The five stages of a writer

I can see the end of this latest bout of revisions. I can see it. It’s been a long hard road with this novel and it feels amazing to almost be done.

I’ve been actively writing for over four years now. Poetry, short stories, and a novel. And it’s been a strange trip. Right now I feel a certain kind of confidence about the publishing industry, about the mechanics of writing, and about where I am currently in my career and where I’m going. But it wasn’t easy. And there’s still room to grow.

But I got to thinking, about the path it took for me to get here. And I realized there are 5 stages of being a writer.*

(I may or may not have been through these stages more than once.)

*Now with more gifs/video/awesomesauce



1) The newborn
Baby yelling

An idea is born!! Holy shit. You’re going to write a novel. Amazonian Vampire Mechs who invade the planet Mars and turn it’s inhabitants into zombies! It’s going to be awesome. Your mind swirls with possibilities. You’re going to be rich. Filthy J.k.Rowling rich. And famous. The paparazzi are totally going to follow you.  You’ll be so rich you’ll entire mansion is going to be filled with gold furniture and you’re going to have a diamond studded robot dog.

It’s going to be awesome.

My life is going to change in less than a year.

I can’t wait.

2) The child







My mom, significant other, even my cat tells me my idea is awesome. Writing is easier than I thought. It’s so freeing to write whatever pops into my head. I’ll even add a subplot involving a talking parrot. AND I’LL ADD VAMPIRE PIRATES TOO! Maybe even throw in some star wars references as well. Why do other people worry so much about plotting? They just need to let it happen, get weird, and let loose. OMG YES. The fanfic that’s going to be written..the youtube fan videos that will be made. I can’t even..omg I want it all it’s tasty goodness.

My book will change the world.


3) The teenager (aka the beatnik, aka the Riggs)

Holy shit. You just attended your first critique group/writing conference/etc and got slaughtered. Your writing is covered in more red than Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill. What happened? Plus they said I need a twitter, facebook, and blog? What’s that got to do with writing? I don’t want to be a sheep! And they said I need to know my genre? My main character is twelve but all the other characters are elderly. All I know is my book is a fiction novel. Who cares about what I can compare it too. Why does it matter? I want people, any people to read it. It defies genre!! I don’t want to play by the industry rules, man! Fuck the system! I’ll do what I want! Why even bother reading other books? Mine’s the only one that matters. I live by my own set of rules!  When did writing like become so complicated? Isn’t it supposed to be about the craft, the art of the written word, man? As long as it’s gets published and gets me lots of money, to hell with everything else. And besides, if the system doesn’t want me, I’ll be a renegade and publish myself! I don’t need them!


4) The Adult

Maybe your critique group/beta readers/etc weren’t full of shit.  Hell, Jack Kerouac was for the Vietnam war and eventually Riggs learned to play by at least some of the rules. It’s time to grow up.

You do your research and then find a new favorite author who writes in your genre! Okay. Maybe you’re protagonist isn’t twelve but in her late 30’s which is like 1,000 years old in intergalactic years.  You discover that there is a TON of free writer advice on blogs. FREE. You make other writer friends. You discover tweeting is super fun. And you learn the rules. You get a feedly to follow all your favorite writing blogs. You realize you don’t have to change everything your critique partners suggest, but you at least vow to consider it. You start a blog. And you learn that revision and rewrites aren’t dirty words. You realize the publishing industry is first and foremost a business. And like with any other job, your work needs to be presentable before you start querying agents. You also know what querying means.

Or maybe you made the informed decision to self publish. You did your research on what that entails, the pros and cons, and made a real adult decision about your career. Bravo!  Maybe you even make friends with other self-pubbers, and now you all can guide and support each other through the process.  Whether agent or self-pub, you’re on your way!


5) The  old man/woman

You’ve been published. You’ve reached the heights of success. Your name is now used by the newborns as a status to achieve. You’ve done it all.  You can barely remember your life before being published it’s been so long. What is there left to do? Publish under a pen name, try and totally different genre.  Sure you’re known for thrillers but why not try YA? Shake up your fan base.

Maybe you could create a whole new series with a whole new character! Something the world’s never seen before! I’ll be even more famous than before! Yes! MOAR FANS! MOAR MONEY! It will be glorious! My idea is like a newborn baby..

Or you could become a recluse.



There you have it. I don’t think the path is the same for everyone. I think writers, myself included, jump around the first 4 stages quite a bit.

What stage are you willing to admit you’re in? I’ll go first, right now I’m in stage 4.


Why writers always forget about fun

It has been a crazy couple of weeks for me.

For my day job, I work at a university admissions office. I’m happiest when I’m busy and things are swirling around me. I hate standing still, or worse waiting. My current position is more than happy to oblige.

And these past few weeks have been full of 40 plus weeks, plus trying to squeeze in a social life, husband and cat time, and novel writing time.

I’ve been writing about 400 words on my lunch break about 3-4 times a week. Plus trying to keep my house from looking like an episode of hoarders.

But it all came to a head this Saturday.

I woke up and sat in front of my computer and had every intention to pound away words on my first Saturday off in two weeks. I had lofty goals for word counts and blog posts.

My body and brain had other plans. It had declared war and took me hostage.

I found myself reading news websites, searching, looking through YouTube videos, and falling into the black hole of Wikipedia.

What morning rush^ - - 614909
Oh sweet sweet internet

I looked up and it was 5pm. My brain needed a rest. It needed to do something other than work. It needed to bounce around in the madness of the internet and look at funny cats, celebrity news, and soak it in until I forgot the stresses of the week.

As a writer with a full time job, I always have so much on my plate. I schedule writing time, editing time, critique time, and even lunches and sleep. But I always forget about fun.

It didn’t even have to be a big expensive outing. For me it was catching up with the world and googling things I found on google and loosing myself in all sorts of media. I’m a full on internet nerd. I had to catch on meme’s, and my fav tumblr’s.

I think part of the reason fun is so forgettable is because writing is fun but it’s for a future fun. Each word we type gets us that much closer to our dream of quitting our day job for the freedom to work from home and write. The dream of doing what we love full time. There are days when I feel so close I can feel it prickle my skin but instead my alarm clock goes off again.

Writers need to have fun. It’s how we clear our minds and make space for new ideas for poems and stories. We don’t want our brains to turn into a really weird episode of hoarders.

Don’t let yourself forget about fun.

My goal for the week: schedule in video game and internet time.

My stubborn body will thank me for it.

New year, New blog

It’s been a long time since I last posted. And I can’t wait to jump in and start back up.

What you can expect in the coming year:

Sunday: I’ll be posting about my writing life or my life in general

Wed: I’ll be posting my fav links of the week and my current obsession. I watch A LOT of TV and movies and read quite a bit. I’m always nerding out about something. 

I’m so excited about being here on wordpress. I think this is going to be an awesome year!

Quick updates:

I am currently in round of rewrites for my WIP.  I’m using YWriter for the first time and I’ve found it’s been super helpful! I’m still too scared to try scrivener.  Maybe one day?

I hope to be done with all rewrites/edits by April. 

Time to dive in and get words in before bedtime. 


HELP THE ELF: I Found Santa’s Missing Nice List!

Hi everyone! As you may remember, a few weeks ago PETE the Elf had a touch too much Eggnog at the Holiday Christmas Party and as he stumbled home, he lost Santa’s NICE LIST.

The North Wind scattered the papers to all four corners of the world, and The Bookshelf Muse put out a call to help find them in order to SAVE CHRISTMAS.

Ever since I read about it, I’ve been on the lookout. And then today, EUREKA!

Yes that’s right…I found part of Santa’s missing NICE LIST. There it was, fluttering in the wind, half caught under the corner of my welcome mat. And shock of all shocks, I recognized the name, and I bet you will too.

Here it is below:

NAME: Annie Neugebauer

LOCATION: Annie Neugebauer



OBSERVATIONS: Annie is quick to help out friends with giant plotting issues and is an awesome Zumba partner. Note to Self: Her house is the best to visit for cookies. Although beware of the fluffy cat..

RECOMMENDATION:     a) Coal                   b) Gift

~ ~ * ~ ~

Because poor Pete is dashing all over the place trying to hunt down the rest of Santa’s missing Nice List, I decided to take care of this one myself. Annie, I’m so glad to have you in my life! Enjoy the gift I sent to your inbox and have a wonderful Christmas! Photo credit:

assorted gold baubles ( / CC BY 3.0

The Next big thing meme

My good friend Kelsey tagged me in the next big thing meme. And since my novel is currently in the hands of beta readers, thought I’d participate!

And on a side note, this will be my last post on this blog. I will be moving to a different site in the next few months.

WHAT IS THE WORKING TITLE OF YOUR BOOK? Kissing a gorgon. A gorgon is a Greek mythological creature, mostly associated with Medusa. My main character is a modern gorgon who lives in NYC.

WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM? I got laid off in the summer of 2009 and was on the verge of turning 30. I was really nervous about turning 30 and being unemployed. To me that time before was so incredibly nerve-wracking because I didn’t know what waited for me on the other side. I didn’t feel like I was where I thought I should be. And one long day I got caught up watching the biography channel’s special on Anne Rice. And it talked about how she dealt with some personal tragedies with her writing and created characters that mirrored her emotions. And it hit me. What would be the absolute worst thing about turning 30? And I remembered my Medusa obsession..and lo and behold. Gorgons have to wait until they turn 30 to find out if they can turn living things into stone. And she had to have a crazy ex, who was the former god of war, who wanted her back. And the cherry on top? Her awesome best friend Hermes who is bi-sexual.


 It’s a lot urban fantasy and a little bit chick lit.


This is a tough one. Medusa is a rather spunky/sarcastic/nervous wreck of a gorgon who over thinks everything.  I could see Maggie Gyllenhall playing her. She’s got a great vulnerability as well as a great sense of strength. Also I could see Deborah Ann Woll take the role too. She’s amazing on the HBO show, True Blood.

But I so want Michael Urie to play Hermes. He’s the best damn thing about the sitcom, “Partners.”

Sex and the City starring Medusa

Represented by an agent. I think every writer has to find their own path. I know self-pub is easier but I like challenges. I don’t want to go it alone. I want to work someone who believes in my story as much as I do.

First draft? A year. Then after extensive critiques, realized I had to cut the sucker in half and totally rewrite the 2nd half. It would’ve been easier to saw myself in half. But I did it.

Here’s my first paragraphs:

I hated desperate local news reporters more than bold subway rats. I hated the fact Hermes sent me to talk to one on my birthday because he was “too fragile” to face his “public” after our emotional goodbye. I slid his small goodbye gift inside the pocket of my dark blue dress and adjusted my black goggles, hiding my red puffy eyes. It didn’t even occur to my best friend that me being on camera tonight could be a disaster, a viral video in the making.  Never mind the fact that I hated the way my snakes looked on film; fat and awkward.
            Oh for queen’s sakes, it was Luann Jenkins. A sad forty-something human and Manhattan implant from Mississippi who looked at gorgons and fallen gods as if we were low-income aliens from space. That special mix of bigotry and classism. Thanks, Hermes. Love you too.
            She huffed as I made my way down the steps of Hermes’s new brownstone building on the Upper West Side. Her stiff block of over-processed hair didn’t move an inch. “Who the hell are you?”

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over this recently. I would say a mix of bridget jones diary mixed with the Sookie stackhouse mysteries.

My fear of turning 30. And people I’ve known and worked with along the way. I wanted to write a novel people my age could relate to. Growing up isn’t what it used to be.

It’s also a look at the bigotry that exists outside a culture. Many times people will torment and mock a person because they don’t act like people think they should. Medusa gets mocked by other gorgons because she doesn’t fit into neat little gorgon stereotypes and norms. I’ve dealt with similar things.

Medusa is seriously funny. For all the troubles she goes through she finds humor in the oddest places and times. She’s the girl who laughs at inappropriate times. And she’s got a wild streak that Dionysus loves to coax out of her with little effort.

You can find me on twitter, @thefebemoss

Have a great year everyone!

Twitter Hoarding, THE HORROR!

My twitter is becoming like an episode of hoarding.  I love to follow people, especially writing related people and lit mags, etc.  I am a writing fiend.  But I also love to follow non writing related friends, and cool celebrities, and dorky things like star wars and superheros.  I have also follow a rather funny Jesus Christ.  So I created lists to help sort the mountain.  and then it became to difficult to read the lists from the twitter site.  So then I downloaded tweetdeck to help read the lists.  But tweetdeck was too dark so I changed the colors and made tweetdeck smaller so it didn’t take up my whole screen.

But tweetdeck doesn’t refresh well on it’s own.  It needs to be refreshed by me, and I do it because I don’t want to read twitter on the website. but I like to read twitter on my lunch break, but to do so, I must read twitter from the twitter website, without tweetdeck.  Then I get home, and I get mad because tweetdeck needs to be refreshed.  Good tweetdeck, good tweetdeck.

I need someone to come in and tell me that maybe I don’t need to follow everyone.  Tell me to throw away the moldy peaches and bread.  I don’t really need stacks of gift bags, old magazines, and faded wrapping paper.

I am a mild hoarder outside twitter too. But luckily my husband is an anti-hoarder and keeps me in line.

Maybe this weekend, I’ll get rid of tweetdeck, and get myself down to only four or five lists.  But I want to read and reply to EVERYONE!  IF ONLY I HAD MORE TIME! MORE TIME!

Do you ever find yourself hoarding followers on twitter like old lady’s hoard cats or old newspapers?

Dipping a toe in

Ah..nothing like breaking in a new blog.  It’s all fresh and clean and smells like fabric softener.

Ok not really on that last part.  But you get my drift.  I’ve been blogging since early 2000, on another site I won’t care to mention.  I haven’t blogged with open posts for the past 6 or 7 years, it’s been mostly private posts.  I’m not going to lie, I feel a bit naked blogging in the open.  But it needs to be done, I have friends to make, words to type, and hopefully a following to gain.

I’ve been told I’m funny, weird, sweet, oversexed, and underpaid.  I guess that’s about right.  My 20’s were a wild ride in which I got hitched towards the end, and got a degree before that.  Funny, after getting married, is when I realized how much I had neglected my other true love, writing.  And this pretty much is what I want this blog to be about.  My struggles, joys, and love of writing, and how my life helps/hurts it.

I also love pop culture quite a bit.  That also plays into my writing as well.  I may even start a vlog, we’ll see.

I’m on twitter @thefeebs  Stop by and say hello!  That’s it for now.  I will soon start a regular posting schedule.  I’ll fit in somewhere between finishing up my first novel, work, and life.

Thanks for the read!