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A Dream No One Can See

It’s become a tradition each year to choose a word that will carry me through 365 days. There has been CREATE, BELIEVE, BETTER, and last year, there was PERSEVERANCE. And persevere I did. Through 164 literary magazine submissions, 133 rejections (query trenches included) and 16 pieces accepted, including my debut collection of poetry, These Are the Women We Write About, I’d like to think my own perseverance got me where I needed to be!

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But now it’s a new year, which means a new word. Getting here, I once again was a bit paralyzed with fear that I might choose the wrong word. I suppose it’s become another of those superstitious writerly things that I cling to as the days move along. It wasn’t until Christmas preparations took over that I found my word, one which stuck in my bones and felt too perfect to pass up. I ordered three necklaces and a bracelet from The Giving Keys, because I truly love how they strive to help homeless people in L.A., all the while, reminding us of the power of words, and the magic of passing them on to someone else. If you haven’t heard of this company or their mission, I suggest checking them out as they create beautiful products with special meanings.

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Yet, I digress. Upon purchasing these items, I was eligible for a complimentary “classic” key necklace, which would come with a surprise word and color and design. When it arrived, it brought a certain sense of knowing that I didn’t know I needed. My key said DREAM, and I’m not sure it could’ve been more perfect. And now, I have my word.

Dream.

Writing a novel about a world in which dreaming always means death, I have come to understand just how powerful dreams can be. I often dream too big and have said on more than one occasion that my ambition and penchant for dreaming bigger and better will be the death of me. But as a writer, I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing.

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As I edit DREAM CATCHERS once more before diving back into the query trenches next month, I cling to the dream of seeing this book published someday. And it’s difficult, I must admit, to be back in this story. I joked that I can’t wait for this book to be on someone else’s shelf someday just so I won’t have to read it anymore. Because it hurts to read sometimes. I’ve exposed too much of myself between those pages, and perhaps this is what will help future readers fall in love with my writing and this story. But for now, it terrifies me to find myself back in that time and place again.

Such is the life of the writer, I suppose. If the words don’t hurt, if what is being written doesn’t scare the writer a little, I’m not sure the story is worth telling. So I’ll tinker with this story once more before sending it out to the next 10 agents on my list. And when I say this will be the year I make this dream no one else can see into a reality, I feel the truth of the words ring through my bones in the way that some of my most authentic writing does.

I’ll keep focusing on this dream. Instead of simply listing my goals for 2019, I’ve separated these things into goals and aspirations; the things I can personally attain versus the things I so dream of coming true. I am taking better care of myself, how I judge my failures and accomplishments, because I have succeeded, even in small ways, and that is worth remembering. And for that I am so proud of myself. Already I’ve had 2 poems accepted for publication, and January hasn’t yet ended.

But as I continue to risk everything: sanity, time, sleep, future stories, etc. for this dream of publishing DREAM CATCHERS, I know it is worth everything in between. And with this knowledge, I will continue to dream too big all the year through, and I hope you will too! To stay up to date with this journey beyond this blog, check out #dreamlikekaylaking on Instagram and Twitter!

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Beyond the Shore

While it's been quite some time since I've posted here, that's not to say I haven't had enough to write about. On the contrary, I've faced rejections, but have also had two poems accepted for publication in Sobotka Literary Magazine. My short story, "The Illusionist," is out now in Firewords Magazine Issue 10- Curiosity. I've read some great books and written new poems and short stories. I've created a schedule to complete my WIP by the end of the year. I've received a partial manuscript request for my book. I've drank too many cups of coffee to count now. Life has been busy. 

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But just last week, I found myself walking into the waves beyond the shore. While on vacation, I didn't write much. I did, however, finally read the best friend's favorite book, which is now one of my favorites. I wrote lines for a new poem. I woke with the world. I finished my acknowledgements page for the upcoming publication of my debut collection of poetry, These Are the Women We Write About. Just in time since it will be available August 28th from The Poetry Annals. And while time ticked away around me, I sat still, and relaxed. 

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While I'm enjoying my new full-time job immensely, I'll admit, I have felt overwhelmed in trying to meet my writing goals. Yet, I have not abandoned them. I'm still in pursuit of publication for my novel. And along the way, I can't believe my first ever book of poetry will be published, too. It's all very surreal, in that life is far from perfect, but there is still goodness and light. 

Maybe that is all I can hope from walking the narrow path. I knew when I began this journey into the writer's life that it wouldn't be easy, and it hasn't been. But there is something rather thrilling about treading through the deepest darkness of rejection into the luminous glow of accomplishment. 

Though I'm at 96 rejections for the year with only a few more needed to reach my goal,  I'll keep submitting. I'll keep writing. And alas, I'll be back to writing here weekly.  I'm not sure what the rest of the year will bring, because truthfully, I'm not even sure what to expect from the next week. But you, dear reader, can expect my words, for they are the one constant in my life.

Stay tuned for more about These Are the Women We Write About as I get closer to publication day. And If you get the chance to wander out beyond the shore, I hope you'll pursue the adventure.

Take Your Time

After almost four years spent working on DREAM CATCHERS and two years since graduating with my MFA, the idea of "taking my time" might seem ridiculous. And I'll admit, there were times on this writing journey when those words seemed impossible because I'd already put in so much time. But alas, I think there must be some truth to the notion that goodness comes to those who wait. 

One part of this journey is at an end after years of searching and applying and bettering myself and my skills, because I've been offered my first "grown-up" job, and I'm thrilled! I can't wait to begin the next chapter of my career as a Reputation Management Specialist!

As I wait to begin my first full-time job, I'm left with a sense of knowing that DREAM CATCHERS is as done as it's going to be until I find representation. Though, this second part of my journey as a writer won't be complete until I see my novel published and displayed on bookstore shelves. Understanding this makes it easier to fathom finding balance between work and writing. And I can't wait to see my discipline, perseverance, and creativity kick in once I begin this next chapter of my professional life.

While I haven't found a literary agent yet, this particular goal for representation seemed so close. On May 14th, I began round three of querying. I started with four agents, just to get a feel for how the edits of my query letter were working. I hit send at 6:50 PM and by 10:31 PM, I had a response from an agent requesting the full manuscript! And I so hoped that this would be IT.

I imagined writing a post about "the call" and being "agented," but alas, two days later, that agent passed on the manuscript. Though he did say the writing was wonderful, he just didn't "fall in love," and for that reason, had to pass. But the rejection didn't sting as much as I thought. In fact, it was almost like it didn't happen. And I know there will be someone out there who loves this book and my writing just as much as I do. All in good time, I suppose.

After the rejection, I queried five more agents, and now I'm in that waiting place again. For the most part, my edits are done. And yes, there are outlines to be crafted for BOOK TWO, and there are character sketches to be written within the world of DREAM CATCHERS. Yet, I can't wait to dive back into my NaNoWriMo project from 2017. I have set myself the goal of finishing BOOK ONE in the Falling series by the end of the year. Though I have no way of knowing what it will be like balancing my new job with my writing, I've always believed in the power of setting goals, and more specifically, the power of perseverance. 

As I think back to the time it took to get me to this place professionally, I am reminded of the fellowship rejections, the unanswered applications, the reworking of one resume to another, and I know that working on myself in the process really was the greatest project of all.

And as I mull over this notion of taking my time, I am reminded of one of my favorite lines from The Last Five Years, which instructs: 

"Take a breath. Take a step. Take a chance. Take your time." 

Maybe in the end, all it takes is time to grow into the people we need to be to accomplish the goals and dreams we want most. Until then, here's to deep breaths and small steps, taking chances, and taking the time needed to find the goodness in life!

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The Hardest Parts To Write

I had planned on writing this post a week ago after sending my finished edits to my critique partner. At 11:52 PM on Tuesday the 24th, I made it to the last line in DREAM CATCHERS. Victory swelled through my mind. But alas, somewhere between that moment and today, life got in the way. 

Looking back on some of those final sentences, I'm trying to find the truth in the above quote: "Sometimes there is power in letting go." For my characters, I know this must be true. And when I sent the latest draft of the book, I felt that surge of power in letting it go. But alas, amidst the devastation from the weekend, I am struggling to find the truth for myself. At 11:20 PM on Sunday the 29th, our beloved dog, Sully, took his final breath. 

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So while I'd planned to pen a post on Sunday detailing what it was like completing this last round of edits, my thoughts were consumed with the well-being of my first fur friend. I'd worked that morning and returned to find my sister crying. The rest of the day was filled with this same kind of sorrow. Disbelief. I sent a message saying we didn't think Sully would make it through the night, and even though the words existed, they didn't feel real. Sully had already been through so much, but he was always there. 

Always. 

We took turns laying beside Sully, emotion swelling in waves. My sister said something about loss, and I typed a note in my phone: "it's the moment you realize there is a lifetime of people to lose." We waited. We prayed. We stayed with him the whole day. We stayed with him after. It didn't feel real. 

Now I've written about real and unreal within DREAM CATCHERS, but this was the first moment I'd felt myself stuck between both. I closed up a box of cereal and half-expected Sully to lift his head like he always did at the sound of food. But he didn't move.

Even now, it's the quiet within the house that returns the sorrow in waves. I breathe through it, because I hate crying. But Monday, that's all we did. My whole family stayed home from work, and we took our beloved fur baby to the Pet Heaven Funeral Home for cremation. There was silence. There was quiet. There were no words. And even as I try to write this into a post, I'm not sure about the words, because they don't seem like enough. 

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Sully filled an emptiness in our lives for fourteen years, though there is never enough time with people you love. And Sully loved us like only the purest of hearts can. He had the happiest of personalities, and he's left a void in our lives. I know there are different moments that we struggle with most: the memory of Sully's last walk, just a week before his passing, the strangeness of dinner without his begging. But the morning is the worst knowing he won't be waiting in the living room to greet us. 

And there will be other things. He was always there to keep me company while I sat on the back patio reading, or writing. I think he might've known more plot details in future books than any other human in my life. He was the best of companions and a fierce friend who we will miss. 

While drafting this post the following week, I thought I might talk about endings. Bonnie Goldberg reminds: 

"Endings are the hardest parts to write. This is because they are false. Nothing truly ends; it transforms." 

Within her words I remember ending DREAM CATCHERS, because for too long, it was the hardest thing to write. And in that story, I've written about endings and goodbyes, and I think those words might be most true now as I think about saying goodbye to my first dog. Like I said, it is a hollow feeling. Death leaves an emptiness, and goodbyes leave nothing but echoes; unreal. Attempting to find the words to say a proper goodbye to a dog who meant so much is one of the hardest parts to write, but I'm trying. 

While I know this post details very little about completing my edits, I think it is important to note that sometimes life gets in the way of writing. And sometimes it drives us to find better words. To process. Revise. Mourn. To go on grieving.

I'm not sure I'll ever understand. And I know we'll never be able to fill the void of Sully's passing, but as we relive memories from the past, I'm reminded about the power of storytelling. I know we won't forget.

Surrender to Uncertainty

Once again, I've forced myself to surrender to the perpetual uncertainty of writing. Upon thinking about what I would post this week, I had hoped to document the success of finishing edits for DREAM CATCHERS. But alas, I still have six chapters to go, and cannot yet claim that victory.

But victorious was indeed how I felt as I penned the outline of this post in my journal. I've written many times about the life of a writer. About rejection. Querying. Hope. Belief. Perseverance. And alas, the act of continuing on despite the difficulties has finally paved the way for a small dream to be born into reality. 

So what does this mean? 

Before you get too excited, this post will not produce any agent news, nor book deals documented below. Like I said, I still have six more chapters in this edit before I begin querying again. But after three years and six rejections from Firewords Magazine, I have finally been accepted for publication! 

Maybe most writers would give up submitting after one rejection. But I have loved the aesthetic and quality of the work published in Firewords since 2015, and made it my dream to be published in this UK print magazine. Now all these years later, I have accepted their offer of publication, and am eagerly awaiting June for Issue 10 to make its debut. 

One of the more unique elements of Firewords Magazine is the artwork they have commissioned for each piece, and I can't wait to see what will accompany my short story, "Illusionist." Along with the print edition of the issue, Firewords offers a digital copy, but best of all: a special package to include an audio version of the magazine (you can listen to me reading this short story), plus special interviews with the contributors, and more! 

I couldn't be happier! This is a story, which I began back in September 2016. However, this started as a flash fiction seedling. That first story, "Illusion," was published in June 2016 by One For One Thousand. While this follow-up story went through dozens of titles, I landed on "Illusionist." It seemed fitting given how much of that former story inspired the latter. And in writing through this, I worked to discover what would happen after these two characters were gone. From each other. From my mind. And I wrote:

"But we’re not meant to keep people.” She wasn't sure he understood what she'd meant; an illusory impression would be all they'd leave behind someday." 

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This seems a bit ironic considering this short story follows the brief love between Aris and Prue: two characters I keep returning to because I can't let them go. While this story is from Prue's point of view this time, it still feels like a way to keep them.

Though I completed the short story for an anthology submission back in 2017, it was later rejected. I set it aside with the intention to return when I was ready. It wasn't until this year when I took the 4,500 word story down to 1,515 that I felt right about submitting again. I sent this in for Issue 10 of Firewords Magazine with the loose theme of CURIOSITY, and I waited. 

When I checked my phone and saw the email alert, I expected rejection. But instead I read these words: "We are pleased to announce our intention to publish your piece, 'Illusionist', in Firewords." I couldn't contain my excitement, feeling the news escaping my mouth too quickly.

Because I'd done it. I accomplished something which seemed slightly impossible. Almost unreachable. 

Now this seems like a sign for better things on the horizon. And with the edits for DREAM CATCHERS almost complete, I have a knowing feeling deep in my bones that representation and publication are not far behind for the book of my dreams. 

Sometimes being a dreamer is difficult, but then there are days like today when it all seems better. As a writer, I choose to be curious, but that also means I choose the vulnerability that comes with such wondering. And as quoted above, these choices often "require us to surrender to uncertainty." But I suppose from the moment I decided to tackle my dream of becoming a published author, in writing a book of my heart, I chose a life of uncertainty. I never know when I'll be rejected next, but that also means I never know when the possibility of being published will appear either. Through it all, I'm willing to surrender to such realities to make every dream as real as this one!

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To Rebuild and Rewrite

Yesterday morning, I had a completely different post planned for today, one which would've solely celebrated the news of two of my poems being accepted for publication. But with the sweet, so too, comes the sour. And after an email and a long day, I found myself stuck in a car for an hour feeling bitter and inadequate with a mind that was so loud and a car ride that was too quiet. It was in that moment, I suppose, that this post began to rewrite itself. I guess even in life, I can't escape rewrites. 

Maybe I am hoping to understand by writing about the collision of revival and collapse within the space of twenty-four hours. One moment I was enthused about a favorite poem being included in a print magazine this summer, retaining optimism about the completion of my poetry collection, and feeling thrilled at the prospect that so much was falling into place. But hope can be painful, and you'd think a writer who understands the reality of rejection would understand this much. But I suppose, after all this time, I continue to hold on to a stubborn sense of possibility instead of being the pragmatic person who wouldn't be hurt so easily by disappointment. 

But, I digress. 

I don't want this to be a post filled with the negativity of yesterday's mindset, but rather the clarity that has given me understanding today. I understand life isn't fair, and I want to be the girl who believes, even when others cannot do the same. So maybe this post will help me find my way back to believing. Maybe tomorrow's answers will assure life isn't a total bitch and that I can be the person I found on top of a mountain four years ago. Maybe I'll figure it out. Maybe not. 

On Monday, I printed out the acceptance email from Ink In Thirds Magazine, a print journal who will be publishing my poem, "You Weren't a Museum; You Were a Box of Matches" in a July/August Issue. I also printed the email from Dear Damsels, a fantastic female-driven online magazine who will be publishing my other poem, 

"Unearthing Letters I Wrote You Three Years Ago, or Yesterday; 12:18 AM" later this month. And in placing those uplifting words in my journal, I left a small reminder of success. And yet I haven't written about the failure of yesterday or the way my dog looked at me as the vet prattled on about statistics and scheduling surgery and the blah blah blah that left my throat tight and sore from trying to hold back so much. 

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Like I said, yesterday was a shit day. I'm trying to pick up the pieces. I'm trying to rebuild myself back to that believer. Despite the failures. Despite the doubts. I want to feel the faith and hope again, even knowing it might come back to sting later. I don't want to be crushed by the weight of the world. I don't want to lose my words. I don't want my mind to be so loud when the world is capable of being still and quiet and sure of its own survival. 

But alas, this is the way to continue onward. To struggle. To succumb to the sadness, the grief, the belief that hearts were meant to break to beat stronger. Here's to finding the momentum, the strength, the moment of rebuilding, rewriting, redirecting myself on whatever path I need to find my way back. 

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Goal Digger

Hello and welcome to the new home of KAYLA KING BOOKS! It's been a process to bring this new website to life, and many thanks must be given to those who offered kind thoughts and critiques during this time. 

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But here we are! 

Already I've accomplished one of my major goals for 2018, set specifically for January with the launch of this new website. And I suppose this realization, more than anything, inspired my need to discuss goals here today. 

For as long as I can remember, I've been driven by my goals, savoring the satisfaction of crossing items off my to do list and monthly goal list. And even after all this time, I still give myself goals as a sort of road map to know where I'm going next. 

At the beginning of January, I set 8 new goals for myself. Now on the eve of February, I'm looking back at all I've accomplished, and feeling ecstatic about the precedent this sets for the rest of 2018!

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1.) New website 

You're here! I spent the last month working through my blog posts to move here, and it's been an enlightening journey back in time. Rebranding myself as the eventual author of DREAM CATCHERS, and the current author of published fiction, poetry, and other written works, proved to be the most difficult. But in the end, as you will no doubt see upon exploring the site, is that I've chosen a minimalistic design, which showcases my work and life as a writer. And for that, I am so proud!

2.) Submit to 5 publications

This past month, I've submitted poetry to Plath Poetry Project, SAND Journal, Poetry International, River River Journal, Salome Lit, and Spy Kids Review. While I have received a rejection for the December Retrospective from Plath, I am still awaiting on responses from the other journals. And yet, I already have 15 out of the 100 rejections I've set as a goal for 2018, but that's okay. I'm trying. I'll continue to try. 

3.) Read 5 Books + Find a New Podcast

While the books I completed weren't exactly the books I set out to complete during the month of January, I finished five books, nonetheless! The first book I finished was the audiobook of Ready Player One, which I didn't love as much as I wanted. If anything, I'm excited to see the movie! Throughout the month, I finished three poetry collections: Dark Sparkler by Amber Tamblyn, Last Chance For the Tarzan Holler by Thylias Moss, and This Poem is a House by Ken Sparling. And last, but no means least, I finished reading the bound edition of my manuscript! 

But you might have noticed under my January TBR, that I also wanted to try podcasts, which I did! My three favorites from the month were That Smart Hustle created by one of my favorite gals from authortube, Kristen Martin, Upvote YA co-hosted by another favored authortuber, Alexa Donne, and Launch created by John August! All three were delightful to listen to, and what's more: engaging, useful, and inspiring! 

4.) Organize Binders 

Moving into the new year, I knew I needed a Writing 2018 binder, as I like to keep hard copies of everything written, published, and produced each year. But I also decided I needed a binder for my writing career to house all those bright and shiny book ideas I hope to write someday. And since I am planning to get back into BOOK ONE of the Falling series in February, I knew I needed to purge old notes, and update the sections to follow the new plot of the story. I also wanted to update my binder for the Dreamer Duology, but alas, I didn't quite finish organizing that binder this month. 

5.) Catalogue Bookshelves

As someone with an ever-growing book collection, I knew it was time to catalogue my books. Using Google sheets, I've created a spreadsheet for all of my books, and I hope to share the process behind this overhaul with all of you soon!

6.) Try Meditation

This might be the only goal I haven't completed just yet, though I've tried. And since the goal was to try, I am counting this as a success. My brain is a noisy place. Whenever I've tried meditation in the past, I've failed, stuck on stream-of-consciousness thoughts or crafting stories. It's always been something I've wanted to do, but didn't know how to best awaken this sense of inner peace. I am currently listening to Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris, and so far, I'm impressed. Though I'm not that far into this audiobook, I have hope that I might be meditating successfully in a few months time! 

7.) Get Organized

While this could encompass so many things, I did organize my closet and have started to organize documents for tax season, so I am calling this goal accomplished, though I am constantly organizing. It's what I do, and I know that won't stop just because I've crossed this off my January goals. 

8.) Limit Phone Time 

This is something I wanted to accomplish more than anything during 2018. I found myself wasting so much time on Twitter and Pinterest and other social media, and for what? I started small, staying off my phone before bed, and I've noticed a huge change in my sleeping habits, as well as the amount of reading I've gotten done in that time. This is something I want to continue to work through, but I'm thrilled to see some change already! 

So what happens next? 

Tomorrow I will be committing my next set of goals to the page. I will create a place for my February goals and my February TBR in my journal. I will use the tangible evidence of these goals to guide me through the next month! 

And what's coming soon to the blog? 

Next week, I will be hosting my first author guest post, featuring fellow writer, Sarah Foil from sarahfoil.com, and I can't wait! 

Until then, I thank you for following me on this journey of writing and beyond! I hope all of you will be goal diggers in your day to day life, and I hope you'll accomplish something wonderful in the months to come! 

 

Recalling The Magic

For the past month, I have been moving my blog posts from Wix to Squarespace in preparation for the unveiling of the new home of KAYLA KING BOOKS. And in doing such, I have taken myself back in time, recalling the magic of my life as a writer. 

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Now I don't use the word magic to mean perfect, because many of my older posts detail the difficulties of writing, from the seedling of an idea to the editing phase and beyond. But through it all, I am astounded to see a certain sensibility toward continuing on, and not giving up. And it's nice to know my stubbornness has not surrendered through rejection and the every day calamities of life. 

If anything, I've seen a change for the better. Past Kayla would be so proud to know that one word could encompass so much of her journey. But this version is always astounded to see just how much the day to day of writing is still the same, though I, myself, have changed.

You see, there is still a blank page. There are still words. At the end, there is always a story to be told. But in going through my blog posts, which began back in 2012 after I'd finished writing my first book, I was most interested to see how that once idealistic writer has changed into someone much more pragmatic, though a dreamer all the same. 

I think it's strange to think back on moments of our life; always trying to recall the biggest times. But most often it's the small moments, which garnered my own desire to commit memory to blog post. And I think we often forget just how important those smaller moments are to our much bigger journeys. 

So as I recall the magic of finding stories, finding my voice, and most importantly: finding myself along the way, I hope to leave a bit of a goodbye for the old blog, with a sense of excitement for what will come to be in this new phase of my writing life!

Next week will be the first official post over at the new home of KAYLA KING BOOKS, and I am so excited to share a slightly dark and stream-lined aesthetic, which better suits the writer I've become. No longer do I wish to hide behind complicated designs, because I know my words are enough. And my words will be the biggest showcase at my new website. 

For those who've followed along with me the past six years, I thank you. I hope you will continue to follow me on this journey and beyond. And I hope you'll check out the new website next week, and fall into my world of writing. 

All best,Kayla King.png

Just One Word

In 2015, I ditched the practice of resolutions for the impending new year, and instead came up with one word to carry me through the entire year. Back then it was CREATE, and create I did. Then in 2016, I chose BELIEVE, and that word, more than anything, helped me complete the first draft of Dream Catchers, which I carried into 2017 with the hopes of making it, and myself BETTER. All three of these words became a sort of mantra that helped me get through the rough writing days, the rejections, and life in general. And here I am in 2018 with a finished book in the query trenches, and a new word to carry me through the year. That word is...

PERSEVERANCE!

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In years past, I'd always found it somewhat difficult to choose one word, knowing how important it would be to me. But this year as many of you might know, I got to see Ben Platt in Dear Evan Hansen, rounding out an outstanding year filled with Broadway shows. And in the beginning of Act II within this show, there is a song, which seemed to be in my head more often than others this year, most specifically:

"It just takes a little patience. It takes a little time. A little perseverance, and a little uphill climb."

It took completing NaNoWriMo, and writing about that experience here, to ensure the word perseverance remained stuck in my head. So far, it's been a rather fitting word. Maybe, you're wondering: how does this fit?

Well, I ended 2017 with 117 rejections, many of which came from agents. Going into 2017 with a goal of 50 rejections, I never thought I could survive that many, and yet, more than doubled, I can tell you I've done more than survive, because I'm not giving up. I know this will be the year some of my favorite poems will be published. I know I will find an agent. I know I will get that elusive book deal that seems like more of a mirage from the query trenches than anything tangible. I suppose that sense of perseverance has always been with me, and now, it is stronger than ever. 

So what comes next? 

I'll keep querying. I've already sent my first query of 2018, and I am hopeful for a positive response. I've started to submit new poems to new publications, and I'm still writing. I already have five rejections, and it feels like accomplishment this early into January. And while I don't have a list of resolutions, I do have a list of goals I'm hoping to accomplish this year, and this month, some of which have already been completed, others which feel a bit more difficult, and require more time. One of these goals, however, is very near to being completed, and as such, I'm excited to share it with all of you! 

Beginning this February, I will be unveiling my new author website! After much research, I have decided to find a new home for my site using Squarespace, which will mean a new minimalistic design, with much of the same content I've developed here over the past four years, plus more, including collaborating with other writers and bloggers! I will be making an official announcement when the time gets closer with links for the new home of KAYLA KING BOOKS. I am hoping this will be one of many changes in 2018 that bring me that much closer to making my dream a reality. After all this, I have known struggle, I've tried to find courage, and now I will hold tight to the idea of perseverance for the rest of 2018! 

All best,Kayla King.png

The Beginning Of Interesting

When thinking about what I would write this week, I knew I wanted to try to get back to that enamored feeling I once had for my book. That's not to say I don't love my book, because I do. But I also worry about its future sometimes, too. This feeling of love that I have now is absolute and unwavering; I'm not sure there is anything this story could do to make me give up on it or its eventual place on bookshelves. Together we've been through a master's degree. We've been through the good writing days and the bad writing days and the ones, which felt better than anything. And we're still a team. 

It wasn't until last night, however, that I had a desire to dive back into my archives and relive the initial excitement I had for this story.

And what, you might be asking, happened last night?

I received an email from the agent who had my full manuscript, which informed me she would be passing on my book. I'm not going to say this was an easy email to read, especially because there was no concrete feedback to implement in further revisions. But alas, the letter was incredibly kind, as you'll see below: 

Hi Kayla, 

Thanks for sending along Dream Catchers. I really appreciate your patience these past few weeks while waiting for a response. 

There's some great prose in these pages--in fact, the quality of writing is far better than most of the material that crosses my desk. And I found Camryn to be a sympathetic protagonist. It's with regret, though, that I must admit that I ultimately didn't fall in love with the manuscript as much as I had hoped. For some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on, the story itself just didn’t completely capture my imagination as much as I had hoped. Kayla, in spite of this manuscript's strengths, I'd better bow out. I suspect that, based on my above reservations, I just wouldn't be the best advocate for the project. 

Thanks so much for contacting me, though, and for giving me this opportunity! It is much appreciated, and I'm sorry to be passing. This is such a subjective business--I'm sure another agent will be a better fit. Thanks again, and all the very best of luck in your search for representation.

So what does this mean? For now, it means I'm still searching for representation. It means this agent was not the one for me and my work. And in this business, it is about finding a literary agent willing to support you and your words for an entire career. An agent has to be completely enamored, which unfortunately, this agent didn't have those necessary feelings of love for my book.

I'm not going to say I didn't hope for the best; I never wanted this agent to be my 70th rejection of the year. Sometimes I do, however, wish I didn't have to write so much about rejection. But such is the life of a writer, and I don't want to shy away from the truth or lie about my journey. Because that's exactly what this is: a journey. I want my candor along the way to ensure I remember every step until I make this dream a reality. And if such honesty helps another writer in the tumultuous query trenches, that would be something, too. 

But, I digress.

Three years ago, I stayed up until 4:30 AM writing something new, though the story of Dream Catchers wasn't entirely new at that point. I once wrote a flash fiction piece about a girl in a strange shop with a secret. Fast forward to a lunch with my sister wishing we could all be paid in dreams, and my obsession with dreaming as currency took hold; this was the original concept for my story, though it's come a long way from that idea. And in searching back through my archives, I found an email sent to my grad school mentor for my second semester in which I wrote to tell her that despite there only being a week until my submission deadline, I would be changing my thesis.

Up until this point I had been incredibly stubborn about moving on from a story I'd worked on since high school. But to get the most out of the program, I knew I needed to start fresh, and the idea for Dream Catchers had sat with me all summer. I remember being at LeakyCon during a panel about diversity, knowing that this story was one I wanted to pursue. And then the first line appeared in my mind one day while waiting for coffee. The windows were down, my sister was driving, and summer was turning to fall. I texted that line to a peer. I took notes. I showed the best friend. I wrote, and I sent that email. In it I said:

"I stayed up until 4:30 this morning working on this. And the result is 12 new pages and a story I think is fun and daring, adventurous, and experimental. But I love it!"

Now my book is 363 pages, 92,000 words, and after all this time, I still believe those words to be true. Looking back at that first chapter, I see how much has changed. This isn't the same idea I pitched to my mentor three years ago, but it is the story I conceived a year late during my last residency of grad school with a different mentor. And part of that first line I so loved is now the last line of the first chapter. The book is about dreaming, but also much more. And I'm not saying the character I have now is any more perfect than that same girl I wrote about three years ago. My protagonist, Camryn, is still incredibly flawed, and I wouldn't have it any other way. But that's okay. That's the way it should be. 

Upon dreaming up this post, I put away the notebooks and drafts and ideas from so long ago. And I realized just how much I refuse to put away the dream that this book will be published one day. Maybe it's the stubbornness or strength bred into me from my earliest beginning. Maybe it's that line from a song I sang every year for ten years: "Don't ever give up. Don't ever lose the dreams that you dream every day. Don't ever lose heart. Know who you are. And live your own life your way;" I still remember them. Though whatever the reason, this rejection is not cause to give up. I've written before that only time will tell the future of this book and my career as a published author. And that's true. This time when I refuse to abandon my creativity despite the fact that querying is not easy, that is the time Elizabeth Gilbert writes about in Big Magic: 

"DON'T ABANDON YOUR CREATIVITY THE MOMENT THINGS STOP BEING EASY OR REWARDING. BECAUSE THAT'S THE MOMENT WHEN INTERESTING BEGINS."

This, as she says, is "the moment when interesting begins." 

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Only Time Will Tell

One week ago, I was watching the episode of Parks and Recreation where Andy and April drive to the Grand Canyon, and "All Will Be Well," by The Gabe Dixon Band plays on the radio. As I sat constructing a chapter by chapter breakdown of editorial notes, I knew that everything I needed to accomplish would happen, that eventually, all would be well.

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And what was I trying to accomplish?

Well, rewind back to the day before.

I sat beside by brother as we binge-watched Riverdale, and my phone buzzed with a new email, and I ignored it for a few minutes as that current episode wrapped up. And then I saw the sender of the email, and my heart beat a bit faster. I looked at the agent's name, and braced myself for the rejection.

Upon opening the email, I discovered it wasn't a rejection, but rather a request to send my full manuscript for consideration! Maybe most people would've screamed something profane, or exclaimed their exhilaration, but in that moment, I couldn't say anything. The tears filled my eyes, but I didn't actually cry. I was too stunned. My brother asked me what was wrong, and I passed him my phone, and though he doesn't quite understand the query process, he said "Congratulations."

Now the first thing I did was reread the email, just to make sure it was real. I needed the verification that after reading only the first five pages of my manuscript, plus my query letter, that this agent really wanted to move forward and read the rest of my novel. The words were still there, and I knew I needed to call my mom and my best friend, but neither answered. I left one rather shaky voicemail, and sent a few texts with the same request to "please please please call me." They both thought something horrific had happened. They both called back. They both were just as ecstatic. And I reminded them both that this could still mean rejection, because it might. But in that moment, I knew it was still a huge step toward publication. 

That day the best friend and I talked for two and a half hours, and he mentioned his amazement at how grounded I stayed through it all; knowing the chance of rejection was still viable. And since receiving the exciting email, I have gotten a rejection from another agent, sent without personalization, but kind all the same. The first thing that came to mind after this long-winded phone call was my dissatisfaction with the overall end of the book, because I wasn't sure how it would lead into the second book within this duology. And just as the excitement dissipated, the stress took hold in its familiar place. 

My anxiety appeared based on the fact that I have a penchant for perfection. It is, I believe, my biggest flaw. I feared the fact that my book still wasn't perfect, and knew I needed to make adjustments, even minor, before sending this off to the agent. In the meantime, I let all the other important people in my life know what was happening, and they offered congratulations, and I existed in a kind of haze the rest of that first day. 

By Friday, I'd made it to the end of the book. I had a shower epiphany. I knew what final bit had to be added to the finale. I didn't change the last line, because that was what I wanted from the start. But I found a small way into what comes next for my story in BOOK TWO, and it felt right. I wrote the words. I texted the best friend about the ending. He read. I wrote. The day went on. 

At 4 PM I started reading my novel through from the beginning. I luxuriated in the fact that I'd finally killed the darling paragraph that opens the novel, in exchange for something that reads much more clean and offers higher stakes for the story. I read each chapter out loud to try and catch as many typos as possible. And somehow, even after the hundreds of times I've read through this manuscript, there were still stupid errors. (I'm still wondering if I will ever get credit on Goodreads for the many times I've read through my own book). I read straight through until 2:30 AM when my voice started to crack, and the view of my computer screen blurred through the veil of exhaustion. I slept four hours. I woke, and finished the read through. I compiled the manuscript from Scrivener into a word doc, and began the arduous process of formatting for submission with the updated word count, title, page numbers, etc., and ensured each chapter started on its own page. I finished the last of this from the back seat of my sister's car as we drove toward our hometown for the morning. As we made it back to the place I grew up, the place my story was born, I realized there wasn't anything left to do but send this back to the agent. 

And I did. 

Now it's been a few days since submitting, and all that's left to do is wait.

I hate waiting. But like that song reminds: All will be well. You can ask me how, but only time will tell.

Only time can tell what will happen with this agent and the future of my book. 

Now a week later, I can't say I've learned how to combat my perfectionism, but I can say I let go of the idea that my work is perfect in time to send this whole manuscript. Sometimes all we can do is let things go without knowing what will come back. I'm not sure if this will bring me an offer of representation, or a rejection. But I do know this is one step closer to my dream, and maybe, all really will be well. Until then...

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Into the Trenches

Leading up to this point in my writing career, I always knew I would submerge myself into the murky waters of traditional publishing. It's taken research and advice from my grad school mentors, and what's more, it's been coming to terms with the fact that this journey is far longer than many understand, for the waters of traditional publishing to become a bit more clear. And after all of this research, preparation, and waiting, I've finally thrown myself into the query trenches. 

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Last Monday, I submitted to the first agent, and yesterday, I submitted to ten more, including my #1 pick. This isn't to say I felt ready in the moment, because hitting send on those emails was one of the most terrifying experiences in my life as a writer. But I did it, because that is the next step. Going into this process, I know what usually happens now--rejection. 

I look back a year ago when I last wrote about rejection (which you can read HERE) but since then, I've become more accustomed to being rejected. From the beginning of this year, I set a goal of 50 rejections for 2017. At the end of last year, I had a total of 36, and now it's August, and I'm already at 44 rejections for this year, which means I will probably exceed my goal of 50. But that doesn't horrify me, because it means I am being aggressive about sending out my work, taking leaps, and putting myself out there to the publishing world. And no, it's not always easy, but that's okay. 

Now, less than 24 hours since sending out my queries, I keep rereading my first "rejection." I thought it would be more of a soul-crushing experience, and once I have a few more book rejections, that feeling might change. But right now, I have a personalized rejection, which for those outside the realm of writing and querying, is something to be proud of.

Most agents when passing on work will send a form rejection to expedite the process. But this agent personalized mine, offering words of encouragement about my dialogue and concept, which he found "really intriguing." He even offered me the opportunity to resubmit pending significant revisions.

At this point, I am confident in my first chapter, but am waiting to hear back from my lovely BETA readers to see if this is a recurring problem. Either way, whatever I choose, it is thrilling to think someone took the time to read and respond to my work. I'm sure this will be the only one I hear from for a bit since most agents say they take anywhere from 2-3 weeks to 4-8, sometimes even 12 weeks to respond. And they might send a form rejection after all that waiting, but it doesn't matter, because I believe in this book and this process and the future of my publishing career.

Staying positive through this really helps, I promise. But there have been a few other things, which have helped along the way:

1.) Support:

First and foremost, I must once again share my thanks for the ever-amazing army of supporters (who I wrote about HERE)Even from within the query trenches, they're still going above and beyond to support me and this book. They are reading my words, sharing their thoughts, and offering me their guiding light from near and far away. 

2.) Organization:

We now live in a time where resources such as Query Tracker exist! For any writers out there nearing the query process, I suggest you use this free service to help organize (and research) the many agents you will be sending your work to in the future. There is an option to add agents to your list while keeping updated on the query as the days pass. It shows when certain agents are closed to queries, and will even show the success and failure rate of other writers querying their work. 

3.) research:

I don't know what I would've done without Manuscript Wish List: both the website and the hashtag. Many of the agents I've submitted to have been ones I found using #MSWL on Twitter. Here agents will tweet about their must have books, and I found many tweets, which seemed to correlate with what I was writing. By using the website Manuscript Wish List, writers can either search certain agents or just go through the alphabetical directory to find specific information based on what agents may or may not be looking for, what genres they represent, and how to query them. It is a great resource, which can help writers personalize their queries to agents. 

For those non-writers who've been following along on my journey, I hope my time into the trenches has taught you just a snippet about the arduous process of traditional publishing, and I hope it helps you understand the magic and madness of being a writer. 

And for those of you struggling through writing your queries, I suggest using Writer's Digest Successful Queries series to help you write a letter that will stand out from the slush pile. But for any of this to happen, you need to finish that book. So finish it! Stop waiting to be ready, because as Lemony Snicket says:

"If we wait until we're ready, we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives."

To all you readers who are also writers, I believe in you. I believe you can do this, and I can't wait to read your books someday. And I can't wait for you to read mine! Until then...

Do Better

It's the eve of my 25th birthday, and I've felt so much building to this point; the quarter life crisis, the paralysis of this place in my life, etc. I don't have a name for it, though I named a story with a similar sensibility, "Twentysomething,"  because that felt most true. 

Here's the thing: I think it's difficult talking about the trying times in our lives when we're in the trenches. In retrospect, they seem easier, maybe even manageable, because we've already made our way through them. But in the moment, the dark days seem darker, and the world seems scary.

I could tell you about the months of feeling incomplete and nowhere near enough of the person I used to be. I could tell you a story about moving an hour away from my hometown and living out of boxes for a month. But what I want you to remember is not so much that I lived in a mess, but that I was a mess. I found myself feeling bitter, not better. Now, I feel like life is too difficult some days to not be on the verge of greatness.  And there is the moment before coffee when the world still feels impossible, but I face it; I'm stubborn I suppose. 

I was recently told that maybe, it was time to give up on my dream. It was in the moment, but still the words existed. They were real. And if I were someone else, maybe I'd have listened. But like I said, I'm stubborn. I'm a dreamer. I'm a writer.

But you know this. There are certain things you know from this blog, and other things you'll never know. I'm hoping to share more of the unknown with all of you. 

I'm going back to my weekly posting schedule to keep the moments of this journey clear, and here's what you can expect in the posts to come:

1.) Stream-of-consciousness writing, and how it's helped me find consistency

2.) Writing along with the Plath Poetry Project

3.) Completing my first poetry collection

4.) Tour of the writing cave

5.) Querying process

6.) And more!

So. Much. More.

There are too many things I want from this life. I want work I love, and I want my words to find their place in the universe. I want to read a book and love it. I want to love reading again. I want to love the days while they're happening. I want to find happiness. 

And there are too many words, and not enough time; the minutes move by, and I'm almost 25. 

One thing I know for sure: I used to believe in putting good into the universe. But maybe it's just giving good to yourself.

So be good to yourselves. 

Be messy.

Be kinder. 

Be better.

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Finis

This time last week, I was handing over the *finished* draft of my manuscript to the best friend. I had spent the days leading up to that moment inputing the last of my hard-copy edits, and writing a few new chapters to fill remaining holes in the narrative. The process was extensive, and without the best friend's looming departure back to NYC, I'm not sure I would've finished in time. Since writing "End of Book One" two months ago, I have been editing and polishing words I'd already written. And I'm not sure the act of revision will ever not seem strange.

I wrote the last words. I printed the draft. I even added a faux cover just to make it seem a bit more official. And with the pages in the envelope, I had an overwhelming sense of excitement and terror. Now I know the best friend will be honest and will read these pages with care. He has been my editor since the moment I started writing. He was the first person to read my first book all those years before. He read this book back when it was only 100 pages of my thesis, which needed to be edited overnight. And now I am excited for him to read where I've taken this book, and also terrified that it won't live up to the years of work I've already put into the writing. But I suppose being a writer is like that most days; always teetering between fear and fragility and obsession and love. Or at least that has been my experience with writing. 

This same day, the lovely ladies at Hooked to Books sent me the loveliest of gifts; a signature pen, which this writer will put to good use. And it felt like a sign that I was really done. The kindness was too much. Too often, as writers, we do the work alone, and we forget there are other people in the world. But this gesture reminded me that there is support beyond the writing and the world crafted in the mind and put down on the page. 

Maybe this doesn't feel noteworthy, or rather, blogworthy to those reading from a different time or place. But as I compile names of possible agents and rework the synopsis and try to craft a query letter that will stand out amidst the slush pile, I'm not sure I want to forget any part of this process, which is why I am committing it to the memory of this blog. 

I've since sent the manuscript to my two other best friends, and I know they, too, will handle this work with care. They will also be honest and critical and everything else we were taught to be in our time in the MFA. They understand the work and edits and the writing better than most. They are my people. They once again reminded me that this process doesn't have to swallow me up alone. 

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Be Better

I was meant to write a post with a similar title just after the new year. But alas, life has already gotten in the way. The post I'd planned to pen had to do with hope and belief and the word better.

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You see, for the past two years, I've chosen a word instead of a list of resolutions. The new year hasn't been about changing myself, but rather, my outlook. And this year, I chose the word better because it has such a prominent place within BOOK ONE of my Dreamer Duology. 

That post was delayed because I finally finished the novel! And I wasn't sure I would return to this word or this post until the moment I opened my journal to a bee sketch from two weeks ago.

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I am writing this now from the same chair at the same Starbucks where I completed this novel exactly two weeks ago. Two and half years after I began this strange story for graduate school, I completed the chapters, and wrote the words: END OF BOOK ONE, which have been four of my favorite words written the past month. 

So I finished my novel. 

You might be wondering what happens next, or maybe you are some future version of me returning to this post to remember what it felt like to have this story as only your own (hi, future Kayla). 

For the past two weeks I've been editing, which has meant red pens and reading whenever I can find the time. These edits were done long hand on a printed version of the manuscript. Now I am putting the edits back into the document. It's a rather arduous task, but one that is necessary to my process. 

When this is complete (and I can read this story throughout without an eye twitch from stupid mistakes and plot holes and syntax and character arcs and motivations and everything that culminates in the magic of storytelling) I will send this off and away to New York City so that the best friend can read this whole thing through. And I'll share with a few others who I trust with this story. 

While they read, I might finally tackle that TBR pile that has grown too precarious in the past two and a half years since I started this story. But I will also be researching agents that are looking for a story like mine. I will write the much dreaded query letter. And then I will take the next step. I will send the novel out into the world, and see where my words take me. 

But for now, the scent of fresh ground coffee smells like possibility and endings, because when I took that deep breath after finishing this book, coffee was all I could smell. 

And now, maybe, you're left wondering about that bee sketch. I can tell you honey bees play a prominent part in my novel, as do many other things. I can tell you I wrote the last chapter of this novel to Amber Run's new single, Fickle Game, and that the middle was produced with the Strumbellas in my ears and wine in my veins. I can tell you I cried writing a chapter and cried when I wrote the last chapter. But I don't want to tell you too much about this novel, because I am hoping you will get to read it someday.

While the following quote is spoken by my wonderfully broken protagonist, it was written by me, and I suppose there must be some truth in such a sentiment:

 "I’ve always been wonderful at writing endings, but have never been good at goodbyes."

Though the ending to this book was much more difficult to write than any other I've written before, it is true that I've never been good at goodbyes. I can't imagine what it will be like when BOOK TWO  in this duology is written and comes to a close, when I have to leave my world of dreamers behind in exchange for new characters and new worlds and new words. But for now, the journey persists, and the writing persists. 

And through the possibility of perseverance I will be better. 

I hope you will, too. 

Finding Strength and a Mighty Pen

It seems it's been more than a month since I've written here, which feels strange. I guess it's not that I didn't have anything to write about. If anything, I've had too many thoughts as of late, and I haven't been sure how to write them. So I kept those thoughts close, guarded like secrets.

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I guess I should start by saying that I completely massacred BOOK ONE, and brought it back to life. At first, it was scary. But then, it wasn't. Tearing apart my own world made it that much easier to rebuild. Maybe it wasn't so bad because I wanted to experiment. Or maybe it's because I've gotten good at rebuilding things. Either way, BOOK ONE is better than I ever could have imagined!

Want to know the best part?

I finally know what it's all about. And not just BOOK ONE. I know the theme for each book AND the series as a whole. When people ask (and they do ask) what it's all about, I can finally explain it without rambling and sounding like I don't actually know the answer. And this realization has helped me put the pieces of this book back together!

Looking back over the past two months, I'm not really sure how I got through them. I guess when we look back at the difficult things in our life we're not sure how we've made it. Maybe we're all stronger than we ever believed. And maybe, all you invisible readers out there don't know why you're so strong. But lucky for me, I do. Every day, I strive to be as strong as my maternal grandmother. She's amazing, which makes it hard to believe anything could ever break her. And I think that's what everyone in my family and community believed, too. And I think we all still believe that even though she's been diagnosed with breast cancer.

I kind of hate that word: cancer. It doesn't even sound good in my mouth. But I guess, if I've learned anything through this, it's that my grandmother IS breakable. We all are. But she has the strength to put herself back together again. I think that's astounding. And even with this diagnosis, she is still the same wonderful person. In trying to wrap my mind around all of this, of course I've been writing about it, even if I haven't been writing about it here. 

Writing is the only thing, which gets me through the ins and outs of life. And I suppose, unknowingly, I started this new, memoir-ish kind of project, but I'm not quite ready to write about that yet, either. I am, however, going to try to keep my updates more frequent, because I wouldn't want to forget any of the crazy, amazing, labor-intensive last months in my first semester at SNHU. I have just two more submissions, and then residency, which I can't wait for! But right now, I must go! I'm leaving for Myrtle Beach tomorrow and have nothing packed.

May my pen be mightier...

All best,Kayla King.png

To Step Foward

Yesterday, I had my last official class at Buffalo State College, and I must admit, leading up to that final class, I couldn't wait to be done! In fact, I just wanted the semester to end as quickly as possible. When I got to school, it had that weird finals week vibe where there is hardly anyone on campus, and those who are seem too preoccupied with finals to even act like human beings. Those of us who have had to endure finals week understand the kind of feral beast, which starts to emerge when papers pile up and final exams erupt left and right. But this semester, I didn't feel any of that. I was just excited to be done.

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I was thrilled when the clock hit 3:30 so I could leave Rockwell Hall, and leave behind my undergrad. Even packing up my bag for the final time felt like no big deal. It was't until I was out in the hall standing with my new fall friends, talking about next semester that I realized what was happening. Someone said, see you later, and I said, I'm graduating. And this sentence felt so weird in my mouth, and then everyone was hugging me, and congratulating me, and I realized I might never see these people again. Now of course we can talk on Facebook, but that doesn't mean we will, and I knew there was something so different about this last day and my last day of high school, but I couldn't figure it out. In fact, it took me until now to discover that difference.

You see, in high school, I'd known people most my life. They saw me go through my awkward phase, and they know every embarrassing thing that'd ever happened. But in college, my peers were people who loved the same things, who accepted the fact that I loved Harry Potter and books and words. To them, I was just a writer, not that weird person who writes. And I knew I would be leaving that behind. I would be leaving those people, but also leaving behind a piece of myself. I changed so much in college, and I knew I would be leaving the pieces of that changed person behind. I knew it as soon as I read the quote below:

"You get a strange feeling when you're about to leave a place, like you'll not only mis the people you love, but you'll miss the person you are now at this time and place because you'll never be this way again."-Azar nafisi

My freshman year of college, I was insecure, afraid to make friends, and unsure of the future. For too long, I'd hid behind books and good grades.

But now, I'm confident in my writing, knowing my words make me unique. My stories are worth telling. I'm not afraid of meeting people and making friends, because I've learned how great people can really be. Of course, I will always have the best friend from high school. He will always have my past and my future, but my college friends have a part of me that I will always cherish.

I'm still unsure of the future, but not in the same way. I'm not scared of it anymore. I just know it will take me where it wants, and I'm okay with that. I still love books, and I still get good grades, but I don't use them to hide.

Next month, I will be starting graduate school, and while I'm somewhat nervous, I know I'm ready. I can't wait to sit down and actually read, to write without the constant homework and papers and tests hanging over my head.

I'm ready to be a writer.

Because that's what I've always been, even when I didn't know it. In college, I was able to find my voice as a writer. I wrote a book and have almost finished the second one and I've written papers and poems and a plethora of short stories. In college, I was able to really call myself a writer, to accept that my words were important; they will always be important.

So now that I'm officially done, I realize how much I've changed, and I couldn't be happier nor, more excited for the future. But I know I will never be this person again. Things will change a second from now and a day from now, a month and a year from now, and I just hope I remember this person I am, because I think she's pretty great! I hope I remember how this little story started and how it's grown while I work toward getting published because I really want to share it with you, invisible reader. And I hope someday I can meet you and talk to you about books and the future and words and even what it's like to graduate.

All best,Kayla King.png

The Process of Revision

For the past three months, I have been revising and editing BOOK ONE with the two  amazing peers in room 309 of Ketchum Hall. Our time together is almost done, and so, too, are the changes I've made. Before this whole process, I thought my book was finished, but this experience has taught me the benefits of a writer community when it comes to both revision and editing.

You see, invisible reader, sometimes being a writer is solitary. Sometimes it's lonely, and somewhat painful. But it's also wonderful and exhilarating and rewarding and filled with   characters created from the writer's own imagination! But getting to work and revise with fellow writers is something, which makes this whole process of bettering a manuscript more enjoyable.

I'm sure you've noticed that updates about the progress of BOOK TWO have somewhat stalled for the last few months. But fear not. I haven't given up on this sequel! On the contrary, I've learned that trying to work on revisions for one book while writing the next installment at the same time is just too much.

So what's to come in this new year?

To begin, I will attend my first winter residency of graduate school where I will be able to share this book with another writing community, and hopefully I will be able to make this book the best it can be!

I think it's true when people say you shouldn't rush your first book. It needs time to be revised again and again and again. That's just part of the life of a writer. But even amidst these revisions, the future is bright and exiting! All that's left is to tell myself there is something divine found in the act of this process, and that no matter what, I have a story I believe in. After all, at the end of the day, that's the best a writer can hope for. 

All best,Kayla King.png

Finish Line Ahead

I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted anything here. The past month in New York City went by so entirely fast, and before I knew it, I was home again.

While away, I only finished Chapter 20 in BOOK TWO. With that said, I wrote every single day I was there, and even did some serious planning and character development for the series.

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Getting to spend time with like-minded people for a month was so rewarding. And this has driven me to continue working on my craft, and believing in my work. I also met a really great friend who supports my book and my writing.

Coming home from the big city left me missing that concrete jungle where dreams are made of, and because of that, I've had a hard time getting back into the swing of things. I recently did some more character development and planning; finally deciding to sit down and finish Chapter 21.

Let me just preface this by saying, it sucked. Quite simply, the chapter I started in NYC completely sucked by the time I started working on it again. For some reason, cohesion in my chapters only comes when I sit down and write them in entirety. So instead of working on something, which clearly wasn't going anywhere, I deleted the chapter, and started from scratch. This afternoon I finished said chapter, and it ended up being close to 25 pages!

Now most of the pages will probably be cut, but for now, pre-revisions, this amount is rather exiting. And my book is now 279 pages. The finish line is ahead. With only seven more chapters to go, I feel like I can see the light up ahead, and am excited to finish this second installment in the Falling series!

All best,Kayla King.png

Writing the Right Words

Sitting at my computer, I looked down and realized I was 160 pages into my manuscript! Those numbers, in conjunction with the fact that I just finished writing Chapter 13, mean I am halfway done with writing BOOK TWO!

I seem to be writing like a maniac lately, but I just can't help it! The closer I get to the end, the more excited I get.

In most cases, I need music to write, but for some reason my professor in history has this voice that takes to me to a world of my own creation, which means for almost an hour and fifteen minutes every Tuesday/Thursday I get some solid writing time in while still attending class.

The busier I get, the more it seems like I am able to write in the strangest of places. I'm not sure what this means other than the fact that I just can't help but write. I'm kind of obsessed! In the beginning of BOOK TWO, I didn't feel this way. Fun fact: I struggle with beginnings, but as I've progressed, words just seem to appear. Sometimes I'm not sure where they come from. All I know, is when I read back over my chapters, they work. Somehow I'm writing the right words for this story.

All best,Kayla King.png