NaNoWriMo 2014 (Obligatory 1st Post)

I’ve been sitting on an author website for some time. Since backing out of reviewing and commenting on elements of nerd culture for years, now, it’s been a somewhat daunting task to return to having an online presence. My most recent foray into blogging, the experimental Resetting the Record, is still pseudo-active, but various factors in my offline life have made regular blogging near impossible. It has been immeasurably comforting to find that whenever I return to go forward with a new project, there is still an audience and friends on the internet receptive to my point of view.

I have recently acquired a degree (finally!), which has set forth many new challenges for myself. Those of you following for a long time know I have dealt with a bevy of unfortunate situations both in and out of my control that made obtaining my degree and some level of regularity in my life seem out of reach. It was many of you that in some small way kept me going!

With those hurdles now being in the past, my time has opened up to pursue my first love: writing. I realize how cheesy that sounds. I initially went into college at the young age of 18 intent on a Creative Writing degree in Journalism. The story of how my goals changed and why is one for another time. Truly, I have never stopped loving fantasy and science fiction, even while trying to ‘fit in’ with other Creative Writing majors by writing [truly terrible] realistic fiction. During the last year or so, I have begun to once again write stories in my favorite genres. Now, onto the important stuff…

NaNoWriMo

In 2013, I attempted to complete a novel for NaNoWriMo. I failed.

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Josephine teaching visitors about artifacts pulled from the Milwaukee Public Museum’s collection, while wearing a Roman-style corona. 2014.

Like so many other times I’ve failed, it taught me a lot. When I was not able to complete a novel (while studying as a full time student, and working 25 hours a week), I took it hard. Now, of course, I see how insane I was for attempting such a feat. I achieved other things in the last year: I wrote and presented a paper on the Paiwan cultural group of Taiwan at my first conference, I wrote innumerable essays on complex topics I previously had never researched, and I began work on this website. But I still feel incomplete with a short wordcount looming on my NaNoWriMo page.

This year, I feel I am much more equipped to work on a novel for NaNoWriMo. Indeed, I have already begun outlining and writing it. While my novel from last year will not go unfinished, the offering I have this year is a much more manageable one in both size and topic. It is closer to my heart.

In conjunction with working on my novel, I am publishing my author website. It was something I avoided doing, mainly because it would mean I had to churn out more regular work. This is a challenge I am finally ready for.

My novel will be written under the pen name ‘J.M.Yales.’ I realize there are multiple schools of thought on pen names. While I have written and performed under my full name in the past, for any sort of serious genre publishing I believe it is beneficial for me to shorten my 12 syllable, 32 character name. While I have no problem being identified as “Josephine Maria” online (thought ‘Maria’ is in truth a middle name, and not one I use offline), I find having a true last name feels a little more buttoned up. “Yales” is a combination of my true last name.

I have already been submitting stories to several publishers, and have two novels in the works. It is exciting and frightful to pursue something I have always had on the back burner. Thank you for going with me on this journey.

My NaNoWriMo name is ‘JosephineMaria.’ Feel free to add me as a buddy.

Here, cheering you on!

JM

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