Sam: Some of you may have noticed that I’ve quietly dropped out of public view for the last eight months. I’ve completely abandoned Facebook and am rarely on Twitter. As of right now, my future release schedule is blank.
After the final book in The Borders War series was released in January 2016 I was beyond burnt out--I was charred to the bone. I tried to push through the feeling of being stripped down for all the world to see my flaws and actually completed the first draft of Out of the Shade. I had all intentions of getting it off to my betas in late February. But, that book never made it out of my drafts folder. I was scared that I didn’t really know how to tell a story. Too tired from the increasing demands of my day job to consider plot points and characters arcs. I’d lost my passion for words and I knew that book deserved better. So I pushed back the release of Out of the Shade--originally slated for May 2016--indefinitely. I began to think I’d never write another word again.
Then I rediscovered fandom--specifically the Magnus and Alec (Malec) fandom from the show Shadowhunters. And I slowly began to write again. The Malec fandom became my sanctuary. I fell in with a group of people I’ve come to love. All of them just as drawn to Magnus & Alec’s story as I am, but who also craved to discuss character development, analyze plot points, and share badass fanart/fics with each other.
My first contribution to the fandom was a fanfic that was a mere drabble of a few hundred words, then longer fics of one to two thousand words followed. In April, I finally began to feel my passion for writing stirring again and I started a multi-chapter long fanfic that I’m only halfway done writing. Since April I’ve written and released over 150,000 words--all of them for free, and all of them about Magnus and Alec. I’m not making a penny off those words, and as a writer, I couldn’t be happier.
Jo: I couldn’t be happier either. I know you have struggled with writing this year and it does my heart good that you found your passion for it again. You are an amazing writer and inspire me to be better. Do you have a link to where peeps can read your fanfic?
Sam: Aw, you inspire me too, boo!! Anyone who wants to join me in my Malec rabbit hole is more than welcome!! I’m on tumblr @otppurefuckingmagic (yep, you read that URL right!) and on AO3 under the same name. You had a similar crisis of confidence this year, too, right, Jo?
Jo: Yep. The only difference is I could write--I had no problem putting words to paper. The issue was my creativity was….well, let's just say, SUCKING BIG TIME! I wrote an entire novel before I realized it was worse than bad--it was boring!! I tried to work on another story, and the same thing, IT SUCKED! I had to finally step away from the computer--including social media--and simply just be. I took the time to recharge my brain and when I finally returned to writing, it flowed. And guess what?
Sam: The suckage stopped?
Jo: Yup :) It wasn’t boring and I was actually able to fix the one that was and submitted it. YAY ME! So why do you think this happened and knowing what you do now, any advice for other authors struggling with the same issues?
Sam: Take time away from writing. My greatest fear as a writer was always that the words would never come to me again. I still struggle with that fear, but I know now that isn’t the case. What about you? What’s your number one take-away?
Jo: I think the one thing that stands out is not to try and force words simply to make a deadline. If this happens again, I’ll know to listen to my gut and walk away to give my brain time to decompress, declutter, and desuck. (Yes, desuck is a real word, at least it is now and you have my permission to use it!)
Sam: My mind is immediately going to the wrong place with this whole discussion of sucking, fyi….
Jo: That’s why I love you. We go on the most amazing journeys in your naughty….I mean creative mind :) Hey, I hear you’re going to be decompressing and decluttering in a new country?
Sam: I’m going to be in Southampton for the UK Meet September 2-4. If any of you are there please come by to say hi! And if you want to talk Malec....? The first drink’s on me!
Meet Sam McAuley
Sam sleeps little, reads a lot. Happiest in a foreign country. Twitchy when not mentally in motion. Send her a picture and a song and she's bound to write a story about it. And yes, that's an invitation.
Meet Jo Peterson
SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, hails from Michigan. Not the best place to live for someone who hates the cold and snow. When not reading or writing, Jo can be found close to the heater checking out NHL stats and watching the Red Wings kick a little butt. Can't cook, misses the clothes hamper nine out of ten tries, but is handy with power tools.
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