicely. But the editor thing still stalls me. I'm a perfectionist by nature, and it scares me to think that I might put something out there that isn't ready, even though it's been through complete re-writes and I've edited the hell out of it.

I've yet to make a decision, but I'm curious to see what you guys think.

So on to the eternal question!

What do you think? Self-publish? Or go traditional?

Why I Celebrated a Rejection

May 17, 11:42 PM: Gmail informed me that I had a new e-mail. It was from the agent I’d queried over the weekend and “I’m sorry” was in the first ten words. I’d seen enough rejection letters to recognize one even from the little blurb at the bottom of my computer screen.

I opened my inbox just so that my Gmail icon would go back to neutral. I’m a little OCD about those things. I’m OCD about a lot of things, but that’s beside the point.

Ah-hem. Anyway.

I always read my rejections. I’m a bit of a masochist I guess, but there’s a part of me deep down inside that hopes I’ll be able to get something other than bitter disappointment from them. Nine out of ten times, it’s a form letter rejection.

Dear Author,
blah blah blah sorry but this isn’t for us blah blah blah
we wish you the best, remember that this is a very subjective business blah blah blah

They’re all pretty much the same. And having an archive full of them is great for your confidence. But it’s (an unfortunate) part of the process.

Upon a second glance however, I realized this one was different. First off, it started with “Hey there” and in my experience at least, no form rejection starts with “Hey there.” And it was a rejection, but rather than a normal Dear Author letter, this one said REAPER had “poise” and “polish.”

I read those two words over and over again. Yes, it really said that. It wasn’t my imagination. Poise. Polish.


What excited me the most was that this was the beginning of my second round of queries for REAPER. After collecting more than a handful of form rejections, I re-wrote it completely. Everything. I put it in first person, deleted entire sections and rewrote every word.

Then I re-wrote my query letter to match my book. I wasn’t sure it was going to work.

But this rejection was much more than I’d ever received before for REAPER. It was a spark. A hope that maybe, just maybe, I was headed in the right direction.

I’m not saying I’m going to get an agent now. Or even a partial request. Hell, I may get form rejections from here on out.

But personalized rejections mean it was a near-miss. It means the agent took the time to write back to you rather than sending the easy “no thank you” form.

It’s a pat on the back and it goes a long way.

What’s the BEST rejection letter you’ve ever received? 

The Reading-Writing Stages (Never Leave Your Book In The Car)

Not being able to read since I forgot my book in the backseat of a car got me thinking about reading. There are many stages in the reading-writing relationship of any writer, at least in my experience. And it begins a bit like this:


Stage one is a beautiful time, and it begins long before you write a decent word. I was about three when I started to learn how to read (my mom started me early) and I fell in love instantly. Well, nearly instantly. I was a little jealous of my other pre-school friends who got to run around and play while I had private reading lessons.

I digress already.

Stage one IS a beautiful time. You devour every book that comes your way and you scan the shelves of Borders and Barnes and Noble with a keen eye. If you could buy a candle that was scented like new books, you would stock up and fill your bedroom with that delicious smell. Life is simple. Reading = YUM.

Stage 2—So This is What Writing’s Like, Huh?

Stage two is that time in class when you have to write and you show your mom your masterpiece. You write because your teacher tells you too and because drawing pictures to match the words is kind of fun. Oh yeah, and some grown-ups do it for money too. Suckers.

Stage 3—There are SO MANY Amazing Books Out There!

You’re a little older when you hit stage three. It’s similar to stage one, except this time the anxiety starts to set in. How can you possibly read all these amazing books? How can you even choose the next one? I mean, you’re already in the middle of two novels and the new Harry Potter book just came out!


Stage 4—I Could Write Like This!

I don’t think there’s any real age for this one. For some people it’s in their teenage years, for others it’s much much later. There’s no right or wrong time for this stage to hit, but if you’re a writer, it will indeed hit.

It’s a spark. You’re reading one day, then BAM! It hits you in the face like a bucket of cold water on a hot summer day. Whoa! What if I wrote a book?

Whoa, man. That’s like, the best idea ever.



People try to deny that this stage exists, because it’s a tad bit embarrassing in hind sight. But alas, it exists, and it comes right after stage four. You start writing that amazing novel and you’re so totally into it you don’t even have time to read anymore.

And really, who needs reading? Reading is for those people who are still learning, and you’ve TOTALLY GOT THIS!

Stage 6—That was a Terrible Idea. I’m Gonna Go Cry at Borders Now.

This stage comes at different times. Sometimes it’s after your look over your first draft. Sometimes it’s after your first rejection. Sometimes it doesn’t come until you put your fourth manuscript in the drawer.

Inevitably, however, the doubt sets in and you look at those amazing books out there and wonder how you ever thought you could match up. You try to read, but it makes you feel more inadequate. Then you step away from that thing called writing and forget about getting published. It was a crazy dream anyway. 

Stage 7—But Wait. THIS Got Published! SO CAN I!

Stage seven is about as wonderful as stage one, particularly because it comes after stage six. Many things can trigger it, but success stories tend to do the trick. Particularly raging successes that talk about THOSE SAME EXACT DOUBTS that you were having.

It’s a relief, because it turns out you’re not crazy after all.

It’s also a relief, because you can write again, so those characters in your head aren’t giving you the cold shoulder anymore.

Stage 8—I’ve Finished Writing for the Day, Where’s My Book?

There are two key things here in this stage. First, you’re writing daily. This is a very important practice, regardless of what you’ve written. 

Second, you’re reading. I’ve heard many schools of thought on this, but I think it’s infinitely important to keep reading even while you’re writing. Preferably start writing something first before you start reading, because there’s nothing worse than being twenty pages into a book only to realize that you’re re-writing that amazing book you just finished.

Nonetheless, the more you read, the better you will write. And the more you write the better you will write.

So the more you read and write the more STUPENDOUSLY AMAZING you will write, right? J

So seriously. Where’s my book?

Any more stages I didn’t cover? Let’s talk about them! 

[Insert Chapter Title Here]

So it was suggested to me by my Twitter friend @kendrakilbourn that I write about chapter titles.

You asked Kendra, so I answered.

Chapter titles are an interesting thing. Some authors use them, some don’t. Some are mysterious and others completely give away what’s going to happen. Occasionally a chapter title will make you laugh out loud while others will make you tremble. Then you come across books that simply don’t have titles for their chapters, and that’s ok too.  

I think (like many other things in writing) whether or not to name your chapters depends on your book. The only real rule is to stay consistent. If you don’t name your first chapter, then don’t give a title to Chapter 12 even if you have the most amazing stupendous chapter title in the history of chapter titles.

Though if that does happen mid-way through your novel, you may want to consider naming the others as well.

I didn’t start naming my chapters until very recently, and there wasn’t some stunning revelation that made me change my mind.

With my first few novels, Chapter 1, 2, 3 and so on worked just fine. I didn’t feel that my stories were losing anything because I chose not to name the titles. When I re-wrote my last novel Reaper and turned it into first-person, however, I looked at the numbered chapters and thought I could do more.

To me, when writing in first person, the chapter titles were another way for my characters to express their voices. In Reaper’s case, I found that “Chapter 1—Awake,” sat better with me than just “Chapter 1.” In my current WIP, I don’t even have the chapters numbered (though that will probably change after I edit it). I begin with “It Doesn’t Get Any Weirder Than This” and go on from there. Even without sample paragraphs, you can probably tell that the voices in my examples are entirely different.

That’s the power of chapter titles.

There’s a caveat, though. Although naming your chapters may summon some intrigue, a bad chapter title will do the opposite. Clichéd chapter titles are just as bad as clichéd sentences. And unless your protagonist is ridiculously spontaneous, if your chapter is named “Fish Slap” there better be a good reason for it.

If your protagonist IS ridiculously spontaneous however, and you write a chapter about a typical school day, by all means, name it “Fish Slap” if you think it’ll add to your story.

Spontaneity aside, it’s entirely up to you whether or not to name your chapters. There’s no right or wrong decision, nor is there a right or wrong time start doing it.

Like most things of the writing world, it’s instinct that determines what’s right for your book.

So what do you think? How do chapter titles change your reading or writing experience? 

Inspiration Board. Get One.

I was blessed with amazing English teachers in high school. I know a lot of people say that, but really I had the best of the best. My freshman and senior years especially.

My final project senior year for my AP English class involved a lot of writing (it was AP, after all). Although the majority of the legwork involved writing analytical essays on books I didn’t particularly care for, I was especially delighted to learn that part of it included a creative writing piece. So I wrote about my secret love: writing.

I got an A, which I was kind of expecting. What I wasn’t expecting were the two notes tucked inside my project from my teacher.

The first was on a yellow sticky note:

I wish I had your dedication at your age (or even my age...). Very few students have the conviction to do what they want like you do; they may study because they know it’s good for them, but they still don’t know what the end game is. Keep reading and writing and calling representatives. Send me the first copy.
The second was written at the bottom of my creative piece:

Most people go their entire lives without loving something as much as you seem to love writing. Keep doing it for yourself and eventually someone else will catch on.

I must have read those notes a dozen times during school hours and a dozen more when I got home. I was grinning ear to ear when I read it to my mom.

I was elated when I ripped the note off my project and tacked it on to my board next to Ted Dekker, the most STUPENDOUS AMAZING INSPIRING author EVAR! To me, anyway.  

Now, what is this mysterious board, you ask? Why, it’s an INSPIRATION BOARD of course!


Eh-hem. Allow me to explain. An inspiration board is that special place where you tack up the things that make you excited. That inspire you. This may be your favorite author. A cover mock-up. Nice quotes from your English teacher. Quotes from other writers. Fake quotes from the future New York Times article that calls your work a masterpiece (don’t be embarrassed, this is YOUR board!). If it inspires you, tack it on there.

Mine has Ted Dekker (of course), the aforementioned quotes (which I read whenever I’m feeling down), some Word Art I typed up to the effect of NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLING AUTHOR AVA JAE (I can dream, can’t I?) and a few random pictures.

What’s on your inspiration board?


Just Keep Swimming, Swimming, Swimming...

After writing six full manuscripts, I thought I understood the process of writing a novel. I could finish a manuscript. I knew about the highs and lows of writing, about those days when driving bamboo shoots beneath my fingernails would have been easier than pounding out a hundred words.

That was old news. I had it under control.

But then something happened. I began a novel, got through twenty pages and choked. What was I thinking writing this? It was a terrible idea! I was insane to think that I could actually continue with it. The writing was all wrong, the voice forced.

Besides, I had a better idea. So I started over. I wrote another twenty pages. The idea died. Suddenly I couldn’t go on. I didn’t know where to go from there; in fact I wasn’t even sure it was worth pursuing.
I began to panic. I needed time off from writing, I said. I just needed to relax, to focus on other things, to distract myself.

Weeks went by. Months. I hadn’t written a novel. I wasn’t working on a manuscript and I began to feel useless. I couldn’t write and I couldn’t understand why this was happened. Never before had I encountered this kind of death of the muse.

The panicking continued. I was stiff, I doubted my ability. Was I wrong? Was my dream to become published over? Was I really about to give up?

Had I lost my ability to write?

So here it is; the cheesy Finding Nemo reference. You knew it was coming.

I’d become Marlin. I’d dropped the ball and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find it again. It was a doomsday scenario in my mind; I’d lost my ability to write and now my dream was over. OVER! All hope was lost.

To my credit, I sat down and started again. I only got through a chapter this time before I got stuck. I choked back the frustration bubbling up inside me and smothered the need to run outside and scream at the sky. I waited a few days and went back to the opening chapter. I didn’t want to abandon this idea too, there was something there. An energy waiting to be harnessed, a spark, something.

But the fear was overwhelming me. It smothered my inspiration and strangled every idea. 

It’s not that the writing was bad; in fact I thought there were some pretty good moments. I was just scared. Afraid that this one would end up like the others, tossed away into the depths of my hard drive. I began to realize that the problem wasn’t in the story. It was me.

I was the problem, because I was afraid.

You see, I’d written six manuscripts, but I’d never been published. I’d gone through the motions, the editing, the researching, the query letters and synopsis, the rejection letters, the crying. I’d run through the process so many times I dreamt about it, but it all ended the same way: sorry, but this isn’t for us.

What I needed was to keep going. Sometimes you need to get past the fear and delve into the murky depths. Yes it may be dark, and yes you may feel uncertain and alone, but just keep swimming.

You’ll find the shore sooner than you think.

Question time! What do you do when the fear gets overwhelming?  

Writing is Writing is Writing

It took me a while to come to terms with this, although I’ve heard it said a few dozen times before: there is no such thing as wasted writing.

Sure, I understood that those short stories I wrote way back when and those unpublished manuscripts were worth at least the time I put into them, but it never occurred to me that this really applies to any writing.

That essay you did for English class? You wrote it, didn’t you?

That poem scribbled away in your diary for no one to see? Yeah, that counts too.

That Scrabble game you played last night? Uh…not quite.

But Scrabble games aside, the message is still the same: you’re never wasting your time while you write. So maybe that story you wrote was complete crap. So what? Does David Beckham waste his time practicing if he plays badly in a scrimmage? Will the Trix Rabbit ever get to try a bowl of cereal? Will I EVER stop being distracted by shiny objects?

Sorry, sorry, carried away again. The answers are all no by the way. Especially that last one.

Point is: as long as you’re writing you haven’t wasted anything. It’s that many more pages you’ve taken the time to sit down and work on your craft.

So on those days that you stare at your WIP and you can’t bring yourself to write a decent word, don’t beat yourself over the head. Try to write, put down some nonsense, and if you really can’t think of anything at all, open up a new document and write something random. Make it ridiculous. It doesn’t have to make sense, and it’ll probably be a lot more fun to read if it doesn’t, anyway.

That wasn’t a waste of time. After all, you wrote something, didn’t you?

Fun question! What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever written?


First and foremost, to my Twitter friends who helped promote the launching of this blog and made it happen by following: thank you.

To those of you who magically found my blog through means not Twitter (or begging)-related: So cool! *squeal* I mean, welcome.

And now to get to the reason you took the time to support my blog launch by being here: the blog. It’s here. It’s a little silly. But hopefully at least one of you out there will find it somewhat interesting, or even better, helpful. Inspiring would be great, but let’s not push our luck so soon.

I’ll start by saying I’m no expert. I’m not published (yet), I don’t have any awards and I don’t have an agent. I’m just someone who loves to write and has been doing so religiously since the age of thirteen. That being said, I like to think I’ve learned a few things along the way. A few. Don’t expect Santa’s magic bag of tricks here, I’m not that talented. Though I am on good terms with Santa.

I digress.

Writing is a finicky witch, and I don’t mean the wand and hat variety. Seriously. She’s that friend who always wants to hang out when life is overwhelming but is rarely there to see you when you want. She’s ADD too, and gets you really excited about her new toy Shiny Idea that’s absolutely amazing and then about three chapters in distracts you with a plate full of mouthwatering brownies called “New Story Idea.”  The metaphorical brownies may not gleam in the sunlight, but they sure as hell smell good and make it ridiculously hard to remember what was so awesome about Shiny, especially since you keep drooling on the keyboard.

Sometimes you just have to strap Writing down to a chair, shove some Ritalin down her throat and put the brownies away for another time.

Mmm, maybe this metaphor got a little out of hand. I’m not saying you should kidnap your best friends and slip drugs into their morning coffee (I mean honestly, what a waste of perfectly good coffee that would be. Just kidding.) What I AM saying is that writing isn’t the fun little hobby people often think it is. It’s hard work. It’s only fun about half the time and you spend the other half pulling your hair out of your head trying to fill a blank page. And it’s hard. Sticking to a story isn’t easy, especially when you have three or four other ideas trying to distract you the whole time.

In the end, though, it’s worth the stress because you can hang that shiny new manuscript up and smile. And those brownies are freaking delicious (and they better be, after all that hard work you put into them!)

But then you realize Writing escaped from the chair and you have to go chase her down again.

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