9 reasons why you should write that book you've been talking about

I feel like I don't write about writing as often as I should or would like to. I mostly just...write things. But writing about writing is important, because as a storyteller myself, I know how bombarded writers can be by negativity, the comparison game, or just burnout in general. Writing books and giving them to the world takes loads of time, energy and effort - and sometimes the going can just be downright tough.

BUT, we're all in this together. And the more I learn along the way, the more I want to share it with my fellow writers and aspiring-writers, and swap ideas and advice with pilgrims further down the path.

Writing is home for me. It's hard for me to imagine what my life would be like without writing. It's hard to imagine what my upbringing would have been like without the element of storytelling. I know that I would be a much different person than I am today.

All that said, I find it particularly depressing when I hear someone depreciating their own story ideas, or desire to write a story - whether it's their first book EVER or whether it's just another possible epic to add to the quiver.

Like... why? WHY DO WE HAVE TO SHOOT DOWN OUR IDEAS SO HARDCORE? Why do we have to tell ourselves that our idea isn't good enough, or that we aren't good enough writers to do the story justice? Why do we have to call this little neophyte idea names? In simple terms, it's just kind of mean.

As someone who thrives off the thrill of chasing words, I hate to hear people give themselves a heaping pile of reasons why they can't, shouldn't, and won't. What I want to ask instead is...why not? Why on earth NOT? Give it a try - see what happens. :) In fact, here's 9 pretty darn good reasons why you should.

1. because you just might be passionate about it

Do you find yourself talking about this idea a lot? Maybe all the time? Do you think about it at night before you go to sleep, or maybe lay awake in bed for hours, dreaming up new twists and turns to weave into the plot? Do you find your mind always always returning to this idea - this story that exists only in your own mind?

The French call it raison d'ĂȘtre, the Japanese ikigai. In essence, it means a big, huge, beautiful purpose - a reason to get up in the morning. Sure, writing this potential book isn't the only reason you're here, breathing the sweet air on planet earth. But it might be one of them. And if you've been able to answer 'yes' to any of the questions I've asked above? Then this idea is something you're passionate about. It's something your heart requires; something your soul needs.

2. because you can learn things from your own writing process

Without hesitation I would say that I learn new things from each and every story I have ever written. Like a journey into a country you've never been to before, each one is different. The views are different; the vibes, the tastes, the sounds... it's all new and vibrant. It's impossible to walk away without taking something with you. It's impossible for the experience to not change you in some way.

3. because it doesn't have to be like anyone else's book. 

It doesn't have to be a 300,000 word epic. it doesn't have to be about witches or vampires or a world war. It doesn't have to be long and filled with puffy soufflé words. How about it's just honest? and raw? and written like how you would talk to me if we were sipping coffees at 9:49 pm? (yes, i'm that person in starbucks while they're mopping the floors.)

Who said books had to be long? Or pretty? Who said they had to be about a certain subject, or peppered with large, smart words?

I've walked through a heck of a lot of museums, friends. I'm a museum person. I love staring at paintings for long periods of time and thinking hard about the cosmos and why we eat cereal (while my husband follows close behind, carrying most of my belongings). I'm that person. And because I've been to so many museums, I can attest to the fact that not all of the paintings look the same. It's like, in one room you've got Degas and his delicate ballerinas; pink and pale blue poofs of dancing motion across the large canvases, in the next room hangs a plethora of Rembrandt's almost startlingly realistic portrayals of human life, and in another room there's a display of wild, colorful, abstract Picasso's that will bend your mind and capture your eyes for moments at a time.

Art is not alike. And unfortunately we live in a world where 'art' is largely thought of as paintings and sculptures and the like. Not so much writing a novel, or drawing manga, or recording techno music. But the thing is, it's all art. And it's all different.

Imagine if Picasso, or Rembrandt, or Degas had one day sat back in their director chair (not historically accurate, but roll with me) stole a quick look at the canvases of the other painters around them and thought anxiously "Oh my gosh, my painting...! It... it doesn't look like his, or - or hers! Shoot... I must not be doing it right."

The museums would be pretty boring, let me tell you that. Everything would look very similar; the walls would be an ombre of the same color pallet. Long story short: don't write like 'le fancy published authors' write like YOU. You is fresh, you is different, you is unique, you is what you do best.

4. because what you have to say may just be what we all need to hear

Your idea, your story could be what this world needs right now. Look at Harriet Beecher Stowe who changed America with her book Uncle Tom's Cabin. Never never never underestimate the power your words have. Let your voice shine through your writing, and let it be raw, and vulnerable. Because it's the real, vulnerable, true things that reach out and grab hold of our hearts the most. The vulnerable things are the things we can relate to - the things all of us deal with but rarely talk about. The vulnerable things are often the scariest things to write, but write them anyways. Not fearlessly, but bravely.

So remember that, as you toss the idea back and forth in the middle of the night; the idea may just be something you were given. Something the rest of us need in our lives just as much as you do.

5. it's a completely different experience from everything you've ever done. 

Even if you've written other books before, each and every single writing experience is unique. Maybe your idea isn't even for a book, perhaps it's for an essay, or a blog post. Maybe you want to write something non-fiction, or maybe you want to start a collaboration.

Whatever it is, embrace it as a brand new opportunity. One that will be unlike anything you have ever done before. Keep an open mind, try finding new spots to write in, buy yourself a new notebook. Remind yourself that this is a new journey, and remind yourself with a few 'external' things like the aforementioned. Enjoy the ride and be open to learning.

6. because there is no right or wrong way to write

Let's put away that giant stack of books on how to develop all the characters and how to plot the 'perfect' story line. Let's stop thinking so much about doing it 'the right way' and think a little more about 'doing it our way'. Like I said, your voice is unique. No one else has your voice. No one except, well, you.

Make characters they way you want to make them. If you want to take notes and plot like crazy, cool. If you want to fly by the seat of your pants and see what happens, cool. If you want to write it in a totally new style or format than anything you've ever seen or written before, cool.

Remember... no one looks at a Rembrandt and a Picasso and, rubbing their chin, declares that Picasso did it right. There is no right or wrong in art. So make your art. (and if you need a little extra inspiration on that score, watch this.)

7. because you don't have to be the 'world's greatest writer'

You don't have to sound like Charles Dickens. Or your sister's favorite poet. Or Anthony Doerr. You don't have to have a big vocabulary, or even a mature voice. You don't have to wait until you're a 'better writer' or go to a learning establishment to become one. All you need is a story. A good, real, story that comes from somewhere deep in your gut; from the marrow of your being.

So stop saying you can't write well enough. If the story is there, it will write itself. Trust that... trust the story, trust yourself. Trust that passion we talked about in #1.

8. because you can't can't can't let the haters get you down

Maybe you're not dealing with only internal voices telling you you can't make it as a writer, or that it's a fantasy to think you can just write a book. Maybe a family member or a colleague or someone you know is giving you negative feedback on your idea and you feel unsuited to the task because of this.

I'm not the greatest person to address this one, because I deal with this too. I see a negative review or comment about my work, and sometimes I find myself questioning whether I am good at what I do, or whether my story is worthwhile. But the thing is... there's always going to be someone who says something negative about something you do. The haters will always have a comment to make no matter what. The only one who decides whether they keep you down or not isn't them... it's you.

You are your only limiter. You are the only one who can hold you back. Not him, or her, or anyone. (and if you need a little extra encouragement...this should do the trick.)

9. because you might just enjoy yourself

When it comes down to it, why make art if you don't enjoy it? In order for art to be anything or go anywhere, it has to come from a place of passion inside of you; a place of joy.

Even though all these other reasons are great, write because you want to. Because it will be fun. It will be an adventure. It will be something you will enjoy. And that is 100% okay and awesome and part of the experience. If you don't have fun writing it, who's going to have fun reading it?

So enjoy yourself a little. ;)

Please, please, please add to the list! Tell me in the comments WHY you're writing your current WIP! Or maybe you have a book idea you've been tossing around...? What would you say is the top #1 reason why you write or make your art?


Chapter One (& what that felt like)


You requested it (if you're a Twitter'er you may have even cast your vote in the poll going down on my feed) and I'm here to deliver. THE COMPLETE CHAPTER ONE. in all it's first-chapter-glor-ray.

And the fabulous news is, if you dig it and want to know what happens next, you can grab the book for free this weekend! As a thank you to you guys for your crazy beautiful support for my book launch (and for totally blowing me away with your kind words) I'm having a special two-day promotion over on Amazon. So if you want to snag a copy of the book (or maybe send one to a friend) this would be a great time to go do that! :)

Honestly, I can't put into words how much I love you guys, how much you mean to me, how much your WORDS mean to me, and how touched I am by your messages and posts of support for my debut novel. So many of you have put a ton of work into posts for the blog tour, and I have just been completely blown away. It's such a beautiful, yet surreal feeling to see something you've silently worked on for so long spreading its wings for the first time, (no pun intended), and YOU made it happen. I could not have done this without you, and that is a fact. 


On a side note, forgive my nasely voice. Here I sit at my desk in August of all months with a head cold and a fruit punch vitamin water. What the heck is up with that?

I hope you enjoy the first chapter - and if you've already read The Blood Race, please, please, please tell me what you think in the comments below! Oh, and leave a review on Amazon... seriously, that would be a HUGE help to me if you could pop over and leave a quick (nice! ^_^) review. I will love you forever. I already do. Because you guys are the best and I would be nowhere without you. <3



“You’re literally going eighty?” West almost choked.

“There’s no one out here.”

“We’re going to get pulled over.”

“We won’t if you just shut up and let me concentrate.”

I saw West fighting with the seatbelt in my peripheral vision, throwing glances over his shoulder like there was an ax murderer in the backseat.

“Relax,” I told him, leaning back in the seat. “I know what I’m doing.”

West shook his head and Ruger, in the backseat, blew out a laugh.

“Where did you say you were from again, West?” Ruger asked, leaning forward. “Phoenix?”

“Tucson,” West corrected, beginning to sound a little out of breath.

“That’s not quite under a rock,” Ruger submitted. “What gives?”

West shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe I don’t drive like an animal?”

The girl seated beside Ruger in the backseat laughed. “Everyone drives like an animal here. You’ll get used to it.”

I gave my side-view mirror a quick glance. I could see the orange blaze that ran up and over the hood of Riley’s car, where there was an airbrushed painting of his girlfriend. Half of her face was normal—stunning, like it was in real life—while the opposing half was zombified, with the bone structure exposed.

Checking my mirror again, I cursed under my breath and leaned into the gas a little more. “He’s gaining.”

“What’s your speed?” Ruger peered impatiently over my shoulder. “Ninety?”

“Ninety-five,” I corrected, flexing my finger joints. “Just scratching the surface.”

I felt Ruger’s elbow on the back of my seat. “Are you ever going to let me try her out?”

I shook my head, watching the red needle steadily climb the speedometer.

“Oh, come on.”

I shrugged one shoulder. “You’re drunk all the time, Ruger. Do you know how much I paid for this?”

“I’m not drunk all the time—”

“An arm and a friggin’ leg,” I finished, ignoring his defense. “Did you literally not even notice that I’m missing limbs? Now quit leaning on my seat.”

“Ion, you suck.”

I checked the mirrors again.

Maybe it had been a stupid bet to make; I couldn’t decide. Standing in the parking lot of Club Scorpio earlier that night, watching Riley play with that stupid chain around his neck while he raved on about how fast the zombie-mobile could fly, it had been too irresistible of an idea to leave alone. So I’d thrown out the name of a local break where I knew Riley surfed. I’d seen him there on several occasions.

“Whoever pulls in last forks over two hundred. Deal?”

Riley had shrugged, twisting the chain. “Deal.”

I knew the only way I could win the bet was if I really focused, and that was hard with West riding shotgun.

“Zombie’s getting close,” the girl in the backseat announced, letting her window down. The air swept in like a hurricane.

Riley’s car shot ahead before I had a chance to react. I heard West curse and mutter something about how we were all going to die.

I stepped hard on the gas. “No one’s dying but Riley.”

West leaned back into the headrest. “Why the hell am I living with you guys?”

I heard Ruger laugh under his breath. “I was about to ask the same question.”

My focus shot to the speedometer again. One ten and I was still staring into taillights.

“Come on,” I muttered, resting my forearms on the steering wheel as I waited for the long familiar stretch I knew was coming up. I was counting down the seconds in my head, watching the lights edge tauntingly ahead.

“Dude, you’re losing him.”

“I’ll have him back after this stretch. Shut up.”

I wasn’t convinced, but I tried to sound the part. I started watching for my exit; the expressway lights were turning into star trails around us. West’s breathing was beginning to sound suspiciously pre–heart attack.

“I hope you brought cash.” I felt Ruger’s elbow again. “How much was this one?”

I would have reached back and smacked him had I not been so focused on the taillights in front of me.

I hated those taillights. I hated how I always seemed to be just a step behind Riley, whether in races or in life. I hated the feeling of inadequacy that was slowly rising in my chest. I was maxing out the engine of my beautiful car, and I could tell she didn’t appreciate it.

I squinted at the rear window of Riley’s car in front of me. I could vaguely see his silhouette. I tried to divert my thoughts, to concentrate. I was going as fast as the engine would allow, yet I could still feel her accelerating.

I glanced down at the speedometer, watching the needle waver slightly, then sink steadily back to a docile ninety. Eighty, seventy. Then back up to one ten.

“How fast are you going?” West was starting to panic.

I didn’t respond to his question. The sound of his voice faded and died along with everything else, abandoning my heartbeat to center stage. I snapped out of it just in time to make the exit—bulleting past Riley.

Ruger let out a low whistle. “That, gentlemen, is how it’s done.”

I lost my head for the rest of the ride. My concentration zeroed in on slowing us down enough to stop. My speedometer was at five miles per hour when I must have been going seventy. Thankfully I was the only one who noticed. Ruger was drunk and West had his head between his knees.

Silently coaching myself to relax, I cut sharply into the beach parking lot. I let out the breath I’d been holding as I shifted into park. I could feel my heartbeat warring inside my chest.

Riley pulled up alongside me, getting out after a long hesitation. I rolled my window down as soon as I had caught my breath.

“What the hell was that?” he said, throwing his arms vaguely in no particular direction. “How fast were you going?”

“I wasn’t paying attention,” I replied, steadying my voice. “But you owe me two hundred bucks.”

Riley stared me down with narrowed eyes, but after a moment he fished a couple hundred-dollar bills out of his pocket and threw them at me.

“Whatever.” He took a couple of steps backward. “That thing isn’t street legal, is it?”

“Didn’t your momma ever teach you to lose with dignity?”

“Did yours ever teach you to shut the hell up?”

Ruger laughed as I put the window up again. I could still feel Riley’s gaze burning holes in the back of my head when I pulled out of the sand-sprayed parking lot and onto the street.

“That was so sick,” Ruger drawled, elbowing my seat. “The look on his face.”

I didn’t reply, trying to focus as I navigated the narrow streets.

“How fast were you going anyway?” he asked. “I thought this thing maxed at one thirteen?”

“It does.”

“Then what the—”

“Riley must have let off by accident or something.” I cut Ruger off before he could finish, feeling a mild sweat beginning to prickle across my spine. “Illusionary speed.”

“Illusionary,” he reiterated, sounding skeptical. “Sure.”

My heart rate had calmed slightly when I pulled into the driveway of the house we were renting. Dawn was slowly making its entrance across the skyline, washing the city in a shade of indigo. It reminded me of how physically taxed I was—how attractive sleep sounded.

The trance was only momentary. The car jolted, yanking me back into the present and choreographing the disheartening sound of steel against steel.

“How could you miss that?” West hissed, tearing off his seatbelt.

I swore under my breath and got out to evaluate the damage. West followed suit.

I stared silently for a few moments before simply saying, “I didn’t see it.”

West turned and gaped at me. “You didn’t see it?”

“I was distracted.”

I had made a mental note when we’d first moved in to never cross the neurotic old guy who lived next door. I knew nothing about him beyond the fact that he kept an eye on us. Now I was standing there in the driveway, staring down at the ugly crater my Mustang had just punched into the rear bumper of his sandy-brown station wagon.

West exhaled in disgust, adjusting his glasses. “Well, have fun explaining that to the old man. You’re on your own.”

I swore and kicked my front tire. Visions of the red needle came darting back into my mind’s eye, the unnatural way it had danced over the various speeds, accelerating beyond what I knew the car was capable of. My roommates had vanished indoors, though I scarcely noticed that they had left. Ruger’s date paused on the porch steps.

“Hey,” she said quietly. “You okay, Ion?”

I gave a nod, refocusing.

“Yeah,” I said. “Yeah, I’m fine.”

There was a pause. I heard her soft footsteps a second later as she ascended the rest of the stairs, then the door sighing closed, leaving me standing alone in the driveway.

When I looked down at my hands, they were shaking.

...Ready to read the rest? Grab your free copy of my debut this weekend here!