Concluding(ish) Thoughts on TJT and the Infamous ‘What’s Next?’

Hello, everyone! Can you believe it’s the end of July already? We’ve been anticipating this month for a long time, and now it’s over ─ funny, how time works. My brother is married, I have an awesome new sister-in-law, and the finale of The Journey Taken is out in the world, the saga completed.

We all knew this was going to be a big year, and it’s only half over! Who knows what else is in store?

Just a couple of days ago the giveaway for An Odyssey’s End reached its conclusion (congratulations to the winners!) and the books are already off and on their way. For me, that kind of marked the end of the end for this project, and the feeling is rather surreal ─ having the subject that consumed five years of your life finally reach its completion ─ yet at the same time there’s a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, having set a goal and reached it. Anyone who has done similarly, with any objective, knows the feeling. I have become what I’ve wanted to be for a very long time: a published author with a complete series under my belt.

So now what?

Well, the thing about walking is that it’s a series of steps, and when one is taken, the next must follow in order to keep moving. There are many options and opportunities (as well as responsibilities) open to me as both a writer and regular human (the line between which is faded at best and the question of whether a writer even can be considered a ‘regular human’ being highly debatable). Consumed by this project, I have neglected a few normal life things that require taking care of. I had decided that when this series was finished I would focus more thought and effort into those areas, and the prospect is both exciting and nerve-wracking (as is per usual when changing one’s status quo). But in the midst of all that?

Another story, of course. I’d debated putting writing aside for a while to focus on other things (people thought ‘taking a break’, I thought ‘purgatory’). But that thought depressed me too much, and the impulse to write has become reflexive. Stories and ideas come from everywhere and are perpetually bouncing around in my head ─ I cannot stuff them neatly (or otherwise) inside a box and shove it into some cobwebby corner and say ‘someday I’ll work on this again’. Writing is life, and even if I have to supplement it this time around with other, slightly-less-important-but-nonetheless-necessary facts of existing in the ‘real world’, I cannot stop.

And now that that’s settled, I, personally, feel much better.

I’ve also decided to do some learning on creative writing. I hadn’t done much of that at all when I began TJT, and while I’ve learned a truckload since then, I’m going to do more in-depth studying about the art, to develop my skills and make something even better next time. I want to always be improving in my craft, for the Lord and for you, my readers. You both deserve my best, and I want to strive to find my limits and break past them to new heights.

So, now that this new chapter in my life and career has begun, you just might be wondering what writing project I’ve taken up now, or if I’m still mulling over an idea. The only mulling, I assure you, was over which project to undertake, as there are MANY. So. Very. Many. But I have made my selection, and it is one that’s been brewing for a while. I’m super excited to be working on it ─ ecstatic, really. All that I’ll tell you about it right now is that it is not set in the TJT universe (we’re FAR from done there, though, believe me).

I’ve also decided to make this a NaNoWriMo project. For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is an organization centered around the thrilling side of creative writing. The objective for participants is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November, and the site provides a mountain of resources to help make that happen, along with a vast community of fellow writers to get in touch with and discuss virtually any topic on the forums. You can keep track of your word count and earn badges for participation, writing goals reached, and milestones passed. I’ve heard about it for several years, and I thought that now was a good time to start. (To learn more about NaNoWriMo, visit the website and get involved to help writers make the world a better place!)

In conclusion, I wanted to thank everyone who has come along with me on this journey, who have encouraged me and pushed me to see this through, and it is my hope that you will continue to do so as we step forth to new horizons and what lies beyond the other side of the next hill.

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