Tag Archives: writer

A Look Back at My First Book Signing

My life seems to have more or less gone back to normal after my first mini book tour. I’m basking in Seattle’s brilliant summers, still working my 3 careers. I do have to pinch myself every once in awhile when I forget all that I’ve been through and accomplished in the past 2 years, and the long journey before that to get me where I am today.

Every few days it seems like a friend calls me or texts me or stares at me and reminds me: “You’re a published author.” And hearing that feels so stinking good.

I’m so goddamn happy these days sometimes I think I’m dreaming. Sometimes I think, It can’t really stay this good, can it? I find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop.

author

But then I listen to the words of the people who have been there with me on this journey. I hear them telling me to continue basking in this feeling and to stop waiting for it to end, because I deserve this. Because I have worked so freaking flipping hard for this, for so long. And it’s all finally, FINALLY, paying off. Because the sacrifices I made and the trying times I faced to follow my dreams were, hands down, 1,000 times over worth it.

 

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Almost a Published Author: A Reflection of My Journey Writing My First Book

Today my book title is being registered with the Library of Congress. As I edited the final 254-page draft this week with a sprained wrist, it was (painfully) evident just how damn hard I worked to make this dream come true.

Last month, my editor asked me to write a preface for the book. This was an opportunity to fit into 500 words what writing these pages meant to me. It was a chance for me to tell my story in first person.

I sent the intro to one hand-picked person to look over, someone who knows me about as well as I know myself, someone who I knew would give me honest feedback. He read it between his busy schedule and told me it was nearly perfect. But that was the problem. He couldn’t hear my voice.

He said one of his favorite things about me is how I am open about my vulnerabilities and imperfections. He knew how much I struggled to turn this dream into a reality. I erased and re-wrote nearly three-quarters of my original words, this time sharing snippets of my heart and my hardships. Before I even sent it to him, I knew what he would say.

Because he was exactly right. It needed to be imperfect to be perfect.

I wrote this book during two of the most challenging years of my life. Many of my struggles many of you know; a few of my struggles only a few of you will ever fully know. Right now, I am dealing with a past that cuts very deep, facing things that no one should ever have to experience. But this is my imperfectly perfect life, and these are things that happened to me. It’s not my past that shapes who I am; it’s how I choose to handle it. Part of that is therapy, self compassion, and maintaining strong and meaningful friendships. Another part is choosing to keep putting one foot in front of the other, moving forward to follow my dreams even when I feel my feet being pulled in the opposite direction.

Sometimes I stumble, sometimes I scrape my knees or reach for a helping hand. Somehow I get back up again.

In a few weeks, you’ll be able to hold in your hands the dreams of my 7-year-old and nearly-29-year-old selves. My biggest hope isn’t that you learn everything there is to know about turtles. What I really hope is that this book, one of my many dreams, inspires you to always, always follow your heart—even when the odds are stacked against you.

With deepest gratitude, respect and sincerity,

Stacey

Writing Essentials: How to Feed the Muse & Minimize Distractions

When I sit down to write, I’ve got something to say, and it’s about to spill out of me like a bag of rice. Just like you should never wake a sleeping baby, you should never interrupt a writer with a muse.

I repeat: DO NOT POKE THE BEAR!

In order to limit my distractions, I come prepared to my writing desk (read: various places I choose to write). I lay out everything I think I’ll need over the next few hours excluding a bathroom–though a pre-writing toilet break is a must. (Don’t ever try writing on a full bladder.)

Here’s a list of my writing essentials:

 1. Water bottle

I don’t ever leave the house without water, so don’t expect me to sit down without it either. Note that this will necessitate a bathroom break later in time, but we’ll deal with that when we get there.

 2. Tissues

It’s not because I’m writing a sob story.

Whenever someone tells you not to think about something, you inevitably start thinking about it. Every time I realize I don’t have a tissue, my nose mysteriously needs blowing. Maybe I should get my allergies under control, but for now, I just always make sure I have tissues within reach.

 3. Pillow

My bony butt can’t sit for long hours comfortably, so I pad the chair with a pillow. The pillow goes back to the couch when I’m done, which is why this is on my list of preparations. For convenience sake, I could get a designated writing pillow. But writing is not a lucrative career. So.

 4.  Snack

I have the metabolism of a hummingbird, so food is always at my fingertips. Just a little healthy snack–clementines, trail mix, hummus and seed crackers. A little somethin’, somethin’ to predict my invasive hunger and prevent me having to break the muse.

 5. Phone away!

Put that bad boy on silent and out of reach. I usually flip mine over, too, so that I don’t get distracted if the screen lights up. I could also place it out of sight completely… But sometimes I need a 30-second break from my computer and muse, so I pop on Instagram to laugh at the 50 dogs I follow.

 6. Computer cord

The computer battery WILL DIE at some point throughout the muse, so have that cord ready to recharge.

 7. Pen & paper

I like handwritten notes sometimes, so having a pen and notebook nearby is always a good preparation plan.

 8. Headphones

Unless it’s raining heavily or excessively windy outside (ooooo Mother Nature), I listen to music when I’m writing. Headphones are helpful to block out other noises, especially with my sensitivity to sounds.

 9. Tea

This one ebbs and flows sometimes in accordance with my muse. If I’m feeling a cup of tea, I make sure one is ready to go before I sit down.

 10. Sweater

Like normal people, I get chilly when I’m not moving around. Having a sweater on-hand allows me to wrap up warmly without moving my tuckus.

There you have it! That’s my (not so) secretive list of writing essentials. I’m sure there are more that I can’t think of, but this is what currently surrounds me while I write this.

What are your writing essentials? Share in the comments below!

Q+A with Stacey Venzel, Solo Traveler, Zoologist + Writer

I am honored to have been featured on a women’s inspirational website today as one of their “muses.” If you’re not following Be Your Own Muse, you should be! This organization is doing great things for women. Thanks for featuring me, BYOM!

Be Your Own Muse

Stacey reached out to us last month with a lovely stream-of-consciousness piece describing the immense love she has for her sisters. We were truly touched and wanted to know more, and she did not disappoint! Stacey is an Ohio native, but currently living and working in Long Island, Bahamas as a zoologist and freelance writer. On top of that, she is also a solo travel enthusiast and a dedicated vegan with a strong sense of intentionality, self-awareness, and zest for life and adventure, all of which she combines into a riveting reading experience on her personal blog, Stacey Venzel: Just Another Adventure. Stacey’s journey, mindset, and lifestyle are captivating, and she is certainly not afraid to laugh at herself when she finds herself a bit lost in translation along the way! 

THE BASICS

  • Age: 27
  • Location: Long Island, Bahamas
  • Education: BA in Zoology, minors in English + Environmental Studies from Ohio…

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