The time has come. I’ve been writing here on “To Write These Words Down…” for over a decade. That’s a very long time to call a particular corner of the internet home. Each year, I tend to greet the New Year by renovating the blog’s appearance — changing the headers and colors and images until it feels fresh and new. It’s like rearranging the furniture, but in my virtual home.

I’d been considering other virtual spaces for years now, but with my first professional sale and my committment to “REACH” for opportunity and new skills/experiences in 2022, it felt like the right time to make the change.

I’ve bought a new living space online. It’s bigger and sturdier and with a much better floorplan. All right, enough of that metaphor, the point is, I have a new ACTUAL website!

You can find me at!

Kermit Flail GIFs | Tenor

What does this mean for this site?

Well, I won’t be posting or updating here anymore. It won’t be deleted. The blog will be here, always, but it will serve as a guidepost of where to find me from now on. In time Google algorithms will catch up and the search engines will put the new site at the top of the results page. Slowly but surely, this site will fade. It’s sad, but still so exciting to have my own domain name and a place to really call my home.

I’ll be leaving up the blog posts, the What I’m Reading lists, and the About page. The podcast page and the publications page will be deleted.

The new site is prettier, much more customizable, but most importantly, is still my home. It has a blog where I’ll be writing the same sorts of content and being my usual, weird, opinonated self.

In addition to my socials (twitter and Facebook), you’ll find an option to subscribe to a monthly(ish) newsletter on the new site. I hope you will so we can keep in touch. If not, well, thanks for reading along all these years. It’s been an honor and a joy to call “To Write These Words Down…” home.

Here’s to the next chapter in this writing life and I’ll see you all in 2022!

For the last time in this little corner of the internet:

So long Bloggos!


Snowpocalypse 2021

It’s a snow day here. We’ve had somewhere between 6 to 8 inches of snow in the last 24 hours. It’s a rare sight in my neck of the woods — we’re more prone to ice than snow. This weatherly treat has made for a long weekend for the husband and cozy day spent reading and thinking about writing for me.House Society GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Oh, and ramen! I used leftover Christmas rib roast to make beef ramen and it was delicious and warm and hearty and all the right adjectives for a snow day. I’m sad that I ate it all.

I’m picking at a short story I started Thursday. It’s weird, which is normal for me. I’m not entirely sure what’s happening, but I like what I have so far. I’m doing some experimental(ish) things which is always exciting and nerve-racking, making me eager to continue and leery of stopping. When I stop I have time to overthink it. I’m playing with tenses and pacing and telling story that is (yet again) heavy on atmosphere and character and wicked thin on plot.

*Shrug* What else is new?

In the background both Tavi and Victoria are percolating. I had a couple of ideas for revision come up for Tavi today, so I’ve made the appropriate notes. I’ll start reading through it and making the noted changes this week, I think. It’s feeling like it’s just about time, and I’d like to get started before I go back to work. I’m going to need the momentum.

This week is a liminal space, all of twitter seems to agree. Writers around the country are relaxing, reading, working on projects without a deadline or concern. Working on the “extras”. And we all seem to understand that, come January 3rd, we all get back to business. We get back to the reality of routines and schedules and deadlines. We get back to work.

I have plans. Ideas and goals. But those are subjects for a different post. Tonight it’s just me, the snow, and recording a couple episodes of Top Shelf Librarians. The weather is keeping us apart for this recording, but at least the sound quality will be better! Silver linings!

Anyway, this short story is calling. I keep flicking back and forth between this post and the scrivener document.

Until later, Bloggarts.


It’s Monday.

It’s the last week of school before Winter Break. It’s spirit week (Flannel Day today). And I have a migraine.

It’s a day where I want to sit in the dim, binge a podcast in its entirety, and fill out my calendar for the next two months. No real work, just thinking about and organizing the work. Unfortunately, I’ve already planned out all of December and basically all of January that I can.

My brain isn’t good for much else at the moment.

I think this is a part of my Anxiety/ADHD brain that I find organzing my time very soothing. It’s comforting for me to make lists and to plot out my days. I’m also a BIG fan of  color-coding my planner. But what’s wild is that, despite all this forethought and organization, my planner still looks absolutely chaotic. Thanks, ADHD!


Anyway, my head is all over the place. Focus is very limited today, my physical energy is low, but my mind is a hamster in a wheel. Maybe a slightly sick hamster, but it’s still getting its steps in. There’s a lot of potentially exciting things happening in the background right now. Things I want to write obsessively about, but won’t until the New Year.

So I’m just over here thinking myself into circles and nursing a migraine. I hope your Monday goes better for you.

Later Bloggarts,


Brain is full.

It’s mostly writerly stuff, which is a nice change of pace. I’m scheduling writing time in my planner. I’m listening to writing podcasts on my evening walks with the doggo. The wheels are churning enough that I feel destracted from the day-to-day with all kinds of writerly excitement. So I’m just gonna dump it all out in a series of bullet points so I can *hopefully* move on and focus. Because this is my brain right now:

Overstimulation on Make a GIF

To the list!

  • I applied for Clarion West!
    • I know that the odds are NOT in my favor (the applicant pool is huge, international, and they only select 18 writers each year), but I’ve talked myself out of applying for like three years now, so applying at all seems like a win.
  • I joined/founded a SFF Critique group through Willamette Writers!
    • We met (virtually) for the first time last night. we’re mostly strangers and we’re writing all kinds of different stories, but I’m super excited to get to know them and their work, and to see what good this group can bring to each of us.
  • I found new podcasts to listen to!
    • I’ve been walking the dog each evening when I get home from work, and am now all caught up on Deadline City. I needed more writing podcasts and found EIGHT of them! I’m pumped to start listening tonight.
  • I’m beginning the 2022 Planning Process
    • I’ve drafted my New Year’s (New Look?) post and have started to schedule out the first few months of 2022, including backwards planning for all kinds of writing goals. It’s seeming increasingly likely that my whiteboard and monthly and/or weekly goals will make a return in 2022!
  • My podcast is getting its [ish] together!
    • It’s been a struggle to get all four of us scheduled to record. Four is a lot of hosts and brings all sorts of interesting issues to recording and editing the show. But we love it, so the show will go on! Just with much better scheduling.
  • I have two writing craft books queued up to read this month!
    • Never Say You Can’t Survive: How to Get Through Hard Times by Making Up Stories by Charlie Jane Anders and A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: in Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders. Two very different books that I am somehow equally excited to read.
  • I’m only slightly behind on my reading goal for this year!
    • I’m very confident that I will catch up and maybe even surpass my goal! I have two weeks off at the end of the year (one of the perks of working in public education) and I am looking forward to using that downtime to read and write. Historically, I read more than five books in December, so it shouldn’t be an issue.
  • I’m considering a site revamp!
    • This is all I’m going to say about it. The thought is nebulous and new, and could go a million different ways. Best to keep this one close to the chest for now.

I feel like there was more, but it’s all dribbled out of my ears. This worked. I started this post buzzing with all the things, and now they’re out and I’m feeling much calmer. This is part of living with ADHD. It’s this sort of frantic, obsessive thinking that leads me to compulsive list making. Which leads to sticky notes and scraps of paper everywhere. Which leads to a very frustrated spouse wondering why I have eighteen versions of the same list scattered around the house.

Oh, it’s nothing, Honey, I’m just so excited I literally can’t hold it in my brain anymore. It’s fine. No, don’t look at my desk, it’ll just stress you out. What do you think? Pizza for dinner? Pizza sounds gooooood.

Damn it. Now I want pizza…


How to Talk About Your Writing When You’re Anxious AF

No. Seriously. Does anyone know?

You’d think after a decade of blogging about writing, taking creative writing classes, and talking with other writers at meetings and conferences I’d be a pro! But, uh… Nope. It is a struggle, every damn time.

In virtual spaces it’s easier for me. On the blog, on twitter, tumblr, or my various other social media accounts it’s easier. It’s just me shouting into the void about the most important thing in my life. If other people connect with it or engage with it, cool.

(Spouse and doggo are not “things” just fyi. I didn’t forget them.)

But, in person? Face-to-face? With EYE CONTACT?!?!?!

Nope. Nuh-uh. No can do.

Cant Do It Not Today GIF - Cant Do It Not Today Not Now Please - Discover &  Share GIFs

If you’ve been reading the blog for any length of time, you may have garnered that I am a being steeped in ADHD and Anxiety, with an added dash of Depression to keep things spicy. I am mostly functional because my personal mantra is “fake it ’til you make it.” Shoutout to my high school dance teacher for that gem of life advice — Thanks, Mrs. Buren!

My back-up plans have back-up plans and my phone calls have dress rehearsals. I am not great at social situations and tend to replay them for weeks afterward, picking my every movement and word apart, dissecting for the exact moment I revealed myself as (insert disparaging remark here). Unfunny, stupid, weird, rude, thoughtless, inconsiderate, weird, awkward, uncomfortable, weird… you get the point. I worry. A lot.

So, you can imagine, talking about something as vital to me as my writing is very stressful. It’s easier with strangers. I don’t really care what strangers think about me and never have. And my closest loved ones are easy because I know they know me best. They will read the work and understand it. And they’ll understand my flailing, ranting, rabid excitement about it. They even claim to find it endearing. Who’s weird now?

(Pssst… It’s still me.)

But, acquaintances? People I know in passing, friends of friends, or *gasp* colleagues? This is the nightmare scenario. Sharing my writing with people I generally like, and who seem to like genuinely me is terrifying. Because they know me just well enough that they might see behind the curtain of my fiction and find my trembling heart hidden underneath the floorboards. It’s a vulnerability that makes my chest clench, my palms damp, and gives me the cold sweats.

But talking about our publications is absolutely necessary! Not only should we celebrate our accomplishments, but we also need to market our books!

How do I overcome this?

Perhaps you should take your aunt's advice and practice – MOVIE QUOTES |  Darcy pride and prejudice, Pride and prejudice 2005, Pride and prejudice

The answer seems obvious and I hate it. To get better about talking about my writing I have to… talk about my writing. Gross. Gross, but I get it. I get it! But how? Where do I do this? When? My closest friends and family already know all the things. I talk with them. I have no problem talking about my writing career with fellow writers. Granted, that’s all been over a zoom call lately, so who knows if that ease will transfer to in person interactions. And I’ve gotten better at talking to acquaintances! But only when they bring it up first…


What I need is a good reading. I need to get in front of people and practice reading my work and talking about it with them. This is deeply disconcerting. It’s the last thing I want to do, but I just looked and there’s an Open Mic Night through Willamette Writers at the end of January. Guess I’m gonna read something.

… Shit.

I did a reading once in college. It was terrifying. I did all right, but I remember how much my hands and voice shook. I think it’ll go better this time. I have a bit more confidence now than I did then. Maybe this will just be one of the things I work on in 2022?

Speaking of 2022, I should probably start thinking about goals for next year…

Ah, shit.


Oh. Shit. It’s DECEMBER?!

Hey Bloggos,

Sorry it’s been so quiet over here. This weekend was a blur of birthday celebrations and I felt like I barely had a moment to think — in all the best ways! We drove up to Seattle for a couple of days and saw our favorite podcasters (The McElroys) perform both MBMBAM and The Adventure Zone live! We also walked around Emerald City Comic Con and ate so much AMAZING food. It was a truly wonderful weekend, definitely the best in recent memory.


Which brings me to today. I’m feeling really good. Refreshed in a way I didn’t expect, to be honest. It’s nice to remember there’s a world outside of work and home. And there’s no better city to remind me than Seattle. I love it so, so, so much.

Some things I wanted to talk about are actually writing related! I know, weird! I’ve joined — founded? — a Science Fiction/Fantasy critique group through Willamette Writers. Surprisingly, they didn’t have one already, and I have a very serious need. Tavi is at a point where I could use some outside eyeballs and I need a group of writers to hold me accountable. And I’d really like to grow my writing community. So yeah. That starts on Wednesday and it starts with me.

I’m not nervous or anything.Kermit Kermit The Frog GIF - Kermit Kermit The Frog Nervous - Discover &  Share GIFs

I’m still working on Victoria… Have I talked about my nanowrimo project with any sort of specificity on here yet?

*Searches recent posts*

Huh. Well, I’m writing a near-future, gender-swapped retelling of Frankenstein. It’s set in Seattle and is the strangest thing I’ve written, process-wise. I’m not going to get into it much here because the draft isn’t done. It’s nowhere near done. I’m about a third of the way through the first draft and I think it’s more of a zero draft than an honest to goodness first draft…

Point is, it’s very much in progress so I shan’t discuss it too much. I’m working on it.

In other news, I wanted to share that two of my short stories are now available in print! If you’d like to support small magazines/publishers please, please, please consider purchasing print copies of both the City. River. Tree. 2020 Anthology and of Luna Station Quarterly Issue 046.


They’d make pretty cool gifts and ship super quick. Just sayin’…

Top Shelf LogoIn other other news, a new episode of Top Shelf Librarians dropped Friday morning. If you haven’t yet, go ahead and give it a listen! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now. It’s the end of the year (finally) so I’m sure I’ll be back with some reflective musings and big plans for the coming year. I think I’m actually ready to think big things. But as ever, we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?

Until then, Blogland.


Reflection: Nanowrimo 2021

Well. It’s the last day of Nanowrimo. I have five-ish hours to write about 1,200 words in order to reach my EXTREMELY modified goal. Originally the goal was the legit, old school Nanowrimo target: 50k. It became apparent very early on that I would not be making this goal. 

Given the past two years of Pandemic Bullshit™ and the fact that I haven’t written anything super long since I finished the Tavi rough draft in spring of 2019, I’m not surprised that this Nano was a major struggle. I expected it, honestly.

The fact that I could reach 15k on a single project in a month is a major win for me. Breaking 19k total for the month is a HUGE win. It’s more than I’ve written the rest of the year combined. I refuse to feel bad about such success. 

They say that comparison is the thief of joy, but we forget that it applies to not just the world beyond, but within as well. Comparing my output to years past is an exercise in disappointment, when really I should be celebrating this productivity that’s leaps and bounds beyond what I’ve done in recent memory.

I’m headed in the right direction. Shocko Elf GIF - Shocko Elf Shock - Discover & Share GIFs

Beyond Nanowrimo, I have MORE news! Say what?!

My microfiction piece “Unforgettable” made its way into the City.River.Tree. 2020 Anthology. I may have missed the email about the anthology’s release, and I’m just now realizing it. Whoops.

Point is! My story is available in print! And that always feels amazing! As indicated by all these darn exclamation points!!!!

Ahem. Anyway. That’s the news. If you’d like to read my story, you can find it online here. OR you can support a small, indie microfiction magazine and buy the 2020 Anthology. It’s like, $8. Just sayin’.

All right. That’s enough procrastination. It’s time to get these final words on the page. See you soon, Bloggarts.



Things I Do Instead of Writing

Every writer is familiar with this phenomenon. We have a project we’re working on, and in general we are excited about it. We plug along and the words come and life is good. And then we hit a part of the story that is… not that. Maybe it’s the murky/muddy middle and we don’t know what the hell we’re doing. Maybe it’s a very emotional/exhausting scene and we’re avoiding it. Maybe we just had a realization that warrants extensive revision/rewrites and we’re avoiding THAT. Maybe it’s all three (been there done that).

Point is, that flow? It dams up and we’re suddenly doing anything but writing. It’s a joke online that a writer only has a clean house when there’s something wrong with the book. This is why discipline and habit are so important for writers. We can’t rely on inspiration or interest to keep us writing, because there WILL come a time when we want to do everything but write.

And we have to write anyway.

Discipline and habit. They’re like muscles. And, like the rest of me, they are wildly out of shape. It’s been a rough two years for my writing life. The blog can attest to that. All structure fled my life in the summer of 2019 and I’ve been grasping to wrestle some of it back ever since then. But you know, things haven’t been exactly what we’d call “stable” since March 2020. And as an ADHDer, it feels almost defeatist to make a plan I KNOW will have to change.

So, I’m floundering a little bit. But that’s okay. Because there is a silver-lining here. The “other side” of this procrastination conversation. Because, yes, discipline and habit are the keys to finishing a book. For sure. But, sometimes, the key to solving that problem in the project? That feeling that something just isn’t working and you’re not sure why?

The answer is rarely waiting for you at your desk, staring back out of your screen. The answer is lurking in your brain and it needs a certain amount of idleness to worm its way out. So, avoiding the work can actually help! In moderation, of course.

That’s the real struggle — balancing avoidance and habit. Am I avoiding the work because I need to do some dishes and listen to a podcast so my subconscious can work out an upcoming scene? Or am I avoiding it because I’m scared to write something so I’m going to watch Schitt’s Creek for the millionth time?You Go Rose GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Just like with characters, we need to understand our own motivations to know when it’s okay to walk away from the work, and when it’s time to buckle down and get it done.

Today is supposed to be a buckle down sort of day. I have a Black Friday tradition of trying to write 10,000 words in one day. I’ve done it once and it melted my brain for about three days afterward. Lately I’ve written more like 5,000 words on Black Friday, which is still a total win (and is less exhausting). If I hit 5k today, I’ll be happy. If I can eke out more, I’ll be thrilled. We’ll see how it goes.

But I also know my brain and can feel the restlessness in my bones. I think there will be a fair amount of walking away from the desk today. So, here’s a list of things that I tend to gravitate toward when I’m avoiding writing.

  • Dishes
    • I’ll do dishes and listen to a podcast or audiobook. This is an avoidance task that also benefits my household and my brain since I usually listen to writing podcasts and nonfiction audiobooks. It tends to be my most productive avoidance task too, because my brain usually figures out the writing problem while running in the background
  • Walk the dog
    • Another mutually beneficial task. The dog and I get some exercise, I listen to a podcast, and my brain runs in the background to sort out the damn book. Sadly, this task isn’t always pleasant due to the Oregon tendency to rain all the goddamn time. But, we do our best.
  • Read a book
    • This is one that I’m usually okay with. Obviously I love to read, and reading fuels writing. So, it’s at least related. But, reading rarely provides my brain with the sort of idleness that allows for processing. I don’t usually come away from reading with the answer to my book’s perceived problems. But I do come away refreshed and maybe even inspired.
  • Write a blog post
    • Yep. I do this quite a bit actually. It seems silly, on the surface, to avoid one writing project for another, but it is all too common. What’s interesting is that it works a fair amount of the time. If I’m feeling sluggish in the morning or at the start of some dedicated writing time, busting out a blog post really helps get my brain in gear and ready to work. That’s why I used to start every writing day with a blog post. And it’s why Vonnegut always wrote 500 words or so on a piece of paper and then threw it away before getting to work on the actual project. Sometimes our brains just need to warm up.
  • Play video games
    • This one isn’t really beneficial at all. It’s actually a pretty big indicator that I’m avoiding something not because I need to process but because I’m scared or anxious or similarly in my own head too much. I’m getting in my own way and instead of facing that and dealing with it, I jump into a video game. That said, not every time I pick up a controller is avoidance behavior. I play a fair amount of video games for leisure, so I have to really monitor my feelings and motivations to make sure I’m having fun and not just ignoring my writing.
  • Rewatch/Binge TV
    • I’m not really big on watching much TV or movies. It’s a source of contention in my household because Trevor loves movies. So, if I’m watching something over and over again, or bingeing a long series, odds are I’m avoiding the book.
  • Work on other projects
    • This is a trap. I start working on a new book and suddenly there are new, shiny projects everywhere! Or, old projects that fell by the wayside FOREVER ago suddenly rear up and demand attention. I will say that I frequently indulge these interest-boosts, but I make stern rules about them. An old fanfic I never finished wants my attention? Not until I’ve met my word count goal for the day. That podcast episode needs editing? Not until I’ve spent X amount of time working on the book. I basically dangle carrots for myself to get work done when I really want to work on something else. And it works!
  • Doom Scrolling
    • Social media is fucking awful. And at times, wonderful. I’ve increasingly viewed it less as a virtual living space, and more as a tool. Which I think is much, much healthier. I don’t post much these days, and if I do it’s on twitter or instagram. My facebook is pretty quiet. My tumblr is mostly just reblogs of pretty fanart. Yes, I still have tumblr and I love it very much. Point is, I’m trying to be really cognizant of my time on social media. It’s so easy to lose hours of my day on my phone, with really nothing to show for it. So I’m trying to be better.

Honestly? There are probably a bunch of other avoidance tasks I do on the reg that I’m just not coming up with right now. I haven’t had any writing to avoid for a like a year now, so I’m out of practice. Maybe that means I’ll actually get more than 5k today! We’ll see…

Until later, Bloggarts.


Proof I don’t read so good

Okay. All right. What gives?

Since when does WordPress have “Sponsored posts” on my blog? Also, why do I have to pay almost $50/year to make them go away?

I basically treat this space like an over-glorified LiveJournal. How dare they try and monetize my crappy takes and mental health rambles? I feel increasingly disconnected from and disinterested in WordPress. Their stupid Gutenberg, block writing BS and now ads? Like, come on guys. Just let me virtual journal in peace.

But, I’ve been here for 10 years now. TEN YEARS! I missed that particular anniversary back in September thanks to the afore mentioned mental health, but it’s a pretty big deal. I’ve spent ten years of my writing life — basically ALL of my writing life — in this virtual space.

And now it has ADS?!?!?!?!

Are there even any viable alternatives? I know that if I left this site would basically be dead and I’d have to URL link things on the new site, which sounds like a big ol’ hassle. Ughhhhhhhhhh. Does this mean I’m FINALLY going to give WordPress my money?


I’ll consider it. I guess. But I don’t like it. So there.




Ok. Lemme just write this thought through. There are pros to paying the $50/year. No more ads. No “Sponsored Posts”. I get the domain name, which honestly it’s a little embarrassing that I don’t already have it. And, let’s be real, it’s a bit more legitimate if I pay for the ding dang thing.

… I’m just grumpy about it.

I could go all in and pay $100/year and get better customization, Google Analytics integration, better social media integration, and more storage.

But I’m extra grumpy about that.

BUT! I think next year could be a really good year to make the blog more of a site. I need to get back in the blogging habit, and I’m going to have publishing news and the anthology to promote. It’d be really nice if the blog could work less as an over-glorified LiveJournal and more as an actual, professional writer’s website.

Hrmmmmm. Lots to think about.


In Which I “Do Words Good”

So, I kinda, sorta announced this already, but figured it ought to have its own post.

I got my first professional sale!!!

happy dance

“The Lament of Kivu Lacus” will be in Laksa Media’s Life Beyond Us: an Anthology of Original SF and Science Essays, forthcoming in Fall 2022. My story was one of two stories selected from the open call for submissions — the other 28 stories are all by authors invited to submit (including heavy hitters like Mary Robinette Kowal, Premee Mohamed, Bogi Takács, Tobias S. Buckell, and more). What’s even better is that this anthology is partnered with the European Astrobiology Institute, and each story will be paired with an essay addressing the science presented in the work of fiction!

There are a lot of reasons to celebrate this sale, the obvious being that it’s my FIRST PROFESSIONAL SALE! I know that, ultimately, that doesn’t really change anything for me or my writing. I’m still going to get rejected. A lot. I will not suddenly be contacted by agents and editors begging for my manuscripts. I will not become an overnight award winner or a contributor to a Year’s Best Anthology. Okay… that last one isn’t AS unlikely as the other two, but the other two are literally not going to happen so…

The point is, this professional sale sure is validating. I do words good and someone else thinks I do words good too!

Another reason to celebrate is the fact of the sheer numbers I was up against. Only two stories were selected out of 250 submissions. That’s… not insignificant. The selection process is a difficult one — I’ve been there as a slush reader for The Audient Void. You know what stories won’t make it, but it isn’t always so clear which ones will. And, submitting to magazines is so subjective. There’s a lot that can factor into an Editor’s decision. Is this the third story about space whales they’ve read today? Are they a monster who hates cetaceans, even earthly ones? Did they skip breakfast and they’re grumpy? Who knows, man? Certainly not us!

But another reason to celebrate is this: the submission guidelines specifically said that stories about [REDACTED] would be a hard sell because they already had a story about that. I almost didn’t submit because of that one line in the guidelines. But, I thought about it, considered the weird, wonderful, heart-wrenching story I had written, and thought, “don’t self-reject.” I also honestly believed that whatever story they already had would be wildly different from my strange little tear-jerker. It was worth submitting.

And guess what, Dear Reader? It was. It was so, so worth it.